GRAYSCALE

My world was black and white and then you came.
You had a certain hue around you and I was weak not to notice.
You were the color in a mix of light and dark.

You were the gold that filled my mornings with sunshine that kissed my eyes.
You were the amber that made my dusk peaceful with the light that I sought.
With every day that passed you were the cyan air that I breathed and my heart spoke of you with passion like the scarlet stain on a clean white sheet.

You were as big as my world that was a replica of the world everyone else had come to know.
Things were fleeting; feelings were surreal; the shade kept changing– from orange to sienna to tan.

I tried to catch every wind of memory but I couldn’t grasp with such small hands.
I chased as it moved and vanished quickly on thin air.

I thought I have known you all my life but not in the real world.
I remember your face but I don’t know you.
I keep looking for you but you get drowned in the crowd.
Hard to figure out for you blend in well with the rest.
I close my eyes and wake up everyday and I see no color now.

-ImAShellCracker, 121613

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You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

My pieces are usually products of single thoughts that I could have easily posted on twitter. But since the 140-character rule takes away my liberty to unload my somewhat complete thoughts on a specific topic, I would normally draft an article and take my sweet time to add my points when they come to me until I finish the whole thing.

I am no writer but I try to write as much as I can. Not to please anyone but to let out the restlessness to write about anything that inspires me; may it be a qood quote, a witty remark or in this case, the reason behind the face of a close friend with a beautiful smile but sorrowful eyes.

Let her name be Elize.
Elize is a wife to Robert and a mother to an 8-year old boy named Aldren.

A few weeks ago, together with two other friends, I went to the lunch birthday celebration of Elize’s sister-in-law in Elize and Robert’s humble but very nice abode somewhere in the east of Manila. I hadn’t seen Elize in a long time because she had been busy with her officership training in the company she’s been working for for 17 years. It is a 9am to 5pm daily training for 6 months in a branch office where she has difficulty taking the commute going to Robert’s office so they could ride home together. 

And so I heard that one night, Elize didn’t find a ride going to Robert’s office.

I was half-taunting when I asked her after lunch, “Elize, I heard you walked a good distance from Makati to Mandaluyong?” Then I followed it quickly with a serious question, “Why didn’t you ask Robert to pick you up instead? ” to which Robert replied “But I was already in Mandaluyong.  It’s not practical to go to Makati anymore.” And she replied to me, “If that’s the way he thinks, will I even bother to still ask for it?”

There was something in that exchange.  And I thought I needed to find out.

Makati to Mandaluyong is a good four kilometers. For those who are into physical fitness, this may not sound a big deal at all. Pfft, 4kms. Easy.
And this would have qualified as rewarding exercise if you’re not wearing office shoes, you don’t expose yourself to danger and air pollution and you have had something to eat for source of energy.

I had the chance to be alone with Elize that day when all of the girls took a drive to buy some food for takeaways. Out of curiosity I asked, “Elize, what was that all about?”

And a litany of sentiments was brought to the surface.

Elize and Robert have been married for ten years. And to think that’s not enough time to know each other, and accept each other’s flaws and all, they were together for five years before they decided to tie the knot. Oh, and they had known each other for two years before they were even romantically involved. Now, do the math.

Given the number of years knowing each other, and still have sentiments about your relationship,  I would say the amount of time being together is not always the gauge to full acceptance. But it somehow gives us a glimpse of how it is going to be.

We have always known Elize to call the shots in mostly anything that concerns their relationship, their marriage, their family. Robert has always been the passive type. But he never fails to provide for the family and make sure that everyone has a roof over their heads. Aldren gets the best education because tuition fee is also part of the automatically-deducted sum from his monthly income.  And he pays for a few utility bills. Other than those things, there is nothing else. As far as I know.

Elize has been ranting about Robert’s lack of romantic gestures to her being the wife,  and occasional father-son bonding moments outside their house that’s starting to feel like a cage to their child. He is so disciplined that he imposes stricter measures to himself not to spend anything more than what he is programmed to spend for.

But more than the financial concerns, Elize worries about Robert not being capable of making a stand as the man of the house. If he’s not told what to do, he could just get so immobile.

Marriage is not as easy as it sounds, especially for those who think it’s a great escape from a miserable life or those who feel that the relationship has reached a standstill or those who want to secure their future. I do not condemn these reasons because I think we know what we want and we can justify our decision for these wants. But together with these reasons is a promise.. a daily commitment to love, acceptance, understanding and forgiveness.

I know for a fact that every marriage has its own petty, dirty secrets. Some couples just decide not to launder their ugly stories in public.

I remember someone getting all curious about marriage and I said it’s still pure luck. You never really know what your partner is like until you live with him or her.  All personality traits are magnified. The good becomes better. The bad becomes worse. And you could live with it for years and years but it doesn’t take away the fact that one day the truth just becomes unbearable that it just hits you from nowhere.

I used to think that the very reasons that brought two people together could eventually be the same reasons to break them apart. Too much familiarity becomes the cause of complacency. But then again, only time can tell.

There are things that we can live with or can live without, or things we cannot live with or cannot live without.   We should know where to draw the line. When a person steps beyond the line and forces us to bend our non-negotiables, then that’s the time we take a seat and rethink the whole thing.

I am being realistic when i say that effortless happiness is the key to living a peaceful, loving and content relationship. And though it may sound idealistic for some, it shouldn’t stop anyone from exerting effort to take a shot at happiness again.

Because after all these years, what has changed really? Is it his ways? Or is it your heart?

-ImAShellCracker,  112913

All That A Woman Should Be

“A relationship is meant for two. Some people just don’t know how to count.”

I read this quote somewhere but I have no idea who authored it so I apologize for not having given any credit.

Thank you though, for it sure did bring out a few of my thoughts on one of the most common reasons for breakups, failed marriages and broken families. Likewise, I will not discount the fact that it is also a reason for new beginnings, realistic choices and freedom.

Hence, this piece.

Have you always been secure in your relationship?
Have you ever wondered if he still made a phone call or sent a message to someone else after you exchanged goodnight texts? Or if he still drove off someplace else after he had brought you home? Or if he saved messages and photos in his password-protected Vault?

I know how it feels to be on both sides–the one who is not trusted and the one who does not trust.

Temptations are just about anywhere. Even the most passive people could tempt unknowingly; and their only fault is because they’re gorgeous or intelligent or good-hearted. Or even just for the simplest, less valid reasons that they smell fresh, or they have a nice voice or they have long shiny hair. The thoughts and the actions that come after are the triggers to a very thin line between plain admiration and eventual cheating.

There’s no way to control someone who cheats or lies or flirts. Even married couples who pledged to be as ‘one’ are not always on guard for each other. You cannot be with them 24/7. You cannot be human CCTVs all the time.

We are all capable of learning how to live a second life. It is just all dependent on our level of comfortability, or the values that we believe in, or the consequences that we are ready to face. Cheating is not an accident.  It is a decision. If one decides to cheat, he or she will cheat.  No amount of warning nor plea can even change that.

When we get cheated on, it feels like glass breaking where we even hurt ourselves more to piece them back together. Because even if it appears to be whole again, the cracks are still visible. The glass is just not the same anymore.

We tend to leave it all up to fate, and wait for what lies ahead. But it is not meant for us to be immobile and to feel helpless or unproductive. Rather, we can turn our heads to something that we have control over.

Ourselves.

How about we try to be every woman we could possibly be in our man’s life…

His BEST FRIEND– whom he tells his secrets to; who lends an ear when he shares his thoughts; who sticks with him until the end.

His MOTHER — who teaches him right from wrong; who loves him unceasingly for what he is; who instantly knows when he is breaking without him having to say a single word.

His SISTER — whom he can be himself with and who can guide in his life’s decisions; who stays by his side to support his goals and dreams.

His DAUGHTER — who can bring out his natural tendency to protect and provide and be the man to be looked up to.

His GIRLFRIEND — whom he says sweet nothings to; whom he enjoys doing things together with; who promises to never let him go.

His WIFE — who takes that leap of faith and vows to love him in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse. Until death.

And his OTHER WOMAN — who catches his attention while we are busy being all those other women in our man’s life.

AND IF THIS STILL FAILS, maybe we can tell ourselves that we have given more than we should until there’s nothing more to give; that we cannot force-fit ourselves in someone’s life when it feels like the space is getting smaller as time passes by.

Maybe we have done our part.
The last resort is to let go.

“A relationship is meant for two. And if she cannot be out of the picture,  I might as well be.” 
(And you can quote me on that.)

-ImAShellCracker, 110313

Carry On, Jon

There was a time when I felt it was hard when you have a sibling who is just a year younger.
Family.. friends.. neighbors.. acquaintances.. strangers.. they all played favorites.

And the spotlight was on me.

Only because the whole family thought I was lovelier to dress up.
Only because the whole family thought I was cuter.
Only because the whole family thought I was smarter.
Only because the whole family thought I could dance to a tune.
Only because the whole family thought the fair-skinned were the more beautiful ones.

Growing up, I had the best things, I went to the best school and I had all the attention.
While you made do with what was offered and given to you. There were no hesitations. There were no complaints. You kept all emotions bottled up inside.

I realized I never wanted the spotlight.
Consciously or unconsciously,  I kept everything at lowkey.
I flunked my subjects left and right every trimester, while you earned your degree on time.
I had several trial and error relationships, while our whole family knew of only one girl whom you eventually married.
I was the irresponsible elder sister while you were the mature brother who stood as the man of the house while dad was away.

I wanted to take the back seat.  You wanted to shine.  We both got what we wanted. It was great teamwork back there I should say.

While others might have done it differently than you did, you knew how to make something of the negative and transformed yourself into the amazing man that you are now.  And though I may not say it often, I AM SO PROUD OF YOU.

Cheers to another year brother.

-ImAShellCracker,  102513

Will You Take Heed?

I was crazy in love at one point too. Maybe more.

I was always forewarned by people who cared the most, who cared for real.

The people who watched my every move,  the people who breathed down my neck.. they unleashed the rebel in me. And I continuously drowned myself in an ocean of make-believe. I was a fool like that.

I knew I was going to get burned by touching the fire, yet I touched it anyway. Just so I could feel it for myself, just so I had myself to blame but not regret that I did. My mind was twisted like that.

I was blind to the truth because the truth was not how i understood what love was. The truth did not matter. And to say that I was having the time of my life was an understatement. I was in love like that.

But that was me.
I thought I knew myself well.
I thought that I could handle stupidity and all the things that went with it.

It’s different when you see it happening to someone close to you.. someone you deeply care about.. someone who has always been fragile in your eyes.

True to the adage ‘been there, done that.’, I have been there where you are now and I have done more than everything you have done so far.

But how do I warn?

-ImAShellCracker, 101913

On Neutral Ground

For some reason, I have always pictured myself as the strong one. And I have always wanted to become that. I claim to be able to crack a hard shell, to a point when it becomes a surprise to me when people hesitate to open up and pour out their souls. Maybe because my first attempt did not just make somebody feel I didn’t have biases but because it was an eye opener on what I was capable of.  Yes I keep an open mind,  I do not judge quickly and I want people to draw strength from me.

And when people think I am doing them a favor even by just listening, it’s really the other way around.
It’s my soul they guard.
——————————————

Those eyes.. see the beauty around you. The grass is green, the skies are blue,  the smiles are sweet, the laughter is real.

Those hands.. let them stop from shaking.  Let nothing fear you.  I’ve got your back. I will hold you, I will not let go.

Those feet.. stand up and take a step. One at a time. Until you can walk again. You know where you want to go. To a place where nothing is make-believe.

That heart..  I wish I could keep and lock it in a safe place. It’s been beaten up a lot and you have put up your walls so high. You just peep through these walls, checking what’s outside the small world you have created for yourself, but afraid to let somebody in.

I wish I was with you right there right now, and all the time I can while I’ve still got enough strength for us.
If you can’t help yourself, at least let me try.

-ImAShellCracker, 101513

Eyes Wide Open, Eyes Wide Shut

And when I closed my eyes, I saw you there..
We talked and we laughed, we didn’t give a care..
You were all smiles at me, I was smiling back at you..
Such a happy moment, everything felt so true.

And when I opened them, it was you I recognized..
A much more different you was what I realized.. The eyes had so much pain, the heart was broken..
A single thing of what you feel, to me you hadn’t spoken.

Now close your eyes and think of my face..
Think of how I want to make you happy all these days..
When you’re done, open them and look at me..
I am still the same person, that’s what I’ll always be.

-ImAShellCracker,  101213