home           about           blog           archives           domain           exits           ask

And now back to regular programming..

Possibly my last picture as a teenager.
(Also: learning how to smile without teeth)

After last night's sudden urge to wax dramatic (which I will still blame on the hormones, while I still can), today I'm going to feel excited again! My birthday is always something I look forward to and no amount of dramatic decade-shift is going to take the good vibes away.

So bring it on, October 26! :)


Dearest raging teenage hormones,

I have blamed you for most of my unwarranted episodes of sudden stupidity, used your name in vain when my logic failed to have been used appropriately, and hated your debilitating effects on my face and my body every twenty-eight days or so. Because of this I have given you a name that you probably don't deserve, but possibly secretly liked: whore-moans.

Thanks to you, I have had the (dis)pleasure of saying too much with alcohol in my blood, crying over spilled milk (aka beer), not caring about the future, going to school without a wink of sleep, dissing a friend, liking boys that don't deserve my attention, feeling incredibly insecure about my self, attaching my self-worth to the numbers on the scale -- yep, the whole buffet of "youthful misgivings."

And yet, you were also responsible for (1) the flush on my cheeks the first time I saw James Lafferty on screen, (2) my overwhelming bouts of rage over people who crossed my lines [not THE line, just my lines which I drew for myself because I'm angsty like that], (3) the spontaneity in screaming expletives in utter delight, in hugging someone from behind, and holding someone's hand, and (4) a string of other moments as a result of a sudden surge of emotions.

Twenty doesn't only sound old - it is old. It means saying goodbye to all the irrationality of the teenage years, with the expectation that you've learned enough in the last seven years of your life to stop doing stupid things. But what if I keep being stupid? What if I don't stop making the same mistakes? Losing the suffix "-teen" in my age somehow leaves no room for errors. And that scares me. At least with you in my system, I could just give a giant "Fuck y'all, I'm a teenager and I don't care!" to the world, and everyone can dismiss it as an episodic attack of the hormones.

Now, with your expiration coming near, where does that leave me? I wish you didn't have to go so soon, not with me still trying to make sense of body parts and feelings and everything in between.

One day, I'm sure I'm going to be more than glad for finally getting rid of you. My logic will thank the heavens for finally disposing of the hormones that keep distracting the brain from doing its purpose. But until then, I'm singing your praises and giving my thanks for the nights to remember and the days to regret, for the noise of exploding emotions and the quietude of hands that held.

It has been a wild ride. You may not get to stay but the feelings of having you will. And now for the last time, I sing: Let's get these teen hearts beating faster, faster.

Yours 'til the whore moans,


On My Bedside Table: The Long-Awaited Edition

I have been failing tremendously on my pseudo-New Year's Resolution to update my blog with more book posts this year. I promised myself that I should be doing more On My Bedside Table posts with the intention that with every update comes a new round of books at least twice a month. Sadly, I haven't had the time nor the money to afford to read new books at that frequency. I'm tired of using acads an excuse to everything, because I'm also partly blaming myself for not committing to reading so much more than I should have, but I also cannot say that it wasn't a major factor in my having to give up reading for pleasure.

But alas, there's no use complaining about that anymore. Now that the sembreak is (almost!) over, I can finally relish once again in the fact that I can resume to reading the books I actually do like. You all know I read several books at the time; I have this habit of reading several chapters from any book I feel like sifting through, then putting it down in exchange for another one when I get bored, only to pick it up again a few days or weeks later. The narratives don't necessarily jumble up in my head thankfully, but the problem with that is now that I finally have the time to continue where I left off, I have so much to begin with! Not that I'm complaining, though. I actually don't mind. At least I have something(s) to get me off of the Internet for a while.

Obviously, I have two sets of bedside table books waiting to be devoured again: one at home, and one at the dorm. Shall we begin?

Books On My Bedside Table: In Katipunan
  • The Art of the Personal Essay edited by Phillip Lopate. I bought this about two years ago way before I had decided that I was to take up creative nonfiction as my chosen genre for my thesis. I had always been most in love with CNF, and perhaps I had an inkling even back then that this was what I truly wanted to do. This anthology was where I got the idea for my thesis, actually, and while it doesn't contain the material I needed, it still gives me a lot of ideas regarding what I want to do. Besides, all the essays in it are such a joy to read, even if I weren't doing CNF, it's still easily one of the best books I ever bought.

  • The Likhaan Anthology of Philippine Literature in English from 1900 to the Present edited by Gemino Abad. This is our "textbook" for my CL151 (Phil. Lit) classJustify Full and though I've perused it long before this semester, I've new-found appreciation for it after thoroughly discussing the texts, especially the poetry. The short stories were all brilliant choices for me, because it had a good mix of different topics written by writers from different generations and class, as were the essays.

  • Ballerina by Edward Stewart. I bought this book for Php50 at Book Sale a few months after seeing Black Swan. It's narrative is somewhat parallel to that: two dancers who eventually become friends, then competitors in the highly cutthroat world of ballet. This kind of brings out my ballerina frustrations because I still recognize a lot of the steps - I stopped ballet when I was in fourth grade, just a year before I went on pointe because our teacher left for Australia, and I had to choose academics over going to a different, farther school. A huge part of me still wishes I never gave up on that.

  • Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. On one lazy Thursday afternoon, I decided to go to National Bookstore Katipunan out of boredom, and came back home with this twenty-peso find. Php20. A classic Fitzgerald novel that I hardly ever see on shelves! I just had to buy it. I've always wanted to see the lifestyles of the rich and famous through Fitzgerald's eyes. (It's far more glamorous than how Gossip Girl presents it to be, I believe) And besides, it's the twenties/thirties era!

  • All The Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen. This author's debut novel is an exploration of the life of three men straight out of college - suddenly away from the comforts of their intellectual pursuits and burdened with the harshness of "the real world." I'm actually only a few chapters away from finishing the book, and I can say that it does indeed give you an accurate, if not startling, picture of reality after you've finally gotten your diploma - suddenly everything changes: your priorities, your love, your ideals. It's pretty scary, yet it's actually exciting too, the way everything converges in the end; not what you expected, but maybe what you needed.

Books On My Bedside Table: In Paranaque
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Yes, I have had this on my list for about six months now. You have to understand that it's an incredibly heavy book with extremely small letters. That being said, however, it is probably one of the first thick, hefty novels that I have never gotten bored of. I rarely count the chapters when I have this in my hands. And quite honestly, I think I have found a new hero in Alexei Karenin. That man is the god of indifference - I bow down, really.

  • The Secret Life of the English Language by Martin H. Manser. This one is not a novel, but a fascinating run through of the evolution of the English language. It touches on its history as well as its interesting oddities, like the origins of expressions/idioms and the lost meaning of some common words we use today. It's a light read, but it's pretty extensive considering the amount of information it has. And if you're geeky enough, these little pieces of trivia could be great conversation starters! "Who would have known that the word "nerd" came from Dr. Seuss?" Of course, that'll be interesting only to girls who find the English language equally attractive.

  • To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. This one, I'm still in the process of finishing for my book report for CL122 (Literary Theory) class due on Monday. It is a short novel, but much of it occurs in just a single day; its form is focused on the stream of consciousness style, and is a subversion on the typical narrative way of driving a story. An exploration of the self, family, time, and life in general, this book is representative of Woolf's attempts at taking part in the Modernist ideology.

  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith. I've long wanted to pick up something by Zadie Smith and was torn between White Teeth and this one. I ultimately chose this one because it speaks about something I'm more interested in at the moment: the convergence of cultures and principles set in the always intellectually turbulent groves of a university. It's about two families, both of which have their lives deeply entrenched in the academe, and how they deal with their differences as well as surprising similarities. I'm still only one-third through the book but I can already tell it's a great novel.

  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. You could say this is my "love at first sight" novel of the year. It was also my inaugural purchase at the newly opened Fully Booked Katipunan just a few blocks away from my dorm. (Oh, the temptation!) A glimpse of what the novel contains: An English major. Undergraduate thesis. Jane Austen, George Eliot, and other Victorian novelists. Literary criticism. Derrida. A love triangle. Love after graduation. If this novel isn't reflective of where I am right now, I don't know what else is. I immediately went out to buy it the morning after I read about it. I shall make it a priority this sembreak.

My semester officially ends on Monday. Oh, dear books, be patient. My heart is ecstatic - I cannot wait to spend my nights with you again! See you in about forty-eight hours.



Closing time.

A peculiar mix of pour homme and jasmine milk tea lingered in the air while they drove along the streets just outside the university. She had an exam the next day and could use an extra hour or two of sleep, really. But it was a Friday and Fridays always held in it a certain kind of enchantment she couldn't say no to. He texted her if she wanted to eat out and without hesitation, she said yes.

It was her first time riding his car tonight - in fact her first time riding anyone's car. She wasn't comfortable breaking into his space, as she was just as reluctant letting him in hers. There was a teddy bear nudged between the rear window and the car seat, she noticed. She didn't need to ask to figure out it may have been from someone special. So he had a past, she thought. I have too. Only hers was an unrealistic longing for Ryan Gosling. His, meanwhile, was an actual girl. She wasn't jealous, no. There had been a confirmation of their feelings after all, just two weeks ago. But she still felt the awkward silences creeping in between them every now and then, threatening to destroy the little bubble she has created for them.

He was still driving silently, his eyes focused on the tail lights and the road in front of him. Meanwhile, her hands wanted to search for his, in a silent, desperate call for affirmation, that indeed she did not make the wrong decision of agreeing to this sudden milk tea date, and of confessing to him twelve days ago, or rather, at all, after being classmates (and seatmates) for only three months. But she couldn't because they weren't at that point of letting fingers intertwine yet and acknowledge this so-called understanding. The only kind of touching they've had so far was her elbow brushing against his as she took down notes, and the electric rush from that should be enough.

Not long after, a car cut in front of them forcing him to honk in agitation. She stiffened in her seat, her hands holding onto her jasmine tea that threatened to spill all over her and his car. That's the last thing she wanted, not during this first time. Should I say something? What do I say? She isn't well-versed in passenger-seat small talk, let alone any kind of small talk, especially with a guy one particularly liked, so she couldn't be sure if she was supposed to comment on anything. She whispered a feeble Oh my god that asshole under her breath instead, to which he laughed and said, "Wow, you took the words right out of my mouth."

Was that, finally, an affirmation? She couldn't be too sure but she was willing to take it as such. She smiled and looked outside the window again, trying to imagine what other things she now unconsciously knew about him. The way he would shake his head when he hears a corny joke, the side of the handkerchief he wiped his face with (always the one with the monogram), the way he pronounced "comfortable" (komf-tabuhl). There was still a lot she didn't know, like the song currently playing in the background, and there remained a lot of space around his own personal bubble that she needed to get to know, but she was getting there. At least, she hoped so.

"You can change the song, if you want," he quipped. He must have noticed her indifference towards this dude rapping about his sexual exploits. She reached out for the knob in the stereo, trying her best to look like she knew what she was doing, when he cut her suddenly and said, "Why don't you just put your iPod instead?"

"I don't have it with me," she said.

Which was a shame because it was a big deal, God knew it was. She would have happily plugged in hers and played the playlists she's made for him, and he would finally hear the song she was telling him about, the one in that movie she wanted to see, the one that Justin Timberlake got wrong. She would have sung shamelessly along with the chorus, and he would have laughed, maybe regret letting her sing a little bit, but he would have loved it. She would have reached out for his hand again, and this time for real, and he would hold back. He wouldn't let it go even as he switched gears, and she would have been glad.

For now, she would have to find comfort in knowing that he was somehow making her a part of her space already, and acknowledging her song preferences should be symbolic enough. For now, it's just her hand on his knee, but him not putting it away. For now, the iPod inside her head should be content, for the song would be playing in the background nonetheless, plugging itself to the soundtrack of her night.

Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.


Can you believe this is post number 500? I can't, either.

Labels: ,


Almost there.

And so the semester nears its conclusion.

As I type, I am in the middle of cramming Marxism and Cultural Studies for my Literary Theory exam while biting into my barely crunchy peanut butter toast. I just finished printing my 30-paged critical introduction for my thesis, whose final submission is today. (Ah, the smell of ink on new paper!) I am not even in the process of tidying up my room which is currently a battlefield of books, readings, and notebooks, sleep and distress fighting it out in the final battle that is this semester. The break is so close I could almost taste it, but the thought of a take-home exam, a reaction paper, and a screenplay still waiting to be written cautiously anchors me back to reality.

The other day, a very dear friend of mine lost her mom to cancer. She was a mother to all of us, and it breaks my heart to just think of days actually going by without her - what more her family. I pray for nothing but strength and courage for all of them left behind, the same kind of bravery that their mother exemplified while she was alive. When I attended her wake, my friend told me that her mom tried her best to not complain about her pain - she wanted them to go on about their everyday as if she were not suffering. Suddenly, grumbling about finishing my requirements felt so foolish, so shallow. How do we even justify feeling defeated and overwhelmed when there are so many others in twice as much pain?

There is no room for complaints. At this point, even the thought of whining can take away precious time that could have otherwise been used for other things. However, there should always be a place for gratefulness - that I am physically exhausted and mentally drained because I am learning, that I feel incapable because I am pushing myself to always do better, that I am living alone because my parents care about my convenience, that I have to sacrifice time for leisure for opportunities that may not come knocking back again.

I have to remind myself this every now and then to stop me from ripping my hair out and giving up completely. Even if it means having to blog in the middle of reviewing, just to keep me motivated. Anxiety can make me stay up all night in the strangest of ways, but it's a sudden sense of appreciation that wakes me up in the morning.

The battle's almost won, and we're only several miles from the sun.


Why, hello there, October.

So it's the first day of October and I'm feeling particularly cheery, despite the probable presence of another storm (literally) raining on my parade. Nothing spectacular has happened to me, really, and in fact, I think I may have gotten myself buried deeper in a truckload of requirements thanks to the recent class suspensions. I'm supposed to be panicking and not having the time to even think about anything other than literary theory and epistolary history.

But it's the first of the month, and that always marks something to smile about: a reminder that the semester is finally coming to a close, the months are adding up to assure me that everything is going strong, the year is reminding me we're getting nearer to yet another end - it's always a welcome guest, the first day. Always.

It also signals twenty five more days to go before my birthday. I'm turning twenty in a few weeks, and I have to admit - I'm kinda scared to let the raging teenage hormones go.

So hi, October. Fancy having you around, finally.