time out!

Time out!!!
Everyday Art, 6Dec11
on my kitchen table
 iShake on iPhoto

When I was a little girl in Davao City, I remember this game we played almost everyday.  It was called ‘taya’ which means ‘it’.  It was our local version of “Tag”.  I remember running like the wild wind while my heart beat like a fiesta drum. Beads of sweat would form on the top of my lip and then pour down my red face in the humid heat.  No cares, no worries, except needing to run from the ‘taya’ whose sole purpose in life at that very moment was to tag you.  Then you were ‘it’.  I remember loving and hating this game.  For one thing, I didn’t like running much.  Two, I hated getting chased by the bigger, faster and rougher boys.  Their tags hurt noh!  I was one of the slower runners so I’d always get tagged.  So I learned to yell “Time out!  Time ooooout!” when I was either too tired or just plain annoyed.  Time outs were allowed as long as you declared it.  Sometimes the taya listened.  Sometimes they didn’t.  What mattered was I got to stop running.  I got to rest.  I was able to catch my breath. 


A few decades later and a new kind of running is going on.  Not the kind where one hits the pavement with her red Nikes but the going and going at this thing called life.  Not the endorphin high running but rather a beat-up, don’t-stop-now because there are calls to make, shopping to do, photos to edit, cleaning to finish, school meetings to attend, meals to make, blah-blah-blah…and that all too familiar to-hell-with-all-of-it feeling at the end of the day.  No stopping.  No time outs.  Not allowed.  Or so I thought.   


When did I begin thinking this way?  When did I begin forgetting that time-outs are allowed?  I don’t know exactly.  But what I know is that at a certain point in my life I just forgot.  I bought into the DIY Corp and all of it too.  I remember thinking how utterly stupid the word “relax” was when I heard Jack say it to me.  It sounded so stupid that I had to stop momentarily and give him the are-you-out-of-your-mind Cruella Deville face and barking —

“What do you mean ‘relax’?  What the heck is that?  Who has time for that?!?” I snapped at the poor guy who was only trying to help.  (Sorry, honey.  Lesson learned.)

This twisted amnesia lasted longer than it should have.  I went on like this until Life found a brilliant way to give me its brand of time out.  Too many sore throats and another run-down, flu-like symptom and I’m coughing again?  Life forced me to shut-down and shut-up.  Literally.  Instead of listen, true to Chiqui-form, I fought at the absurdity of it all.  I cursed the gods of health and wellness for abandoning me yet again.  Hated and hated some more.  It was self-directed.  On the outside I put up a brave front.  “I am supermom.  Hear me roar!”  I squeaked instead, my throat too raw and painful for anything else.

I was faced with the toughest illness of them all:  falling flat on my face out of love with myself and the whole world.  I started hating myself and with that my husband and family, my friends, my whole life.  One very smart woman confessed this: It’s when I pamper myself that I feel least selfish, righteous and plain evil.

Whatever it’s called, I’m yelling “time out!”.  I choose it for myself.  I choose it for my family and friends who deserve a whole, calm and non-evil me.

And all together now…relaaaaaaaax.  It’s allowed.  😉

My Top 10 “Just Relax” To Do’s:

1.  Coffee shop Me-Time to just write and people-watch and write some more.
2.  Bookstore browsing.  Hello, Chapters and Indigo. 
3.  Meet-up with TNKs Tunay Na Kaibigan/True=Real=Warm Friends in warm places like Spoon and Fork. 😉  (Hello, sisterhood!)
4.  Take my tiny pet camera for a walk with me and snap at anything and everything.
5.  Drive without a destination in mind and trust Intuition to guide me.  I’ve found some of the best views (and surprise visits with friends!) this way.
6.  Draw.  Sing.  Write and create art.  Just because.
7.  Call a friend.  Touch-base with the sacred agenda of supportive sharing.  I find that sisters need this.  A lot.  (Set a time, say 10-15 minutes…be guided by intuition on this one, to not let it ran overtime and it ends up with just gossip and nonsense).  
8.  Go to Walmart.  Browse about.  And maybe get a few basic items…for oneself!
9.  Brand New: Overnight Niagara Get-Aways (there’s lots on Living Deals that are oh-so-affordable!) and bond with The Man.
10.  Sit down to watch one episode…okay, two tops! of Modern Family, Two Broke Girls or X-Factor and not feel guilty about it.

***Thanks and big LOVE go to Sylvie for our Time Out session at Second Cup last night.  What a relaxing and fun evening.  I am recharged!  Let’s get more of that exquisite Butter Tart next time!  xox, Chiqui

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3 thoughts on “time out!

  1. Guilt is passed on and we keep it like treasure. We feel guilty for spending an hour doing nothing just because, guilty for pampering ourselves once in a while, guilty for spending too much time of cleaning, clearing, organizing, cooking since the kids feel like they don't get to spend time with us, guilty for NOT cleaning, clearing or organizing because when the hubby walks in from a hard day at work, do they really want to walk in to a mess of a home and a disheveled wife who forgot to take a shower….since yesterday? Blah, blah, blah :). Anyway, yesterday, I went out with a new friend, a Japanese lady who's also in limbo (not your traditional Japanese lady, in other words). We spent time at a new cafe and browsed through Little Arab and the funky new shops lining the streets and for close to 3 hrs, we just enjoyed ourselves. I needed that….and hubby recognized so he offered to come home early to meet the kids from the bus so I wouldn't have to rush back home. WE ALL NEED A TIME OUT, no? Whew! Just to catch our breath and enjoy life……:)

  2. Guilt-shmuilt. I believe it's in our very RC DNA. If we had a piso for everytime we chanted "I'm not worthy/I'm not worthy to receive and all nasty variations thereof, millionarya na tayo! Jokes aside, V, I find it's quite challenging to catch. But the older we are, the more aware we are so yehey to that! Ika nga ni Lola Maya (Angelou) when we know better, we do better! May the doing keep multiplying and the 'catching' be much faster than ever. Cool coincidence, I hung out with a dear friend naman kahapon sa Second Cup. It was so refreshing to talk to another mom, French-Canadian naman siya, and get updated on woman stuff like workouts and hair issues. LOL Lookitus…United Colors! Oh, and do give Jude a thank you hug for taking the kids off of your hands for the afternoon. xox

  3. Time in, time out, time in, time out. :). My one BFF and I watched Wicked last night, our last "date". She leaves for Florida on Saturday to relocate. On one hand, I'm very sad, on the other hand, I'm trying to be happy for both of us, to give us both a new start. I recovered a book for her as a gift, the first time I've done any sort of binding related work – it was good! But I am held back by my slight sadness and loneliness…so Ayan na naman ako, struggle! Haha….oh well. How are you my lovely?

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