My Life, the Business Plan

After you left, my days became a routine I tacked in with the every last desperate ounce of strength I had in me. What should have been the last long conversation became the offer, and the clicking sound made by the phone being returned to the cradle was me signing the contract.

After you left, I had a schedule. I bought a planner, filled in the little yellow boxes, crossed out the entries as the days went by and tried not to turn back, not even to check if there was anything I was forgetting.

After you left, there were parties to go to, drinks to imbibe, and long nights to spend avoiding that moment I would have to sit with myself and listen to what was going on in my head. I would have to sit down and listen to myself at some point. I just didn’t want it to be too soon. You were somewhere in there and for a time, I was successful at pretending you weren’t. I covered you with new music, new things to write about, new things to try, and anything I could pretend to feel. You know what they say about the old and the past, but there are just as many proverbs about the first which makes it all the more confusing. It would have to explode sometime.

So I made more plans. I charted a path to follow them in ways that involved helping myself so everyone would win. I marked the different pages on my calendar, took note of my resources, crafted new goals, identified possible hindrances as well as key result areas. E.g., gym on Sundays, eat more greens, smile more: your skin will achieve a healthy glow.

It takes one incident to send everything crashing down. A shift in market trends, a sudden distaste for self-actualization.

Gold Teeth and a Curse for this Town

New Slang wasn’t the first name we came up with. At least it wasn’t the first name I would have come up with. I wanted something snappy and irreverent, just because. And while The Shins are awesome and Oh, Inverted World was a lovely record, Garden State kind of sucked (how do I clean up this mess of names I just dropped?).

Unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough to come up with something to call it; something to call the baby Jaton, Marla, Pao and I spawned over scheduled rants masquerading as “meetings”. We took down minutes, we talked about what we wanted, we made plans. We all knew we just wanted to write, we wanted to write for ourselves, but we also needed to be directed. Eventually we had to call it something, and New Slang stuck. It’s still incubating, and at this rate it’s long overdue considering how much we’ve already gotten done. But we’re not pushing this thing out of the oven just yet because we want a binary launch date. That’s how we roll.

Come to think of it, there’s really no reason for it to exist. There are a lot of blogs out there; the four of us behind this project have our own respective blogs, not to mention the project itself was inspired by several other sites in the same vein. But a lot of things exist, just because: songs about food, furries, tube flops. What matters to us is the context in which these things exist and the way we understand them. We wanted to articulate our understanding of the world…and now that I’ve jotted that down, I’m starting to realize how dumb it sounds. I mean really, what for? And what makes us think anyone would be interested, seriously.

But that’s what writing is. You write under the impression that someone out there will read it and that it will spark an opinion or at least some sort of reaction out of its reader, even something as inane and inconsequential as, “It’s good.” We all know how hard it’s been lately to find some good in this world, and we’ll get there, and hopefully we’ll move past “it’s good” and be able to tell each other just why and what makes it good. I hate people who say that something it “hard to explain,” and then just don’t bother to, but I know what they mean because even simple things, things other people have already been through, things that are really nothing new to this world are all hard to explain. I do however appreciate the efforts to do so.

I continue to write because words are pretty much my only medium for letting people know how I really feel. And this is enough, considering some people don’t have anything else and don’t feel the need to explain why they do what they do or what drives them to do things that produce no tangible benefits. I guess this is why I feel the need to take advantage of it–just because I can, just because at the end of it, the worst reaction I can get is a glazed over stare and a few remarks of it being “Good.” Just good. There’s not a lot of prestige to what we do: it’s tedious, it hurts your eyes, it can either broaden or enclose. So far, the only foreseeable benefit is that I can edit myself and come off as more eloquent than I really am. But I write and continue to write because of the fluidity of possession and how easily [it feels] the things I love can be taken away from me; at least my words, my writing, I get to keep.

Strong Stuff

“Strength” is what we call it when we do what we don’t want to, when we subject ourselves to a little obligatory discomfort to inch closer to that noble and intangible “prize”: maturity. I see myself aging like fine wine or cheese–because if there’s anything I’d want to bear a likeness to, it’s cheese. Age adds flavor, age is bold, age jacks up your price on the market. Age means strength.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that if I can’t be significant, I should at least be different; and if I can’t emerge successful, I can at least be strong.There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to be strong. Not everybody gets what they want, you just have to be strong. This too will pass, you just have to be strong. It’s usually a question of strength when I ask myself what the hell I’m doing pinned to this desk. It’s usually strength that’s to blame when I wonder why I didn’t become a writer.

Aside from strength, I also talk about “time”, I talk about “money”; it’s all a matter of allocating resources. This is what maturity has amounted to: understanding my life as a series of economic consequences. And this keeps me so busy that I tend to forget where things should go. I make lists, I draw grids, I try to keep organized but I’m never really organizing my life around the things I really want, so I keep forgetting. My more “mature” conscience, the “stronger” part of me says that this is okay. This is just part of it and without all this useless aging and all these initiations, I’d just be a fleeting glimpse of the person I am now.

I Resolve to Replace Envy With Fanmail

I had a list of resolutions for 2009, but I lost it. I think it was probably another one of those things I didn’t mean to take seriously anyway, in fact, I’m pretty sure it was accompanied by a picture of me holding a banana obscenely close to my confused face.

I know that as we grow older, we’re taught to take certain things less seriously as a means of arming ourselves against potential hurts. But a lot of things are meant to hurt, such as yoga and ballet and burning the tips of your fingers, but that’s the only way to develop callouses and suppleness on the road to doing things properly the next time around. My friend Amaya has callouses between her thighs. Gross, pole dancers, gross; but she does amazing pole acrobatics and party tricks involving her boyfriend standing in for the pole. BUT THAT’S NOT IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW.

What’s important is I’m turning 25 this year, and as a child of the 90’s, I treat quotes from Singles (1992) with utmost importance. After 25, bizarre stops being bizarre and starts becoming immature. The problem here is after 25 years, the things I’ve deemed bizarre have start becoming part of my nature. I don’t write, I blog; I use too many cuss words, disrespect the importance of a word count and have gotten way too used to terms like “way too used”. I’ve also gotten way too used to working on my own time. I need to take my life more seriously because I don’t have to settle for mediocrity and I don’t have to fall back on excuses for not following through on the things I love. Writing is only one of them. WRITING. NOT BLOGGING. Blogging is also fun though, but it’s the equivalent of your high school boyfriend.

Note to self: your high school boyfriend took what he loved and ran with it to Europe. You understood a lot of things about said ex-boyfriend, but really, what the fuck is sound art? Either way, he didn’t make any excuses or blame his context for misunderstanding him. He just took that shit to Germany where all those German girls loved it. And guess what, your high school boyfriend made you a proud ex and beat you to the pages of Business World. Not that you ever wanted to be in the pages of Business World, BUT CAN WE PLEASE STICK TO WHAT IS IMPORTANT.

Another thing I found in 2009 that one of the best ways to dissipate the spite that comes with envy is to write fanmail to your idols. The realization that came with the fanmail was that my idols are people. People who started somewhere and probably still have day jobs; people who check their email and turn red when they’re complimented. I did not actually resolve to humanize my idols in 2009, but it did put a lot of my aspirations into perspective.

What is important is that 2010 and I are going to have fun…and strength training, but more of fun:

1) I will wear a helmet for those times I’m crossing Edsa by bike.

2) I will write more and blog less.

3) I will draw more and doodle less and if I have to doodle, I will doodle something else besides the backs of my officemates’ heads.

4) I’ll stop wasting anything I manage to save, whether its time or money or calories.

6) I will find a substitute for the word “awesome” and all its derivatives.

2010 be awe-inspiring, overwhelming, grand, breathtaking, splendid, tremendous, remarkable, amazing, astounding, and humbling.