Cynical Love

I’m ashamed of myself.

I’m a girl – supposed to be more sensitive to the callings of Eros, supposedly fascinated by the magic of romance and the possibilities of happily ever afters – yet here I am: a self-confessed hopeless romantic who doesn’t even believe the male species is actually capable of falling in love. Now, how could a girl like that expect to be loved in return?

I’ve experienced many kinds of relationships – to the point where I lose count of what I should consider real or null. I can’t recall how many times I’ve embarrassed myself for being unable to accurately state how many relationships I’ve actually been into.

This, in spite of the truth that deep down, I know, none of them were ever real. None of them were ever worth it. And none of them were ever founded on love. They were just there – a reminder of my foolishness – and how I’m no different from the girls who have never experienced being in a relationship before: uncertain and afraid.

The main reason why I could never consider them real is the apprehension of expressing love and care when breakups are just around the corner. Eventually we will have to part ways, and I didn’t see the point of expressing love for someone who won’t always be there. That would be a waste of time, effort and emotions – leading to meaningless heartbreaks and pain.

So I shut myself.

I liked the feeling of being appreciated, of being cared for and of being loved. I loved how I always felt special because there’s somebody who loves me.

But reciprocating that love was never easy for me. The thing is, I simply did not trust guys. Period.

I grow in relationships thinking that guys are simply nice on the first few dates and would only exert as much effort when they want to get your “Yes, I’d be your girlfriend” reply.

I’ve witnessed countless relationships break apart because of the guy’s immaturity, fear of commitment, slow resistance to temptation or just pure jerk-iness. Because of that, I always make it a point to ensure I wouldn’t get hurt by men like that. I knew there were probably nice guys out there but the possibility of my ending up with them is slim, and I just didn’t want to take that risk.

Maybe I really am sexist. You can call me the female version of a chauvinist – and maybe I am. I’ve heard the line “don’t generalize” countless times before, but my thick-head and desperate attempts at self-preservation wouldn’t allow it. Falling in love can be very scary.

What’s really shameful is the fact that a male friend of mine actually believed in True Love and managed to experience it. He got his heart broken but never regretted falling for her. Most of all, he is actually unafraid of falling in love again!

What’s more shameful (for me) was I had to find out on his blog! To think that he seemed like one of the biggest cynics I know…or so I thought. He was so carefree and goofy, that you would never have thought he’d be so sentimental about love and stuff like that. He was my image of a stereotypical male: confident, loud, and just manly (I can’t come up with a better word right now). He looked so hard on the outside, I didn’t know he could be so vulnerable.

And now, I – a girl! – can’t even bring myself to believe men actually fall in love! O.O

I know it’s unfair for the other decent guys out there. I also know guys who may be crazy as friends but are totally sweet and loyal to their girlfriends. Good relationships like that are rare, and I’m happy for them.
But good guys never really seem to be for me.

Maybe good guys are really out there. They’re just not a part of my love story… Hopefully, that’s a “not yet”.

The flavor of life

Flavor of Life by Utada Hikaru.

This, along with “Planetarium” by Otsuka Ai, never fails to invoke a lot feelings in me. It’s one of the most beautiful ballads I have ever heard and also one of the saddest.

Love, life, and all the wonderful things that makes life beautiful, are always bittersweet. The most beautiful ones are among the most painful. You cannot love someone so much, and be truly happy, without experiencing as much pain. It’s always a part of it, and you have to learn to deal with it if you want to hold on to that bit of happiness.

Life is sad and beautiful. It’s ironic, but that’s what makes it wonderful.

That’s why, misery need never be a reason to stop living. A life without sadness is meaningless, and the life with too much of it has the most beautiful story.

That doesn’t mean you have to wallow in the pain. You just have to feel it, experience it, try to do something about it and work on it to become so much better.

Sora

 When I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of going far – far away from the home where I grew up in. I was not the very adventurous type; I often stayed at home and waited for my parents to come home. But there was always that feeling. I always felt that beyond the borders of the houses lining our streets, beyond the roads that travelled to and from our small city, there was something beyond that – something, somewhere that I have to be. I never really knew what that all meant; I just had the feeling. And now that I have been to many places, I can only feel that I have not gone far enough – it is only the start of a longer, more exciting journey.

Back then, I have had dreams of flying. Sometimes I flew like a bird, flying over the other houses surrounding our town. Sometimes I would try to go beyond the border of what I usually see when I look out the window. Squinting, I would imagine what it is like beyond the pier of our little town, and in my dreams I would fly off to whatever wonderful landscape I “see” beyond the border. But they were only as they were – dreams.

Soon enough, these frequent dreams and wonderings (pun intended) became, not only a desire, but a concept – A big idea that took the form of a realization:

“I am meant to go far – far beyond where the wind takes me. I will go far, not because of the circumstances, but despite the circumstances.”

And this became my truth. But no one else knew.

This truth has guided most of my decisions when I grew older. This was not because I am not proud of the soil I stepped on when I have grown as a young child. It is simply because this truth has driven me to try to go beyond what I usually see.

It was not enough to simply love a place – I also had to visit others, not just to see more beauty, but because of the powerful feeling that somewhere beyond lies something unsure yet certain. Funny, isn’t it? But when a person is strongly both certain and unsure, then there must be something to that, mustn’t it?

Now, if you have problems understanding what I say, can you just imagine how troubling it was to explain these to my parents? They didn’t want me to go very far, because they were afraid of things that may or may not happen – things that are out of their control. They allowed me freedom for school competitions, but convincing them that I wished to go to college somewhere far was difficult.

On my last year in high school, I have decided to take all the entrance exams for colleges, near or far, and pass them all so that it is easier to choose. Naturally, since Iloilo was the farthest, I set my heart in it. My mother had a different opinion, though. And I had to explain to her a lot of things – things that may be of importance to her, like my future. Eventually, she agreed.

But, on the first few years (yes, years) of my stay in Miag-ao, I was enveloped in a kind of sadness. I got my wish to study far away. I got to see beyond the borders of our small town. I even got to fly – on a plane. But these did not equate to the lonely prison of being far from the company of people you love. It is not mere homesickness. That feeling has left me after my first three months as a freshman. I don’t know what to call it exactly, for I can still live and laugh and continue to dream of going far. But there was always that feeling that there was something missing. It may be exciting to go far, but I can’t go as far as I want because something is holding me back. After all, I am still just a child, and I still need to have my beloved parents to comfort me and be by my side.

Then another realization, another truth, hit me on the last few months of my third year in UP Miag-ao. I was stressed and alone, contemplating on the future of my thesis proposal and wondered if it ever had any. Crying, I was tempted to call my mother and ask her if she is OK, half-wishing I could bear to tell her my problems – the fear that I may not be able to graduate on time, the pressure that came along with the thesis, etc.

Then, just when I was about to type her number, a bird flew past me. It was a quick flight, because before I knew it, my eyes followed the bird to the sky, until it became a tiny dot. That was when I caught a glimpse of the sky. The big, wide, blue sky, stretching far beyond me – going beyond the horizon and challenging me to ask what lies beyond it. Then a quote from the movie, Koizora (Sky of Love), played in my head:

“We will always be under the same sky”

This was the new truth that dawned on me. No matter how far away the wind will take me, we will always be under the same sky.

And, yes, beyond the horizon the sky is asking of me, I know that the answers are: (1) a certain and unsure future, and (2) the people I love. Because somewhere beyond, somewhere far, but still under the same sky, is the family I will be coming home to.

I stopped the decision to call my mother. I only looked at the sky and smiled. Indeed, beyond that horizon is my dream. And, so is the family I left, waiting for me. And I couldn’t be happier. For the sky no longer questions me. It now serves as my happiness, for I can smile happily with the thought that my dreams and my beloved(s) are somewhere beyond the horizon, covered by the same sky I’m smiling at.

Now, after sharing these sweet parts of my memory, let me share with you a very wonderful quote from The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery:

“All men have the stars,” (the Little Prince) answered, “but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You–you alone–will have the stars as no one else has them–“

“What are you trying to say?”

“In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night . . . You–only you–will have stars that can laugh!” (Chapter 27, Page 58)

The dilemma I got myself in

I hated the thought of studying law. I can never imagine myself in that profession. I just knew a lot of people expected me to pursue it – especially my parents, and I just agreed because I didn’t know any better then and I hate to break their expectations of me now. But it has never been my passion or dream. To be honest, I just didn’t understand why I have to be in that profession when anyone can be successful on their own. Not a lot of lawyers love their job, and not a lot are successful!

That was why when I attended the interview with the College’s Guidance Counsellor, I knew I should just answer the questions nicely and bluff my way when it comes to questions about why I chose Law. Right then, I answered the questions in the way that seemed most appropriate and what is expected of me. I knew I didn’t do too bad in the interview. The funny thing was, although I knew I was just forced to study Law, I didn’t want to be turned down. Probably, it was because of my pride – I didn’t want to be rejected but I’d rather choose to be the one who rejects. In another weird way, I cannot help but be partly convinced by my own story that:

“When you pursue law, it’s not just for yourself. You’re doing it because a lot of people depend on you for it, not just because they expect you to be one, but because they need it and you need it for yourself.”

I used that line before, when I talked to Mark, and I can’t help but feel that I’m always pushed to being a lawyer & I was not motivated enough to say no. I probably convinced myself enough that there’s a good reason why I could wholeheartedly accept going into a course I don’t really like.

AND IT CAME…

I had to be a lawyer, and there’s no other way.

Because with our current family situation, even if we are disillusioned by college to believe we should find happiness elsewhere – and even if that may be true – pursuing that happiness would be selfishness if I can’t manage to help settle this problem with our families. As much as I want to believe that there is a life out there for us, we can’t get there yet because we still have to face the chaotic world of our reality: a reality where your own relatives are your number one detractors.

The sadder thing is, I realized that we are forced us to take these courses, not only because of practicality, but because these are the only weapons we could have against the premature attacks that may come our way. Especially towards me right now.

Now that I am 19 and very well able to comprehend the dark schemes they have against us, it hurts to realize that the naive hope, that whatever familial drama your parents tell you were never true, is shattered in front of you.

Well, I got my dose of reality, and the truth hurts…and offends.

On Dreams and Purpose

I was reading Paulo Coelho’s “Like the flowing river”when I realized that he often brings up the concept that man has a personal legend that needs to be fulfilled. He explains in his texts that a man may avoid fulfilling this legend for a time but should never dissuade from it, for doing so would make a person feel discontent – realizing too late his own purpose and depriving himself of the happiness of being able to accomplish the task. This legend manifests itself in a person’s interests and his/her own personal joy in fulfilling tasks that are similar or related to it. In other words, these are what people feel truly happy and content doing. In a way, it could also manifest itself in a person’s subconscious, like when a person constantly thinks about doing something and always feels unsettled, knowing that by the end of each day, they never got to doing it.

Every time Coelho brings this up in a passage, I can’t help but rethink that it could be a sign referring to my desire to work in the media while I abandon that dream to pursue what most people expect me to be: a lawyer.

Maybe it was a way of telling me that I’m choosing the path for my own happiness or misery, and I had to choose what I know could give me real happiness.

But, I think again. Fulfilling a personal legend does not only mean attaining that dream. It’s a purpose, and a purpose does not limit itself to the person who thinks about it, but extends to everything else that has contributed to that person’s growth. As such, this legend is not a selfish desire. It is about fulfilling a purpose that could help the world he grew up in, or the people in it, and attaining real peace until the end of his/her days.

When I think about it this way, my personal legend goes beyond what I desire for myself but may actually be something greater that I am yet to discover. And to understand this, I have to open myself more to possibilities and understand why things happen the way they do and how these could help me realize that purpose. Most of all, that great purpose does not necessarily mean doing something as bold as leading a country (although we can never underestimate the power of our inner legends). It may be doing something as simple as writing or talking to strangers, but its effects will go beyond the simplicity and may increase in magnitude as more people are touched.

A few short minutes after I decided to pause from reading the book in order to reflect, I’ve come up with a multitude of possible purposes or legends. I rapidly searched through the recesses of my memory for any fragment or indication of a leaning towards a passion I need to exert my energy on, or a frustrated dream that may help change people’s lives, or even a hobby I didn’t have much time to work on. Indeed, there are a lot of possibilities, and maybe years will go on and I’d still keep on searching. It is also true that maybe, these are all just in my head, an innocent dream or ideal that I, too, could actually do some good with my life. MAYBE.

But that wouldn’t mean I would stop searching. It will be better to keep on searching than to immediately stop, and just like most people, do what’s most convenient because that is what is expected. Doing the latter would be risking the possibilities of finding answers and the possibility of real fulfillment/peace.

So, I would continue doing everything I want and need to do. I will continue writing, drawing, dancing, shooting films, expressing myself, AND work on actually doing those activities that I’ve always wanted to do but never had the chance, motivation or strength to do so. Who knows, maybe one of them may help me in achieving that personal legend.

And, since I always think about things – contemplating, wondering, theorizing, dreaming, assuming and analyzing – it is best to document these thoughts and realizations through writing, drawing, or whatever that’s possible. This could be one of those purposes, we can never tell – at least, not yet. And, wisdom should not be kept hidden as much as these realizations, assumptions, dreams and theories can never stay put in my head – always demanding to be expressed else they never allow me to sleep. Maybe someone out there may be interested and would bother to read. Hopefully, that somebody will learn something in his/herself after reading or, at least, feel a recognition to what I am trying to express, and s/he will have a better approach to life. At least, if that happens, I know that I could achieve what purpose is laid out for me and that I could still touch people through my writing. And maybe, just maybe, by then, it would be one of those little legends I have managed to fulfil.