Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Purposeful whimsy

Whenever I try to picture the kind of life I want to create this year, I always end up thinking of teacups, delicate ones made of porcelain or bone china, with pretty flowers and edges gilded with gold.

I see myself drinking tea or coffee in them, gracefully holding the saucer, even. There are no sandwiches, scones or cake in the picture, because while I do drink tea and coffee, I am not really one who actually does tea, you know?

There's a word I discovered when I was working in media many years ago: aspirational. I still can't use it with a straight face, but maybe this dainty teacup I keep envisioning is exactly that, aspirational for me.

What words do I associate with this teacup? Elegance and design. Beauty. And also purposeful whimsy.

I'm also reminded of criticism--the kind you want when you want to improve as a writer--I received at a class writing workshop many years ago: Your words are beautiful, but they say nothing at all.

A teacup is beautiful and elegant in its service.

***

Yesterday, while organizing our bathroom shelf, I realized I don't like decorative soap. I mean soap that is molded in shapes like seashells, animals or, worse, flowers.

Their design defeats their purpose.

They look sad within a couple of uses and they're uncomfortable to scrub your hands with. As décor, they gather dust. As fragrance, most of them quickly lose scent.

What is the use of it, really.

***

I have three miniature teacups, all gifts or souvenirs. Today, I planted sansevieria in the remaining two.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

We are off to a slow start, 2018

Last night, I dreamt that I was in the United States with some people, including a boy I liked years ago, someone I was interested in again. We were all staying in a relative's house; the family was out of the country and had invited us to use their home.

All of us were friendly, but we weren't exactly traveling together. I had my own plans, including reunions with other friends I didn't share with them. However, as people who find themselves together tend to do, everyone started planning as a group: tours, night outs, shows. I hesitated; I always start out wanting to do my own thing, not following anyone else's agenda.

But when they invited me to a barbecue night in the backyard, I looked at the boy I liked shyly and thought: This is a good way to get to know him better. I imagined the two of us chatting on the porch, laughing over drinks and maybe liking each other a little bit more.

I ran off to my room and took a shower. Before dressing, I decided to lie down in bed for a few minutes. It was morning when I woke up, still with bathrobe on and a towel wrapped around my hair. Barbecue night was over; I had lost my chance.

That was the end of the dream.

I woke up a little upset at myself. Later, when I shared this dream with friends, I wondered: Do I feel bad because I am so slow at everything?

Years ago, I tried to make a vision board, but I couldn't fill it up. Someone I went to grad school with scoffed at it and said, "Dagdagan mo naman ang mga pangarap mo." Add to your dreams; have more ambition; be more; do more.

Lately, I've been rethinking this idea of "more."

One of the articles I read last year that left an impression asked this question: What if All I Want is a Mediocre Life? Of course, the writer doesn't really want a mediocre life. She wants a small, slow, simple one and she defines it for herself and declares it enough.

That's something that I am committed to this year, but it's also something I'm slow at defining. But I'm getting there. I'm getting there.