23 April 2015

the thank you list

In less than ten hours, I'll be passing another earthly milestone in this universe: turning 42. While I'm still freshly near the bigger milestone that is 40, I thought I'd make a quick list of things that I am grateful for, so far, in this surprisingly fantastic life I'm having.

1. Thank goddess I'm still alive.

I've had friends, colleagues, acquaintances and relatives who passed away too soon, in this lifetime. A younger cousin, a UP Baguio writer's workshop co-fellow, and lately a professor colleague who encouraged me not to leave teaching, to name a few. Why one's life journey ends while others continue remains a mystery that doesn't require us to solve. It's just like that, and so be it. 

That's why I'm thanking the universe that I remain alive up to this point. Because there was a time when I wish I weren't. I even wrote a short story about it. Hell, that short story even won me my first Palanca, you know. But those thoughts, thankfully, remain in my literature, and not in my real life. Because there's so much to live for, apparently, and so much to experience, accomplish, and feel. And I'm glad I still have the chance to do all those, now.

What an "interesting" way of reminding you about life 
than writing about death, particularly those 
lost in tragedy. Gives you another way of looking 
at life, loss, and the world between it. 
[November 2014 Yolanda book launch in Ortigas]

2. Thank you courage and kickass-ery.

I don't know where I get it, but I thank the universe that I have some form of courage to do the things I did in my life, to stay in situations when I should have left, and to leave even when others said stay. It takes guts to pick up and leave, and it takes guts to stay put as well. 

Also, there are some instances when you needed more than courage -- you needed to be kickass. So I also thank the universe for developing some kickass-ery in me, this creature who started out as an introvert in her early life. Who would have thought, pare? 'Yan ang lagi kong naiisip kapag napapaisip ako sa mga sinuong kong kung anu-ano sa buhay na ito. Glad I came out of them alive, in one piece, and sane. Not to mention fabulous, but I'm already bragging na. So stop.

Yumu-UN lola mo. Yun na! 
Courage also meant weaving in and out 
of different work industries and sectors in this lifetime,
and enjoying every bit of experience along the way.
[November 2014 At the 
UN Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand]

3. Thank you, open-mindedness.

What I learned in the last two decades of my life is that no matter how solid you think your beliefs, principles and foundations are, there is always room to wiggle in some stuff that could enhance those beliefs, principles and foundations. And there will always be room to deconstruct some of those pillars without destroying the whole system structure. The key here is having an open mind. And boy, was my mind open or what! From job decisions to personal paradigm shifts, I don't think I could have accumulated the snippets of lessons I have if my mind were not that open to begin with. I'm glad it was. Still is! 

Open-mindedness certainly helped me answer 
the questions in last year's guesting sa show ni Kuya Boy. 
[June 2014 at ABS-CBN studios]

4. Thank you family, relatives and silent supporters

I'm also thankful that my nuclear family is still around and very supportive of all the efforts I've been doing in my life. I am extra lucky that there is no issue about being queer in my nuclear family. My mom, pop and sis get it. Some relatives get it, too. And for those relatives who don't, I'm still thankful that they're there by blood relations only, so don't force me to have friendly relations with you as well, especially if you talk about me behind my back.

And those I don't know but who cheer me on and who are supportive of the things I do, read the art I create, or are genuinely happy for me when they practice being quiet spectators of my life, thanks din sa inyo. 


Isaw date with my mum. Yum! 
[2014 somewhere in Marikina]

5. Thank you friendsheeps of all sorts

What I've learned in this life is that you can't really have a steady stream of friends that will stick with you through thick and thin. That's because they also have their own issues and struggles to mind, so sometimes they have no time, energy or effort left to mind yours. Early in this life, I've had this steady stream but once opportunities came their way, they were too eager to abandon solid trust for anything that they glorified more. Money? Fame? Power? Credentials? I don't know. I guess I invested in the wrong people early in my life, treated some friends as my chosen family, only to be hurt by them, one by one, bit by bit. 

But I think they all serve a purpose, these friends, ex-friends, soon to be friends. People appear in your life when you need to learn a lesson, need your hand to be held, need your head to be challenged, need your soul to be stabled. And if they have done their role, then exit frame na sila. Ganyan lang naman talaga yata ang mga tao sa buhay mo, may panahong kailangan na silang mag-curtain call. And for those who have been sticking for far longer than you thought they originally would, be thankful na lang na they're still there.

So thanks, you guys. Big hug from moi.

Sapphic silverbelles in the Summer capital. 
[April 2015 Baguio City]

6. Thank you, brain.

Sometimes we take it for grated that we have a fully functioning brain that was able to withstand challenges in the academic and emotional fields. Even psychological or mental. Lalo na doon siguro. Kaya buti na lang at biniyayaan ako ng ganitong uri ng utak, na kayang magproseso, tumanggap, mag-isip, mag-muni-muni, at lumikha.    


Art meets advocacy in this anthology of LGBT writings. 
Buy the book! [August 2014 UP CWS]

7. Thank you, pag-ibig.

I guess it was a lucky call to not give up on love once more at the time I did. Or maybe it's called taking another chance. Like I've said in this space, I have no problem naman with being single. But it was really nice that I was able to gamble one last time with this thing called love, to see where a new journey could lead me, hand in hand with someone who will treat me the way I deserve to be treated in this lifetime.

At para sa mga inibig kong di pumatok, salamat na rin dahil walang katapusang materyal ang binibigay niyo sa aking inspirasyon para lumikha. Hihihi. Char! 


Matamis. Minsan strawberry. Minsan love life.  
Madalas ako at siya. Yihiiii!
[April 2015 Baguio city market]

8. To the girl who gets it

Thank you for being The Girl Without An Agenda to being The Girl Who Gets It. Andiyan ka lang pala sa tabi-tabi ng Marikina din. Bakit ngayon ka lang dumating sa buhay ko, sabi nga ng kanta. Siyempre charot yan, kasi if you arrived during the time the universe introduced us for the first time, hindi pa hinog ang bungang matamis nating tinatamasa ngayon. Salamat sa unang halik. Unli kiss ang kapalit niyan.

Nakakatawa pero nung isang araw ko pa iniisip 'yung dati kong listahan ng kung ano ba dapat ang minimum requirements ko sa isang partner. Sa listahang ito, may tumataginting namang pumasa dati, pero nawasak din paglaon ang samahang iyon. Ang pinagkaiba siguro ng checklist na iyon noon sa ngayon ay: wala nang masyadong compromise 'yung mga answers ko ngayon. Kumbaga, mas matured na siya, mas learned, mas wise. And most of all, mas peaceful siguro. 

To check those requirements sa isang partner:
-- dapat malambing sya.
-- dapat hindi siya praning
-- dapat out siya
-- dapat koboy siya
-- dapat hindi siya classist matapobre freak kundi patient and tolerant of differences
-- dapat into the arts siya, o naiintindihan niya ang importance ng arts
-- dapat sensitive siya sa needs mo
-- dapat honest siya sa feelings niya sa yo
-- dapat matino at masarap kausap
-- dapat tanggap niya kung ano ka
-- dapat she is a woman of her word. at walang third party. kahit ex-turned-friend pa man niya yun.
-- dapat hindi siya sinungaling
-- at dapat, gagawa siya ng effort para magwork ang relationship niyo.


Ikaw lahat iyan. This time, I have a feeling na mas malaki-laki at mas profitable ang ROI ko sa investment na ito, this time around. Dahil ikaw ikaw. Kaya salamat sa pagiging ikaw. Hashtag three hearts.


My statement shirts never lie. Ever. 
[2014 somewhere in SM City North EDSA]

9. Salamat, Pilipinas.

Ilang beses na kitang inisip iwanan, sa totoo lang. Pero may certain seduction kang kumakapit sa akin. Ilang bansa na rin ang napuntahan ko, at lagi kitang kinukumpara sa kanila, for better or for worse. Pero ngayon ko lang napagtanto na masaya din naman palang nanatili ako rito. Ito 'yung bahagi ng pinasasalamatan kong courage to stay sa itaas. Kasi kahit anong nangyayari sa iyo dati at ngayon, nandito pa rin ako. At salamat na rin naman, kahit minsan ay hindi masaya dito. Ewan ko ba, pero may hindi ako maipaliwanag na bond sa iyo, pero I'm also thankful that that bond exists. Saka ko na lang ide-decipher kung ano iyon. Probably isaw at crispy pata ang main ingredients nun. And beaches. But I speculate.

Yes, it's the pata. Sankapa! 
[2014 at Livestock QC]

10. Salamat, nega.

Sabi nga ng tattoo ni Angelina Jolie, what nourishes me destroys me. Buti na lang at hindi ako ganun. Well, except siguro kung nasosobrahan ako ng pagkain ng crispy pata. Sabi rin naman ng kanta ni Regine Velasquez, you make me stronger by breaking my heart. Doon relate ako. Kasi sa dami ng hurdles na kailangang talunin sa buhay, buti na lang at long-legged ang lola mo kaya kinakaya naman. 

There's always a way of learning from bad things. In fact, it's best to learn from the bad than the good, because you get creative in thinking about strategies and ways of scrutinizing and avoiding the bad. So okay na rin at may quota ng nega na dumating sa buhay na ito. Kasi kung walang nega, hindi mo rin maa-appreciate ang positive. Kaya good vibes just the same. Saka natututo ka rin to manage the nega. Negatrons transform! na lang ang peg -- transform to be a better fighter. 

Suwerte-suwerte lang kapag nakakasapul. 
O kaya may skill na kaakibat. 
Huwag kalimutan ang bow and arrow na lang. 
[2014 at Gandiva Cafe Ortigas]

*

There are more things to be thankful for, at mauubos ang blog na ito kung ililista nating lahat. But for the magic 42, this will do. 

For now.

See you on the other side. 

 Ang life parang photography. Shoot lang ng shoot. 
Develop from the negatives. Take nothing but great memories. 
Etch those images in your mind. 
[May 1999 somewhere in Dumaguete]

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