A Prose for the Hurting

Sometimes you wake up less grateful than you should be

Seeing more of the disappointments that this life has struck you

Sometimes you get tired of being who you are

Strength is inconsistent though you try you still fall down

You may shed a tear or two or utter curse words

You may go back to your cave and shut everybody out

But please let yourself be because sometimes this is what you need

To lock yourself in your world and not give a damn

Sweet girl embrace yourself and be okay with what you’re feeling

You are not bad, it’s okay, being weak is part of living

Pain urges to be felt and feel it you must

Crying makes you human, always remember that

Sleep dear child and let it wear off

There’s another day, another chance, a promise for pain to fade out

I know that you’re tired of living like this

But hey, there’s the sun, the moon, and stars how much more does it take?

The beauty of this world is enough to face the day

Cheer up, maybe stars will align someday

And when that moment comes you will smile and say

Thank God I stood up, thank God I lived up to this day.

Writing is Freedom

It was a rainy afternoon. I just finished the qualifying exam for a mathematics training. My neck was aching from the brain draining test. I hope I would pass. But still, I wasn’t tired. I was even looking forward to that day because I’ll get to visit my favorite store in the mall, National Bookstore. We live far from the city so it’s not that accessible to us. It is the haven for all the stuff I’m obsessed with. You see, I am the notebook, diary, planner, and pens type of girl. Many of my classmates love to go to Penshoppe or Bench, but I was more on the nerdy side. I loved the feeling of being surrounded by books, pens, and paper.

Writing has played a lot of roles in my life. For me, it is my kind of art. You see, I’m not a visually creative person. I can’t sketch or draw. I don’t have a way with colors and imagining things in 3D has been a weakness ever since. But writing? I don’t know how with just grabbing a pen and paper and using the vocabulary inside your head, can you have such a cathartic feeling. It’s like when I write, I feel that a little bit of me is relieved. It’s as if the stress goes away with every word that I pour on my laptop or on a piece of paper. When I write, my mind gets more organized. Suddenly, it’s more calm and simple.

The Day that Writing became my Best Friend

In my sophomore year in high school, my English teacher asked us to have a journal. Every day, we write on it about how our day went. Our student teacher checked it regularly and I guess my entry was quite different than my classmates’.  It wasn’t a happy diary. That time, there was so much rage inside me, so many whys, it was just what I needed. I had to tell someone or something about what I was feeling. I was being bullied and at the same time my parents were always fighting. I couldn’t pretend that everything was okay, so I decided to write it on that diary.  I can still remember the color of the notebook I used. It was a green Cattleya notebook with glitters and flowers on the cover. My student teacher didn’t like what I was writing, maybe that’s why I got a low grade, but you know what? I didn’t care. Writing on it made me feel better. I didn’t write to impress anyone. I wrote for me. That’s when I knew that writing will always be a part of my life, a hobby, an art, and my best friend.

Writing Gave me Confidence

As I’ve mentioned, I don’t write creatively. In fact, when I write, it’s just expressing what I think using simple words. My grade school writing coach made me write editorials, which I really hated. At that time I just didn’t like it. I felt like it was so forced out of me. In high school, I tried to write news and feature but still, my writing coach made me write editorials. However, when I’m chosen to write for science and math essay contests, I remember how I loved it. It was like exploring a different world. It was analyzing the current facts and trying to communicate your thoughts about something you love. Those were the moments that I felt like this is what I want to write about. I could say that, hey, I can write.  I became more confident that when I was writing about subjects that I love, even the weirdest ones, I’d be like a free person. I knew at those times, that I loved writing.

Writing as a Medicine

When problems arise and your heart feels like it’s going to burst, grab a pen and paper, and write it out. Even if the message cannot be sent to that person, embedding your feelings to something permanent will help you feel that release. I remembered when I fell in love with a boy one time and I just couldn’t say it to him personally so I got my journal and wrote everything that I wanted to tell him. Well, I didn’t give the letter cause that would be too embarrassing (good decision though). When my heart got broken, I wrote there every day until I realized that I was okay again. I got tired of writing about him and just had enough. It was like I transferred all my heartaches to that journal, and so I was left with less heartache until it was totally gone. No more what ifs or whys, it was just  me, moving on. I felt the hurt and writing helped me get through that. Psychiatrists advise patients to have a journal. In my experience, it’s true. Writing makes you aware of your thoughts. When you read that entry over and over again you’ll have an aha moment. You can recognize what you should change or how you can respond to a situation.

Writing as a Pensieve

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you might be familiar with the Pensieve. It’s where wizards would store memories so that they can revisit those anytime. I think having a journal or a blog is just like owning a pensieve. You can revisit the memories. I’ve owned a diary since fourth grade and when I want a good laugh, I read it. You can also see how far you’ve went in life. You’ve grown up. Your concerns are different from the ten year old you. And, isn’t that amazing? Sometimes we feel as if nothing’s happening or there’s no progress at all but if you look back, you’ll see how different you are and how many obstacles you’ve gone through. Being able to read your past thoughts will let you have a sense of accomplishment. Or maybe, you’ll realize that things don’t have to be complicated because at the end of the day, everything works out after all. Time traveling is possible when you write.

Writing is Freedom

Remember that moment when you were running on a lawn or sitting on swing or playing seesaw? That is how free you can be with words. Words are so powerful that it wakes up something inside you. I think as human beings, we are so lucky to have this way with words. We are just privileged with the capacity to express our ideas and emotions. We are free. Happiness, I think, has a lot to do with freedom. When you are feeling dangerously free, that’s when you’re happy. When you’re not afraid to express yourself, then what could possibly go wrong? Writing gives me that feeling. Whatever gives you that, keep on doing it. 

The Lucky Headband

It was my 15th birthday. I was in third year high school. Everything was happening the way it’s not supposed to be. I hit my lowest low in class ranking, from being rank 2 to rank 16. I was devastated

But…

My grandfather gave me a gift on my 15th birthday. It was a headband with a circle design and a smiley printed on it. It was a different and sort of funny headband. It was a happy headband.

That time, headbands were on trend. Though, most of my classmates would wear a headband with a ribbon on it. Sparkly headbands were cool that time. Still, I wore my happy headband with a weird and funny design with much pride.

Fast forward I was in fourth year high school. I still got my happy headband. Its meaning to me changed since then. I was a student leader slash academic person (ew!) in high school, I would often compete in writing contests, science and math quiz bee, and whatever quiz bees were there. One time, I decided to wear my happy headband  as a fashion statement. For me,  it looks so good with my uniform, and I hate it when my hair falls off when I am on concentration mode in contests.

When I decided to wear the happy headband, it was at a moment when I was losing my confidence in myself because it seemed like everything was falling apart, my sister got sick, my parents separated, and so I was falling off the winning wagon. In short, I often lost and got depressed.

So, I started wearing the happy headband. And, for some reason that I didn’t understand, I was on a winning streak again. Every time I wore it, I’d win. So I established a superstitious belief that if I wear my happy headband on days that I will be needing a lot of luck, I’ll win.

My happy headband made me feel like myself again. I was passionate with everything and I was, happy again. I took care of that headband.

But one day, I accidentally broke it.

I was frantic. What on earth will I do? Without it, I’m doomed. I won’t win. For the next competition, I still wore my broken, happy headband, but this time, I lost. I blamed myself for not taking care of my lucky charm. Why was I so stupid? The luck was gone, and I will lose forever.

At that time, studying was my life and competing made me forget about all the problems at home. I basked in the feeling of winning. At least, I have this one area in my life that doesn’t suck. When I lost, it felt as if I won’t be happy again. Maybe, that was it. Maybe I had my happy moments and that was it for me.

I used to believe in luck.

If I put coins in my shoe on a very important day, I know that amazing things will happen. If I wear my lucky blouse, it’s gonna be a good day. If I wear black, I’ll be gloomy. If I wear my happy headband, I’ll be happy and I’ll win.

As I grew up, I didn’t have my happy headband anymore. I stopped believing that certain objects can give me the luck that I need. I stopped believing that my happiness, or my dreams coming true would rely on any external object or the circumstances I’m in. I stopped escaping the bad days, instead, I faced them. I stopped getting angry at my alarm clock for ringing at 5 AM and forcing me to go to work. I stopped blaming God, or other people for the misfortune I’m experiencing. I stopped asking God, why me?

I used to run. I thought that everything was a competition, that money will solve all problems, and that success relies on how famous, or rich you are.

I used to run. When situations get out of control, I run away. I would escape, and run as far as I can. I thought that if I run, the monsters would disappear.

But I was wrong. Life taught me that I don’t have to run away. I don’t need a happy headband to make me feel good and conquer the world. All I needed was to be my own best friend. I needed to be my own cheerleader so that I can be brave when I start being afraid. I needed to be my own healthy critic, to make me realize, when I am being wrong. I needed to learn how to cry on my own shoulder when everything seemed too much. To see other people in the best light, to learn to forgive, to learn to be okay. To know when enough is enough and not take bullshit from other people. To be free. To be loving. To be inspired. And of course, to be there for other people.

No more lucky headband, just me, my head, and a big heart.

That was all I needed after all.

 

What are you here for?

What are we here for? This is a question that many of us want to answer. Some people spend their whole lives finding the reason behind their existence. How do we know what our purpose is and how do we live in line with it?

The unraveling of our life’s purpose starts at the moment we were born. Of course, we don’t have an idea about the things happening around us. We were just little humans crying and being fed. But, our birth marks the beginning of a path that is unknown, yet, meaningful. Yes, each of us has a meaningful purpose. To our parents, we are a part of theirs, and for us, the next events would reveal what we’re here for.

Experience

When we begin to be conscious of our surroundings we gather those little experiences. The things we are exposed to would shape our minds as to what we want to become. If you have so many colors in your room, it could be your first exposure to art, if you grew up in a family of musicians, then, there’s a strong possibility that music might be your way to fulfill that specific purpose. Experience leads us to what we become.

Heart

They say that you should always follow your heart. There are many choices that we are faced with. What is your heart saying? If something is not right, your heart has a way of telling. Well, we should not forget to use our logical thinking, aka, the “brain,” but, happiness doesn’t come from what your head tells you. At least, that’s what experience has taught me. If you choose your brain all the time, it can leave you numb and lonely. To be successful, you need to use a lot of brain but, you have to choose which one you want to prioritize, is it your head or your heart? It’s all up to you. Usually, what your heart says, is where your purpose is aligned to.

Passion

Along with what the heart whispers, passion, is that whisper. It is the thing that your heart is telling you to do. So you love sports so much, then that is your passion.

How do you know what your passion is? It’s when you can’t imagine living your whole life not doing it. It could be music, art, sports, academe, philanthropy, business, or it could even be the weirdest or most random thing in the world. The point here is, live your passion because you only have one life. Passion is the key to knowing your purpose. In one of Oprah’s talks, she tells this story about having the best facial treatment ever. Then she asked the lady giving her the facial, why she’s so good at what she does. Then the lady answered, because picking pimples, and blackheads is her passion. Whatever it is, no matter how big or small, if that is your passion then do it.

Everything Works Out

Experience, heart, and passion, are three key ingredients in knowing and living your life’s purpose. However, a lot of mind setting  is needed. There must be an attitude of, “everything works out.” Life has a habit of throwing random stuff at you, sometimes they’re  wonderful, shiny, and happy stuff. But, sometimes, they are really shitty stuff, to the point that you think you’re the unluckiest human being on this universe. I think it takes a lot of experience to realize and understand that no matter how much and how often bad stuff happens, there are still good and happy moments to come. And that, we should live for the hope of basking in the good stuff.

So what are you supposed to do when misfortunes happen coupled with pain, hopelessness, and a lot of hurt? Feel it. Drown yourself with all the pain you can feel. That’s the first thing you do. If you’re just gonna brush it off, believe me, it will come back haunting you. So please feel the pain. Don’t numb it. Allow yourself to cry and when you’ve poured out all the emotions that’s the time you rise, and move on. Then, start believing again.

That painful journey is part of your purpose. Well, most of the time we don’t understand why those things happen. But should we really know why? Does the world owe us anything? No. At the end of the day, whether you move on or not is all up to you. If you think you were born to share misery to the world, it’s your choice. However, if you will look at the other side, maybe your purpose after all is to be a living example of someone who’s been through a lot, yet smiles and is always hopeful. Maybe you were supposed to be the inspiration of that sick little girl, or that abused child, or the student with a lot of failing grades. Everything works out. Do you want to be a dark existence or a ray of hope?

Patience and Vision

There are two virtues that must be engraved on us if we really want to live a meaningful life. These are patience and vision. We all want to live an amazing life. Though, nobody warned us that it takes a heck of a lot to get anywhere. Sometimes, anxiety creeps in because it seems like there’s no progress at all even if we are working so hard to reach a goal. Getting to the destination needs loads of patience. Maybe, it’s just not your time yet. If we force certain situations to happen most of the time we do end up sabotaging our hard work. I think we must always work towards our goals but we must be careful not to get too obsessed about our expected results. Work hard, be patient, and trust that one day it will all work out. That vision you’ve been wanting to see will appear little by little. You just have to be patient and never lose sight of your goal. Don’t look at what the rest of the world is doing. Just focus on yours. You’ll feel more peace and there’s an element of surprise because you just worked, trusted, and let the magic happen.

Having Fun

Towards the journey to our purpose, we have a tendency to work too hard and forget to be happy. Sometimes we’re too caught up with our goals that we forget to live and have fun. It’s a Friday night, go watch a movie or drink with your friends. Have a blast because you deserve it. Never deprive yourself with the little pleasures. If you have fitness goals, then give yourself a break and have a cheat meal. Go on an adventure. Travel, climb mountains, go to the beach, or get a massage. You deserve it. All of us deserves it.

 

I think we all crave knowing what we’re here for. Maybe you’re already fulfilling it, but you’re just not aware of it.  We just have to make sure that we’re doing what we love. And I hope that what you’re doing is meaningful and is also helping other people fulfill or find their purpose. We have to live not just for ourselves but also for other people. Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if we’re all just trying to help one another? Maybe they’ll call you too idealistic for thinking that way. But, you do you. Do something because that’s what your heart is telling you.

Of fallen dreams

Tunnel vision.
Clear goal.

I had all of that. I thought that if I want something bad enough, even if the world screams impossible, that goal would still materialize.

Was I wrong? Apparently.

As soon as I left my job I had the time to think about where I am in my life. Am I the person that I thought I was going to be at 22?

Poof. I’m not.

If I were asked where I am, I’d say, I’m in a path that I have never imagined for myself. The life I’m living is not the life I’ve dreamed. But still, I find solace, I find peace. Maybe this is what they call ‘happiness’. I chose it.

Life has thrown rocks on me. And, I just realized that, its just the way it is. No matter how much I question God, the universe, or any deity, nothing will change. These are the circumstances that I was born with, and I got a choice. Am I gonna fight? Or am I gonna die?

I choose to fight. I will always do.

This week, I talked to a friend and she reminded me of a couple of things that I forgot. I told her everything, about my struggles and plans. Suddenly she told me, “if you will go back and face the same problems you’ve had, the reasons why you left in the first place, you might just regret that you didn’t give it one more shot’.

And then she told me, “You are K, you are the smart, talented, ambitious, girl that I met. You are inspiring a lot of people, including me. So please don’t give up. Maybe life is unfair to us, but aren’t we lucky enough because we were born achievers? At least in our case, our brain is capable of thinking about ways to solve our family problems. We have a shot.”

With those things she said, I was awakened. I realized that I was too preoccupied with my problems that I forgot to see the big picture.

When we start to look so hard in our circumstances we forget about the important things. Worse, we forget who we are.

I have come to accept everything. I have decided to relinquish control. I choose happiness. I choose to revel in uncertainty.

22

Wake up, it’s gonna be a beautiful day. Today,you turn 22.

2015 was more of a trial and error stage of my life. I had a job at a university and I wasn’t happy at that job. Why? Because, the pay is low and I don’t see myself going anywhere up in that place. So, without any regret, I left and decided to follow my mom in Thailand.

I thought so much about leaving. My mom wasn’t really in a good financial state but at least I know that I can do better someplace else, somewhere away from all the blabber of my extended family, meaning my aunts and uncles.

21 was the year I fell in love, or at least i thought I was. Thankfully, I bolted out of that complicated “thing” before it destroys me. I now know that waiting for the right person would still be better than forcing love from someone who doesn’t have plans for the future.

21 changed me. I realized what things matter, what should I leave behind, what I want in my life, and what do I allow in my life.

At 21, i learned how to guard my heart and clear my head. I learned to look for the sun when everything around screamed darkness, and sometimes I had to look for it a little bit harder.

At 21 I have come to realize the value of progress, not perfection. I’ve learned how to accept what’s in front of me, how to act more and whine less. I have become more grateful with what I have and more patient with my dreams.

At 21 I’ve met very strong people who would work so hard for the people they love back home, these people inspire me. I was lucky to start meaningful friendships with strangers and hopefully it will last.

At 21 I fell so hard, but I now know that sometimes stumbling is what you need to know where to land.

At 21 I’ve had the best relationship with God. I don’t go to church every Sunday, but I know what God wants me to do and slowly I’m trying to live a life that would inspire others.

At 21 I have fully accepted myself, physically. I’ve never been happier with my wide forehead, flat nose, and wide hips. Why? Because I know the person that lives inside this body by heart. She is a person full of love and compassion for other people. She is a girl who wants to help other people so bad that she wants to be  financially independent so she could help the people having less. And that, for her, is the definition of real beauty.

At 21 I learned how to stop relying my happiness on material things. I don’t care about the latest phone model, or the trends in fashion. Happiness depends on perspective. I have a great family, a job that gets food on the table and allowance for my siblings in PH and that’s enough to make me happy.

Well, being 21 was a life changing experience. This time I didn’t have a cake on my birthday, people didn’t know that it was my natal day because I removed my birthday on facebook, but I was happy. My mom and I went to an ice cream parlor, enjoyed the dessert, went home, and slept.

The lessons I’ve learned was bigger than any material gift I could ever receive. Thank you God for a roller coaster 21. I hope 22 will teach me a lot more.