Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Monday, August 24, 2009

What does it take to be a Bestfriend? (Dedicated to All My Bestfriends)

nothing really, in the sense, you don't have to work for it. you just become one to one person, even if sometimes, it is not vice versa. for instance, i treat helene as a bestfriend although her bestfriend is jennifer (or jeff in know). but that's just fine. what is important for me is i treat her as one. and with helene, i could just be me. the same way with angeline, or liza, or doc, or julius (not that one) or cora or verj. liza and verj are already in the states. angeline and cora are in the philippines. while doc and julius? hmmm, let's say we are in different sets of mind these days. i'm not in sync at the moment with these two but nevertheless, i just let it be. by the way, helene is in london.

i believe that it is better to lose a boyfriend than a bestfriend. until now, i grieve not having liza and verj around. these two keep me balanced because they are my complete opposites when it comes to patience and grace under pressure. i miss liza and her clear mind, her sense of logic, her composure. she never got her BS here but even after that, she knows what to do with her life. even while in the states, i used to chide her for studying nursing (what nursing?! you can't even hold a live chicken much less deal with blood?!). but she is very determined, in 3 years she finished, in a special curriculum designed for student achievers. despite the distance though, i know i could reach out to her. it only takes one memory to remind, one angry letter from her demanding why i did not confide one heartache that killed me so in college. how could we not be bestfriends then?

then there's verj. verj will always be my sun. the one who makes me laugh all the time and who knocks me out crazy by her antics. like when she stood me and lza up at max, the night before she was about to leave for the states. in megamall-max, we were the last sitting customers by 1130pm and where was verj? there, held up by this insurance agency on the 4th level, promised with an offer, only to get iced tea and one large umbrella after 4 hours of sales talk! oh, i would have killed her! but verj will always be verj. at one tension-filled time in gonzales when nasty rumors spread about me from a supposed 'friend', she said, 'but jing, how can i believe her? i know who you are.' so bestfriends are like that. at the end of the day, they are the ones standing by the benches, waiting for you even if you are the last in the marathon. they know your spirit. one time in december, i think in 2002, verj was already in the US then when i got a cryptic email from her. she said that while she may no longer write, or call, i will always be her bestfriend. she's alive then and now, i know. deep inside, i understood what she meant it is beyond words. occasionally, i search for her on the net, in facebook, myspace and friendster but no. no verj. her email adds are also no longer working. i miss her so much. how i wished i had the presence of mind to answer her then that no matter how she decides, she will always be mine too, and i will forever miss her. i really really miss verj.

angeline is the first although she is third here. i'm just keeping with the flow. so where did we start? when did we become bestfriends. we are part of a barkada named JOAN ROAN-CO. there are five of us, the first two letters of our names making up the name. Jopen, Annabelle, Rodonna, Angeline and Corazon. Oh, the four are also my bestfriends! each one of them is unique but angeline will always be the special buddy. we went through together in teen-hood, student-hood, singlehood, pregnancies, births, birthdays. and we never run out of things to say and discover about each other. in books, in conversation, in style, in child rearing, in cooking, in dealing with the batch. angeline is cariƱosa. even if you leave her alone she will not be alone. she will find an acquaintance, a friend, in anyone. i could not help notice in parties at home. as hostess, even if i leave her on one nook, she can blend in and be in tight conversation with another. angeline is also my unofficial librarian. she holds all my left-over books, has read them all, we could actually start Fort Vitti running within a month! she doesn't know it but her power, compared to now, is just the tip of the iceberg. i could still remember when i gave birth to yaman, at mother seton hospital just after 5pm, seeing angeline with my mom as i was wheeled out of the operating room, was such comfort, such warmth. it brought me a lot of peace. to behold two of the precious women in my life as i crossed the line to motherhood. thanks gie.

as i've blogged here before, helene used to be my "MU" in highschool. her brown eyes used to floor me dead. but after highschool, perhaps after getting exposed to boys and stumbling on 'love', my feelings for her just dissolved and solidified to friendship. i was supposed to write 'only' but how could it be an 'only' thing with friendship? it matters a lot. helene walks the mile for a friend. she will do everything for you. care too much that sometimes, she could get misunderstood. that's just the way she is. over a drink, if you spill your beans to her about a failed relationship, a career gone rotten, or the death of a dog, she will endure you. if you get busted out, lying on the ground, no more knees for walking, she will hold you up and bring you home. that is helene. looking at her, i wonder how many good times i've missed in highschool, seeing her more as a love than a friend. i'll always be grateful that she took me as one, never had any qualms, never had any baggage about what we had in highschool. helene will forever be a blessing.

cora is my conscience. she is so straight she's the only woman i know who wears a sando underneath her blouses, even in office polos. she's very good with handling money, very professional on the job, and when she doesn't like you, she doesn't like you. that's why i'm wondering how she endured me? ha ha. she is straight as i am weird. she is straight as i am green and stupid and bold and reckless and spendful and weird, really weird. with cora, i know i'm still a good person. although she said before that i am not mabait. 'hindi ka mabait, salbahe ka!' and that's what made me like her. i really don't like people to kowtow or are eager to please. she saw the muck in me and still liked me anyway. i can't lie to her. one time she told me this secret but beforehand, i said, 'cora, for me, this is not a secret. i will tell'. and i did tell. we did not talk to each other for about two months. on my end, i deserve her anger so i let it be. although i did not guarantee my silence so my conscience was clear. but still, cora forgave me after that. because she could not bear not having me for her birthday. i was the one at fault but she reached out nonetheless. cora's really something. i trust cora enough to carry out my will and take care of yaman should something happen to me here in perth, or wherever.

doc delfin and julius, i'm not angry at them. it hurts what they did but i've gone past seeing people in black and white. life is not just black and white. it's a symphony and a cacophony of colors. just look at white. it's not just white. there's off-white, cream, ecru, eggshell, cloudy white (just ask any wedding coordinator!). sometimes we blend, sometimes we don't. whatever happened to me and doc, me and julius, i believe is due to the circumstances. it is bound to happen and not at all useless. it has lessons. like seasons, i let it pass and let time just pass for knowing to evolve. our time together again will come.

so bestfriendship is like life. bestfriends come for a reason to lift you up, cast you about, smack you right in the face but never leaves. they're always there to remind you of who you are and why you matter, you count much to be a part of, to share with, and to just be with. they mirror your own personality, your other selves because like the yin and yang, they fill and magnify parts of who you are, in parts that are incomplete, in parts that need enhancing. so to my bestfriends and to friends who consider me one of their best, i love you all and thanks in exos for keeping up, trusting enough and doubting none. with you, i see and touch and feel and shout and heckle and complain and cry and laugh with my better self.

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