Just a roundabout

The times have changed. The last time I checked, people were more afraid about not being inoculated with Covid vaccines than getting the virus itself in their desperate attempt to get their lives back to pre-pandemic normalcy.

I understand the frustration that has been fueled by uncertainties and fear. After being locked for more than one year and our freedoms curtailed, it’s normal for people to feel this way, to feel the need to chase the times while they can before new threats to our freedom come haunting us again, in any way, in any form.

Covid was a test of how much of our mental, emotional and psychological strength we can deploy before our physiological system would go on a breakdown.

Even for introverted types like me, the pandemic was beyond what my secluded and private self was primed to handle. The earlier part of the pandemic was difficult due to some tough decisions that needed to be made; the middle was my breath of fresh air and the latter is the worse. The thoughts of not knowing if your favourite person in the world is genuinely okay at this moment is difficult to forego. It’s crippling to some point.

While in many parts of the world countries are starting to ease out restrictions as cases have significantly fell, here, we have started to open up the economy to tourists even while cases are still at more than 5k daily.

Cebu luckily is not as massively affected as many cities in Luzon but, who would know if you have /have had Covid when mass testing hasn’t really been done here. The local government declined to do mass testing for fear that the possible rise in cases would only put too much stress on the people and hurt the economy even worse than it already had. So unless you have symptoms or had a close contact with someone infected, you can get away with being tested and spread your virus on someone vulnerable, without you knowing.

I am not against opening up the economy. People needed to find ways to survive and most of us had to be outside and expose ourselves to be able to do that, but let’s all do it with caution. Look at India now. Despite it being a major vaccine producer in the world, when it failed to mass vaccinate its people and the new variants developed, deaths at around 4k daily seemed like a normal sight to see on the news. And this is sadly happening after more than a year into battling this pandemic.

Recently, I’ve agreed to get myself vaccinated for as early as my prioritization code would allow me. And with the vaccines that are available at present, there’s a big chance that I would get Sinovac and a very small chance of AstraZeneca. I’ve made a decision before to wait until enough data is made available to assess the effects of vaccination, but like the times, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve taken risks in my life before and I’m ready to face what awaits me at the end of the needle this time.

But that doesn’t mean, I’ll embrace getting back to my old routine before. I’ve made up my mind already and I won’t be doing any of that hard routine again. I’ve lost so much time and energy during those moments in my life that even with my free weekend, I still feel depleted. It did give me a sense of security and sadly, I would admit, a vague entitlement to some degree which did not add value to me as a person. But the bigger question is, did it give me the sense of fulfilment in life once I have retired home from the office? As far as I could remember, I still went to bed unable to calm my mind even if I turned the lights off. I’d still stare blankly for hours into the nothingness, not knowing how to feel or what to think, other than fatigue and exhaustion… and sometimes, a strange sense of adrenaline rush. Right now, I know I needed to do something different. I won’t do anything that will take more than 1/3 of my time and prevent me from doing the things that I want to do or be with the people I want to be with.

Time is so precious. It cannot be recovered once it has passed. So that is where I will try to find improvement in my life– to assess where to deploy my limited time from here onwards.

Time also is very uncertain. No one knows where this moment that we have now will take us– what learnings and lessons we can draw upon our experiences, within this fabric of joys and pains that had imbued us wholly.

The pandemic was an ultimate test of endurance for me personally. It drained me on the career side due to adjustments that I needed to set up so my team can still work as a whole. But on the upside, it also pushed me to learn and start doing things that were only just part of my gazillion plans before. Right now, I am happy learning what Pangga and I was supposed to do together. It’s a little challenging especially that I’m learning everything on my own, but with dedication and practice, I am positive I can pull this first year through and achieve my goal. I’ll reassess and readjust my strategies as often as I needed to, to find which would best suit me–given my risk appetite, my time frame and my performance in quantifiable terms.

And regardless of how hard the times may get, I will wake up everyday for my whys. Sometimes, waking up is a little harder on most days and that is okay. My feelings are valid like everyone’s. We have reasons why we feel the way we do and not everyone would understand that. And that is still okay. They don’t know our story and the emotions that linger in our hearts or the difficult thoughts that run in our minds– when things didn’t go as planned, when we’ve made a bad trade, when we’ve lost our chances for what could have been a life-changing move, when the computer crashes before we were able to save our reports… and the list goes on.

My reasons are valid, no matter how shallow they appear to other people. And so are yours. So is everyone else’s.

While it’s true that there are probably billions of people out there who had it worse than we do, that truth couldn’t take away the fact that what we feel at the moment, is ours for the taking. It’s ours to fight and subdue. It matters less how many times you and I had to feel this way because what matters is, we do something to withstand it everytime it tries to strike us.

And it doesn’t matter if people judge you for the things that they can only perceive as truth. Let them judge you on their level of understanding and empathy. For now, they don’t deserve to know your truth.

Take yours with you, alone or otherwise, and pray for strength. And also pray for love to drown your heart.

Kiss The Rain For Me

This is not a post about anything. I just want to share my love for these two piano pieces that I’ve been listening to since years ago. These are The River Flows In You and Kiss The Rain by Yiruma.


I used to listen to this looped version below with the rain background. As the pluviophile that I am, the rainy background makes the piece more cathartic to listen to.


But then, the original piece by Yiruma still hits a different tune and pulls a different kind of string, that’s why as you can see, I added it as a side widget on my blog. Sometimes, I just kept my laptop open the whole night and played this video from the widget. The other pieces from his album were equally beautiful as well. But these two had always been my favourite.

The River Flows In You

If there is a road made just for you
That road is right there in your heart
If you can, endure it through
Then put all of your soul into trusting it

Holding you, holding you, it´s in you, river flows in you
Slowly more slowly
There is a river flowing inside me

Holding you, holding you, it´s in you, river flows in you
Waiting, the waiting
Will I be there then?

I want to throw my heart to you
So that I can always feel you
If you can, hold onto it just a bit longer
Then try to put all your heart into it

Holding you, holding you, it´s in you, river flows in you
Slowly more slowly
There is a river flowing inside me

Holding you, holding you, it´s in you, river flows in you
Waiting the waiting
Will I be there then?

Holding you, holding you, it´s in you, river flows in you
Slowly more slowly
There is a river flowing inside me

Holding you, holding you, it´s in you, river flows in you
Waiting the waiting
Will I be there then?

Kiss The Rain

RS 1
I often close my eyes
And I can see you smile
You reach out for my hand
And I’m woken from my dream
Although your heart is mine
It’s hollow inside I never had your love
And I never will

CHORUS
And every night I lie awake
Thinking maybe you love me
Like I’ve always loved you
But how can you love me
Like I loved you when
You can’t even look me straight in my eyes

VRS 2/3
I’ve never felt this way
To be so in love
To have someone there
Yet feel so alone
Aren’t you supposed to be
The one to wipe my tears
The one to say that you would never leave

The waters calm and still
My reflection is there I see you holding me
But then you disappear
All that is left of you
Is a memory
On that only, exists in my dreams

CHORUS VRS 4
I don’t know what hurts you
But I can feel it too
And it just hurts so much
To know that I can’t do a thing
And deep down in my heart
Somehow I just know
That no matter what I’ll always love you

VRS 1
So why am I still here in the rain

And here are another longer versions of The River Flows In You that I also love.


I hope you’ll all have a restful and peaceful sleep tonight and a beautiful sunrise waking you up tomorrow.

For me, I hope it rains again tonight in this part of the world. Don’t hate me, I just need it. 🙂


PS. The translations were taken from the looped Youtube video above.

Grit and Gumamelas

A gumamela plant, when cut, continues to live and its baby bud will still grow to become beautiful flowers. You just need to put it in a jar with water or in the soil, and even without direct sunlight, it will thrive. You will believe me, when you see one.

Our gumamelas never run out of flowers. It births flowers in any season. It’s the first thing I see when I glance outside the window. They are deep pink and yellow. The hummingbirds love to visit them, and I would hum Flor e o Beija Flor silently, as I watched them hop from flower to flower.

I’ve been tilling the front yard weeks after I came home. I used to have a succulent garden in our front yard when I was about thirteen. My cousin and I used to share our plants. They were like our babies and we we’re the happiest young mamas everytime we see a bud on even one of them.

When I went to college, the garden was abandoned. The plants died until not one succulent was left. I tried to regain my passion for gardening when I started working. This time, I was growing roses—white, orange, pink and yellow roses. If I have spare time after work, I would go to plant exhibits at the malls to see what plant I can reward myself and bring home.

Nanay has had orchids back then. They were so beautiful. It’s hard to find orchids nowadays.

Then the parents became the caretakers, after my time was consumed with work and travel. Some years later, most of them are gone now. What’s left from that time is a bonsai rubber plant that I bought at an exhibit in SM City.

Like most plant mamas, I also sing and talk to my plants. But let me be clear here, I do all of these gardening works when I am certainly and absolutely sure that there are no caterpillars around— big or small as a needle, it doesn’t matter. They bring the same terror and horror to me. If I see even one small crawler, I would ask (but more like hysterically shouting) my Nanay to remove it and buried it somewhere. I also cannot kill them with my own hands despite how I despise caterpillars. I don’t like them because of a trauma that I haven’t been able to conquer but I don’t have the heart to kill them. They might have a mama and papa, a sister and brother, or a son and daughter. Lol. I just can’t put that greenish blood in my own hands.

Two weeks ago, I’ve seen a snake resting in the newly-finished plant box that I asked my Tatay to make— just below my room’s window, which I’ve always left open. I only had to call my Tatay when something like this happens because everyone here are scared of snakes. Tatay and I are scared of gigantic and venomous snakes but not so much with the small ones. The one I saw was around 4 ft long. So we bid the snake adieu and it slithered towards the back, much to the merriment of my Nanay, the baby monsters and sister-in-law. Lol. Actually, they were almost crying.

Tatay and I also share the same thing— we are scared of caterpillars. They look so vile and deadly and scary and disgusting and all the reasons why just thinking about them makes my hair stand now.

One time I found a black bee with a worm/s, as it was trying to build its house in a luggage. I had to wait for Pangga to get the worms, because, yes, my fear doesn’t make sense at all.

If that guy who placed the caterpillar inside my shirt when I was in grade school, which was crushed to death by my classmates as I was shaking and crying with fear would know how that incident made me feel now, perhaps, he would feel sorry. My classmates came to the rescue, but the act of killing the animal while it was crawling on my back and then feeling its blood on my skin thereafter, is the reason why I can’t kill caterpillars.

We’ve seen a 12 ft. python in our back yard a year ago (and sorry, we killed it because it was trying to eat our bok-bok-bok). They say there are bigger pythons around the place but as long as they’re not hungry, these snakes would run when you shoo them away. Do the same to a worm and they’ll keep crawling towards you, mindlessly.

So now, it’s obvious why I run from caterpillars.

Our passion and love for something might come and go— as with my passion for gardening, writing and drawing comes and goes like the season. Our fears might one day be conquered; our traumas healed. Or maybe, even not, and we’ll grow old living side by side with the fear. When we are at a point when it feels that we are held by the neck, unable to breathe and we can’t get out alive of a difficult situation, may we remember the story of the gumamela. Remember how it can thrive even without its roots. And how it can easily continue to live and bear beautiful flowers, even without regular sunlight, even after its life is supposed to be cut short.

We may not make it as easy as the gumamela, but we surely can thrive. We are capable. We sit higher than the worms in the animal kingdom, so we can find a way to keep going. We can use the heart and mind as our compass.

And also, I believe there is a magical force in the universe that gives way for miracles to happen.

Miracle… One of our major stockholder used to call me Miracle because he can’t figure out my name correctly. He is Norwegian so my name sounds foreign to him and thus he jumbled out the letters. Sometimes, it’s Maricle. I did not mind. When Marc, the Spanish CEO wrote to me an email following his visit at the factory discussing about the meaning of my name in Catalan, that was when I started to understand my longing. The sea and sky is encompassing, it’s never ending, it’s always there, no matter where we are. Most of the times, it’s an overwhelming beauty to look at but sometimes, it sends a different kind of terror. But still, it always comes home to what beauty she beheld.

•••

PS. December birthed a series of challenges that I was fighting to sort up to the last minute today. I skipped today’s Christmas gathering and as I recall, I also skipped last year’s. Joyce was begging me to just come, even if it’s late. I can’t. I’m sorry, bestie.

I’ve only seen my colleagues four times since the lockdown in March.

Today, I’m over the top disappointed I even cried out of frustration. I don’t easily give up but today, I’m just going to rest my mind. I’ve not had good sleep since December when the new client came in and I knew beforehand, I would need to do some magic to ensure that no family next year would be without food on the table. I might not be able to ensure that after what happened today. I felt really bad. Brexit and the pandemic had caused tremendous damages this year that is why I felt obliged to ensure we keep this organization alive, for the many families that depends on it.

I decided to write to find solace amidst the confusion and frustration, but I ended up writing about grit and gumamelas. And worms, too.

I feel better now. The cathartic power of writing is just undeniable.

Phases and Tides

The ebb and flow of life as we know it, is like the tide— it goes through endless crests and troughs. It’s a never ending cycle of highs and lows, which to me, essentially makes life worth living for.

Humans are complex creatures but at the very core, we all aspire one thing— to be happy. We have different meanings and faces of happiness and different means to attain it. What we equate happiness to and the means by which we go after it, usually are the reason why we feel overwhelmed, most of the times, weighing ourselves and our spirits down.

I’ve asked myself many times why I am so patient and forgiving of other people, besides myself. Why I respect other’s learning curve but hard on pushing myself to the limit. I can take some time off my schedule to educate someone, but giving a day away to myself to be unproductive and to just rest feels like an unforgivable crime. What purpose am I doing this for? What’s my why? Will this undertaking really make me happy? What is the face of happiness for me?

I usually go to bed unable to drift to sleep right away. Sometimes, I’d stay awake staring at the ceiling in the pitch darkness, trying to deduce what really is that thing that fires up my soul. And how can I give it a name? How can I give it meaning? Is it love? Is it purpose? But as soon as the spirit of slumber snatches me away, I unconsciously let go and so the answer to these questions was never found. Another morning is born that ends to another night, and again, another silent moment to contemplate about the what and why, continues.

The mind ceases to rest. The heart works to keep the body alive, filling it with the life it needs to continue serving its purpose.

The highs and lows of life is an inevitable phase. The highs are what we aim for; the lows, we mostly, often dread. Sometimes the latter comes with confusion, frustration, pain, with doubts and fear and most of the times, with loneliness, that sometimes we ourselves cannot fathom. On the onset of your highs, do any of you fear entropy?

The level of overthinking is palpable. The late night thoughts linger without direction or timing. While I sit with my headphones on, opposite the computer every night, the mind would slowly come to a halt. A man mumbles on the screen but I can hear nothing. Nada. Niente. I’d keep staring at the stranger, not trying, but letting the mind drift elsewhere. The man stops mumbling, the screen is down, and I am supposed to be one course ahead from yesterday. But I ended up not retaining even half of the course I just finished… I learn nothing. So I had to redo what I lost the next day.

… It’s a perennial redoing of things that I’ve missed and failed. If life is infinite, I wouldn’t have to worry about wasting my time away. But time can be cruel sometimes. We’ve witnessed it many times. It comes and goes so abrupt to some people. And that makes it scary.

How one can regain momentum when one is out of focus? How can you stay motivated when you’re at your low? I think the answer lies in our “whys”. Knowing our why for living is fundamental to our survival in a world that is not always fun and happy.

Life is not always fun and happy… or beautiful. But its excrescence is an adventure that is worth experiencing, taking and trying. The highs and lows compliment each other in some way. It creates balance so we can realize and understand the things that really matter in the end.

No matter what you go through today, can we all make a promise? Let’s all continue and strive to thrive, shall we?

Promise me?

The Philippine Political Circus

I am going to rant today.

If you hate politics, please do yourself some favor and hit the close button. If you’re a person who idolizes politicians based on your made-up idea of who he is, not seeing the person for what he had done, is doing, and has intended to do as a public servant, you have all the more reason why you should leave.

Okay, I’m not gonna go into details, so you are fine staying. The world, the US to be exact, has just gotten rid of the same breed that we have in this country, so I’ll spare you some headache. But still, I am ranting.

Over the course of my time writing, I’ve only penned a few articles about politics. I abhor the kind of politics in this country. So if I am to keep my sanity, I needed to stay away from writing about it.

But today would be different.

If the late Miriam Defensor- Santiago was alive today, what would she probably say and do at this exact moment? Miriam was my President when she ran for the presidency in 2016. She was the President that we never had.

I was one of the few people in my circle who voted for a different candidate during the Presidential election. Everyone in the family, except me, would have had voted the same candidate had I not succeeded in swaying my brother and parents. Yes, I influenced them. It was the least that I can do for my young nephews and nieces whose future, like mine and everyone else, will be put at a dangerous stake.

Duterte won. Leni got the vice presidency. The two are from different camps and although I did not vote for either of them, I told myself to give both the chance to show us how they will lead the nation. I needed to see which promises will be kept once the two are in the office.

Miriam succumbed to cancer shortly. The offspring of the renowned thieves– the Marcoses, claimed a rigged election in favor of Leni. Four years later, Bongbong still makes himself the laughing stock of this country. No jetski ever reached the hotly-contested West Philippine Sea which ownership we won at the Hague Tribunal in 2016. Instead, we became a loyal lapdog to the chinks.

I was neither blue, nor yellow, or red, or green , or whatever color people associate themselves with. For me, politics should only be black and white~ either you are good, or you are pretending to be good.

Days and months rolled in and the obvious became too disgusting to bear. I decided to not watch news anymore. I had to escape from it all because I felt like the black sheep of the society for not worshipping and bowing down to “what” “almost” everyone had worshipped.

I can’t get the gist. My mind cannot comprehend the magnanimity of the foolishness. It felt stupid to be constantly emotionally triggered by what I see, read and hear everyday, especially because, people have chosen to be foolish. I was willing to leave Earth for another planet. That’s how desperate I was at escaping from the filth that the 16 million people had purposely caused.

Duterte, his allies and cohorts, became a deity to millions of blind Filipinos.

People are so hyped up to listen to him/them every single time, while I cringe on the side. From work, to the streets, at home, even in social media, majority, and I say this, I could count by my fingers the number of people I know whom the flowery words were never believed, while majority would defend the deity with their lives, in whatever means they can, in whatsoever situation. If I have to unfollow everyone who turned a blind eye to what is really happening at present, I would be left with less than 10 friends in my social media accounts. That would have been less chaos. But I’m still hoping for change that’s why I’m keeping around 175 of them.

I’m disheartened before and now, this feeling just became worse. The incompetence is so apparent and abominable that I am drawn to monitor updates upon updates, minute by minute, of what desperate claims and moves the clowns of the highest office have in store for us again.

Philippine politics is a circus. You get to feel every kind of emotion as an audience, but when it’s the circus master that has acted like the lowliest of animals, you can’t help but feel like a failure as a citizen. How did we allow this to happen?

The Anti-Terror Law is already in effect. In its context, you can be tagged a terrorist when you are anti- government. You can be jailed. The fear of your life being put to risk is a reality, just because you take side against those in power. Famous actresses who were vocal about the sheer incompetence of this administration have already been red-tagged. Beauty queens have stepped up on demanding accountability, so are student organizations from different universities. Some have taken their voices to the streets. This, while the toll farms work day in and day out to alter the social media atmosphere, to feed the majority with the kind of governance the administration wants to portray.

Mother is anxious because she knows I have a medium and I am stubborn sometimes. She already asked me not to write anything about this but here I am, ranting. I hope this will not come close to the Marcos era of governance. We lost so many lives in that battle. I hope we won’t see it happening again in this lifetime.

The Martial Law… Please never again. Never forget.

We have already allowed this government to alter the course of our history when the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos was laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, and was accorded a hero’s burial. He died in 1989 and it was only Duterte who gave an order to allow the dictator to be buried at the Heroe’s Cemetery. On the record, Marcos is not a hero– never been and never will be. He was a murderer. A human rights violator. A corrupt politician. If you ever believed otherwise, shame on you.

And as it is apparent, this misogynist government fears women. They tremble at the sight of women who can stand their ground against abuses and it will do everything it can to suppress their voices. Maria Ressa, CJ Sereno, Sen. de Lima, Sister Patricia Fox, VP Leni, to name a few… Shall we name more?

Seeing the face of incompetence and deceit makes my blood boil. Seeing that people are willing to go so low to defend a deity makes my heart bleed.

My heart is heavy. We don’t deserve this stupidity. We need more neophyte visionaries like Mayor Vico Sotto these days. Someone who will not quiver to the pressure of the Malacañang. Someone who only has the Filipino’s future as his compass for where he/she wants to lead. We need more Leni that never stops trying. I don’t know who else deserves a space here.

I miss Miriam. I miss Gina Lopez. Too bad they were taken away too soon.

Does Elon need any volunteer to Mars or the ISS? Because I wanna take that flight now.

Ignorance can be treated. But stupid is forever. Let’s hope this is a case of ignorance.

~Miriam Defensor Santiago

PS. I feel the need to update this blog after Nas made an interview with Sen. Manny Pacquiao. I hope you will enjoy reading the string of comments on this post as much as I did. It’s disappointing to be honest.

Weathering Storms Together

Today is a critical time for Filipinos, not only because it’s All Saints’ Day and we are still restricted to move around like before because of Covid, but because another super typhoon has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) and is now ravaging parts of Luzon, mainly Catanduanes with a cat 5 intensity. Super typhoon Rolly (Goni) is the world’s strongest typhoon of 2020.

This shouldn’t terrify us because we are used to extreme weather disturbances, right? I hope so but, no. I think we all learned a lesson after Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013, which killed thousands of people in several parts of the country, including my own, Cebu. It’s still better to prepare than suffer the consequence of poor disaster planning which consequently results in the loss of lives and massive damages to properties.

I have friends in this part of the country where Rolly has battered. I hope they and their loved ones get spared from Rolly’s wrath. Typhoons are itself scary; super typhoons are horrifying. Something about Haiyan and what I remember of her makes my hair stand as I wrote this. I can still hear her roaring voice, screaming like a mad woman in the distance.

Here, where I am, the weather is gloomy with occasional rainshowers. Wind is moderate, last night, it was stronger. Some people preferred to stay at home, like my cousins and aunts, who canceled tonight’s birthday dinner for sis-in-law. While some others decided to go on their daily chores and activities, as with most of my families.

This year, cemeteries are closed due to the pandemic. And I’ve not yet visited my late aunt and grandpa who passed away recently. I didn’t even had the chance to see them on their funeral. Times have changed dramatically. The new normal still doesn’t feel normal at all. And I can’t help my mind as it wanders to a time before Covid.

Another thing that will change this year is Mother’s way of celebrating All Soul’s Day which falls on her birthday. Unlike before, she will have to stay at home this year and stay with us… and celebrate her 68th birthday. She normally would go home to San Remigio in the far north to visit her siblings and relatives and also pay her respects to her parents who were both buried in a remote cemetery in Busugon– Lolo Santos and Lola Talia. It’s the Catholic way of commemorating the day of the dead. And I admire everyone who never forgets their departed loved ones, like my Nanay.

Bless her on her special day. I did not grow up to become like her in any way but she knows I’ll always be grateful I have a Nanay who loves us unconditionally.

This is a short video I made to remember the people we loved and lost.

In a Catholic’s life, this time of the year is not just about trick or treat. In fact, we don’t practice these activities here before. But again, times have changed and the society had learnt to adapt. When I was little, what I remember about “Adlaw sa Minatay” or “Day of the Dead”, is a time to remember the loved ones we’ve lost– visit them where they’re laid to rest, offer some flowers and prayers, sometimes, even food. As a child, my favourite part of the occasion was the food.

Not because of the weather but I’ve decided to stay at home tonight and rest because the massive headache that started last night has not subsided yet. I can make use of the time that I am alone to rest or write this short narrative while everyone is away. Or maybe re-watch my two favourite animated movies about the value of family and love, which, as I remember, made me cry like a baby. Yes, I am overly soft and mushy-weepy like that.

And if you haven’t watched it yet, please do so.

It’s gonna touch something in you. Coco and Up taught me that only one thing really holds value to weather the storms in our lives. Anything else is just an accessory to our survival.

I Forgive Myself

For being wrong.

For trying to be “the” perfect someone to a lot of people.

For allowing others to affect, control, mistreat me.

For the wrong choices. For fighting when there was no reason to do so.

For disrespecting myself, and allowing others to disrespect me.

For settling down to a bare minimum of efforts. For loving people too much that I forgot myself.

For the mediocre things I allowed myself to swallow. For not fighting for my dreams.

For comparing myself to people whom I will never ever be. For thinking so low on myself because of what I read. God, my hairs still stand and I cringe at the thought.

(Sigh)… (Breathe)…

For not allowing my heart to grieve at that time when all it really wanted was a sufficient time to grieve. For not seeing, feeling, and acknowledging pain as it is.

For trying to be strong for people when in truth, I was shattered inside. For lying to myself.

For trying to fit in into people’s definition of happiness. For not standing up for my worth as a woman, as a human being.

For not giving it the love that it deserves. And for a heart like mine, I contest that I deserve more.

Like seasons, people change. And so do our emotions and our views on life.

For the past weeks, I shut down from the world. And I used this space to bleed. People who reached out to me, the majority of them, were ignored because this is my way of coping. And I hope my people have understood.

I normally don’t ask anyone’s shoulder or their ears at my lowest lows. I thrive and I normally was able to get back up on my own.

When others need a strong support from their circle, I try to make it out on my own instead. This has always been the case for me. Even the family are oblivious to what was really going on. Some friends say I am built this strong, while others see it as a play of the ego.

No.

I don’t open up because I can’t allow my pain, my hurts, my negative emotions to be passed on to anyone whom I will share my story. We are humans, afterall. What others feel, we can feel it too— especially if the person is dear to us. That’s why I always refrain from sharing because it hurts me when I see my people hurt. I would share some stuff to my closest friends before– Julieta, Shielo and Joyce. But they end up feeling so hurt for me. Jul would cry for one whole night and I end up the one consoling her/them. I felt selfish. They don’t deserve to bear my pain.

My pains are my responsibility because they came out of every bad choice and decision I’ve made. It would be too selfish to let other people suffer with me and for me for my own wrongdoings.

It took me a while before I woke up from the nightmare. Yes, what I went through this year was a nightmare of some sorts. And only when I’ve fully acknowledged the gravity of the emotion that I bore with me daily did I feel a sense of strange lightness that goes on until today.

When I gave my emotions a name, I also was able to find a way to act on it. You have to name your demons so you know how to kill it.

I admit that I was very, very, sad. I was so pained. I was judged, maybe being laughed at by a lot of people. I was shamed. I felt neglected. I was abandoned. I fell short of people’s expectations. I felt unworthy. So embarrassed. I had so much fear for what I am going to face after. I was so confused and bothered. I lost my old self in the process.

Yes, I was so lost.

But I made a way to act on this hell of emotions. If I can’t control how to deal with them regardless of what external stimuli is thrown at my direction, anything that I will face onwards will surely get me back on the same dark pit. Every single time that I feel the gravity of my pain, I tell myself to manage it. I need to do it because no one’s going to help me but me. Not easy, but I’m trying so hard to never lose sight of the progress I’ve made. These are minute changes in the way I cope but I thank myself everyday for persevering.

People’s opinion of me will never define who I am. I am not what my past was. I know my worth and what I can bring to the table. I trust my progress even if they are turtle steps to many people. I have a loving heart that can see beyond pains that people inflected on me. I won’t hate. I will not drink the poison that is hatred just because I’ve gone through a difficult time… or that people have chosen to hurt me. But the lessons are ought to be my compass. And I’ll take this same heart with me and will take care of it. I felt ashamed that I have allowed it to be so so broken this year.

I’m sorry, my dear little heart. I promise I won’t settle for anything less than what I deserve— in any areas of my life so I can protect you. I will protect you from those who will try to break you again.

But I’ll do so as I continue to be soft because I don’t believe in being invincible as being strong. Not being true to your emotions is a weakness. Denying yourself to be vulnerable is a weakness. It takes more courage to accept our vulnerability than it is to feign bravery. That’s how I see courage in people and I know many others may raise their brows.

I’ve forgiven myself for all the ways and means that I have not honoured myself. And I decided, from here on, I’m going to choose myself first over anyone and anything.

I’ve forgiven myself for the things that I cannot take back— time, trust given, efforts made, words said and unsaid, tears shed, compromised health, my happy old self… my abled left hand before I got hospitalized.

So here I am, about to end this narrative. Wearing my heart on my sleeve, bleeding in this space that have become my sanctuary for nine years now. Still, I’ve continued to shut down from the majority of my circle and maybe, I won’t be back in a long time. Maybe I won’t be back anymore like before but in a different form. Let’s see. I’ve thought about my digital footprint several times before, and maybe, it’s about time I hit total reset.

Let’s see where life takes me. And thank you, all of you. Your prayers did help. I hope you all are living happy lives. Please stay safe. Amping.

I’ll see you all again.

Of Rains, Thunders and Lightning

When I was around eight years old, I remember being stuck on the road because the floodwaters were high and the current was stronger than what a young child can hold. The heavy rain, the deafening thunder and lightning terrified me while I battled to get out of the water asap.

We were asked to leave the school immediately that morning and go home because a storm was about to make landfall. My clothes and bag were drenched and I was so cold. I stayed in that place in fright while the lightning and thunder roared past above me. I became a human conductor of electricity at that moment… and as a child, that made me tenfold terrified. A few meters from where I stood, an open pit that connects to the main drainage of a Power plant which flows directly to the sea was raging. Lightning. Lightning. Floodwater. I Sobbed. “You will be washed away”, I told myself. I held my useless umbrella in the air and wanted to throw it away— because I realized that its handle was made of metal. None of it could help me. The tears I shed at that moment were concealed by the rain that completely soaked me. I was so scared that day that until my adult years, I fear being outside when the weather is bad.

I fear about lightning and thunder. I’ve grown a dislike for the rain.

I was a mountain girl before I became a city dweller. My father, the family, we used to grow crops in the mountains long time ago. We needed the rain to sustain our crops and enough sun to make it grow and good for harvest. I’ve scaled the mountains near our place even during heavy downpours because I didn’t have a choice. Facing your fear is inevitable— it was, in my case, during those times.

When you don’t have a choice, you’ll eventually become resilient.

And then one day, I learnt to love the rain as much as the sun. A writer helped me open my eyes about rains and thunderstorms and the beauty that they hold– that they can be beautiful too, even if sometimes, they are destructive. I guess there’s always a part of us that loves to hear the pitter patter of raindrops on the roof when it rains. Or wanted to taste the rain on our tongues. Or just to feel the droplets of water on our palms.

I hold my palms open in the air when it rains for no reason. Maybe it’s to acknowledge that I’ve befriended this season after the years that it has terrified my younger self. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just weird.

However, continuous and consistent rainfall gives me SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a struggle for people who are used to the tropical weather. It’s one reason why I would choose to live in a place that is predominantly sunny… or at least someplace where I can see the sun when it rises and sets everyday. Winter is only good for Christmas. I think?

As I wrote this, the heavens are already screaming. The rains have poured and I am in my window counting the seconds to see how far away the lightning was when the thunder struck. Pangga told me that for every 5 seconds delay, lightning is 1 mile away.

I need the title of the song in the background.

I pray for rains to come at night when I’m about to sleep and for it to stop when I wake up. That’s when it should come and go— in the night. I wish to sleep with my window open so I can let the cool breeze comes in. We tried before and then the mosquitoes flocked and we ended up killing more than a couple dozen at past midnight… Mosquitoes. I would never want them biting Pangga anywhere.

I used to imagine dancing in the rain while singing, but all I really did was– imagine. I’ve made friends with thunders and lightnings now. They are full of power and rage and they still send shivers down my spine. But they remind me that, like all of us, nature needs to scream sometimes in order to be heard and felt.. Or maybe, even cry, so it can bleed.