Anatomy of Faces and Hues

 

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From our exhibit last February 28 about mental health awareness (Photo taken by me)

 

When people ask me if I am doing fine,

I close my eyes and pick a color farthest from the nightmares in my mind.

“I’m fine,” I say, as I watch myself paint another face.

Another masterpiece, another lie–today I’ve survived.

 

When people ask me if I am doing fine,

I examine the ugly scars in my body and imagine an unblemished canvas.

“I’m alright,” I whisper, choosing a red, blissful face.

Another masterpiece, another lie–today I’ve survived.

 

When people ask me if I am doing fine,

My mind immediately cries–while my hands automatically pick the brush.

“I will be okay,” I promise, as my demon wakes.

Another masterpiece, another lie–today I’ve survived.

 

Of Happiness, Warm Hearts, and a Whole Bunch of Infinities

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!

jann

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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!

jemi

(P.S. I’m not sure if I’m the one who took this photo. Lol)

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!

trish

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!!

belle

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!

teya

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!

cang

(I also don’t know if I took this photo haha)

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. ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Things I Need to Say Today

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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.

To my five year old cousin, please never grow old

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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.

My Mind is an Endless Zoo

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(Photo not mine. All credits belong to its proper owner)

Lips sealed,

Repressed memories,

Lone bird watching,

Fighting the urge to flee.

 

Flowing letters,

Of pieces shattered–

Feisty shark awaits,

Tearing off verses and flesh.

 

Tipsy feelings,

Paired with burnt lungs and promises.

Tigers prancing along the flames,

Leaving embers dressed as kisses.

 

Sleeping portraits,

Of wasted colors and tomorrows,

Voiceless parakeet singing,

Body hanging like a crooked comma–aiming for defeat.

Lost in a maze called, “Today”

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Today seems like an ordinary day,

Instead of chirping birds, I stare at dusty paper cranes.

Outside, the world continued to play

Unaware of things called, “pain”

 

Today seems like an ordinary day,

Waking up and avoiding the mirror like a game,

Hiding in the darkest corners, as if to say there isn’t a way –

With thoughts like these, it’s a challenge to stay sane.

 

Today seems like an ordinary day,

Nauseous of bitter coffee and emptiness.

I glance at the sky but all I see is gray,

Mimicking my self-portrait of hopelessness.

 

Today seems like an ordinary day,

The bent umbrella foolishly soaking in the rain,

As if begging the misery to run away,

Loading heartbreaks disguised as suitcases in the last passenger train.

 

A note to the “heartless” self

I’m sorry.

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.

I’m sorry.

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.

I’m sorry.

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.

I’m sorry.

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.

I’m sorry.

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.

One, 

Two,

Three.