> Taking The Wheel

When I was younger, I used to be obsessed over every detail of my life: our home, my clothes, my friends, the people I go out with. I always feel this burning need to stay in control of any given situation. Even the slightest imperfection set me off. Sad to admit but I was onced tagged as “pulaero”, “perfectionist”, “laitero”…

It’s not uncommon to use control as a means of protection. After all, if we stay in the driver’s seat, we can avoid any unforeseen dips and sharp curves—things that are quite unnerving to the compulsive. Yet, not all accidents—despite our best efforts to avoid them—can be prevented.

Perfectionism can bring personal comfort, but it’s a loose guard at best. Often the situation we’re trying to manage—lets say, getting to know a person—ends up managing us, easily spiraling into the hurt, disappointment and rejection that we were trying to avoid in the first place.

It’s difficult to maintain unwavering control without pushing someone away. Being a dating perfectionist is also contrary to building a great relationship, which is about creating a safe space where both you and he can be your unabashed selves.

Meet the old me. I used to be conservative in my appearance and demeanor, and was extremely rigid when it comes to dating. I’ve never had much luck when it comes to relationships. I pushed them away with insistence on knowing where they stand. The unknown has always been uncomfortable to me, so I prefer to place all of my cards on the table at once. That way I always know what to expect [or so I thought]. But once my hand is out in the open, the game—the best part about getting to know someone—ends.

Now, I’ve changed a lot. I don’t want to say I’m not making stupid comments anymore or don’t criticize anyone anymore but I know I’m better. My view of getting into a realtionship pretty much stayed the same but I’m really proud with the principles I hold when it comes to dealing with men. The society dictates what should be the norm and what is righteous. It’s sad but it’s true, I still conform to that. I still do my best to live up to what is expected of me. It’s a harsh reality I know. Most of the time these realities kept me from enjoying life or giving myself the happiness but I guess that is a part of how I was created. I just hope there wouldn’t be someone who would call me “kaibigang bakla” or “baklang kalbo” [delivered with pure malice and ridicule] anymore. I just hope people would consider thinking twice first before they think ill of me.

I’m trying to be nice and I’d like to continue getting better each day.

> Losing Friends And Embracing It

Life has been unpleasant for the last few months. Like a pregnant woman with unpredictable hormone rages, I have been acting quite strange. My emotions gone extreme and paranoia hit me badly. I came to the point where I couldn’t really trust people anymore. I shouldn’t really be affected but the fact that I’ve lost some friends whom I really loved hurt me big time. We have all lost friends at one point or another, and even though a friendship is different than a relationship we may have with our significant other, losing a friend can affect us very deeply. Friends are the ones we turn to when life throws us hardships, when we need someone to lean on, when we need a second opinion or a new perspective. How do we heal when this important part of our life no longer exists?

Every situation is different, but the fundamental principal remains the same throughout – it hurts when we lose someone close to us. The question is, when you feel like you’re losing a friend, what are you willing to do to keep the friendship alive? What steps are you willing to take to keep this person in your life? Sometimes we reach a point where, unfortunately, the amount of effort we are putting into keeping the friendship is not only greater than the effort the other is contributing, but also greater than what we ourselves are able to commit. So where do we draw the line, and when the time comes to end the friendship, how do we end it peacefully, without regret or inflicting further pain on the other or on ourselves?

I believe that most people aim for peace in every unpleasant situation. We want to keep things pleasant, especially when we are dealing with someone we care about. This can be difficult, especially if we are involved in a friendship that is simply no longer working, because of conflict, difference of opinion, lifestyle changes, or any other reason. Regardless of the circumstances, it is important for you to determine your boundaries within the friendship before you determine a course of action. Setting boundaries will help you determine how to handle the situation peacefully, and to the best of your ability.

If you decide that a friendship is no longer healthy for you, how do you go about either resolving the conflict, or disconnecting yourself from it? Again, there are many different paths you can take, and depending on the nature of the dispute, some may be better suited than others. For example, if despite your frustration you still have a pleasant friendship, you may be able to talk to them openly, explain how the friendship is affecting you, and either offer a solution, or end the relationship peacefully. If, on the other hand, they are being hostile, or causing your life distress, you may be forced to end the friendship immediately, without notice, and without attempting to resolve the issue at hand.

Either way, regardless of the situation or the final result, there is inevitably a healing process that follows the loss of a friend. The closer you are to your friend, the more difficult this process will probably be. There is nothing wrong with taking time to mourn if this will help you overcome the loss. So if it’s pain you feel for the loss of a friend, allow yourself to feel it.

It may seem silly, mourning over the loss of a friend, but it’s not. The emotions you feel are very real. You can’t expect them to go away over night, and in some cases, especially if a great amount of hurt is involved, the feelings may never go away completely. Sometimes time can heal these wounds, but since we are cumulative beings affected by the actions and experiences of our lives, we may walk away from the situation forever affected by it, left only to learn from what has transpired, and forced to tread more carefully in the future.

Sometimes time does not heal wounds that run deep, and we have no choice but to remember the fond times of our friendship, and hopefully not become bogged down by the finality of it. Either way we must move on and cherish the friends that we have at the moment, because we never know how life will affect these friendships in the future. Just remember that just because a friend leaves your life, it doesn’t mean that all is lost. The knowledge and understanding that you gain through the experience, however painful, is what will carry you through the next phase of your life. That alone can make the journey worthwhile.

Yeah, I have lost some friends but for whatever it’s worth, I can still say I really loved them.

> My Tita Cory

I just read Rehabman’s entry about not wishing to write about Cory and what made him change his mind. I am a fan and will always be a son to the type of Mother Cory represents. I wish to write more and pay my own respect through words but is scared I may not have sufficient talent to and vocabulary to share how I look up to her. So now I’m quoting this from NY Times.

“The uprising she led in 1986 ended the repressive 20-year regime of Ferdinand Marcos and inspired nonviolent protests across the globe, including those that ended Communist rule in eastern Europe.

But she struggled in office to meet high public expectations. Her land redistribution program fell short of ending economic domination by the landed elite, including her own family. Her leadership, especially in social and economic reform, was often indecisive, leaving many of her closest allies disillusioned by the end of her term.

Still, the bespectacled, smiling woman in her trademark yellow dress remained beloved in the Philippines, where she was affectionately referred to as ”Tita (Auntie) Cory.”

> Hitch Or Ditch?

I have been all too careful about getting into a relationship the past years. That being said, I now find myself being slaved by the paranoia and the curse of being hooked up with finding that Mr. Right. My friends would usually tease me to get hitched or I’ll be left alone by time but the thought didn’t even bother me at all. Until the other night.

Funny as it may seem but I almost fell again for a shitty guy. With all the works, the romance and the nice conversations, I found out [or at least highly suspected based from what I saw] that he already got a partner. I immediately ditched the thought of a possibility or future with him, been saddened a little bit then laughed with a pain in my heart. Now I’m moving on again. Almsie and Kelly will always be there to anyway [thank you guys!] Whew! I can’t just imagine all the heartbreaks I almost had myself into. Damn! I’ll be dead jealous and suspicious of him before I know it. That’s one thing I don’t really wished myself to be engaged into. Jealousy. Grrrr…

It’s normal to feel jealous in some situations—but what if it’s all of them? When does it cross the line? I can tell you when jealousy is appropriate, when jealousy is inappropriate and when it’s just plain extreme. Plus, I have my foolproof step plan for taming the green-eyed monster in all of us.

Where It Comes From?

Trust: It’s quite possibly the most essential ingredient in a good relationship. You can have matching libidos. You can have the same goals, dreams and desires. You can both enjoy wearing space suits during sex! But without trust, it all means nothing. For some people, trust comes easily. They work on the assumption that someone will be faithful until they’re proven wrong. If this is you, count yourself as one of the lucky ones. Sure, you might get a nasty surprise now and again, but at least you’re giving relationships the best chance they’ve got to succeed. Giving someone your trust means putting your heart in their hands for safe keeping. It’s a precious present and it takes guts to do it.

Then there are the rest of us: the battle-scarred. If you’ve been hurt before, or if you grew up with parents who cheated, trusting your partner can seem as foolish as standing in the middle of a four-lane highway and expecting not to get hit by a car. Others hover somewhere in the middle. But how do you determine what’s a “healthy” level of jealousy and what’s getting way out of control?

Everyone gets jealous occasionally. If you love your partner and you feel someone is threatening to take them from you by flirting, it’s normal to feel a possessive pang of jealousy… one that’s usually sorted out in a second with a bit of reassurance. Other times it’s just that you’ve chosen the wrong person. Match a “normal” person up with someone who presses all the wrong buttons and just watch all that “normalcy” go right out the window as he or she become outrageously, irrationally jealous. Sometimes jealousy is warranted. If your partner has a history of playing around or if he’s done something to justify your mistrust—cheated on you or has a history of cheating—you’re wise to keep your eyes open.

> Kain Tayo!

Burp! I’m full! I have large Fiesta Bowl and Root Beer in front of me and I just ate Hotshots and French Fries. What a very good start for a tiring day.

I was about to order Pasta Alfredo earlier when the corn of the Fiesta Bowl caught my fancy. I missed the times when we [with my siblings] would usually eat sweet corn every afternoon on a summer season. Those were the times when we would hide from our Mama what we were eating.

I have a very weak set of digestive system. Street food was officially off-limits to me as a kid. I can still remember my Mama putting “bigkis” [binder] around my stomach because I can easily get LBM from eating oily, salty and even creamy foods. Between typhoid, cholera and intestinal parasites [just some of the supposed evils associated with street food at the time and, perhaps, still today], I was not allowed to buy anything from a street vendor, not even dirty ice cream. I can actually recall that the vast majority of street food offered when I was a kid was not hot, fried [or grilled] and oily. There were several barbeque, fish ball and other ambulant vendors, but I remember mostly the fruit and snack vendors – street food was predominantly snack food back then. Outside Baste [our school] are vendors who would always be persuasive to kids like us. Without a doubt, my favorite street food is a crunchy sour green mango, sold with bagoong or shrimp paste. Despite the ban on anything streetside, I used to occasionally buy some green mango. I never did get sick but the dire warnings of the plague usually meant I enjoyed this snack at home in more hygienic conditions. The sourness of the mango and the jolting saltiness of the bagoong are a match made in heaven. I also liked the sweeter and less acidic indian mangoes with salt…

Corn was also a popular street food option as well. Sold from carts that also ply busy intersections, hot boiled or steamed corn was, and still is, a favorite. While on self-packaged fruits that are then steamed to kill all the cooties, how about steamed or boiled peanuts that are also sold streetside? Yum. Even better are their greasy version – fried peanuts with lots of garlic. Finally, my all time favorite cooked fruit is saba bananas and as street food they were sold as turon, banana-que or maruya… I thinks it’s Ron’s [our trainer] favorite also. You would even hear him saying these lines ala Mahal…

Saging na Saba, Masarap Kainin

Saging na Senorita, Itapon na natin? [tama ba Ron?]

 The smell that comes from a boiling vat of fat with caramelizing sugar is burned into my memory banks forever… blindfolded, I would know if you walked me past a banana-que vendor!

Nowadays, these ambulant vendors can be seen almost everywhere. Even from corporate areas like Ortigas. Everything you want from dimsuns, sisigs, crepes and my new favorite – Hongkong Style Noodles will be there to put your senses in frenzy. Friday nights will never be the same without our Banchetto. And yeah the UP isaws – di rin papatalo.

> Friendship Rules

While I was still in the hype of blogging, I wrote about the “ground rules of friendship”. I wanted to write more but there wasn’t much room or time, so I think this will be the excellent place and time to continue. I’ll try to resume writing again.

There were a lot of ideas floating in my mind about friendships. I mean, each person approaches friendship in a different way. There are people we call “acquaintances”, and then there are people we call “friends”, and there are the select few who are confidants and are our “best friends”. What defines your friendship? What are the ground rules of your friendships? Or should there be any rule at all?

I’d like to write about this because my friendship with a group of people made a sudden turn few months back. I guess I was still in the denial that I chose not to write about it.

Human relationships can never be dictated or limited by a set of rules. No relationship is an imitation of the other and no fixed law can claim to envelope all the aspects of even one relationship. However, there are principles that we follow to make a friendship flourish. What are your principles?

> He’s Cheating On My Sister

Just last week, Almsie, Kelly, Rach and I were having lunch at the pantry. And of course the regular update on how my life is going and how it is living with my sisters and their partners are improving [if I may say so] have been the topic again. My sister caught her husband texting another girl in the middle of the night and of course resulted to a fight. Just before I came to work earlier, we heard the couple fighting again and my sister was crying. My sister found out her husband has been cheating again and to cut a long story short they decided to make a go of things – much to myself and my other sister’s annoyance [although we kept our mouths shut and supported her decision]. What if he do it again? Do we have to meddle? My sister and her husband have been living together for only a short time. She’s pregnant now and it just makes me sick what he is putting her though. I want to do something, but I feel I have to keep out of things. My sister just doesn’t confide to me, and I want to be there for her but I don’t know how? Ahhh, cheaters!