Saturday, March 30, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bouncing back

I never really thought much about pillows till I saw those amazing ones at a dainty bed and breakfast. Seconds after I lifted my head from the one on my bed, I watched as the part where my head lay the entire night slowly rose, bringing the pillow back to its original fluffy shape. I had never seen anything like it, and I later learned that the owner of the place was a collector of sorts -- explaining the exquisite pieces of furniture and the impeccable bed linen all over.

Now wouldn't it be wonderful if the human heart were just like that pillow, going back to its original shape a few moments after every time it got dented out of shape? Bouncing back quickly after being broken in some way to its pre-hurt condition?

Someone I know got her feelings hurt recently by one of her friends, and she still can't bring herself to forgive. She knows that forgiving is going to set her free from that pain, but she also learns from the past. Several times she had too swiftly -- but to me a bit unnaturally -- hurdled heartbreak (heartbreak in general, that which involves different kinds of relationships), moving on quickly because she thought it was the mature thing to do. It was an attempt at outright detachment, but how do you process pain if you disengage right away and throw it out without a thought?

I think this time she knows better than to deal with hurt in the same way again. No more rushing to "forgive and forget" when she has hardly contemplated on "what does not kill you makes you stronger" or "you can't flash the peace sign with a clenched fist" (I made up that second one).

Then, she heard the following lines from a movie, words told by a dad to his teenage daughter who is grappling with the sudden death of a friend and at the same time holding a grudge against her older sister, who is also grieving the death:

"You got a right to grieve, you got a right  to be hurt. But if you get so wrapped up in your own pain that you can't see anyone else's, you might just as well dig yourself a hole and pull the dirt in on top of you because you're never going to be much use to yourself, or anyone else."

Well, we all get wrapped up in our disappointments and pains, don't we? And it's a pity when it makes us blind -- or callous -- to the struggles of other people. I'd say that around this time -- these days of the year -- would be a good time for anyone to look around so as not to miss out on just what others are going through or have offered or have put up with. For even if one felt like



one man willingly went through the same thing, plus mockery, betrayal, public ridicule and much, much more.

Friday, March 15, 2013

You learn something new everyday...

A couple of days ago, I realized that I had been breaking the law for some time already without my knowing it.

As I was on the road on my way to work, a friend gave me a call. It was about some things pertaining to election matters and those were pretty important, so we continued talking as I made my way through Espana and approached the area of Quiapo church. Traffic was so-so, neither bumper-to-bumper nor free-flowing enough to enable motorists to zoom on the road without occasionally hitting the brakes.

As I passed the church, one of the yellow-clad traffic enforcers a few meters ahead seemed to look my way and pointed at me. When the vehicle was within arm's length of the traffic enforcer, he gave the windshield a strong tap and flashed an exasperated expression. I quietly wondered what it was about while still conversing with my friend on the phone. My car is not coded today, so what could that have been about, I silently asked myself.

"Bawal ba makipag-usap sa cellphone habang nag-da-drive?" I asked my friend.

"Oo," he replied.

"Bawal? May law ba?" I countered, stunned by my ignorance.

"Oo, Buhay nag-initiate niyan!" he blurted out, chuckling, obviously amused by my ignorance of the law.

Was I flabbergasted. I knew there was some guideline or maybe a small ordinance or some equally insignificant (legally speaking) thing about refraining from using one's mobile phone while driving, but I was unaware that there was actually a law prohibiting the use of the mobile phone while driving. While part of me had an inkling as to the possible dangers one was exposed to in simultaneously driving and having a conversation on the phone, I in fact thought I was being responsible by refraining from texting while driving.

And I thought I was a responsible citizen *sheepish feeling here*

While I'm grateful for lawmakers having that kind of concern for the lives of the country's citizens (I'm told the same party list formulated and had the law on motorcycle-riders having to wear helmets passed as well), realizing my "you learn something new everyday" discovery led to some momentary contemplation about the assumption that one knows when he really doesn't. It reminded me of the oft-used line "Malinis ang konsensiya ko" or "I will decide based on my own conscience." Malinis nga ang konsensiya mo, pero formed naman ba ito? O deformed? O kaya ill-formed? Misinformed? One's conscience can be a reliable guide for one's judgment and choices if it is formed well -- and based on the truth and not someone's version of the truth. A version that can change according to one's whims or circumstances. I was confident that I was being responsible and could even declare that I was a responsible citizen... but it turns out the knowledge on which my actions were based was sorely deficient.

I'm just thankful that traffic that day wasn't so bad that crawling at snail's pace would've surely enabled the traffic enforcer to apprehend me! Well, what do you know? The very next day, I caught myself making a call again while I was on the wheel! I realized it after I had ended the conversation, and told myself that some things can really be hard habits to break. But it can be done. And since then I have been more vigilant about it, resolute in doing the lawful (and sensible) thing.

I wonder what other laws I've been unwittingly violating...

*Artwork from Creative Loafing Charlotte

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Macho men

I just spent the past couple of hours listening to my rock playlist, and when I had had enough of that, I switched to my all-female playlist, among which were several songs by The Go-Go's, an '80s band whose brand of rock and roll I enjoy, partly due to its being "uncomplicated" (for lack of a better term). Add to that the absence of anger and too much angst which characterize much of today's music, including songs by female artists.

Turn to You was among the songs on my playlist and one that I had always liked for its rhythm, upbeat tempo, melody, and of course Belinda Carlisle's vocal style. In other words, it was all about the music. But tonight I absently gazed at the lyrics on the screen as the song played and realized that they're kind of interesting. I had never paid attention to what the song was actually about. The beginning caught my attention:

You act so tough
But I know what you're doing
You think falling in love
Means falling to ruin
You build your walls so high
You act your life out all alone
You don't want to let me see
That your heart's not made out of stone

Talk about keeping up a "macho" facade. Well, I do like a man who can be relied on to be the rock even as everything around him collapses (figuratively speaking), but then maintaining a heartless demeanor isn't that attractive.

Before I launch into a whole discourse on the wonderful differences between the natural qualities of men and women, what I think of masculinity in today's world, the idea of men's being "in touch with their feminine side" and other such concepts, I just want to say what prompted this post in the first place: how amazing it is to be able to appreciate things when one takes a deeper look into them, even if it's only a rock and roll song from decades ago.

Here are the lyrics of the entire song, followed by a video of the group performing it in a TV show from the same decade. Real vintage stuff from the era characterized by big hair and big shoulder pads. I was going to post a video that showed only the album cover concerned ("Talk Show"), then I stumbled on the video that shows the band performing, though it doesn't have the same energy as a live performance since the music is exactly as it is on the album (in other words, it's lipsynching and strumming along to the music that's happening here). Still, it's fun to watch them on stage, particularly Belinda Carlisle who always looks like she's really having fun.

Okay so here goes...

Turn To You

You act so tough
But I know what you're doing
You think falling in love
Means falling to ruin
You build your walls so high
You act your life out all alone
You don't want to let me see
That your heart's not made out of stone

There may be some explanation
Why you feel the way you do
The world makes its rotations
But I just want to turn to you
Come on let me turn to you
Please let me turn to you
Why not let me turn to you
Just want to turn to you

It has a lot to do
With the first time that we met
The wild dance in your eyes
Made up for what was never said
Gotta get my message
Stop spending all our precious time
Because before you know it
We'll be down to our last dime


This version has better sound quality, sans video 

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