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.

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.