Miyerkules, Setyembre 2

Changing Lanes

Tish Martinez's updated blog can be viewed at www.tishmartinez.wordpress.com

Sabado, Agosto 29

Remembering Dad: One of the Few Constants of my Days

I write belatedly about Dad's last birthday because I was too overwhelmed on the day itself. A poem from ee cummings depicts almost exactly who my dad was to me.

my father moved through dooms of love
ee cummings


my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height

this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if(so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm
---
newly as from unburied which
floats the first who,his april touch
drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates
woke dreamers to their ghostly roots

and should some why completely weep
my father's fingers brought her sleep:
vainly no smallest voice might cry
for he could feel the mountains grow.
---
Lifting the valleys of the sea
my father moved through griefs of joy;
praising a forehead called the moon
singing desire into begin

joy was his song and joy so pure
a heart of star by him could steer
and pure so now and now so yes
the wrists of twilight would rejoice

keen as midsummer's keen beyond
conceiving mind of sun will stand,
so strictly(over utmost him
so hugely)stood my father's dream

his flesh was flesh his blood was blood:
no hungry man but wished him food;
no cripple wouldn't creep one mile
uphill to only see him smile.
---
Scorning the pomp of must and shall
my father moved through dooms of feel;
his anger was as right as rain
his pity was as green as grain

septembering arms of year extend
less humbly wealth to foe and friend
than he to foolish and to wise
offered immeasurable is

proudly and(by octobering flame
beckoned)as earth will downward climb,
so naked for immortal work
his shoulders marched against the dark

his sorrow was as true as bread:
no liar looked him in the head;
if every friend became his foe
he'd laugh and build a world with snow.
---
My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)

then let men kill which cannot share,
let blood and flesh be mud and mire,
scheming imagine,passion willed,
freedom a drug that's bought and sold

giving to steal and cruel kind,
a heart to fear,to doubt a mind,
to differ a disease of same,
conform the pinnacle of am
---
though dull were all we taste as bright,
bitter all utterly things sweet,
maggoty minus and dumb death
all we inherit,all bequeath

and nothing quite so least as truth
—i say though hate were why men breathe—
because my father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all

=====

Dad,

They often say: " absence makes the heart grow fonder". But in our case, your absence did not have that effect. Or at least, I cannot imagine being more fond of you than I already am.

If your absence has indeed encouraged fondness, it has encouraged my love for the things you believed in. The "bottom lines of life" that you and mommy stressed when I was growing up were what I took up eventually; though I resisted them in my teens.

You believed in improving the human condition. In compassion and courage. You believed God was a God of justice. You always said: "To be Christian is to be relevant in today's world. Faith will compell you to action, anak. It will push you towards helping the destitute, to fighting for them if need be. Simply because you cannot imagine Jesus doing otherwise."

I am thankful Dad. I am thankful you gave me the support I needed when I decided what I finally wanted to make of myself, the course I wanted to take, the politics I believed in and saw the people I wanted to serve. You and mommy bore the brunt of comments and eyebrow raises from our relatives and friends when I made these choices. But you never took it against me that I became someone who did not fit in our family's perceptions of a good daughter.

I am grateful, Dad. I am grateful you let me be and you trusted me to discover the world on my own.

I am grateful you told me that women should be strong. That the world was full of opportunities for men to dominate. That to face a cruel world, a woman must be prepared and ready to strike. Though I only see the truth of your words today, I am happy to have been forewarned.

You taught me that I must never relent, never back down and never compromise what I believe in for trifles. You taught me to make few enemies and to mark them well. You often said: no matter what happens; I would get past anything life put in my path. If people think I am stubborn, they are welcome to blame you for it.

Dad, I miss you everyday. I miss all your advice. I miss all your jokes. I miss the instances people point out how much we look alike. I miss your text messages and your puttering about the house. I miss having a designated driver, a Dad who let me party but insisted I be picked up lest I roam the streets drunk and alone.

Missing you has become the norm. It is not a choice consciously made. It is something that just is. But though I miss you, I have to prod on. I have to work on the things you set me out to do. I have yet to become the person you encouraged me to be. I have yet prove to you that all your advice was not wasted on me.

Love,
Nams

Sabado, Agosto 22

I Long


I need some peace.

Sabado, Hulyo 25

The Very Personal Top Ten

(Continued)

The last recent peace-making effort was from (again) character c (on full throttle, no doubt). At another social gathering, he called me over while he was talking to Kidney; someone who had betrayed me (and him!). I came over and character c was prompting me to converse with the traitorous bastard. It went like this...

Kidney: "Galit ka pa ba sa akin?" (Are you still mad at me?)
Me: "I have to be honest with you, yes I am still mad.

What followed was an unfeeling conversation about people Kidney and I both knew and a silent ride home with character c.

This is my point: "I like being true to myself and others. I don't like making phony conversations with people I'd rather ignore. Stop trying to make me bury the hatchet. I like my hatchets within reach, thank you."

#6 Drinking One Too Many Slushy Drinks

Due to all of the paper-pushing I've been doing lately, I have been thirstier than usual. 711, McDonalds and Starbucks have all made money from my slush-drink cravings. I think it's a bad sign. I now need paralyzing cold to jump start my brain.

Hurrah for sugar, ice and all things nice.

Drinks of choice:
1. Bumbulbee Slurpee
2. Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Iceblast
3. Mcdo Milk Shakes
4. Starbucks Iced Caramel Mocha

#5 Discovering better places to eat

All that traveling makes me a hungry girl. Though I usually hate eating fast food, I have found great alternatives. One such is PinoyDon at the Podium. Its fusion menu; with both Japanese and Filipino influences is sure to satisfy any one's cravings. Their expansive menu has Bangus in tempura batter with Teriyaki sauce, Tortang Talong Maki, Adobo-inspired Katsudons and more. Top it with a serving of their one of a kind green tea ice cream, you've got one of the best meals in the Ortigas area.

A runner up would be, New Bombay at the Columns, Makati. This Indian resto also has an expansive menu; friendly to vegetarians, meat lovers and dieters alike. Whether you want to carbo load with its meat and potatoes-esque meals or have a light lunch with a serving of nan bread and Yogurt shake; this is a resto that gives you what you need for the day.

#4. Palawan, my long awaited beach trip

Summer came ├╝ber late for me. But late this July, I finally...finally got to the beach. Good thing it was sunny in Palawan even if it was storming in Manila.

#3. Knowing that everything shall pass.

A lot of frustrating things happened during online hiatus. But am glad to say: everything passed, character c and I are alright. We're happier than before, we've survived the many init-ulo moments we had in the last months.

Of course, all this is compounded by the many issues my family also had. Though I cannot elaborate my family's difficulties here, (to do so would be invasive and unfair)... Let's just say that the past few months were turbulent. And that, oftentimes trying to keep my patience has tried my patience.

But all things do pass. I don't think Murphy's Law had anything to do with the last few months. For when my relationship issues were resolved, my familial and financial issues were resolved likewise.

#2. Tough Decisions

It is no secret that I have been living independently. But what never comes to light is the sacrifices it entails. Deciding not to live in lovely suburban homes means living in a bare urban apartment. I have always recognized my good fortune of having 2 suburban homes at my disposal, these are always appreciated. However, deciding to live on my own has prompted me to let go of their comforts.

Letting all that go was hard for me. When I made the decision to break away from my family late last year, I knew I was starting on a perilous path. What I did not know was being relatively absent from my family's affairs would also become a comforting thought. Coming home to an empty apartment does not always give one loneliness. I finally got to rest up, finally had a routine I could rely on.

As I am a closet OC personality; having routine, being able to schedule my days and knowing what to expect when I got home has given me relaxation. This peace of mind was unattainable when I was living at my lola's house; where I had to absorb the constant dramatics of its occupants, where I had to withstand everything said and left unsaid simply because I am the eldest of our brood.

Conversely, I doubt that I will have the same peace if I move into my mom's new house.

I like to think that I just need some space, some kind of distance. I don't think it's a matter of shirking from my responsibilities. It's a matter of letting myself breathe some. I will always be their grand daughter, her daughter, their sister, their niece. But I think it is also time I became just myself.

#1 My private self rediscovered

I have again found this out. The past half decade has not changed me much. I share things about me but withhold my bottom lines. I don't do it on purpose. I feel I withhold my private thoughts because I never really found the need to spell myself out...then and now.

As such, I have been reminded in the past few months that though I have many friends and have had many lovers; very few know the intents of my actions and my private hurts and pains. It may be that I have become a duality of sorts, alternately giving and withholding information at need.

In my short life, I have lost many things. I have lost people I loved. I have lost memories. I have been left many times. I have seen horrible things. I have kept many secrets. But after all that pain, all that loss; I realized all of it has left me steeled for the future. Loosing so many loves has only made me more willing to loose more.

My private thoughts remain undaunted to the many entreaties from friends and family. I still refuse to bear my heart. And though at times I may wear my heart on my sleeve, the heart you see is only a minute reflection of those deeper yearnings.

For that, I am grateful

Martes, Hulyo 14

A Very Personal Top Ten

Things have been spinning round wildly. But that wouldn't be news. So let me rephrase it. The past few weeks have offered me no hope of coherence. My would-be posts became as wily as my grandma's logic. As such, blogging has been on the back burner.

Now that most crap is in order, I have the time to list down ten things that have kept me on the tailspin.

#10. Change of Employment

Not many people know what I actually do for a living. It's mostly because (compared to the average Filipino yuppie) I hate talking shop. All the positions I've held always had to do with words. I am thankful to have had a malleable vocation. Something that adapts to my needs and the jobs I accept. However, my convictions aren't so flexible. The past 2 weeks have been a barrage of pushing papers, considering (and refusing) job offers and making silent concessions with myself.

In an earlier post, I discussed my employment conundrum. I'm glad to say things have progressed since then. On the 20th, I will start working as a business analyst for corporation A. A job that will not ask for creativity and (hopefully) not too much social skills. I have my reasons for taking this on, this "uncreative" job. All of which I won't discuss here.

#9. Falling in Love with the Sidelines

For the past half decade, I have embraced the headlines. I believed I needed to take part in history as it happened. The first quarter of this year has forced me to the sides, to toe the lapping waters of history rather than swim in it. Though I miss being in the middle of things; it hasn't been all bad. Time for reflection can never be bad.

Now that I am well-rested and have had enough reflection; I'm ready to dive into history's depths once more.

#8. Reading Good and Not-so Good Books

Waiting at government offices is great for catching up on your reading. Iris Murdoch forced me into philosophy as I delved in her well-crafted plots. I especially loved:
I also loved "The Principles of Love" by Emily Franklin. Its amusing treatise on pop culture and art coupled with dynamic narration makes it seem like a book within a book. A witty mix of self-exploration, rock & roll, pop psychiatry all told by one off beat voice.

My reading list also included "The Secret Word" by Jennifer Paddock, "The Gift of Acabar" by Og Mandino and (surprisingly) "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White.




#7 Cornered and Still Standing

I make few enemies. But those I make, I mark for life. I don't like being forced into reconciliation or meaningless small talk by well-meaning common friends.

Perhaps, I have been too polite to make this clear. On three separate occasions, I was conned into conversing with 3 people I didn't even want to acknowledge.

Two of these incidents, character c was to blame. His philosophy of "putting it all behind us" never really did jive well with my "to the death!" philosophy. When he tried to make me talk to Sidney and Kidney on two separate occasions, I gave him a look that could have withered all the plants on Ayala Avenue.

The last and most devastating of all: one mid-June afternoon, character c and I were supposed to meet my friend D for some coffee and dinner. I was raring to see friend D and introduce him to character C; whom he had heard of but never met. Friend D inevitably rolls round with a lady friend in tow.

The said lady friend; was an old friend of mine. Someone who had the gall to call my mother and inform my mother that:

1. I was sleeping around
2. I was living with different men at a time
3. Her strange whack-job, street person type mother disapproves of me.

It was only natural I stopped talking to the manipulative, daughter of a cult-leader and street person; character E. (She was banned from setting foot on our house, my mother was THAT pissed).

But since my good friend D was so full of good peace-making intentions; I decided to put on a plastic mask and keep my seething anger at bay.Our dinner conversation was filled with trivial high school memories. Character E better be thankful that I am not at her level of crass. Else, I would have asked her the following questions over dinner:

1. How is your father and what does he do again for a living?
2. How is your mom and how are her rice cakes faring? Does she still sell them over at EDSA cor Aurora?
3. How are your illegitimate nephews and nieces? Is your sister still sleeping with exotic dancers?

Oh, and: "Kindly recount the night you called my mother up..."

But I did tell friend D that he had my support. That I was still rooting for them. What I meant to say was: "This is your grave you're digging. I fully support that. It's the only way you'll learn."

To be continued.

Linggo, Hunyo 28

Answers from the Great Beyond...

"I'm pushing an elephant up the stairs
I'm tossing up punch lines that were never there
Over my shoulder a piano falls
Crashing to the ground
I'm breaking through
I'm bending spoons
I'm keeping flowers in full bloom
I'm looking for answers from the great beyond"

-REM, The Great Beyond

A lot of things have been happening, lately. In fact, things have been happening too fast. There are changes in our life (mine and character c's) which we would rather not have. However, the bulk of the choices have had to be made on my part.

We all know that eventually, we'll arrive at a crossroad. Whether it's in our professional or personal lives, dilemmas are sure to appear. My dilemma of late has been of the professional kind. But not strictly so. It's also intertwined with my ideology and how I have planned to live the rest of my life.

Last February, I left my corporate job to go back to activism. Since then, character c and I have been waiting for that one call. The one call which would assure us our former circle would like to have us back.

The past months have been very hard on us financially; specifically because I turned down a lot of corporate jobs. I turned these down because I wanted to keep my schedule (and options) open; just in case our activist colleagues called us back to duty.

It has been four months. Four dire months.

Yesterday, I received a call from a really good company (let's call it company 55). Their salary was great and so were the add-ons and the benefits. Their offer was hard to ignore. They invited me to sign on. The appointment was made for Monday.

And as if I was being played for a fool by fate; the call I've been waiting for came in after company 55's call. I was asked by colleague R to report for duty on Monday.

Thus, I am in a major dilemma. Should I sacrifice my family's security for unstable employment? It's not just about the financial aspect. It's about the amount of waiting character c and I had to go through for this certain unstable job. An unstable job that I would love.

In my heart of hearts, I know that I'd like to drop everything for colleague R's proposal. But recent life-changes has forced pragmatism on me. And in my pragmatism, I've learned that not all things we love will love us back. Not everything we wait for comes at opportune time.

If it's true that when we want something, the universe conspires to give it to us; I have a message for the universe.

Dear Universe,

You're late. You're proposal will be given much thought and discussion. I cannot guarantee my approval. Don't do be late again.

Tish