Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Random Thoughts on a Tuesday Morning

(WARNING: When I say random, I mean random. Don't throw shoes at me when you get to the end of this and think, "And what exactly was the point of all that?")

It's been a while since I last struck up a conversation with you guys.

Not really because there hasn't been much to talk about, but more because since I no longer share quite as anonymously as I used to, I've had to be a bit careful about giving into my verbal diarrhea and emotional exhibitionism. There are just some things that I'm not quite as comfortable sharing with people who know me - or maybe it would be more appropriate to say, people who think they know me.

So why am I doing in front of my laptop instead of using this extra morning time (because I set my alarm too early) to blow-dry my hair?

Because I can't help these occasional descents into random babbling, that's why. Even when the only audience is my keyboard.

I've been toying around with the idea of taking up pole dancing. Seriously! It's supposed to be a great upper body and core work out and heaps of fun - and I just may be light enough these days to actually lift my body weight on a pole without pulling my arms from out of their sockets. Plus, and more importantly, it's something I would never do back home - something which is fast becoming my battle cry these days.

I have no illusions about my dancing ability - as one of my friends put it, I have the grace of a pregnant elephant. But it sounds like fun. And while dancing is probably at the bottom of the barrel as far as my skills go, I actually love doing it especially when no one else is watching. Or at least no one who knows me (and knows I can't dance) is watching. So what better place to learn to pole dance but in this city where no one knows me, in a country where one of the prevailing philosophies is, "live and let live?"

Obviously, it's really self-consciousness that's a curse. And for some reason - I don't really have a lot of time to do actual research on this right now, but I'm sure it's written down somewhere - Filipinos seem to have an overdeveloped sense of "what-will-people-think-itis." Probably because, as a people, we Filipinos have no qualms scrutinizing the lives of perfect strangers and indulging in thoughts along the lines of, "what-in-the-world-are-they-thinking-doing-that-itis!"

Which is why most of us just sit in the sidelines and watch the brave, crazy people doing their thing and having the time of their lives - not really caring that they look funny doing so. And why most of us may laugh and pretend to be appalled by what we see, but inside, we're really just that little bit envious and wishing we had the guts to do that, too.

I'm currently reading a self-published booklet of thoughts written by a 36 year old man who is terminally ill with ALS - like Morrie in Tuesdays with Morrie. He's the very good friend of one of the people I share a house with, and it's the copy that he gave her that I'm reading. He's been battling with the disease for two years now, and, suffice it to say, he hasn't been winning. Which is why he's decided to distill his take on the meaning of life into that little booklet.

It's been interesting reading so far. At times he gets very abstract and a bit difficult to understand - or maybe that's because I was plodding though some parts at two in the morning - but it's a very real reminder of how short and how precious life is coming from someone who knows that his time may soon be up.

One of the things he cites is how toddlers - who are almost as mobile as us but still not fully verbal - live their lives so differently and so naturally compared to how we live them as adults, trapped in all our abstractions. As he puts it, toddlers' only pre-conditioned physiologic motivations are to QUESTION, MOVE, EXPLORE, CREATE, RELATE, and feel JOY.

"Joy is the natural outcome and quality of the organism, expressing and doing what it desires to unimpeded by external guilt or shame."

Basically, he points out that with all our complicated, adult verbal views and self-conceptions, we've basically managed to limit ourselves from drawing on those basic motivations and finding joy - or basically, living life.

And he poses some interesting questions as well.

"No matter what you do, how much you save, who you know, where you go, what you believe - you're going to cease to exist, always sooner than you think. Do you do what you do because you assume (it will) make you live longer? Or do you live knowing your life is on loan, and the only thing that matters is your daily experience of your life?"

As I said, interesting stuff.

All that being said, I hope that the pole dancing school will get back to me on the whether we can get around class schedule issues that conflict with my weird roster. And if it doesn't? I'm sure I'll find something else.

Okay - off to work now!


Manggy said...

On the contrary, Dr. Claire, I got this post a hundred percent and I find myself nodding in agreement. While you have the right to withhold whatever you want for the sake of privacy (regardless of your emotional diarrhea), I still go ahead and do it, because I think in most cases it would be a far greater shame for people who think they know you say, at the end of your life, "Who was that?!" (Creepy to think that everything we write on our blogs is one long epitaph!) Anyway, do it, do it, do it. Pole dance away. Totally inappropriate for a former student of yours to encourage it, ha ha, but you know? Live and let live ;) I hate judging other people, it's such a waste of time.

Em Dy said...

Filipinos seem to have an overdeveloped sense of "what-will-people-think-itis."

That is so true! And this thought comes to mind each time I'm at the beach and see foreigners without a care if they have the body to wear the swimsuit or lack of it.

Walking on Water said...

do it, do it, do it!
dance if you feel like dancing. travel if you feel like going somewhere. i agree claire, life is so short. we have to live as if everyday is our last.
i dance too, when i'm alone. yeah, i know. creepy. but who cares? a pregnant elephant dancing becomes a crime only if it becomes somebody else's eye sore.=)

dr_clairebear said...

@manggy: you make sure people know where to find my blog if I ever leave the world before I mean to. ;)

@em: i'm becoming one of those "foreigners" over here, hehehe. it's so refreshing to wander down the beach knowing people aren't doing a blow-by-blow critique of my body. :P

@jean: hon, the whole point is if we are only eyesores to people watching if THEY watch us, and frankly if they decide to do so, it's their problem and not ours.

That being said, I realized pole dancing may not be a good idea because I don't have anywhere to practice at home and the portable pole is heaps to expensive. Lapdancing and striptease on the other hand... :P