The Genuinely Wonderful Things

There are two brand-related articles that I need to piece together today, and I am in this process of free writing and decompressing my thoughts before I prepare for these two and other “adulting” errands that I need to run today. One of my recent hobbies is cursive writing or resurrecting my natural penmanship through writing instruments like brush pens and calligraphy pen holders. A more awesome and portable addition to this humble collection is the Jinhao 500 ivory medium fountain pen for beginners recommended by Jillian and Keshia of Everything Calligraphy. Just holding it and gliding the tip of this pen on paper makes me feel like every word I write is worth a million bucks. I’m converted after being initiated in this wonderful world of fountain pens, and I am even using it for basic jotting down of notes and filling out of forms (as long as the paper GSM can handle it).

Jinhao-500-ivory-pen

Writing really inspiring messages or words using this nice pen filled with iron gall purple ink has turned into a hobby. This particular quote I wrote on my 80 GSM book paper notebook is one of the most inspirational ones I have seen online this month and it’s worth highlighting:

Jinhao-500-Fountain-Pen-ivory-design-iron-gall-ink-qotd

I had to make a lot of tough personal choices this year. One of them involved the direction I wanted to take professionally. I was cruising along in my comfort zone, finances were somehow sufficient, fun was always in the corner, and despite my simple life, it’s still far from subpar circumstances I had in life before.

My initial plans in 2015 did not pan out at all. Today is totally different from my expectations. But I am grateful that things turned out this way instead of what I had in mind. In a world of practicality, being genuine was a tough and expensive thing. When I was young, I think I already knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. But I always considered other people’s needs, other people’s expectations, and other people’s dreams for me.

A month ago, someone just one year older than me died of an uncontrollable illness. Her death jolted me to what matters to me, and solidly drove home the important concept that there are no rewinds. Every single day that I postpone the actionable things that will allow me to accomplish my dreams is a wasted and irreversible day. Based on that single standard alone, I have been wasting my time for a very long time now. 

A week after that, I took a leap of faith and suddenly took baby steps in the direction of my dreams. And I found it amazing that the doors just opened for me, welcoming me as if to tell me: “Where the hell have you been and what took you so long to acknowledge that this is what you need to do with your life?” All this time, it was right under my nose and I kept insisting that I fit my square peg in the world’s round hole. The moment I stopped basing my life decisions with other people’s grand ideas was the moment I started to live genuinely. I am my own person now. I am 30, what I want is crystal clear, and I am walking–nay running– towards it.

Now that I have found the things I genuinely want, I am gripping it tight and writing constantly to remind myself how hard it was to gain these insights and how ferociously I should guard them now that I have them.

Apart from these, I also made personal choices to just SAY NO to things I don’t like. I said no to people, event, and things that do not contribute to my well-being. I block off my own negative train of thoughts. I detect the triggers and firmly tell myself: you’re not going in that direction again.

This is the best part: I get to start over. Picking up the pieces after last year’s ground zero is extremely difficult. But somehow I made it. The world did not necessarily run out of problems to give me. As we speak, there are large personal challenges looming before me and my family. I am potentially dealing with major and life-changing losses. But somehow, I am managing it much better that I did before. Something in my mindset has changed me permanently. And it was a good change.

Since I had space in my life for new and better experiences and relationships, the details are happily working itself out. I was able to see the best in people and this brought out the very best version of me. It was not like before where every single day was a crazy hustle for survival, where I always look on people with guarded suspicion and a general instinct to keep myself in my shell. It’s still a struggle for daily survival but somehow I already gained the muscles and the mindset to keep going. My pace has been established. And even if it’s a very small or invisible accomplishment by the world’s standards, I know that I have made genuinely good progress in my unique race in this life. After all, you cannot make an impact or change other people’s lives if you do not begin the hard work inside of yourself.

I know that I could not have made it without my husband’s support, without the genuine desire to change things. I now fully believe that when you have the best intentions and you do your best to execute these intentions properly no matter what curveball is thrown, the world takes care of all your needs and points you to the right direction in a way that’s impossible to miss.

So, here’s a personal blog post to mark new beginnings, the pursuit of my most authentic life dreams, and the vice-like grip I have on the genuinely wonderful things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penmanship and Other Stories by Butch Dalisay

“He opened his book and stared at the margins and his forefinger traced the squiggle of her laughter there.”
-from the short story At the Booklaunch by Jose  Y. Dalisay.

There are no introductions needed for a writer of Butch Dalisay’s stature.

penmanship-short-stories,butch-dalisay

 

I held a copy of this book at the bedside table the dawn after our 1st wedding anniversary while playing an acoustic Spotify playlist. I think I played the “Your Favorite Coffee Shop” playlist with 1.2 million followers.

Like the refreshing and happy day that came before it, this book did not disappoint. I devoured each page hungrily and wondered why it was priced at 80 pesos in an SM Taytay book sale.

Have I gone ancient or did I somehow find the elixir of bookstores that showcase award winning Filipino authors at such proletarian rates? I mean, it was on that same pile that I found an anthology of one-act plays that are Palanca-awarded priced at less than 80 pesos!

This book is worth so much more than the price tag on it. I marveled at the innuendoes that never happened yet happened in Matilda’s Dessert, the impending doom and danger that beheld Protacio in Delivery, the sort of perverted betrayal in Ybarra, and the very delectable stupor that the Author faced in At the Booklaunch which had a humor that will not be lost to grammar nazis. Of course, there’s the landmark story Penmanship which really indicated the writer’s deep interest for fountain pens. He practically romanticized the pen and surrounded it with people.

“He caught a blob of ink on the tip of the nib with his thumb. Old pens did that, when they were nearly empty, or when you took them up in airplanes, not having been designed to fly… The Parker Vacumatic glinted in the room light, poised to strike. It was ringed with bands of gold, and promised a wealth of words. The merest pressure on its nib could deepen an emotion.”

My breath caught in each line. I was in deep awe of how solidly it was written. There was so much respect after I finished reading it. One and a half sitting (and I can’t tell you what brought about the half sitting here!)… It was simple, but one would know the painstaking expertise it took to craft the words in such a manner, to paint landscapes without going technical over the details, and to just evoke emotions out of something as unobtrusive as an ancient fountain pen.

You don’t usually find beautiful words like that lying around. They’re usually sought in hidden independent bookstores or at the obscure shelves that are reserved for the curious.

And this book slowly eased me back to my reading habit. It’s not the one I picked up in college for completing requirements. It’s the one I had as a little girl when I had the flashlight in my hand in the middle of the night while my mom thought I was sleeping. Those were the days when you don’t label things you enjoy.

They always knew how I’d sneak past my bedtime with my books. And at this point, my husband of one year has gotten used to me sleeping with him on one side and around five books on the other. These days, I added the DSLR camera for my daily practice– a piece of advice from a nice person named Arasacha who takes such good photos.

I wrote about the book first but of course, it does not eclipse the beauty of having hit the first year with my husband last Friday. Our first wedding anniversary was an amazing experience. It’s a good and beautifully marked punctuation to the love story that’s still ongoing. Wish I had the skill of the fountain pen to articulate how beautiful he is to me. He does not seem to be aware of how many wonderful things he has done for me and what discoveries we’ve had in exploring each other up close even if we basically did not travel beyond the country. There will be a time for that.

There’s this book review, and then there are other things I need to do so let this be it for now. I plan to update this blog a bit more frequently but like being in a playground, there’s a set timer to how much you can indulge without feeling the bulge of unproductive guilt. 🙂