Funny how memory works and how nothing really fades. The aperture just widens leaving some things to blur into each other. But that’s all it is, just background, and what matters stays sharp around the edges. The things we remember never fail to amaze me, like the colors of shirts or the way a hand was positioned at a precise moment.

I usually forget words though, so I don’t place too much stock in being a writer.

There’s Always a Plan B

Liz Brown from

For instance, I always keep a pair of flats close by when I decide to go out in my big girl heels. Of course, the more practical thing to do would be to ditch the heels and always opt for flats. You could do that, but why? It’s like ordering something without cheese. You could, but why?

There’s a point to all of this, and it’s this: even in the face of a more exciting option, make sure that you have backup. Otherwise you’ll end up with blistered feet and you’ll be cranky and impossible to have fun with before the night even ends.

Which brings us to point no. 2: If something you’re doing doesn’t contribute to a fuller sense of being, then it should at least be fun. I’ve devised a simplistic little two-way test–similar to the one Rotary has–to give you an idea of how trite I really am, and it goes like this:

  1. Does it contribute to a fuller sense of being?
  2. Is it fun?

There was supposed to be a third item, which was “Are you getting paid for it?” Yes/No? But that would make me sound like a soulless corporate douchebag. Or a hooker. And I am neither of those. At least by a large percentage, I am neither of those.

Continue reading “There’s Always a Plan B”

Derive and Authenticity

Directly translated, the word means to “drift”. In situationist texts, the theory of ‘derive’ comes from the notion that authenticity springs not from touring, but from wandering; void of expectations and formulas, one can actually have a more “real” experience of a place, an object, or an event (De Bord 1958). Of course, this is given the conceited assumption that we know what is and isn’t real.

Although I do agree with the abandonment of formula. There are somethings that you just need to go through in order to come to a more concrete definition of what they are.

“You know it’s never gonna happen right? That it’s never going to work out between the two of you?”

Of course I know that. But I guess it’s this much easier to have something to feel hopeful about then to just drift. There are some days that go by where he doesn’t cross my mind at all, and I can’t say whether these are good or bad days. What I don’t like is that I usually can’t remember what happens on these days (which is more or less how recent events have been). They just form a random series of “blah,” and that’s not how I want to characterize what I’ve been going through.

I mean, if I had to distract myself, at least let it be with something that matters. Excitement and drama are great, but I don’t have to equate them with agony. Hoping is nice, as long as you can just as easily accept that the world is not going to collapse if things don’t turn out the way you want them to.

We’ll see. That’s all.

Fathers, pt. 2

My father—like his father—is a lawyer, and one of his techniques is to make your head spin before you finally understand him. Like my father, I have a tendency to ramble. One of my friends described me as someone who tends to say 10,000 things at a time. But unlike me, my father always managed to pick up the loose ends and tie the whole thing into one lucid argument. Isn’t that what lawyers do? The night we got the news from Prague, he was rambling about EU Standards, first world medical care, and Czech socialism. “Who would have thought…who would have thought—who would have thought?” And what were the odds? At that point, it was useless to question the odds or go back to the plan. What’s a plan in the face of a grand gesture when grand gestures are beyond all logic. Grand gestures run on faith. Try finding reason in that.

I cannot fathom how lonely and frustrating it must be to die in a strange land, but the love that went into the plane ticket and the trip across the globe just to make sure my Tita Myeny would not have to fly home alone are beyond what I can imagine as well. When we think of travel, we think of romance and exotic destinations, not of bloating, waiting lounges, and being frisked at every gate. Isn’t it really just about finding someone or something that’s worth the trip?

For someone who almost never goes to church, I’ve learned a great deal about faith from the things my fathers told me. Without faith, what’s the point in even making a decision, let alone acting upon it? Everything we do is such a shot in the dark, who knows where tomorrow will take us. The most we can do is just believe that things are going to work out for us. I mean, look at where it got my grandfather? And I’m not talking about recent events, I’m talking about a life so full of possibilities and opportunities that he just took the reins on. It’s so hard to find something beautiful in this world, something that fits you and works out, that if you find something—take that and don’t let it go.

My grandfather was supposed to turn 89. An hour after he passed away, my sister, my father, and I sat in a large room that was all marble, antique vases, chandeliers, and opulence; all of which testified to privilege. We were a fairly privileged lot, and it’s useless to deny that. When I was little, my mom had the mind to keep us at arm’s length from it—from all that worldy and frivolous clutter. Whether it was the right or wrong is irrelevant now. Who’s to judge? I quietly resigned myself to this new chapter that would take up the majority of the narrative that made up my small life. The argument I was presented with was that “Children need a mother,” I guess I took it for granted that I needed a father as well.

Fathers, pt. 1

My dad, the poster boy for perpetual middle child syndrome.

I spent most of my childhood scared to death of grandfathers and I could chalk this up mostly to a young mind that was prone to stereotyping. When I was about 4 or 5, I had a box of Hi-C and a Little Mermaid mug. One morning I asked our maid to please get me my Hi-C in my Little Mermaid mug because I wanted to have it with my breakfast. My obsession with fastidious instructions goes way back, and now it’s paralyzed me to the point where I refuse to delegate even the simplest tasks.

That day, our maid came downstairs with a mug full of not Hi-C, but of Tang. It turns out my Lolo, as in my mother’s father, had seen her emptying the Hi-C into the mug, and quickly staked his claim over a drink that should have been mine. I’m not sure what happened next, but I haven’t forgotten that incident, so I guess I never forgave him for it. I mean, Hi-C is about 60% sugar. It’s crazy delicious! There is no substitute.

In my young mind, all grandfathers were the same. Stubborn, domineering, bordering on batshit crazy. I was 4 or 5, I didn’t know what senile meant.

Enter Tata. I guess I had trouble putting two and two together when it came to where I stood relative to Tata. He was a loud silver-haired gentleman, very distinguished, very refined, and he wore suits. He was a far cry from my Lolo who was confined to a desk in his bedroom slippers and pajamas. My Lolo used to call me over, and from a very close and very uncomfortable distance, have me name all the people in the pictures framed under the glass top of his desk. I could only put up with it for so long and lost it after about a year.

Continue reading “Fathers, pt. 1”