Monday, July 19, 2010

Things I Will Never Have and It's Alright (2)

Continuation of yesterday's post....

4. A Yes-Friend / The Faithful Sidekick

Who doesn’t want to have a superbly faithful friend? That one person who you could run to and tell all your morbid secrets to and all she/he would say is, “it doesn’t matter, I love you anyway!” It can happen right? But I kind of overdid it, inside my head. Aside from faithful, I also wanted him / her to be blind to my mistakes, supportive to the point of suicide, domesticated more than docile. In short, I wanted a talking, walking shadow --- seen but ephemeral.

But instead of lap dogs, God gave me friends. My friends are the most sober, intelligent people you will ever meet. (Well, let’s re-think sober). They are GOOD. Not to mention practical. And sometimes, the imaginings of wild nights out and professions of undying friendship are nice. But again, not necessary.

It’s enough that they’re still here. It’s enough that they love chatty nights in coffee shops, and dinner in decent and wholesome places, and who disdain cigarettes as much as they do hairy men. It’s enough that I have good friends who knows where the word “frak” comes from and play game boards till the wee hours of morn. I have friends who can teach me how to properly pronounce ensemble, look up the word horny in the dictionary for me, tell me what clothes goes with pink tights (answer: nothing), how to resign from a job, and how to stay. I have friends who call me their little sister, and friends who will watch two movies with me in one night just because it means hanging out with me. I have beautiful friends. None of them says yes to me all the time. But when they say No, it’s usually for my own good. And I would be the word’s most incredible JarJar Binks if I do not feel supremely happy about that.

6. Prince William / Prince Charming

The Prince can kiss my J-Lo a*s.

I didn’t always think this of course. When I was much, much younger, I wasn’t a complete aberration to the female of the species. I also had The List. And on that List, I wrote down all the characteristics of The One. You realize it’s serious when someone capitalizes every other word in her sentence, right?

So this List of the One, expounds on how he’d look like: Tall (my friends snort with derision on this one), fair-skinned, intellectual (he’d have to have glasses), with a swimmer’s body. It describes what he’s good at: Math (first and foremost), proper English enunciation, people (all he needs to do is smile), and world trivia (geek seeks geek). He also has to be kind-hearted, not prone to anger, and given my quirks, he needs to be not easily fazed. He’s the type to send you flowers to show he’s thinking of you, who writes you long, lovely letters of undying affection, and totally committed. Understand this is not the complete list and yet you already know the man I describe does not EXIST. Prince Charming is a fairytale, and his modern counterpart, Prince William is marrying frakking Kate Middleton.

A girl must Revise according to Reality. Through the years, this List was pared down to the bare essentials. Practically all the physical characteristics were shot. Short guys are cute, you know. Smart doesn’t mean he can spout quantum mechanics or Keats in the same breath, and I couldn’t give a damn if you have a swimmer’s body or something more like a flotation device (all the more man for me to handle). The bare essentials have come to this: kind-hearted, smart (I am a firm believer of multiple intelligences), patient, and Decent (there goes the capitalization again). I don’t need violins or dates on yachts or rings with stones as large as a small porcupine (how tacky is that?), I just need assurance, simple affirmations of affection (surprise me) and time together (It doesn’t matter what we do).

I do not need Prince Charming. I deserve someone more real than that. I don’t need a mythic love story. I just need it to be True. And who knows, right? Maybe it could even be You.

To be continued tomorrow….

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Things I Will Never Have and It's Alright (1)

Happiness… it’s been weighing on my thoughts recently. After 28 years, I believe it’s time to understand that defining what makes you happy is, in one way or another, defining who you are. I’m not getting any younger, and I am tired, no, exhausted, of being at the mercy of trends or clich├ęs or tiny boxes inside people’s head. I have watched enough Hollywood movies and God knows how many thousand books to infiltrate my subconscious; perhaps most of them radically revising what is true to me and changed it to what is true to conformity instead.

Until now, I have so many frustrations in life --- the downside to a relentlessly overactive imagination. In some ways, what I have always considered as my greatest gift, has also been the biggest leech sucking life from, well… my Life.

And I’ve had enough. Watching Christopher Nolan’s Inception last night sealed the deal. I will not live my life in a dream within a dream within a dream. I will know what makes me Happy in this Life. And yet, I want to stay open to the surprises the Universe has for me. So I suppose, I could start by defining what will NOT make me happy, either because I really don’t want/need it even if I have convinced myself I do, or the time for it has passed and there’s no use mourning the train that already left.

1. Obscene Amount of Money

Growing up fairly cushioned is nice. Losing the cushion --- not so nice. Wanting the cushion back --- dementia-inducing mind-frak. We weren’t obscenely rich back then, but I grew up comfortably. And my life, right now, is so far from plush and comfy. It’s not half as bad, but it isn’t about having cars, and country homes, and multiple credit cards and shopping at Adora in GB5 every other night. In my head, I keep winning lottery tickets I never bought, inheriting money from aunts and uncles I never had, stumbling upon a windfall that will never come. If life was just as simple as playing The Sims where you just press Ctrl-Alt-Del then type motherlode and voila!

But do I need a motherlode? Nice but not necessary. I remember having a day where my salary was just enough to cover the groceries and bills and a little extra for a new book and I was content. I chalked it up as one heck of a successful day. So NO. Money I don’t need or require to find happiness. It helps me get there faster, but it will not keep me there.

2. A Supermodel’s Body

I have made my peace with this. I do not want Kate Moss’ body. I want Olivia’s. Except that I don’t know what Olivia’s body is. I grew up like this – fat. A slight incident of gene-splitting made me a bit taller than the average Pinay thus saving me from the fate of being a walking, talking teapot. But other than that --- I am fat.

Kids will always call out “Taba” to me when I walk down the street. Well-meaning busybodies will always tell me “Iha, Sayang ka.” Relatives will keep saying the only reason I am not married with four bratty, sniveling kids attached to my various limbs is because no man would want to marry a mini-van since they all want Corvettes. There may be grains of truth in their words (save for the one where I am “Sayang”), but --- please listen, I am HAPPY. My concern now is to be healthier and that includes losing some weight, but to aim for more than that is hokum for me. Being conventionally beautiful but miserable would greatly alter the Olivia you all know and claim to love. I am Big. I am Reubenesque, and I am just another version of Beautiful. Live with it. Because I can.

3. A Childhood Sweetheart

The first movie I was conscious of watching is My Girl, the one with Macaulay Culkin and Anna Clumsky. I was a bit like the girl protagonist in the movie -- tomboyish, unpretty, with a tendency to wax poetic about ice cream. In that movie, Clumsky finds a childhood sweetheart in Culkin’s character. And the idea of having my own childhood sweetheart was born. Except that the closest I got to childhood sweethearts are Michael J. Fox and a boy band member who turned out be gay (may he rest in peace).

Back when lonely nights were a reality – I sometimes find myself going back to this sore point. I have no sweetheart. No one will show up at my doorstep one day telling me he made a mistake, because we were so young (Liv, forgive me, we were 12!). No one will bump unto me one day in the grocery and introduce me, with a note of sadness in his voice, to his unlovely wife with unsightly facial hair on her chin and a Cabbage Patch looking kid wailing like Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler. And perhaps more bittersweet, is not having the memory of someone whom you shared chocolates, zits and Geometry with which could warm up cold, dark nights stretching endlessly before you.

Good thing, the better side of angels prevails after nights like these. True, I never had a childhood sweetheart. But I had a Childhood. And it was as golden and peach-flavored and rose-tinted as they could come. And some of us don’t have memories of puppy love because other types of Love were keeping your life full and hued. That’s why I have resolved that if I ever find myself being asked the question “Who was your childhood sweetheart?” my answer will be the truth.

“Everyone. And I was theirs.”

To be continued tomorrow….