Four years ago today I posted this to my old journal with the title, ‘Because I know one day this will be my secret…’ I was partly right. This is the happiest I have ever been…only it’s not a secret.
Monthly Archives: November 2009
A few years ago I made my first Thanksgiving Dinner. A friend of mine was dating an American who was in the Air Force and this was his first Thanksgiving away from home. I used it as an excuse to play house and have all of the people I cared the most about in my home to share a meal. I did the whole bit, used real napkins, and even made an apple pie from scratch. Topped off with a few rounds of karaoke – we’re Pinoy after all.
Fast forward a few years and tomorrow I’m celebrating Thanksgiving again for the first time since the last time. This time I’m not cooking. That’s not the only difference, not a single person who was sat around that table during my first Thanksgiving will be there at this one. Part of me is sad at that fact, not all of the absentees by my choosing, but this is where our lives have taken us. Some geographically distant, the American boyfriend now a husband and with that a home away from us. Others distant because sometimes that’s just how it is.
Many of those friends that once shared my table, I make the distinction between them and the people I choose to share my life with now. They are the family I would never have chosen, but for whom I am incredibly grateful that someone else knew better. Those friends are now the people I see on special occasions, Christmas and the odd birthday here and there although we can never all seem to make it at the same time. They are the people who knew me before I became me, the ones who will always be in my life no matter how much time has been spent.
The ones I will share a meal with tomorrow, they are some of the ones I have chosen. They know who I am without perhaps the (dis)benefit of knowing everything that I was. I am reminded every day of the high regard these people hold me in, but I am only the sum of everyone that has come into my life and allowed me to be who I needed to be. Without judgement. Without restraint. Without fear. I am the person they have had the faith that I could become. For them I am always thankful.
You don’t have to be an American to take this time to look at what it is in your life you are thankful for, but it is sometimes a good reminder. There are of course the big things, a roof over my head, a bank balance that may not be in the best of health but that I can handle, and a year without having to spend too many moments sat by someone’s hospital bed praying they’ll be okay. There are the little things, a tweet that reminds you how brilliant we can be, Jessie’s laughter as we chase her around the park, front row tickets to your favourite musical. And of course there are those things we never expected, the friendships formed from acts of randomness that every day give you reason to smile, spontaneous words that become your favourite quotes, thank yous that you would never have asked for.
So if the question is asked, I am thankful for everything and for everyone. If it didn’t happen the way it did, if they weren’t exactly who they were – even those that ended up being the very worst person for me despite my continually believing they could be better, then my life wouldn’t be what it is – and it is good. It is so very very good.
Happy Thanksgiving, whether you celebrate Turkey Day or not.
“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”
– John Henry Jowett
I have no words of my own for them, so on this day when I celebrate everything that is them because they won’t, I shall borrow theirs and hope they don’t mind too much.
I see them in everything they write, but in this I see how they see the world and I am reminded of how wondrous a place it can be if you choose to look. They capture the moments that we lose in the cracks. I am glad someone does, and I am glad that they are in my life.
Monday, June 1st, 2009 at 11:49 pm
they looked at each other for just a moment. but sure enough to any that witnessed this moment…it lasted a lifetime. in that look they had their first kiss, their first awkward exploration, their first fight and make up. in a single moment gained from a serendipitous decision to occupy a similar space at a similar time they forged entire universes with their smiles.
then the train came.
If someone offered you £1 million to not see someone in your life – who could you afford to lose? That’s one of those questions that came to me when I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my millions once the machine started behaving and chose my numbers. I thought it was more interesting than asking the usual questions about what you would do with a big win.
Tonight the jackpot on the EuroMillions is £90m. That’s not a bad bit of pocket change. We were talking about it at the job today, we’ve been betting numbers the last couple of weeks because we’ve been quite fortunate. Never winning enough that it was worth cashing the tickets in so we roll the money over to the next week in the hopes of a bigger winfall. £90m is pretty big. Not the biggest it’s ever been, but still pretty big.
I have plans for my share. They involve much travelling, quite probably on my yacht – the Angelina. If you know the reference I might even consider taking you with me. I also have a few projects that I’d like to invest in and there are certainly some roads around Phnom Penh that need to be built before it becomes the concrete mess that so much of the Philippines has turned into. Yeah big plans for a big win, but still there’s that question playing Devil’s Advocate.
I like the question because it forces you to look at yourself and the people you have in your life. If you’re the kind of person who can look at your friends and think for the right price you could cut them out what does that say about you? If there are people in your circle who you could “afford” to lose then why are they in your lives?
The origin came from my own observations, of myself and of others. If I were ever in the kind of position to make that offer I wouldn’t ever ask it of people I consider my friends. I would ask it of people who were my friends though, once upon a time. There is always a story when I say, ‘We used to be friends.’ It means at some point I considered them amazing, and something happened to change my mind. Not just a simple growing up and growing apart, more a realisation that I couldn’t have that person in my life anymore. This doesn’t mean that I stopped considering this person though.
I am very retrospective in nature and my thoughts often turn to the people who used to be necessary to me. When I ask this question I think of them, if I posed to them the question, who in their life would they let go of? Mostly I ask it because I know who I’d cut out of their lives. I also ask because I know that if offered the right price they would cut people out. I suppose that’s part of the reason why they’re no longer necessary.
I have friends who exasperate me at best, and at worst make even this sometimes mild-mannered person want to put their head through a wall. Then there are others that I would rip my own heart out if I thought it could help them. Whichever group they fall into however there isn’t an offer you could make me that I would take in exchange for the people I truly consider to be my friends.
I doubt I’ll win tonight, but I still bought my tickets. If you don’t take a chance you don’t have a chance right? The plans are always there if I do. I suppose the point in asking that question is that you learn who you are. I find those to be the best kind of question to ask. The people in my life, they are an elite group of amazing individuals who know my worth as much as I know their value. I am the richest person in the world.
£90m. If someone asked, who could you afford to lose?
There are some shows that change your life in the most obvious of ways. For me two of the most recent shows to do that are West Wing and Six Feet Under. Then there are other shows whose effect you never saw coming, that have a profound affect on who you are and how you come to see life. That’s what Anyone But Me is for me, and I’m pretty certain several other people too.
The story starts with Vivian McMillan, a 16 year-old girl forced to move away from New York and the world she knows because of the respiratory problems of her father, a firefighter who was part of the 9/11 rescue effort. Hard enough for a teenager to do but compounded with the reality of having to leave her girlfriend – the love of her life, behind. The fact that she has a girlfriend is not the story here, it is much more about trying to figure out where you belong. Every character in the show is trying to find out who it is they’re supposed to be when their worlds are changed.
This show is truly my addiction. There’s no other word for it. I can’t explain why else I would put myself through the (albeit exquisite) pain of waiting for each episode. All but one of my converted friends were fortunate enough to not have to experience the agony of waiting months between each episode for the next 10min segment that would leave us screaming, ‘NO!!!!’ as the titles came up. The wait, however, is part of why I love the format of ABM. There is no other show that I watch where you can watch every single episode before the next one comes on without losing a significant and possibly unhealthy amount of time. Every time you know a new episode is going to be aired you can literally do a mini ABM marathon.
So why do I love it? I’m not a NYer and I’m certainly not a teenager anymore. I grew up with Angela Chase and Daria Morgendorffer as my models for what it was to be a teenager, this probably explains a lot. One of the reasons is that there is an unbelievable amount of talent on this show. The way the stories and the characters are written is outstanding, Susan Miller deserves (and has rightly been awarded some of them including an Obie) every writing accolade there is. She crafts dialogue and situations which ask important questions and raises issues that should be at the forefront of our minds without ever making you feel as though you’re being preached to. All of this is brought beautifully to our screens by Tina Cesa Ward. I don’t know a thing about directing but whatever instruction she is giving the cast it works. Absolutely. And what a cast! Continue reading
I don’t make it easy. Every space, every space reminds me of you. I spent a lifetime surrounding myself with constant reminders. Even those not obviously connected – songs, images, words. They all come back to you. My way of always having you close, my coping mechanism backfired.
It’s not as simple as erasing you. Your memory tied to the very things I have come to love. Rather than quarantining myself I have painted over your reflection. I replaced every thought of you with happier times, genuine smiles, and laughter. But still there you linger, beneath the surface. In the darkest recesses, in the spaces where I have least control.
I have no answer to your presence there. If I follow my own theories it’s because at those times your thoughts have turned to me. Even if that’s true, what good could possibly come of it? If you had shown me you could cause anything but harm you would not exist only in that space. There I always had words for you, but now still nothing. I know you don’t have answers for me either. You haven’t figured it out.
I try to think my way through this. It can only be the response to one of two scenarios. The first, albeit unlikely possibility is that you have realised that your actions were wrong. You don’t know how to make amends so you wait until you think enough time has passed that my anger will have subsided and I am able to talk to you again. The tried and tested method. It’s never failed you before. The other, that you have learnt to do what I try to do every day, perhaps for the rest of my days: stay away.