The Sunbaked King

Breaking the Silence

I’ve read every blog entry, I’ve gone through every Tweet, I’ve seen every Facebook status. My chest tightens at every reference to me; my heart goes into overdrive at the words with which you express your sentiments. You know how good you are with words. You can use them like a spread of soothing balm… or brandish them like deadly weapons. Weapons that could jab and sting and hurt. Your eloquence, once the source of appreciative awe, is now the source of melancholy. Over the past few weeks, what was once subtle releases of emotions have transformed into bolder declarations. The cross-references are quite hard to miss, and I am more feelingero than I am dense.

But I chose to remain silent.

My silence may have been misinterpreted as something that constitutes cessation. The operative word there is “misinterpreted.” The operative syllable there is “mis-“. You have declared, time and again, that the people worth keeping, those who are for keeps, are those who stay. You have stated, time and again, that it is time for you to move on, to become a stronger person, to be the one who’s won back this time around. I agree. But only when you are certain that those who left, really left. Only when you are sure that the person you’re saying goodbye to has severed his ties with you. Let me assure you, this is not the case. I chose to remain silent, but it did not mean that I had burned down months of friendship.

The reason for the silence is simple: I had to recover from the weight of the admission. The admission in itself wasn’t bad; nothing about the entire thing was. Like you said, it was getting difficult for you not to say anything, and it was unfair for the both of us to have the issue hanging over our heads like a ticking time bomb. Sooner or later, the whole thing would come out– neatly or explosively, depending on the situation, and you dealt with it neatly. But like with every thing in this world, there is a trade-off. Once the admission was made, the landscape has changed. We cannot move forward as though nothing occurred, na parang wala lang. That would be awkward and weird and highly restrictive. Only time could remove the innate awkwardness of the situation. That, AND a healthy dose of conversation, which we’ve never had the opportunity to have.

I apologize for not addressing this sooner, because my silence appears to have led you to a dark place. It was never my intention to depress you. It was never my intention to push you away. But I needed the time. I sincerely hope you understand.

I do not need to re-extend my friendship, because it was never lost in the first place. But for the sake of re-establishing the intelligent and mindbending conversations, the laughter over the likes of Miley Cyrus and Vanessa Hudgens, the long long trips to faraway places, and, generally, just the good times, let me now shake your hand and ask:

“Friends?”

Starbucks is just five minutes away, and last I’ve seen, they’re still selling Kettle chips. It’s good to share these things with someone.

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Filed under: Ra, Untamed, Utter Sadness

I Am Not Who You Think I Am

I am human.

I am flawed.

You cannot impose an identity on me, because the boy that you think you know, you really don’t know very well. What you have in your mind is an Ideal. That Ideal is not me; I am Imperfection.

Cease to pin traits that I do not have. I am neither as intelligent, nor as responsible, nor as happy, nor as nurturing, nor as good-natured as the person you have envisioned me to be. First impressions, while characteristically positive, do not last and shouldn’t. Facades, while innately appealing, must be ignored.

This is for you who voted me vice-president back in second grade. This is for you who elected me group leader in the fourth. This is for you who persuaded me to join trivia contests. This is for you who coached me in math. This is for you who paid me for calculus tutorials. This is for you who fed me when I was hungry. This is for you who lent me money when I had none. This is for you who gave me gifts to show you care. This is for you who trusted. This is for you who loved.

Do not consider this a pity party. I am not fishing for compliments, I am not looking for sympathy. I am simply stating the truth. And the truth is this: I am not who you think I am. It is unwise to think otherwise.

Expectations can only lead to sadness.

Filed under: Ra, Them, Untamed, Utter Sadness

Another Blast from Another Past

You. Yes, you. Listen to me, and listen to me well. This is perhaps the only time I’m going to address this directly, so listen.

You fucked up my life again and again in the course of a single year. That much is clear. That much you acknowledge. You took away my innocence when you saw that I was weak; you destroyed the fairy tale life I had made for myself. I didn’t even see it coming, not really. The manipulation was too subtle, the mindfuck was too disguised to recognize. But you succeeded in your seduction. You got me. You almost owned me. Except I was never yours.

I stood up to you when I finally got out of the emotional trap you’d set for me. I broke free in the most unthinkable way possible. Confrontation had never been my thing; convenience was. But I did it. I finally saw the people who really mattered, and in the process, realized how much I’ve sacrificed them for you. I was stupid, and I was sorry. For myself and for my actions, for those who I’ve hurt and for those who I left behind.

When the dust settled and the drama was over, I regained my old life back. I didn’t forget about you, because forgetting would make me defenseless should things happen again. But pretty much soon you just became a floating memory, a topic of conversation reserved for intimate moments with special friends.

You came back two years ago, asking me how I was. The tone of your message was almost jovial, like we were already friends. We were not. Was it that too far into the future since the past happened? I didn’t think so, so I ignored you.

A year later, you messaged me again. The message was longer. The message was more sober. You asked me if I was still mad at you. You asked me if I could forgive the past. Was I still mad? Not really. Was I ready to forgive? Maybe I was. But in the end, I thought of my friends, and chose to ignore you.

Two hours ago, I received another message. This was thrice as long as the last one you sent. You still have not forgotten. If it’s possible, this was even more serious than the last one. You acknowledged the fact that you screwed up with my life. You apologized for the hurt. You said you regretted all the wrong that you have done. And after you said all these things, you hoped that we could be friends again, that we could start over.

This is where things become complicated.

I do not wish to ignore you again. I want to believe that you’re sincere. I have changed in the course of how many years, and I am certain you have, too. That is not the entire point. The issues are these: will my acceptance mean that I would have to sacrifice the trust of another? Will this be a betrayal of a decision I made years ago? Will I be opening myself up again for a world of hurt?

As long as these questions remain unanswered, I will simply just have to ignore you once again. Way to transition from Good Friday to Black Saturday, though. Way to go.

Filed under: Them, Untamed

On The Road to Being New

I’ve been assessed two ways by two different people this past week, one in the form of a statement, and the other, a question. The first person told me that what she liked about me was that I’m optimistic. She was just referring to my totally positive outlook regarding the results of our gymming, but the assessment came across as real at so many various levels. A few days back I wrote that I wanted to renew myself, to make me a better me. It’s a resolution that’s quite difficult to achieve. It’s going to be less reachable, however, if I faced it with a negative stance. Several famous people have uttered immortal statements about “believing in one’s self” and “conquering your fears” so there’s no need to rehash them here. But it’s true: on the road to being new, one has to put on the happy face. It’ll make things easier.

The second person asked me if my sudden drive in blogging (check out the numbers at the side, you’ll see what he means) is a way of overcompensating for something. He was quoting a line from Dollhouse: “People who are overachievers are overcompensating.” This comment intrigued me. A lot. I wondered, long and hard, what it was that I was trying so damn hard to mask. Because it isn’t just the blogging. There’s the gymming, there’s the dieting, there’s the bitching (by my standards, people, by my standards), there’s the trying-hard-to-do-work thing, there’s the trying-hard-to-go-out thing. I’m trying hard to do so many things at once– with my body, with my lifestyle, with my attitude, with my mindset– that it’s possible I’m doing this for some other reason. Or maybe that’s precisely it: on the road to being new, one has to overcompensate for his oldness, for the fact that he’s being the same.

On the road to being new, one has to soar above all expectations. One has to take flight.

Filed under: Ra, Untamed

100 Words

heaven + ground + storm + archuleta + happening + rejection + pasok + flapjacks + forgotten + incredible + california + hermit + games + good + journey + taipan + cows + single + knight + kaban + sunday + boob + four + wall + aisle + august + tomb + chris + iphone + entry + history + sassy + wall-e + birthday + way + breakfast + clone + sumosam + study + darkness + competition + poem + jacques + death + coffee + eavesdropping + contented + corollary + catch + atenista + eagle + embers + other + recovery + melancholia + retreat + one + sidebar + thunder + q + hush + coat + waltz + letters + exam + know + family + musical + incomprehensible + leche + minutes + comeback + comeback + universe + blast + joke + brothers + yearend + series + 2008 + 2009 + goodbye + forgotten + sing + united + nations + avenue + honeymoon + american + hopeless + rest + idol + night + honors + honesty + hot + half-empty + hee + hope + 100 =

100 posts in 100 words.

I’ve gone a long way, and there’s no sign of stopping.

I will never tire of writing.

Filed under: ...And Others, Being Blue, Bibliomania, Cinema, Domesticated, Eros, Fiction, Yes?, Gadgetry, Gastronomy, Geekery, Helios, Mindlifting, Ra, Rat Race, Sunshine, Testimonial, The Couch Potato, Them, TV, Untamed, Utter Joy, Utter Sadness, Vanity, Yearend

Ha Ha Hee Hee Ha Ha Ho

Love me, hate me, say what you want about me.

– Britney Spears, If You Seek Amy

Got this idea from one of MakMak’s posts. The idea here is simple: listed below are ten life events, 9 of which are very, very real. The other one? A blatant lie, an outrageous fabrication. The guessing game is only half the fun; reading through the entries should already take you midway. Needless to say, I enjoyed this exercise immensely.

(The events are listed in chronological order.)

Episode 1 : Jeffrey. We once had neighbors in Zamboanga that were certified crooks and troublemakers. The sister once attempted to steal orchids from our garden; Mama saw her and grabbed her by the hair before she could get away. The brother, a kid named Jeffrey, had a punching bout with me. I lost that particular round because I went home crying. Sometime during the immediate future, I found myself faced with a wonderful opportunity: we were playing darts. With one swift stroke, I deliberately threw the dart at him, and it landed squarely on his disease-infected leg. I fake-apologized and got all fake-concerned, but deep inside, my inner devil was cheering.

Episode 2 : Promil Kid. I graduated Valedictorian soon after that. (Not that the Jeffrey incident had anything to do with it.) I was in Kindergarten then. My parents had to repeatedly stand up to pin my ribbons because there were so goddamn many of them. I was invited to be accelerated to Grade 1 sometime before that, though, but my parents refused, thinking that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Years later, they would be faced with the same decision with my younger brother, and they agreed this time around. I wonder why they changed gears?

Episode 3 : Showbiz. We moved from Zamboanga to Davao around the early 90’s. During this time, Eat Bulaga ruled the boob tube. Shows like Little Miss Philippines and That’s My Boy catered to the kids, and they became so popular that they started holding auditions nationwide. I joined the Davao auditions of That’s My Boy. Contrary to rumors during college, I didn’t win (I came in 3rd), and I never made it to the finals in Manila. However, months later, we received an invitation from a popular local canned goods company to do a commercial. My parents didn’t allow it because we were new in town, and had yet to adjust. (Damn.)

Episode 4 : Prodigal Son. I wasn’t what you’d call an ideal son. I was pretty much a disappointment to my parents when I was younger (as parents, they would definitely deny that, haha). For instance, I squandered my yearbook money by spending it on Playstation games with my friends (X-Men and Sailor Moon were all the rage). I tried to replenish it by getting some money from our sari-sari store, but my Uncle found me out and blabbed me to my parents. My father, a recent Couples for Christ convert, did not do the usual kneel-on-mongo-seeds or belt-to-ass-spanking punishments of old, but made me place my hand on the Bible, and made me swear that I would never do it again.

Episode 5 : Camp Rock. In exchange for a brand new PC (Windows 95, 4 gigs of hard drive memory, yeah!), my father “asked” if I could join the Youth for Christ camp during the summer break. As a recently converted good child myself, and feeling a sense of immense gratitude for the computer, I agreed. That did not mean that I liked the idea. So for a few days, I had to meet with other kids of other CFC members, and do the religious thing with them. However, my silence during the entire thing got me a reputation I thought I’d never have (hence the silence): I was called “Stranger” and “Bato“, and not necessarily behind my back.

Episode 6 : Pink Sacristan. In continuation of my path to total reverence, I served as a sacristan in the Holy Spirit Adoration Convent near our house. The Convent was home to the Pink Sisters, a group of nuns whose faces we normally never see because they had our backs to us during Mass. But I found out (to my extreme humiliation), that nuns are still human, after all. Once, during an early morning mass, I left the priest’s side too early. The nuns looked up and realized what I had done, and they began to giggle. Silently and reverently, of course. But not one iota less embarrassing.

Episode 7 : Cruel Intentions. I had a psycho phase in high school, which pretty much rendered my religious conversion moot. During this time, I wondered how it would feel shooting people using a sniper (inspired by Stephen King’s character Todd Bowden in Apt Pupil); how it would feel making cocaine and getting tweaked (inspired by Josh Hartnett‘s role in The Faculty); and how it would feel just simply being deliciously evil (inspired by Sebastian Valmont, Cruel Intentions). I got so scared of the book I gave it away; got so into Josh’s character that I researched on homemade cocaine; and got so into Sebastian’s persona that I joined a school play with the same role. Talk about immersion.

Episode 8 : Lovestruck. Everything changed when Senior Year came. In Senior Year, everything is all about love. I once wrote a love letter to a friend that contained the cheesiest lines. The first stanza went this way: There is no Britney Spears / When a girl like you appears / Forget Christina Ricci / When you’re in front of me. Cheezay! I went on to write an essay about the same girl. I kept it to myself. Papa, however, snoopy little dad that he is, found the letter and sent it to Inquirer as an entry for the Youngblood column. We didn’t hear from them.

Episode 9: Lust, Caution. I flirted around by calling/texting my crushes in their cellphones, even if we weren’t close. I had a weekly Top Ten ranking of said crushes which I updated religiously. The criteria? Looks, Personality, Kerwin Bias, and Friend Factor. The Friend Factor is a consolidated ranking my closest friends gave to the people in the list. I think I allotted too much of my time to this nonsensical but exciting exercise that my grades dove alarmingly. Thank goodness graduation came and I did not have to suffer any more academic free fall.

Episode 10: Close Encounters of the First Kind. Years later, I would be going to a strip club for a bachelor’s party, and this is going to be the first time I’m going to see an aquarium full of women, ready to be chosen with the flick of a finger or a glance. This is also the first time I’m going to see a woman dancing around a pole in a see-through mesh shirt. Finally, this is also the first time I’m going to encounter, up close and personal, the female genitalia. Dun dun dun!

Filed under: ...And Others, Domesticated, Fiction, Yes?, Ra, Testimonial, Untamed

Honesty

I don’t want to apologize for things that I shouldn’t be apologetic about. Not anymore.

I don’t want to apologize for being able to afford the things that I buy. In the same manner, I don’t want to have to explain my purchases to others, just because they think it’s extravagant of me to buy this, when I could have bought that. Well, I don’t want that. I want this. The only people who are entitled to comment on my spending are those who are directly affected by it, and those who are truly concerned. I worked hard to earn that money, and I am free to do with it as I please.

I don’t want to apologize for not displaying my religious zeal. I don’t want people shoving their religiosity in my face, either. Fine, I get it, you go to church and I don’t. That doesn’t mean you’re immediately going to heaven, and that doesn’t mean I’m immediately going to hell. Was it Daniel or Elijah who prayed in private? If there’s a need for you to parade your good heart and kind soul in order to feel good about yourself, to make the religious thing worth it, then you’re not doing a damn good job yourself.

I don’t want to apologize for talking like I make sense. I don’t want to engage in conversations where I have to stoop down and look dumb so that others can feel good about themselves. I want to discuss things at my level. If you out-talk me, if you have more outstanding ideas than I do, if you explain your points more clearly, then I will positively adore you. I will try my best to drive my points across, but kudos for being brilliant.

I don’t want to apologize for being good at what I do. I don’t want to feel embarrassed at the praises which come my way, especially if I think I deserve them. I’m being an ass if I accept compliments that are not mine to have, but I believe that I’m being more of an ass by blowing off those that are clearly attributable to me. Humility is one thing, and has a rightful place in the overall development of a successful person, but false modesty? That will just get your butt kicked every time.

I don’t want to apologize for wanting to live a life that is mine. Yes, that is vague on so many different levels, and sounds very Memoirs of a Geisha to boot, but that’s the only way I can word it. I don’t want to be trapped by society’s perception on who I should be and how I should behave. I don’t want to be trapped by the preconceived notions of others. I don’t want to be trapped into a place where I could do nothing but act out a role that I did not want to portray in the first place. Let. Me. Be.

If the statements I wrote above rang false, I apologize. If the statements I wrote above grossly exaggerate, I apologize. But you know what? I won’t apologize for actually thinking that they’re not false, that they’re not exaggerated.

This is a trap I have to escape out of. This is a self I need to renew. The time for a new Kerwin is now.

Filed under: Ra, Them, Untamed, Vanity

Comeback (II)

I was led into the dark, and the dark became my friend. For weeks I swam in flashes of color and outbursts of sound. Each flash told me I was special; each outburst told me I looked good. But soon I realized that the friendship it offered was one that took as much as it gave. It gave me an easy way out, but it took away direction. It gave me cause to forget, but it took away any reason to remember. The dark still has its hold on me– no matter what I say, its magic is irresistible– but I have learned to accept the fact that it would take guts and and a certain type of mind-frame to survive the dark. I am merely a spectator of the spectacle it holds; I am at its mercy.

Even so with my blog, which transformed gradually– sneakily— over this time. Midway through the King’s current lifetime, a friend noted that I haven’t really written anything personal lately. I didn’t notice it until I was told about it, but when I did, I thought it was perfectly natural. It is only during times of melancholia or sadness (or fear) that one feels compelled to write whatever is hidden in the recesses of the heart. This method of purging through writing, it’s an act of self-preservation. When you’re happy or blissfully ignorant or triumphantly forgetting, you want to keep the feeling in. You want to be stuck with it. The only problem is, if you’re not genuinely happy, the cracks in the facade would eventually begin to show.

I managed to tame the cracks through will and circumstance. A vivid image from the dark, a list of books to read and restaurants to eat in, a change in routine, a month-long visit from parents, and an impending important exam: all these served to hold up the illusion. But the one image from the dark that made sense turned out to be a mirage; the lists fell by the wayside; the routine didn’t last for very long; the visit from parents almost ended with heartbreak and regret; and the exam is now over. People have commented that I should be happy now that the exam’s over, but what they don’t realize is that studying for my exam was the final piece that kept my mind preoccupied. And now that I’m no longer poring over pages and pages of readings… I’m back at Square One. Alone, and lonely, and cracking all over.

I started this blog for love, and ending the year without it. Maybe trying to feel how it feels like to love again is the wrong decision, after all.

Filed under: Domesticated, Eros, Helios, Ra, Rat Race, Untamed, Utter Sadness

Comeback (I)

I started this blog for love. It’s one of those decisions that appear so suddenly– so forcefully— in your mind, you feel stupid afterwards for not thinking about it at once. Life throws you love, and at the same time offers you opportunity, and yet you choose to ignore it? Not acceptable. Unfathomable. But better late than never. Gripped by an urgency so intense and a growing desire to please, The Sunbaked King was born.

The childbirth was the easy part. After a few grunts of HTML pain and layout despair, the King was out and rolling. But I knew, even in its infancy, that I had to do the more agonizing task of wearing my heart on my online sleeve. To bare myself, not to scores of loyal frequent readers (as if I had such), but to only One. I have been warned to avoid the enchanting allure of the illusion, but I did not pay any attention. I have forgotten how it was to love, and I wanted to know.

This is what I learned: that pain, no matter how expected, will always be more painful than you anticipate it to be. That negativity begets negativity: I failed in an exam I studied months for, and I got rejected in my pursuit of a better life. That no matter how hard you try to convince yourself that everything will be fine, it wouldn’t be until it actually is. 

Nevertheless, the blog remained. Because the King did what it had to do. It showed me that I was still capable of loving, that good feelings were still possible after all. The pain and the sadness may have torn me weeks on end, but writing about them (in cryptic entries and in messages you need to read between the lines to understand) dulled it somewhat. Emphasis on some.

I found the dark a few weeks later, and that was when the old wound healed, and others began to open.

To be continued.

Filed under: Eros, Helios, Ra, Untamed

Hush

You’ve heard of this before, probably in the form of a reprimand from your elders: there are certain things that one should not talk about in a public setting. Especially during lunch. Debatoids like whether you should squat or sit on the toilet seat, factoids like the color of your stool, and newstasoids like the latest scientific developments on the excretory system are indeed best discussed at the proper venue and at the proper time. It’s one thing to be open-minded, and it’s another thing to be uncouth.

But it’s yet another thing to be judgmental.

For the sake of argument, consider these two questions:

1. What is ‘public setting’ in the first place? Is it public when you’re around strangers? Is it public when you’re not in an enclosed space? 
2.  Is the acceptability of a topic contingent on the open-mindedness of its audience? In other words, is any topic an acceptable one when deemed as such by those who hear it?

The lines between taboo and ‘fair talk’ have blurred more rapidly during the last ten years than in the last one hundred. As the world shrunk more and more because of modernity, cultural differences grew more and more familiar. With familiarity came acceptance, and with acceptance came respect. At the very least, the world became more tolerant.

Unfortunately, tolerance is such a flimsy word tossed around by those who really cannot tolerate; abused by those who are filled with irrational hate; and used as a convenient facade by those with double standards. Whoever said that “Familiarity breeds contempt” saw this other side of the social trend. Instead of gaining an appreciation for someone with a different mindset, a localized form of xenophobia comes into play and rejects the person entirely.

Does this sound so freakishly similar to censorship?

You should not feel the need to bend your beliefs, just solely because your mindset is an unpopular one. If you are convinced of the truthfulness of your views, you should find no reason to feel pressured to change them. Others may condemn out of spite; these should be ignored. Others may comment out of the need to enlighten; these should be considered. If, in the process of discerning, your worldview retains its logic, its validity, its appeal, then commit to it. The haters will be banging their drums soundlessly against the fortress that is your mind.

I realize that this is a massive soapbox I’m standing on, but I have to say my piece. Now I’ll step down and hush.

Filed under: Mindlifting, Them, Untamed