Go, Seek, Be

My collage for the #GraceAndGratitude workshop

My collage for the #GraceAndGratitude workshop

9 December 2013
11:50 PM
Manila

M.–

1.
Above is what I did for Day Six of the #GraceAndGratitude workshop. The only material available to me was a magazine on entrepreneurship, and a few other cutouts that I’ve collected over time. It took a few days, but here it is. It is a combination of what I am grateful for and what I am aiming for: second chances.

I know–I probably already have a lot of those. I think I am already on my what–a millionth second chance? But I still believe in it, and I am lucky enough to get it every now and then.

Because of the things happening to me lately, this is what I have been telling myself: that I have an opportunity to retell my story. That things aren’t over just yet. That I have a chance to be what and who I want to be. It didn’t work out so well the last time I tried, but that’s exactly it–I have to try again. Yes?

2.
The last time I made a collage was around five or six years ago:

old collage c. 2007-2008

old collage c. 2007-2008

I was thinking how much has changed and not changed since then. I’m grateful for the chance to remember the person I was, and the things I wanted. It’s something to hold on to as I move forward.

3.
Day Seven of the #GraceAndGratitude workshop talks about rituals. I have a few–okay, probably more than a few–but then that’s because I may not be all right in the head.

Let me share something that involves my sisters: on Christmas Eve, we usually watch a few movies from the afternoon until evening, until it’s time for noche buena come midnight. There might be a few titles that vary each year, but what is constant: Love Actually and The Holiday. It just makes us feel warm and fuzzy and Christmas-y, and puts us in a good mood. I mean–I suppose we are all looking for it. To be able to love someone with everything you’ve got, and to be loved in return, just as you are. And I suppose we four are all thinking how broken we are, how it is unattainable–happiness, I mean. Still, the world turns, and there is food on the table, and there are sisters who are there for you especially when you are unloveable and lost–and nights like these, we’re content with knowing that.

On the evening of New Year’s Day, we usually watch A Good Year and go to bed dreaming of a life that we could have. The reality of the next day will remind us that this might all just be wishful thinking, but it’s the start of the year, and hey, it’s free to dream, yeah?

As a ritual for myself: whenever we go away to someplace and spend the night there, I would usually bring a small bottle of wine and watch Under the Tuscan Sun when everybody else is asleep. That’s a life that I want to have, if anything. Whenever I watch it, I also allot some space for myself to rethink what I have now, and what I want to have in the future; where I am at the moment, and where I want to be tomorrow. I remind myself the most important lesson that film has given me: to live spherically, in many directions.

4.
You mentioned the other day that you are grateful for being able to live the life you want. I haven’t gotten there yet, but oh man I am working, working towards it.

5.
Day Eight of the #GraceAndGratitude workshop was for rest, and I was glad for that. The weekend has been harrowing. I’ve yet to write you about it, because I am also growing tired and perhaps unsure of writing to you–yet again–of bad things happening to me. I don’t know–I just wish sometimes that I can tell you good things, good stories, tell you about a wonderful life that I’m having. But that isn’t true, and–

I just don’t want to be that person who brings people down, you know?

6.
Tonight I am reading about Day Nine of the #GraceAndGratitude workshop. I have just spent the last hour crying my eyes out, though for a change, this time it’s because I was very angry. It’s ironic because I was talking with my sister this afternoon and reminding her to be patient, and to keep our emotions in check. I had no idea I was thisclose to breaking myself–probably because I was busy trying to make sure the people I love are okay.

But faced with an enormous situation in which language has completely failed me–

No, no, actually–I have got the words. Only–they’re not being received well. Faced with someone who is a master at manipulating words and thoughts to their own end, my words were shaped and distorted and thrown back at me, devoid of truth. It was such a shock to my system, and for a moment I felt crippled, my wits scattered. I tried to grapple for a comeback but I came up blank–and before I knew it, there were tears. I was crying, and my voice shook, as I try to continue saying what needs to be said.

I remember something I shared with a ModPo classmate a few weeks ago: to speak even when your voice shakes. I was thinking, dammit, fucking keep your cool–but negotiations have broken down, and we have hit a wall, and the only thing left to do now is to speak and speak and speak and forge on. So that is what I did.

And perhaps it’s such an opportune moment to be reading about grace tonight. My heart is battered, and damn, I need to sleep before I cry again–

7.
I am thinking, shit, life is so hard, you know? But I am here. My sisters needs me. I need me. I just can’t give up. There are poems to write and stories to retell. There are people to love and a world to discover.

A mantra from Rumi to repeat before bed: The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

8.
And perhaps a poem, too:

Bismillah
Rumi

It’s a habit of yours to walk slowly.
You hold a grudge for years.
With such heaviness, how can you be modest?
With such attachments, do you expect to arrive anywhere?

Be wide as the air to learn a secret.
Right now you’re equal portions clay
and water, thick mud.
Abraham learned how the sun and moon and the stars all set.
He said, No longer will I try to assign partners for God.

You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave
till it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.
You’re trying to live your life in open scaffolding.
Say Bismillah, In the name of God
as the priest does with a knife when he offers an animal.

Bismillah your old self
To find your real name.

Goodnight,
T.

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