End of an affair redux

Monday, 20 April 09

Smoking is such a strange, filthy habit. I smoked for 9 years, gave it up for 5, then picked it up again for six months, off for seven, and on again, and then off again. You get the picture? It’s a monumental struggle for such a simple thing and I’m really, REALLY getting tired of it. There are over a million reasons why I should quit—aside from (obvious) medical reasons, I am also tired of losing my sense of smell, of reeking of eau de cigarette, of torturing friends with second hand smoke, of feeling disappointed and frustrated with myself, and of feeling out of breath after doing 2 sun salutations—and yet I choose to light up again and again. Ooooh… the rush of blood to my head. Why oh why do I always go back to the things that are bad for me?

Cutting down never worked for me. I’m an all or nothing kind of gal. Nicotine patches and gums would probably drive me insane. I don’t want any replacements. I want to stop and I want to stop now. So going cold turkey is the way to go. I’d probably go mad anyway, but at least I’d be chemical free and I’d have fun torturing the people around me. You’ve been warned!!! HAHAHAHA.

It all goes down to making a decision and exercising a bit of self control and having some sense of self preservation, which I badly need these days anyway. Letting go and knowing when to quit was never easy for me, but I am going to give it another go. Hey, I might learn something this time around.

I pick tomorrow as D-Day. April 21… Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus on that day (that was centuries ago, it went through rough patches, but it’s still standing and incredibly fabulous!), it’s Robert Smith’s birthday (I still adore him. I’m listening to “In between Days”: Yesterday I got so old, I felt like I could die, Yesterday I got so old, It made me want to cry, Go on go on, Just walk away, Your choice is made, Go on go on, And disappear, Go on go on, Away from here. Purrrfect.), and it’s the death anniversary of Pierre Abélard, one of history’s most controversial and famous lovers (since I’m ending my epic love affair with nicotine, it’s certainly apt to quit on the day he passed away from this world, no?).

I’m stocking up on painkillers and candies and chocolate, and I’d probably go out and get a new yoga mat and a pair of swanky running shoes. I need some pampering after all this psychological self-flagellation! I really, really deserve better than this. Enough fighting. It’s time to let go and breathe easy.

PS. I’m re-posting an entry from my blog from 2005. See what a struggle this is! That was another good day to quit…


The End of an Affair

24 November 2005

That’s it. I’ve had enough. I’m dumping Mr. Marlboro Man for good. I’ve been giving this a lot thought lately and today looks like the perfect time to do it. It’s Thanksgiving. Not that I celebrate it, but I think it’s a good date to mark the event. I can thank all the Marlboros, Winstons, Amsterdams, Drums, and Golden Virginias that have passed through my life all these years (in their light, dark, medium incarnations… there have been many) and tell them it’s been fun but I want to move on now. I just hope this would be an amicable parting so that they would never come back to nag me again. I should have done this during Halloween—putting things to rest and all, plus, I could have incinerated a giant effigy of a cigarette!—but this is as good a holiday as it gets to kick the habit. I’m doing this cold turkey. Thanksgiving… turkeys. Ha-ha. Funny. This makes it easier for me to remember this day and remind me of what I am doing.

I actually had my last one already. I found a perfect, pristine white Rizzla filter tucked away in one of my purses a couple of days ago. I didn’t use it right away because I thought I should find a special occasion for it. So before the clock struck 12 last night I stepped outside and rolled my final cigarette. A fitting ritual through and through. I sucked it till its very stained filter all the while exhaling with intention. I urged the tendrils of smoke to reach the Waning Moon so that she could hear my prayer. She was the perfect moon to have around. She would fade into the Dark Moon in a week, hopefully bringing with her the remnants of this bad habit.

I can hear Ben Folds Five in the background, “She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly. Off the coast and I’m headed nowhere.” A fitting song for my dysfunctional relationship with tobacco. We’ve had good times together, but now he’s become a real drag. And I want out. I know this will be very difficult to do but I need to stop right now. I deserve better. And I really can’t afford to liquefy any of my remaining brain cells.

I still haven’t gone bonkers yet. Well, it has only been around 18 hours. I’m finding it hard to concentrate and I feel a bit abandoned, but I am basically okay. Ask me again in 3 days and it will be a different story. That’s usually when it starts to hit me. Believe me, I’ve done this before. GARGH, breaking up is really hard to do.


The Art Garden Workshops in Marikina (April 18-May 21)

Sunday, 5 April 09


Fellow artist Katti Sta. Ana and I will be conducting art workshops from April 18 (Saturday) to May 21 (Thursday) in Marikina. I will teach the Arts and Crafts classes — for children 6 to 10 years old, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 9AM – 12 noon — while Katti will handle the Basic Painting Classes — Painting I for kids 11-15 years old, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 2-5PM and Painting II for 16 years old and above, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, from 9AM – 12 noon.

Enrollment is going on right now! That’s 15 sessions for 3,500 pesos.

To sign up, please call 934.3363 or email: the_art_garden@ymail.com. Classes will be held in Marikina: Elm corner Flamingo Street, New Marikina Subdivision, San Roque, Marikina. Please check the map below to see how to get there. ;)

Please tell your friends about it! Thanks. ;)


Confessions of a lapse blogger

Wednesday, 10 September 08

It has been 88 days since my last entry. I am sorry for the days that I have been absent from cyberspace (or at least this particular bit in cyberspace). I detest all my virtual, pixelated sins, but most of all for being with “another.” I have been frequenting other websites and have cultivated an addiction to this nefarious place called “Facebook.” Instead of posting my thoughts and photos here, I have given in to the temptation of Super Poking, to bartering online friends, to rating the hotness of others, to being a frequent status updater, and committing constant comment spamming. I profoundly apologize for these infractions and I firmly resolve, with utmost sincerity, to make up for lost time and do penance and amend my life as a wordpress blogger. Amen.

Monday, 23 June 08

Ooooh… it’s Cedric!

Cedric is back! And he’s darker, skinnier, older, sexier. I like. ;)


Sunday, 22 June 08

Detail of Sirens Installation

Sculpture from SIRENS Installation

Painted plaster + abaca rope

22 x 12 x 6 inches

June 2008

I feel as if I have just given birth. I am sure it doesn’t come close AT ALL to the real thing, but I still feel like a new mom… The ULTRAMAR exhibit opened last Thursday (June 19th) and I unveiled my works to the public: an installation composed of 5 hanging plaster sculptures and a 3D collage. I was working on another one, but it broke. :( Clay does not dry well in this weird weather. Grrrr… See, I have to deal with some sort of abortion as well. Sigh.

Anyways… my works will be on display until the 3rd of July. If you are in Manila, please try to see them at the Astra Gallery, 2nd floor LRI Design Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia Street (formerly known as Reposo St), Makati City, Manila. The building is in front of Alliance Francaise Manille. Astra is open Mondays-Fridays from 10AM to 7PM. Don’t forget to sign the guest book—leave me a note, please! ;)

PS. By the way, check out the photos of my works here.

Procrastination becomes her

Wednesday, 21 May 08

I am having one of my monumental artist blocks and panic attacks, so I am going to indulge myself a bit and give in to a little procrastination. Hey, most of my best works come out when I get lost in nonsense and let the creativity thing kick in in my head. Madness, madness, madness…

My friend Tiffany tagged me a while back (via email) and asked me to write “10 things about me you didn’t know” and set the following rules:

– Each blogger must post these rules first.
– Each blogger starts with 10 random facts/habits about themselves.
– Bloggers who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their 10 things and post these rules.
– At the end of your blog, you need to choose 10 people to get tagged and list their names.
– Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog

Sounds easy enough… Here it goes:

1) I found comfort in cold ears when I was young. I used to stick mine right next to the air-conditioning vents and would wait till they were at the point of freezing and falling off. Then I would lie down and touch my ears until I would fall asleep. Good luck trying to psychoanalyze that!

2) I was born yellow. Yes, as in jaundiced, and stayed that way for weeks.

3) I was a preemie (which explains number 2). I was supposed to be a Virgo or Libra, but considering how stubborn and determined and hot-headed I was, I forced myself out of my mother’s womb and came out a true-blue Leo.

4) I burst into tears when I read that they shaved off Aslan’s fur. Not the hair, not the hair… I was 7 (I think).

5) I used to put a flashlight against my right eye and turn it on. I loved staring at the light bulb up close. That explains the glasses.

6) I saw the Lion King (the musical) in Dutch in 2004. Thank God I saw the movie.

7) Speaking of which, I was carrying a Lion King toy from McDonald’s when I was mugged in Madrid. I passed out for about 5 seconds and found myself lying on the ground looking straight into Simba’s beady eyes. I was overcome with anger, got up, grabbed my stuffed lion, and ran after my attacker.

8) I wasn’t allowed to drink soda or eat anything sour when I was a kid. I was extremely acidic.

9) I was confined in the hospital for mumps when Mount Pinatubo erupted.

10) I used to get tanned (toasted, more like it) during school fairs from riding the Octopus all day. I am not afraid of heights or whiplash.

I don’t always follow the rules so I am not tagging anyone (and this could be considered as item number 11). I’ll just leave this open for anyone who would like to spill and share 10 things about themselves. Go ahead… Knock yourselves out.

PS. Gossip Girl episode 18 has finally finished downloading. Procrastination rules!

Loosening my grip

Friday, 25 April 08

Breathe in, breathe out. My head is still out of whack, but at least I am starting to see myself again… or at least a semblance of Steph. The image, though, is still ambiguous and fuzzy, and the cracks are still there. I need to just keep breathing till I figure out what to do. I just hope I don’t huff and puff too much and blow pieces of myself all over the place!

I was talking to a friend last night and I kept wailing to her over and over again, “I was fine last week. Everything was rosy and sweet. I was fine last week.” Life is unquestionably uncertain and the Universe has an unbelievably twisted sense of humor. I know it, you know it, even your Grandma knows it, and yet we all get surprised when the wheel turns and we find ourselves in the bottom rung. How did I get here?

My tarot card of the day is Heart. Yeah, it’s not from a normal deck; it’s from my friend Dori’s set. I try not to read my own cards, but I give in once in a while, pull out one when I need clarity. It does help you get a grip on your reality and see your situation with different eyes. Sometimes the cards that come out are so ridiculous; they kick me in the butt and drive some sense into me. How low should I go before I can go back up again?

Going back to Heart… it means, “Muscular thumping love. Hark the rhythmic beat of the core, feel the systems of flow, new life pumped into you. Self-love, a priority. Heart’s desire. Compassion without self-sacrifice. An open flower in your chest.” I always get this card. I guess I still don’t get it. I contemplate on all the statements and I can see how they can all relate to me… and I still don’t get it. I know exactly what to say when I’m reading someone else, but on me…? Forget it.

I am exhausted and depleted. My friend advised me to just breathe and just listen and sit still. Life is unpredictable and leaves us no breathing room, but I can try to loosen my grip and try not to take control of the uncontrollable and just learn how to breathe through it all. So here I go… gently breathing in and out… trying hard not to sound like my dear Darth.


Tuesday, 22 April 08

I’ve been up and down like mercury the whole weekend. I’m physically exhausted and I am mentally incapable of doing anything constructive, not even to put one foot in front of the other and move on. I’ve been trying to establish order or some kind of pattern within just so I could make sense of everything. I was never really good at this. My spirit growls in hunger and I have no idea how to feed it.

I wish that the weather would cooperate for once. I can’t stand any more of this heat. I feel pan-fried and desiccated and ready to be served up to some god to be consumed and discarded in bits and pieces. I need a massive blizzard to feel uninterrupted again. Now I understand that when an icy heart melts and no one is around or is willing enough to catch it, it goes away forever and leaves an unfathomable, frosty gorge in its stead.

I’m scared of having one of those days again. I still feel inept and pathetically ill-equipped to face another one of those curve balls the Cosmos tries to throw at you when you are not looking. I should have known this would happen. And here I am again, watching teardrops explode and enduring little earthquakes. I’ve seriously underestimated my capacity for feeling. Solitary confinement sounds incredibly logical at this moment.

Día del Libro 2008, Instituto Cervantes de Manila

Sunday, 13 April 08

Día del Libro 2008, Instituto Cervantes de Manila – Animé

For those of you who are based in Manila, please go to the International Book Day Festival at Insituto Cervantes, 855 TM Kalaw Street, Ermita (it’s near the LRT United Nations station), on the 19th of April, Saturday, from 10AM till Midnight. Booths will be set up to sell books and Spanish delicacies. Other activities are also lined up, such as film shows and performances.

El Día del Libro is based on a Catalan Holiday called La Diada de Sant Jordi (Feast of St. George), which is also known as el dia de la rosa (The Day of the Rose) or el dia del llibre (The Day of the Book). It is usually celebrated on April 23 and is considered as the Spanish version of Valentine’s Day since sweethearts are expected to exchange gifts to celebrate the occasion—-a man gives his girlfriend or wife roses, while the woman gives her boyfriend or husband a book. I think that it would be nice, though, if it were the other way around–if the women give the men roses and the men give the women books! hehehehe. I appreciate flowers as any other girl out there, but I am an incurable nerd and a geek! ;)

Happy perusing and see you guys there! :)

Longing for sleep

Monday, 7 April 08

The Nearest Dream Recedes, Unrealized by Emily Dickinson.

The nearest dream recedes, unrealized.
The heaven we chase
Like the June bee
Before the school-boy
Invites the race;
Stoops to an easy clover
Then to the royal clouds
Lifts his light pinnace
Heedless of the boy
Staring, bewildered, at the mocking sky.

Homesick for steadfast honey,
Ah! the bee flies not
That brews that rare variety.


Insomniac by Sylvia Plath (1961)

The night is only a sort of carbon paper,
Blueblack, with the much-poked periods of stars
Letting in the light, peephole after peephole —
A bonewhite light, like death, behind all things.
Under the eyes of the stars and the moon’s rictus
He suffers his desert pillow, sleeplessness
Stretching its fine, irritating sand in all directions.

Over and over the old, granular movie
Exposes embarrassments–the mizzling days
Of childhood and adolescence, sticky with dreams,
Parental faces on tall stalks, alternately stern and tearful,
A garden of buggy rose that made him cry.
His forehead is bumpy as a sack of rocks.
Memories jostle each other for face-room like obsolete film stars.

He is immune to pills: red, purple, blue —
How they lit the tedium of the protracted evening!
Those sugary planets whose influence won for him
A life baptized in no-life for a while,
And the sweet, drugged waking of a forgetful baby.
Now the pills are worn-out and silly, like classical gods.
Their poppy-sleepy colors do him no good.

His head is a little interior of grey mirrors.
Each gesture flees immediately down an alley
Of diminishing perspectives, and its significance
Drains like water out the hole at the far end.
He lives without privacy in a lidless room,
The bald slots of his eyes stiffened wide-open
On the incessant heat-lightning flicker of situations.

Nightlong, in the granite yard, invisible cats
Have been howling like women, or damaged instruments.
Already he can feel daylight, his white disease,
Creeping up with her hatful of trivial repetitions.
The city is a map of cheerful twitters now,
And everywhere people, eyes mica-silver and blank,
Are riding to work in rows, as if recently brainwashed.