Juan Miguel Severo: Sampung Bagay Naituro sa Akin ng Pag-ibig

Una, MAGBIGAY. Ang mga kamay ng mga umiibig ay hindi basta mga kamay, kundi, mga puno na nakatirik sa matabang lupa — patuloy ang pamumunga para lamang sakanya. At sa paghahandog at pagsasakripisyo lalo itong lalago pa. Ang tunay na umiibig hindi basta nalalanta.

Pangalawa, MAGTIIS. Yakapin ang ligaya maging ang kakambal netong hinagpis. Umiibig tayong kay lambot pero sa pagnanais na wag gumuho ay nagiging bato. Hayaan mo, dahil walang madali sa pag-ibig kundi ang mahulog; lahat ng kasunod, paghihirapan mo.

Kaya’t pangatlo, MAKIPAGLABAN. Ang hamakin ang lahat makapiling ka lamang. Sa laro ng pag-ibig, hindi na bago ang masaktan, pero ang nagtatagumpay ay ang naniniwalang kaya itong lagpasan.

Pang-apat, ikaw ay may karapatang MAGDAMDAM, MAGHINANAKIT, MAGHANGAD ng kahit kaunting pagtugon o kapalit.

Pero, pang-lima, ang tunay na pag-ibig ay hindi takot MAGPAKUMBABA. Handa ang mga palad neto na hawakan ang sintas sa kanyang mukha: aminin ang kanyang kahinaan at pagkakamali. At kung ang nagmamahal ay nagmamahal pa rin…

Ang pang-anim ay magagawa hindi man ito maging madali: MAGPATAWAD. Patawarin mo siya. Iluklok ang pag-ibig na higit sa pagkukulang ninyong dalawa. At kung ang lahat ng nabanggit ay hindi na magawa pa…

Gawin ang pang-pito: MAGPARAYA. Isuko ang langit na minsang nilipad mo. Hindi ka mahina, hindi ka duwag. Ang mapagpalayang pag-ibig ay kuntentong makita siya sa alapaap.

Maging handa sa pang-walo, MAGHINTAY. Maghintay ka — may bago mang dumating o bumalik man siya sayo dahil,

Pang-siyam, MAGBABALIK SIYA SAYO. Dahil ang nagmamahal ay laging magbabalik sayo.

At pagsapit ng tagpong ito, gawing araw-araw ang pang-sampu, MANINDIGAN KA. At hangga’t iniibig mo siya at iniibig ka niya, umibig parati nang higit sa anumang sakit at hagupit. Walang dahilan para bumitiw ka.

Maligayang pagdating sa iyong tahanan. Liparin ang langit ng magkasama. Alam kong kay layo ng iyong nilakbay pero ngayong nagmahal at minahal ka, sa wakas, nakauwi na.

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Transcribed this from the last episode of On the Wings of Love. Sharing this with everyone because Poetry is such a strong art of the heart. Thank you, Gege, for these beautiful words 💘

You Will Put the Star in Starting Over

The universe – or the people living in it, rather – will be kind of cruel at you sometimes. And it’s gonna be really painful no matter how you try to smile away the discomfort that you feel everytime they make you remember the mistake that you did, the details you forget, and the explanations they can’t accept. You will feel less of your worth and more of a great disappointment. It’s gonna eat up your confidence – no wait, change that – “eat” is not the right word, “swallow” would be more appropriate. You will be swallowed and chewed on until your scars are so visible for everyone to see. It will never stop until your soul is blue from all the beating. It’s gonna be one of your glorious dark days and you’ll feel as if you haven’t done anything good at all.

I promise you, this is just the beginning, you will have more dark days ahead of you. And did I tell you about the Hurt? You will be hurt and it will suckerpunch your heart until it leave you with nothing but emptiness. I promise you, the Hurt will grow deep: your silent cries will never hide them; your eyes will always reveal them. I promise you, you will be fully consumed with all these blurring emotions until you can’t take it any longer. Promise, you will be broken. And when all these things happen, then my love, congratulations and welcome to the human experience!

You are human, my friend, flesh and bones. You are not invincible. You fall down straight to your face. You bleed. You struggle to get back up. You dwell with pain. You get wounded. You break.

Circumstances can get crazy, accept it. Dark days are there for a reason (or a season) and there are consequences from our actions (or inaction). We need those days and we need those consequences to understand that humility is something that we continuously learn. We learn. We move forward. We are not our mistakes. We are more than our choices.

You will put the star in starting over and over. | Sarah Kay

You are a star and I believe in you. So do the great poets from the All-American Rejects :)

And even when you’re hope is gone, they say, move along. You’ll make it through.

And Seeing a Rainbow Could Mean Believing that a Clearer Weather will Come After

I was supposed to give a testimonial today to a group of young people down South but, a few weeks ago, I was told of the changes that had to happen. I was taken off the list – nothing personal – because they had to invite a main sharer instead. The theme of the event was about Love and Waiting and my supposed part would be sharing my path in this whole waiting process.

And so, here’s what I would probably share to those kids (read: teens) if I were able to speak to them:

Waiting is never going to be easy. You all know this. Srsly, who likes to wait? We all belong to a generation of impatient humans.

When I was about eleven years old, a freshman high school who thought that my crush has a crush on me, I asked my mom this question: Ma, pwede na ba ako magboyfriend? And to my overly excited hormones, she replied silence. She did not say anything. She just kept quiet. And my young mind did not understand then that probably my mom was praying to the God of Heavens to pacify her daughter who got uncontrollable emotions that could possibly lead to teenage pregnancy, haha.

For me, there’s nothing wrong with the boyfriend-girlfriend thing even at a young age, guaranteed you are guided by your parents, you are obedient to your parents’ guidance, you got solid foundation and you know your limits. I don’t see anything wrong but it’s gonna be a tug of discipline between your parents and your wild heart. If you are prepared to go through some difficult battles at a young strength, then, go. Remember though, the consequences could be a lot tougher if you’re going to be really stubborn in the middle of your journey. I’ve seen few people who succeed in this and I’ve seen a lot who did not. Your choice.

By God’s grace, the younger me managed to graduate high school without having a boyfriend because I don’t know if I could ever resist the temptation of the world if I got what I wanted that early.

I never had a boyfriend in high school and until now but I got crushes. Crushes are life source, promise. They get you to school early because you wanted to pass by that corridor and get your daily dose of “inspiration.” That’s it, that’s their benefit, at least you’re not late.

Having crushes are normal, however, if you will purposely not study so you will stay in the same section as to where your crush is, that is crazy. Kid, you are young and crazy and wasting your opportunity to get more knowledge in your history class. You have to pause and recalibrate your mind. You think staying in the same section can get your crush to have a crush on you? It will never happen. But even if it does happen, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re missing out Nebuchadnezzar in History and it’s actual connection to the story you just read in the Bible.

Do not hurry. High school is just high school, there could be a lot more boys who you could fall in love with in College. Unless you’re in MassCom where statistics could be very well out of proportion. Haha kidding! Your goal shouldn’t be finding love, your goal should be waiting for love to come. And while at it, being the best that you can be. Find your purpose and fulfill it. Go change the world if you think the world needs changing. Or, go change yourself instead. In the meantime, please do good in school. You owe that to God, to yourself, to your hardworking folks, and to your country (yup, your country, the main reason why you memorized Panatang Makabayan).

Time will come when you’ll turn 20-something’s and you’ll now realize that how come everyone got their fair share of another person’s hands, arms and comfort and you – well – you are still you. You don’t have anybody to share that overflowing love in your heart with yet. Yes, you got your family and friends who reciprocate the love, but no someone yet. That different feeling. You don’t have that yet.

You know how it would be totally fine if every now and then, there’s another soul who would tell you that they admire you and would just do things for you and would ask you if you could risk loving them too? Then that makes you single by choice. But what if there’s none? You are just single by default. How does that make you feel? Sometimes you just wanna give up waiting and just wallow into self-pity questioning your worth. You just wanted love anyway, was it too hard to ask for?

There’ll be days when Doubts will come rushing in like tidal waves, pushing all your Brave offshore and far away. When it comes, carry your sunbeams with you, still. You’ve collected one too many along the way. You needed that when everything’s just too clouded and seeing a rainbow could mean believing that a clearer weather will come after.

You know how they say everything’s gonna be worth it in the end? I think they’re not lying.

Love will come when you’re brave enough to wait. Waiting is quite a process. It builds your stomach the abdomen it takes to never settle. We might get a six-pack after all these. And that, kid, is worth the wait.

Dalawang Minuto

May mga pag-ibig talaga na hindi para sa iyo. Na minsan, kahit nasara mo na yung isang yugto ng buhay mo, pag nakita mo ulit at pag di nangyari yung inaasahan mo – kahit bilang magkaibigan lang – masasaktan ka. Kasi kahit naman tapos na, di naman naaalis yung pinagsamahan. Pero minsan, ikaw nalang yung nakakaalala. At siya, kaya niyang umalis nang mabilis pa sa iyong inaasahan. Pwede kang maiwan mag-isa. Magtataka ka bakit iniwan ka, bakit kahit konting oras walang binigay, bakit parang di mo bigla maintindihan ung puso mo. Gugustuhin mong lumayo nalang, makaalis din agad bago pa bumuhos lahat ng tanong kung bakit di man lamang siya nagtagal ng ilan pang minuto para kausapin ka. Pero ganun talaga. Tapos na, pero minahal mo siya. Minsan mag-isa kalang palang nagmahal. Alam mo sa puso mo tapos na talaga pero minahal mo yung taong iyon dati, di naman ganun kadali makalimot. Pero kahit nasaktan ka ulit nang di inaasahan, may mga kaibigan kang magpapangiti at magpaparamdam na di ka naman talaga nag-iisa. At para sakanila, magpapasalamat ka. At para sakanya, magpapasalamat ka pa din.

Kaya naman, para sa iyo: Salamat. Ito na ang huli. Paalam.

After reading Papertowns, here’s what I thought or felt (whichever):

All of us wanted to be found. Whether we are ready to be found or not is yet another question. And there’s a beautiful difference between finding yourself in the process and being found by others afterwards. And that’s why we needed to take a day off and go to our Osprey’s (John Green reference, using this as metaphor: the place where we can be ourselves and think through life and stuff) just to gain enough courage before we head on to a journey which will require us leaving – temporarily or for good – or staying. In the aftermath, we’ll know if we’ve picked the right or wrong decision. In the aftermath, we’ll realize that getting it right or wrong was not really the whole point. This is our lives, we had been given choices. And we can make mistakes. Terrible ones. But we had to live this life in the hopes of moving forward into a future where our mistakes and our continents of Good and Bad experiences contribute significantly to our growth and humanness.

Maybe this whole ride is meant for us to enjoy the drive, the Bluefins, the GoFast bars, the fourth food group which does not include Crackers but Apples, the friend-peeing-in-beer-cans-inside-the-minivan-before-throwing-the-bottle-on-the-side-of-the-road because that has been his role all this time: the “needing to pee” friend, the Metaphysical I Spy and (all) the John Green references you wouldn’t care about because you have not read the book and how it explained that we should be careful in choosing metaphors because it matters.

The amazing thing about being broken is the truth that you are not the only one who’s falling apart. Everyone comes to a breaking point. And the breaking point allows us to see each other as they are. Not as what we imagined them to be. And the breaking point allows us to find ourselves. And it allows us to find others. And sometimes, that’s enough. The moment of getting found was enough. And when you look back, it’s not like you’ve figured everything out. It’s just like you were allowed to breathe. It’s just like you allowed yourself to breathe. And that you are still broken but you are breathing.

We got this whole life and I bet, it’s not gonna be enough to understand everything, but at least we go out there and keep trying. Even when we’re broken, kind of stupid, overly optimistic and very human.

Like, each of us starts out as a watertight vessel. And these things happen — these people leave us, or don’t love us, or don’t get us, or we don’t get them, and we lose and fail and hurt one another. And the vessel starts to crack open in places. Once the vessel cracks open, the end becomes inevitable. But there is all this time between when the cracks start to open up and we finally fall apart. And it’s only in that time that we can see one another, because we see out of ourselves through our cracks and into others through theirs. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.

-John Green, Papertowns

Begin Again

The hardest thing is to scribble your way to the starting line.

Beginnings have always been the most difficult for me. When trying to write something, I go around my head to find the right words that could fit to what my feelings has to say. And it takes me a while to unearth the syllables. When making art, I face a gazillion of thoughts on how ugly my outputs will be like because I’m not “that good” at making art yet. And it takes me pockets full of courage to just keep doing art anyway. When going to the gym, I fight the urge of staying longer in bed to get some more sleep but well, there are still times that I do give in to zzzz. And it takes me two consistent coaches to get me inspired (#awww #niñawins) to pick up from where I left off the other day and continue the grind.

Beginnings are the struggle. And dear friends, the struggle is real.

How many times have we encountered endings in this lifetime? How many times have we been promised of beginnings after endings? It’s constant. Life’s a cycle.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

-Closing Time, Semisonic

Whether we end well or not, we are given a chance to begin again. And It’s gonna require all of our strength to apologize to this fallen world because we are refusing to sink. And as much as we are hesitant of new beginnings sometimes, we are going to grab it every chance we get. No matter how damn hard the beginning process will look like. No matter how damn hard the toil and endurance it will take us. We are going to begin again. And again. And again. Like a Phoenix.

But before one continues on to the next round of life, one must fully embrace their scars from their past battle: acceptance of things we did and cannot change, forgiveness from the hurt other people caused us and the ones we caused ourselves, and heart to keep on loving all the beauty that is us. The heart to keep on believing us.

We are not always sure if we are doing Life the right way it should be. We won’t figure it out in an instant, either. We will face a lot of confusing and trying times as we go along. Maybe the whole point of Beginning is the learning that it offers. Because imagine if we were able to walk right away after we came out of our mothers’ wombs, then we would not experience the disappointment of falling on our scraped knees like kids do. See, Falling is an absolute reality. Maybe Beginnings are meant for us to learn from falling and failures and growing stronger amidst both. Maybe Beginnings are meant for us to ride the experience of feeling unsure, of committing mistakes, of repeating mistakes, of ending the mistakes.

When I made up my mind to dedicate a part of who I am into writing and making art, I exposed myself to rare beginnings and thousand failures. And my failing continues every single time I begin because I thought there’s always something to improve on. But whenever I look back to my younger self, I recognize her as someone who took the risk and I loved her for doing so. Because even that young one failed many times, her heart is full of fresh beginnings that one day – and I’m very sure of this – will end in the most amazing way possible.

Begin. Even when the now is bleak.
Begin. Even when the future is uncertain.
Begin. Even when every molecule of your human soul begs you to stop.
Just begin. Take risks. Show up.

As with everything in life, we decide to begin and we decide when to begin. We begin when we’re ready. I hope we’ll always be.