Posted in #Love, Friendship, Missing, philippines, Relationships

Long For You, No More

I know,  I know. It’s been a while that I have been ignoring writing. Aside from being busy with my new career as a teacher,  I have also been so lazy for these past many months. Also,  you might not forgive me because this post is going to be sad and angry and anything else that I feel nowadays. But,  in any matter, I hope this reminds you and inspires you to be a good friend. 

This is for you to really cherish those who really stayed and kept in touch despite the lost times and the distance. 

Recently,  I booked a flight to one of my much-awaited travels in the Philippines. I have always wanted to visit El Nido and Coron,  and since a friend got the chance to book a promo,  I dug it and planned out every single detail of it.  So,  it’s done. Of course,  I did not forget to invite other friends especially those who I really miss and with whom am willing to spend the fun. A lot of them declined, as usual, for reasons which are understandable like financial issues, family-first, school,  work,  etc. I am totally fine by it. So,  it’s me again and my boyfriend and two more of my closest friends. 

Just yesterday,  something came up. A friend’s company is treating them to an island tour just in our locality and they’ll be staying there overnight. An idea popped into my head and I felt like I dominated him in anyway because he said something that really offended me, as a friend. I just wanted to hitch-hike on their boat that would take them to the island. I plan on staying out of his group’s way when we get to the island because honestly,  I just want to see the place, besides it a win-win,  they get less for their fare because they have more people to divide their payments with and I can hop on their ride to the beach. But it seemed like, I was just forcing my idea on him and he didn’t like that. However, since he can’t afford to tell me to get off his back like blatantly, he passed it unto a joke, in which I got the hint. And it sounded nasty to me that I almost choked with embarrassment for being that one friend who always forces herself to others. 

Maybe, just as usual for a sensitive me, I just took his words too much. Maybe I let it get into my head,  when I should not. But I realized many things regarding our friendship because of that. 

Ever since,  I have always been the “clingy friend”. In fact,  when we graduated from college, I had a really hard time accepting the real world. A month after, I impulsively took on a job in a Catholic school,  which I wasn’t prepared with and it was a 3-hour drive away from home. I had to work in a confined office space,  just me a lonely internet-less computer. Of course,  since the place is far, I had to stay in a boarding house. Others might think it’s fun,  more freedom and opportunity to grow as a person,  but it was different for me.

 It drove me nuts, I still think that because of that experience,  I suffer from a highly-functioning depression.

During the ordeal,  I cried at night when the lights are off and I thought about them. I cried in the morning thinking that there I was,  working in an unlikely and unhappy place and again thought of them. I got so attached to them that I never learned how to let go. I sent them text messages and calls that went unanswered. I told them how I miss them terribly. I tried everything to reach out but they just went out like that.  It was worse than a break-up and it was too much for my little heart to take. 

And so,  after two months,  I quit my job and went back to live in the city with ny parents. But they noticed behavioral changes in me. I slept early and woke up late. My father would nag that I was better when I was still in college because I helped out with the household chores. I drank too much,  gone home later nights until I can no longer feel things. It even took a toll on my romantic relationship. I was lost. I lost. 

Now, it has been what, four years?  A lot of things have changed. Many of them are working hard for their dreams, some even have themselves a family. I honestly am happy for them. But things for me haven’t changed much. I still excited when I hear someone is coming home or visiting the town.  I am always the one to set up dates and meet-ups, inserting myself into their hectic schedules. Sometimes,  meet-ups happen,  but most often than not,  I get rejected. 

Not until recently my boyfriend asked me,  “Why do you get excited to meet people who are not even thrilled to see us? ” And it hit me. 

I have to grow up. I cannot continue being like this,  expecting from them and being hurt when things don’t go with how I want them to. I started to question my attachment styles and how I am as a person. I don’t want tk think I am unlovable because I definitely am. I have other circles and I can hang out with them anytime. I know,  the fault is not with me. 

It’s just,  maybe I need to move on now. 

I need to accept the fact that people change, and feelings too. Things are not how they used to be and they will never be the same. My friends have grown and they are currently living their lives,  without me,  without the us in it. I need to set them free and stop being selfish. I should stop forcing my travel plans to them (that includes my boyfriend).  I should stop forcing myself to them. 

I should stop calling on people and being excited about seeing them and spending lost times with them when they don’t share the same passion with me anymore. 

Friendship is hard when it’s not being reciprocated, just like love.

I don’t hate them. Maybe I just found enough reasons to let them go,  learn to chill on my own and just be happy for everyone,  including myself. 

  

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Posted in #Love, Family, Uncategorized

A Family Tree with Adjectives

November 1, 2016

Today is All Saint’s Day. I always look forward to this day because aside from the fact that I get to visit my dead relatives’ graves, I also get to see the ones who are still alive. I seldom get to meet with them because of a lot of reasons, so this is the only probable time. The family’s long-time tradition was to meet each other up at our Lola’s grave (which is also the place where a cousin, two grandfathers, an aunt and an uncle are rested, all from my father’s side) that is guarded by two huge bamboo trees on both sides somewhere south of the Alang-Alang Cemetery. So, we usually sit under the shade and share lunch. If there was no food, we would all go to one Mrs. Pataňo’s canteen and rent a table for a small gathering. We would usually share some kilos of Lechon Baboy and share stories of the dead ones while drinking Tuba.

I said “was” because for two years now, this has stopped being a tradition. For two consecutive years of November 1s, we stopped digging this reunion thing. I am not sure when it all started, but we don’t wait up for each other anymore under the bamboo trees nor go to Mrs. Pataňo’s canteen to eat together. Now, all we did was go to the graves and light up our candles, stand for several minutes while whispering our own prayers and abruptly bid our goodbyes to the souls.

I saw some of my cousins, aunts and uncles today but we didn’t invite each other for lunch. Everyone was in a hurry to go somewhere else. I was a bit disappointed but I guess, being surprised would be the last thing that I need to be.

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I hail from a huge and not so wealthy family. For all of my life, I never denied this reality to myself and to a lot of the people. My grandparents from both sides were farmers, until their deaths. Theirs were the generation that was taken away by World War II. Lola Maring often told us stories about the Japs and how they poisoned them by feeding them with Kurot (a type of root crop which was edible but needs to be meticulously prepared to wash away its fatal toxins) and how the red necks get drunk from drinking tuba and how they all hide from bullets and bombs when these people blasted each other away.

After the war, they plowed, watered and planted on lands which never became theirs. Sending the kids to school was the greatest challenge. Food was precious and prioritized especially with the growing family so the kids almost never went to college, not until they work their own asses off to send themselves to school. At that time, province life was unimaginable. Life was hard, money was rare.

Among my father’s 11 siblings, (2 of whom were stillborn while one uncle died because of ignorance and slightly from acute appendicitis at the age of 18 years) only one finished college and became a teacher. One of his brothers went abroad to find a greener pasture, one remained in the barrios to become a farmer while one is a fruit-vendor. His eldest sister (who died at the age of 70 something) married an uncle who worked in a ship, the teacher married a security personnel and the other one went to Cavite to create a family of her own. My father who was the youngest first fell in love with his music. He went all over the place playing the guitar and Ukulele with his band. He was supposed to become a veterinarian when he met my mother. He quit school during his third year in college and married Nanay. He then became a professional auto mechanic.

My biological mother was the second to the last one from a siblings of five. Between our parents, we (their children) are closer to Papa’s side than that of Nanay’s. So, there is only a diminutive things to say here about the whereabouts of her other three siblings. I’ve heard little rumors like that of their eldest sister dying from a heart attack back in 2014, and her older brother who has successful children. But never have I heard from the aunt who went to Australia and never came back even after the death of Lola Ising. I don’t know where the youngest went or whether he is still alive. We have this aunt though who got married but never had any children. I am not pretty sure if it was by choice or something else. When my parents separated, this aunt fought for our custody but it never worked out. After the ordeal, Nanay died from an illness (I was seven then) and instead of having us, she got Nanay’s part on their 60 hectare-ancestral lands and now farms it. I remember when we were kids, during summer, our aunt would usually send us boxes of sweet Lansones. But now, I have no idea whatever happened to the trees because no more boxes are coming in. Papa says she already sold the lands, which is quite disappointing because technically, it was ours. We could have been rich by now. *Haha. My old man also says that among us, I have my mother’s face and laugh. My mother died at the age of 32 from intense stubbornness and as typical with unhealthy people, a little of her illness.

My stepmother (the one who took care of us like her own children when my father married her after the death of Nanay) has the strangest story among all of them. According to her, she was adopted by her grandparents and took their last name because her mother (whom she called Ate) got pregnant while under the influence of Gayuma (love potion) by her late father. So obviously, the relationship didn’t work out when her mom woke up from the magical love affair, and she became an unwanted baby. So her Lola took her instead. She never met her father. She found out about the truth when she was I think 12 or 15, I’m not sure anymore. After the revelation, her mother took her in and sent her to college. She finished Commerce but never (even once) did she became an employee of any office. She was once offered to work in a bank, but then she already met Papa who by then was 33 and they had a month old baby and she can’t afford to be away from her daughter, even just the thought of leaving brought huge tears to her eyes. So, she remained to become a housewife to a man who has three children from a previous wife ever since she was 25 years old.

All of my three parents had their fair share of hardships and difficulties, as with my aunts and uncles from both side. Theirs was a life that was hard and where money was rare unless you go to Manila to look for a brighter future. Especially after they have decided to make their own families and create their own stories.

The more we know, the more we know that we do not know. These stories are just the tip of the ice berg. It’s nice though to hear stories from my parents as I have yet to tell and finish my own. I still have a long way to go, our stories will still become more colorful and longer as we go along this journey as a family, but I hope that the traditions will never cease. I long for that day when all of us will be in a single place, everyone, from my parents and siblings to my cousins and their parents and their great grandchildren.  It would be nice to see and hear their own versions of these stories and their own anecdotes as well.

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I hope next year, we will all wait up for each other again and eat our lunches all together under the bamboo trees where our roots lay as one and tell each other our own stories…

-m

Posted in #Love, Uncategorized

My Funny and Awkward Love Affairs

My love stories are weird. I mean, now that I think about them, I sometimes cringe at the embarrassing moments and just wish to disappear right here and now or wish that it is just me who remembers awkward stuff and all, but of course, there were also fun times to be thankful about.

When I was in high school, I fell in love with a brown, good-looking boy who was taller than me, who was excellent in Algebra and was a national volleyball player. He was my first love and it was unexpected because among the boys in my class, I hated him the most. Everything that I was good at he was always better at them. He was one of my greatest competitors since he was also good in class, in sports, in dancing, in playing the guitar…even in playing chess. Aside from that, he was my biggest bully in school. Never did a day pass that he won’t throw a mean comment at me or piss me off with his a tease.

But one day, I was surprised to see him following me while I was halfway to our home. He confessed his feelings for me, said he wanted me to be his girlfriend. At first, it was funny and awkward because we were standing in front of a gasoline station and “Gugmang Giatay” was playing in the background. I don’t know what went up to me, maybe he primed me for a long time and I agreed, in one condition: No One Has To Know. But the affair lasted for only less than 24 hours because the following morning, I noticed that my aunt, who was one of our teachers also discerned that we were leaving imaginary hearts all over the place and sending them to each other and that we were so inseparable. So I went up to him and broke up with him. At first, it was hard. I liked him but I couldn’t afford to let people know because my parents were strict and I saw how my older sister got punished for having a boyfriend when she was still in high school. You know the feeling of loneliness when you can’t see him anywhere in school, and how his smell made your heart flutter and you did your hair to make him notice you? You know, the typical high school love stories/drama.

After a year, he dated one of my best friends. That was fine because I already moved on from him. I was happy for them. He became one of my closest friends until college happened, he didn’t take the UPCAT which I believed he would have passed with flying colors. That really sucked. Now he has a girlfriend who asked him to unfriend us all in Facebook and well, we rarely talk or see each other. But good thing, he found his wavy career today. He’s a proud and hardworking marine man.

Then in college, I met this beautiful young lady with whom I also fell in love with but she was obviously out of my league. She was a rich kid, extremely free-spirited and lovable. I knew that when we started dating, she was still in the process of fixing her broken heart from a man she… well I really don’t know the story, I’m just telling this out from my past observations.

We were from the same activists’ organization in UP and it all started with a tease then followed by a day when we agreed to be each other’s girlfriends. We lasted for nine months but she had to join a fraternity and we drifted apart because we had little time for each other. Many people especially those who knew us were surprised that we dated each other because we were pretty girls, you know and they didn’t expect us to be bisexuals and sometimes there were people who asked us who was the “boy” between us and I couldn’t understand it because there was ultimately no boy between us. We dated because we liked each other, just as simple as that.

I remember when she broke up with me, I had to run to a comfort room and cried the entire afternoon there. She said I was a good friend and she didn’t want to lose me but I ended up vomiting every piece of my pride so I ignored her in school until the day I was able to move on. My friends thought I was overreacting, but damn did it hurt. So apparently, we really drifted apart. I lost her not just as a romantic partner but also as a good friend. I should be excused, I was immature back then. I don’t know, but now that I think about it, it’s true that it is one heck of an awkward situation and a huge embarrassment to send drunken texts and dramatic love shiz to an ex especially if you broke up like 3-5 months ago.  I think I have sent her a million drunken texts after we have broken up. So ew of me. The typical awkward/embarrassing college love affair.

Currently, I am dating this lovely man I met in college. We were  best friends (well not until when were in 2nd year) and he had a difficult past relationship that made him cry rivers in my shoulders for a gazillion times. After several struggles, dramatic on and off, ugly beginnings and bitter moments, as of now we’re together for almost 5 years and one of the most memorable thing (yet) that happened to us was the day we met after typhoon Haiyan destructed and killed thousands in our home town.

So the story goes like this with the setting: 2 days after Typhoon Haiyan. Of course, people were walking past me and I could hear them saying that Marasbaras (the place where he lives) was also submerged in seawater and there were a lot of dead people in Dolina (their subdivision).  I was already praying to God to keep his soul because I knew, and I experienced Haiyan’s  wrath and I lost people I loved, people I was fond of and it was possible that he too was already gone.

So for 2 days, I cried and prayed. I kept on sitting outside the house of my father’s friend who took us after Haiyan robbed our home, and I looked into every passersby’s face, hoping that one of them could be his’. Then on the 3rd day, my father decided that we will walk to our municipal town which was an hour away from the city through a vehicle and maybe a half to one day if taken by foot. We had no other option, we will starve in Tacloban. So we started walking – past the rubbles, the dead bodies in the street, the zombie-like people who have also nowhere to go, the crying women- under the rain and the sun with nothing but our clothes which we have worn since day 1. we kept on going and dragged our injured bodies home.

Then while we were still on our way, as we were passing by Robinsons’ (the town’s biggest mall) with the roads crowded with looters of all ages and types, my older sister abruptly said she saw him. She said and I quote “Adto man hi JG.” She said this so casually that it appeared to me that maybe she didn’t notice me crying my eyes out for the past 48 hours that we have been together for thinking that maybe I have lost this boy, too.

So, then after she said that, my eyes automatically scanned for him in the crowd and there he was, walking like a ghost with his black boots and his shorts folded up to his knees and his eyes were distant and his hairy face darker than usual…and suddenly he looked my way. I have never believed in love at first sight but during that time it was like we were in the movies! Everything was in slow-motion as he started his way to me, he couldn’t believe his eyes (wow, I’m such a creative writer!) then he hugged me. I hugged him back while sheepishly smiling and thanking God he was alive. Apparently, he also thought that all of us were dead because just right after the typhoon or maybe a day after, he walked from his place to check on us and all he saw what’s left to survive was our toilet bowl which sat on the septic tank, ostensibly enduring the waves.

Then minutes after our dramatic scene, my father interrupted and said (and I quote) “Uyab mo?” and I saw in his face something which was…uhm you know, fathers-know-best-face. That was waaaaay too awkward for me to be describing here. But I didn’t really care even if I felt like melting because, hey my lover’s back from the dead! Then this “boyfriend of mine” walked with us until we reached Dolina and I told him to go back to his mom because apparently he was walking with us maybe until we reached our destination. So, again we parted ways.

That moment is still obviously one of the best moments of my life despite everything that has happened to us during that difficult and trying times. I am actually thinking of sending this to Ate Charo, and the title would be “Boots”.

It’ true that love has its ways. We might fall for the right or wrong person but it is out of our choices that make them the right one or not. I may be inexperienced when it comes to variety of ex-lovers because basically I’m not the type who goes out for flings but my experiences with these people who came and have gone are already extraordinary and I cherish and learn from them. The sweet little memories are still sweet despite some bitter endings and the present is a gift that needs to be appreciated. Here’s an unsolicited advice for all of you who are into asking partners where you want to eat every now and then: choices need to be made mutually in order to make what’s at hand last, or not.