Saturday, June 22, 2019

What I Think of Quezon's Game

Going through my blog, I realized that again, I haven't written anything new in almost half a year. My last entry was from December last year. And I must admit that last year's events contributed to a lot of personal changes. While I realized I've observed new routines, there are also some that I no longer seem to do -- either temporarily or permanently.

Case in point was watching movies. In the previous years, I always made it a point to set a day to watch at least one movie every month. But for this year, I don't know if it's with the scarcity of movies worth watching but I've only watched two so far: Alone/Together and Quezon's Game which this post is about.

I've heard about Quezon's Game late last year. I've always loved history even way back when I was still a student.  And learning what the story was about really caught my interest. But I had to wait for half a year for the movie as it was initially available in the streaming service iWant. So when it finally arrived in cinemas, I made it a must to see the movie. Quezon's Game was available to selected cinemas; thankfully, the one at SM Center Angono was among those who gave this movie  slot in their branches.

Filipinos are already familiar of Manuel Quezon to be the statesman who served as the president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. But in Quezon's Game, it tackled how he was able to save 1,200 Jews trying to escape The Holocaust during Adolf Hitler's reign -- an event in Quezon's presidency that was not even mentioned nor discussed in history books. I would admit, I am among those who was not familiar of this "secret chapter in history." And I only had an idea that a former president did this noble gesture a few years ago when I was already working in the law firm.

The movie was two hours long but to be honest, it did not disappoint. For someone like me who was not even alive during that dark point of history, Quezon's Game somehow painted a clear picture of how life was like back then-- including how complicated and disappointing it was with all the atrocities people were facing both the Filipinos (in the hands of the Americans) and the Jews (in the hands of the Germans). Las Casas De Acuzar in Bataan is a suitable venue to replicate the Philippines in the late 1930's. But what left me in awe was how fitting Raymond Bagatsing was to portray the President Manuel Quezon. I really had goosebumps and upon seeing him on screen, my first reaction was "Shit, kamukha nga niya si President Quezon!". British-Jewish director Matthew Rosen made the right decision of picking Raymond for the lead role.

I must admit that cinemas should invest in these kinds of movies. I was a bit disappointed because during the time I watched the movie, there were only 20 people inside the cinema and most of them are seniors. I won't deny it, I was saying inside my head that the youth these days are missing something for not watching the movie. It would have been better if they released it at the beginning of the school year so students could have seen this movie. In this time of uncertainty with our present government, Quezon's Game became a source of reason to be proud as a Filipino -- because when all the world has turned their doors and their attention to people in dire need and hanging on to dear life, someone from another side of the world opted to open his own country to serve as the cradle of safety. In the movie, President Quezon wished that he could have done more, but the noble act that he did was more than enough -- for the present-day Filipino to have something to be proud of, a part of history to tell the next generation and a perfect example that each one of us can do something to restore faith in humanity even in time of uncertainty and chaos.   

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Emotional Decluttering

Marie Kondo and her KonMari method has been a trending topic for quite some time. It involves clearing your closet of something that no longer spark joy. I've always looked forward to applying this in my own life given that I've gained a lot of clutter over the years but then, I will need time just to do it.

Unconsciously, while I have yet to apply this in the usual way that it was designed for, I didn't imagine that I'd be able to use this manner of decluttering for something else: putting the emotional side of my life in order. The perfect example of such was how my life was like the past year. It was now that I realized how cluttered it was. My life involved connections that no longer spark joy and yet I still kept it -- as if I was keeping a lot of things that is no longer serving me well. 

But this year, I came to a decision of cleaning my life out of unnecessary clutter. While I was browsing my Instagram feed weeks ago, I came across these words of singer and songwriter Erykah Badu: 

Evolving involves eliminating. 

Those were seriously powerful words that made sense. 

While I know it's not easy, I just knew I had to remove toxic relationships in my life's equation just so I can move forward. I know what I deserve. I deserve better relationships -- those that won't compromise my sanity and emotions and instead encourage me to be a better person. At first it was hard but I knew I couldn't reach something new if my emotional tank is filled with nothing but yesterday's toxic relationships, shit and junk. 

I learned that getting old does not only reveal the presence of gray hair, crow's feet or even wrinkles. It can also unveil the true character of people.

So I decluttered by cutting off  all means of communication including phonecalls and social media accounts. Yes, it's hard at first pero inisip ko na totoo rin ang linya na sinabi ng isang senador na napanood ko online: once you let go, better things happen. And honestly, I never felt at peace after doing so. 

I guess, it was just right that I prioritized my sanity and emotions in deciding to declutter emotionally. And if there's one piece of advice I can pass on to others, it's this one thing: To not be afraid of terminating relationships (even friendships) especially when it is no longer serving its real purpose to your life. Doing so will be something your inner self will thank you for.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

A Life Altered by the Big C

I am currently on vacation leave as of his writing and I just realized that I have not written anything since last month .And during that month-long hiatus from blogging, a lot of things has happened. Unfortunately, most of those are sad ones. From arriving at an unconscious decision to end a "friendship" with someone that is already making me uneasy to a sad blow that had to be endured by my family.

After almost two years of battling cancer, Papa died a week before Christmas. His death caused me to go on leave earlier than expected. And to be honest, this could be the saddest December that will be etched in me for a lifetime. While I am trying to console myself, I will not hide the fact that there are times that I would be sad. His demise now is being felt 

Nakakalungkot pala talaga makita yung katawan niya na inilalabas ng bahay for the last time when for 23 years residing in our house, alam ko na andito lang siya araw-araw. Nakakalungkot isipin na yung dating araw-araw mong kasama for the last 34 years ng buhay mo biglang sa ibang lugar na ngayon nakatira at hinding-hindi ko na makikita dito na umuwi kahit kailan. Nakakalungkot na after 34 years of being together, at the age of 66, biyuda na ang Mama ko.

Nung araw na umuwi kami pagkalibing kay Papa, na-experience ko yung isang bagay na minsang sinabi ko sa isang kakilala na ayaw na ayaw kong maranasan-- yung bahay na sobrang tahimik; katahimikang nakakasira ng bait. I remember telling Bren na nung unang gabi pagkalibing kay Papa, gusto kong magwala out of pain, loneliness and grief. For months since taking care of Papa, nung Sunday night ko nakitang tulug na tulog si Mama. Gusto kong isipin na next to exhaustion, nakatulog si Mama sa lungkot. For years si Papa ang lagi niyang katabi tapos ngayon wala na si Papa.

Naninibago ako and part of me is in a state of denial. Minsan biglang susulpot yung moment na nagtatanong ako sa sarili ko kung wala na ba talaga si Papa. Hindi ko maisip na at 34, sa pagkawala ni Papa, wala na rin ang kalahati ng pagkatao ko. Pakiramdam ko, ang bata ko pa para iwan nya ako at kaming pamilya.

I remember telling someone months before, this is the sad part about being an adult. You mature on a number of things but then you will realize that people you know and those who are close to you start leaving -- isa isa silang umaalis at hindi na babalik. 

Then there would be times I would just weep, telling God "ang daya mo.". I would have these questions in my head as to why cancer bothered my family, and why of all people that could get it, it was Papa. 

Minsan tinatanong ko ang sarili ko kung ano ba yung mas okay, yung ma-experience mo na mamatayan at a young age when you don't have a clearer understanding of death (pero hindi mo rin masyadong maaalala ang mahal mo sa buhay) or yung mamatayan ka nang nasa tamang isip at aware na sa realidad ng kamatayan at lahat ng nangyayari before that pero habang buhay mong maaalala yung taong nawala sa 'yo. 

We had a Christmas Party last Monday. Sa tagal ng panahon, kagabi lang namin yun ginawa -- kung kailan wala na si Papa. Ang totoo, mas gusto ko pang magkulong sa kwarto kagabi para ipagluksa siya at umiyak kaysa mag-party at magsaya.

Kung meron mang consolation na nagpapagaan ng loob ko sa kabila ng pagpanaw ni Papa, yun ay namatay siya dahil nagkasakit siya at hindi dahil naaksidente siya or worst, kagagawan ng ibang tao ang pagkamatay niya. Nagkasakit man siya, hindi siya binawi sa amin ng biglaan at nabigyan pa kami ng time na magkasama.

Na sa kabila ng mga nangyari, nabigyan pa ako ng time para makasama, mapasaya at maalagaan si Papa. Na nabigyan pa ako ng chance na ipaalam sa kanya how much I love him and how lucky I was na siya ang naging tatay ko. 

At narinig ko sa kanya kung gaano niya ako kamahal. Oo. Yung marinig ko yung I love you galing sa kanya, napakalaking bagay sa akin nun. Habang buhay kong matatandaan na narinig ko yun mula sa kanya. 

I am a grieving daughter trying to come into terms with the loss of a parent on my own ways. Ang totoo akala ko dati hindi na magiging ganon kahirap given that I went through the same ordeal with the death of my two grandmothers in the previous years. Pero iba pala ang lungkot, sakit at sugat na iniiwan sa puso kapag isa sa mga magulang ang nawawala.

Iniisip ko na lang, malungkot man na hindi na namin siya kasama, at least alam naming sa langit kasama ng mga anghel at nina Inay at lolo ang pupuntahan ni Papa. Sabi nga ng kapitbahay namin nung lamay ni Papa, mas iyakan mo ang kinakasal kaysa sa namamatay. Dahil ang taong namayapa na, alam mong sa langit pupunta. Pero ang taong kinakasal, hindi mo alam kung ano ang kahihinatnan ng buhay niya pagkatapos ng kasal.

Sabi pa ng kapitbahay ko, parang napu-prusisyon papunta sa langit ang taong namayapa na. At magiging mahirap sa kanila na humakbang at lumakad kung may taong nalulungkot sa pag-alis nila ganong sa magandang lugar naman sila papunta. Naiiiwan sila ng prusisyon kapag nalulungkot ang mga taong naiwan nila sa lupa.

In a way, despite the pain and grief, those words make sense to me and somehow helped tone down the sorrow somehow. .

Friday, November 9, 2018

Shred and Burn

Pulbusin mo anay ang kulungang kahon. Palayain ako sa aking kahapon.

-Pinaglumaan, Allan Popa-

Those lines from an old poem was echoing in my head as I spent my birthday night doing something radical. As everyone in the house retired from a tiring day and slept, I found myself taking out this thick, heavy photo album from my bookshelf and removed a few pages worth of photos.

The next thing I knew, I was slumped on the floor tearing and shredding the photographs from the first four pages with my bare fingers. I tore them into pieces to the last photo until my fingertips hurt.

Those were photos from the last five years or so. I won't deny it, my birthday is gloomy this year because next to my family's ordeal, I am also going through a rough patch of an irreparable kind.

But this time, rather than dwelling too much on it, I decided to do my part to move on. And part of it was getting rid of those photos to start getting rid of the memories. After all, I no longer see the point of keeping those photographs anymore.

And call it odd but as I tore down those photos, there was no hint of tear, anger or sadness. Unlike in previous times that such chore included tons of drama. I kept the torn photos underneath my bed and burned all of them first thing the next day.  

I don't know but I guess, there's really no use with keeping those anyway. And I hope that move would do me good to move forward and start anew.

Photo: @thegoodquote on Instagram

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Quiet Birthday

As of this writing, I just got back to work for two days after taking a vacation. I turned another year older three days ago and given that I rarely take a time off, I took my birthday as my chance to get some time to rest. 

I still reported for work on All Soul's Day through it was technically a holiday. I've been used to being in the office during holidays except on four days: Christmas Day, the last day of the year, New Year's Day and Good Friday, It's been sort of a tradition in our group for a birthday celebrant to feed the constituents of our little baranggay. And here's us before having our lunch of pizza and chicken wings (which was not pictured here). We grabbed the affordable deal from S&R Pizza that day! From folks of 12, we were down to six that day as the others opted to grab the chance of having a holiday leave.

Nothing much really happened on my birthday. I did not plan anything "grand" to celebrate. Instead, it was a low-key celebration on an ordinary day. I simply stayed home the whole day and finished a book that I've intended to read. One of of the main reasons I filed for a leave aside from rest was to catch up on sleep and use the time to help Mama with the errands related to taking care of Papa and his needs. But that doesn't mean forgetting to pray and saying those words of thanks for being granted with another year. After having lunch, I traveled to Taytay, Rizal's St. John the Baptist Parish. Yes, the same church where my parents got married, to say my prayers and pay the place a long-overdue visit.Next to the gratitude for being blessed with another year, I'm just thankful that I still have Papa with us for my birthday -- even if in reality, this might possibly be the last.

The next day, I took another afternoon off to fall in line in the cinema to watch Bohemian Rhapsody which is the 11th movie for my pet project. I've been trying to fulfill my 12 Movies Project for two years. While I wasn't even born during the era where Freddie Mercury and Queen became famous, I grew up loving their songs. I enjoyed the movie likewise. I'd like to believe that I am indeed an old soul.

I returned to the office yesterday refreshed. Unplugging from daily routine even for just a couple of days can have advantages. And just when I thought the shenanigans are over, these guys from my team gave me a small belated celebration in the middle of my busy workday. It's my first time to celebrate my birthday in our new workfloor (we've been here for a month now!) and my seventh birthday in the office with these guys.And being with them somehow lightens up the load -- not just from work but even those personal matters for we treat our little baranggay as a family.

Four days of simple solitude. I did not ask for anything anymore for the traditional birthday wish. I may not have received much birthday greetings from people but I received one from those who truly mattered anyway-- and that is what's important. I guess that's how it really is when one gets old. You just crave for silence and simplicity and you know you're very much fine with that.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunday Scribbles: Moving On and Forgetting

Moving on. That's what you do on planes. You share an armrest with someone for a few hours. You exchange stories about your life, an amusing anecdote or two, maybe even a joke. You comment on the weather and remark about the terrible food. You listen to him snore. And then you say goodbye. 

There's a formula for how long it takes to get over someone, that it's half as long as the time you've been together.

-Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight-

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Another Round of Disappearance

As of this writing, I decided to go into another round of indefinite hiatus from social media. I simply wanted to breathe given that my mind and my whole system has had a lot to take in the past few months. Career wise, despite that I'm doing well at work, it appears a little bit different outside of it.

I am trying to stay afloat despite of the situation that my family is having for the past few months. Going through an ordeal the same as ours when you can't do anything is hard. People continue to encourage and tell me to stay strong. I try to, as much as I can, but still, there would be times every now and then that I would just crumble, weep and just break down.

And it's something that I don't show people.

Then there is this other thing that I don't know what to call and how to address either. I decided to deactivate my Facebook account in the hope of clearing out my mind and to stay away from someone -- at least until I feel okay. I know I have been used to helping and assisting people. After all, it has been part of my job as a paralegal to do so. But then, there is this one incident that is causing me to have doubts and uncertainties about being helpful.

I know that it's normal to be asked by someone for help on some things. However, being asked for the same thing habitually is a different story.

And lately, I noticed that I've been doing more of the latter. At first, I felt okay with it. After all, I do know the person who's asking for help and I thought it's necessary to render some aid. However, for quite sometime, I just had this feeling that something doesn't seem to be right with the situation anymore. It came to a point that I am starting to doubt the person 's real motive as to why I kept being tapped to do some things which could be delegated to someone else. Someone who is more available and has the liberty of time to do it. At one point I would be surprised to be delegated with a particular task that I didn't even approve or said yes to. I tried to ask why this person kept on doing so and despite being provided with answers, those to me were not convincing enough.

And for the past few weeks, I started to feel uncertain about helping someone and if there's really a necessity for me to do it. Aaminin ko, na sa ngayon nasa point ako na merong tanong sa utak ko kung normal pa ba ang ginagawa niya o kung nagte-take advantage na ba siya sa kakayahan ko at sa mga bagay na kaya kong gawin.

I feel so shortchanged and to be honest, I am no longer happy about what this person is  doing and how I am being treated. I feel both sad and annoyed because I feel compelled to help and respond to this person's demands; and the things that I am being asked to do is not even part of my job and what I do for a living. I even reached the point that I was looking out and Googling for telltale signs that say that I am being taken advantage of. 

Yes, one of the reasons for me to provide help was out of friendship and because I love this person. As stupid and shitty as this may sound but in my line of work, I have been so used to people wanting to know where they (legally) stand and yet, here I am trying to find out where I emotionally stand in the life of someone else.

Mabuti pa ang trabaho ko, it has given me an identity that's legit and definite. Whereas sa taong ito, my existence is absolutely vague. Para akong tanga dahil sa trabaho ko, nakakasagot ako sa tanong ng ibang tao tungkol sa legal na katayuan nila pero ako mismo, hindi ko alam kung saan at anong estado o lugar ko sa buhay ng ibang tao. At sa puntong ito, naiinis ako at the same time nawawalan ng gana.

Walang kwenta na ang salitang "pagkakaibigan" kung nahahaluan na 'to ng gamitan. Funny but this person once shouted out in a Facebook status na hindi siya user; but looking at the situation this person placed me in, it is very far from what was once blurted out on social media.

Ang totoo, sa kabila ng pananahimik, pikon na pikon na ako. I am at the verge na kung magkakausap man kami ulit, at hingan na naman niya ako ng pabor, magtatanong na ako -- or worst, suggest to this person to make me his girlfriend kung gusto niyang maging available ako sa bawat pabor na hihingin nya. Because I deserve to ask just so this person will know that I don't like and don't deserve to be just someone's educated slave na uutus-utusan at hihingan niya ng pabor ng wala ni isang klarong posisyon kung ano ako talaga sa kanya because I don't believe someone does that to a person and excessively at that-- kahit pa kaibigan o ka-close niya ang taong yun .

Dahil hindi niya ako tauhan at may sarili akong buhay na kailangang intindihin. I am trying to stay afloat in spite of juggling my work, the personal concerns and that of this person's kahit minsan gusto ko nang pabayaan ang sarili kong malunod, But then I can't try to just be in an "afloat" state forever. Nakakapagod na rin na sinusubukan ko to survive habang ang isang ito ay napakamanhid sa pinagdadaanan ng taong pirmi niyang inaasahan ng bagay na para lang naman sa ikabubuti at ikagiginhawa niya.

Thus I decided to slowly and quietly stay away. I decided to deactivate my social media account and delete this person's missed, received calls and messages as well as contact details on my phone.

Ayokong nasasanay siya na palaging available ako at dumating ang punto na nasasanay na akong wala na halos matitirang para naman sa sarili ko. 

I've decided that If I can't have a definite identity on this person, I don't think this person deserves to be included in my priority list either. 

And I don't intend to take this person's phonecalls for help or questions anymore from this point forward. right now, I just want to be in peace. mope, weep, do the things I've neglected because I devoted time to people's unnecessary and unreasonable whims.  I am not getting any younger and I have given a good 11 years of my life only to be put to waste and disregarded by two people -- an ex and now, this person. I guess those 11 years should suffice. I can't tolerate another round of such kind of shit anymore -- not even a recurrence of it.