Soulmate

When I was in college, my favorite English teacher talked to us about the idea of the soulmate. At one point she got personal and said that her soulmate was her best friend. It awakened me to the idea that soulmates don’t have to be your spouse. They could be your best friend or your sibling or some other random person you met on the street but whom you shared a deep and profound connection with.

I don’t know.

On my first year of teaching, I was assigned to co-moderate the grade school publication. I was a fish out of water; school publications were NOT my territory even though I considered myself a pretty decent writer. In any case, students in that club looked up to me as an “expert” and showed me their works for review and approval.

One of them, upon hearing that I used to read fanfiction, asked me to beta his work. I was shocked. He was a sixth grader who showed me–his teacher–a lemon. Truth be told I couldn’t comment on the greener aspects of his literature, but he had the makings of a potentially great writer. I told him so, and he kept writing. Now he has two? three? works legitimately published online (NOT Wattpad). And by legitimately I mean that he gets paid for every copy he sells.

That same student has, since that moment in his sixth grade life when I didn’t shoot him down for writing a lemon, called me his soulmate. I’ve since taken to calling him the same. We call each other sulmeyt, basically a bastardized spelling of the word.

While we were sulmeyts because we connected through literature, I think it’s safe to say that we neither considered each other our soulmate. That distinction has yet to be made, but right now I’m beginning to think I may have found mine.

But what exactly is a soulmate? Aristophanes, in Plato’s Symposium (read or download from here), tells the famous story of how humans initially had four arms and four legs and two sets of genitalia, but after the gods split them up humans got busy with looking for their “other half” because this other half will complete them. However, people nowadays say that soulmates don’t necessarily complete you; instead, soulmates make you better. They complement you instead of completing you because you yourself already are a complete being.

Until now the concept of a soulmate is hazy for me, so why do I say I may have found mine?

I don’t know.

It’s just a thought that won’t go away right now.

When songs ruin your night

You try to work, so you open Spotify and play your custom playlist.

The shuffle starts with a song easy on the ears. It’s one of your favorites (as well it should be because it’s custom nga eh), so you find yourself humming along and singing the chorus. The next song is another good one, and you sing in your head along to the artist. The third is another one you like, but you notice it mentioned fire again just like the two other songs before it. You pause and ask, “Coincidence? Or are the fates telling me something?”

And now all the songs that are playing are the hugot songs, the ones that scream at you to stop working and recall that awkward memory attached to the song. You press “skip” to avoid recalling. Up comes another song with another memory attached to it.

You skip to another song but decide you hate it and delete it from your playlist. You look at your other playlists and decide they’re all useless. You’re in no mood for Disney songs, nor for Broadway/musicals, nor for the head-banging rock playlists you have. You find yourself stuck in the hugot playlist.

So now you blog about it because what else is there to do?

Average

IMG_20130606_134318

I fear mediocrity.

Sometimes I think that I have become what I fear: AVERAGE.

Or that I always have been.

The Far Future

The problem with being a sponge is that you lap up and absorb EVERYTHING to the point of <insert scientific term for “fullness”> and you just start leaking.

The problem with leaking is you don’t get to choose what you leak out.

The problem with not getting to choose what to remove from your system is that you sometimes end up discarding the good and keeping in the bad.

And when you squeeze yourself to get rid of the bad, you squeeze the good out of yourself also. You end up squeezing yourself dry.

Right now I’m just trying to hold everything in.

Which is bad, I know.

——–

My kids would never let me hear the end of this if they find out I’ve used our class forbidden words many times in this post. Eh.

Playing catch up

I looked at the kids’ faces, their brows furrowed in concentration, their hair flying about in the wind, their hands scribbling as fast as they could as if their lives depended on it. In a way, it was, and then I went back inside my head (because when you can’t talk out loud, your brain does ALL the talking, and more often than not, what your brain has to say just pisses you off).

And my brain saw all the young faces and then took one look at mine and said, “Ouch.”

My brain tortured me today with images of what ifs especially in the midst of gorgeous views of land and air and the company of amazing people.

What if I heard from you again?

What if you walked in that door?

What if it were you who walked in on the arm of that person?

What if you had met a fate worse than death? (Ah hello, melodrama. There you are.)

I thought I was done.

I guess I’m not.

“Ouch.”

I went back to my guilty pleasure book/s in the comfort of my bed hoping hoping hoping and wishing that I’d find some solace or at least some distraction before drifting off into peaceful exhausted slumber.

And all I found was:

“Ouch.”

My favorite word from college lit class is catharsis. At first, it was because I felt I was a gazillion times smarter than the person who’s never heard of it. Then I realized that it was the reason I buried my head and my heart in my books.

It gets rid of the

“Ouch.”

Who cares if you disagree
you are not me
Who made you king of anything
so you dare tell me who to be
who died and made you king of anything?

(#nowplaying)

Two days ago my heart pounded like there’d be no more tomorrow. I was clammy inside and outside. My mom commented that I was cold. I didn’t know why. I chalked it up to malaise.

I bundled up in my favorite furry blanket and slept and slept and woke up and slept some more and ate and slept some more.

And I drank alcohol. I had a shot.

And so went the

“Ouch.”

Here in these deep city lights
girl could get lost tonight
I’m finding every reason to be gone
there’s nothing here to hold on to
could I hold you?

(#nowplaying)

Saktong drama lang.

Maybe my brain will let me sleep now.

Sana Dati (2013)

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 11.40.25 PM

The movie goes by If Only in English, right?

I finished watching the movie approximately 15 minutes ago, and while I am in love with the movie, I find myself at a loss for words to explain this love.

So I shall do what I usually do in cases of word-depravation (see? I can’t even find the right word for this case), I shall do free writing and blabber and hope I end up with a pretty good entry for the day.

And there are spoilers here, so if you haven’t seen the movie and you want to, skip if you don’t want spoilers.

———-

Where do I begin?

It’s a love story, and, being the hopeless romantic that I am, of course I love this movie. I think.

And then there’s the rub. In love you don’t think, right? You do crazy things. Like forget to take your meds, you little love fool (I so want to use that word I used in my chat but no).

But why does love have to be irrational? Why ugh.

I’ll just talk about Robert.

I LIKE HIM.

He’s a good guy. I thought he’d be horrible after discovering that he was a politician, but his answer to a question during the wedding video interview made me think otherwise. He said that he stopped being a politician because you can’t be a public servant and a politician at the same time. It was impossible. I like that he went into politics really wanting to make positive changes in society, but I don’t like that he quit because it kind of implies a lack of a backbone. And his dad mentions other things he didn’t push through with, and you kind of get this picture that he’s a weak guy, that he’s a guy without any strong convictions.

But all of those changed when he said during his wedding vows, “Sigurado ako na mahal kita. Sigurado ako sa’yo.” At that time, what hurt was the knowledge that those were the exact lines Andrea’s ex told her. The same ex that Andrea still loves.

God. Her face when he said that line. She forced a smile. She recognized that line.

And Robert’s face was just agony. How can I make her see that I love her? How can I make her understand? How can I ease her pain? Because dammit you know that he knows she’s in pain. And all he could do was wait helplessly at the side. One could argue this was another sign of weakness, but oh no. When he says during a private moment that he’s always known about the ex, you realize that he’s loved her truly madly deeply and unconditionally. He’s just been there all this time, loving her. (dammit I’m crying) He doesn’t care that she doesn’t love him back. He doesn’t care that she wasn’t ready. I think that he nearly broke down during the vows because he knew he could be forcing her into something she didn’t want to at that time. I don’t know. My mind’s a mess right now.

But one thing is clear. Robert’s love shone through in the end. It was patient. It was understanding. It was clear and pure and unconditional. What he liked in his backbone, his heart more than made up for it. He was sure of his love for her.

And when she took his hand, you know that she finally knew it, she finally understood it, she finally felt it and she was able to love him back.

Excuse me while I cry.

TEN YEARS

Ten years.

A decade.

That’s how long I’ve been teaching.

My first day of teaching was on September 8, 2004. It has been ten years, 12 days since I handled my very first English class. I remember my very first day. I wore a green Akita boat neck top and black slacks. I remember because it was Mama Mary’s birthday, so on my very first day I remember being out of place because instead of blue, I was wearing green. I didn’t have first period because it was used for the prayer service for the grade school. After that prayer service I don’t really remember much.

What I DO remember is making a whole ton and a half (and more!) mistakes not just in my first year of teaching but also in the years that follow. Until now, I admit I still make mistakes. Proof would be in my yearly performance appraisal. There’s always room for improvement.

September 8 2014, the date that marked the tenth year anniversary of my teaching life came and passed with nary a thought in my head. It was only now when I was recalling a conversation I had with a few students this past week that I remembered I’ve been teaching ten full years. The realization was both amazing and, well, challenging.

I was amazed that I could dedicate ten years of my life to one passion. Yes, teaching IS a passion. I’ve never been able to fully see myself in any other job. I’ve seen myself as a secretary, as an executive, as a clerk, as a writer, as a researcher, as a newscaster, but none of them stuck. Only the image of me as a teacher has remained. If–heaven forbid–I find myself suddenly separated from my current school, I believe I’d still look for teaching jobs or anything that puts me in a position of teaching, like maybe a trainer for a call center like my former roommate.

The challenge I give myself requires a bit of backstory for you to understand fully.

My mind works in images. Everything I’ve been able to do, I’ve been able to see in my head. I distinctly remember thinking in grade 3 (I kid you not) that my goal would be to graduate grade school with honors. I did it. I saw myself as a CAT officer in high school, and I became one. I saw myself growing to 5’1″ to reach the CAT officer physical requirements and I did it (well, whatever). I saw myself graduating with honors in high school, and I did it (although it wasn’t as high as I wanted it to be). I saw myself getting into my dream school, Ateneo, and I did it. I saw myself winning that Japanese speech contest my roommate’s org sponsored, and I did it. I saw myself going on dates, and I did it. I saw myself as a teacher, and I became one.

My mind has always been able to show me in images the next stage of my life. The problem now is that my mind keeps drawing a blank. I seem to have reached a dead end. Am I stuck forever as a teacher?

There is nothing wrong with being a teacher, I know, because it is a truly noble profession, but I can’t accept that there is no next stage for me. Sure, I’ve made changes in my career such as making the move to a new campus and teaching grade 2 for one year after teaching grade 6 for the longest time, and then teaching high school and then… I don’t know. These don’t seem ENOUGH.

I’ve taken graduate degree units for education so that I could apply for a teaching license. I shifted to a literature course after passing the licensure exam for teachers, but I never got to finish it. This, then, provides me with my challenge: to finish my graduate degree.

Ten years of working as a teacher. Ten years of passing on knowledge and skills. Ten years of trying to help kids become persons for others.

I think it’s time I start receiving knowledge and skills again. In a formal academic setting as a student and not through peer discussions, mind you.

Apprehension and excitement fill me, but if I’m ever going to meet my own challenge, I’m going to need tons of determination and zero laziness. (Yun yun e.)