Another tattoo

I would never imagine getting a tattoo before. Much less having somebody’s name tattooed into my skin.

Nonetheless, for some ideas, thoughts, and emotions human language is incapable of succinctly articulating, we still got our body to express for us most abstractions which our language faculty may sometimes be unable to make concrete.

So why would one go through a painful, permanent, and – to use my elders’ word – desecrating process just to bring a point across?

As I cannot speak for the rest, I reflected on the reasons for the tattoos (currently, I have 3. [A statement implying that my skin will be inked in the future, more or less, well, I really can’t say.]), notwithstanding of course the very obvious irony in this sentence.

Roughly a month ago, I had this one inked into my left shoulder: a simple text bordered by two lines above and below a four-letter name. I was asked why have it and why the name. I replied, “because, …(long pause) you are a permanent part of me.” I left it at that.

I would have continued on and said, “This is too small and simple a symbol for that promise of being with you until the end.” But, of course, I wouldn’t say something like this. You might find it very inconsistent to my unromantic character, I was afraid.

“None of us holds the future,” you retorted.

This, however, beggars my point. Inasmuch as it is a promise, your name tattooed into my body is a declaration that what this we both share now is too important, too life-changing, too strong I am changed by it. And in my humblest of ways, let me be reminded of this change every day.

“Just let me,” I said. “And besides, it’s a bit too late to change my mind.”

Today, the 5th of May here, the 6th there, I’m sorry if it seemed like I have completely forgotten it, I have not, how could I, remember I’m in Eastern Standard Time: Happy 16th month, babe.

I love you.

Because you want me to write a longer post here


These past few days, I had been peppering this blogsite with hints of you. It started with a pesto right after new year, then an account of my crazed repeat playing of a song I would otherwise consider moronic had I been my usual hateful self, and a declaration of your ability to put a semi-permanent horizontal groove between my lips which romantics often dryly call ‘smile’ [a manifestation of a bodily response men of science describe as hormonal over-secretion of the hypothalamus, which I find very prosaic and insulting]. But these are inadequate if I factor in the given that my thoughts in a single day are preoccupied by nothing but images of you.

I am in love with you. Not in the idealist’s sense of a sublime, unconditional love that rivals that of God’s nor is it an abstraction that does not lend itself to corporeal ideals of feeling and sensation, however. But while I keep myself from intellectualizing it, I also avoid myself from reducing it to the level of the carnal and the base. Admittedly, though, the temptation of doing so is rather difficult to resist as touching you and being touched by you have been a decadent addiction that I simply do not have courage to withdraw from.

I do not know how ‘I am in love with you’ differs from ‘I love you’, but I guess their difference matters less now that I am already in love with you and loving you at the same time.

I was told that love does not require reasons nor logic to justify its presence. If it did, it could be because of any of the following, but love: that it is a mere image in the mind of somebody with delusional tendencies, that it’s pure and unadulterated lust, or, the most painful, that it’s all unexpelled gas that terribly needs expulsion. Experience taught me, however, that responding in the line of ‘I do not know’ to the question ‘Why do you love me?’ is naive. Nothing is more logical than finally choosing to fall [in love] despite the knowledge that the risk entailed of falling is uncalculated and that it can mean losing one’s self in the process. Still we went on, dove without any preconditions, and held our breaths while we’re free falling. It is the most logical because we were both fully aware that the sensation of flying, or free falling, is worth the risk of confronting the unknown. Jumping head on despite full knowledge of not knowing what will be can only be a result of careful contemplation.

Free falling by myself was an exhilarating experience; now that the experience is shared, I know it is going to be more exciting than it used to be.

You’ve bugged me for reasons why I love you; my responses and how I said them were less serious than I would have wanted to. But I have always been serious.

January 13, 2011, Rm 202 Media Center, UP Diliman

How to say ‘I love you’ in 109 ways

Allow me this crude indulgence to post these translations here:

Afrikaans – Ek het jou lief

Albanian – Te dua

Arabic – Ana behibak (to male)

Arabic – Ana behibek (to female)

Armenian – Yes kez sirumen

Bambara – M’bi fe

Bangla – Aamee tuma ke bhalo baashi

Belarusian – Ya tabe kahayu

Bisaya – Nahigugma ako kanimo

Bulgarian – Obicham te

Cambodian – Bung Srorlagn Oun (to female)

Oun Srorlagn – Bung (to male)

Cantonese/Chinese – Ngo oiy ney a

Catalan – T’estimo

Cheyenne – Ne mohotatse

Chichewa – Ndimakukonda

Corsican – Ti tengu caru (to male)

Creol – Mi aime jou

Croatian – Volim te

Czech – Miluji te

Danish – Jeg Elsker Dig

Dutch – Ik hou van jou

English – I love you

Esperanto – Mi amas vin

Estonian – Ma armastan sind

Ethiopian – Ewedishalehu : male/female to female

Ewedihalehu: male/female to male.

Faroese – Eg elski teg

Farsi – Doset daram

Filipino – Mahal kita

Finnish – Mina rakastan sinua

French – Je t’aime, Je t’adore

Gaelic – Ta gra agam ort

Georgian – Mikvarhar

German – Ich liebe dich

Greek – S’agapo

Gujarati – Hu tumney prem karu chu

Hawaiian – Aloha wau ia oi

Hebrew – Ani ohev otah (to female)

Hebrew – Ani ohev et otha (to male)

Hindi – Hum Tumhe Pyar Karte hai

Hmong – Kuv hlub koj

Hopi – Nu’ umi unangwa’ta

Hungarian – Szeretlek

Icelandic – Ég elska þig

Indonesian – Saya cinta padamu

Inuit – Negligevapse

Irish – Taim i’ ngra leat

Italian – Ti amo

Japanese – Aishiteru

Kannada – Naa ninna preetisuve

Kapampangan – Kaluguran daka

Kiswahili – Nakupenda

Konkani – Tu magel moga cho

Korean – Sarang Heyo

Latin – Te amo

Latvian – Es tevi miilu

Lebanese – Bahibak

Lithuanian – Tave myliu

Macedonian Te Sakam

Malay – Saya cintakan mu / Aku cinta padamu

Malayalam – Njan Ninne Premikunnu

Maltese – Inhobbok

Mandarin Chinese – Wo ai ni

Marathi – Me tula prem karto

Mohawk – Kanbhik

Moroccan – Ana moajaba bik

Nahuatl – Ni mits neki

Navaho – Ayor anosh’ni

Nepali – Ma Timilai Maya Garchhu

Norwegian – Jeg Elsker Deg

Pandacan – Syota na kita!!

Pangasinan – Inaru Taka

Papiamento – Mi ta stimabo

Persian – Doo-set daaram

Pig Latin – Iay ovlay ouyay

Polish – Kocham Cie

Portuguese – Amo-te

Romanian – Te iubesc

Russian – Ya tebya liubliu

Rwanda – Ndagukunda

Scot Gaelic – Tha gra\dh agam ort

Serbian – Volim te

Setswana – Ke a go rata

Sign Language – ,\,,/ (represents position of fingers when signing ‘I Love You’

Sindhi – Maa tokhe pyar kendo ahyan

Sioux – Techihhila

Slovak – Lu`bim ta

Slovenian – Ljubim te

Spanish – Te quiero / Te amo

Surinam- Mi lobi joe

Swahili – Ninapenda wewe

Swedish – Jag alskar dig

Swiss-German – Ig liebe di

Tajik Man turo Dust Doram

Taiwanese – Wa ga ei li

Tahitian – Ua Here Vau Ia Oe

Tamil – Naan unnai kathalikiraen

Telugu – Nenu ninnu premistunnanu

Thai – Chan rak khun (to male)

Thai – Phom rak khun (to female)

Turkish – Seni Seviyorum

Ukrainian – Ya tebe kahayu

Urdu – Mai aap say pyaar karta hoo

Vietnamese – Anh ye^u em (to female)

Vietnamese – Em ye^u anh (to male)

Welsh – ‘Rwy’n dy garu

Yiddish – Ikh hob dikh

Yoruba – Mo ni fe

Zimbabwe – Ndinokuda

And this is how I say it: Palangga ko ikaw or if I want to sound like a poet, I’d say Gina-higugma ko ikaw.

The best way to say “I love you.”

For most of us, saying ‘I love you’ is as simple as saying the line because we think that the best way to say something is to say it as simple as possible. We tend to think that saying more than what is necessary pollutes our thoughts rendering what we say less pure, less real, a lesser version of what we have distilled in our mind.

But love thrives in exaggeration; it has to be bigger than life. Without drama, love is as bland as rice porridge minus the chicken entrails.

lovers_on_the_seine_large Lovers on the Seine by Rolf Harris

I once asked my father how he wooed my mother. He said that he didn’t have to do anything to capture the heart of my mother because she was head over heels in love with him the first time they met. Incredulous, I asked him to provide evidence for this as I didn’t want to ask my mother if what he said was true. He took a hardbound maroon book; it was his college thesis. On the inside of the front cover was a love poem my mother wrote for him.

The poem my mother wrote for him was something that is beyond my ability to critique. It was a poem written out of love that started twenty-five years ago. It was a poem only a young woman in love can compose.

Below are expression of love by some literary greats. I hope you find inspiration from them:

“I cannot exist without you – I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again – my life seems to stop there – I see no further. You have absorb’d me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I were dissolving ….I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion – I have shudder’d at it – I shudder no more – I could be martyr’d for my religion – love is my religion – I could die for that – I could die for you. My creed is love and you are its only tenet – you have ravish’d me away by a power I cannot resist.” –John Keats to Fanny Brawne

“I am fast shut up like a little lake in the embrace of some big mountains. If you were to climb up the mountains, you would see me down below, deep and shining – and quite fathomless, my dear. You might drop your heart into me and you’d never hear it touch bottom.” -Katherine Mansfield to John Middleton Murray

“My dearest, When two souls, which have sought each other for, however long in the throng, have finally found each other …a union, fiery and pure as they themselves are… begins on earth and continues forever in heaven. This union is love, true love, … a religion, which deifies the loved one, whose life comes from devotion and passion, and for which the greatest sacrifices are the sweetest delights. This is the love which you inspire in me… Your soul is made to love with the purity and passion of angels; but perhaps it can only love another angel, in which case I must tremble with apprehension.” –Victor Hugo to Adele Foucher

“But I more than love you, and cannot cease to love you. Think of me, sometimes, when the Alps and ocean divide us, –but they never will, unless you wish it.” –Lord Byron to Teresa Guiccioli

I have my share of this act of immortalizing my love through language. I said “I love you” in myriad of ways to a number of people whom I love, I loved, I am loving, and I  stopped feeling anything other than indifference.  I expressed them in the truest possible sense that my language can allow me. Although in love, we may run out of words to express the depth of the emotion, the emotion shall go beyond–it may blossom and endure like my parents’, or remain seeking like mine every now and then. But language is the only possible way that it can be enjoyed by the spirit.

Let’s write them down. Probably,  one winter night hundred years from now, our version of “I love you” will inspire a young man to write his own “I love you” in a language only his heart can express.