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

 

 

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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.

It’s Not for Me

While we were waiting outside the university theater, questions popped inside my head, why were we there, why do I have to be here? Why is it taking so long? Was I the only one feeling this way?

Most would answer that we were celebrating the achievement of finishing a degree program. It’s a graduation. It’s a thing to be celebrated. It’s the norm. After all the hardship of going through the motions of attending class, answering exams, presenting cases, defending papers and what have you; surely it deserves recognition and celebration.

Finally, we were asked to go inside the theater. A mass of flashes and twinkling lights greeted us as we walked inside the theater. Among the sea of faces, I could see a lot of them were smiling and looking excited.

It was strange for me, and awkward too since I do not like being in the spotlight as I prefer to exist behind the scenes. We walked towards our seats, all the while smiling and posing for the cameras.

The program went on, and the speakers reminded us the lessons of appreciation and dreaming. They reminded us first to take note of all the things that you have, may it be small or big. Often times we take for granted the simple things that other would wish for, like the ability to write, to speak, and even to live. He had a point. Most people do have a bad habit of having tunnel visions and turning to God only in times of hardship. True. They finally reminded us of what having a dream means, and what it takes to make it a reality. Dreams don’t come true overnight. They become reality through hard work, prayer, and cooperation. To be fair, these lessons should have been imbibed already and they are pretty cliche. Cliche but true.

After the speakers, we were finally invited to the stage for our ten-second moment of “glory” which would most probably (in my opinion) be remembered more by those who were watching than the ones who were walking. Shaking hands with the officials who gave the medal and the certificate, I wondered whether they were sincere with their smiles and words and why.

With a light medal on my chest and a framed certificate in my hand, I began thinking what was the point to all of this. I did not really feel anything with receiving what I had at first. I felt blank. I just merely accepted it. What was it for?

Certainly not for me. They were just objects to me.

But then I realized, that it’s not for me.

The graduation, the medal, the certificate, no. It’s not for me.

It’s not for me. This is for those who lent me their strength and supported me to face whatever trials I had; this is for those who believed in me when I couldn’t.

It’s not for me because this is me. This is what I achieved through the help of many people. This is the result of the endless nights of cramming and crying, of worrying and thinking, of studying and learning. This is the result of fighting hard my doubts, worries, fears and regrets.

It’s for my teachers in grade school and high school who taught me the basics, who taught me the results of hard work and who taught me valuable lessons of perseverance and determination. Effort and Faith.

It’s for my professors in college who did their best to remind us students what it means to be a scholar of the nation, who did their best to equip us with skills to survive the harsh world out there, who did their best to teach us abilities to solve whatever problems we may have, not only for ourselves but most importantly for the benefit of the society and who reminded us to do our best wherever we may be. Honor and Excellence.

It’s for my high school friends who made me see the bright side, who made me feel happy just by being there, who reminded me to socialize and not to drown in my academics, and who reminded me of what I did, who I was and who I could still be. It’s not for me, this is for them.

It’s for my college friends, classmates and orgmates who made me see possibilities, who taught me how to face challenges, who made me have confidence in my skills and abilities, who reminded me that things cannot be achieved alone. It’s not for me, this is for you.

It’s for my true friend who tried her best to be there always for me, even if I couldn’t be there for her always, even if I had taken her for granted at sometime. This is for you who reminded me of what I am, who forced me to think outside the box, who taught me how to be resolute in decisions, who helped me in a lot of things and helped me by simply being there. This is for you, even though I know you already have your own (haha). It’s not for me, this is for her.

It’s for my childhood best friend who have always supported me, who taught me how to be strong and to keep going on, who reminded me to move on from my mistakes and appreciate what I did. This is for you,  when you kept me sane throughout the college years even if we were not always together, even if you didn’t know. This is for you, even though I know you might be raising your eyebrows right now and wondering what you might do with metaphorical objects. Just accept it dude. It’s not for me, this is for her.

It’s for my parents who were always there for me through thick and thin, who reminded me that I do not have to carry my burdens alone, who loved me and still loves me even with my weaknesses and shortcomings, who worked hard to raise my siblings and I properly, who did their best that I may be guided rightly, who supported my decisions and taught me responsibility. Ma, Pa, para sa inyo po ‘to.

It’s for the society, who paid for the cost of our education, who is still waiting for us students to achieve what we can in order to help them. Para sa bayan, para sa bansa.

It’s for God who is always, always, always there for me, who guided me and showed me the light when I was lost in the dark, who gave me life and gave me second chances when I failed so badly, who reminded me of the important things in life. It’s not for me, this is for God. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah).

It’s not for me. This is for my hard work, my laziness, my strengths and my weaknesses.

This is the result of a battle, with my friends and family as comrades, and God as my commander.

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