The First Chapter of the Story of Us

My best friend once said, “Don’t wait for love. Don’t come looking for it either. If it comes, welcome it. If it decides that it wants to leave, let it go.

I didn’t believe in waiting for love. I was always the go-getter. I was always impatient, maybe that’s why I always end up hurt, or unsatisfied. This particular time in my life, I had all the time in the world to focus on myself and figure out what kind of man I needed, what traits or qualities I had to change or modify about myself, what kind of feeling I wanted to feel. I had all the time in the world to focus on being the better version of myself. I didn’t do it for the “glow up“, not for the hype that people assumed it was about, that I needed to improve myself because I wanted my ex to regret leaving me. Sometimes it was about that, honestly, but for the most part, it was about me reaching my full potential to be the right person for my next love story.

You happened. I never wanna forget how our story started, so, I am writing this now to keep the memory alive. Shareif asked me if I wanted a guy, and – knowing myself – I just kind of agreed to let him look for a guy for me, but I never intended to gain anything serious from that since we always joked around about it. He showed me your Facebook profile and I said, fine, and he said he’d introduce us to each other next time. He told me you were sweet, full of effort, full of love. I didn’t believe it, I thought it was too good to be true.

You followed me on Instagram and I followed you back. We started talking, I felt your shyness through the exchange of messages, but I liked how you were so clear about your intentions from the beginning. We started talking about two weeks before Valentine’s day, and you asked me on a date. I was always hesitant but I felt the connection was there, and I told myself, “Well, why the heck not.” I agreed.

February 3rd, I was out drinking with my friends, and so were you. We were in the same area. I knew I had to make a way to see you, even without the help of Shareif, and so I did. You picked me up from this bar and went to a different one, and that was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made this year so far. That’s where it all started. He was right. Your effort is incomparable. Your values, your principles, just who you are – it was perfect. Sometimes a bit overwhelming, but perfect nonetheless.

Some may say we might be going too fast, but I don’t mind the speed, as long as I’m in it with you. Some may say we might not know each other well enough to already be in a relationship, I say fuck that – we have the rest of our lives to figure each other out. From here on out, I’m never going to let you feel like you’re alone ever again, you’ll never have to second guess your effort’s worth, because I know I’m all in. We’re in it together now, and I know we’ll still be in it together for the rest of the days to come.

Getting to know you day by day keeps me going; I may not show you how I feel most of the time, and this is the only thing I ask of you – please be patient with me. Stand by my side as I continue to heal myself. Stand by me as I slowly unfold who I am, how I love, and how my world works. This is what’s going to take time, despite all the other things about us that happened all too quickly – but the feeling will always be there – the love will always stay. That you can be sure of.

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Did I Do This to You?

Before I fell in love with you, I thought I saw something in you. I thought I saw integrity, courage, compassion, determination. I got to know you and fell for what I thought were those qualities, I fell for what I thought you were.

You always saw yourself as a failure, even before I got to play a part in your life. I never did, not until now – at least. I didn’t want to say this. It breaks my heart to say this. I never wanna see anyone fail, not even the worst of my enemies, let alone past lovers – no matter how things ended up for us.

I’m still debating whether or not I did this to you – or were you already this person before and I just chose not to see it because I cared about you so much, because I loved you so much that I never wanted you to feel less of what I thought you were – perfect.

Did I do this to you? Did I turn your heart this cold? Did I cause you so much pain that you went on a downward spiral, that you kept making bad decisions after bad decisions? Was this my doing?

Or were you always this shitty as a person? Were you always this petty, competitive, and childish? Were you always this horrible that you end up using people just for the sake of alleviating loneliness?

Where do I begin?

I’m not entirely sure what to write, or where to start.

You left around 4 months ago.

In the last 4 months, I did nothing but take my mind off of you. I focused on other things, because what’s different this time around, is that I had school and new friends, a fresh new start. A clean slate. I could do whatever I wanted, without having to think of anything you might say or think. Because you left, as usual. You fled and strayed away from me – your usual defense mechanism when things weren’t adding up or weren’t going your way.

Upon seeing you after the break-up, I asked if you were okay. You said yes. “If you’re okay, then I’ll be okay too.” was what I said. The moment you said yes was the moment that I’ve decided that I needed to move forward without you in my life. I already made peace with what you’ve decided upon. I was fine with the thought that we aren’t ever going to get back together ever again.

I went on with my life, I focused on my studies, I hung out with new people. I actually kind of forgot about you for a while. I was okay. I was fine. I was having fun again, I was smiling again. I found myself, even in that short period of time.

Then you started hating on me, and what’s worse – you did it in front of other people. You hated on me and you wanted other people to see. I didn’t understand why. I thought we were fine. I thought we were actually friends. I still don’t understand until now. I’ve never done anything equally as rude as what you’ve been doing. I didn’t see the point, even our friends didn’t. That drove me away further.

Not until recently, our friends told me that you still weren’t over me, and upon reading what they had to say, all the feelings came back. I thought I was fine. I thought the feelings were long gone. But also – I for one – know for a fact that these kinds of feelings don’t just fade. Especially with how little time has passed since. I had a mental breakdown, just last night. It was the first time I’ve allowed myself to truly feel. I didn’t want to talk about my feelings to anyone and I’ve suppressed it for the longest time because I didn’t want to be seen being weak again because of you. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry over you – ever again, but here we are – back to square one. I didn’t think I’d ever be affected by you anymore. I thought I was doing well and was actually enjoying your absence.

I just wish you’d tell me how you really feel. I just wish you’d set your ego aside just for once and be honest with me. At the very least, please be honest with me, about what you think and how you feel, so we’ll both know how to deal with this. So we’d both know where to go from here. I just feel like we’re both just setting our feelings aside for the past 4 months and we haven’t allowed ourselves to feel everything that’s happened. I just wish we could talk about it as what it is – no games, no stirs. Just pure honesty and genuineness.

Then again, I also know for a fact that I’m not in any position to demand anything from you. I know you wouldn’t want to talk to me. I know that you can’t stand my presence. I know that you can’t stand the fact that I am anywhere near you, so how are we getting through this? Are we to continue setting these thoughts aside until we forget about it? Is that really the mature thing to do?

The Taft Life

I started college in 2011. I moved into a dorm, and became a student-athlete. I made a lot of friends because of the sport I was in; I had a new family, which were my teammates. My first year in college, I admit, was a year all focused on academics and training. I’d have classes until 5:50 in the afternoon, and training from 6 in the evening until 10 or 11. I didn’t know anything else. I didn’t do anything else. I was always late to class though, even though my dorm was literally 5 minutes away, but I was almost never late for training. Sometimes I even focused more on my sport than my studies, rather than the other way around.

The following year was a sad year for me, this was the year that I wasn’t a student-athlete anymore, because of a career-ending injury. I was back to being just a regular student, I didn’t have any extra-curricular activities anymore. I had a hard time transitioning and adjusting because I was so used to being pre-occupied all the time, and it was hard to see the squad progress without me. I used to spend my nights just watching them train, until I couldn’t do that anymore due to internal issues that didn’t allow ex-athletes to watch the squad train anymore. We weren’t even allowed to enter the training grounds. We had to keep our distance for a while. So all I had left were my academics. This was the year I failed about six-nine units (three subjects) I was introduced to drinking, partying, and all the muss and the fuss that Taft had to offer. I was fine with it. I didn’t make a big deal out of failing, but of course I knew that I didn’t want that to happen again.

On my third year in Taft, I was already taking up the major subjects that my course offered. It was a hell of a lot different than what I was used to; it seemed more serious and it was a lot harder than all of my minor subjects. I knew I couldn’t fail this year. I knew that I really had to make time for my majors. I promised myself that I didn’t want to be a mediocre student, cramming or rushing my homework, but being the procrastinator that I am, I sucked at time management. I became the mediocre student. I did my plates literally just hours before classes started, and I’d say it was just fair work. Just for the sake of having something to submit. I could’ve done better. I should’ve done better.

Come fourth year, I felt like a zombie. I was doing 3-4 individual plates per subject, sometimes even more. I’d rest for a few hours, and I still had a lecture subject to study for right after. I was buried in work. Nights weren’t for sleeping anymore. I got used to only having about 4 hours of sleep because then I’d still have to cram for my other subjects. Sometimes I didn’t even sleep in my own bed anymore, just to finish some group work at somebody else’s house. Most of my nights I wasn’t even home.

The year after that, I finally graduated. I still lived in Taft, because I wanted to apply for a job just near to where all of my friends were. I didn’t push through. Instead, I was preparing myself to take my board exams. I didn’t leave Taft just yet. Until I had to be at home more often. Something had happened to my family and I had to choose to be at home than continue preparing for the boards, and so I had to stop attending my review classes. I was only in Taft for about 3-4 days a week, just so someone would occupy the condo unit that I was renting which I was tied to pay for since I signed a 1-year contract. I decided to go to med school after a few months, and to be able to do that, I had to take an entrance exam, and I went to a review center just near Taft, so I’d still have a reason to be living in my condo.

This went on until early 2017. I didn’t do anything in Taft anymore, expect hang out with my friends who are my former teammates. I know, what a waste, right? I was still paying for the condo, the electric and water bills, association dues, but I didn’t really have a reasonable purpose to still live here. I couldn’t think of life after college. Well, I could, I just really didn’t want to. I didn’t want this to end. I didn’t want to grow up. I didn’t want to leave my friends behind, because most of them are still studying. I didn’t think I could be happier if I was away from Taft, from all of my friends, who have turned into my family.

After taking the entrance exam, this was the time I knew I had to stop. This was the time that I knew I had to move on. I was only in Taft to finish off the last few months in my contract, and I was making the most out of it. I was spending a lot of time with my friends, because the school I was about to enter is 13kms away, about an hour travel time. I put a lot of good money to waste the last two years. I was a bum; but I decided to move onto something far much greater. Imagine an art student taking a leap into medical school. I had to study a lot, while I was preparing for my entrance exams. I had to catch up on the science units that we didn’t take back in college and that now I had to learn on my own. Most of my days were spent studying. I was actually really happy with the set-up of my life. Days spent studying, nights spent hanging out with my friends. It was balanced, I thought.

Now I have to leave it all behind to move onto better things. I know I have to leave Taft soon. Sooner than soon, really. What I don’t know is if I’m ready. Taft has been my home for about 6 years. Taft has given me the best college experience ever. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to let this go. I knew I had to move on. I knew I had to do better things with my life. I just really didn’t want to. So many places with so many good memories.

Taft has been my comfort zone. I can’t believe I’m finally stepping out of it and I admit, it is all kinds of bittersweet.

How Do You Move Past This?

I wasn’t big on love.

I was the girl who didn’t expect anything. Like, literally anything. I wasn’t big on dates, even if almost half of the social media population were all cutesy with their significant others, I was still left with no expectations.

I wasn’t big on relationships.

I was the girl who didn’t care where my significant other went, what time they went home, or who they were going with. I didn’t really see the point of letting me know all those things, because you are a person of your own, with your own plans, and with your own friends. I didn’t need to know everything. I was the girl who respected space and personal time, because I like mine to be respected as well.

I was a ghost.

If the person I’m dating had done something that turned me off, I’d just disappear. You wouldn’t hear anything from me, not unless I decide to tell you the reason why I ghosted several weeks or months after. I didn’t see the point in letting the person know what happened that had turned me off, because it’s going to turn into an argument, and then into a fight. I wasn’t big on adjustments. If I didn’t like it, I’d just go. If I didn’t see any point in arguing, I’d make up my mind to just ghost and stay away.

But…

When I found the one, everything flipped a complete 180, except for my expectations. I was still the old me who was alright with just spending time with each other, no gifts, no material things, not much dates, and just time. Time with each other was what meant the most to me.

Now I was this extra cheesy person who would post all of our photos, like those love-struck couples we see on social media, and who would tweet sweet little messages to him. I always wanted to know where he was going, who he was going with, and what time he’s going home. Sometimes I’d ask for his personal space. I wanted to spend every moment with him.

But then I knew it was wrong. I knew all along that the world didn’t revolve around us. I gave him his personal space back. I gave him the time he needed. I gave him the space.

Turns out he was cheating on me, all this time. Now, tell me, how do you forgive something like that? How do you forget all the possible scenarios that keeps playing in your head? How do you move past this?

I made a choice that I would probably regret, but I am hoping with all my heart that I won’t. I made a decision that I am better off with him back in my life than to live with a heart filled with hate and anger towards him and the other girl. I made a decision to forgive him despite what he did and I gave him another chance to redeem himself, to prove to me that he is not that kind of person.

Someone once told me, “everyone makes mistakes”. I used to call bullshit on that, but I decided to give him a chance. People keep telling me I’m brave for what I did, I’m strong because I forgave him, but I’m here to tell all of you that I’m not. I’m terrified as hell because I have no idea if/when he’ll have the guts to cheat on me again. I’m putting my whole bet on him for the last time, and I’m putting myself on the line.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t break my heart again.

 

 

I Will Love You Even If It Hurts

You will always be my greatest adventure. I love you when you are happy, but I love you even more when you are sad. I love you on your joys, but I will love you even more on your struggles because I know life gets difficult for everybody. You still deserve to be loved no matter how ugly the situations are. You deserve all the love in the world, no matter how little you think of yourself. I will always think highly of you, because I know what you can bring into this world. I know what you can do, and I believe that you can do a hundred-fold more.

I love you even if and when it hurts, because I know that’s when I’d have to love you more. That’s when I’d have to understand you the most.

I will love you during the brightest days, and the darkest nights. I love you when you are whole and full, but I will love you even more when you think you’re broken or half empty. I will love you even more – even when you think you don’t deserve it.

I will love you even when you think we need time apart to make things right and to find ourselves. I will love you even if your decision to figure things out alone destroyed me, because I know it is necessary, and because I understand that mustering up the courage to do so must have taken everything in you.

I love you because you know that change and growth is important no matter how much it hurts. I love you because you fought for me when I couldn’t fight for myself and for what I wanted. Now that you are fighting for you, that’s when you deserve the love and the respect the most — because you seek change, and because you are aiming to be a better person; because you do not want to be in a cycle where we keep hurting each other. I will still support your choices because I know it in the deepest parts of my heart that your decision was never meant to hurt me.

You do not need to ask why I’m always around. You do not need to feel ashamed just because you think my love for you is greater than your love for me. I will always be around because that’s how great my love is. I will always stick by you, even when you think that I am not needed anywhere near you. I will always cheer you on, even if I can only do so from afar for now. I will still be the greatest fan of your life. I will always watch over you because that’s how much I care and all I ever wanted is for your heart to be happy and to be at peace.

I will love you despite your failures (even when I honestly think you don’t have any), I will love you at your worst, I will love you at your ugliest, I will love you at your darkest. Because that’s when I know you deserve to be loved the most.

I admire you for having the courage to seek solitude, because I could have never done the same. I will probably always think that solving our problems together is the best way to go but I admire you for wanting to better yourself at your own timing, at your own pace.

I love you enough to let you go and be the person you want to be, to figure out your dreams and your plans on your own – without any pressure from me or from anybody else, without anyone dictating what you must and musn’t do. Take all the time you need, my love.

I guess I’m going to have to love you from a distance for now. I’ve learned to accept that I can’t save you from yourself, and that only you can save you. My mind and my heart hasn’t changed, I still feel the same. For the mean time, I will also keep trying to work on making myself better, not only for you – but for myself and for everybody else who cares about me. I don’t know how but I will try my hardest to make everyone proud, you and myself included.

This isn’t going to be easy peasy, but if and when you finally see what you’re looking for, when you have achieved clarity, when you find you — you know where to find me.

Thought Catalog Link

2016

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First of all, I just want to say that you were one hell of a wild roller coaster ride.

I’ve had my share of downs – my mom was diagnosed recently with a deadly illness, and we thought we would lose her sooner rather than later. I couldn’t find a decent job, my clients wouldn’t pay me, and I was lost. I skipped taking my board exam. I lost friends. I had my heart broken a couple of times, my trust.. and I lost family members.

Despite all of those aforementioned events, I’ve also had my dose of ups last 2016. First on the list is I’ve finally graduated from college and I got my degree. I had freelance work, I had the time to enjoy myself, not doing anything; I got most of the things I wanted, like I got a new phone, I got a new camera I got a new laptop – but other than the material things, I got to spend more time at home, I got to spend quality time with both of my parents (they are separated), with my brothers, and with the rest of the family – our house pets included! My older brother got married.. I got to my writing, and got featured on a well known website a couple of times!

Wow. Even after taking a gap year between college and work, even though I felt so lost because most of my friends and batch mates in college were already working or have already passed the board exams, even after feeling so left out and out of place – I could still say that I am blessed.

Even after losing friends, I gained better ones. I’d like to say that I’m making memories with other people now – and a much better bunch.

The greatest blessing of all, however, is having to spend time with my mom, taking care of her, and surviving her battle with her. I’m beyond happy to say that she is doing very well, she is down to her last two chemotherapy sessions and we’re overjoyed. We were given 6 months by the doctors upon diagnosis and of course – our whole world felt like it was falling apart. I was so scared of what could happen, I wasn’t ready for anything really; but with the help of the right people, with the help of the right words, and with the help of a lot of prayers – we’re managing to get through. I’m so thankful that my mom didn’t give up, she showed us how tough she was and that’s exactly how tough my family and I needed to be. I can’t help but admire how strong she is. So  we fought with her, never made her feel that she was alone in this, and now here we are. Happier than ever, closer than ever; tougher and stronger than ever. It was inexplicably hard but my family and I are tougher, especially with God on our side.

Thank you, to the Man up there. Because of this, I now believe in miracles and I now claim that my faith is stronger. Thank You. Thank You for making me realize how important family is, for reminding me that as I grow older, my parents are also growing old and it’s up to us, their children, to take care of them – just like how they took care of us when we were younger and didn’t know any better.

Thank you, 2016!! Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for the challenges. Thank you for the experience.

2017, we’re ready for you!