Category Archives: choir

Hello from Georgia

So here I am in my babe’s office hoping he’d drop by from his class so I can ask where the computer center is.

Waiting and listening to the goddess Tori, I decided to look inside the boxes of books I sent him from home.  Some of them were mine and I was pleased to see my Neil Gaiman collection safe and intact.  Among the random tomes, I found, to giddy pleasure, a book given to me by my Glee Club.  It was actually a bunch of letters and miscellaneous comic strips and drawings sturdily bound and covered in plastic.  It’s title: Pumpkin Patch.  The cover was done by the budding artist, Meggy, who drew a Tim Burtonesque jack-o-lantern watering little pumpkins in his patch.  I guess the long-legged Jack is supposed to be me and my girls, the pumpkins.   It was charmingly creepy (or creepily charming) done in black and white because for some reason they thought I was into goth.

Digression:  On one of my birthdays, my club officers asked the girls not to wear anything colorful (a.k.a. only black) because “Ms. Cabel won’t like it.  She’s into goth.”  The truth is, I didn’t NOT like goth but I wasn’t into it as much as they assumed.  I wore mostly black because 1) it was sort of a UP College of Music performers’ uniform.  2) black was easy to mix with … black.   And when you’re a full-time teacher, you don’t have time to mix and match pieces from your closet when dressing up.  But me in black in ICA, it became my thing.  It was a piece of the Ms. Cabel puzzle along with my toy cactus, Pablo, and my ability to swing from one mood to another.

Alright, enough of that.

It’s been a couple of years since I read Pumpkin Patch.  I read it only twice since I got it because, even in my own company, I get very embarrassed when people say nice things about me.  I just go all squirmy and shy, wishing to just explode — poof! — into a cloud so I could hover away.  I know how to react to nastiness but niceness, not always.

I miss my Glee Club.  Those two years of moderating were the most exhausting, most emotionally-draining, and most gratifying of my time as a teacher.  I get teary-eyed just thinking about it.

You see, I’m no longer a teacher.

Here in Georgia, USA, I am not a teacher.  I am not a musician.  Not a writer.  Not an actress.  I’m not despairing, though, because I like where I am now.  I’m finally with my best friend and love and there’s no place I’d rather be.  But everything I was back in the Philippines is a memory for now.   I’m waiting to be who I was meant to be in this new and strange place.

I am in a cocoon and I’m waiting for wings.

Advertisements

The Arki Files: The Fine Art of Losing

the-choir.jpg 

Dear Choir,

Here’s the nitty-gritty of it: losing.  It sucks.

As kids, we were taught how to win, to keep our eyes on the prize we hope we will get in the end; but we were never taught how to deal with defeat or how to recover from loss.   This, the fine art of losing, is something that we teach ourselves as we go through life with defeat and loss.  It goes without saying, then, that our lives have been, are, and will be riddled with events that will drag us down the pits.  It’s an equalizer of sorts, defeat is, because no human being, no matter how powerful or rich, has never been rejected, let down, or beaten. 

Consider art and our approach to it.  If losing is an art then our proficiency for it can be honed and deepened as well.  We start out with tentative steps and build our confidence through practice. In the beginning, we depend on the people around us to keep us moving but eventually learn to operate on our own, without prodding or encouragement.  

This doesn’t mean, of course, that we must endeavor to lose.  On the contrary, we must always strive for excellence.  However, the possibility of failing never occurs when we’re inert or complacent.  It is present only when we reach for the stars above or jump hoping our feet will land on safe ground.  The reaching and the jumping are the stuff that builds character, not the stars nor the ground themselves.   

The journey is more significant than the destination.

The Fine Art of Losing (and feel free to add to it):

  • Howl at the moon and let the world know your pain – then be still and make your peace. Wounds fester when kept under wraps.
  • Don’t blame. Not yourself; not others. But if you can’t help it, do it. Let it all out then shut up and know that there are things beyond your control and you are human.
  • Things can be sometimes unfair. Do something about it instead of yakking.
  • Loss and defeat are opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Remember: Losing means that you fought, and it’s always better to have fought than not at all.

And we fought the good fight, didn’t we? 

We lost.  We didn’t place.  We could have been last, for all I know.  I howled, you heard me, and blamed myself as I usually did, but then you kept me from sinking into the mire of regret.  You patted my back and told me, “OK lang yan, Ma’am”.  I saw you laugh and tell people, “Hi there, we lost” with all smiles.  You called after I texted and howled along with me then texted hours later that you still couldn’t believe it.  You squeezed my arm and sat beside me while I pondered.  You told me you looked forward to singing in Haraya, already looking towards our future together.      

image043.jpgimage042.jpgimage047.jpgimage051.jpgimage046.jpgimage045.jpgimage044.jpgimage048.jpgimage049.jpgimage062.jpgimage050.jpgimage037.jpg

Thank you.

I kept saying “3 weeks” but was recently corrected by my mother.  She was right: we only had 2 to learn 3 songs and sing them brilliantly, and jump over the hurdles of getting used to one another.  We did all that despite our rocky schedules and other responsibilities.  We are cut from the same cloth, you and I: as architects-to-be you don’t only have books to pore over when you’re through with classes.  You have plates to finish and models to construct, just as I have music to write and pieces to practice.   Isn’t it amazing that we were able to bond and sing together without asking world to stop turning until we accomplished our task?

I am proud of you: each and every one of you.  I will always thank the universe for leading me to you.   Let us keep making music together.  Let us continue fighting the good fight.   

Love,

Cabsy grace-and-me2.jpg

PS

For a personal account of the UP Lantern Parade and more on losing the Carolfest (lol), click “Hi! We Lost!”: Losing the University Carolfest 2007.