Tagaytay City, Philippines
I am both giddy and humbled by @ Mr. A‘s nomination for me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Despite the low number of blog entries, I am thankful for him for seeing the “sunshine” in words that I weave in this humble page of mine 🙂
And with this, I am sharing my answers to Mr. A’s questions. Here we go:
- Can you tell me at least 4 of your core values in life and explain why? (What is truly important to you in life?)
Gratitude – the acknowledgement of and being thankful for things that make and break you, of resources that are around and those that make you grow in order to obtain them. This also covers taking care of your internal and external resources.
Integrity – doing what is right and just inside and outside the light
Love – does not solely refer to romantic love but to the force that wakes you up every day and motivates you to enrich yourself, your family, and your surroundings
Joy – this gives the spring to every hop, the smile despite difficulties, and the ray of sunshine for every gloomy day
- What are your Non-negotiable, Unalterable Terms in life?
Same as the above.
- Tell us about your relationship with your dad (or anyone that stood as your father figure)? Share your fondest memories with him.
My dad and I are close despite him having worked overseas for 17 years. When he was still working overseas, we (mom, brother and I) would write letters (yep, snail mail) to him (no social media or messenger or Viber back then), and I would tell him anything I could think of, even the most pointless thing a child could do and he would reply back sharing his stories too. We lived our father-daughter relationship in letters I guess. And with that I never felt distant from him. When he comes home for a month’s vacation after a two year contract, it felt like we only talked to each other the other day. Fondest memory… We’re not well off, and I was not really the kid who asks for toys, so I did not grow up with all those fancy dolls and what-not. But when I was 12, he sent me a battery-operated talking doll, and huge doll house, the kind that 5-yr olds play with. He said, he always wanted to give me such but did not have the money. So when he did, he bought them for me even if I am almost a teenager 🙂
- When you die, how do you want the people to remember you?
It would perhaps be nice to be remembered as someone who was real, and someone who made them laugh, and someone who they trusted.
- Tell us about the last time you reconnected with a friend?
Just the other day, with my classmates from graduate school who I haven’t seen for quite a while. We are all busy with our own jobs and thesis we barely spoke for months.
- For the girls, which do you prefer on guys, rock-hard abdominals or well-developed buttocks? For the guys, which do you prefer, to have rock-hard abdominals or a well-developed buttock?
Well-developed buttocks, something to grab 😉
- Tell us about the last time you feel so proud of yourself.
In June 2018, I and two of my friends were invited to facilitate a 2-day seminar workshop on resiliency for some of the members of the First Scout Ranger Regimen of the Philippine Army. It was a huge for me but at the same time it was a humbling experience esp. towards the end of the workshop when the soldiers thanked us and told us that they wished we could be back to teach them more about mental health.
- Give us 3 shoes that you consider to be essential to any man’s wardrobe?
I’m not that knowledgeable when it comes to men’s shoes, but from what I see with my boyfriend, something formal, something casual (and comfy for long walks), and something sporty. But not Air Jordans kind of thing, more like Stan Smiths perhaps or Chucks
- Again, give us 3 books that you think every man should read?
Life of Pi or Beatrice & Virgil, The Kite Runner, and something from the Philippine Literature perhaps
- I will indulge myself this time, what do you like about this blog and is there anything you like to see in the future?
I have told you once offline, that this blog is raw and organic and far from being commercialized. It’s both informative and fun. And what would I want to see in the future? I think I’ll let you continue to surprise and amaze us 😉
- In case you didn’t know, the month of May is masturbation month. If you could be so kind and tell us about your thoughts on masturbation (it doesn’t have to be freaky, just your honest opinion about it)?
Masturbation, although usually a taboo, is way to know oneself both physically and psychologically; it is a free avenue for self exploration and understanding yourself without the need to explain to others. When shared with your significant other, which can also be the case, it is another level of knowing each other, and therefore can strengthen the relationship.
I Hope you enjoyed that 🙂
And as we take it forward – recognizing fellow bloggers that bring sunshine to our blogging world, I am nominating the following for always bringing joy every time my eyes see their words:
And I am throwing them the following questions:
- In a world full of known and unknown forces, what do you think truly makes the world go round?
- What irks you the most?
- You were given a chance to replay a certain moment in your life. What would it be?
- What do you hope never changes?
- When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
- What was the best ever present you’ve received?
- Mention 3 small sources of happiness. E.g. popping bubble wraps
- Do you like surprises? Why? Why not?
- If you would be eating one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What is you ideal date? (I know it’s cheesy, but please indulge me :))
- Your life is being made into a movie. What’s the title?
Thank the blogger who nominated you.
Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
Nominate new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog.
Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
One of my colleagues at work is leaving work soon and he has invited us, his former teammates for a lunch out, like a going away luncheon. One of my friends from the team and myself have decided that we give him a little something, a memento of some sort, like a going away gift and we opted for a greeting card, a thank you card to be exact. My friend initially volunteered that she be the one to buy the card, however, a few minutes later she texted me that she didn’t find any. Not because there were no greeting cards, but because the selection was… too plain? So I volunteered since I am yet to get to another stationery shop. When I got there, I realized the same. .the greeting cards were “bland”, lacking the personal flavor that cards in the older days used to have as if the manufacturer specifically made the card for you. And right then, as I stood in front of the cards rack, I thought to myself, what happened?
The rate of our advancement in communication and technology appears to be inversely proportional to the existence of letter writing. Now, this is not an empirical statement as I do not have research to prove it. It’s just that in the extent of my surroundings, it appears that no ever sits down to take time to write letters anymore. The kind that makes you think, reminisce, miss the past, and the person you’re writing to. The kind of letter writing that makes you smile, or frown, or cry, or be mad while you recall memories. And holding a pen and paper in front of you has made that happen.
When I was in high school, my friends and I would leave notes of “good mornings” and “have a great days” on each other’s armchair. And at the time, our class starts at 6am! So imagine the effort that we put to wake up early, choose colorful little post-it notes, and write the note to each other.
I think what we’re missing sometimes is that writing letters are a dying art. And art is more than just putting words to form phrases, phrases into sentences, sentences into narratives. It is a “culmination” of different factors, forces, if I may say, that drives a person to reflect and write.
Letter writing allows you to:
- Be with yourself. It gives you and yourself time together. Finding a nice little spot where you can create the letter in solitude. It’s just the paper, the pen, and your sincerest thoughts.
- It makes us digest thoughts. A thank you note becomes a deeper appreciation of the other person because when you already hold the pen, you kind of automatically find the rhythm between your hands, your thoughts, and recall of past instances; the reason or reasons that made you decide to write
- Have an avenue for creativity. When you do sincere letter writing, you kind of create a masterpiece. You weave words to create a material that can be beautiful, lyrical, and poetic. Imagine writing a letter to someone who is dear to you to let them know how you feel for them. As you face the paper and the pen, your emotions associated with that person takes over and lets you express how dear they are to you through words that appreciate, praise, or maybe revere. Or let’s say, you are writing a more serious note, say a confession. As you face the paper, you start to paint a picture of trust and honesty; like a meta-message telling the other person, “I am putting my trust in your hands”, or, “I bare myself to you”
- Reflect. Letter writing is also a time machine. It makes you go back to a certain time period, past experience, previous emotions, and thoughts. And with that, it makes you experience the whole thing all over again, but with a deeper appreciation because this time, you recall the past, with a yearning to experience it again. Or if the situation is a bit on the negative side, you reflect on how it could have been better. At times it may bring regret, however, the letter, as long as it carries honesty with it, is your protective gear. Regrets narrated truthfully should always insinuate growth.
- As ironic as it may seem, writing letters creates a connection between you and the other party that you’re writing the letter to. Imagine writing to a friend who you haven’t seen for a long while. You sit at a quite comfortable corner with your and pen and paper; you start to put to paper certain memories of events, of feelings and thoughts associated to those events and after a few minutes you’re not just doing a recall, but already building a bridge, a memory lane towards the other party where only you and them could walk into. Not dependent on the clarity of a phone line or internet speed, but only on that connection that you are transmitting in your own words, through the ink, and the paper.
My father started working overseas when I was 7 years old (which was 25years ago!), And at the time, we are all aware that communication is not as convenient and easy as it is now. No instant messaging, no video calls, and back then we don’t have easy access to a telephone, and the internet I believe was literally struggling in space. Despite these, my father knew every single thing that happened to me and my younger brother in school and at home, every silly joke that I have come up with, and every fight that my mother and I had. He knew just about everything, and in return, we were always updated with his engagements while he was away. Sure it took a week or more before we knew about the things that happen to us, but taking the time to write letters to him kind of bridged that gap in time.
Artworks are timeless. If we treat letter writing as an art, too, perhaps we can also keep it that way, and all the magical things that each written word brings.
Love has been an overused topic if I may say. It has been the central theme of numerous narratives, poems, visual art pieces, and music. It is practically the strongest force on earth (tight competition with money) that could bring about every emotion possible. It can drive people to work hard towards their biggest potential, to better themselves and the lives if those they care about. On the other hand, it can bring people to their edges; will make then do anything to prove or obtain love, even hurting others. It can be as innoncent as the touch of a baby’s hand to his mother’s face, and it can burn two people with so much passion. It knows no boundaries, sees through and beyond any obstacle, and ignores the impossible. Yet, it does not have an official definition, no official framework, no single concept that could encompass all of its existence. And since fate has recently been kind to me, I believe I now have glimpse of the other possible things love could be. (My partner would be smiling to read “fate” in this 😎). So here it goes…
It’s a cliché. Almost every art form had tried to define it, to give it face, to describe what it truly is; but they can only try so much. Even the academics tried to put it in a framework, to a personality trait, or trace its history from books, but just like the others, they can only try so much.
It is like an unspoken life’s contract. The moment we are born into this world, we are automatically actors of a play that we know nothing about. Not the plot, not the setting, not the co-actors. But because slutty fate had decided that we take part, we take part. We learn our scripts, and take directions: those that are ours, and those that come from others. Sometimes we strictly follow the script, we memorize the lines, we act according to what is written, we act like it’s daytime even if we’re blinded with darkness. Or we play the mysterious games in the nighttime even if the sun is burning our faces. And so we struggle, we try the hardest, or sometimes we do not give the slightest care because it is not the battle that we chose. But we have been trapped already and there is no other option but to move forward, to bask in it, to learn to cherish it. We continue to play the part, forget our lines, our cues, make our way through the darkness, or squint through the sun’s hurting rays. Nonetheless, we don’t stop. And then one day, we’d just ear the director say, “Cut! Good take!”
It is our search for “the one” either by jumping from one bed to another or by staying under the trees to wait for them. It could be holding a stranger’s hand and realising that your hands are like separate puzzle pieces, finally finding its right place once they find each other. It’s like being a dried leaf caught in a whirlwind, light, fragile, lifeless, just letting the force bring you to where ever it wants and you don’t care. Or… You do care, but you do not have the slightest energy to fight against it. So you just float, hit one wall after the other. And all of a sudden it stops. Everything suddenly becomes still, calm, serene. And you find yourself in the arms of a loving, protecting embrace, accepting you and your crumpled, weak, and almost useless parts… taking you in its hands, like you are the most precious thing in the world that it would be afraid to break. It is looking into your eyes like it contains the answer to most mundane and complex questions in the world, delving deep into your mind, your body, your soul.
It can make you discover that you are enough, no, not enough, more than enough. You are more. And the way it treat you reminds you of this every day, that you are capable of loving and being loved. Your existence is beyond floating, beyond being a nuisance in an already chaotic world. They accept you, the wholeness of you, scars and all, making you realize what grand plan the universe has for you, making all of the tossing and turning and empty nights and quiet days meaningful, making it the most important preparation you could participate in, and the most precious journey you would have embarked on.
It is a quest, a journey, a treasure hunt, a rummaging through an old house, or running through abandoned road. Your eyes see nothing but rubbish and oblivion but your heart believes otherwise. So you continue to search, you put one foot in front of the other and you make your way. You can get caught in twisted vines, your feet might step on a poisonous plant, or you might lose your belongings along the way. But you continue despite these. Just when you thought it is time to give up, you suddenly remember, you have a map, the compass inside you. And you realize, it has always been inside of you. The will to continue with the journey now becomes your lamp, your belief in happy endings will be the staff to support you through rough patches. And you realize, there is treasure in the unexpected.
It is a touch… caring, protecting, lustful, warm, loving. It is the arms holding you through the night, spooning you and keeping you safe and warm as if nothing could go wrong… that even if the world ended tomorrow, you will still be safe. But these would be the same arms that lock you up while it drowns you in passion, in lust. The hands that will touch you in places you’ve never imagined, every crevice, every corner of your body, you soul, your world. The same hands that will steady you while the lips of the owner drive you crazy and fill you up with sensation that is both worldly and profound. And at the end of the day, it will be the same hands that you hold just because, the same hands that you kiss, that you will miss and always long to hold. The hands that will remind you that you are not alone anymore, the hands that will always let you know everything will be okay.
It is a refuge. It is a safe place at the end of an battle-worn day… quiet and calm. The place where you know nothing can hurt you and you can finally take rest. The place that you run to when the world does not seem to make any sense; and when no one seems to hear your voice, it serves as an echo so the wind can hear you, sending the contents of your heart out into the world – helping you let go of the weight inside, making you free. A place where you can reveal your worst dreams and ugliest past, yet still be accepted and never judged.
We’re all looking for something. We’re all looking for “that something”. The “umph”, the punctuation mark, the “zing!”, the highlight, the underline. The thing that will answer all the questions, that pin on the GPS that locates or the X that marks the spot, the time when all of the contents of our past would commence in front of us and form into what it is supposed to be, and we’ll give the sigh of relief, our clouded visions would start to clear, heartbeat starts to have a better rhythm, , finally we’re home.
Mon Amour, I know you know where all these is coming from and I have you to thank for it. As cliche as it may sound, but you brought along the definition of love. I have the faintest understanding of it until I met you. Distance is a bummer for us at the moment, but how our story started, I would not have it any other way. You inspire me to work hard to better myself and my future because at the back if my mind, I understand that it is also working towards our future together. Thank you for bringing me beautiful, I love you.
So, for those who have read The Alchemist, and even those who just came across it in social media memes, I believe we’d all agree that this is one of the most powerful lines: “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Makes me wonder how that works. Is the universe like us, too? Does it have a dream or a wish that reflects our own so well that it will help us achieve it? Or is the universe our reflection?
Does it reflect that dream that we’ve had since we were little kids? Was it also weak then that it could not achieve the ice cream or the doll or the remote controlled car that broke our hearts pleading for?
Does it also reflect the dream that just popped in our heads one day and did not do something about it because it understands that you can’t be a Hollywood superstar in the four corners of your office cubicle?
Does it reflect a long-standing wish slash dream? What does it do about it?
Does it also reflect the dream that you do not realize yet? Does it give you flags and warnings to identify it, to know that it is already in your hands, to know that it is already in front of you? Does it recognise if it is real?
We’ve all been taught to strive for what our hearts want, to never give up despite the compelling voice in our heads to quit when times are not in our favor. I wonder if this is also true for the universe. Does it understand the gravity of importance of a dream? Or does it just do what is was supposed to do, like a mechanical process, a technological program that just does what it takes to get the job done without any regard for the possibility of getting tired… of giving up? Can it undo? Can it undo?
Does it also give up? Does it also recognize that sometimes, achieving the dream also entails giving up? Does it recognize the fact there is a thin line between perseverance and giving up and it is fatal not to be able to recognize it?
Does it also get confused? Does it also miss to understand? If this happens, are these the times that we, too, are unable to comprehend what is happening? Are these the moments that we stand in the middle of our chaotic rooms not knowing what to do with the pile of paper works that we know how important but still choose to ignore, the unmade bed that we climb in and get up from no matter how the day will start or end, the trash that needs to be taken out but we always forget, the scattered spare change that will never be enough even if you collect them all, the laundry that keeps piling up no matter how you “maximise” your use of clothes, the old photos that you do not understand why it is not in the photo album, the empty pens that you can’t seem to throw away because it is a “souvenir” and you don’t understand why you think that way, the empty bottles of perfumes that is accumulated because the scent lingers and you don’t want to throw them yet ‘just because’. Does the universe understand a lack of reason?
Do we ever get the chance to talk to the universe? Do we get to ask questions? Can we ask when? Can we ask why?
Say, we get lucky and the universe hands us that precious dream, does it also mean it has the right and the capacity to take it away from us? Does it have the power to decide if it was meant to be ours in the first place? I think we all know what the answer to this is, and it’s pretty scary.
See, that’s the reason I have always just been at the shore. Not wanting too much to touch the sea, I keep the desire to conquer the waves but…
And as Mitch Albom said, “All that happens when your dreams come true is a slow, melting realization that it wasn’t what you thought.”. Sometimes, perhaps by not pursuing the dream, we protect it.