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I’ve more than a hundred tasks on my to-do list that might take a hundred years as well to cross out. Why? Because there are a few worlds I keep wishing to step into every now and then without the plague of time and authenticity.

Mind, although in awe of my guiding lights who had shown me how a certain shake, flow and tie-up of words could mount to levels of eminence, I also suffer from an absence of inspiration. Not to mention a periodic review of my pitiful attempts at poetry has persistently been a frightful shudder. 

But I am not shamed by my many simple thoughts… for they make me feel still alive.

Lack of imagination and talent won’t ever qualify me to become a pro, yet I figured if this is something I’d be doing fifteen years from now I’d better take steps that could someday culminate in telling myself “you’ve come a long way, baby.”

Admittedly, I’ve been accused of one or two things in my several years of residence on WordPress. And maybe I should’ve pressed that there had never been any inconsiderate intent on my part. I wouldn’t have pushed some connection buttons if that weren’t the case. I am a social being after all, too; granting they’re willing to excuse my extreme fondness toward adverbs, conjunctions, and adjectives which interminably calls for harsh intervention.

That’s faint hope reaching for the kind center of somebody’s wisdom, despite my repeated tumble over shadows and cracks gone wrong.

Mistakes mistakes — with plenty of remorse in its course. That’s the rain falling over this summer’s sadness. For the realm of reading and writing reminds us of our hearts still beating. It’s all or nothing. Bleeding but striving. Breaking yet burning.

While I keep rubbing on such memory; understanding how nothing will ever be mine to keep.

****

A favorite from my teen-age era:

Well there’s too many windows in this old hotel
And rooms filled with reckless pride
And the walls have grown sturdy
And the halls have borne well
But there is nobody living inside. Nobody living inside.

Heart Hotels – Dan Fogelberg

Sensibility As A Culmination Of Simplicity

**Note : This blog post is a revision of the one I originally posted a year ago entitled “To Simplify A Life Like Mine.” **

—–

Juggling two jobs for the last six years, I might not be the perfect embodiment for this subject, although I seem to be the kind of person who naturally or effortlessly falls into an austere lifestyle – more often than other people. I don’t know the exact reason why.

 Last weekend, I browsed inside a bookstore for several hours and spent a whole day’s salary to buy a Jorge Luis Borges’ classic. Such indulgence has become one of my definitions of time and money well-spent.  I have learned to exercise my privilege to yield to activities and things that inspire me – as my wisdom nowadays gets dictated by the simple pleasures I seek and perceive. But I’m aware as well it’s not what “normal” people do here, especially on a weekend.

There always has existed an ascetic soul hiding beneath me. The soul who has imagined of a charming place where I could be in the company of bohemian artists roaming around…preferably of starving bohemians who possess the mark of natural simpleness that renders good art possible. Where there’s lovely, spacious room to create and flourish. With ample time to dream. By splendid fools forever eager of fresh beginnings.

In my past, I have inevitably walked through the valleys of cosmopolitan wants and delights. Forbearance on shopping and consumerism wasn’t one of my strong suits in my earlier years – notwithstanding my lack of funds. Alas, the stuff that piled up went on to clutter my already disorderly younger mind whilst gathering dust – which I’ve perpetually disliked – inside my residence. So my mantra, when tempted by mall or store sales these days is: Abstain from collecting stuff if you don’t want to accumulate dust.

We know excessive stuff leads to chaos, and chaos derails progress. Learning my lesson well, becoming a “minimalist” has become a highly appealing concept for me in my 30s. I have not since wanted to go back to my previous lifestyle – now that I’ve reached my 40s. Really, what a gift it is to have freedom from possessions and clutter to be able to focus on the things that really matter in our daily lives. I’ve never been comfortable dealing with any kind of complications in my life anyway. Never had a desire to impress people with worldly goods as well. I’m of the belief a simple life bears no relation to the richness of your mind or personality for as long as you don’t lose that appetite for the sublime things in life.

With simplicity, you step into calm and beauty. You get to treat lonesome quiet as a friend, not as an enemy. It’s a ray of truth in my life; for my kind who guards space and privacy with relish and delight. With only one child to raise, it could have afforded me better chances to rediscover wonder in a different light. 

Most people would take a long while to come to this notion. After all, what’s thrilling about simplicity, structure and the ordinary? Or maybe it comes with maturity, even though I keep on witnessing how some “matured” people have remained trapped in their ethos of materialism. It’s true, simplifying or downsizing is still considered off the wall within the parameters of my society. We all know it is plain pointless to ram a lifestyle down anyone’s throat. And I’m saying this out of my apprehension that I might be accused of promoting a run-of-the-mill existence to anyone who’s capable of comprehending my way of life.

house photo

Try not to wince as I describe the present interiors of my tiny apartment – where you can find only the bare necessities of standard living: a refrigerator, a washing machine, two beds (I live with my son), a couple of medium-sized cabinets, a dresser, and an oven. My dining table and chairs are even foldable so they won’t take considerable space (Can’t risk taking on a single sofa. I’ve a cat. Visitors also sit on chairs). A television set? Sure I’ve got one (a very old model by the way). But it rarely gets turned on – and I’m not blowing smoke up anyone’s ass by saying that – because my son and I are truly non-TV citizens around here. Ditto for owning expensive jewelry, clothes, accessories and whatnot which never was my style. Admittedly though, my battle remains with the plentiful of outgrown reading materials that I need to discard.

Travelling with heavy luggage is a no-no for me. And do hold your breath for this: I haven’t had a car for years now. I gave my last vehicle – which by the way had given me supreme hassles – to my sister in exchange for the rent-free abode she has let me enjoyed for so long (Yes, she owns my current digs. And of course she sold the car). Which means I’ve no problem being a jeepney rider all the time.  

Indeed I walk my talk – for the single reason that I am contented despite the dearth of luxuries in my present existence. I ain’t complaining at all.

Sensibility is the culmination of simplicity in the art of daily living. How I believe that.

Great people can alter their lives at will so they can better make clear and rational choices about the substance and direction of their lives. It’s not like I’m a great person – albeit I wish I were. So perhaps I’ll try to be one?

Or maybe I just was really a monk in a previous life.

Not that bad an idea.

——

                                            

Independence Day and My Own Sense of Personal Freedom

In celebration of our 114th Independence Day last June 12, I believe there’s a need for me to acknowledge the collective patriotic struggles of the noble heroes from our past who championed the freedom we Filipinos have been relishing today. First in rank according to the historians is our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, a literary genius who was executed for his brave exposition of the ills of the Spanish Clergy through his two poignant novels “Touch Me Not” and “The Filibuster.”  Then there’s our second national hero  Andres Bonifacio, who physically went to battle against the Spaniards with his army of brave soldiers, in his determination to restore our nation’s identity which got lost during the 300 years of Spain’s colonial rule. The former believed in the power of the pen whilst the latter stood for the might of the sword. I am not the one to uphold the verity of the maxim “the ink of a scholar is worth a thousand times more than the blood of a martyr.” I adore the two men above equally. It’s not fair to say one has done a better job fighting for our country’s independence compared to the other. That goes for all the intrepid souls in our history who devotedly engaged themselves to bring back the glory of our motherland. Their passions had all been intense, their participation all worthy of supreme recognition.

And who can ever forget the approximately 20,000 Filipino and American soldiers who perished as prisoners of war due to starvation, illness and murder in the Bataan week-long Death March of WWII?

I feel a stir in my heart thinking about such formidable periods of our history and what our valiant heroes gave up for the benefit of the future generations. I confess to being a bit apathetic about the sacrifices they made when I was younger, but things do change as one gets older. I must really have taken things for granted.

 

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”  – Vince Lombardi

 

Independence and freedom aren’t mutually exclusive traits. They are rather abstract conditions in which many have dedicated their lives and even died for.

To be able to stand on your own two feet by pursuing your own path. This isn’t just the goal of every nation but of every individual as well.

A favorite female blogger recently asked her readers in her blog what circumstances normally bring them peace and happiness in their lives. I commented by saying those desirable frames of mind are attainable only when I’m free from wretched emotions that tend to imprison me in inexorable ways. It isn’t easy though given my sometimes impetuous and high-spirited nature. Certain people are able to hammer down the walls I’ve built and as a result, I become vulnerable falling into emotional traps which take considerable time to extract myself from. And that got me pondering as well about the few other freedoms I appreciate in my life which I believe has been facilitated by my present status as an independent woman. The other kinds of individual autonomy I’m currently enjoying are:

-Freedom to choose the people I allow to set foot in my life.

-Freedom to be the kind of woman I want to be.

-Freedom to run away from circumstances that could only bring me unnecessary grief and/or an oppressive state of mind.

-Freedom to engage in activities that give me pleasure and fulfillment.

-Freedom to express my thoughts, sensibilities, convictions, and whatnot.

Last but not the least, freedom to be able to walk on the face of this planet feeling happy and proud for being the kind of person that I am.                                                                           

                                                                                                                     

Solitude On My Own Terms

Warm on the heels of famous women and their recent breakdowns, Demi  and Heather were the “It” girls of my generation who were both destined to become eternally cute and popular. Having been casualties of humiliating divorces, they’re also now both enduring the ruthless passage of time. Recently pegged as poor little rich women who’ve somehow lost their way, many have slammed them for being spoiled by their wealth and fame that they couldn’t deal with their current mid-life crisis like the rest of us.

How good can people get sometimes at creating a smokescreen that obscures their true feelings and plights?

The inclination of these hapless celebrities to succumb to drugs and alcohol has puzzled me for too long. What really drives them to give in to such pernicious temptations? Has their pain become unbearable, resulting to their inevitable free fall into the abyss that culminated in their self-destruction?

I’m in no position to cast stones at anyone this time as I have a gentle understanding of what these people have gone through. Melodramatic as it may sound, I too know what real pain feels like. The sickening ache that I’m sure can overwhelm even the strongest of hearts. How many times have I skirted on the very edges of despair when this soul of mine felt like crying out loud in the rain?

More than I’m willing to admit, I guess.

I don’t remember ever inviting drama into my life and yet it has come like a cat that has sprung unbidden onto my lap. Then there had been moments when certain kinds of melancholy or some sense of emptiness would creep in like a mysterious stranger in the middle of the night, and the only sensible way out was for me to relearn how to sail through the rough seas.

Growing up and even now that I’m an adult, I’ve always felt like an outcast. Exactly much the same as the eternal wallflower that prides itself on contemplating the paradigms of its existence, while possessing a pleasant awareness of an alternative route to an imagined realm at liberty from all things mundane.

Music, movies, literature, art, nature… They’re the outlines that characterize the wonderful breadth of my solitary world. The best friends I’ve had for so long. Even the stark beauty I find in the heart of loneliness has not shown any signs of fading.

Alone with my thoughts, I could conjure up happiness every now and then, muse on some lonesome episodes from my past, and in all its glory bring back the dead and gone..

Worlds might have come crashing down and prayers remained unanswered. I, who have gone off the deep end in certain unrelenting personal winters of my life, am still determined to tough it out.

As we’ve no choice but to soldier on.

I remember how my father, who had sensed my predicaments in his earlier ailing years, had told me these exact words with a smile, “Even if I want to, I can’t get too worried about you. You’re the true-blooded daughter of mine who can easily discern the correct path and decide on the right thing to do. You’ve always been strong.”

Oh dear father… if you only knew…

Out with the Old, In with the New – What 2012 Holds for Me (part 2)

And so 2011 is closing down as one of my loveliest years ever, a time span I consider both rough and smooth-sailing in most regards.

Once again, I might have earned a few emotional scars from certain heartbreaks, job missteps, and quite recently, a tragic loss I wish would leave my memory for good.

Yet it all comes down to the wonderful reality that I’m still around, hoping that 2012 can now welcome me with open arms..

This was exactly my parting missive on my FB wallpost on New Year’s Eve of last year. I consider it as my closure for the definitive year that has seen me through a series of ups and downs. I felt like there were events I could gladly take with me at the dawn of 2012, e.g., a certain Muse (whatever it is) that crawled its way to my writing has been delightful, as well as the rest of the swell stuff that have made my stay on this planet worthwhile and enjoyable. Yet there are also certain episodes of 2011 I want to get away from as far as I can. Specifically an unspeakable heartache caused by the unexpected loss of a beloved pet and the guilt I’ve felt for not having spent enough time with it before its demise, and all because I was absorbed in something or rather someone that was not even worth my attention. I wonder, how can someone get over an unfortunate circumstance such as this? Others might see me as being too sentimental. I don’t know.. Letting go has always been painful for me. I am really hurting..

I do hope 2012 is going to be another fabulous year as I’ve no plan of slowing down yet. Sometimes though, my body has a way of reminding me that things aren’t the same anymore. Ah aging, I didn’t know it would come so soon.

I often wonder if the gift of years which endowed me with colorful experiences has made me a better person at all. And the more important question, do I know myself much better now after everything I’ve been through? Honestly, I still can’t provide anyone, even myself with a categorical answer.

Just ruminating..

Well, there’s one thing I can say with certainty. I am earnestly shooting for another year of splendor which, they say, will be but a moment in the sun.

We’ll see..

What 2012 Holds For Me

According to my site stats, “What 2011 Holds For Me” was one of my most popular posts. I don’t exactly understand why because it simply stated my fresh hopes for that period and they are no different from the list of most people’s. So I’ll make a go of it again to see if I get lucky once more with this one.

To start things in jest, I’ll share with you my tentative New Year’s Resolutions I posted on my FB wall a couple of months ago. Most of my friends found it amusing and some even took it for real (Sheesh, where’s their sense of humor?.. ).

 Here they are:

  1.  lose weight and be as “body gorgeous” as Jennifer Aniston.
  2. remind myself over&over, “I ain’t a girl anymore.., I ain’t a girl anymore..” Well yeah, I sort of keep on forgetting that I’m not a teen-ager anymore. I still get crushes and blush like crazy. And I guess I better start dressing up like Susan Boyle or my great Aunt Ida. (Psst.. don’t tell, but yes I still dress young)
  3. stop writing cheesy love poems (erm..okay, so I do write them.. sometimes..).
  4. never EVER take a look at good-looking men again. They’re just “Trouble.”  Take note of the capital T (I can definitely blog about this one for hours.. tirelessly)
  5. start buying lottery tickets so if I won, I could date Chris Hemsworth, or Josh Duhamel (Damn, why are all the best-looking guys already married?).
  6. finally realize all of the above are IMPOSSIBLE to carry out so I’ll just DELETE this whole list and go buy myself some choco cookies and ice cream.

So you think that’s funny huh! No?

Anyway let’s get serious now. On to my real resolutions that I’m sure will bore you to tears. And they aren’t even different to my last year’s at all!

But I’m making a list still, hoping that this time I’ll be able to accomplish at least two-thirds of it. Here they are: 

                                                                                                                                              

 1.   Eat less. I should! And I must!

2.   Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. I should! And I must!

3.  Be cold-hearted when it comes to the affairs of the, of course, heart. Oh men, what have you done to me?

4.  Be appreciative of the people and things I still have. My health, my son, my job, my family, my shelter, my ability to enjoy life, my love for reading, writing, and English. I guess I’m really one lucky gal.

5.  Write about anything at least once a week. Anything. Ideas often slip out of my mind too quickly so I’ll try to carry a small notebook along with me wherever I go.

6.  Read something at least once a day. Something worthwhile I hope.

See, my list is that simple. Before wrapping this up, I took a look at my last year’s entry with the same title. Yep, my resolutions are pretty much the same although my prose then was much better. Hmm, please don’t ask me why.

As time progresses, the more I realize how less of it is being allotted to me. I ain’t getting any younger. True. Which means I am running out of time. Fast. Therefore, I must double my efforts to make the most of my remaining years. So Heaven help me..

Happy New Year to all!

A Few More Verses From An Old Soul Like Me

I guess I’d better share some more of my short verses here. What am I gonna do with them anyway. Some aren’t about love, though I could write verses of that kind every minute of my day. But I didn’t want to nauseate my readers so I tried to come up with something else. They tend to be namby-pamby still. Hope you’ll like them as well.

 

      The hues that take on a magical glow

       dovetailing the surrender of dawn

       leaves me in a shadow of light

       that bends my way to the grandest day

                    -o-o-o-o-

        My real string of pearls

        are words printed down on paper

        either seeking my eyes’ perusal

        or inspiring me to write my own truth.

                    -o-o-o-o-

         She might have paid too heavy a price

         for the gray skies that drifted upon her.

         Yet she trudges further along..

         hoping that maybe, just maybe,      

         a little chocolate, some pasta and a kitten’s love

         are all waiting for her at the end of the rainbow.

                         -o-o-o-o-