To the girl with the broken heart

*I wrote this years ago for myself when my boyfriend broke up with me after five years together. In my mind, I wrote this as someone who, I imagined, would be able to reach me in spite of the many barriers I put up around my heart. Recently, one of my best friends got dumped in the worst way possible by her girlfriend of seven years, and I thought maybe letting her read this can help her in some way. And I’m reposting this here just in case this finds its way to someone else who needs a hug.

I don’t see your tears. I’m not there whenever you shed them. I don’t hear the achingly deep breaths you take, thinking it could lessen the pain that made your heart its home. I’m not there whenever you feel safe enough to tuck away the smiles you work so hard on showing off to everyone around you.

It doesn’t matter though. I see right through it.

I see because I’ve felt it – the feeling of giving your all and receiving nothing in return, of trying your hardest but always ending up second best, of loving so much while hurting even more, of knowing you deserve better yet settling for what’s there.

I know what you’re going to say, that I couldn’t possibly know exactly what you’re feeling and that circumstances are different for every person. And that’s true. Our experiences may not be similar, our pain not of the same degree.

But the remedy is.

Whatever he’s done and whatever he’s made you feel, in the end, it can only hurt you as much as you allow it to, as much as you let it. It all comes down to choice – your choice… which, truth be told, makes healing that much harder.

Because sometimes we choose to hurt. Sometimes, we’d rather lock ourselves in a dark room that was once bright, with pain we are so familiar with, instead of using the key we hold in the palm of our hand to open the door and walk out – all because we have not the slightest clue of what’s beyond it. We’re afraid to let go because we think that, if we do, we won’t find anyone else to hold on to and, more importantly, there won’t be another person who will want to hold us too. We’re afraid to be alone so we choose to stay with someone who not only hurt us but make us hurt ourselves and we rationalize it by saying, “At least he makes me feel, and feeling something, even if it is pain, is better than not feeling anything at all.” And I get that. The presence of pain may seem less unbearable than the absence of happiness.

It’s not.

It only feels that way because we also have the tendency to entrust our happiness to anyone besides us. So much so that when that person walks out of our life, he takes our happiness along with him and leaves us with a whole lot of nothing. We know it, we do, but knowing isn’t enough to change anything. We still choose to depend on someone else than face the possibility of being on our own.

Because it would be easier, wouldn’t it? To have someone else make us happy rather than to actually make ourselves happy.

But we can, you know. Be happy with ourselves. Granted it may be quite lonesome at times, disheartening on some occasions. But you know what? It’s worth it. Do you know what it feels like to suddenly find yourself genuinely happy and content and realize that, for the first time since forever, it’s not because of some guy? What does it feel like to be the reason for our own happiness?

Fulfilling. Uplifting. Worth it.

What not a lot of people realize, and what I hope you will, is that there is only one kind of love, aside from the love of God, that will never disappoint and that will never hurt – self-love.

So, at this moment, make your choice. Think about what you’re going through, what you’ll continue to go through should you remain in the path you’re in and choose.

Choose what your heart deserves, not what your heart thinks it wants. Choose to stop putting your happiness in someone else’s hands. And if you already have, don’t be afraid to take it back. Maybe falling for the wrong person was never your choice. But moving on is. We can allow the pain to consume us or we can choose to acknowledge it.

Let it hurt, let it out, then let it go.

And when you’ve let it go, walk away.  And as you walk away, know in your heart that while you may be walking away from something good, you’re sure as hell walking toward something even better.

One step to adulthood: 7 a.m. breakfast on a Saturday morning

I’ve been alive for 24 years now and I’ve never, not even once, voluntarily gone out for an early breakfast on a weekend.The only times I’ve ever gone out for breakfast were with family (which basically means I didn’t have a choice in the matter). I’m the kind of person who prefers to spend more time in bed than to eat an early breakfast no matter how good the food is. I usually get out of bed around nine or ten in the morning and just have brunch instead.

That all changed today.

Today’s my first time to actually decide to wake up earlier than I do on a working day and eat out for breakfast. And it felt so good. I feel so childish for saying this but I really did feel like a grown-up.

I also tried eggs Benedict for the first time in my entire life. I’ve always wanted to try it but the bacon and eggs, and pancakes and waffles were always too tempting to pass up so I’d always end up getting one of those instead. But since today’s breakfast was special, I wanted to get something special as well, hence the eggs Benedict.

And now as I sit in my room, wearing my comfy sweatpants and a shirt that’s too big for me, I don’t feel bad at all. Having my first eggs Benedict on my first early Saturday breakfast has made me feel like I accomplished so much in a span of two hours that’s enough to last me the entire day.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Of staring at the moon and the thoughts that come with it

Is it just me or is the moon looking extra fine tonight?

I saw the moon tonight and I was completely amazed. In fact, I was so amazed by what I saw that I asked my mom, who was in the car with me, if it really was the moon I’m seeing. In fact in fact, before sharing this thought with the wonderful world of social media, I found myself looking for the moon again and again when it got lost in the trees and buildings just to make sure that it was still the way I saw it. For a while there I just was just staring at it. I found it so mesmerizing.

After some time, it dawned on me that it had been days, maybe weeks, since I’d last seen it. And the reason why I hadn’t seen it for a long time is simply because I hadn’t taken the time to look at it. Which I think is pretty sad considering I’ve been coming home late this past week so if there’s anything I should’ve seen a lot of recently, it would be the moon. But I didn’t.

And the first thought that popped up in my head soon after realizing that is that I’ve been spending a lot of my days looking straight ahead, both in the road and life in general, that I’ve forgotten that it wouldn’t hurt to look up once in awhile.

One of the things I always have the most trouble with is finding that balance between being realistic and being the world-peace kind of idealistic. I’m usually either one or the other; rarely am I a combination of both. And for the past few weeks, I’ve mostly been, I think the perfect word for it is functional. I’ve been doing everything I’m supposed to be doing – working and teaching, self-studying during my free time and planning my future. I got so caught up in the technicals and practicals of this life, that I forgot to let my head fly up in the clouds a little bit. And I’m saying that not because I need it, but because it feels nice, and because I think because we owe it to ourselves to do something that feels nice every now and then.

Another thought that came to mind is how underrated the moon is compared to the sun and stars. Literally speaking. The sun is the sun, nothing really tops that. We can’t really underrate the sun since the existence of the entire human race depends on it. And the stars… well, John Green, along with every other love song, made sure no one will ever forget about those.

But the moon… the moon is just there, appearing every night like it’s supposed to, at a time when people are either too tired to care or too drunk to notice. I guess it’s because there’s very little mystery about it now, that it doesn’t get the cred the other two have. It can’t be known for its beauty either since it’s basically a gray ball of holes and craters.

But it has its moments. Like tonight.

I’m tempted to list down a number of symbolism and parallels about the moon and life and love and people right now, but I’ll just leave it at this: being a moon among the stars and under the shadow of the sun is a most beautiful thing in the most inconspicuous of ways.

Really though, if you’re reading this right now and the moon’s still out where you are, go and look. I hope it looks the same way it does here. I hope you see it the way I do right now.

Of my father and ice cream

I had the most wonderful day yesterday. I had the entire day off so I spent the morning with my mom, accompanying her in her errands. Coincidentally, my dad’s meeting finished early and he decided not to return to the office, choosing instead to take me and my mom out to lunch. The three of us spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the mall, going into shops and being blown away by how expensive everything is (it’s been a while since any of us did some shopping).

Then I treated my parents to some ice cream. And it was the best feeling ever.

It’s the first time I treated my dad to anything. I’ve been working for two years now and, aside from Christmas and birthday gifts, I’ve never spent my own money on him. He doesn’t want me to. My father is 63 years old and yet he chooses not to retire because he wants to provide a future for us that’s even brighter than the already bright one we have. He gives us everything we, and he’s careful to give us just enough of the things we want so that we wouldn’t feel unnoticed or get spoiled. For 45 years, he’s been working his butt off and not once have I heard him complain about the burden of having to provide for us.

From the moment I started working, that thought has always been on my mind. I wanted to do anything, even the smallest thing, that would show him that I’ve known and appreciated all along every single thing he’s done for me.

And there we were yesterday, in that ice cream shop, after I told him I’d be the one paying, wrestling each other and trying to be the first one to hand over the money to the guy across the counter. I would’ve lost had my mom not ordered my dad to let me pay for them.

So he let go of my arm. Instead, he put his arm around my shoulder, gave a squeeze and said, “Thank you, sweetheart.”

For a vanilla caramel ice cream.

Oh, my dad.

How wonderful it is, and how utterly blessed I am, to be my father’s daughter.

Today’s little ray of sunshine

I’ve been tutoring this girl named Bella for more than a year now. She had consistently been in the honor roll since first grade. Two months ago, her grades took a steep dive because of her math subject. It was going well until they started taking up addition and subtraction. She hates those. She loathes those.

And no matter how many times I’d try to teach her, she’d give up right away because she refuses to learn something she doesn’t like. So for a while there she kept on getting Ds and Fs, and I kept feeling more and more discouraged and frustrated.

Three weeks ago, Bella and I had an honest conversation. I told her that I decided I wouldn’t let her fail and that she shouldn’t let herself fail. So for three weeks I kept giving her word problems to answer, and she answered all of them with a straight face. Some days she would get it, other days she won’t. But for three weeks, we kept on it, studying all her other subjects on top of that.

On the last day, the day before her exam, I gave her one very long exam of my own. She didn’t ace it. She got a couple of mistakes here and there. But I was extremely satisfied with the progress she made, and I honestly think she was too. Still, I went home that night and prayed the hardest I had ever prayed for a student of mine.

Today, she showed me the result of her exam. She wasn’t smiling or showing any sign of happiness when she did.

She got an A-.

And when I smiled after seeing that, she smiled as well.

Of music and breathing

I must confess. These past few months I have been struggling with the ever-changing frame of mind I constantly find myself in. Some days, I feel one thing, and then on others, I feel completely different. Then there are days when I feel such a conflict of emotions that I stare at the ceiling or at the wall and I just have to take deep breaths.

I’m not sure exactly when it all started, but I do know what triggered it. But that’s a post for another time.

Right now, I just want to share a few songs. The last time I wrote a similar post, my mood was a lot happier than how it is now. But the gist is the same.

Music keeps me going.

There’s only a few things in this world that can put back the gleam in my eyes, and music is one of them. When I strangle myself with life’s worries and the pressure to meet the world’s insurmountable standards, music helps me breathe.

Maybe some of these songs can help you breathe too.

I fall in love with this song every single time I listen to it. It reminds me that no matter how many times I fail or get lost or feel like crap, I always have a home to return to. And, I guess, in a world where loneliness and detachment are all too common, being reminded that you belong somewhere is always a blessing. I listen to this and I breathe a little better because I know I’m alright, and I’m alright because I’m not alone.

This isn’t my favorite version of the song; I like the version on their album better. But anyway, OneRepublic has always been my favorite band and it’s because of songs like this that make them my favorite band. I played this song on the morning of my graduation day, on the night I resigned from my first job and basically every time I’d feel like letting the entire day pass me by. This song doesn’t just help me breathe easier, it picks me up and pushes me to keep going.

I’ve been single for about three years now, and I’m always being told by so many people that I should start going out and looking for a guy. And to be honest, there have been days when I’d feel lonely or insecure. But for the most part, I’m alright. I am firmly holding on to my belief that the greatest love stories don’t begin with me going out and looking for someone to have that with. I really do think great love stories just unfold on their own. And listening to this song reinforces that. It also warms my heart because I know that someday I’ll be having a love story that will be worth writing a song about.

Every time I go through bouts of fear and uncertainty, I always feel so incredibly small in terms of my faith. I forget that God is bigger than me, that when compared to Him, my fears and uncertainties are absolutely petty and insignificant. This song reminds me of that. It reminds me to pause and allow God to take the weight off my chest. Because, really, He’s the only one who can.

This is the live and shortened version of the song, and the only available copy of the song on the band’s YouTube. Again, the one in the album is much better. Whenever I play this song, I close my eyes and imagine God, my family and my friends singing this to me. And it lifts me up. Because I know that amid the pressure of accomplishing the goals I set for myself and the fear of not being able to do it, I am loved by some extraordinary people.
That’s it. Some of the songs that help me breathe. Do you have any songs that help you breathe?