31 December 2011

New Year

“I used to float along in all of this, like a leaf on a coursing stream, but I am heavier now, less easily moved, more resolute and steadfast. I am no longer in pursuit of happiness. As I stand here at my front door, key in hand, I think it is just possible that happiness, at least for now, today, this hour, may be in pursuit of me.” ~ Anne Giardini, The Sad Truth About Happiness


I have no great plan or agenda for 2012.

All I want is simplicity. And to be happy.

May you all have what your hearts desire.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.

23 December 2011

The Greatest Love of All

“You are the most dangerous kind of female the world can ever know. You carry the seeds for your own destruction and the destruction of everyone who loves you. And a great many will love you for your beautiful face for your seductive body; but you will fail them all because you will believe they all fail you first. You are an idealist of the worst kind - the romantic idealist. Born to destroy and self destruct.” ~ V.C. Andrews, Fallen Hearts

It's a bit late in life, but I found a great love this year. The most important love of all. And even more special, I discovered this great love at the end of the year, during the holidays, when I am typically a pathetic mess.

I did not go home for Christmas this year. It's the first year in a long time that I will not be celebrating Christmas with my family in the Philippines. But I felt it important to stay here, and cultivate this new-found love of mine. I felt it important to keep the momentum going. Taking a long, arduous trip to Asia would have exhausted me, and I really just wanted to plant my feet firmly on the ground before I think of taking flight again.

This great love of mine?

The thing is, I finally fell in love with myself.

After living most of my adult life despising myself and regretting most of the choices that I have made, I have finally forgiven myself for all the blunders and debacles I have created, and I have come to the realization that I am not such a despicable person. And the truth is, I am actually quite of a jewel. A bit tarnished maybe, and chipped on some surfaces, but I still carry value in general.

I can finally look at myself in the mirror and not hate what I see. I don't mean that I see physical beauty in my reflection, but I can finally see into my own soul -- and what I saw was a person who just wants to love those around her and be loved by those same people.

The problem was that I was allowing my relationships to define who I was. I was attracted to those who were toxic and who sought pleasure in making me feel less than who I am. I was attracted to incomplete men whose deficiencies manifested in their unfair and even emotionally abusive treatment of me.

They always made me believe that I was so undeserving of anyone's love, and so I became addicted to seeking their constant approval, and when instead I would get their rejection, I felt as though my whole world would fall apart.

But no more.

I am who I am. I have flaws, and many of them. But who doesn't?

Love others, but don't forget to love yourself. It's the best gift of all.

(Photo credit)

13 October 2011

Begin Again

“I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Mati | (photo by GP)

I have spent my whole life being afraid. Afraid of loss. Afraid of change. Afraid of being alone.

But then the worst happens, and you are face to face with everything that you fear, and you come to the realization that with loss, you also experience freedom.

I have lost everything. But I am free, and I am no longer afraid.

And I can begin again.

13 July 2011

Burning

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save." ~ Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
The summer has been brutally hot.

Outside, my skin literally feels like it's on fire.

Inside, I am also burning.

To be set free. To feel alive. To just feel.

(photo source: Google Images)

I found out the other day that my friend's cancer is on the move. They found traces in the brain.

I brace myself for the worst and wish for the best.

I float from one space to another. Staying grounded is becoming increasingly difficult. Yet I am weighed down by Life and disappointments. I am angry and numb at the same time.

I prepare myself for the strong possibility of pain and loss.

I harden my heart and darken my feelings.

But I also long for softness and light.

I feel heavy and chained. I want to be light and airy.

I have been working long days and am exhausted at night. I crave rest and peace. Sleep. Beautiful, dream-filled sleep.

I will take off three weeks in August. To rest. To rejuvenate. To find myself. And to find a place where I can rest my feet solidly on the ground.

27 June 2011

Falling

"I may be the type who manages to grab all the pointless things in life but lets the really important things slip away." ~ Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

(photo source: Google Images)

The lessons we remember most, are the ones that slice our heart.

Difficult lessons I learned this week:
  • Life is fragile. A dear friend of mine was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Fine one day. Diagnosed with cancer the next. In my young life, this is the fourth person I know to have cancer. The first three died. I feel as though as I am too young to be so familiar with cancer.

  • People are finicky. People will never remember all the three dozen good things you do, and will only remember the bad things about you.

  • I truly am alone in this world. The people I count on to always be there for me, are the same ones who disappear and become invisible.
Somewhere along the way, I lost my hold. All the people and things that used to keep me from falling, like my family, friends, work – I am losing my grip on them, and one by one, they are all disappearing from my life. I hold onto them as tightly as I can, but they are like falling sand slipping out of my reach and all that surrounds me now is emptiness and darkness.

15 June 2011

The Mailbox

"The dead are never exactly seen by the living, but many people seem acutely aware of something changed around them. They speak of a chill in the air. The mates of the deceased wake from dreams and see a figure standing at the end of thier bed, or in a doorway, or boarding, phantomlike, a city bus." ~ Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones
Sanctuary of Zeus | Photo by TK

My friend M lives in a typical pre-war building here in New York. It is a building with a long history and a long roster of souls that have come and gone.

And some that have not left.

I visited her one afternoon. She lives on the first floor, adjacent to the front lobby, and just past the mail room. After she buzzed me in the front door that day, I walked down the long corridor towards her door. I passed the mail room and caught a glimpse from the corner of my eye a young woman bent down in front of the mailboxes. She was dressed in a long, white skirt and a dark top. I turned away, and then turned again to look back at the woman.

She had disappeared.

After a conversation with my friend and her building super, I learned the story of a woman who had died in the building. She was an elderly woman who had lived in the building since the first year the apartment building was erected. She was then a young woman who was engaged to a young soldier who was sent to Europe to fight in WWII.

It is said that her lover's body was never found during the war. He was considered dead after they could not locate him after a mission he served in France. Accounts from other tenants in the building reported that the young woman never stopped hoping to receive word about her lover. She faithfully checked her mailbox every afternoon with the hopes of receiving some kind of correspondence regarding her one true love.

From what I saw that afternoon, she still waits.

True love never dies and waits forever.

04 February 2011

The Beautiful Train

"I want to sleep, I want dreams to pull me from this world and make me forget. To stop the memories from swirling around me. To put an end to this ache that consumes me." ~ Carrie Ryan, The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Photo by ♥N | 15 Jan 2011

She looked at the train with a new pair of eyes. She had never realized how beautiful the trains were. There was a beauty to how the trains carried people to their destinations. One place to another.

As she stood on the platform waiting for a train to arrive, she thought about where she really wanted to go. She surely did not want to be where she was, in Hades, burning from the acidic memories of a love gone awry. She wanted to be free. She didn't even pray to feel good. She just didn't want to feel anything at all.

She realized she had nowhere to go. She wanted to go where she knew her love would be, in a place called Elysium, but she had no ticket. The fare she paid was for a one-way ticket to Tartarus. Opposite ends of Gaia.

She heard the train coming. As the train drew closer, she saw the beauty of the train, and she wanted to kiss it. She wanted to wrap her body around the train.

"Maybe I can get to Elysium after all if I throw myself in front of the train. And even if I never make it there, at least I'll be one step closer to Thanatos, and I will never have to feel anything at all."

The train passed and she watched it leave the station. "That wasn't the right train," she thought.

She stands on the platform and waits for the train that will take her to where she really wants to be.




10 January 2011

100% Perfect Girl

One of my favorites ...


Haruki Murakami: On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning

One beautiful April morning, on a narrow side street in Tokyo's fashionable Harujuku neighborhood, I walked past the 100% perfect girl.

Tell you the truth, she's not that good-looking. She doesn't stand out in any way. Her clothes are nothing special. The back of her hair is still bent out of shape from sleep. She isn't young, either - must be near thirty, not even close to a "girl," properly speaking. But still, I know from fifty yards away: She's the 100% perfect girl for me. The moment I see her, there's a rumbling in my chest, and my mouth is as dry as a desert.

Maybe you have your own particular favorite type of girl - one with slim ankles, say, or big eyes, or graceful fingers, or you're drawn for no good reason to girls who take their time with every meal. I have my own preferences, of course. Sometimes in a restaurant I'll catch myself staring at the girl at the next table to mine because I like the shape of her nose.

But no one can insist that his 100% perfect girl correspond to some preconceived type. Much as I like noses, I can't recall the shape of hers - or even if she had one. All I can remember for sure is that she was no great beauty. It's weird.

"Yesterday on the street I passed the 100% girl," I tell someone.

"Yeah?" he says. "Good-looking?"

"Not really."

"Your favorite type, then?"

"I don't know. I can't seem to remember anything about her - the shape of her eyes or the size of her breasts."

"Strange."

"Yeah. Strange."

"So anyhow," he says, already bored, "what did you do? Talk to her? Follow her?"

"Nah. Just passed her on the street."

She's walking east to west, and I west to east. It's a really nice April morning.

Wish I could talk to her. Half an hour would be plenty: just ask her about herself, tell her about myself, and - what I'd really like to do - explain to her the complexities of fate that have led to our passing each other on a side street in Harajuku on a beautiful April morning in 1981. This was something sure to be crammed full of warm secrets, like an antique clock build when peace filled the world.

After talking, we'd have lunch somewhere, maybe see a Woody Allen movie, stop by a hotel bar for cocktails. With any kind of luck, we might end up in bed.

Potentiality knocks on the door of my heart.

Now the distance between us has narrowed to fifteen yards.

How can I approach her? What should I say?

"Good morning, miss. Do you think you could spare half an hour for a little conversation?"

Ridiculous. I'd sound like an insurance salesman.

"Pardon me, but would you happen to know if there is an all-night cleaners in the neighborhood?"

No, this is just as ridiculous. I'm not carrying any laundry, for one thing. Who's going to buy a line like that?

Maybe the simple truth would do. "Good morning. You are the 100% perfect girl for me."

No, she wouldn't believe it. Or even if she did, she might not want to talk to me. Sorry, she could say, I might be the 100% perfect girl for you, but you're not the 100% boy for me. It could happen. And if I found myself in that situation, I'd probably go to pieces. I'd never recover from the shock. I'm thirty-two, and that's what growing older is all about.

We pass in front of a flower shop. A small, warm air mass touches my skin. The asphalt is damp, and I catch the scent of roses. I can't bring myself to speak to her. She wears a white sweater, and in her right hand she holds a crisp white envelope lacking only a stamp. So: She's written somebody a letter, maybe spent the whole night writing, to judge from the sleepy look in her eyes. The envelope could contain every secret she's ever had.

I take a few more strides and turn: She's lost in the crowd.

Now, of course, I know exactly what I should have said to her. It would have been a long speech, though, far too long for me to have delivered it properly. The ideas I come up with are never very practical.

Oh, well. It would have started "Once upon a time" and ended "A sad story, don't you think?"

Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was eighteen and the girl sixteen. He was not unusually handsome, and she was not especially beautiful. They were just an ordinary lonely boy and an ordinary lonely girl, like all the others. But they believed with their whole hearts that somewhere in the world there lived the 100% perfect boy and the 100% perfect girl for them. Yes, they believed in a miracle. And that miracle actually happened.

One day the two came upon each other on the corner of a street.

"This is amazing," he said. "I've been looking for you all my life. You may not believe this, but you're the 100% perfect girl for me."

"And you," she said to him, "are the 100% perfect boy for me, exactly as I'd pictured you in every detail. It's like a dream."

They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore. They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. What a wonderful thing it is to find and be found by your 100% perfect other. It's a miracle, a cosmic miracle.

As they sat and talked, however, a tiny, tiny sliver of doubt took root in their hearts: Was it really all right for one's dreams to come true so easily?

And so, when there came a momentary lull in their conversation, the boy said to the girl, "Let's test ourselves - just once. If we really are each other's 100% perfect lovers, then sometime, somewhere, we will meet again without fail. And when that happens, and we know that we are the 100% perfect ones, we'll marry then and there. What do you think?"

"Yes," she said, "that is exactly what we should do."

And so they parted, she to the east, and he to the west.

The test they had agreed upon, however, was utterly unnecessary. They should never have undertaken it, because they really and truly were each other's 100% perfect lovers, and it was a miracle that they had ever met. But it was impossible for them to know this, young as they were. The cold, indifferent waves of fate proceeded to toss them unmercifully.

One winter, both the boy and the girl came down with the season's terrible inluenza, and after drifting for weeks between life and death they lost all memory of their earlier years. When they awoke, their heads were as empty as the young D. H. Lawrence's piggy bank.

They were two bright, determined young people, however, and through their unremitting efforts they were able to acquire once again the knowledge and feeling that qualified them to return as full-fledged members of society. Heaven be praised, they became truly upstanding citizens who knew how to transfer from one subway line to another, who were fully capable of sending a special-delivery letter at the post office. Indeed, they even experienced love again, sometimes as much as 75% or even 85% love.

Time passed with shocking swiftness, and soon the boy was thirty-two, the girl thirty.

One beautiful April morning, in search of a cup of coffee to start the day, the boy was walking from west to east, while the girl, intending to send a special-delivery letter, was walking from east to west, but along the same narrow street in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. They passed each other in the very center of the street. The faintest gleam of their lost memories glimmered for the briefest moment in their hearts. Each felt a rumbling in their chest. And they knew:

She is the 100% perfect girl for me.

He is the 100% perfect boy for me.

But the glow of their memories was far too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of fourteen years earlier. Without a word, they passed each other, disappearing into the crowd. Forever.

A sad story, don't you think?

Yes, that's it, that is what I should have said to her.