Tag Archives: love

Today is my birthday

1-25-2016. I’m another year older. Another year clueless. But, I have a more tangible insight as to where my life is going and how I’m getting there. 2015 was not glamorous by any means (besides my trips to the Philippines and to Baltimore with my girls). In fact it was probably one of the worst years of my life, if not the worst. Contrast that to the previous year, 2014, which was undoubtedly the best year of my life. The year of travel, freedom, soulful luxury and wholeness. I felt more sure of my identity than ever before. My end to 2014 and beginning to 2015 were magical. I was able to spend time with some of the people who mean the most to me. For my birthday last year, I got to see some of them in the same room interacting with one another, meeting each other. I love bringing brilliant people together. People I believe in, people who believe in me. After they left I thought about what 2015 would bring; I never felt more unsure in my life. Regardless, I was elated by them caring enough for me to come together and celebrate.

In 2015, I experienced an arduous job searching stupor (still kind of am) which featured very promising interviews and interactions, but outcomes that were only semi-fruitful and not enough. I often felt choked betwixt the layers of reality and fantasy. Doubtful about choosing the necessary evils that would ultimately help me reach my dreams. For the record, I still plan on pursuing an acting career. Where and exactly when I will actively begin my journey is unknown to me (currently leaning towards NYC, who’s with me?). However, I am super close to paying off my student loans and once that happens, I immediately plan on saving enough money to seek the life my soul aches for.

Other things happened last year that I don’t wish to disclose as I don’t wish to reflect on them any further. But I’m praying to God that 2016 is much better. Please God let it be. I now know though, that we’re all on a journey together. I’ve come to realize that I need to constantly work at being who I want to be. It’s not a dream anymore. I’m not a kid in school. It’s become my concrete reality and my youth is gliding on the ice. One of my resolutions for the new year is to say yes to things, invitations, people, I normally would say no to. My world has been too controlled by me thus far. I want to broaden it and my experiences, the depths of my senses and relationships. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.

Studying in Jerusalem taught me the importance of being open to opportunities. When I went to my first ever strip club in Tel Aviv, I initially refused because it wasn’t how I imagined my first experience to unfold. I was with two friends and we had just come from swimming in a gym pool- my hair was dry and unkempt, I was wearing the most basic jeans and a pull over hoodie. This was not how I wanted to feel or look entering a strip club for the first time! But I was convined to stay by one of my friend’s friends. As he introduced himself to me, he looked me right in my eyes and shook my hand, he kept his eyes on me and didn’t let go of my hand. I complained to him how crappy I looked. “You’re hot. You should see how the other guys look,” he replied. My jaw dropped on the inside and all of a sudden I felt ready to go 🙂

I guess this birthday blog post is basically about me using lessons I learned in 2014 and 2015 to guide my 2016. Which actually means I should relinquish some control. This year I want to work harder and stay more focused, but it’s time to let things happen! Let happiness happen. Let simplicity happen. Let love happen. Let friendship happen. Let boredom happen. Let it all happen. But then deal with it. Analyze it. Move on. Start over. 12 months to go. I hope I’ll see you there. xo

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The Only Place For Me

I haven’t unpacked my things and I almost don’t want to. At least not yet. My clothes still carry the smell of the room we stayed in in my lola’s (grandmother’s) home. I know my memories will fade, as certainly as I know, the smell of my clothes will one day fade until next time. The truth is, I don’t want to be away from them. We say goodbye, we think see you later, then they’re on my Facebook timeline and in the back of my mind until one day out of the unpredictable blue my mom asks me if I want to go the Philippines. Could my answer ever be “No”? I wish we could go every year. My heart goes out to immigrants everywhere that wish to be with their families but cannot for whatever reason.

Smell is the closest sense tied to memory. I hope the day never comes that I would ever forget the smell of the Philippines, the different scents of my home and the air. We returned five days ago and my luggage still houses my clothes and keeps the familiar scents embedded in them and I am lovelorn. My wishes are pearls and my tears are crystals that I drop whilst praying for the safety, health, and happiness of us all. I wish I had dollars- mountains of dollars that I could share with everyone so that we would never worry. And dollars that I would keep so I could always visit. Dollars for the things we really need and some for the things we want. I’m always praying- just like Lola every morning. I don’t know what she prays for, but I hope she says some for me. And I’ll say some for her.

There is no full happiness and appreciation for life and beauty without them. I will always pray for us and I will always fight for all of their love, big or small, smothering or invisible, distant or close, silent or loud. My eyes are tired from all the water that’s poured out. We all make mistakes. Lord forgive me for the ones I’ve made, including not knowing how quickly everything would come and pass. Life was dandy when I was 5. But what was it like for everyone else? The adults in my family and the ones to be. Did they also have a candy view of life? We were all much closer when we were younger. Has the fact that we’re not as close or as young changed the way we feel? Or is this how getting older makes all adults feel, that responsibilities that come with age make life less sweet?

I drag things out to the very end. I don’t unpack. I don’t clean. I pack until the last minute. I hope my future partner will forgive me these things. If something impacts me, I’ll hold onto it and I don’t let myself forget about it. My family is irreplaceable. We’re unforgettable. We’re a force for good. You’ll never forget us. You’ll always remember. The silver stars will twinkle and the dogs will always roam. The hearts that I’m surrounded with will always be my home. With you, I could never be angry, I could never be hurt. My spirit wrapped in your tenderness all the times you washed my shirt. Pink sorbet New Jersey skies are pleasant and bring me to the present. They make me miss where I belong. Memories pure in soft rock songs, bouncing from the radio. I wish we didn’t have to go, that instead I’d say “See you tomorrow.”

The night we arrived in the Philippines I knew it would crush me to say goodbye. Out of all the times I’ve ever visited, this time hit me the hardest. I first visited when I was infant, around age one, then when I was five, when I was 10, when I was 13, 15, 21, and now. That place has got a big piece of my heart. I’m not the best that I could be, but I’m trying to be. You deserve it all and I honestly don’t deserve all the love you’ve given me. But thank you for loving us anyway. You’ve all inspired me to love the same.

Love always,
Me.

Days in Bora

A lot can happen in a few days, especially if you’re in Boracay, inarguably one of the Philippines’s most well known destinations. My mom, sister, cousin and I stayed from May 25 – May 28 booked through Airbnb. Besides spending major family time at this legendary location, I got sun burned, went parasailing for the first time, was propositioned every night by numerous transgender prostitutes and approached by countless vendors and activity guides, I consumed various delicious plates of Filipino goodness, strolled the sands at the death of most parties late at night and marveled at the twinkling stars accompanied by a boy I had met who deserves the world.

In short, I had a wonderful time and I wish I was still there! But I was only ever slightly disappointed. Many people have opined that Bora was a better place to visit only 5 years ago, a sentiment echoed by the people I met there. It was certainly a different place than what I imagined, which I felt intuitively the moment I set foot on the main pathway on the beach. It was an endless path overly saturated with the airs of the commercial and artificial. To be fair, there was a balanced mix of upscale restaurants and fast food establishments, convenient inns and high class resorts, and of course, bougie and trashy island bars, but the over commercialization was the last thing I expected Boracay would hold. Instead, I expected a dazzling beach escape with a more compact party area and much less noise and nightly distractions and vendors. However, some things were as fabulous as I had hoped. Though usually praised for its white sand, its true color was actually an extremely pale shade of beige and had the fun consistency of baking flour. It was as if some giant baker in the sky poured flour across the whole beach of Boracay. The water was blazing light blue with hints of bright green which ombred into darker, more mysterious blues; trademark tones of Philippine island water.

Commercialization was inescapable in Station 2– the center of Boracay and where we stayed. The quieter, more pleasant spots were located at the ends of the island, in Stations 1 and 3. As I traversed throughout, I realized Boracay possesses an energy,  environment, and scents reminiscent of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Universal Studio CityWalk, Atlantic City, and at its most ratchet, Seaside Heights and Point Pleasant. Boracay is pretty much the  “Jersey Shore” hangout of the Philippines, but with a luxurious beach, cleaner paths, less trash cans, more obvious poverty, and much better places to eat and stay. Due to the lack of a kitchen in our Airbnb rental, we ate out for every lunch and dinner, from super cheap places to more expensive, higher quality places, and one free buffet lunch provided by Astoria Resort in exchange for a highly irritating four hour time share presentation, which we ultimately denied. [My Kuya once told me to never get a time share because they’re a waste of money] For breakfast, we bought bread and fruits and jugs of water [we could only drink bottled water since we had no filter] we bought on our first day.

Titos

Every day went like this: Wake up. Eat breakfast in our room. Swim. Eat lunch somewhere. Swim again. Eat dinner. Stroll the beach or through D’Mall– a shopping/restaurant centre. D’Mall was my least favorite place and probably the most ghastly within Bora. It felt way too touristy and below the standards Boracay should have. I was appalled that it existed. Generally speaking, the whole strip of stores, restaurants, hotels, and bars on the beach felt incredibly tacky, perhaps besides the nicer places. One of the coolest things we saw on our walks was this brilliant queer fire circus comprised of dancers that wined to loud music, artfully spinning and throwing balls of fire into the air, one of them even rapidly climbing up a palm tree and according to my sister, “humped the tree.” They were an entrancing group of mostly transgender dancers called the Boracay Phoenix Firedancers. As I watched them, I kept wondering, “How did they find each other? Fellow queer performers that love to dance with fire?” A Philippine mystery.

I didn’t enter any bars because most of them had cover fees and I didn’t want to drink alone. So I spent my nights walking the beach with a guy I met on my second night; I’ll call him Jose. Jose was the first guy I have met so far in the Philippines. I wanted to meet someone in Bora and before I came here to the Philippines, I made it my goal to make friends because I never got to, besides family members. I want to meet people who can give me a different experience of the Philippines than what I already know. I want to be shown incredible things and taken to a level of living reality. My family here is my reality, but because of my age and where I’m at in my life, others can show me different parts of the country and culture that my family may not be willing or able to show.

People of the Philippines are known to be some of the kindest, heartwarming, and empathetic people around. Jose was possibly one of the kindest, open,and loving people I have ever met, all of which I was able to gather the night we met and sat on the beach and began to know each other. My experience with Jose, walking alongside peaceful waves, underneath black skies and diamond stars, having deep conversations and peering inside the mind and heart of another queer, but native Filipino, wrapped in his kindness and tickled by his curiosity made me wish I studied here for university. I was in awe of his presence and feeling how grounded he was into this country and the experiences he’s had here. He had such an outwardly pure, giving, beautiful, yet saddened soul. We shared many personal things with each other in our short time together. Sadly, I never met anyone who was as unaware and in denial of his own beauty. I wish I had more time to show him how lovely he truly is and I wish our goodbye ended on a more encouraging note. I hope he has something to believe in, even if it isn’t yet himself and that one day soon he’ll be able to see his true beauty for himself, inside and out; he’s a radiant boy who deserves the world and I’m glad I met him. I will certainly never forget him.

These are my days in Bora.

4.8.07

I do things deliberately. Some things that I do don’t make sense. But I like to imagine that there’s someone who does. Someone like you. I am lost oftentimes in the universe of understanding myself with my past and tracing where the energies have transferred. Rediscovering that I am not lost. Although alone, I have friends. People who finally understand the eccentricities of my fiery crackling character. But that doesn’t take away the loneliness. Of missing what it would feel like now to have your arms around me after all these years or your lips on mine. Your lips on mine. After all these years. Have you not forgotten me? Have you not found a new love? Maybe a husband. A wife. Something that isn’t me nor what I was meant to be for you. Or maybe.

Four years ago, they cursed our hearts and called us young.
Saying we don’t know what love is.
Love is me watching you, watching me.
Love is laughter over and over again.
It is the deep gratitude for your shelter and your rescue, as it is the ever flowing of tears.
Love is not uncertainty.
It is wild and reckless and sure of itself.
Love is not a flower.
Love is not a word.
Love is all encompassing.
Love is absolute but simple, beautiful, and dangerous.
We are never fully prepared for its touch.
Love is why I love you, to show you it exists.

8 years ago on this day was the happiest day of my life.
Here is the truth.

Love in the Laundry

There is unconditional love in the folding of clothes. Sometime last week I did laundry in a batch mixed with my own, my mother’s, and my father’s. As I was folding my laundry to my Beyonce soundtrack, I was ready to just return the laundry basket to their room unfolded because they’re clean anyhow and they can fold it themselves. But when I picked up my last piece of clothing from the basket, I realized something quite startling: my mom would have never done that. Whenever she gets her hands on my laundry, she folds and irons everything; it doesn’t matter whose it is. Sometimes there are certain shirts I’ll ask her to iron because I’m too lazy to do so, but she always folds my clothes the neatest way I’ve ever seen. I’m grateful for that. I realized that this is one way she gives me and my sister unconditional love. I started to cry in this moment. It’s after midnight as Beyonce continues to play from my Mac downstairs and I look into the basket at my parents’ clothes and hesitating no further, I fold them; mind you it wasn’t a full basket to begin with so there wasn’t much to fold. The realization just kept repeating in my mind: this is unconditional love, this is unconditional love. She treats our clothes with care without being asked to do so because she is our mother, we are her children, she loves us, and that’s the role she wants to play as a mother, a mother that wants to take care of her kids.

laundry

Most of my mom’s laundry was her underwear. I am usually averse to touching any of my family members’ underwear because they’re soiled, but that never stopped my mom from washing all of our clothes. So I folded my parents’ underwear from the light in my room while my dad slept with his door open, light splashing onto his tired face, and I did it happily. “XO” by Beyonce came on as I finished up, and when I had one foot into my parents’ room to place their clothes on the bench, Beyonce sang out the second verse, “We don’t have forever. Ooh, baby daylight’s wasting. You better kiss me, before our time has run out.” I quickly took a step back into the lit hallway and gasped at the intensity of which that verse hit me and sobbed as quietly as I could without waking my dad. This song especially makes me feel the shortness of time and when I heard that second verse, I thought of the distance between my parents and me and I didn’t want it there anymore. I want them to kiss me before our time is run out. We have our problems just like any other family, but being back at home has made me realize and see things I never did before. A new intimacy lingers in the solitude. Coming back from study abroad and completing my college career has made the opaque a little clearer. I feel more connected, or at least I want to, and wanting that means so much to me.

Now I know: there is unconditional love in folded laundry.

*First photo by Charlottine
*Second photo by Fins

thoughts at night/hopes for the world:

i never again want to hear or see acts of hate. I never again want to hear: “death to jews.” “death to arabs” “palestinians don’t exist.” “once born a man, always a man.” “adam and EVE, not adam and steve.” collective blaming on the black community. “marriage isn’t your right because of your sexual preference. “the purpose of marriage is to procreate.” “i’m not attracted to asians/ they’re just not attractive, ew ur an ugly asian.” gay men are not REAL men.” “i’m not a feminist” “men need to be the heads of their households.” “islam is a cancer.” “why aren’t muslims denouncing terror?” “not all muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims.” “slavery happened hundreds of years ago, the president is now black, get over it.” “she was asking for it/ she drank too much/ what was she wearing?” slut shaming. bringing down girls. “boys will be boys” as a way to disregard responsibility. classism. racism. the anti-semitism behind the “need” for zionism. apathy for the environment/ mindless littering/ the cigarette out the window.

i want a peaceful society of equality and communal support. i want to live to see the eradication of inequality. to see same sex couples embrace each other freely wherever they please. to see men caring for women when they’re drunk and vice versa. to see more men of color and several women as POTUS. to see beautiful ASIAN movie stars win Academy Awards (for non stereotypical roles). to see noteworthy, honest representation of all ethnic groups on television. for families torn apart by immigration reunited. for prisons to educate and rehabilitate. for jews to be able to live anywhere in the world with love and not face hatred. for that fucking wall in Palestine to come crashing down. for Israel/Palestine to be binational, removing Jewish privilege and forging true equality. for famous people to be OUT without fear, for LGBT to be recognized as valuable humans. and lastly, i want to see my parents and close friends at my future wedding to a man.

Single Life So Real

It’s hard not to care when it’s something I’ve never had. I’ve never been touched, or loved, or kissed by someone who meant it. Who wanted to feel what it was truly like to see inside me. Never looked at like I was the most brilliant person to ever enter their atmosphere. I never had anyone step into my own and break me down, introducing me to the purest version of myself. Behind the makeup, behind the pretty, behind the weirdness, behind the ugly.

I’ve navigated through different channels in search of this one thing. The tragedy is that I’m 23 with no history of a physical genuine affection. Just “likes” on Instagram or compliments on social media. But at this age I am wise enough to know that the path to something real is not this vacuous. It is not designable. I cannot devise a plan for a man to fall for me no matter how many dates I ask him on, or however many pieces of myself I show him. It has been and will always remain a mystery. And no matter how many times I tell myself or feel as close to the reality that I am not as in love with love as I was, something reminds me again that I am. It’s in the message of a song or a photographic moment that transports me into the crystal vaults of my heaven and cotton daydreams of lying in bed with the perfect man God intended for me all along.

Candied fevers of love line the recesses of my fantasies. I sway to the beat of lovers unloved. I carry my weight in skin tight jeans. Hold me dearly if you already know how. My gaze is radiant in the sunlight as I ponder once upon a dream. My limbs are seashells on waves of sand, but the ocean is where I want to be. Lilac lovers, I’m a lilac lover too, looking for the one on the streets of France. But the one who looks is never found when all he does is roam around. If you stay in the place where you should be, he will find you there eventually. Not virtually, OkCupid, Grindr, or Tindr. I want to hear from him that I’m “mine.” If you don’t get what I mean, never mind. I’m only waiting to be found, but I’m not waiting anymore. Not for the men who want skin then leave to the door. I mean more and I’m everything, and through him I’m adored. Crown me, I’m a king; immortalize me with a ring. Beating white heart, I write the lyrics that you sing. For serenades that cascade queer Valentine understanding.

Happy Valentine’s Day to me and to all the single individuals out there right now, especially those who have never found love. Today means nothing, and even if I had a boyfriend I wouldn’t care about it as much. But the single life remains real and I remain the realest single bitch alive.