Unsent Letter: Gratitude and Hope

Since my last checkup with my doctor, I lost hope with myself. I thought to myself if I had to chase after something at the expense of my health, was it really worth it? I was just so tired. If I could donate my life force to someone else, I would have.

Pagod na ko.

I just felt so exhausted. Guilt was eating me alive. Medicine in addition to my school fees are so burdensome to my family. I was backsliding. The current president of the administration is both a fascist and a bastard. Philippine society seems like returning to 1972 only worse. My family is a family of public servants and the current administration is taking its toll on us in ways I could not describe. Law school seems so pointless with the current disrespect for the rule of law.

I felt like a useless human being. I felt helpless. The doctor told me to stop saving others, and start focusing on my studies because I was already failing.  I was in law school not to spread peace and love but to study he said. He told me, I was still immature, I was too soft. I felt broken. Beaten. Ashamed.

I was bitter and devastated. Was I supposed to just let bad things happen in front of me? Was I supposed to be mean and cold? My university is supposed to be a training ground for the leaders of this country and yet sometimes they act so heartlessly that it tears me apart to think that they are the future. Intelligent but heartless people, to me is the worst combination.

I didn’t tell this to anyone except my best friend, I was giving up on law school. I was giving up on my dream. I was just going to do things one last time for closure, but I wouldn’t do anything too taxing anymore because I was already burnt out.

I was doing the same routine, but my heart wasn’t in it. I would go to class, listen to the professors, read cases and books, watch others get hurt. Most of the time I would console my classmates who are struggling, trying to hold on, and I would often think to myself, that maybe I’m in the wrong field. Maybe law isn’t for me, maybe psychology is. In the first place all I wanted to do was to help people. With the current administration, law seems useless.

The reality is, perhaps I am just too naive and idealistic. I have come to accept that, but I will never accept that I have to have a cold heart to survive this world.

This is all thanks to my friends and people that I meet that keep on reminding me that kindness and empathy is still a thing.

I am very thankful and grateful to my friends who told me that the very traits I secretly hate in myself are the traits that they admire in me. I am thankful for them taking care of me when I couldn’t. I am happy that somehow I am able to help them despite being me.

Nabuhayan ako ng loob.

I felt hope bloom inside me when I met this person. This person who both had the smarts and the heart for the people. I almost gave up on my law school, but then people like that person existed. I couldn’t believe it. My friends ask me, what is it that I found that made me feel this way.

I saw a person who gave me a chance to speak out when I feared for the worst.

I saw a person who barely even knew me, to trust me, and to believe that I can do something.

I saw someone embody the very principles of Honor and Excellence. I saw someone who I can point out as an example when people start asking me who could have both the I.Q. and E.Q. to serve the people. Someone who I met personally, not some celebrity or big-shot personality. I met a very humble down-to-earth person.

I think I’m getting carried away by fangirling, but really, I just feel lucky and grateful that I met that person. Thank you for existing and fighting.

I was also very inspired when another one of my newly found friend told me this. I felt flattered and moved.

So, stand by your principles. We already have too many bright lawyers but we have very few people like you who have the courage to speak from the heart and fight for your causes.

Thank you so much for believing in me when I myself have a hard time doing so.

Kindness and empathy can really go a long way. 

I find myself once again being grateful and feeling hopeful. I find myself inspired.

I thank Allah (SWT) for these people and the opportunities I was given to meet them.

Alhamdulillah (thank God) for everything.

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PMC 2017: Opportunities and Realizations

So. I joined this event called Philippine Model Congress or PMC 2017 last September 9-10, 2017. (No, it’s not a modelling contest where people walk on a runway and strut their stuff. God knows how I lack the looks and grace for such things. Hahaha.) It’s an event which tries to simulate the actual Philippine Congress when it comes to passing laws.

I joined the event because I was curious, and I also had a lot of time to waste so I told myself why not? I was also feeling stagnant with my life. I have no organizations, no work, and I only do free consultations with my friends (a.k.a, they tell me their problems so that I can support and help them). I don’t like studying much anymore. I would often stare at my books and feel tired without even opening them.

I went to the event alone, I did not know anyone there except for some online friends. Surprisingly, I didn’t panic and shy away from people like I usually do. I observed the place, and everyone was mingling with each other. There were a lot of people who already formed their own groups. I was fine with being alone and just watching people. That was my plan anyway, to just observe, and to study for my other subjects while people battle it out (LOL).

The main reason why I went there was for the Disability Awareness in Schools Act of 2017. I am a mental health advocate, and the proposed bill was very much in line with my interests that it caught my attention. I stalked the author of the bill before hand (Shush, don’t report me). I couldn’t add her on Facebook because of her privacy settings. Hahaha. When I saw her during the event, I immediately went to her and congratulated her for the wonderful bill. It takes a lot of time for me before I warm up to anyone but again, much to my pleasure, we were able to click with each other. I told her I would support her and her bill, and I did.

It was really fun, the lively discussions about the current affairs with the youth (Lol. I’m getting really old). However, things started to go down hill. The Disability Awareness in Schools Act of 2017 was not received very well by our co-delegates. I understand that people are not that open yet to the concept of Persons with Disabilities. I noticed most of the delegates lacked research and knowledge on these things. On the bright side, it passed in our committee by a small margin, and I was very happy for that.

Much to my disbelief, there was a bill called Anti-Domestic Violence Act which seeks to amend the current R.A. 9262 or Anti-Violence against Women and Children by widening its scope to include men in its protection. I was quite confident that nobody would support such bill. Haha. Unfortunately, the world loves proving me wrong. Lo and behold, majority of the committee supported the bill.

I was too stunned to do anything about it at first. During the debates all I could do was make horrified faces (or alternatively face palm). I felt my heart breaking and my hands were shaking. I couldn’t stay silent. My constitutional law professors would not let me. My conscience and principles couldn’t let me stay silent. I am not even a feminist, I just support rights for the those are part of the minority and oppressed. “Those who have less in life, should have more in law.”

For the first time in my life I chose to fight against something for fear that it would pollute the minds of the youth that men and women in status quo have equal power in the society. Such an idealistic notion that I wished to break. I was forced to speak up and face my fear of public speaking. It was a good thing that the Chairperson of our committee was very kind and gave me an opportunity to against the bill. Despite my bumbling and stuttering, I was able to at least say a coherent sentence to go against the bill. Sadly, it was not enough. The bill was passed by our committee.

It was time to choose between the Anti-Domestic Violence Act and the Disability Awareness Act. The Anti-Domestic Violence Act won, of course, because of the endless lobbying of the author of the bill, and the mistaken conception of the people of the concept of equality and equity, and even much more sinful to my eyes, the gross misunderstanding of the concept of equality or Equal Protection Clause under the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

It hurt. Badly. It pained so much that I was literally shocked with what was going on. During the event I remembered all of a sudden why I quit debating in high school. I couldn’t handle speaking with stubborn people, and I abhorred them for their arrogance (some, not all).

With a heavy conscience, I confess that my support for the Disability Awareness in School Act was not enough. I did not do enough. I could have lobbied the Act to my fellow delegates but I couldn’t. My disease which I call energy gap to hide its severity hindered me. But no, that is just an excuse. I was just being a stubborn person who thought that the bill would speak for itself.

Stupid.

Naive.

That is not how politics in law making works.

Then and there I realized that logic is not enough to convince and persuade people. Well, I’m sorry for not being charming enough. I’m sorry that I dislike talking to people. What use is my knowledge in law when I couldn’t even convince majority of the people to my cause. I was so used to speaking in technical legal terms that I forgot most of them were not familiar with how the legal system operates.

I do not even want to think of how the author of the Disability Awareness Act felt when more people voted for the other bill. She researched for her bill, and interviewed a lot of experts, only to have it ignored in favor of another bill which I’m sure did not even reach the same level of effort to write as the previous bill author (sorry not sorry). I was only an (unofficial) sponsor of the bill, and I was already disheartened. I tried to hold back a lot of ad hominem comments and other offensive remarks which I would not even mention anymore for fear of cyber libel.

Our committee session adjourned. Our committee was very lucky to have a sensible and intelligent chairperson who made a speech and reminded the delegates to make laws which have the interests of the Filipinos in mind.

During the plenary session (which still caused me a lot of heartaches and headache that I was tempted to just walk out and do an impromptu crying session but thanks to years of training I didn’t), the bill was not passed because of the delegates who understood what is the reality and intent behind the creation of R.A. 9262. I do hope there comes a time that we wouldn’t need such act, but I really believe that is not today. It was also then that I fully realized that silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

Other than that harrowing experience of trying to argue against a bill which goes against everything I believe in, I’m happy to report that the plenary was able to pass Online Disinformation Act, SOGIE Implementation in Junior High School Act, and Hijab Act. My faith in the youth is restored.

The awarding ceremony came, and they awarded two honorable mentions and one best delegate per committee. I was happy for the two of my co-delegates in my committee because they really deserved the award. The time came for the awarding of the best delegate award. I already knew who was going to be awarded so I just clapped politely without paying attention much but then again, as I said before, the world really loves proving me wrong. The chairperson named me as the best delegate, and all I could think was: “Wait. What? Ako? Me?”. #shookt

Aside from the embarrassing and awkward moment that happened during the awarding because I really have problems with accepting things which I personally believe that I do not deserve, the overall experience was fun. All I can say is that I wouldn’t have received that award without the support of my co-delegates and friends.

I met a lot of new people, and I was able to make new friends who share the same interests and advocacy. It was a valuable learning experience which I could not have gained if I just stayed in my classrooms. I am really thankful for the opportunity that was given to me.

I want to thank the author of the Disability Awareness in School act, and the chairperson of Committee 2, and all my co-delegates for making the experience meaningful. Thank you also to the organizers for giving us the opportunity. I also want to thank my friends who supported me, and encouraged me to attend despite my doubts about joining. Special shout out to my ambassador friend who shared the PMC event which was how I learned of it in the first place.

And of course, thank God for everything that has happened.

Sadly, I now have to face my reality which is law school, and I was so tired because of the event that I had to take a breather because I was overwhelmed by emotions that only came after the event because I was trying hard to repress them.

I have hopes for the future.

Passion without action leads to frustration. We all have our passions, and it is never to late to act on them

 

 

Always at the Crossroads

Last year, 2016, I was at the crossroads. I couldn’t enroll in my current law school because of certain complications and I was forced to decide whether to continue studying law or not.

I find it funny, that again I find myself waiting and trying to decide again whether to continue with it or not. I thought it was over. I thought I just had to look forward and move, but I hit another dead-end. It’s like a game that I keep on playing, with my character that keeps on getting beat up and dying. After that the screen is asking “do you want to continue? yes or no” with ten seconds left before automatically making a choice for me.

Life is like that, isn’t it? It’s a game. A series of choices that would lead you to somewhere. Some people know where that somewhere is, I don’t.

I’m in danger of trashing my lawyer dream once again. I can’t help but laugh bitterly as I ask myself what is it with me that I keep on failing. Is it really not for me? Is this a sign? Is it a punishment for believing that I could do it when I clearly cannot do it?

The other day, our professor talked to us when we chased after him to plead our case. He said no of course, then after that he went on to lecture us about life, about how we could find other things to do, that what happened to us was not fatal and we should stop if it’s really not for us then it’s not, that what we did was undignified. He said a lot of things that were pretty inspiring and at the same time annoying. Annoying because I already knew them, annoying because some of what he said were untrue.

I don’t know what happened this semester. I have no one to blame but myself. I can’t help but feel disgust every time I am reminded of my disorder that the society doesn’t acknowledge, and they even consider it as just a part of imagination. I hate using my disorder as my excuse, but I also hate knowing that it may be imaginary for other but it is real for me and it may have stopped me from living fully once again. I hate that I forgot that I have it, that I couldn’t control it to save myself. Most of all, I hate having it.

I hate how I tried so hard to save others, that I forgot to save myself. I hate the feeling of resentment that I have against the people that I have helped when they succeed and I don’t. I hate the feeling of disgust and self-hatred when I know I have no right to feel such emotions. They didn’t ask for it, I gave it. Willingly. I hate it, I hate it so much, thinking how my doctor and others would berate for giving too much while receiving almost nothing at all. I hate being normally self-contradicting.

I didn’t help them because I wanted to be paid back. I help people because I want to, because it makes me feel better, because it distracts from how much of a failure I am. It doesn’t hurt that they don’t appreciate me or say thank you, but it helps to feel appreciated. It hurts me when I ask myself why am I such a failure, and what did I do wrong? It hurts to hear people say and point at me, making me as an example of why people shouldn’t be too kind. I don’t understand this thing, about being too kind when in my mind I’m just being a decent human being. Isn’t it sad that most people nowadays would applaud nice acts like it isn’t expected and normal?

Now I don’t know what to do. I know what I want to do, but we don’t always get what we want right? Like I said, I’m at the crossroads again. Life is just really tiring. I guess I’m just a perpetually exhausted pigeon, not that phoenix that I fancy myself to be rising from the ashes.

Law school and life has beaten me again, and again, and again. The question is: will I continue?

I want to, oh how much I sincerely want to that it makes me want to vomit. I value this opportunity so much, and I know how much blessed I am with this privilege, more so than anyone else because of my experience. Last year, I have felt bitterness when I heard of people quitting and wasting the opportunity they were given.

I guess it’s karma that I might become the people I have resented. I am just so tired and exhausted. More than that, I don’t know how much I can take anymore. I have been pushing since day one, and I want to do more. I want to give more but I feel myself burning out, I have burned out.

I don’t think my friends and family realize, how I think that if I choose to continue it would be too selfish of me. I want to stop not only because I’m tired but because it costs too much. It’s expensive, the tuition, the time, the medicine if I want to keep my sanity, and all other costs I have not accounted yet.

Yet, I still want to continue. I still want to try. I still want to ask God, God is this for me? God will you let me? God please?

I have been asked by my parents previously to stop. I can’t describe how much it hurt, how much it pained me to hear those words from them, because it merely enforced the idea that what I did, what I’m doing is selfish, and that I can’t do it.

Despite that, I still want to try, to see where I could go. Despite being berated by our professor for our actions, I don’t regret anything. I felt happy that we tried. We had our closure for that certain subject. People don’t know how much I am glad, that for once I have fought. I have failed but I have fought.

I am honestly still scared. I am scared to learn that it’s not really for me, because I know it will hurt. I will be satisfied knowing that I did what I could, but it will still be painful.

I guess we really have no better choice in life but to move forward like always. Yes, I want to continue.

I’ll have to see whether God will let me. It will hurt, it will burn, but maybe a perpetually exhausted pigeon that is burnt can rise from the ashes and become a phoenix?

Wishful thinking, but we have to see don’t we? Assuming I don’t become fried chicken instead, ahaha.

I might always be at the crossroads, always getting lost. Hopefully, someday, I’ll get to my destination.

 

Twisted Truth

Jaded black eyes stared tiredly at the people walking all around him inside the coffee shop.  A half-empty mug of coffee was placed beside an open red notebook. There were scattered pens, books, and papers all over the table. The owner of the red notebook tapped his fingers on the table, trying to block out the senseless noise he was hearing from the other café patrons.

“I’m worried about Tansy,” a boy said while balancing books in his hands.

“Yeah, me too, I want to help her,” a girl with short hair responded as she walked in front of her friend.

Aloe, a university student, could only sigh deeply and gaze contemptuously at his peers as they passed by him and went out of the establishment. The bell rang signaling the opening and closing of the door. He shook his head and tried to focus on his readings. He was struggling to understand some of the fancy terms in Latin while trying hard not to cringe at the thought of being called in class for the particular topic.

“Yo. Why the long face?” an amused voice disrupted Aloe’s thoughts.

Aloe turned his head and found his friend, standing right behind him with a mug in his hand and looking over the messy table. Aloe craned his neck to look at his blonde-haired friend.

“What? You’re not used to my resting bitch face yet?” Aloe smiled wryly as he waited for his friend to sit across him. Peter hummed as he sat comfortably on the cushioned chair.

“You heard them talking about Tansy?” Peter nonchalantly asked while sipping from his own drink, and the steam from the coffee slightly fogged up the eyeglasses he was wearing. Behind the spectacles, blue eyes peered curiously at Aloe.

“Yeah, I did,” Aloe said in a resigned voice, he ran a hand through his black messy hair.

Silence reigned over the two of them as they were left to their own thoughts. Aloe took comfort in the quietness where he could hear no lies and insincere words. Peter was one of the people Aloe was comfortable with, as the latter was one of the rare people who the former got along with.

The silence was broken when Peter spoke out loud.

“Sometimes, I think you see too much.”

“Do I?” Aloe pretended not to know what Peter was talking about.

“I dunno, do you?” Peter tilted his head at Aloe.

Aloe laughed bitterly. The words spoken by his friend were so near yet so far to the truth of his obscure ability. “No, I don’t. I can’t even find what I’m looking for.”

The two friends went back to studying while pretending to be ordinary students without an ounce of drama in their lives. The rustling of the papers and the scribbling of the pens were the only sound coming from their table.

Moments later, Aloe could feel Peter’s stare. Peter was fidgeting in his seat.

“Nope, not a good idea,” Aloe mentioned offhandedly, continuously writing on his notebook.

“But I haven’t even said anything yet!” Peter exclaimed.

“I just felt like saying it, besides, all of your ideas are stupid by default,” Aloe smirked.

“Hey!” Peter slammed his hand on the table. The other customers shot them nasty looks for the noise. Peter bashfully scratched his blond hair and waved apologetically at them.

Aloe just snickered at his friend.

The next day at the university, the mundane academic life consumed its occupants. Students and professors alike wandering about, ready to face the day filled with lessons.

Aloe walked briskly towards his classroom, noting that he was already late but it didn’t matter. The professor was late as always. Black eyes silently scanned the room as he observed his classmates and hated himself for it. His classmates often steered clear of him, perhaps because he was too frank. Either way he didn’t care.

Aloe proceeded to walk to the back of the classroom where he found Peter chatting with their other classmates.

“Good morning!” Peter greeted with enthusiasm, his hands frantically waving in the air. Aloe could only shake his head at his friend’s antics. “Tone down the brightness, and stop shitting rainbows please.”

“Somebody is cranky. Forgot your meds today?” Peter teased while waiting for Aloe to finish setting his things down on the table. Loud laughter distracted the two males, both of them turned their heads at the boisterous sounds coming from their classmates from the front. Amidst the cheerful banter, a person stood out from the crowd.

“Hey Tansy, you look sick, are you ok?” One of their classmates asked with concern in his voice, Aloe recognized the male as the one he saw in the cafe.

“Yeah,” Tansy she blandly replied at her classmates as she tucked her red hair behind her ears. There were dark circles around her green eyes.

Aloe took a deep breath and turned his head away from the scene. He was getting exhausted so easily nowadays. He blinked rapidly when he noticed two hands waving in front of him.

“Hello, earth to Aloe. Hi. Hello. Hey that rhymes,” Peter joked jovially, his blue eyes looking at Aloe. Before he could reply, the door opened which caused the noise to die down, and all the students simultaneously stood up.

The professor walked in, heels clacking against the floor.

She stopped in front of the teacher’s table and placed her bag on the table. She waved her right hand gracefully.  The students sat down and waited for their imminent fate.

“Good morning,” she greeted the class, “So, let’s begin with the next topic,”

She retrieved a bundle of yellow cards in her bag. Eyes carefully followed her hands as she shuffled them.

There was tension in the room. Most of the people anticipating on who would be called. Aloe observed with indifference. Before the professor could call out the name on the card she finally picked, Aloe elbowed Peter.

Blue eyes glared at Aloe for his actions. “What–“

“Peter,” the professor called out. Stunned, Peter slowly stood up from his seat. “Yes ma’am?”

The long time battle between the students and professor began. Almost all of them sincerely praying they be spared for the day. Hours felt like years for the students, waiting for the clock to turn faster.

Chris, one of the active members of their class, was called next for recitation. He stood confidently, his brown eyes stared bravely at his professor as he answered fluidly.

“Good job Chrysanthemum,” their professor, knowing that Chris disliked his full name, teased him.

“Thanks ma’am,” Chris scratched the back his brown cropped hair, a sign of his awkwardness.

Unfortunately for Tansy, she was the next one chosen to parry the questions of their professor. Aloe took note of Tansy’s fidgeting form as she sat in front near the teacher’s table.

“Ma’am, a-according to article 19, uhm,“ She stuttered as her hands were flipping her notes rapidly. She kept on going though, despite her apparent desire to stop. The glaring difference between Chris’s performance and Tansy’ own performance made it worse for her.

“Tansy, please sit down,” Tansy could only nod meekly and sit slowly in her seat.

Aloe furtively glanced around the room, and clenched his hands when one of his classmates whispered to one another. “It’s none of my business, none,” Aloe convinced himself.

Class was almost over to the relief of the people. Aloe was already arranging his things before the bell rang.

“I’ll see you next meeting,” their professor announced, gathering the class cards in her hands. “Tansy, please see me in my office,” she said gently to the girl who was slightly shaking. She walked out of the room as the students fixed their things to go home.

Within minutes, the room was almost empty leaving only Aloe, Peter, and a handful of students. The pair that Aloe previously saw in the café were talking loudly near the exit of the room. They were subtly looking at Tansy who was sitting alone dejectedly in her chair.  Aloe rolled his eyes, he was sick of seeing and hearing them everywhere.

“Worrying does nothing, why don’t you try to give a helpful advice instead of just, “describing the situation” according to your terms,” Aloe casually directed at the short-haired girl as he walked outside the door, looking at them at the corner of his black eyes. He left his classmates dumbfounded and confused.

“What was that about?” Peter asked Aloe. Peter looked back at his classmates who were suddenly quiet and staring at Aloe with trepidation, while the cause of their unease was just sauntering away and unfazed by what just happened.

“Nothing. Just pointing out inconsistencies,” Aloe shrugged.

“Uh, didn’t you just do the same? Giving useless advice?” Peter poked Aloe.

“I’m pained that you call my advice useless,” Aloe placed a hand on his heart in faux hurt.

“Well, it was unsolicited,” Peter remarked, he was getting used to Aloe’s strangeness. Aloe snorted and just continued walking while Peter cheerfully followed.

Left alone in their room was the red-haired girl.

Tansy stared blankly into space, her red bangs partially covering her green eyes. She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. The ringing in her ears still haven’t subsided.

She sluggishly fixed her things, and prepared to go to her professor’s room. She checked her phone. She read a message from her brother which made her grimace. She could feel the tears prickling her eyes.

She stepped out to the corridor and slowly walked towards the room of her professor. She hesitated when she arrived at the door with the sign of her professor’s name. She was about to knock when the door suddenly opened.

“Oh, Tansy, come in,” the kind professor ushered her in. “Please, sit.”

Tansy did what she was told, and sat on the chair in front of her professor’s desk while placing her bag beside her on the floor.

“Tansy, I’m sorry to say this, but you’re not doing well in my class right now,” her professor gently told Tansy, she was looking at Tansy’s class card. “I also noticed you’re failing in your other classes.”

The young girl stayed quiet, and refused to make eye contact.

“You have to keep your grades up if you want to stay in this college,” her professor appraised the student in front of her.

“Yes, ma’am,” Tansy politely answered, her hands clasped together, laying on her lap.

“Do you have any problems understanding the lesson? Problems at home?” Her professor prodded.

Tansy fiddled with her hands harder at the mention of home. She answered in the negative to all her professor’s questions. Tansy glanced at her professor.

“I’ll do my best, I’m just,” Tansy’s voice broke as she struggled to find the words to express herself. “I’ll do my best,” she repeated weakly.

“Tansy, if you have any problems, please don’t be shy and just approach me.”

Tansy nodded, and stiffly stood up. “Thank you ma’am,” She bowed and bid farewell to her professor while picking up her bag. Her green eyes were glossy.

She hurriedly walked out of the stifling room and almost ran into the restroom. Luckily, there was nobody else in the place. She locked the door. She tried to control her breathing. Her ears were ringing and her chest hurt badly from the rapid beating of her heart.

She covered her mouth as she stifled her sobs. Her whole body was shaking violently.

“I want to die, but I can’t,” Tansy miserably whispered to herself. “How pathetic is that,”

Moments have passed before her breathing gradually slowed down. She finally breathed in deeply and calmed herself. She wiped her tears away and walked out of the cubicle. Green eyes glared at the girl in front of the mirror. After habitually washing her hands, she strode out of the restroom.

Surprised, she took a few steps back when she saw Aloe standing alone in the middle of the corridor, his black eyes looking at her intensely, as if waiting for her.

Embarrassment flooding her at being caught in an uncomfortable situation, Tansy tried to pretend she didn’t see him and walked away until Aloe was behind her.

“She genuinely cares for her students,” Aloe said mildly,

Tansy stopped, but she didn’t turn to face Aloe.

“You should accept help when it’s offered,” Aloe’s voiced out his thoughts. Tansy could feel her heart pick up its pace again when Aloe’s words were too close to her secret.

She ignored Aloe, then continued to walk away. She was about to exit the building when she saw Chris.

Chris waved at her which she politely returned. She was blinded by Chris’ questionable friendliness that it somehow irked her. Chris approached her and started to make small talk.

“You did well in class,” Chris carelessly said to her.

“It sucked,” Tansy retorted, annoyed that Chris could blatantly lie to her face in attempts of comforting her.

“Stop fishing for complements Chris,” Green eyes glared at brown eyes.

Chris only laughed, and ruffled his brown hair. “Sorry, my bad, but I do think that you did ok if not good,”

“Yeah, whatever, bye,” Tansy dismissed Chris and walked down the front staircase of the building and into the road.

Chris watched the sunset for a few minutes. His surrounding were bathed in red-orange light. Chris exhaled loudly. He was about to leave when he heard someone call out to him. “Chris!”

He turned and saw Aloe waving at him where Tansy previously stood. Chris beamed and returned the gesture. He went towards the parking lot. He opened his car and drove home.

Chris arrived at his house, all was silent except for the dull noise coming for the television which was tuned to the news station.

“I’m home,” Chris called out. Nobody answered. He went straight to his room and changed his clothes.

He got his books and laid them on his study table cluttered with pens and highlighters of different colors. He read for a while before suddenly throwing his book in frustration.

He decided to sleep when he couldn’t understand anything anymore. He closed the lights and let the darkness cover him.

He laid down on his bed. He stared blankly at his ceiling that was covered with glow-in-the-dark stickers. Sleep wouldn’t come to him as he tossed and turned in his bed. He watched the darkness slowly turn into light. Chris closed his eyes, only to be disturbed by his alarm clock.

When morning came, Chris ate breakfast with his family, his older brother absent because he was abroad participating in a contest.

Chris sat in silence, before clearing his throat. “I got a high score yesterday in our quiz, and my recitation was also good,” Chris proudly reported to his parents.

“I should hope so. Your older brother got a perfect grade in his class,” Chris’ father disinterestedly said while flipping the newspaper he was holding. A half-eaten toast and a steaming mug of coffee sat near his dad.

Chris’s smile almost fell. He just took a sip from his orange juice and averted his gaze.

His mom suddenly placed a plate with freshly cooked eggs in front of him. “Good job Chris!” she hugged her son.

She leaned and whispered into his ears, “Don’t mind your father, he’s just cranky today.”

Chris blinked and smiled genuinely at her. Chris played with the food in front of him. His appetite almost non-existent at that time. His mother nudged him on the head, a warning for him to eat breakfast.

“Well, I’m off to work,” his dad coldly announced and stood up from the dining table.

“Bye dear, take care,” Chris’ mom kissed the father on his cheeks. Chris only looked at his father exiting the dining room.

“Chrysanthemum, do you know what your name means?” His mom asked out of the blue.

Chris only chewed his eggs and shook his head no.

“I know it’s a girly name, but you have to be proud of it,” Her tone was wistful. “Your name means cheerfulness and good spirit, we were so happy when you were born in this world”

Chris snorted, and almost choked on his food. His mother slapped him on his back.

“Your father loves you too, you know, he just has a different way of showing it,”

Chris looked away from his mom. “Oh look at the time, I’m late, gotta go now.” Chris abruptly stood up similar to the way his dad exited.

Chris arrived at school, and was immediately bombarded by some of his classmates when he got to the room.

“Yo! I heard your brother won the competition, you guys are so amazing,” Peter greeted Chris.

Chris stilled slightly but he immediately grinned and accepted the greetings from them. “It’s in the genes man, it’s in the genes,” Chris exclaimed

“You mean your pants? Where can I buy one?” Peter joked.

“Shut up,” Peter was punched on the arm by Aloe.

“Ignore him Chris, he got high on coffee again,” Aloe said sarcastically, placing Peter’s head in a headlock.

“What, I’m not!” Peter struggled to get out of Aloe’s hold.

The banter among his friends went on, while Chris became subdued, and almost nobody noticed it. Aloe witnessed the change in Chris’s mood. Aloe opened his mouth, hesitating to say something, but he didn’t proceed.

Aloe merely placed a hand on Chris’ shoulder. Chris nodded and his lips slightly tilted upwards at the corner.

Classes began once again, and nothing much changed.

Months after Tansy was called out by their professor, the semester was almost over, with only two weeks remaining before final examinations.

Everyone collectively breathed out when the professor announced that they were finished with the whole subject. They were glad that the day was finally over. Students broke off into groups, each one planning on how to de-stress after a long week. Almost half of the class was gone.

“Hey! Chris! We’re hanging out tonight, wanna come?”

“Nah, sorry I’m busy, I have to do something,” Chris smiled at his friends while walking past them.

“Oh come on! It’s a Friday!” One of his friends shouted at his retreating back. Chris merely raised his right hand without looking at them.

“I’ll just see you guys later,”

Aloe almost faltered in his steps. His heart was beating faster inside his chest. He started to go towards Chris when he was stopped by Peter. “Where are you going?”

Aloe stood motionless, staring at the direction where Chris went. “I’m not so sure.”

“Well, let’s go then,” Peter tugged Aloe’s shirt. “I want to watch a movie,”

“Okay,” Aloe hesitantly agreed, his gaze never left Chris. Peter noticed Aloe’s fixation and grabbed the latter’s shoulders to turn him in the other direction.

“Don’t worry about Chris, he’s probably just going to study. Such a nerd.” Peter jested, he tried to alleviate Aloe’s concern.

It was Monday again. Aloe entered the room and immediately looked for his brown-haired classmate. He began to worry when he noticed Chris was not there.

“That’s strange, Chris is late today?” Peter turned his head, trying to look for their classmate.

“I hope so,” Aloe muttered. He fixed

“He’s usually so early, I needed to ask him something,” Peter moaned with disappointed.

Chris didn’t attend class that day. The next day, Chris was absent again.

“Maybe he’s sick?” Peter mused. The color from Aloe’s face withdrew and he closed his eyes as he struggled to remain calm.

A week has passed before they learned of Chris’ whereabouts. The news was announced after their class.

“Class, Chris is at the hospital right now, if you want to visit him I can give you the hospital where he is staying at,”

Aloe froze in his seat. He tried to block out the words that the professors were saying. The voices in his head got louder and harder to ignore.

“Holy cow. Did you guys hear? I think he tried to kill himself,” one of their classmates whispered.

“Wasn’t it an accident? Somebody said that he bought the wrong medicine,” the person said in a confused voice.

“Poor guy, never expected him to do it,” a boy said while shaking his head.

“Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it! Chris?”

“Hey, you shouldn’t talk about him like that,” Peter intervened and tried to quell the rumors. “We only know he is in the hospital, we should pay respect.”

“Yeah, but we’re all just surprised. Aren’t you?”

“I am, he was a happy and energetic guy, and I know he would never try to kill himself,” Peter stated with conviction.

Aloe turned his head to Peter, who was proudly proclaiming how much he knew Chris when he was so ignorant of what truly happened. Aloe felt something dark crawl into his heart. He didn’t know where Peter got his ideas. He didn’t see it coming.

“He was just weak. That’s the plain truth. Weak or stupid,” Tansy brazenly spoke. Everyone in the vicinity who hear cringed and looked away from Tansy.

“Tansy, you’re not supposed to say something bad about people,” Peter gently reminded her. Aloe clenched his fist.

“Guess we better plan something for him,”

Aloe gritted his teeth, his feelings were a mess. He could have done something. He should have done something. He never felt so helpless and betrayed before. He angrily picked up his bag and walked out. Peter followed him outside the room.

“Hey, Aloe, are you okay?” Peter asked, worry tinged his voice, as he placed a hand on Aloe’s shoulder.

“Am I?” Aloe mockingly asked. He shrugged Peter’s hand off his person.

“I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking,” Peter defensively answered.

Aloe finally snapped. “Why are you people like that?”

“Like what?” Peter asked incredulously.

“You people are so fake!” Aloe fished a pen from his pockets. “See this pen? You’re all like this. PLASTIC.” Aloe threw the pen at Peter’s chest.

Peter could only stare at Aloe in astonishment. Before Aloe could stop himself, the dam of resentment burst out, and dark words flowed from his mouth, uncaring of the audience they suddenly had.

“Of all the people. I thought you would understand. You act so nicely. I thought you were decent,” Aloe said, his voice so deep that Peter almost didn’t hear him. “I thought you were genuine.”

“I thought you were real,” Peter didn’t move or say a word. “I expected better from you.”

“How could you think that Chris was weak?! You don’t know what’s going on with him! You don’t know him!”

“Why? Why are you people like this?” Aloe begged him to answer. The air was heavy with pressure.

“Oh stop being so melodramatic,” Peter uncharacteristically deadpanned, finally having the courage to answer Aloe.

“What?”

“I said stop it. You act so high and mighty. You can’t ask for something, you can’t give.”

“What are you talking about?!”

“You ask for something genuine. You’re not,” Peter continued. “I’m sorry, but I know you’re not.”

Aloe stood motionless as a statue. Everything in his world was slowly being turned upside down. His feelings of guilt, betrayal, hurt, and resentment festered deep inside him. His friend just called him a hypocrite without any basis.

“I could notice you judging us, acting as if you’re above us. You’re not,” Peter laughed harshly. “You can’t read minds Aloe, you can’t,”

“Stop. You act like we hurt you,” Peter pointed at him. “No, you hurt yourself,”

Aloe was staring down at Peter before both of them even realized it. Peter gingerly held his face with his left hand, his glasses lying on the floor. Peter’s blue eyes widened in shock. Aloe towered over him with this right hand clenched in a fist and bruised.

“You know nothing,” Aloe hissed.

Aloe then looked at the eye of each and every one of them who were watching their fight. He stared at them coldly, his black eyes glittering.

“Chris wasn’t weak. Chris wasn’t happy,” His voice cracked. “You were all just trapped in your own little words like selfish bastards that you are. We all were.”

“And now you think it’s a fucking burden to even visit him in the hospital, I don’t blame you though, you all have your priorities.”

The crowd shivered from the insult in Aloe’s words. They were dispersed when one of the professors arrived at the scene. “Aloe, Peter. Please follow me to the Dean’s office.”

Peter stood up and dusted his clothes. Aloe had finally calmed down. He was suddenly aloof and indifferent. The two of them followed the professor to their impending doom.

“People like you disgust me,” Aloe said coolly to Peter while they were walking. “People who think that it’s wrong to say the truth out loud.”

Peter turned pale, finally realizing that Aloe seems to know more than the ordinary person. The two of them walked soundlessly towards the Dean’s office.

“Sit down, wait for the dean. She is currently in a meeting,” the professor said brusquely.  Aloe and Peter sat in front of a table filled with papers and calendar. “No fighting in this office,” she warned the two students.

Peter looked at Aloe who was sitting placidly, all of his anger seemingly disappeared.

“Why?” Peter returned the question to Aloe. Weary black eyes looked at Peter. Peter’s blue eyes suddenly averted his gaze.

“Tansy was admiring Chris for his bravery. For doing something she couldn’t do,” Aloe said softly, he fiddled with his fingers. “Did you know? Yet she thinks he’s stupid for failing. Ask her. She’ll tell you. She won’t lie about it.”

Peter sighed and hunched over. He placed his head in his two hands. He ignored the pain that he could feel on his left cheeks.

Things were getting out in the open. Aloe continued and ignored Peter’s distress at his revelations.

“You didn’t talk to Chris. I’m not talking about mere small talk. Nobody ever thinks of talking to the cheerful guy with the seemingly perfect life.”

“You even thought he was weak for trying to kill himself,” Aloe accused. Peter only shook his head, his blond hair covering his face.

“It’s not my story to tell, but nobody sees. Nobody listens.” Aloe whispered.  “Somebody needs to say it.”

Aloe’s voice started to shake. “I could have stopped him. I knew he planned it. He fucking planned it because he was tired of it. So tired of it. I don’t blame him at all,” Aloe clenched his hands together. “I wanted to stop him but I didn’t.”

Peter looked worriedly at Aloe. “Aloe, Aloe stop, it’s not your fault,”

“I wish the others who are half of a person that he is killed themselves. Why do people like him think they’re the ones that need to disappear?” Aloe could only ask bitterly.

“I’m sorry,” Peter sorrowfully said. “I’m sorry for what I said earlier Aloe, I’m sorry,”

“They don’t need pity. I don’t. They need help,” Aloe snapped. “Help that nobody gave, help that I didn’t give because I was too scared,” Aloe ran a hand through his black hair.

“Aloe, it’s okay,” Peter tried to placate his friend.

“All I hear are lies.” Aloe said resignedly. “Sometimes I wish I knew they weren’t lies.”

2016: Come back year

Random Ramblings (2016 Edition)

I also call my 2016 the year of the perpetually exhausted pidgeon.

I was happy but tired at the start of the year, because I felt that 2015 has been hard for me but I grew, and I learned a lot from it. I thought about quitting because I wasn’t sure of my path, or rather I was just really tired. I also had to make a decision of retaking an entrance exam I failed in 2015, which is not really a big deal at first but then things happened and ugh, my poor lazy self had to move. I took the exam with intention of just having closure, just to check where I’m really supposed to be. Long story short, I passed! Hooray. I felt happiness and relief. Happy that I passed, and relieved that I’m not as stupid as I thought (but if you think about it, basing intelligence on just an entrance exam is stupid itself, so poor me. Nothing changed. Haha. #ChangeScamming)

Unfortunately, denial is my middle name. I kept on putting off my decision if I would enroll in UP law, and when I finally decided that I would enroll, things happened again. I had to wait for almost three months before I was able to enroll. Three months of existential angst and quarterlife crisis while playing the waiting game, and hide and seek with the school administration who has my requirements. I felt like a tennis ball being volleyed back and forth between different offices. I had to swallow my pride and faith in the system (boo you system, you suck. “I put my faith in you, so much faith in you, but you just threw it away” #Paramore); I asked help from my parents. It was a happy ending anyway, I was able to enroll.

I’m back in UP!!! Oh yeah. My beloved Sunken Garden was right in front me and I was so tempted to logroll, but it was rainy. Meh. I had a lot of space, and the teaching style of the professors was so compatible with my learning style, and I was able to appreciate subjects that I disliked with passion before. It was difficult to socialize with my blockmates (well, people in general), but I survived! #introvertproblems. It was amazing, it all felt surreal, but I also felt like the fishes in Finding Nemo who were able to escape from the aquarium but didn’t think too far so they were stuck in plastic bags. I was stuck. Despite the three months of vacation, I still felt tired, and hence the title of this post. Hahaha. Huhu.

2016 just had to be a meanie, so guess who also returned and said: “I’m back, bish!”. I had to groan and facepalm. It sucks, really really really sucks. I was happy. I was in my dream school. I had space. I was learning  in the way I wanted to learn again. Why did it have to come back? Why me? What did I do wrong? I effin survived 2015, I was literally out of my comfort zone back then, so why only now when I was where I wanted to be? I was stressed and tired, I knew that, but I was also back in my supposed comfort and safety zone. It was everything that I wanted. I had to leave some of my precious friends behind, it was a sacrifice I made. One step forward, two steps back. I felt like I regressed, the progress that I made in 2015 disappeared in 2016, and it hurt, it still hurts.

My motto in 2016 was #noregrets, which I’m happy to say that I somewhat fulfilled; except for the bish that came back, I’m still hating that it returned. I went to a family outing instead of studying, #noregrets. I got sick so I was absent and got my first singko in recit when I returned to school, #noregrets. I overslept, #noregrets. Hahahaha. -_- Kidding, I felt bad afterwards, but there’s no use in regretting. I think my new motto should be #priorities.

I met a lot of new people and friends who are amazing in their own way, but I still remember my friends who I left behind who I still hold close to my heart, and I blame them for setting the standard so high. Hahaha. Even if I felt like I regressed this year, I’m still me, so I think that’s ok.

2016 has been fun despite some major setbacks, like the Marcos burial #NeverAgain #NeverForget; Duterte, and Trump winning the elections, and . . . Nevermind. I think I’ll stop there before I am tempted to erase 2016 from my life, but still please pray for the world. Pray for Aleppo.

I was able to survive 2016 because of my meds, vitamins, anime, cats, friends, family, and of course, Allah (SWT). Here’s to hoping that the people and the world will be better, because it doesn’t matter if 2017 will be better when people are still the same.

Chasing Dreams: Of Desperation and Determination

This is it. Finally.

After submitting all of my requirements and finally enrolling in my dream law school, that was it. Ok. I’m done. I’m happy. Can I stop now? Hahaha. Kidding. Or am I?

I thought I knew what I was getting into when I decided to transfer. I already knew I was going to be pressured and stressed like I have never been before from different people with different expectations from me, mainly because I am technically repeating first year.

What have I done? Made things harder for myself apparently.

I have been called a masochist at best when I told a friend of my decision to transfer and how I expected the people in my college to treat me i.e. bullying, expecting great things from, pressuring me to be an honor student, no excuse for failing, etc. I already knew that. I prepared myself for that mentally. I was ready to tell people to f*** off when they say things like that, internally of course, because I can never say that to their faces unless they really deserve it. I was already programmed to just smile and nod, and say yes while tuning out their voices and finding out ways to escape them without me being strangled or them being punched to the face.

What have I done? I’m running after an idea.

I chased after my dreams. I consciously chose to ignore the thoughts bouncing inside my head about regretting transferring (because my new motto is #noregrets), about quitting while I still can, about staying low profile because I don’t want to dig my own grave anymore. I just want to do my best. That is all that I really want. I want to do my best and I want to be able to help people.

These past few days I just realized that I am tired and frustrated, and it’s annoying. It’s really annoying and debilitating. I had three months of vacation. Why am I still tired? Is it because I suffered from my situation of not knowing whether I will be able to enroll to my dream school or not, or because I was suffering from my doubts of whether I do deserve to be here, or because I am missing my previous school like how I usually do when I go to different places, or because of the pressure and expectations I know I am facing from a lot of people? I tried to recharge this vacation and I am still tired. It’s like trying to charge your phone and wondering why it doesn’t turn on, only to realize you forgot to plug the charger to the outlet.

It’s a combination, but more than that, I am pressured from own self. God, there I was proudly stating that I do not care what others think of me anymore, that I don’t care what their expectations are, I will just do what I want and be thoroughly selfish for the second time in my life. When I was hesitating to transfer because of the pressure that I know I will receive from being known as the younger sister of my siblings, my friend asked me, and I will never forget it, because it struck me to the core: “Are you really sure that’s your reason why you don’t want to transfer? Your siblings?” Yes. Partly, yes, it is unavoidable. Even my siblings think so, innocently remarking how I could never escape their shadows. But right here, right now, I knew this is a battle against myself. I was never trying to escape their shadows, I was trying to escape my own.

I tried, and I am still trying to study, only to end up frustrated that it almost reduced me to tears. Why can’t I read as fast as I did before? How stupid can you get, you’re supposed to know this already! How the hell did I survive last year?! I feel so stupid and disappointed with myself. My new professor told us to not “wallow in self-pity” and move on. Psh. I do not wallow in self-pity. I only wallow in frustration and self-hatred, but don’t worry I’m trying to move on, hence this post.

Perhaps the reason why I survived last year was because I kept on praying: “God, please don’t let me give up, God please no, please, please no, no, please.” My study habits were nothing but mere desperation to hold on to something, to prove something to myself as I have accidentally and intentionally sabotaged myself in the past and I don’t want to do it anymore. I was in a trial phase. I wanted to change, I wanted to grow. My energy last year was so limited (until now), that I just stopped studying whenever I wanted to stop and studied whenever I wanted. I lived on a day to day basis, and I would often enter class regardless of the fact that I studied or not, with my classmates teasing me that I should get a reward for having perfect attendance (except for that time when I got so sick I couldn’t risk infecting other people and I couldn’t move). My mantra was: “Sugod! Kahit butter knife lang ang dala sa giyera, sugod!” “Charge! Even if my only weapon is a butter knife in this war, charge!”

I can’t do that now. I can’t.

I can’t because I know how much this slot cost me, more than anybody. I felt the frustration last year of hearing people quit and drop from my dream school. I know I have no right to judge them, because everybody has their own reason and story. Last year, I felt heartbroken when I learned that my dream school which rejected me called the other applicants to ask them if they still want to study there. They did not choose me. Again. I accepted that fact, that I was undeserving back then, and until I graduate from my dream school I would still deem myself to be undeserving of this opportunity. I tried applying, one last time, just to check, because I just had to know. Why? I don’t know, but I knew I had to. So I finally passed, and things happened which almost prevented me from enrolling. The point is, I know, I truly know how much this opportunity is. I have fought for this relentlessly, sometimes halfheartedly because of my fears but still, I have fought and I am still fighting.

I know I can’t just trudge through this without putting in my all. Now I’ve realized that I wasn’t halfhearted in my attempts last year, I was tired, but I did what I could under those circumstances. I am trying my best right now, and I can’t help but beat myself up because what kind of best is this? F***, you call this best? You’re so much slower than before, this should be just a review for you. You haven’t even finished your required readings, and you’re wasting time trying to write this post. You’re an embarrassment to yourself.

I am even forced to omit certain truths when my classmates ask what I did for a year, I would often reply “gap year”. The sleepless nights, heavy workload, breakdowns and mini-heart attacks were reduced to “gap year”. It’s not that I wanted to hide what others would see as an “advantage”. What “advantage”? You mean the knowledge that if you fail a subject you already learned last year, it’s going to hurt badly? I just wanted to avoid the attention, personal questions and their subsequent reactions which I’m sure will piss me off. But I wanted to answer them honestly, and to tell to their faces that yes, I am a transferee and technically retaking first year. Am I crazy? Yes, I kinda am. But more than that, more than trying to explain to them that I don’t have it “easy because I already know these things”, more than trying to explain to them how hard it is to be scared of the thought of being compared to your stellar siblings and the professors not seeing you for who you are but who your family members are, I just want to say to them, please, please don’t waste this opportunity, please don’t be so arrogant, thinking you are great and smart, believing the brainwashing and indoctrination of the professors telling you about being the “cream of the crop”. That is true, being in UP, there is a presumption of being smart and excellent. But that is also bullshit. Presumptions can be overturned by hard and conclusive evidence. Don’t destroy that presumption. And serve the people. Always remember that. I have met wonderful and brilliant people, and they don’t study in UP. Brilliant people can exist elsewhere. Brilliant people who I believe right now deserves to be here more than them. I am allergic to arrogant people and I dislike them with a passion (which includes myself, maybe this is why my allergy never goes away).

I started to judge the people who said they were in that dream law school because they didn’t want to work, but then I reminded myself that I was like that at first. This is just the start, and I am really trying hard, to give them a chance because it really is just the beginning, so I am keeping an open mind about them, even if I find them annoying sometimes.

So why did I write this? Oh just to rant. Hahaha. And just to remind myself, that this is it. This is really it. Why are you wasting time wallowing in frustrations and exhaustion? Take a break. You already know that fear of failure is very debilitating. Stop being scared. Just stop. Just read, read, read, you’ll get somewhere. You’ve already proved that to yourself. Don’t ruin this opportunity because of overthinking and don’t burn yourself right away. Give yourself time to adjust. You have a sickness. It is not an excuse, it never is, and it never will be, but it is a limitation that you have to overcome.

Make mistakes. Don’t be a perfectionist (too much). It is a school. Grab the chance of learning while making mistakes because in real life it is going to be so much harder.

BALANCE. Find balance. And always pray. Pray pray pray. Please don’t be so arrogant as to believe that you got where you are because of your own. You didn’t. You can’t. And you know that.

This is it, I’m chasing my dreams. It’s only now that it is sinking into me. Really. I wasn’t able to savor that fact because I was too busy blocking my thoughts of “You are so gonna regret this. Girl, you crazy. Stop, look for another thing to do, do you actually deserve to be here? etc.” I wanted to roll in the Sunken Garden and bask in the sunlight, but rainy weather and hello readings.

I am determined to see this through. You don’t have a right to quit. You will only quit when the school kicks you out, but no, never again, you are never gonna give up on your own. God please no. Ya Allah please help me do my best. Please. Please. Please. What I have accomplished last year through sheer desperation, I will finish now with determination.

Ora et Labora. Prayer and hard work. Never forget.

So. Yeah.

Fighting.

I’m at the crossroads, again.

WARNING: Very long and graphic. I was just joking about the latter part. Maybe.

Summary can be found at the bottom, because I like to ramble. Hahaha.

At this time last year, I was seriously contemplating about my life (as if I ever stopped). I was graduating from college (hooray! — *adult life looming scarily behind my back*) and I was scheduled for a panel interview for my dream law school which I failed horribly (that still makes me want to face palm, bang my head on the wall, and hide under a rock).

I remember feeling so confused and so torn, like I do now. I remember praying so hard for a direction, for a sign that will lead me to where I am supposed to be. I convinced myself there was nothing that I want in this life, except peace. I just want a direction, I want something a purpose in life, I want to do my best. It hurts when you don’t get what you want, so I learned to persevere with what I just need. I needed to do something after graduating. I’m relatively easy to convince and easy to talk to, I’m a chill person who just goes with the flow. Then I realized there was something that I’ve wanted more than anything in life so far.

Law school was an option. In fact it was my only option, I didn’t want to work right away. I felt that no company (zero/nada/wala) would have accepted me that would be a perfect fit for my personality (and to address the confusion and the comments like: “Eh? But you’re a nice person, you’ll find a job somewhere” etc, I sincerely did not know or realize that, okay? I blame the career fairs that I’ve attended and myself haha). I did not want to look for jobs yet though to be honest I felt happy and flattered when I received job interview offers but then I was already enrolled in another law school, so all I could think was: “Where were you when I needed you the most?” #hugot.

In the end I chose law. Why? I don’t know. I’ll get back to that when I know the answer because God knows how often I’ve asked myself that question only to end up with no explanation. All I know is I just want to.but I failed the exam for my dream school. I can say that it was one of my life-wrecking moments so far after my accounting days *insert awkward coughing* that all I remember clearly is the turbulent emotions that I had back then, I exaggerate of course. but what I felt was no joke.

I remember asking myself again and again, what would I do with my life, where am I going? I beat myself inwardly for failing an exam I was supposed to pass easily because my siblings (*insert middle-child syndrome/inferiority-complex/whatever-you-want-to-call-it here*) did it, so why did I fail? Where did I go wrong? Where was I lacking? And we jump to the hasty conclusion that I was stupid. I attended the panel interview which . . . hrrr. . . . bad thoughts, go away bad thoughts. . . never mind. So I went to the thing, and after that I already knew I wouldn’t get accepted to that school (well hello self-prophecy) but I remember praying so hard for a miracle. It was Ramadhan back then (and it’s also Ramadhan this time, praise be to Allah), so we went the Masjid (it’s like the equivalent of a church, for those who don’t know) to pray. I prayed as if my life depended on it, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing because I kept on having horrible embarrassing flashbacks, even though people around me were getting concerned and all that because there was person near hysterics inside the room. It’s supposed to be a happy month, a month of blessings and forgiveness, the month of Ramadhan. My tear-ducts had a malfunction, maybe, so it was kinda leaky. I prayed and I prayed for guidance and forgiveness, and a miracle that I would get accepted into that school. Allah answered in the negative, nope that dream school is not for me, no no, so off I go to another school.

Do I regret failing the exam and the interview for that law school? Yes and no. Yes, because who likes failing? Nobody I tell you. People fail but they don’t intentionally do it. . oh wait I did but that’s another story. The point is, of course I felt awful that I failed. It’s normal! I mean, I act not normal sometimes, but I’m still normal. Haha. I digress. No, I do not regret failing because it made me realize a lot of things. It made me realize that I had issues to resolve, (yeah, other things could’ve made me realize that but still) and it also made me realize how much I wanted to study law. I did, I wanted it so badly, I still do. Is it because humans are fated to have desires over what they do not have? I hope not. I’ve said before that I believe myself to be a chill person almost monk-like (errrr, if I offend anyone who is a true monk then I apologize), who has no desire except for peace. But then. . . Oh God I really hope not. Stop overthinking. Stop. Hahahaha. No, I don’t regret failing because it made me want to dream again.

So I failed the exam and the interview right? I enrolled in another law school right away, impulsively I might add. I told my parents I would enroll in that school and then I found myself doing it the next day. Poof. Like that. I was a late enrollee. My dad was proud of me, and I think he was secretly pleased because I ended up enrolling in his alma mater. My first year of law school was a roller-coaster ride. It was baptism through fire, as they say. It all felt surreal, now that I think about it. I had my fair share of ups and downs. I was on automatic mode, and I was tired in general (because woe-is-me, kidding, our graduation last year was in late June while the first day of law school was in early July, I only had one week of vacation more or less after having to overload units in my last semester to graduate on time) but it was still fun, terrifyingly so. Imagine having mini-heart attacks before and during the class because recitations, and then just when you thought you wouldn’t get called, the professors call you, and you’d hate your surname and somehow wish the professor called another person.

I met a lot of wonderful people who I didn’t expect I would get close to at all. I was ready to be the lone wolf, the nerd just sitting at the corner of the room, the person who would just talk when needed. I wanted to be a super-nerd, just studying and reading and reciting during class, nothing else. I was far away from my home and my old friends, so it was not that hard to commit the intended social suicide. But yeah, we may plan and plan but Allah is really the best Planner. I met my sisters-in-law, my awesome roomies, my supportive classmates and bad-ass professors who sometimes tolerated my stammering and my awful jokes (there was this one time I had to say jokes about obligations for a class party, and my classmates laughed because they had to, yey. Haha. Ha.). I met people who made realize what I have been taking granted for years and that I am so blessed. We are so blessed.

Of course, I had my bad moments/recitations/exams/what-have-you (they were bad, okay? I’m not exaggerating they were bad haha), and nervous breakdowns. I would sometimes space out and ask myself why did I have to make things hard for myself, I can just stop and go the easy way out. I found myself wanting to stop and quit but then I prayed that God please don’t ever let me quit, no, not again please. It was really tiring. My brother passed the bar exams this year (yey, congrats bro, but still pray), so once again I asked myself why?! Like really, why. My parents are lawyers, my brother and sister are lawyers, my cousins are lawyers. Why do I have to be one again? Oh wait, because I wanted to and dreams and all that. Maybe I should just look for a job right now. . . . Haha. No. Or maybe? Hmmm. Stop. Hahaha.

What was the point of all of that? Well, I just wanted to ramble and waste the time of the readers. Haha. Kidding. The point is, I don’t regret enrolling in the other law school (no matter how hard and unreasonable they can get sometimes) because I learned and realized a lot. Ora et labora. Prayer and hardwork, the creed of my first law school that I took to heart. People shouldn’t regret things because everything is happening according to the plan. Not our plan, no, rarely so. Everything is happening within Allah’s plan. Now if we could just be informed of that plan, wouldn’t that be nice?

My journey through law school life doesn’t end there, well I sure hope not. I ended up applying again in my dream school, just to check you know. One last time, I asked Allah if it was really not for me. For closure, I say. For fun, I say. I unwittingly placed myself in the dilemma right now. I passed. Isn’t it amazing? It’s what I prayed for last year. Allah is truly amazing. He did not say yes right away, he merely delayed it (or I hope it was delayed, not another no,please).

So should I go, should I not go?

I don’t know but I truly, honestly, sincerely and wholeheartedly want to go.

But I’m scared. Scared of that I’d realize in the end that it was not worth it; that in the end I don’t belong there as much as I belong to where I am right now. I’d have to leave my friends behind. I’d have to go through first year all over again, the adjusting, the recitations, the studying, the crying, etc. I have to go through all of it. Again. With the added of pressure of being compared to my siblings who went to that school also. It’s so fun right? Right.

People kept on asking whether I’ve decided to transfer. I did not want to make a decision, because I’m afraid once again, that it will be taken away from me when I decide on it. It will be the fourth time I’ll get rejected by that school if I don’t get accepted again. It’s just. Well. It would hurt. Rejection always hurt. I’m not as indifferent and apathetic as I want to be. The grades for the second semester are still not out, and I’m anxious about the results because it would be the only deciding factor on whether I can transfer or not and I feel so helpless and frustrated, what if I did not pass some subjects and they be so clingy they don’t want to let me go that I have to retake it? (please no, please no please no, Amen). And the deadline is almost one week away. I am so tempted to just to go the office and just say:”Fail me if you want to, if I deserved it fail me but please just SAY IT RIGHT AWAY DON’T BE SO CRUEL TO MAKE US WAIT. NGHRHGHT!” and be done with it. But then I know they’re busy and all that and we should seek help in patience and prayer (Surah Al Baqarah 2:45) instead plus it’s Ramadhan and we’re fasting so we shouldn’t get mad or anything

So once again, I’m at the crossroads. Things are happening just like last year, but not totally the same. I pray to Allah that our hearts be not attached to what is not ours and that we may all be rightly guided. Please. Ya Allah please. We may plan and plan but You truly are the best Planner (Surah Al-Anfal 8:30). I don’t know where I’m going, but I’ll just keep on walking. We’ll get there somehow.

SUMMARY/KEYPOINTS (just as I promised at the start of this post. haha):

  • I’m a very talkative kid. Hahaha. Online at least.
  • I’m also indecisive. Errr.
  • Law school is hard. Really. Hard.
  • We may plan and plan but Allah is really the Best Planner.
  • Allah is amazing and powerful.  Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah). Prayers are powerful.
  • Ramadhan! ❤ The blessed month in Islam.
  • Patience is a virtue. It really is.
  • Be specific in prayers. I prayed that I’d pass the exam, and I kinda did, but it’s still  not sure whether I’ll get accepted into my dream school. So yeah.

Confusing Choices

Feb 5, 2016

I went to my old school to get my TOR and apply for the entrance exam (LAE) which I failed last year. Now, people might be wondering why the hell I took it again (and I asked myself this question a lot of times before). First and foremost, it’s to have closure. To say that I conquered it in my own way, because I felt that things were open ended and it would honestly drag on with the “what-ifs” and the “you-should-haves”, so let’s just wing it one last time. Second, I just wanted to take it with my best friend. Third, because why not.

It made me realize how much I prepared last year when I took the exam. I did prepare, and I did myself a disservice when I denied it and blamed myself for failing because I didn’t study “enough” or I didn’t do my “best”. What the hell did I mean by “enough”? Or “best” for that matter. People do their “best” yet they fail. Is it really our best or were we just destined to fail? When do we know that we did our best? People might say they did their best after the results which is unfair if you think about it, because if the odds were against you and you did what you could yet ended up failing, does that mean it wasn’t your “best”?  If the odds were in your favor, and you hardly did anything, did you technically do your “best”? Does the end justify the means or the means justify the end? I digress.

Anyway, while I was lining up to pay for the entrance exam fee, I met a guy who was also going to take the exam. We chatted for a few minutes while waiting for the que to move. He introduced himself, saying that he was a working guy with a family, but he really wanted to pursue law. Nothing strange about that, inspiring even, for the fact that he is pursuing his dream regardless of age. Now what really entrenched in my mind is when he said (non-verbatim): “Suntok sa buwan, pero gusto kong subukan. Ayoko naman na mag-suffer sa mga what-ifs na ‘yan.” [It’s like hitting the moon, but I still want to try anyway. I don’t want to suffer the what-ifs (of not taking the exam)].

Para sa iba suntok sa buwan, para sa’yo nasayang na pagkakataon” [For others, it’s like hitting the moon, for you it’s just a wasted chance]. That’s what I thought to myself.

Sometimes it sucks when you have epiphanies in the middle of a crowd and you want to express it, because suddenly and violently crying would get you sent to a counselor at best or would get you sent to jail because of scandal at worst.

It hurts. It bloody hurts to face reality and the gravity of what I’ve done. I’ve had my chance and I wasted it. The stranger was kind enough to point out to me of my blessings, that my parents support me, financially or otherwise in my pursuit of this career, that I have the advantage of youth with me and that I look smart enough to survive this. Talking to strangers really have an effect on providing new perspective, or at least reminding you of old perspective. I could only smile and nod at him, that yes, yes I was very blessed even if I wanted to scream that I know, I bloody know, I know that already and that’s what makes me guilty but feeling guilty does nothing, right? I couldn’t exactly burst into tears and hysterical amidst the people just innocently waiting in line to pay for whatever matters they have to pay.

The only thing that I could reply to him while reminding not only him but also myself, the very lesson that I relearned since starting law school: “Kuya, ok lang po yan. Natutunan ko po sa law school namin na kung para sa’yo, eh ‘di go, kung hindi, eh ‘di hindi.” [That’s ok. I learned in my law school that if something is for you, then it’s for you. If it’s not, then it’s not.]

Thank you, stranger, for making me realize and remember what I have. Praying for you and your family.

Feb 8, 2016

The exam. Again. I could only laugh while waiting in line for the exam because of the fact that I was taking the exam again, even after I was rejected for how many times (first time for the first exam, second time for the interview, and the third time when they supposedly called the other interviewees to give them another chance while I wasn’t called). I wasn’t as nervous as before. I just felt cynical, and strangely happy.

While waiting in the line (line again, there is something magical about lines that make people social and go talk to each other, probably to kill time), I met an old classmate of mine from high school. I was honestly surprised to see him there. I thought he wouldn’t recognize me, or that he was just a stranger, so I decided not to approach him.

Surprise surprise! It was my classmate.

It was a nice breathe of fresh air. We talked about random things, from college to politics, and finally about the exam. He understood my logic, I understood his logic. He asked whether it was my first time taking the exam, I thought about lying, saying that it was my first time also, but from some reason I found myself telling the truth (probably God reminding me not to lie).

“No, this is actually my second time,” I said that with a sheepish laugh, then I couldn’t stop my traitorous mouth from continuing the story from start to the end.

He is the type of guy who doesn’t mince words and just goes straight to the point. After my story, he said this: “Hala eh ‘di bitter na bitter ka pala? Andun ka na eh.” [“Oh no, so you’re bitter about it? You were already there (a chance at that school)”]

I think I was supposed to be affronted with what we said, because he was apparently rubbing salt into my wounds, although said wounds were almost closed so never mind that. I felt surprised instead, because I didn’t think that I was supposed to feel bitter, I just felt frustrated and mad at myself for what I did but I couldn’t describe my feelings. I also felt relief that someone understood my plight and that some of my feelings were validated because years ago I learned not to trust emotions so much because I feel differently so I would need a comparison outside, a reason. So thank you too old classmate.

The line finally moved and we entered the exam room. The usual shenanigans on giving instructions about taking the exam and distributing booklets and answer sheets happened.

I opened my booklet, and all I wanted to do was bang my head on the table. The questions were so familiar but I couldn’t remember the answer. Great job self, what a great job of not reviewing, my perfectionist side told me. Of course I ignored that voice and just continued with the exam, and can I just say some of the essays were so inspiring and beautiful that I wanted to ask the proctors where they got them (but they might think I just wanted to sell it to review centers, so I didn’t, I tried to Google search it afterwards but couldn’t find it anywhere online).

I finally reached the reasoning part. I laughed but I tried so hard to stifle my laughter, my poor seatmates might think I was going crazy (true enough but they don’t need to know that). I read a question that I could relate to so well, and I wanted to ask the proctor whether or not they did it to provoke the repeaters of the exam.

Non-verbatim (because for the life of me I find it so hard to memorize):

“Question: X took the Law Aptitude Exam. He failed the exam. Which of the following is the logical conclusion:

a. Xxxxx

b. Xxxxx

c. X became depressed

d. Xxxxx “

Really, what a way to rub it in our faces, but perhaps it was just a friendly reminder and an implied inspirational message that we still have our lives ahead of us even if we fail the exam so we shouldn’t get depressed over it. For me the question was just ironic, with me sitting there and taking the exam again, after knowing what it feels to fail it. I therefor conclude, that it was maybe an inspirational message, but I still laughed at the irony of it all.

After finishing the exam, I told myself that I don’t care about the results anymore, I got what I wanted I just took the exams again.

Hmmm. Ok, maybe I do. I should, but I just told myself that I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it anymore. I learned and remembered a lot of things in taking the exam again, so it was not a fruitless action.

April 11, 2016

In the morning, we went to my doctor for a checkup. I told him I took the exam again, he just said that was good. We talked about schools and where it would be better for me to go in terms of my health. He told me that shifting to UP would solve all of my problems (I got “evicted” from my dorm and they wouldn’t let me renew my contract for the next year but they allowed me to stay to finish the semester, I wouldn’t have to take any summer classes because I lack certain subjects from my undergrad, the environment is so much better there and wouldn’t trigger my allergy rhinitis and my need for space is bigger than normal, financial costs, etc.) but then he said I would have to take into consideration the pressure from being compared to my siblings would bring, I have two shadows to overcome. For others, it would seem inconsequential because mind over matter, mind over matter, but for me it’s actually not. It’s a big deal. It’s not one of the things that you can just say “go away!” and it would, no, it’s not. #siblingproblems #middlechildsyndrome.

He also told me that if I stayed in my current school, it’s okay because he thinks I would grow more, and in fact I already grew and developed during my stay. In the end, it’s really my choice.

“You need to be more assertive.”

Being assertive is different from being aggressive apparently. I thought it was just the same. He gave some pretty good advice, which I should probably already know and do because I tell this to my friend often. He told me that I should make a choice and that after it he also told me “panindigan mo” [dignify the choice, stick to it].

I was confused at that point that I told myself to ignore it because I still have a lot of time and I don’t know the results anyway. I was so wrong, again.

In the afternoon while we were waiting for our professor to come, a classmate of mine asked me my whole name. Not knowing the real reason why he asked such question, I could only answer him honestly and so I told him. He said my name out loud and confirmed if it was me, I could only say yes.

He asked me if I took the LAE. Now, I had no intention of divulging that I took the exams again to anyone except my close friends because I’m a private person like that. Privacy is not just a right, it’s a need in my case. I could only nod meekly because I couldn’t lie, I could evade like crazy but I couldn’t lie.

After that, my sense of peace and privacy shattered.

Pumasa ka sa LAE!!!” [“You passed the LAE”].

I could only stare dumbly back at him.

My classmates started shouting and congratulating me. They were all so proud and joyous. It was overwhelming and embarrassing for me that all I could say was: “Guys, it was just for closure, really for closure!” while covering my ears. At that point I wanted to wring the neck of my classmate (kidding) for saying it out loud and I was kind of regretting taking it because now I have to do some serious meditating and cost benefit analysis and things. Why did I take the exam again? Oh, closure, right. The things I do for peace.

I’m grateful, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I’m an extremely shy-that-sometimes-it’s-unhealthy.

The Aftermath

It was a blessing in disguise that it was publicly announced because then I wouldn’t have to awkwardly tell it to my classmates if (I said “if” okay, not “when”, I’m still thinking #defensive) ever I decide to shift and it helped me increase my tolerance and patience and served as a practice on how to keep nosy and curious but well-wishing people out there.

God knows how many people have asked: “Ano lilipat ka na ba? Anong gagawin mo na?”[“Are you going to shift? What are you going to do?”]. I don’t mind my close friends asking but not even my supposed resting bitch face could stop others, sometimes I feel harassed and pressured when all I want is just time to myself to think about it quietly without any outside influence (which is totally impossible). If I suddenly isolate myself just to meditate and be a hermit don’t be surprised.

“Thank you for the concern, I appreciate it. No, I haven’t decided. I still don’t know what to do. I’m still praying and I just want to focus on the now. This is none of your business please keep out.”

Of course I didn’t say the last part because that would be rude. There were genuine well-wishers who just said that they would support me with whatever decision I would make and the others were so supportive and kind to tell me that I should push through it, that I can do it no matter what even if the pressure is real.

I realized once again, that I am so blessed with the people in my life. My best friend, my college friends, my Teampura girls, my classmates from 1B, especially my dear parents. I really learned a lot from this experience.

I honestly still don’t know what to do but I do know this, I may plan and plan, but God is the Best Planner out there. I’m just going to pray first, and do my best.

 

Chasing Dreams: Of Mixed Feelings and Doubts

School is about start next week. It’s not so much as a “Yey! We’re going back to school” feeling but more of a “Damn I’m going to hell” feeling. It’s only now that the weight of my decision to go to law school is sinking into me.

And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I don’t think nervous is the correct word. Scared witless could be the proper term. Doubts are bouncing inside my head, the fear is eating my heart and the worry is making my stomach feel funny. God, I really am scared. So scared that I feel like running away and I’ve already thought of my exit plans (hangover from my strategic management class). I get so scared that I feel like my heart is going to burst and my eyes are tingling with frustrated tears (and when I say frustrated tears it means the pesky tear drops don’t want to go down).

Countless of times this week I have thought to myself: “Ngrhgh anong nakain ko at naisip kong pasukan ‘to?!” [What the hell was I thinking, entering law school?!] I have beaten myself up, countless of times, berating myself for my thoughtless actions, for my impulsive and desperate self.

I have avoided truthfully answering the dreaded question: why law? People may wonder why I dislike answering the question so much. I really do hate answering because I feel that it is too personal, and I feel like I don’t know the answer myself. Or worse, I feel like my answer isn’t correct. I am scared to answer that question because I don’t like the feeling of vulnerability. I hate it. I would answer my friends honestly, about why I want to enter law, but I would often find myself answering in different ways because there is no single logic or reason behind my decision to go to law. Or at least it looked that way to me.

It was an impulsive decision on my part because I had so many options: look for a job first, think about life, build my own business, etc., but no, I just had to push through with law school.

One of the reasons why I wanted to go to law school is because it gives me direction. And by direction, I mean I have a set of unwritten guidelines stating that: 1) READ 2) STUDY 3) READ 4) UNDERSTAND 5) ANSWER QUESTIONS 6) DEFEND 7) PASS THE SUBJECTS 8) PASS THE BAR EXAMS 9) DO WHAT PROPER AND UPRIGHT LAWYERS DO

All throughout my undergraduate program, I was agonizing over what to do with my life. I was so desperate for a goal, for a direction (still am). My previous dream died a horrible, horrible death, no thanks to me. And countless of times I have wished I could donate life force to somebody else more deserving. But hey I’m still here so I probably shouldn’t turn my nose up at God’s blessing that I’m still alive, so thankfully I’ve gotten rid of that mindset, or at least I’m getting there.

Another one of the reason why I wanted to go to law school is because it only seemed natural. I came from a family of lawyers; my parents, my older siblings and cousins are lawyers. It seemed natural to me that I would follow their foot steps. I was never one for “razing my own path” because I have always believed that I couldn’t and I was scared of burning myself.

The main reason why I chose law is probably because it was my dream, it is my dream ever since I was a child. I was exposed to law books, I would watch news with my dad, I would read books written by John Grisham and I would be inspired by whatever I would read (Street Lawyer inspired me the most, followed by The Client). And with my dream, I wanted to help people. I want to be one of the people who touches the lives of others and helps them achieve their full potential. I want to use the law not as an instrument to impede growth and promote corruption but as an instrument to help develop what a proper human being should be.

People could argue, that I can and may help people in many other ways. There’s medicine, science, journalism and a whole lot more. So I guess it ended up as a matter of preference. For some reason that I couldn’t explain, I chose law. It was like a calling, as cheesy and cliche as it may seem it just called out to me. I really don’t know what I ate to make me think this way. Here I am still agonizing over the issue of whether this is the right path or God wants to place me somewhere else but I was just too stubborn because of my pride and preference.

I have doubts. A lot of them. If I could sell them, and if somebody buys them, I would probably be rich. But nobody wants to buy doubts of others, they already have their own. I doubt if I have the right to dream again. After failing so badly with my previous dreams, I am scared so much of moving, of making my decisions because I do not want it to happen again. I do not want to do something that I will regret so much. I doubt if I have the right skills or talents to survive law school, or even the law profession. My family would say I have a “pusong mamon” [softhearted] and that I have to be strong and fight.

Yes, I know. I know that. I’m just really scared that I can’t do it. I feel pressured. I am scared. And can I just say that I believe there is something wrong when I find myself being optimistic in the way that: “Oh. I won’t be alone anyway. There will be others suffering with me.” Amidst all these doubts and fears, there is still something whispering in my heart that I can do it, that I’ll weather through it. There is still the feeling of elation and achievement that I took the first step towards my dream. Oh man, I did it. Hahaha. Okay I’m done, the first step is enough let’s stop this foolishness and masochism, I’m done.

I’m just joking. And they say jokes are half meant. See what I mean about mixed feelings? I’m scared that I began thinking that way, that I’m hoping and dreaming of something big when it could all go wrong so badly. My dreams frighten me and make me feel helpless. But at the same time, I think I feel excited that I was given the chance again to pursue something meaningful to me.

I feel nauseous just thinking about it, I’m thinking I want to get this over with but of course I can’t do that. My inner perfectionist wouldn’t let me do that. I have to do my best. Or at least if I go down, I must go down fighting. And I feel excited I was given a chance to have a go at dreaming again even if I have to face terror profs, thousands of cases and books as tall as me, sleepless and tearful nights and a whole lot more. Is it so wrong it’s only now that I feel excited? Talk about dense.

I have my friends who pull me up and believe so much in me that I am overwhelmed. They are part of the reason why I am pushing through with it, even if I was so tempted to say to my parents: “Ma, Pa, I don’t think I can do this. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” (Of course I can’t do that, they already paid the tuition and all). My friends who were excited before me, who are happy for me, who made me realize that my regret of not trying would be greater than my regret of trying and failing, who are there just to support me even if they’re physically not there, they believe I can do it and so I can’t help but to believe it too.They nurtured my sense of idealism.

I have my family to pull me down, not in the bad sense but for my own good. They teach reality and point out the things that outsiders and even close friends would hesitate to point out to me. Because as someone said from a favorite anime of mine (Silver Spoon): “In all things, I think having a dream means having  the resolve to struggle with reality.” They instilled in me the sense of reality. Really, I’m having mixed feelings that I don’t really think it’s good my mental and physical health (not that I was that healthy in mental terms anyway).

I’m scared. I’m happy. I’m nervous. I’m excited.

At the end of all these emotions, I’m just pursuing my dreams again. And it shouldn’t matter whether I was influenced into dreaming it, or if I just chose it out of my own volition, should it? It’s still my dream. It’s still my choice. For others, I think they would find it strange if I say that I feel happy that I can finally say “yes” when they say to me if ever I do complain (and I know I will): “Ginusto mo ‘yan eh.” [You chose it.]. I can finally answer wholeheartedly: “Oo, ginusto ko ‘to eh.” [Yeah. I wanted this.] If ever I do feel like running away again (I already started), I just have to remember the words of one of my favorite professor who is currently the Chancellor of my beloved alma mater:

But the UP way is to bite the bullet, take up the challenge” – Chancellor Tan

And we have the infamous line from the very well-known bad-ass Captain Levy from Shingeki no Kyojin [Attack on Titan]

The only thing we’re allowed to do is to believe that we won’t regret the choice that we made

Of course, I also have to remember God and pray:

And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” – Surah Al-Baqarah 2:186

And the chase begins.