[Me and My Lists] Part 7: Day One

I’ve liked fifteen guys since the age of twelve.

No, seriously.  Count them.  I do.  I’ve liked fifteen boys: a daisy chain of unrequited loves, poems full of longing, awkward conversations, and tearful admissions, strung together with the wry romanticism of a John Green novel (complete with Vampire Weekend or One Republic soundtrack).  Fifteen initials that I recite like Arya Stark’s “prayer,” only without the murderous intent (most days, at least).  Fifteen hands I’ve imagined holding, pairs of arms I’ve imagined dancing in.

Basically, Fifteen stand-ins for the boys in the following scenes: tumblr_mxosi33F1C1skn0r7o5_1280 11831-Cute-Couple tumblr_static_a_couple_by_dueto_variavel a3b1397105b5ed6efd17721f21e814ca asian-like.tumblr 54879-Mountain-Climbing-Couple tumblr_mgj6u1cWKQ1rlg43so1_500

Source: Google Images, using the search term “Tumblr Couple.”

This is what love looked like to “SSB”-me: an endless loop of photosets rendered in indie-romcom colors, where I took the place of the everyman heroine side-by-side with my manic pixie dream boy.  But, like those everyman heroes before me, the reality was nothing like my expectations, often looking more like this:


and, eventually, this:

finally ending with an I’m-fine-but-not-really state of bitter homeostasis.


Frankly, this was the basis of my SoJ radio persona.

Eventually, I would edge back into rationality, enjoy a brief period of equilibrium.  But it would never last.  One day, someone would come along with the right smirk, or quirk of eyebrow, or nose, or jaw, or fingers-on-lips, hands-running-through-hair…


…and it’d start all over again.

After fifteen go-rounds, I’m painfully aware of this pattern.  In fact, I’m more than a little tired of it.  “Bitter homeostasis” has increasingly blurred into equilibrium.  It’s hard not to be cynical when the movie in your mind won’t go the way it’s supposed to: one moment you’ll be choreographing shiny-happy dance numbers and the next you’re belting out sad Paramore or Jessie Ware lyrics, the constant undercurrent of hope feeling less like butterflies and more like a migraine.  I know my “love life” is a running joke–in fact, my bandmates used it as a punchline during our photoshoot when they needed to laugh for the camera–but number fifteen was a whopper and now I’m not sure I find this funny anymore.  I’ve been going through the motions of being bitter, and snarky, and wry, and a little wounded–spouting hugot lines and whining over old pictures–but it’s all feeling more like playacting now.

Lately, I’ve been wanting something different for myself: a little less Tumblr and a little more terrestrial.  If I think hard enough, I can imagine the bare bones: the ghost of an image, the blueprint of a skyscraper.  In fact, a skyscraper is a good way to think about it: instead of the ephemera of celluloid, there’s a sense of permanence, of concrete and steel rebar, of the inevitable pull of gravity.  There are no dance numbers, no Instagram-filter colors.  I don’t hear Mumm-Ra in the background.

What I find myself wanting is something that just is–a workaday sort of love that maybe doesn’t have a song, doesn’t need a poem.  It’s the sort of love that leaves John Green on the shelf, that prompted Juliet to declare her feelings for Romeo

…too rash, too unadvised, too sudden,
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say “It lightens.”

I realized–or, if I’m honest, I’ve known for a while–that for the longest time the love I have wanted has been an imagined country as told by those photosets and GIFs and Spotify playlists.  It’s been the kind of love that needs finding, because it’s so elusive, because there’s little evidence it exists at all.  It’s the love you obsess over, the kind you fantasize about, precisely because it is a fantasy.

I’ve been so desperate to find a leading man that I’ve forgotten the truth about movies: they show things the way they look to be, instead of the way they are.  I’m tired of images, of scripting lines of dialogue, of referring to a mental checklist of attributes that somehow sum up to perfect.  Instead of finding the one being a blockbuster event or a flashmob, I’d rather it be as natural as a change of seasons–the slow, inevitable slipping of summer into autumn.  One day, I’ll look up to find the wind has changed, the leaves will have started to turn, and it will both surprise me and not surprise me.

I’d expect it.  Maybe I won’t expect him.  (Maybe there will be no him.)  What there will be, though, is a sense that things make sense.  It won’t be groundbreaking.  It will just be.

Sometimes, I still get to imagining.  I imagine laughing faces in a coffeeshop (it used to look like Starbucks Pearl, but lately due to my transplanting to Makati it’s looking a lot more like Staple and Perk), shoulders touching casually in a group photo, introductions at office parties: “This is my…”  I guess it’s just habit, or the fact that I used to write exclusively love stories: I can’t help but set a scene.  Except now, I know that’s all they are: possibilities versus things that need to happen.  I’m learning to stop reading shades of meaning in coincidences.  After all:


Or: just because he watches Doctor Who, liked a few Instagram photos, and called you pretty that one time, doesn’t mean you’re meant to be.

At the end of every crush, I tell myself that this one is the last.  The last one-sided fling.  The last pair of rose-colored glasses.  Number fifteen was a doozy, a dubious sort of “first” (not in that way, folks), a ‘life event’ in his own right.  Considering the way things played out, I don’t think I can be faulted for hoping for a combo-breaker.  And maybe he really will be the last one, or maybe it will take me a few more tries to drill this lesson into my head.  One thing’s for sure, though: I don’t want a love story anymore.

I just want love.  Plain as day, in whatever form it will take (after all, as one article put it, the happiest place in eternity will have no marriage or sex).  No more unrealistic, indie flick-expectations versus reality.

tom hansen knowing face

Just equilibrium.  Just homeostasis.  Just a day that, without anyone realizing it, turns out to be a sort of day one.

…or basically just a decrease in my tendency to be more than slightly delusional.  Whatever.  I’m obviously taking my sweet time ditching every single one of my “Lists,” but that’s all part of the process of this ‘growing up’ business anyway, or so I’m told.  Anyway, it’s been fun.  Hope you enjoy the GIFs, and if you saw the pattern…well, no stars for you because I’ve made things blatantly obvious, to be honest.  It isn’t the first time Tom Hansen has been my spirit animal, after all.


P.S.: Hope this makes up for no The Friday, Currently last week.  And, seeing as I’ll be coming back from Cebu on the day, there might not be any this week so I’ll see you in the next post…whenever that happens.  Until then



– aRT

The Friday, Currently 005: I’ll Be All Right (Just Not Tonight)

By some miracle, I have actually managed to do two things I’ve intended to do this week!  They are:

  1. actually publishing a blog post this week that isn’t The Friday, Currently, and
  2. starting this post early enough that it might actually get posted on a Friday.

*confetti* *Finally, Ariel Happened to Me*

Been spending more time journalling–as in, actual, on paper journalling–this past week, so hopefully this currently, unlike it’s predecessors, isn’t as TL;DR.  Have realized that I tend to run to verbose in these blogs, averaging 1,500 words (a.k.a. a standard Dragon U reflection paper) per entry, and while I flatter myself that my prose might be so compelling as to hold your attention that long, given the current statistics on millenial attention spans…je doute.

That being said, I’m going to try (operative word, and do not invoke Yoda) to keep this short, which should be easy since, outside of College Collision getting rained out (which you can read about here) nothing really unusual happened this week.  This is The Friday, Currently, Issue 005, and I am C U R R E N T L Y . . .

R E A D I N G  The Reason for God by Timothy Keller, which, while a well-written and even sassy read (not surprise that they’re calling him this generation’s C.S. Lewis), was probably not the best choice for my 2015 Reading Challenge.  This book is not something you breeze through.  It’s not heavy, per se, but there are so many lines you’re going to want to go over with a highlighter/commit to memory/annotate with all-caps “WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT!” that you really do need to take reading “breaks” from time to time.

Also, an update on A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, which I was reading two weeks ago: still not finished with it yet, but will (wisely) probably go back to it before proceeding further with the mental acrobatics of Keller.

W R I T I N G  as I mentioned, a ton of journal entries, and more calligraphy stuff.  Am attempting to resist the urge to run to SM Aura right now, as Scribe has just texted me telling me that my long-awaited Zig Cocoiro refills are in.  Just when I’m in a self-imposed austerity program.  Drat.

L I S T E N I N G to Sara Bareilles, by forever favorite, on loop.  If there’s any artist that I keep coming back to, it’s her.  Ever since I watched the MTV music video (back when MTV Asia was still being broadcast on Sky Cable) of “Love Song,” I’ve been hooked, snatching up all three of her studio albums, and Spotify-ing the rest.  You know how they say that Taylor Swift has a song for everything?  In my case, Bareilles understands me best, rendering the throes of unrequited love in less-dramatic, more tongue-in-cheek terms with wry, self-aware lyrics.  And when she does power pop, boy does she fill it with power: from the feminist anthem “Fairytale” to the bold and brassy “Brave,” Sara’s songs make you feel like you could take on lions and win.

She’s not extremely well-known in the Philippines (at most, just for her singles), but with the publication of this article from social media’s spoken word poet, Juan Miguel Severo, I’m hoping Sara gets more of the love she deserves.

W A T C H I N G, or about to begin watching, Wayward Pines, recommended to me by my source for all things TV Land-related The Style Reader (a.k.a. Arra Abella).  Also, based on recent developments that I’ve heard/read about regarding what’s happening in Westeros, I think I may be returning to G.o.T. for the sixth season.  Sansa’s character development has once again started moving in the right direction, and as long as Weiss and Benioff BLOODY STAY IN THAT DIRECTION I could see myself following the series again.  Maybe.  Only the finalé will tell, to be honest.  For now, I’m contenting myself with looking forward to Legends of Tomorrow and the debut of my darling Darvill.

F E E L I N G  a bit of panic about how my June is going to go.  As far as things happening, this month’s pretty packed for me, with College Collision being rescheduled, a Stories Told gig at Mow’s Café on the 19th, Hideaway on the 20th, and a whole lot of planning, practicing, and plotting in between.

Actually, maybe running these things over wasn’t the smartest idea–I’m getting more as I go on.  NEVERMIND, BRAIN.  FORGET I SAID ANYTHING.


S M E L L I N G  the last remnants of the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Body Spray I spritzed myself with this morning after my Mini Stop store run.  I don’t fancy smelling of fried chicken all day, no matter how delicious that fried chicken actually is.

W E A R I N G  Muji blue button-up (not button-down; there is apparently a difference), my Old Faithful Topshop black skinnies (looking as battered as ever), and brown leather loafers from Via Venetto.  It’s a lazy-dressing day, as it has been every single day this week.  My hair isn’t even ironed; #IWokeUpLikeThis.

L O V I N G  Criminal, a new podcast I discovered while going through withdrawals from Serial.  Instead of following a single crime’s thread throughout one “season,” Criminal profiles the perpetrators, victims, and witnesses to various crimes, big and small, providing a unique “human interest” angle that usual “detective” podcasts don’t usual put forward.  Also, because Criminal isn’t a serial podcast like, well, Serial, you can start it at any time without being compelled to catch up on everything.

I listen to episodes before I go to sleep, and strangely, end up sleeping pretty well.  Read into that what you will.

W A N T I N G  this day to end, to be honest.  The prospect of facilitating a meeting, even if it is for something I love, tends to fill me with no small degree of stress.  How did I end up organizing an event, again?

(How do I really end up doing anything, really?)

N E E D I N G  to have some chill.

W I S H I N G  my sore/hoarse voice would go away.  Hoping it’s not nodes again, and as I’m not having any difficulty reaching my higher registers (like I did when I actually had nodes) am dismissing that possibility at the moment.  Still, I miss how my voice usually sounds like.  I can make the chainsmoker-vocal work, especially with Elinor (my guitar/girlfriend, for the uninitiated), but I’m getting tired of it.

T H I N K I N G  that maybe sawi does not necessarily have to equal sad.

The title of this blog post comes from one of my favorite songs from Sara Bareilles–this upbeat, doo-wop pop anthem that is, surprisingly, also an unrequited love/break-up song.  It’s titled “Gonna Get Over You,” and unlike the usual sad-love-song that has you wallowing in a cesspool of your pain by the end (Sara also has one of those; it’s called “Gravity.”), the track practically dares you not to get up and dance.  It’s imbibed with sassy one-liners (“I won’t beg to buy a shot at your back door!”) and hilariously self-aware verses (“Goodbye/Should be sayin’ that to you by now, shouldn’t I?/Layin’ down the law that I live by/Oh, maybe next time…”) that sum up exactly how you feel when you’re in unrequited infatuation, half-headdesking and half-pining.

It’s a situation I know all too well, with my sixteen ex-crushes and current, this-is-a-bad-idea-why-are-we-here infatuation with S (yep, him again), who is both annoyingly aware of the fact that I like him and ridiculously clueless as to how to handle it.  (Here’s where I have to give it to C, who I incidentally, also used to like–at least he knew how to address the elephant in the room with minimal douchery.)

(Not that C needs any more compliments, to be honest; I’m pretty sure they’ve all gone to his head.)

(Love you, C.)

(Not in that way.)


There’s a temptation, when dealing with unwanted emotions, to go the Taylor Swift-ian route and imbue every last moment with all the longing and frustration and desolation a post-pubescent heart can hold.  And I’ve done this.  I’ve done this a lot, hence my first ever The Friday, Currently.  But then there comes a time when wallowing in loneliness becomes counter-productive (a girl can write only so many poems) and annoys even myself.  After all, it’s just a boy, in a string of fifteen (if you haven’t been able to tell yet, I keep count) other boys, and I haven’t died.

(Or killed anyone, which is honestly a bigger victory considering the overwhelming temptation to take out the competition.)

(Especially when they start giggling and PG-touching body parts.)

…But I digress.  (Looks like this isn’t a “short” one after all.  Sorry guys!)

There comes a point when sad playlists, bad poems, and imagined violence no longer cut it.  When it no longer makes sense to be sad over someone who, in the words of the Patron Saint of the Sawi, Éponine Thenardier, “…was never mine to lose.”  After all, as she also sings, why regret what cannot be?  Sure, as humans, it’s a natural reaction to be upset over not getting something you want, but also as humans we recognize that the things we want aren’t necessarily the things we need to have…

…and we move on.  Slowly, maybe, but all the same, we do.  And that’s why I love “Gonna Get Over You,” because it says exactly that: “I’ll be all right.  Just not tonight, but someday.”

In the meantime, I’m going to drown out the images of distant flirtation with my doo-wop anthem, sing along to Sara Bareilles at the top of my lungs (when I won’t disturb anyone, anyway), and laugh at, honestly, how silly this whole “heartbroken” business actually is.

That’s it for my fifth Friday, Currently.  If you have any suggestions for stuff I can write about…to be honest I’m running out of ideas, so please please please send them along!


The Sunday Currently was created by Siddathornton. I’ve added/subtracted categories for the sake of the narrative, and also because I’m copying the format of

[poem] Benediction (Draft One)

I don’t process how I feel.

Instead, I wish for you a girl
with laughing eyes,
who will be impressed by your mobile face
and mediocre dancing.

I imagine skin kissed by summer
and a smile like a sunrise: young and hopeful.
Her arm is strong but gentle on your shoulder,
and when you touch her it feels like gravity:
you’re on solid ground for the first time.

She will never make you feel small,
or stupid.
If she overwhelms you it’ll be the right kind of drowning;
like surfing for the first time.

And when you are lost,
when your cracked heart threatens to become a fault-line,
when your boss calls you incompetent,
or your father is distant,
or your mother is distracted,
she will remind you that
enough (you are so much),
just by being there.

She will break your heart, but in a way that makes it stronger.
When she curls into your arms you will feel like a home.

She will be beautiful.

I know, because I see her.
When I look at you I know her
like an old friend.
It is her hand on your shoulder when I feel you close to crumbling.
It is her voice I hear asking if you are okay.

I am just her messenger.

I do not process how I feel.
Instead, I see you, and I take her hands
and smile. I tell her, “Thank you.
Come soon.
Bring the sun in with you.”
And I hope (I hope) I make you better,
until the day she will love you best.

For D.G.A., from A.A.M.