Apologies to the Counting Crows for stealing the title of their late '90s album for this post. But nothing sounds more apropos for the feelings I wanted to jot down here, now, this time, and countenance.
November 1. The Philippines where I live is in a cemetery frenzy now as the country stops everything and "celebrates" All Souls Day. Or is it All Saints Day? But saints here in this country have long been prioritized so let's give the dead their day.
No choice but to be trapped here at home since home is near Loyola Memorial Park, one of the major destinations during this time of the year here in Marikina City. Hence the one-way rerouting and horrendous traffic going out. So I'm just staying put.
But I'm not really writing about that, directly. Maybe it's just coincidental that my sentiments fell on this day, during the celebration of the dead, during the third "-Ber" month we Pinoys love to mention in reference to the yearly Christmas countdown. But being a non-Yuletide cheerer, I don't usually count down the ber months for that. That is why everything after August seems to be a countdown to Scrooge-ness for me. Bah humbug. But that's another post.
But all is well in my department, so to speak, in terms of this latter part of the year. The first ber month was more horror-stricken than any due to personal circumstances affecting a portion of my life. Just a simple thing, that I became single again, so there. Well, it happens, and it's a part of life, so there's no bitterness there, really. Not this time, surprisingly. Unlike before. And for those who asked and expressed concern, thanks. Truly appreciate it.
But I'm good to go now, processed that quickly out of my system, like a fever that just had to break and eventually released until everything's fine again. And that has long been buried, even before the Day of the Dead arrived today. And I'm actually happy and glad I was able to put that behind, ever so quickly. Thank you clarity, as Alanis once reminded us. Clarity indeed. And focus. I guess the zen meditation helped with that one. Yes, finally, after a couple of attempts last year, was able to catch the module this time, and I'm happy I started it. It couldn't have come at a better time in my life. So yes, things are calm, things are soothed out, things are where they ought to be. I'm glad.
On the up side, I'm starting to reorient my life again and tapping the solitude once more, getting in touch with my inner Kal-el, feeling my way back to my own Fortress of Solitude. Not that I don't know how; I think this is really my default, being single, and having someone there sometimes is just a bonus, an enhancement. This is why I never found that Jerry Maguire quip "You complete me" very romantic, since there's nothing to complete in me. "You complement me" should do the trick, as I conversed with my friend over beer buckets last weekend after our semi-regular workout sessions. And this tapping thing is really good, since I was able to start some things I wanted to start before the last love arrived in my life. In short, the "back in business" sign is up again. Nothing closes, nothing opens, things run the way they should.
And so I find myself relaxing at the beginning of this third ber month of the season, resting from whatever I needed rest from the past two ber months before. The second ber month that passed was actually my favorite since my favorite borrowed festivity, Halloween, takes place that time. Everything's just orange and black with glowing lights in between, like the way I want everything to be, my three favorites in one celebration -- creative lighting in a dark background, before orange became the "new" black, and when black was the black. Something like that.
I'm taking advantage of this break since I didn't feel like I had any real rest, so to speak, during October, our sembreak supposedly, since our break also began late, as our official end-of-sem thingie happened just midway, October 15, which meant submitting grades and stuff happens a week after. The life of a professor, bah. So I actually felt cheated out of a sembreak this year. And then in a couple of days, second sem enrollment begins. And classes resume next week. Boo.
So aside from the usual school preps, I'm also preparing for an out-of-town workshop I'm conducting for my old women's NGO office right before school starts. I'm bringing along a couple of my good friends since we are on the verge of establishing a new media training/production group, and this will be our baptism of fire, the first real project. So that's keeping me awake at nights. I'm actually excited about these two ventures, reconnecting with my old feminist peers and jumpstarting this work with like-minded creative peers. Win-win.
And oh, this sem also introduces me formally to the world of the academe as "professor" since my automatic promotion papers finally arrived last September. So from my old Instructor 5 ranking, I am now Assistant Professor 1 since I was able to finish my masters degree, hence the crossing of ranks. And so, officially, I can now carry the title Prof. Libay. Imagine that. After five years. Well. Life in the academe could really suck your energies as I have blogged before. Just read Danton's recent nightmares. Poor guy. But well, we survive. We do.
As for the dreaded last ber month, well, I have a new bff to accompany me in passing the time away, if the weather so permits. Will introduce her all to you soon. I'm also planning the getaway, the one I was supposed to do the first ber month, until I talked to a colleague-mentor, whose insights I always treasure because of the wisdom behind them. Her dad died early this year and it was only recently that I was able to really sit down with her and ask about it. And I like the way she rationalized things about people's advice to get a vacation, go away for a while and that sort of thing. She told me something that will be really useful in my life: that when you take a trip, it shouldn't be because you are escaping or getting away from something sad, horrible or whatnot, since you have to deal with the concept of coming back, and coming back will be tougher to deal with.
That really made a lot of sense to me. And that is also why I had--have--to reconquer a lot of spaces, both inside of me and out, figuratively and metaphorically speaking, before I should embark on any kind of trip, especially of an emotional kind. That was really something. Blew my mind the moment I heard it. You really learn something new everyday.
And so, here we are, now. It's raining as I write this, but I'm glad to realize that I've done a lot of that reconquering already, with the help of a few good and trusted friends out there, and family especially, which made it even easier this time around. No more rains inside my household, and the sunset is beginning to be comforting again, somewhat.
As for goings-on, the usual stuff are still there. My latest Pinoy LGBT channel article on the Philippine Online Chronicles--about clothes and accessories as an LGBT indicator--is up, and I'll be writing this week's assignment right after this post (and there's a "guess that celebrity" tidbit I inserted there again heheh). My latest Manila Times article was way overdue in its posting (and I'm actually losing interest in that gig, but that's another story) but I'm glad online author colleagues were happy about their book's publicity -- and they deserve it! Read about the five women-penned dugtungan novel Angelica's Daughters here. My every Friday baby, the Cine Chichirya radio show, is still up and running over the AM band and via live streaming on the internet, and gaining more listeners and really good feedback from the Broadcast Comm. Dept people, so I'm happy about that one. I mean hey, you watch a movie every week and get to talk about it? That's not work; that's our life haller. We just get to do it on air, over our college radio DZUP.
One more thing I have to focus on again is going back to writing more fiction. I've posted a few literary ramblings here and there, two poems which actually received quite a number of good feedback and a creative nonfiction piece that friends understood beyond its context. But my fingers are itching to tap more words. More fiction. More screenplays. But first, I have to polish the two really overdue novels in the back burner. And for that, we need time away from all things online. Maybe during the yuletide holidays. We'll see.
In the meantime, we chill.
And thanks for still reading.