Wednesday, September 29

My Measures of Success

I don't know why, but I had the sudden urge to jot this down. Could I be backsliding and needed the reminder?

1. Success is being able to control and overcome my so-called animal instincts: lust, greed, dominance, anger, vindictiveness.

2. Success is knowing what I want and not settling for anything else.

3. Success is knowing what truly matters.

4. Success is not hinging on anything or anybody else to make myself feel whole.

5. Success is being able to look back and honestly say to myself: "I did my darnest best to do what was good and right."

6. Success is knowing that I make mistakes; that I do tumble and fall.

7. Success is knowing when to stop and prevent myself from making and falling over the same mistake over and over again.

8. Success is picking myself up after every fall.

9. Success is being able to say: "I didn't take advantage of anything or anyone to be who I am, to get where I am, to have what I have."

These are it, so far.  WHAT ARE YOUR MEASURES OF SUCCESS? 

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Saturday, September 25

Episode One: CHANGE (If We Will To Try)

Almost didn’t get to watch the season’s premiere episode. I was an hour away from home when I heard, “… watch tonight’s premiere episode of Grey’s Anatomy …..”

Yes, you heard right! This middle-ager is a Grey’s Anatomy fan! I must admit, there were times when the storylines flatlined. When the lives of its stars outside the show were more interesting than their screen lives. But hey, the show must be given credit for bouncing back with crisp dialogues every now and then and, of course, the cliffhangers! Hands down, Grey’s season finales had been TV land's best these past 6 years since the show started. At least as far as my bias is concerned :-D

So, why am I writing about Grey’s Anatomy’s premiere episode now when I am gaga over the show’s season finales? Because the premiere is worthy of a finale's accolade! I certainly did not expect guesswork in a first episode. All the characters seem to be taking a turn and I don’t know what will become of them. Will they be taking a turn for the good or for the bad? And will the turns make the show better?

Whatever it is, following are closing lines from Episode One that gave me dog ears:

“When we say things like ‘people don’t change,’ it drives scientists crazy. Because change is literally the only constant in all of science -- energy, matter. It’s always changing, morphing, merging, growing, dying. It’s the way people try not to change that’s unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting to be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones . The way we insist on believing despite every scientific indication that anything in this lifetime is permanent.
Change is constant. How we experience change, that’s up to us. It can feel like death or it can be like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, and go with it. It can feel like pure adrenaline. Like in any moment we can have another chance at life. Like in any moment, we can be born all over again.”
The lines speak for themselves. People can change. WE CAN.  IF WE WILL TO TRY.

Monday, September 20

"No One Knows My Sadness"

I've become a blogaholic! Not good as it is getting in the way of work, of which I've tons of!

Anyway, as I indulged in my newfound addiction, I gained real appreciation for blogging: blogging is literally and figuratively good for the soul! There's a lot of us out there who are able to get things off our chests -- happy things, sad things, annoying things ... small things, big things ... real things, imagined things.

For the happy and content bloggers, I envy you. I, too, have and will blog about happy things. Believe it or not, for all my aches and pains, I am lucky to be a positive, happy, and even crazy person deep down.

For all the bloggers that are currently facing stormy weather, I have been thinking of what to write to ease your hurt; to help you get to stand up and walking on your own two feet again, chin up!

And then I remembered this song. A song that helped me through the time when I gave up everything I had to go follow a forbidden love in a foreign country, only to find out when I arrived that my love had opted to be with another. Yes, this was six years before my current EX, when I was still in my 20s (yes, I've been stung really hard twice!). Hope this song gives you the drive to move on as it did to me.

Oh, by the way, the title of this post are words from my forbidden love's then 4-year old son; when his grandma passed away.





Hero
(Mariah Carey)

There's a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don't have to be afraid
Of what you are
There's an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away

Chorus
And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

It's a long road
When you face your world alone
No one reaches out a hand
For you to hold
You can find love
If you search within yourself
And the emptiness you felt
Will disappear

(Chorus)

Lord knows
Dreams are hard to follow
But don't let anyone
Tear them away
Hold on
There will be tomorrow
In time
You'll find the way

(Chorus)


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Thursday, September 16

How To Handle A Woman

Once upon a time, I watched a TV movie on the life of John F. Kennedy.  At the end of the film, Jackie Kennedy was shown being interviewed about her husband’s death. And from her lips came the words, “… his dream was to have a kingdom like Camelot.” Or something to that effect (I forget!).  All I can remember clearly is the music in the background, building to a crescendo as the camera panned away from Jackie K.

I made an instant association between the word Camelot and the background music. I researched and read that Camelot is the famous castle in the legend of King Arthur. I delightfully discovered too that King Arthur's legend was so popular that Broadway and movie musicals were made on it (need you ask what their titles were?).  I promptly bought a half gallon of ice cream and a Camelot laser disc (yikes! yes those were the days … LOL!).

Ice cream in hand, I watched the movie without interruption.  I had the chills and goose bumps when the Camelot theme song was played at the end of the movie ...





And I don’t know how they would come across to you, but I wasn’t particularly feeling Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere.  I was all-oh-so-for King Arthur, especially when he sang "How to Handle a Woman" ...

"How to handle a woman?
There's a way," said the wise old man,
"A way known by ev'ry woman
Since the whole rigmarole began."
"Do I flatter her?" I begged him answer.
"Do I threaten or cajole or plead?
Do I brood or play the gay romancer?"
Said he, smiling: "No indeed.
How to handle a woman?
Mark me well, I will tell you, sir:
The way to handle a woman
Is to love her...simply love her...
Merely love her...love her...love her."




.... before the heartwrenching monologue* (would you believe a Richard Harris version of the monologue is not available online?! sorry):

Proposition: If I could choose from every woman who breathes on this earth; the face I would most love -- the smile, the touch, the heart, the voice, the laugh, the very soul itself, every detail and feature to the last strand of the hair--it would all be Jenny's.
(in a darker mood now)

Proposition: If I could choose from every man who breathes on this earth -- a man for my brother, a man for my son, and a man for my friend (anguished) it would all be Lance!

I love them -- I love them and they answer me with pain! And torment! Be it sin, or not sin: they have betrayed me in their HEARTS, and that's far sin enough! I can see it in their eyes! I can feel it when they speak! And they must pay for it and be punished! I shall NOT be wounded and not return it in kind! I DEMAND A MAN'S VENGEANCE!

(raises his sword, Excalibur, in a battle-ready stance) (He suddenly changes gears)

Proposition: I am a king -- not a "man." And a very civilized king. Could it possibly be civilized to destroy the thing I love? Could it possibly be civilized to love myself above all? What about their pain? And their torment? Did they ask for this calamity? Can passion be selected? Is there any doubt of their devotion to me, and to our Table?

(smiles)

By God! I shall be a king! This is the time of King Arthur, when we shall reach for the stars! This is the time of King Arthur, when violence is NOT strength, and compassion is NOT weakness! WE ARE CIVILIZED!

It was as if King Arthur's pain was mine.  I simply cried my eyes out.  And mind you, this was way before I ever had my heart broken.  I guess I am just too much of a hopeless romantic.  Sigh!

*from MusicalTheatreAudition.com

Tuesday, September 14

The Icing On The Cake

Since 2009, half a year after we broke up, my EX had been on a hunt for an apartment near my place. I am not sure for what reason though. I can think of 3: (1) her experiment with her condo renovation friend didn’t work out, and even if it did and is currently at a state she wants it to be, she (2) didn’t want her green card go to waste and she can’t think of anyone else here in the US who can be her support group; lastly (3) she genuinely wants to be with me.

How I wish there was only one reason to think of though and that is, she genuinely wants to be with me. The idea of her finally joining me in the U.S. should thrill me. But the spectre of the other two reasons ruins it all for me. The spectre brings up images – all frightening and disappointing -- of what could be:

• The possibility that she may not join me in the U.S. at all. She has changed her mind so many times before, what makes this time different?

• If she does go through with her plan of joining me in the U.S., can her condo renovation friend be far behind? Be it this or simply just to comply with her green card requirements, is she merely “using” me?

I know. I should just be thankful for the time given me to spend with her, right? After all, that is what true love is about, right?

"Love is patient, love is kind,
Love does not insist on its own way,
Love bears all things, believes all things,
Hopes all things, endures all things,
Love never fails.

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast.
It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong doing.
It does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth.
It always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres."

--1 Corinthians 13

Well, this is the ideal. This is what religion, school, and family (my Papa especially) taught me as the good and right thing to do. And my rational mind agrees. No arguments against this.

But my weak human nature is rebelling. Blame it on media, real life experiences, or even my zodiac signs, but deep inside I am shouting: This is not fair and I should not allow myself to be used and abused and hurt this way! This is where my seething anger is coming from! It may be that this anger has been lying dormant in me for years, waiting for its time to explode. And now that it has, like hot molten lava, it is devouring anything and any one in its way.

Fast forward.

My EX successfully closed on an apartment 5 miles away from me. I could have ignored, denied this anger by running away and by having my EX completely out of my life. But with her here to stay, if even only for a short time, I am left to face and deal with my anger – which makes me angrier, actually. But after all that has been said and done, I need to think of my next moves. Moves that will make me come out the winner, the better person from this bitter experience.

I choose to do the good and right thing. I will help and support her move to the U.S. regardless of her motives. And I will do so not because she’s my EX or because she deserves it, but because I have a big, generous enough heart to help. Anger is not my nature. Love is. And, for as long as I stay clear and focused on my own nature and motives, and not that of my EX’s, I should see anger subside inside of me.

Sunday, September 12

What's With Zodiac Signs?

I first became interested in zodiac signs in high school. That was when I saw a classmate with a zodiac book in hand. I asked her what the book was about and she said that the book described a person based on the person’s birthday. And she proceeded to show me how to read the book. Being in high school (and, mind you, this was eons ago), I had no concept whatsoever of what “personality traits” are.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_trait)   But by lunch time, I was reading “about me”.

"Libra is the seventh sign of the zodiac and is represented by the scales. Libra is the only sign that is not represented by a human or animal, but the scales signify the Libra's need for balance, order, and equality … Libras are very easy to like because of their charming ways. They are capable of making anyone feel interesting and important. They are great listeners, but they also expect you to listen to them in return. They have great observation skills and very good perception. They strive to bond with others and Libras are at their best when in personal relationships."   (http://www.exploreastrology.co.uk/PersonalityTraitsLibra.html)

"For the Libran falling in love comes naturally, as their fundamental instinct is to have a happy and enduring relationship. To the Libran life without love makes it hard for them to operate, they long for the feeling of being loved. At times the Libran may become confused thinking that they have found love, when in turn it may only be infatuation. Some Librans prefer to endure a bad and unfulfilling relationship rather than setting out on their own, as they are not good loners."  (http://www.astrology-insight.com/libra.htm)

Two years later, I was delighted to learn that zodiac signs came in two’s – twins called East and West. Libra from the West had a twin called Dragon from the East:  "Unlike the Western or Indian zodiacs, the Chinese zodiac signs are not derived from constellations, and are not assigned to sections of the ecliptic. Instead, Chinese astrological signs operate on cycles of years, lunar months ... Nevertheless some researches says that there is obvious relationship between Chinese 12-year cycle and zodiac constellations: each year of the cycle corresponds to the certain disposal of Jupiter."   (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrological_sign)

The East describes me as: a “… free spirit of the zodiac (sic). Conformation is a Dragon's curse … Dragons must be free and uninhibited. The Dragon is a beautiful creature, colorful and flamboyant. An extroverted bundle of energy, gifted and utterly irrepressible, everything Dragons do is on a grand scale - big ideas, ornate gestures, extreme ambitions. However, this behavior is natural and isn't meant for show. Because they are confident, fearless in the face of challenge, they are almost inevitably successful … However, Dragon people beware of their natures. Too much enthusiasm can leave them tired and unfulfilled. Even though they are willing to aid when necessary, their pride can often impede them from accepting the same kind of help from others. Dragons' generous personalities give them the ability to attract friends, but they can be rather solitary people at heart ....."   (http://www.usbridalguide.com/special/chinesehoroscopes/Dragon.htm) 

Do I actually believe in all these? No. That is, not hook, line and sinker. I believe that “Life is what you make it.” I believe that awareness is key and that knowledge is power. If knowing who we are is crucial to our search for happiness and success, then what do we have to lose in reading up on the zodiac? Why do you think John Gray's "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" (published in May 1992) became a national bestseller?  

The book series Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus has sold over 50 million books worldwide. It was on The New York Times Bestseller List for nearly seven years and is #6 on USA Today’s list of the 25 Most Influential Books.

(http://literarybonanza.blogspot.com/2008/09/john-grays-men-are-from-mars-women-are.html)

Saturday, September 11

How The End Began

My EX and I met 8 years ago, became an “item” 8 months later after we met, and only became a couple 4 months much later. At first, it was just sex. We had what they used to call a “mutual understanding” and we played it cool. But four months later, annoyed by my coolness, she summoned me and blurted out: “I love you … I think.” And so a couple we became.

Two months into the relationship, just when everything in life tasted sweet as honey, the first test of our relationship came: my green card arrived. In six months, I had to be a landed immigrant. I will be leaving and will be living a day behind my EX’s world; our world, used to be.

We tried hard, very hard to make it work across the miles. For 8 years, we managed to see each other at least 3 times a year – she’d fly to me two times a year, I to her once a year; even after we broke off.

What led to the break-up? A series of events:

• She said she’d fix her papers so that she can follow me soonest; instead she bought herself a condo. An “investment” she said.

• The company she currently worked for could relocate her to the U.S., but she jumped ship and joined another company. She said that she was promoted to a “floating” position – one which is more staff than line in function – and that the new job would relocate her to the U.S. just the same.

• True enough, her employer fixed her papers, which she herself delayed though because she wasn’t sure whether she’d stay long in the company. She said she “wasn’t feeling it” there and she didn’t want to appear that the green card was all she was after.

Dense me shrugged all of these off. But then, came more.

• After my father died, I asked her to give (yes, she was in a position to actually give) me a job where my sibling lived. I wanted to be with my sibling so that, together, we can petition my mom to the U.S. Together, my brother and I would be financially qualified to bring our mom here. My EX didn’t give me the job. She had me interviewed by other people under the guise of “being objective”. She said that she didn’t want me to live near my brother because my brother would turn into a total parasite and feed on me.

This coming from someone who had delayed fixing her U.S. papers and whom had then become the favorite subject of the rumor mill -- my friend saw her on a date (which later she said was a meeting with her banker). Moving along …

• She decided to retire from her current company and “experimented” with a friend. She was believably remorseful so I looked the other way, especially then that she can move to the U.S. with me.

• She went back home, home to get her condo fixed and rented; but ended up living in it because (1) she got a new job, and (2) since she put blood, sweat and tears into the renovation, she would like to enjoy her condo first.

• She ended up “experimenting” again with a long-time friend who helped her during the condo renovation.

We broke up, yet it didn’t stop there. In a last ditch effort to save the dying relationship, I went home as scheduled. Stayed a week with her as usual upon her suggestion, and for what?

• Second night she said she had to spend at a very close friend’s traditional Christmas party, which turned out to be true.

• Third night she lied and spent the night with her condo renovation friend.

Tried to stand firm on our break-up; determined not to have anything to do with her, but she won’t have it. Slowly, it felt like she was warming up again. I was even greeted back in the U.S. with a heartfelt email from her. She had visited me 4 times in the U.S. since. More heartfelt emails, text messages, and BBMs, but I would catch her, time and again, keeping in touch with her condo renovation friend.

Later, I will talk about the icing on the cake …

Thursday, September 9

THE Man

Now, before I write about the EX person, let me write about THE person in my life. A man who, by his actions, molded the person I am and defined the person that I aim to become. A religious man who never quoted from any sacred book. He gave advice, but never preached. A man who talked by listening, who loved by acting. He didn’t say much, yet when he did, people listened. Because the little that he did say, he meant. His were words that, richly clothed with experience, came from the heart. This man, my Papa, he passed away 4 years ago. And I miss him so, especially now as I go thru dark moments.

I can’t help but think sometimes whether my anger is rooted in Papa’s demise. In all sincerity though, my answer is “no”. I am not mad that he “left”. I am mad -- or maybe dead-scared? -- at the events that happened after. Events that made me realize that the person, whom I thought would fill in Papa's shoes, was not up to the challenge.

And here the anger begins, I think .....  After all, anger sometimes is really just fear disguised.

Monday, September 6

What Is Wrong With Me?

I started blogging this July because I felt the need to put things into perspective. I’ve been thrown a lot of curved balls, but I’ve managed to stay happy and carefree. Sometimes, it was all genuine. At other times, it was all a fa├žade. Happy and carefree on the outside, torn and hemorrhaging inside. Keeping everything inside is not a healthy thing to do though.

So, when I recently felt anger building up inside of me and reading, exercising, and social networking lost their therapeutic magic, I turned to blogging. I started writing a blog. And, as a result of the following BBMs, I started searching for and reading blogs:

EX: Hey, how are you? Still mad at the world?

ME: I really have a hard time recovering when I feel let down. It takes a while, especially when there is so much negativity in the office. I am hoping that this long weekend will cool me down and restore my faith and fervor in people.

EX: How did people let you down? What’s going on at work? Why is there so much negativity?

ME: It’s hard to explain the negative. It is much easier for me to say what it is I am looking for. I am looking for positive and dependable people around me. People who bring others up, not down. People who bring out the best, not the worst from others. People who are black and white, not grey. People who walk the talk and genuinely care, not people who are show and tell. I need people who can deposit, not just withdraw good from me. I can’t deal with pigs, rats, snakes, and leeches anymore. I am all sucked out, all withdrawn from already. I am mentally and emotionally bankcrupt. I’ve nothing more to give.

EX: Uh-oh. That bad, huh? Call you this weekend?

ME: I won’t be here this weekend. I will be going out of town with friends, sorry.

EX: Oh, ok. You take care. Don’t think too much. It might trigger your migraine and hypertension. Try to quickly go back to your happy and carefree ways.

I didn’t spend the weekend out of town with friends, I spent the weekend alone – productively, peacefully, happily. Chores and errands in the morning, blogging at night. I came across blogs that gave me the answer. Or, to be more precise, blogs that made me admit what is wrong: after almost 2 years, I am still seething mad at my EX.

Why? I’ve avoided thinking about why. I’ve avoided writing why. Maybe I should. After all, that’s why I started blogging - to write and, consequently, put things in perspective. So write about it in coming days I will.


COMMENTS

torchic44 said...
I was going to ask "why are you mad at your Ex?" but I guess that answer will come in soon enough. Blogging is just writing. Using to vent and get out all of the stuff that is troubling you. All of that perspective and perhaps it could be some type of relief or even closure.
September 6, 2010 10:56 PM

 SAM said...
:-D Yes, the answer will come. In installments I'm afraid though. It's a long, "complicated" story. Something that I've not really thought through. Or should I say, something that I didn't want to think through. Also, finally found your blog :-) Have a great week!
September 7, 2010 9:19 AM

Sunday, September 5

Told You, We Are Not Our God

A “Huh?!” thing happened on my way to and in church today.

Suddenly found myself caught in the middle of two vehicles on a 25 mph, one-way, backstreet. The van in front of me was obviously in no hurry to get to where it needs to go. The Camry behind me was the total opposite.

At the very first stop sign, I heard a honk coming from the Camry. Looked at my rearview mirror and saw a lady driver. Long black, wavy hair. Deep-set eyes. Well defined cheek bones. One can easily see the exasperation on her face. She obviously needed to be someplace else, now!

As soon as all 3 of us cars passed the stop sign, I slowed down allowing the Camry to go ahead of me. With anticipation, I watched at what the Camry would do next; seeing that the van was obviously not to be bothered. The Camry tailgated, then eventually overtook the van and sped at about 40 mph on this 25 mph street. That was the last I saw of the Camry. Or so I thought.

I arrived just in time for church. I was getting into the flow of the service, oblivious to everything around and outside of me, when I happened to look at the reader. And there I saw. “Long black, wavy hair. Deep-set eyes. Well defined cheek bones.” The Camry! I mean, the Camry’s lady driver!

Well, what do you know? Who would think that an aggressive, offensive driver could actually be a church server?! Then again, why not? Told you already, we are not our god.

So, why do we subscribe to a religion? Albeit, the reasons are aplenty. But whatever they are – the need to uphold tradition or the need to meet new people, to be part of the community, to belong, to be grounded and centered – there is one word that threads it all together: NEED.

Obviously, where there is a need, there is imperfection. And where there is imperfection, there is a search. Essentially, all things equal, with the notion that God is good and God is perfect, the need and the search end with the notion of a God. God then is the end. And where do people normally start their search for God? Religion*. Religion, and all activities related to it therefore, is not the end. It is a means; a means that will hopefully lead to the fulfillment of the need.

Thus, don’t be surprised to see us not-so-perfect and struggling individuals there. We are there precisely because we are imperfect and we are struggling. We are in need of answers and healing. Of course, not everyone is healed. It all depends on one’s belief that one’s choice of religion is what the doctor ordered, on one’s resolve to stick to the prescription**, and on one’s faith that he/she will be healed and, once healed, will be in a place where God is. A place of goodness and perfection.

If we are our God, then we wouldn't be in search would we?  We would be perfect then, won't we?  No, we are not our God.  Nor are we a mirror image of Him.  Far from it.  Not until we start behaving like Him.

* Religion is as much a means as materialism – drugs, alcohol, sex, money, fame, power – is a means. And don't we know where both religiosity and materialism, if taken to the extreme and, worse, in combination, end? One need only think September 11 to know.

** Yes, what is uncool about religion is that it requires discipline, yet it is not a cure-all.  One has to really believe that it is in the grind that we get our imperfections polished and our needs eventually fulfilled … a step at a time, one day at a time.