Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A Light Relief

In one of my book review projects in college, a professor once commented that happiness cannot be sustained, that was why he prefer to read political, practical or self-help books. It sparked a debate that lasted all throughout the period. And, I say now as I did then, that I beg to differ.

Life, as it is, can sometimes be difficult. So, people find diversions or ways to escape their problems even for just a moment. These can either be constructive or destructive depending on the person.

Aside from tv, movie-watching tops the list. I admit that I like to watch funny romantic movies that my husband and even my male friends scoff at. They say those movies are pure nonsense and are a waste of one's time. Of course, I vehemently disagree with that.

My all-time favorites of Sound of Music, Pretty Woman, Serendipity, Clueless, A Walk to Remember, Sleepless in Seattle, Sweet Home Alabama, Shrek, Toy Story and such have all provided me with much enjoyment and comic relief. Trying times or no, it's pure pleasure just to plonk in front of the TV, insert the copy of said movie into the player, lie back into the pillows with a handy box of chips and nachos, and lose oneself in the fairy-tale drama where hope, happiness and love always reigns.

It's true that it's not realistic. And, watching and believing in those movies will not solve any problem. But how can it hurt when, after watching such movies, a person feels much braver and hopeful in life? The childlike feeling alone generated, of being safe and warm and loved and of endless adventures in life, is priceless.

Not that I don't appreciate Schindler's List, Last of the Mohicans, Dances with Wolves and other deep, serious, and issue-oriented movies, but in terms of preference, I would most definitely go with the other.

One already sees and reads such terrible news in media so why be depressed more by reading and watching like stories?

Happiness, like all other emotions, cannot be indefinitely sustained. But, it's something we all should work at. And, if ever we need additional help in that department, then watching funny, feel-good movies with loved ones is definitely one answer.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Beyond the Obvious

I just read a blog from a college acquiantance about love, life and sex. But, mostly about sex. She was so open about that aspect in her life it was a bit surprising. See, when I met her in college she was innocently simple, sweet and charming. Of course, a lot of years have passed and people change but I still couldn't quite reconcile the girl, or rather the woman from her blog to what I remembered of her in college. She seemed very much like a woman of the world now. Independent, career-driven and living the really fast life.

Now, before you go and get the wrong idea, she is NOT a sex maniac. She just happens to be very open about her sensuality and her subsequent escapades in that department. Pretty amazing, in fact. Not the number nor the scale of her feats but her very attitude about the whole thing.

I admit that I consider that admirable. For a woman to wear her heart on her sleeve and be so open about her sex life is really amazing. Especially in a culture such as the Philippines who hasn't quite shaken off the old world ideals of a woman pure and untouched until her monogamous and lifelong marriage. And the taboo of being public about certain subjects such as sex.

Her posts reflect an image of a strong woman who is a deep lover of love and life. One who's not afraid to foray into the unknown and take risks simply because she follows what her heart, and not her head, tells her to do.

You may wonder who she is and might even want to read her blog just so you see what I'm talking about, but since I'm not a friend of hers and don't have her permission, I cannot say. You might say that's bull. It's a blog and as such, fit for public consumption, right? Wrong, like most blogs, hers has a tone to them that makes the reader feel that the posts should not simply be read, but felt and understood as well.

Truly, not everything is what they seem. Like, if a person happens to chance upon her blog, reads it, and gets the idea of a wild woman whose morals seem a bit too loose, it would be a natural conclusion. But, again too simplistic and much too hasty a judgment.

I myself thought that the person in question underwent a catastrophic metamorphosis if I not remembered the way she spoke and thought when we were in college. She is not like what her face-value blog portrays. I realize that if that's the case, then others like her, women who find it easy to flirt and go into one-night stand should not be dismissively labelled as "easy" or "loose". They, like most people, are only looking for love and affection. They may not always go about it in a way others would deem right or acceptable, but again, emotions rule them. They are best happy when in love. And, since happiness is a one commodity that people should always have a lot of, who are we to say that it's wrong?

Just as there will always be believers and skeptics, so too are the incurable romantics.

Monday, March 07, 2005

In Cupid's Absence

I used to think that my life's pretty boring. That is, the everyday formula of home-school-home-school with just the occasional night out with friends. My usual company, aside from family and and a few close friends, were books. If ever there was a contest for The Most Uneventful ergo The Most Boring Life, I definitely would have qualified.

I wasn't complaining about it. I mean, it was peaceful and uncomplicated, but at times, I longed for something just so it could be a bit more special.

Now, I can't even imagine my life ever been boring. With a husband and a four-year-old daughter, the hours of the day seem not to be enough to do everything and do it well.

There is always something left to do. Some little thing to be finished. If, before, I used to think of activities to fill my time, now, i can't even plan! I just do what needs to be done right away. Which is a lot when one is working and there's a home and a child to attend to. Upon getting home at the end of a work day, one is faced with dirty clothes, the dishes, and the clutter. The woes of household chores.

I'd think of my single life before when I could just laze around, daydream and mull over things. Wake up and clean my clutter whenever I wanted. Leave and get out when I want to. But, now, I hardly have time for myself. Spouse and child can be most demanding of one's time.

But, don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. Far from it. Being a wife and mother on top of one's career is a lifetime's work but it is infinitely rewarding. A smile, a small task mastered by my child, a tender hug or a kiss from my husband is enough to make me at peace with the world. They're my own little haven.

So, what's the point of going on about this? I guess its just a reaction to what my single and available friends have been lamenting. Most of them are members of NBSB (No Boyfriend Since Birth) society while some can't find a serious relationship with a guy. They're all saying how life seems to be passing them by, no excitement, no thrills and definitely no Prince Charming sweeping them off their feet.

Unfortunately, not even tarot cards nor Madam Auring's crystal ball can whip up good, enduring and ready-made romances for these friends of mine. But, surely love will come. It's just a matter of time.

All those fairy-tales of princesses living happily ever after with their respective prince would not have endured all these years if people didn't believe in them. If there wasn't a touch of the romantic in each and everyone then these stories would not have passed from generations to generations. Each story beautiful and ideal with which we can pattern our own.

Of course with this playful imp called Life, not everything will always go as planned. So, if it's taking some time for that Romeo to stumble into you, worry not, for sooner or later he will come. For now, savor that sweet, uncomplicated and totally free moments of being single. Just do what you always like to do best and soon, a wonderful guy will see that in you and love you for it.

Cupid's love arrows may not be raining much now but women have been blessed with patience and the arts of gentle persuasion that will always put them in good stead in winning over their men. The world is full and round and we cannot stop meeting people, knowing them, and possibly loving them than we can stop ourselves from breathing.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


So much has been said about this university that I felt a bit wary upon knowing that I got in as a freshman back in 1995. I was proud, sure, but thoughts of fraternity rumbles, violence, and free-thinking but much too liberated individuals dampened my enthusiasm somewhat. I did not know what to expect coming as I was from an all-girls school run by nuns.

You know how it is when you're new, you don't imitate those around you to be accepted, but as much as possible pattern yourself to them. So, in the weeks before school started, I was in a flurry as to what I should wear, how I should speak and act. I mean, I don't want to draw attention to myself since I'm new but I don't want to be invisible, either. It was nerve-wracking, let me tell you.

But, I shouldn't have bothered. On my first day in campus, I saw this very beautiful lady, whom I later found out to my chagrin, was a man before an expensive surgical procedure, heard about the annual Oblation Run (where guys run around in their birthday suit), had a talk with an activist, spoke with a politician's daughter, and was introduced to an actress classmate.

Everyone's an individual in UP. Being different was actually the mode and not the rarity. Notice I said different, not weird because in UP, there's no such thing. One has to be careful in stereotyping and definitely no conforming. Everyone has an opinion on everything.

To say I was shocked was putting it mildly. I never had guys for classmates before, let alone flagrantly gay ones. My previous teachers were all female, quiet and respectful to the religious administration and totally different with the radical, equally free-thinking professors in UP. In my former school, we the students, were always expected to behave in a decorous manner, befitting as they say, well-brought up young ladies. Totally miles apart from the free, uninhibited and outspoken UP students.

So, there I was trying to get used to the fact that I'm not in a school uniform anymore and that my seemingly gazillion schoolmates seemed to have come from every corner of the world (there were a lot of foreigner students, too) who all have different social, cultural, and religious backgrounds. I felt like I was suddenly transported to the ancient city of Babel. There were Ilonggos, Bicolanos, Antiqueños, Cebuanos, and the ever-present Coños talking left and right.

No more flag ceremonies, prayers for each and every class, no need to stand up when reciting, and being closely guided in the course curriculum by the teacher.

I delighted in the freedom and the independence the university life gave. I relished in the fiery debates, the fierce contests, the controversies and the various forays in the nooks and crannies of UP.

Even the occasional violence, news of beatings and sometimes death by a neophyte due to hazing, the rumbles that we witnessed, and, even the occasional invites to attend a potentially dangerous rally, all became quite normal. There's no denying my pride to be part of that great university whose impressive roster of alumni include names such as Marcos, Defensor-Santiago, Nur Misuari, Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, and a whole lot of other political and industry leaders.

Looking back, even those first few months in the university that I became lonely for missing my high school classmates and the comfort of a well-loved school, I knew that I enjoyed every minute of my stay in UP. There's nothing remotely like it. To have enjoyed all that and to have gained great friends and classmates is a badge of recognition that is uniquely peyups.