Are You Still Messed Up?

Sorry for the quality of the video. But this scene from Adam Sandler’s Reign Over Me still gets me every single time.

Sometimes it’s scary to admit that we’re messed up. It’s weakness. It’s humility. It’s admission to failure.

When you’re young you tend to think and say to yourself, “When I’m 30, I’ll be all set up. I’ll have a decent job, a family, a house, etc.” But then you get older and realize things don’t often go as planned. They just don’t. Sometimes you get messed up along the way and you spend the next few months, or even years trying to get back on your feet.

Even when sometimes you think everything is pretty okay at one point, there’s always that one instance that makes you reflect and realize maybe you’re still not where you want to be. I guess that’s okay. It’s alright. Maybe you need a little more time. Whatever it is you’re going through, you are where you are for a reason. Feel whatever you need to feel. If you feel you need to be sad, then be sad. If you want to fight the feelings, then fight it. The point is let this issue of your life take its course.

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What happened?

It all happened in a blur. Ironically, a shocking experience such as this would be unforgettable, but somehow the details are fuzzy as though my memory doesn’t want to remember. However, I do remember what I felt: the helplessness and the internal panic.

My two friends and I were walking on the street, waiting for a cab to take us home. Looking back it was downright stupid for us to do that in the wee hours of the morning. It was like we were daring the world for something to happen. And unfortunately for us, something terrible did happen.

A man in a motorcycle suddenly stopped right in front of us. An immediate shock came over us and we all wondered what he wanted. And then he pulled out a gun. We were taken aback at first when he told us to give our phones. I guess we were still in shock and the fear started to creep in.

After taking our phones he asked for our wallets. I had the presence of mind to simply give him some money and not my whole wallet. I don’t know, but I sensed that the guy was just as scared as we were. Not in a scared “I might get caught” kind of way but in a “I don’t really do this whole robbery thing” kind of scared. Maybe he just needed the money and circumstances have led him to what he did to us. I really felt that this was just the first few times of robbing somebody.

Anyway, after handing him over our money, he asked what was in our bags. We brushed him off saying that there’s nothing really of value inside. We lied of course, but we weren’t completely going down without resisting. Maybe it was stupid of me to resist and say that I didn’t want to give my bag. He threatened me and said “you don’t want to give your bag?!” I was scared of course, but somehow I knew he wasn’t going to hurt us. Of course, I didn’t take that risk. As amateurish as he was, he was scared and maybe was afraid enough to do something stupid like shoot us or whatever.

For what it’s worth, I could say that we stayed surprisingly calm throughout the ordeal. We talked about it afterwards and we agreed that it was a good thing that we kept our cool and didn’t overly panic. Don’t get me wrong, we were scared but somehow we all found courage.The three of us have experienced before getting our stuff stolen but never in a way such as this. We have never experienced a gun being pointed at us. We were thankful that he wasn’t able to get all our other stuff and more importantly, beyond grateful that we were safe. Things could have ended differently – maybe he could have shot us or hurt us, who knows.

I’m glad I was able to write what happened. At least in this blog it will be just me and my thoughts. I’m not of those who often post on social media what happened to them, even as traumatic as this. I don’t want the attention, in fact, I feel uncomfortable with it. I did share what happened to a couple of friends the morning after. One, to get it out of my chest and the other for their safety – a reminder to be on their guard always. I also shared the story to my high school kids, I can’t imagine how they would react if something like this happened to them.

I actually spent half of the day debriefing myself on what happened. Come to think of it, I don’t know which feeling is worse – the thought of that I could have died or the feeling of being so scared, powerless, and confused. If this happened back when I was in high school or maybe even college, I would have probably experienced some post-traumatic stress. I’m not saying that I’m not affected now that I’m older, I guess that it would have been much scarier if this happened when I was younger.

What happened? Life happened. I’ve accepted that literally anything can happen in your life. I don’t mean it in a sort of self-defeating kind of way. I’m not simply accepting things the way that they are. I know that I should be more careful next time but I’ve also accepted the realization that these things can happen to me or to anybody. Other people have experienced way more intense stuff than what happened to me. We live in dangerous time and people are becoming more desperate than ever. I may be still shaken up or afraid of what happened, but I know I shouldn’t live scared.

Stay safe people!

What Do You Like Most In Being A Kid?

About a week ago my family and I went out to celebrate my mother’s birthday. It was fun, normal, and basically everything that should happen in a birthday dinner happened.

What was interesting about the night however, was the family beside us. Seated were two parents and their daughter who was maybe around 4 or 5 years old.

She was the most adorable little thing you could ever find. For dinner, she had marshmallows and éclairs on her plate. She was eating them piece by piece as her parents were eating… well, normal grownup food. Of course her mother gave her a few pieces of chicken here and there but her marshmallows was the main dish of the evening.

More than the cuteness of eating marshmallows in a restaurant, what caught my attention was the innocence that was revealed in her eyes. She wasn’t stressed and she didn’t have any hidden agenda. She was eating her marshmallows like they were the most important thing in the world. It was the innocence, the lack of worry, and the pure joy of being alive that made my heart smile.

We were in those restaurants where they were hired singers who go table to table to sing. It’s a thing in Mexican restaurants like you see in the movies and they are also present here in the Philippines. Anyway, when the singers asked their table what song they would play, the dad asks, “can you guys do a song from Frozen?”

A second later, the lady was already belting out Let it Go. At that moment, can you imagine the face of the little girl? At first she didn’t realize the song being played but after a few lines she suddenly realized it was the hit Disney song. Her eyes widened and her eyebrows raised. She looked at her mother as if to scream “MOM THE LADY IS SINGING LET IT GO. GAAAAH!” She didn’t say a word but her open mouth and expression gave that tone. She also wasn’t one of those kids who just sang along or did crazy things when they hear their favorite tune. She still remained that innocent and cute aura she had while she was eating her marshmallows. She stood up and looked at the lady singing and started nodding her head. It was the most beautiful thing!

I don’t know how or why but the whole thing just struck me that night. Again maybe it was the innocence and purity of being a child that all grownups don’t have anymore. I know people always say that you should be childlike or whatever but there’s nothing like experiencing things with an open mind and a cheerful heart, and unfortunately that often happens only in your youth.

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Why Do People Jump From One Relationship To the Next?

small-talk

 

Everybody goes through a breakup, good or bad, (okay who am I kidding, they’re all bad), the aftermath can always be tricky. There’s one thing to go through a breakup but it’s another level to see your ex with someone new. Just when you thought you got your shit together, the moment a friend tells you about it, or you see a picture online, or maybe even your ex himself will tell you that he’s with someone else, it abso-fucking-lutely sucks.

My dear cousin-friend Abby gave me this daunting question because this has been bothering her and she has obviously gone through a horrendous aftermath. Two things: One, my invented term “cousin-friend” should be a thing. Abby and I were friends in college and just before I graduated I surprisingly found out she also happened to be my second cousin. We found out when we saw each other in a big family reunion. Kudos, universe. And number two, when I say horrendous aftermath, I mean horrendous like seeing a really bad Nicolas Cage movie. Taking away the details and to cut the long story short, let’s just say that good ol Abby was on the wrong end of an extremely awkward breakup, a possible three-girl cheating extravaganza, and having his ex settling for a girl who isn’t even half as pretty as her. (Okay, maybe I’m a bit biased, but hey)

Thus the question: how does someone jump from an old relationship to a new one just like that? Some do it like they’re changing a pair of socks: use them till their dirty, throw them away, and just change the next day. Some do it patiently like waiting for the bus.

To make things easier, I’ve written this with a conversational tone of talking to a woman and not a man. Though there will be general terms I’ve decided to focus on directing this to girls. No need for an Emma Watson-type UN speech here. I’m sure both the male and the female have all experienced a bad breakup and even a worse aftermath, but since I’ve essentially written this for my cousin-friend, I’ve written it from a guy’s perspective for a girl.

So let’s go through them shall we?

1) It was already over a while back honey

Hate to say it you dear, but there’s a good chance that your relationship was over weeks or maybe even months ago. Maybe you can’t pinpoint the date exactly but maybe it was that weird time you guys were slowly drifting part. It’s hard to notice at first but try retracing the steps to where it seemed like all hell was about to break loose. Maybe it was that time you had the quietest dinner in the entire human race? Maybe it was that time he was suddenly into… oh I don’t know, horseback riding? (Because you eventually find out that his new girl is into horses) Weird scenarios but they still all hurt like crap I’m sure. The point is that your ex was probably already preparing for the inevitable. He hasn’t broken up with you sooner because he hasn’t found someone else at that time. When he finally did, you were left to pick up the pieces of your shattered heart.

2) Why jump? Just to get over the hump

Let’s say you broke up today. And then just two months later you, you open your Facebook page and then viola! Your tall boyfriend who says he was always into shorter girls just uploaded a photo with a much taller chick and in the photo they were cuddling so much together that the Care Bears themselves would puke.

What happened? Well, he probably forgot all his so-called types and non-negotiables in a relationship and just went out with someone who was literally right there in front of him. A broken heart is weak, disgusting, and in most cases, STUPID. Seriously, a troubled mind and a painful heart are like hobos in the streets. Give them a penny, food, heck, you can probably give them anything and you’ll be the best thing that’s ever happened to them on that day. Same thing applies in a relationship.

One other thing is a phrase I absolutely love: “Proximity breeds likeness.” In other words, you and your significant other like each other because it’s easier, accessible, and no stress. Think of a work friend, a classmate, a longtime college roommate, a bandmate, or whatnot. The point is that we are geared into getting a relationship with the people closest in our vicinity. Well, this is normal right? Of course! I mean, what better way to meet people than the ones staring in front of you? The problem arises when let’s say for instance you and your ex are not officemates. Let’s say you met in college, tried to make things afloat even in the real world, and then you sadly breakup. Poof. Then you hear rumors that your ex has sharks for officemates. Lo and behold that they’ve been lurking around the waters and was just simply waiting for the moment you and your man would breakup and then they attack! And of course your ex will be weak, disgusting, and again, STUPID with a capital s-t-u-p-i-d. Of course he’ll jump into a thing with one of his shark officemates. It’s just the way it is, proximity breeds likeness.

3) To get back at you for being a B

No woman is perfect in a relationship. And no man is either. Man can be vicious, inconsiderate, and downright evil sometimes. In the same way, a girl can be a bitch sometimes. (Take note of the words “can” and “sometimes”)

That being said, what if you were a B with your man? You didn’t have to be purely sadistic but you have to admit, there were times when you wish you were a bit more patient and more considerate right? What if your man just had enough and to let out his frustrations, he just went out and got someone who had less bitchy moments.

4) Wait, did he even really love you?

Love can be thrown around loosely and maybe you were just in the middle of a verbal exchange between you and your ex saying “I love you’s” You may have meant everything that you said but what if he didn’t? Or, what if his definition of love is very different from your definition? You just weren’t on the same page.

It’s difficult to comprehend and it’s a bitter pill to swallow but it’s a reality you just have to accept. Love can be cheesy, sweet, and a place of rainbows and butterflies. But there’s also a love that doesn’t grasp facts and reasons. Sometimes you just love the person… just because. It’s pure and deep. It’s innocent. It’s the kind you stay up in the middle of the night for.

Remember the first time you said those words to someone? There’s something so precious about that. There’s that feeling of you just want to get it out of your chest but at the same the struggle and stress of not being sure what the other person might reply. That inner battle is beautiful and pure, and something that no one else can understand but yourself. Saying those words shouldn’t be thrown around too easily. And in the same light, saying those three words can be too much to handle for some people.

The way you love should never be comprised or belittled for someone else’s way of loving.

5) Or you know, simply put, he is just a lyin’ cheatin’ son of a gun

Then again, it’s not your fault dear. Maybe he’s just so full of himself. Maybe he meant to hurt you maybe he didn’t, but the fact of the matter is that he did. Plain and simple. You and I know you can’t do anything about it. You and I know that we can’t change him for who he is. He’s probably in a different phase of his life: the one that doesn’t include you.

You may have not noticed the signs of his infidelity or his fears of being alone, but they were there. People don’t want to be alone and he took the necessary precautions so that when you guys eventually fall out, he wouldn’t be alone. He may have lied a thousand times but probably the biggest lie of all was him being with you. Sorry dear, tough love.

***

There can be a multitude of reasons for people choosing others. Sometimes no matter how hard we try we can’t force people for choosing us, for loving us. For what it’s worth, you shouldn’t mind anymore the reasons for him jumping from one relationship to the next. The biggest challenge is for you to gather your bearings and be comfortable being alone. I don’t believe in “jumping” into a relationship. The perfect person will just arrive when you least expect it. It’s cheesy and cliche but it’s also true.

 

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Is Life Hard?

A couple of weeks back one of my students said this:

Life is hard!

He didn’t say it to me directly or to his teammates, but he just said it as a general statement. He said it with much fervor and disappointment just as a young kid like him would say.

I looked at him first. Then gave him a half-smile and half-are-you-kidding-me look.

How old are you again?! I asked.

Before he said anything else, he knew exactly what I meant.  So he smiled and sheepishly said:

Um, sixteen.

Everyone laughed. Me, him, and the entire team.

I pressed on.

Sixteen? Talk to me again 10 years from now.

We were all still laughing then but I also gave a sense of seriousness that he should take a second look at what he just said.

On one hand, I think he understood that his statement was a bit too foolish. But then again, he was still trying to defend himself that life is hard, even for a sixteen year old.

I wrote before that you shouldn’t compare your problems with other people no matter how grave or how insignificant your problem is. Each of has to go through a certain thing specifically designed for us to go through. I thought of this when my student said that life being a sixteen year old is tough. If you really think about it, life at any age can be tough.

When you were young, didn’t you also have the tendency to blow up everything out of proportion? A young person has the tendency to focus on one singular problem as oppose to when you’re an adult you get to face multiple problems all at one. Either way, in your youth or as an adult, a problem is still a problem.

We shouldn’t compare but we also have to understand the big picture. Whether you’re sixteen or twenty six or thirty eight or even older, we have to acknowledge that there are always bigger problems but also bigger solutions. I’m sure my concerns right now will look less stressful 10 years from now, who knows? Life doesn’t choose an age to be difficult, he choose randomly and at any given time. And besides, the thing about being an adult is that you realize that it’s already started when it’s too late.

After our training, one member had pizza delivered since it was his birthday. While we are all chomping down on pizza, the same student who said earlier that life was hard, excitedly said:

Life is awesome!

Well on that particular moment, at least for now, we could all agree with that.

when i was your age

 

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What Now? Pending Questions one year later

Pending Questions

It’s been a year since the birth of this blog.

Wow, one year. One year of happy days, not-so happy days, and some really awful ones. One year of everything and one year of not everything.

One of the reasons I began writing in this blog, or writing in general, was because I was searching for what I wanted to do with my life. Looking back, it was the whole “quarter life crisis” bullcrap. I quit my stressful job, got sick with a deadly fever, and lost a dear friend. It was like an intense wake up call to do something with my life and not to take things, or anyone, for granted.

I was closed-minded, selfish, and didn’t pay attention to the blessings that I was receiving. Instead, I pushed myself into isolation and despair because I didn’t know what else to do. A year ago there were a lot of bad days. Those were the days of drinking to forget, smoking to breathe, crying to find solace, and not sleeping because my heart didn’t want to rest. Those were the days of endless searching and infinite nothingness. Those were the days that when I look back, I shudder and won’t even know where to begin explaining myself. And those were the days I wrote because writing became a sublimation – a defense mechanism. It was more than an escape, it was a way to breathe.

As I said in my very first post a year ago on a beautiful and lonely September day, I write because I can. I write because this is what I want to do.

And despite those bad days, there were good days eventually – days when I could almost taste the idea of belonging to something bigger than myself. There were days of mesmerizing bliss with friends and with those who care. There were also days of finding the beauty in nothingness and quietness. Despite days of unrest, there were days of peace, beautiful and gracious peace.

What now? Now, there are more questions to ask and more questions to be answered. I continue the journey like a wandering warrior looking for a place to call home. To more good days and to more bad days. Each day is a gift and an opportunity and it will be irresponsible for either of us to waste it.

What now? Now, you and I write.

Let’s write about beauty and wonder, of empty spaces and wondrous places. Let’s write because it’s the only way we know how to live. Let’s explore the great unknown for it is only then will we know what is real and pure.

Now, I write.

I write here because it has become my sanctuary.

Some people are forced into isolation, I look for it. I need the space and the quietness. I hate myself for not writing here as much as I could. I really hope writing becomes more than just a habit and that it becomes like a drug that I need just to get by.

Instead of days forcing myself to type on a computer or use a pencil and write on my notebook, I hope they become part of my everyday life.

One day, I pray that my writing hands become an extension of my body that when I think of something my hands automatically know what to do and write.

Probably more than anything, I wish that I can write with so much passion that writing has a euphoric and transcending feel on my soul; and extends to the readers that it touches and inspires them as well.

I wish all these things and more.

Just like a year ago, just like always, today I write.

 

Don’t You Wish You Could Turn Back Time?

I’ve pondered and wondered endless nights wishing I could turn back time. I used to do that a lot. More accurately, I still do. What is it about time and our actions that make us want to do things all over again? I mean, we know we have one chance in this life. Our grandparents and parents are testament that we truly have one life to live. It is one life to make use of yourself or one life to make a fool of everything.

As youth is spent on the young and regret is bestowed on the aged, we are left with unresolved decisions and missed opportunities that most of us won’t care to admit. That’s part of life, I guess. The shame, regret, and the wishing. By God, the wishing. I wish I could have done this, or that, or whatever it is that you’re wishing for.

I recall a movie I watched a couple of weeks back entitled About Time. I’m sure some of you might have watched this. This is a recent movie and it also stars Rachel McAdams. I first thought that this was just going to be about love and the power of going back in time to correct things so that love could work. You know, typical Hollywood romantic comedy hoopla.

Sure, there were moments when the main character used his power to go back in time to change his relationship with a girl, but for the most part, the movie was essentially about life and the choices we make. It was about having the ability to go back in time, but sometimes choosing not to because some things have to happen. They have to happen in order for us to grow. It all sounds cheesy but they have to happen.

Towards the end of the movie, the main character’s father gave him the ultimate advice regarding time travel. He suggested that Tim (the lead guy) should live each day twice. Instead of changing what’s going to happen on the second day (like what most of us might do), the father said that he shouldn’t change anything and just observe the same day on a different light. That’s the secret to time traveling he says.

This profound realization got me thinking: would I do the same? Given the chance, would I live through the same day twice? What about the bad days? Can I honestly live through a shitty day again? Reliving the same day brought about appreciation and understanding for Tim. It’s not just the fact that you know what’s going to happen but it’s more to the fact that there are certain things you don’t notice when you go through the daily routines of life. We get caught up in work, family, relationships, news, people, and so on, that we often take for granted the things that can bring smiles on our faces.

However, even though this might seem the secret of all secrets as to how to live a meaningful life if you ever had the chance to have the power to go back in time, Tim pushes it even further. After living days twice, noticing all the beautiful small things in life became habitual. Eventually, he didn’t need to go back in time anymore. He didn’t need to change his past. He didn’t need to stop to look and appreciate at the little things. He lived each day to its utmost potential. It wasn’t cheesy, it wasn’t cliché, it seemed like the most perfect and natural thing to do.

I guess I have to stop wishing and just keep on living.

What would you do if you had the power to go back in time?

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How Long Will I Love You?

How long will I love you?

As long as stars are above you

And longer, if I can

 

How long will I need you?

As long as the seasons needs to

Follow their plan

 

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What’s Your Next Move?

Some people are good planners. They make careful calculations on how to proceed on a certain task and then they execute with precise precision. I’d like to say I’m one of those good planners, but I’m really not.

I used to try to do the whole “go with the flow” type of approach in life but that didn’t really get me anywhere. One of my worst fears in life is closing your eyes for a bit in the present, and then waking up all of a sudden in the middle of the night when you’re 60 years old. It’s like blinking from one moment onto the next.

This fear has led me to, or has dutifully forced me to think of the future with more caution. But how in the world do I do that? Do I dream big like I’m part of a Disney movie or something? Do I go Frank Underwood ala House of Cards and manipulate, extort, and connive my way onto the top? What should I do?

It’s cheesy to say to trust in the man above. It’s too… oh how do I put it… preachy. I mean, all of the things I’ve done or have accomplished have been orchestrated by some supernatural force that can’t be explained. It’s weird to explain, really. Nearly all of the work I’ve been getting are landing on my lap. It’s weird and it’s strange.

So what do I do? Do I wait for another something to land on my lap or do I take my matters into my own hands and plan my life ahead like a model son?

In the end I just want to do good – good in a sense I just want to do what I feel is right. As much this is about my life and my goals, there are people around me. It’s not that I overly go out of my way to help people but more of the fact that I realize there are people around me who support me and in turn I can support myself. Or even if I feel that I don’t have any support, and even the people closest to me who don’t believe in me, I must march on and do what I think is best.

Change is coming. I can feel it. I can sense it. All I want to do is to change myself first before the environment around me changes first.

 

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Are You Ready To Die?

death

Pretty straightforward question I know. But really, are you? Do you want to go out while you’re at the top? Are you willing to wither and die when you’re 90 years old?

Are you one of those people who want to leave a legacy? The ones who work and toil just to make a name for yourself? Do you even care what you do or what you don’t leave behind?

Death has always been a touchy subject that not a lot of people want to discuss. Of course. People don’t want you to die right? Questions about when I want to leave the afterlife struck me because of my grandmother.

She’s been staying at our home for a couple of days now, going in and out of the hospital for checkups, therapies, and whatnots. Am I afraid of her dying? Of course. But I’m also deeply saddened on how weak and fragile she looks. Have I accepted the possibility of her —? Dying? Yes, I had to. I think I’ve welcomed the idea of death a lot of times during my life. Not really suicide per say, but more of accepting as part of life. People get old, get sick, or get into accidents, and just BAM they’re gone. Even the slow deaths still leave people in shock.

The other thing that scares me the most is what happens after our loved ones die. People always say “they’ve gone to a better place.” But what if they don’t? What if they were really awful people and we were all just naïve to accept it? What if he lived a double life that nobody else knew?  Heaven and Hell are taboo subjects as much as death is but what if a multitude of people already went to Hell? I mean, that’s a possibility right?

Okay, let’s move out the concept of Heaven or Hell. Let’s focus on what we can see. Let’s say you die right now with no idea of where your soul is going, is that fine with you? And what about the family you’re going to leave behind? Are there some things left unsaid? Old friends and colleagues?

I honestly believe that no one is ready to die. It’s one thing to accept death but I think it’s another thing to be “ready” for it. Preparing to die is a sad way to live. You live because of life, and not because of death. No one may be ready to face death, but that doesn’t mean we have to cower in fear. Easier said done, but it’s better to live life unafraid.

 

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