Worth of words

From one of my writer inspirations on IG, Amie McNee. ~

My mantra especially on days when my mother tells me I should get paid for having a poem published in a literary journal or when my juvenile essay was picked in an international writing contest and published in an anthology. And I try my very best to keep my cool (and my fiery temper at bay) whenever I try to explain why I don’t get paid for those. Reality is, I don’t always get paid for writing (that’s what day jobs and sidelines are for). And not every thing I write will be fit for public consumption. Heck, an iceberg-chunk of some things I wrote still make me go, “Wtf, these shouldn’t even see the light of day!” But what some people don’t get is that I’m not in this for the rare possibility of being suddenly catapulted into the spotlight out of obscurity (not a spotlight hogger), or living off on royalties (good luck on that 😉😉). I count myself lucky I got something published in print and got acknowledgement letters for some pieces I submitted than nothing at all. But even without recognition, I will still write. For myself. For love, for life, for personal growth. I write because it’s my calling. It’s what my soul is drawn to do, to be, to share with the world or a handful of precious loves. And when it’s something your soul calls out for you to do–whatever it is, getting paid for it is a welcome bonus, like that longed-for slice of decadent cake at the end of a meal, or the extra yummy drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce on your sundae. 💖

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An exercise in honesty

We’re onto the third quarter of the year already. A lot has happened since last year. I lost a few people but gained a lot of kindred spirits. Not new friends to replace what’s lost, but souls I connect and vibe with. Beautiful, honest, imperfect people who teach me to be kinder and more generous of spirit. Who teach me that it’s okay to be me (softly sassy, quirky Lea and all) and to be more open to possibilities. And I don’t know how it’s possible, but I feel like my world is expanding every day. 😊

I’m also trying to be more honest with myself. And honestly, all I ever want to do is to write, to create, to build a home, to love unconditionally. All these things I’m not just good at, but passionate about. That light me up inside whenever I do them. It would be nice to have someone to share this with. I don’t know if I’m ever truly ready but yes I want this kind of bliss too. And I’ve been thinking more about this lately than before. It would be nice to not be afraid to love and be loved. It would be nice just to hold someone’s hand and share the happiness brimming from within you to your precious person. I’d love to do that someday.

An Affair Like No Other

She takes off her hat and kicks up small splashes amongst the waves. She inhales long breaths of the sea air, which clear her head. Possibly the ones observing her speculate then about the manner in which delight seems to overtake her and to fill her with the joy of anticipation. And are surprised as she is by her acceptance of her fate. For in the space of time it has taken to walk from the seawall to the sea, perhaps the distance of a hundred yards, she has passed from being a girl, with a child’s pent-up and nearly frenzied need to sweep away the rooms and cobwebs of her winter, to being a woman. — Fortune’s Rocks (Anita Shreve)

I imagine that might be a bit like how I welcomed the waves at sea, sans the part about discovering desire, of course. Mine’s more of recapturing that feeling of blissful freedom every time I reunite with the sea.

It was dark. Whatever bit of light we had came from artificial sources. Even the moon and the stars chose to conceal themselves. The sea was a huge rolling mass of darkness. I was hypnotized by the sound and sight of waves crashing on the shore; I just had to see it all up close. I picked up my slippers and walked to the shore slowly, tentatively, as if every imprint I left on the sand, every step mattered. I skirted dangerously close to the water’s edge, letting small waves lap at delicate feet. The water was very warm and inviting indeed; a contrast to the slightly chilly air. I was excited. A splish, a splash. I kicked my feet playfully, delighting in the feel of both water and sand caressing my feet. I could smell the salt in the air, every breath reinvigorating both body and soul. I was awestruck as I took it all in–the semi-darkness and the rough waves, both a magnificent and terrifying sight. I decided to flirt with danger and be a little adventurous. I ventured a little further, advancing as though I would brave every wave head on, and then retreating when it almost crashes to my knees. I pulled my dress up so it wouldn’t get wet. Then suddenly I felt it–that familiar feeling of pure bliss, as if all my inhibitions fled and I was left standing there for all the world to see–real and vulnerable. I waded a little, splashed a little, laughed and smiled a lot. I almost couldn’t contain it–this love affair with the sea. 

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Originally written: June 1, 2009 (Livejournal)

Love is Like Ice Skating

In honor of a departed friend’s upcoming birthday, this post is a memory of an awesome day we had, 13 years ago. I originally posted this on my Livejournal blog.

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Nov. 10, 2006
I was so excited to see Alyjane & Carla again after such a looong time. 🙂 Aly & I scoured both NBS and Powerbooks of Megamall and Shang before having lunch and we were later joined by Carla at the first Cine Europa screening of the day, 
“Karo and God Himself”.

This film was simply a joy to watch. Karo made me laugh with her stubborn determination in getting “God” to make her wish come true, and she almost moved me to tears as she learned a lot of valuable lessons and developed a pure friendship with him. Little Resi Reiner (Karo) was able to charm the audiences with her innocence, humor, and wit.

After Cine Europa, we went ice skating, which I haven’t done for 3 years. We were laughing at ourselves because we looked funny–3 child-like girls all giddy and giggly with their hands linked together. We remembered the first time we did this together, and the memory that stood out the most was of us slipping and falling and just laughing it off, not caring how silly we all looked as we were getting acquainted with our skating legs. I was back to 0 again since I forgot how to glide on ice without hogging the bars. But I still haven’t forgotten the mixed feelings of bliss, excitement, and fear when I’m learning how to skate. I was having so much fun, I didn’t notice that I already had bruises because of the tight skates. After I got home and I’ve already rested my bruised feet, I had a crazy realization that love is like learning how to skate on ice. It’s an experience that makes you feel excited and giddy, and your heart race faster. (The moment I was finally able to face my fear of falling by letting go of the bars and gliding on ice–incomparable. I felt like I was flying and that anything was possible.) Of course, there’s still that slight fear that you might slip or fall, but once you get the hang of it, you feel pure bliss–as if you’re light and soaring on air, oblivious to everything else. You will still fall and you will feel a bit embarassed, but you will muster all your strength to get up and start again, determined to make everything go smoothly and not to fall again. You will get bruises too but does that stop you from skating? Of course not. You do your best and hopefully you perfect it this time. But when do you finally stop? You stop when you’re so tired and your feet feels sore and every glide feels painful, or when you discover that you already have a lot of bruises from skating too hard.

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Yoga: Day 3

Today was all about hip openers. It was a day of gentler and more fluid poses that made me more aware I have hips I could hold on to. I learned that the hips are directly linked to the sacral chakra, or svadhisthana in Sanskrit. It means, “one’s own dwelling”. And since lately, I’m also learning a lot about energies from a completely different and inspired educational source, I know what the sacral chakra is all about.

It is the center of desire, passion, emotions, sensuality, and creativity. Not gonna lie. I would love more of those in my life right now. I didn’t get to my 30’s without feeling desire at some point in my young life.

But more important than that of course, I see the sacral chakra as this sacred energy I can tap into to inspire me to move forward with my dreams and creative ideas. If this sacred dwelling is balanced, it can also extend outwards, and be the spark that drives one to embrace and explore life with more joy, pleasure, and open trust.

So, my biggest takeaway from this day of learning is…yes, please to balancing my sacral chakra. 🧡🧡🧡

P.S. Orange is the color associated with the sacral chakra.

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.

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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.

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Image credit: frank mckenna on Unsplash 

Clarity

I can say now that every potential love who came before you–I didn’t love them. I thought I did. Maybe I did, for a while. What I know for sure is that I loved their taste in music. How I was this person’s “Yellow” by Coldplay, and our connection was “Just Like a Splendid Love Song” by Orange and Lemons. But they were full of “Excuses” by The Morning Benders even if there was a time we both “saw the light” like that romantic Todd Rundgren song I used to play on repeat because it gave me the butterflies.

I loved that they can play the guitar because when I was 13, I told my best friend with much juvenile clarity that I would fall in love with someone who was kind and smart, played the guitar, and wrote me poems and letters every day. But it was only a teenage girl’s fantasy.

I didn’t expect you. I didn’t expect to fall in love with you after all those lost years, and I never expected it would hurt like hell.

You are kind and true, smart and so humble, and I know for a fact that you can play the guitar. But it’s also unexpected that I’m the one who’s writing poems of love, longing, and heartbreak because I couldn’t tell you these things even if you were sitting beside me. And if by some unexpected twist of fate you get to read this, I want you to know that I’m like that Binocular song, “Deep”, and that my love is like that Zooey Deschanel song that goes like this:

Don’t look back, all you’ll ever get is the dust from the steps before.

I don’t have to see you every day, but I just want to know you’re there.

I wish I can just tell you, “Follow your heart and everything will be okay”. But I don’t know what’s in your heart or if you even feel the same. If the burden of what-ifs and things left unsaid also keep you awake some nights. All I know is that if you trust me, I’ve got you. And you’ve got me, my heart, and my hands–both of them, to hold through everything.

You would always be that James Taylor song that still gives me the butterflies. And yes, it would be so sweet to be loved by you.