Category Archives: Musings

28 Life Lessons I’ve Gathered Somehow Through Struggling for 28 Years

I was browsing through my old posts and I felt sad. I couldn’t help but think that I was a much better writer before than I am now.

Not sure why–I was inspired? Creative? I had time? Excited? And as it turns out, I became indifferent, boring and jaded, is that what?

Probably not. I just…grew up.

The third law of thermodynamics pretty much explains that everything moves to a state of entropy sooner or later. It means we will all disintegrate; we’re all going to disappear from this world and God knows where we’re going to end up. To combat entropy is to provide knowledge. I believe that’s what we do in this lifetime–it’s not to make other people happy or make our dreams come true (that’s just our excuse), it’s learning how to survive until we reach our own entropy. Cos what are we going to do until then, right?

It sounds harsh, I know. I know. If you’re a young and idealistic millennial, it’s hard to come to terms that your expectations will never meet reality. If you think life is going to be all rosy and happy after you achieve Dream A or B, it’s not. You’re just about to embark on an even more difficult journey ahead of you. I’m telling you now–and I WISH somebody had told me this while growing up–it never stops. The struggles never stop. We just learn how survive and deal with them.

Bad news is life is going to be more inconvenient, challenging and will just be a total bitch to you. No grown-up is living perfection every waking day.

Wait, what’s that? How about your Instagram Idols? GET OVER YOURSELF. These people also struggle to survive the pressure of their own perfect lives. Getting busy how to frame their perfect lives for you to feel bad and for them to validate their egos with Likes from people like YOU. How many selfies do you take before you get the perfect shot?

Exactly.

Good news is you become stronger, wiser and a champion. And then before you know it, it’s over.

Here are 28 lessons I’ve gathered from struggling and surviving. Hopefully, these will make your surviving much more manageable than mine.

1 You can’t make somebody love you the way you want them to.

Respect begets respect. You get what you give. Do not do unto others–something–whatever, the golden rule.

We were all led to believe that if you do something good, if you give something good, you will receive something good in return. Unfortunately, for some reason, LOVE given to a particular person is NOT on the list of ‘good things you give hence you will receive in return.’ Nope. Never.

Love is a gamble; you either win or lose. You either feel happy or devastated. You are either lucky or downright sad.

For some reason, the most beautiful thing in the world can easily turn out to be the ugliest overnight–and I regret to tell you when I say overnight, it’s both LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY. You wake up one morning to a text that says “it’s over.” It happens. It happens.

No offense, Millennials. But this ‘ThoughtCatalog’ line of thinking has got to stop. No, that person will never magically come back if you stop texting for three months. No, that person will never have a change of heart and even if that happened, isn’t there a likelier chance that it will change again sometime soon? And no, even if you make yourself hotter than ever, more successful than ever–that person will never ever want you back.  That’s just shallow.

Why is that, you ask? Because the person you’re pining for is a piece of $#!*. That’s the only explanation why somebody you loved so much could hurt you just as much. Cos that person is a piece of $#!*. Repeat after me, that person is a piece of $#!*.

Okay, I got carried away. Let me rephrase that. Not a piece of $#!* but a person with choices; and there exists a choice that doesn’t include you. Face it.

It’s okay to be angry, it’s okay to be bitter. Whoever says that’s not okay? Don’t listen to these self-righteous animals. You’re human, you’re entitled to your emotions. We’re not the ones feeding you or crying on your behalf because a little piece of $#!* broke your heart (damn, I did it again). Several times over, if I might add. Why didn’t we the learn the first time around that a tall[er], handsome and smart guy (and the counterpart for ladies) is a recipe for disaster and would have ZERO remorse to ruin our lives because we let them in. Like it’s OUR fault to feel things. Most especially ZERO remorse to move forward, find someone new and get all disgustingly and obscenely sweet on your Facebook feed.

Wait, why are they still there on your Facebook feed? You didn’t block them? Oh. You’re still hoping that one day a message will pop in asking how you are. Then you’re going to subject yourself in the whole rigmarole of figuring out WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN before you reply with I MISS YOU, COME BACK.

Yo. BLOCK is a five-letter word that means freedom.

To be happy for the one who hurt you deeply after you pretty much gave everything you got–guts and all–isn’t fair. Why should you be happy? That person chose to not bother with your happiness, why should you bother with theirs? Nope, there is no such thing that you have to be HAPPY for them so you can set yourself free. No, no excuses.

What you need to do is to forgive even if that person never asked for forgiveness. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be happy for them. I mean, if you can, good for you. Congratulations on being a great person!

But not everybody is capable of feeling that way. If you’re normal–like me–I think the problem with forgiving is that we feel obligated to be happy for them. But it took me loooong enough to realize that I don’t have to be. I can move forward without doing them any favor because they didn’t give a $#!* about me anyway.

I will just do what makes me happy. And if that doesn’t include being happy for them, I won’t go against myself and force my heart to feel something that I don’t. The same manner that I can’t force them to feel something for me that they don’t.

What you can do, however, is to be at peace with your little piece of $#!* and yourself. They already made a choice, hence it’s over. Be kind to yourself and don’t get stuck in a rut. Once you do realize and accept that, it will be easier to get on the next level–MORE HEARTBREAKS. Just kidding. Or not.

But the wisest person I’ve ever known once told me (Hi, Daddy!), “The first cut is the deepest, this could also mean the worst is over.” It just means you’re going to be just fine, as long as you want to be.

Forgive. In that way, you become at peace with yourself. Even when you felt your entropy has come the day that person left you, you still found it in your heart to forgive. Free yourself from all of the emotional baggage because–newsflash–you still have a looooong journey ahead of you, waiting with bigger problems, larger struggles but as they say, also more sources of happiness. You’re still alive. Move forward. I know it’s hard. I myself am still struggling to do so. But you also have a choice–either live your life or choose to be sad over somebody who chose to break your heart.

You’re no longer in each other lives. What’s the point of pining? Aren’t you tired? Aren’t we all tired?

Stop. It’s a waste of time when you could be working so much harder on your studies.

Stop. It’s a complete waste of energy when you could be hitting the gym and focus on your fitness goals.

Stop. It’s a complete waste of emotions because the more you wish that things were different, the more you invest in your emotions and THE MORE YOU LOSE YOUR WILL TO LOVE AGAIN.

Stop. So you can move forward and find the right person. Or the right person would find you. Eventually. And you’d be ready for real love; real, messy, beautiful twisted sunshine (thanks, Bonnie Bailey). Before you hit entropy, that is.

Remember, we are all each other’s monsters and we are all each other’s little piece of $#!*. We can’t change that. The damage has been done. But what we can do is to forgive. Again, we don’t have to be happy for them. But to forgive is to let go.

More importantly, you have to forgive yourself. It’s not your fault. It’s nobody’s fault, actually. You’re just not meant to be. *shrugs*

Let go. Find peace. Love again until your entropy.

And to those of you who never had trouble with your personal relationships whatsoever–oh well. Aren’t you lucky.

…to be continued

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Be Thankful for Mornings

Morning!So—-Hi, reader.

Part of my New Year’s Resolution is to write at least twice a month and seeing that January, February, March and April flew by as fast as my salary when I was still addicted to online-shopping (I miss you, Zalora), I think I’ve already failed.

But then again, every waking day is an opportunity to change my life and so here I am, composing my very first blogpost this month.

Ah. The struggles.

I couldn’t even begin to describe what happened within that time frame. Others may have gotten married, may have broken up, may have given birth—heck others may have even changed genders (good for you!), but for me the year was a whirlwind of bittersweet moments that I am now trying to chalk up as ‘20s life’. Yes, that’s what we’re going to call it—20s life. Although in just a few months, I will be hitting my late-20s and Oh.My.Oh.My. Am I freaking out.

No, I am not freaking out because I’m getting older—that’s not it. It’s what I have done and have not done that’s making my stomach turn and churn and well, me, hurl. It’s like I feel that I’ve made a pretty exciting life for myself—traveling, meeting new people, taking up jobs that deal with different issues, concerns, and people—but then not really. It’s unsettling. It’s definitely a feat to describe.

What I can tell you though, dear reader, is I’ve realized a lot of things about myself and life at that in the past year. They are hardly groundbreaking and nothing you haven’t read in other blogs or crappy chick-literature that I love so dearly. But it’s surreal when you’re up face to face to the stuff that you were only able to read about before–the kind of drama novels are made of. It’s like there’s too much going on that you just wish a camera  was following you around and then at one point somebody is going to pop out from nowhere and scream “GOTCHA!” but no. The struggles were real; the tears were even more real. The pain was too palpable to consider just as a simple infliction of the mind. Sh*t just got real. There’s a reason for that.

I won’t bore you with details. All I know that it’s also an equally important thing to learn how to move forward and never stop building your life around your dreams and ambitions. Never ever give up on your dreams and more importantly, never ever give up on yourself.

And so far, I think I’m doing well.

More posts to come as the new chapter of my life is unfolding…back to where it all started. Back in Vientiane, back to working for the greater good, back to my old self. If there’s one thing though that changed..I’m happy now. Hard to believe that I’m able to feel that despite everything I’ve been through. But I am, and now that I know what ‘happiness’ feels like, I’d fight for it. Every single waking day. 🙂

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The Long Pause

He said he misses my stories. I rolled my eyes and almost immediately spat out the most insulting phrase ever, I Know, Right.

It was sarcastic, of course. As a blogger–sort of–I’m not really sure if people really care about what they read, especially when posts are overly dramatic and that there are more important issues in the world apart from my own thoughts.

Abandoning my blog for a few months isn’t exactly a deliberate step to get over the ‘adventurous life’ I left behind and stop regretting my decisions. For some reason, things have not been kind. Or that I am simply not kind enough to myself. Either way, it’s been tough. I stopped writing because–just like that–nothing inspires me anymore or at least, I haven’t been motivated to write. I’m the type of person who can write about dirt if I can make something out of it but not even my most interesting moments the past few months (definitely more intriguing than dirt) were able to make its way to me and be transformed into words. Logging in to my account is a struggle, let alone write something. Anything.

But here’s one anyway.

…Somehow the word about some makeup hobbyists from UPLB offering their hair and makeup services got out, and Ate Sheryl and I found ourselves reveling in an experience of a lifetime.

Two years ago, I pledged to myself that I would grow out my hair and upon reaching my waist, I would cut the whole chunk of it and donate it to an organization dedicated to creating medical wigs for cancer patients. But since my insecurities ate me up more than my pledge, I failed. I  bleached my hair to a shocking rusty blonde and it dried to the tips after a month. I guess it’s more rude to donate damaged hair than to back out on my word. When I cut the animal hair off my life in December, I was still in the middle of figuring out what I would do to compensate for my wrong decisions.

One day in January, my Mother–last semester’s executive producer of a local television show of their college–was telling me about her day and how her guests made an impression to her. She was telling me about this ‘group’ who get together every Valentine’s Day and ‘beautify’ themselves for the day. I was about to brush off the idea when she mentioned that they are, in fact, cancer patients.

I was moved. Not only because they are cancer patients and that I finally found a way to compensate for my botched hair donation but because I felt deep in my heart that our art can mean something for other people. Even for just a day.

Armed with our signature pink traincase, Ate Sheryl and I arrived at Madre de Amor Hospice Foundation on Friday the 13th of February (Ate Sheryl is engaged, so her Valentine’s Day was booked) at 8 AM and there we met the strongest people we have known. No, they are not just a group who get together for Valentine’s Day. They help cancer patients help each other during these trying times.

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They are some of the women from Madre De Amor Hospice Foundation in Los Baños, Laguna. They are called mobile cancer and dialysis patients who get together to build a support system with and for people who can relate to their own plight. They do fun activities together; share stories, progress, struggles, loss. They were no celebrities but the glow that radiated from their faces was priceless. I don’t think any amount of cosmetic surgery could give them that, it’s not even the makeup. Their spirits were warm, bright and alive because of the happiness knowing that there are people around to support them; the optimism that everything is going to be all right for them and their peers; and that strength, that strength that not even cancer can beat.
All That Glitters, Leandra Flor, Division K International Speech Contest 1st Runner-up, Toastmasters International

These women were my inspiration in writing a speech for Toastmasters International. Their strength is silent but profound. The day that Ate Sheryl and I spent at Madre de Amor became one of our most unforgettable walkabouts in our lives. Our makeup gig might not have been located in another province, or in another country–it wasn’t even with famous people. But they are all what we needed to see that life is beautiful. No matter what.

And I should remind myself of this. Every day.

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