The year sure knows how to cram at the last minute. It seems that 2020 has yet to rest from all the challenges fate has poured into humanity’s lives. Heartbreaking sights are seen everywhere.
Our country, the Philippines, was not spared from the wrath of nature as multiple typhoons destroyed numerous properties, devastated massive land areas, and took precious lives. The most recent one, and is still an ongoing concern, in the aftermath of typhoon Ulysses which entered the country last Wednesday and have caused numerous flooding across various regions.
Flashback: Ondoy Memories
When the strong winds began on the night of November 12, it felt such a long night. Memories of the past became my family’s company as we listened to the roaring winds which angrily hit every surface it could find. This is not the only concern, then as the winds came with continuous rain. The rainwater sure brought my family back to the past worries when we faced the unexpected rush of water in 2009.
I could still remember clearly how, as a 16-year-old, I was oblivious of what was happening in Metro Manila during that time. I was in university, miles, and miles away from home. In the early morning of September 26, 2009, I thought it was just another rainy day. However, it was the first and only time it took me an entire day to reach Mandaluyong City. I spent the morning on the bus, stuck in heavy traffic with no food or water. Luckily, I was with my roommate then. However, reality just hit me when we reached Crossing, and no public transportation was in sight at around 5:30 pm already.
More than half of the year has passed, and about five months have been under quarantine, from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), general community quarantine (GCQ), and so on. Many of us may have gone through different phases of emotional and even physical distress during those times.
I have been fine in the early weeks of quarantine. However, as I needed to work on various school requirements and family concerns, emotions came rushing in with no warning. In those times, I think that the worst experience is when my mind wanders off to past events, dreams, and plans—having the time to reflect also made it challenging to focus on and appreciate the present.
Is it the same with everyone?
I can never present my experiences as the same as everyone else’s. We all have our moments and our ways of facing our giants. We may have similarities in our experiences and the emotions that we carry, yet we can never say that we are the same. Instead, we can declare that we can relate to each one. This global health pandemic has truly left a scar in the hearts of many. A scar that will remind us of the events that brought thousands of deaths, thousands of people jobless, and many more sad memories we have to carry in the coming years. However, does it end there?
During the quarantine, I felt distressed early in the morning when some memories of plans made and canceled, dreams never started, or even simple tasks that I could do anymore greeted me. It did seem that my mind was my worst enemy during those moments. In hindsight, people may think that it is easy to control your mind from presenting those memories. However, that is not the case for me. I believe that our minds, our thinking, serve the most drastic punch to our hearts.
Hope is still there
Despite all those moments of weakness, I am still able to find hope. There are mornings where I pause and let those thoughts accompany me for a while. However, once I get the strength to move, I pray. This moment is where I learned that I need to offer everything to the Lord as I know that I cannot face my giants alone. There is this sense of fear lurking to eat me alive once I welcome it to my day. Yet, as I listen to music, read the Bible, or devotional for the day, I feel reassured by the Lord’s great presence and promise.
This experience may not be the case for everyone right now as we find ways to fight our giants the best we can. However, it is also a good reminder to know that we are not alone in this battle as we have the loving Father to help us, guide us, and walk with us through all these trials. I pray that this new week can bring us peace in our minds and hearts. Happy Sunday!
…there are still a lot of blessings that saved me this year.
It is a lot easier to make ourselves believe that time will pass as we simply live our lives. Yes, this may be the case, yet how well will we ever be able to live then?
There are a lot of worry and sadness still lingering in my mind and heart these past few weeks. Picking up a book or watching a series on my phone do not seem to help this time. I have been distracted. I have this growing longing to work on my plans yet with the current state of the world, it seems that I am stuck.
Distractions are difficult to control these days, especially after losing the sense of habit with my daily routines for work and that of my writing. It seems that it is a lot easier to procrastinate by doing other smaller tasks at hand and not facing the important chunk of the writing process.
There has been an attempt (and a continuing struggle) to stay away from any social media applications. However, even after removing them from my device, I still try to check them regularly for updates. I don’t usually reply and you may also notice that I am not an active user of those social media applications, yet I end up being stuck with them. It has somehow been an addiction that has been embodied within my core habits that it is an exhausting feat whenever I try to have a social media detox. After all, we have this great desire to connect with people and be updated. Even though I am not this sociable in person, my small circle of friends sure has a great part in my life. I want to be there for them wherever and whenever possible.
There is that momentary blindness where I could not do anything as I am stuck with the position I am in. I want to be able to free myself from such heavy weight on my back and in my heart.
Feeling down and worthless
There has been an increasing sense of feeling worthless in my mind as I continue waking up to days when I do zero productive stuff for myself. Yes, I am still working and there are tasks as well as some online meetings here and there, yet, I do not feel accomplished most of the time. It is sad writing about this, yet, I know it may sound too much or an exaggerated view of things. Double these conflicting feelings with the type of personality I have, and you get a disastrous combination. It is tough to not criticize myself for being lazy or for accomplishing nothing for a day.
I am struggling in keeping focused on tasks. I have this drive to always multi-task so I end up accomplishing nothing at all. The tasks I try to start working on will mostly end up halfway done or not even at a 20% progress. This is driving me anxious and out of control. It is difficult to fight with my own mind during these times, especially when I am aware of such tendencies. There are days when I cry in bed for simply feeling lost in this seemingly routine less quarantine life.
Taking the small steps
In these trying times, I decided to actively face my mindless worry and habit-building challenge. So, I try taking few small steps to change my mindset on things. I begin each day with prayer and I try my best to commit to a routine that can keep me going. This is when I decided to work on my daily morning devotionals. I have been working on this for a year already, yet I have had long pauses in between when I get too distracted.
I have not fully completed having this routine stuck in my system. I still miss some mornings so I try to work on those at night, before going to bed. It is a refreshing habit to build as I get to communicate with the Lord through prayers and bible verses. There are days that really surprise me as the next lines in my devotionals are the answers I need for the day. It is something that I cannot completely explain yet I know that it is where my faith comes in. Many people may have a different take on this kind of situation, yet for me, having faith in the Lord is a source of strength.
I may still struggle with a lot of the plans I wish to accomplish each day, especially with my writing and my dreams. There are still numerous distractions around me, my books and my new prayer routine get me through those times. I may be chasing too many tasks that I think are productive, and I forget to look into the tasks that matter the most – my relationship with the Lord. I hope to keep track of those little reminders I receive each day with the blessing of life. After all, my ultimate lifesaver this time is my faith and I am learning to love this growing desire to learn more about the teachings of the Lord.
As a reminder of a new day coming, here is one of the songs that have been in my daily playlist. This is a song that reminds me that I have been chosen, and I am loved. Praise be to God!
Two weeks have passed already for the Metro Manila quarantine. Today is the last day of March, and there are still hundreds of thousands of people all around the world who are fighting the epidemic. How exactly did we end up with this enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)? This happened due to the country’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic that has been a great concern globally.
A lot of people, including myself, are safe at home to observe social distancing – an action to help lessen the chances of spreading the virus. The initial epidemic turned into a global pandemic as assessed and declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). Amidst this situation, Filipinos here and in various countries are fighting together to overcome this global health emergency. Despite these events now, many people in quarantine are finding ways to stay positive. I also try my best to remember the blessings I receive every day.
Start with grace and appreciation for even the smallest action. Just as I open my eyes, I need to give grace to the Lord. I must say my gratitude for giving me another day to live and to witness the wonders of life here on Earth. It may be difficult to get up at times, but I need to remind myself that the Lord still gave me another chance; to change or to find another reason to pursue an act that will make me want to continue living.
If money was not a concern, I would have chosen to write stories and become a professional writer. However, it might take me a few more years to jump into that road and work my way to achieving such a goal. I need to earn to provide for my family. It was not specifically asked by my parents, but as the eldest child in the family, I think that I need to do as much as possible as to help.
Filipino Mindset of Helping Out
Recently, I had been in a seemingly infinite cycle of worrying because of my current financial status. I felt drained both physically and emotionally that I couldn’t focus on accomplishing anything. I think that with almost a decade after attending university, I am in a limbo. This is further heightened by my own personal want of providing well for my family.
As the “Ate” (older sister) in the family, the first four years of my career were set to help out in financing my siblings’ college education. My parents didn’t ask me to provide for everyone. It was on my own decision that I opted to give a portion of my salary for them. Honestly, I didn’t earn that much, almost just a bit higher than minimum wage, but I felt contented. It was not later on, when I reached 25 that I suddenly felt that “Woah, wait. I need to look after myself. I am not getting any younger.”
That statement may seem exaggerated as my sister only started work at the age of 24, but thinking of the dreams that I set aside, yes, my circumstances now seem a bit worrisome. Nonetheless, I didn’t exactly mind it as I grabbed a job that seems to be a passion that I would truly be happy with – teaching.
Passion over Finances is not enough
Teaching was wonderful. I enjoyed engaging with my students, sharing experiences, and even being strict in class. However, this didn’t last long as I got burned out with financial worries. Don’t get me wrong, finances aren’t the only things that matter in life, I know. However, being able to have enough and provide properly for the family is a crucial factor in staying in a job. Also, having to carry a load that isn’t even part of my job description is somehow too much. Okay, let’s be honest; a teacher isn’t an eight to five job as there are a lot of in between scenarios to take care of during the entire school year. However, being asked to juggle too many tasks at the same time with some of which should have been shouldered by others, that is too much.
Also, compensation wise, it won’t make ends meet that easily. Though I am truly grateful for the experience as it also helped make me more mature and more responsible in the way that I handle events in my life. I think that I need to find a way to help me meet this passion of mine. First by completing the required units to take the licensure examination (credentials and titles are still such a big thing in the Philippine setting; understandable as we are supposed to be professional). Then to pass the board.
For now, I am just grateful to the Lord for all the realizations that I have had for the past months. I have to be committed to seeing this through no matter how difficult or how long it may take.
Crying your eyes out early in the morning isn’t a great start for the day, but still getting up and preparing for work is a huge step in facing the day better. In fact, even just the thought of trying is a strong choice to make to begin the day. However, it is not that easy to do every single time this moment happens. This is something I realized just recently when I got to the lowest point of my physical, emotional, and even mental threshold; with the latter, an event that is totally new to me.
Calm Before the Storm
A quick background about me, I am the eldest of three and I just turned 26 this year which, I guess, stirred up a lot of unsettled emotions and thoughts within me. Growing up as the eldest child in a Filipino family setup means opening myself to maturity at an earlier stage compared to my siblings; though this may be the case with many other first borns.
Even when I was just in Grade 1, I remember having to do household chores at home as well as keeping an eye on my baby sister and my youngest brother. They are only roughly more than a year apart, unlike with me who is two years older than my sister and four years older than my brother. I thought it was a typical situation and simply enjoyed the days.
Everyone is on a one-way trip through life. Whether you believe in reincarnation, it won’t happen until another lifetime.
Love poems, love notes, lovers hugging, billboards reminding of love and romance, romantic TV series and movies; there sure is romance everywhere. But, why does it seem difficult to love me? With the numerous stories passed on from generations to generations, there seems to be that innate need for people to find a partner to “complete” themselves. Have you ever felt lost because of such an idea? I know with me, I have, had, still having those thoughts.
Let me take this as a starting point for my weekly series which I would like to feature in this blog for the month of October: Dreamer’s Confession. With dozens of dreams in my head, wouldn’t it be great to try and explore the possibilities of finding an outlet for them? Aside from the dreams, there are like hundreds of doubts in my heart which I need to express before fully facing my dreams. With that, the first on the list is love.
Love: Am I lacking it?
Where should I start? For you, where would you start when people ask you about your romantic endeavors or perhaps your own love story?
In my case, I can’t really share anything as my experiences are extremely limited with just my elementary to college crushes. Yes, I am one of the lucky thousands (are we really that many?) who have never been in a relationship. It is somehow difficult to explain how it happened, but at my age, I guess I would give an excuse that no one may have actually liked me to be in a relationship. How such a sweet reason; like it’s not my fault, I may really just be that naive or insensitive.
That’s such a lame reason which I simply need to put the blame on others for not liking me. In reality, I think I never really just let myself take a chance with being in love. I feel comfortable with people around me which is a big leap from my introverted self in elementary and high school, though what exactly is one of the factors which led me to my status right now: single.
Forms of Love
There a lot of experiences in life that leads more to just marriage. In our short journey through the passing of years, there are numerous people to share our love with. I believe that not everyone is meant to get married. Yes, others can have a surprising moment where each one meets for a brief time yet not really have the chance to stay together for the rest of their lives.
Love is not just seen in one form. There are different ways to express it. For you, do you only show one kind of love?
Reasons I make to feel good
There aren’t enough reasons to make myself feel good. But, there is even a wonderful experience of learning to love yourself. I never fully understood the meaning of this until I needed to love myself. There were a lot of insecurities that tried to knock me down as I was growing up. It was so easy to compare myself to others around me (and still is). It even turned into making me the worst critic of myself which led to the feeling of me not being enough. There was even a phase in my life when I wasn’t sure about myself and what I can do or even achieve. That was a difficult point to pick me up. Then through the years of enduring numerous experiences and meeting different types of people, I gradually accepted the love coming from my own. Was it easy? Not really, but it was remarkable and refreshing.
Have you ever experienced a day when you just blurt out statements like ‘Shocks, I’m getting old!’ or ‘Seriously? How old are you?’? I have those moments now, but I’m not even close to turning 30. I just hit the sweet quarter of a hundred mark and yet I feel somehow overwhelmed on how ‘adult’ I should be after that particular age. I think of how “Oh dear, my officemate doesn’t know this or that anymore’; ‘The bills are here already!’; ‘I want to do that but I’m tired.’ Don’t those statements just sound sad?
In modern references, it is just a part of ‘adulting’ which everyone in their working years must face. However, as it seems to be a natural thing to happen, why are there a number of us who struggle with it?
Keeping Up with the Young Ones
I think that there are times when the younger generation is catching up so fast in terms of age, but our sentiments are leagues away. This is one factor in how our ‘adulting’ becomes evident, and how this phenomenon seems like a burden. We start comparing our own memories to the ones who we somehow feel like us during those years.
Today, I can say that welcoming my 25th year wouldn’t be that bad after I have grown to know more about myself as well as the different things that truly matter to me. However, before I can move forward to welcoming 2018, there are a lot of experiences that I need to look back to as I reflect and finally put them out of my mind and my heart. This is me letting go of those moments for me to have space for new ones in my head and my heart.
June 2013 – early 2015
ESL work -> got burned out from it 😦
Right after graduation, there were a lot of experiences that opened my eyes to how different it was to be a student and to be a part of the workforce. I spent almost two years of my post-grad concerns focused on a job which challenged me a lot (physically, mentally, and emotionally).
This was the time I realized that I wasn’t that good enough to be working in this field, but I didn’t let that stop me from doing well. So, I studied, I practiced, I endured, and I became a better ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher than how I thought I could be. Though, there were still a number of times when I truly wanted to cry from exhaustion and just quit. Like why in the first place was I there? I wasn’t even a speech communication graduate; I chose writing as my major!
Honestly, for the first three to five months, I had always thought of quitting. Then, the kids came to the academy. I had to endure all the challenges and faced them head-on. I loved the kids, I loved how I was sharing a part of my knowledge with them, and I love how I was becoming a part of their growth as an individual. As I saw them improve, I felt that I needed to be there to guide them. This was not an entirely good choice, though.
Has anyone really been ready to love?
Is there a certain schedule that you can mark in your calendar and finally set aside for a couple of days, weeks or even months? If there is such a thing, I wish someone could tell me the proper steps right now.
Is there a certain schedule that you can mark in your calendar and finally set aside for a couple of days, weeks or even months? If there is such a thing, I wish someone could tell me the proper steps right now.
Throughout the years, I have learned to simply shrug off the comments of people around me asking, telling, and sometimes, arguing on my current romantic/relationship status. There were moments from high school to my university days that people around me started meeting new circles of friends, enjoyed the companies of other cliques, and dated people they thought were “the one.” Now, I think with the many stories I’ve heard, and first-hand experiences that I’ve witnessed throughout those years, I also learned to stay aloof from the feelings of jealousy as my friends spent more time with their significant others; anger as they share their pains from a failed relationship; and distrust as they introduce new faces with glee and beaming smiles. In that process, I’ve led myself to a comfortable state of sympathy, empathy, and patience. But, there’s that particular feeling that I missed, curiosity.