Day 044 – 2018.13.02

Walking through Dad’s papers – record of his life in two pages and scribbles of a lonely man

I finally gave time to sort through my dad’s documents which was sent by my uncle from the States.

There’s plenty of them: credit card bills, employment documents, tax returns, etc.

While I search for documents that might hint at where his accounts are (so we can track his money and pay our debts), I can’t help but feel heavy going through his files.

Those kinds of papers were things other people didn’t pay attention to. They didn’t need to because it’s personal and confidential. However, I couldn’t help, but trace through my dad’s life in the states going through job to job; from an illegal alien to a greencard holder. If I ever felt lonely while applying for a job because I had no moral support while doing so, what more for my father who was far away from home? He had to survive in a foreign land. He was such a brave man.

But what broke me was the two-page piece of paper with his scribbles of when he was still alive, jotting down his body’s condition, watching out for a seizure. I did the exact same thing when I was at the hospital when he was sick, always on the verge of a breakdown, but needing to be awake and strong for the both of us.

It was my dad recording pieces of his life alone, sick, and needing to be strong for himself.

And we couldn’t be there for him.

Now I can only cry and imagine what I missed. I feel like I’ve never really knew my dad, nor really cared much about his life there. I’m always busy making fighting my own demons to stay afloat, to stay smiling, so I kept deaf and blind to his typical whims which were apparently pleads of a lonely man.

Whenever I see a picture of my dad, I always wonder how much he had to endure, how sad it must have been these past four years of being without a wife that loves him, and three children who couldn’t do shit to make him feel that his life was worth something.

I wonder what my dad felt on the last moments of his life, if he ever had the strength to record it, what could he have stated there. I wonder if he passed away with regrets or he was ready to say goodbye, or if he was sad or angry at us.

I’m sorry if I failed you, Daddy. I’m so so sorry.

Day 023 – 2018.23.01

Sometimes, the most beautiful smile can shatter one’s heart into pieces. Just like mine.

For a while, I’ve been wondering why my eyes had been so dry with the whole ordeal of my dad’s passing. I think I’m keeping everything inside, or I still feel weird that I’m still fine.

Like, losing a family member is suppose to make your life crumble, but it’s not always like that. We move on, it’s true. But I think we’ll always long for those we lost.

Personally, I’m always going to mull on my what ifs with Dad.

Sometimes, my dad is more of the person I always am in conflict with, someone I don’t understand, someone I long to understand. His image as a father is different from his image with his friends whom so many love and adore because of his jokes and charm. He’s not the grumpy, misunderstood man I make him out to be in my head, or it’s just that we all put a different side of ourselves out there.

When I saw these pictures of him,

I just…bawled.

I couldn’t stop crying. Alas I remember that my dad had showed that side of him to me so many times and I think I was never that welcoming of it. These were his smiles even when he was sick, trying to survive the night with the thought of the possibility of death just around the corner and at the same time not having the heart to make us worry that much.

I never realized my dad was so handsome until these pictures. And I think it was beyond the physical that I finally accepted his claim of being a handsome man, but it’s because through those smiles–from those selfies he sent over messenger–he was sending us a message that had always been universal in his life as our father: I’m okay. Don’t worry about me. Always be happy. I love you very much.

Day 312: 11.08.2017

“Naging masama ba akong ama?”

I’ve been asked this question so many times that the last time I was asked again, I began doubting my answer.

And that disturbed me.

There’s a lot of shitty things in my life and I can easily point out to my family as one of them. Since childhood and family creates a big impact to a person’s personality, then that easily answers the question why I have a jaded side.

My parents separated when I was two years old. Young as I was, I somehow understood that my parents were not going to live in the same house anymore, and I will only see my father twice a week, every weekend when I don’t have school. He will pick me on Friday evenings and take me home on Sunday evenings. I don’t remember much of my bondings with my dad during these weekends, only fun times with my cousin since my dad and his brothers’ family were always together so they can play cards, and the kids can play videogames or house.

So really. Even when I spent enough time with him (technically), the emotional connection was probably never established properly. He was busy with work, perhaps finding another woman to hold, and I was just going with the flow.

They said I was an obedient a child. A strangely quiet child who was mature for her age. So I basically followed what my parents agreed with, received and said thanks to obligations provided (schooling, gifts, time), but in retrospect, no wonder my father is so wounded to have his “angel” grow up to be this independent, outspoken, always going against his thoughts and plans kind of daughter.

Oh, how time changed…me.

But to answer his question, NO, HE IS NOT A BAD FATHER. In terms of providing for what we need and fulfilling obligations, he provided well. Yes, we hear a lot of complaints and sarcastic remarks in the process of asking them from him, and specific requests for gifts he specifically asked from us set aside for his own preference (style and budget) in the end, and us getting the “hindi nalang kayo magpasalamat” line from him when we express disappointment, but yeah, he provided. Perhaps it’s his parenting style that does not match our personality, especially the personalities we developed while he was absent for most of our formative years.

Sadly, my dad does not understand this.

He’s too proud as a father, as the padre de familia, to accept that we have grown out of the image he crafted of us. We are not the ideal children, nor is he the ideal father. We’re not in a film because real life is much more complex than what movies could ever offer us. We are not robots. We cannot be as easily malambing and caring just because he is family. A person who came from a complete family would probably disagree with me, and I understand that, but this reality exist where I’m coming from.

I probably have a different definition of family than others. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be that movie-type of daughter for her father if I could. My dad is 58 years old, he’s alone, and he doesn’t know what he is doing wrong, and he doesn’t even want to admit that he is wrong in the first place. Believe me, I want that turning point in a movie like Tanging Yaman just so I can fix our relationship; just so our whole family will be fixed.

So dear Daddy, no, you’re not a bad father. You just don’t know what’s going on because you chose to just put forward your achievements and what you have done for us to get our sympathy, not our love. I know you try, I know you really do. But there’s not enough time for us to be together, and I think a month long vacation is going to fix years of a heart’s absence.

So please, please, don’t ask me this question again. It’s always so hard to answer, especially when the answer is morphing into something unfavorable, but real.

Day 163: 6.16.17

To have someone understand your mind is a different kind of intimacy.

 

For a lot of people continuously chatting for two hours is normal. Two might even be the bare minimum of a daily normal chat, but not for me.
Well, until tonight.

I just chatted for two hours straight with someone! This is an achievement! For my introverted part, this is a milestone, mind you. This person is also from our group, but she’s one of the less active member. From the beginning, I’ve felt a strange connection with her, so just one random night, I messaged her and then we hit it off great! Of course we were usually fangirling, but lots of secrets had been spilled, so that makes me trust her even more. I’m glad I’m not alone with my thoughts. She’s just the more vocal one. Haha!

Since she’s honest (and can be brutally so), I asked her opinion about my writing. I don’t have a problem with narration, but if I want more of my target readers, I have to use less jargons since it can be too much. To be honest, I’m not even sure which jargon she was talking about! So with that, I’m not really sure what to do. And it was reassuring that someone appreciates me for not caring about what others think of my work. It was a good reminder of why I started writing again in the first place because honestly, I think I’m losing that reason against all these negativity.

I also congratulate myself for being brave enough to ask for criticism. I love writing so much that I’m ultra sensitive with it. Nonetheless, I needed that. Even if she gave me really negative feedback, that would’ve been immensely hopeful, too.

Anyway, I’m very glad to have found like-minded people in this new fandom and with this group. Of course, I try to interact with everyone in the group–I try–but of course there’s only one, two, or three people that we’ll connect to in a deeper level. I’m glad I’ve met them already. 🙂

Day 160: 6.13.17

You don’t always have to be at the top to be at your best. – Edward John Barber, 2017

Today, I cried.

I cried for reasons I wasn’t even aware I needed to cry about.

I thought, I was handling the pain strongly and bravely, and to be fair, I think I was, but even strong and brave people get battered and hurt, fall down and cry after a while.

I wasn’t aware that I was hurting that badly, and I was trying to mask the frustration by telling myself words that I needed to hear, but I guess, I wasn’t completely convinced by it.

Today, I faced the problem.

I admitted to myself, the ugly truth of the issue. That there is an issue, and I had an issue.

I cried in the darkness and isolation of the world, on my bed, in the safety and secrecy of my room. The walls had been witnessed to all my ups and downs, especially the battles I’ve had with myself that I chose not to share to anyone except for those walls.

I guess, that’s not a very good choice.

I know.

However, this is my limitation in terms of sharing myself. At least, I hope, only as of now.

I’m still waiting for the day that I wouldn’t have such a hard time allowing myself to deal with these demons with someone.

I know I have very good friends who would be willing to comfort me, and for that, I am very very grateful, but for now, I’ll just keep that in mind.

I can still manage. I can manage on my own.

If only I can admit, at least to myself, honestly, all the things that I feel bad about, and I don’t have to always comfort myself with words that I have to say to make myself feel strong and stable. Sometimes, I have to allow myself–hopefully more often–that there are times, that things are not alright.

And that’s alright.
Things will eventually be alright.

So, thank you very much, Edward for those words.

I have to remind myself, that I don’t always have to wish that I am at the top to feel good about myself, I just have to focus to do my best where I am. Whether people recognize that or not, if I am happy with it, then so be it. There would be people bigger than me, better than me, but that doesn’t mean that I am not good where I am now. If I really love what I’m doing, then someone will love me for what I’m doing, too. No matter how many or small those people are. Even if there is none, continue to be happy as you are, Michelle.

Rule of thumb: don’t get attached. But be kind. Always, and strive it, always be kind.

You’re alright.

Day 158: 06.11.17

There’s a thing in Twitter now that would have you post one random fact about yourself for every like that you get. I really wanted to do it, but since I’m not a popular user, I don’t think anyone will bother to click like and that will be very embarrassing!

So, I’m just gonna try it here. I’ll post 29 random facts about me since I’m now 29 years old!

1. I love marshmallows. I can eat this as dessert for a week before I take a semi-hiatus from loving it.

2. I love tea more than coffee, but I need to have one cup of coffee in the morning during work days or else I cannot function properly, or I get really cranky.

3. I love listening to music in different languages. It’s one of the best ways that I’ve validated the power of music because you get all emotional without needing to understand words, the melody, rhythm, beat speaks by themselves and it can move you by themselves.

4. I’ve been writing journal entries since I was around nine years old or younger, can’t remember. I used to have a very hard time expressing emotions, so whenever I felt sad or angry, I would write it down instead of sharing it to friends and family.

5. When I was in sixth grade, I used to not speak for a whole day in random days of the week. It was both challenging and strangely thrilling.

6. I like the smell of perfume, but I only wear cologne.

7. I don’t like using deodorant or antiperspirant products because it darkens my undersarm. Good thing I’ve never had BO. The sweat is quite a problem, though.

8. I was a feature writer during high school.

9. I eventually became the managing editor of the school gazette in high school. I was expecting to be the editor-in-chief because the members kept on saying it, so I started expecting as well. I was quite disappointed when I didn’t get the position, though that faded quickly because our head was more fit to the position.

10. I used to write dark poetry in highschool and during my first years in college.

11. I love psychology. I was thinking of changing courses, but I got lazy and I was also starting to love my course. I do plan to still study it in the future!

12. Sense of humor is always a turn on for me.

13. I love guys who smell good, like they just stepped out of shower.

14. I love listening to podcasts especially during commutes. My main stations are The Morning Rush, The Hidden Brain, Freakonomics, Invisibilia, and Modern Love.

15. I’m a Cumberbitch! I love Benedict’s voice most so I listened to almost all radio drama I can get of him. “Cabin Pressure” is my favorite.

16. Apparently, I have struggle with brevity in writing. Haha! If you’ve reached this far, I’m sure you’ve noticed that already. See? I’m not writing the next number yet. I should? Okay.

17. I love handwritten letters and postcards. I used to be active in exchanging postcards with random people from various countries.

18. I once got lost to a really far, unfamiliar city, but because of the kindness and help of others, I was able to go home with only 10 pesos left in my wallet.

19. My attitude towards a person depends on their attitude towards me. I adjust to their mood.

20. I’m an ambivert.

21. I’m probably bisexual, although I’m more easily attracted to guys.

22. I love the words WAXING and WANING. Yes, like the phases of the moon.

23. I prefer venturing caves than swimming in the ocean.

24. I’ve liked the color orange since high school, but I don’t ever wear a shirt with that color.

25. I don’t wear shoes with heels.

26. I buy colored markers even if I don’t use all of them often.

27. I have a planner every year even if I forget to use it most of the time.

28. I have various kinds of camera: Sonny Cybershot point-and-shoot digicam, Holga, Instax 7s, Kodak point-and-shoot film camera, and an old Nikon SLR. I don’t use them as much as before.

29. I like going to galleries and exhibits, but I abstract painting will forever remain abstracts for me. Haha.

 

PHEW! This is actually quite hard!

Oh well, so that’s me. 🙂

Bye, 2016.

Saying goodbye to 2016 is like saying goodbye to an acquaintance: there is a minuscule of attachment involved because of a shared experience, but you know the moment you say goodbye, you’re already looking forward to something ahead of your day.

What can I say about 2016?

While thinking of what to say for 2016, I went back through some old posts to review my thoughts on the previous years. Somehow, I’ve had themes since 2013.

2013: Evil year – suffering, illness, chaos

2014: changes

2015: better version of myself

2016: consistency

Through 2014-2016, I tried my best to bring changes in my life. I’ve accepted changes as good despite it being scary. By the first quarter of 2016, I said goodbye to my old job as an Enrichment teacher and became a preschool teacher in a progressive school. I remained consistent with my aspiration to pursue the understanding of education through this change in role. Nonetheless, the management of this new school was also consistent with the mischievous acts of my former bosses, so am I satisfied? Nope. It feels disheartening that one of the reasons I left my former job is because of this problem, and yet, it is present in this new one. As much as I don’t want to mind about it, the new one is actually more annoying than the previous one.

I was consistent with my schooling. I was enrolled for two semesters and was able to complete them with flying colors! I was consistent with making new workmates new friends…so. Alright, I think I was able to do as much of the theme this year.

However, the whole year still seems to MEH.

Like, there are many periods and acts this year that I really regret doing. So much that I wouldn’t mind reliving the days again just to make the decisions better. This year, I suddenly feel like I’m at a crossroad again. I feel lost. I like teaching very much, and to be able to help my students grow was very rewarding as much as it was stressful and tiring. However, I’m starting to think again if this is really where I want to put my life into. Or maybe I’m just lacking in motivation.

So 2017, what do you have in store for me? Nonetheless, I wish that 2017 will be better for everyone. The Philippines had a new president this 2016. Everyone was hopeful he’ll be the savior of the country with his very unique, un-politician way of delivering himself. But in retrospect, I think his personality and campaign was in every way, political. For the first time in my life, I’ve never been this scared for the Philippines. Lord help us that we do not become communist. Seriously. (Shit, he’s friends withe Chinese and Russian president! Run!!!)

So 2017, I’ll be more and more optimistic of my life from the moment you arrive. I really, really should work harder to be successful. I think I’ve always been lucky, I’m just not doing the hard work that’s why success remains far away. Definitely, since I’m not enrolled for the next four months for school, I’ll be reading more books (novels and educational references alike) and get physical! Where did my determination to do boxing go again? Learn the ukelele and have a pet guinea pig for 2017!

As for travels, I hope Taipei would be as nice as my last trip to Sagada (oh yeah, 2016 highlight!) and I can hopefully save up again for a trip with mom. I really owe her big time already.

2017 is in less than six hours. Gotta do my school grid. Bye, 2016!

 

 

 

The Resolution

Getting a second-hand iPod is not the best option for an mp3 player, but the option of free podcasts made it worth it.

In an episode of the podcast, “The Hidden Brain” about resolutions, the hosts discussed about why people find it difficult to stick with their resolutions despite thinking carefully the what and the how. They suggested that asking oneself “why” the resolution is being made in the first place gives it a higher chance to be followed since it reinforces one’s motivation to begin the act.

I’m not sure if my realization was directly affected by this idea, but immediately after, the conclusion to my previous’ posts questions became clear as day.

I went back to the very purpose of that message. Why did I send that? Because it was part of the series of challenges I wanted to do for 2015. I was able to pull the act of sending the message to him, but he unfortunately never got to read it. I settled with the idea that he might never be interested in what I gotta say, so I just shrugged off and moved on. Now that I have the option of him reading a message directly since we’re now contacts, why am I holding back? Why did I do that in the first place? Part of the challenge was for him to READ it. If he never got to read it for reasons that is beyond me, the challenge was never finished.

So the very purpose of that letter was to be READ and for my resolution to be realized. I asked the “why” of that resolution, so I got my motivation back.

Like a high schooler, after sending the message to him last night through chat, I immediately turned off my wifi and went to sleep. I wasn’t ready for his reply. If he seen-zones it, fine. If he replies, better. It doesn’t if I’m ready or not, the fact would remain that I’ll accept whatever comes out of this challenge. I brought this upon myself anyway.

In a few hours I’ll be back. I’m gonna check Facebook now to see if there’s a reply or whatever.

SHIT I’M NERVOUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSS!!!!

A leap

How do you know if an event is brought on by destiny, or something we just want to assume was brought on by destiny? We assume something to be a cosmic occurrence because it’s a fantasy coming true knocking on your door, and you’re scared of knowing you’re making a mistake of labeling the feelings that comes with it.

What if it’s just life’s small glitch that you’re supposed to ignore and move on with your life? But, what if it’s a glitch that’s signaling something big?

I’ll never know until I try to find out, right?

Alright. Here’s the deal.

I had a crush on this guy when I was in uni. He was a PE classmate from another program. He was cute, like a character out of a manga: bespectacled, shy smile, lanky, quite friendly, looks nerdy, speaks slowly (this is a plus plus for uniqueness). He’s the guy most girls would miss in a field of men, but your eyes would linger on him since he’s so different from the rest. I’ve heard girls giggling over his cuteness actually.

Now, I never got to know this boy. I’ve talked to him a few times over the course of that year we were in the same PE class, but he remained untouched and perfect in my mind for we never became friends. I froze whenever he and his friends pass the hallway; my train of thoughts halted if he’s within my vicinity. Basically, I get petrified whenever he’s in sight. Well, aren’t we all shushed and awed at the sight of something we deem “perfect”?

Anyway, since I’ve never ever confessed to my crushes before, for my theme CHANGE last year, I wanted to change that series of concealing my feelings. I thought, if there’s anybody to confess to, it’s gonna be him. My previous crushes became good friends, so it might turn awkward if I suddenly blurt it out of the blue. We’re basically strangers to each other, so what’s to lose, right? Moreover, if he’s a character out of a manga, then I’ll be the girl that confesses him.

So at the beginning of January 2015, I sent him a message over Facebook, exposing my thoughts of him, expressing gratefulness over making my uni days exciting and giggly, and expecting nothing in return. I just wanted him to know that there was someone in school whom he made happy just by his mere presence. Of course, I told him that my decision was brought about by desire to change a part of my life and making him part of that change, but he didn’t necessarily have to be active in it.

I left the message there in the FB chat and thinking that he won’t be able to read it, I had to add him to my contacts. For the next days, I opened my account with shaky hands and at the back of my mind, expecting to either be ignored or replied with a “thank you”. However, in the months to follow, he neither read or accepted my invitation. In the months to follow, I eventually settled to the fact that nothing’s gonna happen and I can move on from that episode.

Came two Sundays ago, I suddenly got a notification that he accepted my invitation to be my FB contact (well, along with three more people). Instantly, I thought of my message and that it was finally read. However, going back to the message, he never touched it. It’s been a year anyway, my friend said that it might’ve been sent at the very back of his notifications. What’s the use of reading a message sent a year ago anyway? I understand that.

But then, am I okay with this? Finally, here’s the chance to finally talk to him, to get to know him by being connected (albeit virtually), am I gonna risk my perfect image of him in my head? What if I get rejected? Am I gonna subject myself to another bout of expectation? As if I don’t have enough on my head right now! *sigh* Well, what’s my problem anyway? I thought I can just shrug it off, but honestly, I really wanna find out if I can do something to connect. The fantasy is great, but these days I’m getting more consumed by the curiosity.

Am I nearing a conclusion? Yes. I’m thinking of re-sending the message. Since we’re connected now, I would know if he has really read it or not. I could finally get my answer (I’m expecting to be rejected, yep, not expecting the good to avoid the hurt) and move on for good. I’m sure ten years is enough for a fantasy of a single person. My friend said I needed closure, and closure I would get.

Am I really gonna do this? Yes. Well, I’ll try to think it over again first tonight. Anyway, WISH ME LUCK!

Anger

91a4873ea29f3faf979d4994219260a6

Some of the worst days of my life involves me raising my voice to an octave I didn’t even know I can manage to belt out. It’s that moment that dark clouds hides judgment and you succumb to a feeling so intense you didn’t know how much damage it would create, nor how much damage it can cause you.

I’m a very patient person and most people would say that I’m pretty chill despite others trying to push me around, and just because I really don’t let them. I try not to think that they are pushing me around, but instead, I’m just being the better person by trying to find around the situation without losing my cool. However, all of us has a trigger that can ignite that fire to explosion, you know? I have that. The trigger is buried within layers of patience and body fat, but when pressed, uh-oh.

To be very honest, I’ve only been angry several times in my lifetime, probably less than ten times. I try to find reason for every bad thing that happens to me or when people do me wrong so I can try to find reason to easily forgive them too, but that trigger has no logic, so I just explode. Of course, I also held grudges and that one is worse, but at least that my angry imploding muses got me writing angry poetry and angsty prose.

I think for the reasons that I get really angry–you know, like screaming, red-faced mad–it’s valid. Nobody tells me that it was an uncalled for reaction, but I get the biggest damage in the end. Why? Probably because in the end, me getting angry and raising my voice didn’t solve anything permanently. Also, my heart cannot bear the emotion as there’s irregularity in the beat and my breathing shortens. Since I’m not used to this very powerful emotion, my body reacts very negatively to it. And of course, once I get this much angry, I feel awful the rest of the day. It throws me off-balance. The regret of giving up to the situation and letting anger dominate me for a few seconds stretches to the rest of the day.

The thing is, when this happens, I crave random things. I don’t eat properly and start craving for food that I won’t usually eat on a non-special day, meaning I spend more. And there’s nothing more awful than unplanned and impulsive spending.

So there, Buddha, you’re right. My anger is punishing me right now because I still feel bad about it. I direly need to meditate again.

 

 

The Curious Case of Valentines 2016

No Boyfriend (or Girlfriend) Since Birth

That’s my most honest label in the world of romantic relationships and dating. Heck, that’s a confession as well.

If I was the Michelle speaking two years ago, I wouldn’t have ever admitted it. I was dead embarrassed about it. Imagine your mother giving this juicy detail of your life (instead of achievements or experiences) to her friends whenever they would ask about me, in my presence. THE TRAUMA.

Is being an NBSB a stigma? I believe it could be considered as such. Coming from a semi-conservative society of the Philippines, being without a partner for such a long time is considered a shame. Most women in the past would be married at the age of 24. My mom got married with my dad when she was 24, my dad 23. And it wasn’t even just about child rearing, it was more of just the right age to be a married person. Habang bata pa… (While still young) as what they say. Of course, there’s the promise of building a family and being able to provide while stay healthy, etc. Nowadays, I believe that the marrying age has moved up a bit to late 20s probably because of work or just this new era has promised us so much more than just marriage. There’s career growth, traveling, partying, exploring new culture and language,etc. Moreover, you can be in love and be in a long, serious relationship with your partner without being married, right?

When I was much younger (and more cynical), I asked my bestfriend if it’s possible to be mutually in love with someone without putting a label on whatever they have except for love. For several minutes she was taken aback and reflected on it also. Being a player spares you of these types of questions as a player or just a lady-charmer gives you the luck of always having someone around. Anyway, she said that it is totally possible, but without the confirmation of what the relationship is, it’s difficult to define what boundaries and rights you have with each other.  Touche.  Then there’s my question about marriage later on and my perception of it as just a legal binding of emotions and freedom. Somewhere, sometime along the road of maturity, I’ve been a witness to some really good relationships that ended up in marriage. Suddenly, marriage became so ideal to me, and the promise of being together for as long as one can manage with a partner was so appealing.

If there’s one word that I picked up from my elementary English class that stuck so much as beautiful to me, it would be companionship. For example, I believe that my grandparents shared not only years and years of love, but it was companionship that kept them together. They always had each others’ back even when they bickered everyday. I knew how much my grandfather adored my grandmother despite his constant teasing (he new grew old of this, pun yes yes), and I’m sure my grandmother was flustered the whole time.

So you see, bred from an environment, a culture, a society that fosters this type of image of love and relationship, being an NBSB is a stigma. My relatives asks me all the time why I don’t have a boyfriend (or girlfriend) and my constant answer is: I DON’T KNOW. Honestly!

They say I don’t look that bad. Yeah, I’m on the chubby side, but at least I have boobs, I’m soft and hug-able. I can carry a conversation and I at least try to be smart, but uhm, yep, that’s not the formula for me. Perhaps because of my resting bitch-face? My high school friend told me some guys get intimidated with me. Frankly, I didn’t know how to deal with that statement, and I still don’t know how. I mean, come on! I didn’t have any say when the genes of my parents decided to mold this kind of face. I’m actually a really really friendly person if they only approach me! And well, fine, I can be a bit bitchy too since my tongue is kinda sharp, but only when necessary. I guess the bad parts stick to people better, huh?

Other friends have told me to go out there and explore. How? Going to clubs? Meh, don’t like crowded, noisy places and I don’t like drinking that much. How do you even have a decent conversation in a place where you’d have to yell at another person to hear you say, hi? What? The point is to be instantly close to the person, like, literally? NUH-UH. I mind my personal space, thank you.

Chats? Well, I could go with this. In fact, I’ve chatted several times with different guys and they were kinda interesting. I even had a few email correspondents. All those had been great experiences, but the thing is, I have problems with consistency. I can’t keep up with the constant exchange online unless it’s that person who becomes persistent with me. I grow tired of writing emails (because my replies are novel-length) and chats are kinda awkward when left hanging by the other person on the line.

Some men have approached me for my number, but I’m seriously untrusting of strangers, so either I lie about something or I just flee the scene. I also have no idea about flirting and I’m more a pare (buddy) to my crushes than a lady. The most offensive description I’ve had of my unsuspecting, unapparent femininity was that I had no sex appeal coming from no other than my own…father. Yep, that hurt a lot. I guess there’s also my non-conforming view of how a female should look like for a really long time, so I really didn’t look the part of someone who has, as my father said, sex appeal.

Nowadays, I’m more inclined to traditional ways of looking feminine like wearing make-up, curling hairs, wearing skinny jeans and dresses, and perhaps at the back of my mind this is to make myself look better, but I’m not really going for the look that I think guys would like, just things that I find pretty on me. Basically, the upgraded blooming is really puberty hitting a bit late in life without the raging hormones.

To be honest, I used to frustrate myself asking what’s wrong with me and why other people don’t find me interesting enough to make me their girlfriend. Then I’d get conscious about Valentines Day as it really is a case-in-point single-ness awareness day. My family would tease me about not having a date or getting flowers or chocolates then I’d somehow find myself watching a romantic movie even if I deny that Valentines is just another day (not even a holiday, duh), but I’d dream of my own love story anyway, afterward.

This year, somehow, I’m welcoming Valentines with open arms! WOO! That’s why I described this topic as curious. I may had been a bit bitter on the purpose of this day and the contrast it gives my sterling love-life (eherm), but this year, I dunno. I wanna do something on this day! Something special. I’ll just make it a day to do something special, but not really because it’s Valentines, you get me? I wanna get that special feeling that couples maybe giddy about during this day minus the romance and without added sour or bitterness. I just wanna spend this day positively in my own way.

So what’s the plan?

Well, my older brother said he’s gonna treat us for dinner so YEY! That’s one. Valentines is about love, so spend it well with my first love food and then family. Admit it or not, we were first attached to food through our appetites before we start recognizing the faces of our family members, so no shame to that! Also, I kinda really wanna watch this:

panahon-ng-may-tama-comikilig

Yeah, it looks corny, but I’m sure corny is the last words for these veteran comedians! I’d love it more if Jose and Wally were there, but Papa Jack is bad-ass funny in his own way especially handling lovesick, desperate callers in his late night radio show; I’ve watched Ate Gay in a comedy bar and I love him/her; then there’s Boobsie and Chuchay whose segment in a Sunday noontime show has become a mainstay, so you know they’ve got the laughs locked down. I love comedy shows! I love laughing! Doesn’t it feel so good to laugh so hard you can hear your own laugh and then laugh at it and then laugh out more?!

See? This resting-bitchface bitch actually loves to laugh. Take that, irony!

So yeah, I’m not gonna celebrate on the actual Valentines Day, but in spirit of it, yes. V-day falls on a Sunday, so I would, on any other circumstances and day, would avoid the crowd of a Sunday in malls or any shopping area. The farthest I’d probably go to would be in Guadalupe for ukay-ukay. (I miss!)

So how did this change of heart come about? Simple. Acceptance. It’s the key to everything. I really have to thank the gods for letting me experience the worst of pain for me to evolve into this more mature being. Accepting that there’s gold at the end of the horrible road is an upgrade to my optimism and belief that life really gets more amazing as time goes. Failure and death paved way for reflection and changes.

I’m very thankful also to my friends who urged me to attend Zen meditation classes because aside from the actual meditation, Buddhist teachings certainly connected with me on a spiritual level.

Nothing is permanent in this world; people, material things, happiness, pain, nature, etc. Once you start accepting this truth, it’s much easier to live. We suffer because of things we don’t have or things we cannot attain. In this case, I don’t have a romantic partner and I haven’t attained one. I’ve probably haven’t done enough good things to earn my karma for a partner, or maybe I don’t have one for this lifetime. I used to think that perhaps going abroad would open me a whole new opportunity not only for career but also for a chance at love, but what if there’s none? Then I would be in for another disappointment. So, detach. Detach yourself from thoughts of things you do not have. Live your life in the moment with good deeds and happiness. If I’m not meant to fall in love in this lifetime, then so be it. I try my best everyday to detach myself from the hope.

I try because from time to time I still wish to learn what love is all about and why people go crazy with it. It must feel so nice to have someone dote on you lovingly. I know that despite this acceptance, the over-thinker me would always asks these what ifs which I find so tragic in stories. There’s that gray area of things that could have happened, but they wouldn’t because it’s not meant to be. Not in that lifetime at least.

So what’s the conclusion? Be happy, and live life to its most positive potential. Be curious of the odd and different, but have enough caution. Love yourself, love others, and love life. Remember, love always multiplies. 😀

Advanced happy love day, everyone! 🙂

IMG_20160122_225912

Yey?

I always try to look for something to look forward to. Something to strive for to make my life richer. – Sam Berns, progeria advocate and inspiration to many

Yesterday, I emailed my bosses a formal letter of my intent to discontinue my work from April of this year onward. The one who pulls the strongest string in the game had acknowledged my decision and so it’s final. I would be out of that school in less than two months. The countdown begins.

The decision, believe it or not, had been an easy one as I know what I want and don’t want from a situation anymore. In particular, my working situation as of now. Don’t worry. I’m not gonna go into a long rant regarding my grievances at work because I think overall the good outweighs the bad. Yet, there is such thing as pride and the pursuit of better happiness elsewhere which cemented this choice to leave my home of almost two years (very soon!).

What I expected to be a thrill upon confirmation of my freedom was pretty bland. Of course, I’m happy that there wouldn’t be any problems towards my exit (it seems), but at the same time, I’m scared of what’s life after this phase.

It would be two years, two years, of the same routine and people, comfort and happiness. Believe me, I can dwell so much on that routine of warmth that I know it would be difficult on the following days of being away from it–permanently. Moreover, I visualize this exit as me stepping into a white plain and a blizzard my way. I’m supposed to look forward to this new end as a beginning, right? That’s how my optimistic mind naturally wires for me, but it’s really not taking effect. Not yet at least. Let’s hope it would soon.

Well, I guess I should just chill for now. It’s only the beginning of February and there’s still a lot to do and consider. I don’t have to rush going to abroad because that’s just impossible. No company would hire me that easily without it a bit shady. I have to be realistic about my situation now and just try to find a way around it. Perhaps I also deserve some time off just to think and reflect. I have to visit the temple soon. I also have to study more, fangirl less. Is that even possible? I have to make it possible! It’s so difficult but wjkAsjkBADnsbfkjdbfk;jdsbf LEZGO!

Hey there, 2016.

I began formulating my goals of 2015 before the year ended at 2014. It’s a few hours before it turns 2016 and I still haven’t really thought of a theme for next year.

2014 was a year of changes; a change that I didn’t welcome, but learned to embrace. The changes awakened in me a braver side, a side that welcomed challenges with a smirk.

I believe that 2015 had been a fruitful year of conquered challenges and unlocked goals. I learned more about myself this year than I ever had in any other year; therefore, I wanna continue with this kind of attitude in the following year.

My personality now welcomes changes and embraces challenges, but the greatest difficulty I’ve always had is consistency.

f39bda21dfa9d6718c2c9ae4fd84e904

It’s so easy to start something new, but it’s certainly hard to continue until the end. Self-growth is a commitment; commitment requires devotion, patience, and sticking with the plan through good and bad times. I’m glad that even though I still sometimes slip into feeling the urge to abandon something I’ve started, I can now psyche myself up to go on. I’m so glad that the two previous years have graced me with a vision in the future. Until when that future stretches to, I’m just wishing that I get to see those visions to reality before I die.

Unfortunately, I still get a strong feeling that I’m gonna die around 33 years old that now I’m somehow feeling melancholic that I’m not gonna see more of life before that. I guess this is one of the reasons why, at 27 (turning 28 in a few months), I’m becoming more eager to find out what else life has to offer for me, preferably, outside the Philippines.

Abroad.

Perhaps I’m jumping the bandwagon of my peers moving outside the country, but I now understand why most do so. A lot of Filipinos are fleeing the country to earn money and help their family, and that’s also one of my goals, but not the primarily. If it’s just living, I’m satisfied with my life here in the Philippines. The traffic, the corrupt politicians, the faulty government, the opportunist countrymen–I’m all used to that. I have lived with that, and I believe I can continue hoping that I get to see a rebirth of the Philippines with my child (if there’s a hubby, the better).

Despite the sad reality of my country, I am in love with the concept of home. My home is in my mother’s love and affection, the micro-world I built in my room, in the company of my friends and our simple preferences of fast-food, street food, and joking with random strangers, sudden touches of kindness, the smiles, etc. I love the Philippines and all the mysteries of its culture I still have to discover, but I feel that I need to say goodbye for now. I am thirsty for the truth which is out there. I wanna know more of what life can offer and how much I can fill more for a better life. I would have to say goodbye to everything that has been my comfort blanket, but I’m not going out there unclothed and unguarded. I’m sure it’s going to be uncomfortable, perhaps there would be bouts of homesickness, but I swear I’ll try to make every minute worth while.

Where do I want to go? Japan. It has always been my dream to live there ever since I was a kid–due to anime of course. I’ve outgrown the anime stuff, but I’m more than willing to come back to it and learn deeper of the country’s culture, language, and society. (Naks, mature na!)

Of course, I can’t be choosy, right? I’ll have to try in other countries also: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, or Korea. Anywhere is good for work since experience is priceless, but of course, since I’d be considered an OFW, might as well earn decent more than I earn here to help my family and save up. I’m turning 28, but I have no savings. HUHU. I’m in love with culture, so I wanna live in a country where I can enrich myself more with cultural understanding. I wanna learn more about my own culture through understanding others. Somehow, I now understand what diaspora is about. Whenever I would talk about the Philippines and Filipinos to foreigners, I understand a bit more, appreciate more about this home of mine and I love it just a bit deeper each time.

I have these big aspirations, grand plans for this year, but my motivation is nowhere. I feel kind of sad about it. And honestly, I’m scared. I would be out of work in two months, and I know I have to start the engine for my new journey this year. I’ve told most people of what I want to do this year and I don’t want to embarrass myself by being all talk and no action. Mostly, I don’t want to disappoint myself. From the traumatic year of 2013, I’ve grown a lot. I should know better and try to change some things which are not working out for me anymore. Like not continuing with my job of almost two years now because I can’t handle some people there anymore. Nonetheless, two years held a lifetime of great memories with my co-teachers, the kids, and thein-betweens of work and friendship. I love the in-between the most as those had the most laugh and jokes with my friends, the hugs and kisses from my beloved kids, and the reflections I’ve had as a teacher. It has been a year and 10 months, the longest I’ve stayed in a work. Achievement? YES! Hopefully, in the next place I work in, I can stay longer. I long for growth and satisfaction.

Can I continue being a teacher? Of course I can! But I really ought to be a better student to be a better teacher. Teaching kids had been an eye-opener to the wonders of education. I hope I can come back to the Philippines and be of more help to the children here. When I’m more secure and capable. That’s a pledge.

So again, hello, 2016. I hope we can be great friends like how I hit it off greatly with 2015. We’re in a really awkward stage right now, but I’m sure we’ll be more comfortable with each other soon.

 

Love, Michelle.

At peace

It’s been a year of new memories, experiences, and awakenings in my new job.

Last year was a milestone as I discovered what sexual awakening was about. I’ve read about these things, getting confused and flushed, and even ashamed and embarrassed at some point, but all was worth it.

It’s been months since I last mentioned about my girl crush, well, ex-girl crush. I don’t like her that way anymore, and I’m ever relieved of it. From the start, I knew there’s not gonna be an us, but we can be friends, good friends.

The period came when I realized, she’s just a co-teacher now, no special feelings and I should be relieved. However, the way I was always awkward of her presence, despite her lambing, the small acts of her saying that she misses me as lunch-mate or having to joke around each other which I’ve brushed off as being overly clingy. It’s her personality anyway. I’ve been self-centered all this while, and I was blind to realize that she probably wanted to be a good friend to me as well. Despite my efforts to conceal my feelings from a person, or even from myself, I think I’ve never perfected this act. Perhaps, during those times, she also felt that I wasn’t comfortable with her, so we went civil with each other: automatic smiles on the hallway, awkward nano-talks (it’s that fast), and communicating when needed (usually if there’s a need to confirm something, or problem with our printer, or about books). Stereotypical co-workers.

Lately, things have been better. I’m not sure if I’m just in a good mood these months despite the storm of classes (full-time and part-time), and I have a better schedule now with Friday as the end of the workweek (weekends serving as day off in its fullest sense), but things between us have been pleasant.

I don’t feel awkward with her anymore. I can joke and laugh a lot around her or at her (they say I’m bully, psh) and I feel that she’s also like that to me. Being the sensitive person she is, I think she was just waiting for me to break my walls. I didn’t even notice I’ve had them.

When the memory of that great afternoon over lunch being friendly and comfortable with each other, until we said goodbye, flashed in my head as I was heading home, it dawned on me: this is what it feels to be at peace.

I’m over the office heartbreak, I smiled inwardly while soft music and a gentle breeze guided me home.

There was once a girl who had no idea what she would do with her life: no exact ambition, no motivation, lazy, self-hating, in need of attention and affirmation. She was in her early 20s. throughout those years, she would jump from work to work, trying to figure out what was wrong.

Was it the environment? Was it the people? Was it the job? Was it her?
She had no idea. No, she had a lot of ideas. But she had no idea what to do with the ideas.

For years, she would mask her happiness in front of others. Preach about success and motivation and dreams. Inside, her heart would break a little bit because the voice sounds very distant, an echo from the end of a tunnel. A very hallow tunnel with a speck of light from the distance. “Is that me?”, she wonders. No, it wasn’t her. It’s the same voice, but she could not connect with it. That proud voice talking of a brighter future and amazing adventures were in a shell, and it was empty.

The girl lives, floating like a balloon, lost.

A big event arrives in her life, making her realize that she’s capable of things she had always turned her back from. She said she hates cooking, but she did it anyway. She had no choice due to the circumstances. She hated the clean-up, but she was sure, somehow, a bud of interest was there. There’s a bud of change she was willing to take care of. Things were changing.

The girl still lives today. Still lost and without a clear vision of what she wants to be. Sometimes, she would write in her diary about her day, about her woes, her worries, her insecurities, of challenges and changes. Yet, for each end of her writing, she’s a little bit more positive. She’s taking steps to change herself, maybe her life. She’s written goals to do for the year. Heck, she even gave some years a theme. There’s some untested waters in front of her, and they are deep and can drown her whole. But she’s willing to dip her toes, she’s ready to plunge in. She can’t swim, or can she?

IMG_0572

2014: A Reflection

The year 2014 has certainly been a year of change.

For myself who has always been reluctant of change, I embraced this concept with an open mind, and partially with a smug face saying, “challenge accepted”. What I don’t like about change is that I know very well how difficult it is to start over again: the confusion, reorganizing, finding your place in the new space, getting acquainted then familiarizing; they all take so much time and energy. Isn’t it that the reason we try so hard to find a place where we belong is because we want to cocoon ourselves in a reality that functions for us? Yet, probably, we are not the arbiter of our lives.

With such bad memories of 2013, I decided that I’ll make 2014 different. I’ll embrace the changes and work with what I’m given. From my family’s battle with Tita’s cancer, and to me starting with another job, in an entirely different environment from what I’m comfortable with, these events were a start. Probably to move my life forward? I even said goodbye to my old blog to start this very one you’re reading because I wanted to start over again (although I restarted that blog again since there are old things we can’t ever leave behind. I’ll always be a fangirl through and through). I started biking not only for leisure, but for practical purposes too. I have began to work with kids despite my hesitation to ever be their teacher years back. I wear dresses to work and when going out now. I’ve even started using red matte lipstick! I had really strong crush on a girl (after a long time), and this December I started chatting online! Chatting is something I don’t do, especially with strangers! Well, I do need to do something if I want to find somebody special. With two of my friends having the luck of meeting their special someone online, maybe I gotta lower my barriers a bit and change my views about people flirting with me. Damn trust issue and low self-esteem?

I’ve been so full of pride I overlooked my insecurities there whoa. Anyhow, I’ve found a whole different me when I started embracing my sexuality and femininity. I don’t know why I’ve been adamant with them for so long when it’s so liberating!

On the other hand, I’m sad that my Tita Marie cannot welcome 2015 with us anymore. It was a great battle that lasted more than a year, and I couldn’t be more thankful that we had ample time to spend with her. We all knew that it was borrowed time, and when it was time’s up, she didn’t have any difficulty. I just wished I saw her one last time to properly say goodbye. I don’t know if the kind of heaven in my head is where she is now, but I hope she’s watching over us, happy and content finally.

Speaking of good things, I was blessed with new, really great friends and allies this year. My co-teachers: Anna, Barbie, and Dani are the kind of friends I’d like to keep close until many years have passed. It’s always such fun being with them, and I’m just so thankful that I was able to forge a strong bond with them. After months of feeling misplaced in that school, with the work and culture-wise, they made me feel welcomed. Despite the challenges (getting worse and more difficult as months pass), these girls, including the other teachers whom I had judged too soon, are the reasons I go to work. Although I’m also thinking that I can’t go on working only for the company I’m with. I have to get myself together and start improving myself  for the work.

So, for the next 365 days, I would try as best as I can to summon out a better version of myself. Yeah, I know it sounds cliché, but I think I’ve never thought of actually making a better version of myself. I thought the me now, is good enough, but that’s the damn ego talking. There’s a lot to improve about me, mentally, emotionally, and physically. To be fair, I think I’ve begun caring about how I look more and more, although I’m never trading comfort over fashion. Nope, sorry. I miss biking though, and I plan on putting my money to better use like enrolling myself to a boxing gym. I’ve always wanted to try that. Mentally, I have to be more patient and persevering. I have a tendency to leave something which I think i’m already good at. I’ve never even considered mastery. That makes me an idiot, right? Right. Aren’t I a conceited!

There.

2014, you have been a better year compared to 2013, so thank you for that. I hope 2015 would give me more avenues to improve myself, my life, and to influence more people around me, for the good of course.

 

For those who have visited this humble nook of mine in the vast space of the world-wide web, it has been a pleasure sharing, exposing bits of my imperfect life. Thank you very much for being an audience. Take care and see you next year!

 

 

She will be loved

…forever and ever.

After more than a year of battle, my Tita is now more peaceful wherever she is.

I knew that she will leave us sooner or later; I was mentally and emotionally ready for it. I don’t know if that is a bad thing or not, to expect a family to die, but the way I saw it during the times she was still alive but sick, it was what was expected due to her health condition.

A lot of her other relatives told me that perhaps it was not cancer because her hair grew back, she was walking and eating better after many months on vegetable, but I was in doubt it wasn’t. No matter how I wanted to believe them, I was the person with Tita the most during the past year who observed the changes in her and the one who reviewed her medical conditions the most. It was no doubt a very bad disease, cancer or not. What I never doubt was that Tita never resigned herself to the disease. She perhaps resigned her faith to God, but I know that she helped herself get better. From the stories I heard about her last minutes alive, I think she knew it was time. She was the strongest she had ever been from the time the lung complications hit her. She danced, she ate heartily, she spoke clearly, she talked happily and said goodbye peacefully. What I am very thankful for is she didn’t experience pain; she was at home and she felt safe.

I am very thankful to the people who took care of her in place of us, her family. Of course I feel that her mother and siblings should take care of her as an obligation, but I would have preferred she stayed close to us, but we knew, to be honest, that we’re not good enough to make her feel better. During the time I took care of her, I was stressed because there was so much to do, so much to be concerned with, and I can only take care of her half-heartedly. I questioned the cosmos why it was happening to us, to me, and I was very, very tired. I wanted the burden to end. That burden could have been her, or the situation, I’m not sure. I was so stressed I was starting to feel very edgy and selfish. Of course, I didn’t give up on her.

Tita never gave up on me. She was my protector. Whenever Dad doubts my decisions and my preferences, she was always there to defend my reasons. She trusted me that much. She thought I was smart! When I wanted to go to Japan, instead interrogating me and telling me that it would be a big waste of money, she pushed me to go through it! She even shared her story of working in Nagoya when she was younger. She always told me that I have to pursue working abroad while I’m still young. My destiny could be in another country. We went out more than I could think of. Because we are girls, we had more bonding time. I’d always remember those fondly. Although I acted so much like a kid, letter her treat me and depending on her so much, I’d like to think she liked dotting on me. I was her favorite. 🙂

I remember defining the word integrity to her as she was to explain it for my brother’s school event involving parents, and now I can’t help but think that the word suited her very well. She always lived with integrity.

During her internment yesterday, perhaps I saw the saddest, yet most beautiful picture of a husband and wife. Although not legally married, my dad and Tita were best together. My Tita loved her dad wholeheartedly. To be honest, we even questioned that many, many times since my dad could be such a jerk. Yet, yesterday before Tita’s casket was buried, my dad asked the casket to be opened. He stroked her head, touched her cold face and hand, then he leaned down to whisper things to her. In that moment, we didn’t exist; only him and Tita. He whispered to her closely, not minding her lifeless body or the odor. He said so many, many things to her I think and it was the most intimate thing I’ve seen between them. Those things were only to be known between them; between heaven and earth. After that, he kissed her cold lips for a while before finally saying goodbye.

Now, I know that I loved Tita like a mother, but would I be this calm when my own mom dies? I don’t even want to think about it. I don’t want any of my family members to go soon. Despite having a feeling that I might leave on my 33rd birthday, I wish I have fulfilled much of what I need to do for my family before then.

 

JpegRosemarie P. Giron

February 8, 1964 – December 1, 2014

 

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”
Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie

Rest in Peace, Tita.

You will always be my friend, my special Tita, and my mother.

We will always miss and love you.