How To Grow Up

The Friday Currently, 010: Human = Error

Apologies for not posting this yesterday, folks!  I’m going to be honest: it completely slipped my mind.  In fact, it probably would have never hit me that I’d forgotten if someone hadn’t asked me about my blog at an event I attended today.

In fact, speaking of events, it was sort-of because of one that The Friday Currently got pushed back to a Saturday night.  See, last Thursday, my officemate Jovel celebrated her birthday, so last Friday, I made a very uncharacteristic decision…

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…of going out on a Friday night.

Yep, that is not Photoshop.  I am actually sitting with my officemates in a booth in one of The Fort Strip‘s most popular watering holes, Cable Car.  And while the only “watering” I actually did was with, well, water (my teetotaler ways are well established; thanks vocal nodules), that does not take away from the fact that legendary Lola of Manila and self-proclaimed agoraphobe, Frankie Torres, actually socialized on a Friday night.  Of her own free will, I might add.

Happy Birthday, Jovel!

Now that I’ve given my excuses, let’s jump right into the meat of the matter.  Ladies and gentlemen, it is Saturday, but as of Friday I was C U R R E N T L Y…

R E A D I N G  The Lake of Dead Languagesa Carol Goodman thriller in the tradition of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.  It takes place at a boarding school in the Hudson River area (I’m not that well-versed in US geography to give more detailed specifics) where Latin (the aforementioned “dead language”) is a featured subject and Classics scholarship is still somewhat valued.  There’s all the elements of a good boarding school mystery–death and thwarted love and the tangled webs girls weave with their secrets–set against the background of Goodman’s rich, very sensuous language.  This novel got me buying her books, and while all of the ones I’ve read were really good, The Lake of Dead Languages holds a special place in my heart.

W R I T I N G  more songs.  I hesitate to say that I’m on a “roll,” but I am finding it easier to put words together lately.  More so than usual.  I’m afraid of the drought that inevitably comes after, but in the interim I’ll try to squeeze as many verses out of this chord-challenged brain of mine.

Actually debuted two of my new (complete) songs tonight at the event I went to, Logos: Gethsemane.  The first one, Last Line, was far from a hit–fumbled with the barre chords and had trouble tuning; mistakes that made my hands shake though thankfully not my voice–but I think The Brightest might be more-or-less ready to demo.  I’m still a bit shaken by my mistakes…but more on that later.

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L I S T E N I N G 
most of the week to the Acoustic Covers playlist on Spotify–lots of moody folk and billowy indie to offset the staggering amount of pop-rock and punk-pop I’ve been listening to lately.  I’ve discovered a couple of new favorites in the process: Edge of Seventeen (originally performed by Stevie Nicks) and the acoustic version of an old The Darkness favorite, I Believe in a Thing Called Love.

I between covers, I’ve also been listening to the archives from This American Life, a storytelling/slice-of-life podcast that I’ve been subscribed to for quite a few months now.  In the process, I’ve discovered yet another song favorite: Selective Memory by Eels.

Take a listen, if you haven’t heard it yet.  It’s gloomy and sad, but isn’t that perfect for the weather?

W A T C H I N G nothing new, to be honest.  Not a big TV-watching week for me.

F E E L I N G  irritated that my laptop’s slowing down again.  *sigh*

S M E L L I N G  the lemon from my lemon-water.

W E A R I N G  my PJs, as you do.

L O V I N G  the beef strips from Cable Car, and the new song that me (I know that technically should be I, but do what I want) and Stories Told’s “hitmaker,” Aned, started cooking up this afternoon.  The Elinor Project x Stories Told anyone?

W A N T I N G  to get better at guitar, frankly.  But wanting is, of course, distinctly different from doing something about it.

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My attempt to remind myself to “do something about it.”  And yes, that’s Stories Told‘s Jian who liked the stat.  #SupportiveBandmate

N E E D I N G  energy.  Or potato chips.  Or both.

T H I N K I N G

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Which, depending on how you swing it, could be a good thing or a bad thing.

W I S H I N G  I didn’t screw up as much.  Or, conversely, that screwing up didn’t bother me quite as much as it did.  Does.  Honestly, I hate making mistakes, and I don’t mean in the way most people do, which I imagine looks something like this:

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RBF: Resigned Bunny Face

No, when I make a mistake–or feel like I’ve made one/am making one–the (usually internal) is closer to this:

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Oh great…now what?!

Tonight’s Logos event really put that panic instinct to the test, as I faced every performer’s worst nightmare: screwing up onstage.  Several times.  As the opening act of the night  Great.

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But the truth is, do care.  Frequently.  Slipping up is a fact of life, but it’s a fact I’ve had a hard time reconciling myself to, owing largely to the cataclysmic results I imagine will always occur because I’ve had the all-too-common lapse in judgment or off moment.  Take for example tonight’s hiccups: failing to tune my guitar properly, fumbling with barre chords on my original song, rambling nervously through my opening spiel, and clearly having a hard time holding eye contact with a noisy, animated, sometimes-supportive but still-terrifying audience.  All these are, easily, chalked up to experience which, let’s be honest, I actually need–The Elinor Project hasn’t really been a regular on Open Mic rosters.  But there’s that little voice in the back of my head that whispers “You should be better than this by now.”  It’s the same little voice that told me I’d somehow lost all credibility as an artist–all the charm and intensity I might have shown before the night began–with those elementary mistakes.

Part of me probably will keep believing this voice for a while, or at least won’t have the guts to tell it to shut up.  However, I’m not a complete neurotic mess.  I am well aware–in fact, I even referenced it in the rambling speech to introduce my two new songs–that making mistakes is human.  More than that, it’s when you make those mistakes that you feel the most human.  Fallibility and vulnerability are part and parcel of what makes us humans and not perfectly-programmed automatons, and I’m beginning to recognize the need to accept that, realizing that fretting and looking the part of the perfectionist doesn’t in any way make up for your errors–it only makes you look like, at best, a mental case and, at worst, a humblebragging attention seeker fishing for compliments and/or sympathy.

After all, if I hadn’t made any mistakes, I wouldn’t have any stories.  Certainly, I wouldn’t have the two songs that I ended up performing tonight.  See, the “theme” of Logos: Gethsemane was to tell a story of a time that made you feel the most human.  I couldn’t think of a time when I felt most human, so I for a recent occurence when my humanity was shoved in my face: having to admit to myself that I’d liked someone I shouldn’t and made a fool of myself in the process.  Even at twenty-two, supposedly a mature adult, I’d made the highschool mistake of blowing an infatuation out of proportion, and I suffered the consequences both socially and emotionally.  But, after clearing up the rubble of my ruined reputation and self-disappointment, I’d realized that this really just was another useful lesson to take into account on the road to actually becoming the so-called grown up I’d perceived myself as failing to be.  Our hearts (and hormones) will inevitably betray us–what makes us mature is our ability to move on from that moment, recognizing the good in the bad, the human in the error.

The Brightest, the song I *did* managed to perform somewhat-well (average, to be honest; I am rusty on guitar and need more practice), is largely about that decision I made to let that person go, while acknowledging the feelings I’d once had and, admittedly, occasionally still had to battle away for the sake of self-preservation.  It is acknowledging the experience for what it was: a moment of vulnerability, and an opportunity to learn.

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So there you have it–I’m making peace with mistakes this week.  Goodness knows I’ll make more of them, but I guess that’s really only a consequence of playing life by ear.  Which is, really, all we can do, right?

Right?

UJy5k2T tumblr_m7jm5vF09F1rthy64That has been this week’s very GIF-heavy The Friday, Currently.  If you’ve read to the end, thank you for tolerating the experiment in style and please let me know if I should try it again next week.  Until then, I remain, yours ever…

~ARoamingTsinay~

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 NothingSpaces.com.

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[How To Grow Up] Learning By Example: A young woman’s reflections on her mentor’s ten years of marriage.

This will be quick (I hope), because I have finish a deck and send it off before midnight because I have an early-morning photoshoot tomorrow, but more on that some other time.

Last Friday, my discipler, May De Jesus-Palacpac (or “Miss May,” as I call her–it’s sort of a Filipino honorific to refer to a young woman in authority as ‘Miss’, regardless of marital status) of Fully Housewifed, celebrated the anniversary of her marriage to Jay Palacpac (Sir Jay–no, he hasn’t been knighted; again, Filipino honorific), our Team Leader (Overall Coordinator? I AM REALLY BAD WITH TITLES, ACK.) in the Kids Ministry Music Team.  They have been married ten years now (a decade!  The first number of years that gets a special name!), and have three sons: Pablo, Judah, and Lukas.  As Miss May’s disciple and one of Sir Jay’s volunteers, I’ve been very privileged to be a part, however small, in the lives of this God-fearing family, and it’s been an experience that has required some reflection.

I met Miss May last year, while I was going through a spiritual crisis which led me to contemplate permanently exiting the Kids Music Ministry.  Sir Jay referred me to a regular Bible Study held by Miss May with the other women worship leaders in Kids Ministry, and after attending one session, I had a one-on-one session with Miss May which led to me becoming her disciple.  We were soon joined by my best friend, Esther, and the three of us make a gregarious, words- and music-loving trio that meet weekly at–where else?–Fully Booked.

What amazes me most about my current group is how much we all understand each other, and, on a more personal note, how much Miss May understands me, to the point that even when I am agitated and communicating in what I must admit is a distinctly disrespectful tone–I’m not completely over that “spiritual crisis,” to be honest–she is firm, but very patient with me, and consistently reminds me that she values my friendship, that she likes me.  We’re also rather similar in personality, beyond the obvious links of being ambiverted, digital-native writers-slash-singers-slash-hungry learners with a habit of chronicling thoughts for the internet.  And I suppose it is that fact that makes seeing her relationship with Sir Jay a personal blessing for me, because it’s an object lesson in what navigating a Godly marriage could be like, for someone with my similar “quirks.”

(Though, to be honest, I must confess myself significantly more quirk-laden than my mentor.  Miss May has learned to submit to, and walk with, God, while I have not completely yet, and have all the rough edges to prove it.)

Having just turned twenty-one this month, I’ve been thinking a lot about the world of “adults.”  Arguably, I was an adult at eighteen, but there is something about being the big 2-1 that brings the reality of maturity–or learning to mature, in my case–closer to home.  And while perhaps it is too early to think about marriage–I’m still trying to launch a career, for crying out loud!–a part of me has felt that prayerfully considering what it means to be married is somehow an essential part in knowing what it means to be mature.

Of course, this is all totally foreign territory for me.  Boy-girl relationships are completely different from man-woman ones, and I am ignorant of both, having been single since birth.  A firm believer in courtship versus the “just-for-kicks, let’s-have-fun” atmosphere of worldly dating, my personal conviction, to be honest, has been to not consider getting into a relationship until I am open to thinking about marriage–not necessarily as an immediate concern, but at least as a long-term certainty; a “strategic direction,” if you will.  I realize this is a prospect that sounds absolutely cray-cray to people my age (honestly, it scares me out of my wits too), specifically boys my age, which is why I’m plenty sure that, at least for the foreseeable future, I am going to be single (and rightfully so, because I am in no fit state to be in a relationship right now, what with my…issues).

But despite the fact that relationships, and by extension marriage, are kind-of far off right now, occasionally I’ve had cause to reflect on the concept of it, of what it would be like for me to be committed to someone.  Some of that contemplation has been the little-girl fantasy stuff: what the wedding will be like, what the wedding AVP will be like (today I picked the song for it: the live version of Coldplay‘s “Yellow”), how many kids we’ll have, what their names might be.  Some of it, though, has been the more serious stuff: What would it be like to be a wife?  A mother?  To have to submit to a husband?  Parent a child?  How would we handle the finances, our kids’ wants, our own wants and needs?  What about our respective dreams?  How will I manage submitting as a wife if he asks me to do something I think is unreasonable?  What will he be like as a father?  

In an ordinary circumstance, these questions are big and scary all by themselves, but they are a bit scarier for me because I did not grow up in a family with a functional marriage.  I’m the product of a broken home–my mum and dad legally separated when I was four and the marriage was annulled when I was thirteen–and while my mother has been an excellent example of what it means to be a Godly woman and mother, and a great counselor even when it comes to questions about what it means to be a Christian wife…it’s one thing to have someone who can tell me, and quite another to witness things firsthand.  I do not have an insider look at a marriage upon which I can base my “analysis.”  Also, to be very honest, the failure of my parents’ marriage has made me worry about the potential state of my own: not only have I had it impressed upon me the necessity of being careful of whom I marry, but I am acutely aware of how difficult marriages can get.

Add to this my commitment to living a Godly marriage, with all the requirements of humility and submission that entails for the woman, and you have the makings of a mini-crisis.  Me?  Humble?  Submissive?  WHAT?!  I’ll be the first to admit that my personality fits none of these things.  I have a huge ego and a strong personality, am ridiculously bull-headed, and do not like to be forced to do things especially if I think my way is better.  Of course, I do know how to give in and compromise, but many times I do so grudgingly, soothing my ego with the inner mantra of “I was right anyway.”  None of these factor into a good relationship partner, let alone a wife.

This is why I am thankful for being able to witness, to some extent, the “ordinariness” of Miss May and Sir Jay’s marriage.  By no means do I accuse Miss May of having the same faults I do, but she does have a strong personality (it’s why I love and respect her so much) that reminds me of a (much better) version of my own.  Her ten years of a strong, God-fearing, God-filled marriage, set against the backdrop of a life that I personally find amazing (work-at-home mother, homeschool teacher, blogger, singer, eternal scholar), show me that it is still possible for this twenty-one year old Lonelygirl to become a woman of Christ, ready for all that role entails, including obedience in marriage.  It is possible for any woman, actually, so long as they commit themselves, as I have seen Miss May has, to constant pruning and refining and Lordship in her walk with the Father.

More than just the role of witness, though, I’m also benefitting from being witnessed to.  Miss May has taken her role of discipler very seriously, holding herself accountable for my walk even as she trusts me with a part of hers.  She is quick on the draw to lovingly (emphasis on lovingly) call me out on my behavior, even down to the posts I make on social media–little details in the discipline of learning to submit a life to Christ, guarding my mind and heart against giving in to the things that would make the process harder.  Both she and her husband pray for me, and I’m grateful for that, grateful that this couple is putting a protective “hedge”** around me even as they have put that “hedge” around their marriage, their shared journey with Christ.

So I’m taking this time to honor my mentor and my team leader in their spiritual walk and their marriage.  Here’s to you, Miss May and Sir Jay!  Thank you for your God-fearing example over ten years, and may God continue to bless you with the richness of his ministry in the many many many many many MANY years more to come!

~ARoamingTsinay~

P.S.

I know I’ve taken time to honor Miss May in this post for her participation in my spiritual walk, but I honestly feel the need to honor my mother too.  Miss May has been helping me as a friend and sister in Christ, but it’s one thing to have a sister, and another thing to have a mother.  My zany mum is another source of wisdom and guidance in my life, and honestly I would not even be thinking like this, about the necessity of surrounding myself with Godly women to mentor me, if it wasn’t for her guidance.  Thank you, Mama.  Love you!

(Even if you’ve stolen Boo Bear.  Mleh.)

** I borrowed the “hedge” illustration from Teach With Joy, the blog of another model of Godly wife- and mother-hood, Joy Mendoza.

Life’s too short not to say, “I miss you.”

Hey guys.  No “How To Grow Up” this week, unfortunately.  I’ve been pretty swamped with requirements, to the point that I eat, sleep, and breathe my daily to-do list, courtesy of the combined forces of Evernote and my Bullet Journal.  The side effect, though, is that I’m unwilling to do anything beyond what I set for myself in my Evernote/Bullet Journal to-do, especially after about ten in the evening.  If there was ever proof that human beings needed sleep, it’s me: I cease to be as productive after 10PM…which is ironic because I usually leave my most difficult work for then.  

…What is #FrankieLogic?  

Also, that explains why I’m blogging right now, instead of getting a headstart on my other requirements.  Have you ever been so busy that you actually need to stop working, otherwise you can’t see straight?  I’m sort of at that point.  Even my professor is telling me to slack off a bit: I guess she’s worried I’m approaching a nervous breakdown.  I’m by no means fragile, but I can definitely look the part, especially during finals season.  All the key symptoms are there: hysterical laughter, crying fits, long periods of morose silence…you get the picture.

Anyway, since I can’t put up my weekly dose of “words of wisdom from other people” (Working tagline.  Suggestions accepted.), I’ve decided to put up a snippet of my own.  Disclaimer: obviously I’m far from “grown up” yet, which is why I started the HTGU (yep, I made an abbreviation too.  WHATTUP!) project to begin with, but I guess notes from the battlefield are better than no notes at all, right?

Did that question even make sense?  Whatever.

These past couple of days, I’ve been reflecting a lot on pride.  Admittedly, it’s something I’ve been struggling with for quite a long time, sort-of in the same up-and-down way you’d struggle with drinking or drugs: having too good an opinion of yourself can be an addiction, you know?  And like any addiction, pride gets into trouble a lot: it makes me bitter, unforgiving, inclined to brooding on past hurts and old mistakes.  It’s even been instrumental in ending a friendship or two…or six.

…Okay, maybe not literally six.  I doubt I’ve had that many close friends, to be honest.

Recently, I was on the road to doing just that: more-or-less ending a long-established friendship, on the basis of quite a few resentments that I let fester for too long.  I was taking the path of what I thought was least resistance:  avoiding the person, not saying anything, trying to live my own life.  It helped somewhat, I have to admit.  Part of the toxicity of the friendship was due to the fact that I let myself get a bit too codependent on the person–I’m a little like Brad Pitt; I always end up looking like my significant others–and the distance allowed me to clear my head and establish my identity outside of being the name on the other end of an ‘and.’  But there’s getting some much-needed space…and there’s outright disowning, and to be honest I was planning on pushing through with the latter.

I would have pushed through with the plan too, if it wasn’t for a tiny detail: I missed this person.  The more I figured out who I was–the healthier I became as I “detoxed”–the more I wanted to share the journey with them.  Except I couldn’t, because I was too busy resenting them for things, some of which to be honest I only half-remembered.  I was trying to accumulate a laundry-list of offenses to convince me to give up this person for good, but whenever I got around to it, all my arguments ended up falling flat.  Meanwhile, something was growing increasingly clear: I missed them.

Which brings me to the “life lesson” (or “word of wisdom,” or whatever you’d like to call it; basically it’s the kind of stuff you superimpose over hipster pictures on Tumblr) for the week: Life’s too short not to say, “I miss you.”

I think a lot of the time, we’re afraid of putting it out there that we miss people.  We don’t want to look too clingy, or else inflate people’s egos, or, sometimes, because we’re unwilling to forgive and let go.  While admittedly there are times when “I miss you” will look clingy and definitely it can inflate certain people’s egos (those are the sorts of people you have no business missing though, to be honest), that last issue…is more of a non-issue.  Missing that person is a signal that there was some good in that relationship, that there’s something there that needs salvaging, and would be wasted if you kept stewing in your own anger.  I’m a big believer in the saying that “You always hurt the ones you love,” and that it also cuts both ways: the ones you love will hurt you, too.  That’s the reality of loving someone–you let them get close enough to cut you apart in ways people you hold at a distance never can.  It’s a risk, but it’s one we all have largely agreed is worth taking, and thus have to be willing to accept the consequences for.

And let’s face it: they’ve taken the risk too, so chances are you’ve hurt them as well.  No one’s completely innocent of blame in a misunderstanding.  If it was so, then why would arguably one of the best Broadway anthems on friendship, For Good, include lyrics that go, “And just to clear the air, I ask forgiveness for the things I’ve done you blame me for.  But then I guess we know there’s blame to share, and none of it seems to matter anymore.”

Because when you miss someone, it’s a signal that it doesn’t.

Sure, yes, there will be friendships that, no matter what you do or could have done, will inevitably drift apart.  That’s life’s ebb-and-flow in action.  But there’s a friendship brought to its natural conclusion–a passive kind of nostalgia, borne out of reminiscing–and then there’s one that was ended before it’s time, all because we were too afraid to take one more step of vulnerabilty and say “I miss you,” usually followed by the other ‘three words, eight letters’ combination.  Because missing someone has everything to do with loving them, and sometimes saying “I miss you” can be an even greater proof of love than saying “I love you.”  You miss essentials, things that were a part of you, valuables.  Saying “I miss you” is tantamount to saying “I value you.”

And if you do, is any resentment worth hanging on to?

Befitting the drama queen that I am, I said “I miss you” in the midst of a high-octane confrontation, full of soap opera crescendoes, frantic hand gesturing, and, of course, lots of tears, mostly on my part (my friend isn’t one to cry as much).  In the end, though, I managed to choke out those three little words, and mean it: “I miss you.”  It didn’t invalidate that she hurt me, and it didn’t make up for the fact that I hurt her, but in saying that I laid down my weapons, issued my terms of surrender, and admitted that life was too short to waste a good friendship, even with all its attendant problems.  And it felt good to say.  It somehow made letting go, and owning up to my side in the conflict, easier.  It isn’t a magic fix.  I anticipate more bumps in the road as we both navigate the two newly-minted individuals (all gangling limbs and growing pains) we’ve become.  But at the very least there is fewerI hesitate to say absolutely none; nobody’s perfect–baggage between the two of us.  One less wall.

Life’s too short to live behind walls.  It’s too short to walk around brooding.  It’s too short to be proud.  And it’s definitely too short not to say, “I miss you.”

~ARoamingTsinay~

P.S.
Hopefully I can have a new installment of HTGU (yep, defs sticking with that abbreviation) by next week, but no promises.  Finals season is open season, and I have to keep my grades from getting shot. :))