The Notebook

Um, that title just came out of nowhere.  Scenes from the movie and its angsty lovers flitted inside my head.  I also remember people calling it “cheesy”, making me crumple in my chair much like Inspector Clouseau did in Pink Panther 2.  What the heck, I liked that stuff, especially Ryan Gosling’s emo love rant in one of the last scenes! Oh well, “No man is an eezland,” Clouseau would say.

But I’m really talking about my own doodle notebook that has evaded my sight for weeks.  I finally found it wedged under my rickety closet two days ago.

Tonight, I had the chance to flip through it, intending to immortalize in ink the things I want to do with myself.

Flipping turned out to be a bad idea, sort of.  I came face-to-face with who I was two years ago by way of my own thoughts and things I saw or heard that I had cared to jot down. Some amused, inspired, frustrated, fired up, made pensive, and yes, cheesy and emo, the person I was then.  The first thought I scribbled before it skipped away was, “Diaries are the stories we tell our future selves.”  I still can’t recall who said it or where I heard it from, but there’s no better way to describe this tumble into my old self.

I took note of my language lessons in many of the pages.  Did I really learn to say,  “Please make the price cheaper”, in Chinese?

Some notes were uttered by kids I know:  “Hindi ako marunong sa tabo, sa shower lang (I only know how to bathe with a shower and not the dipper)!” yelled my six-year old neighbor to her mother.

Some were lessons I learned for the day:  “Before eating a sandwich from Ate (older sister)…ask what’s in it.  She gave me a sandwich…it had cheese and butter.  Had to walk home to shake it off.”  My belly must have felt pretty heavy from that greasy snack!

Others were observations: “Seen from McDo…last Thursday: man in his middle-aged man reading ‘Breaking Dawn’–too  wearing pretty rundown clothes and Crocs slippers, w/ a pack of Marlboros on the table.  Just a d cup of drink.  Kinda out of character.”

The other pages I turned into an extension of my blog.  There were just times when something akin to nostalgia kicked in and thoughts would not take the form of the written word without the pen and paper.

Many of the quotations I jotted down I got from movies and TV shows.  Oddly enough, the last lines from the movie Marley and Me resonates strongly with me at this moment.

“A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes.  A waterlogged stick will do just fine.  A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb.  Give him your heart and he’ll give you his.

How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?”

Maybe I miss my dogs back in the province.  Maybe I remember the few friends who still made me feel special and loved when I was truly dull or dumb or poor in ways that had nothing to do with material possessions.  Maybe I regret that I got so caught up in my own world that I forgot to give the people I care about my heart and made them feel extraordinary for a change.  Maybe I’m just grateful that there are people I can say these about and that I have met them in my lifetime.

Another page rehashed something from Steve Jobs and reflects what I’m going through at this moment.

I know I have already decided, yet I wonder if I have really learned anything from what my past self is telling me.  I’m fine with going down the same road, but I wouldn’t want to walk through it with the same kind of self-defeating attitude I had before.  I guess I’m afraid that I would be the one to stop myself again.

I flip through another page and what I wrote there gives me courage.

“Life is meant to be traveled.”

Another one says:

“So fall, dive, stumble into the unknown.  Life will not wait.  Live.  Live now.  Find your heart.  Follow it.”

Finally, I see my Bicolano translation of the quote from the notebook’s cover.  Nothing gets to the heart like the language you grew up with.

“Ipangako mo sa saimong sadiri na magiging makusog ka na mayong makakairo sa katoninongan kang saimong pag-iisip.

Hilingon mo pirmi ang saldang sa gabos.  Pabayaan mong magluwas ang saldang sa saimong boot.

Isipon mo lang ang pinakamarhay. Magtrabaho ka para sa pinakamarhay.  Asahan mo ang pinakamarhay.

Lingawan mo ang mga sala na natapos na.  Maglarga ka na paduman sa mga marhay na mangyayari pa saaga.”

I guess sometimes we all need someone to tell us that we’re going to be okay, that in spite of all the times we messed up and the many more times we are going to mess up, we’ll be fine.

I found that someone tonight in my little notebook.  


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