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.

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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.

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.

Battle Scars

If there’s one thing, Death is a reality. And Pain goes along with it. And man, this Life is going to hurt, it will really really hurt. And you’re not going to be okay. Because Death is not okay.

Lately there’s always been news about sickness and dying of sickness and funerals. To be honest, funeral is the last thing I ever wanted to go to in this lifetime. Well, no one ever wanted funerals. No one ever wanted to die or let someone they love so dearly be snatched away from their fingertips. No one ever wanted to experience loss because losing someone can be unbearable. I cannot imagine the pain it takes to realize that you cannot hold that one person you’ve been with your whole life anymore. The word painful cannot even delineate how death can leave a hole in someone’s heart. Any other word cannot even.

I’ve been in the sidelines of watching a friend after a friend sticking out the courage to fight with their parents who’s suffering from this villain called Cancer until it was proven – time and again – how human efforts can only do so much. Sometimes nothing’s ever gonna be enough to stop cancer from taking away someone precious. It breaks hearts and hearts that hope for healing. It shutters bones that stand strong amidst continued beating. It brings despondency to the eyes of someone who used to be only consumed by fire but not anymore because flame was put out because of tears.

Cancer has its ways to creep into your lungs until your gasping out of air even if you’re not the one caught by it, even if you’re just battling it with someone who you’re holding on to because you don’t ever wanna let go and give up on the people you love, right? But Cancer or any other disease can disregard all of your fighting fuel. Really, it will just give it a cruel go and let death happen. And then that’s it, it ended someone’s life. And you’ll feel as if you were taken along.

God is good. All the time.

We’ve been so used to this line. We know it is written in the Bible. We use this as an encouragement for every downcast soul we meet; believing that everything happens for a reason, knowing that the God we serve is a big God, much bigger than our circumstances. But there might come a time when we will be filled with doubt and our confidence to this truth will be shaken. And when it happens, I hope we pour out all our burdens, questions, longings and desperation in a To Be Honest, God barrel and hold on to it no longer. Carry it no longer.

Because that’s the beauty of Life. That though it hurts, we can call out for help. When we are in pain, when we are down and hopeless, when we are in fear and we feel too much, when we meet Death in the eye threatening to take anybody we love, we can cry out an honest cry to the Lord and He’ll hear our broken voices and wounded hearts.

And when time comes that we lose a battle with life, when death wins, be still and know that it’s not the end. That the moment we chose to surrender everything, the moment we chose to believe in our Savior Jesus Christ, the moment we chose to lay all our encumbrance at His feet, that’s also the very moment that we are carried and enveloped in His arms. The enemy may bring excessive pain or sickness or death in this life but our Savior cannot be held down by such things. It holds no power.

We may be lonely because we are the ones left. And we’ll probably miss them terribly everyday. And sometimes mornings may not seem like a good one because it’s not the same anymore. We cannot see them anymore, or smell them, or touch them, or tell them our usual banters, or feel them. We cannot spend any more time with them because time was already gone. It’s not the same. Someone we dearly love is gone. It’s never gonna be the same.

But the sun still rises. And the sun still sets. The moon still glows. And the stars still shine. Time will keep on running. And there’ll be a day like tomorrow. There’ll still be weeks. And months. And years. And sometimes it will still hurt. And it’s okay because we still have God. And our God understands.

To be the one who stays at the moment means we still have a lot to accomplish. We have a purpose. We still are to make a dent in this universe; leaving it like it was never left before. One day, we will unite in the heavens and our hearts will fill with joy as we revel in each other’s presence again. And there’ll be no pain, no sorrow, no tears.

Someday.

One day.

But for now, while we travel and feel the Earth with our hands, we go on. We move on. We get molded and strengthened and made new each day. We have battle scars to show up what’s having faith looks like.

Garbage Collection

There’ll come a time when you will not live up to the standards. You will disappoint people, you’ll be disappointed by people and you’ll get disappointed at yourself in full circle. You’ll feel a hole inside your chest and your emotions may get too intense that you will feel this hole getting bigger and bigger and you will carry an emotion that gets heavier and heavier. And you’ll realize that whatever it is that you fill in the hole will never be enough because it isn’t something that will ever satisfy your soul in the first place.

What is it about hurt that makes it hard for you to forgive? What is it about pride that makes it hard for you to utter a sorry? What is it about loneliness that makes it hard for you to find peace? What is it about darkness that makes it hard for you to see the light? What is it about questions that makes it hard for you to look for answers?

Sometimes you think that whatever you’re feeling at this very moment will never end. Sometimes you think that if by trying to write these feelings down, you will get to the point of understanding how you will get through this process. You never liked uncomfortable and uncontrollable process. You never liked darkness. You probably even think that this will never be included in the best moments to behold in your most precious life because this is painfully awful. You just wanna escape and wake up to a morning of normal where you have always been predictably happy; and not like this, being overly quiet, eating hurt and lingering to loneliness. This may be so bad. This may want you to cry and crawl up your body in a position where you don’t feel fragile.

***

I watched my brother took out the trash for the scheduled garbage collection at our street. We have two bins full of one week of household refuse. When he removed one of the trash bags, maggots were coming out of it and when he removed the other, a horrid smell travelled our nostrils. And I wonder, what are we filling our bins with? If we hold onto the hurt, the pride, the loneliness, the darkness and the questions, what will come out of us? Are we taking care of maggots? Are we carrying a horrid smell?

My brother thoroughly cleaned the trash bins after taking out the garbage. He washed it with running water, he got a handful of powdered soap and tossed it inside each receptacle and rewashed everything with running water. He took a little more than five minutes to clean the maggots-coming-out-of-a-horrid-smelling-one-week-of-discarded-matter trash bins. It felt like there was never something rotting in there, it was totally spotless.

***

You know the answers deep inside you. You have always known what to do. You just need to make a choice. Your decision might be leaning to humility, might be leaning to acceptance of wrongs, might be leaning to loving unconditionally.

How long are you planning to hold on to the maggots? When will you take out the trash?

All the rotten things must not be stored in your heart. You’ve seen how a week can do so much spoilage. However, if you think this is a phase you need to go through, then go through this. But please don’t cling onto this for too long. Don’t let the maggots eat your soul. You can always take out the trash.