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.

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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 AM SO FUCKING SCARED.

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.

The Small Change That Rippled The Peaceful Water

I just wanted something new in my life, that’s why I went to that place that day. I did something that wasn’t part of my routine and you were there. I wanted change, and boy did I get it.

We both had no idea what we walked into when we entered that room. You sat at the other end of the table. We barely made eye contact and nodded politely at each other. I had no idea, and if it was just that one chance meeting, I never would’ve glanced at your direction twice. But that meeting became two, and then three and then more and just when I thought it was over, you came in through those doors again and again.

Don’t you think it’s funny? We went to the same university and seven years ago, we might’ve sat next to each other at the library. I might’ve stood behind you at the cafeteria. I might’ve been in the same class as you. We might’ve passed each other in the hall a hundred times. And we might’ve looked at each other for a split second and then moved on. We were just another face in the crowd.

And now you’re not just another person. You became the highlight of my day. I glance at that door waiting for you to say good morning. When you talk to me and when you slightly lean forward just to try to catch the things can’t say out loud, I can just feel my face turn red.

And sometimes even if I don’t say anything, you understood what I meant.

And you may not know this, but it’s been a long time since I felt this way about someone. Five years to be exact. Not the slightest feeling for anyone for the past five years, and the most unlikely person came in and brought to life everything I thought that was gone for good.

I was happy, scared, excited, nervous, giddy,  anxious—it was a roller coaster of emotions, a  ride that I was and still am afraid of boarding. But you made me feel these things, nonetheless. You brought up a side of me and more. I was too young when I first felt this way and the second time around, I still didn’t know what to do. I was still scared, but you were worth the risk.

Then the story ended.

It was inevitable. We both knew it was coming. We parted ways in the most casual way. Kinda anti-climactic. But I have nothing but good memories.

The past months have been the best months so far, of my adult life.

All I wanted was a small change, and He gave me you. It may not have ended the way I wish it would’ve, but nonetheless, I am grateful.

Maybe for now, or maybe for good, we have parted ways. But you will always be the man who brought me back to life.

The Year of Sacrifice Has Ended

For five years now, I’ve been waiting for a wizard to knock on my door and force me to get off my comfy chair and go on an adventure with him. I’ve been waiting, and boy, I have been waiting.

Every year, I keep on telling myself that it is a sacrifice year—a year of patience and learning before I commit myself to bigger things, whether it is career, studies or a mere overseas trip. It’s sad that I am still stuck in that sacrifice year—or so I try to convince myself.

Every new year, I have a tradition of watching all six Lord of the Ring movies, from The Hobbit to the Return of the King. Bilbo’s adventure is definitely my favorite. This small fella chose to leave the comforts of his home and join the company of Thorin, knowing the dangers ahead and how he is way over his head. The world is too big for him, literally. Everything towers over him, yet he found courage and friends; light in the midst of darkness. He found a new him, something he thought he would never become.

Then I looked back. I never thought I would be a black belt in martial arts. I never thought I would take the N5 Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I never thought I’d quit my job. I never thought I’ll have romantic feelings for anyone again. Yet I did all of those things. It’s difficult, yes, but in difficulty we discover something in ourselves. We always come out stronger.

So this year, I vow to get off my comfy chair and brave what is out there. This year, I will chase after my dream. This year, I will fall and I will stand again.

This year I will work overseas. This year I will not be afraid to fall in love. This year I shall speak my mind and assert myself. This year I will be stronger.

“The world is not in your books and maps, it’s out there,” said Gandalf.

And out there I shall go.

To the Person Who Wanted Me Out

There are many things I want to say to your face, but I’d like to remain professional, unlike you.

You, who are ten years older than I am, you who thinks posting your feelings on Facebook will do you any good, you who clearly forgot you added me months ago, should really reevaluate yourself

You, who thinks it’s cool to say mean things about other people, whether it’s your boss or the quiet girl at the corner who is minding her own business, should really listen to the gospel and homily whenever you come to church every Sunday,or so you say

You, who thinks  that pointing your finger at me and comparing my accomplishments to yours will save your ass, you who comes in two hours late while I come in an hour early every damn day, claims that I don’t do shit when you don’t see me working at six in the morning, you better check the record again

You, who said that me juggling my work and studies is bullshit, you who think that my effort to better myself is unfair, you who thinks that me begging our boss to compress my working hours so I can study during the weekends is  unjust,

Let me tell you something

This is not my end. This is not where I will cast my anchor. This is just a stepping stone and I will go to better places.

You are not gonna be my downfall and I will not let you drag me down with your negativity. I will not stop myself from gaining more knowledge and bettering myself just because you think it’s bullshit.

You are just another pebble in my shoe. I can flick you back to the ground and that is what I am doing.

I will not let you break me, and I am not going to be a bitter old woman like you. I will never find joy in other people’s suffering and I will never feel better about myself by dragging other people down.

You can tread down this road alone; this road of bitterness, jealousy, greed and anger.

You don’t like it? Post about it on Facebook, bitch.

AN: I don’t usually post negative pieces because I want to send a message of hope. But in a way, this is a message of hope for everyone. We all have to deal with a villain in our life. DON’T LET THEM BREAK YOU. This is just another monster we have to destroy. Because guess what? wherever you go, you will find someone who wants to destroy you. Don’t kill them with kindness, they don’t deserve any. Kill them with your badass-ery!

 

Cold Light

I’m at the point of my life where I just want to sit in the corner, cry and let the day pass. I did it yesterday. I sat at the corner of my room and just thought about how I will go about my day tomorrow. I knew I can’t always do this. I have to leave my corner sometime—but I felt so helpless. I held out my hand, hoping someone would take it, but I caught nothing but the warm breeze from my window.

The sun was shining so brightly. How ironic. I felt so cold inside, as if the world was mocking me. I watch as the specks of dust dance in the sunshine. No patterns at all. Just random movements—so careless and free.

I went to sleep that night feeling horrible. I can feel the disgust creeping into my skin, running through my veins, etching into my mind. The darkness was swallowing me. The nights were always so difficult.

I thought of an escape, an unspeakable escape. And I stared out the window where the sunshine was. The sky now emits a cold light. It was dark but not really dark, I thought. It was dim, but there was light, just enough for me to see the room I locked myself in.

It was dim, but it was light, nonetheless.

I can still see the door. I can still the road outside.

It was weak, but it was light, nonetheless.

Stars

You’re like one of those stars in this dark night—so mesmerizing, I could stare at you the entire night. Your twinkles are so captivating, I can’t seem to look away. But you are so far away, it’s kind of sad to think that I no matter how hard I try, no matter how far I go, I just can’t get to you.

Your light is beautiful yet cold. I can see you, but you’re out of reach.

Loving you is dangerous journey—almost close to impossible. Yet letting you go is just as the same. So I’m just going to love you from this distance, hoping that one day you will fall. I’ll be there to catch you.

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