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.

Metamorphosis

Instead of burning some calories in Koret today, I opted to sit down near the fireplace at school today to fix everything I have virtually–and that includes this blog. That way, everything will finally be in its proper place. I’m downing a tall cup of Chai Latte and cookies from the baon Wawa gave and although I’m going to pay for this on the elliptical tomorrow, I feel like sitting down to regroup and process everything that’s happened so far is a much-needed thing for me to accomplish at the moment.

This photo was taken 2 days before I left. I was so tired--physically, emotionally and mentally--and even in crazy photos like this, it showed through my face.

I came to San Francisco with hopes of finding what it is that I’ve been missing from 2011. I began the year rough, went through a crazy mid-way mark, but finished off with an abundant blessing of loved ones, support, and a new-found inspiration to get me going farther. The first two months of living here and attending university was a tough thing, really. I was unsure of myself and I doubted my capacity to adapt. I was never the shy-type and I didn’t sacrifice my “recitation” during classes but every time I spoke, I felt like a part of my usual Ateneo-setting attitude lacked its presence. There was a ‘holding back’ and I didn’t know what to do about it.

However, as time is the cure for everything (and I mean everything, as you will notice as you read on), I have slowly emerged from being a fat caterpillar to creating my cocoon. The metaphor is lame, I know, but I like the thought of coming back to Manila as a butterfly. I may be a 155 pound butterfly, but I am one nonetheless. With this cocoon being my comfort zone, I believe that I have found myself here in the city. I’ve learned so much about myself and what I can do and acquired this sense of indestructibility that tells me that nothing can ever hurt me anymore. It’s amazing what this feeling does to me and I would have never thought I’d come this far.

A contrast between old and new--the skyline versus the famous Victorian houses in Alamo.
Walking down Pierce and Hayes. Oh look, a happy face! 😉

Living here also taught me my limitations. It’s a humbling experience to be taken out of your normal routine and grapple your way through each day without knowing what lies ahead. It’s liberating to establish a new life–even if I’m going to be living it for just half a year–to explore new places, to create new relationships and to discover things that I once didn’t believe in. I harnessed the power of self and for once in a very long time, I have felt the peace that I’ve been looking for.  Continue reading “Metamorphosis”

To you whom I’ve learned the most from,

“Instead of creating a palette full of vibrant hues, we coughed up a horrid combination of grays, almost always leading up to a gap-less, torn and black slate.”

We used to be magical.

I used to believe that we could change the world with our silly tandem, but since that illusion is long gone, I have put in all my efforts to push you to the very back of my head — but to no avail. I remembered you when I read this letter and thought to myself, ‘Who knew that people I cared for went through the same thing?’

It was after that gloomy morning, after reading Pia’s post and after finishing the last bit of my Red Velvet Cupcake that I began to realize that I didn’t want to forget you; simply because I knew that it was an impossible thing to do.

How can I forget you, really? It makes me wonder how you did, because I envy you for being able to push back eons of years worth of emotions and memories I know we could never recreate. What we had was something other people didn’t, because I know that what we had was as real as life could get.

We never had a perfect relationship to begin with. We would always argue about the small stuff, sweating out every ounce of comeback we could just so we won’t lose the immature bouts. Granted that we both were hormonal young adults back then could account for the unnecessary teenage rage, but we were generally just the vocal pair — never wanting the other to step on another’s ego. Pride is what they call it, normal day is what we would.

Apart from these instances I’d rather not go back to, we did make up for our constant clamoring. I know this very well you see, because I have a drawer filled with almost 500 letters to prove it. Writing letters was what we used to do, and so I guess part of my moving on is to write you one last time even though I’m almost certain that you’re never going to be able to read this anyway.

Continue reading “To you whom I’ve learned the most from,”