Substitute Human

The cat had lost her appetite, yet she did not have a physical ailment.

Her heart was broken.

Her owner, my husband had not been cuddling with her as much. She used to sleep on his side of the bed, acting like his little spoon. But due to his recent shoulder injury, he had not been sleeping on that shoulder. He had been sleeping facing away from her.

I know that the cat’s heart is broken. Not only did she stop waiting for him in the foyer to come home from work. She also just came to my side of the bed… to me, her less preferred person, at this odd hour to cuddle with me and ask for petting. She was so lonely, she gave her paw to me twice, and I stroked it, hoping that for now, I am enough.

The Chase

I had been busy working on a dream of mine since I was seven years old.

I completed my first novel and sent samples of my manuscript to my first set of agents and today, I received my first rejection. At first, I rejoiced at the encouraging words in this letter:

But then, I did more research and arrived at the conclusion that this was a very polite template rejection, and that the lack of concrete feedback, affirming or constructive, was something to be wary of.

The possibilities:

1) My pages did not stand out enough to warrant a request for more pages.

2) My hook was not enough.

3) I had sent the query letter to an agent who didn’t need or want what I had to offer.

So, I’m back to the drawing board. I am rewriting my debut novel to increase the pages and develop my characters further. I am redoing my query letters and more diligently researching my next set of target agents and publishers.

I love what I’m doing. If I can actually make a living out of this, then, facing rejection is a small price to pay. I gotta keep making adjustments, gotta keep the faith.

To anyone else out there, having a tough day—keep at it. You’re not alone! Keep chasing the dream.

First Night

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Dear Niko,

Tonight, it took me all my courage and acting skills not to cry in front of you.

It all began last Monday. You and I went to Target and you found yourself drawn to a coffee machine toy (you and your love for food and drink toys). You asked if we can buy it and I said we’ll buy it if you ever sleep in your own bedroom. You agreed and asked to add one more toy to the deal, preferably a Transformer. I said okay, thinking it’s too soon anyway. You were still too clingy to not sleep in the same bedroom as me. We left Target without buying any toys.

Then, today, we had to make another Target run. You mentioned the coffee machine toy again, that Fisher Price rip-off of Keurig. You remembered our deal. Coffee toy plus a Transformer = you’ll sleep in your bedroom. I was amazed that you remembered and apprehensive you’d keep your end of the deal. So, I negotiated you open the coffee toy today and if you sleep in your bedroom, you get to open the Transformer tomorrow. If you don’t, we return the toys. We did a pinky swear because those are sacred to you.

We bought the coffee toy, a Transformers toy and walkie talkies (this was my idea – hoping we could use it to talk from different bedrooms). Your papa installed the toddler rail on your new bed and relocated your humidifier/night light to your new room.

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You were excited at first then you were afraid. We reassured you that we’ll stay with you until you fall asleep. Being around us, you were hyper for a bit but finally, you’ve fallen asleep.

Part of me is so proud of you… of what an awesome negotiator and brave little boy you’ve become. But part of me is also wishing you’d wake and come running back to our bedroom, back to me like a little baby.

You’re growing up and becoming more independent so fast. Way too fast for your emo mom.

This is super selfish but I still wish time would slow down for us. When you’re a teen and feel like hating me, I hope you read this. When you’re a grown man and want to leave the nest, I hope you read this.

Love you forever, Baby Bear. As long as I’m living, you know the rest.

Love,

Mama Bear

Heart on my sleeve

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I love how you kiss me before you leave for work, how you text me every weekday just to say hello, how you do the laundry conscientiously (thanks bjj), how you cook the best dinners and weekend breakfasts, how you take me on Community Day dates, how we rotfl while catching up on our shows, how you play with Niko and look after him while I’m busy or tired, how you gobble up the food I make even if it’s meh or of questionable quality, how as an IT professional and all-around techie, you put up with my Luddite qualities, how you understand and appreciate me. I want you to know, that even if you don’t say it often, I feel it. I love you, too.

Happy Valentine’s, Papa Bear!

Musings on Fat-calling

At least 9 out of 10 times, when told in the Philippine/Filipino setting that you are getting/being “fat” or “big” there is no clear communication of the commenter’s intention e.g. I am letting you know because I’m concerned about your health OR I am sharing my unsolicited observation because I don’t think you’re self aware OR I’ve been through what you’re going through and I’m now about to drop some knowledge on you OR look at my ability to maintain my figure and look at you OR the worst unspoken and most often assumed implication: I think your weight makes you look ugly.

I’ve always felt strongly about this so for those hearing it from me for the first time:

  1. Weight may or may not equate to good health.
  2. Weight is a f—ing outdated way to gauge beauty.
  3. Real weight struggles may have reasons that should be respected: not all reasons are excuses.
  4. Your experience or lack thereof doesn’t make you qualified to give unsolicited advice or make other people feel like s—t.
  5. Before you comment on someone’s weight, ask yourself: Am I really helping? Also: is this really any of my damn business?

Through the years I’ve gotten less and less comments about my weight. Not because I’ve been able to fit people’s standards but more because I don’t want to take sh*t anymore. If you are one of these people still giving away these amazing sh*t comments – please stop. I swear it’s the right thing to do.

33

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I’m 33 today. I got a few wrinkles, permanent eyebags and white hairs hiding among the purple.

Age is just a number. Apart from my looks, questionable health, being sleepy at 9pm, I do feel younger. Maybe it comes from acting too old for my age in my youth. My mother did tell me multiple times that since birth, I have always been in a rush to get ahead. I was originally due on Christmas Day.

I watched too many Calvento files and Days of Our Lives episodes as a kid. I may have started liking boys at too young an age.

I became competitive with my studies, quiz bees, sports, research contests, joining the next cool company. In many ways, I’ve felt like I was pushing myself to do things an older wiser person would do.

Then, my body started feeling older. I got hitched. I have a kid. The universe doesn’t $@#*% slow down. Thank goodness my experience with anxiety and depression taught me this cool trick of focusing on what I can control.

I feel younger because I’ve learned that I may not be able to stop time and &@$! hitting the fan but I can choose to slow the $@#*% down.

“I don’t love Mama”

Warning: Super emo post

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Dear Niko,

The other night, you told me you like Papa better. Last night, you said you don’t love Mama.

I wanted to leave. Just walk away. Show you what life would be like without me. Some people might say, he’s just a child. He doesn’t know what he’s saying. But you do know. You can tell that I am too busy or too tired to give you the attention you need. You see me as the mean parent because I am the one asking you to do things you don’t like most of the time – potty train, change clothes, clean up, sleep. I am not the fun parent because I can’t make your toys do funny things.

I cried when you said it. I am crying now, remembering it.

But I’m still here, while you are sleeping beside me. Son, this is love. Staying even when you’re in pain because you are not loved back or appreciated.

I hope that tomorrow, when you wake up, I can repair whatever parts I broke in our relationship. I hope that someday, you can fully understand why I ask you to do or not do things. I just want you to be safe and grow up to be a good person. I am trying to do what’s best for you.

You’ve told me many times that I’m your best friend. Even if you stop believing that, even if you stop loving me, with my broken heart, I will still care for you. I will still love you.

Damn. You’re not even a teenager yet.

Love,

Mama Bear