October 1, 2013

When Girls Cry

I am a crybaby. I cry when I read a perfectly worded line in a good book, a nice, emotional reveal in a story, a well-hit note in a song. I cry at weddings and I tear up watching my kids’ school programs. I cry when I listen to a friend’s sad story. I cry when I see an emotional moment in a video.

My little girl Laila, easily tears up, too. Sometimes, we’d watch a movie at home and when an emotional scene comes up, we’d just look at each other and laugh as we wipe our tears.

 My eldest daughter, Unna, on the other hand, does not easily get affected. She does not cry at sentimental songs and movies. I was therefore mildly surprised when we watched the DVD of “Les Miserables” and saw Unna cry twice. It wouldn’t have been surprising if it had been Laila who shed tears at the heart-wrenching scenes in the movie but Unna….it was just so not her.

She cried when Jean Valjean went down on his knees in front of the altar, riddled with guilt at the Bishop’s insistence to give him the silver candlesticks along with the other stuff he stole from the church. She cried at Fantine’s “I Dreamed A Dream” scene (and let it be said that I cried copious tears at those scenes, too).

Then I realized that my first-born does cry easily after all. But it does not come from a wellspring of sentimentality. It flows instead from sympathy and from compassion. Sure, she’s not like me and Laila, who cry over everything----from merely being witness to pain and anguish, tenderness, and even from observing the beauty of art in its many forms.

But tearing up from compassion is probably the most honest emotion one can ever feel. And I am glad my kids both have that gift.

September 16, 2013

Hardcore Lover of the Printed Word

I have books on my Ipad and these are mostly the classics that can be downloaded for free. But for me, reading books online is like replacing food with pills (let us assume for arguments sake, that there is now an option for us to just take pills for sustenance so that humankind does not have to go through all the trouble of shopping, cooking, then ingesting food). Sure, it is a more convenient option but it deprives you of the enjoyment of the whole experience.

My eldest daughter is a bookworm, like their mom.

My youngest loves to read, too.
I feel the same way when reading books on my ipad. There is something artificial about the whole thing. I do not feel it.

Compare that to the feeling of buying a brand new book (the joy actually starts from searching in the bookstore), ripping the plastic off, feeling the cover, flipping the pages, smelling the paper, reading it page by page, bookmarking it, tugging it close to your chest when you get to the part that brings you to near tears.

Speaking of near-tears, a beautifully written sentence can drive me to near-tears, not just a sad scene.

I wish I had the time to write a review of the books I read. Maybe soon, I will.

September 3, 2013

On Broadway

When I first went to New York, I only had the chance to watch one matinee because I didn’t have the time and all the money to watch the major shows at night. I ended up watching “Rent”, which was not a bad alternative at all because it was on my must-watch list anyway, plus the song “Seasons Of Love” is like our anthem in my old office in HKM (and funnily enough, now resurrected as a theme song in our present office).

A bonus experience was seeing Telly Leung play Angel and I was so enamored of his performance that I had to wait to get his signature after the show. He would later appear as one of the Warblers in “Glee”.

The second time I went to New York was with my husband and this time around, I made sure we would get to watch the big productions-- “Phantom Of the Opera” and “Lion King”. “Phantom” was nothing short of spectacular. And the guy who played the Phantom was a debuting actor but he was soooo good.

25 years since its debut and it is still attracting droves of people.

 “Lion King”, on the other hand, drove me to tears on its very first scene. It was just so magnificent. If you’re familiar with the movie, you would wonder how it can be translated into a Broadway play. But they were able to do the complete story (including the stampede) in ways you would never have imagined.

Inside the Minskoff Theatre, the home of "Lion King".

Times Square at midnight. 

Watching “Phantom” and “Lion King” meant we had to forego “Wicked”. It was already too expensive to watch a third Broadway play so I had to sacrifice this with a heavy heart. When we came back to Manila, my family and friends asked what we watched on Broadway and when they found out we missed “Wicked”, they gave me this I’m-so-sorry-for-you or how-could-you looks that made me feel all the more miserable.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that “Wicked” is coming to Manila! And what’s nice about it is that I can get to watch it not only with my husband but also with my two girls!!! Truly, there was a reason we had to pick “Phantom” and “Lion King” over “Wicked” back in New York.

Our seats are booked, our tickets bought (even if the play starts January 2014). We’re ready to get Wicked!

August 3, 2013

I Believe That....

Each one of us has the capacity for greatness.

August 2, 2013

Shy Girl

I distinctly remember a scene from school when I was in third grade. My father asked my teacher how I was in class and the teacher said, “She’s ok but she’s very shy.”

In the same year, I also remember that we did wind chimes as a project for Practical Arts. While others proudly displayed their work, I was so embarrassed with mine so I hid my project behind the teacher’s table so that nobody else in class could see it.

When I reached high school, I somehow became less shy and started socializing a bit more. In college, I completely shed my inhibitions and became one of the girls who got so visible in school (because I was always smoking in the class corridor with a good-looking, non-smoking boyfriend). I also became one of the party girls who danced in clubs, in the classroom, in hallways, everywhere. 

After college, I found a career in advertising, an industry that has absolutely no place for shy people. Here, I further learned how to speak in presentations, in pitches, during lectures, in big-audience venues.

As to how I transitioned from an extremely shy girl to an extrovert, I really do not know. But I have my theories:

One is that I wasn’t really shy as a kid. I was probably just embarrassed about my stick-thin figure. When I slowly filled up, my confidence meter consequently shot up. So it is probably true that your confidence is contingent on how you perceive and value yourself. If you feel good inside, you will automatically radiate that feeling to the outside world.

The second one, which is directly opposed to the first, is that I am really by nature shy and that I just became a “learned extrovert”. It is probably because I did not have a choice. I had to belong. I had to survive. Learning confidence was probably difficult at the beginning but like all things you do on a habitual basis, confidence is something you’d eventually be comfortable possessing.

Funny that even at this age, I do not know whether I am shy or not. Truth is, it is totally irrelevant at this point. I have changed.

I’ve willed myself to change.