Today

Masquerade, Optimism No Comments

I shall give myself a pat
on the shoulder (after the wells cleared up
again),
for unearthing in me some nobility—
that little pure droplet, like a dew, a baby spring.

Run then, to where you think you can find
your oasis;
fuss I shan’t.
A floating leaf instead I shall be,
while remembering the ripples
begun one drizzly August night—
the very same things which now tell me
dauntingly,
how close I came to danger.

But I choose not venom, instead
with bowl-shaped hands scoop
from the freshest fountains I can find:
for you to quench your mortal thirst
and for me, to understand you and
cleanse myself.

That I did not know
it is something I possess brings
a smile: yet it is there,
flowing freely,
in some of the deepest sepulchers
of my heart.

25 February 2010, 3.17pm

sustained

Optimism No Comments

Yes, I felt nothing, nothing was left. I was a hole from the inside out. And how ridiculous it is for a self-professed optimist to say this! But that was the truth, I felt nothing; as if even air, and blood,—even tears—turned their backs on me and left me in and with a vacuum.

And yet to have this courage, to rely on Someone because there is absolutely nothing in you to sustain yourself, to depend solely on an Unseen for the last shred of hope, this beautiful humility, has got me back to my senses. And I hope it isn’t too late.

_______

Only the dark can teach the light brightness.

(10:06:41pm)

_______

The purpose is not to run away, it’s to chase after dreams.

(from a series’ soundtrack)

Presents

Optimism, Rewind No Comments

Had our campus amba [late] new year’s bash at Cangmating, Sibulan. I didn’t receive any gift as they forgot to include me during the lottery  for the ekschinj gept. (Mark, you owe me one. Hehe, peace!) But I got a present for myself—and that’s the realization that I’m happier now.

wala rgud.

I know I know, it’s hard for you to get this thing I’m talking about since I’ve not been regularly updating this little space. That’s because I’ve been through a lot for the past three months, and it’s only recently that I’ve decided to learn—yuppie, I decided to learn and let go of what has been, from the very beginning, not mine. You see, the most obvious indicator that you’ve really let go is when you can laugh the whole thing out, you can laugh at your stupidity, and yeah, even at your false hopes, while recalling the events that took place before, and right after you got hurt. But no one really did hurt me, I decided to be hurt myself. Yup, it was also a decision. And mind you, I took care of the pain before I let it go. Marj, if you’re reading this, your reaction would pro’ly be: “char!”. But thanks for being there, and to all the members of the Sociedad de Takirubz (you were great ‘caregivers’, haha!). After that thing in front of Gillamac’s, I learned a lot. And I also wanna thank my English Ed professor for reminding me, even unintentionally, that life hasn’t ended yet. Thanks for the little yellow post-it-note ma’am; it convinced me that I should spend my saturday night in Cangmating. I really did need some air, some sea breeze.

While in Cangmating I was blessed to have a chance to talk with a fellow campus amba whom I secretly admire for her wisdom. The talk began with the search for the elusive toothpaste, and was ended, if I remember it right, with my reservations for cross-dressers. Turned out the conversation was what I needed to formally tell myself I’m done with everything that happened with the realization that I’m a lot happier now. Again, a decision I needed to make.

But I still want my ‘gept’ . But no worries, I’m not in a hurry. 😀

A Twisted Little Youngblood

Optimism No Comments

Maybe because I had a lot of time when I was on an exchange scholarship in the International Christian University (ICU) in Japan that my head became twisted. You see I only took regular Japanese Language classes for three consecutive terms, coupled with Modern Japanese Literature in English Translation for the autumn term, and an Intercultural Relations and Communication class for the winter term; I even got more time in my last three months, during springtime, since I decided to focus on my Nihonggo and only enrolled in ICU’s regular, third level Japanese Language Program.

Of course I went around the land of the rising sun, took pictures, devoured Japanese dishes, and so on—the usual things a tourist does. But still, I had more than enough time, so I decided to look at myself—I do not want to sound too philosophical, because in the very first place I am not, so I would not dare call this drama a reflective process, or the even more classical “soul-searching”, or anything of that sort. It was just a plain process of self-conversation, if such a term exists. See? I really got twisted!

So I began to take notice of the twisting of my mind when I started looking at—no, looking into myself. Maybe because I was also in another land, with a people of a different culture and language, that I saw myself in a new light, as part of the young, and discovered things which I would not normally see if I were just at home doing usual things a person of my age does. I began seeing myself and my almost insignificant little part in the constant motion that is the youth. I have always been optimistic about us, the young, not for any other reason, but because just the idea of youth is enough for one to be optimistic about. We have been branded: the “young bloods”, “builder of the future”, “shaper of the world”; but why is it, aside from a few of us, that we have become so self-absorbed? Is it because self-preservation—bluntly greed—has been the image the world exposed us to since the time we began thinking? Or is it because it has been a requirement for us to achieve success as defined by the world? I am unable to identify the reason(s), but I  think it would be disastrous if we continue being like this. But I remain optimistic, for it is still us, who can change us.

I have learned that everyone can achieve excellence, and in turn success (in its noble sense), without fighting for it tooth to tooth, bone to bone. For excellence is not a single trophy up for grabs. Excellence is when you go beyond what you know you can be, delimiting yourself to achieve more. Here, a thorough understanding of the self is the key.

I have also observed that we have become so starved, and struggle to do everything, just to be recognized that we have forgotten the ideal value of any form of competition: the honing of the self, for the benefit of others. It is true that even if man has a soul, he also is a beast. But truer still is the idea that we define who we are. Just remember that the beast is ephemeral, the soul ethereal.

I am like you; do not mistake me for somebody who is different. I am as flawed, if not more flawed, than you are. I procrastinate, I prejudge, and I sin, countless of them actually. Therefore I am a beast like you, but like you too, I have a soul. And maybe in Japan I just listened more to the soft whispers of my soul than to the deafening growls and roars of the beast. And so out of the twisted self-conversations I had, I have come to realize that we, the youth, will only prove worthy of the ideals we are about to inherit and possess as our own, and will only be deserving to have the laurels of the gods on our heads, if we realize that it is not necessary to stand out of the crowd, to be always in the spotlight, to be truly excellent. That we do not always need to go against the current to be called outstanding. For being outstanding is different from merely standing out. We can do things quietly, in our own little ways as they say, but we should never limit ourselves. In the process of accepting this truth we will more likely have a deeper sense of happiness impossible for us to find if we spend the rest of our lives only looking at the reflection in the mirror. This is a daring challenge, almost subversive to what the world silently but so effectively dictates, and it seems almost insurmountable. But what use is our young minds and untamed hearts if we fall short of this challenge? Surely it would be a mockery of who we are and what we can be.

I am one little twisted thing I know. But I am sure as hel—er, heaven, that I am glad to be one.

________________________

written for The Odinite, under the column Tatami Slippers
an Education 61 Publication, Silliman University

Before the big day

Masquerade, Optimism, Windchimes 1 Comment

My tissue box got empty. My bicycle was stolen. And the sun shone that day with brightness so much like how it does in the Philippines. “I’m really going home”, I told myself.

But I’ve never left anything behind. Now I realize. That room on the third floor of ICU’s Canada House, with it’s cream-colored floor, the old, blue swivel chair in which I’ve enjoyed countless afternoons watching the last rays of the sun caress the leaves of the trees my window faced, my fridge in old rose, even the dusty shelf that held Japanese language textbooks and issues of the Japan times…even the dusts themselves, will be forever part of my reality.

Of course other people will use the same room, walk on the same floor, and maybe use the the same old swivel chair and see a similar sight of the sun playing with the leaves of the trees outside room 303’s window. And out of those they will also make memories, but they will never have an exact reality like mine. That’s why I’ve never left anything behind. It’s always in me, and the things that stay in that corner of the world, in that room on the third floor of good old Canada House, will only be representative of my reality—from which other people will experience and make their own too.

And so, I’ve never left anything—or anyone—behind. Everything and everyone is in me, and wherever those things, and people, will be, they’ll always be in my heart. They are in me.

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