Tuesday, December 31, 2013

my Man of the Year

Time magazine released their POY issue with Pope Francis on the cover. Nancy Gibbs wrote the essay detailing (justifying?) the choice. I couldn’t agree more with her.

“And yet in less than a year, he has done something remarkable: he has not changed the words, but he’s changed the music.”

Image lifted from: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/pope-francis-person-year-2013-time-magazine-529353

My priest-friend kept on emphasizing that. He has not contradicted what the Church has said in all its doctrinal sermons. And when it comes to gay marriage, he still tows the line. But he has kept on putting the spotlight away from these issues to the ‘real issues’ of poverty, inequality.

So what I hear him saying is: It’s not so much about finger-wagging and being ‘holier’. Let’s focus first on compassion, on giving, on healing. Too much energy has been spent on ‘fighting’ for traditional issues. Yet, people, millions of people are dying of hunger and disease because of income inequality, because of tyranny of a capitalism gone wild.

And when he says something like, who am I to judge a homosexual who does good, I am instantly inspired and gratified. If the Jesus Christ-appointed shepherd himself refuses to ‘classify’ me either as ‘goat’ or ‘sheep’, who could?

On that very personal note, my journey of faith has taken on a different dimension. I should have enough of my angst and guilt over what I do or whom I sleep with. If I truly believe, then go out and just shower love. If need be, let this ever-present conflict spur me to be humble and be generous.

I am sinful. That is a given. But I have to move on and help, and contribute, and love. And forgive. Myself and others. And as much as I am a wallower, I will have to put an end to all that ‘woe is me’ wailing. I will just chalk it up to ‘experience’. I will move forward and see that there is still so much to be done. And I am raring to do it.

All that wailing ends today, this last day of 2013.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

a brooding afternoon on christmas eve

I swear the heavens are commisserating with me this aftrnoon. The clouds are all over the metro as I drink my coffee in a mall.

I just came from a trip to Bohol. As my christmas gift to the family, I sponsored their accommodations as long as they take care of the airfare and their meals. Three of my siblings and their families are home for the holidays. This is the first time we would be going on a trip that required flying.

I booked the tickets early part of the year. By July, I finalized the resort details. Then in August, twin 'calamities' struck. First, it was my mom's stroke. Then it was my dad's gastrointestinal surgery. The family was having second thoughts of pushing through. I told them to postpone deciding till November. I was confident my parents would be recovering in time.

By November, my dad had not fully recovered. Much hesitation to continue with the journey. And on a personal note, work became much more toxic. We were facing insurmountable challenges.

As December rolled in, my dad became stronger. And everyone finlly agreed to push through with the plans. So I felt relieved. And also pressured to make sure I didn't mess up, as plans also shifted a bit.

A day before our departure, one of my sisters, and her family, sent me a frantic text message. They were in Bohol and there was no one to fetch them from the airport. Fetch them? Weren't we supposed to fly together? Then I back-checked my messages from her. I got it all wrong. Luckily, I was still able to arrange transfers and a room for them. Good grief.

We all woke up early for that 530am flight. I arranged for three vehicles to bring us to the airport, to Terminal 3. No matter if that was such an early flight, there were long queues just going inside the terminal. Never mind. We have plenty of time.

Finally, we got inside and proceeded to PAL counters. My face became white as the guard told us that Bohol flights were in Terminal 2. "Please read the ticket, po." Oh Shit. I had brought all 14 of us, with two senior citizens and a toddler. WTF was I thinking?!? Frantically, we had to just get cabs to take us to Terminal 2. And as my sister got a wheelchair for my dad, the wheelchair assistant told us that PAL might just be able to bring us to Terminal 2 using the transfer shuttle. And luck prevailed. We were able to transfer for free and with enough time due to plane delay.

We made it safe and sound to Bohol. And all of them had a really grand time, they tell me. Well, I did, too. Partner was with me throughout, keeping me cool even as I was panicking. But I still really feel lousy for failing yet again in arranging the trip. I made such stupid, careless mistakes. Despite all my OC-ness, I missed those details that somehow ruined what would have been a perfect vacation.

I blame all the stress I've been under. But really, all that is still my fault. 2013 has become a year that exposed all my weak points, in so many levels. I need to work on so many things. Yet, I need to stop multitasking and focus. So I won't miss anything.

It's the night before Christmas. And all I could think about is how much I have failed this year. And the clouds seem to agree.

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Location:Dona M. Hemady Avenue,Quezon City,Philippines

Friday, December 13, 2013

mirror. mirror.

I watched this movie, What's Your Number? starring Chris Evans and Anna Faris. Partner pointed out how Anna kept on mirroring whomever she was dating.

I realized how much of a mirror I am with my partners, too.

I am such a pleaser. I would quickly learn what makes him laugh, or tickle his fancy. And I would just go and learn it, copy it. So we will have something in common. When an ex was into badminton, I got into it, too. He liked Bocelli and Brightman. I got to appreciate them. And he was into watching figure-skating and tennis, well, I got interested in that, too.

Then I have another ex who was into classical music and opera. So I started to learn that and even took classical voice lessons. He loved gadgets and gizmos and cameras. I started buying more of those things. Even on impulse. He was all Downton Abbey, wood panelling, and I got into the lifestyle, too!

Ah. The pattern stares at me in the face. And it's not my partner's fault. It's mine. I just want to make sure we have common ground. We enjoy the same things. But sometimes, I end up not knowing when the "we" ends and the "me" begins?

I have been drinking hard drinks lately. Previously, my alcohol of choice was just wine, red wine more specifically. I could drink a glass or two everyday. And I could drink and just feel light. But I got introduced to hard drinks. Because partner enjoys it. He enjoys the night life in general. I have started to like it again. And on a few occasions, I have actually gotten drunk. Really drunk. Embarrassingly drunk.

And I trace it to me being both a mirror and getting competitive! I am challenged to outdrink partner. Parang mga lalaki lang. Palakasan uminom. Unahan matumba. But I never do, anyway. He ends up taking care of me, making sure I get to go home or to the hotel room, safe. I am not happy with myself.

All because I am mirroring again. In my effort to please, I lose sight of self.

This has got to stop.

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Location:F. Blumentritt,San Juan City,Philippines

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

They did it for love.

I have finally witnessed a sweet, moving commitment ceremony between two men. It was the first I have ever witnessed. Though I recall now that my partner was invited to one a few years back. He brought me to the event but we arrived during the reception. I had written about the proposal previously. Even then, we were already getting kilig over the prospect of the ceremony. Canmaker, one of the grooms and a high school classmate, made us swear to help him organize the event. And so we did. But for weeks after that, nothing was happening much.

Canmaker knew he wanted something simple yet memorable. And it would have to be at the beach resort they frequently visit for vacations. He made us, his high school group, take care of the ceremony and act as over-all organizers. Then he fanned out venue set and decor to his production designer friends, the food to his chef friend and finally all the other details to his partner’s friends. They had a very select group of witnesses to the event. We were about 30 in all. And half of us was involved in the event.

It was fun just putting things together. We had a couple of meetings to discuss concepts and align ideas. And lots of email exchanges. There was a slight setback when Canmaker, his fiancee and production friends, made an ocular visit a week before the event. He was dismayed to see the condition of the resort, which he would politely describe as “rustic”. So much work had to be done to make the areas beautiful for the photo ops! (Yes, that was always the concern!) So, he told us not to expect much by way of amenities and accommodations and just focus on helping them make something memorable.

No matter, we all thought. We were all fired up anyway. And so the production people arrived early, even two days before the event, to get the place in order. By the time we arrived at the resort a day before, the place had started to show much promise. It was cleaned up and painted. And when they started putting the touches, voila, the area just came to life!

The program at 3pm started with cocktails at the verandah overlooking the beach. The place had magically transformed into Santorini, replete with white arches and linen swags There was even a photowall for the obligatory poses. We played some lounge-y music as the guests started arriving, all in the prescribed white top. By 415pm, the couple joined the guests to socialize. We served wine, fruit juice and splendid pica-pica.

At 430pm, the couple did their french exit to change into the ceremony clothes. Cocktails and chitchat continued. Shortly after, the emcees requested the guests to go down to the beach area and form two lines. They grabbed handfuls of rose petals from a basket.

All were lined up as they waited for the couple to make their entrance. The first bars of their theme song played in the background (“Sana Nga Ay Ikaw Na” by The Company) as soon as the couple appeared at the top of the short flights of steps. Canmaker was already welling up as they went down the steps, with their 'kids", two shitzu's, and marched between the lines formed by the guests. As they passed, the guests threw the rose petals at them.

When they got to the top of the line, the ceremony officer was waiting for them. And we, the guests, enclosed them in a circle. The sun was rightly timed as sunset was due soon.

In front of all of us, Canmaker and his partner made their vows. They came up with their own touching scripts. And as each was reciting his lines, each was choking up with tears. And so were we.

From then, they got the rings, tied in a bow around their two dogs. They put the ring on each other’s hand. Then solemnly, they were pronounced partners. Then they kissed. I watched this with sun in my eye. Which was just as well because I was tearing up. It looked so right. It looked so real. Because it is right. And it is real. No matter if the Church or the Government says it is not so.

We all went nearer the shoreline to catch the glorious sunset and have our pictures with the couple taken with it. Everyone was just giddy and happy for the couple.

And as darkness approached, we gave everyone their paper lanterns to light. Those darn lanterns took forever to catch fire. The technique, I realized, is to light it up with a candle on one corner of that square 'puck'. Then as the flame grows, set the lantern down on the ground so the air heats up faster. And that allows you to hold the paper sides up. One by one, the lanterns ascended in the dark blue sky, with the sea below it. It was quite a sight! With the lanterns, we made wishes for the couple.

From there, we enjoyed the cocktails until dinner was ready. It was on the balcony of the hotel building. When we got there, everyone was just amazed at how the area transformed into a stylish, intimate reception with the most heavenly dishes served. Canmaker was just blown away. All their friends pulled through for them! Read how one of the guests experienced the event.

The merriment continued into the night. And everyone was just drunk with joy for the couple who were doing this for no other reason but love.

I look back at that event, two weeks after, and I am still in awe that it all transpired, exactly as Canmaker wanted it. But beyond that, it was an affirmation that something like this was possible. It gave me hope. But not just for me. But for every other beki out there who dreams of a time when one can be proud about professing gay love to the whole world, with or without the legal trimmings.

*photo credits: Pics 1-3 by the blogger. Pics 4-6 by various photographers who will remain unnamed. But they own the rights to the use of the photos.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Wala lang (nothing, really)

I met up with raider-friend one Friday night. It was great catching up with him. It was a follow-up to an initial meeting that felt bitin (lacking somehow). We had more time to talk and chat this time. And one of the things I asked him was how his impression of ceecee changed, if it did at all, upon meeting me in person. He said that it did change.

He said that I looked 'normal'. LOL Upon further prodding, he mentioned that he was thinking I would look like a 'manyac' (maniac). That sent me laughing really loud.

Ano ba itsura ng manyac?

Anyway, that conversation turned out to be more of a psychiatric session for me than anything. I have to hand it to him for asking the right questions, for his probing skills. But at the same time, it also made me quite uncomfortable.

I bear my tarnished soul here in the blog. I introspect and analyze. And I post. The process has helped me sort some issues. Actually, sometimes, I introspect with the idea of posting it at the back of my mind. That maybe, what I discover about myself would resonate with raiders as they do their own introspection and self-discovery.

Yet, as he asks certain questions, as he interrogates, I squirmed in my seat. Because part of me is not just ready to confront issues right then and there. I don't think fast, not fast enough, anyway. So some questions just left me silent and ponderous.

In the end, he clarified that there was no judgment in the questions. Just clarifications that were needed. On hindsight, he clarified because I seem to be conflicting myself, I suppose. And I did feel that I wasn't judged. Unlike some other people who interrogate because they already know what they want to hear.

Recently, he begged indulgence for such a behavior. It was probably the alcohol talking. But no apologies needed actually. That conversation was cathartic.

Thank you, dear raider.

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