heartache is relief

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I’ve attended plenty of weddings these past couple of years with my significant other. All weddings become so redundant. First the groomsman and brides enter a crowded room by dancing or some form of hip-shaking, attendees on their feet, start clapping and yell with delight as the night is about to begin for the newlywed; celebrating with family and friends as they forked over, at the least $18,000-$25,000 for a night of magical celebration.

I imagine the following day, the newlywed couple destress, looking back on the years they planned for that one special night, a night Nicholas Sparks has painted in every romantic movie from The Notebook to The Longest Ride and The Best of Me – although many of them end in tragedy. Don’t get me wrong, I cried my eyes out when I first watched The Notebook – a bottle of white wine accompanied my vulnerable emotions – since then it dawned on me the unrealistic view Hollywood paints these glamorous ideas of what “romance” should be in modern society. As I dissect the movie closer, I begin to wonder how romance and love are shaping our perception of modern relationships.

I always loved stories that deviate from the normal standards of expectation – having a bastard child, having children but not legally together according to church papers – hearing stories of unconventional relationships are refreshing, it creates a sense of normalcy.

There’s a segment in the wedding reception, Q&A are ask to guest who have survived 30+, 40+, 50+ years of marriage; a simplified question of, “what’s the secret to having everlasting love?” an internal response generates in my mind with an eye-roll. I know these ceremonies are suppose to lighten the struggles of a couple’s experiences throughout their evolving future, but give me a break! The most basic answers are given to the commentator – 50+ years of marriage, simplified in a single statement – “don’t go to bed angry” or “talk it out”. I think simplifying 50+ years of marriage into a tiny sentence does the newlywed a disservice, I mean, you were invited to share a special night, but also provide guidance and insight on how a marriage works given a half century of experience. Shame on you!

No matter how much guidance your friends or families give, at the end of it all, it’s a couple’s ultimate decision to either stride pass their point of contention or call it quits. My experience, if constantly arguing trumps decision and reason within the relationship, it’s time to reevaluate. I’m not saying end the relationship, but take a step back and observe, formulate a dialogue and present it to your significant other. I feel we’re all going through struggles and there are no simple and right answer, but creating an open dialogue is one key to having a prosperous relationship.

 

sacrifice is part of the equation

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Raised by my Na-Nay Vilma and Ta-Tay Carling along with their own sons Kuya Dong-Dong and Kuya Bong-Bong – this is not a double entendre, but our given nicknames through our families. Mine is Goy-Goy, strange to some but quite the norm in my culture. As I look back on it, Na-Nay and Ta-Tay didn’t have a big house. They  had a big dining table made from a thin layer of wooden sheet, converted into a bed every evening. In the middle was a hole the size of a medium plate, no foam cushions to lay on, but a banig as a sleeping mat. We didn’t even have a mosquito net to ward off the pesky blood suckers, so at the age of one or two – as my relatives would inform me of my childhood – my legs were covered with mosquito bites, some infected causing yellow puss to trickle down my leg, flies covering my wound.  This was my “normal” as a child.

My mother sacrificed many things during my upbringing. She left me with her cousin, Vilma at the age of 7-months. I didn’t feel abandoned by her decision, but her reason were justifiable and admirable. In order to create some supplemental income for the family, my mom would always retell the story of the time she would sell polboron (Spanish shortcake) on the roadside next to our house. The revenue she generated would buy baby formula for my sister.

As for my father, he was MIA. He was less than memorable during my childhood; wasn’t much around to provide that parental comfort most kids receive at that age. I do remember him telling me to go fetch cigarette packs from the tindahan (corner store). I never understood why he was never around. I always thought he was trying to find work around the major cities like Manila, but that wasn’t the case. I was later told my father impregnated some other woman while my mom was away. I can’t confirm this fact, but since the enlightening news, my sister and I have investigated the possibility and we’ve concluded its authenticity is 90% true. After speaking to my father’s sisters, all alluding to the mistress that captured my father’s heart, the same time he left me and my sister fatherless.