LATE NIGHT SCRAMBLED EGGS

LATE NIGHT SCRAMBLED EGGS

By: Maan “Maggie” Villar, The World According to Maggie V

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The cliché that “the best things in life are free” must have surfaced from a general nodding of heads from people who have been in love or have experienced love. In my experience, it was him suddenly lying on my lap one lazy afternoon with just a book and a fruit shake in hand at Ayala Triangle. We had light conversations in between his naps and my reading, the feeling that those conversations gave me was the same feeling you get when you are used to eating burgers and red meat and you suddenly shift your diet to vegetable salads and sliced fruits. We sat on that spot until the moon was gazing at the world with lazy eyes, hesitant to leave its spot but itching to end its shift like a perfume sales man on a slow day or a prisoner guard. That day, the jokes we shared about couples in Luneta Park or Manila Bay became ubiquitous, we understood them all of a sudden because we were in the moment – we were in their shoes, in their state of mind. What happened that afternoon gave me an illusion and hope that maybe I could spend the last of my years with this man, on an old porch, sitting on a rocking chair, white hair, thick glasses, a large floral dress and a knitting project in my hands.

 

Recent developments made it clear that those romantic misgivings were indeed illusions and false hopes. Only the both of us hold the secrets of our affair and its demise, I always say our love grew in cunning, in silence and in quiet. As much as I would have wanted to share our story in full animation and gusto, I cannot bring myself to do that. My mind and heart trails to lucid moments of torrid kissing and tight grabs of once unknown places in my body that I am left in a resigned mood, left to the overwhelming gush of longing those passionate moments bring — those once unknown places in my body that became the territory of his hands and postmarked by the sweet juice of his kisses. I hug myself at the memory. I had to pause my writing this hug myself at the thought…

 

The thoughts of him bring vivid sensory recollections. I can still feel the reverberation of his voice in my ears when he tries to make a point, or the sound of his soft snoring wand heavy breathing after a tiring day. His eyes, seductive and expressive, sheds a fine light when he is engrossed in what he is reading or when we enjoy a morning stroll and the first rays of sun passes through it in a diagonal fashion. His eyes were the color of grape seeds; they were always teary and sad, like newly varnished mahogany. The deep pools of brown in his eyes came out even more when he wears his black scarf, he wears that scarf and he looks so regal and feels cozier to hug. His hugs say a lot about his feelings, most of the time it makes me feel like a starfish being taken to deeper seas by a big wave, a brainless starfish not knowing what to do. That feeling of engulfment is eased when I feel the details of his thumb mark on my cheek and all worries and woes melt into a blur – as if the world is so simple and nothing can ever hurt me. I miss the mossy smell of his apartment and the very distinct manly smell which sticks to his bed that I keep whiffing off his pillows and sheets when he is away, sometimes even when he is just taking a shower. I randomly get a whiff of his Issey Miyake perfume when walking at a mall or the streets and that is when I badly miss him, that is the height of my sadness and I feel all of a sudden that the buildings or the crowd would eat me a live – very nauseating, my legs throb and weaken and feel like it is giving away.

 

That same crowd that used to double over when we walk the streets, that gave a slight smile when overhearing our little arguments or funny takes on random things over dinner or drinks, that same crowd that stared when he pulled me in for a kiss good-bye and that followed me with its eyes on mornings when I have just emerged from his place with my hair in a rut and in man clothes – the crowd that gave justice to walking the walk of shame in those mornings.

 

His place, his apartment is the backdrop to the memories we have created together. That dingy old apartment: where quiz papers from fourth grade with perfect scores and smileys in red ink are scattered along laced panties and used condoms. A wooden ashtray that fills up as the night deepens and the morning enters, dusty books with frail pages seemingly salvaged and dried from a rainy day and an un-stringed Fender acoustic guitar that sits on its corner were a few of its remarkable features. His place was my refuge from storms and graying skies complete with hot chocolate and slow rainy day sex, my secret place for watching movies and fucked up documentaries that cause my impatience to go home from the office, his place was the breeding ground for our love and eventual pains with its four walls privy to our whispers. The same four walls banged by neighbors when we have raucous sex, the same four walls that are stained black from his cooking.

 

I lie about not eating scrambled eggs ever. I ate scrambled eggs because it reminds me of post-coital breakfast food he cooks deep in the night. It was cooked to perfection, a little milk and just enough salt that it turns out fluffy and tasting exactly the way I want it to taste.

 

Late night scrambled eggs that have been demoted to late night scrambled thoughts…

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SEA AND SILENCE

SEA AND SILENCE
By Maan “Maggie” Villar, The World According to Maggie V

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It has been a long time since I have written but I trusted that the knack for it would come eventually. I have traveled quite a lot the past two months, a lot in my standards as I am a corporate rat and a miser working towards a dream. It has put my soul to rest, hence the silence of my thoughts and the purification of my soul’s unknown turbulence.

I would like to tell you of a ride in a boat with four friends. I was expecting cajoling and loud conversation as we embarked on that short trip towards the opposite island…

The conversation hushed gradually as we went further and deeper down the edges of the Pacific Ocean with only the sound of the friction of the boat against the water, its motor and the wind. And then, as the water turned from a light shade of blue green to a deep blue, hard to distinguish from black… Everyone was left to their contemplative moods and dreams…

It was beautiful seeing the peace in my friends’ faces as we fathomed the depth of the ocean and how our lives were at actual risk being there… That anytime a big wave could approach and set our boat and its passengers to the bottom of the ocean, lifeless and peacefully floating, and that the most painful kind of death is from drowning…

All the while I thought of life, love, dreams, sea, travel and the beauty that remains undiscovered in the country… I want badly to bring the person I would truly love to this island paradise and experience the silence of the boat ride with him. I stared at the lone lighthouse on an outlying island and had fantasies of going atop it when I visit the place again. At the fast paced lifestyles everyone else is busied with, it is imperative to put the camera down and relish the experience, it is much different captured artificially than when you are there at the moment.

The longest thought that occupied my mind was the realization that the greatest artists, poets and thinkers of then and now must have been inspired by the sea and by lost paradises; and I think that maybe one would not fathom the depth in black and white unless they see the sun reflected at the deepest pockets of the ocean…

 

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A BRIEF RESPONSE

I read your blog and I am overwhelmed with emotions for the first time this year, you said you missed the vision of me in your couch when I have only you white shirt on. I miss being that vision too, I felt my most beautiful, being in just your loose white shirts, smelling of laundry detergent and mothballs. I made a choice that day, I chose him over you and ended up with no one. And years after our brief dalliances, you still inspire most of what I write. Just like you, I put up this blog because I know it is one of the ways to reach you. Reason and reality over wishful thinking, it is only a sliver of hope that we still share tomorrow together. But before I sleep at night, before I am rocked away by the delirium of sleepiness, I feel our connection. I feel that I know the goings-on in your mind, what you are feeling and thinking at that exact moment. Sometimes, I wonder how many women have shared your bed and if you too think of me while you find a temporary cure for your lone. For now, the past would be the glue that binds our like minds and hearts, a reason to believe that in the vast spectrum of eternity a vagabond and a minstrel were once destined. I miss your laughter and wise eyes…

But, if you say you miss me like you say you do, you should be willing to put it through the true test:

When you walk on a beach or when you witness a magnificent natural phenomena like the sunrise or the warm tones on the sky when the sun is about to set, close your eyes and feel your heart… If you feel that you want me to be beside you holding your hand as you walk through the shores or sit on the sand, if you want to whisper dreams and sweet nothings under the sheath of stars in the night sky, if you think of me when the sun rises in the morning… that means you truly miss me… You miss me if you think of me at the most beautiful moments and at the saddest ones.

FIBA WORLD CUP 2013: A TESTAMENT TO OUR LOVE OF BASKETBALL

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FIBA WORLD CUP 2013: A TESTAMENT TO OUR LOVE OF BASKETBALL

By: Maan “Maggie” Villar, The World According to Maggie V

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The world stops in the Philippines when there is a Manny Pacquiao fight: there is no traffic, the malls are less crowded, streets are less congested and you can actually sit in the train and buses and in the small neighborhoods and barangays, young and old are cloistered and glued to their television sets – cajoling, shouting and betting. The same scenario was true for the FIBA 2013 World Cup where almost everyone held their breaths as we hosted the games, hoping that doubts of us being hosts would not come to life and that we hear commendations and good tidings from our neighbors.

The peak came when standard-bearer SMART-Gilas was pitted against the giants of Iran’s team. The social networks were flooded with well-wishes, updates and cheers for the local team and comments on Iran’s Hadadi’s enormity. Iran was indeed competition despite the fact that their A-sport is soccer. Philippines emerged as a successful FIBA Asia team with a silver medal for this year sans Kelly Williams and Asi Taulava – Japeth Aguilar took on the center stage like David against the Goliath which is Hadadi. To date, our country is still the most successful FIBA Asia team for having the most gold medals. Although China and Korea are making ruckus in the basketball world, they only became successful recently. We could trace our long-standing success in basketball to the great influence of Western culture and that we had national leagues earlier than everybody else. Although losing in the finals, Gilas made it to the Olympics which gives us something greater to look forward to as we again showcase our basketball acumen to the world stage – it may even be a blessing in disguise that we lost the finals as we didn’t even make the cut for the Olympics last time.

The whole world may find it odd that given our short built and other physical characteristics said to be apt for soccer rather than basketball, we take pride in being probably the only country in our continent in love with basketball. Yes, we are making our mark in football, but a Filipino can never forget its first love. If you ask some of our fellows what our national sport is, some of them would respond BASKETBALL, sometimes despite knowing what the national sport is, it comes out au natural.  It driven us to the edge of our seats once more but we proved and prided our nation that despite objections and dissent, our passion and inherent love for the sport could lead us to greater places. And, just an answer to recent developments and issues, the P1 million grant of our government is well-deserved; they did work hard for it and represented our country well.

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ESCAPE FROM CAMP 14

ESCAPE FROM CAMP 14

By: Maan “Maggie” Villar, The World According to Maggie Villar

 

Activists For North Korean Human Rights Rally In Washington

 

The reason I want to become an International Lawyer is profound, it needs a separate entry but people like Shin Dong-hyuk inspire me to do well and do good for this world – leave legacy, change lives, and be successful. I was reading about the dire conditions of North Korea a while ago as stories about this country interests me a lot, it mystifies me, there is an allure to their story that makes me want to see it for myself and in some way reach out, give them a hand after acquiring the power and right to do so.

 

It is his second life, Shin Dong-hyuk, he has suffered many “mini-deaths” and bigger blows in his life back in his old country. There is a very slim chance that anyone can escape the dreaded labor camps but Shin Dong-hyuk was not only able to escape the dreaded labor camp, he escaped the most brutal labor camp, Camp 14 which is reserved for threats to the communist regime, “the most serious political criminals”. Shin, being a North Korean is affected by the “Three Generations of Punishment” policy meaning that if your grandfather commited a crime, you are to receive the same degree of punishment usually leading to entire lives spent in prison camps. Shin was born in the camp to an arranged marriage of two prisoners who were allowed to spend a couple of nights together as a result of good work the reason being his uncle commited the grave offense of deserting the army and defecting to South Korea, aside from that his brother and mother attempted to escape the prison camp when he was still a child. These offenses are considered the worst and warrants an execution or an extended sentence in the prison camp. It is said that in Camp 14, the Kaechon intermittent camp, prisoners barely make it to 45 years of age but Shin escaped and lived to tell the tale. It would be a dream come true if I be an audience to one of his talks.

 

Survival was the top priority in the camp, there is no room for human affection or emotions that Shin felt that his mother and brothers were competitors for food rations. As a means of survival, he even reported his mother and brother for attempting an escape to get a reward. To curb his grumbling stomach he ate rats, insects, frogs and reported other inmates for more rewards. In his eyes, even as a child, he saw many executions, violence and abuse. Prisoners die of stavation, illness, torture and work accidents. For breaking a sewing machine, a part of his right middle finger was cut off by his supervisor and here we are complaining of the “harsh” conditions we have at our ergonomically designed seats and desks at work. Shin was also tortured when he reported his mother and brother, for four days he was tied to a hook (the scars on his back are still visible up to present) and a charcoal fire was lit on his back for the guards to solicit more information from him. He and his father was kept in a small concrete prison cell after that and when they were taken out, they witnessed the public executions of his mother and brother which at the time did not matter to him but would be a haunting memory he would have later.

 

“I still think of freedom as a roast chicken”, this was coming from a man who all his life ate a soupy gruel of cabbage, corn and salt with the occasional rats and insects. He learned of the outside world and the other types of food that he can eat outside from a 40-year old political prisoner named Park he met while working in a textile factory. The idea of eating as much food as he fancied, from Park’s accounts drove Shin to want to escape. The attempt to escape was creative, Shin would provide the inside information about the camp while Park would be responsible in using his knowledge of what lies outside the camp to escape the country.

 

The night of January 2, 2005, Park and Shin were assigned to work near the camp’s electric fence to collect firewood. The two waited for the guards to be out of sight and made their attempt to escape. Park went first but was electrocuted by the high voltage fence, Shin then used Park’s body as a shield to ground the current to pass over the wire. He escaped the camp and broke into a farmer’s barn where he found a military uniform which he used to guise himself as a military man. It was a story of survival and how he learned to live in more “liveable” conditions until he was discovered by a journalist in a restaurant in Shanghai when he was working as a laborer.

 

August 2013, Shin gave an interview gave a testimony to the United Nations first commission of inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea, he is still an active and strong voice in campaigning for human rights abuses in the country and assisting refugees. What struck me most in Shin’s story was a statement he made for an interview for the Financial Times where he said: “I don’t really know anything about music. I can’t sing and I don’t feel any emotion from it. But I do watch lots of films and the one that moves me most is Schindler’s List.” How can one live and not have music in his life? It is unimaginable. It is now my life plan to provide music in the lives of others, whatever way I can and with Shin’s story I only want to become a more thankful person than complain all the time. If given those conditions, would we have survived? Would we still know music?

An Untitled Love Poem

AN UNTITLED LOVE POEM

By: Maan “Maggie” Villar, The World According to Maggie V

 

– My good friend L found this love poem somewhere in the nooks and crannies of their house, it is an old poem I wrote dated April 17, 2011… Go figure… Man’s words are really sweetened by love and here is firsthand evidence…

 

Still enthralled with each stride you take as you enter

A crowded room,

You are a vision:

You wake me up from the drone

Of cigarette smoke,

Of vague chatter,

Of colored lights,

And,

Of melodious rhythms.

How do you do your magic?

Of stopping time as each hand of the clock tick to the next second,

Of calming the fire of passion in my nerves with a single touch,

Consoling a broken heart with just a peck on the cheek,

Of muting noise and sound,

And of tugging heartstrings of a heart embittered, cold and frozen

Warming it in your palms

Melting the thick clumps of ice

Mending unknown wounds

Making it love

Unconditionally…

Love has gathered up

Pent up

Underneath the crevasses of a heart

Not meaning to do so

Not believing it will

But it did…

You made it do so.

Like I said

You did magic,

You are magic.

A miracle, almost.

I want all of it not to become a memory

Because memories fade

And we look for what was

When those memories are beautiful ones

I want us to last.

One day at a time

Each fond moment unraveling at its pace.

Democritus said that

“Everything came from nothing”

It relates to us

“Who would have known?”

We were two lone strangers

Empty.

Broken.

But it happened…

I’m glad it did.

Dreaming and hoping to spend the rest of my days with you,

Of watching our tresses turn ivory together

The laughter of grandchildren in our lawn

Conversations on a fireplace over home-cooked dinner

Breakfasts lit by the majestic sunrise of each morning

Rainy days cozying up to slow soulful jazz saxophone…

Always I would fancy

Having that turn in my stomach

The stoppage in my breathing

The lightness of feeling

AS if I metamorphosed into a firefly’s diaphanous wing

Every time you walk in the room…

I cannot imagine life with another nor the same musings

because of another man.

I guess you got me,

And I LOVE YOU for doing so.

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MISTY

MISTY
By: Maan “Maggie” Villar, The World According to Maggie Villar
Friday, June 21, 2013

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This is probably the last time that I would write about you and the false hopes that I still bear, I’m not certain if it is the last time and if I would hold on to the past still but I have always been a romantic, a fool, and a dreamer. See, I was watching “Silver Linings Playbook” for the second time this month, it has been raining quite hard in the city that I felt the need to stay at home and draw the blue curtains of my room down, and channel whatever life changing occurrence it was that led me to right here and right now. That scene in the movie (starts at 1:49:49) really struck a chord in me, not only because an antiquated Johnny Mathis song, “Misty”, was playing but because I related the scene so much to what happened in my life. To be more specific, to how we really ended it all. And just as a scene from a movie or real life, an imagined character and setting, a good song and beauty and the imitation of life to art or vice versa inspires me to write, right now I want to write about how we ended because no one really knew, none of my friends heard about the real story, it’s just the same tasteless answers I give them to invoke no further questioning or I divert to another topic that would take the better of their interest.

That scene in Silver Linings would take a spot in my most favorite movie scenes, probably outmaneuvering that one in 27 Dresses when Katherine Heigl dances with her beau under the stars on that yacht while “Like a Star” (Performed by: Corinn Bailey Rae) was playing on the background or that scene in Notting Hill inside the movie theatre right after Hugh Grant finds that Julia Roberts is with another man in the hotel and that old lonely song plays as he watches a movie starring her muse. The understated allusions to love they are and how no matter the differences it has with your own story, you still find parallelisms.

How it happened was a celebration of victory, Tiffany and Pat celebrating a 5.0 they won at a sport-dancing competition they joined and a parlay between Pat’s father and a friend. Everyone was ecstatic, Tiff jumps up to Pat, probably about to give him a kiss and you can feel Tiff’s longing, how she wanted to lock life to that scene just holding Pat and everyone close to them, family and friends around them in a circle all smiles and happy, victorious. And then Pat finds his wife (who cheated on him with a co-worker and gave him the necessary trauma to render time in a mental institution and a restraining order), and everything around him probably dissipated into a blur and he walked up to her and Tiff just looks on with so much sadness in her eyes. Tiff then runs away in her black trench coat and puts on a shoe on the streets, she runs away, just runs away.

I’ll stop the scene on that scene in the streets with Tiffany running away because I believe only in realized dreams but not in romantic happy endings anymore, similar to how the movie ended. Maybe, since this is the last time, it’s about time that I stop explaining myself and time that you understand why Woody Allen compartmentalizes my views on love in the movies he has written and why that scene in Silver Linings is something I can relate to so much. It’s up to you what silver lining we could glean from how we ended.

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Look at me
I’m as helpless as a kitten up a tree
And I feel like I’m clinging to a cloud
I can’t understand
I get misty, just holding your handWalk my way
And a thousand violins begin to play
Or it might be the sound of your hello
That music I hear
I get misty the moment you’re nearYou can say that you’re leading me on
But it’s just what I want you to do
Don’t you notice how hoplessly I’m lost
That’s why I’m following you

On my own
Would I wander through this wonderland alone
Never knowing my right foot from my left
My hat from my glove
I’m too misty and too much in love
(repeat after music interlude)

Look at me

I now know what WRITER’S BLOCK means

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Recently,

I have become more of a reader…

I’m more of the slow reader,

I want to feel the gravity of the words,

the emotion it invokes,

observe the creativity of its syntax,

and realize the impact it has on the world…

But my pace has taken a presto over an adagio,

Even the heavier books on philosophy and the sciences,

I have read with much gusto and a on a faster pace…

Usually,

what I have read would give me inspiration to write,

more themes to build on,

ideas,

a steady foundation…

But now I just read and absorbed,

thought about the things I read about a bit but not really do anything about it…

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I feel like my creative juices are trapped in a dull and dark room, with a locked door and a hooded guard has went to render his duty, passing off the skeleton key to the next one in charge of making sure I keep quiet, that I attempt no escape. The guards are just outside and I’m left to my wandering thoughts and it is as though I am not trapped in this dull and dark room with a flickering light bulb and mosquitos, it is as if I’m running about in a wide and green field bathed gold by the morning sun but I cannot do anything about it but only “think” it.

I never believed in “writer’s block” as many would whine about it, loathe it and complain about it. I’ve always heard of it and held on to my belief that man is bestowed with unlimited opportunities for creativity and the freedom and license to use it in whatever way he pleases.

But there is a “trauma” that a poet, a writer, a painter, a troubadour, an actor and anyone involved in the arts and the sciences that would cause in him to fall into that dent, a pit or the black hole he would fall into and feel through the darkness.

It would feel like all hope and beauty is lost and there is nothing more to write about, sing about and paint.

Until that miracle comes again and brings the creative mind out of the dent, the invisible hand, a big eagle taking you out with its big claws,  the knight in shining armor throwing you a rope to climb out of and giving you the kiss that seals it all, or maybe an unidentified flying object who would use its gamma rays to teleport you to its nest. Until then would you be able to write again of sunsets, a new day and the deep violet night sky.

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I found a good definition of WRITER’S BLOCK while surfing the Web for pictures to place on this article and tips as to how to overcome the limbo it is:

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Vanilla Ice Cream

I write this as I drop by the Family Mart tucked between the humongous concrete slabs of buildings in 6750 and order a hot cup of coffee and vanilla ice cream…

Vanilla ice cream reminds me a lot of you,

not because you like it,

or not because you’re sweet…

It’s because our relationship is like vanilla ice cream,

it melted…

and became just vanilla mess.

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I write this on a tissue paper I used to wipe the vanilla mess on the table and on my lips, it’s raining outside and my head is buzzing from too many vodka shots, am I even making sense now? Maybe not because I can’t make sense of the whole thing we have had. Because of you my writing is a mess, my academic life is defined (now) by my writing and you F it up.

Nice job.

Even my writing is a sticky white vanilla mess.

CONVERSATIONS OVER COFFEE: The Humdrum

Over coffee with C, she asked me how I was doing with Mr. Man. I was not really in the position to answer, I felt like I reverted into a zombie, my brain is – – – . I’ve been zoning out of my conversations recently. I perturbed by this preconceived reality. I didn’t really have an apt answer to that question, so I just said that “I don’t know”…

But the truth is that I knew. And he knew it too. We knew right from the start.

How are we doing?

We haven’t seen each other for days, have not texted or called. The end of communication could mean the end of the whole affair and as much as I am tempted to send Mr. Man that text message. It was that one phone call we had that ended it all, we knew, we just knew that was the signal. We were both busy bees, ambitious and workaholic, whenever there was a window in our schedules, we made sure we spent it together even when it meant just hiding under the blanket playing newly downloaded games or  those 15-minute lunches with the perfunctory kiss before riding the cab back to our respective offices.

We were really sweet, compatible and perfect for each other. He’s an adonis, I never tire of the sight of him and it never fails to make me lose my breath when I spot him in a crowd of people or when he swoops by. He was the my man version in every way, and losing him now, meant that I was losing a part of myself.

But it was never meant to be even while it was. To me, polygamy and non-commital relationships were MEANS TO AN END, but to him it was HIS END. I was saw the world in rose colored spectacles, I am a romantic despite harping on about the sad realities and cynicisms about love and life in general. He on the other hand was far from a romantic, but he could do the most romantic things because he seeks to please and he knows that I want to be pleased. A big difference in our perspectives that would never coalesce. Our relationship rested on the foundation of our companionship and similarities but it is infected with the cancer of our differences, with our foreseen end.

I was not really ready for this. I felt less lonely with the thought that I had Mr. Man, he was near perfect for my needs and I always had someone to tell how my day went, a sponge for all my frustrations, my happy thoughts and someone who’s always up for a night of great conversation and laughter. But I always held on to the thought that if it were love that we felt, we would not be wasting time and we would have brought things to the next level without inhibitions…

It would be foolish if I keep on holding on to a pipe dream, I’d rather the humdrum of a lone romantic life and be hopelessly romantic again. Just flurry my schedule with the things I want to do and learn, chase after my dreams rather than waste my time on something that should have been curtailed a long time ago. I don’t want the songs we love and sing to become discordant hymns when I listen to them, I would rather keep them in pristine condition by avoiding that point where you break that heart and make them songs I would associate to negative emotions.

I’ll trade my lacy bras for a sports bra, cocktails for energy drinks, ravioli for vegetable salad and the time I used to spend with you to get a fitter body, mind and heart.

Operation Hotness – C laughs at the pun I’m using for this phase but it is the sweetest form of revenge to be a leap ahead somewhat and have my attention be placed on better and more productive things that would benefit me in the end.