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I don't look a thing like Jesus but I talk like a gentleman.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

sorry

Once again, I find myself clacking away. I was hoping for some clarity but I guess it’s not so easy and we don’t always get what we hope for. To be honest with you, I’m making this up as I go along. I usually collect nice thoughts then I ball it up and regurgitate a blog entry but not today. Today, I can honestly say I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about so if you came here expecting something good to read then I guess today isn’t your day.

I was trying to get some sleep but I had this song in my head and I couldn't remember what it was. A quick Google search later, I ID'd the song.

I first heard Maria Mena's Sorry a couple of years ago. It's a sad song and I guess the rain tonight isn't helping much. She sings and I say baby, yes I feel stupid to call you but I'm lonely. And I don't think you meant it when you said you couldn't love me. It's a sad song. A sad sad song.

I don't know why I'm even getting affected. It's not like there's anything in my life to be sad about. I eat well (a little too well). I'm employed. I've got all my limbs. I certainly laugh enough. But lying in bed with the covers pulled up over my head, I couldn't help but feel unwell. No, unwell's not a good word. Unsettled. Like an account that's pending. I feel so unsettled.

Something's wrong. Perhaps I'm beginning to forget myself. I noticed that lately, I've become numb to a lot of things. Slowly and like that part on your foot that gets calloused from wearing certain types of shoes, my entire being has been wrapped in excess skin. I'm numb and I've been too dumb for too long to even notice it.

I just poured my heart out. There's bits of it on the floor. But I take what's left of it and rinse it under cold water and call him up for more, she sings and I wondered- when was the last time I wrote anything that had this much emotion? When was the last time I wrote anything period? I've got pages and pages on my little brown notebook of fragments and sentences and now that I've taken the time to read it, I realized none of it makes sense to me. Nada. Zilch.

I was talking to this friend of mine and I kept noticing that there was so much life in his stories. I kinda envied him, to be honest with you. He had his heart broken several times and by many people but there he was, alive to tell his story. I envied him because he felt something. I envied him because despite everything that's happened to him, no one could say he wasn't out there living his life. Was I living mine?

Maybe somebody's out there living my life while I'm stuck here living his. Maybe I was supposed to go surfing or bungee jumping today but instead, I encoded verbal assessment forms for applicants.

Bungee jumping... I started to wonder- when was the last time I took a risk or made a life-altering decision? Times like these, I wouldn't mind getting a tattoo or shaving my head or coming up to a complete (and hopefully harmless) stranger to ask for the time. I dunno, something to get me out of this... this.. place here.

I'm bored. I've said it fifty million times today. I've texted it, emailed it, everything less than sending it via singing telegram (♪ I'm booooored! ♪) to every person I know. I'm bored and I'm numb. None of the books I read make sense anymore. None of the conversations seem worth the effort of talking. I sit in bed wondering if anyone out there is more bored than me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

burning down the house

Thoughts are funny things. Especially the weird ones. While I realize that statement just made me sound like a complete idiot, allow me to redeem myself. Like I said, weird thoughts are funny. It doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing. If a strange thought pops up, you have to sit up and pay attention.

Lately, I've been kind of idle. I have, at many occasions, caught myself staring off at a distance. Sometimes, I space out in the middle of conversations. My mind's just blank and uncooperative for some strange reason. It's been said that idle hands are the devil's playground but no one ever said anything about idle minds. Until now, that is.

Last night, I was drinking tea to make me sleepy. I was staring at the box, waiting for the kettle to boil and I noticed that the bear in the picture was wearing a sleeping gown. You know those really old ones that all the grannies in the movies wear? I wondered what it was like at the mall that day when the tea-drinking-bear went shopping for pajamas. Did people get scared? How hard was it to find one in his size?

Lacking opposable thumbs, I wondered who lit the fire in his fireplace. Beside him is a sleeping cat and I wondered, in a world where bears can drink tea and build fires, what happened to the cats? They're certainly more domesticated and (we had a lot of cats growing up) are certainly more human in terms of mood swings. Why couldn't the cat drink tea and wear that gown and own a pet bear instead?

I usually have thoughts like that in bursts. They're very quick to pass and usually far in between. I just get about two every couple of weeks and that's it. Today was different though. Let me tell you.

We had a fire drill this afternoon and the administration from Pacific Star really went all the way for this one. On cue, about five firemen bearing extinguishers and axes stormed through the twelfth floor and there was fake smoke all over. People with cameras were everywhere. I felt like I was in the middle of a movie.

Anyway, we had to take the stairs to go to the ground floor where there was clean air and the fake fire couldn't get us. People were shouting KEEP RIGHT!!! KEEP RIGHT!!! and the bored steps of people dragged out of their desks formed the bass line for that day's song.

Five flights down, a weird thought popped into my head. What if this was real? I started to hold on to my chest and I breathed really deeply (like I was getting suffocated or something). Then I started to think about the things that I would leave behind. What would happen to the people I love? Who would inherit my immense collection of pirated CDs? Who would come to my funeral? The casket has to be closed if my body gets all screwed up.

I almost dismissed it as another quick weird thought but by the time we reached the ground floor, I realized it wasn't. I hoped that the thoughts would stop. No, they didn't. Yes, there's more.

They set up this stage and a couple of trainers were in the show. Scene: a "typical" day at the office. People were talking in the pantry and all of a sudden this huge fire starts. People were fainting and grabbing fire extinguishers and breaking the glass in that big red box. I don't know what it's called but it's the one that says Break Glass In Case Of Fire (go figure). I thought about that pane of glass and its journey to that big ol' box. I wondered how many people got together to make that pane of glass. Would they have exerted as much effort if they knew that somebody would just break it in case of fire? And how does that pane feel when he/she/it looks at the hose? Why don't they break the hose and kill the fire with that pane of glass? What makes that silly hose more important?

And then they had this man in a stretcher and he was lowered on a set of (hopefully) sturdy cables. He had his eyes closed and everything. He looked like a dummy from where I stood but as they lowered him down, we were all surprised that he was actually a person. I wondered what thoughts were in his head. Was he scared? Did they prep him for this? Did it occur to him to call in sick that day? More importantly (being completely self-centered, I also wondered), what if that were me?

Then I started to hold on to my chest again as though I couldn't breathe. Would my parents be notified? I looked at my ID and saw my dad's name and number. At least they would contact him once they've killed the fire and stripped off the burning pieces of my shirt. Burning pieces of my shirt... I panicked. Would the people notice my fatness if I was burning? How many people would see? Can you give me a ballpark figure?

At that point, the program concluded and I was forced to rejoin the world where weird thoughts shouldn't be entertained. As I made my way back up to the office, I wondered when the next attack of the weird thoughts would take place.

Now I've always considered myself to be a little strange. Early on, I learned that the key is to keep these thoughts in your head and stop before they come out of your mouth. If you're good and you eat all your vegetables, maybe (just maybe) no one will think you're completely bonkers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

everybody's changing

I wasn't going to say anything but I looked up at tonight's sky and saw all the stars and just felt like my cup was overflowing. In the stillness of the night (or early morning), here I am, logged in and not typing fast enough.

I've been listening to a lot of British music lately and I was trying to think of the first British group that I really liked. I picked up my dusty copy of Keane's Hopes and Fears and Everybody's Changing started playing. For those who know the song, it starts with a weird techno-like screeching but as soon as Tom Chaplin starts singing, you can't help but pay attention.

I started thinking about the people in my life and how everybody seems to be changing. I can't really speak for those who know me but I really feel like I'm still the same person I was two years ago. Nothing's really changed since college. I guess I'm more aware of my pronunciation now and I finally got used to fixing my hair every single day but aside from the superficial changes, I'm still the same person I was then.

Growing up, I went to several different schools and adjusted quite normally. I was always saying goodbye to people I didn't really want to part ways with. You'd think I'd be used to people leaving but it turns out I'm not. I'm still the frail little boy with careless hair who cried as the school bus dropped me off for the last time.

In the office, two of my most favorite people have decided to pursue other options. I tried my darndest to be brave when we threw a little party for them but I guess I didn't really do a good job. To a keen observer, I was trying too hard to be nonchalant. I wasn't fooling anyone, though. I'm very picky about who I hug but I think I gave them at least one hug each if only it would stop them from leaving.

It's funny because I know their reasons. I understand their reasons. If I had their reasons, I'd leave, too. But there's that little boy again inside of me that wants to go beyond reason. Because it makes me feel bad. Because I don't want to lose good friends. Because in the end, these are two people I actually trust and it sucks to have to lose them to their reasons.

Selfishness aside, I seriously understand their reasons. I really do. I guess reading Catcher In The Rye isn't really helping. I'm only halfway done but it's already left quite an impression. The person who lent it to me read me the book's last line: Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. Maybe I'm taking it out of context. I'm not even remotely near that part of the book but my take on it is that once you start letting people in, you set yourself up to getting hurt. Because nothing's permanent. Everything changes. At some point, everybody changes and if you're not careful, you just might get caught in their undertow.

But then I looked up at the stars again (I can't help it) and seeing Orion's Belt, I realized that I, too have changed. I don't see the same things I saw before. I don't like the same things I like. Even this crinkle I'm eating right now tastes differently from the one I had in my memory. Most importantly, I don't feel the same way about things like I did before.

I guess the trick is to keep moving and maybe, just maybe, change would actually do me some good.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

what a wonderful world

I woke up today after just four hours of sleep. The heat was getting to me. Is it just me or is it unusually hot today? As I write this, I've probably had about a pitcher of water. But it's all good because today is my rest day.

It's funny how I used to be so restless on my rest days. I couldn't wait to get out of the house or if I couldn't, I'd find something else to do at home. After eating lunch today, I went back up, listened to some new downloads and tried to win over the heat with my mind. Mind over matter, right? Aside from the heat, everything was so peaceful.

And then it happened. Thoughts started to emerge. They threatened to drown out The Ting Tings and Rachael Yamagata. I cranked up the volume and when that didn't work, I picked up an old book.

Perhaps it's because I haven't really had a moment to think much this week. Before you think I'm an idiot, let me clarify that most of my major life decisions this week have been "coffee or cream based?" or "this shirt or that one?". I've been in such a hurry to go to work and go to class and go back home that I totally forgot that I was living a life. But I'm digressing.

I picked up an old book. I bought it about two years ago in a second hand book store in Cubao. I suppose I should add that the book chose me. It screamed my name as I walked past its aisle and I fell in love with it right away. It's got these Zen sayings that makes a lot of sense and provokes a lot of thought.
What started as a derision turned out to be the solution to my problems. Cheesy as it may sound, I actually needed this silly book to sort out my many dormant feelings. Allow me to share a few.
  1. If, in the future, a snake is going to bite you, it is unavoidable. Admit it. We spend a lot of effort stressing out on what we need to do or what people think about us. If you're at all like me, this often gets blown out of proportion. Although I hardly believe that everything is random, I have faith that everything happens for a reason.
  2. If there is a part of your life that you don't want, don't live it. When I first read this, I actually thought the word it referred to life and not part of your life so I thought it was advocating suicide but when I read it again and let it settle this time, I realized this- we do a lot of unnecessary things each day to please people we don't even like. To make things easier, let's cut out the complications. I've survived twenty-two years without being specious, I suppose I can manage a couple years more.
  3. If you wait long enough, suddenly nothing will happen. This one's pretty self-explanatory but I included it here because this aphorism completely epitomizes my concept of peace. Peace is that moment when everything is so quiet and you realize that nothing, absolutely nothing is happening.
  4. Make sure your enemies think more about you than you do about them. Although I must say that it sucks when some people don't really like you, I suppose it's only fair that you not fight fire with fire. And how do you stop retaliation? By blatantly ignoring things that you know will irritate you. Out of sight, out of mind. (enter Kelly Clarkson: yeah yeah since you've been gone!)
  5. Above all your skills and weapons, your enemy fears your courage most. There's a Filipino saying that roughly translates to this thought- people who are victimized often allow themselves to be. A little tough for those who have been victims of violent crimes but let's not digress again. It's like that old cartoon with the bear and the heart. I needed to find my heart to be a strong old bear.
  6. Never be angry with something that can't get angry with you. Most fights start with second (or often third) hand information. I've said in a previous post that I could be "mad at what the person was doing and not at the person himself?" Seek out proof before getting into anything serious and never be angry at someone who isn't even there to fend for himself.
  7. We think we are being interesting to others when we are being interesting to ourselves. Some people like the sound of their own voice. I, too, have been guilty of this. There are days when you feel like you're the bee's knees. But then again, the world has a world of opinions and although it may seem like you've just come up with the greatest invention ever, you could be just reinventing the wheel.
  8. Anger is seen as a weapon by the coward. Anger doesn't solve anything. If I really wanted to fix the things in my life, I suppose it would be best to let some really old baggage go.
  9. Loneliness is never cured by people. Although we may be lonely when people leave, it doesn't work inversely. When you're sad, you could make friends with the howhywurrr but it wouldn't really do shit if you're lonely for a reason. I've been lonely but rarely have I walked away from the situation without learning something new.
  10. (and my favorite) Success must be used immediately. I'm living my dreams and nothing (or no one) will keep me from it. (evil laughter)
So that's just me. In a few minutes, I'm off to see Eagle Eye (is it just me or am I the last person to see this?) and after writing this, I feel loads better.

Monday, October 6, 2008

happy birthday bloggy / red vines

At the risk of sounding a bit full of myself, I must say I've gone a long way from my first ever blog post. Four years ago, I logged on to Blogger for the very first time and said:

buena mano
hello! this is my first ever post! hahahaha! bwahahahaha! hehehe! bwahahahaha! this sucks! wahahahaha!

I'm celebrating my blog's birthday with a spanking new layout. Over the span of several weeks, I re-read every single post to apply tags (aka labels) in an effort to make things a little more organized.

And to add to the day's festivities, I just learned I got a blogoftheday award. I just finished adding the badge to my site's layout! :D

(regains composure) Anyway, that's it. Here's today's post.

It must feel nice to be a kid again. It must feel nice to trust again. To have nothing to worry about- candy in one hand, faith in the other. I can only imagine how it feels to have complete and perfect faith in people.

Scene: Tea with a friend. African Sunrise to go with my Filipino Sunset. Animated, she tells me about her current crisis and I listen intently. Bag of Red Vines in hand, I stuff my face with licorice. Unknowingly, I was beginning to zone out of the actual world and into my own.

I rubbed a piece of candy between two fingers and watched the lines move as my fingers do. I remember twisted chaos. I remember finding beauty in something messy. Where was I now?

I realized I didn't know what my friend was telling me anymore so I offered her a red vine and made peace by tuning back in. By then, the rain was starting to really pour and the chances of us coming home any time soon were pretty slim and so I ordered another drink and had another red vine.

In the middle of her next story, I stared at (what felt like my first but was actually) my seventeenth consecutive red vine. I realized that there was nothing inside it. My new best friend was hollow. And to think I had so much faith in its stability. I remember being hollow. I remember trusting that things can only get better. Was I still there now?

There's a wall near my house with an ugly word. It symbolized everything that I thought I wanted. I must admit, it's been a little tough to trust again. To recover, I've pretty much covered up a lot of places in myself. Today, I saw that someone had painted all over that wall. It was a different color from the original paint and so it was quite obvious that it was placed there to conceal something. I am this wall. I've had (emotional) work done, it's obvious but at least it doesn't scare me anymore.

From the top of the hollow red vine, I make a little crease with my fingernail. With very little effort, I managed to tear the whole thing apart. Once laid flat, the lines looked kinda straight. I took another sip of my tea and smiled to myself. Once broken, it became easier to see what was true and what isn't. Every twisted mess (or messy twist), when taken apart becomes straight and easy to understand.

It feels nice to trust again. It feels natural to have faith in people again.