Monday, August 25, 2003

Begging the Blogging Question

In the end, I'm writing for an audience. And while the act of writing like this is comforting, I am disturbed by my motivation. Because it is pathetic, really: I am writing for the same reason people scrawl on bathroom walls, etch letters in tree bark, or make frivolous sites that clutter up the web. I write to affirm my own existence.

Read me!=Look at me! Pity Me! Acknowledge Me! and I cannot divorce that from the image of a whiny two-year old starved for parental attention.

I have looked in the mirror and I don't like what I see. How does one with aspirations to Nietzschean superhumanity live with this, I wonder?

***

Hard-on for the 'States

We're at it again. Mom is, with my sullen permission, attempting to put me on a plane to the 'States, where she believes my "eyes will be opened" to the myriad opportunities that supposedly exist there for the well-meaning and hard-working.

The key-words are "sullen permission."

I've no polyanna illusions about America: it can no longer keep to the exhortations stencilled at the base of the Statue of Liberty: a gift, ironically, from the now-much derided (by Americans) French. Im also past the anti-colonial indoctrination of my rabidly pro-Filipino grade school training. I am aware of what the US Government did to further its own interests at the expense of developing democracies and third world states; imagining the World without a stabilizing, albeit imperfect democratic world power frightens the living bejeezus out of me.

These are hardly reasons to deny myself, in a fit of nationalistic pique, the chance at travelling across two oceans to see my cousins. Never let it be said too, that I kept my mother from discharging her maternal obligations, however misguided those efforts may be. I too, would like to see the museums in San Francisco, and my cousins in Minnesota.

Tear Factor

The last time I fenced with a US Visa Issuing Officer, I was armed with a script. He would ask for my name and "pertinent details." He would ask me for documents and I would surrender them. He would ask related questions and I would answer. That was how these things went, or so my mother sagely said.

The balding middle-aged black man with the fatherly moustache and demeanor did not follow the script. He rejected my visa application, saying that while he admired my determination to "find my own way in life," he could not give me a visa. I "did not meet the requirements," et cetera, et cetera.

That day, I cursed the names and progeny of every Filipino who slipped illegally into US territory. Because they had recklessly chased their dreams, I had lost my shot at mine.

I was going to Washington, I had said, to attend a poetry convention, and maybe win for myself twenty thousand US dollars at a poetry contest there: the big one. I was invited. They were gonna award me for my "poetic merit." After the convention was over, I'd go home, happy and content to relate my experiences to my grandkids.

I left hastily, before the tears (surprise, o nationalistic hypocrite!) could betray me to the world as another hopeful wannabe. It turned out that despite my anger, my fiery rhetoric, I really did want to see the sights, sniff the air, meet the people of the Filipino's Second Country. I had since childhood, steeled myself against the desire, repressed it because it was "never gonna happen to me." Then someone was cruel enough, I felt, to dangle that hope before me, tease me with possibility, only to snatch it away from me twenty-four years later.

As if that wasn't humiliation enough, my mother had to appeal. I was better able to take the eventual rejection.

Which Brings me to Tomorrow

How will I fare when I face the next visa issuing officer at the American Embassy?

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