Spandau Ballet

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The truth is, you will wake up and realize the old life you had, as you knew it, is gone. And the truth is, you will want it back. You will want it back with all your heart, and it will hurt, because that is what loss feels like.

The truth is, even if you did find a way to go back, things are never going to be exactly as they were because you aren’t exactly the same person anymore. Neither are the people you left behind. There will be parts of you that you recognize, the core of you that makes you who you are, like your love of books, of adventure, of the absurd, and your ability to put things down and walk away for good. There will be parts of you that you will lay to rest, like your need to writhe unabashed under flashing lights with strangers, to stumble home with addled wits and equally addled friends. There will be parts of you that are new and surprising, like your increased capacity to compromise and the true extent of your caring. The truth is, the march of time is inexorable, and the change it brings is inevitable for you, and for everyone else you know.

The truth is, you will get tired. Of each other. Of the sameness. Of the monotony.  You won’t always like the same things, and want to do everything together because the truth is, sometimes sharing space – your space – with another human being gets claustrophobic.

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Easier to Run

A post shared by LINKIN PARK (@linkinpark) on

Put to rest what you thought of me
While I clean this slate
With the hands of uncertainty
So let mercy come and wash away
What I’ve done

– What I’ve Done
Linkin Park, Minutes to Midnight

Today’s post is brought to you by the untimely death of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. Untimely for all of us maybe, but timely to him. I’ve seen a dozen thinkpieces pop up over the past two days since word spread that he’d hung himself on Chris Cornell’s birthday. Most people reacted with shock, anger, and sadness. Mine was surprise, but I wasn’t as surprised as I thought I would be. Anyone familiar with his work was aware, at least on a subconscious level, that this was a guy who had inner demons he dealt with every day. He sang about endings as beginnings, about sunsets over sunrise, about being numb, about things that rippled under his skin begging to be set free.

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It’s Your Day, Mommy

This is still the song that comes to mind whenever Mother’s Day rolls around. My best friend and colleague says it’s likely because my taste in music is unevolved. (I know, how dare he?) I prefer to think it’s because its message is clear, strong and still resonates after all these years. The truth usually does.

“Mama” is the exploration of a changing perspective. It’s the gradual dawning of understanding that Mother knew best… or did what she did with the unshakeable belief that she knew best. It was never just about us; it was always about the greater good. It’s gaining the ability to truly laugh, without any remnants of resentment at the foibles of our mothers and accept them for who they are. Maybe even forgive them for whatever psychological scars they’ve inflicted on our nascent childhoods, and ask for our own redemption for all the crap we’ve ever put them through.

What rite of passage defines one’s entry into adulthood? First job? First bill paid? First time to move out?

I think the true rite of passage into adulthood is the one where we stop blaming our parents for every slight, real or perceived, and take hold of the life we have fashioned for ourselves. It’s the moment we accept that it’s the decisions we make – external circumstances bedamned – that shape the life we currently live, that’s when we truly grow up. This is why we can thank the mothers that we do have – because they are just like us. They may be clueless, they may be flawed, but they are courageous. You can listen to all the advice and read all the parenting books in the known universe, but no one knows what they’re really getting themselves into when they decide to be parents. Our parents took the plunge and did it anyway. The craziest, most insanely dangerous leap to take, and the one with the most lasting after-effects. It’s a leap I’ve never even been able to bring myself to make, but our mothers did that for us. And that’s all we can really ask for from them, isn’t it?

Taste the Rainbow

Last week, Starbucks debuted a limited edition drink called the Unicorn Frappucino. The name alone evoked magic and cotton candy, which sounds interesting on paper, but turned out to be all sorts of extra. I’ve downed my fair share of bubble teas that have run the gamut of colours, but even this was just a little much too much.

The Unicorn Frappucino (April 18-23, 2017, RIP) was a blended drink that was created to dazzle the eye.  It had a pink, sparkly, mango-flavoured cream base, was laced with a “pleasantly sour” blue ripple and, as a final flourish, topped with whipped cream and a light dusting of pink “fairy dust.” In other words, it looked like someone took major elements of gay pride, put it in a blender, poured it in a venti cup and topped it with diabetes. Read More »

Bee My Valentine

That bloody bee is back at it again, tugging at all our heart strings with a trilogy of Valentine’s Day ads. I salute the evil genius behind the Kwentong Jollibee Valentine campaign. Well played, sir. As if I don’t struggle enough to curb my emotional eating, this comes along and convinces me true love tastes better with an an upsized glass of pineapple juice and an extra box of Peach Mango Pie.

While “Date” is emotionally shattering and “Vow” is unintentionally hilarious (all I could picture after that twist was Jorah Mormont in the friend zone), it’s “Crush”  I enjoyed the most.

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Auto Immune Syndrome

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the closest I ever came to being road ready. Yep. Ten years later, I still can’t drive worth shit.

Confession: I am thirty-five and I can’t drive. This is not a badge of pride, the way some people take pride in saying they don’t know how to cook –  a roundabout way of saying
they grew up with servants, which means they’re rich and cooking is menial and for peasants. Yeah, no. I wish I could claim I can’t drive because I actually have a chauffeur, but that must’ve been my former life in an alternate universe because in this particular reality, I am too poor for a chauffeur. Also, people who’re proud of not knowing how to cook are crazy and run the risk of going hungry and/or eating uncooked ramen noodles. I feel nothing but sadness for them, much the same way  you feel nothing but sadness for me, the non-driver in her mid-thirties who still takes the bus like Miss Rosa Parks.

The truth is, I can’t drive because I don’t know how and I’ve never really needed to. Everywhere I’ve been has always had easy access to public transportation, and there’ve always been people to drive me around for little to no charge, be it my parents, my in-laws,  Le Hubs, a friend, the subway conductor and  Manong Bus Driver.

My driving record is non-existent, unless you count trying to mow down chickens with a scooter. But I am a grown-up now, and I need to learn how to drive. It’s about time. I can’t take public transit forever, and I can’t keep relying on someone else to drive me. Like swimming, driving is a survival skill after all. What if I get kidnapped somewhere in the Mojave desert and my only recourse is to hijack a truck and ride out at top speed like a bat out of hell? The reception could be sketchy and who has time to call an Uber when one is too busy trying to live? Or what if the future is a George Miller fever dream, where we are all Mad Max in an post-apocalyptic wasteland where everyone fights for water and guzzoline while Tina Turner sings the theme song and the only way to get around is by driving stick in a jacked-up supercar?

In my defence, I’m short. I don’t quite like the idea of having to sit on a giant Webster’s dictionary just so I can see above the dashboard. You’ve seen the video. I had to wear shoes the size of cement blocks just so my foot could reach the pedals. But Le Hubs’ grandmother, who is about seventy, still drives and does it on the highway, to boot. Each summer she drives about four hours  up north to cottage country. So what pathetic excuse can I possibly give myself after learning of a gutsy display like that? Nothing. I am disgusted with myself. A woman twice my age is more badass than I am at this moment. I  need a number for decent driving school. Stat.

So here is my New Year’s Resolution: get a license, and learn how to drive.

Mi Ultimo Adios

Dear Elly G,

I don’t know why they call it the Dirty Thirties. I certainly haven’t dirtied up this first half of that decade. I hope you have, though. If not me, at least you should.

My thirties so far have been so clean they’re squeaky. Much, I imagine, like what the next decade is going to be like. Squeaky. As in rusty hinges in need of oiling. Because this is it. This is my last day being thirty-four. Being on Halifax time is only postponing the fact. In the Philippines, it’s already happened, and I am  already thirty-five. That’s it. I’ve hit the the peak and I’m teetering on the edge. Everything after 35 is just going to go downhill, like my boobs and my chin and my butt. I’ll deflate like an old balloon.

It probably won’t be that drastic, at least I hope not, but I’m starting to have days where I look in the mirror and I just…

I guess I’ll have to embrace aging gracefully, like Madeleine Ashton – except with less money. This means  I’m never going to be like the patron saint of life at seventy… I invoke thee, dear glorious Jane Fonda, I invoke thee! But I will at least attempt not to hasten the process overmuch. I’m buying a treadmill.

Yes, a treadmill. It was that, or gastric bypass surgery. Yes, all my remedies for losing weight involve invasive procedures. Why? Because I like my results the way my father likes his coffee: instant. I want to pop a pill and be reborn immediately without the work, the blood, the sweat, the tears. I want to wake up the next day and be resistant to gravity again. Isn’t that what we secretly whisper into the ether as we blow out the candles on our  birthday cake? I know it’s what I whisper. Except as punishment for having no self-control, I am no longer allowed to have cake.

So enjoy your last four days of being thirty-four. You are the only one left, the last man standing. Fight that good fight! And when Father Time wins, as he always does, don’t despair; you can join the rest of us already in the last half of our Dirty Thirties. We’re waiting for you, but there’s no need to rush.

Love and hunger,

Nikka

Licensed to Ill

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Me at 25, tits like rocks.

If anyone wants to know how I spent some of the last days of my life being 34, I spent it as sick as a dog. It could be the bug going around work. It could be because I don’t believe in flu shots. It could be because the weather can’t decide whether it wants to be pleasant or freezing and the temperature keeps changing within the span of a day. Finally, it could be my whole body repudiating the idea of getting older. That last one is the likeliest scenario. I’ve decided that dread is what caused the miserable last few days I just had.

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The Life Lessons of Carl Grimes

Meet Carl. Carl is a teenager who came of age in the Atlanta zombie apocalypse. His world view is shaped by his father, who was a no-nonsense sheriff  when the world still made sense and people weren’t re-animated monsters out for brains. Carl can teach you things. Important things. Also, Carl’s lessons might be spoiler-heavy so if you haven’t seen the first few seasons of The Walking Dead, this is your cue to avert your eyes and move along.

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