Hoping

Hello. Here I am. I am ready. Am I too late?

I’m sorry I didn’t reciprocate before, but I liked you back then. I was just confused and so unsure. I thought it was a joke. That I was being punked. And if I went in for the bait it’ll be jigs up–haha! Fooled ‘ya! You can never be too careful. I just didn’t want to get hurt or give someone the chance to fool me. I learned early on that to survive in this world, I must protect myself and guard my heart.

It took a friend’s death and two extraordinary selfless acts from you for me to realize the kind of love I needed and deserved. Why I even felt the pull to reach out to you and took that risk is not a mystery anymore. You were kind and you were true and you made me feel special. Back then and now.

Is it too late? I want to tell you so many things without the prying eyes of another. I want to hear your stories. How have you been all these years we weren’t sitting beside each other? I want to make you laugh and smile again. I want to hold your hand and hug you until I am ready to let go. And maybe, find out we’re both not ready to let each other go.

Image credit: George Pagan III on Unsplash

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You are alone in your grief

angel-2910215_640Nobody tells you this when you lose someone close, but you really are alone in your grief.

Yes, you grieve with family and friends you share the loss with. But it’s in processing and dealing with this grief every day that you’re left on your own.

People will tell you they’re sorry, send brief messages with their sincerest condolences. Some will pat you on the back, give you a half-hearted hug, tell you you’re going to be okay. But what you really want and need is someone who would sit with you for a while, hold your hand, and just let you cry it all out. Someone who wouldn’t hesitate or think you’re too fragile and just hug you until you can’t breathe and you’re ready to let go, and not a moment too soon. It might sound selfish and serving only to your needs. And it definitely will not banish the hurt and loss in your heart. That takes time. But it will be a huge comfort and reassurance. It will help you heal one day at a time.

Ms. Brightside seizes the day!

One of the best things about being sick is you have a perfectly acceptable excuse to stay in bed all day and not be interrupted except for being told it’s time to eat and the food is ready. I don’t even have to cook my own food. Such a relief.

I work from home and I don’t have the luxury of being left alone most of the time. I get constantly interrupted for a dozen reasons within the day. So it’s a godsend when I’m finally blessed with pure, uninterrupted ME time. I got to sleep off a headache and stuffy nose, got to watch TED talk videos featuring my writing inspirations–Anne Lamott, Liz Gilbert, Amy Tan, and Isabel Allende. And, this is the best thing ever–I got to write almost non-stop in my journal and filled a dozen pages within a day! Despite the feeling of coughing my lungs out and a still lingering heartache almost holding me back, it was still a good, productive weekend for me.

If I could choose a song as the soundtrack of this whirlwind of a weekend, it would be Louis Armstrong’s “On the Sunny Side of the Street”. Frank Sinatra’s version is catchy too. I love both versions since both Armstrong and Sinatra captured the whimsy and spirit of the lyrics. That ultimately, choosing to see the bright side of things whatever your circumstances may be, makes all the difference.

I used to walk in the shade
Baby, with those blues on parade
Oh, but I’m not afraid, baby
My rover!
My rover crossed over! 
And if I never have a cent
I’ll be rich as Rock-e-fellow, hey
With gold dust at my feet
On the sunny side of the street 

What is the sound of a heart breaking?

“Your heart breaks, that’s all. But you can’t judge or point fingers. You just have to be lucky enough to find someone who appreciates you.”

–Audrey Hepburn 

I wish it was as simple as that. And not me, walking around in a daze and bleeding all over the place. Because whenever my heart breaks, no one else is left to pick up the pieces but myself.

You take risks but sometimes they don’t turn out how you want them to, not even close to what you’ve imagined. But that’s why they’re called risks. Rarely am I ever a risk taker, but this one that felt like the risk of my lifetime, I went all-in and lost.

I chose my cards (and my words) carefully, and with the obssessive-compulsiveness of an inner editor. I thought I read the signs right. I thought the Universe had my back.

But maybe it isn’t me. Maybe the other half of this equation was scared shitless, so hung up on keeping up with appearances, letting peer pressure win. Maybe the other half has trust issues, doesn’t believe in the Universe, or doesn’t think I am worth the risk.

I don’t believe in the last lie.

I am worth all the damn risks in the world. And if I was brave, and yes, crazy enough to take a risk for you, then I damn well deserve someone as brave and crazy (even braver and crazier, welcome) who would take the risk as well.

I only wanted to be true to myself and I was. I have no regrets. Every risk you take is a learning experience. At least, I tried.

——–

Image credit: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The Universe and You

The Universe has a way of teaching us the life lessons we need to learn, sometimes in contradictions, but mostly in ways only we can understand and make sense of.

These past few months alone, I feel that I’ve learned the equivalent of what I have in 8 years combined. A few weeks ago, I’ve had an angel card reading by this lady I bought bracelets from and who felt overflowing with good vibes. She told me that my creative proclivity is a gift and can benefit many people, not just myself.

So here I am, sharing a few things I’ve learned through what I do best, in the hope that these simple nuggets of wisdom will be of benefit to someone, even to just one person. I’ll be happy with that.

🖤 To find a true friend, you need to experience betrayal and hurt. 

🖤 To see a person’s true character, you need to be thrown into conflict together. 

🖤 To savor every moment and be grateful for the gift of life, you must experience loss. 

🖤 To trust (again), you need to let go and release your fears. 

🖤 To get answers, you need to take risks and be patient. 

🖤 To achieve your dreams and goals, you need to be the flow. 

🖤 To be at peace, you need to accept and not expect. 

🖤 To find happiness, you need to realize that it comes from within you and doesn’t depend on other people and stuff. 

🖤 To find meaning and purpose in your life, you need to declutter and simplify. 

🖤 To get what you want, know how to ask for it. 

🖤 To be with the right person, you need to let go of the wrong ones. 

🖤 To find the love you deserve, you need to wake-up from the illusion of love you’re settling for. 

quotes-from-the-secret-fb

When “very good” is enough

Bicol muni-muni
“Muni-muni muna”: Bicol (2006)

When I was in nursery school, I was given an award for “Distinction in Deportment”. I was six at that time and didn’t know what the words “distinction” and deportment” meant, obviously. I just thought it meant I was very well-behaved in school, that I was very good, and it was enough for me. I was content and happy.

When I entered “real school”, it was a different story. Grade 4 was when I first felt that I wasn’t enough and that I needed to be excellent, not just very good. To be excellent, I had to compete with the smart girls and secure my already tenuous spot in the Top 10. Academic life became a constant struggle and anxiety trigger for me from that point on. I wanted to excel and remain in the “smart girls category” because I wanted people to be proud of me, to like me. Thinking of it now, my drive to excel boiled down to a desire to be loved. A lot of our hang-ups in life can be traced back to the all-too-common (though we always deny it) desire to be loved. If you’re someone who already feels secure that you’re loved regardless of what you do, hang-ups and all, then you wouldn’t feel the need to pursue excellence in a mad frenzy just to get the attention you want.

Imagine if I had learned this and took it to heart back in Grade 4, Grade 6, high school, college, or even the confusing years right after it, what a huge difference it would’ve made in my life.

It’s fine to acknowledge realizations like this one, and I do. But it’s also important not to get too hung up on it because if you do, then you’ll be setting yourself up for more disappointment by opening a can of “what ifs” and “I should’ves”. Skip that can opening! It’s way beyond its expiration date so toss it straight to the trash. Don’t leave any opening, even just a tiny crack for regret to leak through because regrets can pile up even without your permission and stunt your growth. Regret puts a damper on living in the moment and accepting yourself.

To be happy and at peace with my life and my choices, I realized that I need to re-connect with that 6-year-old kid again who felt so alive with being “very good” and not excellent, who never thought she had to do something extraordinary just to be loved. Because, I am enough. And very good is enough.

Chasing the light

solitary-light-chaser
View from Tingloy Island, Batangas (2018)

You can never know with finality how your life is going to be like. How it pans out through the years, what you’re given to deal with. You can never truly know if you’ll ever meet the love of your life, share your days with that person who makes you laugh and feel like fireworks inside, grow old with the one who has seen you at your worst and still finds you beautiful. You grew up with your head stuffed with romantic bollocks but you know better now. You’re a realist romantic.

You’ll never know if you’d get another shot at studying and mastering something you should’ve chosen when you were filling out college application papers, make a living out of your passion when they tell you that’s not a real job, do work that you love, be your own boss and not tie yourself down until retirement years to a life of modern serfdom and secret despair.

You’ll never know if you’d get to travel one enchanting place at a time, meet strangers whose kindness will be etched in memory, bask in solitude and togetherness, discover old things new to you, get lost and secretly dance a jig because more than anything you love finding your own way to your destination and back home again.

You’ll never know if you’d get to read all those books on your list and in your library in your lifetime, get to write every story inside you, every idea that pops into your head while in the shower, sweeping, cooking, doing laundry, all the while believing that yes, you are a writer and your words have worth.

You’ll never know if you’ll win the lottery and be stinking rich you can finally put up more public parks, museums, and libraries in your city, rebuild the crumbling local post office in this godforsaken country run over by bullies, liars, and misogynists who call themselves public servants.

You’ll never know if you’d still have your one true friend with you in the next ten years, if you’d still have her unconditional love and support through all your “reality bites” moments. But one thing is for sure. You still exist. You are here right now–mind, body, and soul. You can choose to look at what you’ve got and find happiness with your blessings, to forgive, to make it to the deadline so you can pay the damn bills, to laugh off mishaps and negative people, to bake your favorite shortbread cookies and savor it like you would a rare orgasm, to write another fledgling story in your head, to love despite all past disappointments and hurts, to smile at random strangers again. If tomorrow comes, and thank God when it does, you have another day to live life on your own terms.