05 January 2012


The other night, I invited a new friend over at my place and she was somewhat blown away by what I have in my space -- which is basically a space of my own. See, here in Manila, it's still not so common for us folks to move out of our folks' home when we reach 18. We're not that American, I guess, despite our postcolonial history. So I had to explain to my friend how I tried to be "American" in that sense, that I wanted to move out as soon as I started my journey towards professional life after graduating from the university, during my early 20s.

What price freedom? a friend once said, when I had
doubts of sustaining my own space early in my life.
Liberte! indeed. (December 2011)

I'm not actually surprised by her reaction of me having lived on my own for maybe 15-16 years already. What I found funny is that she doesn't believe I live alone, or that I'm single, given this kind of life I have pala daw (being independent, which is an attractive trait pala to some people, as I gathered from her reaction), that I must be sharing this space with someone, especially for financial reasons mostly, and all that stuff. I had to convince her that no, I can handle this space alone, thanks to the blessings of the universe. I have been good, so far. After debunking her thoughts, she then debunked mine when she asked this: So sino ang nag-aalaga sa iyo dito?

That question left a profound pause within me. "Who's taking care of you here?" I needed a moment to process the question since I don't rea
lly believe that there should be someone who should take care of me. I can take care of myself, yes. Whenever I have girlfriends, I still end up taking care of myself, and taking care of them, too. The last time someone came to my life, the one who said that she'll take care of me for a change -- and she did, the first woman who ever did, actually -- still ended up breaking my heart and crushing my soul. Hm, so much for caring.

Sun god Apollo relinquishing his duties to his twin sister, moon goddess Artemis.
I believe they both look after me, but I feel Artemis cares more. (January 2009)

Yesterday, I spent a good deal of my day hanging out with a new kindred spirit, and we exchanged stories of the women in our lives and how car
e figures in our respective narratives. It was also a good time for me to hear of other people's set-ups. Her and her partner's recent stories intrigued me, as I feel that there is a kind of lopsided functioning of care that somewhat developed in their picture. Or maybe I'm just judgmental. But that's the reason why we spent the day talking and processing their story, upon her request -- because the care might be waning already, she and her partner assessed. It took us chats with coffee then chats with beer to process the process, in between cigarettes. It's a journey, we think, a never-ending one; life always is. So is love. But I believe that no matter what happens, they will both come out of this episode strong -- separately or together -- because they are both phenomenal women in my view and observation. I wish them the best.

Now when it came to my turn telling her my recent history with a common friend of ours, it also boiled down to care, and we both assessed that this common friend -- someone I used to date -- perhaps doesn't seem to know h
ow to care for herself, properly. And perhaps that also affects the way she cares for others in her life, myself included. My friend suggested that maybe I need to restructure how I care for myself in relation to her. But how I will do this restructuring I have yet to discover. But it was a good advice nonetheless -- restructure. It's making me think, and rethink. It's a good challenge.

My safe space. (September 2011)

Care. I've always known that I have to really take care of myself. The very reason why I moved out of my parents' home immediately was because of this: I want to take care of myself my way, not theirs. I want to be free to enact this care. It's not a default thing to rely on care from your family but of cou
rse I welcome it if it's presented to me. There are different permutations of caring anyway, and that is but one of that.

Care. My new friend was insinuating that perhaps I needed someone st
eady in my life -- a girlfriend, a partner -- so that I could be taken cared of in a domestic way or in another way, I guess. But do I need that? I'm not so sure, really. After having several relationships that have failed, I really think it will take me a long time before I will enter into another formal relationship, because yes, there should be care in my life first -- and I have to care for myself, first and foremost. It takes a while for me to reconstruct my soul when it has been shattered after a failed relationship, and I don't also have a deadline for such reconstructions. Sometimes I just feel it in my gut, that I am ready, I am open, I wish to embrace another human within my periphery, that I am ready to care for others that way again.

Sometimes it will rain on your parade. Deal with it. (November 2011)

But maybe not now. I guess I have to really care for my
self first, because I am seriously afraid of someone doing that for me. But hey, if there are volunteers that will come along, of course I won't say no immediately, as well. I guess I just have to set parameters and boundaries, that's all, like sharing a common scope of caring, having a Venn diagram of shared space while at the same time maintaining individual spaces where we could each nurture and care for our own self our own way.

Sometimes it rains *and* shines at the same time.
Deal with it. (October 2011)

Yeah, I think that's a better option. The last thing I want to do -- and feel -- is to use someone's love and care as a crutch to live my life. Been there, done that. Not good. I don't want to get drunk or addicted to some form of emotion again, especially love. I'd like to traverse life's paths sober and clean, and I don't want someone to be there beside me just because it's an obligation to be with me, an obligation to care for me. No, that's not how love or care should be. I believe care, like love, should not be operationalized as a requirement, a task, a duty. It's a feeling, a voluntary emotion, not an obligation. That's the bottomline.

So I hope those who wish to volunteer to traverse paths with me in the future would understand how I operationalize these things called love and care. But if they don't, then that's fine. I'm really happy and contented with how I am, alone, even if people don't seem or want to believe it. As that Pinoy line goes, "It's not my problem anymore; it's your problem anymore!" Chos! :)

Sink or swim? Rise above it. (at the poolside / September 2011)

Hay... early morning thoughts. I guess I had a really good sleep after such interactions and conversations with old and new friends this week. Now my soul is awake -- and ready to live.

Life is short. Enact.

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