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!

Probably a Fragment of All the Things I Wanted To Say

Disclaimer: This was written during a bad time, I was away from home and Jeff and I were going through a rough patch.

Hi. I’m writing you this letter with sleepless eyes and a restless mind. This letter contains my thoughts that have been with me since the last day we spoke. I figured that I should just put all of these words into a letter, rather than a bunch of text messages.

I’m scared as hell that this might be the last time that I’m ever going to get to pour my heart out for you. I’m scared that you might never want to hear from me ever again.

First off, I just really want to apologize for everything that I did. For all of the pain I’ve caused. I assure you this – it was never on purpose. I hate myself for letting you feel all this pain.

I understand why you decided that you needed to be alone, because one person can only take so much. Being alone and deciding to ask for space wasn’t to punish me at all – it was for you to breathe. To think. To rest, to be human. To be yourself, by yourself.

I understand where your head and your heart is at the moment. I know there must be so much noise and pressure, that’s why I’ve decided to respect your space and your silence.

Apologies are in order, and here goes: I’m sorry for setting up the bar too high. I’m one of the reasons why you’re feeling so pressured and I sincerely apologize. I expected way too much from you and I might have forgotten that you’re imperfect, just like me. A human who gets tired, and who gets exhausted. I’m sorry for making you feel bad when you don’t meet my expectations.

Now, a few words to thank you: Thank you for teaching me these lessons that I wouldn’t have learned if I was alone or if I was with someone else. Thank you for helping me open my eyes and my mind to the things that I see and understand now; to the things I used to shut off before. Thank you for taking care of me after all this time.

I have never been this patient and understanding before, and I have you to thank for that. Thank you for not shutting me out completely when you had all the right reasons to. Thank you for trying your hardest, to give me things that I wanted, even when I didn’t need it. You and I are completely different people, and we don’t have much similarities when it comes to our personalities, so I want to thank you for trying to understand me. It must’ve been so difficult. Thank you for the patience. Thank you for staying.

You are one hell of an amazing person. You know it in your heart that you are more than just a “failure”. If there were anyone here who was the “failure”, we both know that it isn’t you.

I still love you with all my heart, and I probably always will. It’s still you that I see standing next to me when all my dreams come true. It’s still you that I see lying next to me, snuggled up in bed during a heavy thunderstorm. It’s still you.

I’m not sure if giving you my all was ever enough, or was always too much – but believe me when I tell you that I tried. I’m sorry for gripping on you too tight. I never meant to, and I’m sure that I never meant for any of this to happen.

Me letting you breathe was hopefully the first step into fixing things, to making things right again. I hope that by respecting your space and leaving you alone didn’t send you the wrong message. I still care. I’m still here. I’m just keeping my distance because I want you to clear your head, and to listen to what your heart is telling you. I wanted you to have the freedom to do the things you so long wanted to do, to go back to the things you missed, to make your own decisions without me hovering. I hope you didn’t think that I no longer cared. I just wanted you to be happy again.

I know that I should be considering whatever you’re feeling at the moment. I don’t exactly know what it is, whether you’re happy, you’re hurting, or you’re feeling relieved. I’m not entirely sure, but I want you to know that you are allowed to feel it.

I love you still, and I want the best for you. Always.

I just want you to feel better. I wish I could take away all the pain that you’re feeling right now, I wish there was something I could do. The silence is definitely deafening but it’s getting quite bearable, knowing that we both need it, more than anything else right now. I want you to know that I’m here. I’ll be here when you’re ready. I’ll always be here.

 

What is Love Anyway?

“I can say with great certainty and absolute honesty that I did not know what love was until I knew what love was not.”

I honestly didn’t know how to describe love when people would ask me; some say love is blind, some say love is caring for someone very deeply, and some others say love is unconditional.

I haven’t figured out what love was until I knew what love was not. Love isn’t meant to be hard. It’s not meant to give you a difficult time. It’s when you know you’re doing things for the people that matter at your own will. Nobody needs to shove it down your throat and force it, and it doesn’t feel like a chore.

Love isn’t violent, it’s supposed to be the calm. Love isn’t feeling quaint, it’s supposed to make you feel comfortable. Love isn’t meant to be unusual, it’s supposed to be familiar. Love is like walking into a house and suddenly feeling like you’re home. Love is supposed to fill you up, not make you feel empty.

Unsaid Goodbye

Can I ask you something?

Did you ever regret choosing me? Did you ever regret loving me? Did you ever regret giving me your heart? Did I ever make you feel like I didn’t love you, like I didn’t care for you? Did you feel glad that I was gone? Did you feel happy when I started to stray away from you?

Were you ever waiting for my texts or my calls when you decided to be alone? Did you ever think about texting or calling me just to check on me, on how I was doing? Did you talk to anyone about me? Did you ever think that I was a waste of time? Was I ever a waste of effort, of love, of patience?

You notice how these are all questions? Because I never got any answers. I’m probably never going to send you this. I know I should, but I also know that I can’t. I promised you a lot of things. I promised you that I wouldn’t hurt you intentionally, I promised you that I wouldn’t do this, and I wouldn’t do that. I promised you that I’d fight for you. Maybe I wanted you to fight a little harder for us, too – but that was already too much to ask, wasn’t it? Maybe I wanted you to hold onto my hand and give me a minute, to settle the war that was raging inside my head; to settle the chaos that was happening so abruptly.

You left. You left me to be alone – with your thoughts that never seemed to leave your head nor were they translated into words. To think things through, to settle the war between your own mind and heart, and to decide whether what we had and I were still worth fighting for.

As I was left in all the ruins of us, I tried to pick up the pieces left in the rubble. I dug through the ashes of what used to be good, and figured things out on my own. I was so sure that I’d keep fighting for you; I was so sure that I was ready to give all the fight that was left in me, because that’s how much I loved you.

Then there were times that I wasn’t so sure anymore. At this moment, as I am writing this now, I don’t exactly know what it is that I am feeling. Was I honestly that terrible of a person? Was I not worth the love and the effort anymore? Has your patience really stretched as far as it could? Has your heart hardened that way because of my doing?

Maybe it really was my fault. Maybe it was my madness that caused you to reach your end. I guess that’s just how a broken heart and a directionless mind makes you think and feel. It makes you cringe at yourself because of your mistakes, and because you thought you ruined something good, something beautiful, and something irreplaceable.

I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to thank you for the broken heart, but thank you for the lessons nonetheless. Thank you for reminding me of how strong I am. I was able to get up in the morning, and go about the day as if everything were normal – as if I was having a normal day – just without you in it. It seemed like the hardest thing to do at first but I did it anyway. I did it for me.

Thank you for being there for me and my family, during the toughest times. Thank you for being there for me when I couldn’t find a job, or a decent client; thank you for believing in me when almost nobody else did, myself included. Thank you for loving me when I was the least lovable person in the world, thank you for taking care of me the way that you have – after all this time – even if it means taking care of me first before you get to take care of yourself, and after you knew that it was breaking your heart, too.

I guess I deserved the heartbreak, I had it coming – because I broke your heart while you were still with me and I couldn’t see that you weren’t happy anymore. I understand why you needed to break my heart, maybe because it was just fair, because it was the right thing to do.

I hugged you the tightest when you felt like you weren’t good enough, when you were so lost because your future looked so blurry and you couldn’t see a clear path towards your finish line. I assured you that I’d help you follow your dreams, because I said I’d follow them with you. I assured you that on the day that you get to finally reach your finish line, I will be the one standing there, waiting for you with open arms, ready to hug you and congratulate you for a job well done. I gave you hugs that felt like armor, because I know that no matter how strong you make everyone else think you are, inside you is still a child that needs comfort, protection, rest, and a child that needs love.

I saw the best in you when you thought that no else could, or at least that time when you called me and you were in tears because of something that your dad said that really hurt you. I cried with you, too. I felt everything so deeply just like you did. When you got hurt, I did too. I reminded you that no matter what happens, I will always be proud of you and your magic, and that you are so much more than what other people think you are.

I loved you with all that I could, and with all that I had. I took care of you and made sure everything was convenient for you. I’m sorry if that was never enough, or if it was always too much. I’m not telling you everything that I did to get you to reconsider. I put it out here to serve as a reminder that I was good to you too.

I understood all the times that you pushed me away, even if it was hard for me to accept, I respected your decisions because I know I’m in no place to compete with your mind and your heart. I let you heal on your own. I’ve always thought that the intensity of our love for each other were far greater than any of our problems, than any of the trials and the difficulties along the way.

I’ve always thought that you were a fight that I would die for. You and what we had were worth fighting for, and so I did. I fought – with all my strength and my might. No matter how tired I felt, how badly I wanted and needed to rest, I always got back up and fought again. I didn’t complain to anybody, I didn’t ask questions, because I understood that this is what it meant to be in love. This is what I needed to do to fight for what I really wanted.

One day along the way of the journey to get back to you, I realized that I might have already been defeated; that there was nothing left for me to fight for anymore, that the war was over, and that I have lost.

This would be the part where I willfully accept my defeat. Good bye to you, to our memories, to our deepest darkest secrets, to our habits, and our usuals. I’m going to miss it with all of me. I guess this is how our story ends. I’ll find a way to forget about all the things that you left for me to remember, and I’ll try my hardest to make new memories of my own.

I can’t imagine the day that I will be completely okay again, but I’m wishing for it – for myself. Someday I’ll forgive you for breaking my heart, and I hope you forgive me for breaking yours. On that same day, I hope I forgive myself, too.

So, thank you, for everything that we’ve been through. I wouldn’t be the me that I am now if it weren’t for you. Wherever life takes you, I hope it always makes sure that your heart is happy. Thank you for everything my love, and for the last time, I’m sorry and I love you.