Thursday, May 27, 2010

Leech or Love?

When Chat is close by, my day is serene and sound. Regardless that I have an unquiet mind her presence is always a stabilizing force for me. I realize how vital she is to me, like air is to breathing but I don't like the feeling I am feeling lately. I feel like I'm losing control of my emotions - like I'm an old woman and needy.

I was talking to a friend the other day and we talked about her mother -the kind of mother I would not want to be. Her mother drains her emotionally by constantly telling her how bad she is because she's not taking care of her. Which of course is not true. My friend struggles between the boundary of trying to do the right thing and trying to preserve herself. We'd like to think that there should be no boundaries or limits to doing the right thing. But there is. There's something to be said about the Asian culture: One thing, we have what we call a closely knitted family, meaning, we stick out for each other even if it's to our own destruction.
So what does sticking out for each other mean?

Here's what it is not:
1. It is not about leaning on and sticking like a leech to the person you claim to love. If you're a parent, your goal should be to equip your kids to fly,to soar and look up to the direction of God. And not make them carry you like a thorn on their side.

2. It is not making the other person be the lone source of your happiness or misery. As parents, we look to our kids as an addition, a gift from God but not necessarily to make us complete. It is God who completes us.

3. It is not about giving or witholding financial help. Giving should be done not to make up for past or present guilt. Nor should help be withheld to punish for past or present mistakes. Because money should not be used as a power or as a tool to lord over people.

My friend is so burdened by her mother, and I think she knows what direction to take, which is to preserve herself. But because of societal ramifications, she's divided. I am not concerned of societal ramifications so I told her what I think she should do- and that is to stay away from anything toxic - and that includes her mother. This is harsh coming from a person with an Asian upbringing, but what good will anyone be to anybody if they're so beaten down?

Oh,talk about beaten down, I think I'm getting close to doing that to Chat because yesterday, she told me to take a long hike. When I asked her how long, she said, "like out of the country long". I took the hint as serious when she told me she's paying for it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Live and Make Meaning

This morning I drove and drove heading east, feeling lost like a kite without a runner and like a stray dog who once had an owner. Then as the tears cleared, the voice was very clear: I died so you can live.


Video Courtesy:juanguaco Thanks.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The New Black

My brain went on vacation and refused to come back to work. Every day when I sit down trying to string the words together to finish writing the book, I am reminded of our old carabao yoked to a sled pulling me and my friends. We were a bunch of malnourished 8-year olds, so we didn't weigh much, but the carabao struggled at every step in pulling us. I don't know, maybe the carabao was more malnourished than us.


Lately I feel like that carabao-dragging and struggling. To come up with a word or a sentence, is like reeling in a fish that's barely biten the hook - no telling if you'll get it out of the water. "It should be easy," a friend said. "because you're writing what you know." I wish. The story is there, but what about resonance and flow? Even Stephen King insists on resonance.

I don't need imagination as much as inspiration, but more than inspiration, I need my brain functioning to a useful level.I have learned to live with melancholy, but lately, depression is the new black that seem to consistently color my thinking. Some people, like Lord Byron or Virginia Woolf, when they got depressed, they became more poetic and wrote more. My new black is not that efficient. When I am depressed, I don't sleep, and when I don't sleep I get depressed and even though I am walking and living, I am really dead. And I don't rise on the 3rd day either. I simply wait until a different color shows up, and hopefully it's not gray.

*Picture lifted from this site:http://www.travel-philippines.com/locations/palawan/3-sabang.htm

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Online Dating Scams

The first time I chatted with a man from the dating site he insisted that I turn on my webcam, which was right off a bad start with me. But he was adamant because he said, "I am sick of games and scams." I was also adamant not to turn on my webcam. I told him that I have a webcam but that I could not find it, so he said he can't continue to talk to me. I did not ask what he meant by scams and games, but within a few days, I understood what he meant.

I received over a hundred flirt messages and I agreed to chat with 6 of them. Read this: 5 of the 6 were scammers, very likely from the same person who posted different pictures and different email addresses. Here's the common thread of their scam: They will tell you about having a child (minor) and that they're a widower. All of them will post a very good looking person which they probably copy pasted from the web. One person told me his daughter is 21-years old looking for a nursing college (in your State) but they're coming from Africa because he was there on a contract for a telecom company because he's an Engineer. His wife died from a car accident. The reason I caught his lie is because he said something about us going on vacation, which I didn't. I blocked him right away, then I got more emails from supposedly another person, this time saying he is from California but is in Malaysia right now because his son is spending time with his grandmother who is Malaysian and is sick. Then he lays the groundwork - telling me he was coming back to my State to start a business. I didn't give these two people more time than necessary - I blocked them right there and then simply on the basis that my spirit was uncomfortable with it.
But the 3rd one, which again, could still be the same person almost got me. He was so slick, telling me that he's from North Carolina but had to take his 12-year old daughter to Nigeria to take care of his father's business. He was hoping they could live there because his wife died suddenly (note: from a car accident) and he's so heartbroken. He thought he could have a new life in Nigeria with his daughter, but his daughter can't stand it there because she misses the United States so bad and she's crying all the time, reason he needed to have a woman in his life.
And I am not ashamed to admit, I almost fell for it, I gave him my cell number because he insisted to talk to me so I can talk to his daughter. And voila, the Nigerian accent, I hung up after the first hello and blocked him and reported it to Yahoo and the site.

If you're a man, they will post a woman's picture and a woman's profile so it doesn't matter if they have a picture or not. Now, how many elderly men and women out there who have actually been scammed and given money? Not many will admit that because they're embarrassed. I am thankful that I have the sense and the strenght to back off, but there are a lot of lonely men and women out there, who are just grateful for the conversation so they're very vulnerable. If you're reading this, warn your friends who are enrolled in online dating.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Saved By The Comma

I'm trying to wriggle my way out of this online dating labyrinth that I got into. I cancelled out from the Filipino site after a week because I got what I needed for my research and I didn't want to continue in a site where the men are specifically seeking out a Filipino woman. (I have my reasons for this, trust me.) Then five days ago, I joined this site that's supposedly specific for seniors. The very next day I woke up with 47 messages, and since then, at least 20 messages every morning awaits me and would run up to 30 throughout the day. Flattering, right? NO.

As I've mentioned before, I am open if the right man comes along regardless what site they come from. The problem is, I have no patience for liars. If I ask you a question, I need you to answer - that would be a good start if you want me to like you. These men say they're good listeners but it seemed they didn't even hear what I asked them in my message and just went on to write about how they like the opera and candle lit dinners. Which by the way is too pretentious for me and so not me. I'm a roadside stand-eat-with-my fingers and answer my question if I ask you kind of gal, you know what I mean? They not answering my question is not the worst part. Lying and deception seemed to be their common thread and I can not work with that.

I now understand how my friend felt in her search for a man. She got frustrated and felt more helpless and because she was vulnerable and needy, she ended up taking one who's a loser - just to have a man. God forbid that I would do that. Money does not impress me. I've had it come and go. So when this idiot told me he drives a BMW and he's got a masters degree in Engineering without me asking him, I blocked him off. A person who has an advance degree would know to put a comma or a period in a sentence and use capital letters when necessary. I can forgive him for lying, what I can't forgive is him thinking I'm an idiot to believe him. I mean this man wrote at least 3 pages of garbage. No, he didn't write anything obscene, but if a person writes like that, it's just as obscene in my book. Don't get me wrong, I'm no English major and nowhere near good at English. I could love a man who is slow, ignorant or stupid but what I can't stomach is when a man thinks he can fool me. I just love having this blog - saves me the psych couch.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Patience, Patience

I got back from Europe and to my horror realized that I totally forgot my summon for a jury duty. I didn't remember until the court sent me another summon threatening me of a fine if I didn't show up yesterday. So I made sure I appeared in court and was ready to serve however long they need me to be a juror.

The long hallway was lined with seats but we were soon ushered to a waiting room with two big flatscreen television on each end of the room. Except for cooking shows, I get annoyed with tv shows, (did I tell you I don't watch tv and haven't watched tv for more than 8 years now?) so sitting there with over 200 prospective jurors and having no control over the tv was enough to get me over the edge. I sat at the back and this man came to sit next to me and he was the type who comments on everything; commented about the people, the news on tv, about the paper he was reading...etc. Actually he was pretty much talking to himself because I pretended to be riveted to my book and was hoping he'd get the hint and shut up, but he didn't, so I moved to another seat.

Because the place was packed, I was soon sandwiched by two men - one busy with his blackberry and the other with his ipod. I tried to read, I tried to tune out the blaring tv and I tried ignoring the screeching and clicking sound of the blackberry to my left but I was powerless to the ipod man on my right who smelled of yesterday's sweat and oblivious to my turning blue from holding my breath. I went to the clerk and asked if I could be exempted, she said "no" go back to your seat and shut up. And I think I heard her say something under her breath about putting me in a jail cell with a choice of 5 lesbians or Mickey Rourke. I dragged my feet back to my seat, when I saw the first man, the commentator, smiling at me and tilting his head to the seat next to him gesturing -come back here, it's still empty. Oh God, help me.

I found another seat and made it to the next 30 minutes and I was released with the other 165. Anyway, from that experience, I was reminded how impatient I have become of people and even men, which I could not believe because I love men more than women. Oh well.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Change for the better?

I am open minded and I understand a lof of things. I love gays and I love lesbians because they are human beings and God loves them. I am cool just as long as they don't shove it in my face to accept their agenda. And for sure I respect their struggle - their struggle for acceptance from the community and their deeper struggle to accept themselves. What I am trying to understand Is, a lesbian different than a woman wanting to become a man? I understand wanting a change, but this I can't. Here's what I'm talking about - Chastity to Chaz.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Double Standard

Ok. I'll let you in on a secret. Last weekend I signed up for a free membership to an online dating service. I did this for two reasons: Part research for my book and part curiosity. I was also very eager to investigate the site because a friend of mine swears by her husband's grave that this particular site is teeming with hungry fishes. You drop a line and within minutes you'll get a bite, she said. The site is very specialized; the women are only Filipino women and the men comes from all over the world.

My friend is right. Within minutes after uploading my picture and posting my profile, my email started bobbing....there's a bite. It was wild and it was exciting, but what my friend forgot to tell me, is that some of this men borders on the two "P's." Perverts or Pedophiles. One man, aged 62, was looking for a girl aged 18-25 years old. Can you imagine a woman 50 and above, saying she prefers boys of that age? If at my age now, I would feel inclined to date boys of that age, you'd know there's something bad wrong with me, right? Mothers from everywhere claiming to protect their sons would want to skin me alive - Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, Mothers Against Tatoos and Mothers Against Peeing Standing Up would all band together just so they can skin me alive, legally. So why is it ok for a man to want to bed his daughter? And advertise it publicly too. Or is this only acceptable and welcomed, because the girl is Filipino?

In America, if an 18 year-old girl dates a man 5-years older than her, the girl's family will be all over town, cross eyed and all. Unless of course, the man is a celebrity or a millionaire. Then old and tired Larry King is fine. I really should not be kicking the dog too hard, because I myself used to like old men. But that was when I was young. Now that I'm old, I've learned a few things; young is better than old, rich is better than poor and that an American man, even if he's on the poverty line, is still worth millions - if you convert it to pesos.