My longest relationship is with WordPress

My blog turned five today!

I celebrated it by writing on my TinyLetter. Ha. Because that’s what you do when you wanted to share your thoughts but limit your audience. At least it can’t easily be Googled.

Two years ago, I read Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry. Martin’s wife Marijke, left for Amsterdam. There were reasons why she had to leave Martin to his own devices but I’m not gonna discuss that here. What struck me was how Marijke didn’t have an online presence and even when Martin Googled her, no result turned up.

If you think about it, having an online presence is like having a horcrux. Or several of it while splitting your existence into different social networks.

Marijke fascinated me in a way that I wondered what it was like to not be involved in this invisible tether that connects you and I.

I discovered the internet when I was 10. It was the dawn of the millennia and the internet is this huge realm where I could be whoever I project to be. Social networks have sprung everywhere and I signed up when I could. There was this misguided notion, that the world needed to know me and not just within the sheltered circle that I was on the verge of escaping.

Friendster, MySpace, Multiply, Hi5, Plurk, Wayn, Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Blogger, Tumblr–name it, and I would have given you leave to add me. If I Google my name, several of these social networks will offer up a shittone of results of those early projections of myself. A decade after I created my Friendster account, I only managed to maintain Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and WordPress. I did end up deleting Friendster and my Multiply (where I started blogging) had to go when the site had to shut down permanently.

Last year, when I quit my job, I deactivated my Facebook because I didn’t want my ex boss and my office mates to know what I was up to. A bit extreme because I could always opt not to post anything or customize my filter. Yet deactivating it gave me the illusion that I was hidden from view.

When I got hired for my new job, my new office friends were asking why I didn’t have Facebook. By then, I already have other reasons why I deactivated it.

“I did not want my validation to come from social media.”

“Scrolling thru my news feed depresses me.”

“If my friends need me or wanted to see me, they’ll seek me out instead of commenting on my Facebook posts.”

Facebook gives the impression that we are closer to people on our friends list than we really are.”

My Facebook is active for days at a time–when the whim strikes. Since 2014 though, the number of times that my Facebook is active might only be equivalent to three months. I’ve come to realize that everyone doesn’t need to know who I am or who I pose to be. I don’t have to be an open book and most of the time, people couldn’t care any less. I am not touching lives that way. A few months ago, I finally deleted some of those old social networks I signed up for as a teenager, my Facebook is still inactive, I have Twitter, Instagram and WordPress but I’d like to think I’ve reduced my online presence to half of what it was before. I’m aiming to cut it by a quarter but there is still a part of me that could not shut up. I still wanted to be heard and connect to people with what I write but not because I wanted to be perceived a certain way.

This irresistible avenue to connect to you is something I may not be able to quit after all.

**

My longest relationship to date. Haha.

My longest relationship to date. Haha.

Lacunae

Back in January, my namesake, Joyce, introduced me to TinyLetter. I adored her enough to try almost everything she recommends so I signed up for it weeks later. At the time though, she said, “Mahirap kasi sa WordPress, everyone can see it.” I did not understand it– not right away. I rather thought I was okay with everyone seeing my online blather. It turns out, I’m not.  What I did not realize was that ‘everyone’ also included people I know and I’m more comfortable with virtual strangers glimpsing what messy emotions I share online.

I will occasionally post things here but I’m gearing towards sending letters to people who are willing to read my many emotions on paper.

So this is a way to limit my audience. At least I warned would-be subscribers what they’re signing up for.

Lacunae

ləˈk(y)o͞onə/
noun
plural noun: lacunae
  1. an unfilled space or interval; a gap.
    “the journal has filled a lacuna in Middle Eastern studies”
    • a missing portion in a book or manuscript.
    • Anatomy
      a cavity or depression, especially in bone.

    This was also partly inspired by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Lacuna Inc., was the name of the clinic that offers to erase the memory of a person you don’t want to remember anymore. To stop the grief, the hurt and to seemingly move on without impediments. I am at the point where I am willing to have my memory erased if there is indeed such a thing as Lacuna Inc. in reality. But at the moment, I could only afford to purge memories by writing them down. Or at least the emotions tied to the memories I have yet to replace.

    Maybe by writing them down, I could fill the gaps you left.

    **

Not blind as a bat. But close.

It’s almost the weekend and I’m here sitting in the office, too early for work and yet dreading the whole day because I can barely see. I left my spectacles at home and I could only see these words blurring together– just like my unknown future–hazy. I will probably strain my eyes for the next eight hours, alternately squinting and widening my eyes just to get a clearer view. I have worn glasses on and off since I was nine. But people who have been blessed with better eyesight still do not have a clear grasp of what I see and cannot see.

For the most part, the world is a blur. I’m hopeless with reading and stringing letters together at a great distance. And that’s also because I’m not a fucking owl. I could see people, their shapes, what they’re wearing and their profile. If I have known you for some time, I’ll know it’s you because of your profile but you can’t expect me to see how your face looks like. Your face is a blur and any hope of eye contact from a distance is next to none, because to me, your eyes are hollow black holes. I could have missed your stares from across the room because I won’t ever see your pupils dilating, or your eyes narrowing unless I have my glasses on.

You’d think being nearsighted for most of my life, I’ll be dependent on it for everything. I am– to a certain degree.In moments, like today where I’ll feel handicapped working without one. Other than that, when it comes to human interaction, I tend to be stubborn and used to not donning glasses just to avoid eye contact.

Myopia is so convenient when people ask why I didn’t notice them. You won’t ever know if I purposely ignored you or if I genuinely didn’t see you. There is a certain level of comfort when I don’t see people’s faces as clearly. Or maybe that’s just my self-absorption coming into play. I barely give a fuck about the world around me. You may be falling in love with me from afar and I wouldn’t know. You may be wishing I was dead with murder in your eyes and I would have no clue until you’re significantly closer or in my face. You may be rolling your eyes at the absurdity that I am and I’ll only know if I’m wearing my glasses and happened to look at  you.

A 20/20 vision is sometimes, a burden you know. You’re responsible for a lot of things whereas myopic hoes like me always have an excuse. I really don’t have a point. I just wanted to rant and then go home to get my glasses. I have eight hours and 47 minutes to endure. The computer screen is less than a foot away from my face, today.

 

Good luck with that.

*

 

 

The Benefits of Pushing People Away

1. What better way to insulate yourself from getting hurt than walking away first?

2. You get a clearer picture on who would fight to stay and who would let you walk away.

3.  The luxury to practice ambivalence.

4. They’re too good for you and they deserve better than the flighty, blubbering mess that you are– never ready to fully risk it and backing out at the slightest hint of pain.

5. You eliminate the chance of them trampling all over you.

6. It’s only fair because you’re less than deserving of their affection.

7. It is easier to push them away than let them in.

8. You ultimately die alone.

**

 

 

I Am Not A Writer. I Just Have Internet Connection.

For years, I have been deluding myself that I could actually write something worth reading. Must have stemmed from elementary and high school journalism classes I took. The truth is, I’m a better reader than a writer. But when it comes down to it, I simply enjoy reading without the requisite poetic waxing and over analysis that comes after finishing a book. I could enjoy plots and characters without looking for metaphors or deeper meaning that the author may or may have not directly intended. I have only began analyzing it after reading reviews in Goodreads and I’ll be asked to rate a book I have finished.

Some people would go as far as to tag me as an intellectual when really, I am an escapist who finds solace in books. The habit has been ingrained ever since I could remember. My mother taught me my letters when I was three. Lucky for her, I have fallen in love with reading when I should probably be playing outdoors with other kids. As an avid reader, I have this notion that I could also write. Ah, what conceit. When I was in third grade, I signed up for a journalism class because I thought that’s where all the cool upper classmen were. I was right but I have no clue what I should be writing and a lot of times, I just wished I’d quit and stay home after school. The biggest joke was when I was assigned to be the editor for the fourth graders. The hell do I know about editorials and news-writing at nine? Yeah, yeah, they taught me all I should include when writing in the opinion section. What I failed to articulate was that I am mostly apathetic even at that age and I’d rather write about trivial things like what my class mate, Francesca, the feature writer was free to do. I couldn’t care a fig about current events to voice out an opinion. For the rest of my elementary years that I was stuck in editorials, I envied  Francesca her lot in life.

High school was a reprieve because when they held auditions for the Journalism club, I did not hesitate to apply for the feature writing slot. I got in after impressing some upper classmen on a piece I wrote about Avril Lavigne. Several contests and campus newspapers in, I was high on my imagined success. Though I did not pursue it as a career. Perhaps I have decided I wouldn’t after realizing that writers in this country barely get paid. Coming from a huge family, I could not afford to be a starving artist. I needed a job that would pay the bills and help the family out. Writing? I could do that on my free time while being a white collared professional, right?

College has humbled me enough after rooming with three Communication Arts students. Those girls were required to read wonderful books for classes and write essays and reviews. Even their exams are about in-depth analysis of great novels of Dostoevsky, Kafka, Hugo, name it. Who am I to think that I could write worth shit? Why I bothered three years of studying Human Nutrition was partly due to a misguided notion that I will finish a bachelor of science degree. It’s so lame when I think of it now. I could have switched majors before I flunked all my Chemistry classes.

If I would list down all the wrong turns and decisions I made in life, I’d start with the degree I’ve chosen and failed to finish. That was eight years ago. I shake my fist in the sky but it does me no good.

A month ago, I quit my job. I decided that my sanity was not worth losing over a very good basic salary. It’s one of my many selfish acts for the year as my family have been depending on me for five years now. What’s more selfish was that I did not have a fall back plan nor did I find a new job right after quitting. I did manage to read over 30 books, sleep whenever I want, hang out with friends with what little money I have left and told myself that I would work from home instead. Anything that will allow me to earn without being boxed in an office.

More than a month has passed and I’m still unemployed and too busy reading. It’s  not even the lack of job opportunities that hinder me from being back in the work force. Too lazy to look for a job but not too lazy to finish a book until seven in the morning. Work from home sounds so good to me because of the flexible hours and lack of stress from an office environment. Then I daydream of a job that will allow me to travel, read some more, pay the bills and upend my roots when the whim strikes. A writer can do that, can’t she? So what have I managed to write so far? Essays, sure. Features, hell yes. Poems, yep. Short stories, dipped my toes there.  A novel, not even close. I’m turning a quarter of a century by the end of this year and it’s also when I’m all over the place. It’s not rock bottom but boy, I have gots to get my shit together. And soon.

images

**

The Fault In My Star

In the last couple of months, I have enjoyed the privilege of being friends with someone who works for a digital marketing company, in that I have copped free advanced screening tickets of several movies and events. Yesterday was no different, except that it was one highly anticipated film adaptation for the fans of the book The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I have read that book late 2012 when my gay ex-boss lent it to me and boy did I cry buckets over that story– and that was even before someone died (Oops). Back then, my boss warned me that it was heartbreaking but I was skeptic that it will make me cry and that I was chalking it up to my boss being more emotional than I am. Several chapters in and I was crying like a baby.

The Fault in Our Stars is a 2014 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Josh Boone, based on John Green‘s 2012 novel of the same name. The film stars Shailene WoodleyAnsel Elgort, and Nat Wolff. Hazel and Augustus are two teenagers who meet at a cancer support group. Hazel’s condition is terminal, and Augustus decides to grant her wish to meet the author of her favorite novel An Imperial Affliction in Amsterdam. (Wikipedia, 2014)

What appealed to me more than the poignant star-crossed lovers plot was how Hazel’s parents are strong, loving, solid and hopeful. The kind of couple that holds on to each other amidst a strong current instead of being swept away by the looming possibility of cancer taking their only child away. I have only read the book once but that stayed with me. Let’s face it, grief can do a lot of collateral damage to those left and relationships can crumble by the sheer weight of it. Seeing the adaptation, I was wondering if it will strike the same chord with me and I was surprised to find a different one instead. I usually avoid reading/ rereading a book so close to the film release, so that I would not obsess over minute details not present in the adaptation. From a book fan who waited a year to see this, I was not disappointed. I have long trusted Shailene Woodley’s ability to make me cry after seeing The Descendants. Any other cracks rendered by the film adaptation to the hollow in my chest was entirely my undoing. What translated into film as I try to see it in the perspective of someone who has not read the book yet, is that the love between Hazel and Augustus, is all the more important in its immediacy and the fact that they would not be around long enough (um, cancer) to further explore the highs and lows of a relationship. Levithan once said that,

“People take love’s continuity for granted, just as they take their body’s continuity for granted. They don’t realize that the best thing about love is its regular presence. Once you can establish that, it’s an added foundation to your life.” (Every Day, David Levithan)

Hazel and Gus certainly did not take their love for granted. Risked falling even when they know that their days are numbered. There was a scene where Hazel’s dad was trying to comfort her and he states that Hazel had the privilege of loving Gus. How many of us can claim deeply loving someone and that a world without them is unimaginable? Count me out. But it didn’t stop me from crying. Even the innate strength of Hazel’s parents were apparent in the film. Gus’s parents though barely made a dent. In the book, there was a foreshadowing about Gus’s fate before they left for Amsterdam. None of that was shown in the movie which has blindsided the viewers who have not read the book. Other than that, I cannot complain on what has been a wonderful retelling of Green’s novel that has reached out to people outside the target audience of Young Adults. Could the kind of love that Hazel and Gus had survive if we take cancer out of the picture? I’d like to think so. It is hard work and takes certain amount of risk to fall for someone, much less continue loving them for the rest of one’s life however short it may be. There are people lucky enough, and brave enough to find that kind of love– the kind that is lasting, hopeful, strong, solid and real.The fault was solely in my star, in that, I might never find that kind of love in real life. **