New Year Thoughts

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.

Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.

Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right…

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Quotes: Brainy Quotes

My Blog’s Year in Review

It’s almost New Year. Another year is about to end, Dr. Seuss said: “How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” And it is indeed true. Time really does fly.

I want to take this opportunity to look back on my blogging year and to reflect on what had happened during my one  year escapades in the blogging world. It was around this time that I decided I want a place for myself. Somewhere I can be me, somewhere I can speak my thoughts and feelings without fear of being judge. Born of that want is this page, a personal online diary of some sort. Designed not to please everybody or to be popular but to put down what’s weighing my mind.

In the beginning I thought nobody would notice what I’m doing, I will sink in anonymity in this vast sea of thinking people, this is a perfect place to hide, no one knows me, I can talk my heart out without bothering anybody. I was elated.

But for some reasons I still can’t understand, people do came and some of them stay! How could that be? Because my blog is designed to satisfy my inner being I know that it will never be anyone’s cup of tea. It has no structure, no niche, I write in random with no specific topic in mind and I dish it out there raw and pure without embellishments. I can’t believe what I cook would please anyone’s palate. Apparently I was wrong!

After one year this is how my blog looks like in black and white:

View – 29,151 

Visitors – 10,551

Likes – 12,247

Comments – 5,609

Posts – 476

Followers – 915

(WordPress alone/other social media not included)

People come and people stay. They talk to me and read my thoughts, hear my voice and though I am not part of any social club and prefer my own company (Let me borrow a quote from Charlotte Brontë  “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”) it don’t bother them much. For that, I’m immensely grateful.

So, here’s to another year of collaboration, I hope you will be there as I continue my journey and keep me company when the going gets tough. Thank you for the support and encouragement and for your continuing presence. I’m glad you’re here…

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SEXISM IS ALIVE. I’M STILL “THE BITCH”, I’M STILL “THE SLUT”

I like to think I’m a good person.  I try to treat other with respect and honesty. And in difficult situations, I like to place myself in others’ shoes and show them the curtsey I’d like to be given.

A week ago I had a drunken one-night stand. It wasn’t anything special, so when he left and said the typical “we should do this again some time,” I said “sure” and went back to sleep. The next morning, while trying to remember the fuzzy parts of the night, I decided that I’d had a good time, but that I wasn’t going to see the guy again… You can read the rest of the article here.

This article is anonymously submitted to Artparasites. A page I like and visit once in a while if I want to read something real.

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Monday Wisdom

I no longer believe love works like a fairy tale but like farming. Most of it is just getting up early and tilling the soil and then praying for rain. But if we do the work, we might just wake up one day to find an endless field of crops rolling into the horizon. In my opinion, that’s even better than a miracle.

– Donald Miller

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Merry Christmas

When I was young, despite of circumstances, I always find Christmas the most exciting time of the year; better than New Year which is always dominated with extreme noises and possible fire works casualties. I remember going from houses to houses all over town wishing the occupants merry Christmas and in return you will get small change or sometimes a meal. A privilege reserved only for children. As an adult, it is seen as morally wrong doing the same thing.

I had a small pink plastic piggy bank for my holiday coins. All the cents I gathered on my tour, I put in there. It helped for the rest of the year when I needed money for school projects or to buy snacks during recess so, I will not feel left out and different from other kids. When my coins were finished, I put white wild flowers in the slot of my piggy bank; it looked good in my play house, just like a flower vase.

But the Christmas I will never forget was when I was a freshman. After 11 years of managing the fishpond, my father found himself in dispute with the owner. Proud as my father was, he rather dragged us down the drain than give into something which was against his principles; we found ourselves homeless overnight.

Out of desperation, lacked of other immediate resources and nowhere else to go, my father built a one room shack just outside the perimeter of the fishpond (how stupid and embarrassing that was, but I believe if he didn’t  think about us, I have a very strong notion that he rather pack his bags and move to another town very far away from our then current location – he done this before – and never come back. But as it were, he swallowed his high pride and settled us in temporarily) you can read the rest of the story in details here.

That particular Christmas eve we locked our door early and tried not to hear the merriment outside, pretending we were asleep; in the dark I can hear my stomach growling, we didn’t eat supper that night but no one complained. We all suffered in silence.

Out of a sudden I heard someone calling my name outside, my father put his finger on his lips and gestured for me not to open the door; I went back to my place.

But the person outside the door kept knocking and calling wishing us the usual holiday greeting and begging me to please open the door.

After a while my father gave in and allowed me to see our visitor.

When I opened the door, I was surprise to see Macedonio; he was one of the seven brothers who just moved to our village couple of years ago.

I remember when we were still living in the fish pond; he initiated an introduction between his brothers, me and my siblings by purposely landing a big kite in the middle of our place, which was separated from the rest of the neighbourhood by an electric fence. He managed to convinced my father to let them in to retrieve their kite, the rest is history.

Macedonio courted me briefly till my father (as always) pointed him to the fact that I was still underage and will not be available for such things until I’m 100 years old or so. He remained a trusted friend of the family as well as his other brothers who for some reasons don’t look like each other. Not a single resemblance. As if they are handpicked from different places and by some chance ended up together as one family. I have never seen more good looking young boys in my time than Macedonio and his siblings.

Where was I? ah, yes opening the door finding him standing there smiling at me. His usual off hand smile that if I was more experienced that time, I will recognize it as designed to melt every girl’s heart.  But I wasn’t. What caught my attention was the enormous plate he was holding full of Christmas delights. There was mountain of pancit, a loaf of bread, suman, kalamay, sinukmani, half of a fried chicken and rice cakes! I looked at him full of disbelief! He smiled,  eyes  twinkling, poked his head inside and when he saw that my father wasn’t looking; he gave me a peck on the cheek and say: “Merry Christmas you gorgeous.” And he disappeared into the night.

He must have been aware of our situation (not much one can hide in small village like ours) and how kindhearted of him to think about us in that time of the year and provide us a holiday meal without hurting the sensitive pride of my father. Bless the people like him. Not only for making our Christmas unforgettable, but restoring my fate in humanity…

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Bah, Humbug!

Okay… Christmas is here again and no matter how I try to be a female version of Ebenezer Scrooge minus the greed I cannot escape certain duties during this holiday season. The dilemmas are always the same each year:

What to wear to those parties?

An outfit for family gatherings must be proper and not overly chic; something a critical mother in law would approve, meaning = don’t upstage her at all cost.

Another one for a corporate lounge dinner with people you don’t know at all and have nothing in common but have to chit-chat nicely in case they are your spouse chiefs or subordinates, wives included. The attire must be formal enough to be classy yet not too constricting for after dinner twirling on the floor with just a hint of simple sexiness as not to look slutty.

And not to forget yuletide season night of fun with friends and whoever they decide to bring along. This time, whatever the choice must be warm enough for after dinner strolling around the city hopping from bar to bar sampling their signature drinks or in case the parking is too full you have to leave your car few kilometres where you have to be. But it has to be punchy too with a lot of schwung for flirty yet classy effect appropriate enough for semi formal dinner and to impress your friends and their escorts. (ha ha)

Oh, the colour! I almost forgot the colour. Red is the obvious and safest choice for my southern colouring that’s why I will not wear crimson this year. Black makes me look washed-out, I will disappear in any shade of tan; white is not festive enough and will appear luminous in any muted lighting. Violet- lavender- mauve and purple remind me of funeral homes, that leaves only yellow which is a big no-no in any circumstances; blue and green which are the traditional hues of Christmas itself will never be on my list no matter what. I don’t want to resemble either a holiday tree or the baubles that goes with it. What a freaking dilemma!

What to serve on Christmas dinner?

As to satisfied the fussiest of eaters among your guests but at the same time not spending the whole evening in the kitchen people would wonder where you disappeared maybe gone to some fancy restaurant for last minute order to replace your over-complicated menu that didn’t work because of your shaky nerves (catering costs a lot of money and frankly I cannot name one among my guests –to- be that deserves such ado and effort since I don’t like them at all the feeling is mutual I suspect good thing that I only see them around this time of the year) I have to come up with an original idea that will not cost trouble but will blow their socks off.

Next is: what gifts to buy?

Especially for the ones who are lucky enough to have everything they can think of. I know it’s the thoughts that counts but you and I know better. I witnessed enough family Christmas gifts drama where both parties ceased to talk to one another long after the jolly holiday is over and years beyond that. Believe me, the theory about its- the -thoughts –that- counts- can only stretch so far.

And of course we cannot forget the hubby darling dear and our once in a blue moon special tête-à-tête; it requires proper attire drinks and delectable(s) as well. And if you are like me who only give certain favors and accommodations  during special occasions… then more careful preparation is required, if you know what I mean.

That nicely summarized my festive dilemmas around this time of the year and like Ebenezer Scrooge I would (if I could) say… “Bah, Humbug!”  Because like him; I do not want to socialize because I never experienced steady growth in a strong family unit and all that jazz, or I could lay the blame on my ex who managed to make every Christmas that we’re together (that’s 20 traumatic years) a living hell.  How’s that for an excuse?

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Being Human

Putting yourself out there takes vulnerability. Vulnerability is hard, and we, as a rule, tend to go for what’s easy; by that logic, closing ourselves off is the easiest thing in the world. We quote the words of others to do the talking for us, send each other links to articles and stories in lieu of actual conversation, post pretty pictures to adequately convey our current state of mind, all to avoid having to proffer a single identifiable human emotion. Maybe just maybe…divulging your vulnerabilities without any kind of filter can make you more human.

-Phil Roland

Sunset Woman

Where is Christmas?

Where has Christmas gone? It used to be the most celebrated, most popular most observed season of the year but from where I am Christmas is barely there. Except of course in those business establishments where every season is an excuse to capitalize on people’s susceptibility to be seduced for maximum sale.

I cannot speak for other places for obvious reasons but the last time I have spent the holiday season in my birth country, I can tell you it was not how it used to be. What are the reasons why most people these days don’t even bother to put up a Christmas tree? Inflation perhaps? Recession? Don’t have time/interest, empty nest? I don’t know…

Wherever I drive around (except city centers where they are probably forced to do some minimal of decorations) I am confronted with dark streets and dark houses devoid of any festive trimmings. No lighted ornaments, no string of multi-coloured lights around a tree or doorways; not even a simple wreath or statues of Santa. I find it a sad, sad affair.  If we don’t make efforts to separate ordinary days from (supposed to be) the most wonderful, glorious time of the year, how could we know it’s Christmas?

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Take Care

When you’re unwell, do you allow others to take care of you, or do you prefer to soldier on alone? What does it take for you to ask for help?

I prefer to take care of myself. I will never dare to saddle anyone with my own problems. 

This principle sprang out from necessity and originated in my childhood where none of us siblings were aloud to voice out or cause any problems. They caused and still are causing problems. They grew up to be dependent and bothersome individuals and I have chosen the opposite track; relying and trusting no one but myself. 

I learned at an early age that it’s better not to ask anyone for help. Help is never for free. There is always something attached to it and you always have to return the favor. I never want to be indebted to anyone financially, morally, socially or emotionally. The latter is much harder to pay. It can hold you in a leash indefinitely. Asking anyone for help is giving them the right/reasons/chances to criticize your actions and way of life and handing them ammunition for future battles. Better to tackle your problems alone so whatever might happen, there is no one to blame but you. That way, you can never be disappointed or disillusioned if others don’t provide the best kind of help__ no strings attached.   

I want to be always free, and freedom is not being beholden to anything, point.

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If Walls Could Talk

I long for a career walking through empty houses vacated of all furniture and personality, walls once full of love and memories now bare with chipping paint and talk of being alone forever. Do you think if houses could talk they would tell you of all the people who walked through their lonesome hallways with no intent to return?

Do you think if walls could talk they would tell you of all the crayons that have been pressed against their plaster skin creating masterpieces that can’t be painted over? What about the day your dad got so drunk he punched right through the memories and your brother years later with chalky knuckles following in his footsteps? Would the windows board themselves up after you left?

Do you think the air vents still carry the sound of your mom telling your dad she doesn’t love him anymore? Do you think that house is waiting for someone to come along and fix it up again?

I spend my Saturday mornings furniture shopping for things that aren’t there and won’t ever be there. Do you think houses are like people or people are like houses because I can walk up cracked concrete steps everyday and I can run my hand down the oak door wondering how many people have stood in my spot before and if their legs ever buckled ?

I can grab that cold metal knob but I can’t ever turn it because I’m not ready to confront the crumbling walls of a house that was once a home.

– Kelsie Byers

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Gathering

Outside the Shinto Shrine in Japan, visitors can drop coins in the box and buy this small wooden plaque to write their prayers and wishes and leave it hanging there where the spirits receive them. The practice is very much like what we do in our churches, lighting candles and leave them on the altar burning to accompany our prayers.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Gathering

Farewell

If I will ever see you again what would I say?

Would I say how are you and greet you with a smile?

Would you smile back and ask in return how I am?

Or we will pretend we don’t know each other and we would just walk by?

If I will ever see you again would I feel just the same?

The time that I first saw you in that fateful day

A day that is fateful and makes you cry inside

If only it didn’t happen would be the best for us

If I will ever see you again would you love me still?

Would you still say I’m your wonderful greatest sin?

The one you will never regret committed in your life

Because I am and will always be your one and only love?

If I will see you again would I dare to repeat

The words that I told you just before I turned and left

I said I will be be back only I don’t know when

But if your, our love is strong enough I’ll find you there waiting

If I will ever see you again would it be different

We don’t have to say farewell simply because we must

Would we have the chance to be together at last

This time you would not be my nephew and I would not be your aunt…

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Daily Prompt

The past is never where you think you left it

The other day I was at McDonald eating my favorite salad when from the corner of my eyes I saw a glimpse of a familiar face.

When was the last time I saw her? Fifteen years ago?  She was a senior in high school, a residence of a small barrio community consisted of only 54 houses, all of them relatives, in the other side of the world. A world so far and so different from here.

Normally, whenever I saw a familiar face, I flee. Not this time. My experience with them left a lasting impression in my memory. It will remain the most wonderful 3 months vacation of my life.

I studied her for a while to be sure. How old she is now, Thirty? Thirty-one? Then I made a decision. On my way to the door I passed by the counter and called her name. From behind the cash register she looked up and momentarily  got confused upon seeing me. But only for a fraction of a second. She smiled broadly and said my full name. Nobody does that, calling me by my full name.

She grabbed a tray of order and came out to meet me. I kissed her on the cheek. Then came the dreaded moment when she asked where I live. I froze. Then I said nearby. She frowned and asked again. I can’t lie. So I named a village next to ours. A mere four kilometers walking distance from my place. She seemed happy with that.

A customer reminded her of their order and she walked away from me, reciting her address I purposely didn’t hear and will never store in my memory. I said I will be back, I know I won’t. I turned around and left feeling like a criminal.  

In the car, I was cursing myself to high heaven. Why I’m like that??? In FB while I have no reservation having a contact with acquaintances and total strangers I avoid those whom in the past I had shared wonderful times and memories, those I had intimate relationships with and were my best friends. Why?

Maybe because I want to preserve the memory, the way it used to be? Perhaps I don’t want to be disappointed, disillusioned when I find out that the person I had meet then is not the same person I am seeing now. I know nobody can’t escape the past, it’s got a funny way of catching up with you when you least expect it. But I know also that we can’t go back there either. The only constant in this world is changes, people evolved. Their feelings, wants, needs, dreams, expectations and priorities change as well. And that’s the problem.

I want to keep the past. Hang onto then. Cherish what it was and the feelings remain. I don’t want it altered or change. I want that I can go back to it in my mind when I need a safe place to go to, I need it to keep my faith in humanity alive, to keep believing there is still some goodness in this world.

The same with bad memories. They are reminders of my mistakes, lesson learned and poor judgments. I need them there to continue teach me a lesson so I will not do the same mistakes twice. I don’t want it redeemed or be given a second chance. Second chances are like open invitations to people who abused you to do it again.So I rather walk away and keep distance.

Driving home, I know I made the right decision.

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