A Ring On My Finger

IMG_3606A few years back, I saw a clip of the comedian Kevin Hart’s live performance in his Let Me Explain stand up show which he held at the Madison Square Garden in New York. Barring the language and the slapstick humor, it was mostly about relationships between him and his lovers or friends. There was a segment in the show that has stayed with me after all these years. He was talking about the single life and how it allowed him make decisions with his friends; they could go to the parties, they could hang out anytime they wanted, they could go to the club whenever they liked and do whatever they wanted with whomever they wanted. He did not realize what was missing out for him in the midst of all the fun he thought the single life was affording him until one night, when he was alone in the house and was bored and decided to call his friends so they could go somewhere fun to hang out. On that night, none of his friends were available because they were all out with their partners.

In his words,
“Yo, wassup boy? What do you want to do tonight?”
“Man, I ain’t doing nothing. It’s cupcake Tuesday. Me and my lady, we are making cupcakes. Red Velvet. I get to lick the bowl and everything.”
“Lick the bowl? Man, get off my phone!”
“Hey, don’t be mad at me because you ain’t got no bowl to lick!”
According to him, it is from experiences like that, when your friends are with their partners and you are all alone in your single life, with no one to talk to that you realize that maybe, just maybe, the single life is not what you have propped it up to be.

While I did not have such overly dramatic experiences as a single person like Mr. Hart supposedly had, I can understand his singleness struggle on a personal level too. In the single life, on the one hand, you have the license to make all the decisions to do the things you want to do. You can eat when you want, you can hang out with friends, you can travel, you can go on tours, you can join a campaign team, you can do right about everything the law allows you to do and there would be no problem because you really do not have anyone to explain your decisions to.
What exactly did the single life mean for me and how did I navigate its waters? These are thoughts I would be sharing with you readers in the first section of this post.

I had the advantage (yes, I would like to see it as an advantage) of starting early in life. After I dropped out from college, I got a job in a grocery store and after few months I got a job in an office in our Provincial Capitol in another village that made commuting ( from my place to work ) an economically foolish move. So, I requested to be assigned in my town. Not exactly what I would love it to be, but not bad either in any way. Until I’ve got the chance to work in our Municipal Hall. My life at this point was interesting as I could keep it. It was somewhere in between extremes. It was neither excessively interesting and fun-filled nor was it boring.
My regular weekdays were usually spent behind a computer screen executing unending vouchers, encoding and meetings. Unending in that there is always another task when you have completed one. That, of course, is the nature of all government offices; never-ending tasks and projects to handle. I am eternally grateful for that job because it made me become a more focused individual. At my workplace, every time, every minute is clocked for one productivity task or the other. No time has to be wasted.

On Friday nights, Sometimes I go to the club to hang out with my friends who live nearby, mostly friends from college. Then when I moved to Denmark to work as an Au pair, I thought by then that it was the place I could envision myself staying in. It was a turning point in my life wherein it feels like I was committed but not with a man but with my family. To be a provider, I’ve worked hard and gives whatever they want. Little did they know, I was broken inside. They didn’t hurt me. I was hurt because of the thought of settling down if I found my other half because I am not getting any younger. They are the other thing I would like to consider as an advantage for my single life –My family. In fact, I would like to call it my great good fortune. My father is a carpenter and my mother is a housewife with a small sari-sari store. These two, by living life the way they thought best to, showed me the value of family very early in life. And because of how they worked together to make our family work, they inspired me in no small way to aspire to have a beautiful family too. From them, I learned the value of adequate and effective communication between partners, a lesson that is currently proving invaluable in my relationship with my current partner. One great thing I would want to bring out from watching my parents while growing up as a child in our family is how much respect they showed to each other. Ever before I met my fiancé, I had decided within myself that for the two of us, it would be a relationship where there is as much love and trust as there is respect. Respect for each other would be a non-negotiable item on our list. Thankfully, in my partner, I found a man who shares this value with me among many other things. He respects my decisions, my cultures and beliefs. The day he proposed to me, I saw in his eyes, more than I have ever seen that this is the man who wanted to commit his entire life to me. Right inside our holiday home in Lisbon where he pulled the surprise (though I love him to eternity and back and I wanted to be with him so bad, I was still surprised he proposed to me that evening), kneeling and asking “will you marry me?” I knew what he was offering me meant everything.
From that evening, I began to realize what it meant to be committed to another person. I began to see that it was not an easy thing. I began, more than ever, to appreciate my parents’ commitment to each other. Some days, in my mind, I would go over the example I have – my parents – and realize how they have made it look too simple. And the reality is, committing yourself to another person (who is not you) is no mean feat. First, it requires a lot of unlearning.

You have to unlearn that you are absolutely in charge of your life and as such can make any decisions you want to. No. When you wear that ring on your finger, like I do, or you have given someone that ring to wear as a sign of wanting them in your life forever, you should carry the consciousness in you that your life is no longer entirely yours. Your decisions are no longer all of your own to make. You cannot just do anything just because you feel like. Know that commitment is in no way bondage or servitude, it is simply making allowance for the other person to know and be sure that they have an important place in your life. My fiancé does not tell me what to do or not to do, but, I hear the pleasure in his voice whenever I need to make an important decisions and I run it by him. I realize how much it means to him that I consider him important in my life enough to share my thoughts with him and ask him for his thoughts about it. We do not always agree with what he suggests, though, I must confess, he has really brilliant thoughts most times, because agreeing to one person’s suggestion is not the point. The point is that whatever we want to do, we do with the consciousness that we are learning to belong to each other and as such we realize that the big decisions either of us makes will affect the other person. Without needing to need him, he accords me the same courtesy of running his decisions by me.

Any time I am preparing to step out of my house, whether to work or play or wherever, and I slip my engagement ring on my finger, I am conscious of the decision I have made by accepting that ring. I am conscious that I have pledged myself to a man and that I intend to stand by my decision. That we are both preparing for the time when we will not have to say good night after most facetime dates, but we would be living in the same house, heading to the same bedroom, breathing in each other’s morning breath when we wake up beside each other every day for the rest of our lives. This thought gives me much joy as it fills me with mild trepidation. When the time comes for us to be together finally, I think about the many things that would change. Moving in, raising kids, going on trips together, spending time apart because of work, visiting loved ones, having loved ones over, etc. While these are interesting thoughts to imagine, there is also the part where we would be mad at each other, where we would offend each other, where we might even be tired of each other. These fill me with dread. But I have seen my parents go through these phases and it made them stronger. So, with my fiancé, when we begin to spend forever together. I look forward to growing together with him, learning how to work together, so that when life throws us lemons, we can make refreshing lemonades from them.

 

Sorry, I can’t do anything

 

Perhaps she's not afraid to live alone
So she decided to live the life she imagined
Given the urge to find something better
On working away from home

He never promised it would be easy
Yet she wholeheartedly trusted him
And sometimes she didn't want to face her fears
No one knows how to motivate her

Living away from home is scary
It was only because of the penny
Wishing for a time machine
To escape from reality

Sometimes, at night she wonders
Do they think about her too?
Is she safe?Is she alright?
We had our dinner, How about you?

Each time her heart is broken
Can she depend on them?
Let her feel your existence
She's crying out in the darkness

Remind her not to be shaken
God will provide everything
Because the only words she could say
Is 'Sorry, I can't do anything'

“I’m Phil and you are?”

IMG_3658
Bokod – Ambuclao

I finally made it to the city of Lisbon after 2 weeks in a row without days off. Friends, this job is starting to get me down. I don’t even know how I get through with it while having multiple jobs. I’m not complaining, I’m just venting! I wish I could just sit back, relax, drinking fruit shakes and read a book, or do something else enjoyable. I wish I knew what an actual day off feels right now. I just hate it when I always make plans to do something on my day off but couldn’t follow through. Now, I was stuck here in the law firm waiting for the lawyer to arrive. When I arrived earlier, the first person I spoke to was the secretary in the front desk, who brusquely gave me a huge pile of papers and forms to fill out and return the next day, ‘Don’t Lose them’, he admonished. Seriously? I’ve been here for a couple of hours then wants me to come back tomorrow. Before I could ask any questions he was already speaking to the next client. So I have to stay outside to wait for the lawyer. It’s quarter past seven and the lawyer hasn’t arrive yet. So I decided to just go home. I wish I could come back tomorrow. I went out of the building and I took a wrong turn several times and couldn’t find the metro station. I tried to figure out where I was and realized that I’ve lost my way. The sun has set and soon it will be dark. Thankfully, It’s finally Spring so the sky is still bright at this time. And though temperatures haven’t risen too far out of the 30s yet, hope — and hotter days — are well on their way. I took my phone out from my pocket and decided to get an Uber Taxi. After few minutes of waiting, here comes the white car. Then I jumped in and the driver greeted me and asked a few questions politely. He’s fully clothed. Suit, tie, hat and a polished shoes. He’s handsome, with olive skin and eyes that looks as dark as the ocean. He is, by far, one of the most handsome men I’d ever lay my eyes on. Oh my goodness! Just looking at this man makes me feel like I am cheating with my fiancé. Nunca! I caught his eyes looking at me in the mirror and he smiled.

‘I’m Phil and you are?’ He said.
‘Jona’, and gave him a fake smile.
He started talking and I tried replying to him but ended up desperately staring at my phone, trying to give him a clear hint that I wanted to be alone with my thoughts. I needn’t have bothered; he just seemed to like the sound of his own voice, and it didn’t seem to matter whether I responded or not.

‘You know what Jona I have a good idea. Would you like to come with me? I can be your travel buddy. I can take you to a Safari Park that can be found in a 3700 hectare island. I can take you to a beach and you’d feel like prolicking in the Bahamas or a luxurious and private get-away in Maldives. Or if you want to visit China I can take you to the World’s Oldest chinatown. I can take you to Spain as well. We can take a walk on the street early in the morning like 6 or 7 so we could have a selfie with no distractions or photobombers. Or we could just go for a pint in a bar during the night. Or if you want to go to Greece I can take you to Santorini. I know a nice resort there or if you want to take a selfie in the Acropolis in Athens we can go there as well. I can also take you to New Zealand if you want hilly and mountanious landscape. Oh Madre Mía! Just the thought of it makes me feel hungry right now. If you are a food lover, I can offer you different kinds of foods that you’ll surely love and…’
‘Phil, sorry to interrupt you but just drop me off here thanks’, I said because I don’t want to listen to his litany and obviously, I don’t want him to see my place.
‘Oh, Would you like to have a cup of coffee first and chat about my offer? It is still early though’, He says trying to persuade me. ‘I still have a lot to say and need to explain it better. Trust me, everything will be alright’, he added.
‘Sorry but I am not interested. Is that enough?’ I say it with more peevish tone this time. He laughs warmly and he stopped the car in the gasoline station close to my place. Perfect! I need’nt to walk too far to get there. I get out of the car hurriedly and shut the door. Fortunately, the fare is automatically charged to my credit card so no more hassle on paying with cash.
‘Oh! and by the way. The place I am talking about is Philippines’, he said as he smiled and drove away. I too smiled as I watched him turn the corner. I left there standing with tears welling up in my eyes. It begins to blur my vision. My heart was full of tears too. As I walk, I realized that Philippines has a lot to offer. But I was so focused on my dreams that I forgot about my own country. I started to cry out loud. After some time, I came back to my senses. I woke up suddenly when the alarm clock went off. I realized that it was only a dream.

Yes Indeed! Philippines has a lot to offer. It has been my dream to travel to the best beautiful tourist destinations all over the world. But when I met foreigners and whenever they find out that I am from the Philippines, the never ending praises goes on about how beautiful my country is. The ugly truth is, I am a tourist in my own country. I think it’s time for me to travel and see the beauty of Philippines. So the next time I meet another traveler who has seen the Philippines, I would no longer be ignorant on my own country. Whether in a dream or in real life.

You might be surprised to know that there are places in the Philippines that closely resemble some international destinations and who knows maybe you’ll find them to be as amazing as the original.
Here’s a link if you want to explore some of the impressive local alternatives: https://www.buzzfeed.com/isabellelaureta/san-ka-pa?utm_term=.pwYV2n94z

xoxo jona4463

ONE DAY

Move out
Be crying out for, yet desperate of something

Courageous
I am but deep inside it's just agony

Fear not
"Yes I will but hang on, I need you here"

I'm here
"Don't be bothered dear because one day"

Just wait
"It's not easy I know but It's going to be worth it"

For now, just sleep and rest.

xoxo Jona4463

WAITING

She got stuck here waiting for you
 Just get it done don't be silly
 She is prepared but how could you
 Now, she doesn't know how to move freely

Counting the days, months and years
 You made her feel so worried
 Giving her tears that flows like rivers
 Hope and patience that has been buried

Struggle not for sure I am
 Trust him for it is his will
 Rattled not and focus on your dream
 Behold the amazing sight and chill

Though my friend life is tough
 Keep on praying and that is enough

xoxo Jona4463

If I can do it, Anyone can

IMG_3624Finally! I’ve got my own blog. Busy schedule is never an excuse not to pursue with my passion. I’ve been a contributor and guest blogger lately so why not make my own blog. It has always been my desire to write a book. I remember before when I was in Grade School. I’ve been a Feature Writer of our School paper. I’ve been sent to other schools to compete for the Press Conference, Until I reached the Regional Competition. It was so devastating that time because I was supposed to be the representative for the Feature writing category but my coach said the day of the contest that I will be representing the Editorial category which was not the area of my expertise. Eventhough I didn’t want to but had to accept it because they were counting on me. When the moment that I saw the Editorial Cartoon, I knew that I’m gonna lose. I haven’t started yet but I’ve given up. Well, as I expected, I didn’t made it to the national competition. The trophy was made of wood, then I said to myself, ” I can just ask my dad to make one for me”. Just the thought of it made me laugh right now.

When I was in High School, I’ve been a contributor without even asking to be one. Our teacher before required us to submit an article featuring our Reach Out Program in one of the rural areas in our place. So, I’ve made a short but meaningful story about how I felt when I saw the smiles of the beneficiaries. Then here comes our School paper. I was shocked that my name was there listed as a feature writer. Whoah! Effortless super! One of the best feelings ever is being acknowledged unexpectedly.

Then I entered University and have been a Library  Working Scholar. I seized the opportunity to have an easy, trouble-free access to the best selling authors of the fiction books. One day, I was holding this book called “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. It was all about true stories and advices from people of different walks of life. Then a friend came to me who was my co-librarian as well and asked about the book because she always see me reading it. Because of that, we called each other “chicken” instead of our first name until now. I don’t know what people thinks whenever she calls me “chicken” in facebook 😂. No one asks me about it though. Then everyday, eventhough it wasn’t my duty. I always visit the Library to read the “Young blood” section in the Inquirer newspaper. Oh! and I’d wish that I was the contributor if it was a nice article and a little related to me. I didn’t even try to submit one because I wasn’t mentally ready at that time. Then I dropped out of the University and my dream of becoming a writer was gone. It was really extremely upsetting moment in which I was stuck in a situation where I didn’t know what to do, where to go and how to start all over again. But still, I kept on dreaming. Dreaming is free anyway. When you dream, there are no rules.

Then after a long time I’ve made my first book. A tagalog novel book. Hey! You thought that I’ve given up? that is not in my vocabulary friends! I am not a quitter. The publishing company paid me but it wasn’t under my name. So, let us say that it was my story but they published it under their in-house writer. It was worth 5000php, Not bad!. A friend of mine inspired me to write it. It was based from his story. I wrote it when I was in Denmark. Despite of my job as an Au pair before, I still managed to chase my dream. Now, I can say that I am living my dreams. To inspire other people to dream more. To make a difference in someone’s life. Right at this moment, while writing this, I feel so exhausted from yesterday’s work but it didn’t stop me from doing what I want. I do believe that if you have the determination, you can be as great as you want to be. Just have faith and you have to absolutely believe in yourself because if you don’t, No one will.

xoxo Jona4463