I Can’t Be Getting Older

Nothing bedevils a woman’s peace than the realization that she won’t be the woman she used to be in a matter of time. What woman deals with growing older with level-headed grace anyway? Not me. Not yet.

Even so, the milestone of reaching the huge five-O is set to arrive in a few years’ time.

Nope, no Botox nor cosmetic surgery in my future plans: You see, anything related to doctors, hospitals, clinics. needles petrify me. They do little to pep up a weary soul anyway. Maybe men could sail through the daunting waves by the setting sun, but women like me continue to contract apprehensions throughout the ‘ordeal’.

Aging is supposed to transport me to some larger thinking on compassion for my fellowmen, as well as to promote the rescuing of our planet for the succeeding generation. Pfft… how about letting me save myself first?

The ticking clock will soon plant itself against me in patterns that sidestep sensibility and protection. Soon soon, my ephemeral resplendence will be stripped off; Only the words are bound to remain for my redemption.

As the dysfunctional essence of maturity has become imminent — my boss, in a ribbing manner, started calling me “old girl.” Worse, I’ve begun taking it as a compliment.

I even trumped privacy in exchange for the opportunity to show the world, for the last time perhaps, that I have got it — before the dark birds of time finally snatch away whatever pleasant that’s still left in sight.

Still and all, I’m playing it out till the end — contending with the truth I am made of blood and thunder.

But please, please… spare me from the deep wrinkles and the impending crabbiness.

 

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I know, I’m no great beauty. Well, I ain’t bad-looking, either. There was no photoshopping here at least. You see, teaching English to bratty uninterested foreign Asian students has taken its toll. Yeah, that’s my excuse.
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All Feelings and Nothing Else

In person I’m not a major talker. I never was and I guess I never will be. I’ve no problem being viewed as taciturn anymore. In my younger years, some relatives and acquaintances had even ridiculed me for my innate reticence. Painfully shy since childhood, I concede to being one of those people who have come to live inside their heads with ease.

As the main avenue I can now turn to for consummate expression, the world of blogging has become a saving grace for me; in hopes it’ll constantly be the crucial place where I can strip my soul and be completely ingenuous in narrating the yarns of my existence.

But I don’t want to feel like I need to apologize for things that get uncovered in these pages. Or that I’ve got to prove anything about myself. We live in a world where each one of us is defined either by the material things we possess or by the relationship we should preserve with our fellow beings. I confess to not giving much of a darn to either. And that could mean I will continually have to pay the price for my unconventional perspectives and uncensored prose.

Yet the decision to face up to the consequences is a done deal.

My son is the driving force behind the set up of this blog. Perhaps in his future he’d want to know what his mother was all about, warts and all. He may want to read the things I wrote here someday (or not). If ever that time comes, my hope is that this site will still be around – even after I’m long gone.

You may ask: Why don’t I journalize in the privacy of my notebook instead? Exposing my writing, in contrast to keeping a confidential diary, prompts an effort on my part to check on my syntax and punctuation – a peripheral activity I find pleasurable in the process. It’s not a total win-win all the time, though. The impulse to convey my admiration or add my two cents in recognition of some co-blogger’s outstanding post makes me forget the invariable upshot of drawing attention to my own site – which shamelessly houses the contents of my mind and heart. Never was my intention to invite anyone to become a follower. Being misunderstood plus the misconception of my warmth are among the inevitable ramifications, too. These days it makes me wonder if it would have been wiser had I stayed an undisclosed fan or reader to them all.

My writing boldness is propped up by the fact I am thousands of miles away from all of you. I basically feel safe. A morsel of discomfort pinches me, however, whenever I see the country Philippines on my Stats. Except for one very young female co-blogger, I anticipate of no other reader from this side of my hemisphere.

Conversations with people around me in my physical world are mundane and unfulfilling. Colleagues and family members would seek my attention and companionship just so they could babble to their hearts’ content. They knew I would be listening. Not a tangible spirit in my actual realm has been aware that deep inside, there exists a long-standing discontent for not having enough people close by who are on the same wavelength with me.

In moments when I get tired of my own reflections, the need to dip myself in other people’s words come to me. Trapped by my circumstances, the blogging world arrives to the rescue. It’s a comfort allowing my own thoughts and concerns be buried under the voices and contemplation of others from time to time. Which brings me to mention more than a couple of fellow bloggers I’m fortunate to have known for their enviable psyche and superb skills of expression:

One of them has just written a beautiful piece about his parents who are on the brink of slipping away (his folks are probably the most beautiful elderly couple I’ve seen online). I wish I had the right words to say to him. But all I can reckon with certainty is – compared to me – he’ll be much stronger in dealing with it all when the zero hour comes, and that he’ll be able to carry on in a finer demeanor than I do.

And there’s this other long-time blog buddy whose father has just been confined in the hospital. Thankfully, it was nothing serious. Me and this bro pal of mine: we’ve always been like children in our online conversations; although I haven’t been an awesome friend or elder sis to him lately and most probably had sounded like a jaded twerp during our recent chats. Yet he surprisingly put up with me and has been quite patient. You haven’t lost me, dear brother. That’s all I can assure for now.

There’s also this phenomenal woman from a lovely island in Canada – who currently works in a rehab center – I’ve been itching to send a fan message and at the same time extend my apology to; for the reason I had misjudged her posts, at first impression, on the subject of men and love. In truth, she has been a true source of inspiration to me for her splendid works which are – on the whole – funny, intelligent, enlightening, touching. I still have to figure out how to get through to her without feeling like a bonehead.

My writings have been deemed melodramatic, cynical, and emotional; by individuals who, I realized in the end, hold nary an interest to get to know who I essentially am. The embarrassment I had felt then from their conjectures led to my attempts to alter the manner of my articulation here, until it seems I’ve begun writing like a man. But I’m a woman… which means that, yes, sometimes I am all feelings and nothing else.

This words I penned for my gravatar profile many moons ago:

Allow me this freedom; that I may find closure to my quest for endless new beginnings.”  It had been true then… It still holds true to this very day.

July Babe Musings (Yet There Exist Uncertainties)

Nothing momentous to share of late. Various demands on my time and my quotidian routine are probably contributing to my current lack of dedication to write on this blog. Writing has never been easy for me anyway. To boot, my regret for not developing the right foundation with regard to reading and writing in my much younger years still weighs on me every so often. It would have made a difference I’m sure. I could have been a lot better at wordsmithing, and writing about any theme would have been a snap. Alas, I’ve always struggled at every single item I manage to pen here.

It seems I’ve overdosed as well on putting out mawkish materials that make me feel nauseated every time I review my prior posts these days. I’m itching once more to delete them all. At the same time, I’m aware the never-ending process of discerning my voice here through the odd congruence of my love for the people around me, my moderate degree of contentment, my inevitable melancholy, and my low-grade indifference continue to unfold. They might have already combined in abbreviating my essence, too.

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For now, no foolish, unrestrained feelings have been confounding me since my heart has earlier on been freed from the shackles of needless emotions. I have waited for so long to arrive at this placid station in my life. Very liberating, in fact, as it has afforded me to think more clearly and focus better on loftier goals. Yet could it be that the sweetness I used to spread around is gradually turning into some hard and bitter marrow of truth?

And then there also have been countless times when I feel like I’m walking around empty. As if I were only half alive. Because the impact of my massive loss early this year still weighs heavily on me. I sometimes even find myself turning away from anything that would remind me of the joys I lapped up in times gone by.

Since when have I started learning to feign ease even though my spirits inside are dying one by one? It’s no use pretending I’ve completely moved on. I’ve gotten tired of anyone who’s eager to dictate to me the manner on how I should put my one foot in front of the other. For the truth is, my dearest one who has left the realm of the physical world continues to hold primary residence inside my mind. Yes, there has never been a day that he fails to enter my thoughts. It seems my sense of loss has indeed infiltrated an undiscovered region. A kind of sadness seems bracing itself to settle by my side permanently and I’ve become jaded enough to allow its impending presence. Or maybe my broken heart has gotten underway in finally surrendering to eternity.

Still, the reality of how we’ve been all living on borrowed time is palpable. More than ever. So I’m doing my best to secure my world from a fated rupture. I’m taking shelter in constructive diversions hoping they would help eclipse my reality no matter how short a time. The simple details of this life I’ll try my best to keep on cherishing – privately. I can indulge on looking at the drama of the drifting clouds in my sky above and know it’s all I have for that moment. To desist from taking the present moment for granted. It ought to remain as a promise to myself. After all, I’m still entitled to whatever is left for the merits of my future.

Yet I wonder if I ever would find again the stories I had lost through the midst of those painful times.

June Babe Musings (Certainties To Hold)

You can only measure me by the amount of love and devotion I have given you. If they have not been enough for you to regard me back, then the door is waiting for either one of us to step out. For I am that much willing to risk your extinction from my heart and my mind.

You were right in supposing I had wanted you to be true to me. I have long been finished with dishonesty, unfaithfulness, and insincerity. They had already filled up my cup of bitter tea from times past.

I could hold hands only with the truth of who you are. I don’t need a presentation of your unsullied version. You and I are both aware it does not exist; no matter how my esteem for you repeatedly blur the faults you might have had. As for me, I could have been just like you. Because I’ve yet to expose my dark heart which I may do so in increments.

I award my compassion easily. It has been one of my undeniable truths. On the other hand, I have not always been prepared to get hurt. Which is never good for someone like me whose affections tend to eclipse my necessary common sense. Who tends to keep in her heart what she must let go. But what woman wants to lose her sensibilities in the end?

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“Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me. I am who I am, doing what I came to do, acting upon you like a drug or a chisel to remind you of your me-ness, as I discover you in myself.” —Audre Lorde

There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little more from life. I want beauty. I want greatness. I want peace. All side by side with the freedom that I’ve preserved to enjoy. I may or may not deserve the petitions I send out to my universe. Regardless, I am bound to claim my privileges.

Let the rain of your beautiful words and wisdom pour into my soul. Through them, we will be united in our shared losses, hopes and dreams. How can I feel empty in the company of these faithful friends, when they have nursed me and propped my disposition through all these years?

I cannot deny my need for inspiration that will catch my visions. My need for an infinity of spirits. That will break in through my life stages. That will go about seeking my lost stories…to help remind me of the girl I used to be.

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We seem to be living in a world where everything we’ve leaned on has almost always disintegrated into dust. Granting that the evolution of my convictions is far from complete, I cannot belong to the kind who submits to standpoints most came to believe so easily. In the same vein, you may not be acquainted of this willingness in me to abandon the tenets I’ve nurtured that could no longer save me. How I frown upon disagreements, conflicts and confrontations. Yet I cannot apologize for what my mind has come to know.

If people ever felt the suspension of ease in and out of my candour, atonement on my part would remain to be not an option. I couldn’t have held my ground fostering the absence of frankness in my heart. My whole life has never been about making amends for who I truly am. I’ve even thought of myself as being special. Somehow. Maybe I’m wrong. But maybe I’m right.

Never have I dared disquieting the stillness of somebody’s universe – yet I committed the error of thinking people operate at a similar plane I do. Since I have adopted this medium to cobble my contemplations and true tales with reasonable comfort, it would be too late to back out now.

Not all strengths shine in visibility. My essence may humbly walk the quiet backstreets…while intermittent courage fairly keeps on supporting me in my moments of adversity; at this point in time when nothing else stands as a complete shelter from the ferocity of those rougher winds.

I wish to love only those whom I choose. Save my love and appreciation exclusively for people who are able to return them. I’m gradually learning to cut my losses. I am getting there. Heaven help me.

It’s possible to feel like I have run out of fresh beginnings. Pretty much the same feeling when I had fallen from grace many a times. It would be then that I start second-guessing the remaining good things worth seeking for.

Let us hope my emotional disconnect is a temporary one, as I continue to search for a better tomorrow that will sit well with my heartaches.

——

(*Take Heed: You can’t make the mistake of thinking I’m referring to anyone here. This is purely about exercising my writing muscles and my hankering to utilize an imaginary muse. 🙂 *)

April Babe Musings (Asking for A Little More from Life)

Results of the Social Weather Survey on Life Satisfaction were published in the newspaper Businessworld yesterday. It says 81% of Filipinos are satisfied with their lives. Of the 81%, 33% are “very satisfied” and 48% “fairly satisfied.” On the other hand, 14% said they were “not very satisfied” with their lives, while only 5% were not at all satisfied.

My students who come from a prosperous Asian nation, with high dissatisfaction quotient and alarming suicide rate, constantly marvel at how Filipinos can afford to be happy, satisfied, and kind despite our lack of material wealth. They subsequently ask me how we are able to arrive at such a degree of genial disposition in a bit of relaxed demeanor. Truthfully, even I get bemused as to the possible explanations available. So I’ve done a little reading for verification and ruminated on a few realities to be able to answer their question.

Money is essential to our well-being – we don’t deny that – although we can very well manage to be in good spirits without it. There’s this Filipino mentality: “As long as loved ones are together, it matters little what kind of food is served on the table.” Nothing could be truer than that. It’s just the way it is here. We learn to get by with unanswered prayers. We soldier on in the face of pain and poverty. Yes, slum areas proliferate in our every city but rarely will you notice scowls on faces among the residents there. Why? Acceptance is worth embracing for the majority of us. Flexibility is another prime element. Toss us in any part of the globe and you’d be amazed by how willing we are to endure anything for the sake of survival. It surprises me as well how psychotherapy is not that popular a remedy in our country because we simply turn to family and friends for the airing of our inner disturbances.

Make no mistake though: We surely are gonna be happier with enough money. Or more than enough of it (I guess). At least I am.

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My Life Satisfaction: Not easy to contemplate on after having gone through my most devastating loss early this year. But barring my recent circumstances, these questions must be answered honestly:

Q: Am I satisfied with my life?

A: Yes, contented (they’re similar I suppose?), too.

Q: Am I happy?

A: Most of the time, in fact.

Thinking carefully about it, what is there not to be pleased about?

My life is not without blemishes though. My son and I could highly sense that we disappoint each other from time to time. It’s a constant struggle the two of us face – just like in most parent-child relationships (if we all are going to be honest about it). He’s nevertheless aware he is my true reason for living.

These days, my son is glad to see me dancing and doing sit-ups again. He could only exhale in relief considering how two months ago he had voiced his concern to my mom and sister of my severe grief for the loss of my Dearest One. Maybe I owe him an apology for letting him see me feeling so helpless and in despair during those critical times. The despondence over my loss is something I now have to live with, which I try hard not to harbour – because every time I do, or for every moment that I remember my Dearest One, I still die a little. More than a little, to be precise.

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I just had a haircut, by the way, which means I am currently sporting shorter hair. I had originally intended having a haircut last January. Love how I feel about my hair now since I’ve worn it long for several years.

Reading has been saving my life for as long as I could remember. Reading and music and nature. And more recently, writing. That is why blogging is one of the best things that ever happened to me. My work has given me structure and pleasure, too. I am an ESL instructor on weekdays and at the same time an online lottery agent who has to generate computer tickets for bettors every Sunday (my operator’s day-off). That has been basically my life for six long years. I must be thankful for having these jobs – considering the never-ending grim state of our economy and the high unemployment stats; not to mention job opportunities for someone at my age are getting more and more scarce. Yet there’s this undeniable truth I got trapped in this cycle for so long. As a result, my attention and energy had been snatched away, which I should have had in the first place bestowed upon the people I’ve treasured my whole life. The few people who truly matter to me.

However, it’s too late for regrets. The business of living is what all of us must get on.

14772_10200636670064057_310383308_n[2]Traveling is one my remaining aims in life. How I long to be able to see the wonderful sights in Italy, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S – so I’m gunning for sufficient funds for my probable trips to them in the near future. There’s also this wish that I’d somehow manage to find new friends who do share my interests and are on the same intellectual level with me. Friends who are not into any religious cult; are not into watching telenovelas; are not into the latest gadgets (Filipinos are crazy about the latest cellphones and texting, gotta admit that); most importantly, friends who don’t believe in, omg, ghosts and UFOs! I don’t want to sound smug or a snob but rarely can I find people here, er, cannier than me. And I’m not even smart or intelligent. Now how do I reconcile that? 🙂

I’ve been visiting You Tube recently. So delighted to have found this song which I haven’t heard for decades. When I was 10 years old, my favourite playmate and I would go over the many cassette tapes of his Dad -who happened to be an American- in their living room and we always ended up choosing this particular classic. He, with his light brown hair and skin fairer than mine, and I would sing our hearts out with this breezy song on our bright summer days. Definitely one of my unforgettable and charming memories.

Man, why don’t they make songs like this anymore.

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Baby, baby, falling in love
I’ve fallen’ in love again
Baby, baby, falling in love
I’ve fallen’ in love again

You and me for eternity, in love, we’ll always be
Young and free and naturally the way it’s got to be

-Fallin In Love by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds 

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.” **

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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.

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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.

——

                                            

March Babe Musings (A birthday girl with bohemian sentiments)

A day meant to be celebrated went by as this month holds a personal milestone, marking the addition of one more year to my ongoing life saga. It’s a special day I’ve always looked forward to so the sun, the moon, and the stars could take turns in crystallizing my yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows.
It’s a day to honour the lady who’s reaching a certain age – fretfully counting the unreturning years. The lady who has somehow learned to surface in a pool of her own perplexities, and who has felt better and better for being comfortable in her own skin.

woman waiting

My life has been lived only by me. My journeys solely taken by nobody but me. Which means my convictions could only be my own. I may not be without faults and I am far short of perfect – yet I believe I’ve got every right to form and hold up to whatever hard-won tenets and wisdom I might have earned or culled. I’m sticking by my beliefs, notwithstanding the fact they most probably line the outskirts of other people’s orthodox thinking. I’ve lived it, and I’m keeping it, simply because I got it.

It’s true: I still have nothing much to show except for my current jagged disposition and my weary soul. No material riches to display, or pages full of thundering philosophies to uncover. When your life gets salted by events and deeds you could only wish to do over, you begin to seriously question how you’ve lived your life. But despite the unfavorables supplied to me by nature and by my circumstances, I’d always find this need to strain to be better – with hopes that I may come back again in full force. No matter what foolish mistakes I’m prone of committing each day, there is really no one else I’d rather be.

This blog will remain to house my stories, contemplations and sensibilities. How I wish for my writing to evolve. Even if I have to take risks, attempt at experimenting with whatever style I fancy, and inevitably fall flat on my face. I can take that. When it comes to my passions in my life, relentless is the word that swells inside. Besides, we’re not sure whether time would run out sooner than expected. The completion of my bucket list – which includes a few magical places in Europe, and being able to hold a baby tenderly in my arms; courtesy of my (hopefully) soon-to-be-married son – is about to be done. It’ll be ever-so-sweet I suppose when I’ve come to share it here.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to getting a pretty swell haircut, a complete relaxing facial, and a new pair of lovely shoes one of these days.