2007 was supposed to be the year of resolution. Get my divorce decree, get custody of my girls, move back home to Manila, where I had schools, a job, a home, a car - already lined up. But what do you do when you just want to be Reese and someone else wants to be Charlie and Denise, Paul and Heather, Alec and Kim combined?
Still be Reese, I guess, and look forward to a Jake of my own when this is all over.
So instead, 2007 became the year of letting go. Which was basically a continuation of the process that had begun in 2006. What was the point of holding on to so much anger? Resentment is ageing and bitterness is soooo last season. And as clichéd as it sounds, looking good IS the best revenge. I could thank my fabulous DNA (just a bit short on the height gene though) but at my age I've learned that the face that you ease into is equal parts genes and attitude.
I've said it so often, in three different languages, that it's practically become my mantra: The energy you give out to the world is the energy that comes back to you - and this past year has been an amazing testament to that.
Besides, karma's a bitch, and it always comes back to bite you!
So here are some of the things that made my year:
JE BLOG, DONC JE SUIS
This blog is barely a month old, but already it's had over 1000 page views! Wow. A hundred of those are probably mine, checking on whether the page looks right or if I've missed any typos. Who knows how many times Dex has trawled through, but the rest of the stats come from you, my dear readers! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
GO TOWARDS THE LIGHT
Let's see... My kids and I came within inches of losing our lives in a car accident, Dex got the divorce trial postponed, a media consultancy gig for some friends went awry, and we were being kicked out of the flat we'd been living in...
Now I have the nicest flat, drenched in sunlight all day long, with beautiful parquet floors instead of moldy carpets, and small kitchen that's functional and chic. So much more me. Goodbye Victorian gloom, hello Little Miss Sunshine!
DROWNING IN WORK
My business partner and I, plus our investors, managed to get a boutique PR business going in Manila, and we won the Qatar Airways account. Logistically, it's been a challenge, with both of us in different hemispheres, but for the first nine months we found a way to make it work, even landing one of our stories with a human interest angle on the front page of the country's highest-circulation newspaper.
Of course we labored under the expectation that the six-time-zones-apart thing was a temporary situation... and by the end of September, it became a practical impossibility to continue, but I'm proud of what we'd built together in such a short span of time.
Plus there's a free business class ticket or two waiting for me when I get back!
LA VIDA LOCA
Somewhere along the line, I unwittingly became an authority on all things Isabel Preysler. Go figure. It began as a collaborative effort between Qatar Airways and Philippine Tatler, engineered by myself and my friend Anton San Diego. The editorial team, of which I was supposed to be a part, was scheduled to fly to Madrid at the end of July to interview La Reina del Glamour, as the Spanish press has dubbed her. Because of my Not Without My Daughters situation, I missed the Madrid trip, but ended up contributing a couple of pieces on the Isabel Preysler phenomenon.
La Señora de Boyer herself sent word that she loved the articles... which led me to wonder whether I should call on her in Madrid post-divorce. Maybe she can help me find the Jake to my Reese. In this case, a Jacobo, although an Alvaro or Luis or Andres or Rafael would be fine, too. My friend Toto, however, demands that I do not settle for any Juan, Ramon or Enrique, unless Medinaceli, March or Martinez de Irujo are appended to their first names!
It was a year of being chatted up, hit on, fancied and flirted with, whether it was long-distance or face-to-face.
And because I'm shallow like that, I loved it.
The best was at a party in Manila last August, when this really cute guy came up to me and from the corner of my eye I could see my gay friends nudging each other while they were watching me. Yeah, like anything was going to happen now! Still, I love me my gays.
Hey, it's great to know that after two kids I still got it goin' on!
PILGRIMAGE TO WAKE-UP
While I was back home (Hong Kong is just as much home to me), lots of people came up to me, unbidden, I have to add, telling me they were BEYOND glad that I'd gotten out of my marriage. Yeah, me too!
TICKET TO RIDE
Hands down the best birthday present ever. My dearest, bestest friend Claudia sent me a ticket to go back home via Hong Kong last August while my kids were with Dex. It was just what I needed, she said, and as usual, she was right. And this gift came wrapped in a business class upgrade! How fantastic was that? I got on the plane after YEARS of not having taken a long-haul flight to find the cabin all changed, and all the control buttons completely foreign to me. Video on-demand! Privacy panels between seats! Fully reclining seats! It was all so new to me, I felt like a Russian peasant emerging from the collapse of the Soviet Union.
But that was nothing compared to the sheer joy of being back home with many of the people I love most in the world, including my dad, whom I hadn't seen in 2 1/2 years. My only regret was that my daughters were not with me. They regretted it, too.
MY HEART WILL GO ON
Have laptop, will write. After spending most of 2006 and the early part of 2007 working on revisions with my (then) agent, I finally got cracking on new fiction. The muse was back, and she was beckoning from Jordan, of all places. Guess I'm done with black comedies about marital dysfunction!
Have friends, will survive. What would I do without my wonderful friends, who day in and day out, right here and mostly from across the miles, are ALWAYS there for me, praying and hoping along with me, encouraging me? Occasionally they make me feel envious of all that I'm missing, yet they always make me feel missed. You all know who you are - How I love you and how I thank you for hanging in there with me.
Have family, will laugh. My parents, my brothers, their wives, my sister, my nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles and cousins. My crazy, at times infuriating, but unflinchingly loyal and loving family. Where else would my genes + attitude combination have come from? If my daughters inherit only this from me, then theirs is the world. For when life laughs at you, the best thing to do is to laugh right back.
Have daughters, will love. They drive me nuts, but they keep me sane. They're beautiful, they're strong, they're amazing. Life sucks, justice comes at a stalled pace, but the everydayness of waking up with them beside me is the most wondrous gift of all.
So young are they, yet so full of grace, humor, life and love. May they grow up continuing to, in the words of a character in my (unpublished) novel Confessions of a Fauxmestic Goddess,
"Feel with passion. Love with compassion. Live with generosity. And if a wave should ever wash over you, glide over it with grace."
Because that's what I intend to keep on doing in 2008.
Happy New Year.