When we were young, fairy tales taught us how there’s only one person we are destined to live with for the rest of our lives and I admit, I firmly believed this idea. My seven-year-old self probably found it magical and romantic like most of the kids during that age. Fortunately, David Levithan and Rachel Cohn saved me from this rather incredible lie that the universe made up. On their novel entitled, “Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List,” the two authors perfectly countered this idea.
“It’s a total lie to say there’s only one person you’re going to be with for the rest of your life. If you’re lucky – and if you try really hard – there will always be more than one. ”
That line stuck with me ever since I read it and it’s probably because it’s true. As I grew older, I appreciated the comfort I often find with my friends rather than the idea of a romantic partner. In my opinion, it’s because friendships are one of the strongest ties there ever is. Also, it’s the truest form of fairy tales.
With that said, I would like to dedicate this post to the seven people who made every moment of this year spectacular.
First of all, to this guy who fights every single person who mistreats us, thank you for always watching our backs. I know that I often tell you not to make people hate you just for our sake but I know it’s no use. You’re the kind of person who fights hard for your loved ones and even though it’s not necessary for you to fight our own battle, I appreciate the gesture.
I know that this year was particularly hard for you and I know how you’re staying strong amidst all of your problems and I love you for doing so. Whenever I see you fooling around and trying your best to make us laugh even though you’re having a bad day, I kind of wish I can be as strong as you.
This Christmas, I hope that you will continue to smile sweetly, love with every beat of your heart and fight your battles bravely. And in case you need reinforcements, don’t forget to call us because we also got your back. Okay? I love you!
To one of the most sensible and kind person in our group, thank you for always encouraging us to do the right thing. I often think badly of myself because let’s face it, I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life but because of you, I’m starting to learn how to think of the other person first before doing something impulsive. And as Lily Collins said in the film Stuck In Love, “You make me feel less cynical.”
Thank you for being an excellent listener and an honest friend. More than anything, I wish you happiness and warmth this Christmas. I know that you’re a strong person even though you’re quiet most of the time so I’m sure that no matter what happen, you’re going to overcome it. Love you, Grace!
For the girl whose made of sugar and joy, thank you for making me smile and for always offering a helping hand. Last year, I wrote about how you should learn how to say no to people who’ll just hurt you and this year, you’ve done just that. I was honestly surprised with how you handled things with a certain someone that by the way, I would gladly trip if I ever see him walking alone. You bravely talked about the things you wanted and did not take any bullshit from him. I’m proud of you, girl.
I’m glad that you now see your heart as something people should not mess with. You deserve all the love that you can get and you should not hesitate to leave someone if they ever take you or your feelings for granted. Remember, you are (so, so much) worth it.
I wish you a Christmas filled with love and laughter. I love you!
To the girl made of the strongest armor, thank you for always making me remember my worth and for talking me out of most of my ridiculous plans. There were lots of things that changed for you this year and I know that some part of you is still feeling guilty for what happened, I already said this to you before and I’m repeating it again: don’t.
You did the right thing and it doesn’t matter how many people don’t understand it or how painful it is. In the end, what is right is what matters. You deserve to be happy too, Tricia. Don’t take that away from yourself.
This Christmas, I wish you peace and lots of happiness. Continue to face life while taking zero bullshits. Love you!!
To the girl filled with beautiful words and lovely smiles, thank you for constantly worrying about us. I always find your concern so overwhelming and I often tell myself not to do or say stuff that will further worry you since I can feel how much you want us to feel better.
So for that, I am really grateful. You have a lot in your hands right now but believe me, everything’s going to be alright. You are more than capable of overcoming your problems so keep on staying strong, okay? We are always here for you, remember that.
I wish for more wonderful music for you (because you love it more than anything else) and all the laughter in the universe. I hope to see more of your smiles next year because you look the brightest whenever you do it. Love you, Belle!
For the person who always looks at the lighter side of things, thank you for making everything easier not only for me but for all of us. You and Jann have been the constant stress reliever in the group and I can’t imagine us without the both of you.
Thank you for bearing with my annoying rambles and ridiculous stories. You might think it’s not much but it isn’t. You put color in our lives and while I am not much of a painter, you made us and the moments we spent together a masterpiece.
I wish that you continue to live boldly and bravely and that you finally (finally!!!) find someone who will love you as much as we do (and more). Love you, girl!
To the person who never fails to amaze me with her bravery, thank you. This year was also a tough year for you but I am so glad that you’ve overcome it. It might not look like it, but you are one of the most courageous people I’ve ever met and I am so lucky to be friends with you.
Continue to fight for what you believe in and you can expect to see us in the back, always supporting you. Do not hesitate to lean on us whenever there’s too much going on. We will offer you warm hugs and laughter as much as you want.
I wish you a beautiful Christmas with the people you love the most. I love you, Cang!
Thank you guys for everything. I know that the hours we spend together get shorter and lesser because of our thesis but I am still grateful for those moments no matter how long or short it is. You made my college life wonderful and I will surely miss you once we graduate and do our own things. Also, I hope that all of our dreams for our future will come true!
The future may be scary but it’s alright since I’ve got the best people by my side. I love you, guys! We make one heck of a beautiful fairy tale, I’m sure of it. Haha. ♥ ♥ ♥
I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. It’s the most basic thing to say but it’s the truest thing that ever came out of my quivering lips.
I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. September’s gone and so are your smiles—like the branches being carried away by the river’s rage…you have packed them all away.
I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. I heard the song you used to sing today and I kept on hitting replay; it is as if you’re going to come back if I listen to it one more time, one more time.
I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. I can still remember the day I saw you crying alone in the hallway—I approached you and hugged you and I told you that if you’ll be happier if you leave the organization, do it. Those words are still haunting me until today.
I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. There are days when I feel so damn guilty for breathing. It is as if I have already lost my right to live ever since the darkness took you away.
I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. I’m building a castle of nightmares founded with what ifs. I’m building an ocean where no sails could be lost and forgotten. I’m building a life without your warmth and embrace.
I’m sorry. I miss you and I wish you were here. I know yours were the most painful “see you again” that will ever escape my quivering lips.
If you are drowning in a pool of your darkest thoughts, coughing blood and bawling thorns, I will not hesitate to leave if they call for me.
When you feel like your soul is being ripped into pieces and every breath is as hard as plowing snow after a five day blizzard, I will leave you like the red plastic balloon getting whisked away by the summer air–slowly and surely.
If they showed tears as salty as the afternoon sea, I will not look back even if you are trapped in a cage, unable to detach your wings from invisible chains.
When the whole universe feels so small and you don’t have the slightest idea where to put yourself so you sit up but you found out that you’re terrified of small spaces like they are terrified of their own thoughts and you began to count one, two, three.
One, two, three.
I’m sorry, but I will stop counting because you cannot feel this way. You, cannot feel this way.
You are supposed to be as tough as the winds created by thousands of tidal waves.
You are supposed to be as brave as a soldier who lost not only his legs but also himself due to ticking grenades.
You are supposed to be as magnificent as the man in the red cape–saving a little girl’s doll in a bright red house as each of its walls getting eaten by the flames like every inch of hope left in their system being emptied out into space.
Because you have to stop counting like she did. Counting off days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the pain passes away. Shrugging off every fucking tear, every fucking headache.
But even if your light is dying, I cannot let their weary strings go–even if you have to continuously close your eyes and endure the pain.
I’m sorry. Just a little more.
One, two, three.
There is only a before and after.
September 7, 2015
I lost a dear friend that day. She was the most lively person I’ve ever met and she was beautiful and nice and she’s the person who I thought will always be present in my life. She was family to me, to MD. She loved quoting Lilo and Stitch so she’d always say that we are her Ohana, her family, and that it means no one gets left behind.
But that day, she committed suicide. That day, she decided to leave and never come back. And that, was also the start of the after.
The first stage – Denial
The after didn’t take place right after I found out she was gone. It happened days after that. You might think that when I heard the news, I broke down into tears or something close to that but, no. I was in shock. I was in this full stage of denial and no matter how much my instincts tells me that it’s true, I just kept on hurling it away from me.
Even as we rushed towards her house, even as I heard the voices of the bystanders and the onlooker, even as I saw the police car and the damned yellow line, I still couldn’t believe it. I remember thinking, “Shouldn’t we be on the hospital right now? Because that’s where she is, right? This was just an attempt. She’s still alive. She is still alive.”
I wanted to shut the mouth of the police officer asking me personal questions about her. I wanted to yell at the people around her house to go home and leave us alone. I wanted that night–that day to be a lie. I wanted it so badly but the universe just won’t listen.
The second stage – Anger
There were more than a handful of reasons for her decision and I would be lying if I tell you that I wasn’t angry with those people who gave her unbearable and suffocating pain. I was angry. At those people, at the world, at me. But I wasn’t angry at her. I guess what I felt was betrayal, the kind that seeps through skin and never really go away.
The thing is, we knew what she was going through; she was honest with her feelings to us. So it gave me more reason to be angry at myself. I was angry at myself for believing that she was okay, for falling for her smiles, for not answering her last message and most of all, for not saving her.
I was angry, confused, lost and hurt and I begged and begged for someone to bring her back. Because somehow, my brain can’t register the fact that this girl as warm as sunshine is gone forever.
The third stage – Bargaining
I think that the most evil word in the English language is, “If.”
If only I called her when I woke up that day.
If only I told her how much I love her one more time.
If only I talked to her more.
If only I convinced her to stay, to live.
So many ifs, so many regrets. The rational thing to do is to remove them from my mind but I dived and swam into the ocean of ifs and in the end, I drowned.
The fourth stage – Depression
I don’t really know if I went through this stage, but I like to think that I passed by it, realized I don’t want to stay there and left. Don’t get me wrong, I was devastated with everything that happened but at the same time, I began to see and hear. You see, I wasn’t the only one who lost her, MD lost her too. Just like that, the rational part of my brain woke up and began to function.
There was nothing Jameng loved more than MD and that got me thinking about the org. Because as much as I love Jameng, I love MD too and I was sure that they need me so I lent them all the strength that was left inside of me and they did the same thing to me.
The fifth stage – Acceptance
Once I realized that I need to be strong for the kids, I slowly started to accept the fact that she is gone.
I am not going to lie. I’m not completely okay. There are still days where I think about her and feel my eyes well up with tears. There are nights where I hopelessly cry and ask the universe the abominable “why?” And there were countless of moments in the jeepney where I happen to listen to a sad song and I remember her or when I pass by the place she was lodged before her burial and I can’t stop my stubborn tears.
But the thing is, she wasn’t just her death. Jameng was so, so much more. She was brave and honest and smart and reliable. She was Oreos and sunshine and cartwheels. She was girly dresses and black bonnet and messy hair. She was my friend. The person who told me that I can write. The person who constantly calls me “Tita Jr” with a ridiculously happy smile. The person who loves to see me wearing skirts, dresses and makeup. The person who used to asked me about random things. The person who always have a piece of her life to share with MD. We love her so much. I love her so much.
If there’s one thing that I accepted it’s this: There will always be a before and after. Or maybe just more of the after. I cannot erase her death in my life or escape it. It will always be there and I will always think of these days as the aftermath of it.
But here’s a secret, the after doesn’t have to be about the sad things. The after could be about living and surviving and staying. The after could be about supporting each other through the toughest time and silently whispering words of comfort. The after could be about Jameng finding peace and happiness and us, mending each other’s scars. The after could be about finding a family out of all the unfamiliar faces. The after could be about helping the people who are experiencing the same thing as her.
The after could be a new beginning. Or a rainbow especially colored by Jameng from above. I don’t know. I just know that the after is much like the before. One minute, it’s a silky smooth road but the second you turn your head, it’ll become a bumpy and bushy one. All I know is, I can live in the after. Especially when I have the greatest people by my side.
And that, is the truth for now.
September was a heck of a roller coaster ride for me. Only, it has way more downs than ups. Despite of that, September made me realize lots of stuff through its short stay in my life.
Anyway, here it goes…
1. You can’t run away from pain, but you can make peace with it. Running away from pain is impossible. You can’t just run away from something intangible–that is the reason why pain is painful. It’s true that we can bury pain but it will come running back when the universe gives you something to remember it. And it could be anything. A movie, a song, a place where you used to hang out, a novel, a word that your friends utter, a news. Whatever. The thing is, it will resurface. Again and again. The only way you can live with all of the pain in your chest is to make peace with it. You have to accept the fact that you’re in pain and that you’re not okay. You need to give yourself a time to grieve. A time to reflect. A time to cry. You need to understand that pain is something that everybody experiences and that drowning from it is something you do not deserve. The bad thing already happened and there’s no way that you can go back in time and stop it from happening. So let it go, make peace with it.
2. You cannot save everyone you love. It’s unfortunate, really. But it’s the sad truth. We can’t save all of them no matter how much we want to. It’s simply because we aren’t superheroes; we are human beings with lots and lots of limitations. We should not hope to do something way beyond our control.
3. We can’t answer all of our questions, especially the most haunting ones. It’s another awful truth, but I believe that we should all remember this one. Sometimes, our ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ aren’t going to be answered. I know how hard it is to turn the page without finding out all of the answers. But trust me, it’s harder to search for something that you will probably never find. Don’t drive yourself to madness just because of an unsolved question. It’s not worth it. Maybe it’s just that sometimes, not knowing all of the reasons is for our own good. Or maybe there really are some things better left unsolved.
4. Sadness is a terrible thing. I’ve already talked about this on my previous rant but September made me realize how fucking awful it really is. The thing is, it’s hard to control sadness. Only a few people can actually do it. But it’s something we should all learn. Plus, drowning in your own sadness isn’t something beautiful. People should STOP romanticizing about it. Seriously, there’s nothing pretty about depression.
5. It is important to talk about your problems. Nothing good happens when you bury your problems. You’re just giving the universe a reason to make you feel sad and alone. Plus, it’s not healthy. If you store all of your problems into your chest, you are set to explode like a ticking time bomb and the explosion will definitely be ugly. In the end, you’re the one who will get hurt the most.
6. There is NOTHING that your family won’t do in order to make you happy. I seldom tell my parents about my life. But because of something bad that happened to me, when they asked me how I was, I burst into ugly tears. Honestly, it felt good when I told them about it. I am not really close with my father but, he tried to make me happy throughout that really terrible week and I really appreciate it.
7. People don’t know how to mind their own business. When someone tells you to give them some time, give it to them. Seriously. Don’t be a jerk. Sometimes, people need space in order to think or digest things. Another thing, if they ask for privacy, RESPECT it. There are tons of things that should not be treated as trivia.
8. Suicide is NEVER the answer. I know that some of you might think that dying means escaping your problems or yourself. But it doesn’t help at all. If you think the world is better off without you, you are wrong. There are people out there who loves you and will do anything just to make you happy. I know it’s hard to live but it’s worth it, trust me. Life is worth it. And please don’t think for even a second that you don’t matter. You matter. Please remember that.
9. Sometimes, listening to someone’s problem is more than enough. Being present through the rough times is enough. We don’t need to physically help our friend when they are feeling down. Sometimes, knowing that someone is out there willing to listen is enough. We shouldn’t take it as our primary obligation to fix their problems. We can only do so much, they have to fix their problems themselves. What we can do is to make them feel that we’re just there, that we are more than willing to help them.
10. Healing takes an awfully lot of time. You can’t easily mend your broken pieces. It will take a loooooong time in order to be genuinely okay. Healing itself is a process and it’s a process that no one should hurry. So, slow down. Breathe. You’ll be fine. We will be fine.
11. Admitting to yourself that you are not okay helps. I’ve been playing hero for the past few weeks and I realized that I’m just destroying myself in the process. Truth is, I am no hero. I can’t save and help each and every person that I want to help, especially when I, myself, is not completely okay. Plus, there is absolutely nothing wrong with letting the people around you know that you are not okay (Back to number 5).
12. Crying gives off wonderful effects. While it’s unhealthy to cry each night, crying helps in releasing your emotions. Crying isn’t for the weak, that is a really stupid idea. Crying only means that you’ve had too much of the world’s bullshit. It is completely normal.
13. Home is anywhere you feel safe. This is actually a basic thing. But I used to believe that home is the four corners of my household. And I’ve never been so wrong. I’ve met people who made me feel worthy and strong and most importantly, safe. Now, I can proudly say that I can describe the word home in two words. (Hi, MD! ♥)
14. Don’t dwell on things that makes you unhappy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a person or a thing. If that someone or something makes you feel like shit, leave it. Throw it away. There’s no sense in keeping things that aren’t doing you any good. Don’t let anyone destroy you. You deserve to be happy. Find the things that gives your heart joy and stick to those. Life is too damn short to fill it with negativity.
15. Life, no matter how inconsiderate it is, is beautiful and worth living. I get it. Life is unfair and harsh and rough. But it’s only because we focus on the bad side of it. It’s important to remember the good. Because there is always good in the bad. Look around you, let the world sink in yourself. Memorize the horizon. Take photographs of the moon. Smell the flowers. Dance with the wind. Spend time with your loved ones. Feel every drop of the rain or the snow or the syrup falling on your spoon while you eat your favorite pancake. Smile. Laugh. Listen to uplifting music. Dream of the things you want to be or you want to do. Do it. Travel. Meet new people. Read the book your mother gave you last Christmas. Eat. Seriously. Just live. Stay. And I promise you, it is worth it. So don’t give up, okay?
The month of September was probably the most saddening moment of my life. I lost a dear friend recently and ever since then, me and all the people she left are still recovering from that situation.
A lot of things changed since that occurred and even though I see and hear things differently now, I have also learned valuable life ‘stuff’ from what happened which I will be sharing pretty soon.
Anyway, October is almost coming up to its end (I hardly felt it at all!) so, I decided to do a little catching up before school starts again. Let’s start! 🙂
2. A still from our Japanese film which I wrote, directed and edited. (#Proddays)
3. Remember the documentary that we shoot for our Philippine History subject? We got the highest grade (98!!!). Thus, our group was exempted in the final exam! Yay!
4. Another still from my short video entitled, “STAY” which I made for my Electronic Newsroom subject. It is all about depression and suicide. You can watch it on my other blog: anabundanceofinkfilleddreams.wordpress.com
5. I also helped my friend in shooting her magazine show about the newest ‘chic’ and ‘cozy’ restaurant near our university.
6. With our organization’s newbies! Welcome to the MD Family!!! ♥ (Find me! Lol)
7. With the director of Pusong Bato, Ms. Martika Escobar. We invited her in BulSu to have a film directing talk for the finalists of the annual film festival that our organization hosts. She is sooooo cute and humble! Nice to meet you po, Direk Marty! Hihi.
8. Aaaand, this was how I normally spend the rainy days. Goofing off with my camera, decorating my bed with paper cranes and listening to heartfelt songs.