Getting Over Guilt

I was excited to go home last night with the intention of figuring out what theme I finally want this blog to have. I spent about an hour just trying out everything and ended up with a headache that I failed miserably to journal what I wanted to journal about listening to Amanda Palmer’s song Half Jack for about 5 times.

Mornings are for work. Night’s are for serious introspective stuff for the soul like praying and writing and figuring out what’s hidden in the cracks and crevices of my heart. Why some of them feel like clutter and why some feel like good finds from an afternoon of spring cleaning. Why does it feel like I’m only looking at myself in the mirror for the first time?

Most of the time I spent reflecting on myself always ended up in a laundry list of sins that I have paid the price of shame for. Seriously. I’ve had my time with guilt. It sent me to a 2 month silence and the life of a forlorn hermit. I gave up social living because I said I couldn’t hear God with all the noise. Even gave up writing and realized my writer’s block is a self-inflicted one. I condemned myself of this ability because it produced nothing but what most people called as drama from a love-sick heart.

Last night I was thinking about how Amanda Palmer wrote the song Half Jack. The brooding baselines played in just one note and several pounding repetitions in the lower octaves. I wondered how the melody wrapped around the note like a vine growing wildly amidst the garden. Seemingly out of place. But unrelenting. It weaves its way around the timbre of the sound until it gravitates to a peak which pricks the bubble holding Amanda’s soul and almost forces it open. The forcing sounds deliberate. Not the painful kind. But one that feels almost masochistic.

Sometimes I feel like that. A forceful masochist. There seems to be something about pain that allures me to feel it over and over again.

I said goodnight to my Mom who silently slips in to her bedroom after some time on the computer. She’s gotten thinner in 3 months. After the slight arguments that ensued in my family for most of Saturday and Sunday I felt callused. I didn’t think they’d start bringing up the old stereotypes of me: the uncivilized, bratty, and moody problem child who I was in college. All for not being as friendly as she wanted me to be towards her guests. I was not friendly because she introduced me as her overweight daughter.

I spent most of Sunday in bed. Wondering when all this tango with labels and expectations and standards would end. Doesn’t bringing her to mass everyday merit me anything?

She’s sick. And we’re all coming to terms with it. The romance with grace has come to an end and this is where it gets down to business. I suppose grace isn’t grace until it the circumstance really squeezes everything out of you. After all, you’re meant to hit the end of yourself. And the end of myself I reached.

How do I care for my mother. The one who brought me into this world painfully by herself because my Dad was somewhere else busy with something else. The one who raised me with whatever motherhood instinct she knew because her own mother raised her with whipping sticks on her legs and a forgotten childhood. Last night as I kissed her goodnight there was a pang inside my chest that I could not describe. Despite all the sharp memories I have of my mother, I felt sorry for her.

Much of my holding back all my artistic impulses is because of her. And much of this exploration and reclaiming of it is also because of her. My mother was a thespian in her day. She wrote well. She did plays. She majored in English Literature and ended up teaching. She took up an MBA as well and I suppose she also had her fair share of struggle teaching her left brain how to think faster than her right. She gave up her art and chose to work in a school finally growing in her career and made herself into what we call now a human resource practitioner. All the behavioral theories one can learn about organizational development she picked it up and got herself an honoris causa from the Ateneo.

Ironically despite that, she didn’t give us an OD intervention in the family. My dad who was always distant with himself especially where my Mom is concerned never gave into it. Old wounds from the marriage plague him and he has stereotyped my Mom ever since. But I feel sorry for him just as well. Living the life always tide to Mom’s standards of excellence. He’s a self made man. Came from a poor family and worked his way up to college and getting a magna cum laude. He has sat as a CFO in 2 multinationals and a local empire. Despite that, it was never enough to merit Mom’s applause.

Now that I think about it there Half Jack resonates with my chronicle dig. I am indeed Half Jill and Half Jack. But I don’t want to spit Jack out. And like her song she tries to pursue a way to find comfort in all these alien emotions that are troublesome to sit with.
two halves are equal

a cross between two evils
it’s not an enviable lot
but if you listen
you’ll learn to hear the difference
between the halves and the half nots

And as any artist would try to venture into their world of creation to make sense of the now I venture into this writing trying to figure out why this half jill and half jack-ness hasn’t quiet sat well with me for the past years.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my folks. With all their flaws and thorns. They did their best. I’ve found a way to sit comfortably with that. But this mix of a soul needs to find a way to comfortably sit with herself too.

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