Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Jologs Chronicles

Pakshet!

Napapagtanto ko na tunay akong jologs. Pinagtibay pa ng strong feeling ko na jologs nga ako ng isang “sosyal quiz” kung saan 15 out 200 lang ang nasagot ko nang tama. Uso kasi sa opisina namin yon ngayon. Yung mga excel games. Halimbawa, sa kaso ng “sosyal quiz”, meron kang sunud-sunod na tanong na dapat sagutin na tungkol sa lahat ng bagay na sosyal—sapatos, kotse, bag, hotel, etc. At hala! Banung-bano ako. Halos wala nga yatang bahid ng ka-sosyalan ang pagkatao ko.

Marahil ipinanganak nga talaga akong jologs. Di ko naman ipinagkakaila na sa isang government maternity hospital ako iniluwal ng mommy ko. Isang ospital kung saan ilang daang (o libong) nanay ang nanganganak ng ilang daang (o libong) sanggol kada-araw. Therefore ako na nga yung tinatawag na jologs since birth.

Tapos di tulad ng ibang bata na pinalaki sa mga Roald Dahl, Hans Christen Anderson at Dr. Seuss stories, ang kinagisnan kong mga kwento ay yung mga drama sa radyo. Ang pinaka naaalala ko ay yung pinamagatang Yaya Maria. Seryoso naming pinakikinggan ng mommy ko iyon tuwing tanghali. At since may TV na rin naman kami noon—naaalala ko pa kung gaano kami kasaya ng ate ko nang bumaba ng taxi ang daddy namin bitbit ang bago naming TV—nakakanood din kami ng Agila, Coney Reyes on Camera, at Lovingly Yours, Helen tuwing hapon ng weekdays, Saturdays, at Sundays, respectively. Solb na ang entertainment namin noon.

Pero sa lahat siguro ng jologs, ako yung OC. Kaya naman hindi ko nasubukang kumain ng alateris (berries ng mga jologs) o kaya naman e tumira ng one-day old chick. Para kasing ang dumi nila! Hindi rin ako masyadong naghawak ng mga tutubing madalas hulihin ng mga kalaro ko noon. Takot kasi ako sa mga galamay ng insekto! Proud naman ako sa fact na hindi ako kinuto noong bata pa ako kahit na matagal akong nakabilad sa ilalim ni haring araw sa kakalaro. Naging advantage ko yung manipis kong buhok na laging maiksi. Ayaw kasi ng mommy ko na magpahaba ako ng buhok. Di raw kasi ako marunong magsuklay.

Ipinasok ako ng mga magulang ko sa isang relatively sosyal na eskwelahan. Pero ang panalo roon, napabilang ako sa batch na tinutuya ng iba pang batch (yung mga naiinggit sa amin) ng “jologs.” Doon ko nga unang narinig ang salitang “jologs,” ang salitang directly nagdedescribe pala sa akin.

“Synonymous sya sa ‘skwating’,” yun yung explanation ng classmate ko. Parang low class, not necessarily ang estado sa buhay kung hindi pati yung taste mo at yung way mong kumilos. Pero may mas structured definition pa ang jologs. Sa isang quick research, ito ang nakita ko sa Urban Dictionary:

JOLOGS

1. Derived from the combined words daing (salted fish), tuyo (a type of dried fish) and itlog (egg). Dyolog then became Jolog, a term for someone who is tacky, but implied in a more negative tone and often referred to people who belong to the lower class of society.

2. "Baduy", "skwating", tacky

3. Someone who likes Jolina Magdangal (a tacky, teeny-bopper wannabe)

4. Jolina Organization

5. Someone from the lower class of society who tries to be cool but ends up a failure and in turn becomes a "jolog"

6. Anything or anyone associated with things that are "pang-masa" (for the masses)


High school na ako nang mamulat ako na there’s such a thing as jologsness pala. At kahit natuto nga akong magsalita ng matinong Ingles, the jologs in me never died. (Parang pers lab ang jologsness. It never dies! Hehe.)

Sa college, nagulat ako nang nakarinig ako minsan ng reaksyon na mukha raw akong sosyal. Mukha lang yon. Kita ninyo ngang pag tumawa ako I go, “hehe” not “hihi” (demure) or “haha” (confident sosyal).

In the not too distant past, naikwento ko sa ate ko ang sort-of boy ng “boy trouble” ko. (Shet! Rebelasyon ito!) Ang una niyang tanong sa akin, “hindi naman siya jologs?” Aha! Natawa ako sa concern niya. Ikinuwento ko yon sa berk ko. (Notice that I referred to my friend as “berk”, singular form ng “berks” na short for “barkada.” Jologs ang term na “berks” kasi title yon ng isang baduy teen TV show sa ABS-CBN noon)

Na-curious ang berk. “Ano’ng sinagot mo?” Tanong niya.

“Umm..taga-UP siya.” Yun ang sagot ko.

Without hesitation, ang hinirit ng berk ko, “jologs nga!”

Bago mag-amok ang mga iskolar ng bayan, you ought to know na yung berk ko ay taga-UP rin kaya naman she should know na we, UP students, although considered intellectual elites, we do have the makings of a true blue jologs.

Anyway, sa tinagal-tagal ko sa UP, ang isa sa tinangka kong salihang contest ay yung jologs-quiz. Malakas ang pakiramdam ko na magshashine ako roon. Unfortunately, hindi ako naka-pagparegister para doon. Sayang! Kung tinanong sa akin yung mga characters ng T.G.I.S. pihadong perfect score ako agad!

Hay, akala ko kapag nagtatrabaho na ako, medyo mababawasan na ang ka-jologsan ko pero hindi pa rin. Aside from the fact na nagji-jeep ako papasok sa office, kailangan ko pang mag-tricycle ngayon. Siyet! Unglamorous talaga!

At kahit pa madalas Hollywood chika ang pinagkakaabalahan ko instead na local, jologs pa rin dahil ang showbiz tsismis ay showbiz tsismis. Jologs ang showbiz; jologs ang tsismis.

Ang bad trip lang sa pagiging jologs e yung kapag pumasok ka sa isang sosyal ng store, tinatasan ka ng kilay ng mga saleslady. Ang mali nila, hindi nila naisip na jologs man ako, kaya kong bilhin ang mga merchandise nila. Hah, may credit card yata ako! (Kung kaya kong bayaran ang credit card ko, well, that’s another story!)

Ang hirap sa kanila masyado silang mapang-mata! Hmp! (Imagine me saying these lines in a Nora Aunor manner.) Hindi ko maiwasang isipin na paano kaya kung bigla ko silang Inglisin, titklop kaya sila? Magiging sosyal na kaya ako sa mga mata nila? Hmmm…

Ang advantage naman ng pagiging jologs e mahirap kang mapahiya. Kasi naman sa pagka-jologs mo, deadma na sa poise most of the time. Kahit matalisod ako sa gitna ng crowd, keri lang. Op course, may chance na mapamura ako ng PI, pero mas natural naman yon kesa sa “sonnova…!”

Hindi ko kayang magpanggap na jologs. Dahil jologs talaga ako. Never akong naging fan nina Jolina, Juday (lalo na nung ka-love team pa niya si Wowee) or ni April boy, pero I feel that I am more jologs than soyal. Perhaps ang edge ko lang sa mga kinaiinisang mga fellow jologs e, I am a jologette (babaeng jologs according sa play na Last Order sa Penguin) with manners, or so I think.

Sosyal? If I try hard enough, pwede naman siguro akong magpakasosyal. Kaso nakakapagod yata yon. Effort pa.

At ika nga, “magpakatotoo ka, sister!”

Therefore, jologs I shall continue to be!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Inside My Fat Pants

I’m wearing my fat pants. The pants I bought when I was at my plumpest. It’s made of semi-stretchable denim—if there’s such a thing—and the constant washing and ironing made it permanently stretched. Thus, my fat pants is presently bigger than when I first slipped inside it.

One time, my fat pants became too big for me. Holding it in place with a belt turned out to be aesthetically unpleasant. The waist area bunched, making my pants look like it were a drawstring pair of denims. Yuck!

My fat pants got shelved for a while. Ultimately, the integrity of its color and material were spared from the constant washing and ironing. It doesn’t look as old as it really is.

But lately, I’ve been having breathing problems with my “good” pants. Hence the need for my fat pants to come out and work its ass off again.

My fat pants will stay in circulation for as long as I am as fat as my fat pants. Meanwhile my good pants will go on vacation.

It’s my limitation, you see. I can’t get any fatter than my fat pants, otherwise my excess weight may seriously start challenging my health—something anyone, including myself would hate to happen.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that my fat pants, as well as my good pants, will forever be fat. Because, really, I’m not exactly one of those women who were designed with slender pelvis. I get that. I can’t really aspire becoming supermodel-thin. That’ll be called delusion.

I just wish I could breathe.

At least while inside my fat pants.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Me and My Chocolate Factory

Five years after I became a part of my once “chocolate factory”, I was given another chance to set foot in it again, not as wide-eyed trainee or as a hopeful insider wannabe (as it was a few years back), but as a relaxed guest (who was there for some sort of a business).

I can’t find a better way to place it. Relaxed guest.

The phrase I just used to refer to me and my role in my “chocolate factory” kind of takes the pressure off where the weight of wanting to be there is concerned. I mean, stepping in that realm this time around was more worry-free than it was five years ago, where I was on constant guard to impress people in the hopes of earning a commendable rating and more, and it is definitely less stressful than it was probably three years ago when I took some serious time to consider how badly I wanted my chocolate.

“Chocolate,” a good friend calls it. That thing that gives you satisfaction over and over again. That thing which you can never be sick of. That thing that gives you a reason to smile, the type of smile that comes from inside you.

I found my chocolate in 2003 when I was given the chance to live my dream one summer. Or so I think.

But reality had to happen. It required me to live responsibly and make my choices well. Whatever that means. I wonder if it’s growing-up which I have to blame. Why I ended up fixated to security and even stability. Why I strayed. Why I lost my chocolate.

Why my chocolate lost me.

Days when I wonder what in the world am I doing with a chocolate-less life come. More often than I would have preferred. And then it will dawn unto me that my inner smile has faded. Thus the search.

“Chocolate factory,” I call it. The place where one’s chocolate comes from. The generator of unending and unconditional satisfaction, enthusiasm and inner happiness.

In the vast sea of responsibilities, financial struggles, familial duties and easy attempts for laughs, my chocolate factory slowly vanished. I’ve tried and I’ve been trying but I can hardly find it. At least the one which will tirelessly supply me with the dose of chocolates I would need for my lifetime.

But as much as my “chocolate factory” five years ago reminded me of what-could-be-my-chocolate-factory-now, there’s one thing I realize: Things will be better if I do not have to turn some place or to someone to get my chocolate. I just have to turn to myself. I can be my own cocoa-maker!

My chocolate comes in small doses now. A day’s a lucky one if I get a piece. But, I guess, that’s how it will be for a while. Until I convince myself to become a choc-autotroph.

Who knows? I may soon do something right. I may end up being my own chocolate factory—that is, speaking in the Wonka proportions!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Jeepney Ride with Nelson Mandela

A few meters’ stroll with no trees to provide any form of shade during the sun’s peak for the day was not all that bad especially because the jeepney that saved me from the noon hell bore Nelson Mandela. Yes, he who is an icon for making good things possible, what with his anti-apartheid efforts…in South Africa where discrimination against blacks had been the in thing for the longest time?!

OK I’m kidding. About my fellow pasahero, not about Mandela’s claim to greatness. I wasn’t really seated opposite a Nobel Peace Prize winner. So what if he’s not Mandela? He sure does look like him. Perhaps that should count.

A good thing when least expected. A good thing made possible. A one hundred eighty-degree turn from my morning’s misadventure.

I’ve been restless about a certain amount in my bank account which, for some reason, I thought was missing. I went through the trouble of going on a half day at work to visit the bank at a branch that is really out of the way where my trip from home to work is concerned.

And there I met this Filipino-speaking Korean leading man in a miniature package—he’s no midget but his built is so tiny that if someone like me hugs him, his bones will be crushed. Again, I’m kidding. About him being Korean and maybe even about his bones being crushed—by me. Heaven knows if the guy really is Korean! But anyway, he looked Korean to me, a good-looking Korean in fact! He was the one who entertained me and my problem. As it turned out, I had actually withdrawn the alleged money I’m missing. It was all a matter of me misunderstanding the transaction slip issued to me by the ATM where I did my last bank transaction.

Stupid am I?

It was quite embarrassing. You know, me having to go there, taking people’s time to address my concern which really is one big delusion. But at least two things became clear: one, the supposed missing money is now all accounted for and, two, the “supposed missing money” is definitely lost some way, somehow while I was trying to live these past few days.

After feeling a bit of a loser and after it dawned unto me that I won’t be having that most sought-after new shoes any time soon, I realized how I have very little recollection of the past days’ events. And whenever I can’t account how I’ve spent my days, I feel that, just like my “supposed missing money,” I have lost some of my precious moments in life.

On a better angle, I seem to be slowly appeasing a minor personal issue over continuing to blog. You see, it has come to my attention that people, at least those to whom I am far from being anonymous, do read what I write, thus the burden of considering them when I’m pouring out my thoughts and feelings in what-could-have-been-my-virtual-shock-absorber. It sort-of defeats one of my purposes in blogging.

For a while I am torn whether to continue writing or to put a dramatic halt to my flow of words. You see, I refuse to be censored, and although it doesn’t seem like it, I wish to take responsibility for the things I write. But by saying that, I feel that I have to explain myself all the time, aside from the many other times I have to explain given all the entries I’ve posted to date.

The thing is, non-mercenary writers such as myself, we don’t get monetary compensation with the things we write. We write because we need to and because we feel that we have to. There you see that emotion is key.

Now I do believe that a writer turning her mishap into pseudo creative outputs to protect the identity of the real characters in her life while dealing with pain, joy, fear and what-have-you, deserves some credit for taking responsibility towards the real people who grace her life. But the thing is, a writer, paid or otherwise, has a responsibility towards her craft. And that is to stay true to the emotions that prompted her to create something that may enlighten others who, at one time in their lives, may have to go through what the writer is going through. And if that isn’t enough, the writer’s work, which at this time has probably turned itself into fiction, will ultimately enlighten the writer herself.

By presenting herself a fictionalized cross section of her life, a writer gets an opportunity to detach herself from her reality. Only then does she assess her life in the most objective way possible.

A bit self-serving? Yes. But that is the beauty of fiction and even maybe art in general. They are multi-faceted. They serve not only one but a whole lot. And if done really well, fiction and art deliver messages that depend entirely to the eyes of the decoder, thus promising infinite truths coming from a sole piece.

I guess, what I am trying to say is, the great majority ought to quit blaming a writer for ideas they, the great majority, extract from reading such writer’s work especially when the work we’re referring to is no where near hardcore news writing where everything is required to be devoid of subjectivity, if not of the writer’s emotions.

By now, our noses are bleeding. I know. Forgive the Confucius mode. It's just that this is how I, a writer wannabe, process things. I lay every thought down to achieve a crystal understanding of what I'm talking about.

I’ll make my point short.

Recently I've been feeling stifled in my efforts not to hit anyone with my heart and pen’s joy ride. I've been finding it close to impossible to provide conclusions for the things I’ve written. You see, in saying my piece, there’d always be risks. Risk that I would be misinterpreted, that I’d hurt someone, that I’d end up looking like a complete ass. But what is life without risks? And as what had my unfinished entries prove, no risks means no pieces to post.

However this post seems promising, especially because I am one paragraph away from its conclusion.

Now that’s a good thing when least expected. A good thing made possible. A one hundred eighty-degree turn from my morning’s misadventure.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April’s Fool

It seems self-indulgent to devote a whole lot of space in answering the proverbial question I dare not answer prior to this day. But life’s recent twists and turns prompted me to dive in and take the risk.

A lot of things happen to us each day, and no matter how mundane our 24 hours can get, we are molded every minute to develop into the person we continue to become. But through all those changes, two remain constant: who we initially are and who we once strive to be. It almost seems a good idea to have a concrete draft of ourselves, if only to make sure that through life’s adventures, we will not lose our I’s.

So who am I?

At this point, my mind unconsciously assumes the tabula rasa state but I shall dig in, starting with the exterior.

I have such an ordinary face, you’ve almost always have seen me everywhere. I’ve heard a number of people say that they are afraid of me, perhaps because of my occasional blatant truth-telling ways or maybe because of my bitchiness to some extent. It’s not something I’m proud of, having people cringing when I’m around, especially if one of those people is my cousin.

Ironically, I’m a cry baby. My family would testify to that. I weep when I’m sad, sick, mad, touched, happy—you name the emotions and my eyes would well up. (Parang si Jude Law sa “The Holiday”) However, I don’t cry over movies, except once and it was a comedy.

At some aspect, I am a people pleaser. I am somehow sensitive with the people around me and how my presence affects them. I am an advocate of the don’t-unto-others-what-you-don’t-want-others-to-do-unto-you rule. And with that, I may have set some silent expectations from my “others” to a fault. I also have a penchant for making people feel special because people really need that in their lives to affirm that they are indeed extraordinary. I concoct surprises because I love moments when I see a twinkle in the eyes of the person I surprised. There’s something gratifying in it. Needless to say, I don’t mind going out of my way to make someone smile.

But I am flawed and, if there’s one thing I’m brave enough to do, it’s to admit how imperfect I am. First, I have my mood swings. When I get irritated, it seems impossible for me to hide my irritation. Same goes when I’m angry. Sometimes I say what I feel but being that I have a flair for sarcasm, what I say often wounds people. Second, I tend to be overly possessive of those special to me, it’s awfully hard for me to let them go even when time calls for it. I am the embodiment of jealousy and it sucks plenty of times. Third, I am hard-headed. I do what I strongly think I should do even if I know that no one will exactly cheer for me. And then there’s my selfishness that if I act plainly on instincts, the sun will lose its purpose because the world will have to start revolving around me. I can go on nearly forever for my list of shortcomings. And so I shall digress.

Recently I discovered my incapacity for not caring. I don’t buy the idea that it is possible for me to be part of a circle where I have no voice. I think my inability to shut up about issues I inevitably am a part of sprang from me being raised by my parents and molded by the institutions I’ve attended to become an individual devoid of apathy. Plus I have this notion that if I have something good to say or something good to do, I cannot simply zip it or freeze; otherwise I will be risking hating myself forever. On some matters, I really can’t stay on the sidelines, which sometimes works against me.

Despite my seemingly frigid exterior, especially to those who know so little of me, I really am an emotional freak, thus explaining my abundant supply of tears. My emotions prompt me to write. However, my being emotional, most of the time, works to my disadvantage. I get hurt easily and sometimes end up damaged.

Of course describing me will not be complete if there is no mention of my temper. I get mad easily especially to inanimate objects, to the point of cursing at them. Notice the “inanimate objects”. I have worked on my lack of patience towards people, or so I think, thereby limiting my scarcity with such virtue to objects with no feelings or thoughts of their own. Just as equally a part of me as my temper is my sense of humor. It may sometimes be perverse to others. But what the heck! Anything to make me laugh, right? Anyway I make it a point not to hurt anyone while laughing.

I’m pushing to more than two pages, I have to take a halt. This space about me is more than enough. (And the things I’ve written will do where anchoring myself to the grand scheme of things is concerned.) I’d be a real fool if I go on.

Perhaps the rest of me, I, as well as the people I deal with, will have to figure out.

Ciao!