Updated Editions

Up on this bridge, I stared at the the direction of your house.
Even if there was nothing there, it made me happy and hurt and regretful
The future we imagined is changing just like the scenery of this town.

– KAT-TUN – Hodoukyou

Many fans revolted when Maakiii, the former female vocalist of HIGH AND MIGHTY COLOR, went to the other side of the music spectrum and returned solo to release an electro- single. I myself was aghast to hear her voice severely autotuned and see her awkwardly strut toward the camera in a poppish vibe. However, upon seeing her post that she attended the SUN OF A STARVE live (the new band of her co-vocalist Yusuke), seeing they even posed for a picture, and they had a short exchange expressing recollections of their band, it made me think change is important but amidst the drastic transformations, an element in each of them never left.

KAT-TUN became a four-member band, losing an element of rap in their core. Shigeaki Kato carried on releasing his fourth book of short stories; ARASHI’s Satoshi Ohno had his second art exhibit, Freestyle 2, in Shanghai. Subaru Shibutani of Kanjani 8 delved into acting and from what I have heard, he was awarded Best Actor for “Misono Universe”. His band steadily developed as musicians through associations with other bands on their collaborative TV show. Subaru continuously became adept on harmonica, Yoko on trumpet, and Hina even expressed interest on the accordion. My favorite people were indeed growing up, but they never lost their childish and fancy sides. Take for example Kanjani 8, who are still a bunch of crazy thirty-somethings for dressing up as high school girls and performing as Canjani 8 (Which definitely made me insecure of my femininity). Last but not the least, they made me really happy when I heard their “more matured, rock version” of Zukkoke Otokomichi. (My all-time fave!!) They changed at one point, but they just accepted updates on another.

Come to think of it, How did I update myself?

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最後の手紙 [The Last Letter]

Dear Shige,

Happy 27th Birthday. I was not able to write a decent letter over the past two months due to many preoccupations. Happy birthday; as always l only wish for your happiness, and l am certain it includes knowing yourself more and breaking more grounds. For that reason, this will be the last you will read from me. Freedom is something I grant you, and also a great gift you have handed me albeit not personally.

l have lived floating on intangible hopes of you acknowledging me. Almost five years of dreaming wide awake, of reading between the lines, of staring up that blue sky, have been too long a wait. My heart is tired already, furthermore it is not getting any younger. Somehow, I have planted my feet on the ground, firmly enough to realize there was really never an us to speak of. lt’s only you, only me, and our lives ahead of us under our own control.

Still, thank you. You have become an instrument of great changes. You were my inspiration to always deliver my best and to believe that love does not have to be seen by the eye. Many times I tried changing you and suiting you to my ideals. But I was wrong; for this l am sorry too. You are best when you are you. Go on and be everyone’s blue sky.

This must be the end to a fairytale that never happened, huh? Many times l attempted fitting an abrupt ending, but this time, except for some bitter aftertaste, it leaves me a sense of coming in full circle, excitement for the wheels to turn, and curiosity if we will actually find each other around the bend… in another time, a different circumstance.

Thank you, Shigeaki.
You are always loved.

Pressing the “Send” button, I smiled.

Tailor-fitting for Specifications

Time is never time at all. You can never ever live without leaving a piece of youth.
And our lives are forever changed, we will never be the same
The more you change, the less you feel.
Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight

For the people who do not understand my absence, here’s my current situation, typed while waiting for precious sleep to overtake me.

I am in the process of participation and absorption of what is going on around me. Generally, I surprise myself at how realistic I attack things. Out of necessity to grow, out of something that I need to prove within myself. Maybe too, it springs out from a desire to be someone who others can be proud of. But primarily, I am doing this for myself. For I acknowledge how weak I am when it comes to being one-minded, confidence, and how I deal with others who I particularly dislike. Being judgmental, easily angered, slivers of self-doubts resurface… these things I cannot totally obliterate, but I can significantly reduce.

The people I met, no matter how fleeting, had an impact on me the past four months. There was this relative of a patient who urged me for three straight days to apply for work in one agency. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have scored such a wonderful opportunity to work for a prestigious hospital overseas. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the name of her daughter who is now working there. I should have told her I’m thankful for the sense of urgency her mother gave me. The man who I sat beside to while I filed for a community tax certificate reminded me how lucky I am to have finished a four-year professional course. I will definitely remember to greet him when I dine in Max’s restaurant in SM Southmall. Those women who I talked to while I waited in line for an employer interview – Cheska, Ross, Olena, and Bianca – reminded me how young I am, full of dreams and wonder. They gave me hope that I can land a more stable, successful state, given this youth which I really should not waste. Erika, the bubbly lady who talked to me while I fell in line for authentication of my employment certificate, made me grateful that I wasn’t so impulsive with my previous decisions and that I opted to stick with my job despite the dissatisfaction I’ve been experiencing. Lastly, Milette, the 38-year old gregarious lady whom I shared lunch with in KFC Robinson’s Manila acted like a savior to me. I immensely thank her for giving me valuable advice about life overseas. She told me not to trust anyone except myself, be accommodating but still be reserved and observant, and to ensure financial stability first before setting down. She told me I should aim for an NOC after two years, which will surely be my goal.  I am certain I will remember her face when the instances she related happen to me (but I hope they won’t) I thrived in these peoples’ support and have listened well to the tiny hints of which direction I should pursue. For this, I testify once more, that there is no coincidence in this world. We meet people for a reason.

And now, I exist in this place for reasons I won’t be able to enumerate. I cannot gloss on this enough, but I am thankful for having parents who are guiding and supportive but still giving me room to decide for myself. I thank them so much for teaching me lessons on saving money, investments, insurances, and diskarte as early as now. Most of all, I learn by their example. I see how helpful they are, at the same firm and resilient. Their love for their immediate families and relatives is insurmountable. The same goes for my friends who understand my need to be free. They also taught me how to stop holding on when it’s time to let go. Seriously, I cannot thank you enough. Our own stars are shining bright, and we’re paving separate ways to reach them. May we find the contentment we truly appeal for. To my coworkers in the ER, ICU, Wards, and Laboratory… who endured my clumsy, rough, antagonistic yet hypersensitive stages. I am immensely grateful for not giving up on me. During my three years tenure, I realized you are more than coworkers for me. You are already my family. There, I have no more words apt to say what I feel.

As I finished typing this entry, a dull ache lingered at my chest. More than immediate goodbyes, setting up countdowns to departures is truly heartbreaking. But this is for the better, so they say.

One

Today I realized that timing is very essential and everything indeed happens for a reason. One must wait and prepare for the best chance to come. I can say I am now a far cry from the impatient and impulsive Maki earlier this year. I can safely say I am now more realistic about my goals, certain about my dreams, and braver to take risks.

I will be waiting patiently for you, and make the relatively proper ways to gain steps closer to where you are.

On the lighter side, my high school friend Joan and I were talking about marriage. We had a bet who will be the first to get married in our group. I said our other friend Rosemarie will be first while Joan said SHE will be first. If you ask me why I cannot vote myself, it is because I have this strong feeling I will always prioritize my career first over love life. And if you ask me why I vote the two of them was because I already dreamed of their marriages in vivid detail earlier this year.

Drown

Caught beneath crashing waves I attempt to swim to a safer shore; uninfluenced, independent, non-obtrusive. I swallow waters too sour; the truth that the sky above remains unreachable and the whirlpool of disorientation constantly consumes. Sometimes I wonder when the tides will end, when the sea will calm so I can hold up my nose and breathe to keep my sanity from overtaking; willing me to hook an anchor, whirl a rope around my ankles to sink to the ocean floor, a reverse suicide. Zero hour, I struggle, sore calves kick against the strangling liquid, attempting to turn it in a certain shape to somehow make the yearnings, the ambitions I have always had, a little more tangible. So I float, icy waters stinging my throat, as I await a boat, a rescuer to render me secure.

Evolution, Revolution.

There evolves

a feeling of

being out there

                   evolves a feeling

                 of being out

                                there

                                evolves

                                a feeling

                                of being

                                                 out there

                                                evolves a

                                                feeling

                                                                         of being

                                                                                     out

                                                                                               there

Yes, I am.

I apologize for the long disappearance! I have been really busy with my life. In what ways? Let me count:

1.  Workplace – I celebrated my first year anniversary as a senior emergency room staff nurse last June 5. At these times, insights about my profession which enhanced not only my skills but also how I looked at life, at other people, and those insights changed me as a whole. It made me grow even a little. Explanations on another entry. Also, many improvements have been implemented for the past months in terms of working guidelines and equipments. It’s been exhausting adjusting to such changes, but because I see positive effects, I keep on working to uphold these improvements. Changes are really inevitable.

2. Freelance writing and blogging – I have actually passed the qualifying exams! I did four assignments so far, and I am actually earning! Despite the pressure of deadlines and revisions, I immensely enjoy researching on such a topic and learning new things. I get so high about writing that I sleep little and even forget eating! I even face the computer and claim a new assignment RIGHT AFTER my hospital work… My obsession is a bit scary, haha. Thank goodness there’s coffee and music to keep me awake!

3. My hobbies – During my solitude, I have been thinking that my interest on Japanese music and culture is a total waste of my time. I believed they distract me from my goals, the things I love most. After a little soul-searching, I realized that same as music and writing, these aren’t hobbies anymore. Instead, it is already a part of me. Through it, my social circle have broadened; I have met friends that I will definitely treasure. I discerned I will never be able to remove my love for Japanese things from my routine. These are the things that define me. I do not need to look further for the things that I love doing even in a lifetime; my heart knows the answers already.

4. Path to simplicity – I have removed my old clothes from my closet, and have given them away as donations. I am now living with a clean desktop, small lists, and a system for saving money and streamlining my files. Meditation has done a lot for me, and I do it before I start my day so I can stop delving on what I did, what I should have done or what I will do later. A sharper focus for the present, that is what I want. I am not perfect on doing such things, but I feel significant changes occurring.

5. Overwhelming feelings –  One of my favorite grandfathers died a week ago. His sudden disappearance made me ponder on how unpredictable life is. This will be the topic of my next essay; please watch out for it.

Also, I had a dream three days ago. I was shot at the back of the skull while I was on my way to work. My “spirit” witnessed how I was carried to our hospital, and how horrified my coworkers were as they revived me. I lost so much blood from that hole on my skull.  All of them were crying; they didn’t want to give up on me. Alas, I died on that dream. I was in tears when I woke up and it left a great impact on me. Then, I was on Yahoo Messenger and Facebook chat beginning last hour. Many of my friends messaged me all at once. One said he remembered me because of a song he composed. Another said he missed my back massages; others dropped by, simply asking me how my day went. I was really puzzled, at the same time overwhelmed. Lately, I have been feeling alone. Working so hard without people noting my efforts, something like that. Reading how my friends remembered me in some way touched me so much I was in tears for a few seconds. Is that what my terrible dream meant? Hahaha, I’m becoming such a crybaby lately!

I am being changed, in ways I cannot explain. I can feel it immensely. I don’t know if this is because of improved focus or my meditation, but yes, I am starting to appreciate even the simplest of things right now. I do the things I love. I have what I need, and even those that I want. Most of all, the people I cherish most are right beside me, continuously making me feel I am loved and remembered. Indeed, I am far more blessed than most people. Despite, all hazards and troubles, living is great.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

 – Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”

Goodnight!