Monthly Archives: May 2014

Was It Guilt or An Overwhelming Sense of Responsibility?

“Yo, hindi mo pa nga yan anak ah.”

That was what my friend Ilka told me when I told her and Cort what happened to me the other day. It roughly translates to “That’s not even your son yet.” My translation skills from Filipino to English are not that good but hopefully me writing this with my heart will sound better.

I rarely write something about myself in detail like a “Dear Diary” type of rambling but I guess this experience deserves to be written in some form of preciseness.

It was supposed to be a team building exercises: Divide the kids into two groups, let them play basketball, and just basically have fun. It was simple. Well, it was supposed to be simple.

When the basketball game was about to finish, the unthinkable happened. One of my students jumped in the air for a rebound and landed awkwardly on the floor. Shit.

He was screaming in pain holding on to his left knee. Think of Saving Private Ryan or a scene from HBO’s The Pacific when someone gets shot in the leg. Man it was bad. Everything stopped at that point but fortunately my other students were quick to react. Two of them went to get ice and check if the school’s infirmary was still open. At first I thought it was just a mild sprain or something – you know, the kind of injury when you step on someone’s foot unintentionally therefore making you land awkwardly. But then he couldn’t move his knee at all. This was different.

My student explained that he actually heard something when he landed, a “locking sound” was what he said. He had a similar injury on his right knee a year ago so he knew what kind of pain he was in.

To cut the long story short, the medical team of the security guards rushed into the scene carrying a stretcher and a splint for the leg. After a few calls to the brother and parents, we were off to the hospital.

What struck me as we were heading for the ambulance was a feeling of guilt. I was the one who made them play basketball. We shouldn’t have played today! We should have stuck to our normal training routine! Damn it!

I told my concerns to the other coach who arrived just as we were transferring him into the ambulance. He said that it wasn’t my fault and that it would have happened in some weird way regardless of what we did. I guess he was right. They could have played basketball before I even arrived that day.

Just as I was feeling better that feeling of guilt came to me again as we were inside the ambulance. With the sirens blaring, the fast drive of the car, the dim lights inside, just everything inside the damn thing made me think! I basically told myself “shit just got real.” Along with my student was his older brother and myself. Things were kind of put into perspective when my student said “It’s my first time to ride in an ambulance. Cool!” We all laughed. It was my first time too.

At the emergency room, we waited for their dad to arrive. A few doctors and nurses passed by and told the procedures that were going to happen. Diagnosis by a surgeon, xray, MRI, and all that stuff. When he told the doctors how old he was it kind of threw me off guard. He says “I’m 15. I’m an incoming junior at the high school.” I don’t know why. I mean I know I’m handling high school students but I guess once I finally heard their age, it was a surreal feeing. Man, these really are kids.

When his dad finally arrived, I didn’t know what to expect. There was a solemn moment when he just looked at his son on the hospital bed. They’re a family with a lot of brothers and sisters and this wasn’t the first time someone was hospitalized but still, there was a reserved quiet moment only a parent could understand. I can only imagine what he’s going through.

After the last check up by the doctor, the dad went to me and said, “I can take over from here. Thank you for looking after my son. Buti nandun ka. (Good thing you were there).”

At that point there was a sense of relief once I heard those words. It wasn’t the fact that what I did was appreciated but more to the fact that he wasn’t mad or shocked or whatever negative emotion there could be.

I relayed the entire story to my friends right after because I had to talk this through. We analyzed that… things just happen without our control. I couldn’t have known what would happen and I was fortunate enough to be there supervising them. As Ilka said, just imagine If it was your own son. I guess in the end, it wasn’t guilt that consumed me, but instead, it was an overwhelming sense of responsibility.

I tried to think back whether or not there was a similar experience in my young life. No classmate, no officemate, and no friend comes close. Primarily because this was with an extremely younger person. In a way, these kids look up to me. It’s like I’m in a fine line between a teacher, older brother, and a friend. And I love the fact that I can walk around these lines.

In many ways, these are my kids. And yes, even though they are teenagers, they are still kids. This was a growing experience for me as I try to lead this group of people.

I’m looking forward show more of my overwhelming sense of responsibility.

 

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How Much Should You Depend On Others?

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In a couple of entries back, I’ve touched on the subject of people helping you reaching your goals. Furthermore, I’ve emphasized that your dreams matter to others. Believe it or not, your way of living and you reach your goals have an indirect on other people as they see your life. When you are fortunate enough, you get to inspire others.

But what if you don’t get the support? What if you don’t get the encouragement that you need?

I’ve slowly realized that there’s a very fine line between how you desire the need of affirmation and encouragement from other people versus listening to your inner fire that’s dwelling inside you. As much as we are social beings, we are singular entities traveling in this vast world.

It’s difficult when the people we expect to be the ones who encourage us don’t really… well, encourage us. Maybe you get disappointed with your spouse, your parents, your friends or whoever. At the end of the day, some people won’t believe in you. It’s just the way it is.

And in that moment of brief realization, that’s when you look not towards other people, but into your own soul. As there are other people telling you to do this or that, the voices within you have to be heard. Well, as long as they’re positive voices. The truth is, your inner drive can also be a speed bump to where you want to go. In most cases, we have to dig deeeeeep.

Recently, I got inspired to focus on myself after a series of self-defeating moments. For my own sanity, I had to dig deep. I searched for my gut who was wallowing in regret and looked into my heart who was looking in the past. I read a blog entry of my close friend Agnes who recently underwent her own realizations. If anyone’s interested, take a look at her blog – http://chubbytopia.blogspot.com. 🙂

Here’s an excerpt from her essay:

“I want you to know , that YOU and YOU ALONE are the driver of your own life. So you’re not happy? Do something about it. In a moment of weakness, someone can tell you something that will break your spirit. THEY CAN SAY ANYTHING TO CRUSH YOU AND IT’S OKAY TO GET CRUSHED BUT STAND UP. Don’t allow it to eat you alive.”

Though strangely I was inspired by a friend, it was a gentle reminder to fan the inner flames within myself.

You have to turn on your “Eff You Mode” and stop taking crap from other people and even from your evil self locked in the depths of your soul. So what if your parents don’t really understand what you’re doing? So what if you’re friends aren’t there for you when you need them the most? So what if all the things you once held dear went up in flames like a nuclear explosion? Eff. Freakin’. You.

When no ones watching or no ones listening, dream bigger. When you’re already tired, work harder. When no one’s giving you the right motivation, eliminate the fears. Yes, there is a need to be affirmed by others, but when it comes down to it, you have to listen to yourself. Believe in yourself. This is a bit cheesy and a common cliché but hey, clichés are clichés for a reason. Believe in yourself.

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How Do I Start?

Before I write anything, a blank page always stares at me. Like a painter before he paints, the canvass is white and blank, waiting for the right colors to fill its empty spaces. As I’ve mentioned in my very first post nearly nine months ago, they first key to writing… is to write. You write your first draft with your heart, and then you rewrite it with your head.

But how does it start? Where do I get the “inspiration” to begin writing? Whether it’s for work or for this blog, the blank page mocks me and keeps me from writing what I think. There’s a mini wrestling match with my heart, head, and even the fingers of my hands as each body part clamors for attention. But when the moment my fingers reach the keyboards, it’s the passion deep within me that makes it all start. Okay, that sounded a bit cheesy but it’s true. It’s like when a musician closes his or her eyes before unleashing holy hell of music goodness. It’s like when a superstar football player lines up right before he hits the free kick and makes the ensuing goal and sends the entire arena into bedlam. It’s the calm before the storm.

Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, and jump off the building. The trick is to not stare at the blank page. Fill it immediately with your thoughts. Then you wouldn’t feel so lonely anymore.

As Doc Pomus once said, “Find the shortest distance between your insides and a pencil.”

 

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How Can I Stand Here With You and Not Be Moved By You?

Hopefully you watch the video first before reading. 🙂

The first time I watched this video was about maybe 7-8 years ago in a youth camp. I remember I cried like a little girl and had goosebumps that made me stop dead in my tracks. And 7-8 years later, here I was again crying (though not like a little girl anymore thank goodness!) and had goosebumps that could fill the entire room. As a young man and looking back at this video today, there’s more understanding  to the symbolism of the characters. Of course, everyone experiences different kinds of evil in their lives. There are various temptations in this world, and the enemy knows exactly what will make us fall. For the longest time, I was that person in the video who was so caught up with life and what I perceived to be good. I was that person who was so lost (and many ways still lost) and trying desperately to get back in my life. In all honesty it came to a point that I resonated with the last temptation of the hooded figure inviting death. Not that I was going to kill myself, but I felt that life has left me. Besides, we’re dead anyway once we have no drive and no purpose to keep on living.

Besides the video, the song expresses what people want from the Lord. He’s all that we want, all that we need, our everything. However, what got me thinking differently was what if the song was actually sung in the perspective of God? Can it be possible that He’s saying “You’re all that I want. You’re my everything”? It’s a tough pill to swallow that the God of the universe loves us so much that He’s willing to do everything just to have us back in His arms. The thought of Him being crazy about me is…. well, crazy. Me? I always think that I’m nothing and I’m never enough. And God wants me?

How about you, do you believe God is pursuing you with everything He’s got? Do you believe He’s saying “How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Yes, He loves you and me. As hard it is to believe sometimes, but it’s true.

The tears always begin to move out of my eyes when the girl drops the gun and tries to get back with Christ. And then… and then… He starts defend all the evil that’s trying to get His child. Oh crap. Here I am crying like a little girl again and having goosebumps.

 

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What Can I Do With My Obsession?

What can I do with my obsession
With the things I cannot see
Is there madness in my being
Is it the wind that moves the trees
Sometimes You’re further than the moon
Sometimes You’re closer than my skin
And You surround me like a winter fog
You’ve come and burned me with a kiss

And my heart burns for You
And my heart burns…for You

And I’m so filthy with my sin
I carry pride like a disease
You know I’m stubborn, Lord, and I’m longing to be close
Your burn me deeper than I know
And I feel lonely without hope
And I feel desperate
Without vision
You wrap around me like a winter coat
You come and free me like a bird

My love for You. My heart for You. My life for You. All I have for You

Is It Okay To Feel Regret?

It’s normal to question things about the past. It’s natural. It’s common. It’s human nature. We don’t often admit it but we usually think about the decisions we’ve made and the repercussions that happened. Life has full of “what ifs” and “what could have beens.” They’re a part of us as much as we often think about the future.

Who we are in the present is a byproduct of the days from our yesterdays and our desires for the tomorrows.

But what is it about the past that makes it want to change it? How often do we want to undo the things we’ve done or actually to do the things we’ve failed to do? Is it okay to feel regret?

The dilemma isn’t really a Miss Universe type of question. I’m not here saying that we should always be thankful for everything that happened in our past, they made us who we are today, they made me grow as a person, blah blah blah. This doesn’t deserve a Miss Universe type of answer.

Again, regret and the feeling of loss are human nature. It’s okay to feel stupid for the choices we chose. It’s okay, well, sometimes. We couldn’t help it even if we tried.

Sometimes it’s okay to admit that we should have treated our child better when he was younger. Maybe we should have hugged them a little more and scolded a little less.

It’s okay to admit that we should have respected our parents more before it was too late. When we get older, that’s only when the sudden realization hits us – that we too are struggling parents and are humans just trying to make ends meet.

It’s okay to admit that maybe we should chosen another career or even quit a job years ago before we eventually hated it. The routines of everyday living got us at one point.

It’s okay to admit that we think about the people who left us or the people we’ve let go. It’s okay to admit that we somehow made a mistake and that’s why things went sour. What hurts more is that we can’t do anything about it. The hurt becomes a scar that we can never remove. It’s okay to admit that we miss them. All the time. We miss them so much it hurts. We miss them so much our brain becomes dizzy and our hearts begin to break again.

It’s okay to admit that sometimes we feel faithless, helpless, useless, and hopeless. It happens. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we fall short. Sometimes our best isn’t enough. Maybe God will hear you next time, maybe He won’t.

It’s okay to admit that we often think about regret. It’s alright to admit weakness.

No matter how much life has gotten you beat down, it’s okay. It’s also okay if you feel it isn’t the time to gather yourself and get back up. Don’t think, just feel. You’ll know exactly when to gather your bearings and live on. If the pain and the regret don’t leave, then just keep living on. Live with the hurt then. Maybe for you it’s not about moving on, maybe it’s about getting by. As long as you keep chugging along and wake up each day, there’s always that slimmer of hope. What are we if we can’t even feel hope?

It’s unhealthy to live in regret, we know this. But we can’t help it sometimes. What we can help is to choose to live on. Yes, waking up each day is a decision to live.

 

 

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What’s It Going To Be Like When I Graduate?

Below is something I wrote for a writing workshop a couple of weeks back. We were asked to write an essay on what happens when someone says goodbye. People shared about the different kinds of leaving whether it was about a parent, a girlfriend, a friend,or a job. I decided to write a non-fiction piece about the “real world” and about a person saying goodbye to his alma mater on graduation day.

 

It is the final day. It’s the final day for regret, pain, joy, laughter, and youth.

After four years, the time has come for me to finally move on with my life. I didn’t realize time could move that fast. We were too young and too stupid to realize what this could all mean in the future.

Maybe I’ll miss you more than I will ever realize. Maybe I’ll come back to you some day. Maybe I’ll get caught up with my new setting and slowly forget you. And then maybe one day, the memories will all come flooding back.

Maybe this is the beautiful tragedy of being young – we always want the next thing. We want and we want and we want. And that’s what I’m feeling now. I want to experience the joy of working. I want to make it on my own. I want to be successful. I want to dream. I want to love. I want to be… me.

Who knows what will happen now? Maybe I’ll remember you in a couple of years. I’ll remember the sweet nothings of meeting a college girl. I’ll remember the sleepless nights filled with notes and books. But most importantly, I’ll remember what it meant to be young.

I feel that when I get older, I’ll want a little less. I’m afraid of working in a job I hate. I’m afraid to make it on my own. I’m petrified I don’t become successful. What if I grow old and gray all alone? But more than anything, I’m afraid if one day I stopped dreaming. What if the dreams remain dreams? What if they are just fragments of the real me lost somewhere in the ocean? The thing about growing up is that for every dream, there is a corresponding fear.

Pray for me. Pray for me to be brave. Pray for me to keep dreaming. Yes, I do want to move on with my life today. Today is the day to end all days. Yes, I do have fear, but I also have hope. I am getting older, but I swear I’ll try to not grow up.

I’ll never forget you dear friend. Here’s to the future – filled wit fear, hope, dreams, and love. Here’s to the real world.

 

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Am I That Bad Mama?

Am I that bad mama?

Why are you always mad?

Was it something I said?

I swear I didn’t mean to be bad

 

Am I that bad mama?

It’s like I always do wrong

It’s not like I want to

Maybe it’s just who I am

 

Am I that bad mama?

I know you love me mama. I know you do

But why am I scared?

I’m scared all the time

 

Am I that bad mama?

I’ve been lonely you see

Out there I’m okay

But it’s here inside that hurts

 

Am I that bad mama?

Why can’t I be a good little boy?

Why can’t I make the right choices?

Why can’t I just be me?

 

Am I that bad mama?

How come nobody loves me?

Maybe there’s something wrong with me

How come no one looks back?

 

Am I that bad mama?

I know I messed up, I really did

I said I’m sorry, I said I’m sorry

But now she’s gone for good

 

Am I that bad mama?

I don’t know where to go

There are too many roads to choose

Yet I feel I don’t have a choice

 

Am I that bad mama?

I’m always unsure of myself

It’s 2AM and my eyes are wide open

I’m always looking to the sky

 

Will I ever find peace mama?

Will everything be okay?

I try to be good but lately it’s not enough

It’s never enough

So tell me mama

Am I really that bad?

Does Your Dream Matter To Others?

I wasn’t sure if the type of song that they played was common when someone was leaving the office. I’ve experienced a couple of going away dinners and seen going away videos to gauge enough what a going away song should play. Usually it would be a song about friendship; you know, insert slideshow of you and your officemates in random poses during the time you stayed with them.

The song they played for me when I left my work place was “I Can Go The Distance” from the Disney movie Hercules. I found it touching and inspiring that after months from that going away dinner, I still find myself remembering the people I left and that song. That song.

At that time when we were watching the various pictures of me with my numerous friends in the office, you could say that the song had a different effect on me then as compared to know months later. Back then, it was all about me. My time. My chance to “go the distance.”

Months after, something changed.

The more I pursue my dreams, slowly I realized the bigger picture that envelops it. People can be so consumed and so focused about pursuing their own dreams and not think of anything or anyone else.

Telling someone how successful you are (or not successful) can affect someone in different ways. It can cause that person to be jealous of what you have. Maybe you made that person think you’re a total show-off. Or maybe, they simply don’t care.

What I realized though was that going after your goals can and should inspire other people. Everyone looks up to someone right? You might be surprised on how many people look up to you. You may not realize it but people do. People are cheering for you. People are rooting for you. They genuinely want you to succeed. It’s not only a matter of you achieving your dreams but it reflects on other people’s dreams. They look to you so that they can look into their own lives.

So go on, keep dreaming. Take on life like you’ve never taken it before. For your sake, and for the people around you. Go the distance.

 

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