Friday, December 30, 2011

On Doubt.

I was unhappy for a very, very long time. The past couple of years of not-knowing, not being certain of any pathway that was available for me in order to pursue the career I wanted. Even with knowing what my vocation was, I still felt vulnerable, unhopeful, almost unhappy. Does unhappiness have to co-exist with uncertainty? When is anything certain?

I spoke to an old friend the other day, and caught up since it's been almost two years. Although we had so much to share, there were yet not enough words to exchange. We came to a discussion about how you just never know whether or not the person you may love, can leave at any one point. Disrupt the plans you may had in mind and question your self-worth. I should add that it was an ex-bf of four years. Weird conversation to have with a former lover. Let me tell you. Anyways, there seems to be this lingering doubt, until possibly one gets married, if that person you love now will stick it through the end. At any one point, love may depart. Which is fine and quite sufficient. Just painful sometimes, for both parties. So, goin back to the uncertainty, when you realize that this is [this, meaning life changing up on you] is all inevitable, then the real question is, what good can come from investing into something when the final outcome is not necessarily certain? When is it ever?

For the most part, these risks - this delving into the unknown has been good to me. Don't get me wrong, this jumping into the uncertain has made me semi-crazy. I write this with a tearful smile because it's taken me awhile to be here. Where, although I am not the most comfortable, I am content. Striving. Full. I have been wanting to feel like this for a very long time. After moving out to New York, I was so unsure about so many things. I moved without having a tangible future yet knew that what I had in San Diego was just not enough. I had to believe there was something at the end of the road, better than the life I had at the moment. Even now, I would have never thought that I would be here in Boston, in graduate school, in my own studio, single. Never thought I would be here but I am. And the scary part is - I am happy.

So even with all that doubt about where I will be, who I would be with, how it was all going to 'happen' - the outcome is still the same. I am grateful even though the ending result was not as originally hypothesized. Ultimately the energy to question was pointless. Because. Though life in itself is one huge ass variable, there was one constant. Me. As long as I can approach each circumstance, each decision, each relationship with my best effort, then I could trust that the "me" was enough. To doubt is predictable but not sustainable. Hope sort of finds its way through, even in the most skeptic. Now I'm not saying that  That even when you may not know the outcome, you still believe the world will work in your favor. Now, I'm not saying that you should throw your hands up in the world cuz the universe gots your back in everything or God is your homeboy, though all this can be true at times. I just don't believe that everything happens for a reason anymore. Because despite where you lie in favors with the world, you still need to put in your earnest labor towards whatever it is, with honest intention, and constant integrity. You. All you. 

People, decisions, plans, careers.. change often. And its a hell of a lot easier accepting that, even empowering to understand that those things constantly morph, at any one point, at times often what  deems as the worst time possible. The only bad thing you can do to hurt you is attach too much to whatever that is and so then when/if it flees, you are left with a lot less than expected. So, in my mother's words.. Do you first. When you have you, when shit hits the fan, that work you've put into yourself can't be 'taken away' by circumstance. Yet! 

To relish a little bit on my mother's motto of "you are the only one to take care of yourself in the end" as much as that is true - I would like to add one thing to it. Yes, you need to "do you" because there is this resilience to life that one needs to get/can get from within. But once that is 'down' - that strength of "yourself" is grounded. The only way it can be even more attenuated is when it (you) can extend beyond yourself and that world of y ours. When you use what you know, what you understand and be - with those around you - god it's just ridiculously awesome. Use those resources, those friends, use the support  - provide the support. For yourself and for others. The motivation, the core, of course needs to come from within, yes. But with the surmount of doubt that exists in the world, you need sometimes all the help you can get to stay just above water. Do you but mix it up a bit and mix it in with a little love from others. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the Psychic.

So today I met up with a psychic in Santa Monica when walking with my mother. Santa Monica, in general, has been a place where my mom  and I would walk around whenever I am in town. It's sorta our thing, even when I was a fetus. She'd walk around here during her lunch breaks when she worked in LA, still in her belly when she was pregnant with me. These trips to SM is our time where we share our most intimate conversations, and other times we may not even say a word. Today was more of those quieter walks but never less important.

When I went to get my cup of coffee during/after our walk, I bumped into this psychic reader. She turned out to be phenomenal and not just for her skills in reading either. She was loud, hilarious, and dare I say from New York. Which is probably why we hit it off so well. I asked her how much it would cost and she said, a cup of coffee. So I went back to the coffee shop, got a cup, and sat down with her.

She asked my first name, my birth date and horoscope sign. And we took it from there. Instead of it feeling like my palm was being read, it felt more like talking to a great aunt. Who knew of me well and my family enough to generate some words of wisdom. But the thing is, she was a complete stranger. And she acted as if she knew my whole story and even stories of the people in my life, so well. I can argue that she knew of me because I am an open book. Goodness, let it be said, for those who may not know me, you can know me by just reading my face :) She mentioned it was my 'face value' that made me so trusting. The only thing is, is that it also leaves me prone to too much exposure. I told her I open myself in hope for the possibility of reciprocation from others. I enjoy the exchange. The swapping of spirits. She said its my "cheerful vulnerability" that makes me so delicious. But it can also burn if I am not careful with to whom I share my goods to.

She also said how freekin sensitive I am. She tried to sugar coat it since obviously, I am sensitive (wah wah) but she eventually blurted it out that it is the best and the worst of me. She said my sensitivity allows me to approach others with an honest sincerity, which in turn allows people to trust me with their stories and be more receptive. I joked with her that it was because I was 5'2 and looked harmless, so it made it easier for people to trust me. She said I inherited it from my father; I agreed.

As much as I love to soak up the thoughts and feelings and stories of others, I in turn love pouring out my thoughts and feeling and stories, too. So here I am, pooping out every single emotion to anyone and everyone around me. Whether I just met you or been with you forever, I will - with no regard -  let you know how I feel, think, do at any one moment. Even if I tell myself I won't. I will. This I can promise you. The problem is: here I am enthusiastically moving full-force with heart open, mind not filtered, going around feeling every feeling and then! I would express each single emotion without any constraint. I justify that I am only being honest with the moment, but she said, 'Honey, you have emotions stalked up in you that can last for decades, for at least 10 people. Filter that shit out now." Don't act on impulse, use the intelligent mind of yours, and stop it. Just stop.

She finished up by saying that I am where I am now because I did not take into account the effects of how I distributed these thoughts of mine, to others. It made others feel responsible for those feelings because they cared for me so much. But in the end, was it worth it? Feelings are fleeing. And for someone with as much faith as I do, I was running on what was given to me that I can touch and hear. What should of grounded me was my rationale, my work, my intuition.

I'm so over feelings now and just want to work. I actually miss studying physiology. She said it's great that I think that everyone anyone is deserving of Love (she hasn't even read my blogs, yet she knew) but that not everyone needs to know and be a part of my life. This whole experience wasn't that I got so much insight about my future, she didn't tell me much to be honest, she said it was too early and not yet ripe for her to tell me what's up. But she gave me more of an understanding that the past ain't gonna do anything for me, the future isn't quiet defined (thank God!), and so the only thing that matters now, is now. Do the work and then everything else will follow. Word up, Psychic lady. I will do the do.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

On The Greatest Gift.

Today is Christmas! (FYI sorry for the mini-hiatus. Finals kicked in, then travel sans a computer. But luckily, my repertoire is full of drafts and thoughts that I have been keeping at stalk since early December. With time at hand, you bests be getting ready for a variety of mind dumps. And man, let me tell you, I have a lot to say.) Started it off well with church with two women, I love so dearly. My mother and ninang, godmother for all those that may not be Filipino. My godmother recently has been diagnosed with multiple cancers and is as far as I know doing well now. My mother, also striving, works  hard to maintain a life by herself here at home as a retired woman. I know she doesn't it mention it often but it must be hard to have a home with that amount of quiet time when living with oneself. I sometimes feel that I get a glimpse of it when I enter my studio but that's after a full day of interaction on campus, walking around in a city, and completing a robust agenda. It's not that a pity her but I can only imagine how it may not always be a comfortable feeling. Now, how is this all related to Christmas? Well, the priest asked what we would want from our 'Santa' today. With the wheels turning in my families head, I can imagine my ninang asking for better health. My mother, for financial stability. And myself, hoping for a sense of certainty about my future. Are we asking too much? Are we deserving of what we want? What limits us from getting what we need?

The priest shared with us a story about a time when he was a child and visited Santa. Santa always asks the two questions, "have you been a good boy/girl?" and "what do you want for Christmas?" He answered Santa saying the thought he did pretty well as far as his behavior, but did not feel like he deserved the gift he really wanted (a yellow Tonka truck). So, he'll settle for whatever Santa decides to bring. But the whole homily ended up being about how, yes we know that Santa has pretty pimply powers. He can fly around the world with his reindeer in one night, delivering gifts to children around the world, eating every cookie/milk combination he sees, successfully. But there is a much more amazing Santa version that lives in our adult lives now, not contained to a particular holiday or season. Without stating the blatant reference, my point is this. We believe in many, many things as people. Our interpretations of the Higher Power, God, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Allah and for those I have not mentioned, all exist on a very vast spectrum. Sometimes not even comparable. But the underpinning grounds of all faiths, at least from what I understand, is about Love. And if that is the case, if we are beings empowered by this sentiment, we are instilled with this indestructible force of compassion and forgiveness, that is not limited to any one person, at any one time, at any one place in this world.

Now, I know I speak about Love to ad nauseum, but it is because it is that important. And wonderful, and great. And the best part is that it is not limited to any particular faith, culture, people, religion, community, or country. Love's a hoe. It does everyone. Also, when I do speak of love, I do not only mean of that that exists in an intimate relationship. The love I speak of permeates from the deepest bonds within a family and close friends to acquaintances we meet in our days that we express kindness to and they to us.

I recently visited a number of friends mine back in San Diego and it just amazes me how much love can exist in a circle of friends, even after so many years have passed and the physical distance just seems to increase  between us. Yet when I am with them, it is as if time has not passed, we pick up from where we left off, and laugh the same way as before. These people hold a part of my life, my heart with them and theirs with mine wherever I go. They are more than just a passing friendship but a part of me that lives with me in whatever coast I call home. I am who I am because of this exchange of love that I have become blessed to be a part of. No one compares to these girls, and although I will meet a number of other people in my life and join various groups of friends, I want them to know that their love sustains me.

We (the collective 'we') can show each other such an overwhelmingly amount of love and compassion, patience and forgiveness. Even when we don't deserve it, after we may hurt one another with our words, actions, or lack of interest. You really can not underestimate what people can offer to one another in the name of Love. It really is the greatest gift we can receive and offer to one another, which exists in a form that is much larger than any pretty ass bow can tie in. Merry Christmas everyone and Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On Yesterday.

So I was a mess yesterday. Crying, sobbing mess. And when I thought it was one thing, I realized that it wasn't the obvious. It began last week, on December 1st Worlds AIDS Day. My dad passed away from this many years ago and is the reason why I am as involved in volunteering with it today. I mentioned this in a much earlier entry but nonetheless, the calling to exhume this message comes again since yesterday.

Our clinical lecture at Biochemistry was on a patient that was recently diagnosed with AIDS (the more severe extreme of HIV, which he had after a sexual interaction(s) in college) due to an opportunistic infection. The same one my father had passed away. Which I thought I was over with grieving after taking an "AIDS Science & Society" course in my undergrad. That course drained me. Outside of learning the biological mechanisms of the virus, the history of the pharmaceutical interventions for this disease, and the story of how AIDS came about - we also watched documentaries. Many, many documentaries that I found myself in tears after each one of them. Some were educational based like the National Geographic with factual information of those affected in Africa, while other documentaries were filming the relationship between a gay couple in San Francisco. With the latter one the most difficult to watch.

I wonder every day had I had the opportunity to have a conversation with my father again. I would do so much to have that moment, to hold his hand and tell him how much I am intrigued, inspired by his legacy. I want to be simply in his presence to have that dialogue with him that would fill me in so many ways. His relationship is the one I want the most. And I don't even know why. He was a stranger. I have no interpretation of who he is as an adult. My only few memories of him were as a child, sitting on his lap and playing with whatever "toys" were at his home. Which was not much since he was a professor. Books. He had many, many books. And art that he made himself. And cool clothes. That man had so much swag.

My god, knowing how he died really killed me. Just because, I wasn't there to experience it with him. Maybe it was for the best but I don't know how much I can agree with that even as the adult version of myself. I want to pretend it wasn't a big deal, that it was just something of part of my story. But its not the "story" itself that huts but the real loss is the obvious, he is not here. The real loss is not the how, the when, nor the why. God, how I wish so much that he was. I want to know what he would think of me, what he thinks of the people I love, my pursuit in Medicine, my ability to carry a conversation. I want him to like me and the woman I am becoming. I think of him every day and hope he has and is doing the same.

So, here is a letter he wrote me for my pre-school graduation to congratulate me for my 'success'. I hang this letter over my desk to remind me of the work I have ahead of me. And God only knows the amount of work that is ahead of me. I embrace it now, though, much more willingly than I had ever before. I think, ironically enough, it is through my father that I know I can do this. He was able to do so much in his life and I think it is because, he wasn't limited to any specific notion of how his life was "supposed" to be. I would want to believe had I had this conversation with him, he would sat to me something like this:
You are good. You will be fine. Not because of the blood that runs through you or the legacy that I and our family has left behind but because you are conscious of what you dream to be and who you want to be in this world. You do not have to worry about the extraneous interactions that may bring you down. Do not feel obligated to entertain those that care less about you or do not see you as who you are. You are capable and strong. For yourself. Never think less than that because you are of my own ... I love you
I really wish there was a way that I could bring him to me. To have this sort of conversation or any conversation. I realize that this may more or less look like this self-pep talk thingy but it is not. This actually means a lot to me and I hope that sharing this with you today, about the yesterday, provide insight of my roots and story that I emerge from. I miss him and pray for him and for those in the past, present, and future that are affected by AIDS. Like any unfortunate disease, fatality steals those that we love prematurely from our present lives. I just hope that one day, one day, I can provide people more time, more leeway - despite some fatal disease like cancer, Alzheimer's, AIDS -  to spend with their families. So that, they can have that one more conversation with those that they love.

Monday, December 5, 2011

On Saying Love.

So the other night was the first night I got to say I love you, without indulging too much into my own. What does that mean? I did not have to say those words and feel as if I was giving more of myself than what I wanted to. I choose the intention behind my speech and mediated how much I wanted to give in my own terms. Not pouring more than what I needed to give.

The best part of that experience was that I did not have to explain myself. Which only proves that I never had to since the beginning. Realizing that I care of another person, yet knowing that I get to dictate the boundaries of what I can give, has made this exchange much more bearable. I thought that because I consumed such overwhelming amount of Love, so much in fact that I was choking on it that I had to do this Heimlich maneuver to get this love out of me. Forcing it with such abnormality. Thinking that if I did not, at that exact moment, I would die of some injustice to the emotion. This could not be so far from the truth.

This isn't a race, it isn't a competition. And more importantly, it isn't a game. When you love someone. We think responsibility. Work. But is it? Should it be? Relationships are. Holy shit they are. There are all these logistical matters that comes into play when a title exists, expectations build and if not grounded, can be easily toppled over by circumstance. But when you are reminded of what brought you two together, this simple feeling of Love that was the core of where that connection stemmed from, you realize that that was enough. All that frou frou that surrounded that relationship was not necessary. I want to believe that the longevity of a relationship is not solely based upon the work put into it but also the honesty intention of the sentiment shared between the two.

I think that part of the reason why we run away from love is because it is intimidating. It's inconvenient, it's uncomfortable. It takes so much out of you. Feeling like, every time you have to say these words, you have to give so much of yourself to be true to this responsibility. It was for me. I was exhausted, and I shouldn't have been. Love doesn't give a shit about the technicalities that come with a relationship that we often create for ourselves. It receives what it can and gives what it needs. There are no rules. It is self-sustaining, rejuvenating. Like its own little self-stemming cell. Self-replicating over and over again.

I think that is why I was so happy the other day. I felt satisfied with what I offered and I did not need any thing in return. I did not feel limited nor exhausted. I felt good. In the past, I always worked way too hard in my relationships. Thinking that at any moment, had I not had some control over it if not all, it would not exist. What little faith for someone that believes in so much. I think nonetheless that the core of my overcompensation was because I thought I was not enough (which now I know is not true). Luckily, Love does not care about what I think She is or should be. She exists whether or not I think She can. And She continues to tell me who She is, regardless of how fixated I am be. Telling me over and over again that what I think I need to do to love and be loved is less work than what I have made it to be. So with that I break all my attempts to control the expression of Her. Allowing Her word to be enough, way more than enough.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On What I Hope.

Finishing up with the 3 part series (changed it again from 12.1.2011). Realize I never published this sucker, so hear it is again. With a few edits, of course (12.19.11). An oldie but goodie.

So that was fun. With all that said and done, what I believe, what I deserve, now what I hope. And man do I hope for a crap load of things. Or rather, want a bunch of things. Realizing that these may be two different things is unfortunate. The fact that I can differentiate between the two, though, surprises me in a good way. But it sucks balls. I would prefer to believe that what I want is of all goodness and righteousness. But it's not. It is self-seeking and pompous to believe that what I want is inevitably good for me. Not to say that we cannot trust our instincts but rather, it is important to always know where these instincts develop from. 

When knowing the givens do not match the wants, I think that is when Hope comes into play. I just hope that "Hope" is much more gracious than Life is sometimes. I think what makes it so intriguing is that it is not limited to what a person perceives as vital, that Hope is not limited to lack of patience or insight. We forget that there may be something greater than what we may want in the present. I know I have. Then, if we are to incorporate what it is we believe in, with what we deserve, the recipe should be interesting. I want to see what could emerge from all of this, comparing what it is I hope for to what unavoidably will happen.

For example, I want to be a doctor. What I hope for is a career that allows me to care for others in the most intimate way. I know this sounds like a cookie-cutter reason but what I meant is, I want every day to be an opportunity where I can honor a life. I want others to look at me and trust that I have the compassion, the knowledge, the wisdom to take care of them and their loved ones. I want to provide hope, the window for others to have that second chance to a qualitative life. This is what I hope for. To be able to serve. We all do this, in almost all forms of careers. And for me, it is in the realm of medicine that I would want to do this. 

I want a family. Husband. Kids. The whole bit. The timing of this isn't as important but what I hope for is a home that I can build with my love and create a creative bond with my children. I want to laugh with them, bake a semi-delicious breakfast for them on a Sunday morning. I want to hold the hand of my husband on the couch and play tag with the kids after a long day at work. Dancing with them in the living room would be a plus. More importantly, I want to respect each member of my family as their own person and learn who they are each and every day. I hope for a man that wakes up with me and makes the choice to love me. I hope for children that I can unconditionally love yet not as a martyr. I hope that as a family we are committed and devoted to the work that each day brings, with love and honesty how ever best way we can. Life's a bitch and it is difficult alone. I want a family that will be there for me and I for them. To share in the joy and sorrow that life brings, one day at a time. 

I want to be happy. I want guaranteed success, title, security. What I Hope for is Gratitude. Presence. Wisdom. Dignity. I want to be able to stand on my own two feet as is and know that what is there is some good stuff. I hope I can enjoy the present, stop regurgitating my past and most importantly, stop investing into a future that I do not know. I hope for accountability and the guts to match it. I hope that when I share myself to people, it comes from a place that is honest, centered but not self-seeking. I hope that I can laugh at myself more often. To do so is so relieving. I take myself way too serious sometimes, as if I'm this old soul that has became decrepit and arthritic. Although, recently I do find myself laughing at me more, which makes the days go by faster. Last one (this is fun you should try it!) I hope that I can find peace within myself as I persevere through the life I believe in. I want to be powerful, courageous. A sexy lion. Or cougar. Depending on how much older I get through all of this. The nice thing about all this is that, I have put a lot of work to get where I am now. I have actually had moments where I can say there was pure happiness. So its been good. Hard work but good. 

We want a shit load of things. And we're good at it. Wanting. It's almost in this imaginative world of desiring that pushes us to do the every day pursuit. We want a lot of things and we go each day trying to get it. We want love, we want money. We want a sense of belonging, to be 'happy' in the terms we define it. Yet are givens are the same. A functional body, the potential to care for one another, insight. What I want is clarity, but what I hope for is discernment. I need to open my eyes to what my givens are and make the decisions accordingly. It is just now that I am starting to see what may not be available for me. But despite those givens, what I hope for is something beyond me that can carry us through. Call it Love, call it God or whatever, I want to believe in us again. I hope that whatever I am supposed to do, to think, to feel, Hope finds me. May I never underestimate Hope but thank goodness Hope is not limited to my perspective. Or to all ours for that matter. Can I get an Amen!? Oh no, starting to preach. I think what we all hope for now is that I just stop. Now. hah good night!