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.

And If It Matters

People make mistakes. You, me, everyone else in this planet are capable of making a mess out of everything that supposed to hold beauty, order and peace in it. We are creatures of the flesh; we are never spared by the vultures that haunt us in the deepest oceans of our core. We have the ability to break the bones of our fragile words, to leave a scar on someone’s bloodstream, to spread darkness in a room searching for its light. We are human. We are only human. Our voyage to lead a life that only knows Hope will encounter the wilderness of Lost. And I wanted you to know that these, all of these, are inevitable because we are living. Because we have life. Because we have choices. And there’ll be times of wrong choices. And there’ll be times of deranged resolutions. And there’ll be times of destructive break-frees. These, too, are expected because life is a many splendored crap-hole.

It doesn’t mean though that when you jumped into one wrong move, you’ll end up in the never ending cycle of cursed fate. It doesn’t mean that when you placed all your aces in the game of life, you have all the risk of blowing everything off. It doesn’t mean when you made something wrong, you lose the chances of making it right. It doesn’t mean the way you think when you’re thinking of all the awful lists of how you are not worthy of any redemption.

Please remember that Grace, Forgiveness and Love is what defines your soul. This, my friend, is your armor. We have been bought for a price for all our shortcomings and we have to be grateful for this. There is Someone who believed that we are worthy of redemption, of salvation. Although we are not capable of being perfect, being righteous, being holy – we are capable of living, of making choices, of facing the consequences of our choices. And this is your beauty: to live your own story. It might be ugly, it might be chaotic, it might be unpleasant at times but it is yours. You are the only one who can live your life for you. I encourage you to hurdle the storms and live it.

Emptiness and Brokenness are two faces of growth. They are friends with Hope – the gem that we are all holding onto. Trust the struggle. Trust the overcoming. Trust the potential of your story. And if it matters, I trust you with every fiber of faith I have. So please, trust yourself and this situation. Trust the Divine. Anchor all your energy into your armor.

There is beauty in every unwise decisions learned. There is completeness in every vulnerability. There is comfort in every honesty. There is redemption for you and me.

But the lives we lead are squishy shoes and the only way to get it right is to wear them well, not trade them in. (Isabel Garcia)

Live your story six hundred forty eight words per minute.

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.

Little Kid With Big Emerald Eyes, Glowing Smile

So, there’s Doubt.

Again.

Now, even more hyped. Like he made two tablespoons of black coffee in three fourth’s cup of hot water and consume all of it in a minute. He is awake. He never gets tired of telling you how insanely wrong every decision you’ve made in the past four months or so.

At past 3:25 in the afternoon, he yells in your head of the many things you could’ve done if you didn’t jump into the cliff of your instinct. He gets a pen and a paper, he looks at you and with a wide smile on his face, he doodles a word in a Chalkduster font which read: Loser. He blabber an endless lists of You Could’ve, You Should’ve, You Would’ve. He sings you the song of I Told You, So’s.

He doesn’t stop. He never ought to. And slowly, you find yourself agreeing with all the things he’s been filling and molding your mind into. It breaks your heart. It crashes your soul. It pollutes your light with the kind of dark you’ve never seen before. His friends Frustration, Disappointment and Regret are cheering for him loudly, “Way to go Doubt! You got her good!”

And then, there’s a little kid who came out from nowhere and stood by your side as Mr. Giant Doubt and his Super Friends fills the air with roaring laughters, exchanging high five’s. This kid, she held your hands, touched your face and whispered in (what you thought) a non-whispering voice, “Hi, my name is Hope. It is so nice to see you again! Come with me!”

You are curled down on the floor, you lifted your face, trying to recognize this brave kid you’d seen somewhere. She continued, her smile glowing like her big emerald eyes, “You’ve got great potential. You can do so many beautiful things you haven’t realized just yet. I like that you step out of your boat into the dry land of I Don’t Know What Lies Ahead But I’ll Press On, No Matter. That’s what I call Rock, you’re a Rockstar! I believe in you so, so, so much. That’s three so‘s, you know what it means? It means, I believe in you SO much!”

“Hope, what are you doing here? You are not invited in this conversation, go away!” Doubt said, not wanting to lose his hold of you. “Get her out of here.” he continued. Ever so quick of a back-up, Frustration, Disappointment and Regret took the little kid by both arms, trying to drag her away from you yet they can’t let her move, Hope is so sticky and surprisingly strong. And so she held your hands tighter, “We got this,” she said, “everything will be alright. Patience is a string but when you hold on it tighter, it’ll be worth it. Promise. Come with me.”

You wanted to believe the kid but Doubt was persistent. He never gives up a fight. “You are such a waste,” he said, “believing Hope like it can save you in your misery. Wake up! You are a loser. You are born to be one. What makes you think you are worth more than that?”

It echoes inside your head like a broken symphony. You looked at Hope, desperately.

“You are worth more than what you think,” she answered the question in your mind, “losing is a part of life, like chaos and mistakes and brokenness, they are always there. Like you know, a package. But you are made for conquer and create and wonder (and sometimes, wander) and patience and beauty and all the good things. Come with me?” Hope, you thought, got a knowing smile.

You closed your eyes. Took a deep breath. Trying to measure your courage.

“Wait, what’s happening?” Doubt panicks.

“Let’s dive until the end of this cliff, together.” you finally broke off your silence, “and I know things will be crazier than ever before but… I’ll choose and I’ll keep on choosing to believe you, Hope.”

You opened your eyes and everything is too bright. Doubt and friends are now gone, much to your relief. There’s just the little kid with big emerald eyes, glowing smile and whispering in a non-whispering voice (this is not her forte, you thought), “I’ll always choose you, too!!! You know what always means? It means always, always, ALWAYS!!!”

You smiled a bright smile and told yourself, “Good thing Hope never whispers.”

Montello is Our Adventure

I know my friend, Shiela, is an amazing writer. I just never thought how insanely awesome her mind is in making stories.

About two years ago she started, with all the courage that she had, to put down on paper (or a writing platform aka Wattpad, at that) the very stories her mind had woven. I was already proud of her for doing so because very few people have the guts to follow their instinct, to pursue their dream, to just go ahead and bleed their purpose. Very few people will choose something crazy, will choose all the inconvenience over comfort, will choose all the hard work together with whatever they have going on in their lives at the moment. And I know, the other three of our friends (we’re five in our group) believed in her so so much. So there goes the story of Montello High: School of Gangsters.

I’m not going to nag on you to read that story over Wattpad here. Because if you haven’t experienced how a story can make you feel different sorts of feelings and bring you to places you’ve never been and open your eyes to things you might not yet seeing, then, you have a bigger problem. Haha! Kidding. But please, you know ninety-five percent of what I just said is true. I’ll never force you to read the story because I never forced myself to read it. And you know, people don’t need forcing to do something good for them, sometimes. There are other cases for that.

I never read it before because Shels (this is what we call her ((and for her fans, I don’t really know the origin of her pseudonym ‘Siel Alsreim’ but I think the ‘Siel’ part is short for Shels haha whatever))) haven’t finished writing it yet. Yes, I’m that kind of friend who doesn’t wanna read a friend’s story until it’s finished because I’m not very brave in the department of Hang in There for a While, I’ll Give You Your Updates Soon unlike most of her readers. And I love these readers who continued the support for over a year until the completion of the book. Grabe guys, iba kayo. #PUSO It shows that people appreciate art and people can connect their souls to a genuine art if it’s something really very wonderful and sincere. And Shels achieved what every writers should: only connect. It makes us prouder for her even more. Just to clarify though, we (us friends) are already proud of each other and believe in each other just because of who we are, individually. It’s just that how everything turned out for this adventure Shels had was super overwhelming beyond what we imagined. It’s amazing, God is superkaduper awesome!!!

I just read Montello yesterday and I can’t put it down despite my household chores and other things I needed to do. I read it til almost sunrise of today lol. And I was just mindblown. It IS a beautiful work of art. Just. Wow. I witnessed every single shift of events and I was awed. Who can think such story? It was very lovely. It is indeed full of adventure, teenage angst, young love, violence (please be guided when reading it, there are a lot of cussing and violence ((we don’t tolerate that outside the book just so you know lol))), hot-guys-who-read books-and-are-so-full-of-substance (this we tolerate), friendship, death, loss, letting go, acceptance, love and self-love.

When I was younger, I secretly wish to be a gangster too and be all that invincible; reading Montello is like reliving that dream. Haha. I know. Lol. Also, I’ve always wanted that “young love” but that never happened to me (boooo); I meant, the young love that I felt back then was not something that was reciprocated to me. If you are like me, it’s okay. When you love someone, you don’t lose, whether that love was reciprocated or not. Please remember that. (That’s why I adore MHSG’s Jin Cast. It takes one brave soul to love one-sided love. #oopsspoilerthere) Please also remember, High School and College is not the end of the world, if you haven’t given a love story then, something better is coming your way someday. Hold on tight, it’ll be a wonderful ride. Hold. On. Tight.

I will never leave my two cents on Montello without giving credit to our other friend, Mari, who became Shels’ confidant and editor in the whole process of MHSG. Whatever they say, she will be the first editor who ever touched this treasure and no one will ever be compared to the dedication that she put at stake in there. No one will ever dare question! MHSG was a tag team of Shels, editor, readers, fans and all those amazing people who kept being amazing to the story and to our friends.

Thank You Lord, for showing us how limited our minds are because You certainly can do Your works and we will stand in full amazement and praise! Thank You that Montello High: School of Gangsters will be published as a book! (!!!) Yup, you heard it right. It will be published by Summit Media (one of our dream companies to work to, before). This book – Shels’ story – will be available for you to read in hard copies just so you learn the Art of Waiting. If not, I gave you the link earlier and you can start reading if you want to. But it’ll defs worth owning, so start saving up! Lol.

For all those who loved, lost, loved again; those who value friendship; those who cherish their family; those who made mistakes, been so desperate, but learned to hope and get back on their feet… Montello is our adventure. And yes, I’ll keep it.

Dear Average Woman

You missed to check the mirror again today to say to yourself that you are beautiful, no matter. I know it gives you chills because you refuse to believe it but we had a deal, remember? You owe kindness to yourself. Choose to say things that will uplift your soul. Choose to say it, repeatedly, until you are convinced of the truth. Listen: You are beautiful.

Stop carrying your Insecurity Baggage wherever you go. Turn down every thought of you not being good enough, not being smart enough, not being attractive enough. Can you stop picking up burdens of negative thoughts and pouring them down like wine, letting it fill your barrel with poison? Have you forgotten that you are made with an exceptional combination of fear and wonder? You are made worthy to and of love, of hope, of faith, of grace and of forgiveness. Sometimes, you forget these things and you dwell too much with all the lies inside your head. I am reminding you of this again: You are valuable.

Don’t get too shy around people. Don’t even think that you need to impress them and you always have to be perfect. Please don’t be too harsh on yourself, lower down your pride, tune off from your ego. You don’t need to be perfect, you just have to be yourself. Remember who you are when you’re with your closest friends, you are calm and you enjoy. Be open to the idea that people may or may not like you, you don’t have to feel bad if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world. Some people may not like you but you can always love them back, anyways. Try to express your you more: You are allowed to be who you are — flaws and all.

Put an end in selling yourself short, because you know what, you can do a lot of things…excellently! And I mean it in every sense of the word. Being good at art, or advocacy, or science, or words, or food, or cars, or wherever field you choose to be is never petty. You’ve got a plethora of passion and potential in your hands. You have been given an overflow of gifts that you can always work on. Be a good steward of your talents.

You, Average Woman, does not – at all – exist. There’s never a woman who is only Average. You’re a Woman. You don’t wear a label of range and measures. Stop living in the standards of this world because it will never fit you — you exceed it. You woman, you ought to love yourself, because hey, I’ll never get tired of stressing what’s obvious: You matter.

And please, don’t you forget.

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This post is inspired by this video (thanks Kamille for sharing this <3) and what had transpired today. Cheers!

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