Nothing but love for 2012

So 2012 is ending. The world, to the Mayans’ disappointment, is not. Buffy Summers probably had something to do with it. (I sincerely hope at least one person gets my reference. Please.)

And while this year is undoubtedly one of the best years of my life, I can’t help but be optimistic that 2013 will be even better. The fact that there aren’t any reports of an impending apocalypse next year, not that I know of anyway, is even more reason to be hopeful… I’m kidding. Hope is in the future, boys and girls, regardless of any predictions or prophecies of an apocalypse or Armageddon. Honestly, if there is anything about the future that I should be intimidated by, it’s the looming fateful crossroad up ahead called Graduation.

Before the year ends though, before any year ends, actually, it’s always nice to take a moment to remember the experiences and everything else that mattered. One of my greatest fears is forgetting the things that are important to me so I’ve always made it a point to write down everything and anything that comes to my mind and my heart, hence the blog name Scribbles.

2012 has been a wonderful year for me. I learned so much this year, more than I ever thought I could. Out of all the things I got, these, to me, are the most important ones:

  • Love is a wonderful thing, and that self-love is just as wonderful, if not more. After 10 months, I finally and completely moved on from and let go of my ex-boyfriend and our 5-year relationship. I don’t want to be the type of girl who rambles on and on about her love life or lack thereof because it really isn’t the main priority in my life right now. But this – moving on and letting go – is definitely the highlight of my year. When you’re with someone for 5 years and then you’re suddenly not, you tend to think you’re never going to get over it. People would sometimes choose to get stuck in the hurt because it’s familiar rather than move forward to something that isn’t. Sometimes it’s easier to keep loving someone who isn’t really worth it than to start loving and prioritizing ourselves. But this year taught me the most important lesson I’ve learned thus far: we are so worth our own love.
  • I’ve learned to value the relationship that I used to always take for granted. We’ve had a very rocky relationship, my mom and I. It started in 5th grade when I caught my mom reading the messages on my phone. After that happened, I stopped telling her anything anymore so naturally our relationship didn’t exactly blossom. And a lot of the decisions I’ve made in my life didn’t help any either. If you’ve taken the time to read my “About” page (and I wouldn’t blame you if you haven’t), you’ve probably read this: “I am a Christian. I struggle sometimes, but I try.” Well, back then, I struggled a lot and I don’t recall every trying to be better. It got pretty bad, I’ll leave it at that. So you can see why my relationship with my mom got worse as I got older. This year is different, though. One of the better things that came out of the break-up is that I had the perfect opportunity to mend my relationship with my mother. And we are now better than ever.
  • It’s okay to be confident and that confidence doesn’t automatically mean arrogance. This past summer, I was able to work for a small newspaper where I wrote a couple of feature and news articles. I didn’t expect any of them to get published because I was just an intern… except one of my works did get published. And then earlier this month, one of my posts was chosen to appear on Freshly Pressed, which is probably how a lot of you are now reading this. Needless to say, these two are extremely BIG things for me, not so much because I got to see my name on the paper or because I now have 200 more followers than I had when I first started, although those are pretty gratifying. It’s more of knowing I wrote something that’s worth being shared to people and that my words are able touch others – which is even more gratifying.  I know now that I am capable of doing great things. We all are. And we shouldn’t be afraid to prove it.
  • I’ve learned to accept and embrace the kind of friendship I have. For a long time, I wanted to have my own group of friends. I’ve never had one because for some reason, I chose friends who aren’t exactly good friends with each other. Three of my best friends haven’t even met each other yet and I’ve been friends with them for years. No kidding. In high school, a lot of people form cliques, right? I was never in one. I wasn’t a loner or anything. It’s just that I was the one who had friends from each circle but never really belonged in a specific one. Back then, it was because I didn’t really like the idea of hanging out with just one group of people and I really did like the friends I made, even if a few of them didn’t like each other. But when I got to college, I realized how nice it would be to have that one group you could always turn to. That bummed me out for awhile especially since my friends also had their own group of friends. Now that I’m in my final year, though, I realize how the kind of friendship I have is exactly the kind of friendship I need. The truth is no matter how much I want to have my own circle of friends, I like the friends I have now even more, even if they’re all separate, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • Sometimes, reality can be better than our dreams. I am a dreamer. I always was and always will be. I daydream a lot more than I actually talk. It’s one of my most favorite things to do. If I get bored in class, I don’t sleep. I let my mind wander off and allow my imagination to entertain me. But no matter how spectacular and wonderful the stories and scenarios that play out in my head are, they fall short of being as moving and inspiring as the serendipitous moments that life gives us every now and then. But I don’t mean we shouldn’t dream. Aerosmith got it right when they told us to dream on. I’m just saying we shouldn’t get stuck in it. A lot of people do, which is why a lot of people can’t seem to find contentment in life.

And the best one of them all:

  • I’ve finally realized what my dreams are and I’m dedicating 2013 to my effort in making them come true. I want to see the world. I want to write something that has the power to move people or to make them think. I want to be a catalyst for change. I want to be able to give back to my parents for all the sacrifices they’ve made in order to give me the life I have now. And I want to become a better daughter, sister, friend, acquaintance, stranger, Christian, basically, a better person.

I’ve never truly thought of myself as a young adult until now. I didn’t just get older this year, I did a lot of growing up too. I plan to do a lot of that in the coming years – a lot of growing up with a lot of keeping the fun of being young. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the past, how inspired I am for the now and how eager I am for the future. Happy New Year, you wonderful human beings!

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The 7 non-Christmas things I did/do on Christmas

Growing up, I never really did celebrate Christmas the way everyone else did. My grandparents didn’t want us to value Christmas because of the tree, Santa Claus, or the gifts. I remember, instead of giving my siblings and I presents, they would call us to their room and tell us the story of the birth of Jesus Christ and why we don’t celebrate Christmas the usual and, honestly, the more enjoyable way. We’d play Christmas songs but that’s about it. No Christmas decorations, tree or presents.

I used to feel bad about it when I was still a kid. Now, though, it doesn’t bother me anymore. I actually like it this way. I do give Christmas presents to my friends and to my siblings and I do greet the people who greet me, but my kind of Christmas stops there. How I enjoy my December 25th isn’t based on the number of gifts I receive because I don’t expect to actually get any. It isn’t based on whether or not my friends or anyone else greet me because I don’t expect that either.

I do, however, use my December 25th to do other things that may or may not be considered Christmas material. Some are tradition, some clearly aren’t. Here they are:

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1. Visit the cemetery.

I know, I know. This is a November 1 kind of thing but visiting the cemetery on Christmas day is actually pretty fun. Also, I’d like to mention that the cemetery I go to doesn’t look as depressing as the one in the photo.

This became an annual tradition since my grandmother from my mom’s side passed away a couple of years ago. My grandfather, whose birthday’s on the 25th, had already passed years before that so we decided to spend Christmas day with the both of them. We’d even gather around their resting place and sing happy birthday. REALLY, it’s fun.

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2. Clean my room.

Yes, while everyone else was busy opening presents and, in the process, making a mess in their room, I was cleaning mine up. And I’m so glad I did. I now have a tidy bedside table, a bed without anything but a pillow and blanket on it and, finally, a desk with enough space for me to write on.

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3. Read a really sad book.

Well, okay, it’s not like I made the decision to read a sad book during the Christmas season. It’s just that all my favorite books are sad ones and that I make it a point to read at least one of my favorite books each year. And since I’m busy reading new ones throughout the year, I only remember my annual tradition when the year’s about to end which happens to be December.

For this year, I’m reading John Green’s Looking for Alaska. Yes, I don’t really know why I do this to myself.

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4. Do school work.

This is one thing I would’ve been glad not to do, but an eager-to-graduate senior’s got to do what an eager-to-graduate senior’s got to do.

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5. Break my earphones.

I broke my earphones. WHY.

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6. Scoop my dog’s poop.

I know this sounds like something that happens every day but it’s not. My dog, Sumo, never does his business in my room. He’s been potty-trained for quite some time now so imagine my surprise when I found dog poop in my room, and quite a lot of it actually since he had a heavy meal. And I know it’s his since the other two weren’t in the room the time. I guess it’s his way of making my Christmas day extra special and extra extra smelly.

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7. NOT eat Christmas fruitcake, or Christmas ham, or Christmas cookies.

I know it might sound crazy but I don’t eat fruitcake. I like fruits. I like cakes. But I don’t like putting the two together. I like ham and cookies but there weren’t any so none of that for me too.

I ate spam, though, which rhymes with ham so I guess that’s pretty close.

Happy holidays, everyone! 

Breakfast conversations with my grandparents

It’s been a while since I had breakfast with my grandparents. I forgot how much fun and interesting spending time with them could be. Good thing I was reminded of it earlier today when my sisters and I took our grandparents out to breakfast.

I was taking a bite off my mushroom and cheese ciabatta when my grandfather asked, “Kathryn, how many Spanish units did you take?”

“Just two,” I replied.

My grandmother, who studied in an all-girls school, said, “The only thing I remember about studying Spanish was that my professor was a man, we called him Señor, and that my classmates made him cry a lot.”

“Girls are horrible,” my grandfather said with his trademark mischievous grin.

He was joking of course, as he usually does whenever he’s in the mood to relive childhood which, I must say, happens quite often.

My sisters and I feigned shock and acted like we were insulted. My grandmother laughed.

I turned to her and said, “Did you hear what he said? Your husband just called you horrible.”

She laughed some more before saying something that made me think and made me even more grateful to have such wonderful people in my life.

She said, “You know, when the person is in front of you, he doesn’t mean it. When he’s behind you, that’s when he does.”

God has a sense of humor

I’m telling you, He does!

I’ve previously mentioned how I usually pray in the bathroom but you should also know that, after praying, I turn on the music on my iPhone and occasionally (okay, regularly) sing and dance to the music. Yes, I am a proud singer and dancer in the shower. It’s better than falling asleep in the shower because, trust me, I’ve done that and it’s no fun especially when you’re late for class because of it. But that’s not the main point of this post.

God. Yes.

Okay, so earlier, I was doing my usual thing. I went to the bathroom, prayed and then played songs from my phone’s music player which was on shuffle mode. I was in the shower already when Bruno Mars’ Lazy Song came on. And yeah, I sang along until it got to the chorus, that is. I realized what the words in the second verse were and I thought to God, “I probably shouldn’t be singing this now, huh? Or ever.” I mean, not ten minutes ago, I was talking Him and now I’m listening to a song that, well, God won’t really approve of. But I was in the shower already so I couldn’t change it anymore.

Cue second verse. “Tomorrow I’ll wake up, do some P90X. Meet a really nice girl, have some really nice…” Ding! 

At that exact moment, someone sent me a tweet and my phone rang. I have to tell you, too, that the tweet really was something nice. Come on. How cool is that?!

Okay, so it wasn’t even a bad word but the connotation kind of was. I’m not saying sex is bad. But the way it was used is.

Basically, I think God agreed with me when I thought it inappropriate to be singing such lyrics so He chose to make His thoughts known. I know, it’s a small thing but small things are good. A lot of small things, when put together, become something great. I just love it when He uses the simplest and most interesting ways to remind me He hears me.

God, You, Sir, are one very witty, well, God.

Always choose hope

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My heart is broken.

For the children and the teachers who did not deserve to die that way. For the children who witnessed the horrific nightmare. For the parents, siblings, relatives and friends of the victims. For America. For humanity, really.

I honestly don’t know what to say right now. I want so badly to fill this whole post with all kinds of expletives directed to the man, no, the boy who did this. I want so badly to succumb to the temptation to pour out hateful words to him, for killing those innocent kids and then killing himself to escape the result of his actions.

I may not and never will use a gun as a weapon, but I can most certainly do just as much damage to him with words. And I know it’s going to be such an easy thing to do and that most people won’t hate me for it.

But I also know that if I allowed myself to do that, hate will consume me and I refuse to let that happen.

There is already so much hate in this world, so so much hate, so much fear. The world leaves so much room for hatred and violence and prejudice to take place. And we usually don’t notice until something like this happens. And when it does, the world makes it so convenient and, more importantly, so acceptable for us to retaliate, to exact revenge and to inflict pain.

Please. Please. Choose not to. 

When we open the door to let a small amount of hate come in, it’s going to bust the door wide open and drown everything that anchors humanity to our soul.

And I beg of you, we cannot let that happen. Not anymore.

The world is more than capable of causing indescribable pain and suffering. And I can’t tell you how much that scares me.

But I also know that we as human beings are also more than capable of something more powerful than pain, more prevailing than suffering.

Hope.

While hate floods the room in our soul, hope is cowering in the corner. We have to find it. I know I’ve already said this before but this deserves to be told over and over again.

There is always hope. It is not enough to know that it’s there. We have to choose it. We have to choose hope.

I refuse to believe that the better days are behind us. I refuse to accept the notion that life cannot get any better. And I most certainly refuse to surrender my right, to myself as well as to humanity, to hope for the better and to act on that hope.

~~~

To those who have lost a loved one in the shooting and to those who survived it, you are all in my prayers. 

The problem with 12/12/12, 12/25/12 and etc.

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Up until a few minutes ago, I was one of those people who had to have a very special 12/12/12. It’s going to be the last day where the month, date and the last two digits of the year will be identical; obviously, it won’t ever happen again. So initially, I wanted that day to be extra special. I was just telling my friends the other day that we had to do something to “celebrate.”

Then earlier, I suddenly realized something. December 12, 2012 is just like any other day. They all won’t ever happen again. 

I think a lot of us get too caught up in petty little things like this. We use “special” things with “special” appearances as an excuse to treat everything else, well, un-specially. Why is it that on Valentine’s Day people show more affection toward one another than on any other days? Why is it that people are more grateful on Thanksgiving? Why are they kinder and more loving during the Christmas season?

The only leverage those days have over all the other days in the year is that they have a name, a title. Besides that, they’re all the same. Why can’t we just be kinder and more loving period? Why can’t we be as grateful as we are on Thanksgiving all throughout the year? Why can’t we simply show the same Valentine’s Day affection every day?

I know it doesn’t seem all that significant. But if you will look at a calendar, how many special days are there compared to all the non-special ones? That is literally hundreds of days when people might feel that being a kind person isn’t really someone they need to be [yet], that taking your husband or your wife for granted may not be okay but is still socially understandable, that taking a moment to appreciate everything you have will just distract you from school or work or Facebook.

That’s hundreds of days when we can be our best selves, when we can be a blessing to others, when we can do good… yet we choose not to because December 26 is not December 25. 

A few days ago, I saw a homeless man when I walked out of a restaurant and gave him a few bucks. My friend looked at me questioningly so I told her, “It’s Christmas season.” Do you see? At the time, I was sure I was doing something nice. Now, I’m not so sure anymore. Now, I feel like I did that not out of the kindness of my heart, but out of this need I have to act on my idea of what the Christmas season should be like.

Look at it from the man’s point of view. Does he really have to endure the whole year and wait until Christmas for someone to actually help him? The same question goes for anyone else who isn’t in a good place in life. Because I think a lot of people, I have to say, myself included, would wait until Christmas to feel the need to help others.

Now is usually the time when someone will say things like, ‘Live every day like it’s your last’ or ‘Every day should be like Valentine’s Day’ or ‘Carpe diem.’ But I won’t because one, it’s cliche and, therefore, has probably lost its desired effect on people, and; two, technically, I kind of already did when I mentioned them.

I will just say this instead: Always be nice. 🙂