The Barefoot Baklesa's Latest Lessons Late for the New Year Part One
Then I defy thee stars...
Do pardon the rather strong words at the very beginning of this post. My hands are quick to tap on the keyboards tonight. I realize I have yet to post anything on my blog this year other than the very first entry on the Visconti film “Death in Venice”.
Preparations for the Lunar New Year has kept the Barefoot Baklesa busy, give or take the research I have been doing for my book and the struggle to finish my screenplay. It's not that I'm spreading myself too thin, it's just I count myself lucky enough to be able to do the things I do, and that I still have the privilege of being professionally busy.
I welcomed the New Year as I always have, just watching the revelry from our terrace, as we aren't really fond of firecrackers. I held my water bells -a stick with a few dozen goat horns and beads dangling from it, which technically was a rattle- and made some noise to fulfill the usual obligatory noise that drives the ill will away for the coming year. As a person who has much respect for ritual, New Year's is not when I wear ritual quite well.
2010 just whizzed by so fast that I felt so exhausted come October; which was a month that was defined by one deadline after another. When I got back from a short trip to the United States, everything felt like it was a train at full speed, and everything that had to be done felt like a brick wall you might ram into. There was the premiere of “The Princess and the Red Carp” for Theater Down South, followed by Sondheim's “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” -both with unique production design requirements that pushed the boundaries of my creativity. Add to that our first ever haunted walkthrough at SM Megamall which forced me to sleep in the mall for the love of zombies and grave grabbers. Perhaps, by the time I helped curate and design Ian Felix Alquiros' 4UReyesONLY, I was beginning to decompress from all that.
If not for anything else, 2010 was an epiphany for me. It's as if a veil was lifted off my visage and I saw things a little differently. Touche!
Allow me to share with you “The Barefoot Baklesa's Latest Lessons Late for the New Year Part One” [a mouthful, isn't it?]
First: Blood maybe thicker than water, but if you can't drink it, then spit it out.
I put my foot down a few months ago when I decided enough is enough when it came to certain blood relations that have been harmful to my peace of mind. I guess in any family, there are those who have so much bitterness in their minds and hearts that they tend to pass on this bitterness to others which by some measure eats away at the fragile bonds that hold those of the same blood.
Last July, I have been threatened with kidnapping by my own kin. Add to that, the same old crap coming from the same dirty mouths that need to be washed with detergent and muriatic acid only strengthened my resolve to consider these bearers of ill will as “dead to me”. I am seven relatives less, and I feel free of all the bad vibes they keep spreading around; and I could never be happier.
Nowhere does it say that when you turn the other cheek, you should allow them to keep hitting you, ten times over.
I may write about the Saints, but I have no intention of being one. I think martyrdom is best left in the 17th Century. After all, looking at their lives, there is no suffering in Tartarus that compares to being reminded that they were disinherited because of me -without me lifting a finger. They committed fraud using my name, thus they must suffer for it. Every waking moment of every day they think about the money they failed to inherit, they will also think of me -hopefully laughing at their misery.
Second: Love begets Love
Unlike some people, I don't eat kidnap threats for breakfast and I never respond lightly to threats; therefore I asked a few friends for a little help. I was surprised at the outpouring of support I got from some friends and their parents. Some went as far as pulling some strings at the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police. To which one of my better friends uttered, “Let's see him try.”
If you treat people right, even the simplest gestures will resonate through time. I guess I did right by these friends who came with pitchforks, knives, and torches. When I told these people who are “dead to me” that I get served at “better tables”, I was also thankful that even without these walking zombies, I know I'll be okay. But an aunt of mine was quick to quip by saying, “I don't think they understood what you meant by being served at better tables. They may think you're talking about the food they cook.” To which I respond, “There is no accounting for lack of intelligence, best we keep them guessing. Hahahaha!!!”
Okay, you may think I'm being too mean here, and I'm edging on dirty laundry, but If you've been through what I have been through with these zombies, you won't blame me baring my claws a little. What I experienced with them is not love, there is no deplorable word to describe my disgust.
Thank God I'm not related to them anymore.
Third: Thank Goodness my Mother Taught Me to be GRATEFUL
I remember former uncle who is “dead to me” telling one of our cousins, “Inggit lang sila kasi mayaman kami.” [translated, “They're just envious of us because we're rich”] I could not help but laugh at his pretensions albeit delusions. Where's this money he's been talking about? Even his own granddaughter goes, “You know my grandfather, all he talks about is money -money we never see.” I had to resist the temptation of telling her, “Well, the last I checked, I got your family disinherited.” -but I said to myself, save it for another day, when you can rub it in with much grit.
I have said this ten times over, “Those who have it, never have to say they have it.” If I may be so blunt in the vernacular Tagala, “Ang tunay na may pera, hindi kailangan ipamukha sa mga tao na may pera sila.” I hate to shatter your pretensions, old man...but then again, there is nothing else of him to shatter for he is a pitiful and laughable example of a failed attempt at a decent human being. Oh trust me, I'm still being gentle.
I was taught to work for what I want. I was taught to know the difference between the practical and the indulgent. I was taught the value of self achievement. And at the end of it, I was taught to be grateful, even if I made it or not. If you are never grateful for the tiniest thing, I don't think the Big Boss Above will shower you with bigger things.
Even if I don't ask for it, the Big Boss Above just drops it on my lap. I'm so lucky, it seems unfair to the rest of the world. That is why every day, I never fail to be thankful that I wake up looking forward to whatever the day may bring.
I look back at the pitiful and laughable example of a failed attempt at a decent human being, and say to myself, “I know what I won't be when I'm older.”
Fourth: Speaking of Pretensions... and Patron Saints
I had an exciting few days some time last December. I was engaged on an online debate with some pretentious individual... Oh, there were two of them... Pretentious individuals then. And as much as I enjoyed putting them in their place, a little part of me knew that once I have shattered their pretensions, I run the risk of being attacked by the ignoramuses that crowd them. I won't bore you with the details but for purposes of trivia:
The original Patron Saint of the Philippine Archipelago and the city of Manila is Santa Potenciana or Saint Pudentiana, a virgin, martyred during the early days of the Christian Church. Her feast coincided with Miguel Lopez de Legazpi's formal capture of Manila on the 19th of May 1571. Her status was relegated to secondary patron of the city of Manila when a later victory against invaders was celebrated on the feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle, which thereafter became the principal patron of the city. Saint Rose of Lima may be the current principal patron of the Philippines, but that was due to her assignment as Patron of the Americas and the New World -our country is considered part of the New World conquest- which is nothing more than a political move in the early 20th century for we were still a colony of the United States.
So, the next time you may want to wax your trivia skills, you can use this... Hehehehe
Fifth: Condemn the sin, not the sinner? I don't think so...
Say a woman, even though separated, is still married to another man and they have two children from that marriage, what if this same woman gets pregnant with another man's child? And even though she is living with this new man, she makes no effort to dissolve her marriage nor does she make her use of this new man's money discreet using their lovechild as the lure to keep the new man under her control. I think that technically makes her a Conniving Adulteress?
If you are a witness to this, would you not loathe the Conniving Adulteress? I'm not encouraging stoning to death here but would you say you disapprove of her methods yet you should let her be? Are you just going to stand there and watch? There are things I can forgive, who knows how desperate some people can be, but I have my limits.
In the words of a dear friend of mine, "How bitchy can you get???" Well, if need be, I'll take a page out of the Bitch Bible and wax poetics, rhetorics, and down right nastiness off of it. Hahahaha!!!
That is it for now, just wait for the next part -if I have the time...