DAY 1 | 7 Days of Gratefulness

One wonderful thing I’ve been seeing on social media lately is the “7 Days of Gratefulness/Thankfulness” challenge. For one week, you’re supposed to list down 5 things you are grateful for.

I must say, people struggle so much to find things they’re happy about…but ask the same people what they hate about this country and you’ll get a really noisy thread. A reflection of the amount of negativity that swirls around us.

Here’s my list. šŸ™‚

Always something to be thankful fo.

1. Tagging one of the top reasons I wake up with a smile each morning —Romano. My husband, best friend, labandero, ever willing assistant, my ultimate partner in crime; who, despite my strong (sometimes too strong) personality manages to steer our family well.

2. I am thankful for every opportunity I have to tell my family that I love them.

3. Coffee and all its iterations. Thank you chefs, baristas, food scientists, and everyone who appreciates epicurean delights.

4. I am grateful for the chance to be a mom.

5. My work makes me so happy. Everyday, I sit at my desk, knowing that every hour I spend at the office is a chance to be part of something bigger. I am grateful that I can say, unflinchingly, that my PR work serves the poor and the Philippines.

To you, my daughter

Dear Gabby,

Only a few weeks to go till we meet face to face. Only a few precious weeks till your father and I will hear your cry, cuddle you and marvel at how you; our lovely daughter came to be.

Even if I have not held you in my arms, I feel like I know you intimately. I know that you wake up at the sound of your mom tapping away at her computer (please forgive me – I have to work as you grow in my belly), you seem to like listening to Brahms, Les Miserables, the Smiths and Bob Marley, you are especially active when you hear your Dad and I talking (maybe you want to contribute to the conversation?) and you seem to like certain television shows and channels like Letterman, Conan, Modern Family and Al Jezeera. šŸ™‚

I will never forget the moment I first felt you move nor the first time you made my tummy jiggle with you kicking and stretching. You are becoming heavier and more active each day. It’s a little difficult for me to move now but I don’t mind because it means that you are growing.

Gabby, I hope we don’t disappoint you when you arrive. We’re inexperienced parents and I hope you forgive us when we make mistakes with you.

We’ll try our best to raise you well–our wish is for you to become someone full of tolerance, compassion and love for others. I hope that when you are here, you will stand up for what is right; you will defend those suffering injustices and become a voice for those who have no voice.

This is not to say we’d like you to become a militant. Not at all. Someday you will understand, like we enventually did, that violence gets us somewhere but it will not get us very far.

We just don’t want you to grow up apathetic and oblivious.

The Philippines, our dear daughter, though filled with charming locales and natural resources is awash with socioeconomic problems. Deeply rooted in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal system; our problems worsen because so many Filipinos choose not to care.

So many of us choose to become mindless slaves of consumerism; so many of us are even proud to be part of an apathetic middle class. I have seen so many brilliant peers become corporate drones, self-serving artists, academics with no real social purpose or worse, numb.

Remember this, my dearest daughter, our worth can only be measured with the good we bring into this world. Don’t get suckered into compliance, do not forget the millions who have and are suffering each day because people like you and me refuse to even acknowledge them.

Someday, you will be reading this. Your Dad and I hope that this will bring you comfort and love. We hope this letter envelops you with hope.

We love you so much Gabby.We want you to grow up in a better Philippines. And it is for you and other children like you that we take to the streets and keep vigil.

It is for your future that we express our outrage and dissent. It is for you, it is for love.

Mommy

Love Advice from the Bitch of Hades

Save some face, you know you’ve only got one
Change your ways while you’re young
Boy, one day you’ll be a man
Oh girl, he’ll help you understand
Smile like you mean it
Smile like you mean it

-The Killers

Having a seemingly stellar love life (that is I have had my heart broken x many times and survived) can lead to complications. One such complication is when not-so fortunate friends ask for advice. Over the years, I’ve developed a complex system (with diagrams!) to help my friends. Today, I’ll be sharing the love.Ā  šŸ™‚

When it comes to matters of the heart, I have four type of friends.

Specimen A is co-dependent. He or she has an unhealthy need to be needed by alcoholics, narcissistic bastards, shopaholics, druggies, jerk offs and other sorry asses. They hide under the veil of “doing this person good”, scared to admit that they too are addicted to being depended on. As such, they frequently suffer heart and bank breaks. They are targets for the pautang and palibre boys and girls who cannot live a life without mooching off other people.

What I usually say to specimen A-type friends: It will be fine, as long as you know that you loved unconditionally. Help them see that what they’re doing is unhealthy for both of you, help them find a way to stand on their two feet. You shouldn’t be blamed for every wrong turn your relationship takes. Love him/her but please, for the love of God…love yourself as well.

What I usually really want to say: Don’t be so prissy. You dug your grave, go lie in it. Your (in)significant other does not deserve you and I don’t deserve to hear this sodden story, please pass the beer.

Another type of friend is someone who is constantly swinging from one denial to the next. He or she either denies there’s something going on (as in “Me and her? Dating? Wouldn’t happen in this lifetime.”) or that they are adrift (as in “No, we’re fine…really. We couldn’t be happier!” ) or completely delusional (as in “He loves me, I just know he does! He’ll realize this when he sees his wife in a bikini!”). Specimen B is what I fondly call “The Say Whut?”.

What I usually say to Specimen B-type Friends: Nothing. Why fix something that needs to be broken? I simply nod my head and smoke a fag while I listen to them drone.

What I usually want to say: LOL.

One of the hardest to handle are the sensitive martyr types. Specimen CĀ  “Why Lord, Why Me?” is hard to give advice to, tell the blunt truth to or even laugh at. This is simply because you’ll never know which way they’ll go.

Not to be confused with Specimen B’s whose sense of reality is somewhat flawed, Specimen C-types tend to take reality all too seriously. They feel like they constantly have to inform us of the big picture (as in “I think that even if he almost shot me that night, it was all for the better. I realized that..”) or insist upon the gravity of significant other’s actions ala cinema critic (as in… “I knew it. When he held my hand like that under the tinkling lights of Greenbelt 5 that our lives would be intertwined forever).

It’s hard to laugh at what they say or put in a sarcastic remark to (somehow) lighten the mood simply because they might end up suicidal, running round in the middle of EDSA if don’t keep your tap shut. Conversely, it’s equally hard to empathize with them because then you yourself might end up suicidal running round in the middle of EDSA.

What I usually say to Specimen C-type friends: *Nervous laugh* It may be too early to really grasp the significance but am guessing you’re more emotionally attuned to (insert object of desire, derision here) than I am. I mean, I can’t give you objective advice about this. But from what I’m hearing, I think you’re in love (or a candidate for a nervous breakdown).

What I usually want to say to Specimen C-type friends: Let’s be logical here. What he/she did could mean something or could mean zilch. What if instead of sitting on our asses and analyzing what happen you get up and ASK him/her what exactly they meant. The big picture: not everyone has the time or the patience to analyze every hand-holding moment their friends have.

Lastly, there are those who feel so deprived of love, they turn into bitter fools. Specimen D is what we call “Am All Out of Love”. For these people, nothing in the world is as tragic as their love-lorn selves. They are also the same people invoke the “Nobody’s perfect. I want perfection, therefore I have no significant other” excuse. In reality, these people either have no balls or think too highly of themselves.

What I usually tell Specimen D-type friends: How can you fall in love when you’re way to careful of whom you love? You think the “nobody’s perfect” still works when you’re over 20? Think again. Even the imperfect, fugly people you point out are taken! Time to cruise down relationship street now.

What I usually want to tell Specimen D-type friends: Shut it.Look around, there are heavier things to problematize. Not the world population’s fault that you have the “perfect” person in mind (someone with anime looks and wit and humor and is rich but is also compassionate AND will give you the time of day).

In the final analysis, I think love is pretty simple. Either you do it or you don’t. Remember only two things really kill love: indecision and delusion.

Happy lovin’ girls and boys. ā™„