Saturday, September 30, 2006

[Essay] Breakups and Goodbyes

Many people are still skeptic about online relationships but the truth is, they’re just as real as can be especially when both parties are not faking things – meaning, both are open, honest, and true to themselves and about what they feel.

Many are still skeptic in this day and age because they had the bad luck of meeting the wrong people who only wanted to have a good time – meaning, fucking themselves online. I’ve had my share of those people but I count myself lucky enough to have met a handful of guys who were truthful and honest, were fun and intelligent to talk to and who sometimes share the same interests with me.

Some claim to have found their true love and have fallen in love online and ultimately marry their online friend. That is fine and good because you wouldn’t have found that one special person if you don’t do bar scenes or you are the shy type or you live halfway across the world. I say, love happens when you least expect it and it truly does!

Finding that special someone with whom you’re instantly attracted to the moment you laid eyes on the top of his head, and you later find out that you’re also compatible, is hard when you push yourself too hard but when you just let it go, it’s so much easier. The problem would be when the timing is off, and I mean way too off. It’s like it’s not your time yet to be together (or something like that).

I’ve recently met two men: one was online and the other one in a social event. Both were older men and both were married but the other is currently waiting for his divorce to become final. I had meaningful friendships with both men and things would have continued to be colorful if not for the fact that the other one is married and the other one is falling in love already (of course, with yours truly). I had to break things up and say goodbye simultaneously: first, before I ruin a marriage which is sacred in the eyes of God and man and second, before too much money has been spent coming here and finding out I don’t love him the same way he loves me.

Because of that, a tough breakup in high school came to mind. It was truly terrible at that time not because I love him but because he couldn’t and wouldn’t take no for an answer. You could say he was pretty persistent but it was actually more like obsession (for four years in high school and a bit in college). But as I recall those days, it really seems ridiculously funny that I couldn’t help but smile at the antics I had to do in order to avoid the badly delusional guy.

Before you think I played him for a fool by leading him on and turning him down when I got tired of him, you are mistaken. I don’t play with fire and I have no plans of trying it out on some hapless guy who crosses my path and practice my so called “inherent womanly wiles” on him. I still believe in “karma” and it’s not right to waste both our times in a pursuit or courtship that has no future whatsoever. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, right? Well, in my case, if what I feel for a guy is only friendship then friendship is what it will be until the end of time. Of course, if there is a spark the moment I laid eyes on a guy, there is a possibility of a smoke and later on, a fire that will burn for all eternity if and only if the said guy turns out to be a great catch based on my standards.

Well anyway, before things get out of topic, all three guys in my life made me realize that breaking up and saying goodbye is really the hardest thing to say and do. At these circumstances, I’m not in love with any of them but the worst part is that they were good friends. The first was my high school best friend; the second was a kindred spirit kind of friend and the third guy was my online best friend from England. So now I wonder just how much harder will it get if I have to breakup and say goodbye to someone I dearly love? For now, it is beyond contemplation but life must go on so the saying goes.

For the high school guy, I tried the gentle, the frank and the brutally frank way of rejecting his attentions and affections to no avail until I had to resort to avoidance. It was hard in those times because we both go to the same school and our common friends kept pushing us together. Thank God for the two older men, I rarely see them and the only means of communication is thru text messaging and through YM or e-mail. Avoidance is the key in letting them know that you’re saying goodbye without actually saying it.

Well, I got to enjoy a normal state of emotionless for like a month and a half until the day my online best friend e-mailed me a love poem. That e-mail sent alarm signals to my brain that wouldn’t quiet down until I know for sure what he meant by sending me a poem such as that. I wouldn’t dare assume anything because for all I know he only wanted to share with me his favorite poem because we used to share and e-mail our favorite music files. Though it wasn’t much of a surprise due to my extensive empathic powers, he admitted he loves me. Of course, I first tried telling him he’s mistaken and that he doesn’t really love me but it did not work so I had no choice but to break it to him gently so as not to overly hurt his feelings. I admit it was a lovely poem that would have made any woman, already half in-love with a guy, fall for him completely. Sadly, that was not the case. I only think and look at him as a best friend with whom to share my thoughts with and nothing more.

So now, I have lost three friends simply because it was not the right time. And usually, when you mix friendship with something a little bit more than friendship, and the feeling is not mutual, the result becomes disastrous. You can no longer go back to being friends because it would be awkward knowing that he loves you and you don’t love him in that way. So you see breaking up and saying goodbye is always the hardest thing to say and do. You have to stand firm with your decision to break things up and say goodbye once you’ve made it and you have to be consistent with the actions related to such decision so as not to raise false hope or confuse the poor guy. And the worst is it’s really tough to stop yourself from sending that text message or e-mail to someone you’re so accustomed to sending messages to. Times like these calls for a stronger will to rule over the heart.

Break ups and goodbyes are really tough things to go through in life and I can only imagine how tough and dirty these things can get when the time finally comes for me to break up and say goodbye to a guy with whom I will be head over heels in love with (as I haven’t met him yet). I don’t know how I’d feel if that time comes (of course, it would be best if I don’t have to go through it at all). For all I know, I could be weak after all and not the strong-looking White Witch (Chronicles of Narnia, which I fondly refer to as the Ice Queen) I so often show to the world.

As I look out of my hotel window at the night lights of the city below, I pray for a better and successful life for my high school best friend; a happy and fulfilling marriage and family life for my kindred spirit friend; and a second (or rather third) chance at everlasting love and happiness for my online best friend. As for me, of course, I too have one and that is all of the above except for that second or third or nth chance at happiness and everlasting love because I’d prefer to fall in love once but one which will last a lifetime and beyond; all these when I am good and ready.

I just have to prepare, accustom or resign myself to the fact that God does works in mysterious ways and that you don’t find love but rather love finds you when you least expect it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

[Essays] What Is The Point?

It’s a warm Thursday night and at the same time, it’s almost been a week since the question was put to mind and tomorrow’s Friday and I’ve been debating with myself what the point is. The weekend is almost upon me and still, I haven’t found a way to reconcile this issue or to find the answer to this.

At this point in my life with this company, I just realized that I gave up a lot of the dreams I had before coming here and now it’s too late to go back and the worst is, I forgot about them, neglected that part of me that makes me who I am. I look back with a heavy heart because I no longer recognize the girl staring back at me from the other side of the mirror. Although she looks exactly the same as me, somehow, she looks more like an empty shell now… cold… feeling nothing, doing things as if on auto pilot, forgot what a real laugh sounds like, what living should really be, smiling but not really smiling, laughing hollow laughs… tired… wasted… dying. She’s no longer the girl who is passionate about life, always has a ready smile for everyone, laughs heartily, cries easily, finds pleasure in a butterfly or in a flower or in the simple task of watching clouds drift by and spinning dreams and tales. She no longer debates passionately, she no longer pause in the middle of reading a Danielle Steel novel just to cry her heart out at the height of the character’s emotions. The girl in the mirror is so different I’m not entirely sure if it’s still me and if it is, I’m not at all sure how it all came to be.

Going back to the issue, I do acknowledge the fact that during the last two months, my time in ranges from eight o’clock to eight fifteen and rarely eight thirty. This resulted to this unresolved issue because I had the nerve to ask: “What is the point of being on time when all that matters at the end of the day, week, month, or year is the output or quality of the work done?”

“That is not the point” was all the response I got. Well, what is the point then? I would have liked to scream out the question in frustration and see where such a discussion would lead us. Unfortunately, I opted to restrain my passion for debates because I felt then at that time that this subject would definitely be a trying one on both our parts. Better to focus my energy on work to prove my point.

On my part, it would be trying because I don’t have the heart or the drive to arrive on time for a number of reasons but mainly because I get the job done at the end of the day. The quality of work I believe I do is still unsurpassed (based on my own high standard of quality work because the company I work for doesn’t believe in evaluating the performance of their office personnel). For me, that is enough given the fact that I’ve thrown away my dreams for nothing, given my talents despite the fact it wasn’t appreciated and built dreams around it but in a blink of an eye, it all came crashing down on me… to fly around me like dust.

While I have considered the argument that it is company policy and professional to arrive on time, and I would have loved to say “Screw policies!” and storm out and probably get a memo for that, I would like to point out the other reason why I don’t have the heart to arrive on time these days and it’s because of the fact that I noticed (from days before when I get to the office early) people tend to chat and while away until what, nine in the morning? Then they’d try to work a little and you’d notice them lazing again after around ten to twenty minutes of work and after around thirty minutes of lazing around they’d go back to work again and the cycle continues for the whole day. Or they’d go to work early, do this unproductive cycle for eight hours and has the nerve to work overtime. The results? A lot of backlogs probably the size of Mt. Everest! Everyday is almost like Friday (the day when little work is done). Let’s not count being paid here but if you want to put it in the equation of this issue, let us and be done with it. Each of us gets paid for eight hours whether you did a good job or not, whether you whiled away the whole day or worked your ass off. Based on this alone, I believe the company has already benefited on those who worked their asses off even if they don’t arrive on time and yet gets the job done compared to those who do arrive early, whiled away the whole day and manages to work overtime minus the desired work output.

I’ve tried pointing out this kind of scenario but all I got is “That’s not the point.” So now, I ask: well, what the hell is the point then if not for that? Let’s say you’re doing repairs on your house so naturally, you’d hire a bunch of men to work for you. Would you rather pay people who does great work even if they’re a little late and doesn’t work overtime or would you rather pay people who laze around, do a little work, whether or not works overtime and yet, when you look at their work the next day, it would seem as if nothing has been done? I tell you, you lose more on the second type of workers. I remember this handyman my grandmother used to hire all the time to do repairs around the house simply because he’s trustworthy. While I acknowledge that fact, I can tell you that my grandmother wasted money on him even though he does arrive on time because he works like a turtle (that’s how slow he is because the rest time is longer than the work time), the work he does is not good at all (my younger brother could’ve done better) and instead of finishing the job in three days, it gets extended into a week and a half and sometimes more – a month or so! Imagine that! So ever since my beloved grandmother died, we replaced the handyman with a much more efficient worker who does a great job and gets it done on time. That way, everybody is satisfied, not a dime is wasted because you got exactly what you paid for - the work done was excellent and it was finished on time.

So let me ask the question again “what is the point of coming early?” Come on, convince me.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

[Poetry] Restless

Chaos,
Explore... wander...
Cloudy thoughts unfocused;
Sleepy... melancholic silence...
Restless.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

[Poetry] Inside A Gilded Cage

Bricks and marbles,
Silver and gold;
Laughter and smiles,
Is what others see.
Blinded by confusion,
Bound by friendship;
Blinded by innocence,
Bound by duty.
The clouds of confusion has lifted,
The mists of innocence shattered;
Only friendship and duty,
Is what binds me here.
Inside the gilded cage,
Everything is unnaturally bright and gay;
Masking a truth,
That is dark and cold.
Long suppressed dreams of the soul,
And quiet yearnings of the heart;
Slowly rising to disturb,
The tranquil waters of my mind.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

[Random Talk] Spending and Splurging

A few days ago, an office joke reminded me of how I once was - spending left and right without a thought for tomorrow - and realized I regret those days but not entirely because I wouldn't learn to spend wisely if I didn't go through that stage in my young work life.

I thought it reasonable to be just like that during the first two years of your FIRST job but I firmly believe that people would mellow after that. The opposite just happened to someone close. You can say that it's her second job and at her age (mid twenties), she's supposed to be much more financially wise compared to when you were in your teens and early twenties. So it stands to reason that at such an age, you should be more inclined to save than to incur debt.

I worry for this friend of mine because despite the good intentions of unsolicited advices from everyone in the form of jokes, it seems she doesn't care one whit about her future financial security. Others would say it's not my problem, which is certainly true, but I just can't help but worry for she is a friend after all and I hope she learns something from this one.

Although spending and splurging are synonymous, they have different connotations. While it is true that everything involving the dispensing of money is called spending, I would like to emphasize that spending is more on the purchase of basic human survival necessities. Splurging is spending on the same kind of items but on an excessive level - a very, very excessive level.

While I have nothing against designer labels that carry such staggering price tags, I firmly believe it is quite all right to purchase from such trendy boutiques or shops for the supremely high quality of their products - if you can afford it. If not, I don't suggest you buy a fake but rather look for items that are within your reach (meaning your meager cash on hand not credit card, mind you), has good quality, looks good on you, and most importantly, you equally feel good wearing it! I myself have collected quite a dozen clothes over the years but only a few clothes are above P500 and branded. Indulging in luxury items, as we sometimes call them, is okay once in a while but purchasing such high-priced items every other day is the outside of excess especially when you don't need it at all and worse - on credit! What if you had a financial setback and you have no savings? Won't you have trouble sleeping, knowing your debts are piling and you can't pay them? I experienced that a few months ago last year, which is why all of a sudden, I realized that I must not depend so much on my credit limit but on my cash on hand. I simply overspent, which is, thank God, still within my month's salary. But it's quite disheartening to see your ATM balance and know that you can't spend a single peso because every penny goes to paying your card. It is better to see your ATM balance or passbook balance and know that every penny, every cent, is truly yours and not someone else's money to enjoy. Truly, I tell you, I wasn't able to sleep a few weeks until I received my pay slip and was assured of a zero balance on my card. And so I told myself to spend with care and only on the items that I truly need. And if I want to say purchase something I can't afford right now but my credit limit can, I will just simply have to separately save for it.

I can say that buying and wearing branded or expensive items is a surefire way of boosting your ego and somehow making the pretense or illusion of being rich a bit more real, is quite true among a few of my acquaintances.

Based on observation on a personal level, I realized that the people who have an obsession for designers whether they look good in it or not, belong to two social classes: the filthy rich, who are naturally born to money and who're used to wearing designers; and of course, there will always be the great pretenders, those who are or WERE financially deprived.

Of the two types, I noticed that the pretenders have a greater tendency to splurge than their rich counterparts. Common sense dictates that, pretenders feel a need to prove not only to themselves, but to everyone as well, that they can afford such luxuries and be noticed through it, as I later found to be true. Add to that what my mother always says, "If you are born rich, even if you dress yourself in brand-less, simple clothes and fancy jewelry, it will still show you belong to the upper crust because your inherent nature and inclination to elegance, poise and manners, refined movement and speech instantly gives your social status away. Whereas if you were born poor, no matter how many designer outfits you wear, accessorize in gold and drown in designer scents, you will still look poor and become poorer still because of the mounting debts caused by splurging on designers when you really can't afford it."

So spend wisely! Save a bit more each day! Who knows? Maybe sooner than you think, you'll look at your passbook balance and faint dead away because you're now a true millionaire!

I found the following to be personally true and I would like for you to think it over: It is so much more fulfilling to see the shocked and speechless expression on your nemesis' face upon learning from someone else that the person she so badly treated in the past is far more richer than she could ever hope for than announcing your wealth yourself where everyone will just look at you with disgust, a raised brow, or disbelief and saying, "Yabang lang yan!" (Bah! He/she's boasting again!) and turn their backs on you.

I believe that HUMILITY does take one far.