Believing in Hope

I could not find the REBLOG button! I am sharing this anyway…Don’t know, but it made me tear up a bit. It’s a good read. This is not the first time I have reblogged from her or shared about her. But she really has a story to tell…

Hope is a powerful thing.  It leads people to books.  It teaches people to read.  It shows people how to use their voice. It directs people to a path where their light can reflect outwards and brighten the world a thousand times over, a million times over.” (Ra Avis)

I BELIEVE IN YOU

believe-in-ellen

This is a heart-felt post from Ra Avis

 

Prison Poetry by Ra Avis

Want poetry with real stories? Check out Ra AvisSack Nasty! They also call it “Prison Poetry”. For a reason.

Ra is an amazing woman with an amazing story to tell…though she tells it here through poems. Please find the heart even to just check it out at Thunderclap. Just click on the image/link below 🙂

sack-nasty-book

Support this poetry book! Visit THUNDERCLAP!

A Pastor Apologizes, with Pride

This is an example of how real Christians should be.

What It’s Like Being An Evangelical

Pastor At Your First Pride Parade

pastors-apologize-to-lgbtq

If the Gender Suits You

When I was a kid, I used to play with toy cars, robots and toy guns. But I loved dolls better. I still keep my toy jeepney, plastic robot and dolls up to now.

I liked action and Jackie Chan and adventure shows and movies. I did tend to imitate the more fun, energetic female characters, not the males and not the more boring, physically weak girly-girl ones (it was like preferring Velma over Daphne).

My favorite clothes were a sleeveless blue shirt with Superman on the front part (that intrigued me because the image was embossed), shorts (my pink shorts in particular), and dark-blue overalls with an image of ‘Voltes V’ nicely woven near the bottom hems (it was the artistry I admired). Meanwhile, I loved my dresses, too, especially when I had to dress up in white for an occasion and had to wear shiny black/white shoes that I loved to polish.

A favorite pastime was playing baril-barilan (gunplay) with the neighborhood kids. Also, boxing–well, just playful sparring–was a usual bonding moment between me and my father. However, I still preferred and enjoyed playing house much more than those (but the moments with my father were priceless)…

I can go on and on about my “contradicting” hobbies when I was a kid. But really, the point is, not because a girl is boyish or a boy doesn’t seem so tough for your taste, it doesn’t mean s/he is gay. And even if it does, have you ever wondered why it should matter to YOU?  The problem is, there are people who have a hard time coping with and accepting what’s different. 

It’s heartbreaking finding out the recent news about a lone gunman committing mass murder, targeting gay people. It’s even more heartbreaking when religious extremists say that the sad part of the whole thing was there couldn’t be any more victims…

Who made you God to decide how others should live? Who made you God to decide who lives? If you trust your god, can’t you trust Him to deal with His supposedly wayward children Himself?…I believe that in any holy book in any religion, it says there somewhere that we all should love our neighbors, love one another. I don’t, however, think it ever says there, “unless they are gay, in that case, go bash ’em!!!”

We can all argue about homosexuality being a choice or not (I think how you choose to live your life is, but who you are truly inside isn’t), or about it being forbidden in the holy book. Again, though, who made you — us — God? I think it is doubly hard to accuse a child if the situation is like this:

We all have our opinions. Fine. So my opinion is nobody asks to be born gay — why ask knowing fully well the challenges that would be waiting outside the mother’s womb? It is NOT our job to decide when and how others should live. WE ARE NOT GOD.

Lastly, I am sharing to you a poem I wrote for Matthew Shepard, the focus of the film The Laramie Project.

ONCE IN WYOMING

(For Matthew Shepard, once of Laramie, inspired by his father’s message in court)

One evening in Wyoming
On that sparkling moonlit night
The stars bowed down to watch over you
And guide you with their light.

The scent of pines, the smell of grass.
The touch of evening breeze
All came to show how much they care
And embrace you with their kiss.

Then soon the sun came up to shine
To brighten the whole sky
To warm you well, oh little one,
And say its last goodbye.

Oh, how I wish I could’ve told
What needed to be said
To comfort you and talk to you:
“There are better days ahead.”

But one evening in Wyoming
On that sparkling moonlit night
They left you there to breathe your last
And soon life came to past.

So once upon a Wyoming day
You left but not alone
Mother Nature set you free
And brought you back to home.

Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

Written: December 2005

***Inspired by the “farewell” speech given in court by Matthew Shepard’s dad, Dennis, re-enacted in the flim, The Laramie Project.

If She Says “No Tea, Please”

Well, I know that this video has become viral already (that is why I found it in the first place), but it’s too good to pass up.

According to this METRO article by Oliver Wheaton, “Sex and consent is a difficult issue, mainly because something that seems so simple is continually ‘misunderstood’ in rape cases. Thames Valley Police have highlighted the issue by promoting a cartoon comparing sex to a well known British pastime – drinking a cup of tea.” It may seem to be kind of humorous, but the message is very clear, hopefully, even to the most simple-minded individuals — SEX WITHOUT CONSENT IS RAPE.

The video came out especially because of a recently concluded case where a college student, found guilty of assault and digital rape, was only given a six-months probation! Shame on that judge! This, and a whole lot of other things that degraded her dignity more, prompted the victim to write and read an emotionally powerful letter to her attacker.

Rape culture is such a shame. I just heard a story the other day about some guys practically calling their friend stupid for losing an opportunity. “She STAYED with you outside till the wee hours of the morning! Of course, she wanted ‘it’!”

Hey, men, NEWSFLASH! If a girl does that, it does not necessarily mean she wants to have sex with you. Maybe she simply enjoys your company (which maybe a plus point for you if you’re interested in her, although it doesn’t guarantee anything), or she wants to get to know you more since she is actually contemplating if it would be wise to be in a relationship with you (which you could ruin if you act like a total Neanderthal like the mentioned guy’s friends).

And while we’re at it, a woman may wear sexy/revealing clothes if she wants to. May not be wise, but it’s her right, anyway. But she is not asking for you to touch her, assault her, rape her. It’s not even her clothes but your biases and mental problem. Many fall victim to rape when they actually go out in public fully clothed. Do they ask to be raped?

Being someone’s spouse, partner or boyfriend/girlfriend does not entitle you either to get your free sex even if s/he doesn’t want to give it. And, please, CHILDREN never ask for it, however you think that they do in your twisted mind.

It is NEVER anyone’s right to force himself/herself on others. It is NEVER the victim’s fault. What part of NO is incomprehensible to you? NO means NO.

Oh, and by the way, always remember what is said in the video: “If they’re unconscious, they don’t want tea.” In fact, if in the middle of drinking the tea, they decide they don’t want it, they don’t want it, PERIOD.

The world still has a lot to learn. Especially when there’s still so much inequality out there…

My Happy List Item #51

I just remembered…Something to add to My Happy List:

51. Do my best jump for a jumpshot

Maybe it’s no big deal to you, but I learned early in my life that I am unable to jump properly. I sucked at jumping ropes, and even if I did play Chinese garter, which I didn’t because I lacked the right social skills then, I would have still sucked since I did try to jump once or twice and let my dreams of being an expert drift away. Don’t ask me why that is so, but that is so. I was even actually invited by the coach to join the track varsity team in college, but I said no for various reasons, one being I secretly tried jumping hurdles and I couldn’t make my legs to coordinate properly.

That’s why every time there were jump shots involved in some picture-taking, I was never satisfied…So! Jump into last year (pun intended) when we were to have our company summer outing and I knew there would be the requisite jump shot. I wasn’t going to fail myself again and so, one, two, three — jump! I finally found a way to do it even if I looked like having stomach cramps, ha ha!!! Can you find me here?

eversun-makati

With the permission of all the peeps here, I shared this to JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Projects Eyoälha Baker and she posted it in her project’s Facebook page

I Have YOU in My Heart #atozchallenge2015

Prayers for YOU, my little ones.

For my Beautiful JAMIE and ZOE — I may not see you but I know in my heart how absolutely lovely you both are. Today was supposed to be your real birthday, but just the same, Happy Birthday, my dear Zoe

Mama and Papa love you both.

Please tell God to send us another sister for your kuyas.

This time, please tell Him to let her stay for good.

***************************************

I have decided to finish my 2015 A to Z Challenge today. I have been thinking about what Y and Z words matter to me most and, for the life of me, I always come back to “YOU” and “ZOE”. It’s supposed to be Zoe’s birthday today, the estimated due date,  and I could not let it pass anymore. So I decided to dedicate this post to both my babies…Please consider this challenge finally done. At least, it has made the challenge more meaningful to me…

My Happy List

As promised, I am listing my Not-Really-Bucket List. Will add more pics and links soon. Remember, crossed out and in red means done. Here we go…

MY HAPPY LIST

1. Smile at people all day and see what happens.

I was 13. Heard a smile could make others smile, too, so I experimented with trying to spread joy. It was going well until a lady looked at me like I was crazy…

2. Do something really amazing and meaningful.

3. Ride the roller-coaster.

4. Try a scary sport or adventure.

5. Learn to swim.

6. Learn a third language fluently.

I’m partial to Spanish, which won’t be so hard to learn given our country’s history, plus I can find people to converse with. Just partial, not sure. We’ll see…

7. Learn Baybayin.

baybayin-example

This is just to show my handwriting. Baybayin/alibata should be written vertically actually

Baybayin is the ancient script of our ancestors. Why it’s more commonly called as alibata is a bit of an issue, but that’s become the better-known, more commonly used term. We forgot about it while under the rule of Spain. We just began re-learning it in the recent decades, but people have just really started appreciating it this past decade (sadly, mainly because they think its characters look cool when used in visual arts).

I don’t claim to be an expert in it as I’m not that quick yet in reading words in baybayin/alibata. I do claim to be a baybayin/alibata advocate, though. I think we should start really including it in the curriculum instead of simply teaching it under the Filipino subject in passing. Anyway, I tend to follow the Spanish-influenced baybayin/alibata because the use of the cross makes reading words easier, for me, at least.

Related post: How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way

8. Learn a martial art.

learn-muay-thai

Learned the martial art Muay Thai. Forgive the sort of leggings here. MT shorts are too short for better movement and I couldn’t find my cycling shorts that time

9. Learn to paint on canvass.

10. Travel around the Philippines.

11. Visit Disneyland with my family

Japan, Hong Kong or the US, whichever opportunity presents itself.

12. Travel around Europe.

13. Visit New Zealand.

14. Visit The Louvre Museum.

15. Experience the West End.

16. Experience Broadway. I literally mean being in New York watching shows.

17. See ‘WICKED The Musical’ live.

18. See ‘CATS The Musical’ live.

musical playbills

I was lucky to have watched both CATS and WICKED (and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) with the help of my dearest mother and of one of my friends…Thank you!!!!

19. See ‘Les Miserables’ live.

20. See ‘Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ (JATD) live.

21. Act in a real stage play/musical (school skits do not count).

That almost came true. I was to be 1/3 of The Narrator in JATD. There’s only 1 Narrator but the Director wanted three for various reasons I won’t enumerate…*sigh* I’m not giving up yet, though. Who knows?

22. Go to the Netherlands, watch Veerle Casteleyn perform live onstage, get her autograph, and have a twofie with her.

23. Create a fan page for Veerle Casteleyn.

Check out THE VEERLEDOM.

Veerledom cover photo 2

24. Watch a Lea Salonga stage musical, get her autograph, and have a twofie with her.

How I got the twofie deserves another post. I was not able to get Lea‘s autograph, but this is okay already, right? The main purpose was to meet and talk to her face to face 🙂 Meanwhile, I have seen her perform live onstage in some of her musicals.

lea-salonga-twofie

Miss Lea and I. Standing beside her only emphasized my plainness, but who cared???

IMG_20160605_141829

I never heard about BABY The Musical till then, but I loved it!

The very-first Lea musical that I actually saw live was MISS SAIGON, but we were seated so far away and I was not able to buy a playbill *sniff*...See this faded ticket

The very-first Lea musical that I actually saw live was MISS SAIGON, but we were seated so far away and I was not able to buy a playbill *sniff*…See this faded ticket

25. Attend a live music concert that I paid for.

lea-salonga-concert

This concert, I enjoyed. Isn’t it obvious who I’m a fan of???

Back in college, I was able to attend three live concerts, all for free. One was because I interviewed a band for the school paper. The other two were care of the college radio station I worked for. I wasn’t even really a fan yet of all three. I watched because I got in for free. So I decided I wanted to be able to attend a concert I was really interested in and I would pay for my ticket. I did. Watched Mariah Carey’s live Manila concert. It wasn’t so nice an experience, actually. We were standing far from the stage and I think there were rain showers as well. Somebody was taking pictures and his/her phone got snatched from his/her hand.

26. Sing solo on stage in front of everyone.

I’ve got stage fright. Easier to conquer if with others, not so alone. I wasn’t even too crazy about the idea, but one of my best friends asked me to sing a song at her wedding. I thought better that than be a bridesmaid. I would have hated all the preparations. Also, I wanted to be able to say I did that even just once in my life. Turned out I’d do it several times, but not without me trembling inside everytime. At an office Christmas party, I actually messed everything up! Yikes! Epic fail! *hides* (No pics to show…thank goodness!)

27. Win an award or medal.

They’re not like some big awards or anything, but I guess I earned them. I did not know how I could get any, but I ended up getting some anyway. *Speech alert!* “I would like to thank the school paper and the radio station for those awards….” If they’d be interested to know, yes, I still have those certificates. They’re on my blogfolio’s Certifications & Awards page, filed under “PEER AWARDS/RECOGNITION”.

I did win with my village friends (twice, I think) when we played volleyball in the local summer league when I was a teener. Then when I was already working, I also won second place (or was it third?) with the School Administration Team (playing volleyball also) when the tertiary school we worked for let us join the Intramurals.

I played for the Administration team during the Intramurals back when I worked for a tertiary school. I’m third from right here. At my left (facing camera) is/was the Girl with the Smiley Heart

28. Choreograph a dance number.

Did that thrice in college for three different groups on different occasions. Won for me a Star of D’ Night Award, too, among other things 😉

29. Learn to play a musical instrument,

I think these count even though it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how they work

jaw-harp

The kubing (jaw harp)

bamboo-buzzer

The bungkaka (bamboo buzzer)

30. Be in a respectable indie film playing a bit role.

31. Start a good family business.

My current iidea: A sandwich place.

32. Build a reading and hobby room.

33. Buy a vehicle for the family.

34. Live in a beautiful house where it’s peaceful with our family.

35. Enjoy our future grandkids.

36. Get a master’s degree.

37. Become a teacher.

home-made-tests

These are just some of the tests I gave the little boy

I somehow have some illusions of becoming a teacher. My kids are here, though, so I think I can cross this out. I’m a proud teacher, too — our incoming first-grader (as of this writing) actually passed his exam with flying colors! Someday, I might teach students in a real school environment, maybe about writing…

38. Become a radio DJ.

I always wanted to be one. Then when I was 13, one of my friends became one of what were called as Junior DJs and I would tune in to the city’s local station so I could listen to her and several other kids. Not without envy even though I knew that envy wasn’t good. The opportunity to become an actual DJ knocked when I was in college so I did not let it pass. I was even surprised I had the guts to try. It paid off, fortunately.

dzlb-memorabilia

These were taken just a few years ago, just to show my radio colleagues I kept souvenirs all these years

39. Become a writer.

I wasn’t planning on making this my career because of the starving artist “syndrome”, but I am here because I think I sought this fate anyway. Fate is still part-effort.

40. Finish my novel.

41. Write/create a comic book.

42. Fall in love.

My real name’s hyphenated now, so, yeah 🙂

43. Tell someone my innermost secret and hope not to be or feel judged.

44. Give birth to a live, healthy baby…

God has yet to grant this wish. We are not giving up yet so we hope he lets us have the baby the next time. We’ll try to be ready.

45. See both/all our kids graduate from college.

46. Build a home for the aged whose own families have abandoned them.

47. Buy a land and build a large animal shelter, for abused, neglected, and  abandoned animals.

48. Grant scholarships anonymously (when I’m already rich, of course!).

Why anonymously? First, I won’t do it for recognition. Second, I won’t want other people to know I have money because people can use and abuse you when you have money. Three, I won’t want anyone approaching me for his/her kid’s scholarship. Let’s face it, a lot of kids don’t like to study. I wouldn’t want to feel sorry and obligated to send to school someone who doesn’t really want to be in it. Also, some parents will only use the kids to get the money and spend it on other things, not for the kids’ schooling. Someone else who’ll be working for me will handle applications. I’ll have a say on it, of course, but I won’t want people to know.

49. Build my Dream Museum.

50. Attain peace of mind.

51. Die happy.

52. Do my best jump for a jump shot.

This is My Happy List Item #51. What about it? CLICK HERE.

eversun-makati

With the permission of all the peeps here, I shared this to JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project‘s Eyoälha Baker and she posted it on her project’s Facebook page

53. Finally watch Patti Austin in concert, live.

UPDATE (Dec. 3, 2018): I was trying to check if there’ll be any show I’d like to see next year. I was going to save up. Then I saw THIS. AAARRGGHH!!! I’m so mad that I didn’t know. I’m even madder that the date is so near and I can’t go! No extra money for it *sniff* What are the chances that a Good Samaritan will be able to see this immediately and send me a ticket in time for the concert??!!!

54. Try vlogging.

Done. Well, doing it now. I have THE SANDBOX.

SAMPLE:

I said I’d “try” vlogging because I am not sure if it’s something I can keep doing for years. But, at least, I’ll be able to say I didn’t waste my opportunity. And at least, I’m learning new stuff “tinkering” with YouTube. Meanwhile, I aim to buy better-quality equipment in the future. Right now, I make do with what I have.

55. Watch ‘Lion King The Musical’ live.

Okay, that’s My Happy List. I’ll add more to it if I think of more. Care to share your own happy list, though? Feel free to do so and put the link in the comments! 🙂

X Marks My Not-Really-Bucket List #atozchallenge2015

bucket-list

I know why they call it the Bucket List. Popularized by a Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson movie (which I liked, by the way), it referred to a list we all used to refer to as Things to Do Before I Die. Before I kick the bucket, to be more figurative yet clear about it.  It’s a list of things you just have to do in this lifetime. If you’ll believe every person that makes one, there should be no room for doubts, no ifs, no buts.  Somehow, it seems like a race against time, trying to do everything that’s on the list because, really, who knows when you’re going to die?

I’ve always wanted to write down my own list since I was young, but I haven’t gotten around to doing so. I guess now is as good a time as any. I’m not going to call it Bucket List, though. Understandably, we all have wishes, goals, ambitions, and I do, too. But I am not going to stress myself to death over them. If it’s my time to die, then so be it. I won’t let the bucket hit me back on the head on my way ‘out’. (I know, I know, that’s not how to say it. It does seem appropriate, ‘no?) I believe that if you get too caught up trying to accomplish everything that’s on the list, you just might forget the other things that should really matter to you. Too many lists I see that are all about ME, ME, ME.

Anyway, my next post is my list and I’m calling it…hmnn…MY HAPPY LIST. Seriously, I just came up with that one now. Sorry it’s not so literary-sounding or deep. If you can suggest a more proper name for my list, please share 🙂  If an item is crossed out like THIS and in red, consider that done and virtually marked with an “X”.

 

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Yes, sir, this is my “X” post for the A-to-Z Challenge 2015. Consider this one done 😉