Saturday, June 25, 2005

Old and New

that's what im feeling these days-- old and new at the same time.

old like soul-weary old-- been there, done that, seen all, heard all, accept all with tolerance and magnanimity.

at 37 i seem to have lived a lifetime already: from sheltered and naive young lady to guileless trophy wife to fiercely loving mother to brave and wisened separada to passionate (and many times, foolish) lover, to bright and rising career woman... and now, it is just... me.

what else is there left for me to do?

yet, at 37, too, i stand poised at the edge of new explorations and new discoveries, not so much about my self now but about the world and engaging my powers with the world. i am free again, and free at last, to just be me, to live life on my own terms now, and to lovingly handcraft my life as i see fit.

i am feeling these days both like an old crone and a young girl all at once, not to mention a woman peaking in her powers.

but, at the same time, it is the loneliest feeling in the world-- to not really belong anywhere, neither here nor there, but always to be somebody in between, a mix of everything and nothing all at once, understanding and knowing everyone yet not being understood nor known by anyone...

blessed and cursed at the same time.


Friday, June 17, 2005

Fatherless Day

in anticipation of Father's Day on sunday, Bea's preschool class wanted to celebrate it today with a special activity where fathers are supposed to come to school and play games and do learning activities with their kids.

Bea's teacher gave me the note yesterday, and as i read it my heart sank. i told her frankly that Bea's father and i are annulled and that he doesn't live with us anymore. she said we could bring any other adult male member of the family, like an uncle or grandfather. i flatly told her that Bea's grandfather is not physically fit enough to join the activities, and that her uncle is far away in Manila. the teacher lamely asked us to just ... "try".

even during our marriage, it was one big production to just coax the ex to attend his children's school activities. when he did, he always acted as if he should be somewhere else with better things to do, that ive learned to not expect him to deliver anyway, even if i keep the invitations coming, out of a basic respect for his right to be their father, whether he exercises that right or not. but yesterday, the thought of inviting him again, and getting a refusal again, just really depressed me, that i decided to not even bother.

while driving home, i ran through my head who i could invite. there are platonic male friends and colleagues, but the thought of how Bea would take it and how my male friends would take it tired me out. ours is still a conservative society and i haven't exactly introduced my friends to my children, much less put them together to face other people.

i thought of my brother-in-law and i was almost sure he would agree, as my sister would help in convincing him (not that it would take a lot of convincing), but considering that he's still recovering from his accident with his one leg left, and their own concerns, too, i felt it would be too much of an imposition. i did bring the matter up with Bea though and she smiled at the thought of having her Tito Ping come instead.

so that was almost settled. i planned to talk to him later in the evening when he and my sister would pick me up for a meeting, even as i also planned to go to the Mall on my way home late in the afternoon to buy the materials Bea's teacher requested me to prepare.

but it rained heavily yesterday, and i have trouble driving in my old car, not being able to see clearly, with the water leaking into the car. going to the Mall became too much extra trouble, so i didnt go after all but went straight home.

then too, i had a late night meeting with the top officers of the local chinese chamber of commerce for a writing project they wanted me to do but which i really didnt want to do (considering my already loaded writing projects schedule), with my sister facilitating the meeting. i thought that would have been a good time to bring the matter up with my sister and my brother-in-law... but then i remembered i didnt't have all the materials prepared... and the meeting taxed me too much...

then too, it broke my heart yesterday when Bea innocently told me in the car that she tried "negotiating" with her teacher to let her Big Brother come instead. the teacher initially said yes, but when she found out that her Big Brother was still small-- our 7-year-old Paolo-- the teacher withdrew her yes. : (

on our way home, she thought deeply and said, "Ma, you could come instead. you're our father, too... you bring us food and pay our bills and keep us safe, don't you?"

i smiled at the thought, although it further broke my heart, but i kept that idea in reserve. ... yes, why the hell not? : )

but today, i woke up just plain tired and groggy, with not enough spirit and no chutzpah at all to go through with it.

so finally, Bea and i decided that she just will not go to school today.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Queer Eye

i spent the whole morning unpacking stuff from my former office and reorganizing them at home. between one garbage bag (i placed the stuff in garbage bags) and another, i would rest for a while, go online, check for emails, sign out, and surf the tv for something interesting.

by the third bag, i was hooked on this new show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. the five happy queers in the show were "making over" a middle-aged biker guy in time for his renewal of vows with his wife of 26 years (well, they were technically married for only 10 but have since then deepened their love and friendship for each other after their divorce!).

it was fun seeing the gay men teach the biker guy fashion and grooming and even cake decoration and ring selection, with the biker guy just going along grinning shyly and saying, "yeah", or "intense". the show took a surprisingly wonderful turn when they brought the biker guy to a salon and had his long hair and beard of ten years cut and groomed-- the guy looked like a movie star, clean shaven!

his grown children oohed and ahhed at his transformation, but what touched me most was his gamely going along with the queers, doing his best for his lady love, donning on new non-biker wardrobes, baking her a cake, and assigning his grown-up children other pre-ceremony stuff. his self-written vows were awkward but sweet; it was raining that day of the ceremony and he compared their lives to the downpour, and her as the eternal sun shining behind the dark clouds.

in the end, the show made me cry, but in a good way. here's this biker family, all gruff and non-sentimental, showing the world what real love could be.


i'm done sorting through my garbage bags. now on to the book shelves.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

This Ordinary Life

family and friends ask me how im doing right now, but what can i say, really, without boring them to death about my excitement for what they consider as "the ordinary life"?

i have more time for my self and my children now. i can sleep when everyone else does, and wake up when everyone else does, not at the usual sleeping at 8pm waking at 2am kind of life i have been used to for more than a decade.

i can enjoy weekends now, just lounging around doing what i pleased, eating when i wanted, or sleeping when i felt like it, not spend my weekends still working at home, catching up on endless work backlog, and trying to be a step or two ahead of next week's, next month's work deadlines.

i have just enough money to provide for our needs now, and i feel blessed for that. i can make plans and dreams for things id like the children and i to have in the next few months, and even years, because i have the resources now to plan that far ahead. gone were the days when even thinking about where tomorrow's meal would come from was a major challenge.

i have been working for as far back as i can remember, maybe starting at age 6, when i learned to count, and was made to help out in my parents' general merchandise business. i remember when it was a tremendous source of guilt for me and my siblings to be caught lounging around or sleeping the day off, when there were a lot of chores to do at home and for the business. i can count on the fingers of my hand the few times i was able to sneak out to catch a movie with friends, much less go on dates all throughout my growing up years.

marriage didnt improve things either. i not only had to take care of my children as they came and grew, i also had to take care of a child in a man's body who expected the world to revolve around him.

giving, giving, giving....

only one who's also been where i've been can truly understand and appreciate my quiet exultation now at the ordinary things i am able to do for my self, at my own pace, in my own way.

i can watch tv again at my leisure now, and i am starting to rekindle a keen interest for my oldtime favorites, Oprah and The Lifestyle Channel. : ) i even see my self learning how to cook at last (!) and looking at house and furnishings designs, too... i am rediscovering unread books in my book shelves, and reconnecting with old friends even as i make new ones.

the struggling life is over. things seem to be just coming to me now without my having to strive hard for them, and they are the things that arouse my deepest desires and passions too. i am content to just be me, and let things come as they will, and let them go too when it's time.

i am feeling like i have grown so many eons older, yet also newly born, with my life opening up to all sorts of possibilities.

somebody asked me some days ago, how my life is like these days, and all i could blurt out was, "now i know what a retiree feels like!" : ) my friend smiled and giggled but she looked confused too, thinking it must be a bad thing, when i meant it to be a good thing.

but how could i explain?

... this ordinary life, this rich, meaningful, joyful, blessed ordinary life.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What Is Better Than Being Rich?

"I have found that I cannot predict the stock market except over very long periods. I cannot tell you when the housing bubble will burst - only that it will burst. I cannot tell you when the dollar will stop rallying - only that it will stop. So I cannot tell you anything that, in a few minutes, will tell you how to be rich.

"But I can tell you how to feel rich, which is far better, let me tell you firsthand, than being rich. Be grateful. ... Be grateful about everything and you'll feel a lot richer than the billionaires I know who are always moaning about everything that happens and who lament, like King Canute, that they cannot control the waves of the market or the business cycle."

- Ben Stein, writing in The New York Times


that is how i feel these days, more than being rich. : ) ... life works out for the best, God is good, dreams can come true, anything is possible.

and it's a kind of feeling no one can take away from me now.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


i received a surprise visit from the ex today, the surprise mostly coming from the fact that he finally dared to enter the house in my presence. he usually just stops by the gate and relays whatever messages he has for me through the maid.

today, though, to his credit, he was man enough to face me, and hand me a set of papers from The Court himself, my copy of The Court's decision on our Petition for the Declaration of Nullity of Marriage:

...WHEREFORE, Premises Considered, based on the foregoing citations and/or jurisprudence and under the "totality rule" this Court is safe to decree that the marriage between the plaintiff and the defendant on 16 May 1992 is null and void ab initio and the parties are restored to their former civil status.

Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, the Office of the Solicitor General, Manila, the Office of the City Prosecutor, Bacolod City, the parties and counsel for their guidance.


Bacolod City, Philippines, 17 May 2005.


thirteen years to the very day.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Precious Moments

this is only my second day living an "ordinary" life again, but i am seeing how i let my life be held hostage for four years serving other people, to the detriment of my own personal wellbeing.

i treat everything with wonder and amazement now, like i'm seeing, hearing, doing it for the first time, and i savor each moment and the varied textures of each moment, slowly, langourously, even if the act is something as ordinary as soaping my self while showering, or chewing my food well when im eating, or wiping the dust off my books and rearranging them in their shelf.

i look upon my life with more awareness of its preciousness now, feeling more protective and nurturing, like a mother would her new baby...

im not going to mortgage my life to other so-called "success" things again.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


today, i celebrate my Freedom by spoiling my self the whole day. : D

it is 6am now and im just about done with my emails.

i am going out for a long morning walk in a while.

then i'll come back to savor a big breakfast and a loong shower.

then i go to the facial clinic for some long overdue facial pampering.

after that i go to the beauty parlor next door to the clinic for a hot oil treatment on my hair, even as i have a foot spa and my nails done.

by then, it will be lunch, and im taking my self out on a date to my favorite pasta restaurant.

then, i'll have good, rich mocha caramel coffee as i further wind down and relax...

to cap the day off with a good long sauna and full body massage at my favorite spa!

mmmmmmm.... hhhuuugggssss to me!

happy birthday, new life.