I can still remember the day you asked me why the paper cranes hanging on top of my bed doesn’t seem to fly.
I recalled sleepily telling you, “It’s because they’re still too young.” And you replied with an incredibly ridiculous, “Why?!”
The next morning, I woke up only to find you sitting right beside the cranes, blowing as hard as you can-trying your best to teach them how to fly.
When you saw me looking, you smiled so brightly and proudly told me, “Look, they’re flying!”
Dearest, I want you to remember that moment whenever the world turns you down. Whenever it discourages or belittles you or when it stops you from doing what you want to do just because you’re too young. Too inexperienced.
I want you to remember that there is a way. There will always be a way. And that sometimes, all we really need is just a little push, just a soft blow, and we’ll be able to fly.
To my five year old cousin, please never grow old,
Never stop saving the biscuit you dropped in your hot, sweet milk; hands as steady as a surgeon, calmly whispering “It’s going to be okay” over and over again as the biscuit’s core slowly crumbles.
Dearest, I want you to know that there are people who chooses to sink. There are people who prefers to bury themselves together with the leftover powdered milk; like a silly metaphor for their once, innocent dreams.
I want to tell you to never let them go. Never let them sink. Scoop them up with your little metal spoon, bring them to your mouth and whisper, “It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay.”
To my five year old cousin, please never grow old,
Continue singing the lullaby you learned in school whenever you see me cry and I will continue to defend you to your mother, who keeps on telling you that the yellow star on your small hands which says, “Good!” is not good enough. Because believe me, it is good enough. You are good enough.
Continue waking me up in the morning with that cheeky smile of yours and I will continue to tell my father to stop deciding your future; that you’re not his to begin with and that the game you should be playing is rock, paper, and scissors not “Please Father, spare me some glances!”
Continue being the kid who cried because I told him that his favorite cartoon characters, Peppa and George, is what we had for dinner last night and I will continue to fight for you.
I will never let you shrink yourself so that your body can fit into a tiny ribboned box, like a goddamned Christmas present being displayed for everyone’s amusement.
Continue riding your bike fearlessly through the wind because I will never let you live like me. I will never let you be treated as a decoration or a proof of good parenting.
I will not let them hang you like they did to me. Treating me like a dusty paper crane, swinging in midair-while they are below, screaming, that I don’t have the capability to fly.
Because until you, I didn’t know how to fly.
So please, when you do grow old, never forget that you’re someone who believed that everyone can be saved, even a half-drowning cookie, and that kisses heals any kind of pain.
That once, when you were five, you taught people how to fly.
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.
Disappointment is a girl with eyeglasses who stays up late at night counting the stars.
Disappointment is a girl with hands always itching to write.
Disappointment is a girl who breathes fiction in a realistic world.
Disappointment is a girl who lives in a house where her dreams are ridiculed,
Where the father who’s supposed to be a protective wall is nothing but a quicksand.
Disappointment is a girl with a curse…
The curse of being different.
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.
Writing prompt: Ano ang mga alaalang naaalala mo sa apat na espasyo ng kamay mo?
Natatandaan mo pa ba ako? Ako na parte ng iyong mga pinakatatagong alaala. Ako na sumagip sa nalulunod mong sarili. Ako.
Noong una mong narining ang mga salitang, “Wala kang kwenta” dali dali akong tumakbo papunta sa iyong umiiyak na tinig. Inilagay mo ako sa taas ng iyong mga tainga at sinubukang limutin ang mga nakakalasong salitang ibinigkas sa iyong harapan.
Hinding hindi ko malilimutan ang hirap mong paghinga tuwing nilalamon ka ng iyong kadiliman. Pilit kong pinupunasan ang mga luhang pumapatak mula sa iyong namumulang mata. Pilit kong sinusubukang sabihin sayong magiging maayos din ang lahat.
Lumipas ang ilang mga araw at sa wakas, hinayaan mo na akong tulungan ka. Noong araw na iyon, hindi ka tumigil sa pag-agos. Tuluy-tuloy mo akong ginamit upang mabawasan ang sakit–kahit na sa prosesong ito ay nasasaktan na rin ako.
Isang araw, gumising ka, hindi ko alam kung paano mo ginawa, ngunit naramdaman kong patapos na. Naramdaman kong nabatid mo na na hindi ka nag-iisa. Naramdaman kong kahit na hindi pa galing ang iyong mga sugat at sariwa pa ang iyong mga pasa, ay kaya mo na.
Lumabas ka noon sa iyong kulungan at pinagmasdan ang iyong paligid. Malakas ang hangin noon at umuulan; ibinuka mo ako kasabay ng iyong pag-ngiti. Sapagkat noong ako’y iyong ibinuka ay naramdaman mo ang halik ng hangin at ng ulan, nalaman mong totoong hindi ka nag-iisa–na ikaw ay nabubuhay at patuloy na mabubuhay.
Kaibigan, kamusta ka na? Sana’y hindi mo pa rin nakakalimutan ang mga alaalang ito. Sana’y ang mga susunod na alaala nati’y mas masaya na.
Writing Prompt: Kung may ibibigay ka ngayon na hindi mo naibigay noon, ano ‘yun?
“Patawarin mo ako.”
Kung sinabi ko lang ito sayo noon, siguro naririto ka pa rin kasama ko.
“Patawarin mo ako.”
Kung hindi lang ako nilamon ng kaduwagan, maaari ko pa sanang masilayan ang mga malimit mong ngiti.
“Patawarin mo ako.”
Kung binuksan ko lamang ang aking mga tainga upang pakinggan ka, hindi siguro mangyayari lahat ng ito ngayon.
Sapagkat dati ay iisa tayo. Kung mayroong ako, mayroong ikaw. Subalit ngayon, sa tuwing nakikita kita, tila ba mayroong isang matangkad at hindi nakikitang pader; masyado na itong matibay at mataas upang mawasak pa.
Ngayon, sa tuwing nakakasalubong kita, tila hindi natin kilala ang isa’t isa. Tila ang mga pag-uusap hanggang alas tres ng umaga at mga masasayang alaala noong nakalipas na tatlong taon ay nangyari lamang sa loob ng aking isipan.
“Patawarin mo ako.”
Tatlong salita. Minsan, naiisip ko, kaya nga ba talaga nitong baguhin ang kapalaran nating dalawa?
At paano nga ba kita maibabalik kung ako rin mismo ang pumutol ng ating ugnayan?
“Patawarin mo ako.”