I don’t have Regram or any of those apps that repost pics from Instagram, so I just took a pic and posting it here. Message received. 😉
(Image from Hoda Kotb’s Instagram account: http://instagram.com/p/j1FgyDNYZ5/)
Lest I forget– here’s the Lady Wednesday. She was the first one to comfort me, as usual.
I stepped out about two hours ago to throw the garbage. I had the whole night planned: light dinner, a movie, then maybe read a chapter or two from the book I was reading, and then bed. I had just put down my bags when, suddenly, I was verbally ambushed by a neighbor I had never seen before. He started screaming at me saying that I threw my garbage in the wrong site (A little backgrounder here: I live in the wonderful city of Mandaluyong (within Metro Manila) where there are no garbage bins for people to throw in their trash, but only designated areas without official signs or markings.). I told him that I threw it there because that’s where the broker/compound owner told me to. He continued with his tirade and refused to acknowledge anything I said. Just to stop him from ranting, I said that if he showed me the right place where I was supposed to throw my trash, then I would gladly pick up my bags and take them there. We both turned and he started screaming at me again.
That was it; I’ve had it. He was an old man (he mentioned that he was 60 with high blood pressure) and I wanted to just take everything in and then walk away, but no. I was being verbally abused. I already agreed to his request so he had no right to berate me. I did not raise my voice, but I did raise my hand to tell him to stop. I told him that I understood where he was coming from, but that I felt violated and abused. He paused; I don’t think he expected me to do that. I continued and he cut me off. He was on a roll and nothing could stop him. So I had to raise my hand again and told him to hear me out. I told him ̶ respectfully ̶ my side, but it was like hitting my head against a wall. So I, again, respectfully asked him to just show me the place so we could go on with our lives. I got my trash, he pointed out the place (the next lamppost about 3 meters away), I thanked him and walked away.
I was shaking when I got back home. I abhor it when, right or wrong, people scream at me. My cats instantly knew I was upset and all piled up on top of me. That made me weep, of course. And then I got angry and started banging things. And then I shook it off. I did the right thing. I defended myself and that was a good thing. It made me want to thank that old man, actually, because I realized that today ̶ a horrid day, one for the books ̶ I was challenged by a number of different situations and people, and I stepped up and defended myself, my rights, in each one. I was growing my spine back, which has been softening for the past couple of years, and that rude man made me realize that I was back to being me again, but better.
I wasn’t always a doormat. I had an extreme personality; there were no grays in my life. I’ve always had a stubborn streak (more like a side, actually, a very big one), and would fight back and not let go of things. This trait was magnified when I lived in Spain ̶ in a country where they love to argue, I learned how to raise my voice and let my thoughts be heard. When I returned to Manila, I saw myself as being too brash and abrasive. Not everything can be bulldozed into a cubbyhole. I was hanging out with people who would do that and were that. Birds of the same feather… and I realized I didn’t want to be that person. As I said before, I saw things in black or white. So I adapted a different persona ̶ beyond Zen or centered, but more of a doormat. I hated conflicts and arguments so I avoided them or just folded. I didn’t want the roaring bitch to come out so I had to shut her out.
Maybe it’s age or maybe it’s a result of my actively trying to change things around in my life, but I am slowly finding balance in things and in myself. I am still very temperamental, mind you, but my rage dissipates and transforms instead of growing and consuming everything in its path. Maybe it’s the wisdom that comes with age and having gone though different experiences in life or maybe I’m finally getting it and that all that inner work is finally paying off. I still have a long way to go, but I am extremely proud of myself for finally defending myself without being hurtful to the other person. I am happy that I was able to say what I was thinking and feeling without raising my voice or resorting to trash-talking or insults. Age or hard work? Whatever it is, I am glad that it is happening. I am neither an angel or a witch, but finally just me.
I had the weirdest dream last night. I was having tea with Maleficent Dragon. Yes, not with the witch queen, but the dragon. She was telling me that I apologize too much and that I should just stop it. I said I was sorry and she puffed smoke at me. We talked some more and she ended the conversation with an offer. She opens up her claws (Hands? Paws?) and asks me which pill I wanted to take, the red one or the blue one. And then I woke up.
I’m not sure if I made a choice and drank one of those pills, but I know that given a choice, I would like to go back there and have tea with her again. 🙂
In 2003 I went back to Barcelona to study Contemporary Art Practices. On the first day of school I met Dori Midnight, one of my American classmates. She was a self confessed “witch”—an intuitive tarot card reader, counselor, and healer. She was definitely one of the most interesting (hence, memorable) people in the group, but what she said to me on the first day was what struck me most about her. I had barely said hello when she said, “Hey, I had a dream about you last night. You were making floating sculptures.” I laughed because, 1) we had just met so how could she dream about me? and, 2) sculptures? I had never made a sculpture in my life! She insisted that that was what she saw and we left it at that. To cut a long story short, I did end up making sculptures, not because she planted the idea in my brain, but because at that moment I hadn’t received the painting materials that I shipped to myself before leaving Manila and that I really enjoyed sculpture class. I was a practicing graphic designer in Manila so it was such a joy to work with my hands. And I found out that I could express myself better though 3D art.
We developed a friendship while doing the course and before she went back to the US she gave me a precious gift: a deck of her Dirty Tarot cards. It is probably one of the most unique decks out there in the world; she designed it herself. It doesn’t have the Major Arcanas nor the Minor ones. She divided her cards into special categories (with each containing the four elements: fire, earth, air, water): body, home, food, transportation, sacred space, clothes, transformation, altered state, souvenir, and lucky omen. It looks nothing like a traditional tarot deck, but it’s the most responsive of all that I’ve seen. I was a dabbler in the art of divination, but I never really took it seriously until I got this. I didn’t read everyday, mind you, but I studied it and would occasionally read for a few of my chosen friends. And they all loved it. I eventually lost touch with Dori (My bad: I am not really good at exchanging emails; this was before Faceook), but I kept her cards close to me.
I shelved my deck permanently, though, about 2 or 3 years ago. I was going through a rough patch, felt overwhelmed by everything, and felt totally disconnected with myself. My intuition was nonexistent and I refused to do any inner work. Fast forward to last week: I receive a SPAM email from Dori’s address. I thought nothing of it. The following day an old friend asks for a reading, then about a week later another. Then last Saturday I get a personal message in Facebook from a highly spiritual and intuitive friend asking me if I still did readings. She just thought of me, she says. Strike 3 (or 4, actually). So I searched for my deck. I moved houses in October last year and could not remember where I put it. After about 3 hours (and running low on patience), I decided to look at my “trash pile” and opened an old shoe box. Lo and behold—it was there with my other neglected tarot cards. I felt guilty, but mostly relieved that I found it. I took the cards out of the pouch and it was like encountering an old friend. My brain was foggy, but I knew each one of them and I knew what to do. I definitely didn’t want to part with them again.
So I promise myself to use them again, maybe not for reading other people, but for helping me reconnect with my intuitive side again. I feel as if I’ve buried it a long time ago by not writing, by not blogging, by not making sculptures, and by not reflecting on things. I would like to use these cards to make me focus on things, to anchor my thoughts. Dori gave some suggestions on how to use her cards, and one of them was to pick a daily card to meditate on. I don’t think I can do this everyday (at least not for now), so I will go for a card per week to reflect on for the rest of the week.
The card I got last night (Sunday night) was “Clean Out Closet.” It’s description: Distilling. Making choices. Simplification and practicality. True desire. Purifying ritual to make more room for what you really want and need. Having intention in purging and consuming.
I’m getting goosebumps while I am writing this; it’s synchronicity at it’s best. This is exactly what I’ve been mulling over, not just physically, i.e. sorting and throwing things out, but also emotionally and spiritually. I need to distill a lot of thoughts and make clear choices. At least the cards are backing me up on this one and are asking me to sit still and figure things out. I am grateful for that.
I am still in the process of “meditating” over this card. Maybe I will write about it in my journal or maybe I’ll even share it with you here. We’ll see. But for now, I will dedicate my Monday posts for the cards I pick for the week. Let’s see where this new roller coaster ride takes me. 🙂
Friday night with great friends (more like family, really) turned into a chilly sleepover at the roof deck. I’m taking full advantage of my 3-day weekend (all my tutorials were miraculously cancelled—either the family was going out of town or attending an event. Yay, Teacher Steph!) by vegging with my people and now with my kitties. I am grateful! This is exactly what I needed.
I just finished watching “The Cat from Outer Space”, a campy, feline version of E.T. from the late 70s, and am preparing for the next one, “Despicable Me”. I am probably the only living being on earth who hasn’t seen the Minions in action, and I will remedy that in a bit. Part 2 is next.
So, good night, world! I shall see you in the morning. 🙂
P.S. The Philippines is a tropical country and the average temperature here is 30-32*C. We’ve been having unusually cold weather the past couple of weeks; it was 16*C last night! I’m hoping for another cool night so I could thoroughly enjoy my mini-break. Good night! 🙂
The maintenance guy of our compound came over this morning and disrupted our daily routine. I usually feed my fur kids first thing in the morning after I get up. They all get hugs and kisses and belly scratches before I distribute their breakfast, though. Yes, they’ve got to earn their grub! ;o) We run around and play right after. I only get to sit down and eat mine after all this, which is probably an hour after I wake up.
So today Mr. Maintenance Dude knocks on the front door before I could get them all together in the kitchen. They all jumped out of their skins, of course (Hey, who changed the script?!), and did their own thing: Wednesday ran upstairs to hide, Twister ran to the top of the stairs to observe what was going on, Astroboy went up the first stair and waited, and Ella ignored Mr. MD and meowed for her food. I chatted with our guest and gave instructions on what to do and continued to prepare the kitties’ breakfast. Ella scarfed down hers, while Astro nibbled while keeping an eye out for the strange man in the house. Twister and Wednesday, of course, refused to come down.
Mr. MD stayed for about 4 hours. Twister made an appearance and demanded for breakfast and lunch; Wednesday was nowhere to be found. I had to rush out right after and go to my class and didn’t see her until I got home. She’s handling surprises better nowadays; she usually stays in her hiding place for over a day before gingerly coming out. She’s the epitome of a scardy cat, something that had always worried me before. When I moved homes back in October, it took her 3 days to come out from under the bed, another 3 to go out of the room, and about 2 days more to go down the stairs and explore the rest of the house. She would get feverish and would withdraw when she was spooked. It worried me that the stress would cause her to get sick.
But things got better after a while. I noticed a change in her after my foster cat, Jello, moved to her permanent home. She terrorized Wednesday, which made the poor lady more jumpy. And then Astro and Ella came into our lives. They drew her out of her shell and help her rediscover her “inner kitten”, the one who used to zoom around and play hide and seek in the cattery. It made me realize that up until December last year, she was probably unhappy. She needed to be with joyful, playful cats. Twister was just too antisocial and Jello, a menace. This makes me doubly happy that I made that decision to save Astro and adopt Ella even though I knew it was a risk and I could have disrupted life in our little bubble even more. I’m glad that it all worked out in the end and that Wednesday is on her way to being a scardy cat no more. 🙂
Last week I said Twister was the one who started it all, the one who put me on my path to Cat Ladyhood. 🙂 I became a cat mama because of him, and he got me started on drawing felines. While I was working on my lesson plans yesterday, I looked up and saw him sitting like this. He was facing the wall across the room, but he turned his head to look at the chirping birds outside the window. He stayed in that pose in a while. No wonder artists like to have cats as their fur companions. They are fascinating, mysterious creatures! And look at those lines! Twister’s form was incredible—the shape of his body, the angles. Such a gorgeous creature. He’s always been my favorite to draw, not only because he’s beautiful, but he’s a willing subject as well. Let’s fill my journal, shall we, Twister? 🙂