Friday, May 2, 2014

Today you turn 26

Today you turn 26.

And it reminds me, oddly, of me turning 22, when we spent the entire night whiling away in the city. Walking in its abandoned midnight streets, having conversations in jilted parking lots before finally settling down in a dim-lit Starbucks in some derelict gas station, talking about nothing and everything at the same time. In the morning, we charged into a supermarket screaming through rows of canned goods, instant noodles and whatnot, our bodies running on energy drinks. And you drove me home with your windows down, in the heat of afternoon traffic. We listened to the soundtrack of our youth – the emo lot, while I slapped and pinched you to keep you from sleeping, and killing us both.

You are my city. The side of me that’s wild and bright. And no matter how many times I’ve gone exploring your streets, I seem to always get lost in you. For you are vast, and winding, and busy, and infinite. Never mind that I watched you shrink into a dot the last time I saw you, when I jumped into a plane and left. You have always been and will always be too big for me, I could never keep you within our apartment, nor tucked safely in my pocket. You are too big, and you are meant for things that are greater, you just don’t know it yet.

Today you turn 26.

8000 miles away, its feels just as good (or bad) as turning thirty. For I am not there – the side of you that’s calm and resigned.  The brick that keeps you grounded, when you seem too light, you float away. (The Debbie Downer to your Pollyana, I’m afraid to say). So different, you and I. But it never really mattered. No matter how poles apart our days go, I remember that at an ungodly hour by the hallway across the apartment that brought us together, we would always come home to each other. 

(You know exactly how bad I am with ending these stupid things, so let me just say Happy birthday you free spirit, you. I love you so much. Hopefully, next time you turn a year older, I'll be home to stay through your inevitable hangover, or you through mine.)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Chapter 24

More accurately, I was going to be someone at 16.

Yes, I feel a full-body-shiver looking back at how optimistic I was at 15.

But again, I am done weeping over the fact that at 24, I am at a low-paying office job, in a field I swear I never once imagined myself in. IN-SU-RANCE. Or, that my peak seems to have started and ended during my last year in university. A good three years since, and I haven’t published anything. Or that my love life will forever be followed by the pun, lack thereof; therefore causing both great concern and happiness to my brothers and parents (respectively). Yes, I am okay with all of these. And yes, not a tear was shed while delivering this long list of what makes me a failure.

I wonder whether this declaration of acceptance makes me mature, or a loser. But for the sake of uplifting my ego on this day that I turn a year older, let’s just call it maturity. Please.

Yes, there is a long list of things I should’ve already done but haven’t, and I’m not an inch closer to being the person I wanted to be at 24, BUT there are other things that I’ve accomplished that I never thought I could. I feel like I have matured so much in the last year, that I caught up with all those years that I’ve turned a year older and none the wiser. I haven’t traveled, haven’t written anything, haven’t gone out and seen the world just yet. Instead, I have had my heart broken, worked at an assembly line for a car factory (first day of which I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and I went home everyday smelling like burnt metal and exhausted to the core), moved jobs, met new friends, learned to drive, worked as a stock person getting cuts from handling boxes and muscles from lifting, bought a car, took care of my parents. This big big world that life put me into when it decided to take me away from the Philippines, no matter how many times I reject it, actually provided me all the space I needed to grow.

Today, I saw a real Chagall. My parents took me to AGO to see the The Great Upheaval collection, and I saw things that are far greater than me. I felt small, and overwhelmed and awed and inexplicably happy. I never ever thought that I would see a real Picasso, or Matisse, or Modigliani. And there they were, making me feel things I would never be able to explain. So I wouldn’t even bother. Except maybe to say: here’s one that wasn’t on the list.

And there will be many more to come. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

hashtag yolo

I have not written anything in a while, with the exception of last week’s obligatory year-end entry and a lot of work-related e-mails which although are very straightforward still puts me so ill at ease. I always vow to write some more, but I never do (mentally adding that to the absurdly long list of my self-disappointments) (and then reminding myself that I very recently declared that I am without regrets). I have stayed true to this mantra (no regrets) thus far, and would make all sorts of silly attempts to maintain it this coming year. I ascertained that making a new years resolution and sticking to it will help carry said mantra on to 2014. Except I’m bad with resolutions. I’m bad with goals, and plans, and commitments or anything that slightly ensures success, for that matter. 

However, a long list is typing urgently in my head in the form of a migraine. Pounding, tick tock tick tock, reminding me that today, of all days, is a good day to make a promise.

To be better.
To be brave/r.
To live louder.
To write more.
To get published.
To start playing the piano again.
To journey in the direction of my fear.

To do the things I have been itching to do for so long, but couldn't find the courage, or the time to do so. But I reminded myself that I have not written anything in a while, but that I just wrote an entry again today (although in haste and while thinking: just get this over with), taking baby steps into wherever it is that I have to go. So this year, I aim for something small. Something within the realms of possibility.

I simply vow to read more poetry.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Here we are, almost at year’s end, generally accepted as an occasion for a timely introspection, and words evade me.

This year without a doubt, as all my previous years, is laden with countless woes. I am sure even before the year actually ends, that this year, mistakes pile up with things I should’ve done but never did. But surprisingly, I am sort of okay with it. Perhaps I now have gone beyond regretting my mistakes, regretting the chances I let slip because I was too lazy to get up from bed, or because my eyes were rendered too woozy by weeping that I could not see. I am done regretting not having lived because I was busy looking behind. Because if there is one thing about turning the page and entering into the new year, it’s that the past year, has passed (more accurately: is yet to pass). I have no regrets, as I say this I find a voice inside me that is not mine. And to this voice I say, hello.

Hello 2014, nice to meet you.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fall is Coming

Fall 2013 Must Haves

Fall 2013 Must Haves by tisuh featuring a leather jacket

It's almost my one-year anniversary here in la-la land (a month away, to be exact). Which means, among other things, that it's almost fall. So many things have changed since. But not among them, is my tendency to succumb to frivolous spending. It doesn't help that I finally have a full time job. Cue applause. It is now almost impossible for a week to end without a new purchase. Now, to keep me from doing some unnecessary shopping, I listed down the things I want/need for Fall 2013. Here goes:

  1. Eleanor and Park - I know I swore off YAs after this year's first few months, but I want to get Eleanor and Park anyway. Because (1) a good friend of mine whose literary taste I absolutely trust can't stop raving about it (ahem, KJ), and because (2) John Green absolutely sold me Eleanor and Park here.  Update: Bought and read. Deserves an entire post.
  2. Urban Decay Naked 2 - If you know me, then you very well know that I wouldn't get off my big ass to do something about my face. And if there's anything I suck at big time, it's putting eye shadows. But I'm reeaaally trying this time. And I've read a lot of good Naked 2 reviews.
  3. Michael Kors Bedford - The bad thing about working for Michael Kors is that you most likely will spend your entire paycheck on Michael Kors. But I promised myself that I wouldn't go savage on MK merchandise, and practice a vital human trait: some self control. So far, I've only gotten myself a watch. And in a week or two - this pretty Bedford in black. Yay. Update: Bought, and used daily. 
  4. Leather Jacket - I have a serious BLJ problem, I know. But I need a decent black leather/moto jacket as my others seem to be a little too worn out.
  5. Sweaters - One of the things I love most about Fall is that I get to cozy up in a nice sweater, preferably cashmere. I have a few oversized sweaters in my closet but I could definitely use some more. One does not simply have a few sweaters. 
  6. Ankle booties - I just can't have enough booties. Looking for the perfect camel ones. 
  7. Nude Scarf - I'm pretty bad at wearing my scarves nicely. This from someone who used to wear scarves in sunny Philippines. But I think the perfect nude scarf would go well with just about anything. 
  8. Anorak - Just because. One of my workmates has one from Zara, with leather sleeves! It's a beaut. But she got it from Belgium, 1 or 2 autumns ago, so the possibility of finding one here is well, just about zilch. I want one anyway. Update: Got a Talulah anorak which I love, and wear everywhere no matter the weather.
  9. Marc Jacobs watch - I am reserving my gold watch for a Marc by Marc Jacobs watch, that's why I got a rose gold one from Michael Kors. This in particular, with the pretty pink face. But MK will release Blake this fall too, if they haven't already released it. This one has the same simple style, but has a blue face instead. I'm a little torn between the two.
  10. Graphic tees - I know, I know. It's weird to be wanting tees and muscle tanks for fall, especially when I don't look good on them. But they would totally look nice with an anorak. Hee 
Now, if I can only remember to stick to this list, not to stray into stores I'm not supposed to be in, and not to burn my credit cards from friction. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

On Kundera

I remember, quite vividly, a freshman version of myself scanning the aisles of National Bookstore in search of Ignorance. It was a required reading for one of my favorite (albeit most dreaded) class in university, Humanities 1. I remember it was around P600 that time, an amount that was outrageously expensive for my 16yo self. Also, I haven't gotten over my judging-a-book-by-its-cover phase then and the bizarre potato on the cover was kind of a turn off. Needless to say, my first Kundera was a 100-paged photocopy. But read and re-read, filled with both nonsensical and profound comments, underlines, double underlines, and highlights in neon yellow, pink and blue. Truth be told, I don't think I completely understood it, but nonetheless, my love affair with Kundera began that first semester of my freshman year.

I chanced upon a copy of his Unbearable Lightness of Being on sale soon after that semester. It became    not only one of my most read novels, but also the most discussed. Gel and I would discuss it over coffee at Faustina's for hours, at least once a week during our last year in university. It is the only book I have which I wrote on, telling myself I'd buy another one for reading, that this one is strictly for discussions. I lent it to Laurence a few months before the end of college, and on our graduation, he returned it to me with his graduation picture tucked inside like a bookmark. My mom, not wanting to put it in her bag fearing she would ruin it, ironically lost it that day. Kuya Rammil and I spent a good hour looking for it all over the graduation grounds and the parking lot. I have never in my life been so devastated to lose a book. Given that I could easily get a new one. It's because that old, tattered copy had so much history.

One of the saddest things about leaving home is leaving the books I've collected through the years. All of which has their own story and history. And I plan to give my new books here the same value. My first book here in Canada is the graphic novel, Asterios Polyp. Straight from the UK, but given to me as a birthday gift by my friends from the Philippines, KJ and Denise. I was also given a copy of Craig Thompson's Blankets for my birthday. A week ago, I decided to use a gift card for Indigo (a gift card I also received for the said birthday) and buy myself a book. I am quite the sentimental. So much so in fact that it took me three visits to Indigo before finally purchasing Ignorance - that beauty of a novel that introduced me to Kundera, and what I was once too young to get myself. Just because I wanted to make sure that my first ever book purchased here has a meaning.

I re-read it yesterday, and do not think I could have made a better choice. I couldn't have chosen a better first novel here, so faraway from home, than that that speaks of nostalgia and great returns.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Notorious for never learning from my mistakes (or for being far too forgiving, often to a fault), I went ahead and made a reading goal/challenge again this year. If you follow me on Goodreads, you'll find that I've once again overestimated myself. As if it isn't enough that I plan on reading *secret* number of books this year, I also want to make sure half of which are notable ones - with awards and all those pretentious shits. Cause if not, my YAs pile up and as of late, I've already been having YA dreams - egging houses and falling head over heels in love. Crap. Also, I promised I'd read God of Small Things once every year. Because it's amazing, that's why. And that I'd re-read Catcher in The Rye again, because I quite frankly did not enjoy it the first time. Being that I was a suburban girl then, with silly if not shallow plights in life, and teen angst was a foreign distant idea. I figured I might get it better now. Or I could at least try. I hate it when I don't like something everyone else likes, it's like I'm not in on an inside joke. I'm poseur that way.  

Update: I've read 10 books so far. Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies is by far my favorite. Followed by Eugenides' Marriage Plot and McCarthy's The Road. And, I'm currently reading: The Catcher in The Rye hooooray.

In other news, I'm so bad at blogging I'm considering shutting this one off ( as well as the rest of my other blogs), but for now, I'm going to try and blog more often on my tumblr account. Click me, dali.

Monday, December 31, 2012

obligatory year-end shiz

Okay, so a few hours before I welcome 2013, here's a quick review of the year 2012: it. was. awful.

And like all things awful, it started quite well. I was doing flea hops in January, smitten more with the idea than the actual fact of a literary lover from across the universe (who I am now convinced is nothing but a figment of my imagination). I went to HongKong with my friends on February. Best out of the country to date. Danced to Pains of Being Pure at Heart live in Manila on the last day of February, entering into March 1st, the day I turned 22. Went to see two of my favorite bands of all time live - Dashboard Confessional and Death Cab for Cutie. Both March and on the same week! My brother and his family went home from Canada, April. Went to Boracay with my best friends, May.

And then everything went downhill from that first half of the year. Sulked my way into moving continents and left my second name, friends and family in the only place I will ever call home. Was uprooted to cold Milton, thankfully with my parents, my eldest brother and his family but still felt strangely alone. Transformed my already bitter disposition to a darker shade of glum.

Now despite tearing up on New Year messages from friends back home, I'm looking forward to 2013, to taking control of my life and emotions and to looking at things from a slightly better angle. One which isn't as distorted as the angle in which I've seen the past year.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

my year in books

This isn't an obligatory year-end post, I suck at those (as with most things) and would probably never do them ever. Or you know, would probably just do it later. If I feel like it, which I probably won't. Anyway, this is my 2012 in books. Voila. How exciting.

Ever year, I overestimate my reading capacity. And why wouldn't I think I can do impossible goals when I always start the year right? In 2011, for example, I read 5 books in January alone, but finished my 11th book on December. What the hell, I know. This didn't stop me from aiming for 30 books this year. I knooow, I kinda suck at this learning-from-your-mistake shit. Anyway, here's a quick rundown of this year's list:

  1. Swift As Desire (Laura Esquivel)
  2. A Long Way Down (Nick Hornby)
  3. Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)
  4. Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close (Jonathan Safran Foer)
  5. Life Of Pi (Yann Martel)
  6. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  7. Perks Of Being A Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
  8. Chronicle Of A Death Foretold (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  9. Looking for Alaska (John Green)
  10. A Visit from The Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan)
  11. Her Fearful Symmetry (Audrey Niffeneger)
  12. Book of Tomorrow (Cecelia Ahern)
  13. Tender is the Night (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  14. Papertowns (John Green)
  15. Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk) 
Graphic Novels
  1. Wolverine: Old Man Logan (Mark Millar)
  2. Paul Moves Out (Michel Rabagliati)
  3. Y: The Last Man Deluxe Book One (Brian Vaughan & Pia Guerra)
Short Stories
[not including the many bedtime stories I've read (and re-read) to my niece and nephews]
1.     A Perfect Day for Bananafish (JD Salinger)
2.     Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut (JD Salinger)
3.     Just Before the War with the Eskimos (JD Salinger)
4.     The Laughing Man (JD Salinger)
5.     Down at the Dinghy (JD Salinger)
6.     For Esmé – with Love and Squalor (JD Salinger)
7.     Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes (JD Salinger)
8.     De Daumier-Smith's Blue Period (JD Salinger)
9.     Teddy (JD Salinger)
10.  A Sound of Thunder (Ray Bradbury)
11.  A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
12.  The Looking Glass (Anton Chekhov)
13.  The Nightingale and the Rose (Oscar Wilde)
14.  Man from the South (Roald Dahl)
15.  A Good Man is Hard to Find (Flannery O’Connor)
16.  The Second Bakery Attack (Haruki Murakami)
17.  The Use of Force (William Carlos Williams)
18.  The Rockinghorse Winner (D.H. Lawrence)
19.  The Yellow Wallpaper (Charlotte Perkins Gilman)
20.  The Nose (Nikolai Gogol)
21.  Gooseberries (Anton Chekhov)
22.  About Love (Anton Chekhov)
23.  A Lady’s Story (Anton Chekhov)

Sooo, yeah. I didn't quite hit the target. But I did try to finish the 20 best short stories of all time, and I read through the yellowed pages of Ehm's copy of Nine Stories (retitled:  For Esmé – with Love and Squalor). And believe it or not, I did try to read meaningful texts, such as Kafka's The Castle, Euginides' Middlesex, even some dissertations but alas, I ended up having Cecelia Ahern's Book of Tomorrow in the list instead of those. DO NOT JUDGE. I was in a very dark place. Hah. I've no excuse, I've completely lost appetite for long, complex reads since the move. I've made up for it in the surprising turnout of short stories in my list, but I'm kind of disappointed. Next year, I'll try to cutdown on the YA (which began with reading Perks, really), and try to go back to reading substantial texts, maybe a few classics, maybe a nonfiction, definitely a Murakami. But seeing as I won't be going to the library any time soon, I might delve into Nathan's shelf and finish his Roald Dahl collection. Just until I get myself a new book. 'til then, I'll be thinking whether I should actually set a goal this year.   

Friday, December 21, 2012

Did I Die?

I don't know who started it. They called it Tissafied, and even got my name wrong. For the nth time, single s, single s. The devil is in the details, but I don't think it was a most devilish detail, enough to make this gesture anything less than what it was: the sweetest farewell present.

It's been three months since, and I've already forgotten who else did it, or if anybody else did. What I do remember was feeling extra loved, and finding it harder to say goodbye.