ALL I KNOW ABOUT LOVE
This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing.
This is everything I’ve learned about marriage: nothing.
Only that the world out there is complicated,
and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,
and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,
is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,
and not to be alone.
It’s not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it’s what they mean.
Somebody’s got your back.
Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn’t want to rescue you
or send for the army to rescue them.
It’s not two broken halves becoming one.
It’s the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home
because home is wherever you are both together.
So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing,
like a book without pages or a forest without trees.
Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.
Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.
Because nobody else’s love, nobody else’s marriage, is like yours,
and it’s a road you can only learn by walking it,
a dance you cannot be taught,
a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.
And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,
not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.
And your hands will meet,
and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.
And that’s all I know about love.
When I born, I black.
When I grow up, I black.
When I go in sun, I black.
When I scared, I black.
When I sick, I black.
And when I die, I still black.
And you white people.
When you born, you pink.
When you grow up, you white.
When you go in sun, you red.
When you cold, you blue.
When you scared, you yellow.
When you sick, you green
And when you die, you grey…
And you calling me colored??
I realized I haven’t been updating this blog for a quite a long time already. I did make that one post just recently but it was just a picture of me and my dog Bea. To jumpstart my comeback, I thought of posting my favorite quote.
You see, I have notebooks where I’ve been keeping quotable quotes, inspiring quotes that I gathered from what I just read. In one of those notebooks are quotes by Junot Diaz, after reading about him in a featured article by Philippine Daily Inquirer many years ago.
The same time that I remembered and picked out that notebook off the shelf, his name popped into my head and searched through the pages where I noted down his “quotable quotes.” So happy that it’s there, that I made notes.
Junot Diaz is a Dominican Republic-born and Pulitzer prize-winning author for “The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” I haven’t read that book, or any of his works, but when I read that article where he was featured, and he said something really inspiring, I just had to write it down. Here are some of the thoughts, wisdom he shared from that long ago article which influenced me in a big way, even up to this very day. Most especially no. 2, one of the reasons why I still maintain a blog.
Quotes from Junot Diaz about Writing
1) “It took me 11 years, but I wrote it in seven. It’s terrible. Part of it is having faith in that you’re going to get somewhere. It’s one thing to finish a book in a year. Finishing a book in a year is like walking across Manila. You can do it. But do you want to do it? On the other hand, writing a book for seven to eleven years is like making your way from the most northern part of the Philippines and to the most southern island, there’s a good chance you’re not going to make it, that you’re going to get lost, that you’re going to get stopped. But you’ve got to have a lot of faith. Walking across Manila for one to two years, you need a lot less faith but you just have to have willpower.”
2) “I think it’s the whole society that has a lot of stake at producing a lot of people who like money versus producing people who like art. And being a writer was my dream, I realized that, okay, if I’m going to suffer, it would be for my dream. Don’t suffer for bullshit. Suffering for another person’s dream only makes you resentful. Do you know how many adults my age who are still suffering for other people’s dreams? People who are not living their dreams– they’re vulnerable. I don’t want to be like that. I’m not a perfect person, I’m flawed, I make mistakes but I have one tiny advantage in that, at least I’m following my dreams. It’s all I got.”
3) “Read. If you want to be a writer, you would be better served by not writing for two years and spending those two years reading.”
Since he crossed my mind and I only knew about him from that long-ago article, I wondered about his whereabouts. Like, how is he now? So Googled him. Well, he’s still around, very much so, except that they’re kind of an ugly news. Just a few months ago, he was accused of “sexual misconduct.” And in a tell-all article he wrote for The New Yorker dated 16 April 2018, he shared about his childhood trauma that for a long time he never told anyone.
His story did shock me. And sad. I just take comfort with the fact that he’s still around, bravely facing his demons, and still writing.
It’s always been part of my philosophy in life to not wait for a special occasion to celebrate. You can celebrate even for ordinary reasons!
Marble Chiffon Cake I bought from Goldilocks. The lovely design made me smile. ♥️
Sa pagtulog, kadalasan hindi mo alam na nananaginip ka na pala. Akala mo buhay ang diwa mo, gising.
Naglalakad daw ako sa isang room nang makita ko si Orly na sa malayo pa lang nakatayo at nakangiti sa akin. Alam kong patay na sya pero nang makita ko sya ngumiti din ako at binati sya ng hello.
May iba pang mga detalye sa panaginip ko pero ito lang ang natatandaan ko. Bigla kong naalala: nang binisita ko sya sa NKTI noon, tulog sya. Buti nandun ang misis nya at sa kanya ko inabot ang aking munting tulong. Nag-usap kami sandali ni Lizette, asawa ni Orly. Nandun din si Janice, kapatid ni Orly.
Sabi ni Janice, ilang araw matapos ang pagbisita ko, ako lang daw ang nakita nyang kapitbahay na babae na bumisita sa ospital. Hindi ko masabi na act of bravery sa akin ang pagpunta roon, natatakot sa kung anong madadatnan na itsura nya. Inisip ko na lang yung aim ko: ang mag-abot ng tulong na pinansyal sa abot na aking makakaya. Dahil dito, dito ko nakausap si Janice sa unang pagkakataon. Later on naging FB friend na rin.
Bata pa lang ako kilala ko na sina Janice at Orly, dalawa sa mga anak ng kapitbahay naming si Mang Pol at ng kanyang butihing asawa. Pero dahil hindi na ako naglalalabas ng bahay nang nasa edad syam o sampu na ako, never ko nakasalamuha sila noong bata pa kami. Nakikita, oo.
Ika-20 ng Nobyembre ng 2017 nang binawian na ng buhay si Orly sa edad na 39. Si Alvin ang nagbalita sa akin. Si Alvin, sya yung kaibigan ni Orly. Magkaklase sila noong high school. Naging kaklase ko naman si Alvin sa elementarya.
Di ko mapigilang umiyak nang matanggap ang balita. Buti nabigyan pa kami ni Orly ng pagkakataon na magkakilanlan. Taong 2016 nang una kong makausap si Orly nang malapitan at masinsinan, kasama sina Elaine at Roman, na nakausap ko na lang din sa pagkikita na iyon. Although si Elaine, na-meet ko na once before that meeting. At ang hindi ko malilimutan sa meeting na iyon: ang gwapo pala ni Orly. Napansin ko na lang kung kailan matanda na kami. Noon kasi, ‘pag nakikita ko sya habang lumalaki kami sa aming simpleng komunidad sa Pook Amorsolo in UP Campus, hindi ako interesado na kilalanin sya at pakiramdam ko hindi kami magkakasundo. But 38 years later since our birth, we got to talk, in the company of Elaine and Roman. Salamat sa Facebook. I realized sweet syang tao kasi may pagka-touchy considering it was our first time to converse. And helpful.
Hanggang ngayon, nakatatak pa rin sa isipan ko yung panaginip na iyon na nagkita kami ni Orly. Ang ganda ng ngiti nya, abot tenga.
Subconscious ko lang ba ang nag-ooperate kaya ko sya napanaginipan? Kasi ako paniniwala ko nasa mas maayos na syang kalagayan, with God. O nagpakita si Orly through my dreams? Ang gandang isipin kung ganun nga.
Was in a book launching of Ricky Lee’s new book, “Kung Alam N’yo Lang.” Went there alone, from Montalban to Taguig (Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street). I just wanted to see him and have him sign my books he wrote. During the open forum, I took the courage of asking Ricky Lee a question: how he would handle it if he was my age and a senior told him na hilaw ka pa to be given more challenging tasks.
Just to give you background, I received a remark from a senior colleague that really bothered me. Labeling us the junior staff as “hilaw” or raw. And in my case, only good with one thing: documentation or writing reports. That bothered me big time. I mean, how can you say that’s the only thing I can do when we the junior staff are not given a chance to do more. Just observing her, she herself also needs some improvement. I know I should just ignore it, still, it bothered me. Of course, I did not mention this to Ricky. I just tweaked my question, making it general.
Here is the answer of Ricky Lee, turning it specific on writing:
“Hindi ako naniniwala na ang isang tao o ang isang writer ay dumarating sa punto na hinog na hinog na sya. O mahusay na mahusay na sya. I think wala syang katapusang journey. Hanggang sa mamatay ka na o tumigil ka na sa pagsusulat, never ka darating sa punto na “sobrang hinog na ako.” Lahat ng trabaho ko work in progress. I think ganun din ako, a work in progress ako as a writer pero never ako darating sa punto na hinog na ako o kumpleto na ako. The reason why I keep writing is because I feel na hindi pa talaga ako hinog. But on the other hand, ako lang magsasabi nun sa sarili ko. ‘Pag sinabi yan ng iba sa akin, hindi naman nya alam eh. Hindi nya alam kung gaano ako kahanda. So keber lang.”
The good news: Weeks after meeting Ricky Lee, I received a resolution that I got my promotion, my second promotion in my more than five years of tenure. God is good and I am grateful to people who believed in me. In my agency, if you are aiming for promotion, you have to apply for it. You have to prove yourself all over again. “With great power comes great responsibility,” unsolicited advice (or was it a warning?) from one of my bosses.
I know. And I am ready.
This is me, with Mr. Ricky Lee. Photo taken last July 2017.
Effective 22 November 2017, I am now 39 years old. And a birthday to me would not be complete without a cake.
This is Midnight Dream, the cake I bought from Caramia/ Amici, a favorite, in addition to the spaghetti, lumpiang shanghai and barbecue that I bought from Amber (my recent fave) which I shared with the two persons I am sharing a home with: my two siblings. I am not into big celebration. Gusto ko solemn celebration lang with my loved ones. Enjoying good food, while watching TV. This has been our family tradition while growing up when celebrating special occasions. At least within my immediate family.
“Mag-asawa ka na!” was the instant reaction of a colleague/friend upon learning that I just turned 39. Sa tuwing naririnig ko iyon, pasok sa isang tenga labas sa kabila. And I just smiled. And I know she said that because she wants me to be happy, have someone to take care of me.
But if another person made that remark and the intention is because it’s what everybody is doing, get married, or worse, so that there would be children or a husband to take care of me when I’m sick, I think that is more sickening for you’re after what you’re gonna get in a relationship. The children aren’t born yet and they already got responsibilities before they even met you as their parent. Having a man beside me is not an integral part of my being a girl. I can be happy just as I am. There are reasons why a single status is called “singleblessedness.” Being married is a gift, not a goal. To be a female and single in my 30s (this is, in fact, my last year to be in my 30s), it is hard not easy as many would like to think, because I’d like to believe that there is not much difference between being married and being single at all. We all go through the same crap, we all suffer. We all got responsibilities to fulfill: many bills to pay, persons with hangups that you need to deal with at home, on the road, and at work and must learn to tolerate and understand at the same time. And we all experience happiness, joy, and excitement. Walang less problem and the other got more problems. Walang ganun. Hindi yan naka-depende sa civil status. You can be married with children but not one of them is there to take care of you. You can be single and there’d be people to help you, who is willing to care for you. In life, there are no guarantees.
But of course, who doesn’t like falling in love again? Who doesn’t like having his/her own family? But if it does not come, if it’s not for you, it’s not the only reason to be in love, to be happy about. We can be in love with whatever we’re doing at the moment, like writing, and doing it wholeheartedly. We can be happy about many other things that life has to offer.
“‘Pag nag-40 ka na, ang tawag na cougar,” says a superior, sharing a fact of life. Cougar, spinster or matandang dalaga, or whatever, these are just labels. Kasi at the end of the day, what’s important is what’s going on inside me. What’s important is that I love or have loved. At the end of the day, I am a person who has longings and feelings and most important of all, alive. A childhood neighbor and friend recently passed away more than a month after he celebrated his 39th birthday. I just turned 39. I just want to live in the present moment and not worry too much about the future. Besides, the future is right now for we never know if we’d still be alive tomorrow. Except recently where I made a request from God for a friend, I am now at that stage where the only words that I say to Jesus when I pray is thank you.