Saturday, December 31, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
In the middle of answering the question, "How was 2011 for you?", I realized that I had quite a number of crises this year. During our annual Christmas dinner, my three office friends were eagerly listening to my response to the question, and like always, while sharing my answer, my train of thought was changing lanes: thoughts of what I learned about friendship this year manifested and I shared what was in my head.
I realized that my closest friends in the office are not really the people I hang out with outside workplace. I mean, we really spend majority of our lives with each other and we had an unbreakable bond already so that's why we don't tambay in the weekends like we used to.
I realized I needed my friends outside the work area.
I had a female friend whom I thought was my soulmate. She resented that I called her my fag hag before. But after years of dealing with her immaturity and angst, I realize she's nothing but a fucking hag. That sounds cruel but there's no other way to call her but that after what she has been doing to me. That deserves another blog entry, I guess.
Majority of my friends outside work are the PLUs I met in so many groups. I used to be part of a lot of factions of guys who claim to be straight-acting. The consensus of these groups was that we hung out with people who didn't seem to be obviously gay, fashion-wise, looks-wise, and behavior-wise. Of course, I was naive back then and I needed affirmation that I was okay despite my sexual orientation. Time came when I got sick of these people because the groups transformed into fishing ponds for flings and relationships. That was back in 2001-02.
Around the same time, I founded another group when I felt that my first group was beginning to get shallow. This is where I met Mugen and Rocco who have become my closest friends ever since. We were part of this group who's more accepting than the previous one and the bonding times were memorable because everyone was acting who they really were.
At one point, I asked myself: am I friends with these people because of our sexual orientation?
Before I thought of it as a big deal since I lived most of my life in the shadow, suppressing my opinions and ideas because of the fear of rejection and other people finding out that I am gay. So it was really a big, big deal that I became a part of a group who knew the real me.
Another side question: is my sexual orientation all there is to me?
Apparently not. I realized that the people whom I really could relate to and call friends are the ones whom share with a special kind of belief, lifestyle, principles. I could be 100% honest with them and we trust each other completely.
Among more than three to four dozens of people within the group, I could think of only five people whom I would trust with my life--whom I would be able to share everything there is about me; whom I would never tire of hanging out with and bonding with.
Good thing is that, at the latter part of 2011, I resolved to hang out with two of these five people more often. And I am glad that in the last three months, we were together for quite a number of weekends, probably more than the number of times we hung out in the previous five years.
To Mugen and Rocco, you are my Christmas gifts this year. Thank you for the gift of friendship and brotherhood. Merry Christmas to both of you and see you guys, soon!
Posted by Super Mario P. at 10:05 AM
Thursday, December 22, 2011
It's semestral break once more; finally, I have a lot of time to blog. To get me started, I'll start with a writing exercise. I hope that some of my blogger readers will do this exercise/game with me. :)
Rules of the Music Shuffle Memory Game:
1. Play a playlist on your iTunes or any music software that you always listen to. If you don't have a playlist, play the entire song list on shuffle.
2. Play any song then hit forward to reveal your first shuffle song.
3. Write any memory associated with the song. If there's nothing special about the song, just list it down as well.
4. Continue doing so until you have played 5-20 songs. Or when your blog entry is too long already.
5. No cheating. Whatever the song is, write about it. Write anything as long as you have to stop writing when the song ends. You can press forward anytime as long as you feel that the your memoir about the song is already sufficient.
Here's mine. I have about 6,000 songs on my iTunes Library but I listen to a playlist I named "Faves" which has 1,438 songs in it. Here we go.
All I Wanna Do - Sheryl Crow
This reminds me a lot of high school. I remember a classmate who told me that he hates Sheryl Crow because she is like the DJ Alvaro ("Ang Tipo Kong Lalake" singer) of the US music scene. I like this song because it's an upper. I like happy songs in general.
"All I wanna do is have some fun until the sun comes up in Santa Monica Boulevard."
7 Days - Craig David
Perfect. This song reminds me of college days. There's this guy, Mac, who was a crush. Unfortunately he was very straight. I remember he went to my place one time and we were playing scrabble. It was particularly hot in my place and he took off his shirt while this song was playing in the background. Gulp. He didn't have any idea that I swing his way. Nothing happened, of course. I think I lost in the game; the sweat on his torso was distracting. Haha.
"I met this girl on Monday, took her for a drink on Tuesday
we were making love by Wednesday, and Thursday, Friday..."
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
Remember Camille Velasco? Hahaha! She was a Pinoy finalist on American Idol with Jasmine Trias. She sang this song on the show and the performance was just ok. I was with my ex back then and he looooved Camille Velasco's husky voice. I wonder where she is right now. She could be my relative, by the way because I'm related to Velascos in the Philippine province where she's from. No, we don't look alike.
"So goodbye, yellow brick road, where the dogs of society howl..."
I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
In high school, there was The Beatles craze when I was in my first year. The seniors back then, out of the blue, started listening to The Beatles in the campus. And everyone was infected by the Beatlemania. I remember a crush I had singing this song in our bus transpo service.
"And when I touch I feel happy... inside.
It's such a feeling that my love I can't hide."
Sharp Dressed Man - ZZ Top
Another song I downloaded because of American Idol. I think David Cook sang this in the finale. Never had an idea of the existence of this band until the song was performed in the show. That's what I liked about American Idol before--I get to hear classic American songs which I never heard of before.
"Clean shirt, new shoes, and I don't know what I am gonna do."
I Love New York - Madonna
Finally, a gay song. LOL. This is my favorite song from her dance album, "Confessions on a Dance Floor". The song reminds me of the time when I frequented Malate years ago. Had a lot of fond memories on the streets of Nakpil and Bocobo. Nah, Orosa was too gay for my gay friends so we were hanging out elsewhere. But of course, we were looking at people who were passing by and going to the gay, gay O street. I love Madonna, by the way. And NY is my most fave place in the US. I haven't been there. But I would love to see NY first if I do.
"New York is not for little pussies who scream
If you can't stand the heat, then get off my street."
All You Need is Love - The Beatles
This is not really my most fave song from them but it is an anthem to all lovers out there. Oh yeah, I have the entire The Beatles catalogue in my iTunes library, all remastered.
"Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It's easy. All you need is love."
She's Out of My Life - Josh Groban
I like this version, but not as much as I love the original. I was listening to this song when I broke up with my ex. Ack. Next.
"She's out of my life. And I don't know whether to laugh or cry."
If I Fell - The Beatles
Cute song which I love. I told you I have their entire discography on my iTunes library. LOL. No particular memory about this song.
"Don't hurt my pride like her. 'Cause I couldn't stand the pain."
Sing A Song - Earth, Wind & Fire
Not really a fan of song before I was able to download a best of EWF about three years ago. There was a time that my music library was 150 Gb! I had 60,000 songs on my iTunes library. It was fun until my photos started to need more space. So I deleted 90% of the songs I had. Most of them were downloaded because of "1,000 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". Well, I'm not dead yet. I can redownload them anytime. Thanks to the wonderful world of torrents.
"When you feel down and out, sing a song, it'll make you day."
I Knew I Loved You - Savage Garden
This was, for a time, my and Luigi's song. Haha. We had a whirlwind kind of romance. I'll write about that in another blog entry. Anyway, I fell in love with this song when I saw the music video back in my college days. It even inspired a poem which was published somewhere after experiencing riding the MRT for the first time, you know, the time when you can actually still sit down and get a lot of space between you and the other passengers. The music video features a love-at-first-sight experience on a train. The first time I rode MRT, there was this really beautiful guy in front of me. I sort of fell for him and this song was playing in my head.
"I think I dreamed you into life."
Maalaala Mo Kaya - Ryan Cayabyab
Yeah, I have a wide range of musical preference. I was a choir member before (surprise!) in a very popular group in the university. That probably made me like Ryan Cayabyab's One album so much. He recorded all of the vocal parts of the song himself. In a nutshell, he did the soprano, alto, bass, and tenor parts and recorded them separately, blended them in single records. Awesome. This song reminds me of the local tv show and I sort of used this song when I made a compilation album for my ex.
"Ligaya sa puso ay di na mapaparam."
Wall-E theme - Thomas Newman
I love this movie and the OST rocks. I'm fond of soundtracks ever since I bought the OST of Disney movies in the 90s.
No lyrics, sorry.
It Ain't Over Til It's Over - Lenny Kravitz
Kravitz must be a vampire. He's a music icon in the 80s and he still looks damn sexy today. Looking forward to his gay-ish role in The Hunger Games movie. Did I say I think that he's really fuckin' sexy?
"So many tears I've cried, so much pain inside
But baby it ain't over till it's over."
Nessun Dorma - Lani Misalucha (live)
This is probably my most listened to classical song. And I think Lani Misalucha pulled it off. If I remember it right, the song is about a princess who has suitors who must answer a riddle before given the chance to wed her; if they fail, they will be beheaded. Aside from the weird fact, the song is very uplifting.
"Nessun dorma! Tu pure, o Principesa, nella tua fredda stanze, guardi le stelle."
Translation: "None shall sleep! None shall sleep! Even you, O Princess, in your cold bedroom, watch the stars"
Ok, that's about it for today. I'm a bit frustrated that Eraserheads and other local pinoy bands didn't make it into the shuffle. Anyway, gotta grab dinner. Will blog a lot soon.
Posted by Super Mario P. at 7:03 PM
Monday, December 5, 2011
I was probably depressed all my high school life. It didn't help that I studied in a Catholic school for boys (and gays) and that my parents' house was far from the rest of my classmates. And definitely, it didn't help that I was figuring out for myself that I was not like my classmates: unlike them, I liked them much more than the girls whose photos were in their wallets. My family was also in shambles: my straight brother hated me, being an overachiever that I was, and my sister was discovering that she fancied girls as well. And my parents were splitting up and fighting like crazy.
I drowned myself in television soap operas and nonsense local shows, listening to my cassette tapes, watching Laser Discs(!) and, I feel embarrassed to admit this but it's the plain truth, I was doing some cross-stitching. Seriously. Of course, nobody but my family knew I was doing it. My mother sponsored me and bought the DMC threads I needed. I think I was able to finish at least eight separate cross stitch work and I felt proud of those things. They were framed and are still hanging on our house walls in the province.
Picture the typical nerd/geek in a high school: chubby, with glasses, brooding. That was me. Except I didn't dig comic books and science fiction stuff--I was not really into reading until college. My classmates knew me as the math genius (not really, and UP Diliman proved this later on) and they teased me and my prominent forehead endlessly.
I was drifting--in senior year, I didn't even know what course to take. Heck, I didn't even know what to do with my life. I ticked the box that said Computer Engineering in the UPCAT application form because I didn't know what to do. I passed the exam and, as if fate intruded, UP Diliman didn't accept me for engineering but for any non-quota course. Great, I thought, even the university didn't know where to place me.
I contemplated committing suicide many times. I thought that there was no hope for me: I didn't have close friends at home, I was crushing on a lot of my classmates, and I thought I would die a virgin. The idea of getting a crush drunk and raping him crossed my confused mind. In my head, I was fucked.
You know the proliferation of "It gets better" video after the LGBT community joined forces to stop or help prevent teenage gay suicides? I needed that the most in the mid-90s. Only the Internet was not yet popular back then, and a lot of people like me were still hiding in their safe, warm closets.
I remember feeling like a complete shit, that my life was worthless, and that being gay was the worst thing in life.
I remember crying alone in the dark where no one could see my sad fucked-up face. I remember covering my loneliness and forgetting my problems with every cross-stitch pattern I finished. I remember jerking off nightly, and even doing it in public areas: in the library, school transport service, school toilet, and even in the classroom (while the teacher was teaching). Maybe, unconsciously, I wanted to get caught, get noticed. Too bad I was too good at hiding things and jerking off inconspicuously.
So how did I survive and leave this hell?
I held on. I didn't do any thing stupid. I just let life do its thing.
The biggest turning point in my life was the time I spent a year in the seminary. And this probably deserves another blog entry. It was all good after that. I went away from my family, went out of the seminary to go to UP Diliman, where I felt free from the past, and finally, as cliche as it can get, I found love. But the road wasn't smooth, of course; I was heartbroken many times, had my share of flings, and a couple of serious relationships before I realized that I'm finally settled and happy with my Luigi.
It's the first time that I wrote something about my high school infernal life. Maybe this is the reason why I'm very optimistic now in my adult life. It's true, that damn cliche: what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger.
Posted by Super Mario P. at 6:28 PM
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Not a lot of my friends know this: Luigi experimented with drugs before. He tried a lot, he told me when we were still dating. Back then, I was really squeamish when somebody talked about illegal substances--I wasn't being too prude, but I did try marijuana before, and it didn't really hook me or anything. So when Luigi told me about his old drug problem, I told him that I would probably stop seeing him if he tried drugs again. That was about four years ago.
Somewhat related fact: he admitted before that he was clinically diagnosed as a bipolar. At first, I didn't want to believe him, but I did notice that his mood swings were really crazy. I began seeing his mood too clearly: I know when he's happy and he laughs at the silliest things and I also can smell his depression from a mile away.
Two years ago, he underwent about two months of depression. He wasn't happy with his work and he had a colleague who was flirting with him. He told me that the guy was taken so I shouldn't be worried. But one day, I came home and found him staring at the laptop with all of the lights in the apartment turned off. His eyes were glued to the screen. I didn't mind him at first. But minutes later, when I asked him about dinner, I saw that he had this strange look in his eyes. His pupils were dilated. I didn't have to guess, but I knew that he was high.
It was extremely hard for me to swallow my pride and my principles/values and told myself that I should help him rather than break up with him for this troubling mishap. I asked him for the truth and he did tell me. I told him that he should talk to me rather than resort to using drugs. I went out of the house and walked and prayed for him. I reflected on how much I loved Luigi and I realized that my love for him was powerful enough not to be swayed by this weakness. I love him not just for his strengths but also for all his weaknesses and strange idiosyncracies.
We pulled through that crisis and we promised each other that we would be honest about our problems. He promised to be clean from then on. I prayed for that promise not to be broken. And I prayed for strength if the promise goes to the dogs.
All was well until the past few days... he's been telling me that he's getting depressed again. Good thing was that he told me about his situation and that he's looking for a psychiatrist and that he really does want to get help. He seemed brutally honest, so I trusted him and just agreed to what he planned to do.
Last night, after dinner, near midnight, I was slightly annoyed that we had to go look for an open Mercury drugstore to buy his Prozac or something like that, an anti-depressant. I asked him if he could wait until Sunday to buy his meds. He told me he wouldn't feel right until he knew he bought them. We found three closed Mercury drugstores in Cubao and found the one near EDSA-Aurora intersection open past midnight. He bought 30 tablets and after purchasing them, I saw his face looking relieved.
We went home, and I was happy that he was happy and felt calm. He fell asleep instantly without drinking his prized capsules and tablets. Better with legal ones than getting high with you-know-what.
This might sound strange but this complication in Luigi never fails to make me fall for him. I think I can use a cliche and pull a Ke$ha and say that his love is really my drug. Maybe I need a shrink, too.
Posted by Super Mario P. at 11:41 PM
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I just woke up from an awful nightmare. In my dream, I found myself going back home with a deaf student. My parents were there but I was really not surprised by their presence. You see, in reality I live with Luigi and our pets, but in the nightmare, my mom and my stepdad were both there when me and the deaf student arrived. I just remembered also that in the dream, I was speaking to the deaf student and he understood everything I said--maybe he was lip reading because his interpreter wasn't there. He even spoke back to me in broken English. And in some weird logic, we went home together because I had to get something from home and he just happened to live nearby.
It was unusually quiet when I arrived. My parents welcomed me and strange enough, I also saw former students in my house. They were preparing to leave. One just got out of the bathroom and was starting to wear his uniform. I said hi, and both did the same. Then, my eyes found my pets. They seemed happy from a distance but something was off. I realized that they were fettered. Luigi and I almost never tie our dogs to a post, so I was dismayed that my parents did that. I was almost sure my stepdad did it because he's the type of guy who would tie a dog or put a dog in a cage.
My dogs are typically malambing whenever I arrive at home so it was also surprising to me that the dogs were quiet in my dream. My cat was also conspicuously absent. So I went to the dogs and saw one of them with a new haircut and he seemed wet. So I went to him and traced the knot and the lining of the leash. As I was feeling the length of the leash, I was dumbstruck when I found out that the metal chain passed through the head and into the eyeball socket of the dog. I yanked it out. And suddenly I heard or rather felt the dog gave a cry--but it was a silent cry. I discovered that as I yanked out the end of the hook of the leash, I accidentally removed the eyeball. It plopped out and fell into my hands. I screamed in terror and in anger at what my stepdad had done! And then when I tried to comfort the dog, it was crying but it was strangely mute, I couldn't hear it crying.
And when I looked at the other eyeball, I realized that the other socket was a freaking white niche of emptiness.
Posted by Super Mario P. at 5:15 AM
Monday, November 7, 2011
I hate money. I hate how it screws up one's daily disposition, social relationships, and personal welfare.
I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. In fact, I could honestly say that we were very, very poor. My parents got married when they were still teenagers; my grandparents hated them both for following their hearts and committing way too early. I remember that my parents rented a very small house--it could probably be called a bahay kubo with today's standards. I remember vividly when I was a kid, about five or six, when my mother told me that we wouldn't be able to eat anything except rice, mantika, and toyo for an entire week. I didn't have any idea then that we were damn poor because Mama worked so hard just to support me and my siblings. A decade later, my parents got separated because of money as well; my mother's business skyrocketed and she ended up being able to buy house and car for us; my father hated himself for earning less and found his ego when he found another woman who appreciated him.
As a college student, I lived on hefty weekly allowance; I was able to indulge in my guilty pleasures: I bought a lot of stuff, dined with friends in good restos. As a graduation gift, my mother told me that she would shoulder my monthly condo rent. Life was a beach.
Mid-2000s, the momentum of Mama's business started dwindling. New business competitors arose, and she told me she wouldn't be able to support my condo rent. That time, Luigi suggested that we move in to a small apartment so that we could share expenses and spend less. It was hard for me to swallow my pride because I wasn't used to living a simple lifestyle.
Eventually, when my expenses couldn't keep up despite the ascetic lifestyle we imposed for ourselves, Luigi had an idea that would change our lives: he told me that I could do a sideline that could earn a lot of money. Nothing illegal, but doing it would mean I would work even on weekends. A few months later, Luigi and I found ourselves moving into a big condo unit which we still call home to this point.
We both have regular jobs, but we rely so much on my sideline that it's probably the source of more than 50% of our monthly expenses. Luigi eventually became comfortable with the arrangement that I spend more money than he does. It was not really an issue to me because I believe that our love is unconditional. I give what I can give.
In the past few months, my sideline started to regress. I found myself struggling to keep our finances stable. The issue was that I had been keeping these financial problems to myself. And so today, Ifind myself feeling stressed out, worrying about funding a check that needs to clear soon and about the upcoming expenses this week.
And when I get stressed out, I find myself eating. I told Luigi a while ago that I want to eat ice cream. He was watching TV, so he was quite nonchalant. I needed some air so I went out to get the ice cream. I got an 800 mL Reese-flavored Ice Cream. I started digging into the ice cream tumbler and thank God, he noticed that something was wrong. I told him that we might have some financial trouble in the next few days. He asked for the details, so I told him. He told me that he's also quite broke and that his salary will come in mid-November. I told him I might need the money before that. The conversation was awkward that I just went to our room and played with my iPad as he continued watching his TV show.
He went upstairs also and apologized for not being able to help. I wanted to tell him that it's just me. I hate anticipating the time when money will just run out. I grew up seeing how my parents worked hard for money and how money shattered their relationship. I'm afraid to have the same kind of failure so I don't really like discussing financial matters with Luigi.
I told him before he went to sleep, Don't worry. We'll find a way.
I went back to kitchen and continued eating the fucking ice cream.
Posted by Super Mario P. at 10:55 PM