We should just love them. Hard.

Acknowledgement.
Recognition.
Confirmation.

I believe feelings are meant to be acknowledged; feelings are meant to be recognized; feelings are meant to be confirmed. Especially if these feelings are special feelings for someone special. Haha whut? This I repeat my phrases, I forget my tenses, I refuse my inability to make any sense of my words is what happens when I’m writing about the most magical force in the entire universe known as Love and I got specific people in mind to whom I get this consuming fireball of inspiration to blabber about something I don’t entirely know anything about. Love, sometimes, is strange. Love, sometimes, is a stranger. Love is a stranger I’m waiting to meet.

Six years ago, I kept within myself an emotion I deeply wanted to share with someone else but I’m not sure if he’s gonna be more than willing to handle it. In my mind, it was easy to make enough excuses and plenty of reasons as to why I should lock in all those emotions into a box called never mind. I was scared and terrified to bear with the possible truth of a one way love affair. Until now, it haunts me. On some days, I simply wanted to call him over the phone and tell him to come see me at a coffee shop near our place just so I can ask him the questions: Did you ever consider me? Did you ever love me?

Pathetic. HAHA BUT DON’T JUDGE! Those were the exact questions I really – badly – wanted to ask him for me to get over with it. Because c’mon, what are the odds?

That guy from my past, we had this connection. In Greek, we are deeply connected by the very thing that stirs the human core: tekhnē (music). It was that and I believe it was something more than that. But that’s where we started, as per my perspective. That guy and I got constant communication, I don’t completely remember but mostly we talk nonsense and we don’t actually mind wasting our time with this kind of foolishness. Time flew by so fast when we’re together and sometimes I prayed for Time to stop just so I can study his face a little while longer and stare at his beautiful eyes for hours. *cue cringe* From my lenses, we had “the spark.” We got some chemistry going on and we don’t mean science. He was all these sending-butterflies-down-my-belly-everytime-I-see-him and the-very-trip-down-memory-lane-I-don’t-ever-wanna-forget-even-I-ended-up-walking-that-one-way-street-of-Love kind of guy. And I wanted to know if I was all of these for him, too. I guess, I just wanted to know if I ever mattered to him. I wanted to know if we had a shot at chance. Well, I don’t know if getting the answers to all the questions in my head was absolutely necessary.

But you know what, we never really tried. We never got to the edge of confirming anything. I acknowledged and recognized what I felt for him and I stopped there. I never let him knew. The reason being is that I’m a woman and I wanted a man whose gonna confess his feelings for me and not the other way around. I don’t want to take myself away the privilege of being asked. That although I was sure we had something, I cannot hold onto that kind of reality because he did not reinforce this truth. What we had did not equate to what we could have been.

The only thing I’m keeping, however, is the reality that in spite of all my questions, I am certain of the truth that I loved him. We did not progress, but I loved him dearly. Very dearly. And I don’t have any plans of regretting that decision.

I think if we want to love a person, we shouldn’t be cowards. We should just love them. Hard. And if we are blessed with enough courage, we should go right ahead and tell them. Risk. At the end of the day, we never are losers when we love. Even if it’s a love reciprocated or a love that is not.

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Choosing an Alternate Ending

I’m the kind of person who loves to start doing things which will later end up unfinished: running twice a week, journaling significant moments in a day, writing down lists of things I’m grateful for and dropping it in my Gratitude Jar, keeping up with my planner every year, reading books, creating art, eating in moderation, (and possibly) ending this sentence properly, heh etcetera etcetera. One major proof of this phenomenon as you can see is my “absence” from this humble space for almost half of the year last year. Gee, am I such a mess?

This is also the reason why I believe that the end doesn’t always justify the means. See, people can have beautiful beginnings yet have tragic endings and vice versa. Because choices bring a lot of who we are in this wilderness called Life.

As I grew older every year, I am desiring to see if I’ve been making a difference, if I’ve been doing something worthy, if I’ve been living this life to the greatest extent possible. I’m coming to realize that whenever I start doing something, it would be brave of my character if I’ll pour in the needed effort to actually finish it.

2015 is a fresh start (once again) and I got this impression in my heart that this year is a year of getting soaked so deep in the ocean, swimming. You must understand that “me, swimming” is a metaphor of “me, committing” – me showing up for the things I’ve signed up for. Because it’s one thing to get in the water and it’s another thing to go paddle yourself to the center island from the shore. It’s one thing to start something and it’s entirely different to have the urge and hustle all the way to the end goal of what you have started.

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The word Commitment is such a bold word, though. It asks so much from you and to be honest, it’s scary. You gotta have the patience and the discipline to keep on pushing when all you wanna do is relax and take everything easy. I bet Easy is not even in the vocabulary of Commitment, maybe there’s only Hustle.

Now, there’s a good chance of me failing to do my commitments. The month of January have proven that to me. When I was a little bit younger, once I failed on something, I convinced myself that I’d probably be failing my whole journey anyway so might as well stop. And I did. I stopped three fourths of the way, mid way, or even if I just took the wrong two or three steps from the path I’m trying to go to. I stopped because I felt that maybe I’m just too hopeless to even continue. Well, the younger self clearly didn’t understand commitment.

I guess when things get tough and we can only measure our hope by teaspoons, we should still choose to stick to the possibility of overcoming. Commitment is hustling. It is working doubly hard to stand by our words, our passions and our innermost desires even if, sometimes, we have to face defeat. The overcoming of defeat is the highlight of every victory. And, it’s never gonna be easy.

Here’s to the beautiful hardships that Commitment will bring this 2015! Here’s to hustling! Here’s to choosing an alternate ending – a well done one, a complete one. It’s about time.

Finding An Advocacy

What are the chances that a participant of a seminar you conducted with an organization you previously worked with before come in contact with you again after two years? I don’t know the probability and I got no time doing the statistics. But well, for me, Chances can surprise you one Friday afternoon while you chose to keep yourself busy on a day’s work.

A few years back, I finally accepted the fact that I will not always be a part of the younger club (took me a while to come to terms with this reality hehe) What I mean is, when I worked for an NGO, one of the things that we do is conducting seminars with College students and various youth groups and this is where I saw the need to take responsibility for this generation. I felt the burden to look after them – the younger ones. Mainly because I still believe our good friend, Jose Rizal, when he said: Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan. (The youth is the hope of the nation.) I believe it with all my heart no matter how cliché it sounded. I always trusted the potential of creative minds, ideal dreams and energetic optimism which the new generation can bring to the table. And as it turned out, the real battle is to help this new blood realize what they can bring and offer because most of them, forget; most of them, shrug it off; most of them, ends up distracted and misled.

When I was a College student, I was very vocal with my love for the country and its people. I always tell one of my close friends who I always shared a ride with going home from school: “I believe I’ll be able to see Pasig River brought back in its glorious state in my time” or “I believe there’s an end to corruption” or “One day, Filipinos will learn waste management and the country will have a clean environment less prone to flood, flood and more flood.” Sometimes, I think I’m too hopeful or I maybe soaked in deep mud of denial. But I’d rather settle with Hope because that’s the only thing I’ll never get tired to do as long as I live. And so, all I had back in College were my beliefs, my words, my love for the country – which I thought were already enough. But no, it weren’t.

Words are good. Conviction is great. But real action to take that conviction to a whole new level and put a huge amount of credibility to back up your words is an outrageous act of bravery and commitment combined. Working in an NGO taught me that. It was in the social work setting where I met and shook hands with Advocacy, face to face. Advocacy was tough to handle and understand at first. He was, at the very best, awkward and uncomfortable. He wrestles inside you while it forces you to move outside the corners of your comfort zone. And you will want to cuss him every time he gives you that unwanted “push” because it meant relearning how to adjust in a new environment setting yet again.

When I came in contact with this young lady again – our seminar participant two years back – she told me that she’s now only waiting on their graduation on May. Oh, how time flies! And right there and then, in that late Sunday evening, I told her that as young as she is, she got to find something to stitch her heart into: a cause to champion, an advocacy.

I don’t know but I’m convinced that the value we imparted to those young people back in 2011 was, somewhat, etched to their hearts. The young lady is our proof. A lightning bulb: this is what it feels like to touch a soul. When people showed up and make you see that they understood the cause you’re fighting for even if it’s only relatively new for two months or five years or maybe even close to a decade, when these people showed up and reflect in their actions that their is something in them that changed, it is a feeling of sheer amazement.

I am no perfect advocate. I still got commitment issues yet to be resolved. I don’t even know the core of my advocacy yet – what is that one cause I would gladly fight for no matter?

I don’t know a lot of things yet, but, here’s where I stand: I’ll do what I can and I’ll go out there and tell people that they matter and they can do so much with what they have in their hands. It doesn’t always have to be grand, Legacy sometimes, resides in the smallest of things that made you captivate the innermost being of a person: their soul. We have to do things and it will not always be easy. Because we got to go hard, sometimes, too.

I would want this generation to see that whatever little or big causes they may have, it is valuable. If they want to make a stand about purity or acts of random kindness or treating people with respect or battling corruption by not taking part on it and making their voice clear that they won’t tolerate it or obeying their parents or doing their best in school or wherever they are, whatever it is — it is valuable. And if they haven’t found something worth fighting for yet, it’s okay. I’m a great believer of getting lost in order for you to get found.

These army of young people must not forget that they have to be present and no, not just in social media. They have to feel the need of their community and go out of their way, sometimes, to reach that need somehow. Because when you push yourself hard enough to deliver something beyond what you know you can do and you do so out of love and concern, where it’s at most uncomfortable and shaky but you know will be worth the while, maybe then, even when you haven’t realized it yet – you are already holding hands with Advocacy. When you finally take a hold of it, you know where to go.

Press On, 2014

After all the fireworks, the sparklers, the never ending jumps and shouts in a glee chorus greeting of Happy New Year’s, we are now here — all of us are given another shot in this Life to write whatever we wish, we plan, we pray for and intend to do with our own Jar of Chances this 2014. I hope we can make the most out of our hearts and our hands and create something fragile and beautiful that we would be able to look back and tell ourselves, “Finally, I made it. It’s worth the try. It’s worth the pain. It’s worth the experience.”

2013 was a very special year for me. There were a lot of beyond great things I learned as Life grabbed me by the shoulders and bang me on the door of This Is What Surprise Looks Like. I almost lost my breath under the water of pressure, panic, worry and I Don’t Know Why All Of These Things Are Happening Right Now. It was all so surreal that it led me to different kinds of emotions which, sometimes, are all at one point at the same time. There was a time where I am in extreme level of calmness until five minutes later I’m boiling in extreme level of disappointment mixed with anger and all those rants teenagers do (and I’m not a teenager anymore hahaha).

Back then, I don’t understand everything that’s happening to me, I begged God to help me love where I am and what I do. And I thank Him because He never left my side during the days of my drama, my stubbornness, my ugly words and ugly thoughts, my impatience, my grumbles. I thank Him because He sustained me, pushed me and believed in me when what’s ahead of me is just some bleak reflection of confusion. Because yes, in 2013, I got some really dark periods because I chose to look at Life on the wrong side of the lens. There were no regrets, though, because all of the actions I took, the emotions I felt, the mistakes I did — they were mine, I own them. It’s just an amazing journey of grace that throughout all of it, you can end victorious. That although there were goodbyes and endings and some painful and sad fractions, there were also excitement and new beginnings and gratitude and hope. 2013 made me weak but God made me strong. It was the year He showered me a lot of Courage which I gladly bathe myself into.

My word for 2013 was Conquer. I don’t have an idea how I got into that word but as I’m looking back to how the past year turned out, I really did – by God’s grace – #conquered a lot of things and also got to taste the word #alive so much because 2013 left me breathless in a (mix of) good (and overwhelming) way:

  • I rode an airplane (first time!!!) going to Bacolod to conduct Voter Education workshops;
  • Conducted Voter Education workshops with different organizational partners;
  • Learned and appreciated Administrative and Messengerial skills;
  • Attitude of Gratitude never lets the joy of any person on empty;
  • Attended the Global Discipleship Congress 2013 at our church;
  • Watched The Script’s concert (!!!);
  • Helped insolid Research Projects;
  • Joined the March against Pork Barrel;
  • Witnessed Nick Vujicic’s Unstoppable Faith – Live;
  • Got a blogpost featured in a favorite OPM band’s Facebook page;
  • Resigned from my first official job I came to love (this needed me to overdose on Insane Courage pills);
  • Got accepted in my second job which I am starting to love;
  • Rocked (haha) my short hair for a year (I’ll grow it long this 2014);
  • Pursued some healthy exercise called Running and joined events which led me to meet Coach Rio (such an inspiring gentleman) and some other people who loves to keep an active lifestyle (I hope I can do it again this year);
  • Attended my very first Better Story Project workshop and got to meet Isabel Garcia (!!!) and Julianne (!!!) and other beautiful ladies (I’ll do it again this year haha);
  • Started writing my very first fiction which happens to be a Novel;
  • Wrote lyrics for a friend’s melody composition – I was energized, I did the writing less than six hours haha;
  • Have my hair colored in Medium Blonde, Level 7 in one random Saturday before my birthday;
  • Met new friends who are all awesomely special;
  • Met with old friends who are all wonderfully treasured.

The list can go on. I tried my best to keep every bullet simple even when most of it got its own glorious story behind how it happened.

For the year 2014, my word would be: Press(ing) On. This would be a year of Perseverance, of pursuing things with so much brave and faith in my heart. There are a lot of things I still wanna do and I pray that I could muster up courage again and do things that could make me feel my heart on my sleeve. It is a new blank page of Hope, of gazing at beauty and be awe-inspired by Life and what it can still slap in our faces with its promise that: Everything happens for a reason. Trust the struggle. Enjoy the moment. Keep pressing on!

I Want My Heart, Broken

Yes, you read that right.

Earlier today, while having a random conversation with a dear friend, I spit the statement: I want to experience a broken heart. I want to feel human. I want to experience that kind of pain. And you may think I’m ridiculous because honestly, who – in their right minds – want to have something to do with a broken heart?

Well, I think I’m crazy for saying that statement too or for even thinking that way. But, you know, I also kind of think that a person who have gone through (or who is still mending) a broken heart is the most beautiful fighter you’ll ever encounter in this lifetime. That person is just this big explosion of miracle in a milky way of grace, stranded in an island of hope. Just. So. Freaking. Beautiful.

Let me clear it to you, I’ve got a fair share of a broken heart myself, we’ve all had. However, my context in saying “I want a broken heart” is on the basis of a real committed relationship (all I have before and now are petty crushes ((haha)) and those, do not count). That kind of relationship where you finally let someone else enter into the world you build yourself and giving that person freedom to take care of you and be alongside you. That kind of relationship where you value each other more than you value eating pizza. That kind of relationship where you both would want to save Earth for, not because it is the only planet with chocolate, but because it is the planet where you experience this intensely surreal kind of emotion they call Love. That kind of relationship you thought – and you are sure – will lead to forever but for whatever stroke of fate, failed and ended. That kind of relationship bearing that kind of pain of a fresh and raw broken heart. That is what I want.

I want to understand why tears still flow after you have cried thousands and thousands of them. I want to be familiar with sleepless nights of recounting all your happy memories together along with the bad, and while at it, struggle on how to let go each one of them I hold so dearly. I want to recognize the throb in my chest, the never ending agony of feeling betrayed by Life. I want to go through every single doubt of kindness I can offer myself with. I want to learn catching my breath just to remind my lungs that “Hey, you need air. Try breathing.” I want to somersault in this reality of being human, I want to dive in this dark room of Pain.

I want to have a broken heart.
I want to have a broken heart.
I want to have a broken heart.

I want to have a broken heart because I know that it is only a phase; it is a requirement for Living the Life. Like you know, #YOLO. I want to have a broken heart because it shows you how you can be shattered into a million bits of pieces, and why, that is the most grandiose thing that will ever happen to you. Because once you’re broken, you become lost. And once you’re lost, you have this overflowing chances of encountering the Divine. And that, that is a privilege.

I want to have a broken heart because it sucker-punch you in the gut with Brave. It shows you that your knees, they’ll tremble and you might not able to get up anymore. It shows you that even at the sight of not being able to stand up on your feet, it’ll give you a thousand and one ways that you probably still can. And you know what, you will. And that’s when you’ll learn Bravery. It takes one brave man to wake up one day and tell himself that, “You’ve been here for far too long, it’s time to get up and move on.”

I want to have a broken heart because after you’ve been brave, you’ll grow strong. Your once beat-up, torned apart and wrecked core will find its way to wholeness. You’ll be whole after brokenness. It’s like, you were re-birthed in this planet to make a brand spanking slate of Come Back! This. Is. A. Whole. New. You.

After the broken heart, comes the healing, comes the forgiveness, comes a new kind of love to offer to the world. To a new and wonderful person.

And yeah sure, no matter how loud I say these things now, I can never guarantee that I’ll have the guts to actually face a broken heart when it’s my time to face one. So, let this be a reminder to my one day beat-up-torned-apart-and-wrecked heart in the future: You wanted this before, right? Life handed this to you now and you’re not sure anymore if you wanted to take back what you said when you said it. This might taste awful right now, because well, it is. I want you to hang on Hope, because promise, promise, promise, it will all get better. You’ll see.

Unstoppable Faith

Last Saturday, I was able to witness a living miracle inspiring hundreds of thousands of people all over the world and it was just so amazing to hear him speak live before my eyes.

A man of faith, Nick Vujicic, was born with no arms and no legs but that “limitation” did not stop him from being unstoppable for God.

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Nick Vujicic | photo via Google

At age eight, Nick shared, it was very difficult for him to understand why God did not give him what every other people has. He was so confused and devastated, asking God that if He truly loves him then why did He made him with no arms and no legs while every other kid in their school has their arms and legs.

“My question to God is ‘why me?’”

There were lies, he said, that crawled at the back of his mind. Lies like: he will never ever walk or run, he will never have a family of his own, he will always be alone, he will never hold someone’s hands or carry his own son. At age ten, he wanted to end his life and all his sufferings but one thing had stopped him – his parents. All his life he only felt love and support from his parents and siblings that he couldn’t bear to see them crying on his grave, hurting, just because he gave up.

“Whatever broken pieces you have, whatever the enemy uses for bad; if you offer it to the Lord, Jesus will set it to something beautiful.”

Nick chose to believe the Truth. He chose to believe the Word of God. And God gave him peace. At age fifteen, he encountered a story in the Bible where Jesus was asked by this person why injustices, sickness, bad things are happening in his life; that’s when Jesus answered that those things are happening so that the world will know how God will work on his life.

See, Jesus don’t give us bad things; that’s Satan. But our Lord won the battle, He won the war. He met Satan face to face and Satan has nothing on Him. Satan may come to steal and destroy but Jesus comes to heal and restore. If we only give our lives to the Lord, He will always be there for us every step of the way. There may be circumstances that would make it hard for us to understand yet our focus, our Hope, should be in God.

Nick kept praying for arms and legs but he came to the understanding that God has the best plan for his life. Who needs arms and legs, he said, when he is flying with the wings of the Spirit.

Be the Miracle

“It’s very tempting to be jealous; it’s very tempting to see what everyone else has. Did my circumstances change? No. What changed is my heart. Arms and legs are not happiness. The greatest things in life are not things; any pleasure you can see, touch or hold is only temporary.

Can I smile? Yes. But does that mean that I don’t cry? No. But even though I walk through the valley of shadow and death, I can smile.

Brokenness is brokenness; but, don’t let brokenness define your future. Don’t let your circumstances define your joy.

I stand in front of you as a miracle of God that world cannot argue with.”

What are we waiting for? Let’s put our faith in action. Should bad things happen to us, it is never the end. Our faith is unstoppable because we have an unstoppable God.

You know the paradox of a Christian life? You give and it will come back to you. You surrender so that you may have. You die so you live. It will never be an easy life but I loved that no matter what we’re going through, somewhere along the line, if we truly lay it down at the foot of the cross, it could be used by God so that others may know His goodness and mercy? Amazing, right?

If God can use someone with no arms and no legs, I’m sure God will use us too, God will use you. Are we willing to be used by God?

Grow deep in the faith.

Be of Faith

“There is no recession of the peace of God. There is no recession of the grace of God.”

Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage

Life is all about surprises.

One day, you’ll be out going to your very first school day as a four year old in Nursery class. You’ll feel terrified as you hoped that your mom didn’t have to leave you there alone. And so, at a young age, you choose to stand and participate – together with the other kids – as you try to understand each new lesson. At a young age, this world is asking you to be brave.

Since school took most part in your growing up years, you know that acting the way you did in Grade School won’t get too much appreciated in High School. You got to make decisions on what to do when a member of your group didn’t show up at the day you are assigned to report something about History. You got to face new classmates who, sometimes, don’t care of what you feel just as long as they can make fun out of your expense. You got to be exposed in digging your thoughts deeper as you know you got to suggest something for a Science project. You invest in friendships that you didn’t know will last even after so many years, close to a decade. You know life a little better now, you know you had to be independent and make sound choices, you know you have to be brave.

College came and it’s a much different atmosphere. You are free to do what you like in the University, there’s a certain degree of freedom. And you are convinced with your entire life that this is the most wonderful experience of being in an academe. You choose who you are here and what you wanna be. You got to join new cliques and enjoy the time of being together in the afternoons when the professor didn’t arrive for the last session of your Tuesday class. There will be times that your principles and standards will be tested, there will be times that you’ll get disappointed by the decisions you’ve made. You struggle so hard not to make any mistakes, which in the end, you’ll come to realize that those mistakes were necessary. To sum up this stage of your life, and what you have done in between them, it goes to show that you chose to be brave.

You know you got this certain braveness in your heart after everything you had been through your teenage years, you know you could have anything under control, you truly believe so until the Real World came throwing real problems to your face and you got nowhere to go.

Then, it suddenly happened, Fear came in insurmountable amounts that your Brave can’t hold it. You struggle for air, you can’t breathe, you just can’t calm yourself down. And then Life crushed your spirit, you feel lost in a world you thought you’ve known all your life, you just float in a limbo – confused, dishearten, bewildered. You became afraid of failure, you don’t want to commit mistakes anymore, you shield your way in the opportunities that come along, you just want to be in your comfort zone.

I know how hard it is to live this life keeping your cool. And it will always always be threatening to venture out on new things you don’t know doing. But I’ve come to understand that you don’t grow up when you don’t learn; most of life’s lessons are learned best when you fail. It takes courage that in the midst of failure, you’ve got a heart that just wanna keep on moving forward, a heart that just wanna keep on trying.

For the past six months, I’ve been trying my best to live my life, I am trying to be more brave and open to what it will offer along the way and as to what I want to get to experience doing myself. It’s never easy, but I figured, that I don’t want fear to take hold of me from doing things that I know will help me flourish as a person. What got me along is this twenty seconds of insane courage I learned from Mr. Benjamin Mee of We Bought a Zoo (I wrote about that movie here).

Twenty seconds of insane courage is basically courage with some urgency. I mean, you don’t linger too much if you’re gonna do this and that and think of everything that could happen and those that could not. Sometimes, you take too much time until Fear walks in and just shut down your fuse, shut down your light.

When you know you got to do something…

-a dramatic eight inches haircut
-joining a free camp where you can hone your new found love in some sport
-telling your boss your plans in life that might differ from where your organization is leading to now
-going in for a ride which terrifies you in so many ways
-meeting old friends back from Grade School and High School
-chasing your dreams even if it meant being vulnerable to failure… Etc… Etc.

As the old Nike saying goes: just do it.

Do it when you got the courage for the first twenty seconds. Don’t hold back. Let go. Let go of all the worries of mistakes and failure, let go of the control you impose on yourself, let go and just breathe. Believe in Hope that your Brave will help you fly. I know sometimes it gets crazy, but if you could remember the time when you were four, you’ve conquered – you’ve delivered courage. You decided to take a leap of faith at such a young age, you delivered despite the fear, you felt invincible.

You only need twenty seconds of insane courage, a childlike faith, and I promise you something great will come out of it.

Life is full of uncertainties, be brave anyway. (Jeff Goins)