You are not brave because you said no, or brave because you ran away, or because you looked love in the face and said “not today.” There is nothing courageous about the way you left me, open handed, palms outwards, waiting. I was standing at your door and I was saying “I will take you as you are if you will do the same for me.” You didn’t know how to. No one had taught you that wanting someone desperately is like sliding out of your clothes and out of your skin and laying yourself at their feet. All skin and no walls. All soul and no teeth, no metal, no keys. No one had shown you how lovely vulnerability can be. How proud it is to be naked in front of someone. Fully clothed, naked. Arms full of heart. Heart full of rain. Body like an olive branch, I am telling you that I love you today. I am telling you that I am not scared to be fragile in front of you. I am telling you that I trust you to look after my gentle. Keep it safe, don’t keep it hidden. They say that giving your name to someone is giving them power over you. I wrote my name on your wrists. I wrote it in your mouth. Whispered it into your ear. I said “here, this is who I am, do what you will with it. I am not scared. I am not frightened.” Even then, even after that, in that quiet rain filled room I watched you stitch yourself back up again and turn away, I watched you do it without me. I kept my hands open anyway, just in case. Here, the mattress is asking you what you’re doing. Here, the walls have known how you sound when you murmur my name. Here, everything is wondering where your brave is. Where has your courage gone? Where is your wolf? I know that you can feel in colours that haven’t been invented yet. I know that you’re trembling beneath your soldier body. I would have loved you enough for the both of us. Until then, I will run through the streets after dark holding a sign that says ‘I SURVIVED LOVING A MAN WHO DID NOT KNOW HOW TO LOVE ME BACK AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.’”
— Azra.T “not leaving your heart wide open was the most cowardly thing you’ll ever do”
This excerpt reminded me of Kim Addonizio’s “For You”
Turned 30 last month and though I know it’s just another number, I am actually , at the moment, all right with that fact. 30 to me seems solid and enough yet still open for additions and margin of errors (quick trivia: did you know that 30 is heurestically the default number of a sampling size in a quantitative study?), a sort of milestone of having survived the dazed 20s and I guess, a springboard for the serious 40s (and onwards).
Right now, I feel like I’m still feeling and swimming my way through it but so far, I must say it’s been…well, full of surprises. I’m not complaining though.
Plus, it seems that as days unfold and end, I’m slowly realizing what activities and goals that really matter to me; the ‘essentials’– fundamental investments that hopefully (will) affect positively and beneficially me in the long run. Because as it is, that’s what I’m trying to achieve here: living simply and choosing wisely (at least!).
I still have so much to learn and I know that I still need to go beyond my comfort zones; it would be foolish to assume that I got it all figured out (far from it) and I know what I’m doing (sometimes it feels like I’m lost). But I’m proud to say that I (daresay) think AND feel that though I’m not yet fully ready to face whatever new challenges my 30s will bring, I am looking forward to changes– I want it, I’m willing to dive in, and I’m all in.
So I figured, what better way to step into this next chapter of mine than crafting and doing a 30 things-to-do list during/before 30. These aren’t really big or grandiose– rather small ones that I hope will enable me to appreciate the simple pleasures in life, challenge me beyond complacency, and test and know my (newfound) limitations.
To up the ante and to make sure that I stick to these must-dos, I’ve enlisted the help of some of my crazy loved ones (through downright pestering and emotional and mental blackmail– hehe, kidding). In my mind, I’d like to think that by being a better me, it would mean me as a better companion to them. Win-win, right? Right.
I’m still in the process of completing my list but so far, these are some of the things that I already have in mind (not necessarily ranked based on importance or accordance):
1. Revise my thesis draft for thesis defense (still a lot of loopholes but…onwards!) 2. Thesis defense (I MADE IT!!!) 3. Revise my thesis for final copy, binding, submission, and publication (SUNFLOWERSSSS!!!!)
(Yes, I really have to separate these 4 goals since they’re independent from each other and it’s damn arduous!)
5. Wear a 2-pc swimsuit at the beach
6. Go out on a date (Don’t laugh! And I mean it! Guy friends are not counted as well as…uhm, those men that I should stay away from) (akalain ko? haha!)
7. Get another tattoo (hip)
8. Kiss a stranger (I still have to qualify ‘stranger’ and ‘kiss.’ I’ll get there.)
9. Do Spoken Word (and read my own poem, even it’s ewwww saccharine, useless, and pityingly emo. Haha!)
10. Try and adhere to the 52 Week Money Challenge (Hello, piggy bank!)
11. Try and find a stable job (at least for 3-6 months. Longer stay, better!)
12. Write in longhand and send someone a love letter (Again, have to qualify ‘love’ and ‘someone’ but if there are volunteers who want to receive one, drop me a line)
13. Lose 5lbs. Ok, 3 lbs. Haha. But I guess the aim is to be fit and tone so…exercise?
14. Come up with a themed menu, prepare and serve it to loved ones (baking should be included! And a dress code is required for the guests for it to be authentic! And it’ll be more fun!)
15. Visit a country I haven’t been to, even for a short while (This merits a separate entry :))
16. Buy a new laptop (I love Shishi but I think this grand daddy of laptops need to retire soon, or at least have a companion)
17. Enroll in an Arabic language class (if budget permits)
Ok, that’s it for now. I’m pretty sure there will be changes to this but for the meantime, these tasks will do. I’m crossing my fingers that I can own up to these because it’s it’s high-time (and before I become ancient!) that I surprise myself, live, and let go.
Yehey 30s! :)
Can I just say that the Universe listens and it never ceases to amaze me. To quote Murakami, ““Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting.” (Kafka on the Shore)
Takes goddamn guts and craziness so far!
Do NOT damn give up!
Do NOT fhucking quit!
Rumored that it’s one of the cakes and pastries suppliers for two of the popular coffee chains here in the Philippines, Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I’m guessing Purple Oven has a different recipe for mass production (i.e. those sold in the said coffee shops) but direct store-bought products seem to taste better– richer and smoother cream cheese, packed and buttery crust, and just about the right ‘skin’ on top. Another stress reliever :) Want a slice after my defense. Nomnoms!
That elusive ‘Parts Unknown’ trailer music