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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

entry arrow9:35 PM | Secret Lives

We were talking about private lives last Tuesday during lunch at Gabby’s Bistro—a bunch of us teachers from the English Department, eager for a brief reprieve from the demands of a work day, savoring good food to soothe frazzled souls. But we had not done something like this for the longest time—two or four years now since we last felt alive? the years since have become a miserable blur—but we were coming together to celebrate the homecoming of a beloved mentor and former boss, Dr. Ceres Pioquinto, who was in town after years in Germany and Switzerland, to get in touch with old roots, and perhaps to find some vitality with new ones.

After all the hearty welcomes and how-are-you’s, the talk somehow turned to the subject of private lives, occasioned, I think, by a most private story one of us refused to elaborate on. I began talking about how each of us was suddenly telling stories from the shaded parts of our selves that we had never really told anybody else. One of us would say something like, “Kabalo ba mo? Mauni-mauna....” And we would go: “Mao ba? How come we didn’t know?”

It struck me how common it was to hoard on secrets, and how every day we all go out to the world bearing strong armors as facades to the secrets within.

Gina soon turned to me, and asked: “So, ikaw, okay na ka?” She asked this with a smile—because, as a good friend, she, like all the rest of those in my beloved posse, knows how rocky it has been for me, the past two years. But the question sounded so funny to me, because it brought home the fact that for most of those who know me, I have a curious tendency to air out my angst and frustrations broadcast to the world. There’s this blog, for example, which has become a barometer of my mood for many of my friends. And there’s this wonderful function in Facebook that eggs you to broadcast your “status” for the rest of your linked world to see, all because of a simple formula for confession embedded like a virus in the website: a sentence bearing first your name and then the word “is…” And so it goes: “Ian is busy today.” “Ian is watching the world go by from his table in Café Mamia.” “Ian is dreaming of chocolate bars.” And sometimes, the more confessional ones: “Ian is sad, and he doesn’t know why,” or “Ian sees grey clouds ahead,” the likes of which has the frequency of habit. (My Mark once posted as his Facebook status, this: “Mark is sad because Ian is always sad.”)

I’m not sure I am eternally sad, because I do know I am capable of such craziness, and when the right buttons are pushed I become a maniac of restless energy. But I blame this bipolarism on acquired neuroses, which includes a minor dose of obsessive compulsion. And includes a tendency for the dramatic. And being the person that I am, the world is the stage for all my drama.

But everybody has their own neurosis. Somebody I know makes up elaborate stories of conquests to cover the obvious sad truth. Somebody I know uses beer as an alibi for naughty things. Somebody I know makes up for a handicap by being the most the most vindictive animal this side of creation. Somebody I used to know looks for affirmation by making a habit of resigning from her job every single year—just to feel the pleasure of having her resignation denied. (One year, her resignation was finally accepted -- much to her consternation.) Somebody I know makes up for an old heartbreak by breaking the hearts of every admirer since. Somebody I know sees only gross imperfections in his perfect beauty. Somebody I know does everything in threes—locking the door three times, turning off the light switches three times—before she can manage to breathe easily. Somebody I know plays Christmas songs only in June.

Everyone has secrets.

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