What Most of Us are Scared of about Love

I have been stuck with the idea of love since I was kid. It didn’t help that I watched disney and local TV series such as FLAMES, Gimik and TGIS among others. I got even more stuck with the idea when I started dating.

At first, I used to pattern love on how I saw my parents “love each other” growing up. I thought that love was a one shot deal wherein meeting the first would last an eternity. As you probably have guessed, I was doomed. People with expectations such as mine are bound to be doomed.

To date, I’ve only had 2 exes, but the dates to boyfriend ratio seems to be 19.5 is to 1. At this rate I have so much more dating to do to get another shot at love. Haha! But the thing is, I am now sure how vague a target love is.

I got to meet a lot of people of different ages, cultures, and beliefs. And so far it’s interesting how they seem to have all things figured out, but the way I see it nobody has it figured out.

To wit, internet posts on love in Facebook and Youtube contain countless contradictions. For instance, my favorite love idea is from an FB post that essentially says love is a choice, not a feeling.That falling in love is a passive action but being in love is something active. That love isn’t complicated. You just have to choose. 

Then in another FB post entitled Secondhand Love, as it fairly encourages readers to not settle for someone who considers you as a second option, it also poses this idea of love as something beautiful and perfect and that anything besides this is substandard; and therefore, we shouldn’t stop aiming for that perfection–which somehow says that it isnt a choice but a quest to find true love.

I personally think the latter thoery has been used a thousand times to break up with someone or cheat on someone simply because the “right one” came along.

(Sings: Oh it’s sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along… lalalala!)

And though people who broke hearts of others in the name of love seem to deserve hell and a cursed life, ironically they actually sometimes find true love, leaving the one who loved them broken (i.e. cheats on wife of 5 years then stays in love with the one he cheated with for 20 years to forever).

Sometimes people find their true love, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they have already found it then decide it isn’t the one. Others, find multiple true loves.

With all these in mind I have at least placed my fear in love. Loving someone romantically is like a carousel where you try on different ponies until you find the right one. But even when you do, it isn’t an assurance that you wouldn’t want to try the other ones. Even more, you sometimes just go round and round the carousel then get back on the same pony that you left. There are times the ride makes you really dizzy that you’d rather get off than find the pony for you. Note that some are the ponies while others are the riders looking for the ponies.

These are just “theories” behind and observations of love by a guy like me that was disneyfied early on. Reality is even more complicated if not interesting.

I used to think there are surefire ways to love. I used to think that when you give it your best, all will be fine. I was wrong.

There is nothing to figure out about love. There is only trying and experiencing it. It’s either you ride the carousel or you don’t.

I guess it also is not about the journey if my carousel idea works for you. I guess it’s all about the getting on and off of it. That you can’t expect love to bring you places but instead hope it gives you a chance to hold on or to be held, to let go or to be let go of.

I’m convinced that more often than not it isn’t being dumped or being alone in love that scare us. It’s the uncertainty. There is nothing new with what I’m saying. It’s just that now I know what other people have been talking about love. Now I know what I’m scared of.
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(Photo from a box of donuts I ate)

Helping Happiness

Helping Happiness

I have come to realize that one of the best ways of getting rid of pain in our hearts is by helping take away pain in others. That way one will see the paradox Mother Theresa found: “…if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

After all the pain I know I am learning how to love even more.

 

Christmas

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Day after Christmas. I am in a funeral.

As we wait for the coffin to be loaded, I look up to these clouds, hopeful, thinking of how Christmas was for me.

This year it was all about pain, love and forgiveness and how difficult it is to be caught in the middle.

I tried to be brave, I didn’t see it coming. I Tried to hold on.

I tried to help despite the pain. I tried to be a friend because I thought I was ready. At least I tried.

I tried to hold back the tears. Humbled by my misgivings that probably will never be forgotten yet again and reminded by how love doesn’t just get lost in memory, I finally let go.

This year’s Christmas was most peculiar. It wasn’t just about the happiness of being with my family and friends, it was also about the melancholic, yet liberating joy of forgiving myself and others, of reminding myself that in forgiveness I knew I loved and loved well. That though I may be a far cry from a perfect loving person I know that slowly I am understanding what love is, how it affects people, how it crushes and tears you while at the same time teaching you how to love better.

There is still a part of me that wonders of the whatifs should things have worked out, but I know I did my flawed best and I couldn’t have done better at that time. What I know is I can do better should I choose to love again.

Christmas isn’t just about birth amd beginnings; it’s also about death and endings amd how all these and the in-betweens constitute love.

Love.

Merry Christmas.

Life Check of a Teacher

I want to say Life hasn’t been good to me these days, but I think that would be unfair.

Last summer, I got a fellowship at a writing workshop in Bacolod. This semester, I flew to Cebu twice to facilitate and give a plenary talk in a seminar-training for public school teachers. Last month I visited Biliran to administer a test. This month a chance to write a textbook was opened. Just yesterday, I started writing test items for an educational company.

So I believe it’s unfair to say that life has been unfair.

Yet I can’t help but think that Life hasn’t been too good to me either. A month ago my boyfriend of three years broke up with me for reasons I think were unfair. In addition, work has been very loaded that my performance in MA has been substandard–in fact, for the first time in my life, a professor told me to “please study.” Right now, just as I am trying to pull myself together,  I got sick and had to ditch an event I have been working on for the past weeks and which my department had entrusted to me. Now, I’m lagging even more in my MA work. To top it all, I have been hurting and crying for the past month.

Quite unfair, really. Pathetic, mostly. When things fall apart,they seem to really fall apart, don’t they?

There’s no time to lose, however. I know no one’s rushing me to be ok and that I am entitled to whatever pain I am feeling, yet somehow I know I have to move on and face life just like how I have been facing it for the past twenty-four years; for life really doesn’t care how things are great or crappy. On the contrary, it’s quite indifferent. Sometimes, it is even conceited. As John Greene puts it in The Fault in Our Stars

“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?”

So there. Life is life. No need to overthink it. I have to keep on living and focus on things that I can personally affect even when all the other things seem crappy. I’ll be doing that. I am starting.

When I Grow Up Day

When I Grow Up Day

For now, I’m just thankful that I still have the best clients in the infinite universe–and I am noticing you, universe, as I write this.

On Being a Dad and a Teacher

I haven’t blogged since Nov of 2012. My mind is full of thoughts about life and where I am right now. I am about to end my third year of teaching and at the moment I am starting to think of other things I can do or other places I can be. Top of my head: do I really want to be a teacher?

Teaching sucks you into this limbo where you find your self asking, is teaching for me? For one, I cannot complain about my salary as mine is one of the highest-paying schools for an early grades teacher. The work does however make sure that that pay  is worth their pockets, thus I have meetings until nine, work I have to bring home, and  a class that I’m not even sure is paid.

Yes, money matters to me. Probably not as much as it matters to the bourgeois, but it does. You see, I have been, and probably will be teaching children most of my life. I want to for I find peace in being with them.But right now, it’s like I’m working the moment I wake up til the moment I sleep. It gets tiring sometimes. With this, it’s like I work and work and work to earn. Money isn’t working for me.

So what if it isn’t working? Well, it is my dream to start my own family (I proudly think I have what it takes to be a good dad) so I have to be financially stable to do that, and as society isn’t really accepting of people like me who are outside the norm–no laws to protect me, no marriages, etc., I have to work harder for I might have to do it on my own. Then again, who knows? 

So yes. Money matters to me because I will take more responsibilities when I become a father. I will be living for other people and I have to prepare for that. Right now, I don’t have the financial stability and by the time I become a father, I might have been already burnt out by teaching.

I love teaching, but how do I not burn out and earn more? three-robbersHere’s Tomi Ungerer’s The Three Robbers where they became fathers to many children 🙂

Lunch Rants

Crunch time.

Even if I am tempted to list all the things I have been doing since I took certain roles in our department and in the school, I’d rather not.

You see, I have been talking about these roles to myself and my friends a little too often.

  • “I’m stressed”
  • “I’m tired”
  • “This is too much”
  • “Why me?”

The words just keep on coming. What I thought were friendly conversations turned little by little into lunch rants.

Ranting isn’t necessarily evil, in fact sometimes it does help relieve stress. However, everyone has his or her own thoughts and issues. Ranting all the time to your friends is like putting your rants and theirs in a ring and have them wrestle.

Why am I thinking about these things?  Well because my responsibilities have never amounted to this much. I am frantic, nervous and scared that I have been ranting to everyone.

So, I’m going to stop right now (as two cute kids are tapping my table as they enjoy the live music right beside where I’m sitting anyway and my laptop’s moving like crazy. *giggles*).

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Because I’ve been given a lot,  and I’d like to believe it means something. I brush it off my stout shoulders and start making the most out of it. I love teaching so I have to love the non-teaching aspect of teaching too!

Sabi na nga ba mali sila noong sinabi nilang walang matutulong ang computer games, kasi ang feeling ko ngayon para lang silang side quests sa Diablo o Pokemon kung saan marami akong makukuhang EXP points o di kaya tataas ang chance na makakuha ako ng mga rare weapons. 

The Day I Openly Talked about My Homosexuality with My High School Students

Today is the day I felt I directly contributed to World Peace.

Our high school students were tweeting their hunches about our sexuality. So my co-teacher and I finally decided to talk openly about our sexuality and made it the topic for discussion where everyone can simply ask questions about homosexuality without fear and contempt.

Interesting questions came up.

  • How did you know you were gay?
  • Can you choose not to be gay?
  • Was it hard coming out of the closet?
  • Was it hard for you when you were growing up?
  • Do you want to have a partner someday?
  • Did you ever want to be a girl?
  • Have you ever had a boyfriend?

We explained several things about homosexuals too.

  • Being gay doesn’t mean we’re extra attracted to people–we are as attracted as anyone else
  • Not all homosexuals are pedophiles or sex offenders
  • Being homosexual and transgender are two different things altogether
  • Homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality and that even if you don’t agree you have to learn how to respect these differences in belief.

It didn’t stop at homosexuality though. The entire point was respect and acceptance. In the end, all we are hoping for is harmony among people, that differences are to be embraced and not to be condemned, that this conversation we had with a bunch of 14 to 18 years old would help each one accept one another.

It was tough. It made us sweat like bacon in a frying pan, but we did it hoping to teach these young minds respect, love and human decency–hoping we made a difference.

(BTW, Here’s a book I really would love to have. Just saying! 😛  )

taken from http://booksforkidsingayfamilies.blogspot.com/

The Rain, My Students, Literature, and Water in my Head

In the past year, I have been learning about literary criticism and theory. I was forced to know who Spivak, Damrosch and Hunt are. I was taught that everything is discourse, a play of power and knowledge according to Foucault. I was made to evaluate representations, deconstruct narratives and construct and reconstruct canons.

I don’t know, but learning about these things also made me think I’m a superhero. Suddenly, I was equipped with different perspectives to view my world–which is mainly teaching children. Suddenly, though I may be in the bottom of the class, I felt I had more power to save the world, to change it.  Suddenly, politics and economics are involved. Suddenly, life’s issues aren’t just life issues anymore. I was starting to learn new things. Uncovering information that could very well protect me against baffling concepts or help me understand them.

And then I got my heart broken.

I am no superhero after all.

I forgot that learning about how the world works will not make you immune to unfathomable sensations such as pain within. That after all, I am still an individual who can get—well, wet.

It is raining so I decided to use Shel Silverstein’s poem in my class today. Though literature isn’t Darna’s stone or Peter Parker’s spider bite, it is still respite from inner chaos that I am sure even Spivak, Damrosch and Hunt cannot explain, or even problematize.

Rain

byShel Silverstein

I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

After the giggles of my grade 2 kids as they imagined the rain overflowing in the author’s head, I asked them to wear their jackets and to get their umbrellas.To their delight, I brought them outside and together we read the poem under the  “slishity-slosh” and pattering of the rain.

Right now, my thoughts are a puddle of questions, but for now my student’s laughter, their merry water splashing, should suffice in bringing peace in my head. Then again, maybe putting water inside my brain is still the better option. Then all I have to do is to step very softly, walk very slowly, and avoid doing a handstand.