I Play You – You See Me

A lot of the stuff of social media is mostly about posturing. I’m not even sure what it’s for anymore lately. Like–even if you started out actually liking yourself for the day, a short trip down your newsfeed will make you doubt that feeling a little bit. (It’s probably not going to be an overt feeling–just a deadening of a few love-yourself embers, but it can still be felt.)

So you post in return to feel better for a bit.

 

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“What is Wrong With You?”

Some nights are welcome

Others are dark and starless

Stretching out like a void

 

Sometimes people can be unexpectedly harsh. So much so that I have reverted back to see what words have grown out of the mire in my head. You know they do not mean it, it could be just a reflex–maybe they do not want to allow your quirks into their brains, or maybe they have a bias against your type of personality, or (more likely) maybe they simply want to feel better about themselves at the closest chance. Your mind can try to unhook all the tiny emotional barbs..but it still hurts the same.

Please try to be kinder to others.

Pursuit.

There is something about silence that awakens the soul. As if in that dimension, the air has cleared and your thoughts ring true. But silence here in the city is a pitiful thing. It is far from healing and tends to constrict and isolate–at least, that is how it feels to me.

A friend had told my mother of a place in Baguio that holds silence very much sacred. We brought our painting materials (the creation never ceases to inspire) and set out at dawn.


Some photographs I took:

Pine tree, rosemary, and a particularly moody afternoon.

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A sampling of the wonderful and strange flora in the area. My mother is quite certain that the purple flower is a double gumamela (and my favorite).

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Went downtown and bought a dragonfruit to share.

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I did have my moments of weakness–after all, I am not very used to prolonged solitude. Logging on to facebook compulsively, I found myself lost again and again in the needless voyeurism of other people’s lives on the news feed. It took a very conscious effort to turn away.

On our last morning, I had the chance to converse with a father from an apostolic vicariate in the province of Calapan (incidentally, he was spending his birthday at the retreat). A strange experience, but not in a bad way, no. It is…rare to find a person soulful enough to unabashedly say ” God’s creation is wonderful” to a stranger, and not from a pulpit, not as a religious authority, but simply as a fellow child admiring his Father’s handiwork.

He offered to take a photo of me on my camera (in case I do not have one yet), and I requested to be among my favorite flowers. You cannot see it in the photo, but my soul was smiling as well.

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By the way, the place we encountered is called Mirador Jesuit Villa. Here is an excerpt of the write up by H. de la Costa, S.J.:

“..Men and women who want time to think, time to reflect on what they are, what they must be or do come here, to this quiet hill beneath a quiet heaven: to reflect, to pray, to observe the signs of our troubled, yet immensely hopeful, times; to open windows to even broader horizons.

And so Mirador is still what it was in the beginning: an observatory, a point of vantage. And if this House could speak, perhaps this is what it would say to you: Look out of my windows and try to extend your vision beyond the Gulf of Lingayen to all of Asia. Try to make out more clearly what God’s plan for all these peoples is, and for all those who–like yourself–seek nothing else but to be of service to man.”

Til we meet again, Mirador 🙂

Sumo.

Someone once told me that I’m too attached to my dog. I think it’s true to say that I am very attached to Sumo, and I can’t imagine working or living in any other country simply because I’ll be leaving him behind (although I know I’m not the only one who feels this way about their pet). Well, what can you do when a puppy grows up to fill all the voids in your soul?

I can’t explain how I came to perceive such a bond. If you have a pet, you might also feel the same at some level? But if I had to put it to words, I would say that I believe he has one of the purest souls I have (in my limited experience) ever encountered. His expressions, autistic tendencies, and everything else that constitutes him all respond to our love and affection. He delights us with his intelligence (I have read somewhere that they are the equivalent of a human two-year old). Despite his penchant for barking at strangers, he never really means any harm. And overall we just find him irresistibly adorable. On top of all the graces God has provided, I will be sure to give Him an extra thank-you (or exuberant hug) someday for bringing Sumo to our daily life.

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A Little Too Old to be Me.

I think we remember this too well:

“When we get lost, the safest thing to do is to stay put.”

Maybe at some point between thumb-sucking-hood and adulthood, grown-ups have forgotten to tell us that it isn’t applicable anymore. That we can take it when we get lost. That you don’t have to always stick with the familiar in order to survive. 

Also, today while cooking rice in the lake-hut kitchen, my mom suddenly said:

“It is true, a watched pot doesn’t boil. When you leave things be, they just happen.” I told her that I’ve always thought it was a literal kind of saying…that indeed when you watch a pot intently and wait for it to boil, it takes a really really long time. And she told me that it’s a saying about life. 

When do you get to the point where you understand the metaphor of life in everything?

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One time, my mother and I drove BeepBeep to work. The perk of this activity is (besides her not having to commute) that we get permission to trespass on the area developed by the Ayala gods specifically for their overworked robots employees. You will not believe that this hidden world, granted only to a few buildingful of people, has a pristine lake with a fountain in the middle, giant plants, a type of bird I have never seen before in real life, rare fruit trees, giant bumblebees, and ducks. Well, the ducks are sort of a public spectacle. They cross the man-made stream and make their way to the restaurants for crumbs left by customers.

As we were walking along the path, we met a group of them sitting on the grass. We took out our cameras and approached them slowly so we can take a close shot. The nearest one stood up and started waddling towards us. Eventually, ALL of them stood up and started waddling quickly towards us. It got horrifying fast. So my mom and I began jogging backwards for our life (we weren’t leaving without a picture, even if we had to face a mob of hungry ducks), and here I leave you with three of them.

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Usually on Saturday mornings, my sister and I head to the market and buy a week’s worth of food. To be honest, ever since the first time my mother bribed us to do this chore every week, it’s been vaguely traumatic and fascinating at the same time (it reminded my of my first experience riding a bus, actually. See frantic thoughts here:  http://digispora.blogspot.com/2009/10/wish-you-were-here.html)

I don’t really remember for how long we’ve been doing this already, but it never gets better, mostly when you are in the meat section. There are parts you cannot name, unless they are alien innards (like a giant pale brown tadpole as tall as a small child, and it has bones). And there are sights you cannot un-see (skinned heads of what I assume to be goats’, halved–the eyeballs are the least painful to look at, if you accidentally looked at it).

I’m going to leave you with a sketch I just had to get out of my system. Unfortunately you are the closest thing I have to an outlet.

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Those are pig faces, by the way. Like from the basement of sick pig-serial killers (which we are, by the way) or from some storybook aimed at piglets telling them to choose safe sheltered lives close to their pig parents. Whatever.

PS. I couldn’t draw the goat heads with the eyeballs. I try to pretend they don’t exist.

Lately the TV and the Internet Can’t Help But Drone On and On.

We left the place tender-eyed and somewhat raw. It is a little overwhelming when

1. somebody of the same age as you had died, especially when you’re only in your 20’s

2. you hear the personal account of somebody who was there when it happened

3. once again death passes by a little to close

Throughout the wake I could not stop crying. With my dad’s death about 10 years ago, it’s hard not to relive the emotions and realize that they are feeling something painfully similar. They’ll be okay.

We went home at around midnight and stopped by McDonald’s (tradition calls for a stop-over before heading home). D picked me up and met my high school friends for the first time in the longest time. He with his guitar-marked fingers and they with their solemn shirts. At some point I asked if they were still going to stay awhile, and it somehow ended up with all of us leaving.

We headed home and to be perfectly honest I was just glad he was there. I think death kind of does that.

I Gave In.

There is that feeling sometimes that you’ve ruined something good

Something that was just about to reach

That moment that you’ve been holding your breath for

And now there’s nothing but the hope-turned-missiles

That come down on all the other desperate halfway thoughts.

Spaces.

We are soft bodies on hard streets

Heads down in the street lights

Lost raindrops in the gutters

Skins among the iron and asphalt

Molding cities with the little things we know

Warming the air in our small perimeters

Desperately hanging on to every word

That may have meant that we

Might exist in someone’s eyes

And are loved.