Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Archive for the ‘From the Inkload’ Category

Burning Excess Baggages

I’ve finally let go of an old flame. The courage to block him on social media sites came on late, though. But doing so gave me the feeling of liberation.

We have parted our ways a long time ago, but I kept on stalking him from time to time. Unfriending him was not enough to keep me from doing so. The foolish me was hoping to see if he still wants me…or at least, misses me…as he did in those text messages.

They were just fleeting words, but my heart was trapped in a web of lies for a year. The jerk in him was unmasked when I confronted him. “All I want is to be a good friend,” he faltered, and suddenly all the empty promises came fleeting like ashes in a violent wind of emotions. This is not a man worth my time or my hopes. I’ve decided to let him go…but I was deceiving myself.

But as always, his social media plied no trace of his humanity, just a reflection of his religious fanaticism…dead and emotionless. His page glared at me as if it was a death mask that would never be removed from the face of its master. Four years from this hopeless romanticism, I have to gather the courage to shatter my obsession. I’ve realized there are more people worth my time, my emotions, my being. New friends who show me there’s more room to grow and love. New promises that enlighten my perspective. A future that’s brighter and lovelier than my past. The past is not worth mourning anymore. I need to burn it. Bury it. Forget it. Along with his memory.

Now, that he’s gone, I’m free from such a heavy load. I have to walk weightless because the journey towards a better tomorrow will never be easy. But leaving this baggage of bitterness and hopeless will help me move forward and run towards the sunrise.

Enjoying the Boring Essentials

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The cheery ringtone echoed in the bathroom. I was trying to finish scrubbing my floor mat when the anticipated call came. Finally, after enduring months of scattered clothes in all glorious disarray, I have purchased my own cabinet.

I have lots of priorities, but this one suddenly jumped into my list when my old clothes rack just gave up (it seemed to have abhorred my fetish for clothes, but it still managed to endure a year of forced servitude under my fashion obsession). I initially planned to buy my own desk this year, but I (and my budget) have to adjust. In the light of this tragedy, adulting suddenly hit me hard to the core.

I used to brush off household items and other boring essentials. All I cared for were books, CDs of anime OSTs (whoops, try not to guess my age 🤔), dresses, stylish bags, and more books. But as I grew older, I started to shave off some of these fancy things as I began to see what I really need.

Living away from my parents’ home taught me how to be responsible for myself. Reality sank in days after I realized there was no mom to cook breakfast for me and there’s no parental daily allowance. I had to learn how to make plans, budget well, and weigh my priorities. If not, I might not survive in this crazy, concrete jungle.

All those boring essentials I thought I didn’t need became my objects of desire once I got into my thirties. The department store’s home section turned into a wonderland. I could not believe I was converted into a homemaker. *Sigh*

I’ve noticed that as we grow older, our priorities change. They adjust according to our needs. In time, these needs are sifted well, leaving only the most valuable things in life. We are soon leaving this world anyway, and we would not be needing them as we journey away from this life.

But as for now, I’m still overjoyed at the sight of my drawer sitting near my bed. The best thing with these boring essentials is the extra joy that tags along with it…like some nice, fluffy bubble wrap. 😉

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A Watery Rendezvous

Part of the adulting stage is the requirement to stand as a chaperone for a parent going to a party. My mom, who’s forever young at heart, wanted to join the other ladies at her zumba class for a reunion. I easily obliged because I had another agenda in mind: the pool.

The party was held beside a swimming pool. Believe me, I missed swimming for quite a long time. I did not mind whether the visibility of the water was almost terrible to none. I just wanted to feel the warm waters around my body and float on it like I was on air.

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I already had taken a few laps when some of the kids playing there said “Hi, tita!” (“tita” is the Filipino word for aunt). Being shy around kids (except for my nephews and niece), I only greeted them back and swam again. But when I returned, one of them brazenly asked if she can borrow my shower cap. “Nope,” I said, “it’s already stuck on my hair”.

That’s one problem when swimming in a public pool. I couldn’t do my laps properly because kids playing ball were blocking my way and some of them were trying to talk to me. This same girl was telling me she knows how to dive because she took swimming lessons. Being a good adult, I fought the urge to reply, “Yeah, me too.” As if all adults are automatic swimmers.

I ended up looking up at the half moon pinned on the dark sky. I soothed myself with the warm waters enclosing me like an old friend who missed me. The blaring dance music felt far away as I submerged into the deep, something that I missed doing for a long time.

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I wish every place would a have a pool of their own but is something considered as a luxury to some. It’s sad that many people deem that only the rich can take up swimming lessons. That should not be the case. Every Filipino has the right to take up swimming lessons. I think it is a vital life skill, especially the Philippines is surrounded by bodies of water.

I left the pool at dinner. I guess only food can stop me from swimming haha. I hope I’d be invited to more parties at the pool. 🙂

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Answers Without Filters

My ultra introverted self has awakened again. I intentionally did not join the team at our company Christmas party. I honestly hate parties but what I hate most is partying with noisy, carefree self-labelled socialites dancing with a glass of fake campaign. 

It seemed I was born with Frank Senatra and Nat King Cole serenading me because I prefer quiet, coffee shop dates, painting pictures, reading books and lots of me time. Like my mom, I’d like to observe other people quietly, clam up my thoughts to myself, free up mental space from the jeje crowds and spend more time away from the colorful personalities that regress my opinions and thoughts. Sometimes, time is best served with self.

But I don’t know why unusual characters surround me. I wonder if my friendly aura or smiling face gives away too much. I am sometimes bothered with weird people who stress me too much. Perhaps I was entertaining them too much. 

A former officemate would message me from time to time to ask if he could borrow money. I’d politely say I would try next time, although I reallt don’t have much. It came to a point that he asked me if I had the money (yes, that casually). That was when I was triggered to say I was struggling financially, I can only budget my money for myself. Should have I said that in the beginning, he would not have relied on me. 

Perhaps, I need to be a little more straightforward to others. I’ve been acting too nicely for a long time. It’s time to tick my brain to give answers without filters. 

Rebooting decisions

I’ve come to a point where I’ve been harboring regrets over the choices I’ve made. There are days when I wonder if I have been richer after taking up psychology or IT instead of Mass Communication. There are also nights when I mourn my decision to leave BPO to pursue the media industry. I could have been at odds with my former co-workers, performing as a manager like them instead of festering my wounds in my failure to become a famous reporter. The 30-year mark in my life (add it with two more years) is another milestone to look back and evaluate myself. What I’ve found was disappointing as I have failed my dreams, my ambitions and myself.

I had shifted from dream to dream as a child. I’ve wanted to become a teacher, a world-renown writer and illustrator, a TV reporter, an advertiser and then a filmmaker. That’s how I’ve ended up in Mass Communication. All I had was passion. I did not realize my college course would never define my final niche. 

I went from job to job. I was given a chance to work as a TV reporter and a segment producer in a small TV station. I attempted going up the ladder by getting into a bigger and more popular station but I did not survive its toxicity. I went back to the corporate world, still not knowing where I should be. Here’s where I’ve recognized the importance of practicality over passion. If I had forseen this twenty years ago, I might have been a richer and a more successful person by now.

But success cannot be found in money or position.

Isn’t it comforting to know that despite of all these circles I have been through, God has this promise imbeded in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I will never forget that peace that washed me like a cool river when I have made my full decision to leave the media industry. God confirmed it even more through other people. It struck me hard when I heard Kris Valloton saay in his teaching (which I will paraphrase) “It dosen’t matter whether we have failed our foremost plans because God still has plan B, C and so on…what matters is His purpose for us.”

I believe I am yet on my way for my purpose to be fulfilled as I continue jumping from crossroad after crossroad. Despite of disappointments, I keep on picking up gems of wisdom. In the end, it is not fame or position that will make me a better person. All these lessons I’ve learned in life will help me find my niche in this life, as well as guiding me to take up the right pathway to my destiny. 

Stirring Up the Sleeping Palette

I kept on dreaming colors. They swirl around me like icing on a cupcake that makes me hungry for more. I mix and mold them together until they become trees, mountains, a sunny landscape and a smiling me. I was so inlove with them, I buried them in the secret cupboard in my psyche. But here they are, giggling before the partly opened door after a long hibernation.

It’s been ten years since I messed my fingers and my brush with watercolor. I stared at the newly-bought acrylic tubes with a bit of consternation. However, my excitement was tingled even more by the warm, afternoon sun. It’s like releasing the joy of childhood again. It’s awakening the magic from within.

I thought art was a childish hobby to play along. But I did not realize art is actually a part of my soul. Art is an expression for me. I could do art in Microsoft Paint, Photoshop or in the PicsArt app. But I realized digital media cannot take away the power of art in physical form, particularly paintings.

Just as I love the smell of books, I love the enigma paintings can bring. They carry emotions and nostalgia. They also carry the soul of the artist who made them. That’s the reason I’m always fascinated with the artworks at museums at Ben Cab Museum, the National Museum and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. They are channeling us deep into one’s heart and insights, as well as in another time and space.

As for me, I just love stroking my brush as I try to replicate landscapes and childhood memories. This one is one of my favorites. And it was born about fifteen years ago.

That artistic silence was cut off when I needed it to heal me from a traumatic event months ago. That day, I stupidly sank my smartphone in beachwater while it was sitting in the pocket of my shorts. I could not enjoy my beachside trip in Marinduque because I had no gadget to play around with. I was so attached with my phone, I felt I have lost a loved one. I know that sounds stupid, but think of the hardwork I have done just to own a smartphone – for the first time! For a month without one, I then focused my attention on scrapbooking.

I did that for a few friends who were leaving the company. I gathered our other friends who unleashed their artistic creativity on paper. I searched for old colored pencils, brushes and art set. They need to be replaced. I need a new set of color tubes.

I was compelled to buy acrylic paint because I something to mark my newfound cane at Mt. Ulap. Months after, I was encouraged to go beyond this because of a friend.

For now, I would not reveal this part of the story. I just could not contain the joy of mixing colors and painting again. All I could think for now is to give away all my artworks because I believe art is for sharing. I hope my paintings would never serve a selfish purpose but it would bring encouragement and joy to many people.

Suddenly…I Felt Lonely

I snuck out my phone like a cheeky kid keeping a little secret. My roommate was already sleeping soundly but I could not keep the blue light from this little smartphone from invading the pitch-black room. It became my habit to scroll through posts after posts before I sleep, in which became a daily, endless pursuit. There were rants, eventless thoughts, then family pictures and small reunions. I see I have about a thousand ‘friends’ popping up to prove their happiness and existence but none of them – indeed none – bothered this poor little soul who was watching aimlessly at their posts.

And then suddenly…I felt lonely…

Technology has its load of ironies. It is made to reach friends quickly but it has the tendency to isolate us from deep-rooted relationships. Research shows a link between Facebook and loneliness, which is now on the rise. But I surmise social media should not be blamed for the weakening socialization among real human beings.

Social media, just like any technology, catches our attention easily because it is speedy and accessible. Humans, natural braggers and procrastinators as they are, tend to leave everything in the care of technology, even communication. Gone are our penpal friends who would wait anxiously for our letter for months. There are no more mailboxes that would surprise us with the awaited cassette tape that would play dad’s deep, sleepy voice from the Middle East. Retelling a harrowing story would not be a struggle anymore because everyone could see that groundbreaking post that could be shared to a thousand more users. We have grabbed the wondrous and omnipresent opportunity the social media has given us. We have grabbed its invitation to create “The Platform of Me”.

Those posts, rants, selfies, pictures and videos are everything about me. Me, myself and I. You are my audience and you will just watch how I perform. I will let you react to what I can do and I expect you to like everything I will share.

Admit it. Pride is everybody’s hidden monster. We all love the attention. We all love the applause.

But the moment we become the “Audience Of You”, there is the tendency to be envious and longing. You should be on the stage with me. You should also be in those family gatherings, dinner parties and every fun event in life boasted by me. You long for me to say hello at least but it ends in a vain tragedy of self. Soon, it could lead to isolation, loneliness and then depression.

I immediately closed my phone before I began to spiral down in the dead of the night. I guess it’s time to unwind from every selfish thought that could toxify me. Then, I brought to mind a few friends I need to catch up with.

Don’t expect everyone in your friends list to worry about you. Just as I have said before, not all of them are your real friends. Such expectations could only disappoint us. But never forget to catch up with your real friends – and I really mean the real ones. And, oh, make sure you don’t end up just chatting in FB Messenger. Make the effort to show up, be present and be alive with them.

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