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,

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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.

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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?