Menu

Pia Besmonte

is back

From California, Happy Thanksgiving

This is the first moment I get to sit down and have some personal writing time after we left home. I am taking this opportunity to talk about family, oral traditions, and stories. From California, happy Thanksgiving.

I have been away from home for more than a week now. Traveling with an infant came with challenges, but Mango was a great travel buddy. There were less incidents than I had anticipated. The most stressful part of our travel was hearing from Auntie Zenai, who had to travel on a different flight from us. She had to go through Immigration by herself. Auntie did great and she is with us now. Enjoying huge vegetables.

Because our flights to the US were moved but our flights to LA weren’t, we had to fly right after we got here. Dexter’s dad and stepmom wanted to take us to Disneyland, or even Legoland. However, because Mango was recovering from sickness and traveling everywhere for the first time we asked to just take it easy. They rented a house in Carlsbad and we had a wonderful staycation.

They took us to Redondo Beach again, to show Auntie around. I am no foodie but I profess my love to crab from Captain Kidd’s. Dexter’s dad took us to the arcade, and admittedly I enjoyed my first time actually playing at an arcade. I have had such a serious academic life. Having my own family is teaching me wonder and the value of play.

We are now in Fairfield, at Dexter’s mom’s place. They all adore Mango. We’re preparing food for Thanksgiving.

Family

I have reached an age, a sense of self, a disposition in life where I can finally decide how I exist within and interact with family. I am no longer the youngest child who gets picked on by everybody. No longer the weird child whose interests doesn’t match with anybody else in the family. The outsider. The misunderstood.

I have come to accept my multitudes.

I will contribute who I am to my family. I will not try to shy away from building relationships. I will interact with difficult members of the family.

Oral traditions and incomplete narratives

Growing up in a big family means that I have always struggled with incomplete and untrue stories about me. My biggest pet peeve — and my family would ALWAYS do this to me — is hearing other people talk about me in front of me. As if I am a household chore that needs to be done. Or damaged furniture that must be fixed.

I have always resented my family never knowing how to talk to me in the way that considers my sensitivity and my appropriateness. Now I am strong enough to correct them with courageous honesty. And I now dictate how I am to be spoken to. Because of this honesty, my appreciation for and desire to hang out with family has greatly increased.

I even invite family over to my home more often than before.

So here is a life tip: if you don’t like the way your family knows you, regards you, or talks about you — change it with courageous honesty. Life will be so much more enriching when you don’t feel like family is an adversity.

From California, happy Thanksgiving.

May we all have a deeper appreciation for family. As well as a deeper knowledge of the (real) history of Thanksgiving.

Growing up alone

Maturity is when you start doing the right thing. Naïveté is expecting that everyone is going to start doing the right thing because you first made the choice.

Today I learned

that human beings may be assigned to grow old together as siblings, but growing up takes solitude.

The simple story

For weeks now I’ve been trying to confirm whether or not my older brother is coming to my wedding. He not so subtly said that he’s not coming without his plus-one. The reason I didn’t invite said plus-one is personal, and has to do with my being a mother to a boy. The complexity of my brother’s relationships is his story to tell. The bottom line, for me, is that he refuses to send his sister away on her most important day.

The complex story

In the last two years that I have been away from blogging and social media, I have been working on myself.

After my mother passed away and my surgery, I grew distant from my family. I made a mess of my life and career prospects straight out of college. I became severely depressed. I hit rock bottom. I felt alone.

When I decided to pivot, I met my fiancé. He was the first and only person I allowed to see me at my most vulnerable. He saw me with tears and snot dripping freely from my face as I tell the stories that haunted me to silence. He simply listened.

I finally found the person who — unlike my family — didn’t criticize without empathy, who didn’t tell me what to do but encouraged me to rebuild my life with my own bare hands.

When I was ready, my fiancé invited my family to my book launch.

Reconciliation

The day I launched my first book was the beginning of my reconciliation with my family. They listened to my lecture and they witnessed what I do, which is write, teach, and perform poetry.

From then on and throughout my pregnancy, I got my family more and more involved with my new life. When I gave birth, I called my sisters. They came over our place for lunch on some weekends. They were all present on my birthday party in July.

As I plan my wedding, I make provisions for my family’s comfort and happiness as they come to our destination wedding in Tagaytay.

Alas, I can’t have it all. And I guess this is the challenging part of family, that you can never have perfect harmony with everybody all at once. And now that I think I’m a little more mature, I’m going to have to live with that.

 

Adulthood

Adulthood is when you realize that the people you look up to are no less human than you. It’s a harsh truth, yet it forces you to come to terms with your own human imperfections.

I have no story to tell today. I had a lot of tasks to finish. I was able to finish most of them. That means today was a good day.

  • My sister came over with a friend for lunch. They played with Mango. They left soon after.
  • I walked briskly to the tailor to pick up the fiancé’s pants. (Fiancé pants sounds fabulous.) I transferred old files to a new external hard drive. I printed some important documents for my son’s citizenship application.
  • After sundown, the fiancé’s sister-in-law dropped by. She played with Mango too. Everybody who visits our home is actually visiting Mango. She brought gifts and stories.

As I write this, the fiancé is already deeply asleep. He snores, but he stops for a few moments. It makes me look up from my desk. The rhythm inspires me to tap away.

As I write this, I wonder if I’m doing this right. I wonder if I should really go back to blogging. Time to write is precious to me now. I sneak some words in while my household sleeps. I wonder if it’s worth it.

There are a lot of doubts swimming in my head right now. I don’t know what will happen at the shoot tomorrow, if my fear of being seen will surface. I don’t know what to write about, now that my life is so completely different. I don’t feel so sure of anything at the moment.

My dad gave me the gift of perseverance. I won’t quit just as I am starting. I quit quitting. We’ll see how this goes.

If things go well tomorrow, I’ll share photos.