Reflection on Beliefs and Faith

Features and preparations for the feast of the Black Nazarene have been flooding the news since last week. 

It is worthy to note how most of the devotees that were interviewed are all asking the Lord or the Black Nazarene for something – – – a better life, a better job, more income, etc. None, of those interviewed, are there to give thanks. 

But the same goes even for some of us non-devotees. We tend to only remember Him when it’s most convenient for us, or when we need something from Him. Seldom do we find ourselves saying, “Thank you, Lord.” A habit most of us should have learned in Catholic school Kindergarten. 

While I have nothing against following age-old beliefs, such as what devotees do for the Black Nazarene, I just can’t help but ask and wonder about the following: Whatever happened to keeping one’s faith? If we asked something from the Lord, shouldn’t we just have faith that in His time, in His own way, though sometimes it may not be in the form that we expect, somehow He will deliver? Why do we have to go such lengths, as put ourselves and others in danger, just to be granted what we want and asked the Lord?

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Resting Pet Peeve

Sometimes when I want to take a 5-minute rest from reviewing cases, I browse the internet. It’s my 5-minute update on what’s happening to the world and chance to answer emails.

And it’s also through those 5-minute updates that I’ve observed something about some of my officemates.

Some of them habitually go to my work desk, and casually, with no regard at all, snoop and comment on whatever it is I’m browsing on the internet, and they stay on until I’m done, or when I stand to refill on water, an excuse I do to make them stop. I find it kind of annoying at times, but yeah, it continuously happens.

But then it dawns on me, too, this does not have to be a pet peeve. For all I know, my officemates also have their 5-minute rests, and isn’t it flattering that they choose to spend it with me? Maybe they feel I’m becoming too antisocial. Haha. Gee, I hope not.

I wonder though if there’s a magnet in my work area somewhere, that attracts people here. My place has become the unofficial tambayan of sorts for people.

Behind the Smile 

I’ve debated with myself many times before on whether or not I should write about this. Unfortunately, one of the things that’s so difficult to do is to be honest to oneself, so I’ve always opted with the latter. But I’ve later realized that no meaningful or sincere growth and happiness can ever be attained without honesty, and eventually, acceptance.

It started six or seven years ago. I don’t remember exactly what caused it or how it started. I, however, remember everything I felt, like it happened just yesterday. I call them my ‘episodes’.

I felt so exhausted — every single day, even when my day has not even begun. I wanted to ‘disappear’ in my bed every single morning upon waking up. And even when I’ve managed to drag myself to work, I spent the first hours sobbing until my eyes turned puffy and swollen. And while I sobbed, one close friend stayed beside me in silence to offer me an assuring hug after I was done. Each ‘morning crying routine’ dragged on for hours. After which, after my work has already been disrupted, I half-heartedly went about my tasks in a desperate attempt to brush the feeling off, only to do the same routine again the following day.

I hated myself. I felt so ugly, and I hated myself for it. This made me overly-sensitive and easily-irritable. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions, one minute I was my old usual happy goofy self, and the next, either sullen or gloomy, for no reason at all. I took offense in things that I commonly just ignored.  Today, I am the life of the party. Tomorrow, I isolate myself. I feel sorry for myself. I am terribly sad. My heart is often racing. I am overly nervous, anxious about something – nothing. I am constantly worried. Most nights, I spent awake. Some nights, I spent crying. Waking up with puffy eyes became a normalcy.

When I was asked what the matter was, or what the problem was, I didn’t exactly know what to say. How do I say that I felt terribly sad? How do I say that I was unhappy about life? How do I say that I feel like I have lost my purpose? And if they found out, what will people say? How will people react?

The saddest part was, because I didn’t know what I was feeling, or didn’t know how to articulate it, or didn’t want to acknowledge it, I started to believe I was already losing it. And although I never thought of hurting myself to end the pain and sadness, I did hope to never wake from my sleep and just cease from existing. If you consider that suicidal, then yes, I was suicidal.

My last year at my previous job was a struggle. The only thing people saw were my ‘sob sessions’. Only a few people cared to know what I was going through, and only one or two stuck around to get the answer out of me even when I refused to give it. And since only a few people ‘cared’, I felt even sorrier for myself.

I left my previous job thinking I was only burnt out. Maybe I was, to some extent. I left to get some ‘rest’, and in the process find answers, and eventually clarity and peace.

I learned (how) to brush the feeling off. I masked it with the sweetest smiles. I disguised it with the heartiest and uncontrollable laughter. I learned to make fun of myself. I threw the corniest jokes. I thought, the goofier I appear(ed), the better.

I started on a new job, a field totally alien to me. I was excited. I was in a new environment, around different people, and learning new things. I was hopeful. It was during these attempts that I temporarily forgot about my sadness. I got my relief.

Years after, I still fall into my episodes every now and then. It’s sad to note too that my episodes have caused some of my relationships to fall out. It has been a struggle.

But instead of masking the sadness and pretending nothing’s wrong, I have learned to express my episodes in a more productive way. A few years back, my silence and tendency to keep my feelings and opinions to myself, made a former boss doubt my capabilities. I understand her now. Last year, I went back to my first love and true passion – – writing. Through it I am able to express myself better, vent if I need to, and appreciate as much as I can. It has helped in more ways than one. It has given more than just relief.

And because I’ve learned to see the good in releasing my emotions, I have also learned to appreciate life more and choose happiness rather than dwell on my sadness. Not to say that I never feel sadness anymore, because I do. It’s just that now, it’s easier to manage. It’s easier not to dwell.

I still feel sadness. I still get anxious. I still worry. But now, I am honest, and I actually mean it when I say I am happy.

An Ode

Wrote this while on my coffee break a few minutes ago. It’s freezing in our office, thanks to our overly excited air conditioning. Whatever inspired me to write, helped me with the chill.

We’ve spent countless years together

On days when stress overwhelmed,

You were there to provide an immediate relief

You were always by my side

Some people weren’t too accepting

You came on too strong, they said

But I didn’t care

I tried to fight for you

I tried to hold on even tighter

Some bonds are meant to last forever, may be

But ours, sadly, is just not meant to be

I have found another, another far better

One that’s just as strong, but more pleasing

One that’ll fill your shoes and be my new remedy.

*An Ode To Liniment (Farewell to White Flower, and Hello to Human Nature Soothing Balm) 

Quotable Quotes

I find inspiration in everything. I’m often inspired by people and their stories, but if that doesn’t work its magic, I flip through the pages of books I’m currently devouring, or I turn to nature, or I watch a film, or I listen to music. I also browse through Instagram and WordPress,  for some needed good juju. 

I often stumble upon gems – – pictures, lines from film dialogues or songs, or even quotes that enlighten and inspire. Gems that are sometimes funny and outrageous, but oftentimes weirdly apt and true which make it all the more amusing. Each gem I have grown to call as a ‘note to myself’. Nevermind what those mumbo jumbo studies say about people who believe in ‘pseudo-profound bullshit’ quotes. These float my boat. 

Today, I found this. I hope it brings you some light of inspiration or motivation, too. 

“So shatter, baby. Because when it’s time, you’re going to put those pieces back together, and you’re going to see just how stunningly resilient you are. And this new you, this stronger you, this mosaic you, is magnificent.”

Musings

For a society that knows and talks too much

We seldom or do not at all listen; Our aim has become to hear and read, and not to understand. 

For a society that does not want to be judged

We are always the quickest to pass judgment on others, most often, senseless and inaccurate. 

For a society that boasts of a deep and devout religious beliefs

We are the most sinful, remorseless, and unapologetic righteous

For a society that’s known for its courage and bravery

We now hide behind the power of technology masquerading as warriors

For a society that’s praised and known worldwide for its humility 

We have now become so arrogant of nothing.

Chips

Rough uneven edges

A shower of grains spilled at every bite

Salty, but not too overpowering to the taste

One pop after another

Can’t, won’t stop now

Leave the bag empty

Leave no trace, not a single grain in sight

Lick the remaining goodness on your fingertips

Anticipate the next bag you cut open wide.