Songs From My Playlist: Don’t Worry, Baby

Don’t Worry, Baby (1964) :: The Beach Boys

~ This is reassurance in a song. ~

Don’t worry, baby
Everything will turn out alright
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Innocent Abandon

I thought she was the epitome of youth and naiveté . She turned to me, a ghost of a gasp on her mouth and said I was radiant. And with the setting sun haloing my profile, I truly felt I was glowing from the inside out. Since we were nobodies at the party, we were free to roam the Spanish courtyard and the lawns near the golf course. As soon as I saw the turf with a clear view of an open sky, I couldn’t hold back my desire. I had to share it with someone. So, I took a chance. I told her how I’ve always wanted to walk barefoot on an open field in a gown or a slip of a dress–it doesn’t matter. I just want to feel the sharp, cool, tingly blades of grass under my feet, then lift my arms and face in praise of beauty, earth, and sky before me. I seriously thought she would think me weird. So I was surprised when she suggested that we take off our dainty heels and indulge, with as much rapt eagerness as was flowing from me mere seconds before. That was what we did. She in immaculate white, me in mermaid green. Barefoot, heels discarded beside a random bush. It was one sensually liberating moment for me.

——–

Originally written: September 22, 2011 (Livejournal)

Image credit: Andalucía Andaluía on Unsplash

Songs From My Playlist: Small Song

I’ve been wanting to do a music/song playlist-themed post for quite some time now. I love music. I love singing and dancing along to songs that move me. Like writing, music is also therapy for me. When I need to process thoughts and feelings, or whenever I just feel like retreating into my inner world (also to tune out bothersome people and energy vampires haha), I only need to get to my playlist and the right songs will find me; or I will find them. I feel happy when I get to share the songs I love with people who might appreciate them too. Song choices are very personal, and whatever meaning, emotion, and inspiration I derive from any song would be different for every other person who hears it.

I feel like now’s the right time to do a song post. I’ll be posting a music video of my chosen song for the week, or whenever I feel inspired to. For my first Songs From My Playlist post, it was a toss-up between a lesser-known song by an obscure British indie band, Emily and The Woods, and Dido’s acoustic version of No Freedom. I felt more pulled towards Emily and The Woods today.

Small Song is just a short song at 2 mins and 10 seconds, but it’s so vulnerable and powerful at the same time. It has everything I would want to say to a person I love–all the hopes and fears of a newfound love. Wanting to trust, and wanting reassurance for the trust you’re willing to give. It’s short, sweet, and deep.

This is not the band’s most popular song, though. That would be Steal His Heart, which I discovered way back in late 2011. A quick background on the band for the uninitiated: Emily and The Woods is composed of London-born singer and songwriter Emily Wood, with guitarist brother Benedict Wood, Sam Brown on bass, and Dave Bush on drums. How would I describe their sound/vibe? It’s folksy, youthful, nostalgic, and vulnerable. I’m drawn to unique, whimsical, and hypnotic voices like Emily Wood’s that transport me to another world where I can experience and feel the music. I hope someone else who comes across this song and this band will also love them.

Next week, it’ll be all about Dido. That’s unless I feel drawn to another song entirely. Enjoy!

Small Song (2012) :: Emily and The Woods
Image credit: Emily and The Woods Official FB Page

Love Makes You Stronger

Love makes you happy and love also brings you pain

But through everything, love only makes you stronger.

I keep you with me in a safe corner of my heart

Where everything is pure and innocent and sacred

A place where no one else can get to and break us

Always. That’s what matters for now.

That is my truth and something you need to know for sure.

I may never wrap myself around what it is about you

that keeps pulling me in

I just know a thread is there connecting us and it’s real.

We will be together

If not in this lifetime, then maybe in the next, or the one after that

but not until we’ve learned the lessons we need to learn,

not until our karma is complete.

And if one day I meet someone else who loves me

who I will fall in love with,

I will not waste my youth and my years waiting for you.

Because I deserve love and respect, loyalty and devotion,

happiness and intimacy

An equal partnership, a true marriage of souls.

And if I find all these things and more in someone else’s arms,

I will not hesitate.

Because life is meant to be lived in love and light

And if I’m ready for that but you aren’t,

I will choose the light over you.

Even if it hurts for a while

I will never deny you freedom, because love doesn’t hold you hostage

and keep you bound together in an endless trinity

of fear, indecision, and stagnation.

You break the chain if it doesn’t serve your highest good,

if it keeps you from living out your best life.

You walk away from the shadows and back into the light

Love always gives you the power to choose destinations.

You have been my secret joy and sadness

The unexpected what-if of my life.

But you are also my most important lesson:

Love only makes you stronger.

——–

P.S. I think I understand it better now, what Meryl Streep said on her Golden Globes Lifetime Achievement Award speech: “Take your broken heart and make it into art.”

I have taken the lessons I’ve learned both inspiring and painful, and woven them into art I am proud of. My life revolves around creating and making sense of life through words. Giving myself over to creating with honesty and vulnerability is also slowly peeling away my layers and showing the best bits of me that were hidden before. You can’t go out into the light without braving the darkness first. ☀️

—————-

Image credit: Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

Light of the World

*This is my tribute to all the phenomenal women in my life, to those who have and continue to inspire me, and to those I have yet to meet.

Cheers to those girls who had to grow up a little earlier than their peers. Those girls who were thrust with responsibility and old woman’s wisdom when they should’ve been playing house without a care in the world. Those girls who grew into independence and resiliency and wore them well into adulthood. I see you and admire your beauty shaped by the years of inner struggles, some still ongoing, and the battles you survived. Your brave hearts that still give, despite past hurts and coming up empty more times than you want to admit. You carry the weight of the world in your arms strong enough for burdens, but always soft for the ones you love. Cheers to you, to us, because we aren’t celebrated or appreciated enough often by those around us. But we can acknowledge each other, wish each other “Blessed be” when our paths cross, and say we are phenomenal women. We are the pillars of love, hope, and strength in a world that will always look towards our light.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore (2013)

Lucky 3

I’ve always thought 3 was my lucky number. It was always my class number in school, my favorite number, one of my fixed lottery numbers, my go-to number.

I am the third child, the third daughter, the third Maria, lucky Sunday girl. My birthday is the twelfth of the first month: 1 + 2 = 3.

I look for signs in threes. If I meet my love someday, they’ll have some connection with 3.

And yes, I am aware that I wrote this on the 3rd day of the 3rd month of a universal ‘3’ year: 333. A year of truth, love, joy, inspiration, creativity, authenticity, spirituality, abundance, and beauty. Of blessings overflowing, wishes being fulfilled, and becoming one with the Universe. Being the light and shining a light for others.

Lucky 3, come, let’s weave our magic together.

——–

Image credit: Elena G on Unsplash

Confidence wears a bright orange flippy skirt

*This is something I wrote back in 2010, when I was still blogging at Livejournal. Then out of nowhere, I just remembered this post a few days ago, as if someone tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me of it. I felt compelled to share it here on my WordPress site, especially after reading it again after such a long time, and realizing that the truths I’ve written all those years ago, are still very much ringing true today. It’s bizarre but in a good way.

~~~

There’s a leak in my cabinet. Whenever it rains hard (as it has been doing on and off these past few weeks), I can hear the pitter-pattering of water from the top to the middle shelf. I had to evacuate all my clothes and other stuff (yoga mat and empty perfume bottles included). This is a perfect time for a wardrobe overhaul–sort through clothes I should be giving away, and keep those that still love mon petit corps. As I was rummaging through them, I spotted my bright orange beach skirt–the one that’s so flippy, even a gentle breeze can bring it to life. It’s been two years since I bought it and I haven’t worn it even once. It still fits me perfectly. I did a happy dance and was lost in it for a while, longing very much to be a student of it again. I imagined myself walking barefoot on sandy shores–the salty sea air filling up my lungs in a most delicious way, and the cool breeze whipping my hair. It’s always a comforting reverie.

As I was very much occupied with the task at hand, my mind kept zoning in and out on different trains of thought. It would board on a station, get off at a stop, and board the next train to a new destination. It’s crazy. I remember some bits and pieces, and now I’m trying to challenge my memory. Introspection strikes again!

I’ve been re-learning a lot of things lately, and at the same time, I’ve been recharging myself. I’m letting go of the excesses.   

First stop. I realized that no matter how much you think of other people, they will almost always be self-absorbed. That’s just the way it is. As much as we are all caught up in our own affairs, I still want those who matter to me to be emotionally available. To really listen and understand what I’m saying, to take time to be really with me in the present. I’ve had enough of selflessly doling out pieces of myself and ending up unsatisfied.   

Second stop. What works for others doesn’t necessarily work for me. Different strokes for different folks, my friend. I don’t have to compete with anyone else. And I don’t have to pattern myself to what others have successfully achieved. I believe that I too will be successful and become excellent in what I do, and even then I don’t need to broadcast it. It’s enough that I know my own worth. 

Third stop. I am demanding, but I can live with it. I am not into things done halfheartedly. I want to be loved for my entirety, the same way I do with a precious few. It should be mutual. Countless times I’ve been the go-to girl when loved ones have thoughts and problems they couldn’t share with anyone else. They allow me to see them at their most vulnerable because in some little way, I can give them what they need–comfort and understanding. But as much as I know that I am capable of being their “rock”, I don’t want to be solely considered as that kind of person. I want to be there for the good times as much as the bad times. I want to celebrate with you as much as just be there to listen and uplift you. I don’t want to be excluded, much less to be noticed and valued only when you’re at your lowest and feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. I can only give so much of myself.      

Fourth stop. I thrive in an environment that allows me to just be MYSELF. A sanctuary where I can let loose all my creativity and passions, and infuse a touch of Leanesque in every aspect. I am at my best when I can nurture, inspire, encourage, and strengthen others. I am at my happiest when I could translate thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences into words that make people feel something too. I want to continue being warm and generous, and feel safe, knowing for sure that I will not be hurt in any way.   

Last stop. Never ever lose the light. For a long time, I didn’t embrace my uniqueness. It took a very special angel of a friend who calls me “little Elizabeth Barrett Browning” to make me realize that (to her especially) I am a rose that’s unique from all the rest. That my poetry is beautiful and I need not wait for somebody else to tell me that. I know it, and I can feel it in my bones. My passion lies here and that’s all that matters. 

Now, the mirror shows a girl in an orange flippy skirt, with twinkling eyes and a devil-may-care smile on her rosy lips. She doesn’t always feel like this, but now she is free.

——–

Image credit: frank mckenna on Unsplash