Friday, December 13, 2013

Baby Envy

At different points in my life, I wanted to be a nun, an actress, a maid, a teacher and a dolphin trainer. But in all points of my life, there is one thing I consistently wanted and that is to be a mother.

I am at a point in my life though when I think that might be the one thing I may never be. My weight, let's admit it, will probably never go down south of 100 kilos. I have diabetes, and a history of difficult pregnancies in the family. To top it all of, my boyfriend still doesn't have any plans of asking me to marry him soon, and my chances are getting slimmer by the literal second.

Sometimes I am angry at myself, for not connecting the dots about health and getting pregnant. Then I assuage myself by saying, I'm not financially ready anyway. This will be followed by a spate of resentment against my boyfriend for being so slow and contented while the one thing I want in life grows in jeopardy. It's not like I never discussed this with him. He's just too happy right now with his life to be moved to something so uncertain as marriage.

Now my friends are getting married, and having babies, and I feel the panic rising in me. I pretend like I don't care I'm being left behind, ashamed of even thinking there is such a thing as being left behind because supposedly, I'm a feminist. But truth is, I despair. And I approach the issue like I approach death, steeling myself for the inevitability of my childless future.

  • If you’re under 25, you have an 86 percent chance of getting baby on board within a year of trying. From age 25 to 29, your chance of conception drops only slightly, to 78 percent. Overall, infertility rates are a mere 5 percent during this decade.
  • Between ages 30 and 34, your likelihood dips a bit to 63 percent — still a very healthy possibility. At 35, you still have more than a 50 percent chance of getting pregnant naturally within a year’s time.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Cast of Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I am biased. Way biased.

No young adult fantasy could be as good as Harry Potter. Flawed as some characters may be in Suzanne Collins Hunger Games, the distinguishing factor of this series compared to, let's say Twilight, is the tight storytelling. The best thing about this movie is that it does not stray far from the book, so instead of confusing the audience, it actually serves as companion material to the book. Say for example,  I honestly appreciated seeing the film's idea of how the Dome looks like. I have to say it's even better than my own imagination's rendering of the Arena. Very few book-to-movie rendition can claim this, but the Catching Fire movie actually helps deepen the mythos of the book instead of distract from it.

I also have to say that half of the reason why I loved the film was because of the heroine. Some people say Katniss Everdeen breaks the mold of modern heroines everywhere, but I disagree. Katniss' attitude of resilience and selective empathy is exactly the formula for the anti-social heroine. However, just like Hermione Granger's neuroticism, Katniss' consitution is a far better formula compared to the passive-agressive Bella Swan.

The other half of the reason for praising the film is Jennifer Lawrence's acting. My goodness, did you see the range of emotions that passed through her face in the last scene of the film? 15 seconds of the camera focused on her face captured despair, regret, anger, helplessness, hatred and finally, conviction. 15 seconds would probably be better spent watching ants crawl, than use it to show Kristen Stewart attempt to have ANY emotion on her face.

So, just saying that, you may not be a fan of young adult fantasy, but this is the better YA Fantasy. If Twilight left a bad taste in your mouth, then this movie will restore your faith in humanity.

Monday, December 02, 2013

How Childish Art Saved my Relationship

Here's a window into my soul: I am the type of person who will not do something if I can't be the best in it. Some people actually exist who chooses to learn and be good at something even if they repeatedly fail at it. I am not one of them.

Which basically explains my whole life. Which is why I know I am actually an underachiever, even if a few people may think otherwise. Gosh, even my parents believed it, i think.

Case in point: If I took up a Math-based course in college, I will be lucky to generate a pass. But taking another course which has less structure in it can make me a magna cum laude.

Maybe I shouldn't be belittling my past achievements, because let it not be mistaken that I didn't work for them. It's just that, I didn't work that hard for them. My sister always had an impression I never studied in college, which is of course a fallacy. But it's saying something that I can afford to read all the books I wanted and still get the grades.

This kind of skewed thinking has led me to a lot of shaky places, which I only survived by the skin of my teeth and some charm. But that changed when I entered into a serious relationship which I had no idea if I would be good at.

At the initial stages of our relationship, I had my own trepidations. Finally, here was something I cannot foresee -- a happy ending. And because of all the uncertainty, I began controlling everything. I had a long list of musts and must nots. If I was geek enough, I would've even done a whole logical framework for how our relationship must work. Because I wanted to make sure I wouldn't fail.
Because I wanted to prove I am so much smarter than those silly women who fall in love and not make plans and counterplans. So, six months into the relationship, I have almost killed something beautiful before it could even start.

The guy clearly felt suffocated, but probably liked me well enough to work it out (thank God). It wasn't the best 6 months of our relationship, but what we were able to discuss helped create stable ground for our relationship. At one point, I realized, I have to let go. And it was at this point, when I was so confused, I decided to take up the brush again.

I wasn't good at Art. I've never waxed poetic about Manet, or Rembrandt, or Monet, but I liked copying their work. My Mom taught Arts and the Humanities, and I used to browse through her glossy textbooks with beautiful illustrations. But it was never anything more than cursory. They were just pretty. It wasn't like it inspired me to create some grand masterpiece myself. Actually, it even did the opposite. I felt that Art were for masters. I am never going to be able to make anything near Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, so why bother?

But I did dabble, and some of them my Dad has framed and displayed around the house. So at 14, i was actually already doing Art, but I didn't care to call it a talent because I thought I couldn't be as good in painting as I already am in writing. I wanted to be safe, so I chose writing.

But at that confused point in time when I was 28 years old, I needed an outlet which could express how I felt and I suddenly felt that words were tiresome and ill-fit to express what I want. It was just an afterthought, picking up my pencil, then my brush, and my decade-old paints. Some of them were even dried up due to unuse. I decided I will make something. It doesn't have to be beautiful because my emotions didn't feel beautiful at the moment. So I drew. A cartoon.

A ghastly one. I told myself i sucked at it.  Just like how I suck as a girlfriend. But I wouldn't give up my guy, even if my life depended on it. So maybe.... just maybe, I thought to myself, I should draw another cartoon. And another, and another.

It's been three years, and I am still drawing. I am not bad at it anymore, but I do not excel either. But what I learned was that at some point, you have to try to do what you're not good at, if only because doing it makes you happy. If you keep working at it, maybe at the end of your life, you could see you made some pretty great art. Just like being in a relationship, which could fail, yes, but if you keep working at it, could lead to a pretty great love.

So just keep drawing.