As I am writing this, there are two patches at my back to relieve what seems to be a perpetual backache. Simultaneously, I am trying to juice out whatever is left in me to find the right words for my manuscript. As I write or try to muster to write, I am thinking of endings. Undeniably, I feel sad, empty and heartbroken as I finish the last words for my paper that took me 7 long years to finish. But the truth is, it required me a lifetime of experience to finally reach the last of the chapters.

I remember a lot. and perhaps there are things I remember that I should better not. Maybe it is human to, most times, remember pain and agony. Perhaps it is the depth of the experience, or the gashed memory it left after, that made us easily access it. or maybe it is simply something that our mind wired us to always remember.

I remembered to be strong.

That time when the rain was hammering down my umbrella, while its thin layer of cloth was leaking, soaking my shoulders and back, I was rushing to catch the last mass for the day. I was feeling dead, if being dead has a feeling! My mind went blank, I was carrying about 7 kilos of papers and a ton of questions, dismay and frustration. I was, in that moment, on my way to oblivion. For some reasons months passed by without proper sleep and food. Most times, I had too much of it, and for rare moments none of both. It was tasking, for even sleeping too much requires effort.

I tried to wake myself up. It took me about 1.5 years to finally convince myself that tables do turn around. Along the process I learned a few things. I enrolled myself in yoga classes, self-taught myself Mandarin and mastered poker. But little did I realize that no matter how I distract myself, some damages were edged too deep, recovering wouldn’t be possible.

Sadly, the people we are expected to cling at in moments like this are likely to fail us. They couldn’t understand, could they? It’s true, being strong is the only choice we can have sometimes. But no matter how difficult it is, how agonizing our chosen path is, we should at least cling to hope. Hope is a gift. But clinging onto it isn’t something easy when almost everything gave up on you- family and friends. Wouldn’t it be stupid to hold on to hope when everything else falls apart?- but what choice do we have?

And after a bazillion linkin park songs played on my head set, i didn’t notice that the tables do turn around. Hope is truly alive. and strength is something we have always been carrying since. being strong in the end isn’t a choice, it, too, is a gift. Thanks God, it ended beautifully.


I can’t say YES

i’m playing right now “Bakit Part 2” by Mayonnaise. on loop. it’s our break-up song.

I can’t say YES to you.
i didn’t. and it felt good. I gained strength! i felt, for the first time in a long time, convinced that I am not the one. and I am so thankful, I am not!

Open Letter

“Open Letter”
Subject/Person: to the millenial students who never fail to disappoint
By: [anonymous]

Dear Students,

Remember that time i asked you about why you took your course? Your answers were laughters and smiles, while some were question marks on their faces. That question, although I left it hanging on mid-air that time, was an essential part of your academic success.

Each time you fail to answer your recitation, or fail a quiz/exam you start losing your faith in yourself. In as much as some of your classmates could keep up with the pressures of each of the subjects, you stumble down, you repeat again a class. Your confidence drains to zero. You start to fool yourself to do better next time. To practice more computations at night… But still, you failed each and every time.

Sometimes I see students cry in front of their parents because they failed at the ONLY thing they are expected to deliver every after semester: a passing grade. Sometimes, I see parents cry too. Sometimes I listen to your “could-have-beens”: i could’ve been a fireman, a soldier, a policeman, a veterinarian, an astronaut…[So, why are you here to begin with?]But most of the time, i see you roll your eyes at me at lecture. I see your crumpled face and paper, a cocktail of emotions: disgust, dismay, fear and frustration. Did it ever occur to you that you brought all these to yourself? You chose this path, own it up! and your teachers are mere catalysts. You can complain all you want, but to where exactly would you like to be at? If that is the reality you’re complaining, would you want be in an ideal situation that will never be existent? will you ever find a coconut tree in a strawberry farm?

Reality slaps you in the face. You start proving a cliche, “College isn’t easy”. You start to panic every time i raise a question that i brand to be too basic and elementary. Then, in your mind, floats a question: “will i ever pass the board examination?”.

You didn’t expect all of these. yet, your legs are in too deep. I hope you will realize that the only way out is through. Go through those quizzes and come out a victor. Finish your exams with the least “x” marks. Get your priorities straight: happy hour with friends on a sat night or good grades? watching movies with your gf/bf or reviewing your notes? and more importantly do you review to pass your grades only, or to understand the topic as well. Don’t be the cheap student who graduates and fails in the end. Life is a trade-off. Remember that regret only comes in the end. and have you not regretted enough?

I want you to go back to the very reason why you came. Because in every failure, you should have something to root for, for you to rise again. Have that reason to hold on to, every time something pains you or drags you down. For if you have done these, despite of your grades, you have succeeded in life.

if you can’t say “I need you”

Say “Stay”. Say “Stay” softly like almost a whisper after what could’ve been a lifetime of silence. Say “be right back” when it’s time to eat dinner while his voice is still lost in static. Grab his hand as you alight from the overcrowded, filthy jeepney then let go. let go spontaneously and softly. always do things softly. Soft is “I need you” when translated via our voice. Fight your tears when you see him laugh with another random girl but don’t lose sight of him. Don’t walk away when you see him dance her. Endure. Stay the way you wanted him to stay. Let him catch you staring. Say “thank you” when he opened his umbrella for you to fight the glaring sun. “I need you” is a word for gratitude in the form of request. Say “thank you” when he buys you lunch at 2pm. Say it straight to his eye. Say “you made me whole again” after a random joy ride to tagaytay. Say “I wouldn’t be me without you” when he still listens to a story that is all too familiar for him. Say “I’m happy” everytime he is with you. Message him “I had fun” after he accompanied you in a random day window shopping. Gently fade your smile at his cheesy jokes. Let him see the stabs of your smile as each day passes by. Hug him and don’t be the first to let go. Lean your head on his steady shoulders and whisper “It feels home”.

Day 11: Coffee Update

Here’s what it would be like if we are at Starbucks at our favorite mall at probably 9pm after a day’s work:

I would probably tell you that I am enrolled in a yoga class, and every tuesdays and thursdays of my life I have an extra dose of happiness and peace because of that class. I would surely invite you to attend some classes, just because we’re friends. I would tell you that there was this day that I was feeling really low and “dark” that I suddenly went to a salon and had the shortest haircut I have ever experienced.

I would tell you that I am slowly, little by little, eating vegetables. That there was this squash soup my friend ordered, it was so good, my paradigm shifted- at least in terms of vegetables. Though, the spinach dumpling my friend offered to me afterwards was something that made me return to my original stand on vegetables- it was a heartbreaker at all aspects of food! You would be laughing at me again, the way you did when you saw me struggling at MS Office one time at the faculty room. You were laughing really hard!

I’d tell you that I went speed dating one time, in a very serious note, of course. Dating is the most intense word for me this year! I would unselfishly share all the details and whatsoever that happened there. By this time, you would be so bored listening at my unending telltale.

We would talk about politics and probably debate for an hour. We would never agree again, like what happened last year. You might, in worst scenario, walk away.

And all of a sudden, what we did last year would all come rushing in….

This coffee update would never happen, we are sure of it. We would just try to imagine it, as if nothing happened. As if we never raised our voices against each other, as if we never attempted tearing down one another’s soul and dreams. We would just write it down instead. We would just imagine it. Or like what we did last year, we would just walk away. This time, we would walk away from anything that would remind us of each other. Coffee, included.