Scenes and Chapters 1

I’m probably one of the last few people out there who still purchase music (Spotify Premium doesn’t count…). Having said that, I picked up a copy of the 10 Years soundtrack this afternoon… and I don’t regret spending a single cent on any inch of it.

It’s fascinating to me how art has the power to do that. I personally believe that God created it and uses it as a medium for us to connect and relate deeply… to him, to others, and with ourselves. Which is I believe why we’re here.

scary close book cover

Lately I’ve been wrestling with the ideas of authenticity and transparency. It was hard for me to put a finger on what exactly I’ve been feeling… that was until I started turning the pages on the book “Scary Close” by Donald Miller. I had heard about Miller for years but it wasn’t until a handful of people I respect and admire from afar kept raving about his most recent work that finally got me hooked.

I put in an order for the book in May and I finally started reading it last week. I’m currently working my way through it for the second time. Miller has done something amazing with this book. There are a number of chapters here but in essence, the book talks about life being too short to be anyone but yourself.

He goes on to talk about knowing somebody who works in palliative care who had shared with him that the number one regret of those who were on their death bed was not having the courage to be their true selves while they still could have. He raises the topic of authenticity, and how we are meant to be exactly who we are without apologies, and how the world misses out on the gift that we and we alone could be bringing to it if when we choose to hide who our true selves are.

To be honest, it got me thinking long and hard about a certain person in my life whom I want to love deeper… but I can’t because they aren’t showing me any of their cards. There’s got to be something there for me to love more? I’ve know, because seen glimpses of it… In a nutshell, the ones that I love the most, are those who’ve shown me their cards. That made me feel safe, and I hope that these people feel safe with me as well.

The book discusses intimacy, and how it’s simply impossible to truly experience it without exposing our true selves and sharing the deepest parts of us. And how manipulation ruins that. There can be no intimacy when manipulation and deception are in the picture. One of my favorite quotes from the book is: “I’m starting to wonder if that’s not the whole point of life, to be thankful for it and to live in such a way others are thankful for theirs as well.”

The book is extremely confrontational, thought-provoking, and it challenges me to be truer to myself, more authentic towards others, and to be less judgmental. I want to be the kind of person whom others can be around without feeling like they’re less than. Without feeling like they’re being sized up or like they have to live up to some standard to gain my approval. The truth is that you don’t need anybody’s approval. And neither do I.

Another gold nugget I encountered recently by Kavita Ramdas that resonated profoundly with me: “We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so direct they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.

Strength is quiet. Real power is unassuming. On the subject of power… yesterday I had the opportunity to watch the play “No Filter” by The Sandbox Collective. From the moment the invite was sent to me on Facebook by a girl I know from college, I knew I had to see it. The visuals and social media campaign were off the charts, but it was the subject matter that piqued my interest. The play was about my generation, it was about me!

sandbox no filter

And faithful enough to the narcissistic nature of the millenial, I decided that I was going to see this play no matter what. Two invites to two kaladkarin friends later, I found out that I wasn’t going to be seeing the play all by my lonesome. This stuff is powerful. I can’t express my delight over the fact that material like this is being written and moreover, that it’s actually eliciting a positive response from people.

Let’s face it… it was hard growing up, and I don’t know anybody who isn’t struggling and continuing to grow up even in their late 20s and early 30s. There are really days when it feels like the crap has hit the fan and it shows no signs of stopping. I appreciated so much how the topics of suicide and depression were broached with a high degree of sensitivity and honesty. People need to know that they are not alone in their pain. But of course, it’s not all pain and tears, the play was hilarious too. Almost every facet of our lives is covered here and I highly recommend picking up tickets as the run was extended by two shows for this weekend. A massive congratulations to the entire cast and crew. GO!

I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who’s a bigger cinephile than I am. Music remains my favorite art form and books will always be all-time but come on, there’s just something about beholding a story in motion picture. It brings me to my knees. It’s always frustrated me how today, the movie industry has become exactly that… an industry. A money-making venture. Things used to be different. There was a time when films were made to tell stories. To make people feel something. I love the Marvel and DC franchises as much as the next person… but more often than not there’s not much depth and nuance to be found there. As humans, I know we have the capacity to experience so much more.

Here in Manila, the films that get priority are the ones that will rake in the most cash. And that’s a sad thing. God knows how many times I’ve had to resort to seeing quality films by renting them, downloading them, buying them, or catching them when I happen to be overseas. I never would have been able to watch the brilliant “Blue Jasmine” starring Cate Blanchett if I didn’t happen to be overseas when it ran.

10 years movie poster

I’m not exactly sure how I came across “10 Years” but man, I’m so glad that I did. I saw it maybe three times in 2012/2013 and I watched it again last night. Will probably give it another go tonight. It touches on the exact themes that Miller highlighted in Scary Close. Authenticity, transparency, humanity… I don’t want to give anything away but I will say this: there comes a point when some of the characters just lay it all bare and the result is one, beautiful, human mess. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be able to relate to at least one character in this cast. There’s no BS here. And that’s such a rare and beautiful thing.

Do yourself a favor and watch it xxx

What are some of your film and book recommendations? I’d love to hear them.

P.S. Here’s a clip of one of my favorite scenes from the film:

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