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

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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.

We Barely Make It

Believe. That’s what you need to do.

Believe in the beauty of your mistakes. Believe in the chaos that wraps itself at the corners of your mind. Believe in the mess you created because of your many doubts. Yes, you may believe your doubters but please believe yourself more. Believe in your little hope.

Our actions have consequences and we need to bear it. We need to endure. We need to stomach the process. The only way we can be refined is when we go through the fire. The fire may ask us to skin ourselves off the character that we no longer need. The fire may ask us to grow. Sometimes, we make it out alive. Sometimes, we barely make it at all.

I know you tried.
I know you’re tired.
But, my love, you need to try harder.

When there are days when you just want to linger and stay inside your place of comfort, you must – for yourself – choose to get up. It will take you a longer time to achieve what you’re expecting to if you’re going to keep snoozing the alarm off every time you hear it ring. Everyday is a choice to become better. And everyday there are little victories over little things. And everyday there can be failures. But again: everyday is a choice to become better. Get better.

As with your doubters — be it yourself or other people — I know you still believe them. And it’s okay to listen to what Doubt has to say but you must not allow it to let you turn away from what you can do. You can shake the Doubts off. Because darling, you don’t need to succumb to the unbelief. Especially, if you are collecting disbelief against yourself.

It sucks when you failed at everything you said you would do. It sucks when you know it was you who brought the failure: you lacked the dedication, the hard work and the discipline. It sucks when you are punched in the face with the truth that you are still far from achieving your goals. It sucks. Yourself sucks. And that’s natural because you’re human. And humans fail. And humans just keep on sucking at all things in all times. But get this: humans always take the courage to stand amidst the failures. So my love, as a part of this race, you need to stand strong amidst your own failures. And, take heart. It doesn’t hurt to have a little faith in yourself.

When Life refines you and you think you barely could make it through the fire, I promise you that at the end of it, you could make it out alive. You will make it out alive. It has been proven, darling: you are alive.