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Archive for April, 2011

I felt honored to be part of the Focus Group Discussion within the Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts (DSCTA) yesterday. Giving my opinions, stances and advocacies with the faculty and fellow students made me feel important. It was a little surrising that Dr. Cortez chose me to be the rep of theater arts, given that there could potentially be more qualified senior students, but I believe that I did justice to my course and to the love of theater and the arts.

With that said, I must say it’s a little disturbing if the faculty and department think of you as an alcoholic (when it’s only partially true.:P) I guess it stemmed from (1) me performing a personal narrative on the six basic alcohol groups, (2) me choosing “We Filipinos are Mild Drinkers” for my short story adaptation and (3) how I look in class. “Riley, it seems to me when you’re in class that you look like you didn’t get enough sleep, you look hangover, you look like you just got out of bed.” This hit me particularly because, first of all, yes, I drink. Often. Very often. But I don’t get drunk frequently. Okay, I was drunk last night but before that the last time I was drunk was January. However, I concede that my appearance telling people about me is crucial. Especially last semester, I always managed to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep! I always take a bath when I wake up. Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate oneself. I mean if people think that based on my appearance and general manuevers that I’m a drunk and a slut, they can’t be wrong because they’re basing it on what I project. Maybe it’s time I actually dress up more? Look like it took me more than 30 seconds to put on my ensemble? We’ll see. (Although to be fair, there might be some truth. I mean, I was drunk last night, and I’ve been drinking every night this past week.)

Moving on, I had a GREAT EGO BOOST last night. A GREAT EGO BOOST! At the start of the semester, I prioritized my classes and I decided that Playwriting and Directing should be my focus. And they were. Especially with Dr. Juan’s playwriting. I know I worked my ass off in that course. And I was expecting a grade of practically 1.5 at best. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the great Dr. Juan gave me a FLAT 1.0!!!! I cried. I feel so thankful and blessed to be part of his class and to showcase my final product (BRO) that my professor would think is a quality work. *bow* I humbly call myself a writer.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank (1) my actors, both for the final production and first reading, for breathing life to my text. (2) my classmates, for the group critiques and collective growth and (3) my mentor, Dr. Juan, for the constant guidance and direction. This has been an awesome semester.

I’ve said this before. I’ve had my share of flat 1.0’s in the past. But the feeling of getting a flat 1.0 in a “difficult” subject, knowing that you’ve worked your ass off every night trying to perfect it, is just so gratifying that I want to fly in cloud nine. 🙂

In other news, summer classes start today! I’m excited for Prof. Garcellano’s CL 110 (Literature and Political Change) and Prof. Coscolluela’s CW 110 (Fiction Writing). 🙂

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Remember the RPG’s we used to play when we were young? (Or, up to now, that’s cool too) When we create characters, there are these attributes and a bar where you set a quantity. For instance:

Revan017 (WARLOCK)

Intelligence – Above Average

Speed – Average

Agility – Average

Dexterity – Average

Stamina – Above Average

Strength – ???????!!!!!!

If only life were an RPG and we get to decide where to redistribute our skill points. Boy, I could really use some strength right now.

I always pride myself on my strength. In fact, and I quote, “I’m stronger than anyone, including myself, gives me credit for.” And, for the most part, it’s true. Come on, I’ve survived by myself in a city far from home, I’ve aced terror professors and I’ve trudged along in my theater career despite overwhelming external negativity. All fine and well. I know I’m not the epitomy, but I know what I am and I know what I’ve been through – all of which have molded me into the person I am today.

But just like Superman has kryptonite, everyone has a weak spot. Something that when hit, it’s difficult to recoil back into the daily lives. And I think I’ve hit mine. For every strength, there is a weakness, buried inside. And for every weakness, there is a potential strength growing. 

I just hate the fact that I feel that I’m back to square one. Every morning, I feel like I’m waking up from a one-night stand yet incapable of leaving. For the past days, I’ve been sitting on my balcony, taking shots of brandy, listening to RENT’s soundtrack and contemplating. I resolved to be stronger yet I backed out. Apparently, all I need are three syllables (I’ve missed you) and a long hug and suddenly I’m defeated. Broken down again. And if it’s what I want, then why am I not happy? If it’s what I’ve been lacking all these time, why do I feel so empty inside? 

Three days ago, while sitting in my balcony, I saw a piece of chalk on the floor. I picked it up and randomly wrote a word on the terrace. It was so random. The word was STRENGTH.

This morning, I went out. The word was erased.

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Home.

I read recently on Cracked that it is “unfair” that there is just a snap transition from boyhood to the world of grown-ups. As children, we think adulthood is so far-away and that, through some miracle, we’d have all the adult knowledge needed for the world. But, for some reason, you just find yourself out in the mall, buying hangers for your clothes, getting your stuffed toys dry-cleaned and you realize, I’m still the same old idiot I was back then. But, I’m….an adult?

I remember back when I wanted to buy “something fun”, I’d go out, I’d buy a book, a movie, a game, a shirt. And, don’t get me wrong – I still do that. But recently, buying “something fun” suddenly translated to me buying a shoerack just because I think it’d be much prettier to see my shoes in a rack rather than spread out on the floor. I also bought a bunch of hangers because I keep buying clothes (and not throwing old ones out) and I’m out of hangers. Right now, I feel the urge to go out and buy a shower curtain. Just because I think it’d be prettier for my bathroom to have a shower curtain.

I am having this obsessive need to have my room become my room. I know I just rent a room for my college needs, but I feel this is MY room. This is HOME. This is my personal place, my sanctuary. I want it to look perfect. I want it to smell perfect. I’m staring at the walls right now, and I just want it repainted. Just. Because.

After a stressful class or a shitty rehearsal or perhaps a personal down, there is no place I’d rather go to than home. I could stay here, sleep in the nude, watch any guilty-pleasure show I want, go to any website I want, blare out any song I feel. Because here I am free to express myself any way I want. This is so much more than a room I rent. This is so much more than a place to sleep in. I cannot stress how important it is to me – this is HOME. 

I look around my room and I’m proud of how it became how it is now. There are so many memories I’ve created in this place. This is the corner where I giggled uncontrollably when he asked me out. This is the chair where I sat, bursting in tears when a friend betrayed me. This is the bed that I…well…you know.

This seems so random, so out of the blue, but the past few days, I’ve been obsessing about the concept of home. Maybe it’s because I feel threatened that I”m opening up myself? Or that I’m afraid that I’m leaving here? I don’t know. I don’t know.

And, before I end, just a small immature, passive-aggressive statement for old times’ sake:

“You’re so unfair. I’m supposed to be mad at you but all you do is hug me tight and tell me everything’s okay and I end up crying on your shoulders, forgiving you that easily.”

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I used to believe epiphanies were stupid – just a cliche movie trope to make a character realize something without undergoing a long arduous task. I was proved wrong.

I’ve been up since 6:30am yesterday. For the record, yesterday was quite a bad day. Not the worst day in my life, mind, but still a bad day. I’m not going into specifics of what happened, just take my word – it was a bad day.

I preoccupied myself with mundane tasks of rewatching Rent, listening to sentimental songs, cleaning, just to avoid the greater task which is thinking about how to clear the mess I’ve created. And for almost 24 hours, that’s what I did, attempting to synthesize thoughts while doing workaday actions.

But I’ve had it. All I wanted to do was shout and freak out – let all the built-up frustration inside well-up in one powerful shout. But it’s 5am and I can’t really do that. I decided to take a stroll in UP by 6. And this is where the story begins.

It was never meant to be a ‘life-changing’ walk. It was supposed to be a stupid, ‘I-need-to-kill-time-before-the-mall-opens-at-10-am’ walk. I got off the jeepney and started walking around the oval. Suddenly I felt this urge to go to ASCAL. I stayed there a while. I sat at one of the mountain benches and slowly I found myself meditating. I felt relaxed. I felt the air around me, I felt the rush of the elements.

I am Aquarius, hence, I am Air. And that is how I meditated. Everything is but air – continuous around the world. I slowly let all the positivity in with a breathe and all the negativity with an exhale. Security in, doubts out. Confidence in, fears out. Personal growth in, immaturity out. Slowly I imagined myself turning into my element Air. I became air, on that bench on the ASCAL mountains. I could commune with the every breathe, every breeze, every gust that came. It was me. And all my problems could be blown away by it.

I started getting sleepy meditating so I got up. I felt a lot better, but not totally so. So I continued my walk around the oval. I came across the hang-out for one of my old organizations and I decided i miss staying there.  On impulse, I went to the hang-out (no one was there) and sat there for a while thinking. Then a cat, whom I nicknamed ZEEKY, came.

At first we were just there, me petting the cat and the cat rubbing up against me. Then suddenly I had this urge to talk to the cat, to share my problems with the cat. And I did. I opened my mouth and formed cohesive words, phrases and sentences and told them to the cat. I told the cat everything. And the cat understood – when I came to the emotional part, he suddenly sprang up on the chairs and cuddled on my lap. It is therapeutic to tell all your problems to a cat. However, there will come a point when you say:

“Cat, what am I supposed to do next?”

And it just stares at you and meows. Then I did a really weird thing.

“Cat I don’t think you understand me. Let me translate. Meow, meow, meow, meow, depression, meow, meow, meow, meow, confusion, meow, meow, meow, love.” And I did that by the way – I translated the whole story into meows and key words. 

Then a fat man with food came and Zeeky left me. Traitor.

I left the org hang-out much more refreshed. I had relaxed myself with meditation and I had purged myself by ranting to Zeeky. I felt everything become clearer now. I could see the trees, the roads, the tennis court in a whole new light. I felt so small, like a leaf in a tree, yet so connected to every single leaf, every single root, every single tree there. 

I continued the trek and I came upon this old man by the Carillion. He was doing a sword-dance routine by himself. I suppose it was some sort of ritual. I sat there, transfixed.

It wasn’t a brilliant sword-fight, or even a movement piece. In fact the way he brandished the sword seemed very tai-chi – very fluid, very slow. Millimeter by millmeter, he moves the sword. And when he maks a single mistake, he repeats the routine from the top. I sat there for almost half an hour just watching him. I imagined I was the old man using the sword, a weapon of mass destruction yet wielding it with finesse and grace that tiptoes the line of the ethereal and the cosmic. 

After a while, I left. I decide to walk home. I came across this vendor selling taho and it made me realize how much I miss taho. I can’t even remember the last time I had taho! I bought a cup and ate it while slowly walking home. There was something there, something earthy, something very Filipino that I enjoyed. 

On the way home I realized some things: (1) Before I did the walk, my initial plan was to become a cold bitch. After the walk, I began to see other perspectives and realized that mine may not be the perfect one. (2) We have to take care of ourselves every once in a while. It’s easy to lose track of what matters to us when we immerse ourselves. (3) Sometimes, we need to take time off from our lives to reexamine it. My walk was not a deep walk. Come on, sitting on a park bench to become air, talking to a cat, watching an old man play with swords and eating taho. That’s very everyday. 

But there’s something about this walk.

Made me realize, life is so meaningless, so fruitless, so devoid of purpose. Yet, life is so fucking beautiful.

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