Friday, February 29, 2008

words fail us

Friday, February 29, 2008

Why is it that when we try to write about our deepest feelings, the things that are closest to our hearts, words fail us?

Yesterday I attempted to write about something that has occupied my heart and engaged my mind for some time now. But try as I might, words concocted in every way possible still cannot fully conjure how I feel. There is truth to what Gustave Flaubert once said, “human language is like a cracked kettledrum on which we beat our tunes for bears to dance to, when what we long to do is make music that will move the stars to pity.”

Can anything be finely wrought if it’s not deeply felt?

beneath their undercover whispers

“It’s nice when grown people whisper to each other under the covers. Their ecstasy is more leaf-sigh than bray and the body is the vehicle, not the point. They reach, grown people for something beyond, way beyond and way, way down underneath tissue. They are remembering while they whisper the carnival dolls they won and the Baltimore boats they never sailed on…. Breathing and murmuring under covers both of them have washed and hung out on the line, in a bed they chose together and kept together nevermind one leg was propped on a 1916 dictionary, and the mattress, curved like a preacher's palm asking for witnesses in His name's sake, enclosed them each and every night and muffled their whispering, old-time love.”

- Toni Morrison, Jazz, 1992

Thursday, February 28, 2008

creative juices

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The flow of my creative juices has been momentarily arrested.

lost patterans (a.k.a. fixation with cormac)

How can I not be "fixated" with someone who can write like this?

“They began to come upon from time to time small cairns of rock by the roadside. They were signs in gypsy language, lost patterans. The first he’d seen in some while, common in the north, leading out of the looted and exhausted cities, hopeless messages to loved ones lost and dead. By then all stores of food had given out and murder was everywhere upon the land. The world soon to be largely populated by men who would eat your children in front of your eyes and the cities themselves held by cores of blackened looters who tunneled among the ruins and crawled from the rubble white of tooth and eye carrying charred and anonymous tins of food in nylon nets like shoppers in the commissaries of hell. The soft black talc blew through the streets like squid ink uncoiling along a sea floor and the cold crept down and the dark came early and the scavengers passing down the steep canyons with their torches trod silky holes in the drifted ash that closed behind them silently as eyes. Out on the roads the pilgrims sank down and fell over and died and the bleak and shrouded earth went trundling past the sun and returned again as trackless and as unremarked as the path of any nameless sisterworld in the ancient dark beyond.”

- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fusion of Horizons

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

They say that time past, having an inexorable grip over time present and a resonating hold over the future, must be left behind. The past, haunting us and keeping us from being truly present - here and now – must be let go.

Do we really have to leave the past behind? Is it always easy to let go?

Hans Georg Gadamer’s (1900-2002) hermeneutics – the fundamental notions of continuity and discontinuity, temporal distance and fusion of horizons – makes clear how the flow of our life is characterized by a permanent mediation of past and present. Our whole being is situated in a historical process, with the past inseparable from the present and the future.

Thus, we can never escape the past. We can only learn from it.

Horizon is the range of our vision, which includes everything that we can see from a particular vantage point. A vantage point, having physical and temporal dimensions, consists of our belief systems, desires and imaginings. Only in the realm of our horizon, as formed by our personal and socio-cultural histories, can our intellect and emotion function. The concept of horizon, according to Gadamer, is “a possibility to adequately comprehend and compare close and distant things.”

Fusion of horizons is learning from something past that is of value to us. It essentially involves both continuity and discontinuity. There’s discontinuity because who we are in the past is no longer who we are now, as defined by our horizons; there’s continuity because our present horizon is continually influenced by our past horizon. The present horizon is not closed or separated from the past but grows inside of it. Thus, a genuine interweavement of all horizons can be attained by understanding the past ones, then building a huge, common horizon that is permanently on move.

The past, though steeped in pain and horridness, cannot be left behind. The fusion of past and present horizons creates new perspectives and enriches our lives. Time past makes sense of time present and instead of impeding our renewal, enlivens it. We can never be truly present and deliver ourselves in the here and now without the past.

insensate cruelty

“Like the pecking-order in a chicken yard. Insensate cruelty to those you can whip and groveling submission to those you can’t. Once having set up her idols and built altars to them it was inevitable that she would worship there. It was inevitable that she should accept any inconsistency and cruelty form her deity as all god worshippers do from theirs. All gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise they would not be worshipped. Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion. It is the stories for altars and the beginning of wisdom. Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood.”

– Zora Neal Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

of peripety and prophylactic

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If destiny is a predetermined course of events, how come some say that our daily decisions determine our destiny? Have our lives been prearranged for us or do we have a say on it, too? The choices we make – even the smallest ones – are bound to change the course of our existence. I have seen several lives altered by making decisions that at that moment look right but on hindsight turn out to be not so right.

To use or not to use a prophylactic is an example of a decision that ultimately results to peripety. In the heat of the moment, when we decide to scrap the condom, does it ever cross our minds that it will eventually change our lives? It may result to an unwanted pregnancy, to an unwanted responsibility, to an unwanted commitment, to an unwanted marriage. To settling for an unwanted and unhappy life.

Though it slowly diminishes us, we decide to stick with the destiny that we, ourselves, determined.

few win

“It makes much more sense for young women to mate with older men, who will have proven their genetic endowment as well their financial and emotional capacity for raising children. In contrast, the mating of young females with young males is like playing the lottery and hoping for a lucky draw. Few win.”

Sam Kash Kachigan, The Sexual Matrix, 1990

Friday, February 22, 2008

A mathematical genius, a horse, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Friday, February 22, 2008

Leafing through the references of the book I’m reading, it dawned on me that the three books I’ve read so far for this month are all stories of greatness – the lives of a mathematical genius, a race horse champion, and a supreme being. One was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the other one even won the award, but the last wouldn’t even qualify.

  • A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash by Sylvia Nasar (1998)
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand (2001)
  • The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster by Bobby Henderson (2006)

It is fairly ludicrous and highly irreverent to compare the life story of a Laureate to an animal to a god. But then, why not? So what do the protagonists of these books have in common? All three are lionized, adulated and worshipped. They have all won world acclaim, albeit, through different means: 1) by solving mathematical problems and laying out the theoretical underpinnings of game theory, whose applications extends from economic behavior to evolutionary biology, to sociology and political science, and to military strategy; 2) by running really fast, breaking world records and lifting the spirit of a whole nation during the Depression; and 3) by creating you and me and the whole universe through Unintelligent Design.

Pointing out what’s common among them gives rise to what sets them apart. What makes John Nash and Seabiscuit different from the Flying Spaghetti Monster is that the two triumphed over adversity while His Noodly Appendage was the one responsible for it. The horse prevailed over terrible handicaps and became a legend and a cultural icon; he exemplified nobility of sheer endurance. Nash struggled with paranoid schizophrenia for half of his life; he slid from eccentricity to madness and emerged from it to win the Nobel Prize.

Did He triumph over anything? Was He ever faced with adversity? While the ailing horse, the mathematical genius-turned-schizophrenic and the rest of us are trying to rise above our misfortunes, He triumphs over everything and everybody.

We are down here wriggling in the muck and He is up there watching.

agony of mind

“Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough.” – Jean Paul Sartre

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Virtual Intimacy

Thursday, February 21, 2008

There are people I know who prefer a world disguised in virtual intimacy. At breakneck speed, they can type the words I MISS U and send it through IM but never could they say it in person. It’s like in the online world, they can shed their insecurities and fear of being misunderstood or rejected - to their face. It gives them a judge-proof armor that emboldens them to take on identities they can never have in the real world. In the online world, it is easy to log of whenever they are cornered in an awkward situation. In the real world, they can neither log off nor appear "invisible" in just one click; faced with an unpleasant situation, avoiding or hiding is quite impossible.

Virtual intimacy appears to be devoid of complications.

There are those, however, who dare to take risks and are unafraid to make their lives more complicated. They find it inevitable to fuse the online with the offline world and to make the virtual into real. By spending time offline, they turn their online spark into a blazing relationship.

how like a mirror, her face

He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who refracted your own light to you? People were more often - he searched for a simile, found one in his work - torches, blazing away until they whifffed out. How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought.

- Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Emotional Exhibitionism

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Last night I thought of closing down my blog and just dropping out of the virtual world. My boyfriend talked me out of it. After 189 posts in nine months, why did I suddenly want to expunge my Internet existence?


I started blogging to deaden the sound of my anger and staunch the sobs heaving from the innermost part of my being. Now that they’re deadened and staunched, does my blog still hold some vestige of relevance? Why keep it going if it has already served its purpose?

I quote my first blogpost (24 May 2007) entitled, A Healing and a Wounding:

I never had the ability to keep sorrow to myself. Whenever something bothers me, I have to write everything down. The compulsion to write is always there, even if words oftentimes fail me. Writing has always been a source of solace to me - the exacting struggle of expressing my deepest feelings clears my mind and detaches me emotionally. My blog is a result of my waking up alone everyday, embittered and slightly dazed, struggling to ignore the presence of pain yet assailing the source of it with subtle but stinging words. It was both a healing and a wounding - a way to exhume and bury memories, unabashed hopes and unassuaged dreams; a way to break away from the spell of despondency.

From that day, I have somehow healed. Painful memories have been buried and replaced by a renewed sense of hope:

It used to be simply a place to wait for the dark depths to sail safely past, hoping that, somehow, it might muffle the deafening silence of my solitude. Now it’s not merely about exhuming and burying painful memories but a sacred indulgence and a means of brokering, yet again, a truce with life. (This Blog Has Evolved, posted 18 September 2007)

Emotional Exhibitionism

To be a blogger means you are willing to share all juicy tidbits, every gory detail, and each sordid and undignified aspect of your life to the faceless web-surfing masses. Do I continue exposing myself that much? There are things that must remain private and unsaid:

On this page, so much goes unsaid – emotions that can only be revealed in private; things that can never be for public consumption; thoughts that can - and should - only be shared with that one, special person. What is written carries meaning intentionally hidden and more profound than what is seen through a cursory glance. The intent is not to mislead or bewilder, but to be understood by the person who can understand – that person who can read through what is obscure and what remains unsaid. Sometimes, that - which is left unsaid - is what really matters. (So Much Goes Unsaid, posted 28 September 2007)

Or have i just reached the point where i have nothing sensible to say anymore?

Chronicle of a Love Story

This is where our love story began. In this interlinked, virtual world swarming with millions of blogs, D visited this site and never left. The moment he entered my life, he decided to stay.

Having been used to all conversation mired in obfuscation and prevarication, meeting somebody who is pure and true can be truly overwhelming. Aching with unabashed hopes and unassuaged dreams he found me. My beau ideal, the someone I can to talk to, the one who answered my invitation - he who loves me without expectations and with every fiber of his being has arrived. (The One, posted 11 October 2007)

Since then, Muffled Solitude has become a repository of dreams coming true and happy memories being relived. It will remain a witness to the wonders of the future and continue telling our love story.

the great man

The Great Man… is colder, harder, less hesitating, and without fear of “opinion”; he lacks the virtues that accompany respect and “respectability,” and altogether everything that is the “virtue of the herd.” If he cannot lead, he goes alone…. He knows he is incommunicable: he finds it tasteless to be familiar…. When not speaking to himself, he wears a mask. There is a solitude within him that is inaccessible to praise or blame.

- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Sisyphean Battle

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I went home for lunch yesterday. Turning on the TV to channel 23 and expecting to watch a rerun of Gilmore Girls, I saw, instead the now famous face of Mr. Lozada, hailed hero by some and half-truth teller by others. As I waited for the rice cooker to do its job, I sat enthralled to what the star witness had to say. He recounted how the former NEDA chief presented the “ecosystem of corruption” in the Philippines. Mulling over the whole thing, I thought to myself, is he or are they not merely waging a Sisyphean battle against the forces that be? Will it be remembered as a struggle in futility and absurdity?

Albert Camus, in his 1942 essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, sees Sisyphus as the embodiment of the absurdity and futility of human struggle. And here is the answer to my questions above:

“A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself! I see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock.” (Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942)

Monday, February 18, 2008


Monday, February 18, 2008

I can see it happening again. I have to be excluded, for you to be with them. I did it willingly before and I’m doing it once again. For us to be within a meter of each other and for you to act normally is unthinkable. I used to be a part of the group. Now that you are, I choose to be not.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

loud and insistent voice

Saturday, February 16, 2008
As I watched the throng of protesters in Makati yesterday I can’t help but wonder how the president can still sleep at night with everything that’s been happening in the country. Can she not hear the loud and insistent voice of the people calling for her to take responsibility for the unchecked greed and flagrant abuse of public trust that have characterized her regime from day one?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Finding Equanimity

Friday, February 15, 2008

I wrote about my chronically-annoyed state before. Now, it seems like nothing can disturb my equanimity. The power going out while I’m in the middle of typing an unsaved document doesn’t bother me. I can always retype what I wrote. Reading about the government’s inveterate folly and watching Senator Miriam Santiago go ballistic on television doesn’t bother me. What comes around, goes around. Having pimples at age thirty doesn’t bother me. It is not the end of the world. Watching young people go through those ridiculous courtship games used to annoy me. Now, it just amuses me. I don’t always have to be poised, polished and perfect. I can just be me. Coffee doesn’t have to be gulped. I can take my time sipping it, savoring its richness. Not getting what I want immediately doesn’t bother me. I know I would, eventually. Being given more work than I could handle doesn’t faze me. Everything can be dealt with, one at a time. Having to wait for another eleven months has become easier. D is coming home soon. Facing an uncertain future in a strange place isn't daunting anymore. I am not facing it alone.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

love is in the air

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Love is in the air and nothing will be the same for you again."

That's what my fortune cookie said last year. Back then, I didn't believe that it would come true. But it did. I was in hiding, but D - who was thousands of miles away and wasn't even looking - found me. And nothing was the same for us again.

Happy love day, everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

hair transformation

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
In barely nine months, my hair went from this (in May):

To this (in August):

Then this (in December):

To this (in January):

And then this (today):

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

it is so not fair

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. My date - the only person I want to be with on that day - is 8,521 miles away. It is so not fair.

Monday, February 11, 2008

is love an instant emotion?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Love is an instant emotion.”

That’s what my friend recently wrote in her blog. Is it? Is love an instant emotion? Or is it something that enfolds through time? Do we know exactly when we fall in love? Does the falling happen in just one moment? Or does it comprise moment upon moment of being drawn to that one person? If love is an instant emotion, then what do we need long courtships for? What do we need the getting-to know-you, pursuing and relenting stage for? If we know immediately what we want, then why take time to make the decision? Why prolong the misery? Why postpone happiness?

Love maybe an instant emotion but it is also a lifetime commitment. It is not a fleeting, just-for-now feeling that easily fades away.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Dance With Me

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Dance
by Oriah, Mountain Dreamer, Indian Elder

I have sent you my invitation, the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living. Don't jump up and shout, "Yes, this is what I want! Let's do it!" Just stand up quietly and dance with me.

Show me how you follow your deepest desires, spiralling down into the ache within the ache. And I will show you how I reach inward and open outward to feel the kiss of the Mystery, sweet lips on my own, everyday.

Don't tell me you want to hold the whole world in your heart. Show me how you turn away from making another wrong without abandoning yourself when you are hurt and afraid of being unloved.

Tell me a story of who you are, And see who I am in the stories I am living. And together we will remember that each of us always has a choice.

Don't tell me how wonderful things will be . . . some day. Show me you can risk being completely at peace, truly OK with the way things are right now in this moment, and again in the next and the next and the next. . .

I have heard enough warrior stories of heroic daring. Tell me how you crumble when you hit the wall, the place you cannot go beyond by the strength of your own will. What carries you to the other side of that wall, to the fragile beauty of your own humanness?

And after we have shown each other how we have set and kept the clear, healthy boundaries that help us live side by side with each other, let us risk remembering that we never stop silently loving those we once loved out loud.

Take me to the places on the earth that teach you how to dance, the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart. And I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet and the stars overhead make my heart whole again and again.

Show me how you take care of business without letting business determine who you are. When the children are fed but still the voices within and around us shout that soul's desires have too high a price, let us remind each other that it is never about the money.

Show me how you offer to your people and the world the stories and the songs you want our children's children to remember, and I will show you how I struggle not to change the world, but to love it.

Sit beside me in long moments of shared solitude, knowing both our absolute aloneness and our undeniable belonging. Dance with me in the silence and in the sound of small daily words, holding neither against me at the end of the day.

And when the sound of all the declarations of our sincerest intentions has died away on the wind, dance with me in the infinite pause before the next great inhale of the breath that is breathing us all into being, not filling the emptiness from the outside or from within.

Don't say, "Yes!"
Just take my hand and dance with me.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

10:57 AM

Thursday, February 7, 2008

It’s 10:57 AM. I am in front of the computer and on my fourth mug of coffee but I still feel so listless. I’m trying to, but I can’t seem to get my act together. I guess my body’s still on vacation mode. Or I’m just missing you so much that all else is uninteresting.

The feeling that this is not what i want to do and this is not the place i want to be in just won't go away.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

country music

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

We were inside a cab, on our way to Tam-awan Village, when my honey saw me mouthing the lyrics of an obscure country song being played on the radio. OMG! I got caught! My deepest secret revealed. My shameful, guilty pleasure discovered! My reputation shattered! He was shocked to discover that I have a thing for country music. He thought that I only listen to highfalutin opera music. Well, I’m into bluegrass, too! It’s a bit embarrassing to admit but ever since, I get a kick out of listening to Conway Twitty crooning Don’t Cry Joni. If you grew up listening to dzwr 99.9 Magic (now called 99.9 country) on FM radio and surrounded with people wearing leather or suede jackets, plaid shirts, and steel toe boots - like I did - you’d surely appreciate country music, too.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Best. Vacation. Ever.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sunday, February 3, 2008

his absence was everywhere

Sunday, February 3, 2008

"The mirror by the door was not a mirror by the door, it was an altar where he stood for only a moment to put on his cap before going out. The red rocking chair was a rocking of his own hips as he sat in the kitchen… His absence was everywhere, stinging everything, giving the furnishings primary colors, sharp outlines to the corners of rooms and gold light to the dust collecting on table tops. When he was there he pulled everything toward himself. Not only her eyes and all her senses but also inanimate things seemed to exist because of him, backdrops to his presence." (Toni Morrison, Sula, 1973)

honey, i miss you so much.

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