an open letter to everyone who’s unprepared for 2017, a clickbait

you and I are as prepared for 2017 as Jared Leto was when he portrayed Joker in that movie.

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hi there fellow clueless millennial who has nothing better to do right now so you decided to read this,

2016 was so exhausting that i have ran out of fucks to give. so over everything that i told you in the title it’s a clickbait but you still clicked on it and you’re now reading this, which means you’re a bigger idiot than the person who allowed Ronda Rousey to fight even when it’s obvious she’s unprepared.

well, if you’re not following UFC, that’s not an excuse ‘cause you only need to be on Facebook to know what i’m talking about but hey, since we’re talking, I need you to understand something. Ronda Rousey was unprepared coming into the fight with Amanda Nunez which is the same for all of us coming into 2017—no matter how much you tell social media otherwise.

darling, no amount of hashtags can prepare you for the unknown. i mean, Hillary prepared a victory speech but ya bet nobody heard that over the stunned silence from everyone when Trump actually won America.

you and I are as prepared for 2017 as Jared Leto was when he portrayed Joker in that movie which means we’re not prepared at all so we’re both probably gonna fuck up even worse than we did in 2016; which ultimately brings me to my point.

stop beating yourself up. you’re a work in progress and just because there are some things you didn’t achieve in 2016 doesn’t mean you’ve failed. this doesn’t really sound nice but you know what in 2012, i thought 2011 was the worst year of my life but ya bet 2012 proved me wrong. saying “worse things are going to happen” is probably not going to help but that was 2012 and it’s 2017 now—i’m still writing, and alive, and still myself above all my worse years. you’re going to be fine—and you’re probably rolling your eyes but it’s true. it’s most true when it’s 2AM and you’re sad and heartbroken—you’re going to be fine.

some days, you’re going to want to run away. so run away. go have a weekend to yourself. hop on a bus to the nearest beach or the nearest city you think no one knows you. go book a hotel and order breakfast for two even if it’s just you. i once travelled alone for two weeks and told people my name was Elizabeth because i used to read Jane Austen when I was younger. but honey, call your mom every other night and tell her you love her. call your dad and tell him you’ll be fine. and then come home when you find yourself. always come back as you—because the only thing worse than you leaving is you, not being you.

keep some things to yourself. people are going to ask you, why. why’d you break up? why’d you get that tattoo? why’d you quit your job? you don’t have to answer them. you’re not obliged to answer to anyone. i mean, i guess it’s sort of cool now to share everything to everyone but even Facebook has a Hide To option on your posts. even the moon—we only see a full moon twice a month. the moon obviously understands that some days, it’s better to keep parts of you hidden to the world. i mean you’re not the moon but to me you’re a star so that’s close enough.

there will be a year that your birthday will suck. quite honestly and realistically, it’s going to be a series of years, when your birthday will not feel special. you don’t have a big celebration, not enough money, not enough friends. you’ll secretly throw a tantrum and think it’s best not to celebrate this year. but you know what, celebrate anyway. some people will buy you a cake or a generic card. some people will spend less than three minutes tapping on their Facebook app just to greet you—and it will suck reading all the HBDs. but somewhere, somebody thinks you’re special—and it’s your right to celebrate yourself. you dedicate yourself to work and to others the entire year. you get one day for yourself, use it. celebrate yourself; they literally congratulated your mom and dad when you were born.

forgiveness doesn’t always come easy but it comes. and sometimes you won’t even notice it. it’s going to come on a normal work day when the past sort of reminds you it exists. it’ll probably come in the form of an invite to your ex-lover’s wedding or a chat message from your former bully. you’ll learn in that moment that dwelling on the past isn’t pretty or poetic. if the characters of GoT had just let go, some of them would’ve lived. you’ll learn to forgive people eventually, and people will forgive you, too.

happiness will walk in when you’re not looking. the best moments from this year will not come from your big events. it’s not going to be on your birthday or during the vacation you’ve been planning since the travel industry boomed. it will be during the wee hours of the night, when your stomach is sore from too much laughter and your best friend is sitting next to you. it’s during the hottest day of the year and you find a cool spot inside your room. it’s when you walk into a bookstore and seeing a book you’ve been wanting to read—then you find out you have extra money to spend for it. happy isn’t always going to be what you expected it but you’ll learn that even your small moments? they count.

the hardest lesson you’ll ever have to learn is to love yourself. there will be days—sometimes weeks and months—that hating yourself is easier than accepting it. when you look in the mirror and see your flaws, it’s easy to wish you were somebody else instead. when you fail, it’s easy to think that everybody’s lives will be better if you stopped breathing. but you can do it. you can get to the point where you love yourself enough to hold your head up high even on your worst day. you can get to the point where you love yourself enough to get out of bed and talk yourself into going to work.

if there’s anything i’ve learned over the last few years it’s that half of the solution to all our problems is just getting out of bed and tackling on the things we don’t like about ourselves. it’s not easy. i don’t have tips on how to do it but the trick is to get out of bed anyway and just go on and on; and be yourself in a world that constantly convinces you to be somebody else.

stay alive. stay you. live for the good days, live for the bad days. live for whatever burns your passion. when Rome burned to the ground, the emperor didn’t leave. he stayed and sang for his people. you’re obviously not an emperor but you get the point.

are you still here? good.

this is going to be one hell of a year but you’re a star—light years worth of life and dreams and wishes. let’s gracefully burn 2017 to the ground, together. (of course metaphorically. i mean, im not an arsonist.)

love me,
a fellow millennial who chose to write this nonsense on top of all the things i really needed to do (great start, you guys!)

this is how happiness shows up

growing up, we learn the hard way that it is never the way we imagine it but happy shows up.

it’s a few years later, you’re sitting by the passenger seat, on a long road trip. you’re singing along to the song you used to listen to when you were a sad 17-year-old and everything is different but everything is good.

and then you realize that most of your happy memories aren’t from the biggest transitions in your life. it’s not your birthday celebrations, it’s not your New Years, or your Christmas-es.

maybe, it’s after a long day of work and somebody hands you a cup of warm coffee; and you hold it with both of your hands and you feel you again. maybe, it’s that 2am conversation you had with the person you love the most; where your eyes are drooping but you can’t stop talking and laughing, and falling in love.

growing up, we learn the hard way that it is never the way we imagine it but happy shows up.

it’s the good morning texts. the i love you’s that never get old. it’s the mini-reunion you have every year with people you’ve met a long time ago and still managed to stay in your life despite changing seasons.

and you may not recognize it sometimes but happy shows up when the traffic is long and your favorite song plays on the radio, and the person next to you sings along.

it doesn’t even warn you when it comes, but sometimes happy shows up on a rainy evening when everything is cold and dark, and you get the chance to pull the covers next to you–and you feel warm and safe in a world that constantly weighs you down.

happy shows up in the morning, too, when you have omelettes and good coffee; and your heart flutters a bit because the most important person in your life is having breakfast with you. you hold their hand and for a couple of seconds the world is peaceful. the world is everything you want it to be.

it’s that gesture. it’s that small movement of reaching out and getting to hold something or someone–and you get to do that just because. and you sigh in relief because some people spend their nights and mornings alone–but you’re not one of them.

you’re lucky. even if you don’t have enough money to have a Christmas vacation or any vacation but you come home every night to a home that restores your sanity so you can tackle the next day with your head up high.

because the world is crazy and it’s cruel but happy shows up before you fall asleep–and your lips curl into a smile because you’re alive and you get to start over; and to hell with everyone who tries to hurt you because you’re wiser and older now. and it hurts when you breathe but you’re strong in your own way. and nobody can take that away from you.

happy shows up when you have a bag of chips and you curl by the bed and start a marathon of your favorite TV shows–and there was a time when being alone was a bad thing but you cherish the silence now because the world is loud and this is your chance to be you.

happy shows up when you get to be just you in a world that demands you everyday to be somebody else.

i know the nights are longer these days and it gets cold very easily. sometimes, your hands shake because the world is terrifying and i know, it’s scary to not know what tomorrow holds but let me tell you something.

i am another year older now and i still sometimes stare at the blank walls of my room thinking about absolutely nothing and i’m unsure of a lot of things–but happiness finds a way in. always.

most days, it’s the small moments that end up meaning a lot. happy seeps in on those moments. look for them.

 

PHOTO DIARY: Travel & Sunset

Timed right, sunsets are one of the most amazing works of nature you could ever catch on camera.

Browsing through my old travel photos, I realized that I have quite a habit of taking photos of the setting sun. I mean, who doesn’t. Timed right, sunsets are one of the most amazing works of nature you could ever catch on camera and I am glad that I have taken the time to do so, albeit not always on purpose.

I tried to recover as much as I can. Here’s a couple of photos I’ve taken during my beach travels.

Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley – 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Donsol River, Sorsogon - 2015 | Canon EOS M
Donsol River, Sorsogon – 2015 | Canon EOS M
Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte - 2013 | Canon EOS 1000D
Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte – 2013 | Canon EOS 1000D
Samar - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Samar – 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Capul Island, Northern Samar - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Capul Island, Northern Samar – 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Guyam Island, Siargao - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Guyam Island, Siargao – 2016 | Fujifilm X30

not everyone is going to love you back with the same intensity, and that’s okay

i wish somebody told me this when i was younger but i’ll tell you right now that your value is not defined by those who cannot see it.

growing up, we all learn that love is never what it appeared to be when we were younger.

at some point before reaching this very moment you’re reading this, you’ve learned that there are some kinds of love that just don’t work; that love–when it isn’t returned–could damage a heart beyond repair.

at some point, between the person you were yesterday and the person you are today, you’ve learned that our personal experiences modify how we give and receive love.

and i do believe that the amount  of love we allow ourselves to give and receive is a result of all collected moments with people–be it friends, family, and special someones.

and though most of us are everyday faced with the cold, hard truth–we can’t help but wish that we could love freely and without reservations. and that we could receive it fearlessly and fiercely, like the ocean when it is happy.

today, i sat across a couple of people that i barely knew. i didn’t hear much what they were talking about but i found myself trying up to silence whatever i can silence just so i could belong, just so i could feel included.

halfway through all my efforts to hear the conversation, i found myself asking, “Why am i going through all of this trouble just to feel a connection?”

and for a moment there, i hear my younger self telling me that we’ve stopped doing this; that we’ve stopped chasing for people who only know how to pull away; that we’ve stopped reaching for skyscrapers who never know how to look down.

then, i realized. i know these people. in another time and space, i would’ve been part of the conversation. in another time and space, they would’ve chosen me.

but that time and space is not now and here.

that time and space is long and gone; and i have recalled the number of times i have tried. i called the number and it was busy. i sent letters but got none back.

just like you who’s reading this, you told them you loved them and they didn’t say it back.

just like you who’s reading this, you told them you loved them and they said it back–but not in the way you wanted them to.

like you, i had that one-second moment where i asked myself, is there anything i could’ve done differently?

did i send enough letters?

did i call enough times?

did i tell them enough how much they mean to me?

but in the end, these are all questions that hold no particular answers.

growing up, i’ve learned that we will encounter so many people in our lives. some people will love us back. some people will not.

some people will come into our lives and like tangents, we’ll touch at one point and then never again.

and then there are those people who you wish–you really wish–would love you back the way you love them but they just don’t. and once the phrase “it’s not you, it’s me” meant so little to me but now, i see it more than just the number one break up line.

i see it for what it is–the truth that some people are never going to love you back the way you want them to.

like you, i used to think it sucks but today, i realized that maybe, it’s just the way the world works.

i wish somebody told me this when i was younger but you know, it’s okay.

some people are never going to love you with the same intensity and that’s okay.

i wish somebody told me this when i was younger but i’ll tell you right now that your value is not defined by those who cannot see it.

i’m not saying this because i’m trying to reason with myself. i’m saying this because nobody ever told me this, i had to learn the hard way.

i’ve had sleepless nights where i lied awake wondering about the things that i am not, about the things i can never be. and sometimes, some days, i looked at myself in the mirror and did not recognize me.

i was trying to be loved the way i wanted them to and it hurt the kid that i was, who fought so hard to believe that love, if it is meant for you will be yours.

so today, i promise you that i am going to silence my brain when it tells me all the things that i should’ve done. there’s nothing i could’ve done for the people who just don’t want to see the efforts anyway.

promise me that after you read this, before you go sleep tonight, that you will not measure your value based on the people who cannot love you.

promise me that when you wake up, you will look around and find those who see your worth, those people who understand that you’re a masterpiece; and that you remain a masterpiece even when the lights are off, when even you can’t see it.

and more importantly, promise me, that you’ll give yourself the kind of love you’re so willing to give somebody else.

you don’t owe it me. but you owe it yourself.

i am telling you this because i wish i didn’t have to write this.

 

promise me that the next time you find yourself outside a conversation, you’d put on your headphones and listen to your favorite song. because i think that if they’d wanted you in, they would’ve invited you.

and i think that if they really want you in their life, they would’ve called by now.

why are you still hurting; and all other notes for 2016

let me tell you something: none of us fucking knows what we’re doing.

“hitting rock bottom could be the best thing that ever happened to you,” a wise person once said, and at the time, all i wanted to do was scream in response because what the hell are you talking about? how could this be the best thing that ever happened to me when all i’ve ever done is shower and cry—sometimes i do both at the same time.

it doesn’t make any sense. when we’re in pain, we tend to see only that pain. we only see the way it hurts us and the way it affects the things and people we  care about. it’s not rocket science, not really. we are mostly selfish when we’re in pain because it’s the body’s way of reacting to the things it doesn’t want. we isolate everything else inside the bubble of what causes our pain.

all of a sudden, your whole world has become about that pain, that trauma, that heartbreak. some days, we don’t see past it. that’s why when someone tells us hey, it’s gonna be okay, it doesn’t make any freaking sense because it doesn’t feel okay.

nostalgia is at its high on all of us on the days in between Christmas and the New Year. these few days of solace give us the perspective we’ve been needing all year long. Christmas was about relishing the old, the good, and the familiar. but the looming new year has a way of making us all feel agitated. it has a way of making us feel a need to change something in hopes that it’ll make us better, well-functioning adults.

there’s something really twisted about this mentality because if change is necessary, why are we spending our entire year waiting for the next year to make something happen? but then, i like celebrating the new year. it’s like it is nature’s way of telling us that something has to change.

if you haven’t reached a certain goal, what have you been doing all year long? if you’ve hit rock bottom, why the hell are you still there? why the hell haven’t you bounced back up?

why are you still hurting?

i, frankly, can’t answer that but I guess paving the way to a better, bigger year begins with answering your whys.

know where that hurt is coming from
as they say, knowing the problem is half the solution. once, i wondered why i never stay  in one place. i’m always looking for new jobs, new people, new places to go. i find it hard to stay in one place and at some point, i was so certain it was because i was unhappy—until i realized that all the people i’ve lost before didn’t really go. i left them, because it’s the only way i know.

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i realized then that i was scared. i leave places first because i didn’t want to be the one who gets left behind. i run because i didn’t want to be the one who chases after things and people. i choose the option i want less because i was too scared to not be good and competent enough for the option I really want.

it’s after i realized this did i slowly learn how to fight it. knowing where all your pain is coming from (or who is causing it) gives you a chance—a chance to stand taller against it. though with shaky knees, knowing who your enemy is gives you the chance to win.

when you’re scared, you close our eyes—and to fight the monsters under your bed, the first thing you do is open your eyes.

and that’s when you brace yourself. that’s when you cling to the nearest warmth you can find—whether it be a something or a someone.

allow yourself to have a person, maybe a couple of people—but never a crowd
they say it all the time but it wouldn’t really make any sense until you’re lying on the bathroom floor—crying—but it’s true: you need people in your life. and this is coming from a person who values her alone time so much.

confronting the source of my pain meant that i had to recount some of the lowest points of my life, some of which still hurts a bit when i remember. and going back to a painful time will swallow you whole, unless you have a hand holding you or light that will always show you the way home.

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you can’t do your life alone—that’s what this whole 2015 taught me.

maybe, you aren’t an open book. maybe, just like me, you don’t like talking about yourself or your feelings. but hear me out: tell one person, just one. talk about it slowly, even in pieces, try to tell somebody your story.

i promise it’ll feel so much better. they call it a support system for a reason.

start from there. talk about it; because talking about it makes it real.

and you can only kill a monster if it’s real.

understand that healing is a slow, awkward process
one of the truths you’ll learn once you decide to break your bad habits is that it’s  not easy. it never is. you will fall back a couple of times. there’ll be a time you’ll be so convinced you can spend your whole life carrying that pain around. you’ll even think you like it on some days.

but healing, as cliché as it is, takes time.

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understand that it’s not  an overnight process, that nothing worth having comes easy because if it was—if it was so easy—i wouldn’t have enough experience to write this blog. i wouldn’t have a heart strong enough to care, to love; to give without asking for anything back.

be patient with yourself. be patient with your process. take your time.

tiptoe if you must but start somewhere.

want it, own it—your younger self is counting on you to protect her
the key to kicking a habit is to want to kick it. don’t half-ass your battles, whole-ass it because the only thing worse than running away, is going straight into battle unprepared.

you have to decide, for your own goddamn sake, that this pain is no longer helping you in any way, size, or form. you have to decide that you no longer want this toxic person around. you have to decide that you no longer want to be this person.

respect yourself enough to walk away from the things that no longer makes you happy. love yourself enough to walk away from people who no longer allows you to grow.

breathe, you’re okay
maybe you’ve had a bad year. maybe you’ve stayed on that rock bottom for far too long to know how to bounce back. maybe, it puzzles you that all the kids your age seem to get their life together and you’re there, just watching and not really knowing how to do life.

let me tell you something: none of us fucking knows what we’re doing.

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none of us knows how to unlock the vault to happy ever after. if you feel lost and that life sometimes feels more like a mumbo jumbo of words you don’t understand—then, welcome to the real world, there’s like 7 billion of us here.

all of those friends you see on social media—they have troubles of their own, too. they bake cakes, they travel, they get awards for their jobs—they’re all fighting their demons, too. and just because you’re seeing the highlight reel of their life doesn’t mean you get to compare it with your behind-the-scenes.

you’re a work in progress. you’re gonna bake cakes someday, too. you’re gonna travel the world or maybe do something less expensive and less Instagram-worthy but you’re gonna figure it out.

for now, calm down and work on getting over your slump first.

unless you’re vomiting or dead, keep going.

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