Thursday, May 3, 2012

Not So Merry Month of May

So it seems I’ve been blogging for over a month now. Maybe things like monthsaries don’t matter to some people, but for me, it’s already a milestone or a feat that this blog has lasted or made it to a month, because I have a long history of abandoning or scrapping attempts, even plans, to blog, before I got started at all. My blogs, or pre-blogs, really, since they were just these whims, were always nipped in the bud or yanked out by the root even before taking firm hold, so to speak. This is the first time I’ve actually gone through with it, albeit even this blog of mine is a tentative commitment… I’m still undecided on whether it’s actually helping me relieve my stress and unburden myself, or if it adds to my workload, and right now I’m feeling ambivalent about it. Sometimes I feel better getting things off my chest, other times I feel like I have to motivate myself to get around to doing it. It’s a process really, and I’ve been readjusting my learning curve. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that even hobbies take work. It’s like when I was a kid and if games got too hard or too challenging, I’d lose interest, but now that I’m in college, I can’t be like that anymore. I always have to put in effort to cultivate myself to learn and to try new things and to be more flexible. In short, I’m trying to try harder to see things through and to set more long-term goals.

Sorry, maybe this all sounds so abstract, connecting my blog’s first monthsary to my lack of direction in life. I am really lost. So many imponderables nagging me, making me fretful and anxious about the future. Applying for an internship, thesis, graduation, employment… I find myself half paralyzed, half in a panic. Everything’s happening right now. I know that my whole college life has led up to this point, but somehow I feel so unprepared to face the real world.

But anyway, the past week has been really tough on me. Last Saturday, as I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, Papa left and we saw him off at the airport and as I’ve said, it’s not new to us, it’s almost a family tradition, us all going together and seeing him off. As a child, I don’t know how old I was, but I have this distinct memory of NAIA, and the image, the façade of the building is seared into my brain. I have this singular recollection of driving up an elevated road towards the International Terminal of NAIA 1, with its dark tinted windows and its dark grey, and squat exterior, and I’ve always associated it with Papa having to go away. If you’re not the one with a departure, then that’s as far as you go, and we dropped off Papa and his luggage and drove away. I have this lasting image in my mind of Papa’s back as he enters the building, like the building itself was taking Papa away from me. I’ve only been to NAIA 3 and Centennial Airport, so I don’t know what NAIA 1 looks like inside, but for as long as I can remember, the building of the airport itself has come to mean goodbye’s. I guess I’ll find out what it looks like when we go to Singapore later this month.

You would think that it would get easier over the years, but it doesn’t. Even Mama who’s been doing this for 21 years of marriage, still gets unsettled. In the days leading up to Papa’s latest departure, Papa would joke how Mama would get “discombobulated” easily, because the news of Papa leaving came so suddenly, and Mama was so flustered by all of the rushed preparations. Mama was more forgetful than usual, and would get lost in thought, and really be without any presence of mind, like she would suddenly not know what she was right in the middle of it.

I guess it’s hard on me too, but in a different way. Without Papa around, I feel suffocated by all the female hormones at home. I am moody enough by myself, but with Mama and two sisters, that just gets compounded and there are times when I want to wrap my hands around someone’s neck, and just have at somebody. Papa helps balance out the household, but when he’s gone, I can’t stand to be around my family. I’m the one with the issues, and I feel like I get unhinged more than I already am, being surrounded by girls all the time! I swear, when I see all those posts on 9GAG about she-monsters on their period, I can totally relate, I myself being one of them, at that, and I swear it’s a nightmare.

Going back, we were without the man of the house once again, and falling back into old routines. Mama drives herself again and carries all her bags, and I have no one to share Naruto episodes with. No more corny jokes and crassness at the dinner table. My youngest sister doesn’t have anyone to help her do the newspaper crossword. The other sister doesn’t have a basketball buddy anymore. It’s been less than a week, out of months that he’s going to be away, but I miss him terribly. Nobody to talk about my driving escapades with, since Mama and my sisters frown upon my being a kaskasera (someone who drives too fast), no one to rant to about getting stuck in traffic and how I maneuvered my way around motorcycles, trucks, and buses. Nobody to buy my favorite ice cream, chocolate, or cake with no occasion whatsoever. But that’s our lot in life, and we have to find ways to survive.

So after watching The Avengers last week, I was in such a state of excitement, that when it was over, and I had to go back to reality—that is, school, summer classes, homework, and readings—it was this shock almost. Like leaping from a height, for a moment thinking you could fly, but then crashing and hitting the pavement, that’s what it felt like. Of course I was a fool for hoping my one win would turn into a lucky streak, but it was startling, as if my little bubble had been burst. I keep myself telling myself I should get a grip, yet here I am, at a loss.

I had a reaction paper due last Monday, and I basically crammed it. I spent the weekend feeling sorry for myself because Papa was leaving, and having a marathon watching two shows I recently discovered, thanks to Papa and my sister: Grimm and Fringe. I had heard of Grimm before, but it didn’t catch my interest until now because it seemed like an average police drama, but I wasn’t aware of the creatures and folklore in its premise. I saw my family watching it and I stuck around for an episode and it was pretty entertaining so I watched the rest of it all weekend, adding a new show to my weekly favorites, since its first season is still ongoing. As for Fringe, it’s already in the 4th season, but I’ve never heard of it before now because it’s never been aired locally, and it’s sci-fi. I only got interested because of my sister who has a friend or classmate who recommended it to her. Basically, those two shows ate up my weekend, and I drowned my sorrow in fiction, that come Monday, reality sure wasn’t friendly.

Reality being summer classes. I enjoy my Speech class a lot, it’s very practical and straightforward, but my PI 100 class has quickly turned into a Jose Rizal witch hunt. I get how my professor wants us to develop critical thinking skills, but sometimes I feel that they’re just over-reading and over-analyzing things. I don’t mind re-interpreting Rizal, but it’s all so passé. And I deeply resent how one-track all my so-called critical and leftist professors are, when they supposedly espouse alternative views as opposed to conventional thinking. Yet in their classes their view is the only one, theirs is the only alternative. Their truth, is the truth. It’s such a contradiction, such a hypocrisy! For instance, he keeps going on about anti-religious stuff, as if it’s an absolute ill of society. I personally don’t subscribe to the practices of religion, but that doesn’t mean I put down the beliefs of people who do. It’s as simple as that, live and let live. Clearly being radical means necessarily taking one side and vilifying the other, and that being neutral, to them, is as good as being an enemy! It’s so black and white, as if everything can be demarcated by a solid line! And to be expected to draw the same conclusions after reading Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, when we all have different experiences and see things differently! I thought our class would allow me to see Rizal in a different light, but as it turns out, it’s another crash course in the biases of another teacher, no different from high school. Tsk tsk tsk. And the way he insinuated either you were critical or you were stupid! Well, why can’t you be happy? Why does everything have to be an issue? It’s an issue that in post-modern society we’re all individualistic and materialistic, and our professor tells us it’s not all about making money, yet he comes to class with his iPhone and his D-SLR and his MacBook Air! There’s always something wrong with the world, there’s no pleasing the angry critics.

Contrary to popular belief, not all UP students are activists or protesters. I respect those who stand up for what they believe in, and if they want to take to the streets, that’s their choice. That’s their way, and for me, I believe in studying hard and contributing to society in my own way. I believe in more productive rather than destructive ways. I believe in living honestly and not imposing myself on others. You call me a reformist, bourgeois, or middle class, whatever, but that’s not going to change how I feel about it. So there. Take that.

Okay, right, my reaction paper was on Bayaning Third World and well I really didn’t have much to say. I’ve never been impressed by Jose Rizal, and PI 100 has done little to improve that. I’m not discounting his merits, but Rizal just isn’t relevant to me. I get why he’s a national hero, but he’s not my hero. Just saying. I liked the treatment in the film though, it was very down to earth and realistic, without the usual pomp of documentaries and re-enactments. I liked the Myth Busters feel, trying to uncover the real Rizal, but in the end, Rizal is whoever you want him to be, was how it concluded.

Last Saturday, aside from having a Grimm and Fringe marathon, I saw one my childhood favorites on Animax, Hunter X Hunter. Apparently it was already a remake of the entire series, and I never knew about it. It was heartbreaking, like seeing the last vestiges of my childhood just falling away. Nothing against the remake, for all I know it might even be better than the original, but the original has this special place in my heart, that knowing about the remake, made me realize that time can turn even things you hold sacred and dear to your heart, like your favorite anime series, a thing you regarded untouchable, into an old version. There’s always a new version just waiting to happen, and those things I thought would stay the same, would remain constant in my fond memories, are being ripped away from me. It’s so sad, getting old and holding onto those things, then having them taken away too. It’s not so much the re-making of it, as much as what it means to me, that what I once thought to be impervious to time, is just as much vulnerable to it. There goes my childhood.

I feel old and tired. It’s been a bad week. I barely felt the holiday, and for the past week, my breakouts still haven’t cleared up yet, as if my skin is as unhappy as I am. So much heartache in the span of just a few days and my skin has gone to hell. The month of May has gotten off to a rocky start, but I just want to get through the rest of my summer classes, put this all behind me, and go on a real vacation.

Hope and wait.

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