Achieving Happiness

April 21, 2008

Small vanities

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 6:11 am

Seven months yesterday! Two more months to go.

I didn’t expect it of me — I thought myself to be above such things, incapable of such shameless vanity — but I sometimes feel so sorry for myself because I can’t fit into my old clothes. Through the years I have put together a considerably decent wardrobe consisted mostly of jeans and t-shirts and sneakers, and now 95% of them I cannot wear because they don’t fit. My waist and my hips have ballooned and the one time I hoped against hope to get into my jeans I couldn’t pull them beyond my knees. As for my sneakers, well, my feet are swollen and to try wearing my former foot wear would be torture:I’d be better off lopping my feet off at the ankles.

Poor me, fat, lumpy and wearing my husband’s billowy shirts. My feet are always clad in Ronald McDonald rubber clogs, and I waddle like one belonging to the Anatinae specie. Whenever I see people my age or generation in those skinny pants (and shorts!) and form-fitting shirts and blouses, I sigh. Not that I ever wore form-fitting clothes, but my clothes did look like they were mine, that I bought them and fitted them first because I wore them. Now everything I wear is borrowed or hand-me-down. My belly precedes me by a quarter of a foot, and it’s a challenge to get up every morning and I huff and puff up and down the stairs. I know I look like a beached walrus, and often I feel like it, too.

In the sweltering afternoon heat yesterday I put up in hangers the few remaining t-shirts I have that still fit me; the rest I folded up and put on top of the already considerable and messy pile of clothes that I don’t expect to wear for a few more months, even a year yet. I couldn’t shake off the small creeping feelings despair at the idea that jeez, there’s a big chance I will be at least two or three sizes bigger than I was before and the word ‘svelte’ will never again be used to apply to me (vain, vain, vain).

But enough. All these silly vanities vanish whenever I feel my baby move inside me. Kimiko wriggles and turns, and I am re-assured. All this discomfort and feelings of –let me say it — unattractiveness — dissipate and become worthless whenever I think of Kimiko, every time she makes herself felt: nanay, I’m here!

Within her now reside my best hopes for the future; receptacle of my dreams and better imaginings; my happy memory generator; she who tethers me tighter to a Kilusan that seeks a better world for all others.

Now I’m thinking more of what Kimiko will wear: one thing’s for certain, though – no pastels, no Disney characters, and definitely no fuss and feathers.

Countdown to May 1st International Labor Day and incidentally, Kim and my third wedding anniversary. I don’t think I’ll be doing any marching, and will probably be staying under the shade on May 1 because the heat really gives me a headache and I get so dehydrated I could faint.

Around this time of year the issue of a wage hike always comes around, and the responses and reactions are all pretty predictable: workers demand a wage increase; employers day no-we-can’t-afford-it and the government tries to weasel its way out of the deadlock by saying hey, let the regional wage boards decide.

No one denies that the escalating prices of rice, meat, fish and gasoline necessitate a wage increase – Filipinos need more money if they’re to survive the price hikes. The Arroyo government, however, keeps resorting to motherhood statements and publicity stunts to show that it’s doing something to address to food and energy crisis, and generally evades the issue of a legislated wage increase. Instead, the likes of Ignacio Bunye keep crowing that decisive steps are already underway to solve the crisis: stupid measures like stopping the sale of NFA rice in the public markets, removing tarrifs and quotas. Or giving out rice cards to the indigent (to get, one has to prove that one is poor. How do you that? Show broken teeth? Scabs covering what used to be incision marks when a kidney was taken out and sold? Jaundiced skin?)

Isa namang taon ang dadaan at walang makabuluhang pagtaas ng sahod. Mapapamura ka talaga.

Panaka-naka an intelligent proposal surfaces like stopping the conversion of agricultural lands and scrapping the biofuel act; in the long run, if these proposals will be completely carried out, they will have a positive impact, but on the whole, can this government be trusted to implement such plans that go against it’s own deep-seated, twisted economic programs?

Nu-uh.

In the meantime, more and more families are forced to eat instant noodles for lunch and dinner; to drop bread and meat from their diets, and to make rice porridge to extend their meager rice supplies.

Sa tutoo lang, what we should also be raging against is how the Macapagal-Arroyo has more or less successfully distracted Filipinos from the corruption scandals involving her and her good-for-nothing palamunin, kurakot, matapobre, magnanakaw family. It’s not at all impossible that this “rice crisis” was something they orchestrated with the US with the aim of accomplishing two things: 1)buksan ang local markets to US rice supplies, and 2) tanggalin ang pansin ng sambayanan sa isyu ng kurapsyon, extrajudicial killings, at iba pa.

Below is an account of a colleague here at the office about her recent visit to Ka Dan Vizmanos. It’s sincere and well-written. Am sharing this in the hopes that more comrades would visit Ka Dan or send letters to him to cheer him up.

i visited ka dan yesterday Sat apr19. i have been intending to visit him before i left for my feb trip because i heard that he was previously hospitalized. i never got the chance to do so. while i was there in feb and march, i heard that he became more sick and could not move around much. after i got back from our all-Moro mindanao-wide training in early Apr, i resolved to visit him. friends in cotabato sent some vitamins for ka dan. it seems that they got to know him personally early last year when he was invited to speak in cotabato, iligan, basilan (?) and some other areas.

i was not prepared to see ka dan in the state that he is in. he has lost a lot of weight, moves and speaks very slowly and is confined to bed most of the time (the living room has been converted into his bedroom). he tries to sit up from time to time but even just 5 minutes in a sitting position causes much pain in his lower body, abdominal area up to his head. his mind is still sharp though. that is, after some prodding. then the memories will start to rush in.

we shared a lot of stories, both recent and old (circa our partido ng bayan years when i first met him). we also discussed about the work of the JS. i gave him our latest pamphlet and updated him about my trip there and other provincial trips. he asked if all of you already know about his condition, then he surmised that perhaps not because he has not heard from the “tropa” (he referred to all of you this way). he then narrated his 2001 trip to oslo and his PPT testimony. he inquired if he could get a copy of the PPT book. also, if there will ever be a resumption of the talks now that OBL is very much around and that GMA will never leave her post. he requested me to inform all of you about his condition. (he looks forward to the May 5 tribute but is very worried that he could not attend it.)

ka dan was diagnosed with prostate cancer 3 years ago. his PSA level that time was 25 and the biopsy confirmed the cancer. because he had no other ailments and was relatively healthy despite his age (he was 77 then), the doctor told him he had 5 years to live. ka dan said that he did not feel anything and thought that he was very healthy because he even kept his almost daily swimming exercise. so he was really surprised to be diagnosed with such an ailment. since then, he took medications and went for regular checkup. after several months, his PSA level went down to below 2. the cancer was gone although he continued with the medication and checkup.

last oct-nov, he experienced shortness of breath and some chest pain. he thought it was an asthma attack (he had asthma when he was younger). when it worsened, he was brought to the hospital. it turned out to be a mild stroke. he spent time in the hospital. it was there that other pain began to manifest and he began to have difficulty urinating.

so far, the cancer has not returned but his prostate is enlarged. the doctor has adviced against operating on it because of his age and his heart condition. hopefully, the medicines will help. ka dan takes 5 types of medicines 2x a day.

he told me that he really does not dream of prolonging his life further and has in fact, accepted death. but when he sees his 12 grandchildren, he tells himself that he still has to live. when he dies, his pension will be gone and his grandchildren’s schooling will be affected. his wife passed away several years ago so no one can receive his pension anymore.

i promised to visit him again.

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