My LJ is public. I like to talk about myself non-stop though it has lessened with age. This blog is all about writing and fandoms--but if I'm in the mood I'll tell you my dark tendencies and reveal my pathology. However, there are delicate topics which I explored here that I have friend-locked; they can only be accessed once we are eljay friends. Essentially, I just feel like saying this journal is FRIENDS ONLY because I want to include that DouWata banner above because IT PISSES ME THE FUCK OFF THAT THEY ARE NOT CANON (when CLAMP obviously intended them to be until the moment they fucked it all up). Most of my recent entries will tackle my writing for the xxxHoLic fandom and some other geeky shit I feel like talking about every now and then. If you're interested in my content then that's cool, cool, cool. The thing about me is that I'm the easiest person to get along with until I'm not.
My LJ is public. I like to talk about myself non-stop though it has lessened with age. This blog is all about writing and fandoms--but if I'm in the mood I'll tell you my dark tendencies and reveal my pathology. However, there are delicate topics which I explored here that I have friend-locked; they can only be accessed once we are eljay friends. Essentially, I just feel like saying this journal is FRIENDS ONLY because I want to include that DouWata banner above because IT PISSES ME THE FUCK OFF THAT THEY ARE NOT CANON (when CLAMP obviously intended them to be until the moment they fucked it all up). Most of my recent entries will tackle my writing for the xxxHoLic fandom and some other geeky shit I feel like talking about every now and then. If you're interested in my content then that's cool, cool, cool. The thing about me is that I'm the easiest person to get along with until I'm not.
For my next entries on Writing, I'll tackle the FSN fandom, the pairing in question collectively known together as KotoGil and then the aforementioned fanfic itself. I may have to give more background details on Freedom of Chains as well, but I'd focus more on Little Broken Things since that is a major work that I was very proud to accomplish. I still plan to continue writing in xxxHOLIC, of course, but I also read and review books and graphic novels so for August, I actually decided to take a short break from fanfic writing and would pick up again next month. I even scheduled the fanfics I plan to pick up and hopefully finish until January 2017.
What is Fate/Stay Night? It's a visual novel/erotic game about a typical shounen protagonist named Shirou Emiya who embarks on a quest to be a 'hero of justice'. Accompanied by three love interests for three separate story routes within the game's structure (Fate, Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel), he begins to discover new things about himself and others while also having his ideals challenged especially after getting chosen to fight a war he had sworn to win for reasons that would change over the course of the said three routes. FSN is a popular game that spawned several spin-offs in light novel form, arcade game forms, and anime adaptations because of the originality of its plot that can be expanded and interpreted in many creative ways. The story is essentially about a war to win a magical wish-granting device called the Holy Grail. Mages from pureblooded families or even novices of magic with no traditional lineage but do posses the gene (or 'magic circuits' as they are called) can join this war, and they become what are called Masters. As Masters, they are granted the power to summon 'heroic spirits' that belong to seven classes (Saber, Archer, Rider, Lancer, Caster, Assasin and Berserker).
These heroic spirits are legendary heroes of the past that could fit any of these seven molds. In Fate Stay/Night, Shirou Emiya summoned the Saber class heroic servant Arthur Pendragon, King of Knights--but with a twist. The legendary hero of Camelot turned out to be biologically female (named Arturia) who pulled Excalibur from the stone and was heralded king in the expense of her personhood and gender. She is but one of many complex heroic spirits that were summoned in the Grail Wars (which officially have five in total).
There are still so many details to be discussed about the Fateverse but I won't touch upon ALL of them since what is important here is to discuss the pairing I chose to write fanfiction for and they also happen to be two of my all-time favorite characters from the fandom. My favorite spin-off of FSN is the four-volumed light novel Fate/Zero written by Gen Urobushi which got an anime adaptation in 2012. FSN becomes a mere Battle Royale/Hunger Games thing next to the breadth and quality of Fate/Zero which is more adult-oriented, a true Game of Thrones piece of writing that somewhat resembles a razor-sharp and all-consuming battle of chess where all the pieces are essential and have to be taken off the board as strategical as possible if a player hopes to claim victory in the end.
The characters I speak of have pivotal roles in FZ while they are actually the designated villains of FSN. Interestingly enough, writer Urobushi favored these characters a lot and therefore portrayed them in a more flattering light than their counterparts in FSN. FZ is more or less a prequel to FSN but undeniably a more superior story, and the character who was more intimately focused in said light novel than the rest of the ensemble cast is Kirei Kotomine. He belongs to the Catholic clergy, a man of God having a crisis of faith when Fate/Zero started, and who was assigned by his priest-father (who also happens to be an Overseer of the Grail War, a representative of the Holy Church) to study under the tutelage of Tokiomi Tohsaka, a top-tier magus of his lineage. Kirei was going to learn magic since he has the gene, and most importantly because he was summoned by the Grail itself to become a Master in the Fifth War. The plan was for Kirei to merely assist Tokiomi as an apprentice, since Kirei has no personal goals or wish to be granted by the Grail anyway. So Kirei summoned the Assassin class as his servant to aid his teacher, while Tokiomi summoned someone from the Archer class; the heroic spirit of the Mesopotamian legend, Gilgamesh.
Things would have gone the way Kirei's father and teacher have planned, but Gilgamesh as a heroic spirit and person himself was unpredictable and quite vain, having a very high opinion of himself because he believed he is the King of all creation. In this sense, he was not content about the Master he was assigned to, calling Tokiomi 'boring', as well as finding his methods and reasons to win the Holy Grail lacking and not entertaining enough. And this was when he crosses paths with Kirei one night in the priest's office. This seemingly random meeting would actually become a very vital one in the long run, fueling a series of more meetings and conversations between the two men concerning Kirei's inner conflict about his lack of personal joy and pleasure in every past endeavor he had pursued and given up on, and Gilgamesh's enligtening insights about this character flaw. Soon enough, much like the serpent of Eden, Gilgamesh seduces Kirei into a quest of self-knowledge in order for Kirei to discover for himself what kind of soul he possesses and what that soul ultimately yearns for--especially what gives it utmost pleasure.
In my next entry, I will tackle an in-depth analysis about the dynamics and engrossing interplay between these two paradoxical characters, and the reasons why I ship them so badly together.
Speaking of the Fate series, I started playing Fate/Stay Night which is the original visual novel of the franchise. I managed to accomplish the first of the three routes which is the Fate one with Saber as the love interest. It took me only two and a half days, three to four hours each. I was more than prepared to get through the sex scenes involved because FSN is an erotic gameplay. But I gotta say--I was still shocked, repulsed (and maybe even a little titillated) of the porn sequences I never asked for. As for anime adaptations, I've seen both the 2006 anime (which adapted most of the Fate route), and the recent 2015 one Unlimited Blade Works with Rin Tohsaka as the love interest. My most favorite Fate will always be the light novel Fate/Zero, written by a diffent author, as well as its anime adaptation. That being said, the VN Fate/Stay Night was an enjoyable experience (even though I skimmed through portions of text-heavy narrative and dialogue 70% of the time, given that I already know a lot about the canon). FSN was really challenging too. In VNs, you have three possible destinations: the Good, Normal and Bad endings. I had acquired three bad endings for the Fate route, but after much perseverance going through a lot of the protagonist's bullshit and mundane activities such as breakfast, I did get all the way to the end. Now I just set it aside for now to prepare for the UBW route next. My real target is to get to the last route, Heaven's Feel in anticipation for the upcoming 2017 anime movies. I have watched walkthroughs of that route in YouTube, so I pretty much have the gist of what to expect (more boring breakfast and other food-related non-events). EXCEPT for Kirei Kotomine gulping down mapo tofu. Anything that sociopathic priest does is badass, including eating. Srsly.
The other visual novel I'm currently playing is something I stumbled upon by happy accident called Amnesia: Memories, and it's freaking fantastic so far. It's a recent VN and has a different approach and look than FSN. First of all, I much prefer Amnesia because its animation and effects were much more recent, and the English translation of the VN was great in comparison to FSN. But that's mostly because Amnesla doesn't lend itself to purple prose which FSN has a tendency to do (mostly for the porn parts). FSN is a more challenging game though, given that it's a series with copious amounts of world-building and leaning strongly on the shounen genre (plus some irritating harem aspects). That being said, Amnesia is female-centric because the protagonist is the unnamed heroine the gamers will play as, while FSN has an established hero named Shirou Emiya (WHO IS THE WORST). I named my protagonist Silk (and Wine). There are four love interests who are all represented by a deck of cards. We have Shin for the Hearts, Ikki for the Spade, Kent for Clover, and Toma for Diamond. There is also the Wild Card Ukyo (the joker possibly?) and he creeps me the fuck out. I think I have to complete all four first before I can unlock him as a love interest---that's my theory though. Maybe he's just there to troll and threaten the heroine with imminent death. That's basically the shit he pulls when he and the heroine are alone together. ANYWAY, when I first started playing the game, I picked Kent because he's the glasses type: intellectual, seemingly frigid, and a complicated overthinker. In other words--MY TYPE OF ANIME GUY. In just four hours, I breezed through it, landing myself into the Good Ending without any kind of complications. Kent and I are just meant-to-be.
And that's including the time he made me a fucking handmade mathematic workbook as a romantic gesture. He made me solve equations and shit, by the way, and I hate math and would have murdered him just for pulling that shit. But hey, I love the guy anyway. That's true love conquering all, okay? Even math problems.
I can't say the same for Shin, though. I kept getting the Normal Ending. And I've repeated that route obssessively for FOUR FREAKING TIMES. It's worth noting that I played both Kent and Shin routes all in one Sunday yesterday. I started 3PM with Kent and that lasted for four hours. I started with Shin around 10PM or so, and tried to get the Good Ending but never could. Around 4AM in the morning, I decided to give up and try to find a cheat code online by the next day. When I did find one, I was still at work but then it occurred to me that perhaps the reason I can't get a Good Ending with Shin was simply because my heart was not in it. When I was playing the Kent route, everything just felt instant and organic. I was invested in Kent as my love interest. I was falling in love with him. With Shin--it was a matter of completion and possession. I don't think I really liked him. I was even really suspicious of him and could not trust him. It's possible that subconsciously I never really want to have a happy ending with him, and that's exactly what the game gave me. I should just be thankful I didn't get a Bad Ending, right? I think the best course of action is to stop pursuing Shin when it's obvious I never had real feelings for him as a gamer who played the heroine. So, when I pick up Amnesia again tonight, I'll go to the next ones (Ikki and Toma) and just leave Shin alone with our Normal Ending together. Much like relationships in real life, you can't force love and chemistry after all. Hopefully, I would have a better shot with Ikki and Toma next. Now if you excuse me, I have a roleplay game to set up so I can charm the panties off an unsuspecting lady. Y'all free to watch.
Well, how about that? Since I've made a decision to use this eljay to talk about my writing process for my xxxHoLic fiction (and maybe the other fandoms I write for), there is nothing much to say about my personal life here in eljay because it's generally uneventful and stable. So, just to put something significant for this entry, I will post photos of the first two pages from my dysfunctions journal instead. They should suffice. It's 3 in the morning on a Sunday. I have to retire to bed. Or maybe just binge-watch a couple of anime abridged shows, or some The Colbert Report. I don't know yet. I'm still in the middle of making a definite choice.
( Contend yourselves with theseCollapse )
That being said, the triad I decided to focus in Frequency is that of Watanuki, Doumeki and Kohane.
As I've explained in the previous post, Kohane Tsuyuri is canonically recognized as the woman Doumeki ended up with, although CLAMP themselves admitted that theirs was a marriage of convenience and one that only transpired for a single intention: to sire children who will accompany Watanuki in his long life because he is the one both of them truly love. Even though that is the case, I still want to acknowledge that the partnership between Doumeki and Kohane is a valid one, and that they were not simply just bound together because they have unrequited feelings for the same man. In my story, I want to explore the possibility that somewhere down the road, Doumeki and Kohane do learn to care about one another as husband and wife especially when they started to have a family together. But before that even happens, I want to establish that there was physical attraction between the two of them first, even if they still continue to harbor feelings for Watanuki. It was only inevitable after all. There was an important exchange in the manga when twelve-year old Kohane asked Doumeki about what he thinks about Watanuki as a person, and Doumeki responded by explaining that he first met Watanuki when he saw the guy standing under the rain, cradling what looked like a dead cat in his arms. He then heard Watanuki say that he's probably going to end up all alone when he dies.
As a decent person with a good heart, Doumeki was understandably moved by this. It was his primary motivation to stay by Watanuki's side--he wanted to show Watanuki he doesn't have to be alone, and that he could have a friend like Doumeki in his life. But what started as simple pity driven by humanistic motivations grew to be something more for Doumeki eventually, until he wasn't only protecting Watanuki out of obligation and the decency of his heart,
I'd like to believe--even before fans started the speculation of romantic feelings on his end---that Doumeki slowly desired to be the person who will invalidate what Watanuki originally thought about himself, and the fact that he will die alone. Doumeki wanted to prove to Watanuki that he will stand by him until the end and perhaps if things gone out differently, Doumeki may have confessed his feelings and Watanuki could have had the opportunity to decide for himself--once he got over that pesky, immature way he views Doumeki---as to whether or not he could reciprocate the feelings. Unfortunately, with the burden of immortality and his damaging desire to wait fro Yuuko, Watanuki is doomed to live a longer life than Doumeki. Now that things got complicated on Doumeki's end, he had to find a way to make up for that sudden disparity, so he opted to marry a woman who is just as devoted to Watanuki, just so both of them can give Watanuki children who will grow up to take care of his needs in the future. Meanwhile, Kohane--who grew up to be a capable young woman-- was revealed by Doumeki in the anime OVA to consider Watanuki as her 'most precious person' (which can be interpreted in romantic terms). When Doumeki handed Watanuki their wedding invitation and then revealing how Kohane feels about Watanuki even if she was marrying Doumeki, it was a validation that their marriage was merely a transaction that will hopefully compensate for their feelings for him that will have to remain unrequited.
Watanuki, in his own way, must have finally realized what they were doing, but knew that he had no right to speak against or disapprove of it, not after making an irreversible wish that had made it impossible for him to choose between being with either of them at this point. Instead, he just gave Doumeki his blessing, and asked him to take care of Kohane as she would take care of Doumeki in return. It wasn't the happiest decision in the world, but for the three of them, it was the best choice. This arrangment is so poignant and heartbreaking in many levels. My story Frequency established this love triangle at its rawest and most painful, as well as their obstacles to overcome. Meanwhile, the ongoing sequel Entwined Hearts and Other Glands will further explore the repurcussions that these three people face now that they are all aware about who loves who, and how that love affects every choice made and to be made. In both stories all three of them feel intrinsically bound together not just as three separate pairs but as three people all at once.
WATANUKI / DOUMEKI --> In Frequency, Doumeki and Watanuki reach a breaking point where all cards are laid on the table. Doumeki wants to find a way to be with Watanuki which meant doing something about his mortality. Their climactic confrontation happens twofold by the fourth chapter To Love a Storm. That chapter was told in Doumeki's perspective the entire time, and it was also the chapter where Doumeki and Watanuki finally consummate their feelings for one another but this was almost hindered by the conflict that transpired between Watanuki and Kohane in the prior chapter where he had telepathically violated her mind. So as agonizingly perfect it was of a moment when the two men finally made love and Watanuki for once stopped hiding and denying how he felt and wanted, the pain he caused Kohane is far too significant to be brushed aside. When Kohane finally does reveal to Doumeki what Watanuki had done, it was a regretful confession because Doumeki had also just told her that he and Watanuki finally became lovers. In both anger and disbelief, Doumeki confronts Watanuki for the second time regarding what he did to Kohane, but not after he kissed Kohane in the heat of the moment, signifying that Kohane has grown to be an important friend to him over the course of six years since she was the only one who understood the loneliness and abandoment of pining over someone like Watanuki. But that kiss held another meaning too; one Watanuki was quick to punish Doumeki for. At that point, Watanuki was already growing jealous and paranoid of the bond Doumeki and Kohane had formed, and seeing a memory of that kiss finally sealed his suspicions. Wrathfully, Watanuki banished Doumeki from the shop not because he kissed Kohane that one time, but more so because of the fear and resentment he picked up from Doumeki telepathically. He was angry that Doumeki thought the worst of him and angrier still at himself for giving Doumeki a reason to doubt him in the first place because of that trangression he committed against Kohane. Writing DouWata in this upsetting manner was really hard for me but I knew it was necessary for the redemption arc I wanted to explore in the long run.
Here is an excerpt of their break-up scene in Chapter 4:
"Go home," Watanuki demanded.
Doumeki stood up, gathering the last amount of strength he has. Without restraint, his last thought flowed between their shared minds. But you were always my home.
Watanuki's eyes sharpened with cruel unease. The next words he spoke aloud might as well have been acid thrown right at Doumeki's face.
"I never wanted to be."
The tone was soft, too mild to hold any seething emotion but the very lack of it felt like a knife shredding through the ribcage and puncturing the heart. Doumeki's knees weakened. He was ready to collapse again but Maro and Moro were pulling him away and his feet suddenly don't belong to him and he was moving toward the door.
As he watched helplessly while his view of Watanuki shrunk the more he walking away against his free will, the seer raised his left hand and with a languid motion of steady fingers, he cut through the telepathic ribbon between them. It was like a fuse in his mind short- circuited. The pain that followed must have been immense, but it was over before he could feel the rest of it. Doumeki was now standing outside in the sidewalk, staring at an empty lot before him, a deserted patch of land between two ordinary skyscrapers.
DOUMEKI / KOHANE --> This was a relationship I was dreadful to explore in writing at first, but after a while I grew very much invested on them, particularly on trying to understand how they came to become a couple, as well as remain sympathetic with their side of the story that led to this relationship. As avid of a DouWata shipper as I am, I still found it easy to like this pairing because I believe their personalities fit extremely well together. This was something I further tackled in the sequel Entwined, but for this prequel alone, I decided to develop their camaraderie as a real friendship where they would rely on each other for comfort and reassurance in the last six years of watching the man they love continue to stay imprisoned in the wish shop, clinging to his ghost. It was only by the seventh and last chapter of Frequency did I decide to turn this friendship into a romantic one which only happened because Watanuki had both directly rejected them after he banished them from the shop and from ever seeing him again. Now that their contact with Watanuki was severed, Doumeki and Kohane helped each other get over their broken hearts so it was no surprise that they decided to stick together because neither could ever fanthom loving anyone else except Watanuki, and they can't possibly include an outsider in their personal drama so they chose to be together instead. In my version of events, I wanted to establish that Doumeki and Kohane are physically attracted to each other and their relationship does become sexually intimate, but it was still a relationship based on the premise that they can't be with other people anymore after what they have gone through and suffered, so they might as well make the most of what they have together now.
So far, I like writing about their relationship and tackling its setbacks because it's a good exercise on exploring their individual motivations for staying in the relationship which are the same but still differ in a few, valuable ways.
Here is an excerpt from Entwined where Kohane's professor--an original character I created--asked her about Doumeki:
“Do you love Doumeki-san, Kohane-chan?”
Kohane remembered his warmth, his kindness and his tireless commitment. She remembered the rarity of his smiles and the intensity of his gazes. She also remembered how their bodies made rhythmic sense together two weeks ago during that cold Sunday night—how she felt like molten lava underneath him as he moved inside her—how that single perfect moment belonged only to them and nobody else, and they finally learned together how to be whole again.
She didn’t even hesitate with her answer, “Yes, I love him.”
It wasn’t just Shizuka as a person who Kohane loves; it’s the uncertain yet a kind of world worth having which he is a part of; it’s the restless hope they share together, and their tiny painful wishes that serve as an unbreakable tether to the one thing they both wanted more than each other—that broken boy living in a place they can’t ever stay for long—a hurricane of a person neither of them could outrun.
KOHANE / WATANUKI --> I believe a good forty percent of Frequecy mainly dwelt on how Watanuki and Kohane's relationship drastically changed and then fell apart. Even though the romantic relationship that I was intent on telling is about Doumeki and Watanuki's, I still couldn't help but gravitate towards the complex dynamics between Watanuki and Kohane because I do believe that they have an intense, almost familial, connection with one another. Since Watanuki met Kohane when she was only twelve, he had always felt brotherly toward her, and acknowledged her as a sister by choice. As he started giving into his darkness, he became possessive of her, slowly and steadily resenting the fact that she's growing up and might decide one day that she has outgrown him. Her close relationship with Doumeki at this point is something that rattles Watanuki because he doesn't want to share her. When Kohane tried to reason with him and sympathize with his grief about Yuuko, and his dilemma concerning the woman who tried to offer her unborn baby in exchange for revenge, Watanuki felt inclined to punish Kohane because it was at this point when he realized that someday Kohane will see him differently and he would rather have her hate him now just to get it over with. A foolish and unreasonable notion but Watanuki was becoming even more inaccessible so his regretful actions are bound to get increasingly worse. By the sixth chapter, Watanuki was scolded heftily by Mokona who got through him long enough for Watanuki to begin owning up to his demons and his mistakes, and it was in this fragile moment that Kohane found her way back to the shop and finally confess that she had been in love with him all along. Watanuki tried to consummate her love for him when he kissed her out of desperation to cling to her, but he was also telepathically linked to her during that moment and it almost killed her. The excerpt below featured that moment when Watanuki finally decided to let Kohane go and maybe even hope that she can find happiness with Doumeki:
Watanuki cradles her head gently and drains the dark spots he had inflicted on her memories of Doumeki. He returns every piece of light in them. Hesmiles at her as he cups her cheeks. “I’m sorry, Kohane-chan. But I also think you don’t have to forgive me. Neither of you should.”
Kohane opens her mouth but finds no words of protest or explanation. He can see the understanding dawning in her eyes.
And it was awful.
It was staring at the one and only thing either of them has ever wanted and could have had, but never will.
He kisses her forehead and whispers, "You both deserve someone better.”
He hugs her again very tightly even as he is ready to set her free. “You deserve one another."
In my next post, I will touch upon speficic spoilers for my ongoing sequel Entwined Hearts and Other Glands.
Those physical changes are telling of how much he wanted to emulate her, perhaps believing that by becoming her, he could at least keep up the appearance that she could return one day. The ROU arc has a time jump of six years so by then Doumeki is already out of school and working, while Kohane is around middle school. In my story, the time jump applies but I made Kohane college-aged. In the manga, ten years later, she starts attending the university where Doumeki is also working as a professor, and I also decided to keep that in. Frequency is essentially canon-compliant, but it's still an alternate-universe story where Watanuki becomes deeply disturbed after spending years imprisoned in the wish shop, never aging or being able to get out and interact with the world.
I could remember that there was this one scene in the manga during Rou where he gifts Doumeki a thimble that he could wear as a ring. It also serves as a magical item that could enhance is ability to channel his powers and sharpen his exorcising abilities. Watanuki stressed that Doumeki needs to ensure that he can kill whatever bad spirit will cross his path, and Doumeki asked him in all seriousness "Even when it's you?". To which Watanuki replies readily, "Especially then." I thought this could have been a foreshadowing of darker things to come down the road if Watanuki insists on waiting on Yuuko until he starts losing his own mind or humanity. My story explores that possibility then, because it's hard to ignore the fact that what Watanuki is doing is clearly unhealthy and abusive to himself. The worst part is that he can't even see it, and that the people around him choose to enable his madness. It was only by the second chapter that this concept began to take shape for me, and I was both dreadful and excited to keep going.
While conceptualizing, these are the primary questions I wanted to answer regarding Watanuki's characterization:
- Watanuki has developed stronger powers. What are these notable powers? How does he use them and how do they help him? Does it ever get to a point when he begins to abuse them? If it does, how would he abuse them and what kind of impact will it have on himself and on others?
- Watanuki becomes aware of Doumeki's feelings for him. Does he feel the same way? If he does, how will he deal with this revelation? How will it affect him and Doumeki? What are the changes and will there be consequences? What are these consequences and how can they damage the relationship between them?
- Watanuki loses his moral compass. What would set him off this course? Why would he lose it? What events could unfold once he loses it, and how will that change his relationships with Doumeki and Kohane?
Another notable thing about my version of Watanuki is that he has developed a drug habit; he has been smoking opium for six years since receiving Yuuko's pipe, and as a seer the drug's effect on his constitution has mystical uses, allowing him to access dreams more easily. I've always been curious as to what he is smoking in the manga and since it hasn't been discussed, I decided that I can tweak it so it can play a role in the story as Watanuki continues his fall from grace. I was at first uncomfortable and hesitant to characterize Watanuki this way because this character is very close to my heart. Admittedly, I was undergoing some troubling times as well when I started writing xxxHoLic fanfiction, and I believe Frequency was a cathartic manifestation of that. Not that I have a drug habit or holed up somewhere--but these things are layered with symbolism that indirectly represents my own bad habits and alienation in real life. Much like Watanuki, I'm often losing my sense of purpose and direction only because I cling onto past ghosts that I allow to haunt my decisions, even in dreams. Watanuki in Frequency has grown accustomed to the fact that he feels less tangible, and therefore more inclined to rely on magic to feel an ounce of 'real-ness' as a person. He is acknoweledging how he is wasting away and the only thing keeping him sane is by enhancing his powers which will eventually lead to his hubris in the later chapters.
As much as Frequency leans toward a romantic Dou/Wata direction, this story still highlights the relationship between Watanuki and Kohane Tsuyuri. In fact, most climactic interactions of the story happened between these two characters. The confrontational scenes in the third and sixth chapters have a parallelism to them. In the third chapter, after Watanuki meets a customer who wishes to kill her rapist by sacrificing the life of her baby borne by said rapist, Kohane tries to warn Watanuki of the mess that could entail, and advises him to deny her wish because the price is something far too great for Watanuki to take. She mentions Yuuko to him and what she would have done if she was in his place, and this angered Watanuki that he retaliated by telepathically violating her mind, targeting her memories of Doumeki which he then darkened. This cruel display of power and oppression is only the first step that will drive Watanuki further into the clutch of a darkness of his own making. He feels jealous of the growing friendship and trust between Doumeki and Kohane, feeling excluded from it and neglected because of it when nothing could be further from the truth.
The only reason Doumeki and Kohane have grown close was because of their shared unrequited romantic feelings for Watanuki, and how it was easier to weather it together than alone. And since Watanuki has acknowledged that he might have been in love with Doumeki all this time, seeing Kohane--a young girl he treated like a sister--get closer to Doumeki really disturbs him especially because he also feels possessive of her, as if he was entitled to her affection, but is now increasingly fearful that the more Kohane would grow up, the more she will feel inclined to outgrow him.
I will expound more on the interplay and dynamics present in the following relationships between Watanuki and Doumeki, Watanuki and Kohane, and Doumeki and Kohane in my next post.
I discussed previously that a lot of speculation has been made regarding Doumeki's feelings for Watanuki. Most of their interactions are layered with some subtext; it's a CLAMP work after all, and the writers usually do lean on male-on-male pairings. Their only canonically recognized gay couple, however, is Touya and Yukito from Cardcaptor Sakura (and, to a lesser extent, Tokyo Babylon's Seishirou and Subaru). Dubbed as DouWata (or 'Donuts'), the relationship between Watanuki and Doumeki throughout the earlier volumes of the manga lean on the fanservice side of things, placing them in scenarios that could be interpreted as comedically 'will-they'won't-they' and having other characters (especially Watanuki's high school crush Himawari) point out how well 'they get along', much to Watanuki's chagrin. A lot of Watanuki's animosity is drawn from the fact that a fortune teller has revealed to him that he will have a male friend he will always argue with but one whom he will have a deep connection with--if he allows it. Watanuki is not a big believer of fatalism, and therefore fights Doumeki every chance he gets just for the sake of being contrary and downright immature. As the chapters progressed, we see Doumeki constantly risking his life to help Watanuki, especially since Doumeki has the power to repel spirits; thanks to his Shinto lineage (his grandfather Haruka is a famed exorcist). He is therefore the perfect partner for Watanuki who is haunted by spirits and otherwordly things, and it only adds to Watanuki's irritation of the guy because he could never accept that he and Doumeki are 'bound' by something beyond human control.
It was by the climactic event in Volume 7 when Watanuki endagered himself by associating with a spirit woman whom he felt strong feelings of maternal connection with that readers found out how much Doumeki cares for Watanuki. In a memorable conversation, Yuuko stressed that in order to save Watanuki, Doumeki exorcised that spirit woman, regardless of how Watanuki may feel afterwards for him. Doumeki didn't care if Watanuki hated him--he made a choice, and that choice is to protect Watanuki. In a moving scene, Yuuko added that Watanuki's continued existence is Doumeki's priority. It wouldn't be the last time that Doumeki would sacrifice things to save Watanuki--especially from himself.
It boggles the mind why Doumeki felt the need to take care of Watanuki since the latter has only shown aggression and animosity towards him all the time. Even when Yuuko has hinted time and time again that Doumeki will be (if he isn't already) a valuable part of Watanuki's life, Watanuki would rather ignore or deny the growing camaraderie, kinship and friendship between them, all because of his instinctive loathing towards Doumeki; a feeling that has something to do with Watanuki's built-in low self-worth (due to him selling the memories of his past during a previous transaction with Yuuko) and unconscious suicial tendencies. Watanuki tends to attract spirits because of his negative energy--it's the reason why he felt more inclined to like Himawari (a girl who will be later on revealed as a 'misfortune carrier') rather than like Doumeki who could possibly save his life and make him happy in the long run.
Later on, their relationship was once again tested when a spider's grudge accosted Doumeki with his right eyesight, and Watanuki traded his own eyesight to uplift the curse. Doumeki was livid about this and Yuuko encouraged him to get angry to teach Watanuki what real sacrifice entails, and why he shouldn't squander the efforts of the people who love him by essentially always putting himself in situations that would only make them worry about him. During a climactic confrontation with an entity known as Jorougumo who abducted another spirit named Zashiki-Warashi (a recently reveled admirer of Watanuki), she made insighful observations about Watanuki's lack of self-worth, pointing out that Doumeki and Zashiki Warashi had saved him because they consider him important enough, and yet Watanuki went against their wishes by once again being a danger to himself. Jorougumo observed that Watanuki does not value himself enough to think he deserves to be loved, much less be saved. With that revelation, Watanuki slowly begins to accept that he is a person worth loving and making a fuss about, and so when Yuuko offers him half of Doumeki's eyesight--a bargain Doumeki himself made to restore at least half of Watanuki's lost eyesight--Watanuki willingly complies. It was a symbolic gesture that highlights that Watanuki does not solely belong to himself, as Yuuko so poetically points out. No man is an island and we are all connected, she says, and to believe otherwise or to act otherwise is a grave mistake.
Another nice moment shared by DouWata is when Watanuki, as a begruding display of gratitude for Doumeki's sacrifice, offered him a homemeade bento which included all Doumeki's favorite hence why it was heavy. Watanuki complained ruthlessly about its weight, so Doumeki takes it in one hand while Watanuki still holds onto it, and proclaims that they could at least share the burden. It was a seemingly small moment but one rife with meaning--if not foreshadowing. Doumeki will always be there to bear some of Watanuki's burden, particularly when the other boy least wants it, and this had gone on even at the very end of the manga where Doumeki's descendant--a boy who even resembles him; a complete doppleganger--became a companion to Watanuki who remained imprisoned in the wish shop as an immortal, unable to move forward from Yuuko's death. With these examples, it is truly no wonder why fans have speculated that Doumeki has been in love with Watanuki for the longest time. It's a damn shame we never really get an actual acknowledgment of it from Doumeki himself (though it's so fucking obvious), nor find out if Watanuki eventually started feeling the same way. There were instances in the depressing ROU arc when there is a palpable tension between the two, allowing readers to theorize whether or not both men are aware of how the other felt, especially Watanuki regarding Doumeki's pining for him. Many fans believed that Doumeki may have only cared about Watanuki during their high school years out of a sense of obligation and one-sided friendship, but it was after six years later when he continued to stay by Watanuki while he was imprisoned in the shop did his feelings really become more than platonic devotion.
It is worth pointing out that Doumeki was never shown to date or express interest in other people in romantic terms. There was neither a woman or another man he formed any kind of deep relationship with outside his close peers who were also harboring intense feelings for Watanuki. One of them is Kohane Tsuyuri, a gifted young psychic whom Watanuki rescued from an abusive mother when she a little girl of nine of ten years old. It will be later revealed that Doumeki has married her decades after even though most of the scenes where we see them together alone are always about them talking about Watanuki and why they're the only two people who can look after him from now on. As it turns out, Doumeki and Kohane only married each other so they can sire children who will then grow up to become companions to an ageless Watanuki who was still waiting for Yuuko. It was a tragic and most disheartening arrangement and inevitable ending to the story where two of the most valuable people in Watanuki's life never received a reciprocation of their feelings for said man at all, and so opted to get married instead with the promise that their own children will also look after Watanuki until such a time he is ready to let go of Yuuko. That's true love for you, and Watanuki never even gets to realize he had it twice over than most people will ever get in a lifetime. At some point he may have realized that both Doumeki and Kohane were in love with him--but perhaps it was only when they were dead and gone that it hit him.
It's no wonder I was drawn to writing stories about these relationships especially involving Watanuki as a character. This was why I decided to write Frequency. That story focuses on Watanuki's 'devolution' because his refusal to move on from Yuuko's death, I believe, will eventually turn his character into something dark, and that story of mine explores his potential to become a villain. It also examines his relationships with both Doumeki and Kohane--individually and as a pair--and why it might actually be unhealthy for the three of them to be so entwined as people.
CLAMP has always been great with tragedies and unspoken, unrequited love that often breaks not just the heart but the spirit of unfortunate readers who would come across any of their manga. xxxHoLic is no exception. Thankfully, they are writing a sequel entitled xxxHoLic REI which is set before the hundred-years-later time jump of the original manga's ending. I for one which they could retcon that goddamn ending because Watanuki deserved so much more than be destined to wait for a dead woman, no matter how much he loves and misses her. Doumeki and Kohane also deserve to find happines with the one they truly love. As a DouWata shipper, my money is on these guys, but I consider Kohane to be a very relatable character, and I find her relationship with Watanuki to be just as bittersweet.
In my next post, I promise that I will finally start discussing the concept and idea behind Frequency. I've been saying that since two entries ago, I know, but this time I mean it. I just have to discuss these backstories first because understanding xxxHoLic as a work of fiction, its world and themes, especially the characters and their ties with one another, is essential in my re-telling of its tale with Frequency and my other pieces for Snapshots.
The lead character in CLAMP's xxxHoLic is named Kimihiro Watanuki, a seventeen-year-old boy who has the burden of the paranormal sight. He stumbled upon a wish shop owned by a dimensional witch who goes by the alias 'Yuuko Ichihara'. His greatest wish is to be rid of his ability to see ghosts. Yuuko agrees to grant this wish but every wish has an equal exchange so she suggests that he works for her in the shop to pay off this debt. As the story progresses, Watanuki encounters more supernatural events and he also becomes privy to how Yuuko conducts her wish-granting business, and her clients often pay with hefty prices for their desires. What was so beguiling about this formulaic premise of the manga series is that it also examines the mystery of human behavior in regards to unhealthy attachments, bad habits and stagnation/inaction, contrasting these things as consequential to a person's ability to claim his or her power of choice. xxxHoLic offers a supernatural explanation to these behaviors but these 'hauntings' also have symbolic meanings that strengthen the mentioned core message of this series in general.
I was drawn to it because it's an urban fantasy horror that does have its moments of sheer terror and creepy scenes but is more or less a poignant examination of social ties and relationships, which slowly and surely headed to a more intimate direction once CLAMP began to divulge more on the backstory of the lead character Watanuki--or rather the lack thereof. As it turns out, Watanuki is a boy who had sold the memories of his past with Yuuko long before he supposedly met her from the very first chapter of the series. xxxHoLic is also closely tied to another CLAMP work Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle where it often has crossovers with (especially by the later volumes). However, xxxHoLic can stlll be enjoyed as a standalone manga. In regards to Watanuki, his entire characterization hinges on the fact that in trading his memories, he was left with no self-worth and therefore tries to erase himself from existence time and time again because he doesn't feel tangible or real enough to exist. This was why he would attract negative energies and spirits as a sort of an unconscious death wish on his part. When he found himself inside the wish shop and Yuuko decides to grant his wish, she was secretly helping him realize and figure out his value to other people and especially to himself by encouraging him to make friends and form attachments that would tether him to reality. His paranormal sight was tied to his very low self-worth, and in discovering that he matters to a lot of people in his life, Watanuki chooses to live as he begins to take control over his magical gifts. It was also around the time during a climactic event when Yuuko--who became so much of a maternal influence in his life as well as a mentor--dies due to the crossover events in the other manga Tsubasa.
In a poetic twist that everybody has theorized for a while now, Watanuki then succeeds Yuuko Ichihara upon her demise, and takes over her former duties in the wish shop. He also develops the ability to travel in dreams as a gifted seer.
It sounds uplifting and nice so far, doesn't it? EXCEPT THAT IT WAS NOT. Many readers were disheartened with Watanuki's choice to replace Yuuko as the shopkeeper, mostly because he did it by sacrificing his own mortality and physical freedom. Not only will he never grow old but he will also never be able to leave the shop's territory. And he did all this because of his selfish desire to hold onto Yuuko who is never coming back. SHE IS DEAD, DEAD, DEAD! Still, Watanuki believed that she will be resurrected, and he will wait for her to return until such time comes to pass. AND IT NEVER WILL. With this singular shift in the direction of the story, CLAMP has undone all the progress and evolution that his character was written with, turning the ending of xxxHoLic into a bittersweet and cruel cautionary tale about the consequences of inaction and the inability to move forward. In a sense, xxxHoLic fulfilled its premise concerning how our choices will dictate the course of our lives. With 19 volumes in total, CLAMP closed the story with a century-old Watanuki who still continues to wait for Yuuko while his close friends have already died and were replaced instead by their descendants who continue to look after him, hoping that someday soon he would be ready to let Yuuko go. It was such a depressing ending, and something a character so inquisivitely and beautifully rendered like Kimihiro Watanuki doesn't deserve.
Since I was so angered and frustrated by how this manga series ended, I started writing my series Snapshots and the possible scenarios regarding Watanuki's relationships not only with Yuuko herself but also with Kohane Tsuyuri (a young girl who can also see spirits and whom Watanuki formed an organic bond with), Himawari Kunogi (his high school crush who has a dark secret--she's cursed to bring misfortune to others) and Shizuka Doumeki, a boy whom Watanuki constantly argues with but who has nonetheless remained devoted to him until the very end of his life, leading many fans to speculate that Doumeki's feelings for Watanuki are that of unrequited love (and CLAMP has never discredited this either).
At first, the series started as oneshot pieces composing only of single chapters for each relationship until I expounded on two heavy Doumeki/Watanuki stories which offered multiple chapters. Finally, I wrote the series' magnus opei entitled 'Frequency' which was probably my most ambitious fanfiction to date (rivaling only my Tyrion/Sansa fanfiction 'Don't be Afraid to Sing'). It was a very personal story, and one whose roots of inspiration can be traced back to my own personal struggles in real life. I relate strongly to Watanuki at this point in my life and writing Frequency has been very intimate and grueling. I will tackle this in length for my next post. For now, here are the other pieces that compose Snapshots:
Haruka Doumeki once explained to a young Shizuka that love is made up of a series of acts that express devotion and the willingness for sacrifice; that in order for any love to be real, there should be consistency. Most importantly, love is a choice; a choice you make not just once--whether in the heat of the moment or out of dubious consent--for love is a choice one must make every day, until the end of time.
Contrary to popular belief, Watanuki has noticed and continues to notice.
He knows how Shizuka Doumeki felt and continues to feel about him.
APRIL FOOL [Watanuki/Kohane]
"I love him for all the reasons I can never know and for the reasons that are mine alone."
A look at Kohane Tsuyuri's decisions in regards to her beloved April Fool.
TREAT ME LIKE A STOLEN GLANCE [Watanuki/Himawari]
If it's a choice between becoming a part of the human race even though she's an incurable plague that can slaughter them all; or being utterly alone and comforted at least with the fact that there was no blood in her hands then, hell, of course she'll pick the merciful latter. And then she meets two boys who challenged this twisted perspective about herself.
HIGH TIDES AND WHITE LIES [Watanuki/Yuuko]
Yuuko Ichihara can only give so much to Kimihiro Watanuki, and know that ultimately it will never be enough.
Sometimes it's wise to hold your peace because words are lies, lies, lies.
and not saying the things he's supposed to mean.
WHERE SOFT PLACES DWELL AND HARD EDGES BLISTER [Doumeki/Watanuki]
Kimihiro Watanuki had always been adamant about hating Shizuka Doumeki, so he doesn't understand why, on one terrible day, he propositioned the other boy for sex. And leave it to Doumeki to turn a supposedly one-night stand into a full-blown love affair. Now both begin to lose themselves in the complications of intimacies, only to understand the great gravity and importance of choices both made and unmade.
I'm a consummate geek so there are so many major fandoms that I consume so it never fails to surprise me that I can still manage to find some space for a new one. I'm more than gratified to allow xxxHoLic to become a part of that complex, multi-faceted hemisphere of nerdy interests. After all, the real testament of how much a work truly becomes valuable to me is once I start writing fanfiction for it. The only two reasons I joined LJ back in 2006 was because of (1) roleplaying journals of anime characters and (2) writing fanfiction for anime. The last major fandom I got to obssessed with writing fanfiction for was Death Note, and then years later I started writing for A Song of Ice and Fire but there was really only one piece of fiction that I was writing for it (which is still ongoing as I type this entry). I made an AO3 account to post two X-Men: First Class fics (because I bleed Charles/Erik) but I never got to finish them at all. They are still pending and I'm not even sure if I ever want to pick them up. Somehow I decided to write for xxxHoLic and six months or so later I was able to finish seven stories which were all part of my SNAPSHOTS series. It was an accomplishment I was so proud of. After all, I'm still active at Goodreads writing reviews for books I've scheduled to read, so being able to juggle my obligations at work as an English tutor, and my fiction writing for xxxHoLic was incredibly satisfying! I'm also watching latest episodes of 14 favorite shows weekly (plus podcasts; I'm a really busy geek with a hefty bulk of interests, okay?!). In a nutshell, I've pretty much established the most effective way to juggle all my extracurricular writing and hobbies.
What I did neglect in the last two years is writing consistently here in my LJ which has been around since 2010. I used to fill this place with all of my musings and updates of my daily activities especially back in college when there was plenty to rant and get excited about. However, just this weekend, I got into a mood to resurrect this blog and that was when I decided to spruce up this journal with a brand new design layout, and it was nice. I decided that I have to start writing in an online diary again, discussing my writing and its process because I used to be able to do that. Though my updates here would be sporadic and irregular, I plan to do exactly that from now on. I will always consider myself a storyteller at heart and a writer by calling, and though my writings are usually on fanfiction these days, they remain valid and important to me especially because the characters and their struggles reflect so much of my own tragedies and issues.
In writing these stories, I'm able to tackle about my own inner demons, most particularly the idea and proces behind the story FREQUENCY which I will discuss about for my next entry.
2015 was a year of tribulation. It was the year I stopped lying to myself, the year when I let certain people go, and became even more self-aware than I ever thought was still possible. It was the year I made peace with what I could never be. And although a strong part of me still believes I will never be happy or ever be truly loved, I can live with that darkness much more easily now, and still hope that I'm as real as I could ever get, and that there are people who tether me to this world--anchors that hold onto me even when I make it hard for them and for myself.
I'm still haunted by ghosts that cling to me like second skin but at least I'm writing stories again, which is always nice. Catharsis, therapy, a sounding board of my deepest feelings--however I want to call it, writing has always been the mirror that exposes things about me that will otherwise never see the light. I'm always at my truest when I wear the mask of a storyteller. I used to believe that losing people, more often than not, is proportional to my constant bouts of creativity. I still hold this true, but I also realized that finding people also makes me write just as frequently; especially when they bring positivity and inspiration to my otherwise bleak, taciturn and one-sided contemplations.
I don't think it will ever stop surprising how much one person can lose---and still gain something back from those losses.
Whatever prolonged agony and suffering I've undergone last year is more or less self-inflicted. No one cuts me deepest than self-doubt and crisis of faith. But I'm not as sad or damaged as I'd like to believe. The smallest joys I experience daily are the most welcome relief from the exquisite sorrow of my tortured psyche that still associates pain with something trascendent and necessary. I will probably end up just as alone as I keep insisting on, but I can also acknowledge that there is still something in this world that connects me. And I'm not going to be afraid about reaching for it every now and then, and grasp it with all my might, and value the influence it has over my life--a saving grace--a slice of home and a heaven that's only for me. Scared shitless but more wide awake than ever, I'll move forward.
Now I don't know what 2016 holds for me. It's too early to tell, and the future is always in a state of flux. What I can always control now is the present--always the present--and I'd be damned if I don't wield the power of choice that will guide me, enrich me and strengthen me in this endless crusade of mine for self-discovery.
Everyone wants to be loved but I demand a kind of love that's often unrealistic and only according to what I think I require. I'm not brave. I'm stubborn. I'm not strong. I'm just very, very good at never admitting defeat or surrender even when there's no reason to fight against anybody to begin with. I could always change and life always provides opportunuties for growth and reconciliation but now I'm starting to think I don't deserve either of these things, at least not yet anyway. I've been fearful of my own feelings regarding people I care about but choose to invalidate somehow whenever I shut them out, accuse them for being inadequate or just plain make excuses to justify why I have to reject them. I would claim I need the space, the time--the freedom to choose and be respected for making such choices. But the truth is I just want to be free of everyone's grasp. I don't want to belong to anybody else because the thought that I'm not always responsible for my happiness frightens me like fuck. I need to impose my individuality. I need to believe I'm self-sufficient; that I'm Miss Independent.
Where had these narrow views about my identity gotten me now?
I lost two of my dearest friends whom I viciously pushed to change just to keep up with my pace, unmindful of their own struggles, as I stare them down my gilded cage. I broke the heart of a man who only wanted to love me, but I fought him at every turn until I finally lost his trust. Is this the freedom you strived so hard to preserve, Francesca? You are only as free as the insecurities that hold you down and take possession of you. You pathetic, deluded fool.
Indeed, the process is both clinical and natural, depending on how much one is intimately familiar with the needs of her body and mind. The hard work one must put in just to achieve that crowning apex of ecstacy can prove to be a very agonzing chore; made only exciting by the flexible and fertile imagination that one must be readily equipped with.
To reach that desired destination, one must not hesitate to probe the erogenous layers of her mindscapes, coaxing and carressing every eager, soft and taut place, and sustain those many vulgar and romantic images of pleasure and play that light up the spheres as one closes her eyes to dream and breathe in the enticing thoughts.
One should never forget to worship the heat between her thighs where the center of the universe dwells by wrapping her legs fiercely around a nearby pillow, and allowing the texture of the cotton of her panties to slide against the swelling clit in a taunting and maddening repeated motion that is steady at first--and then increasingly frantic--so needy and mindless--and way, way past conscious caring.
One should allow the suffocation to take over and flood the senses with the anticipation of completion; to wretchedly surrender to the narrowing of the space around her as breathing begins to grow faint and erratic; to hold on in spite of the aching of certain joints, and to whimper in an almost insane yet quiet whisper at the tight curling of the stomach.
This will soon be followed by a slow and almost surreal spillage within the already soaked confines of her most sacred spot.
One must never forget to trace a map, outlining the valley of her her bare breasts with shaky fingers as they slowly reach down to bury the digits within the slick passage and find contentment in sleepy solace that the hunger has been satiated and both the body and mind are thoroughly serviced by no other than their best lover--one's dedicated self.
 To be thirty and financially struggling; or to be forty and never having a stable romantic relationship with another person ever, regardless if it's a man or a woman;
 To be surrounded by quality friends but start losing a few of them along the way; or to be surrounded by a quantity of friends and never worry about losing them at all;
 To be at an age, no matter how financially, emotionally and psychologically secure, when my parents finally die and leave my brother alone with me; and to find a way to tell my brother somehow in words I know he will never understand that our parents are gone forever, and that it's just going to be me and him for the rest of our lives;
 To die before my brother does.
The month of May helped me examine my relationships and determine that I've been making people feel obligated to be around me. Well, no more.
I've also learned to stop "scheduling people" based only on the convenience of my own time. "Keep a loose grip", control freak. So I did. I've made some adjustments and now if I want to do something geeky, nobody has to feel like they owe me the company. I've stopped expecting. If I'm reading a good book, shipping a couple and watching a great show, I've opted to share them only to people who would care to respond. Otherwise, I keep all my geeky musings to myself and my social media. I've learned that people are not always on-call for my every whim. I still identify strongly with my geekeries but I no longer identify the quality of my friendships on them. They'll be separate from now on.
People have feelings that don't always correspond to my needs and whims, and I've learned to stop making a big hissy fit about it. I've also stopped initiating connections. From now on, I'm going to cut myself some slack and let the others do half the work this time. I'm actually a lot calmer and less excitable now that I've stopped trying to bring people into the folds of my inner world. I have an indeterminable depth and a strong personality. I shouldn't require people to dive and put up with me when they can't. Now I can just enjoy my geekeries by myself and those who have a genuine interest to share their thoughts with me about them come rare but are cherished. I will not obligate you to spare me time or a date if you're not able. You don't have to comply or accommodate me if your heart's not in it. I'm not burning any bridges. I'm just not crossing any of them unless I'm wanted there on the path.
My namesake means "free" and so are you.
This was a text message I wrote to a random stranger. He was kind and pleasant enough to exchange correspondences with me for half an hour one night. I was foolish enough to hope he would extend the same courtesy to me next time. Foolish. But I still kept his number. I only texted him twice after that fateful night and he always had a ready excuse not to engage or reply. It's perfectly understandable. But I will never forget his compassion as a stranger I've never met in person. I suppose I can only really allow myself to be this bare and vulnerable ANONYMOUSLY, cloaked through use of technology. I take comfort in this because a little dose of this kind of honesty is liberating and keeps me at least hopeful that I won't hurt as badly next time. I seek comfort in the oddest places and sometimes I get lucky---
--and someone reaches back to hold my hand for a while.
In any case, the most important goal is to spend a lot of quality time together not by just watching Fassy movies, but also for us to engage in yet another series of conversations regarding the most intimate details of our darkness and insecurities. I think it's worth noting that the second thing Ehver and I can explicitly bond over is our inhibitions and reservations when it comes to sexual intimacy because of the issues we have about our physical flaws. I'm overweight (I weigh at least 200-something pounds for my small stature of five feet) while Ehver has psoriasis which is a condition where she gets itchy and dry patches on her skin. Understandably, we get anxious about our physical desirability when it comes to potential romantic interests/partners. Growing up, both of us have learned to compensate through other qualities such as our wit and humor. We both know that we are susbtantial women who are individualistic and confident about our intellectual aptitude; but we also acknowledge that our "package" is not something readily pleasing, aesthetic-wise. As a bisexual woman, I suppose I don't have a problem when I engage sexually with other girls because I'm comfortable about my body when I'm with them only because I know they wouldn't judge how it looks like. Since Ehver is straight, the challenge is more grueling for her, and it's something I can completely relate to because I also still want to be intimate with a man someday. In general, men are visual creatures. I'm aware there are a few exceptions but in a generalized standpoint, men have to be physically attracted to you first before they even bother trying to get to know you better. They say there are two kinds of attraction; primary and secondary. With primary, it's all about the physical while the latter is beyond that such as emotional and intellectual attraction. Women are capable of going straight for the latter while men can't. It's just how it works and Ehver and I are very aware of that fact because we have gone through several rejections over the years.
We both feel inadequate about our desirability factor because any man might look at us and think we are--well, 'grotesque' because of my weight and her skin condition. Isn't "clear and smooth skin" and "slender" the current standards of beauty these days? In spite of the fact that our insecurities about this pretty much travel on the same wavelength, our experiences differ. Ehver is a virgin but does acknowledge that she wants to explore her sexuality some more but often gets anxious about the small nuances that would entail and ask of her. She's not exactly a forthcoming individual about her emotional needs, let alone the sexual kind. On the other hand, I have slept with both men and women but I will admit that peeling off my clothes in front of a man is distressing, which was why I would rather stay under covers or have sex in the dark so he won't have to look at the expanse of my wide hips, bulging stomach, and slightly sagging breasts with large nipples. I can only imagine the ache it must be for Ehver wondering if any man would want to run his fingers across her body when her skin has dry patches because of psoriasis. She has started getting laser treatment for her condition since last year and her skin has improved by now but it also made her realize that she's still not prepared to share her body.
I don't think it has anything to do with her religion (she's not a stickler for that even if her mother is). I don't think she even cares about being in love during her first time so she can have sex with a man. I think her reluctance stems from her inability to feel like she can sustain a connection (albeit physical) long enough with another person without overthinking or second-guessing herself in the process. Ehver tends to be uncomfortable about herself and, even though she is very certain of what she doesn't want, she has no goddamn idea what she does want. That's her thing. It has made her an endearing goofball to me and our other close friends...but that same quality may not be appreciated by a man who wishes to pursue her and be intimate with her. One of the things I always pray for (in those rare occasions I actually pray for something) is for Ehver to open up and share herself with a man who is worth the trouble. I believe compromises must only be done when the person you are comprimising with deserves that. It's ALL or NOTHING for women like me and Ehver.
When it comes to a healthy, engaging and supportive relationship, we don't settle for a piss-poor version bred out of convenience and a lack of options. We want love and sex, passion and humor, acceptance and challenge from our romantic partners. But above all else, we want them to look at us each time we take off our clothes in front of them, with our imperfect features exposed, and STILL WANT US whether to tenderly touch, hold close or make love to regardless of whatever shape or form our bodies are.
I'm happy Ehver is getting the treatment for her condition. I have great hopes she will feel better about herself because objectively speaking I think her body is marvelous! She has nice curves and can fit into a tight blouse in such a heavenly and sinful way that makes me hate her a little (HAHA). As for me, I don't want to lose weight. I purposely will always try to make myself look unattractive and inaccessible because I will never stop trying to test people and their perception of me. Looks are deceiving and I tend to make use of that deception fairly well. I think it started when I was fifteen years old and I met a boy three years my senior during a party at my best friend's place. We started making out and it was such an intense and hot session. A few weeks later, one of my male friends talked to that guy just to get a read of him. As my friend subtly shifts the conversation about his opinion concerning me, the guy says that he thinks I'm pretty fun to hang out with; that I'm interesting and mature and very present during the time we spent together. And yes, there is a BUT to those compliments. He adds dismissively (as related by my friend): "Too bad she's kindda fat." (Kaso lang mataba siya).
It made me go numb inside for a long time, and it stayed with me almost ten years later. For the record, I was actually a hundred pounds lighter when I was fifteen than I am now and I was still casually dismissed with the "FAT" label just because I wasn't stick-thin like most of my classmates were. Instead of obssessing about my weight and getting crazy about exercise and diet, I opted to go the other way and got fatter (mostly because food is awesome) but also because I would like it to be a testament that goes, "Hey, assholes, I know I look like a fat slob but I actually have a magnetic personality and an interesting view of things. I have opinions that matter and I'm proud of my small accomplishments in life as well as the hobbies I'm very devoted to. If none of you can look past my obese body and find me worth getting to know and eventually have emotional and sexual relations with, then kindly fuck off."
That's basically the ultimate summary of my life post-college and as defined by the endless bliss of free time I'm allotted between work hours here at my mother's tutorial center. I'm either writing comic book reviews and fanfiction, reading tons and tons of books, listening to podcasts or watching my 20+ something shows. If you look at the last five or so entries in my blog, I pretty much report the same thing over and over like a goddamn broken vinyl record that has been scratched and screeching badly. One thing I haven't mentioned is that I have a new phone that's thankfully a touchscreen now as well as a freebie tablet to go with it which I use to read soft copies of my comics. As far as material things and comforts are concerned, I'm in a good place. My social life is consistently devoted to my family and my six awesome female companions, and I worry less about the future now because I have more certainties than ever especially when it comes to the directions I'm headed. At present, I'm committed to saving up so I can go back to school and take up a Literature course which has always been my calling and desired vocation in the long-term. In the meantime, I'm paying my bills (insurance, cellphone plan, the occassional grocery and electric bill contribution) and enjoying the company of aforementioned friends who I always schedule activities and dinner dates with (mostly consisted of watching stuff and, quite recently, recording our own horror podcast). MY LIFE HAS BEEN STEADY, PROGRESSIVE AND BENEFICIAL. My responsibilities are specific to my own needs only, and are family-centered, and I have an abundance of secure friendships to treasure. It could be better, I'm sure, but I am not complaining at all. I'm single, independent and geeky. I feel blessed because I control my own destiny, now more than ever, and I have the best support system in the world.
And that is why my eljay has been very quiet. I don't really feel like relaying every incorrigible detail of my activities here because that's what twitter and tumblr are for which are straightforward mediums for brief updates and fandom posts respectively. But why did I decide to blog again? Well, for posterity's sake, if nothing else. Livejournal has been my home since 2006 and this blog in particular has been around since 2010 where it contained all the stories about my college tales and struggles. I couldn't just abandon it for good. I look forward to the year I can pick this up and start writing about the time I'm going to school again (by the time I hit 26, hopefully). There is still so much to share and bequeathe here so let me start that by saying that in October last year, my estranged best friend Rhodora and I reconnected. She came by the tutorial center to impart the good news that she has finally broken up with her abusive baby-daddy. Two days later, we were hanging out and then some of our high school friends met up with us at her place and we got to spend a lovely four-hour spontaneous session with the eight of them, just to catch up. However, during that time, the said asshole baby-daddy came along and he apparently reconciled with Rhodora. A week later she is cancelling plans on me YET AGAIN.
And this doesn't surprise me anymore. I am honestly tired of the pattern and I have learned to let her go just a bit more because I can now recognize that we are not the same people we were a decade ago AND IT'S OKAY. I don't want to expect or hope for anything on her end because she has been nothing but a disappointment. The sad thing about it is that I'm not even angry. Just dismissive. Just eager to move forward even if it meant walking away from the beautiful things I thought we once were when it was just me and her against the world. I may be young at heart but I have grown up a lot and she wasn't there for me and I wasn't there for her during the hardest times of our own respective lives. I still love her and I may miss her but I don't have to have her in my life and I'm sure she has felt the same thing, much longer than either of us ever managed to admit it to each other. I hope she's happy. I know I can't make her own decisions for her and I'm tired of feeling guilty over the many ways I could have helped. I can't fix her. I have no right to and I shouldn't impose than on myself or to the friends I have in my life right now. I know I'll see Rhodora again but this time I will stop being so hang up on the past we have and focus on the possibilities and new memories she and I can create.
Speaking of other losses: My ex-girlfriend Lei who I reconnected with earlier last year FINALLY CUT ME OFF. We only managed to see each other twice in person and as friends at that, but then she decided she doesn't want me in her life anymore. Again, it must have hurt me but it's only the natural progression of things. She had been a large part of my past, the very first romantic relationship I had which I actually felt meant something more, in spite of being long-distant. I met her online here in eljay almost eight years ago and she had been one of the most insightful and compassionate people I have ever had the pleasure and misery of knowing. But she's growing up and chose to OUTGROW ME in the process and I just need to live with that. I also mentioned a man three years younger than me whom I started dating two years ago but only for a month because he had to leave the country for good. We had a past in high school and for the second time around, it was yet another missed shot at something special. He will never come back. He has a new girlfriend whom his family approves of, and I don't miss him that much anymore. His birthday is next week and I don't even feel like celebrating it. Just like with Rhodora and Lei, whatever pain and longing I have felt when they refused to stay and let me be a part of their lives have diminished, thanks to the healing factor of time. The bruises they inflicted when they set me aside have healed and hardly became scars. Losing them meant gaining something better, I think, whether it's new people I'm surrounded with, or this stronger version of myself that's more resilient to spiritual defeat and can actually appreciate the simpler things life has to offer.
I THINK THIS IS THE HAPPIEST I HAD EVER BEEN, if not the most content. Everything is predictable but invigorating when there are surprises in between, and I'm a lot more focused in accomplishing the goals I want. My mid-twenties are approaching and I can't wait to experience them. Despite losing three of the most important people from my past, I THINK IN THE END I'VE ACTUALLY WON.
I've developed quite the knack, focus and discipline for my geek inclinations lately even if it's a solitary achievement on my part. Doing the things I love the most is still a productive venture. Besides, I got a steady and stable income working at the tutorial center so I can balance my time working as an English teacher and writing sensible reviews. I'm paying my bills independently and my monthly quota for insurance which is money and security I am saving for future use (hopefully for my PhD studies). In fact, using last week's salary, I just bought new brassiers, undies and home clothes AFTER FIVE YEARS. Now I'm planning on replacing all the old and ugly furnitures in my room by the time Christmas rolls around. Our house and lot has been paid for since three years ago and it's strategically located to avoid any terrible floods due to the country's monsoons. I don't have to live anywhere else or worry about moving unless for temporary purposes. In a nutshell, life has been good to me . I have found the perfect balance between work and play. I'm happily single with quality frienships to keep me company. I'm at the point in my life where I have no need or plans to pursue any kind of romantic relationship because I've truly set my goal to settle down ONLY WHEN I'M IN MY MID-THIRTIES, and I'm getting ready to go back to school and get another degree, preferrably in Literature before I can start with masterals. Still, I do miss SEX--with either genders, honestly, but I'm simply too preoccupied with myself to even bother to socialize in the interest of getting laid. My gratifications come elsewhere less sordid now.
I'm twenty-four years old and free to do whatever I want as long as I do things responsibly and with great passion. I have no heavy baggage to carry or a deadline to chase at or rush for. I have so many possibilities ahead of me and for now I'm just chilling, making small yet steady decisions every step of the way, guided by a supportive system of family and friends, and by my sheer tenacity to find and create extraordinary things out of the most mundane.
"Happily single" is such a defensively ambiguous term, isn't it? The goal in life is not the pursuit of happiness because it's probably the most flaky and intangible of all virtues so I really must not appropriate that as an acceptable adverb to the adjective 'single' which, in this context, happens to be a painfully constant noun that lacks any kind of progress as much as it is a deliberate choice for my current state of being. Everyone is single or singular, when you think about it. We're all individuals with complex desires and feelings but a vast majority of us would rather disappear in the tempting allure yet ultimately disillusioned appeal of social relationships. We don't own up to our singularity as readily as we give ourselves and invest our time on people who probably don't even truly understand what we require and deserve. Our hungers for companionship run too deep to be ignored and denied for long that any sort of availability is a welcome change that can possibly drown out how much self-loathing we have to deal with whenever we are in isolation. I consider myself an expert in solitude, in finding content and clarity by being alone. The occasional pangs of loneliness do prick me every now and then but I've developed the best defense for this intrusion that it hardly raises any red flags when it happens. I display my strength by enduring the self-imposed solitude with the certainty that it will be for my own good in the long run. I don't need to be with other people to feel like I still matter. My hunger for that has been sustained enough by my preoccupations with art, literature and music.
But I do admit that they only serve as compensations--effective substitutes they may be--for the human contact I crave and wish to have fulfilled. But I would not give in as hastily as most people do because I've learned that my desires and needs are even more complex than I would care to admit sometimes. They're also often schizophrenic, trapped between being a self-inflicted pain and a hedonistic pleasure outlet. I don't know what I ultimately want to have in a stable, secure and loving relationship, and if I even have the means or the correct state of mind to go for it. But I want deeply so to be adored and taken care of as long as it doesn't invalidate my autonomy and independence. And that's the problem, I believe. I take everything with a conditional quotient. Everything needs to be a negotiation. Every relationship a transaction that must meet my needs extensively and in great detail.
I will never be happy because I don't aspire for it. I will never be in a relationship because I simply cannot give myself fully to another human being. And this grim reality only worries me whenever I see time and time again that I have so much more to offer that it's quite disheartening that a person of my worth, passion and confidence cannot seem to find anyone who is just as worthy, passionate and confident. That's the burden I must endure for now, I suppose. And I feel good about the weight. It rests on my shoulders with an overwhelming magnitude but it doesn't scare me.
Some days, I could even believe I can fly...
As for my social calendar, I had the pleasure of having different friends over at my place just to "geek in" (Mei, Dhymps, Ehver, Paula and even Krizza). The SMs have a monthly dinner date in place as well, and we're about to have a third one this May. The most recent one had been so gratifying because it was also a late birthday celebration and my favorite girls in the world bought me a teddy-bear shaped cake (with pink icing, no less, but I couldn't complain). Everything has been nothing but sheer perfection; though financially I'm not doing so well with my savings because I had an expensive roster of bills to pay for my cellphone and new laptop. Also, having a comic book habit can get frivolous at times, and all my purchases have been exactly that due to the amount of money I spent on them in the last two months alone. It also doesn't help that I'm becoming frequently regular at Fully Booked ATC, and that Paul works at the main branch and he helps me find graphic novels I need to complete my collection. Hell, I even had to put my novels-to-read on hold just to finish up with my Batman readings (with reviews I proudly posted on my tumblog and Goodreads account). But it was a worthy venture because there are many great things to read in the New 52 line-up and I'm just getting started.
I'm also intensely fixated and irreversibly smitten with Walt Flanagan, a well-known podcaster and comic book artist in certain circles, who stars in Tell 'Em Steve Dave in SModcast and AMC's Comic Book Men. It's becomming an unhealthy fixation too, but TESD podcast has 200 episodes already and I'm only at the 15th so far. I've re-watched favorite scenes from the three seasons of CBM as well and I just couldn't get enough of this beautiful man. Walt Flanagan is a close friend of writer/director Kevin Smith who owns the comic book store Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey. Walt Flanagan is the proprietor and he's just the most captivating and sweetest nerd I have ever had the pleasure knowing. He's the reason I started watching more Kevin Smith films (since he had the funniest cameo appearances in them). I had to invite Dhymps over for a spontaneous sleepover just to let her watch CBM with me and for her to experience the lethal adorkableness of one Walt Flanagan (who I will forever uphold as my soulmate and nothing will convince me otherwise). So this has been my life the last time I updated it here. And I have no regrets whatsoever. I'm at the height of my twenties with a well-paying job and tons of geek proclivities I'm enslaved to. I got reliable friends who are just as nerdy, and I believe I am truly living the good life. It can't possibly get any better than this (unless I get more and more comic books until I'm buried underneath their mighty weight!)
I'm feeling exceptionally...invincible these days. It's hard to explain that in more details, but it simply feels like everything is always working out for me lately and I'm in a continuous great place which it's mostly because I have found my soulmates in my eight best friends: Mei, Paula, Dhymps, Cam, Ehver, Joseph, Paul and Lei. These are the most significant people in my life right now whom I don't see very often but who are always willing to make time and plans for me as I with them. As I look at my social calendar for this year, I realized how I always have some way to keep in touch with them; to ensure that our friendship stays strong and intimate in spite of the distance and pressure of other obligations. For this month alone, I have three grand occasions in place; the second SM date on the 26th; the DW geekathon with my ex Lei the next day; and last night with Paul where we saw the Grand Budapest Hotel at the cinema and got to hang out and converse again after almost six months of not being able to see each other. Since last month, I also had individual face-time with Dhymps, Mei and Paula on separate occasions, and I got to see the lovely Krizza ma cherie who I still hope will be included in the fold because I adore her. My geeksary with Ehver my queen had been a spectacular moment as well; it was gratifying to watch and finish the first season of True Detective with her, no doubt about it. So I guess being surrounded by these amazing people has lessened whatever demeaning and doubtful feelings I have about myself and has enabled me to put things in perspective by always considering the redemptive context these friendships have provided me.
How could I still claim that life is random, meaningless and unfair when I have relationships with people that keep disproving that? So I'm now more eager to embrace the silver linings and the half-glass full perception with ease and satisfaction lately, and I find that by doing so I am happier, more stable and confident to be all the things I've been working hard towards becoming.
Also, a happy birthday to the beautiful and extraordinary Lei Jolene Antonette Yabut.
I have three occasions to look forward to for this month: (1) My birthday on the 24th; (2) the second SM date on the 26th (also Ehver’s birthday); and (3) my second meet-up with the ex (leidyinred) on the 27th to watch the first five episodes of Doctor Who season 7. The Game of Thrones season 4 geekathon with @dhyterm @AkosiPaulaM and Ehver is gonna be pushed to a May date so we have five episodes to contend ourselves with by then.
I’m at the time of my life where I have the sustainable income of an adult which enables me to indulge my childlike penchant for geek stuff. And I will not apologize. It feels really goooood to afford these things. I’m at the second wave of my Book Diet. I’m currently reading The Shrinking Man and The Princess Bride. I’m hoping to finish them before the family’s road trip to Baler this Holy Week because I would like to bring The Call of Cthulu and Other Weird Tales in that trip since I need more cosmic horror in my life. Also, I put Cracked podcast episodes so I can listen to them on the road.
In another surprising yet pleasant twist, Paul (thirteensalonga) has officially made me his “sister-soul” which is a strange-ass pet name but I’ll take it :) I totally enjoying being the Death to his Dream. I’m enjoying the closeness that we have at this point in our lives.
The quotes above and below are from Ekaterina Elanora Ribeira Von Hesse, one of the characters in the second book of the Ender's Quartet Speaker for the Dead. I stopped reading the novel for three days because I was consumed with True Detective which was a worthy occupation that took me away from my book diet. I could probably finish the rest of Speaker tonight, seeing as I only have 162 pages left and I only need three straight hours to get the entire reading done. I probably should, seeing as I have a long list of literature to go through and I'm eager to get to them soon enough. Books have been the best companions for me since January, and I've only just begun.
I posted this quote because it spoke deeply to my way of living. I take so much pride and passion not just in being a writer for fiction and whatnot, but also as an individual who never once hesitated to tell stories about my journey and experiences, regardless of how painful they may be, and especially then. I have blogged every personal detail fn my life across the years and through online means since I was sixteen, and sometimes I'd read those entries again and the find myself often bemused by my absurdities and angst, and even nostalgic of the days when life seemed narrow and fixed. But never once will I ever be ashamed of saying and doing things that I did in the past, not when I managed to rise above them as an adult; not when they enabled me to be more self-aware and in control of my choices and the destinations I'm trying to get to. I'm no longer filled with rage and self-doubt like I used to be. When I was in my teens, I would fret about the future so much that it crippled my ability to establish relationships and outcomes in the present. But now I've learned to build my dreams in strong foundations and let them grow in fertile soil. It took years of undergoing self-sabotage, masochistic tendencies and poisonous negative thinking before I could finally rip out all these weeds and start harvesting an abundance of love and faith not just with other people but within myself most of all.
The most freeing truth I found out in the last seven years of my life is that I have finally forgiven myself for the way I was, and I can now enjoy the healthy state of mind I'm experiencing at this point, and continue to nurture the reliable friendships that I have bravely risked everything for. Gone was the petty and ridiculous teenager who sought to identify herself with only one thing; one who believed so much in her narcissistic self-loathing that she thought no one would ever attempt to love and understand her. She did not thrive and infect other parts of my life anymore because I have taken her place and surpassed her.
I may fear, I may get heartbroken, I may despair and I may lose sight of my direction every once in a while. But I have endured the worst things and now I can finally live a full life teeming with potentials.
Last night I received a Facebook SMS alert from a private message she sent online. Her son's birthday is going to be celebrated later on at six in the evening. However, I already made plans in advance since January to reserve the date for a dinner with four of my closest friends (Mei, Dhymps, Pau and Cam) and we have made the necessary arrangements that could accommodate all of our schedules. We originally wanted to do laser tag in the afternoon then dinner and a sleepover. But both Mei and Pau couldn't stay the night and Mei couldn't join us in the afternoon laser tag, so we changed it to a simple dinner and conversation at seven. So after receiving that message alert, I was slightly annoyed and I didn't hesitate to tell her that I have other plans. It occurred to me that this was the second time she only told me the night before the actual occasion (the first one being her son's baptism which I have discussed), and it's not fair for her to do that because it definitely makes it look like I'm just an afterthought. And yet making that haste decision wounded me so I called Dhymps. Usually, I would've kept it all to myself and not confide with anybody because I'm that private with my issues. But I wasn't that kind of person anymore who tucks in my vulnerable spots even from people who care about me. I chose to talk to Dhymps about it because while Rhodora and I were drifting away, I was becoming closer and more open with Dhymps on the other hand, and I once told her that she reminded me about Rhodora in some aspects.
I explained everything to Dhymps and didn't hold back my tears. I could have, believe me, I know how to keep it together. But I trusted Dhymps enough to fall apart before her because I wanted to show her that we came a long way after everything we have shared and overcame together. I told her that my fears have happened; that I now have to choose between Rhodora and them--and the choice wasn't even as hard as I hoped it would be. It's not just because I made plans with them first and should honor that; it's also the fact that it's the most logical decision I have made--but it still feels so wrong. I still felt like I let her down somehow, that I betrayed her by not coming to her son's birthday even if it makes sense that I couldn't make it since she did inform me just the night before. It cut me deeply because we have now come to a point of our lives that we can't choose each other anymore because our priorities differ so strongly that there just isn't that much room for us to squeeze ourselves into and be together. It sucks because I thought Rhodora and I will grow old together but that future has been slowly crumbling down and I feel so helpless to stop it. But there was something else I couldn't admit until last night.
Dhymps' consolation and comfort were more than helpful; she allowed me to see that I shouldn't be so hard on myself and it made me realize that I've been living in guilt for a long time, thinking that I have the biggest burden for the way things have turned out between us. Rhodora pulled away first by hiding the pregnancy for an entire year. Rhodora made a stupid decision to sleep with an asshole who was bad news the moment she found out that he has other children out of the wedlock from an old flame. She still chose to stick it out with him because she grew up without her real dad and wanted to spare her own son from that; but the price is enduring the way that sack of shit occasionally physically mistreats her. When I told Dhymps all about it, she was mortified. She only thought I didn't approve of that son of a bitch because I was still hang up on Rhodora's ex who was hands-down the nicest, sweetest boyfriend she ever had and whom she was with for almost seven years. Talking it out with Dhymps last night has finally helped me come to terms with the fact that I WAS STILL SO FUCKING ANGRY AND PISSED OFF even if I did forgive her, and that rage has only worsened when I couldn't stop thinking that I could have fixed all these bad things ahead of time if only I was there for her. The fact is she didn't give me an opportunity to do that and the most painful truth about that is perhaps our friendship wasn't as deep or as open as I thought it was. I know that ours wasn't a perfect partnership. It was unequal because we were opposites that were so drawn to each other when we were younger. And I suppose that was another thing that hit me; when we were younger, I certainly didn't know better. It often amuses me to look back at being a teenager because it makes me laugh at how cripplingly insecure and neurotic I was--especially when we're together.
The sad reality is I got the better half of the deal between us. We didn't drift apart just because we changed drastically now that we're adults: it's the fact that I changed for the better while she remained stuck, re-living the vicious cycle that started with her mother. Her self-doubting and sometimes co-dependent way of forming romantic relationships has gone unchecked, most especially since we studied in different colleges, so she was unable to see the rotten man her current boyfriend is from a mile away, and now she had to live with that mistake because he is the father of her child. I know that the reason why she shielded me from her problems that year she was in hiding was because she wanted me to focus on my life because I was at the peak of my game then; I was doing what I love most which is writing, and I was discovering parts of myself that further strengthened my confidence and autonomy. But the other reason was because she was ashamed. Rhodora knew she made a few wrong turns that could never be unmade and she didn't want me to see that because she's afraid that she has disappointed me. And she did--but that didn't mean I would ever stop loving her. She was an important part of my life growing up but her insistence to exclude me from those critical events in her own life has shown me that I may not be as important to her as we both thought. I knew she had always been so insecure that it scalds her in ways I could never imagine, but I thought I would be different; that of all the people she will push away, I will be the last person to get booted out.
It used to hurt me to think that she didn't think she still has a place for me in her life but now I realized that perhaps she didn't deserve to have one in my life either. I met Rhodora when I was in an impressionable, shitty, hormonal adolescence stage of my life; when I used to think a person can only have one best friend and that friendships are territorial and rife with drama. When I grew up, I grew apart from her because my perspectives about relationships have changed and maybe hers didn't. I can honestly say that Mei, Pau, Dhymps (and to a lesser extent, Cam and Ehver) have gotten to know the better, more fulfilled version of me in the last five years we worked alongside together in the student paper and beyond that. I was no longer the closeted, self-loathing "fat" weirdo who willfully accepted her ugliness as a brand that makes her special--and I think Rhodora somehow still thinks I'm still that because she certainly made her worst decisions driven by the status-conscious, paranoid and beauty-obsessed identity of hers in the past whose skin she should have shed a long time ago. If only she did, she would still be on her way to becoming a surgeon like she dreamed of. She would have met a better man who will support her in her medical career. The one regret that haunts me to this day is the fact that when I grew stronger and wiser, I wasn't present to help her do the same. I made other friends whom I connected with deeper than when I connected with her when were still kids and unable to know that the choices we were making then would determine the kind of people we would become as adults. Between me and her, I had the better advantage and that made me guilty because I wanted so badly for us to walk the same paths together as equal, strong, independent women. But she allowed her actions to be dictated by her fear of ending up alone with no man to care for her, while I came to terms that I am solely responsible for my happiness and I would endure loneliness if I have to if that's what it takes to accomplish greater things. So the plans we made as high school best friends didn't turn out the way it benefited us both because we got separated and started hanging out with different crowds until one day we found out we have nothing in common anymore that will keep us anchored to each other.
But I'm beginning to accept that. I'm starting to feel less guilty too because I shouldn't blame myself for being happy because she wasn't having the exact kind of happiness that I have. I'm sure her son is the source of her own joy and strength and that voyage is a worthy destination to sail in. The problem is I can't join her, not when she makes it seem like I can only hitchhike for a while and get off that ship once it's convenient for either of us. She couldn't force me to standby and just wait for her beck and call because I have my own life to live. And I couldn't force her to dump that cunt of a man and raise the child by her own because I understand the sacrifice she's making for the sake of her son, and I just need to to keep faith that she will make it out alive. At this point, I have Mei, Pau, Dhymps, Cam and Ehver (and hopefully Krizza will be included in that fold someday) who showed me that you can have more than just one best friend, and that you always need to be a whole person to have the kind of long-lasting friendships that I know I have with them. I can't wait to see them at dinner tonight!
I'm the kind of gal who has kept diaries for the first two decades of my life, either they're inside dusty boxes, or posted online. I consider blogging as a way to "expose" myself in the public domain, which means I write long-ass passages about my realizations, philosophies and insecurities in life. That's the only way to express yourself after all: with words that should reflect the strength in your convictions. And I think that's why I don't do Instagrams or FB photo posts as much as the people in my generation. I mean, sure, there's a grain of truth in "a picture paints a thousand words" but it just doesn't correspond with my own creed as a writer--I'm simply someone who believes that words are far more satisfying in painting pictures themselves, especially if the canvass is my life, and the brushstrokes are of my own choosing.
Now if my twitter is filled usually with commentaries on the books I read and shows I watch; and my tumblr is an extension of those geekeries where I enjoy discussing my fandoms with anyone who gives a shit long enough to sift through TL;DR posts, my personal journals such as this one are all about my intimate mindscapes. I'm no stranger to eloquently writing down my sincerest, darkest and often condescending stories especially if I know they're worth telling because in doing so, it serves as a cathartic release and a self-aware examination of how the roads I have taken so far converged into the direction I'm traveling at this moment; or if there are any patterns I should look out for, especially if they're destructive ones. Seeing them all written down in an accessible form such as online blogs is uniquely gratifying and helpful.
Most life-altering moments are gradual, unhurried transformations that don't even shock us upon discovery because these things often become so in-sync and compatible with the way we live our existence that they tend to be unnoticed. But since I enjoy probing the fringes of my life, I'm particularly sensitive to them, and I take time hashing them out through writing. Lately, however, I became more accustomed to verbal exchanges with my closest confidants and allies. It occurred to me that writing is fundamentally a solitary experience and that the most effective way of truly communicating with someone and bonding with them emotionally is when you sit down, face each other and spar ideas; the conversational appeal of which must be intellectually and spiritually enlightening. Talk is not at all overrated; it's merely an extension of how well I express myself outside the confines of a pen and paper. I wanted to be understood. The only way I could be understood is to write and talk as much as I can, and they must not be casual activities but mental exercises for self-improvement.
I may sound like I'm bullshitting you right now but that's perfectly understandable, if you've only read this entry and have never met me. Those who are most acquainted with me both in print and conversation will attest that I tend to put meaning in everything because that's the only way for things to be meaningful in the first place. But I have reconciled the pitfall of such a practice to be detrimental as well; not everything in life has order and purpose--the natural state of most things is random after all. But we all try to make sense of things we can't always control so for my kind, we write our life stories down, hoping to find the answers ourselves within the texts someday when we re-read them again.
My life now has been well-balanced. The major changes that have happened all concern people in my lives and my relationships with them. And I much prefer dealing with those issues upfront and face-to-face. Once I've resolved them, I'll come back to write the process and experience because I can be scientific that way; my life is also a case file I study. So for now, this blog entry justifies why I haven't been consistently writing personal blog entries. I'm focused on my work and requirements as an English tutor for grade school and middle school students and I have 48 books to read this year (I'm on my 7th). That means I will only blog again only if something urgent must be discussed. But right now, I'm trying to be less introverted and private with my endeavors. I want to explore the treacherous great outdoors at this point of my adulthood, and share their wonders and mysteries with the people I trust the most.
I had a best friend in high school (Rhodora, whom I've been talking about more frequently lately, especially after our friendship has been on-hold due to the fact that she's a mother now and I feel like I have no place in her life anymore), and she was the "pretty one" so I identified as the "smart one". I wore the glasses. I had the geek hobbies. I alternated between adorably chubby and depressingly overweight. I never had suitors or secret admirers from the opposite sex (though I have ones from my own gender, bizarrely enough). It wasn't a conscious decision on my part or hers; we just fell into these rigid roles and made the most of them. I can say that I came out stronger and wiser than her (though it would be unfair to compare our situations, considering the history in between, which I have talked about in my entries before), and I know now what qualities make me confident and brave--and being pretty ain't one of them.
And I thought I have reconciled with that. In some ways, I had. In secret ways, I haven't. It still makes me cringe or tear up a little whenever I try to discuss this with someone. The only one I was honest with about this is with Elena since she shares the agony in a different way. While I'm dealing with the possibility of full-blown obesity, she has a skin condition. So that makes us undesirable in an aesthetic sense, and it has caused us to be cynical and cautious with the way people relate to us, even if they are friends who accept us for every tiny quirk and flaw. I suppose I'm making such a big deal with what's supposed to be a normal day at a palor. Well, it's been three years since I went to one...and by myself at that. The thing is, since my senior year, I've been having my hair grow long and I haven't done that when I was growing up. I either have short-cropped hair like a boy's when I was in grade school, or your average shoulder-length variety of hairstyles over the years. Now I told my mother I want to have it long and once I've accomplished that, I want to get big, loopy curls--like the ones I see with my favorite brunette actresses on TV. God, even getting to admit that makes it feel like I'm becoming less of an intelligent person. And isn't that completely fucked-up? To feel as if trying to make myself pretty means I'm also making myself dumber? That I would associate a girl who cares about her looks as someone who is immediately vapid and shallow? I mean, what the fuck? I've stood up for girls like that before, girls I became friends with or girls I eventually fell in love with. So why am I suddenly talking like I'm judging them too, when I feel just as insecure and vulnerable about my physical flaws?
So that's why I kept my mouth shut after I walked out of the parlor even if it wasn't the hairstyle that I wanted. I went home, looked at my hair in the mirror and started getting used to the sight of it even if it wasn't what I asked for. The mind-boggling and foolish truth is that even at twenty-three, I haven't truly gotten over my ugly duckling complex. I didn't feel like I deserve to have those dark luscious curls because, in a way, I also don't think I deserve to be pretty in the first place or at all. And here I am discussing it in a way that's supposed to be humorous and detached because I don't want you to feel sorry for me because I don't feel sorry for me; just disappointed and slightly angry that I'm still prone to such emotional setbacks. So after texting my ex Lei about this, I proceeded to write this all down now because I need to communicate exactly how I feel in detail since I've been writing in an online journal for eight years now for the sole purpose of being genuine to anyone who reads it. I want my entries to serve as living testimonies of battles I have won or lost, and how I survived them all. The goal is to be read and understood. And I don't want to seem like I'm invincible. Yes, I do have a really tough armor. And I am as courageous as I say in my writings. I have chased storms until they wore me down. I have been wounded and scarred in the past, mostly by the people closest to me. And still I never stopped writing my defeats because they are as important as my victories. I bring them to light, no matter what.
There is no conclusion as of yet for this new revelation. I just want to get it out there. I feel terrible for being so insecure right now about my physical appearance when I thought I have looked past it; but perhaps I don't have to pretend like I have anymore, and writing it down in a public space is a first step of facing it and owning that reflection in the mirror.
My mother is taking me back to the parlor tomorrow. I'm sure she will have my hair fixed in the way that I really wanted it to be. But will that fix my distorted perception of myself concerning my outer beauty? Perhaps not. But I owe it to myself to make progress in that problem area. Yes, I do feel like I don't deserve to be pretty because there was a time in my adolescence that I deluded myself into thinking that it's the defining requirement to be loved and wanted. I've witnessed other girls walk that dark road and ended up destroying the good parts of themselves in the process. But I have a clearer advantage than them so I shouldn't expect that I would miserably fail as they had. I'm going to stop willfully making myself inconspicuous physically and dressing plain because I have been doing that; making myself look unattractive since college. I did it to actively dissuade men I know will only desire and lust after me, and challenging those who are willing to look beneath my modest packaging. But why do I have to compromise myself like that? To deny myself the pleasure and satisfaction of looking as beautiful on the outside just as I feel within? Maybe I still feel ugly inside and I need to find ways to fix that--even if it means I need to start with admitting that I want luscious dark curls on my hair and actually go for it.
It's about damn time I do!
- I forced you to open up to me and when you refused, I got angry, even vengeful, and started to believe the worst about you.
- I allowed myself to become the sounding board of every person who has a problem and grudge with you and my opinion of you continued to worsen because of that.
- I never discourage people who talk shit behind your back and in front of my face because I actually took pleasure in knowing that people have always hated you long before I came along.
- When I did eventually try to be friends again, I did not realize soon that I never wanted that at all so these conflicted feelings turned sour later on, especially when I could see how grievous it was to allow myself to care about you in the first place.
- I knew about the bad reputation you have caused for yourself but instead of being honest with you about it for the second time, I left you on your own because it became clear that I was not fit to be your friend again.
- I was not fit to be your friend again because you frustrate me to no end and I simply did not have enough patience or good will to try and win your trust and affection once more.
- I could have been more sincere, and I could have helped you during your darkest moments but I flat out refused to because I didn't think there was anything in you worth saving.
- I should have realized sooner that we were never friends. If I did, it would have been easier for us to move forward and go on with our lives earlier on, without any other inconvenient and uncomfortable residual feelings that came after.
- I shouldn't have tried to fix you because that wasn't my job.
- And after everything has been said and done, I'm still not sorry that I hurt you. I also still hope that the wound I left you has scabbed badly and turned into an ugly scar.
- You disrespected the work that I love. When you became a part of the organization which several of my friends dedicated our entire waking lives to, you just wasted that wonderful opportunity and instead used your membership as some sort of bragging rights. You had no important contributions to our organization only because you scattered your efforts and energies doing the most self-centered things while you were supposed to be working your ass off to impress and help your colleagues. This further reflects your immaturity, callous and lethargic attitude, and your general vanity towards yourself in the context of working environments.
- You treat your friends as if they are just placeholders for boyfriends. Because you define yourself with your romantic relationships with men, you are unable to establish or deepen any lifelong bonds among friends and these friends you seem to think you have are not loyal to you, and would not stand up for you when push comes to shove. You dug up that hole yourself because you are so eager for love and attention that you alienated the very friends who could have given you that if you just let them know and see you for who you are outside your relationship bubble with whoever current guy you're shacking up with.
Now you don't owe me that or anything but if you have any compassion, self-awareness and sense of shame, you would stay away and create new circle of friends while you're at it. There remains an impenetrable fortress between you and the people from your past (myself included) who have been pushing you to a jump off a cliff since the moment they caught a glimpse of your fugly personality. You say you want to cut off people, right? So cut away, please. There are more corners you haven't touched upon yet. Have the audacity to go all the way because that's what we expect; that's what we pray for. You made no discernible impact in our lives that the best way to save face, sweetling, is to remove yourself from our plane of reality. That would be dandy, mate. Ktnxfu.
I never realized how much of a dreamer I was as a child until I took a step back from the young woman I am today just so I could glimpse at that part of my past that I counted should have been ancient by now. What I found was not as I expected, even as I write this so I can untangle that seams. In many ways I could only admit now, I'm actually still that little girl after all. My closest friends would never have believed I was such a sweet and good-natured child before if I didn't show them the pictures and some of my old diaries to prove it. They have gotten to know me while I wear my toughest exterior; and even my core underneath it isn't as vulnerable as most people's are. And yet despite the hardened surface and exuberant confidence that now define me as an adult, I still hold on to the dreams and heroes of my childhood because they represent that idyllic portion of my humanity which I often only expose to worthy allies. I was and always have been a romantic even if I'm much more grounded and sensible with my goals and priorities. I feel very secure with my practicality and ambition; and from a distance even the people who know me the most would think I'm callous and too self-centered to be bothered by such frothy feelings and idealism. But hasn't it been said that every cynic is merely a worn-out romantic? I would never deny that I still maintain very deep connections with the sensitive parts of my emotional psyche and that my inner world continues to flourish with fanciful liaisons and delightful dalliances. But I also pride myself with self-reliance; that I have a strong personality that helps me get what I want and accomplish my obligations with a serene compliance that never fails. I supposed I tried to repress that little girl I used to be because I used to perceive her as a weakness that people might exploit. For the longest time, I was embarrassed of her.
But as I approach my mid-twenties, I realize I was becoming rather fond of her. I now understand more clearly that I never would have made it this far if she didn't exist within me, hidden among the thorny and sharp edges of my darkest intentions; a tiny spark of light and sweetness that enable me to be more human than monster. She was the girl who loved and looked forward to her heroes' return at times when she feels like everything else in the world has fallen on her. She was the girl who never dismissed happily-ever-afters as quickly as I had with the maturity of age. She still builds castles on tempestuous sands. She remains very eager to wait for rain in the middle of a drought. She has kept my faith alive when I was so close to giving up and embracing all the darkest corners of my soul. I can declare a thousand times that I'm the stronger one between us, but she was the one who saves me and takes care of me whenever I self-inflict myself with wounds far to deep to scab and heal. Her vitality and tenderness can always bring me back to living my days with all its fullest potentials; back to appreciating my present and celebrating the scars from my past that we can now both wear very proudly.
I'm thankful she's still somewhere inside me, ever patient and never broken. And I bend to her will whenever there is a lot at stake because I can now surrender, knowing that it has always been her goodness that kept us prevailing.
I will say this though: I'm very lucky to have both of them and any complication I have with either isn't that bad in the grand scale of things. They're both upstanding, very educated and responsible people. They are fiercely devoted to each other even in the hardest moments, and there was never a time that they ever neglected, abused or manipulated me to do anything against my will. And yet it wasn't always a perfect relationship because no child-parent relationships are anyway. As much as I have an awful amount of respect and admiration for my father, there have been situations when I almost doubted that he really understands the things I want and he's just going along with it. Sometimes I do feel like there are cracks in our pretty well-established affinity and we just don't acknowledge them in fear that the structure might collapse all of sudden. Nevertheless, I find that I get along the easiest with him because he never treated me like a little girl--he has always invested in making sure I grow up, and that I grow up wise and strong, and not compromise who I am and the things I'm passionate about. As for my mother, it was very stormy for many years because we have almost the same personality flaws that we frequently clash and piss each other off but I can't recall a time she ever just gave up trying to understand me--and I have done plenty of shitty things to her that it's somewhat difficult and even humbling to realize that even then she never just kicked me to the curb and let me just die in the hole I dug myself in a few times. I never felt unloved by them at all. Sometimes I do feel like I'm being suffocated or that I'm never being heard but that's almost always because I refuse to see things their way before, or that I just lack the necessary means and courage to communicate with them and express my side of things. Once that improved and I have more open conversations with both of them, I find that they are supportive about pretty much everything I want to do with my life. In spite that, I still feel like I'm walking on eggshells with my mother.
I think that as a teenager I did hate her in that fleeting, childish way like most self-absorbed assholes in that age usually treat their mothers with undeserved contempt. I outgrew that eventually, and can actually understand better why she's saying and doing things that end up offending me most of the time, and that's because I still could not accept her opinions about matters that concern how I go about with my life. I'm always so defensive with her and quick to dismiss anything she says as constructive even when they are. I think there's this unshakable part of me buried deep inside my psyche that rejects her because I'm actually afraid that I will be become her--or that she's a reflection of paths I should avoid taking. That's not too say that I devalue what she has in her life because she has accomplished a lot as a mother who has to put up with crap from her ungrateful daughter and her son with autism. She's a remarkable teacher who has worked with kids for a decade now. But being a mother and a teacher are two vocations I could never see myself becoming. And I suppose that's the root of our frustration with each other. For the record, my parents have no qualms with my alternative lifestyle because they also know the burdens of parenthood but I still get this gut feeling that I know they somehow believe I'll change my mind one day. I think that they want me to realize one day that though parenthood comes with burdens, it also comes with joys that I will never find anywhere else--and they want me to have that in my life because being childless would seem lonely and they don't want me to be alone. But marriage and kids are things I just don't want, no matter the joys that balance the burdens. Again, for the record, neither of them is forcing me to marry and have kids. They want me to pursue whatever makes me happy and they mean it genuinely. But I think they worry about how life would be for me when I reach their age and I have no one to come home to or take care of me.
I don't talk about my parents often until now because I have no complaints or traumatic experiences worth discussing here. My life with them is as good as it gets. Granted, I do have to learn how to manage my temper around my mother and be more sensitive to her feelings. But other than that, I'm blessed in ways most young women I know aren't. And even if my folks and my brother are all the family I need, I can't help but wonder sometimes if I should feel bad that I don't want a domestic life with someone someday; if I'm truly denying myself the amazing opportunity of bringing a child to this world and giving him/her all the love and guidance my parents had given me in the last twenty-three years. But then I realized a few months ago that it's not really the idea marriage and kids that I'm refusing; it's the idea of settling down for the next best thing; of throwing away my career goals in exchange for homemaking when that's not what I hope to be defined with as a woman. I want to travel and write. I want to learn other cultures and their literature. I want to earn money for doing something I love and make sure that I can financially sustain my parents and Francis for the rest of our lives. So I'm very much devoted to family. I believe in marriage because my parents are the living proof it does work.
I think I just want to be able to accomplish all my dreams first before I do commit to another person under the institution of marriage. I think I don't want to have kids yet because I want to work on myself first so when I do raise one, I have something to be proud of that I can show my child and tell him/her that he/she can also aim just as high. So no, I'm not opposed to marriage and kids completely. I just don't see them as my ultimate endgame but I have also learned to stop viewing them as consolation prizes. So many people take marriage lightly that they end up destroying homes and their children's lives because they do things half-assed and very selfishly. My parents showed me that you need to be better individuals first before you commit to a partner for a lifetime. And I'm not at my best yet and I haven't found anyone who deserves my vow of lifelong covenant and partnership. I'm in no rush to look for that person. With that said, I won't be afraid or dismissive when marriage and kids do become an option in one of my life roads someday. Maybe then I have exhausted all of my solo adventures and I'll be ready to take one with burdens and joys I can share with another human being who is worthy of me.
...appreciated my family more, and how blessed I am to have a place to go home to —> Like any teenager dealing with hormones and angst back then, I used to believe that I’m unloved and unnoticed by my parents because of my brother who has autism so he gets all the attention. I thought I had it bad already just because I don’t have a normal brother. But age has taught me that I’m far luckier than I imagined because my parents never tried to control me or change the way I am. They had always allowed me to forge my own paths even if that means I stray too close to the sun. No matter how hard I fall and how much I fail them, they never once gave up on me and still continue to believe that all the things that almost killed me will only make me stronger so I could make better choices next time around. My brother Francis was also the glue of the household. He tested my parents marriage and that only showed how much they love each other and how much they will remain devoted to each other. The world ahead of me is going to be difficult and strange each year I get older, but I can always comfort myself with the fact that I have a home and a family to fall back to when crap gets too much for me.
…stopped building walls around me and became less callous and vengeful —> I used to believe that strength is immediately invulnerability and solitude; that in order to be a great individual who accomplishes fruitful things, I should limit my social interactions and choose people whom I could exploit and use for my own benefits. I learned the hardest of ways that my ego is definitely a hubris in the making so as soon as that almost destroyed me, I’ve adapted eventually and learned that doing everything alone and shunning people is actually a show of weakness than strength. Once I tore down the fortress of my destitution and let the right people fill my life with their light and wisdom, I became less scared of the darkness that has taken root inside me for a long time. I started to look at people differently and appreciate what they have to offer for my self-improvement and growth.
…understood where my life is going and how I can get there —> To be honest, I’ve always been a planner and every year is a battle I give my all to overcome. Success and accomplishments matter so much to me that I would starve myself spiritually and emotionally just to prove to myself that I’m meant for greatness. I thought that was the sacrifice I must make; the price of victory. I was proven time and time again that I still need people and the support from my loved ones even if I can handle and deal with things my own. As a proud creature of habit, I was finally given an opportunity to see the error and selfishness of my ways, and it was only then that I developed a clearer perspective of my road maps without the need to push out people so I can get to my destinations. Though even the best laid plans can still be delayed by unpredictable factors, I know how to adjust them better now so I could truly travel without too much of a heavy baggage or a single-tracked purpose that could potentially weigh me down.
…wasted my time being friends with someone I never should have been friends with in the first place —> As much as I made friends with amazing individuals last year, and I was able to maintain and deepen my friendships with them, I was also unfortunate enough to come across a bad apple that threatened to rot the rest of the good ones in my basket. I would never claim to be completely blameless for the way things ended between us because I poisoned that well and it was something I found even grossly enjoyable to do. I retaliated terribly in some ways and was never able to forgive her past transgressions so we could rebuild from a fresh slate. My mistake was I thought I could get past it; that I can try being amiable towards her again even after she withheld certain information then neglected and disrespected the people I value and the work that I take seriously. Another mistake I committed was I thought I could fix her; that it was even my job to do that when I lost that privilege the moment we stopped trusting each other with anything. I vehemently despised her even if there are days I wish I could have done differently and supported her. But it shouldn’t be my fault that she couldn’t open up to me because she thought I could not take her ugliness. It shouldn’t be my fault that everyone’s opinion about her worsen every goddamn time she acts as if she’s entitled to second chances and all benefit of the doubt in the world. It shouldn’t be my fault that I continue to remain cynical about her no matter how much she claims she has changed and that she’s learning from her mistakes (which I’m sure she is because it’s inevitable for people to change). The truth is that I will never believe in her again. She not only wasted my time but also my friends’ time so now she’s merely a bitter aftertaste in my mouth and nothing more. I hope by now she has also learned her place and STAY AWAY from the people I care about because even though they do not hate her as much as I do, they will also NEVER ACCEPT HER.
…allowed myself to be loved —> I’m not an easy person to love and I actually like it that way. Being an acquired taste is another reason to bask in my deluded sense of uniqueness when in reality I’m only trying to prevent anyone from controlling or possessing me because I value my autonomy way too much to commit to a person in a relationship. I’ve had my share of fleeting lovers who can only admire me from afar but can never share the world with me. But the more I grow older and wise up, the more I began to despise the loneliness I don’t have to put up with especially when I truly deserve to be loved after all. I thought I have to work hard to attain love; that I need to pass certain levels that would unlock my heart and allow love to travel into the soft places I kept hidden away. I rationalize my weakness to accept love. I deny myself the pleasure of being taken care of because I’m more used to being spurned and rejected. I took comfort that I’m the only person who can love me until he came along and ripped the nightmarish insecurities and exposed that I am merely an aching soul who is slowly losing hope for redemption. For the first time in a long time, someone gets to have me. I allowed myself to be held captive and it didn’t make me feel less of an independent person that I thought I would become if I give in to another human being. But this time, I was happy to be wrong.
But you and I both know that we are not selfless people, and we share the belief that love is not an exception to the conditions of nature and the universe; that no matter how strong it feels and how it’s able to grab hold of every part of your being, it’s still as fleeting as the rest of the world. You and I are grand cynics who tend to rationalize every little detail; who both prefer to make sense of things first before completely enjoying them. We take pride in being our own person. We have different dreams and this means we have to walk paths that sadly take us away from each other. I’m headstrong and I always have something to prove to myself. You’re ambitious and you always have a new project to focus on. In spite of ourselves, we fell in love anyway. And it’s not even because we complete each other because we’re both whole already to begin with. We don’t need to be together. We don’t feel like our respective lives our finished just because we’re not holding each other close. But I love you. And you love me. And that never lessened how much we love ourselves either. We choose to be in love. We made an effort to build a life together even if all the odds are against us—and especially then.
We never have to lose ourselves in what we have just because we’re in love. We both have lives independent from one another; but that’s what even makes what we have worth having. I want to be with you. And you want to be with me. And that never meant that we will sacrifice our dreams for the sake of togetherness. So yes, our love is not at all selfless or unconditional, but it doesn’t mean it was less consuming of that it was never real. And that’s because by the end of the day, as we look at the things we’re able to accomplish separately in our own lives and in spite being fulfilled with that, we still seek each other. We still choose to stay in love. My survival does not depend on you as yours doesn’t with me. We’re complete individuals with two different minds and yet still united through fierce commitment and partnership.
So let me just say time and time again that I LOVE YOU BECAUSE I CHOOSE TO BE. Destiny took no part in it. Dependence did not compel me to. I CHOOSE US.
We then started watching my favorite scenes from both Death Note and Dragon Ball Z: Abridged while I transferred so many, many, many shows for her to watch in her 1TB. Our geekathon ended around 4 in the morning. We then fixed the bed downstairs and then we lay down for several more hours in it while Dhymps slept beside. It has been months since Mei and I had a decent conversation of geekeries and personal stuff so we exhausted everything. And I mean, everything (we talked more about Doctor Who, my plans to go back to school, Bento Box, our common public enemy, etc). She ended up falling asleep by 8 while I was restless so I went upstairs to paint my wall. It was a Sunday now, and my ex Lei was coming over too so by 11, we were having brunch together with said ex. It was quite awkward at first but after a while the three of them got comfortable. Afterwards, my shiny companions went their way and I was left to entertain Lei.
It had been a very satisfying weekend girls’ night!
And to my dearest Lei Jolene Antonette: I’m really happy we can be friends this time. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost six years since you shamelessly approached me in my Livejournal as a fan of my writing until you became an important part of my days back then (since you were quite the muse) because you were so insistent and affectionate that it’s only a matter of time before those very same qualities endeared you to me. You remain very special to me in ways that not even I could comprehend or ascertain. I loved you very much, Lei, no matter how I may seemed distant or unavailable to you before. I remember what we had with a strong fondness that will not change. It’s been great seeing you for the first time on the 29th, and I sure hope that you will visit me more often someday. I want you to be a part of my life if you would also allow me to be in yours. Thank you for making me feel loved for the first time in a long time. You helped me take risks during the years I didn’t want to make efforts to make myself desirable to anyone. And that’s when you loved me the most at that. Thank you, my lady and muse. I hope you continue to stick around :)
I'm still doing that to this day.
I decided to answer her questions in order as honestly and extensively as I could. And then she pressed me for more. After several minutes of discussion about Doctor Who, Batman, Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I then asked her why she thought this is "my thing". The response I got was very revealing. She explained that as kids we're into sorts of things back then which is only natural. There's the occasional new hip band, a rising celebrity to look out for, and the instantly popular anime to fuzz about. But it was me (and another friend) who made a big deal about it. We took the entire classroom for a spin when we started buying merchandise and bringing them to class for everyone to see and share among themselves. She claimed that we started it all and because of that, our classmates have the best recess occupations aside from outdoor play. I didn't know how to react to that so I sent her some LOLs, trying to casually change the topic. Eventually we did and we got to talk about college stuff and plans for the future.
A few days after I was still hang up from that conversation so I decided to chat with a high school friend yesterday. I gave her a summary of my chat log with that former classmate and then I asked her if she thought I was such a nerd. She thought it was ridiculous for me to even ask. She also thought that it was my deal; I always have something new to share to our social circle and it's usually a variety of obscure and moderately mainstream stuff. She also claimed that I took the fixation to a whole new level (I held hour-long discussions on our lunch breaks; I doodle in every goddamn notebook and desk chair--until they decided to give me creative control of the classroom free wall so I have an outlet for my obsessions). Everyone in class mostly went along with it because it was fun and entertaining to be a part of my "geek world". I was weirded out about that so I asked where the hell did she and that classmate from grade school get the 'geek' term. And she LOLed at me and said that 'geek' has been used a lot these days especially with social media. But the first thing she ever thought about when she read that term was me. She also added that she knew I was cool (and other people like me who share my obsessions) before the rest of the world realized it.
I wasn't sure if it was a compliment so I reasoned out that I wasn't all about the geeking. I was also the spiritual chairman, the reluctant captain of the science club and the go-to playwright for school plays. But then again listing my other extracurricular activities did not help my case and she merely LOLed again. She did tell me that I have nothing to be ashamed about. I said I'm not; I'm just really flabbergasted that she was even aware what a dork I was then. Did all our friends think the same thing about me? Yes, she answered, in a sincerely loving way. I'm not sure if that was really the case and then I went to the HF Xmas party with some friends and we watched the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who together the entire time. I went home knowing that I was a full-pledged geek indeed and that I don't have any regrets for the way I grew up giving so much crap about stuff no one cares about as much as I ferociously do, and that it took up so much space in my adolescent life.
I suppose it made sense that I'm now labeled as a "geek" even later in life since the term has only reached consciousness in my peer group, and it wasn't necessarily an awful thing because the usual prejudice associated with that isn't something my culture and country is familiar with. I'm a Filipino and we don't have a strict social hierarchy in school like our Western counterparts. Jocks, nerds, stoners? We only encounter those when we watch American movies. I guess that's why my classmates did not shun me for being so verbal and a tad bit crazy with my hobbies. It was a surprising behavior that they thought was quirky and it helped me make friends with a lot of them who wanted to be just as passionate about stuff like that. Now I wouldn't say I was in the closet about being a geek my whole life--I just wasn't aware it existed; that such a label even mattered. All I know is that I like liking stuff even if it turns me into a 24/7 weirdo who talks non-stop about it. These days I'm actually quite flattered that my social relevance can be summarized with the fact that I satiate my friends when it comes to new shows, comic books, movies and anime to sink their teeth into. I'm happy that whenever I meet up with friends both in high school and college, they gauge me about the stuff I'm into and they are genuinely interested to hear my opinion. I don't consider myself a trend setter. I'm far too awkward and preoccupied with my inner world to be that socially adept. But I accept that who I am is mostly defined by the things I read, watch and love. And I'm blessed that I have friends who think it's one of my greatest qualities. To them, it gives me confidence when the truth is I just obsess and fixate so much about these things that it has become second nature to me so I can wear it as proudly now as I do. I'm always in search for exciting geekeries and it's painstakingly overwhelming.
So yes, I'm a consummate geek. It taught me to embrace life bravely since there are always tons of stuff to look forward to and share to people who care about you deeply as you do for them. From an outsider's point of view, geeking out may come effortlessly to me but it's a consuming way of life and it takes hard work and dedication to live its fullest potential, but the cost is worth it.
For my lover during an impossible time: Life seems to keep breaking us up and since we're countries apart, we're also making the universe's job easier. I want you to enjoy your life because it's wonderful that you're doing something you love. I believe that your career will take you to further heights and all you need to do is to let go of things in your past that could hold you back--and that includes me. Also, this new girl who is crowding your thoughts needs a chance to be let in. If she makes you feel the way I used to, then that's worth pursuing, don't you think? It's painful that we're still in love since the most awful thing about us is that we know that we can never be. And though I want you back in ways no one else could understand; and I still dream of the nights you used to fill me with songs, it's time we move forward in our respective pathways. Perhaps there are no shortcuts to our love story, and we have to take the agonizing route; the long way round. It's fine. I still love you and it's a slow-burning flame that will never run out.
Nothing is more important to us but self-improvement which actually places us in a great disadvantage when we always view things in such a highly cerebral manner. We don't merely take experiences as they come because enjoyment of the simplest things is rather shallow for us. So we tend to dwell on things longer. We dissect them. We replay selected scenarios over and over. This often leads to our tendency to dull our senses that we respond with restraint on situations that need our full emotional range. Still, every once in a while, we also tend to feel things too much like we're scar tissues that keep ripping apart every time we undergo transition. That's how it seems to work: we alternate between heightened feelings or de-personalization of them. Nothing ever satisfied us so we take apart things that are already whole just so we could put it back together in a different--though not necessarily better--way. Back when I was eleven to seventeen, I only wanted to understand how the world works but not the people in it. Other human beings were extensions of experiences; mere objects to serve my needs; subjects for me to work my theories on and manipulate. It's not to say that my feelings for select people were not genuine; but they are eclipsed by my own selfish desires to be different, special and invincible.
It seems to me that most of my younger days were spent trying to figure out who I am that I alienated everyone and everything that got in the way. I resented anybody whom I perceive as monotonous sheep only because I was afraid of becoming like one. I was never concerned about being happy because embracing pain and following the darkness for me means that I'm doing something mind-bending, something amazing and worth the exploration. As eager and relentless as I was to pursue identity, I also tend to discard one for the other; every new incarnation for me was like a pair of shoes that will only fit for a short amount of time until it's time to try the next one. I was a hurricane of bad choices, held together by paper-thin motives and a false sense of entitlement. With youth, everything felt urgent. I wanted to be everywhere at once and the best way to achieve this was through literature and writing. I learned to both conceal and expose myself through the worlds I write and type. I got lost in my own reveries and stories that sometimes the waking world and reality itself were a settlement I have to tolerate and push through. But as uncompromisingly individualistic as I was then, I was still actually hoping that someone out there has a key to unlock my life before my eyes so I don't have to keep running and chasing a hollowed, transient idea of what I'm supposed to be or become. I clung desperately to childhood heroes; fictional characters that could save me; an omnipresent being like God who knows me to my core; or a soulmate who is alike me and can therefore heal me. In the end, they were all escape routes. They provided me hope and comfort to warm my nights and fill my days with songs but did nothing else but frustrate and cage me.
I'm turning twenty-four in April next year. My life now has significantly become more meaningful once I stopped ascribing meaning in everything I come across. I welcome people in with more honesty now though I still keep everything else at arm's length because there's a mad, mad race I have to overcome. I suppose I have accepted that I do have people who make me happy and fiercely love but having them in my life has never derailed me from the consuming, solitary pursuit I've been battling on as a child. I'm still recklessly selfish and narcissistic but I've curbed these qualities to the best of my ability when faced with situations that require me to be more human than monster. But I've readily claimed that darkness a long time ago so now it's time for me to claim the light as well. I have claimed myself out of that rabbit hole because it was the only way to build more daring worlds.
As any creature with complex desires, I made a conscious decision to be the one person responsible for my own happiness. My complicated relationship with fear itself is another defining characteristic; the more afraid I am, the more tenacious and driven I become. I never prolong the agony of defeat nor the selfish tendency to procrastinate life. I keep moving in a measured speed, armored by my due diligence and keen sense of impending mortality. I don't fuck around, that's it. I may experience intensified emotions all at once which is the price for keeping it all together without outside help, but I never break under pressure. I'm wired that way, and it's with constant self-awareness that anyone can be this way as well. When the weight of everything bears down on me, I suck it up.
And that's probably why I resent seeing people cry or whine in public. I'm not saying that expressing vulnerability while facing the trials of life is an inexcusable fault. I simply believe that it shouldn't be a spectacle for strangers and bystanders to witness. It robs the meaning of your grief and pain if you express them like a child who got lost in the mall. And that's the thing. You're an adult which means that you have enough emotional maturity to keep yourself in check because you own your feelings and to lose control of them while in the presence of people who couldn't give a fuck about your bullshit drama is what I consider an embarrassment. Why give anyone the satisfaction to see you in ruins, anyway? We don't always need a good cry. Sometimes what we need the most is a punch in the face; a good ass-kicking from our our super ego so we can goddamn grow up. Wallowing in misery does not motivate you to accomplish, restore and fix things so why waste time and effort on tears?
What really baffles me is, more often than not, these sorts of individuals are also the ones who put so much importance in finding another person to "complete" them as if another human being is really the only resort available and getting him/her is a worthy pursuit. This can be problematic because we impose a false sense of security on something we can't control. And no one should ever make us whole because I hate to think that we're all just halves of other people; that we are missing a piece and all this time someone else has it. Symbolically speaking, that's a romantic concept but quixotic ideals do not sustain life, no matter how much we want them to. I'm not undervaluing relationships when I say this. In fact, what I'm trying to say is that when we find someone whom we just click with, especially for no rational explanation whatsover; and when that someone just knows how to soothe our aching souls and all that cheesy sundry by the subtle gestures possible, it's so easy to get lost in this beautiful thing because it is an unknowable force of nature. But we shouldn't mistake it as a fixed point because nothing about life is in constant permanence except change itself. So we can fall madly in love with people and be at our happiest state but it doesn't guarantee that it will stay that way for our entire lives. That's the trick, isn't it? How could we ever ensure that we can love someone else unconditionally even with the looming possibility that the other person leaves or dies or breaks our hearts? When another human being is able to make us feel complete and accepted and brave, how could we ever continue living when their very existence becomes one of our reasons to live?
Well, I don't know. I've been in love only twice in my life and both relationships have run their course and I was better for experiencing them. I was grateful to have been loved back. But what I can say for certainty is that I never loved anyone more than I love myself and that's why no matter how devastated I felt with every break-up, I don't stay broken. I might feel like I've lost a part of myself when I lost that person but that's also a part of me that was never mine to begin with, and something I can live without. As much as loving someone and being happy with someone has a redemptive quality, losing them doesn't end our lives unless we choose to end it ourselves. So it's okay to grieve the losses but don't stay that long in the darkness. Being happy is a conscious decision, a promise we make within ourselves regardless how other people factor into it. We don't need to pursue anything tangible that could define it because all we have to do is to live beyond survival and, most importantly, to live with and for ourselves through the best and worst of things.
I do acknowledge the importance of establishing independence through learning how to live by ourselves which then gives us plenty of opportunities to pay for our own basic needs and all the budgetary requirements necessary to sustain a solitary lifestyle. This is the best way for any twenty-something to challenge himself to survive, even if it means living off on scarce provisions. That to us is the definitive moment of independence and self-sufficiency. You know you're an adult when you and no one else handles your finances. Money is the most burdensome obligation after all. But I've arrived to a realization that this isn't what adulthood really means. It's part of the process, sure, but honestly, I don't believe that it's really the only way one could measure what it takes to consider oneself as a grown-up.
As someone who won't be moving out of our house anytime soon, my points might be dismissed or rendered moot because if I haven't experienced living on my own firsthand, then how could I claim that it's not the only way to call yourself an adult? Before I give my two cents, I'll disclose my full situation so you can grasp where I'm coming from. First off, I have happily-married parents and a younger brother with autism who will always be the love of my life. I have a strong father figure and a very conscientious mother who pushes me to be better which I used to take as very antagonistic when I was growing up. I reached puberty at an impressionable age of ten, and went through all the angst and rebellion related to that. I shattered myself far too many times to count so I could re-invent myself as a way to adapt to harsh conditions and new environments. As a teenager, I was more afraid of things that other people are more ready to achieve and maintain like making genuine connections with friends and getting caught up on risky romantic entanglements. Personally, with all that I've been through, I don't think I need to live by myself alone just to attain autonomy because, as far as I'm concerned, that has been my ongoing battle.
That's not to say that I'm belittling people who are earning their keep because I have a handful of friends who are like that (and two or three are even young parents by now and have to take care of another person beside themselves). We're all living in a shitty economy and we need to find ways to make ends meet, and they all differ for every set of people. On one hand, we have the twenty-somethings supporting themselves without any outside help while on the other, we have people like me who are still living with their parents but not necessarily out of limited options or for parasitic purposes. It doesn't mean that the person is lazy or spoiled or too privileged; just as it doesn't guarantee that someone who lives alone is automatically responsible and has it all figured out.
So my two cents is simply this: being a grown-up is not measured through the circumstances you find yourself in but the corresponding choices you make in that setting. I think being an adult requires more than just acquiring daily sustenance and being able to pay your bills. It's what you learn from such activities and the ways you adjust your expectations and priorities that truly mark how how you've grown emotionally as a responsible adult. Looking after yourself is a definitive step towards that but it doesn't stop there. I find that when people are too isolated from outside help that they become too hard with themselves and cannot appreciate how people can enrich their lives if only they just learn to accept them. I used to think I have to envy those who are out there in the real world, working their asses off and struggling to balance their money. But frankly, I don't think we have to envy them in order to admire and respect them because we can still do that--but I don't have to covet or compete with them just to prove I'm also an adult. We're blessed in different ways. People living by themselves have a chance to rediscover where their lives are headed and renew their sense of purpose. People like me who come home to a family that loves me is not cheesy or something to be embarrassed about. Having someone at the end of the day is an incomparable source of joy that I used to take for granted because I also thought to be strong and independent means being alone all the time. It doesn't always work so black-and-white like that. And that's what makes it worth the heartaches.
Now that another year is about to end and one is about to begin, I'm learning to understand difficult things with a clearer and more humane perspective. I rarely feel alone anymore, much less unloved. I surround myself with people who dare to care about me, and now that I've stopped pushing the good things away because I'm more accustomed to the bad stuff, I knew that happiness truly begins with the simplest gestures and decisions. One day I just decided I'm going to be happy. I'm going to take control of my fears. I'm going to be better. And it's a promise I made for myself. I do slip and stumble back into the darkness and bad habits every once in a while, but I never forget that promise.
And I'm so ready for another new year.
It was such a great day to shop for all the DW-related goodies in the three booths inside the convention. Ehver just went crazy with the many T-shirt design options while I focused on buying Christmas presents for my friends who are fellow Whovians. One of the booths is called Geekerie and the owners have a website where you can order stuff and I plan on getting my hands on a hardbound copy of the Doctor Who Character Encyclopedia (somebody beat me to it at the last minute). The complete set of action figures of all the Doctors has a hefty prize of 10k which is perfectly understandable (but alas, I cannot afford it). It’s a good thing that I got my salary just in time to buy enough for myself and my friends. I gotta say, my best purchase on this special occasion has to be the pair of painted Tardis sneakers that cost 800 bucks and it’s the only available pair at that time and, just like Cinderella, I managed to fit into them and my feet snuggled happily along as I wore the sneakers for the rest of the night. I also got a Tardis hat, two hand-crafted Tardis necklaces (which has a sob story I’ll tell later on) and lots of DW-designer pins. I also decided to give Ehver my Whovian Philippines shirt with the Oncoming Storm design since I don’t really wear shirts these days.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that I paid for Ehver’s ticket entrance fee and got her a Stark direwolf pin (while I bought meself the Tyrell rose and the Martell sun-spear). I really spoiled her and I’ve never seen her so happy (see last photo). It’s hilarious too, since she was so dreadful to join the convention weeks before and now look how at home she is. That brightened me up, considering that she’s my Donna and I will give her an entire galaxy if it keeps her in high spirits.
While in the middle of sampling the DW merchandise in the booths, my attention was understandably stolen by a certain Fourth Doctor cosplayer who towered just as Tom Baker did; with his lanky frame wrapped cozily into that unforgettable maroon coat. There were people watching him too as he stood there, putting on a new scarf, perfectly at ease and without a care in the world even as catering attendants gathered around him. Under normal circumstances, anyone would get embarrassed being stared at—but not this cosplayer. He was in-character, embodying the Fourth Doctor’s nonchalance as he started talking to the K-9 replica on the ground. On cue, everyone who has a camera started to take pictures of him interacting with the metal animal. As soon as he got back on his feet, I asked to get my picture taken with him and he looked at me and asked. “Would you like to try this on?” He meant his beautiful scarf, and I could not say no to that! I wrapped the said accessory around my neck and got ready to pose. However, Fourth was still looking at me sternly as he said, “I will do that under one condition only..” and then from his pocket he produced a sack filled with the easily recognizable saccharine treats and asked me. “Would you like a jelly baby?” In my excitement, I grabbed the sack and then he widened his eyes at me and interjected. “Only one jelly baby, okay?” I apologized profusely and took two of the sweet babies, and I munched on them as we turned to the camera to immortalize the encounter.
Ehver didn’t know about Tom Baker’s Doctor whom this cosplayer embodied very well but she was clearly enchanted. I myself began to observe him for the rest of the event. He would often walk around by himself, hands on pockets, hardly ever inconspicuous with that hat and that scarf. People would ask for pictures with him and he would merely oblige though he barely uttered a word. Sometimes he would pose with the Dalek, the Cybermen and other Doctors, doing so with natural charisma and subtle flair. I would see him offer some of the other participants jelly babies and each one of them would light up when asked. I finally got Ehver to take a picture with him and thanks to this lovely guy, Ehver is now intrigued by the Fourth incarnation of the Doctor, the longest and definitely most well-loved version of him in the 50 years of Doctor Who.
I think one of the giddiest highlights of the DW50PH for me has to be how Ehver reacted to all of it. I was the one who was prancing around and shitting sparkles and rainbows the entire time, of course, as I manically took pictures of cosplayers and merchandise. But Ehver was a different story. She wasn’t outlandishly expressive but she was nonetheless euphoric. But I am not deceived easily for I could hear her fallopian tubes twisting within her as she struggles to hold her slipping ovaries in place. What really got her motor running was the presence of the Tenth Doctor cosplayer (who, coincidentally, is one of the owners of the fabulously named store Geekerie). She was naturally inept with initiating verbal contact with strangers so I happily approached him for her and he was definitely beaming with the Tenth’s charismatic disposition. Ehver was unbelievably shy and was holding back as she took pictures with her favorite Doctor. In an unexpected twist of events, she was also smitten with the Fourth Doctor cosplayert. So as soon as the built-in TARDIS was finished, I have her stand between the two Doctors. Before I took their pictures, I manage to remark, “This is the threesome you wanted for a fanfiction, isn’t it?” while in the presence of the cosplayers. She kept her mouth shut but I could tell that she wanted to hit me in the face for saying that. The Fourth Doctor was very blase about the comment (with his space-out look at the camera, I doubt he even heard me) while the Tenth Doctor has some abject horror to express upon that comment (which is actually sort of cute). Nevertheless, they were both okay taking pictures with Ehver. And though it may not look like it, that is the face of a girl who wants to snuggle with these men—preferably with Fourth’s scarf wrapped tightly around her body as Tenth kisses her tenderly all over. Or that could be my own fantasy, who knows..
Nevertheless, all I ever really cared about for the DW50PH was the geek merchandise since that doesn’t come often from where I live. I knew there was a cosplay contest but I was never into that sort of thing even as an anime otaku. However, as seen in my previous posts, the Tenth and Fourth Doctor cosplayers were a pleasant treat and I did find myself enchanted with how they portrayed their respective characters. Now as the current Doctor, Matt Smith’s Eleven had the most cosplayers (of both genders). I spotted at least four of them in varying costumes that included the brown tweed jacket plus red bow tie, the pinkish polo shirt with red suspenders and a Fez, and finally—and the most captivating of them all—is his latest wardrobe which composed of a purple trench coat and bow-tie. The costume-wearer of whom is just about as formidable as they come; and one I hesitated to approach for almost forty minutes. I distracted myself by taking pictures of other cosplayers but I also kept telling Ehver that I want to take a picture of him in particular but I keep making excuses, citing that I wasn’t ready yet. But I did get over it eventually because I might miss the chance to interact with him if I kept my distance too much. So with absolute caution and tact, I managed to walk toward him and ask as sweetly as I could: “Hello, can I take your picture?” He smiled warmly and nodded and then without missing a beat, I added. “And can I hug you?” And surprisingly enough, it didn’t bother him and he said yes on both accounts.
As far as I’m concerned, that’s a huge mistake on his part. By giving me his permission easily, I jumped on the opportunity like a creepy fuck and held onto him tightly. It is notable that we’re practically strangers to each other but fangirl whoremones make no logical distinction between appropriate behavior and the crazies so I ended up using him as a prop to project all my Matt Smith feels which I have denied myself the agony of experiencing since the news that he’ll be leaving the show. I recall burying my face on his chest and muttering “I don’t want you to go” repeatedly and he was such a nice guy for comforting me about it, saying that DW is about change and there’s a time to let go. He patted me kindly the entire time too. If I ever judged a Tennant fangirl before, I would like to sincerely apologize now because I finally understand the magnitude of loving a Doctor actor so much that you truly feel like a vital organ is being ripped out of you in the advent of his departure.
In addition to grieving untimely on this cosplayer, I also asked Ehver to film us with my camera as I “explored” his costume (which included me rubbing my palms against the velvet texture of his purple coat and having him turn around slowly). Ehver must have been shocked with my overt display of whoremones in a very public place but she’s a good gal and kept a straight face. She did, however, forget to press the rec button so I have to re-do the whole thing, and Eleventh Doctor cosplayer was still fine with that. I spotted a Fez on a nearby chair and asked him if he could put one on but he said that he was unable to bring any right now. As he was speaking, he was mimicking Matt Smith’s hand gestures which are just perfect. He was also bending his head close to me as we talk, and would turn around his torso to a direction he was referring to while he grasped his hands together ; which are both recognizable Matt Smith behavior (I caught that on video and I’ll be making GIF sets about it soon!) I was very happy how generous and warm he was the entire time. I kept hugging him and he’d hug me back which I’ve always believed is something the Eleventh Doctor and Matt Smith himself would do and not be bothered about how grossly familiar it would come off as.
When the built-in TARDIS was finished and Ehver, Tenth and Fourth doctor cosplayers have finished their turn in picture-taking, I looked for my Eleven and took him by the hand as I led him to the TARDIS. The Tenth Doctor cosplayer remarked. “Your picture will be a cover photo for a fanfiction and you wouldn’t even know,” which was a retort to my earlier comment about the threesome fanfic among him, Ehver and the Fourth Doctor cosplayer (which I was informed the next day in FB was his student). Nevertheless, they were all pretty chill about me going all notorious school-girl with a crush. I seriously have no idea how I was able to still keep a tight restraint in expressing how I feel. Believe me, I was still holding back a lot at that point! I couldn’t even tweet about anything in that hour because I was roaming around and taking pictures. And when I did get to tweet, I raped the caps lock and announced how much I want to take the Eleventh Doctor cosplayer home. I was in love with Matt Smith in ways I will never have acknowledged if it wasn’t for this nice guy of a cosplayer. He was amiable and caring for a stranger and there was this certain spark between us that was undeniable and could be a start of a fun friendship. I kept in touch with him since then and I look forward to seeing him again in December for another convention.
[View the geekasmic photos here]
So my reading selection is not the issue here. It's the fact that I'm becoming impulsive about my book buying. Every time I go inside a bookstore, I make sure I don't come out empty-handed. This has been the case when a National Bookstore outlet inside my university opened. Whenever I'm bored in class, I would just excuse myself out of the room and shop for something in there. Now that I'm working at a tutorial center located on the third floor of the Alabang mall and I'm earning sufficient wages, the urge to shop for books is now overpowering. Every time I get paid (which is weekly or monthly), I binge-shop. The worst part is that I now buy comic books which are expensive (500-900 price range) so I end up having minimal savings which sucks donkey balls because I have something really important to save money for (I'll be enrolling for a master's degree in Literature next year and I need to pay for my school fees). I think the cherry on top of this self-indulgent cake is that after buying six comic books and three novels two days ago and calling it a "wrap-up", I once again bought two books yesterday so the money I saved up for the Whovian 50th anniversary convention I'm attending is now 600 bucks short, and all because I operate with the "what I see is what I get" way of thinking. I'm just making responsible decisions left and right, don't I? Bugger off, Eka and get over your book craze!
I need to be firmer with myself this time. Papi always said that having a ripe emotional maturity means one can differentiate between wants and needs. And yes, I WANT more books. I WANT them in a way that I feel like I'm only seconds away from declaring a library robbery or something. But I don't NEED to buy books all the time. I don't NEED to buy a book every time I go inside a bookstore. What I both want and need is that master's degree in literature. I require it and I am determined to have it. I'm supposed to start working my way in attaining it. So I have to stay committed to that numero uno priority. I only have four months before the enrollment in April next year.
And that means I NEED to lessen my indulgences if I ever hope to become everything I've ever dreamed of. It's a small price to pay for a more worthy endeavor that is ahead of me.
So I'm a full-pledged geek by now so I want to turn that into something productive which is why I'm currently recording podcast reviews on novels, anthologies and comic books. The project is called Reading with Eka, and I'm working on the first episode this week. Other than that, I'm also writing fanfiction in a steadier pace without worrying too much on writer's block. I'll come back to my Tyrion/Sansa fanfic (which is now on chapter 8) two months before GoT s4 airs. In the meantime, I'm focused on writing my Doctor Who-The Sandman crossover fanfiction which is dedicated to no other than Elena (ehverespejo). I gotta say, this piece of fiction has gotten under my skin. I'm thoroughly in love with both the Doctor and Dream of the Endless and being able to write the two of them having a rich history together is both a challenging and thrilling possibility to explore in literary fiction. I'm writing the third chapter as I blog this and my creative juices are flowing quite effortlessly for this fic. I have great hopes on how this story will develop and evolve. I'm allowing the muse Calliope guide me in this venture. Everything about the fic is peripheral for now. I try not to make a fixed outline for it like in my GoT fanfics because I'd like to surprise myself along the way too. Also, per request from
There are 10 days to go before the Whovian Philippines Convention for the 50th anniversary celebration for Doctor Who. I can't wait to spend the commute route to Ortigas with Elena so we can talk about The Sandman readings I've given her. I think it's almost a month since I saw her last (with Dhymps at my place where we watched movies and talked about OTPs
For someone whose sexuality was awakened disruptively by puberty, I can understand how confusing and real it feels when boys and men would notice me in that light, especially if the attention and gestures are unwelcome and would therefore cause so much discomfort. But it's also at these moments when I strongly become aware of my altogether "woman-ness". Since I started to develop physically, it became unavoidable for the guys not to ogle or try to make me notice them. During such times, it was as if I can only recognize my gender through how the males would perceive and treat me, and it's not always a pleasant experience for me. I became so insecure about how I look then, and luckily enough I was fairly smart to understand that I shouldn't let anyone make me feel like shit so my response to such a chaotic feeling was to make myself less desirable and sexually unavailable to men. It wasn't that hard too, considering I'm queer and I prefer the romantic company of ladies in the first place. But during my teens, I was still surrounded by sexist and marginalizing views against girls so I was very much still affected by male chauvinism, even if I no longer feel directly apprehensive by it. My problems about it have more to do with how my other female friends respond to such prejudice and unrealistic expectations; how they belittle and abuse themselves just so boys will want them. My best friend had a string of boyfriends who made her feel less alone even if not necessarily loved and cared for. It was as if the mere existence of a girl, and the activities she equips herself with, functions as a way to help contrast her male counterpart; or that every time a woman dresses the way she does, it's for the viewing pleasure of men alone; or that every time a woman wants to do something, it's not just for herself--she has to do it because it will get boys to pay attention to her and/or earn their approval. Almost all teenage girls go through this trial; some get over it and learn that it's better to be alone than be with a man who doesn't respect them; while others develop a pattern of behavior where they cling to their relationships with boys at such a young age as a means of affirmation. Sadly, the same teenage girls also carry this forceful bad habit well into their twenties or thirties and need outside help to break the cycle. I guess that's what happens when girls learn to identify with their womanhood through their sexuality alone and how that sexuality is associated with men.
It's quite disheartening that, to most young girls, familiarizing themselves with the often traumatizing grip of their sexuality and sexual influence on men is what makes a girl accept her womanhood. I think I share Tina Fey's views in her anecdote where she re-asserts that in coming terms with our 'womanity', we should recognize it not through the way men would oppress or violate us, but in how we build our identities through the things we're passionate about like our accomplishments as individuals. Tina Fey claims that buying her first formal wear with her own money and wearing it as she was awarded for her essay is what helped her realize that she's a grown woman, and I think that's the way it should be for young girls too who are still struggling to define who they are. And doing that should have nothing to do with boys' opinions or anybody's disparaging let-downs. They say that we now live in a world where slut-shaming and rape culture are rampant and I'm not exactly a model of true female strength because I do admit that I've gotten fearful of how any of sexual appeal would affect men so I choose to, let's say, make myself more homely than I'm supposed to so I would discourage advances, or at least impose intellectual superiority over men who try to underestimate my abilities. I was severely extremist with this for quite some time and only recently opened up to a possibility of romantic relations with a man months ago. And I'm actually quite glad I waited and I didn't become desperate for male attention before even though it was painful to be some sort of an eyesore in high school where reputation is concerned because there's this stigma about teen girls who have no experience with heterosexual romance whatsover. I know better now, of course.
And it enabled me to truly appreciate my first romantic relationship with a guy without any sort of deluded expectation or immature inclinations anymore. But I did get entangled with girls for years, and the truth is I didn't even know what I wanted in the context of my romantic relationships with them then, and was always so focused in establishing autonomy first that most of what my girlfriends say during break-ups is that I'm too self-centered or that they feel like they have no place in my future. I suppose that is a different discussion altogether but on the positive flip-side, being more attuned with myself had a long-term blessing. Now in my twenties, I feel at home with my age. I know who I am now and where I'm going. I can now easily look back at the twisted darkness and pain of my formative teenage years with a more compassionate insight. I'm happy that I understood and accepted my womanhood through learning how to live with myself and fight the demons alone. Allowing myself to fall in love with other girls also taught me more about my gender than I could ever imagine. I suppose this is why I still identify as a queer woman even if I eventually did date a man and loved him just as passionately. I am irrevocably enamored with being a woman and other women. The only strongest male influence in my life growing up is my father and I think he's quite a feminist because he never once tried to manipulate me into the version of who I'm supposed to be through what he thinks is the proper woman. No matter how bad things got for me then, he didn't judge or blame me for being fanciful or whimsical or vain or anything derogatory about being a young girl. He just accepted that just like most things in life, even youth doesn't last forever, and I only get stronger through going about things the hard way.
And so when I read that anecdote in Tina Fey's autobiography, I can confidently say that the very first time I felt that I was a grown woman was during the HF Yearend 2011 when I was finally selected as the literary editor for the school paper. I was given an obligation that could make or break me and I was so scared but very much prepared. That was when I knew I'm all grown up and that I can make a difference in people's lives. And as I journeyed on to hone and guide other aspiring young writers under my tutelage, that's when I became proud of myself for facing the challenges with the grace of a woman.
You know what makes someone human? A great part of that can be defined through the imperfections and flaws of our nature but that shouldn’t end there. Being human is not simply about owning up to your shitty past and fuck-ups; it’s surpassing all that ugly stuff by finding a way not just to improve your life but other people’s. You can take a break from all the drama and pressures of family, lovers and other social relationships because you deserve to know who you are first through some quality alone time. But there’s a difference between being alone in order to learn to love yourself and being alone so you are free to indulge in the darkness of your bad habits and regressive way of thinking. Sooner of later you gotta haul ass and break through that tough shell we call ego and tear down those goddamn walls that keep you hidden away from people you could genuinely connect with. The thing about believing other people mess us up with their expectations and demands is that sometimes we actually expect more from ourselves and only project those expectations unto other people. We think we are being pressured to be this or that when it’s our own inner demons who have those kinds of demands from us, and the only reason it stresses the fuck out of us is because we fail to acknowledge that we are our own worst enemies since we would rather assign someone else the blame and responsibility to fix us and make us whole again.
It’s embarrassing to admit that we’re cunts and the foremost saboteurs of our lives. And yet we can casually tell people that, “Hey, I’m human. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes” in a tone and manner that hints that the statement connotes some sort of finality in self-growth and meaningful reflection.
What a load of insulting farce! It’s as if we’re unconsciously yet spitefully degrading our humanity by attributing it to being fallible, weak, susceptible to temptations and living in terror like these are definitive traits of being human. But they’re not. We can’t always look in the mirror and see a despicable piece of shit that’s unlovable and always disappointing people AND THEN NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT BUT WALLOW IN SADNESS AND FIND OTHER MISERABLE CUNTS WHO WILL ENABLE OUR RESPECTIVE SELF-HATE FURTHER. If that’s what you and I see every time we’re looking in the mirror then I hope we can turn those bullshit feelings into something that will jumpstart redemption. I find that the best way to do that is having someone in your life (preferably family and/or friends) who you can help and support. It’s amusing how much we tend to forget our own pain once we focus on someone else’s and soothe it. But not every aspect of our lives could be so ideal and most of the time our lives are overcrowded with assholes but we can always seek out people and organizations or workplaces that are centered around positive reinforcement and outreach programs for the ones who are truly broken. The fact that you can access the internet and read this entry proves that you are at least privileged enough to afford basic needs. And thousands to millions of people aren’t as lucky. But if you’re not sure you’re ready to be that kind of person because you’re afraid you won’t pull it off or you dread what other people will say about you suddenly finding religion or something—well, that’s your choice.
But you have to give yourself chances to be a better person not just by doing something right for yourself but for other people too.
And if this means I’m expecting more from you which is a cunt thing to do considering you’ve never met me and I don’t hold your life in my hands anyway—then tough luck, mate, because I believe in you even if we will never know each other. And why the fuck would I do that? It’s because you’re human and you can give love as much as you can receive it. You’re capable and full of potentials. You have a purpose even if you can never figure it out. And for those of us who want to die because everything seems hopeless already then I challenge you to find out if you’re right about things getting worse. And you will never really know, wouldn’t you, unless you live? And you will make more mistakes and create miracles too. You don’t have to need love and demand it because YOU ARE LOVE. You don’t need to bring yourself down by saying you’re not perfect because you don’t have to be. You just need to find something passionate about to pursue, to take care of your loved ones and to find a way to go to sleep at night believing that you don’t always have to operate on the notion of “kill or be killed”, or make bad choices in order to learn from them. Most of the time our salvation is a corner we don’t have to find. Sometimes just embracing the goodness of our soul and doing good deeds and all the fucking cliche that entails do work. And seriously, dearie, stop knocking yourself down a peg for being who you are and how you feel every single time you’re vulnerable and alone and feeling disgusting. You are human and that makes you magnanimous.
Jung puts it poignantly well: “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”
After all, Ben Okri also said; "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."
As for my personal goals, I’m working my way towards them in a graceful pace. After some discussion with my folks and other reflections, I realized that I don’t really plan on working for a media-based company because writing has always been my vocational calling though I have definitely learned a lot from being a Broadcast Journalism major. I’ve mentioned before that I want to write about war but now is not the time for that. I have to build my way toward that goal and focus on what matters more which is to secure the family’s future through maintaining our primary source of income which is the tutorial center. I also mentioned briefly that I’m preparing for something special and here it is: I’m enrolling to Ateneo de Manila University to take up a Master’s Degree in Literary and Cultural Studies. I do like schooling if it’s geared toward my passion and that is literature. I’m saving up money to go back to school and my folks are backing me up as always. Though teaching may not be a dream profession, I have quite the natural affinity for it and I plan to nurture and sustain it because the tutorial center is my mother’s legacy and I want to keep it alive even after she retires. It would also give me plenty of time to pursue my writing while still having a stable job. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that having the best of two worlds can be accomplished but you’d never have a family like mine and we never fail each other. Seven to eight years from now, I’ll find a great special needs school for my brother that’s out of the country. Hopefully I would be taking my PhD by then and I can travel the world too and publish my writings, both for academic and for fiction. I aim to hit a steady stride by thirty-five and I am confident that my relentless focus and ambition will definitely get me places. After all, I’ve always been highly individualistic and that makes me hungry for learning and achievement. Also, I got the greatest advantage: my incredibly and painstakingly supportive parents whose years of honing and disciplining me will soon pay off.
But yes, I will get to write about war one day though that’s not a realistic endeavor for now. I need to work my way up first with the skills I’m already excelling at and start from there. I’m only twenty-three with no plans of marriage and children of my own anyway.
So the world is like my oyster buffet. I hope you’re ready for me, world.
In the last couple of months, I've been working at our tutorial center as an English teacher for Language and Reading. The money is worthwhile at that and I do enjoy teaching children. Also, I think my presence in the center was more than helpful to my mother since she teaches almost all subjects and it really takes the load out of her that I'm teaching English for her. It was just supposed to be a part-time gig as I wait for the storm in Manila to end so I can begin applying in media companies again but working at the tutorial center made me realize a couple of things; the most important of which is that it's a family business that basically keeps the roof in our heads and pays the bills--and that I might have to take over once mother retires. Secondly, and the most dreadful thing I have to admit: I don't see myself becoming a media practitioner at this point in my life so far. I've expressed before that I want to be a journalist who covers war zones and military news but that doesn't seem to be a realistic venture at least for the time being. This is when I started tor reflect again on my goals and I was struck by an epiphany again: I wanted to go back to school to earn a Master's Degree. While in the middle of my work, I excused myself to text my father about this and he agreed that I should do that because that's what they've been pushing me to do since I graduated. I might not have been paying attention when they mentioned that before but I'm certainly listening now. My mother was fine about it too and suggested that I keep working at the center to earn money that will pay for my schooling. It was worth mentioning that I was pretty heartbroken about confronting them about this at first which turned out to be the least of my concerns because even though I sometimes believe I'm disappointing them, my folks have always been supportive with every endeavor I pursue, and are generally proud of what I accomplished. They never belittled me or hindered me from reaching my goals. They never judged me harshly or suppressed me when I was having personal crises on identity and sexuality. They never ever tried to control or manipulate me which is really something, considering that most parents I know often push their sons and daughters to become an extension of themselves. My folks even encourage me to be an individual as long as I can commit myself wholeheartedly in my goals and that I can face certain obligations that is expected of me.
I suppose that's the reason why I can express myself better and honestly than most young women my age. I was not neglected or abandoned or unloved at all. My parents have given me everything I could possibly ask for and that's why I pressure myself into becoming the daughter that's the product all that love and devotion. That's why I thought I might hurt them if I tell them I want to go back to school but then it's actually what they were hoping from me. I do want to earn a Master's Degree on something I'm most passionate about. And that, of course, is literature. My parents have never been happier. They trust me to do well and it's often overwhelming how much they believe in me.
My mother and I are also starting to bond better especially now that I can see how hard she works her ass off to provide for us. My late grandmother, her mother, was also a teacher. And that's why she's just as dedicated to teaching kids and honing their skills. I consider teaching to be a passable profession since my passion lies elsewhere but I guess being a teacher now has helped me improve my interpersonal skills too, and it has given me enough time to prepare for the venture I'll be pursuing next year. I really don't have anything to complain about. I'm just so happy and lucky that I'm now at the point of my life where all the pain and scars of my younger years now only serve as a reminder of what I can overcome and what I can achieve just as much as long as I stay focused and optimistic.
This is the gist: in the last few months last year, there has been a strain between Dhymps and Paula which became worse when they had that confrontation about HF work since Paula was Dhymps' predecessor for the Managing Director position, and they fought about that one time. I heard that it was gruesome and since then, the friendship between them hasn't been the same. Paula began to avoid Dhymps in fear of saying something hurtful again and I advised her to let Dhymps do her thing because I arrived to the decision that Paula can't handle her as well as I could because the thing about Paula is that she cares too much and one of her ways to show deep concern is through criticism so that her loved one will improve from his/her mistakes. But she can be too critical and especially with Dhymps and I've sensed that it's because she never had that much faith in Dhymps to begin with and her intentions are muddied because of that mistrust so I told Paula that I'll deal with Dhymps. I'll take care of her. Among all the SMs, I was the only one who readily accepts the shitty things Dhymps tends to do to herself and other people and I help her fix that flaw as much as I can and as I've talked about it several times before, it has been a great experience to see Dhymps grow and learn and that I contributed to that change. I guess I've always seen myself as the caretaker of my friends and I take huge joy in that and my choice never to give up on Dhymps when Paula had was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Being closer to Dhymps also helped me forgive myself when I felt like I abandoned Rhodora, my best friend for almost a decade now, when she needed me the most (but as I have discussed before, she hid herself away from me for a year so she has some fault in this too), and I was able tot reconcile with my other issues pertaining with intimacy in general because Dhymps had a way to bring me out of my shell. We saved each other this year and so I did not hesitate to tell her the truth about Paula at last.
Looking back at it, I still stand by with that action but it has consequences I overlooked. A pandora box was a dangerous instrument after all and it certainly made things among the three of us more complicated than I anticipated. Dhymps was understandably angry and she felt betrayed because she really thought that she and Paula are okay now and then it turns out that Paula was just walking on eggshells around her and still thinks the worst of her after all. And I tried my best to explain to her that Paula was simply finding it difficult to handle her not because their friendship was never genuine but because it was; the love Paula had for her was a blind spot and it's making me Paula act in harsh ways toward her. I told her that I promised Paula that I will take care of her now because it was the best thing for the three of us, but Dhymps couldn't grasp this in a way I thought she would. But I focused on Paula and Mei's issue first which was resolved in no time after some convincing on my part. I just had to protect Dhymps from further injury but I didn't realize then that what she wanted was protection from me because I was the one who wounded her and not Paula because she believed I was defending Paula and that is to her own detriment. I didn't know this then but as soon as I found out about it, I was baffled and I slowly became infuriated. And my wrath is very unpleasant. I've had anger management issues as a kid and now it's manifesting again and I don't want it to make me act in a way I can never take back.
And for the next two weeks since the can of worms were laid out, Dhymps was beginning to pull away from me and I sensed it but did nothing for a while because I have this built-in fail-safe where I would choose to slash and run rather than reconcile with a friend. We had a drinking session among myself, Brian, Ehver and Paula (with her boyfriend Wayne) some nights before where we talked about our lives after college and I couldn't help but feel sad that Dhymps can't be in the same room too because Paula can't face her yet. I knew Dhymps was pulling away from me gradually and it reminded me of the bitter aftertaste of lost opportunities which I'm more than familiar with. And I was able to realize this when Ehver visited my place so we could talk instead of watch series like we usually do when we hang together. I began reading to her my old journal entries when I was sixteen about BB (this was in 2006 when he was a freshman and I was a senior and I had this stupid crush on him that didn't end well for either of us), as well as that essay six years ago concerning my roommates from my previous college who traded rooms so they could get away from me. So I was feeling vulnerable that night while conversing with Ehver because in one hand, I miss BB again since he left last August 24th, and on the other I unearthed a memory I only go back to when I second guess myself with the choices I've made with the new set of friends I have now after losing some when I didn't know better then. This enabled to finally ask Dhymps (through text correspondences) if she was avoiding me and it turns out that she was still annoyed by what I revealed. I understood that. But then she also said I betrayed her. I think that was when I became angry myself because I don't think I deserve that. I still tried to keep my head cool and simply texted her that it's best if we don't see each other for a couple of months until she's over it. We're both busy in our respective jobs anyway. But the truth is I was scared of what I might do to her so I needed the space.
The next day she texted me again and said some horrible stuff I don't remember now but it did piss me off and I decided to text both Mei and Paula to inform them that I'm just exhausted dealing with Dhymps' baggage because I have my own issues I'm working on and she's piling up on that space and I feel suffocated. I specifically told Paula that I'm the one who feels betrayed because all I ever did was take care of Dhymps; I served her and nurtured her and accepted her even if and especially when it's the most difficult thing to do. And though I will not ask for her gratitude directly, I selfishly believe she owes me and I suppose as much as I take joy in taking care of my friends, I also derive pride from it. Put simply I was wounded that Dhymps seems to think I have forsaken her when I chose her over and over again even if it was Paula I had to cast away to make sure Dhymps stays unscathed. I always placed Dhymps' best interests above Paula and I was so infuriated that Dhymps couldn't wrap her head around that. So Paula told me to call her instead of just texting her these things and the moment I started talking, I was also in tears already and they are mostly caused by rage. Paula apologized because she knew that her reluctance to talk to Dhymps placed me between the crossfire where I was taking a direct hit. I was so mad because I got myself tangled up in their conflict because I knew they were worth it but at the same time I can only take so much grievance. I knew I appointed myself as the caretaker of my friends but it doesn't make me less vulnerable than them. And I think I can't deny myself the chance to vent out so I chose Paula to be on the receiving end of that. While shouting at Paula as she stayed on the line to take my crap for a change, Dhymps was also calling me so I transferred her call for a conference and now Paula was able to hear Dhymps' litany on the other line. I stayed quiet for five minutes after Dhymps finished saying her piece while she was also crying. Paula was forced to speak up and so began the longest, most emotionally excruciating confrontation that I ever had over the phone.
It lasted for forty-minutes and all the three of us did was cry and shout and tell each other our hurt feelings. Paula was still holding back, however, and I had to ask her questions so that she will reveal her side of the story and Dhymps can finally get some closure from that. I'm not proud that I yelled at the two of them in the beginning but it felt like I had to put myself between them and bare my teeth so they will finally start reconciling. But that reconciliation didn't come easily. There are layers of pain to get through and the one blockage that I had to chip away was Paula's armor and her inability to forgive herself. She was never mad at Dhymps for that long, truth be told. Most of her pain and suffering comes from the fact that she's blaming herself too and once that was cleansed from her, she was able to apologize to me and Dhymps and Dhymps claimed there was nothing to forgive in the first place. I patiently mediated between them even if I was also feeling victimized but I pushed that aside because I knew I was tough enough to deal with my shit in private and what mattered at that time was ensuring that the healing process between Paula and Dhymps will continue. I also apologized to Dhymps about that reference I made that was completely uncalled for. It was a weight in my baggage I never had to force upon her and for that I was truly regretful. Now after that forty-minute purge, the three of us were able to connect again. Dhymps was laughing and I was making jokes about having a 'threesome' with them and that they should rate my performance; and Paula was loosening up and she promised me that she and Dhymps will have a lunch date one of these days so they could get to know each other again since both of them have grown and have new goals and dreams that I want each of them to be a part of. They're the Clara and Rose to my Doctor after all. And therein lies the silver lining. This includes group-tweets where Dhymps and Paula are once again chatting happily to each other about dorky things and I used to find that annoying but now it's the most endearing sound after the resentful silence between them.
I wanted the five of us (seven, if you count Brian and Ehver) to stay friends for the next decades. I'm no longer burning bridges like I used to do when I was younger and very misguided. I'm learning to love people under the worst conditions and even if it cuts me to the bone.
I informed Mei about the phone call later on and she realized she has some stuff to deal with too that concerns one of our friends and I supported her on that even if it's going to be another test of trust on my end. For my part, I'm just glad I had the SMs in my life and that we have come this far after college. They were my redemption and my reward for becoming a better, more honorable person. I will face my best friend Rhodora one day, I know that, and hopefully our friendship will survive and thrive again. Having the SMs (and Ehver and even Krizza) made me realize I'm not ready to lose people yet and I will work harder and find ways to ensure all my friendships stay strong. They reflect the kind of individual I am now and the person I want to become. And Mei, Paula, Dhymps, Cams, Brian and Ehver are family I chose.
I lost my way again this year because of some unpleasantness I got mixed up in. I chose to do the less noble thing because wrath is my third mortal sin and allowing it to take the wheel and drive me to that edge was a pitiful form of self-sabotage. I never would have stepped away from the mirror long enough to look at the damage behind me if I didn't have the best of people to keep me from shooting myself on the foot because of all this nonsense vengeance I don't have to feel entitled to. But in all the mess and carnage, and of the destruction I caused, I was also able to recognize the silver lining in the horizon. It was in this havoc that I realized that people truly do expect me to do better under the worst conditions and on this aspect, I have failed to live up to that expectation. But I don't have to point fingers at the third party because the blame rest heavily upon me like a crown of thorns. I'm an intelligent human being and that comes with superiority that I feel the need to impose sometimes especially if the receiving end of such blatant abuse is perceived as a lesser mortal. Be that as it may, I'm losing a battle I never had to fight in the first place and the price of fatality is something I can't afford because in pushing through my vendetta, it's my friends who are sharpened into weapons. They do stand by me because they share my disdain for this waste of space but they are more able to let things go because they arrived to a unanimous consensus that such a low class of an individual is not worth the attention after all. I'm treading a darkness because my innate stubbornness keeps me vicious but now the same friends are calling back, asking me to ceasefire. And it's in their compassion and request that I am withdrawing and claiming back my rightful place in their hearts.
They need me to become the friend they chose before and kept choosing and that friend wasn't someone so intentionally cruel. I have more restraint and kindness that I should offer to the people who most deserve them. I should not have to knock myself down a notch for the sake of needlessly shaming a hapless little person. Microscopically insignificant creatures should not have a room in my universe.
And the most understated but resonating truth of it all: Each and one of the SM girls; Ehver and Krizza; Nylie, Brian and Ikko; Paul and Joseph; they fill my worlds with so much more than transient things. These are people whose respective personalities and strengths in character I admire and I should aspire to surround myself with more people like this because they enrich me. I have the SM girls in my corner no matter what, and Ehver and I connect in ways that a tiny person of limited caliber will never even conceive for its own. Krizza is such an utter delight too and a girl of quality whose beautiful characteristics should never be overlooked. It was the possibilities of our blossoming friendship foremost that enabled me to understand I could have a fresh start with someone who has authentic depth. Brian was right to say that knowing what's shitty within ourselves should be dealt with first and if one distracts oneself from other people's crap, it will only be a detriment to ourselves. So everything that has happened I could just laugh about now. I laugh about it this much because I have these friends who are galaxies of their own and I didn't just choose them well--they chose me back. Meanwhile, individuals with a brain function I strongly liken to a rotting cadaver can fall into any black hole it digs around itself.
Why would I need put more dirt on that grave when my friends are always right behind me, and they have moved on from such a terrible accident of an existence because it never made a long-lasting impression on them before, and that they've been inviting me to do the same all along?