Park Day, and turning 30

I turned 30 this month. I’ve worried about being 30 since I hit my mid-20s, and that worry over 30 as a deadline has catapulted me into lots of decisions that led to where I am today. I celebrated with very little fanfare. I spent the days surrounding it with lots of reflection and gratitude. I know now that it’s just a number. But I also do feel a lot of things changing. My body, giving me different signals, gaining new permanent marks and lines, surprising me often, and it’s not always bad. My thoughts, spending more and more time into the compartmentalized futures and possibilities that now define my presents. I catch myself saying the very things I said I’d never say when I hit this age. I catch myself wondering if I’m acting my age or not. And I catch myself worrying too much over these things, when I shouldn’t be.

Things are shifting again… after half a year (!) of semi-reclusion and lots of rest, and focusing on my mind and my body, I’m starting to pick up some new projects again. Excited to see where this would take me… last night in between meetings, it hit me how much I wanted this, how much this is looking to be exactly as I pictured it. Just last month, I started feeling like things seemed to be going slow, and I was halfway wondering happened to my gung-ho-ness, what happened to all the things I was intending to do. But I also felt that things will happen anyway as they ought. In their own time and season. I’m less religious now, but that is still my life verse. I write everything down. I write everything down and commit them to my heart and mind, and send them out as a semi-prayer for the universe. I write things down and I let them happen, one by one.

Life is not perfect… we have a LOT of debt and obligations. I should’ve spent those six months, 90% house-bound, working out or learning to cook. We worry about our parents and their health. I get extremely moody and anxious about the pettiest things, prone to crying and being frustrated in public parks or our bedroom for the most random of reasons.

But we get by. We are in movement, we are flowing, we are letting the winds and waves take us where we need to go and we are OK with all of it.

Photos taken at Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife, Quezon City

 

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Ships

strangerthings1

I can’t sleep yet, on account of bad food decisions and maybe too much time today. This isn’t going to be very clear. Forgive me, future self.

Like the rest of the world, we finished off Stranger Things 2 last week, but I haven’t properly processed post-mortem perspectives about it until right now, on account of last Monday being a Monday: it came with that sort of numbing adrenaline rush you dive into headfirst, much like the cold shower you jump into just to get it over with – you’re not happy about it, but it’s happening anyway. Also, I had to finish the Beyond aftershow special as well, made all the more charming by Jim Rash – Netflix knows us so well, doesn’t it? And how well it is shaping us too – more on that later. I feel like I have much more to write about the peripherals of the entire experience – binge-watching culture, the context of adults finding escapism with a set of well-cast, perfectly-mannered talented white kids – than the actual content of the show itself. Continue reading “Ships”

Me, 2015

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I don’t distinctly remember my outlook at the start of 2015. I think I did not have an outlook at all. Or if I had one, it wasn’t very excited, hopeful, or optimistic frankly.

The year before – 2014 – was simply very steady. I entered my 2nd year in Rappler. I finished my grad school units. I reached the 6th-year mark with Ranie. Everything was fine.

So my prognosis for 2015? I supposed everything was gonna continue being fine. And if things looked up, I thought, maybe I could get a ticket to somewhere out of the country.

Well.

Looking back, now, as is requisite over the Holiday break, ‘fine’ seems to be a major understatement.  Continue reading “Me, 2015”

Lose it, all, right away

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. . .  Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.

Annie Dillard

Desire path: defending my thesis proposal

This afternoon, I just finished defending my thesis proposal – a textual study of camp films in local cinema.

I have been waiting for this moment all year. I’ve been doing my MA for 4 years already and I want to graduate next year na!

Panel listens while I ramble. Photo by Ranie, who went on half-day leave to be my moral support. 🙂 Next year, he’ll be in my position.

Continue reading “Desire path: defending my thesis proposal”

EXT. MERALCO AVE. – DAY

The street cleaner is a woman busy picking weeds that have poked through the concrete. A few feet away from her is a tree, where her broom and wheeled bucket are propped up. On a branch dangles her handbag – a bright one with red and pink prints and white faux leather trim and handles, not unlike the ones my own mama brings to work and church and the mall. And just like my mom, I would guess that inside that street cleaner’s bag probably would be her wallet and perfume and maybe a makeup kit. A woman’s quintessential survival stash against a busy, dreary day and a staunch assertion of her identity, even if her job is back breaking work on the street, even if her uniform is an oversize worn out green shirt and a matching rash guard. Even if she has to spend her day under the sun (or rain in this case). Even if she has to wear that makeshift hood and straw hat, she will wear lipstick and carry that printed handbag like a woman should. She would hang that bag on a tree and work hard for her daily keep, like a woman would.


Image source

UPDATE: Read the article on RAPPLER

Today we did an interview and shoot entirely on the bus. Caloocan to Olongapo and vice versa, with only a restroom break and a 15-minute stopover in between. A story told while on the move.

0901

I am enraged that the right to enjoy coming home at night is so easily snatched from us, that we are robbed four hours of our day by being in transit, contemplating choked roads, enduring way too much physical contact with strangers, being motion-dizzy as we stare into tiny screens, being forced to think way too long about our day, about our lack of money, about our government’s lack of so many things, and conversely, about our own individual lack of control.

Over the weekend, a religious group pitched camp in the busiest thoroughfare in Metro Manila. They were angry about something and they wanted to show it. In doing so, they inconvenienced the daytime and nighttime population of office workers who were already being robbed of precious hours because of perennial traffic. So they made everyone else much, much angrier. Rage is such a prevalent sentiment in my generation. To be an aware adult Filipino now is to know how to complain. I think it’s really not just because of Facebook. We think it’s our right to complain. But, the fact that we rant means something is being taken from us.

But see, there are other things to think about aside from rage at the world: in the van, tonight, I was thinking of writing about some pithy but important realization about my life and relationships, but I was on the road and my hands were occupied with keeping my bag from sliding onto the person squished beside me. How could I write my great, Palanca-winning thoughts (if diaries will ever make the cut) if I am always on the road thinking them, and too tired when I get home (and even tonight, overdue work awaits, hay). Or else I’m thinking about work. I’m trying to think of what that thought was. But now I have too little time to think about it, and too little money, and too little work.

OK, I remembered what I was thinking of now (actually, I took a dinner break, I ate the pasta I was supposed to have for lunch, but my boss treated the team to Locavore’s sizzling sinigang and lechon pork belly) — I’m reading The Folded Clock, and the writer, once again, is an old woman, and it’s her diary written in a span of two years. I am in a streak of reading old women and I love them, as I have loved them ever since I wrote (crammed) my anthology undergraduate thesis in UPLB. I want nothing more than to be an old woman with nothing to be preoccupied with but her thoughts and memories. Anyway, this writer, she is talking about meeting eleven year olds and feeling inadequate and feeling that they are more privileged than they deserve to be. I found myself highlighting the passage. Increasingly, I am aware that I am now in my ‘late twenties.’ that 17 and 18 year olds and 13 year olds know and obsess about things that have passed my “radar of awareness” that I had been so proud of. They’re riding the wave, I’ve stayed fixated on things I ended up falling in love with. Books nothwithstanding I’ve lost the general desire to just prefer what’s latest. I’ve grown to love certain things and people, in spite of myself. But these kids are at it, and enjoying it. And it’s so effortless for them – they have unlimited Internet, they have no problem wearing the same crop tops and high waisted shorts, they are being driven around by the 70s kids who bought their first houses – with lots! – at 30, they can call themselves panromantic asexuals because they are allowed to know and to appropriate things like that, they are allowed – forced? – to be adults in their teenage years. Every adult, upon being aware of teenagers as aside from them for the first time, are shocked by their confidence. Are forced to question if they had the same kind of swag. I’m not yet that adult, even, but I questioned myself nevertheless: ten years (!) ago – yes, I definitely had more swag. But it was a very aware swag. I was aware that I could get away with a lot of things then and there. But I was also very insecure, and aware that I wasn’t swagging as well as my more moneyed contemporaries were. Still kind of in the same boat. Still maximing and pretending that having a “radar of awareness” could help things along. Like in the elevator. We were talking luxury bags. That’s an alma, I told the owner, rather obnoxiously, in conversation. I sort of know bags. I can tell them apart. I couldn’t help it. I know them, I know what I love among them (Alexander Wang everythings, no logos, black, things with long detachable handles too) but I don’t have the power to buy them. ‘Just yet,’ everyone usually adds. But I can never add that line, just yet. At the back of my head, I know that I might never indulge myself in that way, whether or not I could. I think it seriously could be a turning point in my psyche and in how I view myself, if I allow such considerations.

Last Saturday, I showed my writing to more than the usual people. It was an internal workshop. I wrote the first draft in first person, or at least in the first 5 paragraphs. I was asked, “Are you really needed here?” What she meant was the presence of the “I” all over the first page of one of the longest pieces I had written for what is essentially advertorial fodder. I remembered, again, my college thesis. My critic then pointed out that my first-person “breaks” (the one-page stories in between the first and 2nd halves) were indulgences I deserved. Those 600-word stories were actually my favorites. And so I kind of always thought about that indulgence, when I thought I would deserve it again, when I thought I could bring it up again. I thought, with this story, it was the time, I was so immersed in the story of who I was writing about, so affected and so in the narrative, I thought I literally should be in the narrative. I wanted to try my hand at something more literary than the usual. It needed work. That does not mean it failed, our facilitator (one of the best writers in our organization), explained. But it needed the most work in order to be full. And I had to get myself out of it in order to write it properly.

Method Writing

10:28, my heart is beating fast and I’m excited for no particular reason. I don’t know exactly why except that I was…

Posted by Krista Garcia on Monday, January 26, 2015

10:28, my heart is beating fast and I’m excited for no particular reason. I don’t know exactly why except that I was writing in a very different voice for something. And I was using a lot of !!!s and excited phrases. So maybe, ‪#‎methodwriting‬ na parang method acting?

0801

There was a line that ran through my head, while I was finishing my shower/bath: “Remember the best salad you had.”

Presumably, there was an older, caucasian woman saying this at the back of my head. She sounded suspiciously a lot like Jamie Clayton (who is not just a woman, but also a trans woman, I just found out today. And she may or may not be dating Keanu Reeves).

“Remember the best salad you ever had.” And why was this woman saying it? There was thunder, and there was heavy rain just like this one happening right now. There was a dark room, the furniture are indiscernible among the shadows, but there was this woman, telling me to recall the best plate of leaves I have ever ingested. Presumably, there was a ritual going on. We are trying to summon something. Recalling the sensation of ingesting something so innocuous – who has salad preferences, I mean? – was necessary in unlocking the subconscious (always that, huh?) necessary to perceive that something that we are summoning. Are you following?

“Remember the best salad you ever had.” What a boring opening line. And for the life of me, I can’t remember the best one I’ve ever had, myself. It must have had crab. It must have had tartare. Walnuts, cherry sauce. But these are different salads, they were never together. And I don’t remember a lot of long-term things like song lyrics, chemistry tables, street corners, names of people I work with on an on-and-off basis. But I remember childhood games. I remember every word my lover says in the dark when we are not doing anything anymore. I remember distinctly how I felt when my mother came home with groceries from Uniwide, which at that time seemed like Candy Land for us, the land of small toys, free picture books, crayon wax shaped into zoo creatures. I remember the smallest things. I remember details, things hidden under layers, things I said to myself, words I promised to myself, emotions, what I wrote down afterwards, what I vowed afterwards. But I can never sing anything on cue. I don’t have a favorite poem or a favorite rap song not because I don’t have one, but because I cannot remember one.

I’m a horizontal. What does that mean? My taste in music, for one, is horizontal. Most people are vertical. They take a genre, say, EDM, and like everything in it, up and down, old and new. I like everything. Right now I like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, The Bird and The Bee, Incubus, James Reid, The Whitest Boy Alive, The Rolling Stones, MSTRKRFT, Two Door Cinema Club, and too much Feist (but I hardly remember any lyrics to her songs, which is sort of OK because she’s French and she sort of mumbles). But I don’t like enough of everything, just maybe the newest ones, or a couple which I stumbled upon. It’s like being in a garden and gathering only the blooms that are within reach, the topmost ones, the biggest blooms that are going to wilt and fall apart within the next six hours.