Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Illusionist

I just watched an old episode of Criss Angel’s Mindfreak where he levitated over the Luxor in Las Vegas. The camera panned to the people on the ground and I laughed at their upturned faces etched with stupefied wonder. I refused to believe that these people actually thought he was levitating so high above Sin City without any props except for his “mind power”, his “magic”. He’s an illusionist, I thought, and supposed to deceive you. Not unlike some people in my life.

I took a fast trip down memory lane and encountered the Criss Angels and Decepticons that traipsed through my life. Halfway there I screeched to a halt and faced the Mama’s Boy. OH yes. He was Ruler of all Decepticons. Mama’s Boy professed his undying love and claimed I was “THE ONE”. Unbeknownst to me, I was THE one of many! He fed me his lies and I feasted on them because my longing for intense connection overrode my common sense. I had this deep need to be understood and valued so Mama’s Boy became my knight in shining armor. I thought he would whisk me away on his white horse and save me from my dreary existence. He weaved his empty promises until I was whirling in rapture. Then the ground gave way and I found myself mired in quicksand. He was nothing but a liar, a cheat, and a poor excuse for a human being.

Farther down memory lane I slowly walked up to Meryl. She was my BFF, the Paris Hilton of the nineties. We were inseparable and had great times until I realized she was only using me to fortify her kiting addiction. Next!

There was Mr. Suavecito, who wielded his flattery like a lightsaber cutting through me with no resistance. He told me I was beautiful, the best thing that’s happened to him, AND his soul mate. My world revolved around him and I almost self-destructed had it not been for me catching Mr. Suavecito in his own garbage. C’est la vie.

The next encounter brought me to Tickle Me Elmo. The first AND last Internet connection that resulted in anticlimactic disaster in ta-da, Vegas! He told me he was 5’7 and I didn’t realize he meant in miniature dimensions. Tickle Me Elmo claimed to be blond but he was red all over, hence, his moniker. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against redheads but at least be honest about it. I left him standing at McCarran Airport and changed my phone number as soon as I got home. Oh well.

Last but not least, was Ali. I firmly believed that she was a kindred spirit. I thought she understood me and I respected her greatly. We cultivated our friendship for a few years and I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Until one day, it became apparent that her incessant analyzing of men was an obsession and I was merely her sounding board. My advice about men being simple creatures did not reach her deaf ears.

“He said hi. What does that mean?”
Uhhh, he meant hi.”
“He said in his email that he’d call me later. What does that mean?”
He may or may not call you.”
“He said ‘don’t call me, I’ll call you’. Should I call him?”
Do. Not. Call. Him. Wait until he calls you.”

Ali called him and I resigned from my job as confidante. Life is too short to spend countless hours analyzing the minds of men.

I can’t say that my trip down memory lane was pleasant but as I swiveled back toward the present I was smacked in the nose with a huge mirror. Whoa, why was Criss Angel looking back at me? My acidic stomach did some convulsing as the truth unveiled my eyes.

I have been the Illusionist all along! I was THE master illusionist in my own sorry life because I suffered from this intense need to connect with someone, anyone. New relationships held promise and expectations ran high until disappointment set in. I revered the people in my life and chose to view them through rose-colored glasses, refusing to admit their limitations. Reality arrived when the weaknesses, imperfections, and flaws manifested themselves in the people around me. Because I couldn’t handle their fall from the pedestals I erected, I ran far, far away. Add my fear of rejection and abandonment to the mix and you’ve got the illusionist undermining her own relationships pushing people farther away. I would rather terminate a connection than deal with the agitated mess.

Will I become friends again with the people I’ve severed ties with? Absolutely not, but I can stop idealizing new relationships and devaluing the people I love. I will take the good and the bad from people without allowing my fear of rejection to rule my actions, taking full responsibility for them. I no longer need to live life as an illusionist because my eyes are fixed on stark reality, not fantasy.

I can stop shielding my eyes from the ray of light that’s pierced through the darkness and embrace it with open arms.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Invitation by Oriah

Thank you, Janice, for your thoughtfulness and sending me this poem. It resonated within me so I decided to share it. Your friendship is gold and I love you. Hang tough!
The Invitation by Oriah
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Race of triumph

The Nike Human Race 10K – Los Angeles 8.31.08

I was high on “E” but it was the good kind—Endorphins! My addiction began after my annual physical and my doctor prescribed running 6 miles a week to keep my cholesterol at bay. Being of Filipino descent I’m predisposed to high cholesterol despite my dauntless efforts at eating healthy. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

2008 was supposed to be “great”; instead it was filled with four consecutive deaths and then, my divorce. I felt like the entire US Army took turns in pummeling me. I’d get beat down, shake myself, and rise up. In defiance to the supernatural force buffeting me against the rocks I challenged myself: train for a race, any race, endure physical, emotional, and mental pain then reclaim my dignity. Living with a husband who had no desire for me, my dignity was nowhere to be found like a naughty child playing an unsolicited game of hide-and-seek. Regardless of the repeated declarations confirming my beauty, it rang untrue when my spouse’s blank eyes gazed at me. Disenchantment in a marriage gone sour was the knockout punch that slammed the truth into my face. My beauty was placed in careless hands and there was no one to blame but myself.

It’s been one month since that pivotal race and I’ve emerged from the chrysalis of shame and failure. I can genuinely smile and experience the panoply of emotions on the opposite end of the pain spectrum. Running that race enabled me to pound my doubts and fears, humiliation and disgrace into every crack and crevice on the Los Angeles pavement. Finally, I was running toward triumph instead of running away from my beast of burden.

The days of flying solo have begun and my massive wingspan is taking me to heights I never knew existed. Each new day brings a fresh revelation of my purpose and who I am meant to be. Despite the beautiful brokenness of who I was, I’m learning to be content with the woman I am.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

About Me

Enough “about me”, this is what I am not:

  • I don’t settle for mediocrity or crave the mundane. I fear stagnation.
  • I am not graceful, chic, or sophisticated no matter how hard I try. I spill, trip, and fall on the daily.
  • I don’t believe that being a young grandmother absolves me from any responsibility. I must leave a legacy that will pass through the generations.
  • I never believed in destiny and serendipity until Ray spun his music into my life.
  • I don’t allow people, especially men, define my femininity and sexuality. Running takes care of that.
  • I don’t cringe at solo jaunts to unknown destinations, movie theaters, or restaurants. My solo adventures become a musical. Everything becomes a prop and people are my back-up dancers.
  • I do not fear death. I’ve created my own special playlist for when the time comes. No “Over The Rainbow” for my funeral! #1 on the list: Madonna’s “Like It Or Not”.
  • I don’t believe that my passion for photography is just a hobby. My photographs are the symphony to my heart.
  • I don’t believe that obstacles in life are unnecessary or irrelevant. Overcoming them manifests courage.
  • I don’t fear challenges; I face them head-on with my best “mean-muggin’” look.
  • I don’t like reality shows of any kind; watching them is a waste of precious brain cells.
  • I don’t believe that a life should be lived without a purpose. Find a cause and fight for it.
  • I don’t love Jesus because I’m holy; my deviant self cannot last a normal day without Him.
  • I don’t believe in waiting for something to happen. I make them happen.
  • I don’t believe in the quantity of friends but the quality in them that improves who you are.
  • I don’t think we should become so comfortable in our zone that we are blind to those in need.
  • I don’t exhibit enough patience and love.
  • I don’t take myself too seriously, in fact, I laugh at myself often.
  • I don’t know what I would do without books to feed my insatiable appetite for reading.
  • I don’t like sleeping. It cramps my style.
  • I don’t spend enough devotional time with my Creator.
  • I don’t like depriving myself of anything beautiful.
  • I don’t like that my knees prevent me from running a full marathon.
  • I don’t believe that a day goes by without an adventure, big or small. You have to look for them.
  • I don’t believe that growing older means you stop dancing, stop moving, stop grinding (gasp, did I say that?), stop dreaming, and stop hoping.

My New Blog

I was a stupid, hasty, and impatient girl this morning deleting my old email that contained my married last name, as if one click on the delete button would quickly make me whole and my failed marriage would be lost in an amnesiac haze. For the first time this week I began to feel like a human being again and was overzealous in my quest to move forward. When I deleted my old email I also obliterated all access to my blog! DUH! HELLO? There it will forever sit in cyberville occupying space and floating on the lines of communication.

I won’t lie and say I brushed off my Internet faux pas with grace. Oh no, I FREAKED out! With wringing hands and high-pitched whining I lamented to Heidi and Lina about my complete lameness. With much aplomb they both tried to reassure and encourage me but Blogger told me a different story. I was pretty much A$$ED out!

So here I am with my new blog on the cusp of my new life as a singleton. I am beginning to feel hope, not for another relationship but for the dawn of a new creation: me. It is time to look long and hard in the mirror and face the demons that brought me to the crossroads I’m standing in. I can’t ward them off with alcohol, drugs, partying, and sex like I used to years ago; nor can I protect them with bitterness, anger, and cynicism. Grace is the only arsenal I need to destroy my demons forever.

One day I hope to look in the mirror and see me standing there knowing I am worth much more than accommodating men in my life who don’t value my heart or have the courage to be my partner. The woman gazing back at me with eyes bright with wisdom will smile, lift her head with confidence and laugh victoriously.