08 April 2011

cashing in on emotional investments

I'm no economist and my eyes really glaze over when I get into discussions about financial stuff like stock exchange, bank stuff, complicated transactions, all those "adult" things. I don't know why; it must be the math or something.

But one thing I could parallel with economics is how people have investments that could mature over time or maybe go bankrupt. No, I'm not talking about putting money in a bank or something. This is about friendship.

I live in a country where the people appear to be warm, all smiling, kind and nice. Yes, we are that, but there are also times when all that disappears for reasons strange and weird.

I think I've documented in this space before how, over the course of my l
ife, I have found great friends and how I've lost quite a few of these friends as well. That's just a typical fact of life, I guess. But it feels somehow different if the people you lose in your life are those whom you have invested so much in terms of your friendship, meaning they have been your life coaches, your career advisers, your love life commentators, your no-nonsense self-checkers.

don't get me wrong: i love being alone.
but sometimes, i also yearn for the company
of like-minded individuals and kindred spirits.
even if i'm alone, sometimes it appeases me
that such individuals are just around me,
orbiting within my spheres.
(at the subway station, new york /
march 2010 photo by x)

It's particularly hard for a Taurean like me to let go of such close-knit friendships -- or maybe that's just me as a person. My astrological descriptions would always say that I don't meet many people and befriend all of them, but those I do befriend I become fiercely loyal to. These are the ones I decide to keep for keeps, as friends for life and all that sappy shit, BFFs to the max and whatever else terminology you could apply here. Yes, I guess I am that -- super-picky with whom I truly open up my life and super-careful with whom I share my deep hurts and highest joys. So you could just imagine the kind of emotional investment I put in in these kinds of friendships I decide to keep, I decide to nurture, I decide to enhance and all that. That's why it pains me so so very much when emotional investments like these suddenly go bankrupt.

This is what I have been feeling lately, which I discussed with my mom, a really good writer friend of mine, and a kindred spirit I have been hanging out with for the past months. I told them that I couldn't quite fathom how such emotional investments of mine -- especially those I started as early as the time I was in college -- seem to be crumbling for the sake of something superficial. I don't know; maybe we have different definitions of superficiality. But for me, superficial is when one trades a friendship for a job position or a work opportunity. I don't know; maybe it's just me, but aren't friends supposed to help each other out in terms of career advancement and all that moneymaking shitz? Maybe I am mistaken... or as my mom said, maybe these people are just plainly insecure of me, of what I could do, of what I could achieve. In short, they see me as a threat, and competition.

"Really, 'Ma? But
aren't we all friends naman?" I sighed.

"Hay, pareho kayo ng Papa mo. Dami ring naninira at naiinggit sa kany
a sa [office] niya dati." Somehow, hearing how my high-ranking father was also the victim of such insecure backstabbing didn't appease me.

"Pero I treated these people as my best friends, 'Ma. My barkada! How come they could do this to me?" I really am baffled by this turn of events.

Then my mom reminded me that what I was feeling right now with a couple of good friends was the same feeling I felt about half a decade ago with a couple of good friends as well. Yes, ironically, they all came from the same core barkada I once held as dear and precious to me. They were my family. My dear, precious alternative family. And that was very, very important to me.

Until some of them fucked me over, one by one.

"Oo nga, 'no. Hay... Why do these things happen to me?" I just slumped.

But my Mom just said what she and my father said half a deca
de ago, when this was all new to me. "Maghanap ka na lang ng ibang kaibigan, anak."

And yes, ever since then, I just went on with my life as usual, meeting new friends and keeping those whom I think I could nurture more than the first few encounters while flicking off those whom I think would just eventually be a nuisance. And that has been the project for
more than five years now.

Yes, somehow this works. You get involved in a new environment and meet some new people who want to keep in touch with you even after you depart from such environs, and you do. You meet new people through old people still orbiting your life, and keep their friendships if they felt like being friends with you. You participate in time-bound gatherings where you meet a few people whom you know won't stay in your physical sphere for long but with the super-short amount of time you spend breathing the same air, you know that you want to keep that friendship for life if there's a chance and even if distance would mar the physical connection, there is always the virtual connections and the chance of someday breathing the same air again somewhere, sometime, someplace.

I am one of those lucky people because whenever one of these really deep emotional investments crash in the market place of friendships, the universe sends me people to gravitate to, people who would help me heal such wounds and who would give me new insights about life and how to cope with it. Lucky, lucky me.

But sadly, once such friend is leaving in less than 24 hours. We've been hanging out intermittently for the past five months or so, and her time h
ere is about to expire as she goes back to her country of origin. I am feeling so sad about this departure, for the very few moments that we have spent together, I have found a good friend to converse with, who also gives me insights about new things and old things, and stuff like that.

We have been hanging out with another kindred spirit and the three of us just sometimes have the nicest, richest and most mind-blowing conversations about life during meal times, right after I accompany them to do errands around the city or when we are just chilling and hanging out somewhere, sometimes just in their rented apartment in Quezon City or here in my condo in Marikina. The last time the two of them hung out here, we went to the nearby mall and had a picture of the three of us taken at a photo store there. That photo has been on my wallet since then, and I don't think I will ever remove that there.

my feet at White Beach, Puerto Galera (feb2011)

Hanging out with these two people really helped me process the things I have been losing in my life these past months that these two have been here. Yes, I have finally accepted it: I have been losing a couple of really good friends and maybe it's really time for me to accept that. I have also been having second/third/fourth/fifth/nth thoughts and doubts about certain career spheres I've been circulating in the past few years actually, and these two have also helped me process some things about that. And yes, their presence during these crucial and problematic times in those spheres have helped me distance myself from those negative spaces and these two have sprinkled me anew with fairy dust that could make me fly once again. So see, that is how important these two have been in my life recently, even if I know they might not think so. If they read this, I know they might be surprised that I valued them so much like this, but get with it girls, this is just me being sappy :).

L's foot at White Beach,
Puerto Galera (feb2011)

So anyway, I thank the universe again for sending them here and making them crash into my orbit somehow. Their presence helped me a lot during these crucial times of my self-reinventions, and I think these are a couple of emotional investments I would keep until time passes. Distance would not mar such interactions and feelings but I know -- like they do -- that I will never forget these times much like they would never forget these as well.

K's foot at White Beach, Puerto Galera (feb2011)

[Bon voyage, K! And thanks for everything. See you in your part of the world sometime soon, I hope! Careful with the allergies.]

As for the career spheres of emotional investments, those things still hang in the balance. I have also been reassessing if such investm
ents are still worth it, even if many in my sphere have been saying that they're not anymore. However, those that are also after my welfare have been trying so hard to convince me to just stay put and never mind the bollocks. But the jury is still out on that one. I know what I have to do, yes, but I think I still have to kick myself in the butt for not doing what I think I ought to do na. Like now na. I don't know.

And with that, my last emotional investment has yet to mature so it could be cashed in... or maybe I need to retrieve it from
some vault out there in the universe to make me go on and use it or whatever. I don't know... will get back to you about that one.

But just to contextualize, I actually wrote something about that investment thing, the most precious one for me, I think, for now. I posted this on Facebook last night and I am sharing it here with you now:

the universe is telling me something 010: looking for a girl

I've been looking for a girl I once knew. If you can spot her around, please tell her to get in touch with me immediately. It's a matter of life or death. I need her right now. Like badly.

I knew of this girl who was once thought of as radical, who stood her ground when people exhibited different levels of shit-ness, a girl who would never accept being put down economically and was once known to have walked out of an office run by a creative leader of sorts of a major corporation. But walking out wasn't the most radical move she has done; she was once known to butt heads with executive vice presidents of corporations who want to put her at bay and not deliver the career promises they promised her to hold on to an obviously dead-end job.

Yes, she is that radical. Oh how I miss her so.

How radical is she? Well, I used to envy her stance of never having to subscribe to societal norms in a sexist heterocentric patriarchal country we thrive in, as she never really gave a damn about how society would perceive her when she would change her mind about how to deal with predominant societal structures and how she never gave a second thought to challenge such dominance.

I wonder where she went? Maybe like all other real and true progressive of this country, she went to where it matters the most, to where she could enhance her own self while enhancing each other as well. Wherever she went, that is where I want to go to, for real.

Yes, let's just admit it: I envy her so.

Where is she? She is this girl who wasn't afraid of consequences and never gave a flying fuck of what people would think about her when it comes to what she did or what she thinks or what she did with her life and career. Yes, I never thought there would be people like that, who would never be preoccupied with sticking with one institution until she retires, even if that institution has been injecting stress and low self-esteem to her, an institution that promised to nurture her but which ended up antagonizing her to the nth degree. Knowing her, she would not hesitate to leave and look for a better opportunity out there as long as the old opportunity ceased to give her the knowledge and growth it promised.

looking for the non-obvious.
take a picture; it'll last longer.
(may 1999 bais, dumaguete)

I don't know. I knew her once so I know she's real, she existed. Yes, she is not a figment of my imagination for I know she made me feel like I could also be like her.

I don't know. She's more than this but I know it's hard to characterize her when you've had like more than your fair share of beers for one night. So forgive me for my shortcomings.

I don't know. The universe is telling me something this time. Because if not, then why am I looking for this girl?

Tell me where she went. I need her now.


Yes, if anyone does find the old me, please don't hesitate to get in touch. I need her back, badly.

Like now na.


  1. life must be telling you something when your like-minded friends seem to be shuttled off one by one to foreign lands, teh! :o)

  2. hay teh!!!!!!!!!!! true ka dyan!!!!!!! hanapan mo na ko ng trabaho diyan, for real!