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)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our First Date

our love story is of the old days. when 'ligaw' was still in. when boys would court girls formally by visiting them at home, meeting the parents, and facing up to the consequences, of either the acceptance or rejection of the latter. ShadowMan did just that and as i've blogged before, the gesture made him, to my eyes, in full measure of a man, and not a boy's. for he did that, made ligaw, at a tender age of 13 when boys like him are just expected to make 'ligaw-tingin' or wait for girls at the kanto, walk them home, but never cross the divide between the street and the girl's doorstep. at the tender age of 13 and 12, we never got to date. drinks and food were always served at home, at the watchful eye of my dad whose working table was conveniently placed near the sala; dad facing the spot where ShadowMan used to sit, and so he was always placed under the radar, always under scrutiny.

so in 27 years, we had our first date last friday, february 26, in a quaint mixed Filipino, mediterranean and 'gypsy-like' at Bgy. Kapitolyo in Pasig named Cafe Juanita.  i called it gypsy-like because of the loud colors (magenta, red orange, shimmering browns), chandeliers decorated with bangles, rhinestones and white lace. yet the waiters were dressed in white and black, with matching white aprons suggesting that they are waiter-cooks; cooking as well as serving meals in-situ. the resto looks like an old filipino house, made of wood, not very spacious, made even cramped by the flowing mass of curtained chandeliers, old antique decorations, large mirrors on the side. at the center is a piano played on by an elder gentleman playing songs from the 1950s to the 1960s. but the ambiance said it all. you enter Cafe Juanita and you don't know what to expect as its decorations don't match. it confuses you at first but that's the mystique in it.

 
Every table is topped by a lamp decorated eclectically. See ours with red orange furls, the bulb capped by a tuft of green. The purpose though is found below. Every lamp is attached with a bell, jingled to call the attention of the waiter. Nice touch.

 

ShadowMan thought of the Cafe because of its famous paella, a dish i've been longing to eat while still in perth. but less than a week before i was to arrive, he learned that no, the paella is no longer being served and yes, the paella cook has been gone for sometime now. but still, we agreed to push through with our date, our first date, paella or no paella. we agreed to savor the food, choosing fish and veggie dishes on the menu because it was a friday and i am abstaining from meat every friday now that it's Lent. i would say, the food and the service were worth it. we were treated with a four-course meal starting with the catfish and mango salad for appetizer, the tom-yum soup to perk our taste buds up, the pinoy ratatoy (ratatouille pinoy-style), and iloilo sea bass (first disappointing because of the small serving but so mouth-watering we could not help but forgive). compliments to the cook, and to the fine service. they had the initiative to ask whether we were prepared to take the main course already after serving the appetizer and the soup which to me means, patience and a lot of respect for their guests.

 
Crispy catfish meat arrayed over sliced fresh green mangoes marinated with a little vinegar and onions.

  
Thai tom-yum soup. This picture does not give justice to the dish as I forgot to take the pic before the waiter served it in these cute black bowls. Very thoughtful service. Before serving the soup, a small portion of it is served for tasting, especially whether the sourness and spiciness is just up to the customer's liking. I find that a very sweet thoughtful gesture. 

 
My favorite. Pinoy ratatoy made with fried eggplant, cucumber, tomatoes, coriander and dilis. Enough to make me go back. 

 The sea bass has an exotic mediterranean taste, topped with black bean sauce and olives. ShadowMan liked the mashed potatoes as well. 

but then, the food is second-rate next to the presence of this loving man right in front of me whose picture i could not show for copyright and privacy purposes he he (just like my field data, another he he). we were both in brown. a happy couple in brown, him in matching brown polo shirt and me with my brown blouse with crocheted chest trimmings. you don't care much about the world when you're in love. so here we are. happily enjoying the food but more happy because we are savoring it in the delight of one another. we waited so long for this moment to come, and it was perfect. like our long journey back to each other. we were in a cafe which was exploding in color, out of this world but homey, filled with a lot of history, but never pretentious.  what you see is what you get. but you get so much more. because in a confusing mixed-up exterior lies classic love not just of the food, but also of the people about to enjoy it. it is classic love - just simply true, happy and bursting with life. just like the love i'm sharing with his man in brown in front of me. as he decides over his second serving of the sea bass, gives me the bigger, fleshier part and even serves me rice. i melt as i eat.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

In the Flesh

yesterday, ShadowMan and I met for the very first time, in 27 years (corrected now upon his prodding). because ours is a love recaptured through a social network and revived over the internet, the face-to-face meeting always has this thrill and dread at the same time. what if he doesn't like what he sees although he has seen me long before in skype and ym? what if the total package that is me disappoints? so there at the naia 1 terminal, i waited for a face to go with the voice calling me as soon as i queued at immigration. in less than 5 minutes, there he was. looking like a real daddy, and me a real mommy. i was expecting someone taller because my memory of him, way back in highschool is that of a gangly atenean doing moonwalks. but as he said it of me, it must be there in the eyes. i deliberately did not wear my shades for him to 'see' me so when i saw him in his, i felt that i had to wait. but what is there really in love? by the time he smiled as he both reached and ran out to my direction, i knew this was the man i've been waiting for in the last 27 years. in highschool, we never kissed, didn't even touch. but there yesterday, under the hot sun of manila, we kissed, we hugged as if recapturing the glory of flesh long withheld from us by fate. i didn't have to see his eyes, i didn't need their reassurance to be assured. ShadowMan was in the totality of the person who held me strong that day, gallant in his love. love is more than skin deep but it wouldn't hurt --- smelling, embracing, witnessing it alive, in the flesh.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Passport Bias

lately, i read a newspaper article about a new Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) building dedicated to the processing of machine-readable passports. the article cited that it will put an end to the shame of Filipinos throughout the world, embarrassed in other countries, set aside from passport queues, questioned by custom officers because of their green ordinary paper-based passports. never did i know i would undergo the same humiliation, embarrassment.

starting in perth, the customs officer berated me for having such a 'unique' passport, fiddling through the pages, his fingers running through the woven spine. as if he was implying that i have a fake passport. i retorted, 'that's the passport i used to get into this country!'. then again, here in changi airport in singapore. the customs officer, with a heavy malay accent, was asking how come i have such an old passport. repeating how it's going to expire in 2011 and again, that it's a 'unique' aka fake passport.

so indeed, what's the problem with old 'strange' paper-based passports? if they have been issued prior to machine readable ones, does that make them less credible? they may be vulnerable to faking, but why would people bearing them be embarrassed in this manner, especially Filipinos? so having paper-based passports is now the primitive form such as machine-readables are now the 'in' thing, the new status symbol in flying. it is always like this. what 'advanced' countries do tend to be the model, the standard against which others are measured. my initial reaction would be to make sure i get a machine readable one when i get home this feb-june. but i don't think i want to. i'll be proud of my old green one with a woven spine just to prove a point. that one should not be ashamed of the the old, the primitive. it is this bias against the old, the primitive that should be put to shame.  i can't wait for another customs officer to vent my ire on.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From Scanning to Scanning

baggage limitations left me no choice but to scan the books and other journal articles i'm supposed to bring tomorrow for the trip home. so after returning jane's books, i immediately took on the task of invading the ricoh photocopier cum scanner at the corner of the 2nd floor occupied by the ARC. there i was from 10am to over 6pm scanning; alternating with saving the adobe files to a USB passport and emailing it to gmail for a second pasiguro copy.

i thought at first it was chicken feed. but before 12 noon, i was already complaining to steph that my left arm's already painful from flipping books and lifting the photocopier's cover. by 2pm, my neck was hurting. 3pm, i was becoming dizzy. then by 4pm, i have complained to both nicole and ShadowMan that scanning is such a toll. close to 5pm when ShadowMan called, i was already nauseous. i have this low feeling at the pit of my stomach, a feeling i usually have only when i sleep late into the morning.  every time the scanner moves with this green light, that muscle just below my heart aches. must be psychosomatic rather than a true physiological condition.

people who have photocopying jobs must be racking it up pretty bad. muscle pains from the neck to the spine, dizzying spells, numb arms, and dead brain cells from too much radiation. those in the harshest conditions are not even in airconditioned rooms. i wonder how much are they being paid? i wonder do they have medical cover or even sss, philhealth? i wonder do they get to stretch at regular periods? i wonder do they have enough supply of water to drink? are they paid monthly or by piece? how long do they stay in such jobs? are they paid overtime? why are there more women employed in such jobs? is it a 'natural' or 'forced' process, the latter engineered because women have particular traits that make them fit for such occupations?

just see, how a day worth of scanning could lead to questions outside of myself. and these are not even tough questions. perhaps this is how researchers come to be researchers. we take experience not too lightly. we scan as well. it may not be a pretty picture, or a pretty condition. but we go on nonetheless. perhaps this bodes something for my research. i start with so much anticipation to later face the dread of tiring, physically demanding, draining scanning. but i would have to go on because i just have to go on. someday, i may have to study the mechanics of labor conditions in menial jobs that we often take for granted. only because one day i took scanning to task and i was the one tested.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Suitcase

sometimes it is amazing that one's life can fit within a suitcase. the tarot card that defines your mystic self. books that guide the phd. clothes that you wear to show your serious side, the cowgirl clothes to make you not take life seriously, and sandals for night-out dates with ShadowMan. no jacket because it's sunny out there in manila and naga. no house clothes since you're staying home anyway. not enough shoes since you share the same size as the sister so shoes could be borrowed. nothing missed for yaman who's the treasure of your life, and his. and so it begins, the journey back home. home as it is defined by the suitcase. the bearer coming home.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Anticipation

i am coming as me
forgetful of what i know
but not pretending
to touch your hand
not as if i have not
touched another's
to move as you move
not as if i have
never done so
to muster the language
of souls dancing
and to
hold
cradle
listen
with a seeing heart

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Let Me Be Crazy

there are times when i do not want to please, and just wear my headband, my loud fuschia headband because hair is falling over my face and i can't bear one more second pushing my hair back so i could see the man on the screen. there are times when i don't want to talk about counting days when i'll be safe as i would just want to get on with the highs of making love and not worry about the consequences. there are times when i just don't want to be nagged by marriage when the one offering it is not in the position to do so. there are times when times are just off. i'd rather let my thoughts race, type uncaring like fingers moving over the keys without sense like this. life does not mean it makes sense all the time. for now, i just don't want to care --- about my hair, about another life decision, and guaranteeing the future with a man, with whom i can see the future with, sans the formalities of marriage, of having a family, and amid the growth of this odd-looking, notoriously wavy mane of hair.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

As I Turn 39

i wish for 39 more years to live

to begin finding answers, not reasons
to forget more and forgive often
to relearn childhood --- it's never boring

to read books as often as i buy them
to bike again and not care about falling
to play the piano once more and recapture a gift

to wake more before sunrise and be home early to enjoy the sunset
to kiss Yaman's face often awake than asleep
to share ShadowMan's days, nights, and the spaces in between

to live by faith and not by religion
to care less about truths and more about perspectives
to give second, third, fourth, and nth chances a shot
to never stop questioning yet begin the path towards believing

to risk appearing clumsy than trying hard to be prim
to trust more the writer than the writing
to dwell more on the real than stick with what's ideal
to leave the comfort of stasis and find calling beyond comfort

to settle because i have found my peace
to maintain because balance i treasure more than priority
to birth inspiration because it is time to give back to the world i love
to dream alive because there's no better day to hope than now

Friday, February 19, 2010

Love is Not a Cliche

I Love You
is not a cliche
with you
because
more than a partner
i found
my soul
like finding
my best half
of whose mold
i could find
no better
finer way 
to forgive and
renew myself
when i say
I Love You
i open the endless
possibilities
brought about by
the union
of what is real and true
of knowing and believing
of accepting and anticipating
i step between 
shadows and light
and bask in the colors
of life
full and promising
so how can saying
I Love You
be a cliche
when every word
every line
means neverending
gratitude to
You

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yaman, Miracle!


it's true, children are God's miracles in small packages. have been busy writing today. the morning for a sideline and in the afternoon, my lit review chapter. you think is not exhausting because you're just sitting around? no, it's one of the most draining mental and physical exercises. the only time that the mind rules over the body. when it gets exhausted, the body follows. so just imagine my recovery, ang bawi, after seeing yaman's drawing posted by sister yumi in facebook. yaman literally drawing herself, the self-portrait of a happy, content kid. in ballpen point again. her second of the many. even if it's not an embrace. even if it's not a kiss. any creation of my (ours, Shadowman!) daughter's is enough to give me that boost, that lift after a crazy draining day writing. now, tomorrow my writing would be singing with inspiration again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Abstinence

last year, i started with my pledge of fasting in all of the Fridays of Holy Week. survived by having shakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner and on my second Friday, i cried and whimpered a bit to cora, my chinese-y bestfriend that while men could not make me cry this easily, food did, so i must miss food more than men, right? anyway, i survived the whole of Holy Week sans food on Friday. i was not into the 'reward' really, i was just trying to be more Catholic. trying to be 'closer' to my religion. i had a 'lost sheep' mentality you see.

this year, away from my country though not from my religion, i have made my pledge again but a different one. it took ShadowMan to remind me, as he requested could i please go to church since it's Ash Wednesday today. so the ever obedient me did, at 7pm today at st. patrick's cathedral, with stephii. my pledge now is abstinence, not fasting. abstinence from meat. for technical reasons. this friday, i'm off to give a presentation in our filipino studies group, an org of Filipino and Philippines-leaning scholars, about my topic over dinner. next friday, i'll be with Shadowman and it could be a bit corny being in the Philippines for the first time after eight months, joining Shadowman for lunch and dinner while restraining myself to some shake only?! likewise, i'll be off on fieldwork. a schedule not within my control entirely so fridays could be quite full. could i survive these fridays without food?

i remember janty though every ramadan. i still don't have her spiritual strength as she could really survive ramadan with neither food nor drink and still join me in the murdoch cafeteria having my lunch. she is just awesome. but i'm just starting, although belated since i would have had when i turned 18 as the norm. perhaps someday, i'll get to it, even a quarter of janty's steely nerves inside.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No Longer Alone

after five years of solitude, i am practically no longer alone. solitude could be such a lonely business and it could take getting used to. it could take adjusting too, after, being with someone now. i'm like the character of meryl streep in the movie 'It's Complicated' who has to cope back to a life of togetherness after spending quiet dinners at home alone, building a house for herself, and sleeping alone under the moonlight. only it's the reverse. angeline said it right and wisely. something's got to give. you've got to give in. you'd do a lot of adjusting.

today, i started writing my thesis chapter on the literature review. and so i had to explain to ShadowMan that texting would not be as frequent as before and i would be gone, 'spaced out' for indefinite periods. a writer has to do that to be able to build space, to let the writing juices flow unbridled. he couldn't stand it. close to noon, he claimed to be already starving for my attention. and while on the other continent down under, i could not seem to move on the first paragraph in red font without checking my chikka and my cel. while i was preparing food, i absentmindedly fried the garlic (for sauteing) for pork sinigang. i was thinking of him since the last time i cooked pork sinigang was the first saturday of our reunion over facebook. that was what? 4 weeks ago? so there. both of us could not stand it.  imagine, today, i got three MMS from him and two of them his photos! he he. as if insisting that i should not forget him through the day. sometimes 40 year old could act like a 13-year old all over again. buti na lang in-love so excusable.

i know this is too petty. i know, this tuesday is just a trial run. i know that adjustment would mean more than just coping with 'missing' as i write a chapter for my thesis. but this day does not escape the essence of what it takes for people to stay together. because it is true --- falling in love is not the crux. it is in staying together. it is in holding on in the face of our individualities exerting themselves because it is just necessary. so what does it take to stay together? i will say that it is in not losing the vision of our dualities. that while we work to build a shared future in our midst lie our individualities.  but that these individualities, when allowed to thrive, actually contribute to the depth of the relationship. it also lies in insistence, like his kakulitan. of not losing sight of the union on the foreground of such individuality. of straining to be with. indeed, in not losing that vision of togetherness.

so within the week, i would be submitting a chapter. and within the week, ShadowMan would be away for a company affair. in separate worlds, we have to strive and maintain who we are as individuals. but the end of that chapter, and of that affair, we know who we will go home to and relive the vision of the day and the coming tomorrows. Lightworker will go home to Shadowman, and ShadowMan to Lightworker. for we are no longer alone.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Poem, A Song, and a Blog

i had the perfect Valentine's gift. at exactly 12am of feb 14, ShadowMan sent through SMS the poem gracing this blog yesterday. around 10pm past, he was singing the tune for it, a tune he composed, over the telecom network and in less than 30 min, we were singing it together. to cap it off, with our technical problem with the modem at loris, he went online to blog, as it was my original intention to do so, after asking permission and getting it, around 5pm yesterday. that poem, song, blog is his. with the crazy me just guiding him through the blog links. even the title is his, and of course, the apt dedication. nakaka-kilig. nakaka-in love.  this is our first Valentine's (of the many).  a memorable valentine's 2010 lasting me through old age. it is free, original, and as he always emphasizes, borne by faith, borne by what he believes in, deep within that big hypothalamus. not even winning the lotto could top it. it's one-of-a-kind. there's no more priceless gift than love. Thank You, ShadowMan. I Love You Very Much.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pintig ng Puso

magpahinga at manahimik
kahit 'sang saglit.
maghuminahon
mata ay ipikit
pagkat ang puso ko'y
di kalayuang pumipintig
pagkat ang puso ko ay
nariyan lang sa iyong dibdib

to "jing" 
who means 
the world to me
i sing the verse 
of love 
of joy
comforting
assuring
committing
thru 
yesterday
today

tomorrow
my heart is yours
and yours alone

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Worth the Tears

you are worth my tears
worth every drop of longing
that could be shed for missing pieces
as i pierce disbelief upon disbelief
and hold the darkness friend
you are worth my tears
for trauma dashing every hope
faces i see in broken mirrors
i die alive in waking hours of need
you are worth my tears
for years passed in monotone
solitude aging by the numbers
the soul in tatters graying
you are worth the tears
from the past to salvage a future
for this unworthy cow
loving you nonetheless
holding on by faith
the wisdom of experience
without a map, just light
a sponge, a dipper, a dam
my weeping heart big enough
for your own tears

Friday, February 12, 2010

Steamboat

my housemates are all chinese. two singaporean and two malaysian. for today, two days before chinese new year (feb 14), we decided to hold a pre-CNY dinner, with a guest, roxanne, which is also chinese, from taiwan. i have a little chinese blood. perhaps 1% but they say i am more chinese than them with my knowledge of feng shui, like of what is auspicious for the year based on chinese tradition, and why round food (like rice balls) is especially favored.

anyway, for our pre-CNY treat, we had a Steamboat dinner which to the dismay of my housemates, i could not seem to get just by explanation. well, you can see here, that i am not as chinese as they are despite my 'knowledge' of feng shui. so at around 7pm, with excitement bursting all over, i headed straight to the kitchen where an awesome array of chinese fare was on the dining table: tofu, squid balls, shrimp, chinese lettuce, fish dumplings vermicelli, tomiao, chinese mushroom, fish, and chili sauce. the Steamboat was actually a large cooking dish with chicken and veggie stock made by jianny, the malaysian housemate.

Ingredients all in a neat tidy arrangement with bowls already in place, courtesy of OC.


Stock a-boiling


to start it off, what you do is just mix all the ingredients, except for the fish and the veggies which could be put into the stock only when it's boiling. then everyone takes turns getting whatever from the 'boat'.

 
Ingredients all inside the boat. the ones like tassels are the chinese mushrooms.

 
The finished product or consumptible one. I sent this to ShadowMan while he was struggling with hunger one Friday in megamall. I was sharing the meal with him you see. But I made him hungrier daw:(

so there was i the relatively non-chinese enjoying my first glance and taste of what a Steamboat dinner. i think i had 4 helpings, each with prawn dipped in chili sauce to top up the experience. pretty heartening for a non-chinese. i guess whatever the nationality, we will always unite when it comes to food.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walking with ShadowMan

have you ever been so in love before that you will dread the night? because it would mean separation, a temporary cutting off of contact which in your mind will be renewed the next day, but still the longing stays? for the first time, you don't want to let go. i have been working late of late, to compensate for days lost and as the departure for fieldwork nears, a lot of unexpected tasks pile up that one does not get to do exactly what one wants to do for the day. it is in these times, around 730pm when the skies here in perth turn blanketed by gray and the cuckatoos call each other home. there perched on top of trees calling their mates home. i walk down that lonely road from the ARC passing through the student village and the quiet suburbs of kardinya. but i am not alone. everyday, as far back as our story goes, ShadowMan would walk with me. whether he be negotiating the traffic of makati or pasig or even in his usual jaunts to megamall or just dining in the office cafe. he would walk me through, amid the sound of bird calls, of the sun kissing the moon goodbye, winds brushing over my face as i negotiate the path. he doesn't know that i take the time for walking to help relieve the anxiety of night. that in walking, i could release my cares with every step. that somehow, as i sweat, i am able to get away from the tension of our eventual separation in the next hours. and while i would anticipate him every night, and he comes, and comforts, and cheers, and makes me laugh out sometimes because of his kakulitan, it still does not make up for losing him eventually to the night. this is a different kind of love. to pine for a man like this. to openly admit his presence into my life and my routines. to feel him constantly as if just beside me, a living throbbing presence. and to dread the night because in my dreams he doesn't come. for he is as real as he is now. so real that i could never let him go.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love is Political (A Positive View)

Love is political. The capacity to love and be loved back is dependent on the strength and authority of lovers to negotiate and act on each other's demands and expectations. On the resources and incentives in which love is engaged and encouraged, including how love is revived and made to flourish once more where there was once exclusion, failure, and unfulfilled promises. It rests on the extent in which love is sustained by an 'enabling environment', where one is able to cultivate tolerance, credibility, predictability, and respect for each other's rights, legal and moral, specifically ensuring that these rights are actually realized, and not just proclaimed.

Inspired by Mick Moore and James Putzel's (1999) article, Thinking Strategically about Politics and Poverty, London: Department for International Development (DFID)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One True Love

being in love after a long long lull and with having other commitments to balance like yaman, my family and the phd requires a lot of adjustment. amid soaring phone bills and the pressure of reporting fresh to work the next day, Shadowman and i had to be creative enough to fit in our loving along the demands of the day and to make the most of our nights (and wee mornings).  it is not enough to share simple nothings but in the midst of politics articles and training modules, we talk about yaman and family, our individual dreams and its intersections, our views about God and philosophy, our parallelisms and destiny, and our shared future. in less than a month, i have settled with a man that i could hardly touch and could only see on screen, but i have never felt so comforted, so secured, and so assured by this man with a powerful serious voice and a digital face. i have written here before about fatal love and how a woman is in danger of falling into one in her lifetime. now i could extend that and say that a woman's life is never through until she meets her one true love. that one truth love that could sustain her, that could be worth the adjustment, that could be worth the day and night waking, that could be worth living and hoping for a kinder future. love that could go beyond death as once i told Shadowman, 'Should you die ahead of me, I think I will live. But only because, you want me to.'

Monday, February 8, 2010

P500 richer

yesterday was sunday, and my usual wont was to go to mass then eversince janty came back last jan 30, to visit her in nedlands afterwards. but i was not in my right mind while preparing for my overnight visit (because i lacked sleep eh, ShadowMan?). i forgot the book i borrowed using janty's card at the nedlands library and i forgot to blog, knowing fully well she has no internet connection at broadway. so much for my dismay, i would have to pay P500 to the campaign kitty of gma's (or gibo) or erap. why do i bother?

i do because writing is a discipline. i may not have written a single decent paragraph for my chapter 2 of late, but i do blog everyday and it is both a task and therapy for me. a task because anyway i like it or not, whether i am on or not, i have to blog. whether it's Yaman, the weather (the only other interesting thing here in perth other than the sights), word play, my angsts, and ShadowMan or any other issue roasting in the sun, i have to write. it's therapy because as long as i do it, i am able to release, get a fresher perspective of my world. in just writing freely, i would later realize that i've come up with a new thought, a new way of looking at the world. that's what amazes me in writing. in makes your brain think and in the process, it exercises and dislodges new thoughts that otherwise would not surface if i was just thinking it through. one example of this is Moonlight Sonata, which i started with a lot of anxiety and ended, with an admiration for writing, Beethoven's music and our journeys towards the light despite facing disappontment and heartache.

so while mam lynn and mam elsie could not believe that i'm taking the Natalie Meter seriously, i still take it seriously. because i committed myself to writing and that is what i will do until my dying days. it's self-discovery, this release. as much as i have dared you to, i am also enduring myself.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Blessing of Families

ShadowMan and I received countless blessings today. Blessings in the form of families that multiply the love that we are able to share and give back, not only to each other, but for those outside of ourselves. It is like going by instinct, trusting the word, and banking on the trust evident on our voices, on how we form the words of faith, and perhaps of the energies that permeate the conversation. Our families have never seen who we are but they believe. They believe in the power of destiny to weave the life and souls of two people lost in the wilderness of tears.  They believe in late possibilities that are possibilities nonetheless. They believe in time in its infinite magic, of the chances worth taking, should these be the last. So we love back in gratitude to this unexpected swelling of faith and love from those around us. Our families are the sun, the stars, and gentle rain lasting us through the days. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Curfew Times and a Friday

Shadowman and i are in different corners of the globe. good that we share the same time zones. bad since same time zone or not, we'd rather share the same corner, the same part of the world, of the philippines. but we had to contend with our present realities, and he being him, has set out to support my phd the best way possible while also juggling work and family commitments. so we worked out this 'system' of limiting our cyber-dates during workdays till 1pm while allotting an extra 2 hours till 1am every friday to saturday. today's friday and we should be happy, but we're not. he's there sulking at home. while i'm here banging through this laptop like crazy to beat the natalie meter. we share the same time zones but not the same networks. we share a common internet problem - he with an obsolete pc and me with a network gone haywire ever since this housemate brought home a windows 7 laptop with a lot of fancy, and a lot of bugs.

i have not seen ShadowMan's face for ages, his shadow. i'm here as isolated as ever. and while his voice comforts, these times, it is not enough. i really want to see him, his new haircut, his built, the way he cups his mouth first while laughing. i want to be in his presence. i need this. but now technology is not on our side. any time now, he will doze off and friday will be over. we only have one day, one saturday to enjoy each other with thinking of tomorrow and its schedules.

i really miss my ShadowMan. for the past 25 years, i have a lot of catching up to do that even 1 hour, 30 min or 10 min of good internet connection would have made a difference. but ShadowMan is so far away from me. unbelievable in the age of skype, ym, chikka, and facebook. but it happens and we just have to contend with what reality offers. but i could not wait for the next 25 years for technology to be kinder. i want results now. i want to see my ShadowMan.

The Day Blogger Failed Us

i am trying to post a post about Shadowman and my loneliness for him on a Friday. but can't.

Blogger won't post the post.

the hell with Blogger.com for keeping an awful site.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Vow

May our lives be both
Retribution for and testament of
True Love
Filled with so much
Clarity and inspiration
For our future
It is not you and me
But us
And ours
I could never belong
To anyone else
My dreams could never be fulfilled
Under anyone else's love
No man's misfits and faults
Would I embrace
No man's pains and griefs
Would I carry
No man's dreams and hopes
Would I breathe
More than yours
I offer myself
Freely and fully to you
ShadowMan
This is my vow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's in the Voice, Dear

angeline, my bestfriend in naga, was the one who noticed it, way back. way back, when karla was still my friend and i was still hers. angeline observed that no matter how strong or superior a woman is, there comes a time, when with her man, where you will notice a slight adjustment in the woman's voice, as if mimicking a child. it is not subservience or inferiority in any way, but as i would say, it's how the woman 'surrenders' her strength to a man and lets him take over. angeline saw that in karla while talking to her husband, eric.

ShadowMan and i have not been in relationship long enough for me to note whether my voice adjusts similarly. i tend to notice that compared to him, i am more forceful and in one occasion, he has got the taste of how angry and agitated i could get, and how loose my tongue and temperament could become. but still in our conversations over skype and the cellphone, i haven't been to the point where surrender has been shown by how i modulate my voice.

i think it's his voice that counts, more than mine. ShadowMan would sound like a boy in seeing me. as if he is always at awe with my presence. but when the issues we talk about turn serious, his voice would stabilize, turn firm, drawing me to listen. this is the michael i know. the michael speaking, and not mike. there is this significant pause, as if the silence is his means of drawing your attention to him. then he speaks in a tone, like a priest-advisor; the only difference is, he is professing his love, his plans, his views of the future vis-a-vis yaman, my phd, our families, and the positions we now take in each other's lives.  in these occasions, i am drawn fully, would not even dare to interrupt. i would interject with a joke or two (otherwise i cease to be the crazy me) but that's as far as i could get. he would even summarize the points --- which would start me laughing on end --- like recapping an agenda for a meeting, point by point, numbered even (number one, number two, number three...hehehehehehe). but seriously, he would get me listening again.

perhaps these are the instances when, strong women that we are or not, we surrender, we submit. in the face of a higher strength, an alternative knowing higher than one's own, as a woman. i am used to getting my way, walking my walk, and talking my talk, but now it feels good to just hang up my spurs for awhile and let him take the lead, this time. never once had i submitted like this to the Old Man. perhaps my instinct could read this other one then. read the hesitation, the insecurity, the self-servingness. not that i'm patronizing ShadowMan. the difference is just so stark to be ignored i would need to pinch myself once in a while whether he's really real, here, and loving me. so here i am. for the first time content. at peace of finding the one strength, the one voice that endures my craziness, loves me still and steadfast, and will last with me through to the end.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Word of the Day: Kairos

it's a fleeting moment daw. God's purposeful act in the universe. take it and the chance (and risk) are all yours. let it go and the risk (and chance) is gone forever.  it comes and happens on momentous moments. a turning point. the fulcrum for life and death.  it's decisiveness in decisions and mindfulness of the mind. kairos indeed, Shadowman!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Rose

it's hard. not being able to talk to her as i want, seek the kind of advice that perhaps only she could give. more than just an impenetrable fortress, she is ice. she just stands still, not caring how the wind blows or whether we would get carried away. she does not return the wave, nor the smile. she is unreachable. she has stopped being. not unless. not unless. then she would cry and wine, and pine for the lifeless.