We all want to fall in love. Why? Because that experience makes us feel completely alive. Where every sense is heightened, every emotion is magnified, our everyday reality is shattered and we are flying into the heavens. It may only last a moment, an hour, an afternoon. But that doesn’t diminish its value, because we are left with memories that we treasure to the rest of our lives. –from a Google search 🙂
[ Note : just so you know the backstory and there’s no inadvertent loss of perspective, Ganda for the first time in her young life
now in her first serious relationship has a boyfriend. Here’s a letter I wrote to her spontaneously, half-wanting to tell her not to make mistakes, foolishly remembering that in my advanced age, I’m still making new ones everyday, and half-wanting to tell her to be as happy as she can be, without (grrr) letting her boyfriend know. He seems like a good fellow by the way (and plays excellent basketball in the local Pinoy leagues here); happy 2013 to all and thanks for reading! ]
Dear Ganda :
First of all, I want to let you know, as I’m doing so now, that I’m so so happy, over the moon for you. I remember you telling me not so long ago back in the Philippines that being the eternal romantic that most Pinoys are, that in this big big world of ours there was someone out there waiting for you, and for whom you were also waiting. I also remember you asking me (who didn’t have a clue on what to tell you) Papa, why is it taking so long? I smiled inwardly at your young confusion, as to why Love hadn’t been happening to you as soon as it was to your peers, friends and contemporaries. Well, as you very well know, it’s happened. And if anyone deserves it, it’s you.
But I also want to tell you that just because it’s your first time, that just because it’s a life-changing experience for you, it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t happened before. I know it sounds simplistic and elementary, but like everything else about Life, Love is based on human experience and is a learnable activity. There is no textbook manual for what you are enjoying now, but sources are plentiful on the subject, and because I have the benefit of (painful) experience, I audaciously appoint myself an authority on the subject, at least for the duration of this letter.
Like the quotation above, and as Eminem makes quite clear in one of his collaborations (with Rihanna), Love is what happens when a tornado meets a volcano. It’s a groundswell of emotions, physical tumults and explosions all put together in a transaction of feelings between two people, especially if one or both of them are in love for the first time.
Because of such, I will try to say this as diplomatically as I can to you, but during the course of the time you are in love, especially the first few months, you can’t expect to be in your right mind. Eight times out of ten you shouldn’t trust yourself to make the correct decision. Things that you would 99% of the time choose the correct and commonsense option, you will gloss over in favor of Love. ( I am being diplomatic again here, when I say “Love” I actually refer to your boyfriend.) It is the way of the world, bonehead decisions you would laugh at years and years later but which you would do for Love without a second thought right now. Trust me on this one, please.
I don’t think I need to get into specifics, but I do need to give you the soundest piece of advice because of the Truth I just revealed to you in the previous paragraph : on matters of Love, seek often and heed the counsel of your mother, who I’m sure is giving you tons of advice, most of it unsolicited. She has the painful benefit of falling in Love early in life, reaping all its consequences, and surprisingly surviving it all. 😉 If there’s anyone who is in a great position to anticipate road bumps and challenges for you, it is her. For the soundness of her advice, it’s about as good as money in the bank.
Look, if I’m beginning to sound like a doomsday soothsayer about something that should be giving you oodles and oodles of happiness in your young life, I’m sorry. But combined with my ecstatic joy that you’ve found love is a concern that you stumble, fall and make the same mistakes that many young people, including Your Loyal Papa (once upon a time), have done.
It’s not just getting pregnant, being a young mother, then being a single mother that bothers me, let’s push that elephant out of the room. If you just pause before doing anything, give your head and your heart equal face time, and as Stephen Covey says, begin with the end in mind, you will avoid what your parents had to contend with at the time : being mapusok and allowing the heart to rule the mind. But it’s not just that.
Asking basic questions like : is this what I would be doing regardless of my current relationship status? Am I thinking of us, or am I also considering myself alone? Am I being in love with my boyfriend, or am I being in love with the concept of being in love? I know these sound philosophical and like so much nitpicking, but they (the answers) are worth considering.
Knowing you, I know you will just push this letter aside as the rantings of an old man making mountains out of molehills.
To balance it out, I am happy that you took the time to invite your boyfriend to your Tita H’s shindig, that you asked permission before asking him to visit late at night, and that you introduced him to me and Tita H the morning after. It’s also quite decent of him to introduce you to his entire family for Christmas dinner. Those are little things, but to me they matter.
It indicates to me that you still love me as much as you did when I was the center of your world. I know those days are long past, but you have grown up very well. It also shows (dapat lang, as you will surely retort) that he loves you to bits. Well, so far, so good.
Above all, I am ultra-glad you have fallen in love sensibly, if that is at all possible, and that you have fallen in love with a (so far) decent, sensible and respectful young man. I wish you and Pinoy Boyfriend all the blessings in the world.
Nawa’y kaawaan ka lagi ng Diyos anak.
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- why Tita Emilie Pe Shi is our favorite Kinoy* (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
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