Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Arts

I graduated Bachelor of the Arts in 1988, which was fitting since I was single for so long. Maybe it’s because I first had to learn two arts never taught in college: the art of letting go and the art of letting be.

After my umpteenth unrequited love disintegrated, I became particularly relationship-shy and kept most everyone at a distance. Better be safe than hurt, was what I assured myself.

It took me a long time to figure out that letting go didn’t mean keeping people at a distance. The fear of intimacy is different from detachment. The former prevents one from forming deep connections with others. The latter is possible even with soul mates; they do share a bond, but they are capable of setting each other free from one another.

Getting hurt is an integral part of life. Part of living means allowing hurt to happen; more importantly, it means finding out a healthy way to cope and eventually get over the hurt. A spectacular ode to unrequited love from the musical Phantom of the Opera helped kick some sense into me:

“Wishing you were somehow here again,
Knowing we must say goodbye.

Try to forgive,
Teach me to live,
Give me the strength to try!

No more memories
No more silent tears
No more gazing across the wasted years…

Help me say goodbye.”

But the ultimate kicker was from her Madgesty Herself, Madonna. When “The Power Of Goodbye” came out, I knew I found the song that would help teach me the valuable lesson of walking away:

“Your heart is not open, so I must go.
The spell has been broken... I loved you so.
You were my lesson I had to learn,
I was your fortress.

There’s nothing left to lose,
There’s no more heart to bruise.
There’s no greater power than the power of goodbye.

Learn to say goodbye,
I yearn to say goodbye.”

Letting things be is a lesson that came late to me. And it’s a lesson I am still learning to this day. I used to be distrustful when it came to matters of the heart—my heart specifically. But when I hit 43 years old, I got tired of fearing failure. So I thought it was only a matter of waiting for the guy whom I will click and bond almost effortlessly. Then I realized that waiting was for the passive and the patient. Life continues no matter what. So I decided to just be active, take hold of my life and make the most what was in front of me.

A little over two months ago this particular song by Paramore caught my attention one morning while I was listening to the car radio. It’s rare that I liked such a song instantly; usually the songs I immediately get hooked on first hearing are dance tracks. So that really struck me as out-of-the-ordinary. And the lyrics particularly spoke to me:

“Maybe I know, somewhere
Deep in my soul,
That love never lasts.
And we’ve got to find other ways
To make it alone,
Keep a straight face.

And I’ve always lived like this,
Keeping a comfortable distance.
And up until now
I had sworn to myself that I’m
Content with loneliness.

Because none of it was ever worth the risk.

Well, you are the only exception.
You, are, the only exception.”

Then I attended an MGG party at The Room one fateful Saturday evening. And the song became more relevant than ever.


gibbs cadiz said...

hmmm, makapagsulat na nga rin ng ganito--sana soon, bago ako mag-43. wahehe. :)

joelmcvie said...

@GIBBS: Feeling ko kaya mo bago ikaw mag-40. Wahehehe. =)

Fickle Cattle said...

Hahaha. You know what, I wrote something like this maybe 5 years ago in my old blog. Wait will look for it.

Here you go:

Watching the Brokeback Mountain trailer stirred a deep emotion in me I haven't realized I've submerged under whatever emotional baggage I've accumulated since the last time I felt it. It's a cetain kind of pain; a combination of longing, fear and nostalgia.

We all want love, there are no exceptions. Some of us will hide it behind intellectualized rationalizations and false bravado, and forget about it until the last few seconds of wakefulness before sleep. Others will declare it openly. I used to be part of the first group. I think it's time I become honest with myself and with other people.

I want love. And as embarassing as it may sound, I want the love that takes over completely, a love so true that to be with the person is painful, but to be without him is unbearable.

I connected with the trailer in so many levels, it's scary. I really can't wait for the movie.

rudeboy said...

Now that's a love letter.

Nimmy said...

reading this post while playing the video made me cry. may kurot sa puso. maygad! emotional nanaman ako. :')

Tristan Tan said...

OMG. Am I still reading THE Joel McVie? This is soooo refreshing, parang Mountain Dew lang. I'm happy for you, myu friend.

joelmcvie said...

@FICKLE: Nah dude. I don't believe in a "love that takes over completely, a love so true that to be with the person is painful, but to be without him is unbearable." That's being silly, like thinking that real cowboys look like Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

@RUDEBOY: Weh. =)

@NIMMY: It's just the weather, dear.

@TRISTAN: You're actually talking to the eeevil tween sister of McVie, bwhahahaha! (evil laftir)

Fickle Cattle said...

@joel: I was referring to the idea of opening oneself to love publicly, not the actual sentiment in the post itself. My letter is kinda embarrassing, but it is (well, was) public. I should have made that clear.

Also, I was young. Silly declarations of love is par for the course. Still is.

joelmcvie said...

@FICKLE: Ah okay then. =)

Yes, silly declarations is for the young and the silly. Hehehe.

migs, the manila gay guy said...


Luveeeet, my dear, dear Joel.

Ms. Chuniverse said...

They say relationships are integral part of human nature. When we enter into a relationship, we gamble. Sometimes our love, faith, respect are at stake. In some cases - our future. There is no proven formula to guarantee a successful relationship. Getting hurt is part of the process.

Pain makes us human.

It’s never too late to find that ‘someone’.

I hope that ‘someone’ will cast away your fears and doubts.

Der Führer said...

Halos isang taon na ang nakaraan mula nang ipinakilala ka sakin ni Chris. Marami syang sinabi para ilarawan ka pero ang pinakatumatak sa isipan ko ay ang "Parang ikaw, single rin yan..for more than 40 years na."
Gusto sana kitang tanungin noong gabing yun. "Bakit?"

“Your heart is not open, so I must go..
You were my lesson I had to learn,
Learn to say goodbye,
I yearn to say goodbye.”

Masarap sanang kantahin pero bakit hanggang ngayon ito pa rin ang gustong awitin ng puso ko..

"Love me - That's all I ask of You.."

Marami akong matututunan sa'yo Joel..
Marami akong dapat matutunan sa'yo..

Kane said...

Grabe. Once in a while, I forget personal blog pala ito.

Hay McVie, you know, you are one of the most strong-willed person I have ever known. And I am watching with keen interest how your views on love and commitment will change as your relationship grows and deepens. Or not.

Who knows? =) But if I know something of love (and I think I know a little) it will surprise you in ways you haven't expected. Time will tell. Let's just say, excited ako sa next episodes.

And oh, you really are a sweet man though you may try to hide it. =) This is beautiful.


joelmcvie said...

@KANE: If there's one thing I know about LIFE, it has a tendency to pull the rug from under us. (Mind you, rug-pulling is neither good nor bad; it's what you make of it.)

Yes, I agree with you. Excited din ako on how Life--and Time--will tell. (Parang advertisement for Time/Life Warner, choz.)

Laking He-sweet-a din ako, Kane. Etchoz.