Thursday, August 31, 2006


I haven’t written in a long time, and I miss writing. I truly do. But lately, things have been hoary, and jumbled, and I’m still trying to get back on my feet, re-assume responsibilities outside familial boundaries, trying to get my breath back. My heartbeat’s been steadying, from a thumpety-thumpety-thump to a thump-thump; my breath too. Now to assume responsibility once again, get my life back on track.

And as much as it is difficult to do, what with my [usually-but-very-changing/moody] affectionate and effusive nature, I’ve also realized not to divulge or take others too close, to stay them at arm’s reach, because getting too close leaves me open and vulnerable, too trusting, wide open for set-up, for abandonment. And it almost always happens: wherein I’m taken advantage of, mentally abused/subjugated/bullied, or abandoned. Just when I thought things would be peachy. No, no, no. And sometimes the good people who want to make a difference I drive away. Tsk, tsk; sigh. Sometimes...OK, maybe a lot of times, I tend to be a fool: foolish, foolhardy, fooled. At the same time, to those I drive away, I am the masked, the shrouded, the bluffer, shrouding myself in shame, in terror—of the gamble of uncertainty, of the terror of uncharted territory: for what if I am not, never enough?

And what if my life will be like this forever? What if the person I fall for doesn’t fall for me back? And if that happens, then in terrified self-preservative bitterness, I might choose to live alone, but still with the cobweb longing for someone to love, and to love me in return, but petrified of the if, preferring cold certainty to vulnerability, to hypothesis, to blind faith?

What if I make nothing out of my life, living in limbo, forever, scrimping like a miser, locked up in my house, banishing all enterprise, all possibility from my life, shrouded in darkness and dank and stagnant silence?

Do I even dare hope?

But hey, why should I even sweat over this, agonize over this? I mean, que cera, cera. Whatever is in store, what greets me around the corner, can just surprise me, and hopefully delight me.

Maybe, may be.

This ties up with a recent conversation I had with a friend on men. Ah: a favorite topic among females, regardless of age and marital status. Another friend [whom I had a falling out with, but that’s another story] said that based on the census, men are fewer than women. Add in the gay population and what’s a girl to do? What about standards, “quality control,” as my Mom and I call it? Then factor in the oft-unrealistic expectations men have of women: the whistle-bait figure but with dazzling wit and [pardon the word] “meaty” conversation topics: honey, more often than not, girls with such figures have almost just as much [or the lack of it] on their minds. Also, men won’t admit it, but from my paltry experience, they expect a simpering, damsel-in-distress, your-opinion-is-my-opinion kind of girl. Increasingly, with the rise in educated women, this has become less and less the case; invariably, there are less and less “vestal virgins” and “nurturers,” as well. The alpha, chauvinistic male, this side hidden in some, boasted of by others, but nevertheless is in each and every male, straight or not [I’m pretty sure], looks for that aspect of a woman. My friend and I agreed that this is an unfair imposition, what with “empowered” women on the rise nowadays. But perhaps as much as that alpha male mindset is in every male, maybe there is the vestal virgin/nurturer dichotomy in each and every female, as well. I admit to it: despite my fierce need for independence, I admit I want to have children and a spouse one day, with the yard to tend, the house to clean and wax and scrub, the dog to play, feed, and take long walks with. I want it all. But it has to be with one who understands and celebrates my contradictions, my full figure, my moods, my cerebral-but-usually-offbeat musings, and so on. So yes, we women have high standards to: we have much to offer, after all.

In light of this is something my aunt Oa challenged me to do, years ago, in the midst of my (then) teenage angst:

10 Things I Hate and Love About Myself*:

*I couldn't think up 5 I like about myself before, but, things do change! :D

-my full figure (esp. the hips!)
-my procrastinating nature/complacency
-my dependence on others (driver..)
-my tendency to hyperventilate
-my allergic reactions (sinusitis, asthma)
-my sense of responsibility
-my habitualness and apprehension when this is disrupted
-my (overly) sense of propriety
-my over-sensitivity to what others may think
-my aimlessness

-my luminous(?) eyes
-my calm nature
-my vegetarianism/compassion/sense of eco-harmony
-my passion
-my voice
-my ready smile
-my charm (if I want to use it)
-my (usual) ready wit
-my refinement
-my flexibility
*to which my friend Sidd added:
-my affection, my ability to light up her day (“you're a happy blob of sunshine, yes you are!”--Sidd)
-my grounded-ness, my fashion sense -->I like these two, hehe

Thanks, Oa. Thanks, Sidd.
Then there is the issue of the Guimaras oil spill. Recently, information from the Coast Guard has been such that the oil spill may spread to and invariably affect the coasts of Negros and Palawan, while already affecting the coast of Iloilo. As of now, it is still a case of whodunit, no one admitting to the catastrophe. Mr. John Silva is one of those who have called for the boycotting of Petron, as, if I’m not mistaken, it was Petron that was the oil company who contracted the service of the ship and thus the oil [spill]. This is a national calamity, and President Arroyo has been calling for international aid. From what I have read, Japan has responded to the call, with a meeting to be held today, I believe. Greenpeace, which to me is the primary environmental organization seeking to arrest this situation, has been concentrating massive efforts in helping arrest this situation, helping the local fisherfolk in relief efforts and so on. Pam Pastor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s 2BU section has been sounding the call for civic aid, citing urban locations as Reyes Salon branches sending human hair, which can supposedly be used in the clean-up efforts. Then there is the relief effort headed by Antonio Oposa Jr. to aid in the cleanup of the Visayas coastline. He is a staunch advocate for preservation of local marine life, and the oil spill is a major threat to these life forms: Guimaras was said to be a haven for dugong and pawikan, both extremely endangered species. Guimaras was also one of the islands with a pristine coastline and abundant natural resources, one of these being preservative/calburro-free mangoes. But what now? With our meager local sources, what with the majority tied up in pork barrel funds, Filipinos may lose yet another of its precious heritage sites. Ms. Pastor said in her article to take action, get moving, before it’s too late. Indeed, but hope dims daily. Still, the light must shine on, however dim.

Dark mists enshroud
wrap and
choke, choking
ever so slowly
draining the sunlight
his glowing
[he generously shared]
transforming into

But just
may be

his rays will break through
break away from

the dark encompassing
choke, choking
darkness mist fog

to shine
[take back]
warm and bright

once again.

For petitions to sign, here's one on behalf of the people of Guimaras and
another one from Greenpeace for a more far-reaching petition: renewable energy. Or how about writing poems for Guimaras? Press Release below:

San Agustin calls for poems to help save Guimaras

THE Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Institute at the Coordinating Center for Research and Publications of the University of San Agustin is calling all writers to submit poems to help save the islands of Guimaras province from the oil spill. Poems celebrating and lamenting the beauty of the beaches and the seas around Guimaras, and other sea wonders in the Philippines will be accepted to form an anthology with the working title, Poems for Guimaras, to be published by the University of San Agustin Publishing House. The poems may be written in English, Filipino, or any of the Philippine languages. Poems in the vernacular must be accompanied with English or Filipino translation. The anthology will be edited by award-winning poet John Iremil E. Teodoro. He will be assisted by a board of referees made up of nationally-acclaimed poets.

Submissions may be e-mailed to libroagustino@ or ph.
Manuscripts may also be sent to the anthology editor at UCRP, University of San Agustin, General Luna St., 5000 Iloilo City, Philippines. The deadline for submission is on January 15, 2007. The book will be launched in Naoway Island, Guimaras in April 2007. The royalties will go to the rehabilitation of the Guimaras province from the disastrous effects of the tragic oil spill.

The Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Institute is the only center of creative writing in the Visayas. It organizes the San Agustin Writers Workshop every summer, gives the annual Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Grants to Western Visayan writers, sponsors the yearly Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Lecture, and publishes the multi-lingual SanAg Literary Journal every November.

For inquiries please write/call:
Mr. John Iremil E. Teodoro
(033) 337-7716
Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Institute
University of San Agustin
5000 Iloilo City, Philippines
E-mail: ph / iremil@yahoo. com

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