Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mazeophobia: Digging Deeper

Photo taken here.

“Honey, for our trip this weekend, would you drive and run errands for lunch?” my husband eagerly asked.

“Sorry, hun. I don't know the area. You do know I'm afraid to drive around places I'm not familiar with.” I replied with a regretful tone.

In the past, I have blogged about my fear of driving around unfamiliar territory, getting lost and getting anxious behind the wheel. My blog explained what it was and what it does to me. I thought I'd explain it deeper today.

Mazeophobia is the fear of being lost. I developed it when I was back home in the Philippines. I didn't even realize that I have it until I migrated here in America.

During one of my sessions with a counselor back in 2005, I shared my greatest fears, and one of them was (and still is) driving around alone and getting lost.

“You have mazeophobia, the fear of getting lost.” My counselor stated as she scribbled her pencil on the notepad she's holding.

“I guess, if that's what you call it. I don't understand why I panic inside. I freak out. I couldn't breathe, and I just want to cry.” I explained further.

“Do you drive back home when you were in the Philippines?” she curiously asked.

“I learned how to drive. My parents bought a car and named it after me. I passed the tests and got a license, but I was never allowed to drive. I had my own chauffeur. He drove me around wherever, whenever. There were no GPS or navigational systems then.” I shared while staring at the ceiling, lying down on the couch, my hands clasped together on my tummy.

“You developed this fear when you were little. You were never given the chance to really find your way on your own.” My counselor said.

When I applied for my citizenship in 2011, I had to go to different parts of the Bay Area for interviews and tests. To tell you the truth, I had to make practice driving sessions with my then-boyfriend-now-husband. He drove my car while I looked at the streets, memorized the routes and turns. I even noted down which parking garage I had to enter. It was totally robotic of me!

It helped me breathe easily, though. It got me comfortable behind the steering wheel when it became my turn to drive during my exam/interview.

“But, how did you do your Meetup events in the past?” One of my friends used to ask me.

“I carpooled at first and secretly memorized the routes and streets,” was my response.

I'm sure that there are a lot of people who wouldn't understand this feeling I have whenever I get that phobia attack. It's unexplainable. I could only share what it does to me.

It scares me, big time. My heart palpitates, I couldn't breathe, my already-sweaty-palms become sweatier (Hyperhydrosis is a different ailment of mine), to the point that I'd cry for the silliest reason of not wanting to drive around unfamiliar streets.

I'm not ashamed to admit that my fear is ridiculous. I developed it growing up. It's with me. I try to shake it off, but you'd see me shaking and crying. You'd probably laugh, yet my only wish is for you to wear my shoes when I'm feeling it. I didn't want it. I didn't choose to have it, either.

I struggled since my arrival here in 2001. I rode the bus and taxi cabs, familiarizing myself with the streets. Right now, I can say, I know a lot about 101, 880, 17, some of 280, 680, 80 and several inside city streets of the Bay Area. However, I haven't expanded much, and that means I still don't know a lot of places. Whenever I get asked to drive somewhere I don't know, my mazeophobia comes back crawling behind me.

For those who laugh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry you don't understand how it is.

For those who understand, thank you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What to Write?

Photo taken here.

To tell you the truth, I used to dream about writing a historical romance book. Back in grade school, my fondness of the medieval era, knights in shining armor, and damsels in distress were swimming in my subconsciousness.

Today, I realize the real meaning of my childhood dreams. Looking at the whole scenario in my head, I was clearly the one in distress and simply wanted saving back then. Luckily, I didn't need a knight in shining armor to do the whole rescue. All the doors of opportunity opened up for me, and I entered them at the exact time and day. Everything fell into place.

My dream of writing a book is at reality's door. It may not be a historical romance kind anymore, but writing something is what matters. Whatever I ended up with, writing is an accomplishment already.


A dear friend eagerly asked me, “Why don't you write a memoir?”

Avoiding her eyes, I sighed and responded, “Whenever I start writing about my past, I just ended up crying.”

I felt her warm hand cover my left wrist. With a concerned tone, she said, “I understand. It is difficult to dig out the buried emotions."

My free hand touched her hand back, and averted my eyes on hers, “Yes, it's scary, and seeing the whole scene in my head puts me right back where I don't want to be.”


It's effortless to say, “I will write my personal memoir today and have it published.” But the truth is, it's difficult for me to gather up the broken pieces and go back in time. Reliving different painful scenarios, recalling words that burn through your heart, and putting your whole self back in a world you dread are not comfortable things to do.

For now, I'm staying away from painful memoirs.

I'm concentrating on Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy Fiction stories. I have given freedom to my wild imagination. I've released my childhood characters from the hidden dark corners of my inner abyss. I scattered them on the ground to let them dwell inside the evil moonlit forest, to invade the peace under the murky waters of the nearby lake, and poke you from behind. They'd be following you in your bedroom when you are about to go to sleep, and say, "I'm watching you, all night."

If that scared you, right now, perhaps I'm on the right path with my writing. *laughs*

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Little Things Mean A Lot

Every Valentine's Day, both single or married couples do something special. In connection with that today, I subconsciously asked myself, “Why do something special only on Valentine's Day?”

Today's not the popular heart's day yet. It's Chinese New Year, but we didn't celebrate it. What my husband and I celebrated was more special. We celebrated each other and our relationship, “just because.”

You might laugh when I say our grocery shopping was extra special when we did it together. We talked while we walked along each aisle and shared opinions about simple stuff like Bok Choy or Fish Balls. We explored places, like at the very back of an Asian Market, and witnessed how live fish got caught in a net, and how Dungeness Crabs got chopped while trying to snip the butcher.

We both considered it sweet and cute to share our time together. Little things mean a lot.

The short moments inside our kitchen, while my husband watched me cook, were special. The conversation we shared over dinner was precious. When we played saxophone together during Stanford Women's Basketball Game, we were both ecstatic. Sharing time together was a celebration. It was the kind of occasion we wanted to happen everyday.

Little things mean a lot. A glance from afar, a smile from across the room, the eagerness to share short stories about work, a quick hug, holding hands for a brief moment, having dinner together, drinking coffee together ... little special things. Not only on Valentine's Day.

You should celebrate love everyday. Start with little things. They mean a lot.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Dash of Muse

Photo taken here.

It's fascinating how our minds work when we are asleep. It can take us into our past, a world unknown, and a different reality full of possibilities and adventure.

Have you dreamed lately? A dream may look and sound real to you, but it is, in fact, an imagination of the future, or a remembrance of the past. Our minds produce every frame and shot of different imaginary scenes, and old memories. It's a short movie of our subconsciousness.

Oftentimes, imagination conquers the whole subconscious level. We step into a whole new world, envisaging new things, new places, and new people. What we don't have we gain in our dreams. What we have which we don't want, we let go in a different reality.

I sometimes want my muse to be in front of me, face to face, so I could ask her a lot of questions. But, I also have envisioned in my mind that she'd probably laugh at my silly queries. Presently, she's basking herself at a beach somewhere in the Pacific, where there's no technology distraction. We're temporarily detached. Emphasis on “temporarily” is what I want to believe in.

Luckily, I have my non-fiction articles to write for Y!CN. I've always thought that I couldn't express myself through non-fiction, but I find it rather therapeutic because it is about what I know and have experienced. It is never imaginary.

Unfortunately, my mind wanders using tiny tip-toed steps towards the mysterious path of creativeness. It is hungry for its own storm and rainbow. How do I feed such hunger? How to cure something that is not physical? Write more. That's the only solution to everything.

My mind gets clouded and I put it on paper. Seeing it at a certain distance gives great perspective on the whole scenario of thought. With or without my muse, I can, and will always, write. I consider her the final seasoning to what I do. A little dash at the end makes a big difference.

It's a good recipe.