Thornless Rose

This is where the great tragedy began. An open door, a stool and a rope in the middle of dimly lit room. Her name was Rhianna, and lord was she beautiful. Tragic, but beautiful. Everybody talks about her beauty. Her shiny jet black hair that falls to her waist. Her glowing brown skin. Her big dark eyes and her full lips. Rhianna’s body was slender. She was light enough for the beams of the ceiling to hold her lifeless body. Rhianna was so beautiful, she made dying look so elegant and graceful.

Rhianna was a beautiful woman, but no one talks about her tragedy. People say it was such a waste for a beautiful woman to die in such a way. Such a waste, they say, she was so beautiful. But no one talks about the darkness in her life.

Even if her eyes are not flashing with life, even when her lips turned blue, she was still so beautiful. A corpse bride anyone from the land of the dead would be lucky to have. She’s fit to be queen of the undead.  Perhaps, even when her body is rotting away, she will still be so attractive. Perhaps red roses will blossom from her dead body. It is just fitting. A beauty needs thorns to protect herself. She didn’t have it when she was alive. No one came to her rescue. The fairy tales lied. The princess was not saved.

Rhianna was a beautiful woman, but her story wasn’t so—for Rhianna attracted all types of people. Rhianna’s body was so slender, she wasn’t strong enough to protect herself. Rhianna was loved by everyone, perhaps loved too much. People will have her photos on their wall, carve her feature on woods and stone and write her name over and over again. They wanted her, and they had her and when they were done, they left her to waste away.

Rhianna tried to speak, but all they can see is her beautiful lips. No one can hear her voice. People mourned her death. A beauty wasted by her own hands.

Her own hands, they said.

I wonder whose hand wrapped around her neck, over her mouth, on her thighs, on her chest on her hands and held her down; drowning in grief.

Yes, such a waste.


Night Prayer

I made a wish upon a star. The darkness was too much to take and the cold air lingers in my room. I shivered. My emptiness turned into salted water, staining my cheeks and the bed that yearns for warmth, a company. I held out my hand into the darkness, waiting. Like a child, I pleaded. “Make it stop,” I cried to no one.

And so I asked the stars, the moon and the wind. Let my feeling be gone, disappear into the night, like a stranger passing by.  Yet I hold on to it, so tight my hands started to bleed, my whole body shaking in fear.

Let it go, I know I must. Just open your hands and let it fly. Just turn your back and walk. Keep on walking, ‘till you can’t feel it anymore. Let the cold wind settle the fire in you. Let the darkness show you the truth. Let the silence of the night quiet your worries and the lies you’ve been told.

Hush. There is peace in the night. Cry to the moon. The wind will carry your  woes, echoing through the fields of dismay. Sleep under your thick blankets and hear the lullabies of the crickets, slowing down your breathing, calming your distressed heart. Pull tightly—breathe. The stars are answering.

Kaya Pa Ba?

“Kaya pa ba?” Tinanong mo sa akin.

Inisip ko kung ano ang ibig mong sabihin. Kaya ko pa bang bumangon? Kaya ko pa bang tumayo? Kaya ko pa bang huminga sa bigat ng aking nadarama?

“Huy, kaya?” dahan dahan mong sinuklay ang buhok ko gamit ang iyong mga daliri. Tila mapanuya sa tigas ng iyong dila. Ang lambing ng iyong mga kamay ay tutol sa magaspang mong pananalita. Hindi ko tuloy alam kung anong paniniwalaan.

Hindi ko rin alam kung bakit ako pumayag. Hindi mo naman ako pinilit, kusa akong sumama. Marahil ako’y umasa na baka magbago ko pa ang iyong isip. Suntok sa buwan ang aking hiling.

 Iyon ang aking pagkakamali. Dahil minahal kita sa pag-asang mababago ko ang iyong isip. Ang iyong pananaw na hindi naman lahat ay may paalam sa huli. Dapat minahal kita kung sino ka, hindi ang nais kong maging ikaw o yung inasa ko na maging ikaw
Kaya ko pa ba? Kaya mo pa ba? Kaya pa ba nating dalawa?

Ang Pagkakataong Umibig

Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong umibig
Nung una’y hindi ako makapaniwala kung gaano ako katanga
Na sa maliliit na bagay tulad ng simpleng tingin
Ang araw ko’y buo na

Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong lumigaya
Isang hakbang, dalawang salita lang ang kailangan
Kaya kong bilangin sa isang kamay
Pero lakas ng loob ay tila wala

Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong masaktan
Dahil sa pagibig, kasama naman talaga yan
Pinili kong mahalin ka ng malayuan
Kaya ang puso ko’y di mo naramdaman

Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong umasa
Sa bawat oras na wala ka sa tabi niya
Ngunit ang kamay, loob at isip ay sa iba na
Hinding hindi na mababago pa

Nagkaron ka ng pagkakataong umibig
Lumigaya at palaging ngumiti
Marahil ito’y sapat na sa akin
Kahit ang dibdib ko’y sumisikip

Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong umibig
Umasa’t nasaktan, tumawa at lumuha
Gayon pa man wala akong pagsisisi
Kailangan ko mang magpaalam sa aking mahal

I Wonder If I Should Still Be Here

I talked to a friend yesterday and she told me about the recent deaths in her lives and the pending, inevitable end of one good person who is loved and respected by many. She has stage four cancer.

I’ve been contemplating about death recently, mine to be specific. For weeks now, I thought that dying is not the worse thing that could happen to me now. If I were to talk to my mother about these thoughts, she would tell me to think about the many people who would want to be as healthy as I am now—to have a perfectly enabled body and mind.

So when my friend told me about Karen (not her real name) and how she’s been fighting for her life every day, only one thing came to my mind: I wish I could give Karen my days and health.

Another friend of mine lost a good friend to pancreatic cancer. Bill (not his real name) was a good, highly driven and humorous person. When he discovered that he had stage four pancreatic cancer, he opted for alternative medicine and sacrificed his body for the sake of looking for a new cure. I wish I could give Bill my life.

If it was up to me, I don’t want to die on a bed surrounded by white walls, waiting for the cold clutches of death to take me. I want to die protecting someone. That’s not a bad way to go. At least in my last moment, I can be useful. At least I can sacrifice my life for another.

This is not a cry for help. These are not suicidal thoughts. But death, right now, is not the worse thing that could happen to me. I don’t have the strength to commit suicide, but I’ve been praying for my life to end. If  there was a way to give my life span to another person like Karen and Bill, I would gladly volunteer.

But there are things I wish I could do before I go.

I want to see the beautiful temples in Japan and practice my Nihongo. I want to have a beer in a pub in Ireland, see the castles in Scotland, visit the grave of J.R.R. Tolkien, see the northern lights in Iceland and southern lights in New Zealand.

I want to tell him that I love him and thank him for giving me a moment of hope and happiness.

I know that this is not something I should think. I’m trying my best to find a purpose and something to hold onto as I sink further and further down. But everything I hold crumbles through my fingers.

I tried fighting, but I keep on getting defeated. I wonder if I am still supposed to be here.

Thoughts in the Midst of My Midnight Panic Attack

I remember the first time I had the opportunity to win a gold medal in a judo competition. It was my first year in the sport and after a series of heartbreaking losses, I finally had my moment. As I was preparing for the match, I asked myself, “can I really do this? Can I really defeat this girl?” I had my doubts even before I stepped on the mats.

To ease my worry, I reminded myself that even if I lose, I still get a silver medal. I still get to be on that podium and I have something to celebrate for. “I can live with that,” I convinced myself.

Lo and behold, I lost the match—and yes I cried. Not because I lost, but because I knew, deep down, I already accepted defeat before the match started. A massive feeling of regret loomed over me. I worked my way up to the finals only to back down because I was afraid of wanting something so much and have it slipped through my fingers. I didn’t fight for it. I could’ve gotten the gold, but I settled for silver instead.

I didn’t believe in my own strength. I didn’t see myself as someone who can win the gold.

After that day, I vowed to always keep my eyes on the prize and that no matter what happens, I will not let my fears and doubts get the best of me. I will give it my all so even if I lose, I’ll have no regrets. And that’s what I did for the rest of my judo career.

I wonder what happened to that high driven girl. It’s been four years since my last judo competition. Somehow, somewhere, I lost that mentality.

See, one of the harsh lessons I learned outside the safe walls of my university is that, you can’t get what you want all the time because you worked hard for it. True, there are inspiring stories and people that overcome the trials of life because of their determination. It all starts there, right? Work hard for it and don’t stop.

But there are many variables that you have to account for—and you can’t control all of them; people’s perception for one thing. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no matter how many times you go at it over and over again, you can’t just win. And it’s hard to admit, but sometimes hard work is not enough. I tried again and again, and again and again, I failed. Miserably.

“Hard work beats talent, when talent fails to work hard.” I kept telling myself this throughout my judo career because I didn’t have the talent. The athlete that I am is all because of passion and hard work. Somehow, this mentality is failing me now.

So I started questioning myself. What am I doing wrong? Am I not enough? Is my best not enough? Have I peaked back in college and it’s just all downhill from there? Will I ever be good enough to be employed in a good company? Will I ever be good enough for my dreams?

Right now I am chasing a dream. I dropped everything because I don’t want to give a half-ass effort. I wanted this so badly that I want to dedicate every moment of every day into making this happen. Again, I know I don’t have the talent or the resources, so I am depending on the one thing I am good at; my fucking determination.

Just like my first gold medal match, I started questioning myself. There are nights, like tonight, I wake up in the middle of the night from a panic attack.


I can feel the cold hands of fear all over my body and I shudder at its touch. I fight for my breath as I try to save myself from the drowning feeling of uncertainty.

The future is so hazy, and I feel lost in a maze, taking all the wrong turns.

Perhaps I am making another wrong turn.

There’s a voice in my head asking if I am good enough for this? What if I fail to get this dream? What if I am not good enough for this? What if I do get it and then I realize, it’s not what I really wanted? What if I sacrificed everything and it’s all for naught? What if I’m leaving behind my true happiness because I am a selfish person who thinks she can get something better in this life? What if I am just an ungrateful person who is never satisfied?

What if all of this was a mistake?

Whenever you have to take a big leap, whenever you know that a lot is at risk and you’re chasing after your heart’s desire, doubts and fears will always be part of that. I don’t face my demon, I carry it with me. And I think it all boils down to whether you will give in to that fear or have the strength to carry it with you and believe more in your strength. I don’t face my demon, I carry it with me.

Yes, there are times when I will fall, and carrying this fear will weigh me down. But here’s the thing, I forgot I wasn’t alone. The future might be unclear, but I am not treading down this road alone. I have a family who will always be there for me and a group of friends who are not afraid to tell me the things I need to hear.

I don’t know if I am making the right choice. I don’t know what lies ahead. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, next month, let alone next year. Maybe, just like in competition, I should focus on one match at a time.  I don’t know what will be the outcome. Maybe that’s why we need to believe in our strength and hard work.

And if I fail again, I can say that I didn’t settle for silver.  I went for the gold, and I gave it my very damn best and more.