You is kind. You is smart. You is important. You is brave.

I watched the movie The Help over the weekends, and I must say, the story is a story of Courage.

Courage has always been a beautiful word for me. It’s like a secret chant you say to yourself which instantly delivers a wonderful amount of bravery and confidence. When uncertainty lingers at the porch of your mind, trying to quaff every single barrel of your sunshine, Courage will make you believe that there’s nothing wrong being in the dark for a while. Courage trusts that you’ll find the light. That’s what Courage does, it makes you Hope. And Hope shares the same attributes of Courage: beautiful. (I abuse the word beautiful so much, but, there’s no other way I can describe these two.)

The movie was set in a far away past where racial discrimination was still eminent in the United States of America – the Blacks serve as helpers in White people’s residences. However, their rights has always been disregarded. It makes me feel lighter, though, when I saw that not all White people are prejudiced; take Skeeter, a journalist who pushed for the Helpers to share their side of story with their service at the White people’s houses. Although, all her efforts might have been for naught if not for the willingness of Abiliene to support.

Skeeter and Abiliene were the two lead persons in the movie who took a stand and choose – what many people in their time, won’t – Courage. What’s very crucial about Courage is that it has to be chosen. You have to choose to be courageous. Nobody else can do it for you.

Despite the fact that Skeeter and Abiliene (together with the other Helpers) could be in grave danger, they still do what they had to do: act against racism and seek equality between the Colored and the Whites. They started a revolution, a spark for change. And I believe, they contributed a big part in the freedom of all cultures and races America is experiencing today. Imagine if they didn’t do anything when the very circumstance they’re in is asking them to make a stand? We, humans, most times don’t act out when we need to; afraid of so many things that would expose us in possible danger. Courage, often requires sacrifice – of our own time, money, talent, and even comfort – for the greater good. We have it all inside of us, we have the capacity to be brave, we have been given the ability to serve. It’s just that, sometimes, we tend to forget.

Yes, you is (also) brave.

When things go way out of hand and you tremble to your knees as you are shaken to the core, hold hands with Courage, do not let go. When every single molecule of your being wants you to run away and escape the grind of tomorrow, behold Courage in the eye, as long as his eyes flicker, don’t lose hope. When there’s too much fear in your heart and you can’t keep the tears anymore, look up, Courage is always looking down.

To have Courage is not to rely on your own strength. To have Courage is to surrender all your weaknesses in the hands of an Almighty God, entrusting every small portions of your life into His bigger plans for your future – be prepared to witness His power working in you. To have Courage is not to be free from fear, Fear is a healthy friend. To have Courage is bringing Fear with you in skydiving; no matter the struggle, it will remind you that you have wings – you are meant to fly. To have Courage is not to go through life easy. To have Courage is to embrace life in all of its uncertainties.

Show me how big your Brave is.

Alaska and the Stars: An Afterthought

I’ve always wanted to write down (in the blog) what I felt after I read The Fault in Our Stars back in January but I never had the time. I always wanted to write about Looking For Alaska which I read last year but as you can see, that I wasn’t able to do also. Boo. But let me try to change all of that today. :)

The Fault in Our Stars
Note: What you are about to read is the very emotions that I had right after I finished the last page of the book. There are some spoilers here, you’ve been warned. Also, if you haven’t read the book, READ it.

Hazel’s dad kept saying that the universe wanted to be noticed; and that it would push itself to be noticed. Hazel, on the other, wanted the universe to notice them for once. She had been noticing the universe far too long.

I don’t know but it was in a way that it somehow looked unfair from their side that they felt love, and they were in love, but they were sick as hell and either one is healthier than the other or vice versa. They were in a path woven for each other but could never meet the ends. It will cross but it will pass straight the other direction. And I kind of think that it was unfair too.

It was.

However, this life isn’t all about us. Never is and never was. Sometimes we’re too succumbed by our own miseries that we feel that the world owe us something; that we don’t deserve to be treated any less; that we should always get what we worked hard for. But no. Until we learn to notice the universe, to give attention to what is far more important, we wouldn’t know that this, this life is more than just us. There is Someone Somewhere doing Some things greater (actually, all things) for each of us if we let it. Capital S.

We are in a universe where as much as we wanted it to notice us, it won’t. Until we see the bigger picture that we are only a part of Something greater, we won’t fully surrender. We got our own infinities and it can surpass other infinities and this world is gonna turn, it will, either up or down. It won’t care if we are hanging tight or letting loose. Try to see it in a new light, try to appreciate whatever it brings to the table, try to scratch off the idea that it is indebted to you. It is not.

Feel all the pain, the joy, the sorrows, the overwhelming peace. Feel the universe. Let your eyes see it. And whatever comes and whatever goes, may you find the courage to believe that Someone made it and you are only a part of it but even so, even there is so much more in life and the world you are in, Someone made you also matter. But sometimes you just got to see the bigger picture.

There is.

If not for their current health situation (Hazel and Augustus); if not for their paths that will cross, will meet but won’t stay too long – at least for life on earth – I think they won’t understand love in the way they did. At a young age, they got brave souls. They got that heart, the You Can Never Explain In Words kind of heart. They felt everything. They were everything. And I think they’re infinite, present tense.

Also. I don’t think there’s any fault in the way their stars were drawn. Yes, it wasn’t a And They Lived Happily Ever After because Hazel lived, yes, but Augustus died. But true love don’t die, does it? Even memory sometimes forgets, the heart will never seek to delete something it felt so genuinely pure and true as that of true love. The stars had crossed but at the time it met in the middle; that, they have. That, they keep. Keep in their hearts.

Praises for John Green’s rawness!

***

Looking For Alaska
When I read this book a year ago, this was my first encounter on how raw the story of a writer such as John Green could be. Unlike Fault, I wasn’t able to write down what I had felt after reading it and that was a major mistake. I could’ve caught myself saying something more fluid than what I could say now. (See kids, if you felt you got to write something down ((an idea, concept, poem, story)) you better write it down immediately. That’s the formula in writing.)

We all living under different stories in life. When we welcome people inside, when we invest on them, we experience something more magical. We see our life in a new light just like Pudge when he met Chip and Alaska. Theirs was a story of finding their own Great Perhaps, exposing themselves to what it means to truly live, what could courage do to you, what could life offer and what offer you don’t refuse. Even when life will let you lose something/someone, when it blows land mine in front of your face, when you can’t take the grief anymore, you got to believe that there is a place that will be beautiful – where everything will be beautiful. But for the Now, I hope we are living, we are taking life in the open: ready to be loved, to fall in love, to fall down and get hurt, to lose someone, to meet someone, to grieve, to cry, to just feel. Let’s all find our Great Perhaps and let’s all have the courage to live it.

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And now it’s time for bookmarks! Or in other words, the feels, those conversations, monologues or statements that really strike me – those that captured my core.

Note: This is super KADUPER long. Again don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you. But if you’ll continue to read, it will be amazing. John Green’s words are wonderfully crafted and written.

Continue reading

Everything On A Waffle

I can’t believe I’m finally able to write this. I’ve been waiting for months!

Remember when I told you reading + writing weren’t my first loves, but because of influence, I tried my hardest to get involve in those cycles? I would be forever thankful for my college peeps for that tremendous influence they impressed on me. Unsolicited advice for freshies: be discerning in choosing waves to follow. :)

Up to this day, the smell of old books (or all books in general) at thrift stores or at well-known bookstores is a fragrant deal for me. And whenever I visit them (especially secondhand-book-stores) I always end up going out with one or two books already at hand. It’s funny because it’s like I’m a book-collector since not all of ’em books which I bought before I was able to finish up to today. Just the same, I end up buying another set of books when placed inside a bookstore.

Anyhoooz, that’s my quite long intro for the book I’ve read (finally, after a year and a half of it staying in the shelf) last February. It is a book written by Polly Horvath and is entitled Everything On A Waffle.

I’ve wanted to make a sort-of-in-a-way-kinda-like mini review on it. Well, not totally the review “review” as in intense, no. I’m just gonna share how the story was able to connect to me, or was it really able to, and things like that. So yeah, with not much tattling, I should start. Haha!

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Haven’t you ever just known something deep in your heart without a reason? That’s the question the book posted. I think Polly wrote something here about hope and faith and life that even a child can understand. It’s something deep especially on the perspective of the main child character–Primrose Squarp.

So, have I ever, like Prim, known something deep inside my heart without a reason? What Prim encountered is the lost of her parents after the storm. It’s too much for a child, but she believed in her heart that they’re just there somewhere in the sea. While others believed that they’re gone and are not coming back, the faith of this little child is so big that it surpasses all their doubts. She went from the custody of Miss Perfidy to his uncle to an old couple, made friends with a dog and Miss Bowzer of The Girl in the Red Swing whose dishes are all served with a waffle, lost not only her parents but a baby toe and a part of her index finger as well. She’s been through a lot; faith and hope was her only weapon to battle through. It was inspiring because grown-ups tend to let things slide sometimes, not like kids. Grown-ups tend to stick with what they know is true but kids they can believe on something else, something beyond what’s true. Kids are genuinely sincere on what they believed in and for Prim, her truth is that her parents are still alive and they’ll be able to get back soon. It was that truth in her heart she carried all along.

I don’t know but I think Hope is what will make you believe something you can’t even explain. It’s the same as faith. It’s the same as love. It needs no reason. I know we all have that Prim-like or child-like faith, we use that everyday when we choose to believe the beauty of each circumstances; the goodness in every person on the road; the humor in whatever situation; the success in failure; the rainbow after the rain. There’s a lot of things like that. However, in today’s world where everything is fast-paced, sometimes we skip on believing and seeing these things happen. We choose to go our own way and do everything in whatever way we possibly can. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes, we need to stop. We have to admit we need help. We have to look things in another perspective.

There’s a song lyric that goes Life, even when it gets you down, Hope will turn it all around. Life is never easy. It can bombard you with too much problem you think you can’t handle but you can. We have to remember, like Prim did, that everything happens for a reason and you got to believe in Hope even when sometimes they call it radical and unreasonable. Then, maybe, we’ll find what we’re looking for, we’ll receive what we’re praying for, we’ll understand what our journey in this life for; just like how Prim found her parents again. It’s in the journey where we learn most before we proceed to our destination. We might not like the ingredients stuffed in our own waffles and it may take a while before we consider indulging in it, but once we do, once we take that bite, we’ll know it’s good. Life is gonna be good. :)

Here are my favorite lines throughout the book (just because I like quoting it like that).

I am not in the body of life. I hover on the extremities. I float.

-Primrose

I don’t know what you think the story of Jonah is about, Miss Perfidy. But to me, it is about how hopeful the human heart is.

-Primrose

My mother says no one is a pacifist at heart. At heart, we’re all violent raging wolves, but in our actions we can be pacifists.

-Primrose

We all live in a world of seen and unseen.

-Primrose

And then this storm thing came up, so I guess you can’t really protect people anyhow. Or if you protect them from one thing, up and comes another.

-Primrose

You can be sunk low as a skunk and still have a joy in your heart. Joy just lives like one of those gyroscope in your chest. It don’t seem to have any connection to circumstance, good or bad.

-Evie

Being together, like being able to see certain stars only with your peripheral vision, isn’t something you can create. It’s just something that happens to you.

-Primrose

So, there’s always a bright side.

-Bert

In the worst of times I find there’s always something useful you can do with your hands.

-Evie

The only really interesting thing about someone that makes you want to explore them further is their heart, and if someone has a teeny tiny pea-sized one, it takes you nowhere to go.

-Miss Bowzer

Things that you find out become the places that you go; and sometimes, you find them out by being jettisoned off alone, and the other times it is the people who choose to stand by your side who give you the clues. But the important things that happen to you will happen to you even in the smallest places.

-Primrose