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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sweaty Was Here

Dear friends,

Starting today, I have moved to my new WordPress site: where I would reside from here on forward.  I would greatly appreciate it if you would kindly follow me there and subscribe to the new RSS feed (as the new site has a different feedburner address). 

For now, this blog address will still be opened, but at some point I will close it and redirect all my feedburners to the new site.

It has been my pleasure meeting you all here, and it is my hope to see you soon at the new site!

With Love,

Click on my new grab button for a shortcut!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Lesson Learned. The Hard Way.

I believe that both my husband and I are decent people who take marriage and commitment seriously.  If there was one thing I had always wanted, it was to become a housewife and stay-at-home mother.  So when my husband told me he wanted to get a divorce in May 2011, citing he no longer had any feelings for me other than as a mother to his child, it felt like my whole world had crumbled down before my very eyes.  Not only were my dreams shattered, it was a huge loss to my sense of self—because for the past decade I had seen and defined myself mainly as a wife and a mother.

In the twelve years that we were together, I was always faithful to him, I never so much as looked at another, spending most of my time at home and being a mother to our daughter.  I did not work, had any career or hobbies that required me to be away from home for a long period of time, and I surrounded myself with friends who were similar in values and lifestyles.  I did not nag; my husband could go out and do things that he liked anytime.  I did not expect him to accompany me all the time, I never snooped around his things, and I did not question his coming and goings. 

I thought I was a pretty darn good wife.  It was almost too easy to blame it all on my husband based on those criteria.  And it was not as if he was a perfect husband either—ugh, far from it.  So what gives?

You know how some people need to slam into a brick wall first before changing their course?   I have always been one of them.  In this case, it had taken the end of my marriage, and then some... After the initial shock and disbelief subsided, when the anger had dissipated into sadness and loss... It was only then that I really saw, I too, was to blame for failing my marriage.

If you go a little deeper into what was my marriage, then you would start noticing the little cracks that ran deeper than they seemed.

Sure, the spontaneity and excitement that was present in the beginning of our relationship had long turned into the more stable, comfortable kind characteristic of old, married couple.  But it was not as if I was unhappy with my life, or wished for another kind of life.  I may not lust after my husband the way I used to, but I liked having him around, and found his presence comforting.  I was fine with not having a career, and I was a proud mother of a lovely daughter. I had simply settled into what I would describe as a ‘comfortable’ relationship.

So ‘comfortable,’ that during the past few years, our relationship as a ‘couple’ has deteriorated to a level where we were more like roommates rather than husband and wife.  We never invested on building a stronger bond outside that of being parents to our daughter since her birth seven years ago.  We got caught up in all those craziness that came from being new parents, and I guess we unconsciously allowed those days to lead into weeks, weeks turned into months, and months into years.  My experience with Postpartum Psychosis shortly after giving birth, and my ongoing battle with depression afterwards took precedent over building our intimacy and connection.  The severity of what happened, along with the medications I must take until now made me very wary of sex.

Our communication was also in shambles.  We did not argue much, but we also did not care much. We started living separate lives, with me focusing solely on my daughter, and him throwing himself into his work, hobbies, and ultimately into the arms of other women.  His transgressions in turn made me distance myself farther in order not to get terribly hurt, drawing a deeper wedge between us.  Over and over again we told each other we wanted to make our relationship worked, but while the scratches were adding up, what we did was just adding more bandages to the wounds without really addressing the core problem.  At the end, there was really nothing holding us together other than the fact we had a child together.

While I have always prided my good sense concerning priorities, it actually took my husband’s ending the marriage to open my eyes and admit that in my list of priorities, I had not put my marriage anywhere close to where it should be—at the top.  Being a loving mother... checked. Making sure my daughter grows up confident and enjoys learning... checked.  Keeping in touch with my good friends... checked. Defying premature aging... checked.  Staying fashionably updated... checked.

But if you asked me, when was the last time my husband and I had a dinner date together?  Blank.
I am aware that my husband is no saint.  He has certainly committed his share of faults and mistakes too.  But the point is, I have not done my part of the bargain either.  I have not given my marriage my best, and while I cannot change nor control my husband’s behavior, I have no excuse when it comes to myself.  By not prioritizing my relationship with my husband, I too am guilty of failing my marriage.

Going through a marriage break-up is extremely painful, but it has also been an eye-opening experience for me.  I learned this lesson the hard way, but I truly believe that it is indeed better late than never.  Here’s to a better, wiser, ENOUGH me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Memories Captured

This picture of my now seven years-old daughter, Miss Chatterbox, was taken at Dreamland Beach, Bali, in July 2011.  It is among my all-time favorite shots of her because it captured her personality and milestone so perfectly.  Vivacious and whimsical, she was herself the most while in the outdoors.  

Thanks to Alison of Mama Wants This and Galit of These Little Waves, for introducing me to new ways of keeping precious memories alive, through the use of Picnik and their Memories Captured link up! 

Linking Up with:


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Admitting Defeat

Today* I admitted defeat.

Nothing extraordinary, just one of those days when life threw you a bit more than what you felt you can take.

Something in me just snapped, and before I could stop it, all I saw was red.

I lost my temper and it was like a bomb just exploded from deep within me.

Months of repressed emotions quickly rose up, eager to be unleashed, as if they had waited forever to get out.

I shouted.  Over and over again.

I screamed on top of my lungs until my throat hurted and the veins on my face and neck tightened painfully.  I slammed my fists on the wooden desk and hurled my phone across the floor.

Grief oozed out from my every pore.  My body started shaking from half-spent anger and desolation.

Slumped on a chair, I gripped both armrests in my fists and howled in agony.  There were no words, just animal-like sounds coming out of my mouth while tears flowed freely down my face.

I did not want to stop.

When my wails turned to whimpers, I slipped down to the floor and crawled to the corner of my study room, tucking my curled up body into the comforting nook between two walls.

Silent tears continued long after fatigue took over.

I floated in a state of semi-consciousness, in and out, in, out... until darkness and sleep finally arrived and claimed me.

*This post was written on November 19th, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wishful Thinking

Me On My Wedding Day

There was excitement in the air.  Around me people moved swiftly with props, lights, and their constant chattering about my dress, make-up, and hair.  I could not care less.  Just mere hours ago, in front of our family and friends, surrounded by green cymbidium orchids and white hydrangeas, we were pronounced ‘husband and wife.’

I was now a married woman, to the man of my dreams.  I love you, I love you!  I wanted to shout.  But instead I just smiled for the camera, trying to look calm in spite of the giddiness I tried so hard to repress, lest it burst out of my chest.  I wished time would slow down so I could commit to memory every detail of this day, but I guess it did not wait for anyone—not even the bride.

Later there would be a dinner reception, but that was still hours away.  Having just finished taking the group pictures, the photographer turned his full atention on me and was now clicking away like the paparazzi.   I felt like a deer caught in the headlights.

My fingers, encased in fitted gloves, gently traced the delicate lace that was my wedding dress.  The gold band on my left hand reminded me again of what just took place earlier that morning.  My heart skipped a beat.  He’s mine!   Forever.  I will make him so happy, he’ll never regret this day.

A voice telling me to turn my head the other way woke me up from my reverie.  That was when I caught his silhouette.  I knew those features by heart.  Clad in a black, double-breasted tuxedo, leaning against the wall deep in conversation with one of his groomsmen, he looked like a hero.

My knight in shining armor.   My other half.   My husband.

Looking at him, I was filled with certainty.  Of my destiny and the rest of my life.

With him.

This week's RemembeRed prompt: Some say a photograph steals the soul.  This week, show us yours: take us into the moment that photograph was taken.  Show us who you were then and what the photograph means–in 300 words.
Write on Edge: RemembeRED

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Don't Quit

Some days, no matter how long I stared at the computer screen, or how much I willed my mind to come up with something to write, I just could not do it.  I was never one to write a post quickly; even those that I considered 'spontaneous' were not really that spontaneous if you count the number of times I proofread and deleted 'things.'  I wished I could say that writing came naturally to me, but the reality was that I put a lot of time and efforts into my posts.

As a blogger among many, it could be quite challenging not to compare myself with others.  Of course I desired recognition!  I wished for more people to read and care about my writing!  I longed to make a difference and touched other people's lives with my words!  I heard of others' works being syndicated or published, and I wanted that for myself too!

There were times when I read posts written by other bloggers and honestly thought to myself, "These were crap!  How in hell did they ever get this famous?"    There were also times when I read posts by other bloggers and honestly thought to myself, "Holy sheeit, these would make my writing look like crap!  How in hell would I ever get famous?"  

You see, whichever way I saw it, I would end up feeling crappy and shitty.  Mostly about myself.  And before long, about life in general.  Predictably, it pretty much went downhill from there.

I have no other wisdom to spare but to repeat what others before me have said: "Remember why you started your blog in the first place."  This piece of advice might seem cliche, but I could not stress its importance enough.  I started mine because I love to write, and because I could communicate my feelings through written words better than verbally.  That was it.  No other agendas.  

Yet time and time again, I found myself worrying over things that have little to do with why I started my blog.  And when I did that, it robbed me of everything that was fun and pleasurable about writing.  Having a blog started to become a burden, filled with self-imposed deadlines and obligations.  Yeah, it felt like homework.  And who the heck on earth liked homework?

Sure, Sweaty, it's easy for you to say this because you have x number of followers, etc. etc....  Hey, I knew for a fact (believe me, I know) that there were other bloggers who started around the same time as me, who were now enjoying a much bigger audience and fame.  I have been blogging for close to nine months now, written over 190 posts, and not one has ever been syndicated (you're reading this, people in BlogHer?).  I have only written two guest posts so far, and to my knowledge, have none scheduled in the near horizon.  

Sure, Sweaty, you're a loser, so why should anybody listen to you?  Well, other than  I'm trying to save your arse from self-inflicted pain and agony (said in such a way, it really puts you in perspective, doesn't it?), it's because I have seen many talented, funny, interesting bloggers called it quit because of sentiments I mentioned above.  The same sentiments that plagued me and made me want to quit from time to time.  And I hated to see all those potential gone to waste. 

If  with this post, I could just persuade one blogger NOT to quit, I would feel like I have done my job.  Staring at the computer with a blank mind is alright and normal.  Go take a break from your blog and come back another day.  You have posts that you think were brilliant but had no comments?  So do I!  Don't judge yourself based on that, because not all of blogging is about brilliance in writing.  Trust me.  A lot of times it is more about your networking and the people whom you know.  Perseverance goes a long way.  Keep on writing, even if you think it is nothing but verbal diarrhea and word vomit.  What you consider as shit could very well be an inspiration for others (no kidding!). 

Always remind yourself why you started writing in the beginning.  That is your passion; do not let all the embellishments of blogging deviate you from that.  

In other words, just be you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

New Leaf

"Littlest Things" - Lily Allen

Paris, Autumn 2013.

It is late in the afternoon.  A bus approaches, and at a nearby stop, a woman sweeps her hair back and adjusts the sling to her messenger bag.  With a loud hiss, the door slides open in front of her.  She quickly steps inside the bus, passes the ticket to the driver, and walks to a seat several rows down.

Turning her body towards the opened window, she sinks deeper into her seat.  She lifts her face to the wind and finds its coolness a nice contrast to the warmth underneath her jacket.  She takes in a view of her favorite city—a beautiful mixture of faces, shapes, and colors that blurs and sharpens according to the bus’ speed.

The sight of a young couple kissing catches her eyes, prompting images from ten years past to flash before her eyes.  Clasped fingers and matching gold rings... Honeymoon suites and rumpled sheets... Slow kisses on street corners, and sweet, sentimental gestures.  Moments belonging only to those who believe that true love never dies.

The bus slows down near her destination: a massive steel structure that looms over her as she steps out from her ride into the sidewalk.  A place where memories past and present collide.  She knows what comes next.  Remembrance of a familiar face behind a camera, beckoning her to smile at this very place.

Her feet continues their steps across the pavement, under the shadow of the tower towards the open grounds beyond.  The air is colder now and the wind stronger.  Her eyes focuses on the trees ahead, their golden leaves glimmer against the setting sun.

The phone in her hand rings.  She picks it up, already knowing who the caller is.

“I see you,” she can hear the smile in his voice.

In the distance, a figure holding a phone in his hand comes into view.  Smiling back, she shakes her head, the last remnants of her past disappearing as love’s new face replaces the old.

She whispers softly to the wind, one last farewell to a bygone romance: “I’ve loved you. I always will.”

This week's Red Writing Hood prompt: First, find the song that will be played during the pivotal scene in the movie based on your magnum opus. With that song playing, write that pivotal scene – it’s your choice whether you write it as a screen play or as it’s played out in your novel.  Feel free to embed the song to your blog post . . . you have 300 words

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood