Hangover Thoughts

Yesterday, I spent the morning drinking with my work friends up till five in the afternoon. In the middle of it, we were joined by my friend’s boyfriend, L, who was an aspiring lawyer and whom I know to be righteous in every sense of the word. I say this without mockery as I know there are people out there who will try their best to choose and do what is right even when it is uncomfortable and inconvenient. Before he joined that drinking session, I was very tipsy which I thought was a nice touch because sleep would be so sweet once I come home. I just didn’t know that a heated debate that would follow shortly would wipe away any drunkenness from our persons.

A subject came up about one of our friends whom we can’t confront about a shady issue in the recent past. It brought about a discussion in which L asked each of us if we will choose to turn him in for an infraction we suspect he’s committing. Each of us said no. That even when we know that he might be doing something wrong, we will not cause his downfall. L pointed out that it is the same reason that the country is corrupt–because at the nuclear level, people have this skewed perception of relationships over altruism. Our own interests hinder us from pursuing the greater good. 

I have long since known myself a subscriber of the grey and gray morality and that I could tolerate a lot of bullshit. But it doesn’t make me less aware that I am using it as a convenient excuse not to seek the light and be a good person. I would argue that nothing is as black and white as it should be. You would say that the truth is absolute and we should always do what is right. I would then, counter argue that what is right is relative and who’s to judge what is right for a person when we only have the arrogance of hindsight? 

I went home thinking that although the discussion was intellectually stimulating, it drains the emotion. And I ask myself if I would ever consider fixing my moral compass or continue down the path of apathy and selfishness. 
Good thing this isn’t Game of Thrones because I’m pretty sure there is a middle ground. 


Para Sa Mga Takot Sa Punyetang Relapse. 

May tinatawag na maintenance even after nagtagumpay ka sa pagmomove on. Mas matagal pa nga ata yun kesa sa aktwal na paghilom. Yes, may kasunod agad na steps ang pagmomove on. 

Andaming ways para magmove on. Magsisimula yon kapag handa ka na. Pero alam mo anong mas nakakatakot? Relapse. Kasi you’re more vulnerable than ever. Tsaka ayaw mo na pakatanga uli.

Pero may mga bagay na di mo mapipigilan. Kagaya ng pabebe girls at mga feelings mong pabebe din. Di kita mabibigyan ng timeline kelan nangyayari ang relapse. Madalas, ambabaw lang ng trigger, pero feeling mo talo ka agad pag gusto mo nanaman bumalik sa hinayupak na yon.

Kalma, ‘te. Normal yan. The following are fool-proof (naks, ulol) steps para wag magrelapse:


01. Ipaalala sa sarili ang repercussions ng relapse.

Darating at darating ka sa point na feeling mo wala ka nang pake ano mang mangyari basta mabalik lang sya sayo. Feeling mo ready ka magrisk uli sa kanya. Sa puntong ito, isipin mo bat ba natapos ang lahat in the first place. Kapag binalikan mo ba sya, may magbabago na ba? Ipaglalaban ka na ba nya? Kung ang sagot ay no sa mga tanong na ito, eto mapapala mo:

  • wala
  • sayang oras
  • sakit
  • katangahan (Tigilan mo na to. Sumali ka sa campaign ko, #wagtanga2015)



02. Iwasan uminom, malasing, pag alam mong marami ka nanamang feelings.

Alam mong magda-drunk text/tweet/status/call ka na e, humahanap ka lang ng excuse para macontact sya. Wag ka nga. 

Counterproductive yun after all the moving on na ineffort mo na. Drunk text ka pa, tas pag di ka pinansin, masama loob mo. Pag pinansin ka, ano, kinaganda/kinapogi mo ba? Hindi. Pag sober ka na, maiisip lang nya, patay na patay ka pa din sa kanya. 

Sa lahat ng ayaw mo ay maawa na lang sya sayo kaya nagrereply pa sya.

03. Lumayo hangga’t kaya mong lumayo.

Emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, ano pa? Kung afford mong magtravel, maglakwatsa, and to put actual distance sa kung san ka man nya iniwan, gawin mo. 

Sinabi naman sa ‘yo na maraming natutulong ang Distancia, Amigo.

Itong portion na ‘to, kelangan mo i-meynteyn hangga’t nararamdaman mo yung urge na lumapit at paliitin ang mundo nyo.

04. Let yourself feel all the feelings kapag bumabalik.

Pag pinigilan mo lalo lang lumalakas e. Let yourself feel everything all over again. Ang strength mo di na manggagaling sa pagiging bato kundi sa desisyon na wala kang gagawin about your feelings. Kasi kahit anong dami pa nyan, nauubos din, nawawala, napapagod, magiging muted until it ultimately fades. Buti na lang walang forever. Sakit? It’s not gonna last forever.

05. Wag tumambay sa nakaraan.


Ang last pero pinakaimportanteng kaakibat ng Step 4. Sige feel all your feelings pero wag ka tumambay sa kahapon. Napakadelikado ng what ifs and could’ve beens dahil sa kahapon ka na lang mabubuhay kung saan wala nang tao kundi ikaw. And you’ll only starve yourself. Isa pa, sabi nila nostalgia is a trap–an illusion that makes you think that everything was better than it actually was. 
Ganun ganon na lang ba yon? Matapos mong sikaping maging buo muli, magpapakatanga ka na naman sa kanya isang text lang ng ‘I miss you’

Ba’t di ko na lang kaya dukutin puso mo at ako na lang kakatay? Gusto mo ata e.
Joke lang. Alam ko mahirap. Iinom naten yan.


Historical Romances, Apologies and Weekends

Why should romance novels, erotica, historical romances with smutty undertones be deemed as guilty pleasures? As if it is something to be ashamed of. As if there weren’t any well written novels out there. As if E.L. James succeeded in blinding literary snobs that there aren’t anything worth finding in erotica. As if Anne Rice didn’t go there first. As if we should be allergic to happy endings. And as if sex is still something so dirty and best discussed in hushed tones. We’re in 2015, and I refuse to apologize for my reading choices.

I’ve long since admitted my obsession with romance novels. Nora Roberts initiated me into the world of adult (hello, may Francine Pascal pa, Sweet Valley High) romance novels . Well, English is my second language, but in the strictest sense, I have been secretly reading Tagalog pocketbooks when my mother wasn’t looking, at the age of 12– Yung Precious Hearts Romances. Wag kayong ano, magaling si Martha Cecilia. At huwag kayong maniwala sa adaptation nun ng Kristine Series, ambabaw.

Nora Roberts came later, when I was 16 and my mum has borrowed several copies at a time from her friend. The first non academic book I may have bought with my allowance was Roberts’ Inner Harbor which was part of the Quinn Brothers Saga. But by that time, I have read close to a hundred Nora Roberts books and when I started working, I felt that the most amazing part of it is being able to buy whatever book I fancy. That freedom translated into discovering other romance writers, even when I always go back to Nora like she’s my lodestone. Maybe she is.

In truth, aside from the steamy sex scenes, Nora’s prose were well written: the world building superb and the character building stellar. If she so chose to write about ballet dancers, you’d wonder if the author was once a prima ballerina, if the protagonist was an archeologist, you start suspecting she regularly participated in digs– that’s how well researched her stories are. At the time though, I barely have anything to compare it by so I took those things for granted. I incorrectly thought that all writers are excellent world builders.

It wasn’t until 2009 that a friend introduced me to historical romances. It was Julie Garwood and The Secret was set in the 12th century. Imagine the delight of a history fan when romance could actually be found in the midst of a seemingly long-standing Scots- English alienation. Prior to that, I did not have any idea that there were highlanders or lowlanders and that most Scottish clans were warrior-farmers. These things haven’t even scratched the surface of the knowledge and opportunities to learn that historical fiction offers. I have since discovered Judith McNaught, Julia Quinn, Philippa Gregory (not so much a romance writer but a historical fiction author), Lisa Kleypas, Stephanie Laurens, Sylvia Day and my all time favorite– Eloisa James. I know more about English aristocracy than I have any use for. And that is okay. I like knowing things. Even when they have no actual application in my life.

I could say I am equal parts pragmatic and romantic. Give me a book and I will zero in on a potential match or any apparent tension between characters. But I am less susceptible to any kind of romantic involvement anywhere else you place me. For years, I felt that reading romance novels isn’t the same as reading classical fiction, Pulitzer Prize winners and business books. I am not alone in imagining that there is a slight bias where people see that HEAs (happily ever afters) were considered inferior to tragedies. (Haha. LIES.)



If you spend an inordinate amount of time, consuming women’s fiction, you’ll soon realize that no matter how hot the scenes were, it shouldn’t in any way debase the prose. Please don’t cite Fifty Shades nor Twilight as an example. Because if you’ve read Anne Rice, or tried RITA winners, you would know that there are writers and then there are excellent ones. In this light, I dare not include Nicholas Sparks books whose formula fiction is something even non readers are familiar with, because of his high handedness that ‘no one can do what he does’ and his love scenes so muted, it gives you the wrong expectations about sex. Sex that can be awkward and messy doesn’t exist in Nick Sparks books; as if perfect, mind-blowing lovemaking is made possible due to a love that great. What bullshit.

So I won’t apologize if my weekends are filled with romance novels. What I read doesn’t define me as person. Do not peg me as some diddly-eyed romantic just because bulk of what I consume in fiction are happy endings. I do not see the world in rose-colored lenses– George R.R. Martin disabused me of that notion years ago. I do not want to come off as indignant because I am not mad if we aren’t on the same page. I just won’t apologize for my preference. But only for the times that I thought that I won’t learn anything new from it or that Romance as a genre is any less promising than any other branch of fiction. In all honesty, only fiction can render such a wide range of emotion from me more than reality does. So much so that my prerequisite for rating a book 5 stars is only when it moved me. Making me cry is easy. But moving me to actually do something or influence a decision must be something worth sharing to friends. Like the world is forever changed when you read the story and you cannot live in it when the people around you do not know of your discovery.

Don't judge it by its cover. It's steamier than it looks. Ha

Don’t judge it by its cover. It’s steamier than it looks. Ha

Ask me what I did over the weekend and I might just give you titles I’ve finished. Or you can also ask me what the difference is between a viscount and a marquess; how a cavalry and infantry aren’t the same thing; compare between a battle and a war. Either way, there isn’t enough discouragement in the world to stop me from reading romances. Except of course–walang forever, pakshet.


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.


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.


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 spectacles 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.