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.