Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Peek-A-Boo, I See You!

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Over Alaska
Canon 300D

Here I am.
Fizzy hair, winter-dry skin, saggy Tasaday breasts*, and a Kangaroo-pouch for a tummy with a bonus smiley scar (thank you, Dr. A of Makati Med for the very unnecessary C-section! Grrrr!) just along my bikini line.
It is five days before Christmas.
Just about the time I get misty, read: angst-y about THE upcoming B-day.

Hello, thirty eight. Less that a month from now (January 15 for my family and friends who want to send something nice! *wink-wink*) I will be two years shy of the big 4-0.
Almost Forty.
Gad, when I was a teenager, forty was granny land.
And here I am playing peek-a-boo with it already.
Forty in two years.
Heck, I better make the most of it and love-love-love it because God knows, I've worked hard at getting here.

A wise man once told me to "live in the moment, my dear." He was a visiting reverend from South Africa and I was a visiting desperate housewife with three small children trying to make sense of it all. The usual dilemna of where, what, why, how was making me stir crazy. It was unfair, the injustice made more blatant by the fact that I was on vacation in my homeland at that time with my beloved family, friends, and the usual bonus of wonderful helpers and drivers around me for a change. I was living a charmed life by many standards. Unfair of me to be acting so bratty. And a tad ungrateful, too.

But the emptiness prevailed.

You keep looking too far on the outside. Come into the moment. You say you're going to Spain? Learn the dance...what's it called...flamegco? Learn to cook paella. Learn the language. Become Spanish while in Spain.

It didn't make so much sense to me as I've heard all this psycho mumbo-jumbo before. Existentialism, I believe, is what it's called. Yeah, yeah, right.

That was six months ago. Embarassingly so, it's just beginning to get clearer and clearer. Slowly but surely.

There are things that happen for obvious reason. And sometimes the reasons are not immediately spelled-out. I've been thinking about the reason for my being here, here meaning motherhood, stay at home style, wherein the most excitement I'd get for the day would be My Favorite Things on the Oprah show. Okay, I'm being mellodramatic. Just the same, I was tired of the emptiness and the fatigue. I had to do something. Proactive. Fast.

It all started at the end of 2004. Thanks to a lady author named SARK and a photoblogger named Jen, I was whisked into a cyberworld filled with fast talking, brutally honest, creative women and a sprinkling of men, who say it like it is. I thought to myself, what a lovely mix. I was thrilled and scared at the same time. The whole experience buoyed, slapped and charmed and confused me intermittently. The many colorful souls baring themselves unabashed was refreshing and terrifying. All this honestly surrounding me. Does this mean I'd have to be honest, too? Yikes!

I was reading a book called Life Makeovers around that time. Then, an idea: since this place was about finding oneself and evolving, why not invite other people to do the book and make deeper friendships at the same time. So I posted a letter stating my desire and lo and behold, there was a huge response to it. Hundreds of other cyberworldlies signified willingness to join me in my quest for a makeover of a life, one week at a time. For a whole year. It was a success. Until the sixth or seventh month when the group began to slacken. Which was just fine. What was important for me was the the ball of self-care got a good rolling start. The self-care consciousness. My big reveal of the year. Balance is about caring for others AND Self. Of course, caring for the Self is tantamount to KNOWING that same Self. How the hell would you get to be more intimate with somebody if you didn't care for them enough, right? Which is what I effing did this year. I got around to taking better care of me for a change. It did not come easy. Oh, I've heard it all. Gad, all the Pete-forsaken ads on the tv and the glossies talk about it. So why the hell did I miss out on it all these years? Programming, I guess. So there I was, reprogramming myself to buy the best beauty products and moisturizer I could find and actually using it. I have learned that if working from the inside out does not do the trick, one can try it the other way around, too. Moisturize, paint, primp, pretty it up to the hilt and more often than not, the insides follow suit and you find yourself strutting around the house like a supermodel on the ramp. Beats cabin fever everytime. There I was forcing myself to get dressed mid-week to get out and go someplace "fun" for a change even if it's a simple thing like a movie and popcorn alone and not get guilty about not doing the grocery first. There I was sitting down when I got tired and napping when I got exhausted and most importantly asking for help when I needed it and admitting finally to myself and the world that I AM NOT SUPERWOMAN and I couldn't do it all.

Yup. The classic case of worldly over-achiever gone spiritual you might say. Yes. Unabashedly I declare this is what I needed. Self-help books, church service or Oprah Winfrey. As the saying goes, there are more ways than one to heaven. It's actually starting the journey that matters. It is A-okay to be an over-achiever. To dream big. To reach for the stars. To want and have it all. But for the love of God and Self, don't do it alone! Even heroes have assistants and supporters. I believed they're called friends and family. And God Almighty. I believe I wouldn't have gotten here - to this realization without me being here - dried out, brittle haired, mostly stressed out mommy mode. I'd probably be stuck somewhere between prissy prickly princess and bitchy biatch diva. Of course, the poor kids would definitely follow along the same lines. Eek!

The love of family and friends and God is incomparable. It was a long time coming. Again, reprogramming was necessary. But now I can honestly say I have learned my lesson and am continuing to learn more about it. Heck, we are all works in progress. And this is what I am human for, I believe. To learn to live with my weaknesses and not hit myself over the head each time they pop up. Instead, I am to open my eyes to them and be more aware of them and in doing so be able to do a better job at being human. Whether I change it or simply chuck it or hide it under the rug, it's my choice. My God-given prerogative. But being aware of it makes all the difference because it puts me in a place of clarity and a position of knowing. And we all know that knowledge is power. Power. Hmmm. Aha! I am superwoman after all. Haha.

I think God gives a helping hand to those people who are willing to be more aware of themselves. Most of the time, we get around our lives half asleep. I, for one, certainly did. I am not blaming myself anymore for it because I did not know any better back then. But now that I know more about how important awareness of Self is, I do not have the luxury of playing the dumb-ass anymore. As one of my favorite authors, Maya Angelou said, "when you know better you do better." And thank God for the grace of awareness. It is not a thing one can conjure up on their own. I firmly believe it is granted by the Powers that Be to those who sincerely seek it. Yes, I forget. Yes, I toss and turn and slide back into drama queen mode every now and then. But they don't last too long anymore. Besides, there's always the guardian angel disguised as a friend or a situation to nudge you back into your skin just incase you fly out too far and ahead of yourself. Engaging in other people's dramas is also, thankfully, a thing of the past. Whew. Used to be my finger being in everyone's pie. I wanted to know the what's and why's of whomever. (insert buzzer sound byte here) Wrong. Heck, I have enough of my own life's drama to deal with why bother with others. Unless, of course, it is a friend in need of meddling with and that is, I have learned more seldom than often. So I have learned to keep my big mouth shut and my pie fingers in my pocket. Well, I must qualify that one, lest it be taken against me when I find myself in a headlock with someone in the future, God-forbid. I'd simply say that most times I catch myself before it gets too bloody ugly.

There really is truth to what Gandhi said about being the change you want to see in the world. Hurray for you, oh most enlightened guru. I can only hope to have half of your light upon my mostly fogged up psyche. And when it is not too dreary and blurry on the inside, I am able to catch a glimpse of the real thrills of my charmed life ~ and that would look like me laughing out loud because of what my kids would say about some seemingly silly but so brilliant declaration about farts and butts; or me hunched over my little drawings and designs making the most of my precious break even made more precious by the scarcity of it, or the loving connection that my husband and I make from a touch, a glance, a word like "bangus" *gigglesnort*; or a surprise visit or phone call from a friend who just has the exact thing to say to me at just the right moment I needed to hear it; or an unplanned blessed visit to family and new babies a darling sister who have just became a mommy.

The real blessings and magic abound. And the real miracle for me is in actually being able to see them.

Ah, motherhood and the late thirties. Certainly has a way of providing a new set of eyes. The grateful kind, if I may add.

You know, it's not so bad afterall. The fizzy dry hair and skin, the tasaday breasts, the smiley scar. I'd take on these inconsequential superficial uglies anyday for the God-given awareness of beauty that I just found in-front, beside, behind and deep within. Besides, my hair is fizzy but thick and a nice color, my skin can be taken care of by the investment in beauty products and moisturizers, the breasts are tasaday-esq because they are ample, and the scar - hey, joy right on the surface of my jellyhappybelly!

Hello, thirty eight. Grannyland forties, I SEE YOU! Come and let me give you a big hug.

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"Blessed are we who allow ourselves the time that we need to learn, to reflect and to grow. Help us to not compare ourselved to others, and to remember that all masterpieces take time." ~ Nancy Vittoria Bello, From Cre-attitudes.


*Thanks, Dra. Becky Singson (Leslie's OB-GYN) for the laugh-out-loud visit and the Tasaday story.


Red Sonja said...


You are a wonderful woman and I'm glad our paths crossed on cyberspace this year. All the best in 2006 - I'll be thinking of ya :)

iKat said...

Hey, ya Sonya! Oh dear, there i was fretting about why not a single comment was on any of the entries, not even a teeny bitty bite. Turns out I unwittingly turned on "moderate comments" and have a few "waiting for approval"!

And yours always make me smile!

All the best to you too, hunbun!