Figuring Out Who I Am

When I was five, I have always known that one day, when I grow up, I’d be someone else; an adult whom I have not the smallest inkling what she would be doing twenty five years in the future but always, always, I imagined that adult to have her whole life figured out. At twenty-one, I am only now realizing that I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. 

At one and twenty, I am already a registered Nurse, albeit someone who have just a mere five months of service but I consider it a success nonetheless. I am happy with the state of my life, although a little discontented sometimes, but we can’t all be contented and happy at the same time, right? 

At one and twenty I realized I am actually just flailing my feet underwater, content on waddling on my behind and not daring to look past the dream of flying. After all, flying is just a dream that I could never really achieve. I am happy with the way things are, even as I am aware of how things are going and how much I’m missing out. 

But fuck, who am I kidding? I’m not always happy and neither am I often contented.

I have always dreamt of the strange lands and the stranger people out there, always wishing I could venture out and spread out my wings. Inside, I have always felt like a vicious tide rocking against a cliff. I wanted the whole world for myself and I have not the least bit of knowledge how to conquer it. 

At one and twenty, I figured out I don’t have a single idea how I want my future to fan out. 

I want to be happy, yes.

I want to be content. 

I want to be with my family.

I want to fall in love.

At one and twenty I am finally leaving my home. The first time I wander out alone and I’ll be taking miles away in stride. I guess my parents not wanting me to go out as often as I would have liked or them not allowing me to sleep over with a friend when I was younger were all in moot point, seeing as I’m reclaiming my freedom oceans away from them.

And even in my sentimentality about going away, I recognize the fact that my city can no longer contain me. I have bigger dreams and in order to achieve them, I have to figure out who I am, what do I really want, how do I live with myself and love me for me, before I go on branching out, touching other people’s lives. I have to carve out my own path and not just rely on the road sloppily planted before me by well-meaning parents and other adults who told me to be someone else at such a young age that I don’t even know who I am right now.

In order to achieve my young mind’s dream for myself, I have to lose myself out there and hope fervently to God that I’d find me somewhere. I have to be brave and courageous even when all I’m feeling is cowardly and scared because when the fog of fear and anxiety clears up, I know I took the right way. I have to.

After all, the future is a long time to be spending in regret about paths not taken.

Rushing Ahead Yet Still Taken Aback

The news came to me today; I am to fly to UAE within two weeks.

 Suddenly, I am not sure of flying away anymore. 

My dream of going abroad ever since I realized that there were more and possibly better things out there is only two weeks away from conclusion, and suddenly I am freezing up with nerves and sadness that I am actually going away. The dream that I so vulgarly announced that I would one day achieve is finally happening and I didn’t realize, I only really liked the thought of going away but not following through. It was a dream that I never thought I would achieve, a safe dream that would tether me in the lands of fantasy to excite me every once in a while, at times when reality goes mind-numbingly dull. 

I am about to begin to leave the confines and comfort of my home, something I didn’t realize would factor a great deal in my travelling away, and suddenly I don’t want to leave anymore. I want to just stay home, stay cooped up with my parents and siblings and never wander away and think of those distant mesmerizing places. I’d rather stay at home and spend my days with my 2 year old brother, never mind that I wouldn’t go far from life with just this in my thought. But that is where the catch is, right? I couldn’t just go on having this carefree dream, sighing contentedly in my middle-class life. I have to dream bigger and by doing so, I need to extend my horizon, possibly abroad. This dream isn’t just for me; this sacrifice of leaving my safe haven isn’t just for my betterment. It is for my whole family. And as much as I would like to just stay here, cooped up as I am now, I am scared I wouldn’t actually be content of this life I am living in the long run. Maybe This is my fear of going away talking and I’m scared that if I let this go, no other opportunity would present itself in the future.

I wish I’m still in grade school, that way I wouldn’t have to worry about going away and leaving my family  and thinking about the future. 

Ugh. Adulting sucks.

Love Like a Fool

You make me a fool for loving you; the way you mark me with words, carving crevices deep into my buried heart of stone. The way you own me by burrowing under my skin, deep into the soul I never thought would feel love at all. Being a fool for you is all worth it.

Because She Was Gone

He was walking aimlessly; I walk an empty street, on the boulevard of broken dreams goes his background music inside his head. It was on replay, that particular sentence to be exact, since he found it fitting for his situation. He was traversing the road where it all began and although it wasn’t empty like the song, he sure did feel like one as the memories go by and the dreams slowly shatter to pieces. I was supposed to make it all work out this time, he thought with regretful reminiscence of what passed as the best connection he ever felt with another human. The wind blew, a scent of Jovān White Musk wifting pass his nostrils and he came to a halt. He knew that smell well- the scent he has been waking up to for three years of his life, the one that has always made him smile and reach across the bed towards its owner and yet, he couldn’t quite look up and search for the person wearing that scent now. Someone cleared her throat and his knees trembled; he knew that throat-clearing like his own, catching his attention whenever he drifts off to where his mind automatically shuts down to and dumbly focuses on a certain part of her- her lashes long enough to cause envy to all women, her lips plump and red as cherries, her nose that challenged the right-angled ruler; she was a goddess sent to give him absolution and yet, he lost her. And now here she was, clearing her throat, wanting his attention when he was afraid it was all just a dream.
“How are you?” She asked, and he heard the uncertainty behind her voice, as if she was not quite sure what she was doing. How could she have graced him her presence once more when he doesn’t deserve it?
“Um,” she paused, unsure, waiting. “Er, it’ll be Amma’s birthday on the 20th and you know how much she adores you…” she trailed off, and that action was painful enough, like she was even unsure if her Amma really did adore him, that he raised his head and looked her in the eyes. She was looking at him with uncertainty clear on her eyes, possibly worry, or doubt, or anxiety mixing up the hues of her bright greenish-blue iris. She looked like she wanted to run away from him as fast as she can, but also she looked like she wanted to reach out and ask him what was wrong. And that would be the stupidest question she would’ve asked because right now, everything was wrong.
“Are you-” pause. “Will you come to Amma’s birthday? Please? For Amma?”
And he looked at her with increasing intensity, trying to imprint her face in his mind, as unworthy as he is to be graced her presence. He didn’t answer her question; he couldn’t waste a single nanosecond when he knew this might possibly be the last time he has to look at her. Even when she grew uneasy to his scrutiny, he didn’t waver. He looked at her as she waited for an answer, and looked at her when he fidgeted on her toes, uneasy, and looked at her more when she smiled awkwardly for the last time, and looked at her last when she turned and retreated, her silhouette vanishing, mingling with the bodies busily roaming the streets. That’s when his voice broke through, a whisper-sob that escaped his unworthy lips and he murmured I’m sorry.

People More Often Just Exist Than Live

I want to live!
I want to carry on living even if I cease to exist.
I want to continue on breathing in the depths of people’s hearts,
In the forgotten realms of my loved ones’ memories.
I want to traipse through time,
Under people’s thumbs,
Skipping the pages.
I want to live!
I want to be remembered even when I finally leave.

The Cat that Got Lost

She was moving quite slowly, tiptoeing as to not disturb the silence of the night. Her mother has long retired to bed, her brothers and sisters purring gently through the night. I must get to that beautiful ball of light; I feel that it is my destiny to get there, she thought with fervor, aggressively caught on the urgent desire to find out that which has caught her attention.
The dark was cold, the wind uninviting against her thin layer of fur, but the silence that enveloped her soothes whatever disquietude that threatens to snuff out the fire driving her to reach the pinnacle of her dreams. The moon was shining down in silvers, highlighting the shadow that moved against her. She thought it was good company, as well as the dark silhouette that reminds her of the bright future awaiting her.
The trees moved, whispered psithurism  as if asking her to stay for a while. And she thought, why not? If only just for a moment, I could rest. And she walked under the canopy, with the night owls hooting down on her- scared guardians of the nights that scouts the forest of any danger. And she rested for a moment, and the moment passed and she thought it was enough rest, and she bid goodbye to the trees and the owls and they asked her, what’s the hurry?
And so she answered with passion, that she must get to the big ball of light, for that is where she is destined to be. And the tree shook, as if in fits of laughter, and the owls hooted furiously, but then bid her goodbye and wished her luck on her journey.
So she moved once more with renewed vigor, chanting to herself that she would soon get there and not to give up. But then a dog walked langourously, stopped on the pavement and stared straight at her. She bristled with fear for her kind hated them and she wasn’t sure she could take on a Terrier that big. But the dog called out to her and asked her, where might you go at this hour child?
And so she answered, I must get to that big ball of light, sir. I feel like it is my destiny to get there.
And the dog laughed, and said, Is that so? And then let her passed with a smirk pasted on his face.
She traveled with increasing weary but she forged on, the picture of the big ball of light keeping her from giving up on the road she has started to take on.
When she got hungry, she chased a mouse which pleaded for his life but her hunger won out and gripped her with that one track mind of wanting to stay alive.
At last the day was breaking out, and she felt bone weary for walking for so long, and she was ready to give up and think that maybe it wasn’t really something so important; that maybe it was just a product of her mind brought about by the monotony of lounging aimlessly, walking back and forth, keeping the simplicity of their routined lives.
But alas! There was that big ball of light, rising majestically, illuminating whatever its rays touch. And she felt happy, but her tiresome body collapsed on her and her last thought was, I should have just stayed where my mommy wanted me to be.

Live and not Survive

It scares me…
It scares me that one day, I’d lose this innocence inside of me…
It scares me that one day I’d lose this compassion, this heart of mine that is so tender it breaks at the sight of the more unfortunate than I…
It scares me that one day all the evil in this world would just be too much for me,
That I’d just turn my back on every assaulted and battered and weak because I’ve had too much pain seeing them
It scares me that one day I’d see this world for what it is to other people, not for how it is with me
Because I see a world full of potential,
Of love, of care, of every good hidden by the thick miasma of evil
My eyes see through the dark veil and pierce the beauty of life;
Of the teary-eyed smiles of the people surrounding the newly wedded bride and groom,
Of the excitement felt by hearing a newborn cry for the first time,
Of the booming laugh of a father hearing his son say “Dada” for the first time,
Of the tears of a mother letting go of her daughter for the man she’ll love for the rest of her life,
Of the children crying, and begging their parents to never give up on them…
Of the smiles shared by strangers, the food given freely to the homeless, the hand offered to the old lady crossing a street…
Of the lovers whispering endearment under a sky full of stars, and the shouting of friends glad to see each other after a long time…
I see a lot of good in this world, and yet a lot of people focus on what isn’t.
I’m scared one day I’d be like them,
That I’d lost the luster in my eyes and just live without living…
What good does it do to live like that?
I’m scared…
I’d like to live life, not survive it.

A Book Worth Reading

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*SPOILER ALERT: Discussions of some of the scenes were included below*

There are plenty of good books out there, even outstanding ones that leave its mark on you and changes you one way or another. My favorite authors like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Nicholas Sparks and Gayle Forman make me want to be an author too. When you have read something so life-changing, you get the feeling that you want to affect others the way they have affected you too. And with just the use of words. For a long time I have struggled (and is still struggling) with writing for I couldn’t get past the feeling that what I am writing isn’t good enough. At first I get this overwhelming excitement and words just seem to flow from my hands without my brain even commanding it but after I have gone to that 10,000 or so words, I think about my story and suddenly, it just isn’t right enough. For years I read books of various genres ranging from hair-raising thrillers to finger-curling romances, and for years I have met the words of various authors and even added them to my list of favorites. In my search of the right book to inspire me and finally make me write that great book that would inspire others too, I have stumbled upon this great author that I have never even once heard of. Reading that first line “Theodore Finch is obsessed with death,” my mind perked up and begged me to find a copy of that book fast. Seeing that the bookstore doesn’t have that book I have resorted to downloading an illegal copy of the book online (I am so sorry for not buying your book, Ms. Niven. I promise I would get a copy when it becomes available in our place or when I have finally the money >_< ). Like how great stories should be read, I finished the book within 5 hours and spent a good deal of an hour just replaying all the scenes inside my head. It is true that I have read many books concerning depression and suicide before but never have I encountered a book depicting it the way Theodore Finch's character did. After reading the book, I actually cursed the storyline for how could such a perfect character meet such fate? I cried rivers of tears while reading the book because that book has captured all the thoughts, all the pain of a teenage who suffers from depression and no one just understands. Despite his pain, he found it in him to save and take care somebody else and when you meet such a character, your heart just goes to him. After I have read the book, it was as if I have gone through a break up and I just couldn't sleep properly. I kept asking myself why did it end that way? If a fictional character couldn’t survive such fate, then how could I? I asked myself that a dozen of times, trying to reconcile the fact that such a great character has met such ending. Only few characters in a book makes you feel that way and Theodore Finch surely did. But that book doesn’t tell us to follow Finch’s fate, and I am sure Ms. Niven doesn’t want us to do that too. If anything, I think that book teaches us to recognize other’s feelings and be sensitive enough to know that others around you need help already. If Finch have had help, then his character would’ve thrived and the book would still have given us the same lesson. But having the ending that way has made depression more real for the readers and I give my hands down congratulations and heart-felt thank you to Ms. Jennifer Niven for writing such a wonderful book. Thank you so much for letting me know how great Theodore Finch was.
***If any of you know anyone who suffers from depression, it’s still not too late to help that person. Don’t be embarassed to recognize that others are hurting, and don’t feel as if you’re less of a man if you show that you are sensitive to other’s feelings and show that you care. Contrary to what the society has let us believe that ‘gays and women’ are only the ones who cry or are in touch with their emotions, men who show their true emotions without feeling embarassed are much more manly and is deserving of everyone’s respect. So don’t feel embarassed to ask for help if you need one, or help another who needs one. Your mere presence or words could save a life. Or if you are the one suffering from depression, it isn’t too late. Reach out for help. Don’t feel discouraged if the few people you reach out first don’t take you for real. There are people out there who’s waiting to take care and help you. Don’t give up.

Read about depression and suicide: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-signs-and-symptoms.htm
American Association of Suicidology (AAS)—suicidology.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)—afsp.org
IMAlive—imalive.or
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline—
suicidepreventionlifeline.org (1-800-273-TALK)
National Adolescent Suicide Hotline- (1-800-621-4000)
Talk about any crisis and get nonjudgmental support:  crisischat.org

There are many more support groups or online suupport groups and hotlines available online. You are not alone. Don’t give up now. Reach out. We are all here for you.

Love, Danna T.

P.S. If you feel like talking and no one is available, you could reach me here or at dannamae.torres@yahoo.com
I’d be responding as soon as I can. Just don’t give up.

A letter to you

My dearest friend,

I know it’s hard living in this world, even harder because you feel so alone despite the overwhelming number of people inhabiting this place. I know you keep to yourself at night when you feel so alone that even your friends couldn’t keep you away from that awful life-stealing depression that has come to be your constant companion. You get drunk in order to dull your senses, dull the pain that has gnawed your insides and left you empty, and that you drink again the next day to dull the physical pain of having downed too much alcohol, making it a never-ending cycle. If you don’t control yourself, it won’t be long before drugs would drop their sweet hello to you and you wouldn’t be able to refuse. They would become your sweetest companion, your new best friend that would gradually leave you far worse off than when you tried to deal with all the pain by yourself. Maybe you were bullied when you were young and the constant grief and humiliation that has piled up over the years have finally crushed the fortress your parents built around your self-esteem when you were young; or maybe there was no strong fortress in the first place because the people who were supposed to care for you, supposed to protect you, were actually the ones who abused you. Maybe it was a parental reminder when they first beat you but somehow over the years, it never stopped. They painted you black and blue and it was hideous but when you look into their eyes, you found that they find beauty in the masterpiece they have broken apart. And you took the beatings because you thought you deserved them, and then took some more because you love them, and when you wanted it to just stop, you just couldn’t. Because it has gone on for far too long that you couldn’t find it in you to raise the anger into something else and just stop them. Or maybe you took the beating for someone else, or maybe watched another took the beating for you. Maybe it was your mother who was abused, or maybe it was you who took the beating to spare your mother from the horrible pain. Whoever loved one it was that cried those river of tears at night, it was painful nonetheless and so you took the pain and made it your strength. You started beating a classmate because he hurt you one way or another and you found you’re stonger than him so you did, far too much than he deserved. You kicked him hard on the chest and relished the sudden diminishing of the pain inside you, and kicked him some more because you thought someone else should know how much you’re hurting inside too, and then more just because you can. Without knowing it, you’ve become the person you hated the most annd without realizing it, another one has taken your place and is now beginning to break because of you. No one should feel the pain I am feeling, you thought then but now you’re the one giving it. Because your principles have changed, and pain have changed it all. I know you’re hurting inside because you thought no one understands you. The confusion you felt in finally knowing this world, and the confusion of not knowing how to deal with it has left you searching blindly. And the pitiful approaches you made to get to know this world has made you stronger, but the mistakes you did has pained you. And so you hurt with each mistake until you decided you didn’t feel like hurting anymore so you stopped caring altogether.
But don’t you remember that there were those happy memories before? Each bitterness, each pain you take to heart blackens your soul, making you forget all those memories. Don’t ever forget your memories. The first A grade you had has earned you a toy, but it was the smile of your mother that you took to heart. The look of pride for having you has made your little heart swell so large it was almost painful but right that moment, you wouldn’t have minded anything at all because right that moment, you felt cherished. That one trip you took with your whole family… that one and only trip where all of you laughed at the same thing, ate the same food together… Even if you don’t remember what it was you talked about, or what it was you ate, that trip has made you believe that no matter how dysfunctional you thought your family was, you are a family altogether; that sometime before, two people have felt that great love wih each other and decided to build something wonderful together. And right that moment you witnessed it all, and you realized your family is great too after all. That I love you your grandparents said the day you visited them has almost brought tears to your eyes. How could your heart love so many people equally together all the time? And with such great love too. And it’s true that you love your grandparents too, like how you love your parents and your siblings. Your heart is great; don’t ruin it. Don’t let anybody ruin it. I know it’s hard living in this world and as you grow older, there will be more hardships to come. There will be those moments when all you could think about is give up; and then there will be those moments when all you know is how damp and bleak this world is, a cruel place to live in. As you grow older you’ll realize this world isn’t like a candy store filled with sweet and exciting lollipops, instead, this world is a market filled with people always trying to lure into taking what isn’t needed and let go of the things set aside for what matters. You’ll realize as you grow older that indeed this world is cruel, but you’ll also come to realize that this world isn’t all cruel. There are great things ahead of you, just past your sight for now. Don’t give up the chance to see those things because I promise, it will all be worth it. Let your good memories be the teaser for the greater things waiting ahead for you.

Love, Danna T.

P. S. If ever you’re feeling alone, remember there are many people out there who loves you. I love you. ×

Life is Wonderful

I never thought I’d say this, and that I’d even understand it so much to put it into paper but I think beyond the layers of complicated problems not thrown but dumped upon us, life is so much more wonderful than we’re giving it credit for. Yes, there is that depression that comes with living a life that has never and would probably never satisfy you, and yes, there are those bucketful of tears you’ve cried when you thought this world is such a cruel place to live in but beyond that, this place is wonderful. Life is wonderful. It gives you enough problems for you to be able to appreciate what matters most and what isn’t. Those petty fights you had with your parents would remind you one day that they are the people who actually cared about you, but you devoted your life trying to build up this wall between them because you think they don’t understand you but actually, they do. It’s you who don’t and you’d only probably realize that when they’re already gone and their memories are the only things reminding you of what should have been. The money you kept wanting to have in surplus because you want your family to be well-off is actually distancing you away from them. Your son and daughter won’t stay that age forever and when you’ve finally decided to give them the time of the day, they wouldn’t be there for you to laugh with anymore. You would look back to those days when your children were young and you wouldn’t have any memory of them aside from their hopeful faces when they asked you to go see their recitals or baseball plays but you didn’t give them the time of your day, and you didn’t witness their huge smiles as they won the game or finished the play, and you certainly didn’t see the look of disappointment as they discovered you couldn’t be bothered enough to go have a look at the most important day of their lives. But they love you at such a young age and when they do, they give you enough tries to correct what you did wrong but each time you didn’t show up because you were busy building their future, you were slapping them with disappointment and making them go further away from you at the present. You wouldn’t notice this now but you would in a few years, when everything you could reminisce about them is a faded childhood you had played no part in; when all that you could see is their backs turned away from you as you try to reach out to them. The girl you love so much wouldn’t remain by your side forever if you don’t take courage enough to propose to her. You know in your heart she’s already the one but you’re restrained by these petty what ifs, trying to put off the future you want so much to share with her because you are scared that you aren’t old enough, or that you aren’t ready to build a family of your own. And then there is the girl you impregnated and you’re too scared to take your responsibility to that unborn child. Your every bluff that you think it was another guy’s when you know in your heart it is yours takes away a day off the life of that poor child, the girl you don’t want to have responsibility with going deeper into depression as she tries to fight for the life of the baby living inside her. And the days you spent drinking alcohol or snorting drugs while your parents worried about you would never come back. The future they tried to give you when they couldn’t even afford enough clothes to put on their backs were put to waste as you go deeper into that self destruction you have no business getting into. Because you are the child they thought would take them away from all those miseries and the responsibility is just too much for you that you decide to just chuck it off and fuck up your own life. There are so many decisions in life that you’ve messed up and you chuck it all to life. You blame this world for being so cruel when the people living on it are actually the ones messing it up. You blame the problems life has thrown on your way when all it actually is meant to do is strengthen you, ready you as you take the long journey ahead. Life is so much more beautiful than we give it credit for. If only you’ve taken the right choice, gone the right way… It’s not yet too late to try walking on the right way, not yet too late to rectify the mistakes you’ve done. Look at the life you’re living and decide what matters and what doesn’t and let go all the baggages that has nothing to do with you. It isn’t easy, I know, for the journey is too rough and far too long but this life is wonderful. You just have to unveil the right choice and may God be always with you on the way.