beauty & madness

Aesthetics is a tricky thing.

THE NEED TO BE BEAUTIFUL

if you haven’t read the article THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING BEAUTIFUL by Sidney Katz, please do. all of my students in sociology had to read this in relation to our studies on social stratification. i wish i could provide a copy of the article itself, unfortunately, i cannot. you have to get the book edited by James Henslin called DOWN TO EARTH SOCIOLOGY. believe you me, do yourself a favor and get this book. it would be money well-spent.

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people like to believe… pretend… that there is a depth in their soul not immediately discernible to the human eye. we would like to think that we do not judge and should not be judged based on our looks alone. we want others to think that we are NOT superficial, that we ARE the type of people who look beyond the SURFACE of things, that we mock labels and would not be part of the shallow, ignorant majority that makes up society.

going back to the article, if you do get to read it… you will find out that the moment we are born, our looks define how others would see us, how they would act towards us, and, ultimately…  how we would see ourselves. what is called society in us… the “looking-glass”… a “cute, cuddly baby” would be held more often than the gaunt, sickly or less physically appealing counterpart… a lady coming in as “plain jane” would fail on the first interview… and miraculously get the job when she comes back  for the same job interview after a makeover. have you seen THE SWAN? see what lengths people would go through just to have a shot at success (or what defines it)… at work, in life, in their personal relationships…

sometimes we wonder about those “crazy American teenagers” who want to get a nose job at age 16 or 17… and why jenny went from a size 12 to a size 2… ballooned up to a 14 and is now a size zero… nothing, nada. who do you think jenny did it for? why? for herself? for a guy? for her to “fit in”? who’s to know. we’d all like to think she did it for herself. how about Korean celebrities, most of whom are notorious for going under knife to improve their appearance starting with surgery to get that elusive double-eyelid? sigh. is the epicanthic fold a fault now, or simply out of vogue?

and it is not just about the size or the weight… there’s age, hair color/texture/length/style, height, eye color, the plumpness of the lips, the nose ridge, etc., etc. the woman’s breast has to either be augmented or reduced, but definitely has to be lifted, same as the tummy, the face and the chin. everything has to rise upward. the collagen to plump up the lips, BOTOX® to smoothen the wrinkles… and these are among the mildest measures available. some people just drastically want to change their whole face/body.

JUDGING THE COVER

then there are those people who are born with “it”… the x-factor. now i am not saying that all good-looking people are dumb, not at all… but those who are dumb yet breathtakingly beautiful, attractive at the very least…  do seem to get away with it. they seem to have it easy. and sometimes, these beautiful creatures need not lift a finger… nor exert any effort to get things done their way… the commoners 🙂 simply react to the heavenly creatures life sends their way… unable to avert their gaze, reduced to servants at the sight of such beauty… captivated, hypnotized.

as life would have it, there are people who are pleasant to look at with the good manners to match, just as we know of certain angelic looking creatures masking the vilest of tempers and the greyest of dispositions. one way or another, there are times when a book may be judged by its cover. an impertinent looking person who is by all means rude… a rotund individual who is a bit of a glutton, a gaunt, miserly character who has enriched himself because of avarice.  then there are people we term as downright “ugly” possessing the kindest, most generous and affectionate of hearts. oh well, who are we to judge?

BEAUTY ACROSS TIME & ACROSS CULTURES

it has oft been quoted that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”… a statement that holds true as we take a quick tour across the centuries and across different societies asking the same question: what is beautiful?

during the corset’s heyday, women had waistlines as tiny as 18 inches (or less). it is no wonder fainting spells were common among women during that period… dizziness having been attributed as a highly feminine trait. the women spent hours and hours of pushing & squeezing in whatever fat their bodies possessed, binding themselves in the corset with laces and stays usually made of whalebone or metal and yards & yards of ribbons. the corset was actually used by both men and women, but has been more commonly associated with females since it kept the waistline to a minimum while overemphasizing the size of the bust and hips… thus creating the “hour glass figure” and a more desirable posture since  its binding effect would force the wearer’s shoulders back.

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in olden France, especially during the reign of Louis XIV well until Louis XVI, both men and women used cosmetics, high heeled shoes, wore beauty marks (shaped like stars or hearts) and clothes/accessories with ribbons, silk and lace. people glided like ballerinas and rules of proper behavior and decorum were strictly followed by ladies and gentlemen of the court. men “beautified” themselves as much as the women did, wearing powdered wigs, stockings and plenty of ruffles.

the painful ancient foot binding practice in China has always been a source of fascination for social scientists and for those who consider it a cultural curiosity. one explanation given for this tradition which began among the wealthiest of the upper class is that tiny feet (which usually did not allow the owner to walk unaided) were considered a mark of social standing and great wealth. poor womenfolk had to help out in the fields and undertake all kinds of manual labor, hence, may not have done this so for practical reasons.

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the upper class, on the other hand, saw the process of keeping the feet of their daughters tiny as a symbol of the lack of need for their girls to labor since they have been born into lives of privilege. their “golden lilies” were bound and this binding procedure involved breaking the arch of the foot, making them basically club-footed. it is said that the gentle swaying movement (called the Lotus Gait) brought about by the imbalanced footing attracted men sexually. in the novel THE GOOD EARTH, nobody wanted to marry O-lan because of her big “man feet”… apparently, the foot binding practice later permeated even the lower echelons of society. this practice was later banned and outlawed with the advent of communism.

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using neck rings, on the other hand, is a practice most often associated with some African and Asian societies. among the Kayan tribe in the area bordering Myanmar and Thailand, the women begin to wear neck rings during childhood. as the girl grows older, additional brass rings are placed around her neck to elongate it — a symbol of beauty in their culture. the coils of brass push down the clavicle (collarbone) and the ribs causing some degree of trauma on the neck blood vessels and leading to the atrophy of the neck muscles that have become too dependent on the support of the brass rings.

in the Philippines, women who are described as “balbon” have very fine hair on their skin and are considered attractive by most, if not all. in other places such as the US and Middle East, women take great pains in keeping themselves relatively hairless, save for the scalp area. women undergo painful waxing procedures to keep up with this standard of beauty. the hot wax product that has to be sloshed onto the area and the sudden tearing off of hair from areas of tender  flesh will make even the boldest man recoil and scream in agony… but a lot of women go through this process almost as if it were an essential part of the mating ritual.

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in Asia, some naturally tan women rub on whitening soap, whitening lotion and consume tablets of glutathione and vitamin C just to have fairer complexions. others take it to the extreme and go through bleaching procedures that render them immobile for hours, and a few get some physical evidence of their folly when they get scarred by the chemicals used. and mind you, a lot of “beauty” bleaching products contain carcinogenic ingredients. some Caucasian women, on the other hand, go to tanning salons or actually expose themselves to the sun to bronze their skin running the risk of getting skin cancer or melanoma.

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there are a million other ways of illustrating how different people define beauty in whatever way they can, and try to live up to the standards they set… even at the expense of their health and well-being.

JUDGING DAILY

every single day we find ourselves in different places and sizing up people (usually with them not knowing) even if it is just for amusement. we make judgments, form opinions… even come up with scenarios/stories whose sole basis (most of the time) is the appearance of the object of our scrutiny.

we are not always wrong… there are women who dress up in leather, lace, fishnet stockings and sequins who do turn out to be prostitutes… and there are men whose getup makes them seem like the gigolos they truly are. there are those women whose sole fashion style seems to belong to the 50s… dress dowdily or primly and you won’t find it a surprise that such women really are conservative. but where do you think that fantasy involving a prim & proper miss turning into a sexy vixen come from? hahaha…

it IS funny… but such fantasies and others like it stem from the recognition that sometimes… there really IS something beyond the façade of beauty or ugliness… and there are some things not seen with the naked eye… we accept that we can make errors of judgment, but the beauty… oh the beauty… we are all slaves to it one way or another.

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as for the babies… the babies… it doesn’t matter if your son or daughter inherited too much of the angular features of his/her side of the family… or the beaky (or broad, flat) nose… or the squinty eyes… or whatever feature(s)  you think will make others see your child as less than cute, handsome or pretty…  we should… must try to give them a good head start in life, even when faced with the insurmountable criteria of beauty and odds built by the society we are born into.

and for us, now,  who claim to be non-slaves to social and cultural conformity (yeah, right)… why do we dye our hair? pluck our eyebrows? shave our beards? secretly purchase those growth tablets being advertised on the Home TV Shopping channel? is it for our personal comfort? our health? or is it because we feel that doing this will make us look and feel better?

only you and i know the true answer.

tall/short, fair/dark, au naturel/hairless, blond/brunette, fat or thin…?

i don’t really care. but  pleeease… don’t make me shave my legs. 🙂 🙂 🙂

© Lovely Claire Dangalan, 2010

Pok-pok ka ba Kabayan?

Please pardon my words (although I am not really sorry).

THE PEOPLE IN THE AIRPLANE CLAPPED WHEN WE WERE ABOUT TO LAND… WHY?

Unlike a lot of people who’ve come to Dubai… with very high expectations… seeing the city as the answer to their dreams (reminds me of Dick Whittington dreaming of London and its streets paved with gold)… I had no such preconceived notions. I didn’t even want to come here in the first place, but I did come, since my dad suggested it would help me in preparing for the future… financially of course. I knew nothing of Dubai. I only heard of Abu Dhabi coz that’s where my aunts were… one of them has been in the UAE (Abu Dhabi) for about 27 years… and one after the other, members of our clan followed suit. But I was never curious enough to look it up or get to know anything about this country.

When I first arrived, I was scared of the mostly bearded men I saw in the airport, the strange noises, voices I could hear but could not comprehend. I was disoriented and frightened.  I kept remembering how my dad used to talk about the way of life in Saudi Arabia where it was so strict that he could not even bring pictures which showed some of us wearing sleeveless tops from the Philippines, even if they were just family pictures. So I was thinking, it can’t be so different here since the place is inhabited and owned by Arabs.

HARASSMENT AS A WAY OF LIFE

I stayed with my aunts in Abu Dhabi for a couple of months while waiting to get a job. And what shocked me out of my soon-to-be-proven-false ideas was the fact that although any kind of immorality is taboo (the same for most societies… although the definition of immorality is relative in different cultures) and, if proven true, heavily penalized, women could and men could, if they wanted to… they could do as they wished as long as they remained “discreet.” It’s like saying “to see is to believe”… you’ll be fine as long as you don’t get caught or put yourself in a compromising position that may lead to your exposure. I was even more shocked to know that there are actually prostitutes here and that women (& men) can and do get sexually harassed on a daily basis.

Case in point, I can’t recall how many times I have been harassed by taxi drivers while I was in Abu Dhabi. So there I was, a ‘normal’ friendly person… they make small talk… how are you? are you a kabayan? Segué No.1: I have never gotten used to saying this kabayan thing, don’t know why, but I have never completely gotten it into my system, coz honestly, I treat fellow Filipinos here the same way I do back home, with politeness, that is all… neither do I use the term “my friend” (friend is a much maligned word here) in addressing strangers who are non-Filipinos… anyway, I understood later that if you are a “kabayan,” it means you are a Filipino… Filibini they say… so, when thus  addressed, I say, yes I am. They usually only know about Manila or Cebu… don’t know why… maybe it’s because there’s a lot of them here? Simple observation would lead one to believe that Manileños and Cebuanos outnumber other Filipino ethnic groups, but I don’t have statistical info to confirm this. If they ask, I usually say I live in a place near Manila, that’s all.

So small talk is fine. Or so I thought. When I told my aunt, she said don’t talk to them at all… talking is considered a kind of propositioning. And yeah, I did get to know better. And it wasn’t just the taxi drivers. One time I was so late for my Arabic class that I ended up hitching a ride. I was waiting for a cab as usual, but there were hardly any, they didn’t stop coz they’d have a passenger already. And it was that time of day, around 2pm, when most people would be taking their afternoon break from work, including the cab drivers. Anyway, one car stopped and when this guy opened his window, I saw that he was a respectable looking Arab guy who seemed to be in his 40s. He offered me a ride. So I got in and there it was again, the small talk. Anyway, it was time for me to get off so I politely thanked him and said goodbye. Then he asked for my number. He must have thought, there I was, jobless & alone and maybe needed help… still, I said I have been told not to give my number to strangers. But I did hitch a ride he said. If I didn’t trust him, why did I get in his car in the first place. He was right. Not yet licensed 🙂 in giving fake numbers (but what they do sometimes is give a “miss call” to your face just to make sure… clever huh?!?), so I gave him my number. After that, he kept calling me. I didn’t answer. He got tired eventually.

One taxi driver just kept talking to me even when I stopped being polite. He was an old Pakistani chap… maybe in his late 40s or early 50s. Anyway, since I heard about women being harassed, even raped… I began to arm myself with a cutter. No fight without a struggle. I was just there staring ahead when he started to talk about the prostitutes there. He said Filibini expensive, but very very good. Filibini No. 1. Filibini very clean, smell good. Chinese ok 20 dirhams, then he turned around and said, come with me to my home 30 minutes only. I kept my cool. I shook my head and said, sir, I am late for my Arabic language class. My teacher is waiting for me. I don’t need to call my aunt and the police do I? Then he smiled and said, no problem. No problem.

My Mexican classmate wasn’t spared either. Married to a Lebanese-American guy, they had moved to Abu Dhabi since his work required it. That time, she still did not have a car and had to take cabs like I did. She told me of how one driver stared at her from his rearview mirror and tried to make small talk. She found herself pulling down her skirt to cover her knees and uncomfortably waiting to get to our school.

In Dubai, an old cab driver actually jacked off while I was inside the cab… God, what shit one has to go through… I was ready to cut that thing off… then I had to rethink my plan of action, I was still on visit visa and about to exit to Qeshm so I just had to make sure he took me to my other aunt’s place since she had my ticket. Thank God I did. But ugh, that was an awful, awful thing. And if my dad or any of my relatives are reading this, I am sorry I never told you. It’s a memory so humiliating and scary that I consciously tried to forget about it.

THE PINAY IN THE UAE

They say (who are “they”? I don’t really know) that the Filipina (usually) in Dubai needs five boyfriends: one to feed her, one to clothe her, one to give her telephone credit, one to give her money and one to have sex with. Ridiculous isn’t it? Isn’t it? Or is it?

I am ashamed to say that when my non-Filipino friends talk about this idiopathic stereotype of the Pinay, I couldn’t think of an argument strong enough to stolidly defend my “kabayans.” All I can say most of the time is that they don’t normally do that back home… must be money problems… it’s kinda like what Emile Durkheim says of anomie – when moral guidance / norms set by society seem absent or  the feeling of normlessness sets in… which is not difficult to imagine when men and women are uprooted (voluntarily or by force of circumstances) from their habitat, from their society, with all of its cultural norms and values… and are allowed to ‘run amok’ in another country where they are basically anonymous. Known unknowns, or is it unknown knowns? Yeah, there’s always the passport, visa and labor card for practical purposes… but that’s as far as it goes. You have all these ‘identity cards’ to prove who you are… but here, in a foreign country, people are free to reinvent who they are. And that is precisely what is happening. Married people become single overnight. A 40-year-old woman is now a decade younger. A bum back home is a kind and responsible prospective boyfriend. A woman who knows rudimentary English is relied on so much by her Arab boss who believes she is the best English speaker he has ever known.

The possibilities are endless.

POK-POK KA BA KABAYAN (KABAYAN, ARE YOU A HOOKER)???

The Pinay… tired, worn out and disillusioned that she would ever be able to save anything (because really, this place takes more than what it gives to most)… bravely scopes the dating scene hoping she’ll find the right guy. But is there a right guy? Or is it because she’s just the wrong girl? Frustration after frustration… she suddenly realizes, if they can… why can’t I? if a man can’t be serious, why should I be? Then she starts dating several guys at one time… a different guy for a different day of the week. Her frustration tolerance reaches new heights and her heart no longer gets torn into pieces every time a guy stops calling. She’s cool about dating now… she has learned to play the field.

Doesn’t justify how this would affect her morality. Doesn’t justify her not caring if people see her and the rest of her “kabayans” as some sort of bimbos… women with loose morals… and the men, oh the men… Filipino guys are usually seen as a pathetic lot. Mostly gays (who are at least productive) and straight guys who are losers.  Segué No. 2: The reason why other expats here think that Filipino men are losers is that most Filipino expats here are women, and this, combined with the reasoning that a man should provide, leads them to conclude that since the Filipino men cannot ‘bring home the bacon’ so to speak, their women have to go out of the country just to earn money, however which way.

Doesn’t justify her realizing that some guys do trade money for sex.  Doesn’t justify her thinking that money problems back home seem neverending.  Doesn’t justify the fact that she doesn’t always have sex with the guy. Doesn’t justify the fact that her day job pays her only two thousand dirhams or so.

Now she eats at these posh places, sometimes a guy would take her to a not-so-trendy place, but hey, she gets a free meal and the next guy might be better off. She just has to be more strict with her standards. It could be Neos the next time around… or Madinat Jumeirah or Club Cavalli

But hey, there are some women who do earn a decent living but still do this. Any extra cash is welcome. Someone I know has been so frustrated with men that she dates several at a time, not for the money or freebies… but to shield herself from further disappointment. She loses either way ofcourse. But that is her way of coping. And she is not alone.

And of course, there are the true victims who are forced into it.

Kabayan my foot. Some women get pushed into prostitution by their fellow “kabayans.”

They are promised jobs here, usually in sales, they sell their property and even get into debt back home paying for the placement and endless processing fees… and when they get here, their passport is taken away… and are taken directly to a hotel where a client is waiting to be ‘serviced.’ This form of human exploitation is one of the worst of evils.  And mind you, most of these women had white collar jobs back home and almost always are degree holders.

Tsk, tsk, tsk…

 THE LUCKY ONES

Of course there are a few Filipinas here who may be considered successful, in their careers or in their search for love, or both.

A career that gives a woman a great amount of financial freedom is a major accomplishment. Finding a guy who is a keeper is an even more major achievement. Having both is like… wow, the best of both worlds. These are the women who have a choice. They are the ones who, alone, can make or unmake their source of fulfillment.

And I have very little to say about them since they are a minority.

I am happy for them. That is all.

WHAT TO DO YANI?

Up until now, I am seen as easy. Every Pinay is seen as easy.

No woman is spared, whatever the nationality, from the leers, the stares… of the men who stop to look at us from head to foot, pausing somewhere in the middle… and slyly smiling. It doesn’t matter if you’re almost naked or wearing a shirt and jeans. We’re all the same to them. Just women. Just Filipinas.

Kumusta ka? Kumain ka na? Kabayan! It’s the other foreigners who say this to the Filipina.. thinking it might impress her or get her attention. It’s stupid and presumptuous, but sometimes it works.

A car would suddenly stop in front of you and the driver would say, can I be your friend? I will give everything you need. In the supermarkets… the same thing happens.

In fact, you can get propositioned anywhere.

It’s a crappy, crappy feeling to be seen as some kind of object… and I cringe at the thought that this guy knows I am a “kabayan” and that is why he is brazenly propositioning me…

I have been taught to value who I am and be proud of my lineage, my origins, my country.

I am not your kabayan. I am a Filipina.

And I know that I am better than you.

© Lovely Claire Dangalan, 2010

getting over…

getting over… sounds suspicious…hahaha. do we ever get over / under anything or anyone? idiomatically speaking? as an idiomatic expression, we find the term “get over IT”

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GET OVER IT

This is used when you need to forget something. 1) Sample: I can see that he hurt your feelings. You shouldn’t hold it against him. You need to get over it. 2) Sample: You’ll never get even with him. You need to get over it. Other related idiomatic expressions. 1) What’s done is done. 2) It’s water under the bridge.

From: http://www.eslteachersboard.com/cgi-bin/english/index.pl?read=2127

i would cite print references but my books have been left pretty much to themselves back home in the philippines, gathering dust and being eaten away by god-knows-what creatures… sigh.

so how do you get over (or under) anything? especially a breakup? suicidal tendencies aside (background music: Michael Bolton singing “How am I Supposed to Live Without You”)… most people i know would jump into the next “relationship” (or one night stand) for rebound relief. so much can be said of the rebound guy or rebound girl… in sex & the city, one of the three other characters (except Charlotte, i think, who’s actually the target of the comment) says that “… you’re not supposed to marry the rebound guy.” and it would be so like Samantha who’d have said: “you’re just supposed to have fun (with him) and move on…” like the Olympic torch, you grieve, get the rebound guy, rid yourself of bitterness and regret while having fun… pass him on to the next disaster case, and then move on to real dating. sigh. if only it doesn’t ever backfire. like they say, about the best-laid plans… they can & do get awry. so maybe you should ask your friends who eventually did get serious with their “rebound person”… did things work out? are they still together? married perhaps? or did they discover that giving something that casual a go simply was a big mistake?

then we can all learn from Addison Montgomery (played by Kate Walsh) of Grey’s Anatomy fame… you put him / her in a tiny little box and put that box in your pocket. better yet, throw it away, hehehe (evil!) or stick it somewhere, some place that will be eventually forgotten. well, that’s what she did with her ex-husband Derek (Patrick Dempsey) when they got divorced, put him in a teeny weenie box which she put inside her pocket. in a way, that would be some kind of “compartmentalization.”

Noun 1. compartmentalization – a mild state of dissociation

Compartmentalization, disassociation, dissociation – a state in which some integrated part of a person’s life becomes separated from the rest of the personality and functions independently

2. compartmentalization – the act of distributing things into classes or categories of the same type classification, compartmentalisation, assortment, categorisation, categorization grouping – the activity of putting things together in groups indexing…

From: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/compartmentalization

so what some people do is to relegate the ex in a certain part / section / chapter of his / her existence, a drawer in his / her life if you will, and keep the memories there… both hurtful and happy. what used to be a his & hers drawer is back to being a purely his or hers. alone again with a drawer or a box that will remain closed, tightly locked up… unless decided upon otherwise by the owner.

No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole;

Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll!

Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me,

Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!

The world forgetting, by the world forgot.

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!

Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;

Labour and rest, that equal periods keep…

– Alexander Pope (Eloisa to Abelard)

in the movie, Jim Carrey’s character Joel and Mary (Kirsten Dunst) go through a procedure to erase memories of a loved one, basically to purge their lives of the pain of having to re-establish their lives as single people after intensely happy / painful relationships with their exes… Joel’s being the free-spirited Clementine (Kate Winslet) and Mary’s being Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), the married doctor of Lacuna, the medical facility offering this memory erasure service. ofcourse, the procedure involves targeting specific memories associated with the subject to be erased. and all sensations, recollections, associations… both pleasant and unhappy, affection, dislike, elation, despair, suffering and joy… anything felt for the other person, any event associated with him / her, any fabric, hue, scent, weather, scenery… any object, any thing… will be obliterated, eradicated… no thing will be left. not even ashes. nothing.

on the other hand, Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) offered her friend Rachel (played by Jennifer Aniston) her own pearl of wisdom as Rachel struggled to get over Ross (David Schwimmer) being in london for his wedding (to Emily Waltham). Phoebe, pregnant with her brother’s triplets, asked Rachel to get a picture of Ross. she instructed Rachel to look at the photo intently…. immediately after which phoebe gave her a quick slap on the cheek, calling it aversion therapy so that Rachel would associate pain with images of Ross. hilarious huh?!?

but don’t some people do that? try focusing on the pain and all the bad memories… him being a major asshole… her being a pain in the ass, a bitch. super asshole and super bitch… going over and over those times the person was late or never turned up, didn’t even bother to call nor send a message, those times you would see the person online… wondering why on earth your boyfriend / girlfriend is online and you are clearly online but he / she has chosen to ignore you. totally. completely. how compromising pictures of him / her with another girl / guy turn up on the net and you are the last one to know. or when you find out he / she invited all of his / her friends to his / her parent’s anniversary… but not you. or if he /she does get you in… you’d be introduced as one of the guys… oh wow, that must hurt… after eight months… eight f***ing months… one of the guys my ass! You did his / her term paper for him / her first and got yours in late… you could be neck deep in shit, cramming for your exam, buried in debt… but every time he / she calls… you come running… every single f***ing time. what a cliché… but clichés become clichés coz they are all too real… and all too common.

some women i know tear up his stuff into shreds… make a puzzle out of his favorite jersey… some guys try to run over the new boyfriend, burn his car (like how George behaved irrationally in Desperate Housewives)… destructive behavior… sometimes harmful to others and sometimes to oneself…

others grieve quietly and stay away from the light… huddled in the dark and drowning in tears. while some stoically look into the distance and act like nothing happened, keeping everything and everyone at bay. cold and untouchable. silently brooding.

but the pain, the need to forget… no matter how much we try to delude ourselves… is pretty darn real. we get hurt, maimed, damaged… by the very people we set our hopes on. the people we made plans with. even just secretly, to ourselves.

even in dead end relationships— i call them relationships with an expiration date, whether long or short term ones… where there is simply little to no chance of you ending up together, ever. ever. the loving can so easily overtake all rationality… the passion, all-consuming… after setting everything on fire, eventually leaves everything in ashes. all hopes and dreams shattered into smithereens… gone. and you, once more, are devastated, shipwrecked and alone on an island of desolation & despair. how pathetic. but many have been there. the pain sears through the flesh and you can literally feel your heart aching & your throat closing as you choke back the tears.

and I don’t wonder why, in the film “Someone Like You,” Ashley Judd’s character Jane wanted to have her amygdala removed… so she won’t have to associate certain smells with Ray (Greg Kinnear), the guy who dumped her to get back together with his ex after convincing Jane to give up her old apartment and move in together with him in a new expensive place where he failed to turn up when he was supposed to. Jane, unknowingly, had been used by Ray as his rebound girl. anyway, Jane survived.

i have survived several breakups… each time i thought it was the end of the world… the end of my world. and what is ironic is this, whether or not you initiated the breakup, the hurt doesn’t just go away, it doesn’t get any less. and, sorry to my exes… I behave this way: i return stuff. anything he purchased for me, i have to return it. one time a guy refused to pick up the stuff I wanted to return to him… so i sent it over by courier. hey, i know it’s not at all the best kind of behavior… but it works for me. he can just throw it away i guess. i can’t bring myself to dump it in the garbage or burn it… so I have to return it. pictures have no side effects on me so i usually just keep them.

you’ll have your own way of surviving… of getting over. whatever works for you is fine, as long as it doesn’t ruin you or the other. bridges may be burned… it doesn’t matter. the baggage tends to get heavy as we go through life, and we sometimes have to let go so we can move on with our lives. continue life among the living… with family & friends.

we all do. we must.

have to.

life has to go on. our goals must still be set.

we can eat our sorrow for a while and gain a few kilos 🙂

then we have to get back on our feet again, take the next step and start moving forward.

© Lovely Claire Dangalan, 2010