When the memories come a-haunting

There are times when having a good memory doesn’t serve me too well. I tend to peg events, things and people to dates – and when that date comes around, I relive whatever it was that had happened then – good or bad. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a happy memory. It’s more difficult dealing with the memories that actually bring back painful or hurtful things, or negative emotions like anger.

I know, I should let it go. I wish it were as easy as that, but it isn’t.

Some things get better with time. But there are pains that stay with us and linger and fade into the darkness, only to resurface at a time not of our choosing.

May 2013 wasn’t so bad — but sometime in the latter part of the year, I realized a couple of things and found out it wasn’t as good as I thought it was and that was that.  And while I am glad that May is almost gone, it’s not quite out the door yet. And I’m trying very hard to push the heaviness in my heart away. I don’t always succeed. At times it feels like it’s a never-ending struggle to float up to the surface and grab some precious air. It still suffocates me.

Miami.  Chicago.  I was in the latter in May, but I’ve never been to the former.  And I probably never will go.  Again, that’s that.

The good news is, I’ve been hit by a creative energy that has seen me making something out of all this.  I’m coming up with new designs and pushing myself to create more and to do things out of my comfort zone for the shop.  Some of the pieces I’ve created are screaming for me to wear them which isn’t good because I want to put them up for sale.

I’ve been pushing myself to work out.  I might even start that story I’ve been writing in my head, finally.  (As if I have all the time in the world to write!!)  For the most part, I’ve succeeded in keeping the angry thoughts away, but it doesn’t numb the pain.  How I wish I had a switch we could flick like a TV remote which would choose that which we remember.  But I can’t. 

At least not for now.


There comes a time when we find ourselves looking at everything around us, and we compare ourselves to what we see, and a feeling of worthlessness lands squarely on our shoulders.  We realize that everything we have done or put together and built our lives upon are meaningless.  We are meaningless.

I’m not trying to wax poetic.  It’s a very regular thing that comes flying from out of nowhere and lands on our shoulders whether we welcome it or not.  A sense of not having any meaning or purpose.  It is a time of vulnerability.  It is a time when we take stock and look around us and see things for what they are — the illusion of what we once thought was beauty appears as it truly is: ugly.

The good we thought we saw was actually a sham — a facade that was put on so we wouldn’t see the truth.

The year is about to end and everything around me is just plain darkness.  Someone thought it was alright to steal what was mine and ruin what was not perfect but was good.  Someone thought that just because her own world was dark, she had every right to spread the darkness into mine.  Shame on you, Beth Baja.






Letting it go

I’ve been spending most of my morning shooting off emails, parrying blows, clarifying requests, being the peacemaker, and basically telling everyone they should all calm down and read their e-mails before reacting. I don’t mind doing it on a piecemeal basis, but when it’s a barrage, it gets really tiring. And while I can write a good business e-mail, I think it’s beyond my job description to actually explain things to people earning twice as much as I do. (Okay, maybe just 150% of what I make..)


In a previous lifetime, I had gotten used to doing my job based on what I can do and not what I’m expected to do and what I was paid to do — I always went the extra mile. Back home in the Philippines, there was always that unseen force driving us to achieve and excel and shine. I don’t know if it’s age (me getting old) or just the culture (different that it’s similar) — or perhaps that I have changed my focus at work from “building a career” to “earning a paycheck”. I do my job, and I do it well, but I don’t bend backwards too much anymore. Where I would normally chime in and offer what I know or volunteer what I can do to help, I find myself just watching quietly like the proverbial fly on the wall.  I will help if asked.

Apology made. Apology accepted.

Life is too complicated as it is for me dissect each and every fall or slap in the face. Is that me getting jaded? Perhaps. I think it’s more of my soul getting weary with each passing day. Some things you just have to LET GO. That phrase has been resonating in my heart the last few days.. LET IT GO.

I am not always successful in listening to the voice inside my head.  And that can be a tad frustrating indeed.  But I think I’m getting the hang of it and getting better at it.  It is easier now to get over things — be it anger, sadness, or plain excitement.  Faced with a disappointment, I look at it, try to understand it, and TRY not to go back to it. 

I try.

I try and let it go.

Sometimes, I succeed and I DO let it go.  There are still times, though, when I fail. And even then, I have to let it go.

In the silence…

Fall sunrise - 14Nov2012

I was standing at the bus stop as the sun was rising rather late (a few minutes after 7AM) and I happened to look up and saw this glorious reflection of the sun against the autumn leaves.  (Forget about the power lines.)


I was waiting with around 4 others but I didn’t care.  Sometimes,  you just have to stop awhile and capture the moment.  It’s the appreciate-the-autumn-leaves equivalent of  stop-and-smell-the-roses.

I hate telling people things they don’t want to hear, more so when they’re being told what they’ve done needs correcting.  (I try not to say “What you did was wrong”.)  I find it amusing that people can take the time to react negatively and get all riled up, only to gloss over any explanation of why their work is just not on point.  Oh, well.  As long as I know I did my job.

I have become less tolerant of other’s anger but have sadly been given to more outbursts of mine.  Whether it is outward or inward — it gives me pause when I realize I could’ve taken things more calmly, that I can do a complete 360 and just not let my anger get the better of me.  I hear such angry words as “No pushing, ”  “I’m freaking out right now” like they were just spoken yesterday.  And then silence.

The silence reminds me that we CAN shut out those negative feelings and thoughts.  Sometimes, it just takes more effort than usual.  It’s like figuratively putting our palms to our ears so we don’t hear a thing.  These days, when I start getting mad, I pause and say a prayer.  An “Our Father”.  Or a “Hail Mary”.

I just had a penne bolognese lunch with a slice of pecan pie because it’s been a long morning.  I think better with a full stomach, although my pants are getting tighter telling me it’s time to start dieting.  (Ouch!)  Okay, it’s more for the practicality of not getting a new wardrobe — plus the more important focus on health and well-being.  The mother of another batchmate of mine just passed away last night and it got me to thinking again about how precious and fragile life can be.  So I hug more and say “I love you” as often as I can to my precious boy.

Last night, I was making “lambing” and asked him if he would cook me dinner.  Of course, he said no saying he didn’t know how to cook.  Then I tried to further prod him by saying “Girls like boys who can cook.”  And he responded in return, “I like girls who CAN cook.”  Case closed.

Dark days

There are evenings when I end my day feeling emotionally defeated after I reflect upon how it had gone. I’ve had an okay Sunday more or less.  It’s just that my temper had gotten the better of me a couple of times. All’s well now, but I feel I could have done better given the situation that came up. It’s a thought that draws out a big sigh from deep within my heart. More so because it involves Angelo.

I try. Sometimes I think I actually tend to spoil him. I try to set some limits but often find myself bending backwards and losing in a battle of wills with my little guy.

The boys are out playing tennis and will be picking up pizza for dinner. So I’ve had time to decompress while I tried to catch up with my newspaper collage postcards. I am trying to breathe in the stillness with just me and the TV.

I had gotten so used to being able to vent and having friends to speak with at the touch of a button online or via text. Even my dear old Globe promo text mate has been silent since the unlocked phone which carries my Globe roaming SIM conked out on me. Circumstances have made me opt to just deal with it all, on my own, for the last two months or so. Others would say it helps not to muddle my thoughts with me just listening to my inner voice. I pray, I draw… and I thnk I have gotten better at being by myself through the past couple of months.

The absence of what is familiar and comfy forces one to think with more clarity. I bear no ill-will. Sometimes friends need space, and putting that space between doesn’t mean the end of a friendship. It just means that at this point in time, there is a need to stay away. I have no anger in my heart. I have been blessed with such great friends and I am forever thankful that they continue to bless my life with their presence. But there are just times when I have to be by myself.

It’s just that days like today make me think and wonder if I have to go outside of my current comfort zone and reach out again.  Then that feeling of wanting to be alone and needing to be alone comes over me again.  Am I trying to do too much on my own? The little guy is back, watching TV while resting his head on my shoulder as I tap away. We’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.

Life IS less complicated when the only voice I listen to is mine. I’ve learned to be self-reliant and more definitive about the path I choose to take. Most days, I get to bask in the “happy” longer and the sad thoughts pass more quickly. I just don’t like hearing my angry voice, more so when it is directed towards the one person who gives me reason to keep going.

It does get lonely at times.  It would’ve been lonelier with my “old” self.  These days, I find that the silence of just being helps me more.  Besides, I have gotten used to the thought that my closest friends are all in Manila (with one in Australia) — oceans away. After 12 years of being a New Yorker, I still get all mushy with that thought, but the fact that those friendships have withstood the test of space and time have been a source of huge comfort through the years. And one of the lessons that the distance has taught me is that they are always here in my heart.

And they would know what I mean about wishing I didn’t hear my angry voice. They are there when I need them. They are there even when I’m out here, thinking on my own.  I can hear their voices in my heart.  My voice, though, rises above everyone else, and that’s the voice I hear clearest.

I hear that voice saying that though I might not feel like I’m okay — I WILL be okay.  That though there are those who chose to leave and no longer be a part of my life or who chose to aggravate me rather than help, the ones who matter are those who chose to stay and continue to stay.

Another week begins tomorrow. Another day is here… Goodnight, my inner voice says — go and rest, Dinna.

What if..

I usually have a title up before I write the body of the post. Not today.  I’ve been meaning to write something here the past couple of days, but I haven’t had the chance not for lack of connectivity or opportunity, but simply because the words seem to be stuck somewhere to deep for me to pull them out. 

There has been a deluge of condolences which I would’ve wanted to respond individually to but which I haven’t been able to do because dealing with Dad’s passing is a continuing process for me.  I haven’t quite gotten to that place where I can say I’ve accepted it.

Given the stages of grief, I know I’m in the “anger” part right now where I cannot help but feel pain thinking this was a most unexpected set of circumstances that would have warranted his death.  Twice before, we rushed him to the ICU where the doctors frankly told us he was on the brink of death.  Both times, despite the complications and all, he pulled through.  And yet this third hospitalization where his ailment was nowhere near as serious as the previous ones, he signed a “Do not rescusitate” order and he refused a minor procedure to intubate from the sides to help his lung process his oxygen intake — both conditions which we believe led to that worsening of his situation and eventually his death.  Perhaps it’s more difficult for us to accept his dying because the first two times, my siblings and I were there.  This third time, his second family chose not to call us or contact us until he was already on the throes of death.

I know these are all “what ifs” and mere speculation — but deep in my heart, I know that had we been involved from the start, my father who usually needed someone else to decide for him would have acceded to my brother and sister’s supplications for him to agree to the simple procedure that would help him breathe better.  He would not have worried about the cost of his hospitalization as he knows that we would have found a way.  He would not have signed the DNR form which would have enabled the doctors to save him.  Had he still stuck to his decision despite the support and presence of my siblings, then his death, perhaps, would be easier for me to accept.

The days after Dad’s cremation have been more difficult for me to deal with.  I often get reminded of some thing or other that pinches at my heart.  I find the tears forming and I take a deep breath and close my eyes.  I miss Dad so much.  I guess it’s a feeling I will have to get used to from here on, because I know it will never go away.