Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Memory Part 1

In college, I often brought two umbrellas. There's always a girl in campus who forgot to bring hers and you never know when it'll rain.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

All It Takes...

On some days, you're simply looking for a compliment... from the right person.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Confidence, Or Lack Of It

I just realized I'm someone who needs constant words of reassurance. Failing that, the demons start attacking.

Friday, March 20, 2009


On some days, I feel like an idiot. I can only hope in the bigger scheme of things, there's not a lot of those.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Change of Scenery

Sometimes, you need to do an activity that's vastly different from your current train of thought. It could be a hobby or a monotonous task. Mine is running. It gets me out of the house, see the sights, and exercises my physical muscles.

When I get back home, the problems might still be there, but I'm looking at it from a fresh perspective.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Beautiful Name

I just realized the other day that my current crush has a beautiful name in the sense that it's wonderful to pronounce. Her first name and last name has a certain alliteration thanks to hard consonants. Unfortunately, in this tug of war between what's private and public, the former wins out.

What interests me about names is that they're part of Philippine society. Even with naming conventions, there's a clear divide. For example, most Filipinos have names derived from Spanish, Maria Theresa being one of the more common female names. So far, I haven't met any Filipino-Chinese whose first name is derived from Spanish (although I have met some Maria Theresa's). It's always Western: John instead of Juan, Peter instead of Pedro. I'm sure there are exceptions but majority of the Filipino-Chinese will take their names from Western sources.

And then there's the occasional weird but beautiful name. My first crush's name was Erin and that's a rarity. Even more interesting was her nickname, which was Nissie. I don't know which is better, although there's something demure about Erin (the reality however is something entirely different).

Going back to my present crush, well, her full name is a unique package and again, if nothing else, it's wonderful to pronounce. There's probably even something metaphorical in it.

The Curse of the Imagination

Sometimes, a lot of heartbreak is self-inflicted in the sense that what causes it is what you imagine rather than actually what happens.

For example, my crush is honestly just an acquaintance. I brought up the concept of falling in love with a phantom because when it comes to the details I don't know (or even those that I know), I invent them and become attracted to that part. That's how some people "fall out of love," when they actually meet their crush and find them to be the opposite of what they imagined (or fall short of their standards). And honestly, no one's telling you to fill in these gaps. But I think it's normal human curiosity to fantasize and create these "phantoms" in much the same way the Greeks created their pantheon.

And then there's the fear that arises from lack of communication. Again, these are all imagined. It might be the boyfriend who starts worrying because his girlfriend isn't responding to his calls or text messages (never happened to me because I never had a girlfriend in the first place). Or a wife worried because her husband is late (i.e. is he having an affair?). And this isn't limited to lovers. It could be anyone in a relationship, such as parents and their children (i.e. why didn't you immediately come home from school? You could have been kidnapped!). These worries tend to be flights of fancy, unlikely possibilities, and it's our creativity that gives rise to them.

Oh, and the one time our fears are actually true, we expect that all the rest to become true as well.

You do know that the stereotype of the writer is that they have fertile imaginations right? I wonder what they're thinking of their absent significant other right now.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Irrationality-Powered Engine

The euphoria of falling in love (as in the love-at-first-sight kind of love as opposed to the let's-get-married type) isn't logical. We might rationalize it afterwards (i.e. it was her eyes...) but more often than not, the experience is an ambush, something you didn't expect and you're abandoned to deal with the consequences.

It's amazing how our body reacts to such a state. You're confused and you act in the most unexpected of ways. Even more interesting is the enzymes and chemicals that our bodies secrete. Whether it's the ecstasy or the depression kicking in, you transcend your normal limits. You might subsist on little food and little sleep. You shrug off concerns that would otherwise alarm you. You manage to accomplish physical feats such as jogging that extra mile or lifting a few additional pounds.

For good or for ill, this heightened state doesn't last long. It goes as easily as it came. I mean no matter how much you will it, it won't suddenly manifest itself (or go away). For me, it's like attempting to trap lightning in a bottle. Some things, however, cannot be tamed.

"There Are Other Fishes in the Sea"

It might seem like a consoling statement but it's not. Imagine entering a restaurant and you browse through the menu. You're hesitant as to what to order and after much deliberation, you settle for the prime-rib steak which is the house's specialty. You anticipate tasting the juicy meat and your mouth salivates. You tell the wait your order and he tells you it's unavailable.

At this point, anything else is damage control. That's not to say you can't enjoy the rest of your meal but you're not content when the waiter says "We don't have it sir/madam but there are other delicacies in the menu." It's simply not the same and your heart feels just as gutted. That's like saying the other person can easily be replaced when they're not. People are unique.

The Moment in Between

Throughout the decades, there's been numerous technlogical innovations that have facilitated communication: mobile phones, email, chat rooms, Twitter/Plurk, etc. In certain ways, it facilitated relationships (i.e. a phone call as opposed to mailing a letter to someone thousands of miles away) but the anxiety is still there. It could be the email that's unanswered for the past few days, the text message reply that didn't arrive in the next 10 seconds, or the lack of a Twitter response despite the other person updating his or her Twitts. Those moments of anticipation seems like an eternity and one's reaction is exaggerated. All sorts of suspicions start to creep in--and I'm not saying they aren't true--such as thinking that the other person is angry at you, cheating on you, or finally lost interest in you.

There are times when I simply want people to be direct and transparent but that's honestly not human behavior. Even I'm not always direct and transparent. And sometimes, I simply don't know what I want (much less need) and my actions are dictated by chance and circumstance.

The Replacement

The moment your heart is broken, you feel like an open wound. You want to patch it up, cover it with something. When a person I know breaks up with their significant other, I can sympathize why they suddenly look for someone else. It's a way of coping, of making the pain hurt less. But it's also not what I would condone.

During this fragile mental state, your senses are clouded. It's akin to picking up the next guy or gal or you meet in a bar when you're drunk. Sure, all's well at the start--you think that you've finally found someone, although in some instances a part of you knows that this isn't the "one," someone you simply happened to settle for. And then you slowly become sober and the shortcomings of this new person become more and more apparent. Perhaps you were too hasty in committing. Or maybe you meant the words that you said to him or her, but it seems so far away now.

I've been to that place and I know that's the point in time when I need to be the most skeptical. It helps that I'm unappealing and no one is usually intested in me.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

You Can Never Go Back

What I miss from pseudo-courting my first crush was the pleasures of small moments: her compliment here and there, half an hour shared together, the discovery of common interests. That's not to say I don't have those small moments anymore--in fact, they're what I most look forward to--but the biggest difference is that the first experience wasn't tinged with dread or fear. These days, I feel like I'm walking on a tightrope, and a misspoken word or statement will cause me to tumble down. A part of me is expecting failure, complete with fireworks and all. So far it hasn't happened yet but the fear is always there.

I could easily describe my experience with my first crush as naivete. Be that as it may, I was embracing the moment wholly, with no thought of what might happen next.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Finding the Balance

I couldn't quite verbalize my dilemma but I finally figured it out.

When it comes to crushes, there are people who are paralyzed by their fears. Rather than doing something, they do nothing and let it slide. That's not my problem.

In the past, my problem has been the opposite: I act too forcefully. For example, I love to give gifts and I tend to go overboard when it comes to my crushes. And when they decline it, I used to figure a way to give it to them nonetheless. (i.e. leaving it in their bag, in their car, etc.) I've been learning to more restrained and less possessive (that's what it is).

Of course in the same scenario, I've also learned to keep my affections hidden. It's been my experience that once they think you have a crush on them, that's when they start rejecting you. But keeping it hidden doesn't work either. I tried to show affection to everyone equally and that only resulted in people thinking I had a crush on the wrong person. As for the person I was actually interested in, didn't really make a bleep in their radar since how are they supposed to know I liked them?

It's also too easy to make generalizations. One thing I have to remember that each person is different and unique. What might not have worked (or worked as the case may be) on one person may not apply to a different person. It leaves me just as clueless, but that's somehow more consoling than simply saying "I don't understand this entire courtship thing."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Positive Feedback

Here's a confession: I want to impress my crush. It's not just about looking good in front of her but rather hoping she'll take an interest in me. Right now I don't stand out. I'm an acquaintance at best, someone insignificant and uninteresting. The fantasy is that she'll fall in love with me but that's an unrealistic expectation. I simply want to increase my chances of me possibly asking her out on a date some day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


For the past few days, I've been depressed. Perhaps not in the way when I first experienced my first heartbreak which led me to subsist on one meal a day and wrecked my passion for anime/manga (and is responsible for me splurging on four dozen Dragonlance novels...) but there's that gloominess and dissatisfaction.

Now the dissonance is that while I occasionally make declarations that "Hey, I'm depressed!" over at Twitter, for the most part I don't like it. Being depressed doesn't stop me from using childish expressions like "yay!" or "huzzah!" And there's little to no trace of it that can be found in my regular blog, which is designed to be formal and informative.

This is an example of the roles of people. We can act one way and perceived in another. And there's several other things running in the background. When I'm at work, I'm all professional and serious (no time to whine and mope!). When I'm with family, I put on a different face. Sometimes, other roles surface (such as depressive me) despite the fact that another one is currently active.

This also brings me to the question of how well you know other people. Despite all your encounters with them, there's that aspect that you're not aware, the side that they don't show you. And when it comes to your crush-who-you-know-little-about, there's a bigger dissonance as you project your preferences rather than evaluate them for who they truly are (which is an enigma at this point).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Secret Journal

As much as it's tempting to blurt out to the world "read this journal!" there's something liberating about the fact that I haven't publicized this blog. I can spill my guts without asking whether this blog entry is useful content or not.

The truth however is that this is a public blog. It can be searched via Google and I've referenced this blog in the past. Its only defense is the fact that there's so much going on elsewhere in the Internet that why else would you read this journal?

So blogging here is this interesting dynamic between secrecy and the lack of it. I'm certainly more open here compared to my regular blog. My bleeding heart is in front of everyone to see. But on the other hand, when writing, I find that I'm censoring myself, or rather choosing different words and names than what first comes to mind. I re-read my previous post and there's an awkward moment where I try to be subtle instead of stating blatantly what I meant to say. And of course there's the name of my crush.

Not that I haven't divulged personal stories here before. If you look at my blog entries from a few years past, I've more than mentioned specific names and people. The difference is that what I'm currently writing is the present as opposed to the past which I've developed a certain aloofness. I've named my previous crushes before and in fact I saw my old crush just last month. But we've both changed and while there's a tendency to approach her and talk to her, there was no temptation. In fact, she was at the other end of the room blocked by too many people that I never got to talk to her (and didn't regret it).

In this instance though, there's some cloak and dagger involved. It might be something as simple as substituting Facebook for Friendster. Haha, I'm the unreliable narrator.


I have this feeling that all will not end well. The adage "expect the worst, hope for the best," doesn't really apply to romance. Most courtships, in my opinion, start out with the suitor thinking he or she has a good chance to begin with--or even the hubris that they're the exception that breaks the rule. I, on the other hand, work with a different paradigm.

One can call it an inferiority complex, or that previous failures have caught up to me, but rejection looms in my mind. Perhaps that's why the atmosphere of depression is pervasive around me, an energy-sapping void that drains my interests and passions. What doesn't make it debilitating is that while a part of me has accepted that this entire endeavor will most likely end up in failure, I won't detract from my course. If I were to suddenly have a vision of the future showing me how my actions will be futile, I'll still be going through the motions, not because I expect I'll defy fate, but because there's a minuscule chance that events will turn out differently.

The question I want to ask is whether this is predetermination of a sort or not. You know the future yet you continue to tread that path. There's some masochism involved here and a part of me revels in the injustice and the opportunity to portray a tragic figure. But I'm not here to find an excuse to lash out at the world. That's too easy. The end goal isn't to find sympathy. What keeps me going is the fact that nothing's set in stone and even if such a vision actually occured, there's always that unlikely chance that events will turn out for the better.

It's not false optimism or the idea that I'll be the one to upset the status quo. For me, it's the philosophy that ninety-nine heartbreaks is worth the experience of finding that one success. And you won't know unless you try. There are people who think that they can "game" the system, that they should hedge their bets towards someone they have a good chance of ending up with. Maybe I'm doing that unconsciously but as far as the conscious part of my brain is concerned, I'm not yet at that point where I should be compromising.

Having said that, the next few days, weeks, months, is going to be quite anxious.

Monday, March 09, 2009


For all my attempts at keeping this blog a quasi-secret (I don't publicize it), there's as part of me that wants to divulge the URL and garner everyone's sympathy. If I'll be honest with you (just because I'm honest with myself doesn't necessarily mean I'll be honest with my readers), the biggest temptation is this fantasy of winning my crush over by simply allowing her to read this journal. "Oh, how romantic!" or "I love your metaphor!" are statements that I imagine. Yet the fantasy and reality are seldom synchronized (remember the best-laid plans?) and what'll likely happen is something unforeseen. (If you're a pessimist, you'd imagine it'll scare her away.)

Here's another confession: I'm hungry for attention that I secretly wish she'll ask me why I'm depressed and it's the perfection excuse to reveal to her this blog.

I'm not proud of these emotions but they come naturally. You can call it the selfishness of being human. Admitting them to you already takes great effort on my part. Forget about reading between the lines (there'll always be space for that), let's call a spade a spade.

If there's any redeeming quality to me writing all of this, it's that it acts like a mirror. This is me, this is what I'm thinking and feeling. And at the back of my head, I'm deliberating "How can I use this material for my own stories?"

Secretly, I'm also thinking, don't these blog entries form a story of their own?

Escaping Shadows

There's only one way to free yourself from heartbreak and that's to cut them loose. It's as painful as setting a dislocated shoulder but from that point onwards, the healing process begins and you can get on with the rest of your life.

The dilemma of the suitor is when to keep on persisting and when to quit? If you're too stubborn, you might simply be wasting your time with someone you never had a chance with. If you give up too easily, you might simply be an attempt away from winning her heart. There's no objective answer to this question and the real solution is a case-to-case basis. Ultimately though, it's not a question of their temperament but yours. Do you still want to keep on doing this or is it time to stop?

Romantic obsession is like a shadow. It follows you around wherever you go and often preoccupies your thoughts when you're not busy. You might try to flee from it but it's perpetually one pace behind you and you can never outrun it.

Sometimes, you fall in love with the pain of being a tragic figure. Sure, it's weary on the heart, but you develop an excuse for whining. Mine was "I courted her for four years to no avail!" and in retrospect, if I was just going to use that as my reason for self-pity, the relationship ceased to be about her.

There's also an element of trapping the proverbial lightning in a bottle. When you're in love, your senses are altered. You perceive the world in a different light, even if it's from a heartbroken perspective. In the case of someone like me, an aspiring writer (I still can't manage to call myself an author), this is the closest I'll get to conjuring a muse. It's usually the extremes of emotions which fuels inspiration. And while ecstasy is preferred, you'd settle for depression over the mundane. The phobia of the artist isn't that they'll feel pain, but that they'll stop feeling anything. And when you're in love, falling out of it is akin to dulling your senses.

What needs to be done is to cut free from your shadow and fly away like Peter Pan. The problem is that the shadow takes on the form of a beautiful illusion and you're not quite sure whether you want to be free of it.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Chasing Phantom Constructs

It's quite a temptation to fall in love with the phantoms you create rather than the actual person. It requires little effort and you can pretend you're not lonely.

But the problem with phantom crushes is that they soon evolve into phantom girlfriends. You stalk their blogs, Friendster accounts, and Facebook status. You even expect them to immediately respond to your emails or text messages when they might otherwise be busy. And when they respond to someone who's not you, you wonder: who is he or she? Are they close friends? Or perhaps he's really her boyfriend? Rather than shattering the illusion of a relationship, such jealousies only reinforces the deception.

In the pre-courtship phase, you justify this obsession as "research." True, you're finding out more and more about your crush, but is all this time and anxiety really necessary? And there's a certain point where you cross the line as far as privacy goes and you're involving too much of yourself into their lives--even when your relationship with them at this point is just a casual acquaintance.

But just when you're about to give up, the phantom whispers into your ear and tempts you with something more. You know it's an illusion but you don't want to give up on the hope that she might be right. Thus the cycle is perpetuated.

This is all impotent action though. What use is research if you don't act on them? You justify that you're waiting for the perfect time to breach the subject but the perfect moment will never arrive. You'll always have an excuse why today is not a good day to confess or propose.

In my scenario, my fear is that whatever friendship I've gained at this point will be easily lost by my initiative. In this sense, I've become a ghost, trapped in a self-imposed stasis.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Real Reason…

One of my motivations for blogging is to get romance off my chest. I wouldn't call it falling in love. There's an attraction, a crush, and a feeble hope for something more.

Since this is public, I will not mention the details. You won't be getting the setting where I met her or her name. And it's precisely because of that why this won't necessarily make a good short story. I want this to be about the emotion and my mental processes rather than a narrative that anyone can appreciate. Call me selfish.

One question you might be asking is what attracted me to her. I'm honestly past that stage where physical attraction is the only thing that appeals to me. Not that my crush isn't beautiful. Admittedly I've met prettier girls (and arguably women whom I have a better chance with) but what draws me to her is the entire package: the way she stands, the way she talks, and the little nuggets of information I've managed to glean from various sources.

The clincher for me is that she's a reader and a writer. Eight years ago, I would have wanted a partner who has identical tastes and aesthetics as I do. Today, I'm still looking for some common ground, but I don't want a clone or a female me (although in a certain sense, I think some people are looking for that--remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry dates a comedian and proposes?). They don't have to read the same authors as I do (much less like them) but I do want someone who's passionate about the arts.

This is where the self-deception part comes in. I know some facts about her but that's it. The rest is filled up by my imagination. In a certain way, it's like falling in love with celebrities. You know some things about them and you think they're the ideal partner for you. But what you don't know about them might be what turns you off or makes you incompatible with each other. As long as those nuances aren't discovered, there'll always be romantic potential between the two of you--or so you think.

At this point in time, my crush--or your ideal woman as the case may be--will tend to be more appealing the less information you know about them. You project the qualities you want or expect unto them. When was the last time you imagined a trait that's repugnant or discouraging when thinking of your crush? It's an unpleasant idea that breaks the fantasy. If you're just imagining your perfect woman, why would you insert imperfections?

Of course I'm not the person who wants to perpetually live the romantic illusion. I want to meet my crush and get to know her more. What is she really like? What are her other interests? What are her goals? Finding out is a double-edged sword. What if you don't like what you uncover, and this is horrible to those who want to sustain the feeling of being in love. Personally, what I fear is that what if I like what I find out, but all my attempts end up futile?

I'm twenty-six and I've been single for all of my life, but not for lack of trying. I did try to court someone during my fourth year in high school and it resulted in my first heartbreak. During my entire college year, I did court another girl, although admittedly half-heartedly during the last two years mainly because I was already spurned and rejected in the first few months (which involved not speaking to me, slamming the phone on me, and tearing a letter to pieces). But hey, I'm aware that with success, there's always the threat of failure.

Right now, I'm depressed because I can't communicate with my crush. And that's horrible because, well, there's no flow of information between us. I honestly don't know her (and vice versa) and what I instead have is a fictionalized version of her.

Yet the heartbreak and mood swings are real. I'm being haunted by a phantom of partially my own making.

The Artifice of Online Journals

I miss writing personal posts. It's not necessarily material that's engaging reading for other people (and likely to be labeled as "emo") but there's a certain sense of relief when you write in a journal.

Publishing your journal entries, however, is a different animal from simply keeping a diary and never showing it to anyone. Your post is out in the open for everyone to read and there are some material you don't want to divulge to the world. It might involve the confidentiality of the office, a criticism of someone in your social circle, or outing your crush.

A juggling act is involved as the freedom of privacy and the responsibilities of public posting are at a constant war with each other.

The option to make this a private post and never reveal it to anyone is available--especially with the innovation of blogs in the past few years--but here's an admission that I've always known. I crave attention and I want to be read. I want to gain your sympathy, your praise, your trust. On a certain level, it's personal propaganda.

But another reason I'm writing this is so that a year from now, I can look back at what I've written and observed how I've changed (or remained the same). And I don't want to do it by going through obscure file names and folders, or have to deal with lost back-ups and outdated hard drives.