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Archive for the ‘Emo’ Category

The push and the pull.
The unraveling.
The slow drawing apart; the quiet need.
Underneath my skin, burrowed, entangled.
It wasn’t what I wanted. It’s not what I meant.
And yet here we are again. Here I am again.
And so it begins.

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Or Why I Can’t Talk About My Dad without Feeling Conflicted.

When I went back to the Philippines in March, it was to accompany my grandmother back home so she could see her oldest son sworn in as he took command of the Philippine Navy.

This also meant days upon days of ceremonies, parades, luncheons, dinners, and general hob-knobbing. It also meant that I would tag along and be introduced by my uncle as “Alex T’s daughter,”…”Yes, that Alex T, Class of ’77.”

It was odd and awkward.

Most of the current Generals of the Military, the Admirals of the Navy, and the Chief of Staff of the Philippines were Class of ’77. They all knew my father. They all told me stories.

Some stories I had heard before from years long past. The same stories that made me look up to my father and idolize him completely. Stories about how he stood up for a fellow “plebe” during “hazing” and ended up being beaten by a steel pipe. A few broken ribs later, that fellow classmate became his friend for life. Some stories were funny, like using spit as a quick shoe-shine during inspections. Others told about his slightly reckless, often brave acts during guerrilla fights in the South. Still, there would be a few officers who would just smile, shake their heads and say, “He was so young when he died, wasn’t he?” I would nod and confirm, “44, sir.” A hand would be placed on my shoulder. “He would have been up here with us, no doubt. He was on the fast-track to Five Stars.”

In moments like those, I would hold my head up, smile, nod and be proud that I was his daughter.

But no one ever tells stories about the darker side of a person. No one ever goes to someone’s kid and tells them what an awful father she had. No. But I know. And it is because of that knowledge that I cannot simply smile and be proud. Instead, I feel ashamed that he was such a good man in some contexts, and such a terrible one in another.

I know we cannot expect our idols to be forever perfect. We cannot expect to grow up and not find out some terrible things that our parents did when they were young. But my mom once told me that it was my father’s sins and the secrets that he kept that ultimately killed him.

Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s just my mom being hurt. But I do know that I cannot talk about my father without that double edged sword sliding in between my ribs and stabbing me.

I loved my father. He was my hero.

He also ultimately fell from grace, and yet despite that, I still remember being a seven-year-old, watching wide-eyed with pride as my father suited up and pinned all those medals of honor on his uniform.

A fallen hero is still once a hero. That doesn’t change.

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from Clipart Today

Yikes!

Is it bad that I’m relieved I have a perfectly good excuse for avoiding Valentines Day for the second year in a row that I’m single?

I hate Valentines Day. Okay, fine…scratch that…besides these last two years, I’ve had one Valentines Day when I wasn’t in a relationship and even then, I went on a socially-pressured date. And the result of that was a friendship ruined because I couldn’t figure my own head out and do the right thing by going stag on Valentines Day.

Because a girl has to have a date for Valentines, right?

I mean, last year, I had two dates lined up and both of them purposely not on the actual day, but really, we all know it was to “celebrate” the day. I had sort of dreaded those dates coming up. Not that the guys weren’t perfectly awesome, because they were. If I had been in a better emotional place, I know one of them would have been Mr. Perfect for sure–the kind of guy you run to tell your mom about. The other guy was the kind of guy you showed off to your girl friends: Mr. Tall Dark and Foreign.

And around this time last year, I was trying so hard to fall in love again. But I just couldn’t, and I was too terrified of the prospect of another post-Valentines-Day-I’m-really-not-that-into-you fall out.

Then my grandmother passed away and I had to pack my bags and fly to the Philippines. I had to cancel Valentines Day. And I did not mind at all. In fact, it was the catalyst for my “Time Out” from dating until June.

This year, I’m almost glad I have the shelter of “studying for the Bar” to protect me from the social pressure of going out with someone on Valentines Day. It’s just that…Valentines is such a statement in this society that it’s kind of terrifying. What does it mean when I say yes to a Valentines Day date? What do I have to be next?

I don’t want to lead people on. Not especially when they’re friends and I hate stepping over and blurring the lines. It gets too complicated and the worst part is, I always come out of it one friend short.

I don’t know…I’m confused. I suppose there is one (or two) guys I would hope to go on a V-day date with. But this excuse also gives me a reason not to hope that he’d (they’d) bother to make plans. He (they) know that I’m in the midst of Bar-frenzy and cannot be disturbed. I’ll just pretend that that’s the reason why he (they) wouldn’t ask me out.

Maybe I’m just a coward?

Maybe I’m just not ready?

Someday, I’m going to have to figure it out. Because I can’t be possibly be (UN)lucky enough to have another catastrophic reason to miss Valentines Day for the third year in a row, right?

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You ask me what my favorite memory is.

And I laugh and say that there aren’t many to choose from. It was meant to be a light joke, but I’m somber all of a sudden at the truth of the statement. There aren’t many and I doubt there will be many more.

It’s doubt that’s the enemy, isn’t it?

I tell myself to have faith. To believe. To hope.

But no, Buddha was right when he said:

There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.

But I do. I doubt. And it kills me.

You hear it in my voice and soon I hear it in yours. If I can’t have faith, how do I expect you to believe in me? If I refuse to believe in you, how can I expect you to stay?

“I’ll miss you, too.”

Is that your way of acknowledging that I’m pulling away? Is that you saying goodbye?

I close my eyes and sigh.

It’s the way you always curve your arm around my waist every time you walk by me. Whether I’m brushing my teeth or getting a glass of water, you pass by and your arm snakes around my waist slightly, then your hand runs across the small of my back before you continue on with wherever you’re going. It’s the way you give me that teasing look on your face when I get scared. You laugh and whisper encouragement but you always say, “Don’t look at me with those scared eyes.” You somehow know just how to bring the fearless out of me.

It’s the way you make me feel flawless.

It’s the way you lace your fingers with mine as we sit and talk with your friends, or when we’re sitting at the dinner table drinking our wine; it’s the way you squeeze my hand so hard I can feel your bones fuse with mine just before I say goodbye.

You ask me what my favorite memory is, and I want to say, “You are.”

But I can’t.

And so, someday, I know I’ll sit in front of the sunset feeling the sand slip right through my fingers and I’ll miss you, too.

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I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

– T.S. Eliot
These lines of T.S. Eliot’s poem always reminds me what my (and I think a lot of people’s) greatest fear in life is: it’s that silent fear to be forgotten when I’m gone.

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