I AM BEAUTIFUL

Dear Doreen:


Yesterday, just as you were about to conclude what was supposed to be a great day, someone ruined it for you, with words that you feel (you believe) although meant to be funny as a joke, were unnecessary, offensive, and hurtful. That person might not have realized it, but her words stabbed you in the gut, quite badly. Her words left you embarrassed, angry, hurt, and worst of all, ashamed of the way you look.

Go ahead. I am allowing you some time to feel the pain. Cry if you must. Let it out, and let it go.

How very timely and apt that you chanced upon an article about someone else’s own struggles and how she lifted herself from such. It gave you some relief and assurance that you are not alone, didn’t it?  You are not the only one who gets undermined for the way you look. You are not the only one who has body issues. Everybody has it. But these so-called body imperfections are what makes you who you are. These imperfections are what makes you, YOU. These imperfections make you beautiful.

Yes, Doreen, you are beautiful. Say it again. You are beautiful. One more time, and this time, mean it. You are beautiful.

Look, I know you’re tired of the hurt, the pain caused by people’s words, expectations, and opinions of you. Stop listening to those that pull you down, and start appreciating yourself for who and what you are. I know it isn’t easy. It never really is, but it is possible — attainable, and you can do it.

Realize and acknowledge that as you go through life, you will still meet more people who will size you up and judge you. Let them. Keep in mind that you can never really please everyone, and you don’t really, actually have to.

Cast away negativity, and keep yourself open to positivity, always.

I love you. ❤️

What It Means To Be Present 

I’m sitting at a Korean chicken place waiting for my takeout. I am surrounded by tables of young students, some women dining alone, and families having their Saturday lunch. I am reminded of those Sundays mom and dad took my siblings and I out for lunch after hearing mass. I used to look forward to weekends because it meant not just a break from school, but more importantly, it’s time spent with family. It’s a time everyone listened to each one’s story, shared on food, and cared for nothing else but having fun. 
My trip down nostalgia is interrupted as I glance around me again. I see other people dining, talking momentarily, but quickly bowing their heads to tinker with their phones. I think maybe if the lights are switched off, and there’s no sunlight coming in from outside, the light from everyone’s phones would be enough to see in the dark. The faint laughter coming from a few tables is overpowered by the deafening music from stereo speakers. The picture I see now is the complete opposite of how it was before. 
Truly, being present is not just being physically there at that moment. To be present is to engage.
*photo borrowed from the internet*

Jitters

Every year since I finished high school, around March and April, I get constantly bothered by an uneasy feeling. I usually get fast and hard thumps on my chest and a troubled tummy. I get anxious, nervous, and fearful that something bad is about to happen even when there’s none. It has become so much of a normalcy that I already have a name for it — “End of the School Year or Graduation Season Woes.”

I finished high school in 1995, but I did not graduate. I studied at a non-graded school, from Kindergarten to Senior High, where students learn and master lessons at their own pace, and unlike other schools, students do not receive numerical grades (during our time, at least), but rather checks (if passed) and squares (if failed).

Unfortunately for me and to make a long sad story short, I was not able to finish all my (graduating) requirements on time and graduate with the rest of the batch because of poor choices and priorities. To make things worse, I kept everything from my parents.

I fooled around instead of prioritizing my studies. I lied to my parents even up to the point when I already knew things had gotten worse, and I already needed (their) help. 

I lied to my parents, humiliated them, and broke their hearts and trust in me.

In order not to repeat my graduating year though and still be able to enrol for freshman college on time, my mom had to practically beg teachers to allow me some time to finish all my requirements. I was given only a week and a half to finish a year’s worth of Physics, Trigonometry, and Geometry. A year’s worth in a week and a half. 

I was dang lucky enough to even be given another chance, so finish, I did. And I was able to enrol for college the same time as everyone else.

Every time I’d share this story, people are left in awe at how I was able to accomplish all those in less than two weeks. What they fail to see though is how and why it had come to that. I fooled around and lied. I chose to have fun and defy my parents. Plain and simple — there’s absolutely nothing amazing about that, at all. And if given the chance, I wouldn’t want to go through it again; I would do things differently. I may have learned lessons from it later on, but the difficulties and hurt I had put my parents in, are totally not worth it.

That’s why, after all these years, I still get these bothersome feelings around graduation season. It reminds me of a time when I was at my most foolish self. It reminds me of a time I hurt the two people, who despite the betrayal and lies, still chose not to leave me alone to deal with the mess I have made for myself, and forgive me for it.

And I guess that’s also why, after all these years, I continue to share this story, not just so that others may somehow learn from it, but also, in the hopes that with every re-telling and sharing of the story, I learn to forgive myself as well.

*Photo borrowed from the internet.

Detach

I stand in the middle of a field

Endless tall greens surround me

I feel the cool chill of the wind brush on my face

I close my eyes and hear the leaves whisper

I have no clue where to go, or what to do, and how to start

Do I walk, do I run

I just stand there, in the middle of nowhere, with all the chaos just passing me by

The sun rises, and then it sets

Beginning and endings — all happening right before my eyes

Within my reach, and mine for the taking

Yet I do nothing

Except stand there

And experience the world in still.

Darcy

You came at a most unexpected time, in a most unconventional manner.

And yet, there you are — making me feel things I cannot even recall last feeling.

Hope. —- You have restored my hope.

The sunrise brings new joy again. A day is extra brighter; there’s an elated spring in my walk.

A smile that just won’t fade away.

Sunsets are more meaningful — more romantic.

You are here — holding my hand.

Dreaming. Hoping.

I don’t gaze upon the stars alone anymore. I don’t have to.

You have come.

You are now here, with me.

You have found me.

You have chosen to stay with me.

I know it was not an easy choice — being with me is never easy. I am moody — shifting, left and right.

I am sometimes unreasonable, and force arguments even when there is none.

There are times when I demand for time to be alone — no contact, not even a hello.

And yet, like you are already part of me, you know exactly when I need you.

You give me the space and time alone that I need.

And you wait with open loving arms to take me back when I am done.

You are patient. You are kind.

You have the most caring heart, and you give it all to be mine.

I sometimes don’t see this, but you stay with me nonetheless.

You found me.

You chose to be stay with me.

And I promise to love you until my last breath.

Darling

 

Through the darkest and murkiest of paths

Even and especially through powerful wind and rain

And the highest hikes up a sharp-edged mountain

No matter how impossible to cross and bear

Darling, we held onto each other’s hand tightly

We made each other strong – – – stronger than before

We gave each other courage – – – looking forward to each day and all its challenges

Darling, it’s never easy, but all are worthwhile with you beside me

I promise you now the same promise I gave before

To continue to be stronger when you are weak and tired

To continue to protect when you are faced with danger

To vow to always love and never let you go

To never leave your side and face every day together – – – forever and ever.

If You Have Nothing Nice To Say…

Mom and I had our haircuts the other day.

While I was having mine, and mom was waiting for me, an elderly lady came in and started chatting up my stylist. When she noticed my very short hair (I now have a pixie with an undercut), she asked my mom, “Lalaki ba yang anak mo?“(Is your child a boy?) To which my mom politely replied, “Ay, babae po.” (Oh no. She’s a girl.) I heard what she asked despite the hair blower practically screaming at my ear, but I just gave her a smile.

When I was done, she sat next to me and promptly told my stylist she wants the same haircut as mine, but also quickly added, “Kasi may nanliligaw sa akin. Para di na niya ako ligawan. Ikaw, hija, hindi ka dapat nagpapagupit ng ganyan. Hindi ka naman pala tomboy. Ganda ka pa naman.” (Because I have a suitor, whom I want to stop pursuing me. You shouldn’t be having your hair cut that way if you want someone to pursue you. It’s a shame because you are pretty and not lesbian. Your hair shouldn’t be that short.)  I was stunned, but I didn’t say anything and just smiled. There are other battles that are more worth winning.

I am very adventurous when it comes to my hair, in fact right now, I am at my shortest cut, but that does not mean I am lesbian. I am straight. I appreciate women, but I like men. I know I don’t even have to declare or explain it. No one has to really, but sometimes, people have to be told. And so what if I am? A difference in preference does not make one less of a person.

We tend to do that, don’t we? We see a man who’s more refined compared to other men, “Bakla yan.” (He’s gay.) We see a woman with short hair, “Tomboy yan.(She’s a lesbian.) We see a person who just doesn’t smile or laugh as much as most of us, “Masama ugali niyan.” (He/She is a rude person.)

We are quick to judge. We are quick to isolate. We are quick to offend. We are quick to hurt. That’s just sad.

Personally, I don’t really care what people think of me.  Everyone is entitled to his opinion anyway. I’d just like to believe I am now wise enough to know that not all opinions are important.