Friday, January 31, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

moving forward....

It's a few hours before the Chinese New Year.  Now, my family is not Chinese but new years always get to me. It's full of hope to move on. To move forward.  However, before we can even think of moving forward, I personally feel that I can’t do that without first looking back.

What went well, what (totally) failed, what lessons were learned (or were sometimes force-fed) in the year that passed.

This was a big year for me: not because I was able to achieve a lot, but because 2013 was probably the most heartbreaking year I’ve ever had to go through.

I made a long list of my 2013 highlights and milestones, as well as my low points and disappointments, and what I’ll share with you today are shorter, summarized version of each list!

Now let’s take a look at that rearview mirror:

1. Claire, Grace and Sarah, three of my superduper childhood-we were friends since sperm- friends went home in January. we definitely had a blast with all our childhood friends - dinagyang, surprise parties, boracay, reminiscing. we may have grown up but deep down, we are still little girls and boys at heart.

2. I attended two Pharmacy Summits. The second one was even more special because I went with my students. I also attended the Nat Con and met longlost friends and longlost former students. it was just nice catching up with them.

3. We welcomed baby grom-grom in february. He had a difficult time in the hospital, having been in the incubator and transfused for quite a number of times.

4. I attended my first free international concert. Jars of Clay  was simply amazing! Later in the year, I was able to watch another concert with my best friend. Oh, how fun that was!

5. Rhea and Maj, with her hubby Tope, had their summer vacation here. Welcoming Tope to the barkada was so much fun!

6. Tatay and I had a mini-trip! Three days lang but it was fun seeing him be amazed with all things new in a place he last saw almost 15 yrs ago.

7. I went on an impromptu trip and ended up in Gigantes! it was just lovely!

8. My bday month had me in such a flurry that I was even surprised it was my birthday already.  I started the month with The Humanitarian Affairs Int'l Symposium. It was eyeopening. It was surely an honor representing YPG-Phils. Then Davey got home with lil Angelo and we had a lot of bonding moments, sometimes with Nina  (who is one busy bee), too.

9. I was finally able to make one of my wishes come true: review and the go signal for the board exam here in the province. It was nice meeting new people and learning from them and taking them to different places here. I hope our newly formed ties will last beyond the walls of the review rooms.

10. We participated in a survey with UP peeps. It was another learning experience for me. And to share that with my coteachers and students? priceless.

11. Lastly, i was promoted. I'm no longer "acting". I see it more as a bane than a boon but if it's something that would make me able to do the things i want to help the department, then i am up for it.

12. The saddest parts of 2013 was losing people I love. I lost two aunts, some relative, and a cousin just days before Christmas.

13. I struggled with my emotions in 2013 and had a breakdown. I never thought I could reach my breaking point. It felt so ugly. so bad. at times, I could still feel myself being pulled to that darkness. It's a constant struggle, something I know I will be fighting still this year.

I’ve always liked the New Year because it always meant that everything seems new and fresh and there are always infinite possibilities. I am so done with 2013, not because it was a bad year (despite it being heartbreaking for most parts) but because I am ready for the next year. I am infinitely thankful for all people sent my way, good or bad, they certainly made my 2013 something to remember.

welcome 2014! let's be friends!

Monday, January 6, 2014

sharing something a friend sent me

He’s getting married (Youngblood, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

24 May
TODAY, I will attend an execution: my own. I will watch it with both eyes open and I will not cry. I will not break down just because the man I have loved since forever will marry someone else. I will watch him promise himself to a woman who will never love him like I have. I will watch them bind themselves to a vow I should have taken.
I have loved Oliver almost all my life. I have known him since I saved his six-year-old hide from a bully named Ricardo who wanted to rid him of his two yellowed front teeth. I was five at the time, but having grown with five older brothers and a hellion of a sister, ”Totoy Cardo” was a piece of cake.
Oliver was so overcome with embarrassment at having a girl to protect his scrawny neck that from that time on he made it a point to be the rescuer, not the rescued. As time passed, muscles filled out this lanky frame and those two front teeth began to sparkle. He combs his hair, and he takes a bath daily now. In short, he has become a fine specimen of manhood.
The best part is, he lived up to his promise: he became my self-appointed guardian (well, I don’t know if that’s the best or the worst part). He was just always there, sticking to me like glue. It used to drive me nuts that he never let me out of his sight.
When I was 12, I ran from the infirmary on my way home. I had found out in the most humiliating way that I had become a woman: there was a big red stain on the back portion of my skirt. The jeers and the taunts followed me through the school corridors. Oliver dashed after me and offered to accompany me home. I declined, of course. He seemed to understand my discomfiture and promised to drop later with the things left in school. When I reached home I was told that I needed to jump three times on the stairs (which I did) and to wash my face with my blood (which I didn’t do).
Oliver dropped by in the afternoon, sporting a black eye and a bruise on his arm. When I asked him what happened, he said he had walked into a closed door. I believed him. But a few days later, minus the dysmennorhea, I found out that Oliver got into fisticuffs because some guy made a disgusting remark about me.
Nobody had ever fought for me before that. And when you’re 12 and discussing in class how King Arthur and fairest of them all, Lancelot, fought for Guinevere’s love, you tend to get ideas. I loved Oliver then.
When we were in high school and I found out that the school’s heartthrob and one of my most ardent suitors, Richard, was involved with a bustier girl, it was to Oliver that I ran. When I didn’t graduate as valedictorian and I got so drunk, it was Oliver who took me home. He didn’t even mind that I barfed all over his dad’s car (which he borrowed without permission).
When I decided to go to UP and he went to Ateneo, we celebrated by partying. When I lost my mom in a car accident, he took care of everything. When my dad followed my mom less than a year later after a heart attack, he was there again. By this time he was an appendage of my life. He used to check out the guys I came to know. Nobody dared to get serious with me–not when Oliver had a black belt. I didn’t know how to define our relationship.
I didn’t know what we were. We definitely were more than friends, better even than best friends. It was like we were a couple, but formally not one.
We did all the things that couple did like hang out and neck but always stopped when things got too hot. Since we never defined what we meant to each other we never said ”I love you” or whatever serious couple told each other.
As a result, I remained a chaste princess while my prince caroused and sowed wild oats, but still had the energy to monitor my movements. I didn’t mind. After all, I was so sure we’d end up together. I always thought that in the end, it would be us. I loved him. I managed to convince myself that he loved me (what else could it be?). Little did I know that love doesn’t conquer all, it only conquers the weak.
I didn’t think he’d be so stupid as to get a girl pregnant on the same night they met at a party. I didn’t think he’d be so stupid as to forget to use some form of contraception. After all, he had given me a lecture on safe sex. And I didn’t think he’d be so stupid as to marry the girl. But maybe I forgot that after all he was a man, and men have been known to be stupid about these things. Their brain is located in a region other than between the ears.
What could I do? Kicking him in the groin and punching him in the eye seemed like a good idea then. Don’t blame me; he was the one who enrolled me in a self-defense course. But I did not feel better. Seeing him bent over in pain only made me angrier. I wasted my life for this lousy excuse of a man? I could not believe it! I wanted nothing more than to run to him and beg him to wake me up from the stupid dream. I wanted him to take me some place where we didn’t know anybody.
No pain, no memory, no humiliation. I wanted to just forget it ever happened but since I flunked in the School for Martyrs, I couldn’t, for the life of me pretend, it didn’t happen. I couldn’t pretend he didn’t hurt me.
I couldn’t pretend everything was fine and dandy and exactly the way it was before. We didn’t talk for a month. For both of us who were practically inseparable, that was like an eternity. I ducked into corners whenever I would see him. I wouldn’t take his calls. I wouldn’t see him. And for some time hate was my reason for getting up in the morning, for breathing, for living.
Hate and I became good friends.
“God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them but to cleanse them,” somebody once wrote. I didn’t want to be cleansed. I just wanted to drown in pain and misery and utter desolation. I wanted to wallow in the dark and deep pit of despair. I know a thousand and one clich├ęs that say this can be a blessing and that I should be thankful. But thankful is the last thing I’m feeling right now. I’ve always thought that there are three kinds of women: those who break, those who mend and those who are broken themselves.
Before this hit me, I assumed that I belonged to the first or second category. Now I know I’m in the third–so hurt and broken up inside. My grandmother used to say that there is nothing you can do about pain when it gives you a silly grin except grin right back. All I could manage was a wry smile, a killer headache and the worst hangover the day before his wedding.
Evidence of that is the disgusting sight of mashed potatoes and barbecue, thrown up not three meters away from where I was lying prostrate on the floor and the awful stench of cigarette on my hair. Frankly I don’t want to go. I want to wallow in misery in my messy room, crying, retching and stinking, surrounded with Michael Learns to Rock (whose songs are dedicated to the broken-hearted) CDs. But I have to go and attend the wedding. I have to bathe and prepare and put on that atrocious peach (it’s not even my color!) gown.
I’m not doing it for the groom, my one true friend and love, Oliver. Neither am I doing it for the bride, my younger sister, Sandra who needs me. I’m doing it for my unborn niece who has the great fortune of having me as her aunt. Call me stupid, but I’ve always known my place. If it isn’t beside the man I was destined to marry, if it isn’t behind my sister, who will take his name, wear his ring and bear him a child, then it must be with my niece, cradled close to my heart so that she will know both of our love.
He’s Getting Married is a Youngblood article published in Philippine Daily Inquirer. Forgive me but I can’t remember the exact year when this article was published. It’s been a while since this article was published and I’m still moved every time I get to read it. This may be old but I’m still posting it here because it’s one of the articles that I like most among all the Youngblood entries I’ve read. Youngblood is a section of Philippine Daily Inquirer that publishes true-to-life story or experiences that the sender would like to impart to readers.