Pia Besmonte

is back

Here are some female links

I lost NaNoWriMo, but the challenge to write everyday led me to my next writing project. For now, here are some female links:

My opinion is that we can’t use the master’s tools. At the end of the day the artist’s intention is lost in perception, and it will still be put through the male gaze. But these artists are so good they’re changing my mind.

  • And lastly, this study on motherhood regret struck a chord with me. I need more time to digest the insights before I express them. After all, I have yet to write a story of birth.


We couldn’t leave

Team BLG was supposed to fly out of the country yesterday morning. There was a slight problem with Mango’s use of American passport while born in the Philippines. Essentially, he “overstayed” on a US passport without a visa.

Exit Clearance

We rushed to the Bureau of Immigration. They said we needed to get Mango an Exit Clearance. This document will exempt him from penalty for every month of life he stayed here in the Philippines since birth.

Many helped us secure this document for Mango. Our siblings gave us legal advice. Dexter’s partner walked us through the processes when he applied for his son’s documents. A family friend helped us navigate the application process.

An observation

The (government’s) system is inefficient, and therefore exploitable.

There were a lot of people there. They are foreign nationals (re-)applying for their visas in the Philippines. Not all of them speak English.

Corruption and extortion most likely happens in an agency that processes people who are not familiar with the bureaucratic complexities of the Philippine government.

As long as the system is inefficient, there will be a space to negotiate speeding up the process. A price will be named. The system is bad and gives birth to corruption.

In the U.S. if your visa expires they will deport you and pay for the plane ticket. Here in the Philippines: overstay and incur penalties, then stay a little bit longer until you are cleared to leave.

Jackie chan meme

Some links

With our flight re-scheduled, I get a little more time to rest, to write (I am currently at 8,300 words for NaNoWriMo), and to read.

The aim is not to complete NaNoWriMo

but to figure out what I want to write. I am making peace that I am not the person I was before. Life has changed me a lot in the last two years. It is not unthinkable that I am called to write different things now.

So I’m writing. Word after word. Even if it doesn’t make sense. Even if it’s not a story yet. Even if I am merely setting the stage for the courtship ritual with the Muse again.

“I have not exhausted you yet,

we still have a few poems”

(Muse, Manic Pixie Depressive Gremlin)

“I’ve put up with too much, too long, and now I’m just too intelligent, too powerful, too beautiful, too sure of who I am finally to deserve anything less.”

– Sandra Cisneros

Emotional Labor and Multi-Level Marketing

I wrote something about emotional labor.

Emotional Labor

My late mother was a wonderful human being. She gave all of herself to her husband and children. I wonder, though, if she would have lived longer given the knowledge that emotional labor is not hers alone to bear.

Emotional labor is real, and is a gendered task. The burden of managing the emotional needs of everyone around us has been instilled since birth. The imperative to be more sensitive to other people’s emotions is reinforced in girls. It is demanded from women in relationships, at home, and at work.

Now that I have the language for it, I have the power to wield it.


I also found a great expository podcast on multi-level marketing that targets women desperate for money and belongingness. Still thinking about it.

And a podcast about my secret pleasure, makeup.

Also this:

Podcasting relies on impulsive, free-form conversation. It’s never going to be perfect and that’s okay! Sometimes the best episodes are ones that include a little messiness. Podcasting has taught me to trust that I can still create something wonderful without agonizing over whether or not it is flawless and polished. (It has also taught me that flawless and polished can be pretty boring.) (Man Repeller)

A valid excuse

I re-connected today with Paola, a kindred spirit, so I don’t have time to flesh out a full post. Taking time to forge mature female friendships should count for something.

The post on The Pinayist was a heavy one, though. Will try again tomorrow.

Homecoming Week Ends With a Period

This week is my homecoming week. A week of coming home to poetry and writing online. As Odysseus would tell you, coming home is not a linear plot. Unprocessed emotional baggage was dropped at my doorstep. Old wounds opened, sanitized, and hopefully closed for good.

Great week, all in all. And then this morning, I had my period.

Homecoming week and Dead Stars

Remember that first short story in English by Paz Marquez Benitez titled “Dead Stars”? It was about a guy who was engaged but wanted to meet his first love again, just to make sure there were no sparks left.

As you can assume from the title, of course those sparks have died, decomposed, and became fertilizer for Manic Pixie Dream Girl plots.

I realize now that that guy = total jerk. Which mature person getting ready to marry one person for the rest of his life would seek out an old flame just to make sure he isn’t making a mistake?

I am that jerk, figuratively. This week I tried to go back to my former spaces.

Back to Normal

I went back to my Alma Mater to see if I am still called to teach there. Because even if the culture there along with some people should stay in the 1900s, I feel a deep connection to teaching because of my parents.

My parents were teachers. I am who I am because they loved knowledge. They were devoted to sending their kids to school. I assumed that I could change the world the way my parents raised me to love learning. So I took Education majoring in Literature.

I realized that the academe is an old institution. An old institution that forgot they exist to think deeply about real problems in society and then propose solutions for them. Instead, like GoT’s maesters in Olde Town, they “problematize” the concept of problems, focusing on the methods and formalities and credentials.

When students leave the academe, they are slapped in the face: credentials mean nothing out here. Out here it’s hard work that guarantees no upward mobility. Being smart does not excuse you from hard (physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual) labor. Everybody works to live.

Pay your dues, and then we talk

I realized that in our culture, more established people in any field do not care at all to help and mentor young aspirants. They raise their noses at us and tell us we’re entitled when we ask for advice.

Last week I emailed a female writer whom I have followed since I was in high school, offering to send her a free copy of my book and asking her advice about writing for Filipinas. I didn’t even receive a no, thank you reply.

It made me feel bad that I reached out and offered a copy of my book that I can’t afford to give away to just anyone. I don’t feel entitled to a response, but if I were that person knowing that I encourage some young writer I’d write back no matter how short.

I realized that I can’t expect anybody to inspire me anymore. I’d have to do it myself.

Pia Besmonte Homecoming week Statefields School Cavite

at Statefields School Cavite