Posted in Music, Personal

Pains of a Newbie

Newbies in any career path will always be intimidated by those who are already succeeding (or on their way to success) in their career. Newbies will have a rough start, and they will experience loads of frustrations. Sometimes, it comes to a point in an aspirant’s life that they would want to quit. Some would actually do it, some would live with the frustrations, while some will bear in mind their frustrations but move forward in their career. I’d rather be the last kind of aspirant, but I will tell you this now: it’s hard to do that.

Earlier today, I recorded a cover of Jensen Gomez’s song All I Want from his solo album Umpisa. Okay, I’ve been fangirling over Jensen Gomez and Jensen and the Flips for the past few days. It has even come to the point of me using my dad’s credit card for purchasing Gomez’s Umpisa, Gomez’s song with Reese Lansangan called Maybe, and Jensen and the Flips’ Honeymoon and BTTR.

ANYWAY, so I uploaded my cover on SoundCloud and shared the link on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I even tagged Jensen Gomez in my tweet. And guess what!!! HE LIKED MY TWEET! He said thanks, and I said thanks too. Hehe, kilig! Anyway, it was not the first time he favorited my tweets, but to get noticed and “recognized” because of a song cover I did was big for me. And that brought a wide smile on my face.

But before Gomez reacted to my tweets, I made this tweet, and I quote, “Wanting a music career with little skills in instruments, little followers, and no connections is beyond frustrating. Am I not good?” Why did I tweet this? Well, because it’s not often that someone checks out my SoundCloud, especially for my original songs. So I felt so bad about it, to the point that a depressive episode started in me. But then there came Jensen Gomez to save the day (thank you so much!). But then this came up:

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 8.16.02 PM
screen shot from my Ask.fm profile

 

I felt attacked, to be honest. It hurts so much to be strongly criticized by an anonymous person, especially that I cannot say that I have a music career. For someone who’s not out of tune (and, in fact, can sing well) to be told that their voice is sub par at best is somewhat an insult. I get it, I still have to learn and improve, but to tell me that outright is hurtful. Okay, my skills in playing instruments are not good, and I know that very well. Not much of a problem there. But this got me so bad: “you don’t have followers [because] it is extremely difficult to like you”. Um, I didn’t quite get that, for I did not know in what context that was taken from. But anyway, I was badly hurt.

My eyes were tearing up while there were strangers (visitors) in our living room, which was where I was. It was actually a good thing that I was using my laptop; at least I was able to “hide” my face in it. I immediately sent messages to my friends, containing the screen shot and a short message: self-esteem now at rock bottom.

Some of my friends told me to not mind comments like those, and I told them that I eventually will bear those in mind for my growth. But, I also told them that I should let myself validate the hurting feeling, because no one can simply brush off comments like those, especially if they seldomly get them. I seldomly get harsh criticism, and I’m a very sensitive being. So I got hurt…a lot.

Now that my day is almost over, looking back, I think this is a lesson for me. If I do want to have a music career, I should prepare myself for a lot of harsh criticism from people I don’t know. If I want to be successful in this path, I should expect a lot of “haters”. But despite all of those people who might give me stress, I will most likely have supporters, even if they’re my family and friends only. I guess I’ll just have to cling on to their support whenever I feel down because of those negative comments I receive.

Also, I should learn from those comments. Hey, those comments might spring out growth in my music, my career, my life, and so much more. So yeah, I should keep them in mind, but not in my heart.

That comment discouraged me for a while, but because of my friends’ reassuring words, I feel like I’m back on track. My self-esteem has been boosted a bit, and my faith in myself has been restored. Now, I’m refueled to go ride and drive on this road I chose. I will not stop singing. I will not stop writing. I will not stop learning. Only death can stop me from this ride, and this is one of the few promise I will ever make in my life.

This will all be worth it. It just takes time.

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Posted in Personal, Relationships

Regrets

“Maybe we got lost in translation. Maybe I asked for too much.” – All Too Well by Taylor Swift

~

Everyday, I check the “On This Day” feature on Facebook. Sometimes I would share some memories, and sometimes I would simply reminisce. But yesterday, aside from celebrating two “friendversaries”, I stumbled upon a memory that, I would say, will haunt me. It had to do with a friend that I somewhat disowned.

I wrote about her before. Here’s the link. Read it before proceeding with this post.

(waits for you to finish reading the article in the link)

This is our history:

She’s five years older than me, but she looked my age. Six years ago (when I was a high school sophomore) when you look at her for the first time, you wouldn’t think that she was a teacher. She looked so young, and literally a few only took her seriously in school. Luckily, I was part of the few who took her seriously. I guess it was brought about by me respecting every teacher I had, since I wanted to be like them then. But if I wanted to be someone else, I might have been part of the majority.

She was pretty…no, she was beautiful. She was beautiful enough to make me affirm that I am not straight — that I liked boys and girls (for the record, I had girl crushes when I was a child). She taught Algebra six years ago. I did poor in that subject, but there was a grading period that I got an A- in that subject. She was so proud of me then, and she really made me feel that. I got a B- a grading period after, and she showed her concern, especially that I was close to tears when I found out. (Well, I really had puffy eyes then because our pet pug died the day before. Anyway…) Ever since then, whenever I would come to her for help in assignments, she would entertain me. Of course, I had a hidden agenda then, since I developed a crush on her. Sophomore year ended, and I thought she would never be my teacher again.

Then came junior year, and tada, she became my Chemistry teacher. I got excited and giddy. Yay! More time with her. Unlike my Algebra grades, my grades in Chemistry were excellent. I don’t know if I did well because I was naturally good in Chemistry or because my crush on her developed even more. We grew closer, as I still asked for help in Chem (so that I can get higher grades. Back then, school and friends were the most important things to me). But it was also in junior year when we had a drift. I would always walk and talk with her after classes, but then there were times when I would feel abandoned by her, especially when other students would ambush her. I remember one time when I literally walked out on her. I was so depressed then, to the point that I almost committed suicide for that reason only. After a while, we patched things up, since I hated conflicts with friends (who likes them anyway?). At that time, my crush on her was gone since I already had a boyfriend then.

I then found out that she was leaving my school, and so I left her a notebook to write a message for me. I read it, and it was looooong. She apologized for the times I felt abandoned, and she asked if we can be friends. And so we became friends. We would hang out sometimes, and we’d text each other and talk online. I even invited her to my 18th birthday party!

I really found a friend in her, an older sister even. There was even a time that we’d text each other everyday, and that lasted for a month. And then after a while, without any given reason, she distanced herself from me. I felt bad again, because I felt abandoned again. There were times that I would text her, and she wouldn’t reply. I really felt bad because she would instantly reply right away before. But for some unexplainable and unknown reason, she no longer replied.

There came a time when I wanted to confront her. It was Christmas season in 2015. I couldn’t meet her, so I did it via text. I explained my side, and she somewhat explained her side. The sad thing about it was I couldn’t understand and accept her reasons (well, mostly because I was still depressed and she didn’t give a clear reason). I really started to question our friendship. I really felt like it was a one-sided relationship. I was close to giving up on her, but I told myself that I will give her a chance.

I sent her a Christmas greeting, and I got no reply. Sent her a New Year’s greeting, and she replied with “happy new year”. I asked her if we could re-patch things, but she gave no reply. After two months, I sent her a farewell message via text (again), but I couldn’t get her off my mind. After a month or two, I would send her messages saying sorry, but she still wouldn’t respond. Until there came a time that we met twice, and guess what? SHE DIDN’T TALK TO ME!

And so I kept on sending apologies until I told myself “Cloie, stop it. It’s pretty obvious that she doesn’t want to patch things up.” And so I made a fake Facebook account just to quarrel with her and defend myself and tell her all the things I wanted to tell her, like calling her a b***h. And there, she did release her inner monster just like what I did. We parted ways in the worst way possible, and it was through Facebook!

I told my friends about what happened, and of course they sided with me, but they did point out her points. I did realize them, and once again, I said sorry. But I have no hope. Well, maybe I am better off without her.

Yesterday was not the first time I saw her in my Facebook memories this month. And every time I’d see her, I would miss her. I mean, she did shape a part of me, and she was really an older sister to me. But then again, it’s as if she didn’t want me in her life.

You know what hurt the most? In that message she wrote me, she told me that she will always listen to me. And where’s that? I mean, if she had a problem, I just wished she gave me obvious hints and not just kept silent. I didn’t know her that well then, meaning I didn’t know that silent treatment meant that she had issues.

Now that I’m more mature, I understand her and her choice of not telling me of her problems. I guess a part of her wanted to spare me of feeling bad for her, since I have bipolar 2. But as her friend (if she ever considered me as a friend), I was concerned about her. I really got worried about her, and knowing nothing really hurt me a lot. But hey, it’s her choice.

She’d often repeat to me in our last conversations that we had made choices in our now broken relationship. She really gave emphasis on that. Well, I guess her choice was to get rid of me, or that’s what I think of it. And so I also made a choice to get rid of her in my life since the relationship was really unhealthy for me. But now, looking back, I wish I just tried to understand her. But then again, I was not mature enough. Now that I’m wiser, I wish to turn back time and correct myself, but that’s impossible.

Honestly, I feel somehow miserable because of this. I really miss her. I wish I could still talk to her. I wish we can patch things up. I really messed this up big time. I never intentionally ended friendships, until this happened. I hate breaking up with friends. That, I think, is worse than breaking up with your partner. Anyway, so yeah. I really feel bad. I really wish I could turn back time and relive those moments that I was aggressive. Or better, relive those happy moments we had.

Oh dear, My eyes are tearing up. I really want to cry. She was my first love, my Ate, and in a way, my mentor. And I threw it all away. Uh, I hate myself for this, but what can I do? I must have hurt her a lot too. After all, I was not the only person in that relationship. Uh, I really feel bad. I wish I could talk to her, even for one last time. I just want to tell her everything I want to tell her: that I regret all the words I said, that she shaped a bit part of me, that I still love her (of course, as a friend), that I will never forget her, that I wish for her to come to my funeral, if ever she’s still around by then, and that I will go to her funeral if I’m still around by then.

If ever she doesn’t want to talk to me, I want her to read this post. My past blog was also an avenue for her to know my thoughts and feelings. I wish a friend would tell her to read this. If they have to force her, I would tell them to do so. Uh, I really just feel miserable. I just wish I never said those nasty words to her.

It’s 2:30 in the morning, 27th of September 2017. Honestly, I want her back in my life. But if it’s not God’s will, then so be it. I’ll just go to sleep, and I wish I wouldn’t dream of her. If I do, I’d just cry it out. But I really hope I won’t. I don’t want to cry the first thing in the morning. I’ll get puffy eyes all day, and I don’t want that.

Posted in Life, Mental Health, Personal

How to Prevent Suicide: Tips from a “Survivor”

September is Suicide Prevention Month, and I want to raise suicide prevention awareness. Being a “survivor” in a sense, I want to be able to help those who want to end their lives. I hope to be able to touch someone with this post. So, I hope you have the time to read this.

~ Long read up ahead! ~

Around  October or November 2012, I was cutting an illustration board for an extra credit project for Geometry class with a cutter. I was struggling so hard to cut polygons out of the illustration board for my “stained glass” project. It was so difficult, to the point that I almost accidentally cut myself several times. But there was this one time that I almost cut myself, but not by accident.

The whole time I was cutting the illustration board, I was crying. I wasn’t crying because of the cutting — I was crying because I was extremely sad, maybe even in grief. You may ask, I assume. Well, I felt betrayed by someone I trusted a lot. I also felt like I was just residing in our house, not living in a home; I didn’t feel the love in my family. And then there’s insecurity, self-doubt, lack of self-confidence, negativity, anxiety, depression, and regrets. Back then I wrote on a blog (that no longer exists) to express myself, but honestly, I felt like writing was not enough. I had friends whom I talked to, but it was as if talking to them was not enough. Maybe, it’s because I wanted a specific person to talk to me — the person whom I felt betrayed me.

And so that night, I was texting my best friend, telling her that I don’t want to continue with life anymore. It took her a little while to reply, so I thought that she didn’t care. I was a big over-thinker back then; to me, every little thing had a (negative) meaning. And so she didn’t reply right away. I was already crying so hard, until I got the cutter and placed the cold blade against my left wrist. I was about to cut in when my phone notified me that I received a text message. Being the girl who valued communication more than anything, I put down the cutter and read the text. It was my best friend telling me not to commit suicide — telling me how important I am to her, how loved I am, how valued I am. I cried even more, and I put away all the materials for my project.

Later on that month, I still wasn’t done with the project. It was the start of the Christmas rush, and I promised my mom that I will go with her to the mall for Christmas shopping. But then school work piled up, and I cannot go with my mom anymore. She then got mad at me, and I retaliated. I was so full of everyone, so I told her about my attempted suicide event. Her heart then softened, and she hugged me after a long time. In the end she went to the mall without me, and I finished the project with my heart a little less heavy.

The following year, my senior year in high school, I met an injury: my left kneecap got dislocated. With that came more anxiety and depressing thoughts, and overall health concerns. I lost all my will to study, and even to live. I felt like I lost everything, since my school life was my everything. Suicidal thoughts came back, but I no longer had the courage to act on it. I refused to get professional help, but one day, I finally went to a psychiatrist.

It was in late October 2013 when I was diagnosed with severe depression, but I think I’ve been depressed since 2008. The doctor gave me medications, explaining why I needed them. The balance of the chemicals in my brain should be restored, thus the medications. She assured me that it is possible that I will no longer take medications for my condition when the time comes, provided that I also have therapy and a solid support system. Ever since my injury, my family has grown stronger together, and I was happy because of that. I also knew who my real friends are, and I felt the support of my school.

The road to my high school graduation was rough, but I made it to the finish line. Then, I eventually went to UP Diliman for college. That, unfortunately, didn’t go well. I still got depressed about that, but I rarely got suicidal thoughts. Well, at least I got a lot less of those thoughts compared to when I was in high school. I guess it’s with the help of my medication, but more of my solid support system and my psychotherapy. These two (for some) or three important things will get anyone continuing with life. If you believe in God, then you have a fourth. Either way, these things show that no one is alone in the fight, even if they feel like they are.

I still get them, the suicidal thoughts. I had one around two months ago, because I felt useless. A friend then told me that those thoughts are from the devil, and that I shouldn’t listen to those “lies”. Since I am a practicing Catholic, I knew that what my friend said was true. I just needed a little reminder of that. The way my friend said it was not ideal though, and I kind of felt bad after it. And since I felt bad after, more reasons to take my own life came in as thoughts. I thought that I was a burden to my family (since I wasn’t studying), that I was useless, worthless, and unloved. But then, here I am now, typing a long blog post on how to prevent suicide but wrote a lengthy portion just for my history. So, how on earth am I still alive? Here are the things I tell myself, my reasons for living (and I hope they are your reasons too):

1. I am a champion

  • Out of a billion sperm cells, I won the race to the egg cell. Yes, it was me. That’s the very reason why I’m alive. Though there will be times that I will lose battles, I will never lose the war. After all, I was a champion at the moment of conception. I was a champion when I was a mere cell — what more now that I am able to do many things? I am no failure, no one is a failure. If I fail at one thing, it does not mean that I fail at everything. In fact, I have so many chances to turn over a new leaf until the day I die. I just have to choose my battles and keep up with them. Also, champions don’t just succeed without learning, and that is important to know.

2. I have a purpose — there is a reason why I’m alive

  • Winning the race of the sperms was not a coincidence; it was meant to happen. I was meant to be my parents’ daughter, my brother’s sister, my family’s gem, my friends’ confidante, a Filipino, God’s child and servant, and so much more. I am meant to be alive because I have a purpose in this world. I was not born because of nothing; no one was born because of nothing. Everything has its purpose, whether I realize it or not.

3. I am not my past

  • There were so many times when I lost battles, and of course I felt bad about it. Who wouldn’t feel bad about failure, right? But then, I don’t stay in the low forever. Why? Because I am not my failure, I am not my mistake, I am not my past. Yes, my past was a part of me, but it was and is not me. A part is never the whole.

4. I am loved, and I am made to love

  • Love may seem complicated, but really, nothing is easy. It takes a certain level of humility to give and receive love, but it is possible. To love, I believe, is natural to humans, no matter how hard it is. How is this evident? Of course, it’s my support system. I may come off annoying, but my family and friends still stay by my side. In return, I pay it forward to anyone I can reach — I learn to love those who come off as unlovable. See, loving isn’t that hard. It just needs humility.
  • Now, how can I say that I am loved, or treated with goodness at least? Well, I can see how my parents provide for me, how my friends would stop what they’re doing or multitask so that they can “listen” to me on Facebook Chat, and how strangers would keep the door open so that can get in or our of an establishment. Amidst all the ugly in the world, there is still goodness, and I choose to believe in that. After all, goodness begets goodness; true love begets true love.

(For those who are non believers, you may skip this. But you may read on if you are still interested in reading this.)

5. God will never let me down

  • I’ve had my fair share of doubts on the existence of the God introduced to me by my family and my school. I even had two periods in my life when I didn’t go to church, didn’t pray at all, didn’t choose to see God. But God is always good. He made me realize that it is Him who made me, it is Him who loves me even if I refuse to love Him. Eventually, He sent angels —disguised as friends— to lead me back to Him.
  • I’d always remember my first year in high school, the time I told my parents about the time I was molested. I refused to go to counselors because I knew that God would heal me. Of course, I encourage everyone to go to counselors if they need to, but I knew the kind of “therapy” and healing that I needed. So I prayed and clung to God, entrusting my whole life to Him. I was not healed instantly, and my depression got worse, but I knew that He was with me. After all, Jesus did not promise a bed of roses on earth for us. He even told us to take up our cross. Although I lost my faith after high school, I saw His goodness in others. Maybe that was His way of making me believe in Him again. I am undeserving of His love and mercy, but He still gives it for free. Oh, the wonders of God are marvelous!

Now, if you don’t feel like you have at least one of these reasons, of if you don’t have your own reason, please try to do at least one of the following:

1. Express yourself through art, music and dance, writing, sports, and more of your other talents and/or skills.

  • Having to release your (negative) energy and thoughts on doing something “productive” is a good way of coping with depression and sadness. You do not need to show the world your work; you can simply keep it or even throw it away (especially if it is full of “negativity”). Also remember that you are doing what you are doing to help yourself, to bring happiness and contentment to yourself.

2. Express yourself by talking to someone

  • Talking to someone makes you open up to others. It also helps in releasing your thoughts. It can also be an avenue for validation. You just have to know who to talk to. By talking to your friends, you will find out who will make you feel loved and accepted; you will know who your safe friends are. For me, talking is therapeutic, but that’s me. We’re all different, so this may not be effective for you. But then again, nothing’s bad with trying things out.

3. Get professional help

  • Talking to a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist is really helpful. Although some are not comfortable with this idea, I’d just like to let the world know that it’s not wrong to get help. Getting help is a form of loving yourself.

4. Avoid over-thinking, change your mindset, love yourself.

  • Over-thinking can kill…literally. That’s a reason why people commit suicide. It’s hard to avoid that because the mind naturally thinks. But we can control our thoughts, and we should not let our thoughts and emotions control us. Thoughts and emotions are not bad; they are natural for humans. But we should learn to control how they affect us.
  • We tend to generalize life as something miserable because of all the negative things that we’ve experienced. One thing I learned in therapy is that it is helpful if we do not label the events in our lives as positive events and negative events; we should treat them just as it is. “It just is”, my doctor would remind me. In all fairness, that helped me go along, not dwelling in the instances that I face. After all, life is not pure joy nor pure sorrow, it’s a mix of both, as we should treat life as it is.
  • We are also encouraged to remember that we should avoid thinking badly about ourselves. Our self is the only person we have forever, therefore we should learn to love ourselves.

(Again, for those who are non believers, you may skip this. But you may read on if you are still interested in reading this.)

5. Pray

  • Personally, my prayer life is not yet strong. But when I’m troubled, I pray hard. I tell God my story, I even rant and vent to Him even if He already knows what’s inside my heart. I just want to express every feeling I have. And then I would meditate, keeping my mind silent, focusing on my breath. I would listen to God then. Sometimes, His messages would come in a form of a reminder of a future event or an idea for my writing, but I wouldn’t recognize it right away (but I surely will recognize it anytime). Prayer is really powerful, and God’s message to us will always bring us joy in any way possible.

The ten things I listed above are just some things you can try doing and thinking about. I do not guarantee that you will be better after, but again, there’s nothing wrong in trying.

If you still have no one to talk to, please feel free to send me a message. Just send a comment on this post, and I will get in touch with you. I’m no professional, but I am here to listen to anyone who needs someone to listen to them. After all, I want to be a clinical psychologist in the future.

I hope that you bookmark this post and read it whenever you feel like you want to die.

I hope I get to help someone.

I hope and pray that there will be a day that people will be kind and understanding to one another.

Posted in College, Personal, Relationships

#AmareEtServire: Pasasalamat

This post is written in a mix of Filipino and English. I apologize to those who cannot understand this. I really feel more comfortable writing in Filipino. You can ask for a translation, just post a comment,

~

Itong blog post na ito ay produkto ng pagmumuni-muni kagabi, matapos ang Commitment Night.

Sa mga nakakakilala sa akin bago ako unang pumasok sa Campus Ministry (CM) Office ng Parish of the Holy Sacrifice sa UP Diliman, alam ninyong matindi at importante ang desisyon na kailangan kong gawin. Sa mga hindi nakakaalam, heto ang kailangan kong pag-isipan: kailangan kong megdesisyon kung ipapagpatuloy ko ba ang aking buhay kolehiyo sa UP, o lilipat ba ako sa De La Salle University – Dasmariñas. Tila hindi na kasi ako masaya sa UP dahil pinahihirapan ako nito nang husto. Hindi ako makapasok sa eskuwela  hanggang humahantong sa pagfa-file ng leave of absence (LOA) kada semestre.

Pakiramdam ko noon na wala akong direksiyon sa buhay, kahit na linggo-linggo kaming nagkikita ng mga kaibigan ko sa UP Campus Feast at araw-araw ay may kausap akong kaibigan sa Facebook. Tila hindi pa rin nasasagot ang mga tanong ko, na tila hindi pa sila sapat. Don’t get me wrong, mahal ko ang mga kaibigan ko. Kaya lang, parang may kulang e. Kaya noong inimbita ako ni Kuya Josh, kaibigan ko sa Feast, na sumali sa choir ng CM, sabi ko na susubukan ko. Inisip ko nang pagkakataon na iyon para mapapalapit sa Diyos, lalo na’t dumating na sa buhay ko na hindi ako naniwala sa Kanya. Tutal, pangarap kong mapabilang sa choir.

Noong unang araw ko sa CM, which was September 14, 2016, tinanong ako kung gusto ko ba raw magpa-orient. Sabi ko hindi ko alam, gawa ng baka nga lumipat ako ng eskuwelahan. Pero kahit hindi ako nagpa-orient, patuloy akong pumupunta sa CM. Naging ugali ko na ang pagpunta sa CMO, at nakibahagi ako sa mga gawain sa CM. Naging masaya ako CM, sobrang saya.

Dumating ang panahon na nagkapag-Commitment Rites (renewal of commitment para sa mga matagal na volunteers na) ako noong refounding anniversary ng CM. Sobrang saya ko noon, dahil noong weekend na yoon, Kerygma Conference din. Sobrang saya talaga! Finally, naka-commit ako. Ibig sabihin, hindi na ako lilipat ng eskuwelahan, gawa ng napagdesisyunan ko nang maging volunteer sa CM. Simula noon, napuno ako ng saya.

Ngayong enrolled ako, medyo nahihirapan pa rin ako sa mga gawain sa eskuwela. Pero nandiyan ang pamilya ko sa CM, pati na rin ang office (kung saan ako produktibo), para tumulong sa akin. Kaya lang, hindi ko na talaga kinakaya e. Kaya nag-apply na ako ulit ng LOA para sa semestreng ito. Halos wala namang nasayang sa mga effort ko, pero sayang pa rin. Kung hindi kasi ako mag-a-apply para sa isa na namang LOA, babagsak ako. Sa madilim na bahaging ito ng buhay ko, nandoon ang pamilya ko sa CM na pinapasaya ako, kahit na may kababawan ito. Kahit papaano, napapangiti pa rin ako.

Ngayong nakapag-Commitment Night (with the formal rites) na ako, sabi ko sa sarili ko na kahit anong mangyari, hindi ko susukuan ang UP. Mahirap ang buhay sa UP, kaya ang laki ng pasasalamat ko sa bago kong pamilya. Ngayon, alam kong hindi lang ako ang nahihirapan sa eskuwela. Pero kahit na hirap na hirap na kaming lahat sa eskuwela, natutuwa ako dahil nakikita ko ang commitment ng lahat sa paglilingkod sa Diyos at sa bayan Niya. Doon ako natuwa nang husto: sa commitment ng lahat. Kasama na rin ang pakikisama sa lahat, siyempre. Hindi perpekto ang mga pagkakaibigan namin, pero wala namang perpekto sa mundo natin. Lalo akong nauudyok na maglingkod sa Diyos tuwing nakikita ko silang nagtatrabaho para sa CM.

Sa pagmamahal at paglilingkod namin sa Diyos at sa bayan, lalong napapagtibay ang aking pananampalataya sa Diyos. Lagi ko na ring naaalala na hindi ako pababayan ng butihing Diyos. Lalo rin akong nahihikayat na aralin ang Kanyang Salita at ang mga bagay-bagay tungkol sa pananampalataya ko bilang Katoliko. Natutuwa ako na kahit galing ako sa Catholic school, marami pa rin akong natututunan na bago tungkol sa Catholic faith. Ang saya lang talaga. Ang karamihan, kung hindi lahat, ng kasiyahan ko sa eskuwela ay gawa ng CM.

Sobra-sobra talaga ang pasasalamat ko kay Lord at hinayaan niyang dalhin ako ng mga paa ko sa office ng CM, kahit na naagdalawang-isip akong tumugon sa invite sa akin ni Kuya Josh na sumali sa choir ng CM. Kahit na gusto kong mag-choir, parang ayaw ko pa noong mag-commit sa kahit anong bagay. Hindi nga ako noon naka-commit sa pag-aaral e, gawa ng naka-LOA ako. Pero gumagawa talaga ng paraan ang Diyos para mapabuti tayong lahat; tinutupad Niya ang kanyang pangako sa atin. Ang galing ni Lord, ano?

Ang laki rin ng utang na loob ko kay Kuya Josh, gawa ng siya ang ginawang instrumento ng Diyos para dalhin ako sa CM. Kaya Kuya Josh, salamat! Alam kong alam mo na sobra-sobra ang pasasalamat ko sa’yo, at hindi ako magsasawang pasalamatan ka.

Hindi kami perpekto sa CM, wala namang perpekto sa mundo. Kahit na malapit pa ang sinuman sa Diyos, may mga kapintasan pa rin ang mga ito. Pero dahil sa perpektong pag-ibig ng Diyos, nagagawa namin ang mga bagay na hindi namin inaakalang kaya naming gawin sa CM. Kaya labis kong nararamdaman ang pasasalamat ng lahat ng kasama ko sa CM para sa mga biyaya (at kahit pasanin) na binibigay ng Diyos sa amin. Sobra lang dn talaga ang nararamdaman kong pagmamahal ng mga kasama ko sa CM sa ating Diyos. Sa sobrang mahal nila si Lord, naglilingkod sila nang buong puso. Humahanga ako sa kanilang lahat!

Sobra ang pasasalamat ko sa Diyos at binigyan Niya ako ng pagkakataong paglingkuran Siya at ang Kanyang bayan sa pamamagitan ng CM. Ang saya ko dahil sa wakas, magagamit ko ang mga talento at kakayahan ko sa mga makabuluhang bagay. Ang saya lang, diba? Parang nakita ko na rin ang purpose ko sa buhay. O diba, two birds in one stone!

Ang saya na nararamdaman ko ngayon ay hindi perpekto gawa ng mga problema ko. Pero nababawasan ang lungkot ko talaga dahil sa CM. Sobra kong mahal ang aking mga kapwa volunteers. Hindi ko ma-imagine ang buhay ko nang wala sila.

~

Ama, pinupuri Kita dahil sa Inyong pagiging butihing Diyos. Pinupuri kita dahil sa Inyong perperktong pag-ibig sa akin at sa kapwa ko. Pinupuri kita dahil dapat lang na purihin Kita, isang mabuting Diyos na alam ang aking mga ninanais at ang aking mga kinakailangan.

Patawad po sa lahat ng aking mga sala sa Inyo at sa kapwa ko. Patawad po, lalo na po sa mga pagkakataong nalilimutan kong nandiyan Ka, nagmamahal at nagbabantay sa akin. Patawad po para sa aking pagkalimot sa Inyo. Ngunit sa kabila ng aking mga pagkakasala, minamahal Niyo pa rin ako. Kaya Lord, maraming salamat.

Maraming salamat dahil noong nawawalan na ako ng pag-asa, dinala niyo ako sa Campus Ministry. Muli akong nabuhayan ng loob sa CM, at muli akong natutong mangarap at maglingkod. Lord, salamat at binigyan Mo ako ng mga matitiyaga, masisipag, at mapagmahal na pamilya. Maraming salamat at dinala mo ako sa mga taong makakaimpluwensiya sa akin na paglingkuran Ka at ang Iyong bayan. Maraming salamat, dahil hindi mo kami pinababayaan sa CM. Lord, ako ay nagpapasalamat para sa itinanim Ninyo sa amin na pagnanais na maging lingkod Ninyo. Salamat sa mga pinahiram Ninyong mga talento at kakayahan para magamit namin sa paglingkod sa Inyo. Maraming salamat sa lahat, Lord. Hindi ako magsasawa sa kakasabi ng “thank You” sa inyo.

Sana po ay patuloy Ninyo kaming mga lingkod Ninyo sa CM gabayan at biyayaan ng pagpapasensiya, pagmamahal sa kapwa, at paghahangad na ialay ang aming mga sarili sa Inyo. Lord, gabayan Ninyo kami sa aming mga gawaing pang-eskuwela, bilang na sa kolehiyo na kami. Bigyan Ninyo po kami ng lakas ng loob na harapin ang bawat araw na may pusong puno ng pag-asa. Tulungan Ninyo rin po kami na ibahagi sa buong unibersidad ang Inyong kabutihan at pagmamahal, kahit ito man ay sa simpleng pagiging mabuting tao lang. Tulungan Ninyo po kaming maging masunurin sa Inyong plano para sa amin. Sana po ay ituro Ninyo sa amin ang mga kagustuhan ninyo para sa amin. Sana po ay lagi Ninyong ipaalala sa amin na mahal Ninyo kami, maging ito man ay idaan Ninyo sa amin bilang isang mensahe, isang biyaya, o isang tao na makakapagpabago sa aming mga buhay. Lord, gabayan Ninyo po kami lagi sa araw-araw.

Maria, aking ina, ibulong ninyo sa inyong butihing Anak ang aking mga hinaing at hiling. Tulungan niyo po akong magdasal, Ma.

Ang lahat ng ito ay hinihiling ko sa ngalan ng Inyong Anak na si Hesus, kasama ng Espiritu Santo. Amen.

Ama namin, sumasalangit Ka, sambahin ang ngalan Mo. Mapasaamin ang kaharian Mo, sundin ang loob Mo dito sa lupa, para nang sa langit. Bigyan Mo kami ngayon ng aming kakanin sa araw araw. At patawarin Mo kami sa aming mga sala, para nang pagpapatawad namin, sa mga nagkakasala sa amin. At huwag Mo kaming ipahintulot sa tukso, at iadya Mo kami sa lahat ng masama. Amen.

Aba Ginoong Maria, napupuno ka ng grasya. Ang Panginoong Diyos ay sumasaiyo. Bukod kang pinagpala sa babaeng lahat, at pinagpala naman ang iyong Anak na si Hesus. Santa Maria, ina ng Diyos, ipanalangin mo kaming mga makasalanan. Ngayon at kung kami’y mamamatay. Amen.

Luwalhati sa Ama, sa Anak, at sa Espiritu Santo! Kapara ng sa unang-una, ngayon at magpakailan man, magpasawalang-hanggan. Amen.

Posted in Family, Personal, Relationships

Snail Mail = Sweet Mail

In the age of email and instant messaging, receiving letters leaves a giddy feeling in my system. Just like most millennials, I rarely get snail mail. By rare, I mean one letter/postcard a year, or even none. But even if I don’t get a lot of mail, I feel grateful to those relatives who took their time to actually write me something on paper. Sure, I appreciate my friends and family’s efforts through instant messaging, but getting mail is just special.

I’m having a great day, so far. I did wake up feeling “meh, it’s another boring day”. I went through my morning “routine”, feeling a little excited for the day, but everything changed during breakfast.

While eating an egg and a piece of pan de sal, my aunt comes in, and she handed me an envelope. She told me that I had mail. I took the envelope and looked at it. Well, well, well, it’s from Ohio!

I’ve never met my mom’s first cousin (therefore, my aunt) from Ohio, but she’s been very supportive of me. She’d often react to and  comment on my Facebook posts, even more than my relatives here at home would do. She might be one of my ka-vibes (same vibes) aunts, if ever her family hadn’t migrated to the US. She seems to be so cool, and she seems to be kind and nice. I’m happy she’s reaching out to her extended family here in the Philippines. It just means that she’s not forgetting where she came from, and the family that’s left here. It’s a bonus that she can understand my posts in Filipino, given that my mom said that her sisters don’t really speak the language. I’m loving this aunt of mine so much, and I very much appreciate her snail mail.

She wrote me a letter full of support and encouragement. She told me not to let my bipolar disorder get in the way of my dreams and goals. She also shared some stuff that I can apply in my social life. The things she said in that letter were simple yet beautiful, and they are some words that I needed lately. After all the ups and downs of my personal life (not school issues), here comes a letter from my aunt who I barely knew but who cared. It’s like the arrival of the letter was so timely! Indeed, everything comes in God’s perfect time.

This letter really made my morning, even my day. It really made me excited. It’s like I want to send mail to my friends now. Going back to old practices isn’t bad after all, like sending snail mail. It is more personal, and at this day and age, it’s really special to receive mail that’s not your monthly bills. Lovers, friends, and family used to send snail mail, and they feel happy and special upon receiving mail. Snail mail is, indeed, sweet mail. I hope more people send old-fashioned letters more often. It’s not a waste of paper, given that that piece of paper is full of love.

To my Tita Marissa, thank you so much for the letter. I really appreciate it. I hope I get to meet you someday!

Posted in Mental Health, Personal

Anxiety: The Eating Machine

I missed another doctor’s appointment today, and I feel bad about it.

Three weeks ago, my psychiatrist told me to read and answer some pages of a workbook that would help me in dealing with anxiety. Today, I realized that I failed to do my reading assignment. And for that, an anxiety attack came. My knee started aching and I got nauseous.

I started tearing up when I texted my mom and my doctor’s secretary about my current status. I really felt irresponsible and weak. I just wanted to stay home and cry in a fetal position. My mom came home and told me that my doctor will be fine if I go to my appointment without doing the assignment. But I still didn’t go. Anxiety ate me up already.

Anxiety will always be a part of my condition, and it’s been haunting me since childhood. It’s like anxiety is my sickness. I get anxious over the little things and the big situations. Will my classmates like me? Will my professor accept this late yet mediocre paper? Will everything be okay tomorrow?

Fear and anxiety will haunt me from time to time, and I’m sure about it. It’s natural for living beings to feel scared and anxious. It’s just for some people, fear and anxiety will completely consume the person for the time being. Sure, we can surpass it, but it will take some time, and a little (or a lot of) effort too.

It’s hard to learn how to manage anxiety. Trust me, this is the second time I’ll be learning about it. It really takes time for someone trying to manage anxiety to learn “techniques” on how to be stable when anxious. After all, it’s not easy to unlearn old habits.

When you have anxiety, everything becomes complicated; everything may a negative meaning, everything may be awful in your eyes. It’s like you have the whole universe on your shoulders, and sometimes, you just want to give up. But remember this: there is hope. Anxiety may just be a part of you, but it is not you.

If you think you can’t handle your anxiety alone, go out and seek help. Don’t be afraid, others will understand. If they don’t, it’s okay. You can feel bad about it, but not for forever. Take your time to regain strength, and go out to seek help again. If you get anxious, it’s okay; it’s normal. Rejection brings anxiety, but try not to let anxiety consume you. It’s always good to have a little hope in the bottom of your heart after all.

Anxiety is a part of human nature, but it can be managed. Don’t be afraid of it, you’ll get more anxious.

Posted in Media, Personal

Me After “Me Before You”

Yesterday, I watched a movie with my brother Kyle. We watched the movie adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ novel “Me Before You”, starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. I caught myself crying in the theater once or twice while watching the film. The hopeless romantic in me reacted to the film right away, but then the critical PWSN/PWD in me was outraged once I got home. Here’s why:

Will (Claflin’s character) is paralyzed from the neck, down to his feet. This is due to an accident involving a motorbike. He rides a wheelchair most of the day, doing nothing exciting and worthwhile. He sees himself as someone who is better off dead. Then Lou (Clarke’s character) comes into his life, and she fills his days with sunshine. Despite his happiness with Lou, Will goes to Switzerland for assisted suicide. In the end, Lou is left with a bank account by Will; he left her money to start a new life and to “live well”.

I took out the romance of the story in the summary I wrote up there, because I’m not here to talk about how love can affect (or not affect) one’s decisions. I’m here to talk about the message of the film. I don’t know what the message is, actually. The only thing I got from the film is that it’s okay to kill yourself when you feel worthless. And that message is NOT a good one.

I know how it feels like to be in Will’s shoes. I, too, am a person with disability (I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder a year and a half ago). I felt useless more than once in my life, too. I attempted to commit suicide, too. But here I am, writing this review/rant essay. See, even if I’m different than “normal”, I still chose to live.

I get it, it’s all about choice. But to show the message that suicide is the solution to your woes to the public as a movie isn’t really a brilliant idea. Many PWD organizations have reacted negatively to this film due to Will’s fate. These people want to let the world know that even if they are differently abled, they can still live life to the fullest. Thus, the hashtag #MeBeforeEuthanasia. Their message is this: all can live boldly, no matter how or who you are.

I totally agree with the PWD organizations. I do believe that everyone has hope in making their lives worth living, and not merely existing. Whether you are fully-abled or not, we all have a shot at being happy. Being “disabled” is not a hindrance for achieving happiness and self-worth. I just wished Will had realized that. Losing everything is not the end of the world.

And so I want you, yes you who are reading this piece, to know that you are loved by many. Many people have your back. There may be reasons to die, but there are always more reasons to live. Live life to the fullest. Love yourself. Love yourself. Life is precious. Don’t waste that gift.

In the end, “Me Before You” was an okay movie, if you want to cry. I just wish the film raised awareness for PWD welfare and mental health awareness instead. The world needs that, not more negativity.

Posted in Personal

Is It Too Late Now to Say Sorry?

One day, I told someone that I don’t want to be friends with her anymore. Today, I sort of regret saying that.

I hate ending relationships. I rarely do that, on purpose. So now, I’m swallowing my pride to say sorry to that person I ended things with.

Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t want to be friends with her again. But I miss our friendship sometimes. But I believe that things happen for a reason, and I know that I’m doing myself good by ending things with her. But we didn’t part well. That’s why I want to apologize to her. I might have hurt her, but I was hurt too.

When I get hurt, I get hurt a lot. This ex-friend of mine hurt me many times during our years of being “friends”. I’m sure I offended her a number of times, too. I do say that I’m sorry, but she doesn’t respond. I know that she’s having trials too, but I think that she should have been at least civil towards me…unless I’m the problem. I just got offended by her being not there when I needed her. That’s why I declared “friendship over”.

I know I have no right to reach out, but I just want to say sorry. As Justin Bieber’s song goes, “is it too late now to say sorry?” Well, is it?