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Showing posts from March, 2007

A Wish

Happy birthday, my friend.

Something tells me that this is going to be your year.

The year where you shall finally be able to forgive your self and others. Too many of the difficulties that you endured were by no fault of your own. I hope that you see that now. It was just the best possible way for you to learn. To find out what really mattered, to see what you can hold on to. You cannot be everything to everybody, most especially, you cannot be all that you wanted. Now you know that you have limitations. And realizing that is what's difficult; it shows you that you are no match for this world. If anything, you were humbled by the universe. There is lesson in this. It teaches you that compared to eternity, little of what has overcome you matters. Time heals only because it gives you perspective. Now you are able to see as the walls that surround you cannot but fall before a mind which can now finally soar. You were looking behind you when the horizon has been waiting for you. Now, g…

Elsewhere

I am leaving.

To a place where I am a stanger.

Where I do not have to introduce myself as a smile or a nod will do. No one knows your past and your difficulties. The life you have built or destroyed does not matter. You do not have to explain yourself or continue to play a role which you never did consent to in the first place. Because, like the rest of them, you are nothing.

Where you live one day at a time without expectations for the future. You burn the days and to fail to do so is a waste. Money talks and people listen. They are so naive. Where moderation is cowardice and excess the rule. It is time to be selfish. They all are.

Where the woman of my dreams will touch the earth and share meals with me. Life cannot be too cruel. She, too, is looking for that true life to come. Like me, she's searching. It does not matter whether or not she knows that I long for her. I do not have to say anything. I'd be content to just gaze at her beauty and listen to her madness. She'll kn…

A Response to Stuck in the Moment

She answered:
This is such an amazingly honest piece of your soul... I'm happy to have helped you realize, in whatever small way, how much out there you might be missing. I'm sure you know because, like you said, you've been there before. And to have made you wonder about picking yourself up from that silence, is the best complement anyone can ever get from you. I know it's never easy. And no one can tell you to get up and get moving, if you don't want to or if you're not ready. So know that we'll just be here. And as soon as you're ready, we'll be here to guide you. If you need us to.

You've searched too much inside your mind and inside your emotions. Maybe it's time, again, to put them to test someplace beyond yourself.





Divine Excess

A man knocking on the door of a brothel is knocking for God.

G. K. Chesterton




I am a man of excesses.

What Aristotle calls the golden mean has proven to be the moving target that it is. It's not like I always fall short of it, being too cautious or underestimating it. Most of the time, I overshoot it. I tend to think that by stretching the bow too much, forcing all my weight on it, that the arrow that travels far will hit the invisible target. Yet I always miss that aesthetic and Archimedean point. Moderation is not one of my best traits.

It's not that I do not try. But this business of trial and error sometimes gets to me. Your eyes squint, frustration colors your face, the hands quake at the thought of having to do it over and again. This is why the Philosopher says that virtue is accomplished by repeated exercise, that one swallow does not make summer. But why is it that I fail repeatedly? Why do I always fall on the wrong side of the world, on the pole of blinding excess under…

A Heightened Awareness of Things

Contrary to what I may seem to other people, I am ruled by my emotions more than I am guided by reason and logic. While it is true that I think too much, it is even more true that I always resort to feelings as the final arbiter in any situation I face. The almighty intellect and its unshakable pronouncements may do very well to serve a person who seeks for reasons. It will always give you an answer and you will always have to follow it if you are level-headed. But I am not such a person.

To be sure, I think about things before I act. But when the time comes when I am asked to respond and do something, I do not do things because they are "logical" or "right" but I do them based on what I feel at that moment or what my emotion judges as best. It is in these times that my passions overcome me, forcing me to throw reason out of the window. But it is also in these times that I am most vulnerable to committing mistakes.

Because the passions are a hit or miss. Emotions a…

Stuck in the Moment

For Dianne
to whose pink lips
a daisy cannot compare




She said:
Maybe its purpose was to show you what you're missing, show you the possibilities, so you'd finally decide to get out of that current situation you're in, and get moving again. Don't get stuck.

***


Mondays are the most unforgiving days.

For this soul, they are far from being manic Mondays. While the rest of the world hurriedly albeit lethargically fly off back to school or work, I feel left behind by everything. I am left alone in the house with only my self, a cup of coffee and today's newspapers for company. I imagine my parents, especially my mother, immersing herself with the work left over from the weekend. They say that no one talks to her on a Monday unless it is a matter of life and death. I picture my sister fighting off the hangover from the weekend as she crawls back to the office. Then there's my sister, too, who has to take her quarterly exams today in math, a subject she despises. They are al…

My Friends

Tell me who your friends are
and I will tell you who you are.




I have been blessed to have met good friends along different paths and on different times.

Most of them are friends who at first sight would be so different from me that I wouldn't have imagined being friends with them. They're usually older, more mature and they come from different walks of life. One is my mentor, another a former high school teacher and crush, the other a poet, then a Jesuit, a social worker, and a Nigerian friend who was my classmate.

Such friends are different from my long time high school classmates that I see regularly. I feel that my high school friends are the type of good friends that I would be with as a group and a whole--the ones you go out with on out of town trips and "bisyo holidays." But the friends I mentioned earlier are the type of friends I have deeper individual relationships with, those whom I would go out on a "date" with for dinner and drinks. They're on…

The One Who Got Away

Do we always have the One?Do we all have that one person whom we wonder about even ten, twenty or fifty years down the line? Is there always one person for everybody that seems to have left so great an impression that one’s life can never be the same again; and more than that, one’s life can never be truly happy because of the separation between you and the One. Do we all have that One that got away?That you have already found your partner in life to love and to cherish for the rest of your days does not, however, take away the sweetness (or bitterness?) of longing for the One who got away. And it doesn’t mean that you’re being untrue to your partner; more so, you become more you in the relationship because you see it as fragile—it could easily have not been as well: like in the case of the one who got away. For by wondering about the One, you find someone beside you who is holding your hand in the here and now as your thoughts go beyond and to the past.The One that got away is so bea…

Unmasked

We discover that we do not know our role; we look for a mirror; we want to
remove our make-up and take off what is false and be real. But somewhere
a piece of disguise that we forgot still strikes us. A trace of exaggeration
remains in our eyebrows; we do not notice that the corners of our mouth
are bent. And so we walk around, a mockery and a mere half:
neither having achieved being nor actors.

Rilke




The person, by definition, is that which plays a role or a persona, derived from the Greek word which literally meant wearing a mask in a Greek tragedy as an actor who is part of the dramatispersonnae or cast of characters. One plays a role which is assigned to him with or without his consent; and in a real sense, no one asks us most of the time whether or not we want to play a role. We assume some roles solely by virtue of birth, and being the social being that man is, we cannot but play such roles. This is what it means to have relationships: I am related to another and the relationship…

Historicity

I am a sucker for beginnings.

Though my inclination for being a perpetual beginner may be symptomatic of my illness, I never in any way discount my desire of starting over as something merely psychologically determined. Even if it is due to a flash of inspiration or a sudden realization that pushes me to begin, the act of beginning still stems from a decision I make, which, once made, drives me into an abandon which carries with it such force and will that no longer are the results of the fluctuations of a whim or a passing fancy.

Nothing may be more difficult than to begin. What with the looming challenge yet to be begun or the blank slate yet to be marked, beginning beckons a person to take the first and most difficult step or write the first tentative line. It is that first step which may mark out the direction of the path as it is the first line which will lead to the rest of the page. As Plato says, "The beginning is the most important part of the work." It is not somethi…

On Dreams

In the kingdom of dreams the fool is king.

t h e s a i n t




What does it mean to give up on a dream?

A dream given up initially and for the most part is a dream unfulfilled. It means stopping short of the destination, perhaps, because the road has become arduous and too difficult to bear. It is also to quit while you are ahead, to cash in on what is left in order to prevent more losses that might lead to bankruptcy. It can likewise be an honest but humbling admission that what you have set as a goal to be reached was too grand and virtually impossible to claim and that it may have been sheer hubris--a tower of Babel--which drove one to reach unreachable heights. And in more ordinary terms, giving up on a dream may be nothing more than simply failure against the dream in that one is rejected or prevented from entering that golden door. To give up on a dream in this sense would likewise mean being dealt with the losing hand and to receive the clear answer of "no" from an other or …

A Prolegomena to Madness

I doubt sometimes whether a quiet and unagitated life
would have suited me--yet I sometimes long for it.

Byron



Madness need not come in the form we usually imagine it to be. One does not have to speak incoherently, dress inappropriately, think absurdly or scare the wits out of you to be considered mad. Madness starts and may continue to remain at a level which would appear normal to any other person. True, one may act weird or differently from the way he or she would usually act, but since initially no one knows that he or she may slowly be getting mad, this usually would pass off as just being too happy or sad. The difficulty is the way madness hides itself in various forms, especially in different moods. One may be showing extreme creativity and can work so hard that he is able to do the work of ten men or one may seem like he is merely staring into the walls looking like he is just thinking too much. And unlike depression which acts likes an invisible mirror as it stares back at the f…

Happy Place

During those high blazing days of last year, I would find myself going to my "happy place" every night. Whereas I usually went there previously with friends and family, I would then go to the bar alone after work. Call it an absurd dream but I had wished during my college days to sit on the bar alone to drink. I envisioned then that the bar should be a place where everybody knows your name, that it wouldn't be too loud and would be free from too many people especially students. And my most important requirement was that they served ice-cold beer in a frosted mug. I found the perfect place, and since those times were my happy days of abandon, I would go there even if the sun were still up and end up leaving only by closing time.

I became a fixture in the bar in no time. The bartender would know what drink I was going to have and didn't ask anymore if I wanted another one by giving me the next glass. I had my own mug which they kept for me. I would also have a bottle of…

Standing Up Again

I went to rehab last month.

I was not the patient though. I accompanied a friend close to my heart and her father to the rehab facility thrice a week in the afternoons. Her father had a stroke that initially paralyzed the left side of his body. Yet by only after a week from the stroke, his condition remarkably improved right before our eyes. But he had to have some form of rehabilitation done in order to make sure that everything goes back to normal. So even though he would do his best to show all the nurses and therapists that he was back in perfect condition, he had to go through it from the start and without exception.

The rehab facility was nothing like what one would see in the movies. It was a plain lime green area filled with decades-old excercise machines. In the middle was an inclined ramp with rails on the sides and beside it was a platform with stairs on its opposite ends. At the wider part of the facility by the windows lay a few low beds. The only color that stood out was t…

A Revelation

The master said You must write what you see.

But what I see does not move me.

The master answered You must change what you see.

Louise Gluck



What drives a person to write? Or better yet, what keeps a person from writing?

There are silences and there are silences. But the silence of the writer is the silence of a struggle much more difficult than the pain of putting into words what one wishes to say. The latter is a problem of form, the former a problem of matter. This struggle is the inability to even see anything worth thinking about much less speak about. The strength of the mind never leaves the writer; he will always have the tools by his side and it is a matter of picking them up. But the eye of the imagination can suddenly be eclipsed by a black sun that never sets. In that blinding darkness, the writer is betrayed by the silence that leaves him mute.

***

Hegel said tha…