Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Unsent Series: Volume 4, Part V

.:Questions You Don’t Wanna Know The Answers To: The Unsent Series, Volume 4, Part V:.

Dear Enigma,

I always dread medical check-ups.

No, really. I do dread them. I hate having to be told what I have, even if all signs point to the fact that I do have something. And while thankfully, I have never had a major injury in my life thus far and the worst procedure I’ve endured was either my wisdom teeth extraction (a few months ago) or my circumcision (a few weeks ago), I really am just not a fan of the whole procedure.

That’s why I look to this week with much trepidation as I try to get checked for sleep apnea. I’ve been having great difficulty sleeping for years already, and only now did I muster the courage to have it checked and settled once and for all. Here’s hoping I don’t end up finding out anything particularly earth-shattering. In any case, I’m not looking forward to finding out how bad it really is, and how much trouble I’m actually in, health-wise.

In life, there are a lot of questions we don’t dare ask, because we’re afraid of what the answers actually are. And a part of us, deep down, already actually knows the answers for ourselves, to begin with. It’s why we aren’t fond of self-evaluation at work, and we’d almost rather be secretly evaluated by our peers, with us never hearing the actual comments that come right out because of them.

There are some things for our own good that just aren’t pleasant to hear, and perhaps they damage our reputation in our minds. Or they hurt our feelings. But then, maybe we should also consider what they can do for us in the long run. What they hold for us as learning experiences or chances to grow as better people. It isn’t pretty at times, but if it happens, then may as well not have it happen for nothing.

It isn’t pretty, and it certainly isn’t cause for joy, to put it nicely, yet in the end, things really have a weird way of turning out how they are.

So I guess I do owe you a genuine apology for that. I owe you one even if circumstances scream out to me that I should just go on with my life, business as usual, and ignore what clearly wasn’t something I could have helped. We were both hurting. We were both not exactly in our best of states. And when I had to ask myself the most awkward of questions out there, well, I was indeed afraid to find out the answer.

But so much remains unsaid, dear Enigma. You can scoff all you want, but in all honesty, while I do fear finding out more about myself than I would care to, I’m not afraid to face you and lay all of this to rest. All I know is things never had to turn out this way, and things could have been so much easier for the both of us if we just took the time to actually sit and talk about it. Which, I admit, I should not have walked away from when we first had the chance.

So I’m sorry. You know by now where I’m coming from, and you can choose to believe me, but all I’m hoping is that in time, you would realize that things weren’t as horrible as you dreaded them to be in the first place. And in all honesty, I wish I could ask you myself. I wish I could find out from you if you understand that things aren’t what they seem, and we needed time, and not hostility.

And yes, it’s a question I’m afraid of finding the answer out, too. But each moment that this animosity lingers is even more agonizing to bear, so I truly am sorry, even if I dread what you have to say about that.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Project 52 2014 (17/52): Line In The Sand

.:Project 52 2014 (17/52): Line In The Sand:.

Evolution is a mystery, full of change that no one sees...

As time goes by, we keep on thinking more and more about the things that have brought us to where we are today. How does one, well, "evolve" to be a better person? It's virtually invisible. From day to day, you don't really take notice of all the changes, and only a long way from that point do you really see it, like when you look at your high school class picture five long years after you graduated from college.

I've changed so much. But only when I stop and take stock of where I am now from where I was before do I begin to understand what that implies for me.

Clock makes a fool of history...

You feel like an idiot sometimes, wondering where you are now and comparing it to what went before you. Is it a healthy thing to do? To be honest, you can't really say that it is, but hey, whatever it takes, right? Sometimes, you just really have to look at where you came from and where you are now to fully appreciate the long way you've come. It's helpful, and it gives you a load of perspective, albeit sometimes, it does get rather dicey when you don't learn from it.

Ever thought about how stupid we all look sometimes, when we once had that ridiculous hairstyle, or insisted on that terrible fashion statement? Yeah, it does give us a few laughs at our own expense, and yeah, it's definitely something we hopefully learned from, lest we end up running back to that same atrocious hairstyle, or maybe even worse.

Yesterday's so long ago, don't agree with what I know.

At some point in my life, I was reckless with a lot of things. I took for granted how people would see me if I acted a certain way or did a certain thing. Nowadays, even when I do something ridiculously upsetting or controversial, I at least have given it some thought first before I went ahead and did it.

I don't agree with a Hades of a lot of things I used to believe in. I guess that's why I come off a lot as cynical to most people who don't know me, and I can't say I blame them. I really do exhibit all the symptoms of a full-blown cynic, but in reality, I do put a lot of misplaced faith in people, yet I keep on holding on to them no matter how ridiculously betrayed I end up feeling when my initial inkling gets proven for the freaking prophetic vision it ends up actually turning out to be.

Tomorrow, got no place to be...

The future's only yet to come, so all I can do now is appreciate what I have at the present. Evolution really is a mystery, but hey, nobody said we have to have all the answers from the word "go," right? It never was that way.

I see the line in the sand...

And yes, there are lines every man has to cross at one point or another. It's the line that answers the questions about yourself that you might honestly not want to hear about. It's the line in the sand that highlights the demarcation between the haves and the have-nots, the wants and the needs, love and hate, relevance and apathy.

It's a line that we need to see for ourselves. And at some point, we all need to know when it's worth crossing the line.

Time to find out who I am...

We all say this. It's time to find out who we really are. In the end, do we really have any idea? Do we really know a damned thing? To be honest, it doesn't feel that way, when we're in the middle of conflict and headaches, and everything just seems like it's going wrong and simply unacceptable.

But then, we have to look forward, we have to keep trudging on. We owe it back to ourselves, and the selves we have once become at different points in time.

Looking back to where I stand, evolution...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Project 52 2014 (15/52): Don't Look Back In Anger

.:Project 52 2014 (15/52): Don't Look Back In Anger:.

Slip inside the eye of your mind, don't you know you might find a better place to play?

Ah, yes. The daily grind. The crunch of the routine. The ennui that consumes us all, and keeps us from looking at things in a different way. It isn't crushing or overwhelming so much as it permeates every aspect of our life to the point where it is inescapable and we take it for granted and stop asking questions.

It's the norm. It's what's expected. That's exactly why it's so easy for us to go around here in circles and just take it as fact without really thinking about it for a moment. We are so used to things just working their way in and out of our lives with little consequence, and only begin to take notice when something big is coming our way. That's really how it works.

You said that you've never been, but all the things you've said, they slowly fade away...

Oh, I know. I realize all too well that the things people say and do are things we all just commit and then forget. It's so easy when we're all walking around here, running purely on autopilot. That's how it is. That's how it's always been. We take things for granted. We take things as they come without a second thought, because everything feels so ridiculously normal and routine.

And that's how we all fall apart, really. People always think that relationships collapse because of one big thing, when it's a million tiny things nobody thought was worth bringing up. When putting up becomes less sensible than giving up, simply because all the tiny details are too much of a fuss to work on. Whether in friendship or in love, that's always how it's been.

It's a war. An invisible war nobody realizes we're fighting. But the casualties still remain at the end of it all.

So I'll start a revolution from my bed, 'cause you said the brains I had went to my head. 

I can only fight what I can see. But it's there. It's really there, and it's so hard to open my eyes to realize it happening. How does one arrest a death by a million pinpricks? How does one even begin to stop it?

Step outside, summertime's in bloom.

So maybe the reality is, I have to do something far more meaningful, far more substantial, than to just patch up something after it has been damaged. Is it time to be proactive? But how can one be proactive when what is essential is indeed invisible to the eye?

And so, Sally can wait, She knows it's too late as we're walking on by...

There's a pressing need for change. There's a sense of urgency. But it shouldn't distract us from what needs to be done otherwise, in the meantime. Do it, but do it right. Don't rush into it. Don't force yourself when you can't even think straight at the moment.

Wait, if you have to.

And only when it's too late would there be room for regret. But that time for regret isn't here yet, so it's best to keep on keeping on, rather than to paralyze yourself in despair.

Her soul slides away...

As they drift apart, maybe you begin to realize there's a reason for that. Some people in your life come in for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, after all. That's really how it works, and that's really where it all ends up.

So much to do, so little time. So much to think about, yet in the end, when we walk away, when we end up going our own ways, the biggest challenge would be...

But don't look back in anger, that's what they say...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Project 52 2014 (14/52): I'll Remember

.:Project 52 2014 (14/52): I'll Remember:.

Say goodbye to not knowing when the truth in my whole life began...

Reality. It's such a loaded word, as we try to make heads and tails of what reality is, and what exists and what does not.

2014 as a year seems to be terrible so far. In the middle of all the things going on, so many people are no longer with us, and it just makes me go numb when I think about how we still have over eight more months to go, and it's been non-stop bad news, all the time, all the way.

So when I try to say goodbye to people I've known, to people I've cherished for one reason or another, it becomes very difficult to have to come to terms with the fact that I'm doing so within mere weeks, if not days, of each goodbye.

Say goodbye to not knowing how to cry, you taught me that...

And whether the tears come because of the pain one feels from the twist of separation, or tears of joy, those tears come even if you don't want them to. I know it sounds overly dramatic, but a part of me died when the Streat was conquered by Brock Lesnar on Wrestlemania last Sunday. The end of the Undertaker's dominant winning ways at Wrestlemania was a shocker and completely took the wind out of the sails of any Undertaker fan, which I consider myself to have been for almost two decades.

But that was overshadowed with the passing of the Ultimate Warrior. Not my favorite wrestler or even person, by any means, but when you look at him and how happy he was in the last few days of his life, it was clear that he was turning a corner and mending bridges that were burn over years and years of hatred and resentment. It seems that when people bury the hatchet with Hulk Hogan, as was the case with Randy Savage a few years back, people feel at peace already.

The Warrior was a phenomenal wrestler who achieved so much despite spending so little time at the top of the wrestling world. You can't take that away from him, and seeing how he was becoming an even better human being made it easier and easier to appreciate him as a performer.

But no more. He has left us too soon, like all the other wrestlers who came before him.

Inside, I was a child that could not mend a broken wing...

And no, 2014 hasn't been kinder to any other aspect of me, either, as I continue to take beating after beating in that regard. I don't think I could ever really catch a break, and 2014 has not really made me feel like it will look any better for me anytime soon.

So here I am, still walking wounded and coping with tragedy, and I realize that standing in the face of adversity is something we all have to learn and appreciate that while I have my own worries and cares, I'm still here to face them head-on. Day in and day out, it's all I could do, really.

Outside, I looked for a way to teach my heart to sing...

All the platitudes in the world may not make it easy on me to really come to terms with the things that have been happening so far this year, but as I keep trying to look on the brighter side of life, I can help myself see things in a better light. It isn't easy, really. Last week, I lost my last living grandparent, and it was something I never quite expected to come when it did. It shook me. It moved me. And ultimately, I still don't quite know what to make of it.

For now, I could only continue to go on and stay strong as I can so that I don't get swallowed up by the overwhelming feeling of despair that just washes over me every time I am left alone with only my thoughts.

And I'll remember, the strength that you gave me...

So whether in the shallowest of ways the Streak gave me cause for joy and anticipation, to the realization that life is so short as the Ultimate Warrior passed away at such an untimely moment, and all the way to the many lessons I have learned from my grandmother while she was still alive, the best I could do to honor them is to never forget them.

I find strength in adversity not because it's cool or exciting. I find strength in adversity because that is what the examples I choose to honor and remember have likewise chosen to do throughout their lives. It is that fervent desire to become better, to become worthwhile, that keeps me going even if everyone else tells me otherwise.

I can't forget them because they always reminded me of that.

Now that I'm standing on my own...

So now, I need to believe in myself more. To believe in myself the way I believed in them before. I need to learn that not everything that comes out there to challenge me is a mountain that has to be climbed, because there are some mountains that simply do not deserve any climbing whatsoever.

I remember you all, because you won't give me a chance to forget any of you.

I'll remember the way that you changed me...

I can safely say I have grown over the years thanks to the many influences in my life, and though some of these influences may no longer be with me, I will remain steadfast to the way they have helped shape me. They changed me in ways that helped me. They changed me so that I may become a better human being. And yes, if I end up losing even more people dear to me as 2014 goes by, their memories will continue to sustain me this way.

I remember...

Of course. How can I not? Thank you for the memories.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Back In The Swing Of Things...

.:About Damned Time:.

I've pretty much sidetracked myself for long enough, and if last Tuesday's show was any indication, I do believe I need that aside from improv, I ought to go back and focus on magic and mentalism more, especially since hypnosis is now also a part of my repertoire.

The show in Route 196 was a blast. Wish you guys were there, but every Friday, we still do improv shows in The Fort, around 8PM or so in the Jamba Juice area. Do drop by us, and if things work out, you just might hear about another show featuring Switch Improv, Mike Unson, Ony Carcamo, and yours truly coming up again one of these days.

Teresita Gopez-Timbol: 07 October, 1933 - 04 April, 2014

.:Teresita Gopez-Timbol: 07 October, 1933 - 04 April, 2014:.

I will always remember Lola Tita in a way nobody in my family probably expects me to: she really knew how to make me laugh. Unintentionally.

And that's really what made my grandmother stand out to me, more than anything else: she was so set in her ways, so clear and deliberate, that you couldn't help but smile in spite of yourself when she started acting according to script. She was predictable, and the most predictable thing about her is that she would love her children dearly, and dote on her grandchildren just as much. She was a beautiful human being that way.

But boy, did she have a fun way of showing it. And it was her innate ability to be self-cognizant and to see the occasional absurdity and usual quirkiness of it all that allowed her to not take herself so seriously. It's interesting to think about it this way, but you might say that Lola Tita was the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl before the archetype was even born. No wonder my grandfather was so utterly smitten with her for well over half a century!

She taught me how to laugh at myself and to never take myself seriously because she did that to herself, no matter how much gravitas and depth she actually possessed as a person: after all, like Lolo Nor, she wasn't a Fulbright scholar for nothing, and her keen mind was only matched by her devout spirit. I am humbled to have had a grandmother like her, and I hope she doesn't mind me sharing some anecdotes of my fondest memories of her.

I was probably around 9 years old or so when I saw some guy on Home TV Shopping selling magic tricks. I think his name was Anders or something, and he was the original guy hawking stuff in that old Megamall kiosk. I asked Lola Tita, for my birthday (Or was it for Christmas?), to buy that magic set for me, and she did!

Except she completely misheard me, and thought I was asking for "magic shet." But despite mistakenly thinking her grandson of under 10 years of age was cursing right in front of her, she went ahead and ordered it anyways, although I had to clarify that I said "magic set," and I, being the sheltered kid that I was, still had no idea what "shet" meant.

I could almost hear Lola Tita say it in her distinct voice we always tried doing impressions of: "Yiiiii! Lorraine, yung anak mo, humihingi ba naman ng magic shet! Hindi pa karagul, aba, kung makapagsalita na!"

Despite misunderstanding me at the time, did she get angry at me? No. She took it all in stride, and still ended up getting me that magic set, complete with Macky and Wacky. And as the years would go by, she would always look at whatever I do with wide-eyed interest and the biggest smile she could muster. Through all her hurts and cares, she would always shield her grandchildren from the worst of it, and make us feel treasured and cherished by her, and that was no mean feat on her part, I'm sure.

It's hard to just laugh at Lola Tita, because she laughs with you. She's self-aware enough to know when something unintentionally hilarious has just happened, and even if she caused the uproar in laughter, she never hesitated to laugh with us. It was that gift of mirth that I will always remember about her, because for some reason, that's something that really stuck with me about her through all these years.

So I guess it was a shocker for all of us to see her pass on so suddenly. She was still well. She was still strong. There were some problems here and there, but nobody saw this coming. Except maybe her.

Ever since Lolo passed away nearly four years ago, you can see it in Lola's eyes how much she missed the love of her life. She pined for him for the rest of her days, and though she made it a point to not let her grandchildren see her in her moment of weakness, we knew how much she missed him, because we missed him, too.

So there I was, on the road, en route to the hospital, when I got the dreaded news from my brother. Like Lolo before her, I was spared from the sight of seeing her last moments in the same way. I don't quite know how I would have taken it if I were there, so maybe that was for the best.

And now, we miss her, too.

One more thing about her, though: unlike my other grandparents, Lola Tita took to texting like a fish to water. She enjoyed it, and I remember how funny it was when Lolo would tell us that there was a time he didn't want to disturb Lola because she looked like she was fervently praying and clutching a rosary, but the minute he heard those telltale keypad sounds from Lola's trusty old Nokia, he realized how mistaken he was. We had a good laugh about that, back then, and I chuckled over the realization of how "with it" Lola Tita was, even if she wasn't really trying very hard to be so.

I guess the biggest regret for me would be the fact that I never texted her enough. She used to send us quotes on a daily basis, and I knew that was her way of reminding us she cared. I would text her every now and then, and remind her how special she was to me, but you could never do that enough for someone who really holds a special place in your heart, can you?

Wouldn't it be nice if I could text her just one more time? Maybe text her something schmaltzy but sincere, like "Thanks for all the smiles we have shared over the years. I know I will see you again someday. I love you, Lola!"

I wasn't kidding.

P.S. Of course, a few seconds later, I get a reply from the phone. Apparently, my mom held onto Lola's phone for safekeeping, and we ended up laughing over the fact that for a brief moment, I thought I received a literal message from beyond the grave.

P.P.S. Somehow, I'm sure Lola Tita was laughing with us, too.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

.:Project 52 2014 (13/52): Say Goodbye:.

I really don't like Chris Brown, but this song does cover what I want to say today better than nearly any other song I could think of. I'll hold off on the sordid details for now, but let's preface this by making it very clear: this is not an April Fool's joke. I don't even see the point about making an April Fool's joke as vague as this would be.

.:Project 52 2014 (13/52): Say Goodbye:.

How do you let go when you, you just don't know what's on the other side of the door when you're walking out?

I don't know where to go from here, because the only life I've known has been one with you there. You were a constant I almost took for granted. And to this very day, I still don't want you to go. I just don't know if I have any right to ask you to keep on staying, when I know that in your moments alone, all you could think of is moving on.

But then, what comes after this? What would waking up the next day without you there bring? Would it really shake me to the core, or would it just be business as usual soon enough? Maybe I don't want to find out. Maybe I'm too afraid to.

Talk about it, and everything I tried to remember to say just went out my head So Imma do the best I can to get you to understand Cause I know...

But that's the thing, isn't it? There's no more room to talk. There's only room to do things. To let go. To try to ease the pain of goodbye by bracing against it because it is so imminent, so inevitable, even. It feels like it's coming, and there's not a damned thing anyone can do to stop it.

And all I could do is pray for a miracle. Even if I'm not the praying type.

There's never a right time to say goodbye...

Too soon, and you're classless. Too late, and you're insensitive. Saying goodbye is never easy, no matter how many times you tell yourself you're ready for this, and it was all just a matter of time, to begin with. It's a question of when now, not if.

But can you blame me for hoping against hope?

But we know that we gotta go our separate ways...

I hope that wherever you go from here, you will be in a better place. a happier place. I don't know what else to say, really, because as I try to think about you and about everything we've shared with each other, I realize how generous a soul you truly were. And now, I have to say goodbye to all of that.

And I know it's hard but I gotta do it and it's killing me, 'cause there's never a right time, right time to say goodbye... 

And I will miss you so. And I will cherish you so. But how much longer can I truly expect you to be with me, when our time is running out, yet there's still so much left to say, so much left to do?

So all I could do now is say "thank you."