Friday, December 26, 2008

Curse and Christmas

Today, I just found out that my grandma had once delivered a curse that, to this day, has yet to be lifted. And she's been dead some thirty or so years now. Ain't it cool or what?

This year's holiday season had been fairly interesting, so far. It was, simply put, a roller coaster of sorts alternating between high spots and low, meandering and looping ever and anon, inducing nausea to the mind and spirit in the same way physical roller coasters cause the body to throw up.

Winter has always been a rather terrible season for me. Well, never mind the jolly fat old pedophile in Coca-cola red calling out for ho's. Never mind too the fact that everyone is too mind-numbingly cheerful and fucking smiling (that is smiling like silly, not breeding like silly), even for a goddamned recession. It's the fact that it's too cold and my back certainly minds the cold a lot. I suppose, though, that I should be thankful it doesn't snow here.

In truth, it seems my entire body actually minds the cold, and several sleepless nights certainly did not help any. In any case, earlier this month, I came down with a 5-day flu that left a prolonged spell of coughing. The medicines I was prescribed did not seem to help with a cure but they did help a lot with just trying to take a proper breath. Also, the sun had taken to hiding behind clouds so, for a sorcerer whose only healing spell requires direct sunlight, you can probably see the problem. The first week was bad enough but the second week was pure mental torture as a co-worker began vocally minding my barking. I have lost count to how many times I have been asked if I'm taking medication for it.

Now, I am experiencing an encore. Oh, I have been getting enough sleep, oh blessed sleep, these days, thankfully enough. Only, last night, what some other people would call Christmas, I have been, well, enjoying myself. There was singing and, by midnight, I swear, I have had enough of songs by Abba, Village People and Spice Girls, both singing and listening to. My highest scoring song (96/100) was an Arnold Schwarzenegger bass and a Karen Walker falsetto of Barbie Girl by Aqua. Ah, no. I wasn't drunk yet. I wanna, really, really wanna zig-a-zig, ah!

There was food, which, I guess, is the one of the few nice things about winter celebrations. I had grilled squid (Mmmmn, tentacles), Sicilian chicken salad with a honey-lemon-mustard dressing (my sister's witchcraft) and uber-cheesy Spaghetti Carbonara (again, my hag of a sister) Feasting, however, usually means that we'll be eating the same dishes remixed, recooked and, worse, reheated for the week after. Not that I mind too much, though. I didn't allow myself to eat much after all so I doubt I will tire of the food so easily.

I didn't eat much because I had a party to host, which has meanings beyond feeding your guests. On the 24th, I had hastily made four party games for tweeners and adults. Inspired by a Facebook application, where you had to guess the famous movie from stick figure sketches, I had made a couple of my own. Below are a few of my crude crayon sketches, that is, the sketches, not the crayons, were crude. (A/N: My scanner acted up. I'll be posting the others as soon as I lazily can)

For those who are imagination-impaired or have been living under a rock the whole time, each picture is linked to a Wikipedia article about the movie.


The Wizard of Oz

The Matrix


Raiders of the Lost Ark

Fiddler on the Roof

Bituing Walang Ningning

For that last one, people remembered the quote but not the title ^_^

In any case, the holiday reunion with the families of both my mom and dad certainly had introduced a distinct undercurrent in the air. I smell subtle social maneuvering in some conversations and the absence of one family certainly reeked of trouble. Lately, I have found myself observing people at gatherings a bit more than usual and Daes Dae'mar lessons by way of Robert Jordan's novels certainly did not help lessen the keenness with which I mingle at parties.

There, too, was the nostalgic atmosphere that is almost inevitable when at least two grown-up acquaintances, who have not seen each other for so long, gather for a celebration or a wake. Aside from the usual comments on height, girth and age, the house and the food, and on having a partner (I have always Aes Sedaied by saying that I have no girlfriend yet, which is the plain and simple truth) and suitors (Also Aes Sedaied that, since stalkers are categorically different from suitors and a lover is no longer a suitor either, I have no suitors at the moment), there were a lot of other comments about the past.

I was startled to discover that my earliest memory, a birthday celebration when I was two, was actually my first birthday. Granted, I did not remember much except that I and my grandma were seated and she was feeding me something from a plate (I think it was pancit) but I was only one year old back then! Wow, am I cool or what?

Long after the guests have gone, my mom had taken to regaling us with stories both past and present. She had a half-sister on her father's side, whom she invited for the party. She also had a half-brother on her mother's side, which, as far as I know, my mom and my uncles are still looking for. And buried in those stories was the horrid tale of my grandmother. Her life as an uneducated woman was not easy as she had been duped by several relatives. After a terrible blow to her honor both as a mother and as a woman, she had, in tears, declared the downfall of her niece. There was also an added part, something about her niece crawling on her belly like a snake.

Well, for the remaining years of my grandmother's life, the niece in question had never asked for forgiveness, possibly because of an oversight, she did not deem it necessary or she simply was not aware of the offense. My grandmother eventually died and the curse was never lifted. That niece was now an old woman living in lamentable condition. My aunt is in good health, mind, and not so impoverished, I mean, I'm pretty sure her family eats three square meals a day, but despite the fact that she and all her children are working, their living conditions never improved much.

In comparison, I have an uncle whose wife had, literally, taken a blow to the liver (surgical accident) and whose two children are still in school. I doubt they earn significantly more than my cursed aunt's family yet they have, to my knowledge, a vehicle of their own (my memory fails me now, I'm not sure if it's a jeep, a van or whatever, definitely not a car, though), suitable shelter, at least three square meals a day (God, their daughter was skinny last I saw her, now she's... putting on weight. Visibly. Don't ask about their son) and can afford to go places every now and then, if not more often.

I had once read that the most powerful curses were those thrown by a person on one's deathbed, by those with no other recourse to justice, by those who hold positions of power and by women, in that order. If that is the case, I suppose there's not much hope that my grandma's curse was a genetic talent. I have some of her blood in me but it could very well mean nothing until I was beaten and trampled upon.

In any case, it was what made my mom swear never to be an ignorant Filipina. She would not be as uneducated as her mother, nor does she plan to be solely dependent, financially, on a husband. She eventually grew into a strong woman and, eventually, one of the few people whom I hold a deep respect.

Ack, so cheesy, ne? Yet, I suppose there really is not much choice between the ability to belt out curses as a weakling or to hammer down the obstacles as a strong person, is there?

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