April 12

Vortex of Discontent

Screenshot (15)

Insatiable is my middle name.

I’ll suck you dry, take out all forms of your happy nature and lure you in the black hole that never ends. I am the ultimate killer of optimistic spirits, the seed of the greenest forms of envy, and the source of many forms of individual evil.

I have murdered many people with my insidious venom, often making them think that I will bring them what’s best and set them up for what’s worst. I attack unstable people who are unsure of their position. And I strike by taking their Achilles heel and flinging the mess in their face to muddle their views.

I haunt the areas of the online and offline world where people are always one-upping one another: social media sites, college or high school reunions, meetings of a personal and professional kind, and many others. I just stay there and wait for the chance to strike. I make issues out of non-issues and make it as annoying as a toothache in purgatory that never ends.

I look out for the ones with the largest iotas of self-doubt and make them obsessed as I am by pulling them down into this funnel of a vortex that once starts out big and lofty and ends into oblivion. And when the time comes that I have claimed their lives into this hole, it’s too late and there are no ropes with which they can pull themselves out of the mess I instigated and the mess they nurtured with their own dark souls.

I wish people were more mindful of how vicious I am. Because I cannot provide a bright future to even the very best of minds if they get sucked in with my traps. I destroy relationships. I kill integrity of most sorts. I just make sure that the person who keeps striving to reach higher and more for the wrong reasons will end up sinking in this endless succor, recalcitrant to superiors and odious to peers.

Love has no place for the person who seeks the vortex. In his or her mind, the vortex is the only end of life: that vacuum of a pinnacle that is pegged to other people’s achievements and lives.

At the end of life, these cultic members of the vortex will find themselves at a loss, with their life’s ladders resting on the wrong wall but they know it now because the walls have long crumbled.

My name is Vortex. My identity is the element of discontent.

 

 

 

March 26

Board Exam Planning
with World-Saving
Tita Witty

I really wish I met Tita Witty in 2010 when I was reviewing for my board exam. At the time, I was merely using colored paper with lined grids (which I manually drew on the pages) to plan my review topics per day. I needed something with a lot of space where I can plug in a makeshift checklist of topics that I need to tackle for the day, and also a tiny space for appointments or church visits before exam days. If you are suffering from board exam stress and you are not averse to gay lingo in any way, I strongly recommend that you get 365 days of fun with a 400-peso investment called the 2013 Witty will Save the World planner. I swear, this will really help you break the ice and stay sane despite the pressures brought by your exam.

For board exams, I planned my review schedule way in advance. And then I stopped looking at the big picture and doggedly focused on my daily targets until I have finished everything. The coverage of licensure examinations are long and if you look at the big book, you can get disheartened already. It surely helped to make it into “bite-sized” pieces distributed evenly over my daily planner. The habit stayed on until after oath-taking. Until now, in the practice, I still rely on my planner to help me accomplish my deliverables.

In my experience, planners are either cute or functional. Choose one, ditch the other. The functional ones are usually generous in spacing but it’s not as stylish. The cute ones are very attractive but there is not enough space with which I can write my daily activities. And for years, it’s almost an impossibility to hear of funny, functional, and stylish planners. That is, until I met the Witty Will Save the World franchise. It was through my now-deleted Facebook that  I learned of this ultra-witty planner.

(I sorely missed the budget and menstrual trackers of Belle de Jour Planner, my 2012 planner of choice, but I think the humor of Tita Witty was worth it.

After reading various reviews of Tita Witty’s 2013 offering from equally satisfied people in the blogosphere, I decided to text Tita Witty and order one for myself. She shipped the item within less than 24 hours! AMAZING. 🙂

It did not disappoint. (Sorry for image quality but it’s really much nicer in person.)  Here’s a screenshot of the February 13 to 14 spread:

tita witty

I personally had days where I felt like cursing at the world but then, this planner will ask me: “How was your day, ‘te?” and give choices like Haggardo Versoza, Irita Avila, etc. I can’t help but smile despite my bad mood. It’s so interactive and because it’s funny on a day to day basis, I find myself looking at it everyday. I just want to know what Tita Witty has for me that day, slightly resembling equally addicting (but irrational) appeal of daily horoscopes below the comics section of most broadsheet dailies.

It reminds you of important dates and holidays in Mara Clara fashion:

holidays

It was still functional as much as it was entertaining because it allows me to enjoy writing about my day to day memories. The spaces are large enough for diary writing or listing population data, or taking down notes during meetings. Here’s a better quality of pictures from SakuraClover:

image credits go to sakuraclover of tumblr
image credits go to sakuraclover of tumblr

Witty may not save you from your board exam woes, but the laugh trips will make sure you stay sane as you try to achieve your goals… 🙂

There’s still 9 months to avail yourself of daily dose of wit from Tita Witty, and you can purchase this ultra-hip and ultra-funny planner by clicking here.

 

March 3

Goodbye BB

Dear Blackberry,

I know we’ve been through a lot together but I am going to let the younger sister frolic with your ease of use and accessibility to the online world. I already have my Lenovo LePad in case I actually want to try out some apps again in the future, although I must say that my technical pursuits have shifted massively in light of recent events.

I am giving you over to someone young and able to use you as much as I have. I will miss BBM but nothing can change my mind at this point. Facebook is dead. Twitter is inactive. You, Blackberry, are now part of a segment of digital memories I have to do away with this year. My digital overhaul has began, and it cannot continue without expunging the old to give way to the new.

Thank you for almost two years. Push email may get more difficult now that I do not have everything in a single inbox, but for now, I think I can live with it.

All these years, I was lazily plugging away at digital conveniences. Sadly, it was at the expense of my own security and peace of mind. A paradigm shift has occurred and I don’t look at things in the same way again. The old ways have since then stopped working, and I need to face my demons if I want to make it in one piece.

Of course, you will not understand that gibberish. But thanks so much, BlackBerry. I had a happy experience with you 90% of the time. It’s time to let go and go back to the less invasive basics.

Love,
H

April 25

Isang Pirasong Kuwerdas

Lunurin mo ako sa saliw ng iyong musika at sa iyong musika lamang. Ito ang iyak ng pusong pagal na mabagal na humahakbang patungo sa liwanag, ang liwanag na pakiwari ko’y paandap-andap at mabilis ding natatabunan ng lilim ng kaliluan. Isang malaking pagkakamali na paulit-ulit ay nababadha sa aking kabuuan, isang uri ng pagkakamaling pinayagan kong mamanhikan sa aking kalooban. Sa likod ng tabing ng katapangang sumabak at buksan ang sarili para sa iba ay tunay na takot akong masugatan at maiwang mag-isa.

Ako ay nagtatangis sa kadiliman ng paulit-ulit na tugtog ng aking iisang melodiya. Ito ang magarbong tugtog na walang laman kahit ito na ang mistulang tugatog para sa karamihan. Ngunit hindi ito tugatog para sa akin. Isa lamang itong ilusyon na bumubulid sa kaisipan kong hindi naitutok sa tamang lugar. Tigib ako ng pighati sa pagikot-ikot ng mga imahe ng nakaraan, ang nakaraang humigop ng oras dahil sa pilit na pagtugtog sa maling kanta.

Paano nga ba tutugtugin ang tamang kanta kung hindi mo alam ang sariling pagkakahulma at kung para saan ka?

Waring numinipis ang aking kabuuan sa paulit ulit na paggamit, ngunit alam kong nararamdaman ko lamang ito dahil sa kapagalang dulot ng aking pagtingin sa labas ng kaha ng gitara. Sa impit na tugtog ng iisang nota ay nakatago ang mga luha. Bawat isang tipa ay may patak ng dugo at pawis na kasama.

Kadalasan ako ay napipigtas sa tindi ng hagupit sa pagpilit sa maling kanta. Mula sa pigtas na piraso ay aarko na parang bilog– bilog na tanikala na nagsisilbing pambigti sa aking mga pangarap. Ito ang unti-unting pumapatay sa akin.

Ang pinakamalaki kong kalaban ay ang aking sarili, ang masokistang sarili na mahilig pa ring makipagdiyalogo sa mga anino na lumalason at dumudurog sa aking pagkatao.

Lunurin mo ako sa saliw ng akmang tugtog na laan para sa akin. Isama mo ako sa ibang kwerdas na nilikha upang itugtog din ang kantang tanging ako lamang ang maaaring makatipa.

At alam kong sa pamamagitan ng walang maliw na pagtipa na kaalinsabay nila ay hindi ako kailanman mag-iisa para ipakasal sa anino ng walang hangganang dilim.

Pero habang wala pa sila sa aking tabi ay pagsusumikapan kong manatiling unat at nasa tono upang ako ay maging handa sa kanilang pagdating.

Maghihintay ang isang pirasong kuwerdas para sa tamang kanta.  Titiisin ang timyas at sakit ng kawalan ng musika ng isang buong buhay kung ang ibig sabihin naman sa huli ay mahahanap ang tamang kanta na may dalang liwanag na hindi magmamaliw kailanman.

***

(This post is inspired by my perpetual frustration to learn guitar. And it is also further inspired by my seatmate sa ordinary fare bus kaninang umaga na nagtutugtog sa kanyang imaginary guitar. Salamat, kapwa biyahero ng buhay. I will try to learn to play this instrument again.)

April 20

Fate, Time and the Lady in the Music Box

music box

(This I dedicate to all women who were stupid enough to get their hearts broken needlessly. May we find the person who truly deserves us. :-))

The lady in the music box said to Fate:

Fate, turn the tides anew, let your fickleness smile again upon this broken heart. Shine your light once more. I beg you to sing to me the song that I used to play when I was running carefree in the vast desert of my old solitude. Let me forget the song I danced to when he came around to turn my knob and encouraged me to open the box that is my life. I should have known. Why am I so careless?

Why did you, Fate, make me believe that his song was a true anthem that lasts a lifetime and not just another stupid siren hymn that has me crashing in the waves of my delusions?

Fate, I hate you. I hate you so much! You should have told me that he was trouble right from the very first day. I had a hunch that this will not last, but I blindly kept myself dancing to this tune, in vain hopes that he will not treat me in the same way he had treated the others.

Fate answered back:

I can only do so much. You lack logic. You have been so stupid enough to give it the benefit of the doubt. You took a risk in letting him in.

If I may be blunt, do this: Take responsibility, dust yourself off that demise and hold your head high.

You should have taken the hint when he said he treated others in this way.  To him, you were just another music box. You were just another toy to play with while he was on his emotional high, only to discard once he is tired and interested in another. But he did not mean to. That is just the way he is. He is but a child.

You are sweet, gullible and loving. However, you are such a poor judge of who to give your affections to. And so you always set yourself up to be hurt.

But do know that you are not just any toy. He did not mean to hurt you, but he still did. It is right to step out. Let him not hurt you any further. Go away to a far place and let my friend Time do its magic of healing your wounds.

Deep inside, you cry when no one is looking. You cry with giant, fat tears that never reach the eyes. But do not make those tears reach your eyes now even for a second. Because he has already wasted your time and he is not worth another miserable day. Your teardrops are too expensive to offer for a child who did not know the extent of the pain he has caused. Your time is much too precious to waste any further.

The lady in the music box continued to lament to Fate:

Again, I’ve been had by my stupidity. I placed it all on myself. My greatest enemy is myself. I deluded myself into thinking that I am part of the treasure chest that is his heart. I am sick of the same old melody, tired of the standard pirouettes and the all-familiar notes that resonates in the darkness of my soul and lingers long after the song is over. Yet I keep opening up the music box anyway, like I have forgotten how broken this box  gets over and over again.

Fate answered:

You say you are tired of this game, but you always take risks. I cannot believe you. You are never afraid to get this hurt. And each time, you are left to deal with the broken pieces. When will you ever learn your lesson that there are certain types of songs that are not made for you?

Now that you recognize that this song is over for you in this time and season, do your mightiest best not to linger. Move, and move quickly. Depart from the desolation.

Lady, I am sorry for being fickle. But be assured that in this fickleness of mine, I shall smile at you again at the next bend. There will be new songs to dance to and your music box will once again be filled with good things. Cry no longer, for this will all come to pass.

The only mistake you made is that you risked too much for another who was not willing to do the same. Do not take it against you that you know how to love. Because it is that same level of passion which will help you find yourself and reach greater heights.

Then there was silence and the lady in the music box was crying with her invisible tears. She was just looking at the horizon and Fate was just looking over at her and shaking his head.

Time finally spoke to the lady and to Fate:

Lady, I have always come through for you. I have seen the passage of your pirouettes, ascribed the dimension of length to each song and yes, I have helped you heal your wounds. Stop hating Fate. Start loving yourself more.

The road to your life is treacherous, long, and hard but you will succeed. You will forget, transcend, and thrive, even. You are not alone. You are always connected to people in this journey replete with pain, rejection, and setbacks.

I will not come quickly to pick up the pieces for you. I can be very slow and I am so sorry for the torture you will endure while I am not yet there to heal you. You will have a hard time, but it will all be over soon.

When I do come for you in my fullness, you shall be wiser and free. And no matter what fickle Fate throws you in the next song, I am sure you will know what to do.

You are not meant to cry, lady in the music box. You are meant to dance, to face the music and to give good cheer and to hold dearly all the precious things that you can find in this life.

God may have denied you luck in one type of song, and may have denied you a symphony altogether.

But it does not mean He has gone deaf to your needs and to your heart’s deepest desires.

So hold out and keep your head high even if it hurts. The best is yet to come.

The lady in the box waits for Time’s promise. Until then, she faces the sad music and dances with tears that never reach the eyes.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world only sees her twisting and turning in her pedestal. It only hears sweet music that eclipses the anguish and the tears that run freely like torrents in the depths of her heart.

Joy awaits her in the next phase.

January 21

The Pearl Shuts Down on Unthinkable You

pearl

Note: This is an urban inanimism on the emotion of disappointment. 🙂

This world is an oyster in my aloneness. The crushing waves may try to penetrate, but I refuse, all edges tightly clamped and warding out unwanted elements. As a publicly lauded piece of jewelry, you might think you already know everything about me. You might think that the shiny exteriors are all there is to it. Sure, it looks good on a friend’s arm, maybe in your opinion I am some eye candy for you to while away the time with on an otherwise unescorted event. I am no member of vanity fair, although I tend to exude that impression with my smoke and mirrors. I have no beauty secrets. I just have myself, and my shell when strings are not being pulled to tie me to another individual’s whimsical fashion and desires.

You think you already know me from what you have seen on the display? You are so, so wrong, for there is a depth in the bottom of the ocean of these appearances that you need to transcend before you can truly say that you know me. And if you think we are getting close, think again. We are not. Although for a few days I considered trusting you considerably enough, later on I have firmly decided not to let you come any nearer. For a few days, you have gained my confidence. But now, you cannot fool me any longer.

You feel offended, miffed, and betrayed that I kept my distance all of a sudden, you ocean irritant, oh so necessary to help the oyster make a pearl out of me. You were right, I dropped you in mid-air because I sadly found that you are not worthy to be trusted. Your favors were ill-intended, with an invisible string attached to it, ever ready to prey on me and snap me out of my peaceful reverie.

It seems, you do not know yourself too well. You do not know the harm you to do to precious pearls with your unruly way you treat them. You think you are nice. But in reality, you are not. I may not be much in size, but I see things more clearly in the crystal clear waters that wash away your shady intentions. If you can only take time to see your reflection in the water, you will know why I am so disgusted with you, that I cannot even civilly hide it.

Much as I despise the disappointment you have caused, irritants like you are what makes pearls the pearls that they are today. You are not unique. There is so much of you in this world that it actually makes all the numerous silt in the ocean shy away in embarrassment.

I am one of the few who see through all your exterior gestures. It is sad to find that you are one of those earthly presences who hide their deadly daggers in the cloak of goodness. I wish you were more real.

You hit on all pearls like you do basketballs in an arcade. You hope that after wooing all these pearls, one of them will decide to run to your court. The world’s best pearls are meant to be treasured, not crudely lumped together like some form of ornaments for your collection.

My shell is a protective layer that can shut you out anytime, no matter how close you are to getting me. I can let you in one day, and clip your fingers out the next. But I only do that to the people I disgustingly discover to be unworthy of the trust I give them. Most people who get to stay in the oyster zone is embraced for life with a fierce military-like loyalty.

My boundaries are there for a good reason. It refuses to tolerate the slightest bit of taking advantage, explicitly or implicitly. It signals trouble from afar, and does not let the most emotionally harassing ones linger in. Your ostentatious kind gestures ceased to hide the ill intentions you cannot even admit to yourself. No hand washing will take that away unless you take a good look at yourself and actually admit it…

I was born, reared and forced to live a life of pressure from all sides. I already know unnecessary trouble when it rears its ugly head somewhere in my crusty and waterproof fence. I have learned most things the hard way, and I will not let you make me uncomfortable in this oyster of my choosing just because you want me to punish for not dancing to your tune.

If I need to stay 100 feet below the ocean forever just to wait for the diver who will go through hell or high water just to unearth me for the real me, I will do it.

And if I perish for believing that I totally deserve the best and not some artificially squandered show of emotion, then let me perish in that oblivion than have to bear each day putting up with the likes of you.

I am solitary, not desperate. Not like you.

And until you have learned to stop being like that, the shell is clamped shut. I shall endure all external pressures you will place on me while I am here. But you will never get to me.

This world is an oyster in my aloneness. An aloneness that has been firmly chosen in favor for the fake and artifical offerings of an unthinkable you.

December 27

Indayog (A Tagalog Urban Inanimism)

discoball

Backgrounder : I have this category on my blog called Urban Inanimism (see right side of my blog for post categories), the idea of which came from my old wordpress blog in college. The posts involve making inanimate objects talk. So far, I have done it all in English. Planning to do one in French in the far future. Hope this Tagalog debut will not be the last…

***

Ganito mo ako naabutan nung pumasok ka sa makulay kong sayawan. Heto ako noon: maganda, maningning, at masaya sa pedestal na pinaglagyan ko sa aking sarili.

Pinilit mo akong angkinin sa panahong hindi ko na gustong magpaangkin kahit kanino. Dumating ka sa puntong kuntento na ako sa pagiging mag-isa. Inimpluwensyahan mo ang mga desisyon kong manahimik sa solitaryo kong pamumuhay. At nagpumilit kang pumasok sa sayawan. Dinaan mo ako sa dalaw, sa pagpapakitang mahusay kang magbigay ng mga bagay.

Ngunit habang pinalapit kita ng pinalapit sa akin, unti-unti mo akong sinakal. Hindi mo ako gustong ibahagi kahit sa ibang taong nangangailangan ng tulong ko. Sinarili mo ako ng matagal na panahon. Ginawa mo akong de susing makina na susunod lang sa lahat ng gusto mo.

Halos masira ang ulo ko noon. Hindi mo ako pinagkakatiwalaan kahit na wala naman akong ipinapakitang masama sa iyo. Sinumbat mo pa ang mga dating sumayaw sa buhay ko. Ni hindi mo naisip na pinaalis ko na nga lahat sa entablado para mapapasok ka lang sa buhay ko.

Marami ng nakasira sa akin noon. Pero sa lahat, ikaw ang pinakamalala dahil ikaw ang pinagkatiwalaan ko ng lubos. At ang dami kong binago sa sarili ko, mapasaya ka lang. Hindi na nga ako disco ball nung naghiwalay tayo. Hindi ko na alam kung ano ako, palagay ko naging karugtong na lang ako ng perpeksiyonistiko mong pananaw sa buhay. Kung buhay pa nga bang matatawag ang impyernong iyon.

Ang malaking kasalanan ko lang sa sarili ko ay hinayaan kitang lumapit. Dinalhan ng dusa ang aking sarili sa walang pakundangang pagpatay-sindi mo sa buhay mo. Nilinlang ako ng kadilimang nagtatago sa katalinuhan ng pantas. Nalilo ako upang maniwala na karagdagang liwanag ang dala mo. Isang makislap na pambalot ka lang pala ng regalo na walang laman.  Kinuha mo pa ang kung anumang kakarampot na liwanag na mayroon ako sa buhay ko.

Isang araw, namalayan ko na lang na ayoko na ng ganitong buhay. TAMA NA ANG PAGSAYAW MO SA BUHAY KO. Sumira ka ng bagay na hindi mo naman pala kayang ayusin. Kahit anong pagsisisi pa ang ipakita mo ngayon ay wala ng talab. Patay na ang mga ilaw. Sira na ako. Sira na tayo.

Sumambulat ang buo kong pagkatao at kumubli ang mga basag na piraso sa ningning ng ilaw ng mga katawang nagsasayawan. Nanatili ako sa mga dating ginagawa. Hindi na ako nagpapahalatang basag para hindi maalarma ang ibang sumasayaw sa mundo ko. Pinipilit pa ring magbigay-liwanag sa kabila ng lahat. Hindi mo man alam, naging sakim ka sa liwanag na winasak mo at halos wala ng natira sa akin noon. Hindi mo lang alam, pero baka sarado na ang sayawan ng buhay ko dahil binomba mo ng walang kapantay na sakit ang mga mekanismong bumubuhay dito.

Napilitan lang akong paalisin ka, kahit sinanay mo akong nandiyan ka. Ginawa ko iyon para mabuhay naman ako– para mahanap ko ang mga basag na aspeto ng sarili kong nagkalat sa lapag ng kaguluhan at kalituhan. At ito na ako ngayon:

Maganda pa rin naman ako, pero hindi na buo sa loob. Hindi na halos makaakyat pabalik sa pinanggalingan kong pedestal. Pedestal na winarak mo para sa pansarili mong interes. At sa gitna ng lahat ng sumabog kong kalooban, pinipilit kong bumangon at ayusin ang lahat ng mag-isa. Maaari akong magpatawad sa pagkayurakan mo sa pagkatao ko, sa pagpapadilim mong muli ng dating tahimik na mundo ko.

Pero ang magkunwaring parang wala lang ang lahat at panatilihin kang sumasayaw sa buhay ko kung kailan mo gustong sumulpot ay hindi ko na maaatim pa… Sa pagsara ko ng pinto sa iyo, umaasa akong maibabalik ko ang sarili ko sa dati kong masiglang pamumuhay.

Pasensya na dahil isa lang akong bolang bilog na madaling mabasag kahit ang nakikita lamang sa akin ay ang walang maliw na kutitap. Ni hindi ko na maaninag ang bilog ko ngayon. Pakiwari ko’y nilamon na ako ng mundo at wala talaga akong permanenteng hugis. Kahit ano pang sabihin mong pakunswelo ngayon, dumidilim at napupundi rin ang kahit anong makislap na ilaw. At pag-alis ng mga bisitang napaligaya at napagsilbihan ng aking ilaw sa araw-araw, dinadalaw ako ng luha, pagkahapo at matinding panaghoy.

Hindi ko na maibabalik ang panahon.

Hindi ko na maibabalik ang dating indayog ng mapagtiwalang disco ball.

Malamang lang, mag-iiba na ako ng negosyo. Tapos na ang pagiging disco ball ko. Natuto ako ng husto. Hindi dapat ipinauubaya ang indayog ng kaluluwa sa mga taong nagdudunung-dunungan lamang.

Iiwan na din kita sa memorya ng dating buong liwanag na sinabog mo sa kawalan.

At sana, hindi na ito maulit kailan pa man.