I’ve fallen in love with words on paper: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

It’s been more than a year since I last wrote a post like this. I don’t even know why I stopped in the first place. But earlier today, I was ten foot deep in thought about where my life’s heading and I flipped through my notebook where I write down all my favorite quotes. This book’s entry tickled my heart.

Me Before You tells the story of Lou, a 26-year-old woman who has never really done anything spectacular in her life, and Will, a man who squeezed every adventure out of his life until an accident turned him into a depressed quadriplegic. Lou is hired to be Will’s caregiver and everyday companion when she loses her job at a cafe. At first, they butt heads. Gradually though, they find comfort and possibilities in their differences. And, in doing so, they open themselves up to a whole new world where hurt and healing are one and the same.

Even though I read this almost a year ago, I remember thinking to myself then, I’m Lou… minus the love interest. And earlier as I read the words I wrote down from this book, I can’t help but think, I’m still Lou… minus the love interest.

His eyes met mine. They were infinitely weary.

They looked like they were really happy together. Then again, what did a photograph prove?

The thing about being catapulted into a while new life… is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are. Or how you might seem to other people.

There are things you don’t notice until you accompany someone with a wheelchair.

Here, I could hear my thoughts. I could almost hear my heartbeat. I realized, to my surprise, that I quite liked it.

There are normal hours, and then there are invalid hours, where time stalls and slips, where life – real life – seems to exist at one remove.

“No. Stay for a bit. Talk to me.” He swallowed. His eyes opened again and his gaze slid up to mine. He looked unbearably tired. “Tell me something good.”

“This might sound revolting to you, but astonishingly, Will Traynor, not all girls get dressed just to please men.”

Girls like Lissa trade on their looks for so long they don’t think they have anything else.

It could be oddly dispiriting, the blank refusal of humankind to even attempt to function responsibly.

I needed to tell him, silently, that things might change, grow or fail, but that life did go on. That we were all part of some great cycle, some pattern that it was only God’s purpose to understand.

I felt the music like a physical thing; it didn’t just sit in my ears, it flowed through me, around me, made my sense vibrate.

You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.

“And I cannot for the life of me see how you can be content to live this tiny life. This life that will take place almost entirely within a five-mile radius and contain nobody who will ever surprise you or push you or show you things that will leave your head spinning and unable to sleep at night.”

Some mistakes just have greater consequences than others.

There is nothing more terrifying that my sister’s thinking face when it is trained directly on you.

And finally, possibly the most eyeopening of them all…

Knowing you still have possibilities is a luxury.

Reading these lines in the emotional state I’m currently in, I honestly don’t know what to feel, kind of like how I didn’t know what to feel after I finished reading the book. No, I am not content to live a tiny life, and yes, I know that as long as I’m alive and breathing, there are possibilities. My heart and brain can process that. They just don’t know how to apply that in real life.

Maybe if I read the sequel to the book, I’ll find the answer there. I doubt it though. Answers like that you can’t find anywhere else but yourself.

25 things on my 25th birthday

I’m not entirely sure how I feel – that’s how I’ve been quite often these past couple of months. Initially, I wanted to write something profound and spectacular for today, but my mind never stays in one place long enough for me to write something about it – that’s been happening a lot too. And every time I pause and dwell on these two observations, I get mad at myself and at everything else because nothing rattles me more than not knowing, especially when it comes to myself. So I’ve decided to just grab a pen and paper, and list down everything and anything that comes to mind because for my 25th birthday, I don’t want to be mad… I want to be honest.

#1: The one thing I’m most thankful for at this very moment is my sister. At 12 midnight, when I was in bed and so ready to sleep, Karen jumped on me and hugged the life out of me to greet me a happy birthday. Sometimes, when she’s in an exceptionally good mood and needs to express it through physical contact, she inadvertently becomes physically abusive with me. Sometimes, when she’s in an exceptionally bad mood and needs someone to witness her rage, she demands I stop everything I’m doing to be that person. But always, and I mean always, she is my rock.

#2: I wasn’t able to have a birthday breakfast because I woke up pretty late. But I had pizza for lunch. It was good pizza. And good pizza makes good birthdays.

#3: Halfway through the day, my mom asked me if I had already received a lot of greetings. I told her, without any hesitation or thought, “The people who matter already did so I’m good.”

#4: Up until that point, I had gotten less than ten greetings. I still keep my birthday hidden on my Facebook profile. So after thinking about that after my mom’s question, I felt good. I truly meant it. I am good.

#5: At work, Karen surprised me with my favorite cake and led all my students and co-teachers in singing Happy Birthday to me. I told you, she’s my rock.

#6: Aside from a chocolate mousse cake, I also received a new pair of red shoes (a first!), a good book and a coloring book. I’ve never expected gifts, but I’m always glad I get them anyway.

#7: My twin sister’s ex-boyfriend greeted me on Facebook. In his short post, he wrote, “Greet your sister for me.” That annoyed me. And since it’s my birthday, I felt bolder than usual. I wrote back, “Thanks! Also, my sister has a name. And I’m sure you know what it is.” Did I mention he cheated on her and broke up with her on our birthday? He apologized. That felt good.

#8: I’ve now spent three consecutive birthdays without my twin sister. This is the only time I wish we spent it together. I’ve always thought that I know Kat more than she knows me and I was always fine with that. Meaning, I didn’t care if she knew me or not. She acknowledged that when I visited her this past summer. But being with her for two months certainly brought us closer, and now I find myself wanting to literally grow old with her again. I find myself wanting her to know me the same way I know her.

#9: So naturally, I spent a huge part of the day thinking of her and how she’s doing everything she’s always wanted to do. And how I’m not.

#10: Last year, I wrote on my journal that I’d be somewhere else by now, a place that is at least one step closer to where I want to be. But I’m still exactly where I was when I wrote that.

#11: I’ve never felt as stranded as I do right now. I know where I want to be and I know how to get there. And I know I can.

#12: You know what else I know? The future I want is a balloon, the hand on my shoulder is the same one that taught me how to walk, and what I have in my hand is a tiny needle. I can either pop the balloon or I can prick the hand and watch it bleed. Both will hurt my heart.

#13: I feel the desire to let out a hearty “Fuck it.” more now than I did before. It’s the only word that comes to mind when I think of balloons and needles.

#14: I cried a bit today. Balloons and needles.

#15: But when I think of anchors, “Fuck it.” is the last thing that comes to mind. My best friend telling me how she’s quite possibly the luckiest person in the world to have me as her anchor is my anchor today.

#16: Ironically, the hand on my shoulder is also my anchor today. Because no matter how they unknowingly pull me down, nothing lifts me higher than my family.

#17: If I get married, I probably won’t let my husband call me sweetheart. I am forever my dad’s sweetheart.

#18: I’m 25 years old, I’m still single and, surprisingly (to me), I’m still okay with it. I think about love a lot more than I used to and I miss it more often than I normally do. But I look at my grandparents, who are sitting across from me at my birthday dinner, and I know I’d rather be single for the rest of my life than not have a relationship that is, at the very least, remotely similar to theirs.

#19: However, I’m hoping that won’t be the case because I like hugs, holding hands and long walks on the beach. And I can’t cook. So I agreed to a deal with my cousins. If I’m still single by the time I turn 27, I will sign up for eHarmony.

#20: Honestly, I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that.

#21: Earlier today, I was also hoping for Chili’s Molten Chocolate Cake… And I got it! I got it because when my parents asked me what I wanted, that was my answer and they gave it to me.

#22: So maybe, I should just ask again. Their answer could be different. Their answer could be the same. I wouldn’t know unless I talk to them, wouldn’t I?

#23: Today I gave myself two gifts. The first one is self-pity. I got so tired of programming myself into seeing the glass half full that I smashed the glass into pieces so that there wouldn’t even be anything to look at. The second one – and I think this is the better one – is hope. False hope? Fake hope? Temporary hope? I honestly don’t know.

#24: I’ve said this before: Sometimes, I struggle with hope. And sometimes, I struggle, with hope. I’m not going to lie. Today and in days to come, hope will come and go. But today, and hopefully in days to come, I will choose to keep struggling.

#25: After all this, would you believe me if I say I still had a good birthday? Because I did. My 24th was full of happy things. My 25th had pizza, chocolate cakes, a midlife crisis, a good cry, my family and Karen. So I’m still good…. honest. :)

Karen. 12 midnight, September 17

Art on an airplane barf bag


On our flight back to California from Colombia, my cousin, Michael, took out the barf bag, borrowed my pencil and started doodling. I’ve known him since we were kids, but I never knew he draws and I never thought he did.

And then he shows me this!

I’ve always thought of him as someone who’s great at everything he does. And he is. It’s just that a lot of times, he doesn’t see it. Or maybe he does, but he’s just perfectly fine with not making the most out of it. Or maybe that’s the only time he felt he could share his talent with me.

Whatever his reason is, I will make sure to sit next to him the next time we get to travel together.

Tasting freedom, and then letting it go

I didn’t want to write about my two months away right after I got back. I was still on a high. And home felt like rehab.

I didn’t want to write about home that way. I didn’t want to be that person who goes away for awhile, and comes back high and mighty, suddenly feeling like she deserves more than the life she has now.

So I waited. I waited for the bitterness – I guess that’s what it is – of coming “back to reality” to fade away until the acceptance of the reality of what was and what is settled in. It’s in this frame of mind that I am writing now.

There’s no more bitterness. Only longing.

I realize now that I’d never really experienced true freedom until two months ago, when I was thousands of miles away from home. I’m not talking about freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want. I’ve grown up enough to know that’s something I can live without.

The kind of freedom I lived with in the two months I was away is something else entirely. It’s freedom from fear – fear of disappointing watchful eyes, freedom from approval I don’t even think I want sometimes.

It’s also the kind of freedom that just can’t be found here at home. And if I’m being honest, I still don’t know how to feel about that. I love home. I love that I get to be with family. And, to me, home and family are the two things that are worth letting go of freedom for… It’s just that there are things about home and family that make me long for the two months I spent away from them.

There isn’t any bitterness. There’s just moments of loneliness – I feel lonely because I miss being alone. I’m not sure if that makes any sense to you, but it does to me.

On the edge of the Pacific Ocean, breathing and loving life – Oregon, July 2015

Hello again

It’s been almost two months since my last post, and 15 days since I got home from my two-month vacation. I actually feel weird typing this now, kind of like riding a bike again after ten years (which is what happened in Cartagena).

A lot of things happened. I don’t know where to begin… which is perfectly fine because, to be honest, I don’t feel like writing about any of them now. I’m not sure how I’ll feel when I do.

All I can say for now is that as much as I tried to keep it from happening, I came back a different person than I was when I left.

And I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing. And I’m not sure what I’m feeling.

But if my feelings were a photo, this is probably what it would be:

Oregon road, July 2015

My twin sister is in love

She doesn’t know it yet. But I do.

Three days after I arrived here in California, Kat, my twin sister, brought me to her Bible study and introduced me to her group of friends. I went not knowing anything about any of them, and I left feeling something was brewing between Kat and one of the guys there named Adam.

It was the way their gaze always fell to the other when they talked. There was something in the way they looked at one another, like with a smile in their eyes.

Since then, I’ve seen Adam three more times and in those three times, I was left feeling more and more confident that these two not only like each other but also would be so insanely and unbelievably great for each other.

Initially, I resolved to keep my thoughts and observations to myself for a number of reasons. One, I didn’t want her to start feeling self-conscious whenever I’m with them. Two, Kat is the type of person who doesn’t talk about feelings and wouldn’t appreciate it if you force her to. And three, I wasn’t even sure if she herself knows she likes him.

Until five days ago.

She went go-karting with her Bible study group while I was at our cousins’ place. When we all met up for lunch the next day, we found out that she and Adam spent hours just talking at the parking lot of K1…until two in the freaking morning! According to her, they genuinely lost track of time. And we believe her, which is why the floodgates of unrelenting teasing and persistent questioning have been thrown wide open.

Yesterday, she finally admitted to liking him. “But just like,” she said. That I don’t believe.

She’s in love. I see it in the way she tries desperately to not talk about him, in the way she just lights up whenever she ends up talking about him anyway. I see it when they talk and she discovers they have another bizarre thing in common. I see it in the things that might be too little to be noticed by anyone else.

I can also see that she’s a bit terrified. I’m not sure what she’s more scared of – that he might not like her back or that he might actually do. And from what I’ve seen so far, I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. And not to brag or anything but I have correctly predicted my ex-boyfriend’s present girlfriend so I’ve proven that my gut feeling can be right.

I’m just genuinely excited for her. After years of focusing completely on her studies and career, she so deserves the butterflies in her stomach, the late night parking lot conversations and a chance at having a guy who is really good for her heart.

My aunt, uncle and I interrogating her. Seriously.