Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hey Spanky!

I grew up in a culture and society where spanking is a form of discipline rather than violence. I was spanked god knows how many times and admittedly, it did me a world of good. My parents never hit me -- now that's different. They spanked me when I was seriously asking for it. I was the type of kid who always tried to push the limits seeing how much I can get away with. Hardly angelic, I know.

We always had to cope with different kinds of pressure and stress as children. Mine, unfortunately, centered on grades and academics. My parents believed in working hard, doing well in school and getting distinctions. I never understood it though -- not until now. If my parents didn't push me towards that direction -- with spanking or not -- I wouldn't be where I am today. They instilled high standards in us, their children, and we accepted nothing less. Sure, there were a lot of disappointments growing up because of these things but c'est la vie, no?

I'm very sure that there are numerous people out there who will disagree with me regarding this. I have met parents who believe in "talking sense" to their children even at a young age. Perhaps I need to be a parent first before I fathom this but at this point, I couldn't help but wonder -- how do you talk sense into a two-year-old?

One thing that really grates me are those parents who couldn't control their children whilst out in public. Once I was at the mall doing my obligatory Christmas shopping, and there was a kid, three-years-old at most, on the floor kicking and screaming bloody murder. It was bad enough that I had to work over time that day, then I had to muscle in to do my holiday shopping with the crowd, and now there's this brat who is creating so much chaos in the middle of the floor. Just what I needed. I looked around to see where her mum was. And when I spotted her, she was chuckling at the sight of her daughter saying "Isn't she cute?"


Thankfully, an equally distressed lady who seem to be not enjoying the scene told the highly inconsiderate mother that her kid was disturbing the shoppers. The mother gave her a dirty look and proceeded to fetch her banshee-child. I kid you not, the child attacked her! The mother was so taken aback and didn't know what to do. Her daughter left a horrible gash on her neck and continued to wail -- this time at a much higher pitch. For a while there, I felt instantly bad for the mother because she looked so helpless.

I'm sorry, but how in the world can one talk sense into someone like that? That little girl seriously deserved either a spanking or a tweak in the ear. I would never have pulled something like that as a kid -- just imagining what my mother could have done to me! In fairness though, my mother never spanked or pinched me in public. There was always that dreaded car ride back home where I know I did something wrong and I was going to pay high prices for it. In hindsight, probably the funniest thing my parents ever did to us as punishment was to kneel on rock salt for an hour with heavy encyclopedias on each hand whilst they were outstretched. Of course, I didn't find it funny back then -- but I tell you, whatever I did to deserve that, I sure as hell never did it again!

Just the other day, a colleague of mine was regaling his weekend to me. He adores his kids, and indeed he had two of the cutest little girls I've ever seen. Incidentally, his older daughter is at that cheeky age where she is big into experimenting. In the process, she broke a vase that she was told thousands of times not to touch. My colleague said, "Well, I had no choice but to spank her. And I did it in front of my other daughter so she'd learn from it too." He sounded so pained when he said he had to perform the deed.

My parents always told us back then that they only spank us because they love us. It sounded like outright bullshit at the time, but I do see the bigger picture now. My parents have always wanted the best for us and they want us to be the best people that we can be. They gave us absolutely everything -- to the point where we could have easily grown up as spoiled brats. They disciplined us in order to keep our feet on the ground. See, my parents always knew which buttons to push. After a certain age where it's no longer appropriate to spank us, she took away our luxuries. Millions of times I got grounded from the phone, from television, from seeing my friends -- man, were those terribly humbling.

To each their own, is what I always say. I believe in spanking -- not hurting and not hitting -- as a form of discipline. And I probably will do the same to my kids too. But who am I to say as I still am not in that situation? Well, I don't know but I think I have a pretty good idea.


Post Script:

I will be taking a quick holiday Down Under for a week and a half. I think I need the change of scenery. After all, traveling to as many destinations as I can is part of my grand plan of dominating the world. I'll be back though. I shall miss everyone :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Some years ago when I was still living in Boston, my brother and I would meet up every Sunday to spend time together -- he picks me up from my dorm, we go to church, and we have lunch. Afternoon activities were highly dependent on the weather. The temperature outside is directly proportional to the probability of us staying outdoors.

It was summer -- one of those rare days when the weather's just right. Boston is the type of city where you can experience four seasons within one day. Whacked, I know, but it's the absolute truth. My brother and I were strolling down the end of Newbury St and we saw a tattoo parlor. I don't recall seeing it before, but hey, it happened to be there during that day. My brother nodded towards the place and said, "You want to check it out?"

A lovely Indian lady was running the store; she was maybe fifty-ish. She had quite a team of talented tattoo artists with their arms boasting of numerous artworks. I was looking at the array of designs and patterns when she made her way towards me. "You have very beautiful skin," she said. "Would you want some art on it?"

"Oh, no. I'm not really one for pain," I said a bit too quickly. It was true, too!

She took my hand and led me to another part of the room. There, she pulled out a collection of more designs. "These," she said. "These are temporary ones. Henna tattoos, that's what they are. And I promise, they won't hurt." She smiled softly at me.

My brother appeared behind me and looked over my shoulder. "Oh, I've always wanted to get one of those!" he exclaimed. "Come on, come on, let's get them!"

Here's my thing about body art. What's the point of having them when no one's going to see them? I asked the lovely Indian lady to custom-make a pattern that would look good on the back of my hand. My brother, on the other hand, opted to go for the conventional tattoo on his arm where the sleeves of his short fall off.

I was madly pleased with how it turned out. I left the ink to dry for several hours and squeezed enough lemons to rob a little girl off her lemonade stand on it. It was gorgeous. For the next week or so, I was the superstar. Everyone greeted it with praises and "ooohs" and "aaahs." Even my Chemistry professor loved it -- amid me trying to measure some iron fillings to put in a beaker.

One night as I was brushing my teeth, I caught sight of my hand in the mirror. For some reason, it no longer attracted me, it no longer looked good to me. I spit out the rest of the foamy toothpaste and decidedly starting rubbing the back of my hand under running water. It wasn't coming off! I poured some liquid soap on it, some shampoo, rubbing alcohol -- anything I can get my hands on. I even tried using laundry detergent! It still wouldn't come off. It faded a bit but it was nothing compared to the redness of my skin. It looked like I shoved my hand in a pre-heated oven and let it bake for half an hour. I was so infuriated! However, I eventually conceded defeat and allowed my tattoo to fade with time. It took another two more weeks before it completely disappeared.

That was when I realized that getting a real tattoo would probably be a big mistake. It hurts -- and it's permanent!

I have nothing against permanent states or "forever"... or commitment. As a matter of fact, I quite believe in it. Commitment is essential in relationships, in raising a family, in establishing a career and forming friendships. However, commitment to certain things frighten me. I hate the idea of getting pinned down and not being able to do anything about it. Though we have technology to thank as tattoos can now be erased, there's a part of you that knows it will always be there though it may not be visible to the naked eye. Getting one is a decision that I have to deal with for the rest of my life. Who am I to know that I would still enjoy having a drawing of a purple fairy on my hip when I'm seventy years old? And how will I deal if my career takes on a path where tattoos are simply unacceptable?

I also have reservations regarding long contracts. The idea of a mortgage, for instance, is pretty intense. Though half the world has one, it doesn't stop me from feeling adversely towards it. I'm hoping that it has got something to do with my age and the place where I am in my life, but to be locked down in a series of payments for thirty years? I mean, that's as good as chaining myself to the lamp post near City Hall. Furthermore, I also shun long term investments -- those kinds where you have to trust a financial institution that it wouldn't run off with your money for a certain amount of time. What if I need the money all of a sudden and I can't take it out (without paying a hefty fee)? What if I have to leave the country and settle somewhere else? How do I get my money to follow me without the hassle?

Perhaps it's me having a knee-jerk reaction to settling down. Though technically, I am of a marry-able age and I could very well look into settling down, a big part of me still feels incomplete. I know that I will reach a part of my life where I have to sit down the dining table and pour over a stack of bills (including a mortgage), think about long-term savings plans for my kids and maybe get a loan to finance a small business -- this totally blows away the two-year mobile phone contract that I had to carefully scrutinize and think over. Right now though, I'm anything but ready -- financially, mentally and emotionally. And I've had to convince myself over and over before that it is pefectly okay to admit that I'm not ready. People walk in various paces. I walk a little slower in this aspect -- so bloody what? At least I know I'm a slow walker. I know of some people who deny themselves of this fact and tries to convince themselves that they aren't -- only to run into problems that are bigger than life.

At present, I like the idea of knowing that I can up and leave whenever I want and go wherever I want. I still have no idea where I'm headed so I'm allowing myself to make a few mistakes in the hopes that maybe, through the process of elimination, I can find myself a good destination. And perhaps on the way there, I can pick myself up a lifelong companion who wishes to go to the same place.

Commitment isn't a bad thing -- neither is settling down. However, it's also important that we are ready and prepared when we decide to do either. Or else, it would be like getting stuck with an ugly tattoo on your favorite body part.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Lip Service

There are friends... and there are friends. I've always adhered to the traditional sense of the word, which according to Mr. Webster, is one whom we hold in high esteem or share a particular affection for. Yeah. Okay. No thanks to social politicking that the word's meaning has evolved into something so convoluted. The basic fundamentals of the word are still there, I agree, but it has become more complicated than it really should be.

I liken friendship into a pyramid -- like the great Egyptian ones. It's quite short really, this pyramid of mine, with an ultimately wide base. The higher up you go, the intimacy level increases exponentially, thereby significantly narrowing the top. It's an odd-looking one, you may deduce.

The first level of my pyramid is the widest. It is the category where my acquaintances, colleagues (generally) and chums fall in. All our friendships have to start from here, don't you agree? We meet people and from there, we cultivate the relationship. However, as time goes by, I have realized that the nourishment of my little pyramid seems to be the healthiest at the base. I have met so many people from different walks of life... and they seem to stay as acquaintances most of the time. I'm constantly at crossroads of sorts due to my constant hopping and well, the lack of time's availability. We have established that as beings of survival, we tend to unconsciously sell our souls to the devil's whim called work and career. Given that, we tend to be choosy as to how we spend the very rare free time we are handed. Thus, significantly slashing the opportunities we have to get to know people.

I have quite a lengthy list of people on my mobile phone's contact list. However, I can tell you frankly that there are probably only six people that I really correspond with on a regular basis. The polite exchanging of numbers during dinner parties and social gatherings have caused my list to swell. Also, I have to thank the first few degrees of separation for this. Friends of friends of friends. By association, you are obliged to give the proverbial air kisses if you bump into them in the streets whilst shopping or traipsing about. You have to feign interest in their job/family/hobbies/friends for courtesy's sake. It can be quite exhausting, really. It makes me think twice about the amount of effort that socialites put in their lives -- maybe, just maybe, they can be respected for that after all. One can only have so much for pretending to like others and having to scrape the barrel to engage in small talk. I don't know how some people can make it a way of life.

Within this wide base of acquaintances, a few outstanding ones emerge to the surface and boost themselves up to the next level. I call them my meal buddies. These people, naturally, are those that I seem to have the slightest chemistry with -- at least enough for me to willingly endure an hour of food intake and swapping stories with. Discussions generally consist of topics that both are removed from -- in other words, safe topics that will not hit nerves. Thank heavens the world is quite big and that there's usually enough about it that can be dissected before it is thoroughly exhausted.

I consider myself fortunate to have quite a few of these friends -- they help make the mundane patches in life easier to ignore. And living vicariously through other people's experiences gives us a break from what we know. Stumbling upon other people who more or less have things in common with us is becoming an art -- because it's beginning to get rare. These meal buddies of mine double as movie buddies, travel buddies, drinking buddies... name it! I don't mind spending time with them as long as it's still fun.

When the fun ends, however, there are two options that one can take. And usually, it involves the evaluation of relationship. Once a speed bump is hit through the course of the friendship, it can go two days: either up the pyramid or not. Once, one of my very good meal buddies opened up to me that he was gay and that his relationship with his parents were struggling as he came from a typical "WASPy" family. And his secret gay partner still was not out of the closet and was constantly beating him up. He was so in love with him that it never occurred to him to walk out of the abusive relationship. I knew from that night onwards that he got catapulted into a notch higher in my life. We spent all night until the sun rose talking about his troubles. It made me see another side of him. One that I never thought existed, or at least one that I never though I'd see.

Friends like those I generally consider as friends. The real deal. That's where I really draw the line that distinguishes my friends from the others. There is a certain degree of closeness between me and my friends -- however, my guards remain up. Contrary to what other people perceive me as, it takes quite a bit for me to trust people. I open myself up enough for them to think I'm transparent, but I'm not. It's like inviting friends into my house, my home even, but there will always be that certain room, perhaps the attic, that no one knows about. And in there lays the very core of my being.

I'm very selective in allowing friends into the attic -- which is the final, topmost and smallest part of my pyramid. They are so few that I may have more fingers in my hands than soulmates like that. Very few people know me for who I am. Such relationships are founded through time and experiences and well, I just never had much of that luxury. My biggest weakness is the inability to show my weaknesses to others. And those that actually know of my weaknesses are those people that I trust the most. I love them and I will do anything for them. I think it's just fair to say that in our lifetimes, we really only get a couple of really close friends who would lay their life for us... and those that we'll lay our lives for. They double my joy and divide my pain.

Friends come and go -- all the time -- may they be on the first, second or third level in my pyramid. I've lost friends whom I thought were on their way to the topmost level. Though it's sad, I've learned to accept that just like most things in life, friends are fleeting. I am thankful for the creation of memories. Nonetheless, soulmates are there to stay no matter which corner of the globe you're at. I miss them every single day for they form a major part of me. My relationship with them can withstand distances, differences in timezones, the passage of time itself, environmental and personal changes, but best of all, the love only grows stronger. Numerous farewells and goodbyes to each other are never a good enough reason to say farewell and goodbye for good.

One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible -- Henry Adams

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Twilight Baby

The day closes up
Behind the sheets of rain
Visible through the window pane

Light fades before the earth
Replaced by the shroud of dark

These sublime minutes
When the sun makes its exit
And brother moon takes the seat

It is within these short moments
-- Of Twilight
That I find to be the loneliest
Yet most beautiful
Part of my day

Bird Flu & Yellow Fever

Have a look-see below. This article was from many moons ago (slightly over a year, to be specific) and I had no idea it was still posted up until it recently got pointed out to me. It surprisingly garnered some comments and while I always welcome and respect any feedback geared towards my written literature -- some of these comments just sent some belly laughs my way.

Seriously, sometimes we just need to see some issues in the light of humor :) Do enjoy!

Asiance Magazine Article -- Yellow Fever

I can't help but wonder sometimes if stereotypes will ever vanish. Maybe they will -- to make way for the creation of more. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Alter Ego

When I was a little girl, I had an imaginary friend named Clara. She was no ordinary friend -- besides the fact that no one else can see her -- because she was also my twin. Yes, daft as it may sound, I had an imaginary twin. My creative juices probably ran out just as I conjured her up because I decided afterwards that Clara and I will have the exact same personalities and like the exact same things. And surprise, surprise, I also decided that we looked exactly alike. Then again, we were twins right? For a seven-year-old, any other type of twins except identical ones didn't exist.

Clara only inhabited my imagination for a grand total of four days because I decided that we didn't get along very well. This stems from the fact it was both confusing and frustrating having her around. Knowing that Clara was a direct reflection of who I am, I couldn't just make up stories about her -- unless those stories actually happened to me first. I couldn't make up any of her traits and attributes because I had to possess those first before she had them. And she also had to carry my idiosyncrasies that I didn't really enjoy having to deal with myself -- neither did I particularly like admitting that I had them.

My logic back then was simple. I wanted a friend who was similar to me so that we wouldn't have to argue much. It never occurred to me that I would learn at a very young age that a) I didn't like myself very much, b) it would be helluva lot boring if everyone was the same, and c) dolls are so much more fun to play with.

Up until this day, Clara sometimes still haunts me. She reminds me of the person that I've become -- unconsciously or not. It surprises me though whenever I realize that I don't know myself as well as I think I do. Do you know what I mean? I'd like to think that I have quite a good grasp on the person that I am but then I catch myself doing something that I never thought I'd be capable of doing (and no, I didn't mean that in a sinister way at all). It's like I'm still in the process of getting to know myself. A neverending process, at that. Life is full of surprises... and so am I.

Over the years, I've found out quite a bit about myself. I've grown -- I'd like to think that I did. There were some years wherein I have grown faster than other years, but I've learned something all the same. Getting to know myself, I find, is like getting to know a friend. I discovered good things, and I discovered bad things. And just like getting to know someone else, there were some things that I liked about myself and there were things that I didn't.

I was one of those straight-A students who always made a beeline towards the top percentile of the class. I studied religiously, did my homework all the time, engaged in extra-curricular activities and teachers loved me. I was one of those kids that parents wanted their children to hang out with. I was, in other words, the perfect student. I finished school scraping some honors on the side and managed to form a decent collection of awards. It wasn't until I left the four walls of my last academic institution that I realized... I wasn't as smart as I thought I was. It was a rude awakening and truly a difficult one to come to terms with. I felt cheated in thinking that I had everything I need in my back pocket to survive life.

This realization eventually led to other discoveries such as the degree of my impatience, my low tolerance level for frustrations, my surprising complacency regarding financial achievements, my renewed pride in weak moments, and my right to self-entitlement. I never knew I was any of those -- until I was put in various situations that allowed me to unleash my monsters.

Getting to know myself was like getting to know someone else -- discovering the positives and the negatives. It's still a work in progress for me, though I more or less have an idea on how it's looking. However, there's one main difference about getting to know myself and getting to know a new friend. At least I know that I can do something about those negative traits that I don't like about me. Unlike being with someone else, I can't just abandon myself in pursuit of a new self. Don't we all wish that it were that easy sometimes? I have to live with myself forever -- and forever is a long time. I know I have some hiccups and nicks that I have to cure, but at least I now know which ones.

I do wonder sometimes though... if Clara were real, would she like how I turned out?

Perhaps I have those life lessons to thank for letting me find out more about myself. It's definitely true that you don't learn everything in school -- especially the most important stuff. If there was a "University of Life," I doubt that I would do as well as I did back in school. Then again, who cares? It's not like there would be any grades. It's either we pass or we fail. Seemingly simple -- but not that simple.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Freakonomies of Scale

I work with economics. Macroeconomics. Everyday.

And with macroeconomics follows the concept of ridiculously big sums of money -- like gross domestic product, trade numbers, national budgets, etc. We don't flinch for anything less than a hundred million dollars. After all, it's macroeconomics. Macro. Big picture. We look closely at equity markets and capital markets and monitor massive cash movements between countries that may move the foreign exchange market -- which eventually affects currency. Big numbers. Very big numbers that even I couldn't physically fathom. All these are mere figures that I see on the screen of a Bloomberg terminal. If I have to visualize, however, how many stacks of hundreds I'd have to have in order to amass these amounts... then I would have to admit that I'd be stunted.

Money. That one thing that makes the world move. If not for money, then I wouldn't have a job. Neither will millions of people out there -- some of whom hold the most powerful jobs in the world. The world's various nations would be trading herds of cattle and sacks of rice instead. How exactly do you measure the inflation of sheep? Do you judge a country's wealth by how many chickens there are in the people's backyard?

If it weren't for present-day currency, however, people would have found another way to measure one's success or achievements. It is only human nature to aspire for material wealth as part of survival. Though money is not the root of evil, it can be an instrument of it. People react to money differently. And also, many people change because of it.

Here's a borderline-idiotic question: Why is money so important? However, here's a spin-off from that question: What is it about money that changes us?

Money changes people - either for the better or the worse.

We all work to rake in enough dough to survive. Yay or nay? Getting in a decent sum in our bank accounts grants us the basic requirements to live and perhaps allows us the luxury to enjoy the finer things in life. We progress and we move forward. That's what success and achievements are about. However, moving forward does not mean we have to forget where we came from. We do not let such a physical concept like money get in our heads and allow it to rule us over.

I have met people who did one-eighty-degree turns because of money. Friends, even. I have noticed some morph into some sort of being that I could no longer recognize. And all because of money. It doesn't make me upset, though. It makes me sad. It makes me sad that I had lost some friends to dead national icons whose faces are imprinted on a piece of paper.

I laud these kinds of people for working hard for money. From humble beginnings to exuberant standings -- and admittedly, I have once thought that they deserve nothing less. However, witnessing Kafka-like metamorphoses makes me think otherwise. The notion of having fat wads of bills in one's pocket gives people confidence - enough of it that eventually turns into arrogance and deceit. Into extreme materialism, into shallowness, into tastelessness (ironic enough), and pettiness. Why is that? What is it about money that makes people so powerless against it?

As P.T. Barnum once put it: "Money is in some respects life's fire: it is a very excellent servant, but a terrible master."

Do you ever question why no matter how much we pray to get rich, we never get it? No matter how hard we work, no matter how much dexterity there is in our souls, we don't quite get what we want? However, we will always have just enough. God perhaps wants to control these metamorphoses in the world. Maybe the Creator knows too well what will happen if everyone had money. We become aware of crimes and atrocities that take place because of money presently. We never know -- maybe that's a small price to pay for having only a handful of people in this world to have money.

If everyone's rich, I very much doubt it will be a happy world. How else can people learn to share or learn to work hard? What more will people work for that is tangible and measurable by success? Will people become more lazy or too complacent? Or will people find something else to turn to that will change them for the worse? Will people honestly pay attention to non-monetary values given the trickiness of human nature? Think about it, knowing how human nature works, people will probably find ways to get even richer than they already are. And we will all be back to ground zero... just with higher inflation numbers.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

First Love -- Part III

"I'm really sorry," he said quietly. It was probably the eight hundredth time he had uttered those godforsaken words within the past hour.

I ignored him. I engrossed myself in the art of folding my laundry. Three weeks had passed since I last did my laundry -- or any chores for that matter. I spent every single day in bed under my sheets except when I had to go to class. I did nothing that deviated from the norm. My roommate managed to develop scorn of some sort towards me already. She hasn't gone back for a week now. She's been crashing at her boyfriend's all this time. I must have been a jolly good fellow to be around with.

"Please talk to me," he begged. "Say something."

I looked at him sternly. "And what exactly did you want me to say?"

"I don't know, anything!" He looked more desperate than a recovering alcoholic in front of a champagne fountain.

My eyes couldn't bring themselves to produce any more tears. I must've fulfilled my year's quota for tears over the past three weeks. I reckon that the sadness is over -- anger and hate washing it over in full force.

I dumped the turtleneck sweater I was holding on my bed. I stood up and tried hard to regain my composure.

"I'm sorry," I started.

I almost heard a whiplash happen as his head swung towards my direction. "Excuse me?" he said positively bewildered.

"I'm sorry," I repeated it. A little more loudly this time.

"I'm sorry that you are a world class jackass. I'm sorry that you have a brain the size of a bean sprout. I'm sorry that you are so weak. I'm sorry that you cheated on me. And I'm even more sorry that it had to be with that slut lady friend of yours that's a friend of the family's," I said whilst making dramatic finger quotes for emphasis on the last phrase. I felt my voice rising and my cheeks flaring up.

"I'm sorry that you got drunk. I'm sorry that you never learned how to handle your alcohol. I'm sorry that it all started with a kiss. I'm sorry that it just happened without any of you planning on it," I was seething inside and a giant lump was rising in my throat.

Then I yelled, "And I'm sorriest for being the stupidest girl alive to allow this to happen the second time around!!!"

I fell on my knees and started sobbing uncontrollably. My knees hit the rug the wrong way and I felt my kneecaps throbbing in pain. The pain, however, wasn't enough to override the hurt I was feeling inside. I wanted the ground to just open up and swallow me in my entirety.

He ran to my side and put his arms around me. "Baby, I'm really really really sorry. I swear to God I'm so sorry. You gotta believe me. I'll never hurt you again."

I cradled my knees to stop the pain. Whether or not I was trying to curb the pain on my knees or my heart, I'm not quite sure. My tears felt hot against my face and my hair was clinging onto the its wetness. I couldn't breathe -- literally -- I started gasping for breath as if the tubes to my lungs have closed up.

"Baby?" he whispered, almost scared that I might die in that instant. "Are you okay?"

It took a minute or two to calm myself down. I shut my eyes tightly and briefly tried to go to a wonderful place. Even in my most private thoughts he was there. I opened my eyes again and saw his face filled with concern and anxiety.

"Get out," I said in a hoarse voice. "I want you to get out -- out of my room, out of my apartment and out of my life!"

His face crumpled and his eyes glazed over. "But baby," he said. "We've been together for four years. Can I try working my way back to you? Please don't shut me out. Not yet. I love you. I love you so much. Please?"

I stared him down. "You should've thought of that three weeks ago when you came back from home with the slut's note stuck in your coat's pocket," I glowered at him without remorse.

Then he broke down. He covered his face with his hands in that typical male fashion where they don't want anyone to know that they're actually capable of crying.

He looked at me with pleading eyes. "Please find it in your heart to give me half a chance," he said, barely audible. "I can't live without you. I wouldn't know what to do without you."

I brushed his hands off my arm. "Yes, you can. I managed to live without you for the past three weeks. It's a promising start," I retorted. "I'm sure you won't have any trouble doing the same thing. After all, you have that slut to go back to."

"No," he cried. "No, no, no..."

I held my room's door open for him. I was breaking inside but I know I needed to do this for myself. He took one last look at me in a bid to say farewell and I'm sorry but I turned away.

"I will always love you. I'm so sorry," I heard him say before I heard him trudge across the apartment to let himself out.

I held tightly onto the doorknob as if willing it to keep me from running after him. I hated him for hurting me so much, and I hated myself for falling so deeply for him. I wanted the aching to stop... it was consuming my very being.

Does it always hurt this much? This funny thing they call love? It's like taking you to the summit of the world only to commit to a head-on free fall with nothing to catch you at the bottom.

I had to let him go -- for his sake, for my sake, for my sanity's sake. I will always love him but it's perhaps best to contain the happy memories before the ugly ones elbow it over completely. First love. First heartbreak.

First meltdown.

Even though he had stripped me off everything I have -- including my heart and my soul -- I know that deep inside, he loved me too. Maybe we were right for each other, but we just met at the wrong time.

Or maybe... maybe I just cannot bring myself to accept that sometimes, what we thought would last forever doesn't last at all. Because maybe there is no forever.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Keep on Walking

Along with other many bitter things in life, moving on is something we constantly have to do no matter how painful. And unfortunately, it is also something that we have very little control over. We don't choose to move on. Rather, we are forced to move on given specific circumstances. Then again, isn't it the healthy thing to do? So they say, at least.

However, moving on is the easier part of the procedure. It's the getting-left-behind bit that's hard to receive.

When two people separate from each other, they both move on -- but one always moves at a slower pace. One walks faster whilst the other tries to keep up only to look longingly at the other person in front as he/she disappearing into the horizon. Getting left behind is like getting pierced in the heart using a letter-opener -- a rusty and dull letter-opener, at that. It is especially painful when we watch that person move on without turning back... not even once, not even a flinch. It's like you were left carrying the heavy baggages whilst he or she walks into the sunset as if the clouds were made out of cotton-candy.

Whenever faced with this unfortunate situation, I always hide behind the relief of changing the scenery. It is an unfair advantage, I know, but it's the only way for me to get over the pain and frustrations. In a bid to win the race of moving onwards, I would force conscious change to take place -- such as moving somewhere new, or distracting myself with something new such as a hobby or drowning myself with people who will let me know of newer and fresher things. I force change to happen as it has always moved too slow for me. It has always moved too slow to mask all the anger, bitterness and suffering.

There is no shame in running away provided that we know that one day we must face the ghost that we know will haunt us. When we decide to face that ghost is another thing, however. We can hide but we can't run. At least not forever. A new beginning is what we usually long for after weathering the wretchedness of our storms.

Moving on constitutes leaving behind a piece of ourselves. Sometimes, we lose that piece of ourselves even. It is sad knowing that we leave behind a purity and innocence of sorts only to know that it will be replaced by a guarded and jaded version of prudence and canniness. We learn to protect ourselves from the trauma and the hurt -- sifting through experiences that will put us in the same position of agony.

Unfortunately, it seems precedented that time is the only entity on our prescriptions. In time, we get healed, we get liberated from our demons, and we learn to let go. It is just uncertain how much time we need -- some more than others -- and it is also uncertain how long the pain will be inhabiting within us.

We move on not because we want to -- we move on because we need to. We cannot be sucked into the abyss of nothingness and watch our lives waste away. Easier said than done, yes, but it is something that we all have to go through.

It's funny how they say that life is short. During certain pockets of time, it just seems way too long.