When the Blues Hit


Her friends were excited about the dessert station which they had passed on the way to their reserved table. She, on the other hand, was conflicted, tortured even. She questioned her about her agitation and she revealed that she was on this no-sugar diet for more than month now, but had gone on a pastry binge earlier in the week. She was now trying to get back to her strict no-sugar diet. I then asked her if she was exercising; she said not really. I dropped the subject not wanting to engage in a debate on good food versus bad food. Later in the evening, she was digging into a cup of mousse not caring about her no-sugar diet.

pastries by Asia of The Ritz-Carlton Kuningan

Her predicament struck a chord in me. Decades ago, it wasn’t just dessert that had me conflicted every time I would eat. Even eating regular meals posed a problem with guilt accompanying every bite I took of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Horrors if I even had a snack! It was a vicious cycle of eating meals and dessert, and feeling guilty all throughout that I would rush to the gym the next day and “purge” myself by going on treadmill and doing light weights. Back then, I was not cognizant of the correlation between eating correctly and simply the importance of food in an exercise routine dovetailed with a correct mind set. My mind set then was eating less to the point of starvation to get reed thin. It was such an enervating and unhealthy fitness regime that, on hindsight, makes me wonder to this day how I survived.

halo halo and ube leche flan cake by Bench Cafe

Body shaming was something I had lived and still living with in a culture mired in contradictions. Generally, Filipinos have this frustrating fixation of a Filipino woman’s body being reed thin like an American or European woman. Any curve or jiggle or love handles is completely sacrilegious to this flagpole-structure of a body that should have incongruously a well-endowed chest. Go figure how this is naturally possible. Dovetailed with this obsession with thinness is the downplaying of one’s healthy appetite especially of a woman’s unless you are convalescing. The logic gets all twisted. You see, not plying your family and guests with food despite the polite refusals goes against the cultural edict of plying your family and guests with food because being thin is unacceptable. These contrasts are more than enough to get your fitness regime all tangled up!

Fast forward to now: food is no longer my enemy. It is now a matter of making wise food choices and taking note of my energy expenditure and the calories I consume. I love to lift heavy so I do need to eat right. However, no counting macros for me because I also want to have a healthy mental state. Admittedly, I do overindulge every now, but the guilt level has gone down tremendously. It is all about enjoying the pleasure of dining alone or with friends.

pastries 2 by Asia of The Ritz-Carlton Kuningan

Pastries by Asia, The Ritz-Carlton, Kuningan, Indonesia

Halo-halo and ube leche flan cake by Bench Café

When the Blues Hit


The off- season of the UP Ladies’ Football team was the push factor for my hitting the gym when I was still in university. Being a soccer varsity player was exhilarating. When I tried out for the team, the senior players were sceptical that they even had a wager that we newbies – there were three or four of us – wouldn’t be back for the next training session. They were wrong because we were back for the next session all sore but raring to train. Compared to the senior players, I still had a lot to learn from ball handling to strategies and a lot to develop in terms of stamina and muscular power. So, stoked to succeed as a full-back player, I went to the gym to develop muscular strength so I could kick the ball harder and send it flying across the pitch like the professional football players. My goal was to able to kick it half across the field which would clear our side of the pitch, and make it easier for our forward players – two tall, lean, and nimble ladies – to carry the ball towards the opponent ‘s side.

My soccer days are over, but the habit of lifting weights never left me. There is something about the feeling of power surge through your body as you lift those dumbbells or barbells, and seeing how the weight increases every session. That feeling of strength isn’t that obvious while you are at the gym because you move through the exercises continuously which tire you out. And you certainly are not as poised and graceful as Wonder Woman. I know I look like the world caved in on me! I enter another world when I am at the gym. It is all about being focused and getting the lift right. I lose notion of time, the count of reps, work, the gym itself that I am only pulled back into the gym floor when I feel that extra tug at my resolve to dig deeper for that power to lift the barbell off the ground. At times, my personal trainer, Agus, tells me he had increased the weight because of the look of incredulity I flashed him as I, sprawled on the floor, tried to catch my breath. Or when he whispers to me that some of the men in the gym were remarking to him about how heavy the weight I was lifting which, to their minds, is not usual for women.

improvised barbell row machine
ready for the bent-over barbell row [Go Fitness, Bekasi]
I love lifting heavy although there are days I loathe it because I am either very sore or tired from work. When I lift heavy, I am more aware of my breathing, my body posture, and getting the form and breathing correct to avoid injury. I like my chest and back days – it is so empowering to do push-ups. I am determined to do heavier dumbbell and barbell presses, and to go lower for the push-ups while I enjoy the cable row and the bent over back row. On the other hand, I am not that thrilled about my shoulder and arm sessions, but I know I have to strengthen my weakest parts. I love-hate my leg workout. It takes a lot of determination to get through the arduous squats and lunges, which knock the wind out of me always, but I look forward to doing the leg extension. Admittedly, I brace myself for the Bulgarian lunge because, apart from testing my strength, it tests my balance greatly.

leg extension machine
leg extensions at more than 40 kg [Go Fitness, Bekasi]
dumbbell for goblet squat
all set for goblet squat [Go Fitness, Bekasi]
Lifting heavy is all about establishing a good relationship with one’s self. Along the way, as the weights increased, I have learned to strive for balance between my professional and personal lives, that one cannot simply overwhelm the other. On a personal basis, I have learnt to have a better relationship with food by choosing to eat better but not to be overly stringent that I, feeling deprived, go on a crazy food binge when the stress level or hormones go out of whack. I also have learnt that prioritizing myself is equally important as being considerate of others’ feelings. Professionally, I have become less of an individualist and push myself to be more of a team player, but without compromising my ethics and beliefs. Lastly, lifting heavily is also my fail-safe plan to stay loneliness, eliminate self-doubt, get strong, and face the vicissitudes of life with aplomb.

When the Blues Hit


It becomes clearer as you get older and it comes as an epiphany. Actually, in this case, it was an epiphany that occurred twice. The first epiphany is with age comes this search for the quiet, to escape from the cacophony of sounds that drone on and on like terrible music on loop and jarring your senses.  It sounds easy, but looking for the quiet is akin to locating the elusive chupacabra. Still, one perseveres.

Living in the city, the incessant chatter of people who shout even though they are only centimetres away from each other, the hum of cars marooned in traffic, or the rizz of the drill breaking up the road have inured people to the absence of sound. Today’s students are perfect examples of people who are deafened by silence. To achieve some peace and quiet, I have to raise my voice, coupled with a raised eyebrow, to hush them. Unfortunately, the quiet lasts for a few minutes and the raucous returns full blast. The very idea of tranquillity in the city is an oxymoron or so seemed. It was on a Saturday afternoon when I stumbled upon quiet in the most unexpected places – the cinema. I found myself alone in cinema 9 of Megablitz. I knew I went into the right cinema because the usher said so. It felt surreal as I imagined myself a celebrity in her private cinema at home.

Megablitz cinema 9
BCP Megablitz, cinema 9

It was in the cinema that epiphany two happened. In the midst of the quiet, I was ironically seized with panic tinged by a slight fear. I was all alone in a movie theatre that was deadly silent. It never occurred to me how it would be like alone in silence in my quest for the quiet. The epiphany continued: it was not the eerie kind of silence, but pure stillness. As I looked around half wondering if the other patrons would come, a little wave of serenity intermingled with acceptance of the unknown, of letting life unfold and thinking it will be for the best, washed over me.

It was blissfully quiet until a teenager with his parents entered the cinema. He was telling them loudly that they weren’t alone – he had spotted me among the rows of seats. The fleeting quietude vanished, chased away by his loud voice. It was good while it lasted. Naturally, the search doesn’t end at the cinema.

When the Blues Hit


Life has a way of aiming a spanner at you when you are doing your darnedest best to avoid it. A spanner can be a shattered heart that necessitates fleeing from the vicissitudes of life. Another spanner is when you’re pushed to the limit; this is reason enough to escape to somewhere serene. At other times, having a thumb caught in a taxi door for not being in the moment is one spanner that tells you unequivocally that it is time to momentarily walk away from life. Actually, it took a while for it to register that it was my thumb caught in the door, and the pain just exploded in my face when it did. Still, I didn’t get to flee to serenity until after a week or so after that stupid episode.

Serenity finally came in a comfortable corner with two high-back chairs and a low sofa next to the tinted floor-to-ceiling window. The Writers Bar was quiet at 430pm on a Friday afternoon. The sound of soft jazz music wafted through the bar, swirling in the ceiling then dipping into the posh furniture and flying back into the air. The silence was invigorating as it muted the negative thoughts colliding in my mind. It was therapeutic: my breathing became less shallow and agitated as I inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly, and with every breath steeling myself against would-be spanners.

The Writers Bar
The Writers Bar at Raffles Jakarta – serenity at 430pm

Sipping genmaicha tea and nibbling on French fries cooked three ways (it is a Raffles Jakarta thing) dipped in either aioli, ketchup, or chili sauce was fantastic. Equally good was to read page after page with mental clarity, and not be doing mental karate with stray thoughts that broke concentration while reading.

tea and fries at The Writers Bar
tea and fries for one


a quiet space to read at The Writers Bar

It is with certainty that spanners will be flying my way again and I would have to flee from them. The question now is when and where shall I go to find interim serenity.

When the Blues Hit


Stress is sufficient reason for corporate warriors to want to escape the concrete jungle that asphyxiates them. Joining these corporate warriors are those in the education field who are as world-weary, frazzled, and harassed by the demands of work. Their urge to escape from the feeling of exasperation intensifies with each passing day until it reaches a point that they have to take a step back, breathe, and flee.

This is precisely what we three – me, Anto, and Theresia – did. We fled from the stress that peaked during end of the first semester at school. We desperately needed to view the world from a different perspective. We found ourselves first on the 69th floor of The Westin Jakarta for dinner at Henshin Restaurant and Bar then two floors down two hours later at the alfresco rooftop bar.

view from the staircase as you go up to Henshin
Henshin bar
de-stressing at the alfresco bar of Henshin
bathed in pink with one of my best buds
Theresia at one side of the bar and its majestic view
electric candles in blue
electric candles in yellow-green

The view from Henshin – bar or restaurant – was jaw-dropping: the night mantle draped on Jakarta’s cityscape was punctuated by well-lit buildings and parallel lights lined up horizontally below. Raffles Jakarta was just across The Westin. We three were at Arts Café two weeks ago. High above, life seemed agreeable, smooth-sailing, and shimmering with possibilities, and difficult colleagues tolerable. Two floors down at the stylish yet comfortable “sky bar”, the view was simply awe-inspiring. Light, upbeat music wove through the two seating areas of the bar taking one back to a journey down memory lane with the songs of the past the DJ kept on going. Lights were soft; the electric candles surrounding one side of the bar changed colour every so often bathing people in shades of white, green, pink, and blue. Cool winds that later became chilly as the night moved forward didn’t deter anyone from lounging on the long, wide sofa beds. While Anto and Theresia went about taking pictures, I ensconced myself at the sofa bed and observed people looking for places to sit, people engaged in animated conversations, people dancing near the bar, and the ebony ceiling above me. Fortunately, it wasn’t raining that night unlike two days ago.

The rooftop hideaway was a welcome respite from the demands of the world below. We could have stayed but fleeing from reality for too long isn’t good for the soul either.

Thought: “I will be returning to reality soon.”


When the Blues Hit


inside Eight Coffee
the view from one of my favorite spots at Eight Coffee

That I am a creature habit who is a bit of a recluse is no secret. And this recluse is partial to places that although open to the public still offers a hint of seclusion. I’ve found that place in which the word refuge comes to mind whenever I head to Jalan Puloh Sirih in Galaxy City. First, there are several cosy spots one can claim as one’s space – I’ve claimed two as mine. Second, I can read uninterrupted; there isn’t this sense of someone invading your space unlike in Starbucks where the presence of a new customer drapes like a thick shroud over your shoulders. Third, the ambience is mellow, punctuated by the earth tones of the interior and the smooth songs wafting through the air. Nothing jarring like rock or even soft rock.  Fourth, I like the food selection. It’s got its fair share of pasta, rice dishes, finger food, and sweet stuff to end a quick repast on a sweet note. My perennial order to satisfy my sweet craving is the banana cake drizzled with caramel sauce and served with vanilla ice cream baked by former student-turned-friend Nadia Kris Sigit whose family owns the café. On certain occasions, when I happen to be there by four in the afternoon, I go for the fluffy pancakes topped with slices of banana, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and criss-crossed with maple syrup, which is a new addition that is only available at that time.

banana cake – baked by Nadia – served warm and with a scoop of ice cream
Iced caramel jelly and books – simple pleasures at Eight Coffee

Eight Coffee has been serving iced or hot coffee and meals for several years now.  I trek down there when the monotony of living gets me or when I need to unwind after a strenuous workout, but not with a reflexology session.  I quickly head to one of my favourite spots and plunge into my book after placing my order at the counter which, being a creature of habit, is a tall glass of iced macchiato or iced caramel jelly partnered with pasta aglio olio or chicken teriyaki. Most of the time I am alone unless Nadia serendipitously drops by or am catching up over coffee with one of my few friends once in a blue moon.

pancakes with slices of banana drizzled with caramel syrup and dusted with sugar powder
iced chocolate – a break from my regular coffee

I’ve appropriated Eight Coffee as my sanctuary like the tranquil spots I’ve claimed as my own. It’s one of the very few places I go when I need to climb out of the rut I am in, examine my thoughts and feelings to slowly piece a new version of myself together again.


When the Blues Hit


Some say the coffee isn’t the real deal especially if you’re a hard core coffee drinker. Others say it’s quite expensive for just a Frappuccino or hot latte. A handful find it a convenient spot for meeting up and there are those who find it a great place to work. Case in point is my gal-pal – we go way back in high school – Melie when we caught up with each other one weekend. She was working in Starbucks Greenbelt while waiting for me. Apparently, she learnt and revealed to me that one is more productive while working in a café. Working or meeting up with someone, hard core coffee drinker or not, Starbucks is my happy place.

Starbucks drinks_resized
a smile and a friendly note awaits you at Starbucks [Starbucks, Tomas Morato]
It all goes back to when I found myself living in a new country and walloped severely by homesickness, cultural isolation, and discrimination. It was my first time to be living apart from my family and the whole routine of being on my own was both exhilarating and unnerving, to say the least. On top of homesickness, I was culturally isolated – being a self-absorbed careerist wasn’t how I was raised to be. I didn’t believe in going up the ladder of success by stepping on others which put me greatly at odds with a whole lot of people. Then there’s my nationality that triggered my first experience of discrimination. The preconceived notion that Filipinos were only meant to be domestic helpers had preceded me unknowingly as well as all the stereotypes of being a woman that I thought had been deconstructed.

Starbucks, on hindsight, was the one place that I could piece back my fragmented self together quietly. Every single day was a battle against homesickness that left me weary and which was compounded by being treated as the peculiar one in the group to put it mildly. The Starbucks near my workplace then was a serendipitous find. There were no weird glances from the baristas to make you feel that you shouldn’t be in their country or any put-upon behaviour to take my order. It was just simple human decency: a simple warm greeting of “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” and what I would like to drink or eat that day. I didn’t have to constantly fear that someone was hatching a nefarious plan to make me the scape goat for their failure or put up with hypocrisy – you know when they smile at you and then stab you at the back minutes later. My visits to this Starbucks reached a point when I just showed up at the counter, exchanged pleasantries with the baristas which eventually became longer chit-chat that did wonders for my soul, and head to a table with my caramel macchiato. I didn’t need to say my name or my order anymore. A smile particularly one that goes beyond the lips and crinkles the eyes does have this energising effect on a person.

I’ve since relocated to another country where I’ve learnt to let my guard down and view humanity in a less jaded way. I still frequent Starbucks because it still remains my happy place; the baristas, store manager, and even the security guard still exude that affability which is more than welcomes. At Starbucks, I sew clumsily my tattered soul, chase away the negative thoughts gnawing on my thoughts, and glue back my shattered heart. It is also where I do most of my work, thinking of which stories to assign, new topics to write on, and new punishments for my students. Lastly, it is where I catch my breath after a tongue-on-the-floor workout with Pak Agus. I have a cup of no-sugar cappuccino or caramel macchiato with non-fat milk or soya when I remember to say it to the genial Starbucks barista.

When the Blues Hit


The situation can go two ways when the universe decides to hurl a spanner your way. One, you immediately pick yourself up from the ground, shake off the throbbing pain, and move on. Or, second, you stay where you are and ride the waves of pain. Number one is the ideal way to deal with the pain in life – pain, after all, is the flip side of joy. One should never let, as author Kurt Vonnegut said once and I am paraphrasing him, let the world make you hard and bitter. But self-healing is easier said than done. Admittedly, there are people who are quick to recover from life’s cruel jokes, flicking off acrimoniousness as if flicking off lint from a jacket. Who doesn’t want to be such a person who cruises through life? 
Conversely, there are those who are overwhelmed with the pain. For some the pain is a slow mind- and heart-numbing experience while it is instantaneous numbing for others. Unfortunately, I belong to the first group of people who take a little longer to repossess a vim for life. As if to add insult to injury, the spanners thrown at me are laced with sardonic jabs. A life-altering experience turned me jaded, turning me skeptical of men and relationships having been duped by one. It took several years before my heart thawed to the possibility of opening up to another human being. Riding the pain was the sole therapy I did until time healed the wound and before I knew I took the risk again.

A risk is a risk. Like a spanner situation, the gamble can go south or not. I don’t regret taking the risk; I just mourn the less-than-amicable turn it took. This time I rode the wave of pain briefly and embarked on a journey of healing quickly by heeding the words of wise women including my inner voice.

1. Follow your heart.

      This advice is from my gal-pal, Theresia, who, without judging him – I still consider him my wonderful man despite everything – said I should follow my heart. There is no denying that I still feel for him, but at this point my heart is telling me to let him go for now.

2. Be strong.

       I got this advice from a buddy of mine, Vissy, who also has been through tumultuous times. I practice this by steeling myself emotionally and refocusing my energies on something else like myself and work. There is, I tell myself repeatedly, no point in wallowing in self-pity. 

3. It is time that you are happy.

     This is the other advice I got from Vissy who was a witness to the cataclysmal period in my life several years ago. I recite it like a mantra when I feel the icy presence of sadness.

4. Cry all you and then stop.

      This one is from my mother who sat me down aeons ago after a break up I had. There really is no point in crying over spilt milk albeit one good cry session does wonders, but more than one is bad for one’s physical and mental health. I have done my crying – literally and figuratively.

5. Every heartbreak is different. You will come out of it fine.

     This one came from my long-time friend, Patricia, who has been a constant witness to my heartbreaks. I must have burnt ears countless of times with the phone calls I made through the decades of my friendship. I take comfort in her words because it pushes me to shift my mindset and see the positive slant to everything. 

6. Keep the door open.

     My gal-pal Nina wrote this in one of our Hangout chats. I have shut the door on my wonderful man, but I haven’t locked it and throw away the key. He just needs to knock if he wants to enter my life again.

7. Have faith and believe that everything will fall into place.

      This is not an advice that was given to me. It is a lesson I took from working with my boss, Ibu Luh Gede Puspini Rini, through the years at Global Prestasi School. She is a formidable tower of patience and a deep well of hope and faith that never fails to astound me. When the chips are down she never throws in the towel and soldiers on to get the people or project on the right path. I am slowly rebuilding my well of hope and faith that got depleted through the years of disappointments and heartaches. The same goes for patience.

8. Acknowledge your feelings.

    This came from a commencement speech delivered by Filipino ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde two years ago at the Ateneo de Manila University. She shared the eight things that led her to her current position, which is a successful woman despite not having a university degree, and one of the eight was addressing one’s feelings. It made sense because healing won’t begin if one doesn’t sort out the roiling emotions, identify them, and weed out the ones that are noxious. Emotions are powerful and can dictate the course of action which is why getting a grip on them is vital. It is important to feel and go through the emotions, but it is equally important to not let them control one completely. 

      I am angry because he believed something of me that is not true and, to make it worse, didn’t want to listen to me. Worst even, he shut me out of his life completely. These thoughts still leave me feeling as I have been sucker punched but I have learnt to divest my mind of such thoughts after admitting them briefly.

9. Go to your happy place.

     Lastly, this one is from my inner voice. I have a few happy places to run to: Helios, the gym I go to at Bekasi Cyber Park; a quiet corner to read; my blog (writing is cathartic for me); and Starbucks when it just opened in the morning – the smell of coffee and the sound of jazz wafting through the cafe are invigorating plus the place isn’t packed with coffee lovers yet.

The decision to let my wonderful man go was fraught with difficulty and heartache. I struggle through each day not to think about the beautiful time we had together and not harden my heart against the world because of the hurtful words he said. But my self- healing wouldn’t have started if I didn’t. I am walking away because there isn’t anyone to walk towards to. 

When the Blues Hit



Working out at the gym kept the blues at bay and my sanity intact. Relocating to Indonesia from Singapore, the gym has been my sanctuary from the world when it pushes me to the edge of lucidity. When I feel weighed down by the memories of the past and the empty present, I head to the gym. I signed up with a personal trainer because I was reaching a point when I was hemming and hawing over whether to work out or not. Like providence, Agus was at the gym and gave me a free trial. I felt buoyed after the work out albeit it had me walking stiffly and muttering “Ouch, ouch” every time I’d run up and down the school corridor the next day. We have been working out for 15 months now, four times a week.

There are times when I feel like quitting because the sessions are just too strenuous. It is as if my heart will explode from trying to catch my breath. The workout sessions are gruelling lasting between two hours and a half and three per session. But I persevere knowing that I’d rather endure physical pain, the burning in the muscles, than the pain in my heart. The mental anguish of being alienated, receiving a harshly worded iMessage, and unanswered calls left me reeling in a gamut of emotions that has left me feeling nothing. It has been almost two months since your unexpected radio silence. I look in the mirror and see sad eyes as an icy tightness weaves its way to my chest. I take a deep breath but the exhale is jagged.

Through the months, I have learnt to ride the pain (I channel my inner Bruce Lee) and block the heart-twisting thoughts of him from invading my thoughts. I focus on the breathing, the tension in my muscles, and listen to my inner voice that tells me when I should pause or continue. I love the result when I take a two-minute breather from the exercise variants: my mind is quiet for a few moments as I serenely sit at a corner of the gym.

I like those quiet moments so I do yoga on my non-gym days. I lead a group of my colleagues in a basic yoga routine to ease their aches and pains. The regimen eases the pain of my heart and soul and keeps me from going numb thoroughly. I do have to be mindful of the health of other people. Fortuitously, my breathing has become less jagged as a result of yoga and gym work.

Working out is slowly helping me adjust to the thought that what I had with him was a moment – a beautiful moment that took more than a decade to come to fruition – but I still hold a fervent wish in my heart that the universe would let him come back to me again some day.

When the Blues Hit


a place to breathe and suspend sad thoughts

I watch her as she walks down the halls, her weary eyes almost blank, and her shoulders struggling not to slope down. She must keep up appearances of a cheery disposition that actually belies a mind tormented by anguish and a heart buffeted by the opposite end of Cupid’s love arrows. She has tried to push the thoughts – of him, of what went wrong – from her mind, but like a boxer trapped in a vice, the blows rain heavy and incessantly. She tells me her heart’s agonies, which break mine as well, but all I can offer are words of solace that seem ineffectual in easing the dull throb. I know her; no, I know her very well. She never goes into something without her entire heart, she takes risks, and her understanding is to the point of fault. Unknown to him, it took her seven years to give her heart to another one having turned into an unreconstructed hard-liner against intimacy. Who could fault her? Blinded by Cupid, she followed and waited for this man who had awakened her love but had no intention of loving her in return. She wasn’t into playing games, but he was. She had realized only after she felt that hard twinge in her chest as if a hand had plunged into it and grabbed hold of her heart and, within a blink, yanked it out. Wide-eyed, she had watched him cast it aside like cotton waste. Never again, she vowed to herself. Never again will anyone have her heart, she told herself. But the universe has had always a soft spot for her, a spot for making light of her decisions and making her believe everything would turn out all right, but, like a well-crafted Poe story, would end on a saturnine note.

Now, she is dealing with the risk of having opened herself to the possibility of love – something she dared not talk about because of the inopportune situation and timing. She wakes up every day with a tightness in her chest and an urge to cry but no tears roll down. She has difficulty in breathing and is assailed by throbbing pains in her stomach. She is wallowing in wretchedness with each passing day. She has been shunned because of a perceived slight on his part which caught her off guard. She would never hurt him! Reeling from the painful brush-off, she turns the exchange of messages in her mind hoping to find an opening to explain again or for that abrupt and painful closure to a budding relationship. She argues with herself inside her head: she, of all people, knows when to back off from a situation that is fraught with drama. She actually runs away from drama: it’s a trait she inherited from her mother. She could be a drama queen if she really wanted to, but she only sees the futility in such a role.

She’s not fatuous having learned from her mistakes. What her intelligence cannot comprehend at this point is the spitefulness of the universe. She is no angel. She is far from perfect, but she has striven to not commit the same mistakes she did during those years she calls blinded vacuity. Ironically, it is the year of the Rooster – her year – and it’s off to roaring start. She doesn’t want to be mired again in emptiness and self-doubt. She knows she didn’t make a mistake this time, but why won’t he listen to her? Why won’t he talk to her? I am at a lost too at what to say to her to alleviate the silent pain running up and down in her. I can only tell her to not forgo her workout regimen with her personal trainer because happy hormones are good for her. Then there’s the beginner’s yoga class she leads, which, thankfully, I see her doing with alacrity.

The last time we met she told me she has found a respite from the steady barrage of her sad thoughts. She has a found a cozy nook where her past and present can’t get to her. It’s a breathing room she hides in which helps her to suspend the ugly thoughts doing the cha-cha on her heart and mind. I praised her for it – the universe knows she needs a break from its battering.