illusions, passions

Coming Full Circle


It’s 2017. It’s been 12 years since I started this blog and 4 years after I took a leave. Though the hiatus was long, I want to come clean by saying that  I didn’t really stop blogging. Within the last four years, I have created numerous blogs dabbling in fashion, relationships, dream projects, prose and poetry, and even Internet memes all in an attempt to find my own special place under the sun.

I took to the books and did what I was told–find your niche. The books say further that to do so, I must have an attractive platform with an engaging interface, and though I must say that I have managed some visually appealing blogs, none of them was met with success.

expectation

In hindsight, I must admit that I wrote for the wrong reasons. What topics are trending? Will my post meet SEO requirements? I posted lengthy content, but my heart was not in it.

Cyril Conolly was right when he said, “It is better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.”

And so I’m back where I started. If you ever stumble across this blog and are diligent enough to scour through 12 years’ worth of post, forgive me for inconsistencies. Old posts are all in the past now, and just like the people who write them, ideas and opinion change although a part of their hearts remain the same.

I’m done meeting expectations. I’m tired of bending backwards to please an audience. Now I’m just writing for myself.

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illusions, passions

gonegaga is STILL in the city


Photo credit: godsgracefulness.com

I thought that in the next couple of months, I would have to create a new blog with the address gonegagainanothercity.wordpress.com. So when I finally got the much-awaited news last Saturday, my heart should have fallen. It should have been broken from the fall. None of this happened at all, and it’s God’s grace I must give this credit to.

I am still. I am still standing.

… stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:58

I’ve felt the tugging and the stretching within my heart within the last month before the final result of my application was out, but I had purposely pushed it aside, not wanting any “double-mindedness” as I stepped out in faith. Receiving the news was sad and disappointing, of course, because I really invested emotionally and spiritually in that dream. However, I was amazed that my reaction was only to shrug my shoulder twice and smiled (I videotaped it, in case you were wondering) even though it was a door closing. Right now, I still don’t understand it. God had placed that desire in me. I committed my plan to the Lord. I believed. I obeyed. I persevered. But you see, things don’t have to make sense. God is sovereign, and I choose to put my trust in Him alone. Was it a door closed for a season, and I just acted on my faith in the wrong time? Was it a door closed, and God’s telling me “I’m taking you there through a different door”? I DON’T KNOW. And there’s peace in knowing that I DON”T HAVE TO KNOW. As long as it’s God closing the door. If I had understood everything, then believing will not be an act of faith but just an investment. Because walking with the Lord requires faith… trust… and courage especially when God doesn’t make sense.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

So, looks like you’re stuck with me for a while, Roxas City. 🙂

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illusions, passions

My So-called Valentines


Manong Guard was smiling mischievously as he headed toward my desk.

 

“Ma’am, may nagpapabigay po. Ayaw pasabi kung sino.” (Ma’am, these are for you. The sender doesn’t want to say who it’s from.)

 

Flowers and cake. Cheesy, huh? Oh, but I remember how my heart and mind went on a marathon then, as if racing against each other. It reminded me so much of the time I received my first bouquet of roses from a three-year crush way back when iPads were science fiction.

 

Once the guard turned on his heels and walked away, I started to run down my mental list of desirable suspects.

 

My 5110 sounded the infamous ossicular-damaging “Special” Nokia alert tone. 1 message received:

 

“Did you get them? Hehehe.”

 

It was my little sister. Enough for my romantic-comedy-inspired ideas. No wonder Manong Guard was looking so amused. He knew my little sister who was still in college at the time. She went all the way to my office down south and back to the UP Diliman campus just so I could save face on Valentine’s Day.

 

The night before, in the apartment that we used to share in Makati, I was ranting and rambling on and on about how much pressure V-day is. How there was so much expectation placed on single girls to receive Valentines. (In hindsight, I can say now that the demands on girls in relationships is even heavier—the longer you are in a relationship, the more expensive and more “romantic” people anticipate your Valentine’s Day to be. Also, there is as much pressure on men, except that they can actually do something about it.)

 

“Absent na lang kaya ako?” (What if I just skip work tomorrow?) I asked rhetorically, as I was not as creative back then in dodging remarks, such as “I think this next one is yours. Mukhang mahal eh,” (‘cause it looks expensive). That a coworker would say as a delivery boy from the florist walks in, followed immediately by a disappointed “Oooh” after a pot of stargazer lilies glides proudly past me, stamens held high.

 

I realized that my sister took it upon herself to spare me from a situation which seemed to me then was a matter of… death and death.

 

It was déjà vu. When I was in college, my roommates and I, all single at the time, had been swapping stories about girls serenaded in classrooms by their boyfriends’ frat neophytes or being proposed to via messages spread over the Sunken Garden. Not wanting to feel too left out, we hatched an ingenious plan: Valentine’s Day Manito Manita (Christmas exchange of gifts, Filipino-style). Voila! Everybody gets flowers. Our wish list indicated what kind and color flowers we’d like to receive.

 

Fast forward to 2012… I am not expecting flowers this year. Rest assured, I haven’t turned into a heart-piñata-bashing, V-day-hating person. I have learned to be content and to have a genuine appreciation for the diverse ways we choose to express love, in and out of season.

 

Love, I have come to realize, is a choice. It’s a decision that you make, and the extent to which you stand by that decision is only as strong as the value that you place on it in your life. 1 Corinthians 13 says,

 

“Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking…”

 

I remember my past Valentines with fondness, and I smile, no, guffaw at the elaborate schemes I have crafted in the past to simulate to perfection how the day should be spent or evaded. It had always been about me. I had forgotten that a relationship is an equation, a statement consisting of two different expressions but of the same value.

 

To the man that God had intended for me to spend a lifetime’s worth of Valentine’s Days with, whoever and wherever you are, praise God for being generous with His wisdom. I’ve come to understand that we don’t have to speak exactly the same language of love. What matters is that we both are willing to speak the love language that each of us understands.

 

There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand:

how an eagle glides through the sky,

how a snake slithers on a rock,

how a ship navigates the ocean,

how a man loves a woman. (Proverbs 30: 18-19)

 

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illusions, psychobabble

As if


I used to associate the phrase “as if” with snobbishness and colegiala slang (probably because  whenever I hear someone say “As if!” with the “as” prolonged, and the “if” inflected, I think “Clueless”).  Most of my last year, however, was filled with challenges and events which revealed to me a whole new meaning to the phrase.

I can’t divulge the details here–at least, not until April of this year, but I can think of one other illustration. My previous posts had mostly been about my search for a certain pair of shoes. (If you know me well, then you know that I’m not as superficial as my entries sometimes make me appear – Hahaha!) I went through all that just because I was going to a friend’s wedding.

My elder sister, who is more kikay (stylish) than I am, had booked me for hair and make-up, and when I found out, I was “What did you do that for? I can do my own hair and make-up, thank you very much. Dagdag gastos lang ‘yan! (That’s just an additional expense!)”

My sister’s reply: “Sus! You’ve gone through all that trouble na rin lang naman for the shoes… might as well do it full blast. Todo mo na!” Just between you and me, I think she just said that because she’d be too embarrassed to cancel the booking if I had asked her.

So I went along with her ingenious idea, all the while thinking “Naks! Kung makapaghanda naman, as if parte ng entourage! (I’m preparing as if I’m a member of the entourage!)”

Guess what? At exactly 10:30 A.M. (The wedding was at 4:00 P.M.), my phone rang, and the moment I saw the bride’s name on the display, I thought, “It’s her wedding day. Why is she calling ME?” As soon as I said “Hello,” my friend flooded me with what seemed to be three different combos of an apology and a request: Sorry, this is short notice but… I know this seems a little late… I hope it’s okay with you?

As it turned out, a member of the wedding entourage had encountered an emergency, and I filled in for her. When I told the story to our friends, who were as surprised to see me march down the aisle as I was when I picked up the phone that morning, here’s how they reacted: “Short notice? Try VERY short.” “Anong a little late? Sobrang late ‘ka mo! (What do you mean “a little late”? You should say “extremely late”!)

So moral of the story: it’s not so bad acting “as if” sometimes. It makes you available to step in and step out. It’s AS IF you were born ready. It’s faith in action. That funny incident gave me fresh eyes in understanding what’s written in Hebrews 11:1

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

 

Faith isn’t just about believing that something is going to happen. It means ACTING AS IF it’s already there.

 

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illusions, passions, psychobabble

Shoes, love, neurosis


So I went shoe-shopping today, and I never thought I’d say this but God, I hate shopping! I mean, I hate shopping by myself! Not that it looked like Satan decided to do a general cleaning and emptied hell out into the mall. In fact, I believe I saw my first Christmas miracle today… there weren’t any queues. It’s just that shopping brings out my neuroses.

Now this is what I call killer shoes! (Photo from madaboutshoes.org)

In an old post called “From near misses to Mrs.”, I once wrote that finding and keeping Mr. Right is like shopping: If you don’t know what kind of shoes you’re looking for, you’ll come home either empty-handed or worse, with the wrong pair of shoes. I couldn’t have been more right. Here’s what happened:

  • Love at first site. – I know I’m always saying “Never take the first bus that comes along…” but today, I almost didn’t practice what I preach. I didn’t feel like moving around so much that I wanted to grab the first pair of foxy shoes I could get my hands on and take the first bus, er, trike that comes along. I know God’s working on my (im)patience–and He’s decided to do overtime work–but oftentimes, I’m in so much rush to get to the next item on my to-do list, to do my own thing, that I refuse to acknowledge there may be something better in store. Um, yes, I think I’m still talking about shoes.
  • De-feet-ing the purpose. – I saw this gorgeous and comfy (I can hardly believe I’m writing both adjectives in a sentence about shoes) pair of flats at the mall, and I did what a church friend suggested I should. I lay my hand on the pair, making sure my palm completely covers the price tag for fear that I would chicken out once I see the cost, and whispered “You’re mine… in Jesus’ name.” It was my size, too, but I realized “Whoops! I’m here to buy shoes for a formal event, and my flats, no matter how attractive, will be inappropriate. Unfortunately.” So I had to return it to its rightful place–back on the display shelf, where it can be seen by the next girl who’s out there in search of flats. Gorgeous flats. “Never take the first bus that comes along, especially if it’s not going where you’re going,” I keep repeating to my gal pals. Sometimes, even if it hurts, you have to get off the bus once you realize it’s not headed to your stop.
  • Perfect shoes, wrong dress. – In the end, I found the perfect shoes… one that doesn’t make me look like a hobbit on stilts. The moment I slipped my foot into it was a very Cinderella moment. The color was right. Even the fit was perfect. And then it happened… I realized it doesn’t go well with the dress I was out to buy shoes for. So, perfect doesn’t mean “right.” You have to figure out what you’ve got, so you’ll know what will go well with it and what won’t. Nah, I’m not so sure I’m talking about shoes. I told you, shoe shopping alone brings out my neuroses.

So I guess you know I came home empty-handed, and uh, yeah, I’ll live. Don’t you just hate it when you’re left with not much choice? Maybe I should just move to another city.

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illusions, passions, psychobabble

Love in The Time of Internet, Part 2


Last week, one of my students posted an announcement on Facebook that Friendster is shutting down. Although I haven’t been active on Friendster within the last couple of years–and even though Friendster is not closing down but only reformatting itself–I was saddened just a little bit. Why? I had started blogging on Friendster. On May 31st of this year, that blog, as well as all testimonials and photos, will be deleted. More nostalgic than I had expected myself to be, I logged in to access the Friendster Exporter and started downloading my blog. To my surprise, I found out that my “special friend’s” ex was still in my recent “Who’s Viewed Me?” After all these years…

*****

It reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my closest friends. She had shared that she once had an “Internet boyfriend.” I really thought that the guy was into her. He called her on the phone, IM her any time of the day, and was already looking up flight schedules  so he could finally meet her and her family. Unfortunately, before the trip could take place, he met someone who’s nice AND living in the same city.

Although it didn’t really break my friend’s heart, she admitted that she felt a little hurt and inadequate. Since she and the guy were still Facebook friends, she told me how she would check out everything she could find on The Girlfriend. At first, she simply wanted to know how she looked. Then, she wanted to find out what she’s like and  how they communicated with each other. Later on, my friend realized that the more she knew about the girlfriend, the more miserable she became. So, she said, “Enough of this,” and kissed her fixation goodbye. I am happy to report that she is now in a fulfilling relationship with a great guy. I just don’t know whether she cyber-stalks his ex-girlfriends.

*****

What is it with the Internet that makes instant snoops–and masochists–out of the best girls? I know someone–let’s call her S–who came across her boyfriend’s ex’s blog totally by accident. S was blog-hopping one day, and as she clicked “Next Blog” (on Blogger)–lo and behold! She found herself face-to-screen with her boyfriend’s ex’s face. There would have been nothing to it if only S didn’t do the next thing she did: browse through “Archives,” specifically those dated during the time her boyfriend and the ex were still together. Lucky for her, there were no cheesy montages. What if there were?

*****

The Internet can be an entire network of Pandora’s boxes. One absent-minded click can open up floodgates of happy memories in your partner’s life that you were not a part of. If your relationship is not founded on something strong, it can drown. A guy friend once told me that what he hates about the Internet is that “it makes people feel entitled to probe someone else’s life” and that it serves as a venue for “social vultures” to feast on others.

*****

These stories make me rethink blogging. If I blog about a boyfriend, and we break up, what are the chances that his future girlfriend or wife (gulp) will come across it? And if she does, what are the chances that it’s going to cause trouble in their relationship? In ancient days of snail mail, photographs and love letters–which, I must admit, are still far more special and valuable in my eyes–can easily be burned after a relationship has failed. With e-mail and digital photos and blogs, do we go over gigabytes of memories and delete files one by one? What about cached pages? Do we go to the extent of requesting Google to remove the cached version of a site just so it will not break someone’s heart in the future?

Recently, I’ve posted a survey via Facebook’s “Question”: WOULD YOU READ YOUR BOYFRIEND’S/GIRLFRIEND’S BLOG FROM THE TIME THAT THEY WERE TOGETHER? A majority of them answered YES. Would you? Why? Why not? 

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illusions, passions, psychobabble

Love in The Time of Internet, Part I


"It's Complicated" is an understatement.

One of the things I love the most about teaching at the university is that I am mentoring young minds at the most critical and vulnerable period in their life. (Of course, I’m psyched about summer breaks, but that’s another story.) College kids are so open and so trusting that I end up being privy to certain issues that I’d really rather not know about. Unfortunately, when I said that they can come to me for advice (I meant in terms of career decisions), they took it to heart. (No pun here.) Surprisingly, the teacher became the learner…

Skype

  • Apparently, the status logo is the new “He loves me, he loves me not…” I’ve learned that if you’re not quite sure how a “special friend” feels about you, try signing in as “invisible.” Take note: Not “offline”– INVISIBLE. Then, if he’s “online,” give it a couple of minutes before changing your status to “online.” If he immediately switches to “busy” and sends you a message, you should feel like you just got exempted from taking the finals. Now, if he changes to “away,” that’s not a good sign. If he disappears, that’s even worse. That’s the last petal falling at “…he loves me not.”
  • Offline 101 – The Role of the “Call” Button in Modern Romance. By the end of this course, the student should be able to determine whether the “special friend” is really offline or just in hiding, in which case the student should be able to explain why it is unwise to pursue the one-sided pseudo-relationship.  I’m tempted to write an entire course outline, but it’s almost 11:oo P.M., and I’ve got a report to write up. As a result, here’s How to Know He’s Absolutely Not Into You–in a nutshell:
  1. Send a message first. Do you see a spiral going ’round and round right next to the time the message was sent? Good. That means he’s really offline, which still doesn’t mean he likes you as much as you like him. It just means that at least, he’s not chatting up some other girl and is just hiding from you, in particular. That should make you feel like you passed the mid-terms, but you know the more complex theories will be covered in the finals. Simply put: You’re hanging by a thread.
  2. No spiral? Call. Go ahead, you’re already being foolish anyway, so what’s another act, right? Hit the “call” button, and see what happens. Does your call get dropped immediately? Followed by the message “Call Failed.” That’s actually good news! He’s not online. Does it ring? Bummer, girl, you just got dropped from the roster.

Drat! Why didn’t they teach us these in college? Yeah, yeah, when I was in college, the cool kids were wearing bright-colored Jaz pagers as fashion accessories. And the 3210 was the iPad. There, I had just dated myself. I think I’ll go back inside my time capsule now. Good night!

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