Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I've been taking stock of my life lately, and as what usually happens when I go through this process, a slight sadness has settled into my routine. Nothing major, only the after-effect of my directionless existentialist musings. I've been looking at the things I find important right now, and I weigh them from different perspectives. Sometimes I feel like I've made mostly right choices; sometimes I feel like I'm in a rut that I need to get out of; mostly, well, mostly I'm just undecided. What am I doing with my life? Where am I going?

To be perfectly honest, this blog has been something of an anchor for me. It's nice to think that someone out there is actually listening to me, when I air these things that usually pervade my mind. I don't know, I just feel... restless. Rudderless. Lost.

When I was younger, I realized that I lived my life in cycles of highs and lows, in an almost too predictable way that, if I were to chart my life, I would definitely see a pattern of repetitive peaks and valleys. I tried to understand my motivations, and I realized that the reason for this repetition is an almost uncanny need for...drama? I can't even find a proper word for it. I guess it's like this: I seem to be unable to be content. For me, contentment breeds restlessness, boredom.

And that's the funny thing, because even now, after I've taken stock of where I am, and how perfect my life is at this very moment, I feel the urge to run away and disappear. Does that make sense? My thoughts are a jumble.

Maybe it's just the season. Another year has gone by. Maybe this is just nostalgic musings masquerading as pain. I don't know. Maybe I would feel better in the morning.

Photo taken here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Little Vanity

When I was much younger, I never cared about how I looked. I chose clothes based on their level of comfort, with hardly a consideration for color combination or fit. I had no control over my hair; my dad was strict in that regard, and mostly he required us to wear our hair like a soldier’s crew cut: no mussing about, no fuss.

I think it was in college when I started treating clothes as something more than fabric to cover my body with. You could say that it was in college when I realized that life is easier when you look a certain part: people are nicer to you, and you become more confident. Maybe the second is a consequence of the first, which doesn’t really matter; bottom line, life is easier.

So I started developing a certain look that reflected who I was as a person, and which made me look more attractive than, well, how I’d look if I didn’t do anything at all. It took a while before I developed the confidence to start experimenting with fashion, and lately, I’ve become much more “progressive” with my sartorial choices.

I’ve also experimented with my hair, although I’ve developed a preference for jagged, uneven and spiky edges. I usually put Clay-Doh (Bench) or Goth Juice (Lush) to keep the style in place; the former, when I want a dry, matte, casual look, and the latter when I want it to look more shiny and businesslike.

I tend to be much more conservative in the office though, since I work in the law industry, which is an industry known for its less than liberal point of view. I don’t mind though, since in that context I usually just experiment with color (not too loud) and fit. My hair is still spiky and jagged, but I’m not budging on that one.

I enjoy dressing up. Some people prefer to wear casual stuff all the time, even when going out to dinner. I find that frustrating, because I prefer that when I’m going out to dinner with friends, we all look like, well, we are going out to dinner. I dislike seeing people who look like slobs when they are in another person’s company. For me, dressing up is a way of showing another person that you respect him or her enough to actually make some effort.

I’m one of those people who consider what I wear an extension of who I am, which, at first, seems superficial, although under closer analysis isn’t really. It is part of me, in the same way that what I write in this blog is a facet of my personality. It does not wholly define who I am fundamentally, but it is one piece in this large puzzle I call my life.

And to my dying breath I will argue that fashion is art, and though ephemeral, when executed masterfully, serves to deliver the same breathtaking magnificence embodied by the best examples of prose and poetry. I am not its most talented proponent definitely, but I don’t think it’s that hard to learn to appreciate its beauty.

Photo taken here.

Guess what?

I was one of three bloggers who won in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards for Top Three Posts of the Year. The award was for this post. :-)

I haven't been blogging that long (a little below five months) so this award was a huge honor. Thank you all for supporting my blog. I'm on top of the world.

Photo taken here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Simple versus Complicated

I’ve always been fond of using the word “character” to describe something I like. That chair has “character”, that shirt has “character”, that building has “character”. I’m not sure where I picked that up, but I enjoy describing things or people that way. I guess it’s because, in my head anyway, when something has “character”, it means that it has a story to tell, as opposed to, for example, a chair that is really just a chair, or a shirt that is really just a shirt, or a building that is really just a building.

Which is one of the reasons why I’ve always found the notion of a “simple” life fascinating. How is it possible? Even a person who has practically nothing in life, and who has never left his house, is still a complex individual, if only because of his reasons for having nothing, or for not wanting anything. No one is ever truly simple; we are made up of rationalizations, impetuses, emotions, thoughts and ideas, so much so that to ascribe the word “simple” to any of us is to insult the very nature of our humanity. Even people who do not think are complex, if only we take the time to understand why they do not think in the first place. 

I remember my grandfather, the son of a married man and his mistress, who grew up in one of the poorer towns of Pampanga. He was a farmer, who managed to raise 8 children properly, all with college degrees, and who all work as professionals. He lived a “simple” life, simple in the sense that he is not greedy, or lustful, or ambitious. He just wanted to give his children a better life than he had. So I’ve always thought of him as a simple man, one not prone to self-aggrandizing stories, or ambitious dreams. He preferred the sidelines, always shining the spotlight on everyone else except himself.

And then he told me this one story, during the Japanese-American-Philippine war, when he joined the Hukbalahap movement, which was then a military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines. He was a rebel soldier, one of many who wanted to fight against the Japanese empire’s invasion of the Philippines in WWII. He never elaborated on his reasons why he went and joined the Huks, only that he did, because, as he said, he felt it was the right thing to do at the time.

And he recalled the time when he was caught by Japanese soldiers, and he and his comrades were arranged neatly in a row so that they could all be killed efficiently. He was kneeling on the ground, with a rifle pointed at his head. He was waiting for what probably seemed like the inevitable when the soldier shot the gun and, of all things, tripped. My grandfather swore he felt a bullet fly next to his head. He thought it was the most amazing thing.

Then chaos ensued. My grandfather realized that another group of Huks came in before the soldier could try shooting at him again. Some more fighting went on. My grandfather kept his head and ran, seeking cover. He was astonished that he managed to make it out of there alive. He could not believe his luck.

And he told me that that is the reason why he considers his life, and my dad, and uncles, and aunts, and his grandsons and his granddaughters’ lives as gifts. He was supposed to have died, and yet he didn’t.

After that story, I could never look at my grandfather the same way again. How can someone I thought was so simple have a story so wonderful and complex? I learned, once again, how people, even the ones you know, can surprise you.

I realized simplicity is an illusion. To be human, necessarily, is to be complicated.

Featured photo taken here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Philippine Blog Awards

Cool. I'm a finalist in the Philippine Blog Awards (PBA). It's for Special Category: Top Three Posts of the Year. The entry is my second favorite post in this blog called "Sometimes We are Lost". (For those interested, my favorite post is "Dark Sky"). 

Thank you PBA for the honor. It is much appreciated. 

Check out the other finalists here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Love Evolution

Before JT, I've never actually been in a long-term relationship. The nearest I can think of was my first, which lasted a year, but it was so riddled with drama, break-ups and make-ups, that I'm not even sure I can call my partner at the time my "boyfriend". He was more my lover I guess, precisely because the relationship we had was rooted on more, uhm, primal concerns. 

It's different with JT because, well, he's my friend. I mean, technically, he's more than a friend, but what I mean is that our relationship is based on the same values that a true friendship is rooted on: trust, loyalty, empathy. The attraction is there definitely; I find him really handsome, and I'm hoping he reciprocates the admiration, but more than that, I like him; his personality, his laugh, his values. The things that make up his person, I love. I guess what I'm saying is that when I say I like him, I like him both in a physical manner, that is, how he looks, as well as in those other aspects that make me enjoy his company. 

A friend told me that she thinks that love is a "decision"; that is, that you have to wake up everyday deciding to continue to love a certain person. I told her I disagreed. I said love is a feeling, not a decision. To say that it's a decision is to dilute its unique quality, its rarity, because the thought implies that one can just decide to fall in love with anyone, in the same way one decides to buy a shirt or a car. Love requires a mixture of conscious action and serendipity; certain circumstances must arise, certain elements must fall into place. To say otherwise is to make love as mundane as, well, everything else. And love is anything but mundane.

She never agreed with me, although I pointed out that maybe what she meant is that love transforms into some thing not as easily described or defined as what it was in the beginning. It's still love I think, but it manifests itself differently. After three years of being in a relationship, I told her that the relationship I have with JT evolved, from something that seemed totally based on superficial reasons: looks, having fun, sexual compatibility, to something not as easily described. I told her it was much like my love for my family: (seemingly) inevitable, and forever.

Photo taken here.


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