The girl who’s always ignored

I am the girl who is always ignored.

People amaze me. I always believed that each person lives seeing a different view of the same world I am looking at.

I always wondered how it would feel to be them or, if by any chance, if they were thinking about how another goes about existing.

So, I try to be part of their world if only to understand my life, this life, thru their experience. I gained friends who I loved and adored. Not only because they are skilled and talented but because they are all nice and they would make a wonderful member of my made up family of acquaintances.

And then I grew up and fell in love. The kind of love you vow into “from now throughout a lifetime”. So, I do everything to keep them with me. To keep them, him mine.

But then after all the caring, the “how are you” texts, the hellos, and thousands of failed attempts for a date or a reunion, I became the friend, the ex lover, the acquaintance they ignore.

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It is as if my presence never mattered that they don’t mind me waiting at all. Waiting for their replies, their time, them loving me back.

I am the girl who is always ignored. The girl whose messages are always just seen.

I am the girl who hurts. All the time. But who cares? No one does. And one day, I will be growing tired. And one day, they will be my used to be friends who I will also ignore. Not because I turned bad, but because I will get used to being ignored I could forget they even existed.

A missive for my expected child

Dear My Anticipated Child,

If ever this gets to you, it means that my life has turned out perfectly well after the heartbreak and the immense hope and you are the commencement of all the laughter, the tears, the pain, the pleasure and every word you can think of that comes along with love or marriage.

Congratulate me, your mom, on this. It was never easy getting you “here.” Before you think of anything else, what I meant was “this life”, “you”, and most importantly, “your father.”

He is the man I know I wanted to marry the first time I saw him. I remember perfectly that he was wearing a black, leather jacket, denim, and Rayban. He had a smirk on his face as he approached me.

And me? Well, I was wearing a gray shirt and denims and uh, I was just staring at him until he was whoa, on my face.

He lived in the North, I, in the South and we never celebrated even a single anniversary because we would always forget. Like all the time. On our 22nd month we decided to call it quits. He. Actually. But one weird thing about your father is that he never stopped being there. Although he became a jerk one in a while. But he never left.

It was like an unofficial affair we had and your dad got me confused for a couple of years more. And we never became official again—rhetorically, at least.

But here you are. And I am so happy that you are here because I have always wanted a “you”.  I am ecstatic that your dad is your dad and he is the love of my life.

I know that he has craziness in him and you might just actually be his exact replica and I don’t know if I can handle two of him… but I am excited!

But you can be whatever ypu. Want to be. I will never push you into something you don’t want to except if you don’t want to brush your hair or take a bath, well, that’s a different story but you are me and your dad so I am sure you are a bundle of everything that is wonderful in our world.

Just be who you are. Sing. Dance. Play the piano. Jump off a cliff. Fly. Do it! Do whatever will breathe life into your systems but most importantly be our baby.

Love your dad for aside from me, yes he is head over heels for me, you are his next most favorite person. Well, actually you share the same rank as Zean. But he is also a very cute boy, I am sure you’d love him as your kuya because he already is and I care about him too.

I love you baby.

I am happy you are about to come. Because I was broken and I only wished for us to end up together but here we are. Again. Together. With you.

Do not pressure yourself to fit in other’s standards because the only standard an you have to exceed is the standards you set for yourself.

You can make it in life because you have my genes. And your dad’s. So, life you are as smart as you are good looking and talented. Haha. Kidding aside, with persistence and a good intention, you can accomplish anything.

Don’t be disheartened at any point. You can make it life isn’t always fair and beautiful but it is normal. Don’t strive to be the beat but aspire to always be better.

Be that kid in this world full of fake grown ups

All grown-ups were once children…but only few of them remember it. – The Little Prince

As I was taking a ride to work early morning of a Thursday, I sat just beside the window by the right—the seat I always find myself comfortable in—the same place I get to see places pass by me and life unfolds into a new day as the sun peeps just a little bit from behind the clouds.

Then Christmas songs started playing. The Tagalog ones from my childhood and with the chilling cold coming from the thermostat, I gripped my hoodie closer to me and closed my eyes to an attempt for a nap but no—I was taken back to my eight-year-old self when I would run with my cousins and build temples out of blankets and when we would become ecstatic for Christmas: the music, the lights, the temperature, the food, and the people.

Childhood was awesome. It was the time when all I would be bothered about was an assignment or an exam and my favorite time of the day was the afternoon after school for it was my playtime with my friends.

Then I was plunged back to the thoughts of today. Kids wearing make up. Kids dressing like adults. Kids preferring to read romantic stories instead of the classics. Children falling in love at 11 or 12 and eventually becoming parents at 16.

Today is the time when children play together virtually, talk over video calls, and their self worth becomes determined by the number of likes their photos get or their intelligence measured by the number of who’s and what’s and when’s that they can recall. When happiness meant getting the highest score in a video game and art and play meant doodles of imagined colors on a tablet rather than actual ones and music played technically rather than physically.

Childhood is the greatest time in a person’s life as it is the time of innocence and no prejudice. The time when we all believed in the goodness of each other and looked at the world as a perfect home.

Childhood goes by so fast that suddenly, you are transcended to whole different universe that is adulthood—that means more responsibility, love with reservations, life that is worked hard for, goodness that is doubted, and happiness that cannot exactly be defined.

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I loathed at the thought that children no longer find joy in the feel of the rain against their skin, the patter of mud as they run through it, the excitement of whether the house made of cardboard box would hold itself together, when playing meant skinning knees for playing tag, and intelligence was appreciated and determined through the different skills one possesses.

If you are a kid reading this, be that child who squats to the sun’s rays that get through the crack on the wall, if only to check if there are fairies passing along; that who tries to catch the breeze and wonder why it’s only felt not touched; that who builds fortresses out of couch pillows and pretend to be escaping from dragons around the house. That kid who actually touches crayons not because the teacher tells you to. That kid who sings emotionally even without being scored.

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Be that kid in this world full of hinog sa pilit children.

Childhood is wonderful and eventually, it will be over.

And just like me, there would be a time when all you could do is reminisce the fun and crazy embarrassment you had due to your curiosity and laugh about it.

And I do hope that one day, when you find yourself on your way to work, you will remember a time when you really were outdoors playing with other kids and seeing things and not experiencing what life has to offer through the lenses of your latest gadget.

Being a child is a gift. Embrace it.

True love never has only a second chance

Second chances never end for your true love. It’s just plainly “limitless.”

Tell me I’m wrong. You can’t.

How many times have you been hurt but how many times more have you forgiven? Your giving back is always twice as much as you take because when it’s real, you never want to lose it. But if it’s not, it is easy for you to  commit things that can tarnish the relationship. The reason? Simply because you don’t care enough.

When do you stop?

It is a normal human condition to want to share. But it is pretty odd if the sharing includes your partner.

You don’t do that because as humans we are people and not a commodity. Cheating is a kind of sin that is meant. Considering the gravity of it, it is actually something not worth forgiving at all. However, they say people can change but note that if it was done once, it can be done over and over, again and again.

Cheating. Cheating is a sin that is brewed. It is planned. First, your partner meets someone, then they start communicating. Then they start hiding. And then they engage in activities they shouldn’t have engaged in. And then they get caught and then he tells you he loves you.

If a person loves you, he won’t plan on hurting you in secret; he would be afraid to lose you because no matter if he haven’t met all the women in the world, he thinks you are all the woman in the world.

If he did cheat once, OK, maybe he got carried away. But if he did it twice or more or worse, he never admits to it, pack your bags and leave. He is not a man after all. He is just staying with you for convenience but he does not have a deep respect for you nor for the love that you think is real.

Love is not dependence

Love is not dependence nor it is fear. If you stay just because you don’t know how it will be, you’re not in love, you’re dependent.

And when you are, you give the person the power to hurt you again and to imprison you in an illusion of a complete family and a happy one. A happy family is never built on lies.

Free yourself from the burden.

Let go of the baggage.

A woman does not always need a man to be strong or to to make it in life.

A good mother does not need a man who survives his family on betrayal nor does your children need a father who tell them respect is important but does otherwise.

When does second chances stop? Whenever you decide to. It’s your call. You are a hurricane. Stop being a breeze.

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Nobody needs to be born intelligent

Beautiful.
Smart.
Talented.

The epitome of a perfect person.

But if you would be watching pageants and contestants would be asked to choose between beauty or brains, they would usually choose brains for the reason that beauty fades and intelligence is sexy.

That is ideal if we live in that kind of ideal world. Unfortunately, this is the life we have: prejudices and general beauty standards. We wish beauty were relevant but the relevance could only vary to some little degree. And of course, intelligence is measured in somehow non trivial matters: the foolish tends to be louder while the real Einsteins of the generation become smart shamed or tagged as elitists.

However, as much as people would wish for an intelligent child so they could be honor students, I would prefer I’d have kind children.

The Average Child

When I was a kid, I was always left behind: I had never been on top of my class though there was one thing I was the best at: reading.

In fact, my first memory is my parents teaching me how to read.

I could read fast. My reading ability at 4 was like that of a 7-year-old and as early as 10, I knew I wanted to be fluent in several languages so I started with English. At 11, my teachers were in awe at how eloquent I was. At 13, I was highly conversant in English that my verbal ability score in the language is always almost perfect.

Then again, I was never in the honors list but I could go on a head to head debate with my top notcher classmates and score in educational arguments. Why? Cause I was more wide read than they were.

Still, I was also lazy. I would get failing marks in most my subjects but given things I love, I produce good outputs: I write and one of my teachers told me that she likes the way I write and that in my words she sees more of talent than skill. That moment, I finally understood what I was for. That was a happy moment for someone like me who was bullied due to being fat. Well, I got back at them by saying, “E ano, maganda naman” (So what? I’m pretty).

Academically I was a mess but in other things, I was authority.

The willing child

Toss me a book, except academic books, and I was good. Back at 11, I preferred reading English stuff that my classmates began teasing me that I am, in Rizal’s words, a malansang isda (pungent fish) for I was apparently discriminating Filipinism. I wasn’t. Anyone who was open-minded enough, if there was anyone in my batch even that young, would understand that learning is growth and that development is not always a hostile act that pulls people away from their roots — that hostility is brought by the intent behind the actions. And for me, I just wanted to be a good speaker because no matter what, Filipino is in my roots. Filipino is me. And I had never been insecure about my nationality.

So, I continued what I do: read, speak, breath English and I improved a lot. Regardless of how eloquent I had been then, I know it didn’t chip off even a bit of me being a Filipino so I knew I was doing right.

The excelling child

My academic mishaps continued up to my high school days. I flunked every Math exam there was. I got low scores in English but I was the editor-in-chief of the school pub and I did not understand a bit about the technicalities of a newspaper. I was the essay writer, the programs host, the school’s broadcast journalist. I was winning quiz bees in English Literature, I bested representatives from Region IV-A when I became the champion extemporaneous speaker.

I was not smart academically but I was achieving momentous prices in the area I was good at: communication. I was lucky my school looked at my skills more than my ability to memorize history books.

And so I found my place. I knew what I wanted and I grew tired of people maligning my talents.

“The only thing you’re good at is English. Nothing else” became a household joke in school. My parents were happy at what I love and they were supportive. They never pushed me to become an honor student because I did not want to.

But people outside my family circle started talking at me and I told myself, I will show them my true potential.

From being a nobody, a flunk, an academic so-so, suddenly, I was The Full Academic Scholar, The Dean Lister, The Department Top One. I worked willingly hard enough that I got to a point my education was almost free: I was only paying $21 (P1K) per semester. Not because I was smart but because I chose to excel.

Four years after, I was the class valedictorian in my College Graduation. I was not smart. I had to work harder than the rest: my focus span is short I had to continuously remind myself that I was doing something, I had to do things ahead of the others so I stay within the same pace as them. It was hard. It was draining but it was all worth it.

I became one of the good ones not because I am intelligent. I am not and I will never be but because I chose to excel.

Success always starts with the decision to become one and follows suit after we have worked out our plans.

To people who say only the smart ones get the privilege, introduce me to them and I will prove them wrong.

Power and Distortion of History

Power changes everything. Indulging in Critical Discourse Analysis tells you that. It is a study of how language and power are able to form realities in society and clearly, its influence had been spurring the political wheels and opinions of more or less, uncritical audience.

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For example, Cleopatra’s death. Cleopatra. Yes, The Seductress, The Most Beautiful Woman In The World, The Prostitute Queen, Egypt’s Last Pharaoh. That Cleopatra.

Just recently, I have had interest in her life and death and have planned to book a trip to Alexandria though no trace of her dynasty remains above the oceans but what is interesting is how no accurate record of Cleopatra’s death exists.

Any Egyptian historian would argue and say Plutarch’s writing do exist but authenticity of his writings can be questioned especially Plutarch wrote about Cleopatra’s death a century after her demise. His words clearly admit his lack of knowledge:

The truth of the matter is no one knows

Cleopatra killed herself through snake bite. At least that’s what the books would tell you. The Princess who first claimed to be the daughter of the Egyptian goddess Isis who later on claimed to be Isis herself, made an Asp bite her in the bosom so she could be directly transcended to the world of the gods.

Octavian noted that it was just a matter of minutes when The Queen wrote him a suicide letter and him finding her dead. Or as Plutarch suggests, she could have had poisoned herself by ingesting liquid she kept in her hair emblems.

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I reject to believe that Cleopatra killed herself for two reasons:

1. Modern tests will tell you an Asp’s venom would take hours to kill a victim and
2. The poison would require at least a glass to be ingested in order to take effect in hours. That is too much to hide in your headdress, wouldn’t it?

Gaps in the story? Definitely. And with Egypt’s known technology that time, it would have been ridiculous for them not to have discovered the fraud.

Power? Probably. As Octavian was then ruler of Rome after his Uncle, The Great Julius Caesar. And the event took place after he defeated Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, the Ruler of the East

Character profiling would even tell you that it is not in Cleopatra’s character to kill herself. A woman who sees herself and her son with Julius Caesar ruling the world and doing everything in her power to achieve that vision, being the strategist she was, was not the kind of person who would resort to suicide during a defeat.

A suicide note? No one plans to kill herself and broadcast it to the world. That would forfeit the purpose. Absurdity.

But why had people accepted Octavian’s declaration that the Queen killed herself? Power. And the result? Potential lies in history books.

It is sad that after all these years, Cleopatra’s tomb hasn’t been found yet. Coincidental? Or someone so intelligent back then could have predicted that the manner of death could be examined?

I can’t wait until archeologists unearth The Queen and tell the world of how much power can distort reality and probably teach us that actual events do not come in dramatically and illogically, but is always, as in war, tragic.