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To my future husband, about a secret longing

By the time you read this knowing it’s for you, you already have my heart, along with the promise that it is yours to keep for the rest of our lives. Now there’s something I need to tell you, a seldom-spoken truth about the heart I gave that hopefully won’t change your mind.

I need you to pursue me.

There. Writing it, I sort of cringe in front of my computer. I try to find words that are less needy, less emotional, less vulnerable. It sounds so…unfeminist. But as much as I believe in a woman’s worth apart from a man’s opinion, there it is, the bare, unvarnished truth of my heart: I need you not just to love me, but to long for me.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not merely being longed for that I crave. There have been other pursuits in the past, other promises that I haven’t accepted because I was waiting for you to show up. But when you came…I stopped running. It’s  kind of ironic that the man I cannot turn away from is the one whose pursuit I most desire.

May I tell you something else? Sometimes, I don’t really believe I deserve it. On the darkest days, I wonder if you can ever look at me and see someone you would seek to the ends of the earth, someone worth fighting for, someone captivating and absolutely irreplaceable. And I’m very much afraid that if the answer is no,  or a devastatingly careless shrug, my love for you and my self-doubt would conspire to make me accept it. I would make excuses on your behalf, clinging to the assurance you gave while you were still trying to win me, convincing myself that it’s enough. I would dismiss my need as overly romantic and unreasonable, all the while quietly wondering if you’re only staying because I ask so little of you. And day by day, my heart would gradually shrink, drying up and shriveling on the part that your yearning used to fill.

So please. When we are spending our lives together, never stop wanting me.

Miss me when I’m gone. Really miss me.

Listen when I talk, even if it doesn’t seem important to you, even when it’s hard to understand. That’s how I’ll know you’re still discovering me, that you’re still interested, and not indifferent.

Don’t let me be the only one who asks for quality time. Your time, those moments when we can just delight in each other, is the “I love you” I most understand.

Kiss me like you mean it. Let’s promise never to let ourselves get out of practice.

I want our bed to eventually sag in the middle, because that’s where we always end up, instinctively drawing close even in our sleep. There’s nothing sadder in a marriage, I think, than a bed where the occupants never cross the boundary between his side and hers.

Whatever you do, just tell me. Tell me in a way that feels more than just a habit. Tell me with your voice and your eyes and your hands.  Tell me with the way you seek my gaze across a crowd. Tell me with the way you touch me when we wake up. Tell me you want me, desire me, that you would choose me again if we both lived twice.

Because there’s one last thing I want to confess, my darling: that’s exactly how I feel about you. You see, I’ve been longing for you all my life. Even before we met, even when my faith wavered that you would come, I’ve been longing for you. And the truth is, love, I simply don’t know how to stop.

*****

Just like last weekInspiration Monday has again given me exactly the push I needed to get out what I wanted to write. This week, the prompts I heeded were “you only live twice” and “single but taken”.  Thanks, InMon!

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An open letter to Atty. Hector Villacorta, from a humble blogger

Sir, if I might have a word with you.

Before Sen. Tito Sotto’s plagiarism extravaganza this week, I had no idea who you are. You moved in powerful circles in the nation’s capital while I quietly scribbled my thoughts in my little corner of the Internet. Alas, those happy days are gone. Now you’re everywhere I turn in the Philippine blogosphere, littering our space with your arrogant delusions. I’m tired of this. There’s an important debate going on regarding a bill that will drastically affect our country’s future, and you and your big mouth are sidetracking us.

I never thought that an unpaid blogger might have something to teach a senator’s chief of staff, but someone needs to stop you from making a bigger fool of yourself and your boss. Nobody in your office seems willing to do it, so I will. Listen up.

This all started when parts of an anti-Reproductive Health Bill speech made by Sen. Sotto were revealed to be lifted from an article by Sarah Pope, an American health blogger. He denied it, implying that bloggers are too insignificant to steal from, but everyone with a working bullshit detector just laughed in his face. When Sarah heard that a senator from halfway around the world not only stole her intellectual property but also, in her own words, “twisted the message of my blog to suit his own purposes against the women of the Philippines,” she felt the need to respond. (As an aside, see what I did there, when I attributed the words to the source? That’s a quote, Attorney. We’ll get back to that later.)

Now here’s where you come in. You stormed into Sarah’s comment section, dripping false humility and weary condescension, and proceeded to offer an ill-advised pseudo-apology that triggered a chorus of facepalms across the nation. Since then, more blatant plagiarism by Sotto has been uncovered, and you’ve spouted off more of your special brand of idiocy. Frankly, it’s embarrassing. It’s time for you to learn what you’ve been chattering about.

Let’s see. There’s a wealth of misinformation from you in this article from ABS-CBNnews.com. Let’s try to deal with that, shall we?

YOUR WORDS:

  • “Blog site is public domain.”
  • “Blogs are public domain. Anybody can use it [sic].”
  • “Bloggers, beware what you put out on the web. You should not cry if used by the web.”

THE FACTS:

No, Attorney,  a blog isn’t automatically in the public domain.  If an intellectual property doesn’t qualify for a copyright, or if its copyright has already expired, only then is it part of the public domain. Since blogs qualify for automatic copyright protection, and since that protection takes a long time to expire, the information that you and your staff copied for the senator was not, in fact, in the public domain.

You can’t evade  this. The Philippines signed several international copyright agreements, including one specifically designed to protect intellectual property online. We also have our own Intellectual Property Code. You asked where the laws are that would prove the crime of plagiarism was committed. Here they are, Attorney. And yes, just because these laws exist doesn’t guarantee implementation, but it’s kind of disturbing when a lawyer and a senator are either ignorant about them or actively defying them.

YOUR WORDS:

  •  “Nagtatampo pala sila pag naqu-quote sila.” (Trans: Their sensitivities get hurt when they are quoted.)

 THE FACTS: 

That was not quoting, Attorney, that was stealing. To quote means to properly acknowledge the source. You know, like I did with Sarah’s words up there and your own ridiculous sound bites. In blogging we do it by linking to whatever website we used as source.  In speech, you have to actually mention the origin out loud. In academic research and scientific literature, there’s a formal system that gives every first-time college thesis writer nightmares. I assume you are familiar with the last one, because you must be using scientific research for Sen. Sotto’s anti-RH Bill arguments, right? Right?

The point is, attribution is important. Without it, you are letting people believe that the words are your own, essentially claiming credit for them. In short, plagiarizing.

YOUR WORDS:

  • “Government is exempted from the copyright rule. As a general principle,  you cannot withhold information from government.”

 THE FACTS

I hesitate to venture into this territory because you’re a lawyer and I’m not. But the Philippine Constitution can be read by anyone, and maybe you just need a friendly reminder.

As far as I know, we are not yet a Big Brother society, though we do have a Big Brother television show. Here in the Philippines, we still believe that privacy is a right. Sections 2 and 3 of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights assure me that even the President himself can’t force me to let him read my high school diary and use it for his own purposes without a court order. Of course, if it were a matter of national security, I’ll let him read even the unsent love letter to my old crush, but only if he promises not to post it on Facebook.

As for the claim that working for the government exempts you from obeying the law, we only have to look at the cases of those Supreme Court justices charged with plagiarism to know that that’s just another one of your little daydreams. If you mean parliamentary immunity, sure, but it doesn’t make Sotto less of a lying thief. It just makes him a cowardly lying thief.

I’m sure I missed a few other things, but I’m tired. Obviously one of your staff knows how to use google, so next time, please just ask him to do some research before you use any big words in your interviews.

Or there’s also the possibility of Sen. Sotto just saying he’s sorry. Then this will all eventually blow over and we could go back to concentrating on the RH Bill. Just two words, Attorney. How hard can it be?

Sincerely,

A blogger

UPDATE: Here is a neat timeline of all the events in the Sotto Plagiarism Extravaganza from the site that first broke the story. WARNING: May trigger a reflexive facepalm so hard it might break your nose.

GET INVOLVED: There’s an online petition for the Senate’s Committee on Ethics and Privilege to sanction Senator Vicente Sotto III for his misdeeds.  Why should you care? As the novelist Miguel Syjuco writes so eloquently, “If the senator can’t accept responsibility for something as paltry as plagiarism, where the penalty’s hardly more than a public apology, will he take responsibility in future issues where penalties are more grave? If the senator can’t address our grievances fairly when they’re so small, will he face future grievances that are more costly? “

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This is how I plan to love you for the rest of my life

Just so you know, this is what happens when you have my heart.

You would never doubt it.

I wouldn’t let you.

Be more mysterious, I’ve been told, by magazines and blogs and sleepover confidants. It’s a mistake to let him know everything that you feel. Men like the chase, like competition, to keep from getting bored. So make him jealous, they wink and nudge. Play hard to get.

But how hard to get can I be, babe, when I’m already yours?

How jealous can I make you when the very thought of you doubting your place in my life feels unbearably wrong?

There will be no games between us. No manipulations, no pretenses, no lies.

You will know that you hold my heart. You will know that I would never want anyone else.

You will know that I love you.

See, I plan on telling you every day.

First thing when I wake up, whispered against your skin.

Last thing at night, for you to take into your dreams.

When you are tired and frustrated and sad.

When you are so lighthearted you start singing songs whether you know the lyrics or not.

When you make me laugh.

When you save me from cockroaches and nightmares and panic attacks.

When I am proud of you.

When you can’t believe that I am proud of you (especially then).

When we need to fix something wrong, so you’ll know that whatever it is, it won’t change how I feel.

When I’m asking for coffee kisses.

When you’re asking for a back rub.

When I welcome you home or kiss you goodbye.

When you look like you need a hug, or even when you don’t but I just want to give you one anyway.

I will keep telling you, babe, in whispers, in exclamations, in laughter, in letters, in touches, in looks.  I will tell you until it sinks into your skin, flows with your blood, and joins in the beating of your heart. Until my love for you becomes part of who you are, and who you will be, for as long as your heart beats, and mine.

I will tell you, always.

And every time I do, I will mean it more than the last time I said it. Every “I love you” will carry the weight of all the “I love you’s” before, and the promise of more to come.

That promise will always be fulfilled.

I will always love you.

And I will always let you know.

Another Letter for My Future Husband

Beloved,

It’s been almost four years since I first wrote you a letter, and so much has changed. Four years isn’t a long time, but reading that letter feels like a glimpse into another life. In a lot of ways, I am a different person today.

I still love you. That much remains the same. I am still waiting, and I still have faith that you will find me someday. But that someday seems farther away now than it did four years ago, and I can no longer see it clearly.

So much has happened. And someday I will tell you all about it; I will cry in your arms and tell you about the hurt and the heartbreak and the confusion that have me stumbling now, hesitant to come closer to you because I would not have you see me like this.

There are some battles yet that I have to win on my own before I can face you. I don’t want to give myself to you broken; I want to be able to love you with a heart that is whole and brave and unafraid.

But I will still need you. There are struggles that I cannot face alone, and I want you there. I need you there, and I need to know that you will not leave halfway through. I need to know that you will fight for me, even when the enemy is myself.

And perhaps I may need to fight for you, as well. Perhaps we both have walls that need to be broken down before we can belong together. When that time comes, I want to be strong enough and wise enough not to run away.

Until then, darling, wait for me. Wait with me. Our time will come, love, when we are both ready. But even now, no matter what, I love you. I love you not knowing who you are, or where you are, or whether you are thinking of me at all. I love you not knowing when I will be with you. Because one thing I do know: no matter how many times I stumble on this road, you are walking this path, too, and in the perfect time, you will find me.

Yours,

Abigail

A Letter for My Future Husband

This is one of several letters I wrote to give to my future husband on our wedding day. I’d just like to share it as an encouragement to those who are also in the season of waiting.

June 9, 2007 (2:38 AM)

Dearest,

By the time you read this, you and I would have met, learned to love each other, and promised to belong together for the rest of our lives. I would have memorized everything about you — your face, your voice, your touch. And you would know me more intimately than anyone ever has or will.

But right now, I am alone. I know you only in my imagination…and my dreams. But, darling, in a way that I can’t explain, I love you now. It’s as if I know you in my heart, and because we are separated by time, I miss you. So I am writing this to you as a way of reaching into the future — to tell you that I am saving my heart until you finally come to claim it. I am waiting for you, beloved. And I pray that wherever you are right now, you are waiting for me as well.

As the days go by, I long for you in a way that I have never experienced before. It is a strange feeling, to miss someone whom I do not even know. My prayer is that this longing will glorify God by drawing me closer to him, because as much as I love you now and will love you in the future, I will always love Him more. I know that it will be the same for you, as it should. Our common passion for the one who made us for each other will strengthen our love and deepen our bond. It will be the first thing that will draw me towards you.

Though it isn’t always easy, I can see the hand of God in giving us this season of waiting. Because you are always in my thoughts, simple activities become special when I think of them as preparation for the future. There is so much more to learn before I am ready. Be patient with me, beloved, for my life is a work in progress. I know that yours is, too. Therefore, allow me to say this now: If there is anything, anything at all in your past that might hurt me, know that you will have my forgiveness. You do not have to earn it; it is yours. I am no stranger to second chances, and I do not want our future to hold any bitterness or recriminations. Let us live in the freedom that the greatest Love of all has restored to us.

Someday, you and I will talk about everything that made us who we are. There may be laughter, tears, thankfulness, and yes, regrets. But always, God’s goodness will be present. It is, after all, because of His love that we will find each other. And when we do, this season of waiting will give way to a season of discovery, when I can finally listen to your stories and tell you all of mine. So until that day, beloved, I am saving myself for you. I have surrendered the keys of my heart to God, and he will open the door for you to enter in the perfect time.

I love you, my darling. I am waiting.

Yours forever,

Abigail

P.S. I’ve got other letters for you. It’s become a habit, I think. At this rate you’ll probably spend our entire honeymoon reading.


The 30 Days, 30 Letters blog challenge revisited

When I decided to do this project, where I have to write 30 letters to 30 people on a pre-selected list, I knew that it wouldn’t be easy. That’s exactly why I wanted to do it — to step out of my comfort zone and see  what’s beyond it. I also wanted to get into the habit of blogging regularly, since I’m a very sporadic blogger. Now, a month after I posted that first letter, I have gained so much more than I expected. Through those letters, relationships have been healed and strengthened, and I was able to reach out to people I have lost touch with. Aside from that, I gained a deeper understanding of my own self. So to celebrate, here’s a recap of some of the letters:

Most difficult to write:

Easiest:

Most fun because of the memories:

Most cathartic:

Most fulfilling:

Taught me the most:

I’d like to thank everyone who took this journey with me. And for those bloggers who are still doing this or thinking about it, may you find the same satisfaction that I did. I think you’ll discover that the views are better outside of the comfort zone. 😉

Day 30 — Your reflection in the mirror

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

~Henry David Thoreau


To the girl in my mirror,

Who are you, really? I used to think I knew you, but over the years, when you should have grown more familiar, you have instead become more enigmatic. There are shadows in your eyes now, and hesitation in the shape of your lips, and I am finding it harder to remember what you used to look like when everything was clear. You have changed.

Today, I find that I can no longer define you. Shall I characterize you by what you believe, when I know that you now have more questions than answers? Shall I label you by what you do, when you have come to realize that activity and movement can be a mask, a charade? Or shall I identify you by the people you love, when your relationships are marked by ambivalence and uncertainty, with you longing for and at the same time fighting against intimacy that can hurt or heal? Years ago, I would have jumped right in with a richly detailed answer to the simple request, “Describe yourself.” Now I realize that it is the most complex thing you can ask of a human being. I don’t even know where to start.

Maybe not knowing where to start is the start. Maybe, at this time in my life, I’m supposed to be a little more unsure, a little less self-assured. Maybe these questions will lead me somewhere that I need to be, somewhere closer to the real reflection of who I am. Maybe.

If that happens, I wonder if I will be able to say —

I love you,

Abigail