Every once in a while, a friend from U.P. law school (she works at Allianz now; I dropped out in good standing when I was 23) reminds me of this Facebook post from 2009, back in the glory days when the social network was text-heavy as an extension of the old emailing list practice, and the meme had yet to be invented.
The post, a glamorized chain letter, was called 25 random things about me
There were rules. Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged... etc. etc.
Amazingly the 25 random things still hold true for the most part in 2023. I have marked in bold-italics those that are of particular resonance as I sit and write this today, in view of the numerous creative projects I am working on or keep dreaming about.
All this is TMI -- too much information -- of course. But what the heck.
1. Drawing pictures is my first love.
2. I can make any dog come to me.
(2023 note: After the heart-wrenching loss of the family dog, we all switched to cats)
3. I find creative writing a painful, embarrassing, emotionally-wrenching, high-pressure and utterly tedious experience, like sawing yourself open with a nail file, or building a house with matchsticks. And at the end you discover this beautiful piece you have built from the ground up has already been said better by someone else. And when it’s published you have to defend it in some academic forum and try to sound clever or profound -- or people will label you “over-rated.”
(2023: Nope, I rediscovered the muse in 2022. Creative writing still hurts, but it hurts good now.)
4. Though I treasure my privacy, my profession as a writer demands a certain amount of exhibitionism. It has often been a relief to write erotica under a pen name than to write a simple newspaper column under my own name.
5. I get years-long, rabid crushes on unavailable people.
(2023: Hah! All writing is crushing).
6. I hurt the ones I love the most.
(2023: No, not anymore).
7. I loathed high school. I am very cautious about which batchmates I allow back into my life.
(2023: Makes good creative writing fodder, though).
8. I passed up the chance to sky-dive.
9. I’ve been in a hot air balloon alone with a Japanese guy I didn’t know. He spoke no English. For some reason, he had problems controlling the burner, and we nearly crashed. When we landed in one piece far, far from the target, he kissed me on the lips!
10. I am still afraid to fly in airplanes.
(2023: Got used to them).
11. I have had more literary awards than I’ve had lovers. Tons more.
(2023: Who cares?)
12. I have a talent for scrounge shopping. I once wore a beautiful outfit that cost three dollars from head to toe, bag to boots, culled from ukay-ukay shops in the Philippines.
13. I photographed my sister give birth, washed her when she was dying, and retouched her makeup twice in her coffin.
14. When I was 17, I had a pin-up of Pål Waaktaar (songwriter/guitarist/vocals for Norwegian band A-ha) on my bedroom door.
15. I’ve owned and used the same hard plastic light pink Springmaid comb every day for 15 or 20 years. I wash it in shampoo and hot water every now and then, and it’s good as new.
(2023: Jinxed: Shortly after writing these words, I lost the comb).
16. One of my coolest experiences was sketching a male colleague nude in the privacy of my solo apartment.
(2023: Rest in peace, my friend. Our relationship was totally platonic btw. We were mutual fans.)
17. I wept into my palm at Robben Island and Tuol Sleng prisons. I hesitate to visit places where very many people suffered or died, but are drawn to them anyway.
18. It takes me a long time to forget a grievance. I’m working to change this, I promise you.
19. I once did a 5 x 5 foot painting of the cover of the New Kids On the Block’s first (1986) album – and pasted it on all four panels of my closet door.
20. When I was 24, I accompanied a military team on a botched raid on an Olongapo brothel. The only person they “caught” (and harassed) was a just-circumcised seven-year old boy in a nightgown.
21. This is by no means a random list. This is a highly considered, self-censored list. I aspire to be the kind of person who can amuse you and engage you with playfulness and spontaneity and make you feel that you know everything about me after half an hour.
(2023: God, how nasty! To be fair, was going through sh*t at the time.)
22. I once crashed a barrier at a Sting concert unintentionally. The concert was part of his Mercury Falling tour -- Manila, 1996. They played “Roxanne,” and all the stage lights went red, and my friend, who was the real Sting fan at the time, screamed, and she and I started rocking the tube-metal barrier for fun. At the same time some other kids were doing it at the other end of the barrier, which then came down, and these crazed third-class ticket holders spilled all the way into the expensive seats, where all the multinational corporation expats were sitting.
(2023: Not proud. Should have foreseen.)
23. Although I still feel excluded in some ways, there is plenty to love about Denmark.
24. I can’t dance at parties. I won’t. Filipinos have a culture of dancing for the entertainment of others. You either dance as good as a japayuki, or you sit down.
25. Please fill in this blank with something you remember we shared...
2023: Or check out my childhood crushie boys at the other blog https://hornetsnest1970.blogspot.com/