Thursday truths

Philosophy this semester hasn’t really moved me this much until today. While discussing Murdoch’s The Bell, I was faced with something I’ve tried to articulate these past few months.

“To know clearly what you surrender, what you gain, and to have no regrets; to revisit without envy the scenes of a surrendered joy, and to taste it ephemerally once more, with a delight undimmed by the knowledge that it is momentary, that is happiness, that surely is freedom.”

This is where I am at the moment. Constantly searching for the missing piece that will finally shut these feelings out for good. I just want to be able to start thinking clearly again, without any worry or regret. I want a clean slate and I’m more than willing to do whatever it takes.

I’ve crossed out factors one by one. I begun with freeing myself from unspoken words. I was honest; and like what Murdoch mentioned, I had no regrets. I knew that it lasted for as long as we were there and accepted the fact that after that, it would all disappear. It was fleeting but nonetheless worth every inch of courage I consumed. True enough, I felt the freedom that came with being brave–and, with step one, I’m slowly gaining back the feeling of liberty I once lost.

For two weeks now, I’ve started another phase in my life that I hope will lead me closer to my goal. Since I cannot control the things that happen around me–academics, org work, stress, personal problems, relationships (or the lack, thereof), etc.–I’ve decided that there was still one thing I could dictate: the physical. Having no grasp as to where I’m taken mentally or emotionally, sticking to a strict diet and engaging myself in training is the only thing I feel I can get a hold of.

I’m doing this to gain back the confidence I lost last year. As pathetic as this may sound, the consequences of a bad relationship can still be felt even after over a year. With what I’m doing now, I believe that I can prove to myself that I do have the willpower to accomplish everything I set my mind into doing, as long as I do not lose my focus. This switch to a healthy lifestyle will (I hope) redirect me to getting myself back on track in all things. The discipline I will gain and the confidence that will come with this venture is something I’m looking forward to attain. I’m generally okay and happy, yes. But I want more.

I want to become a better person–a more complete one at that–and taste the sweet victory of facing one’s fears.

No more running away this time. It’s time I faced reality.

 

Realizing why

More than a year has gone by but I still haven’t broken the link between hurt and thoughts of my past. I don’t know if this also holds true for a lot of people, but there’s a certain feeling inside me that no matter how hard I try to separate the two, there isn’t any way I could dissociate them.

Simply put, when I felt pain, I would always think of him.

It’s not a matter of not being able to move on with what I used to have. The fact that I can now openly talk about it means I’m over the phase of hating everything that had to do with my past. I’m in a better place now and even if that took me so long to realize, I’m glad that I finally acknowledged how much I’ve grown ever since. I would never trade anything for what I have, what I’ve done or for where I am now, but I’ll be honest when I say that sometimes, I just wish I never felt the pain I went through before. It changed me in a lot of positive ways, but it also left me pretty brutal scars which I can never take back.

Some of those scars are translated in the way I see myself and the work that I do at present. I’ve had a lot of doubts about my ability to lead and direct the vision I have for the people I’m handling. I can’t avoid the familiar feeling that somehow, I’ve been through this before. Whenever I have self-doubts, it always goes back to the time I felt like I’ve been questioned by that one person I thought would trust me no matter what. I don’t want to experience that again. I don’t want to go through all the drama of convincing someone that you can salvage something broken because it’s a process that’s just too damn hard. Right now, I’m scared to let down the people I’m working with. I never, ever, ever, ever want to make them think twice about their decision to trust me because I don’t want to let anyone down ever again. For history to repeat itself is not a possibility I’m welcoming in.

I guess this is rooted in the fact that although I know it wasn’t my fault (because really, I’ve tried and tried and tried), my ex made me feel like I let him down. He made me feel like I what I did was not enough…that I was not enough, that I was never enough. There were so many things I was doing “wrong” that nothing I did right was ever acknowledged or heard. I was doing everything I could to be the perfect girlfriend, but all he saw was everything I didn’t do to make him happy. I thought I was that girl and that he was my one, but towards the end, all I felt was that suddenly, all that I’ve worked for did not hold any bearing on the relationship anymore. When he made me feel useless and incompetent, that’s when things began going downhill and that’s when I decided that it had to end.

It is because of this experience that makes me hurt more than I should be at the moment. I know that my current work and my previous relationship have no correlation at all, but the disconcerting feeling of the possibility that I could fail someone again bothers me to no end. I love what I do and I love the people I’m doing it with even more that the thought of merely letting them down a single bit is something my conscience cannot take. I’ve invested so much of my time (my entire college experience, to be exact) in this organization that I want it to end perfectly. I want everything to fall into place at the right moment, at the right time. I don’t want these four years to go to waste because I know it feels. I know how it feels like for your perfectly planned out future to vanish in an instant. I know exactly how it feels like to have your whole life turn into an empty investment overnight.

Things get better and it has, of course, but you can never take away the impact of being shot at a million times. Sure, you go on, you move forward, you stand up again–but it will always sting, bite you in the ass, torment you at night. It will always creep back up during times like this even though you try so hard not to let it get to you. I honestly wish I could get rid of this trigger but I have to face that instead of wanting it gone, I should instead focus on accepting its inevitability. I can’t escape anything, and this shouldn’t be an exception.

I have recently been battling an existential crisis of not knowing what to do next, where to go, or even who to be in the future. Senioritis is probably kicking in faster than I thought it would, but this on-going roller coaster of feelings have left me in such a mess these days. I’m not doing so well in the things I usually do good at. My academics aren’t reaching my standards, my work, although I get done, does not fulfill me as much as it used to and well, my personal life has been a constant game of hide and seek. There are days when I think I know where I’m heading towards, but then there are moments when I find myself thinking, “What the hell am I even doing here?” The past used to scare me, but now, it’s the future that haunts me to no end. What if there was no future? What do I do then?

I’m hurting so much right now and it’s funny because for once in my life, it’s not about a relationship or a lost loved one or some boy I’m secretly crushing on. It’s something bigger now and I guess that’s why I’m doubly scared. This is an organization I’ve been entrusted with and I’m putting so much pressure on myself to do the job perfectly. I’m probably going to hurl at these things I’m saying in 10 years (because I know I’ll get through this soon), but I guess that’s better than still feeling this way by the time I’m 30. By then, I hope that I’ve finally set my feet somewhere stable and can look back at all this with a (judging) smile on my face. When that time comes, I hope I’ve gathered enough wisdom through the years to be able to say “It will be okay,” and believe in it myself.

For now, at least, allow me to indulge in my sappy teenage “Oh my god, it’s the end of the world” story. Allow me to go through these #feels because last time I checked, keeping it in never does anyone any good.

Where do I go from here

I promised myself to keep moving forward after these past few weeks of constant ‘searching’ for what may or may not be there. The yearbook write-up I had to do last night didn’t help, either. It only left me convinced that I really do not know what I’m doing / where I’m going / who I am. Talks with friends and my mom always clarify things for me but the impact fades right away. I don’t know why I’ve been like this lately. All I know is that I’m itching to find that “para saan o para kanino” that I’ve been looking for.

Three weeks ago, I’ve managed to get myself to compose a handwritten letter as a reply to my friend’s note. I’ve wanted to write letters again and that seemed like the perfect opportunity. I felt a sense of relief after ending the note because it was something I haven’t done in a long time. Letter writing is therapeutic for me and right after that, I realized that I’ve missed the feeling it always gave me: security and the thought of being free. Being free from your bottled up emotions, your thoughts, everything–after every letter I write, I feel like I’m starting anew. And that’s what I felt after that Sunday night.

However, like I’ve said earlier, this feeling of elation only lasts for a short while. I don’t know why I can’t keep it up or why I can’t try to sustain it, even. The feeling of that constant need to find something more is a lingering emotion that, no matter how fast I run away from it, stays to haunt me day by day.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve also been harboring a certain lack of drive for the work I’m doing. I know that I cannot allow myself to be hurt or my outlook be dictated by a single person, but it’s really affecting the way I do things lately. I promised myself that I would keep it in so that I won’t hurt anyone in the process but this afternoon, I just caved. I was so sure I had it under control but I found myself snapping, anyway. I hate how I let my emotions control me. I know that I have every right to feel this way (or do I?) but I also know that I need to protect something greater than myself. For once, I would have appreciated it if I just shut the f up so that no one else would get involved. But no, my emotions, again, got the best of me.

I hate the feeling of not being heard, not being considered, not being seen. I’ve had that all before and I’ve felt that crappy feeling more than just “a lot” of times. It just sucks that now, I’m being subjected to it all over again in a different environment, with different players, on a completely opposite context. But it hurts just the same. It stings just the same.

When will I ever find peace? I’m supposed to be home, but it certainly does not feel that way.

Graduation, please come soon.

Touchdown

Took this photo just before our final descent. May 21, 2012

Leaving San Francisco wasn’t an easy thing to do. Spending almost half a year in a place where I’ve finally found myself and put the pieces back together, I was hoping it would never end. My trepidation perhaps came from my fear of not being able to love Manila as much as I thought I did and my anxieties over the start of senior year. Was I ready? That I did not know.

However, once I landed, everything fell into place and I can say now that there really is no place like home. No matter how great those six months have been to me, nothing beats the familiar feeling of home, family, friends, and yes–the scorching Manila heat. I’ll be back someday, I will leave this place and explore the world, but until that day comes, it’s definitely great to be back.