The stories that need telling

I heard someone say that we are all storytellers, each with a story or two to tell.  I have dozens of them in my head, but then the words don’t always come with ease with each one.  There are those that we remember over and over again, be it for the happy memories they evoke or the pain they stir up inside.  There are those which are in many ways still in progress — no ending as yet.  And there are the hundred and one ideas that float by — like thought bubbles that disappear and reappear from time to time.

Sometimes we dream of writing a book like one of the books we just read.  I wish.  It takes a certain talent — much like singing takes a voice — and not everyone possesses the cohesive thought or hook that will keep our readers reading.  There are stories that everyone has their own version of — like finding a love like no other, losing that love, and recovering from that loss — and it seems that those stories keep getting told and people still read them.  So perhaps it’s not so much the novelty or uniqueness of the story itself, but of how it is actually told.

On the way to Baguio

It takes a beginning, a middle and an end.  Where do I begin?   At the beginning, they say.  Where is that beginning?   Which story do I write and tell?  I guess whichever is easiest.

Once upon a time there was a dreamer who fell in love.

A simple line brings me to different stories.

She was deep into a relationship that seemed to be going nowhere.  A working law student, she found herself immersed in a job that took her to different parts of the country.  It was just another job.  She didn’t realize that she would find more than just the usual sights and sounds of the previous journeys she had taken.  She would find someone who would touch her life then and almost twenty years later, but never really for keeps.

No editing.  That doesn’t make sense except to me and whoever else knows the story.  It can also go another way.

Years into a relationship that she just ended, she wasn’t quite ready to fall in love again so quickly.  But the heart doesn’t have a firm grasp on the concept of time, more so when it feels it has found its match.  She felt like she was reading her writing when he wrote.  There was so much promise in a life together, even if it was 10,000 miles away from all that was familiar.  Taking a chance on love meant taking a leap of faith and for some reason, she felt brave enough to take it this time around.

We can skip to the sad part and begin elsewhere.

She was blinded by her illusion of a family life that she thought wasn’t perfect but was comfortable.  She didn’t even notice when things actually changed until things unfolded during therapy.  Those gruelling and excruciating sessions which saw her peeling away her emotions in front of a stranger who was forcing her to be honest when she felt like she wanted to keep things private.  Even from him.

People say that I have a talent for explaining stories and telling things in an easy to understand fashion.  Ask my classmates in law school who liked the way I would explain complicated cases that made it easy for them to understand, be it on the blackboard or in the countless digests I wrote to sell for the cost of the photocopying.  I have a handful of stories I can write a book about, or a series, but I find a lack of focus my biggest impediment.  I envy the writers who can focus on a train of thought and develop that into chapters upon chapters and eventually come up with a novel.  Perhaps I can do that one day — I actually think I can given the proper motivation and guidance.

In another lifetime, perhaps.  Too many people would be worried about what I would write.  (Ha!  The curse of being associated with someone who has a penchant for wearing her feelings on her sleeve, and unabashedly revealing personal things in places like this blog.)  That thought actually brought out a mischievous grin on my face…

Self-censorship can be quite a bane to a writer trying to bring life to a story.  What could be worse than editing one’s self.  There are times when I let my honesty get the better of me and at the end of even a well written post, I hit “private” instead of “publish” because I have revealed too much.  Even with my brutal honesty here in my space, I still want to keep a semblance of privacy when it comes to my innermost thoughts and feelings.  I guess that’s why there are pseudonyms.  Yet another decision to be made.  Do I write it as myself or do I hide under a monicker that will hide who I really am?

There are stories that are begging to be told — because bringing them out into the open serves a purpose beyond just putting a series of events into words, weaving them into one cohesive whole.  Sometimes, a story serves a purpose and teaches a lesson after the fact, or helps one to put things into perspective as the story is being written.  I feel compelled to write to unburden myself at times, and then when I go back to the words I had written, I see things differently from how they were when I was typing away.

Perhaps in time.

I am often cowed by the fact that I feel I don’t have a compelling enough story to write.  At times I feel as though I am too mired in my feelings to actually write anything of interest.  One day.. maybe..

You might yet get to read an actual story in a longer format from me.  One or some of those stories might yet get to see the light of day and find themselves as part of a novel, an anthology, or just another blog post or series of blog posts here.  Or maybe in another blog where I can be honest without fear of embarrassing myself in front of those who know who I am.

My story might yet get written and told.

Just Fab

This blog post has been in my draft folder for over two weeks now, and is still a work in progress.   It hasn’t been for lack of trying because I have been working on it all this time.  I guess it’s just that my thoughts (and my world) are in flux and I’m just riding it out.

I haven’t been here because I’ve been preoccupied by life in general.  I’m not too happy that I’ve slacked off writing here yet again, but not even having access to posting on just about every handheld or hardware I have has helped. I had been planning on writing about half a dozen topics before, on and after hitting my 49th birthday, but sometimes things just don’t go as planned.  Maybe it’s the age — but when that happens, I simply let go.  (It’s just a blog — I’ll live if I don’t get to document what has happened in my otherwise staid existence.  Ha!)

For one thing, I have been in Manila (and other parts of the Philippines) the last two weeks.  I have been active on Instagram, and even Twitter, so I have not been completely absent.  My art journal / altered book has likewise suffered from making do with weekly snippets (which doesn’t make for much journaling), but I’m trying to keep up.  On the whole, life has just been fabulous the last couple of weeks, even if it has not been without its challenges.  I think I’ve been luckier than most in many respects and I couldn’t be happier.
#JeepneyStories: #GothamChickinCebu #sightseeinginCebu #publictransportation #cebu #jeepney #kingoftheroad #itsGoodToBeHome #itsalwaysfuninthePhilippines
The trip home, as always, was too short.  It was even shorter this time because I couldn’t do the usual three week vacation.  I had come home for a wedding and planned family outings around it in the two weeks and two days I managed to carve out for this trip.  I tried to focus on enjoying my immediate family instead of going out everyday.  We did a lot of firsts which made it even more memorable.

But before that, I turned 49.  (Cue balloons and confetti falling from the ceiling..).  My little guy and I had a birthday dinner and I got the most precious gift ever with a series of posters, starting with something taped to our front door, all the way to the top of the stairs and finally, a poster which said:
@angelogon2004 : Best birthday greeting Ever! #motherhood #Angelo #birthdaygreeting #priceless #asonslove #forever #mothersandson #YouMakeItAllWorthIt #grateful #myworld
Speechless.   While most people dread the coming of birthdays after the big four-oh, I’ve never been more comfortable in my own skin than I am now.  I like how I look and feel and I know that I am in transition to something better.  I find myself looking forward to doing more and accomplishing even more in the immediate future.  Instead of looking at advancing in age as an impediment or obstacle, I have come to see it as a means to spring forward with a renewed sense of purpose.

I think I have arrived at this point with a self-assurance that has helped me to  handle life’s surprises a little better.  The last year or two have been very challenging but even I have surprised myself at how I had managed to stay afloat in the fray.  I have learned many lessons along the way, and have found myself being humbled over and over again.  Yet looking back from where I am right now, I have to say I have been truly blessed.

Good things do come out of the bad that come into our lives.  Perhaps it was just the old headstrong, outspoken me — but I may have offended someone I thanked for messing things up, for the good that experience later brought into my life. I guess there was no tactful way of saying it that wouldn’t have made that person take offense, but that was a heartfelt thanks despite the fact that it may have seemed sarcastic.

There are many good things in my life right now which I wouldn’t have even bothered to consider had things not gotten so terribly wrong in the recent past.  I know it might seem like a hard sell of the cliches that allude to how there is always something good in everything, no matter how bad things may get.  And yet at the end of the day, after the dust has settled, I choose to look on the positive despite the pain.  It actually has helped me to deal with the loss and the hurt better. It helped me to let go of the bitterness.  It helped me to move forward.  And that wouldn’t have been possible without the preceding bad turns that came my way — and I have to recognize that for what it truly is.

Fabulous is a good word to describe the way I look at life these days.  I am still on that journey to happy, but I know I’m getting there.  I try to find the things that are worth remembering — zeroing in on the happy thoughts.  I try to focus on the positive instead of the bad things, the reasons to smile instead of worry or feel hurt.

There are many people who have come into and gone out of my life and there seems to be a constant stream of that these days.  I have gotten past hanging on and chasing people — so I have found a comfortable space where I am and I just sit and welcome those who decide to say hello, and say a non-bitter goodbye to those who have to go.  Again, it must be age.  I relish those who choose to share their lives with me in whatever shape or form.  And with the same token, I let go of those who find themselves walking past, or leaving after sitting down for a chat.

Even those who I wish would stay, I no longer try to hold back.  If they choose to stay a while, I will be grateful.  But if they find that they need to move on or if they change their minds, then I thank them for what time and part of themselves they had shared with me and I let go.

I’ve come to believe that everyone we encounter has a reason for having walked into our lives.  It’s up to us to recognize that for what it is.  And as much as we would want things to turn out the way we want them to, there are things beyond our control.

So I stick with the “fab”.