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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



then it hit me, i got everyone i need: notes from 2015

for the first time in a really long time—i didn’t run.

i have been trying, for weeks now, to come up with a set of words that will perfectly describe how this year went for me. and i have failed all of those attempts because–i just realized–that i find it hard to write when i’m happy.

2015 has been one of my best years–if not the best of my years. 2015 has had its lows; but the highs–my God, the highs–were too good for words.

i don’t think i deserve it, not really.

the past few years, i’ve been called names: cold, dead, harsh, mean, heartless–all of which can be pointed to that coldness in my heart that i can turn on and off anytime i wanted to. i wasn’t born, nor raised, warm. i have a tendency to run when people get too close or when things get too hard.

when i’m getting more than what i bargained for, i find the nearest exit and head that way without looking back.

once, i thought of myself as a puzzle–something to figure out, something to put together. but a few years and a couple of experiences later, i’ve learned that i’m more of like a hurricane. i come in and i destroy, and i leave without remorse. it makes sense to me sometimes why storms are named after people.

so yeah, i don’t think i deserve how this year turned out for me.

for some weird reason, my stars have aligned. see, i’ve had good days. i’ve had good months. but i’ve never had a good year. i’ve never had a year that i could look back when i’m older and think, “this year, this year is when it all started coming together.”

i’m probably overstating it. this, definitely, isn’t the year that i finally get it all figured out. #Spiraling2k15 was my year-long hashtag for a reason. but this year has been one brave year for me—a year where i’ve slowed down on putting walls around myself.

and I think, the moment i started giving people a chance did it really occur to me that some people can stay far longer than i’ve expected them to. the moment i accepted that maybe, i am someone worthy enough to be loved—that’s when it all started making sense.

i have people in my life now—solid, unmoving; and those i know will be there for me even if i am sometimes the most difficult person in the world. and perhaps, i’ve had them all along but i was just too blinded by my trust issues to see it.

2015 has been all about seeing for me. seeing the world, or some parts of it. seeing past my weaknesses to focus on becoming the person my younger self would probably be really proud of. seeing that some people come and can stay. seeing that my life is no longer a revolving door of people who come and go.

i didn’t ask for many things this year. i, honestly, don’t really ask for a lot of things at all. and maybe, that’s one of my faults—i don’t ever ask for anything ever because i was so focused on believing that i’m such a horrible person and i don’t deserve anything or anyone.

this year, i’ve finally gotten one step closer to finally forgiving myself for all those hearts i’ve broken before because i didn’t stay long enough for them to love me fully and with promises of forever, or promises of never making the same mistakes my parents did. i’ve finally stopped punishing myself for the all the homes i’ve wrecked, the people i’ve destroyed, and the friendships i’ve burned to hell.

i’m a goddamn hurricane on my bad days. but i’m an entire galaxy on my good ones.

and this year, i’ve started to talk myself into believing that it’s okay to receive love even when we don’t deserve it, even when we’re a hurricane. because some of us, some of us can give an entire universe on our good days—and all it takes is someone who will stay for both of those days.

i can’t say that i’ve gotten full circle with believing but i’m on my way there. for the first time in such a really, really wrong time, i find myself being surrounded by people who’re proud of who i am becoming.

it was a real struggle: getting here. i spent 20+ years of my life believing i’m not enough for absolutely anyone but i guess it happens at some point. you will reach a certain point in your life where the most important thing you can do in a day is to get the fuck out of bed and just take what’s coming with arms wide open.

it’s scary, the amount of things we can lose in a day. but if i spent all of 2015 being scared off by people—of love—i wouldn’t be writing this blog with such lightness in my heart.

i don’t know if anyone’s still here even if this is lengthy. but with teary eyes, i say, keep going. no matter where you are in your life right now, keep going. get the fuck out of bed tomorrow and the day after and again the day after—because the day will come that your wounds and your injuries will no longer threaten you. that your hurricane and your storm will not scare people off.

be brave enough to stand in the middle of what scares you and stay long enough this time to see if there’s really anything to be scared of. find the demons under your bed, look them in the eyes, and tell them that you’re not going anywhere—because you know what’s scarier than the demons under your bed?

you—and all the ways you can destroy yourself by isolating yourself from the world, from the people who can potentially love you on your hurricane days.

2015 has given me people—and that’s because i didn’t run.

for the first time in a really long time—i didn’t run.

(at some point in the last few days, it hit me. i got everyone I need.)

the art of knowing when to stop

my heart is not whole, and you keep crushing it. but i spend night after night after night trying to rebuild it, just in case tomorrow you’re ready to take it.

“snap out of it,” my friend told me over and over. i don’t remember her feeling so much about a topic as she did when i told my tale about this hopelessly unrequited feelings i have for this particular person.

i laughed as a response to her very eloquent advice.

i thought, “if it was so easy to stop, do you think i’d ever want to stay here?”

of course not.

if i had any choice, i would’ve walked away soon as i saw all those yellow lights that blinked rapidly before my eyes, warning me to slow down. but feelings… feeling something isn’t like driving.

and while driving and speeding up and stop lights make a good metaphor for going for something, it’s not the best one i could use for growing feelings for someone i’m not supposed to feel something for.

i wish it was, really.

i wish there’s a pedal somewhere that i can step on and everything will just stop; and everything will be fine and everything will not be as scary. in an ideal world, we all have control over our emotions. in an ideal world, we all have a say in who our heart chooses to beat for.

but in an ideal world, there’s also no wars or only the right candidates are running for president.

so yeah. this isn’t, obviously, an ideal world.

’cause it’s in this world that i have fallen for someone who’s completely and impossibly oblivious to my feelings. it’s in this world did you fall for the person who never caught you. it’s in this world did you believe the promises they made when they were so happy.

i don’t know how to stop. i don’t know to stop smiling at the thought that there could be something–that in between the friendly jokes and the late night talks, something grew, something developed.

i don’t know how to stop hoping that in this world, although this isn’t an ideal world, you could fall for me, as hard as i have fallen. and God, I’ll catch you right. i’ll catch you so right, and enough, that you wouldn’t wish for anyone else. and i have never been enough for most of my life but i could be enough for you.

so yeah. if it was just so easy to stop, i would’ve stopped a long time ago. before i started hoping that the signals you were giving me actually meant something.

if it was just so easy to stop, i would’ve stopped a long time ago before i had known all your quirks, your story; before i’ve learned your language. before i’ve started knowing how your mood is just by looking at you from afar.

and up until this moment, i wish it was so easy to stop because trust me. i hate it here.

it’s worse than hope. it’s worse than anything i’ve ever felt in my entire life because having things halfway is never better than not having it all. i want to go back to a time when i don’t have a piece of you everyday. i want to go back to a time when you were just part of the artwork. when you were just in the background.

but i can’t remember a time before you. i don’t ever want to.

and it’s scary, i know. you’re terrified, i know. and i am, too–but damn it, it’s like fate has found a way to mess me up everyday because you’re my first thought in the morning and you’re my last at night. so how can i possibly stop, when you haunt me everyday. when the mere thought of you makes me get out of bed smiling.

my bestfriend tells me that my eyes light up when i tell them about you and i wonder if i could ever be someone that makes your eyes light up like that, too.

but i don’t deserve having you in halves when i’m offering you all of me, and the moon and the sky.

so i want to stop but i don’t know how.

if there’s someone out there who knows the fucking answer, give it to me ’cause i hate where i am now. you keep pushing and pulling. when all i want to do is steady your shaky hands and be here in this moment and feel how important this is because i think you know.

i think you know how much i feel for you and nothing sucks more than seeing you look past it everyday.

my heart is not whole, and you keep crushing it. but i spend night after night after night trying to rebuild it, just in case you’ll be ready to take it tomorrow.

i fucking hate living in your purgatory.

i spent 20-plus years trying to love myself and i don’t think i have that kinda time for somebody else.

(but if you asked me to stay, i will. because i’ll never be your sun but i can be your moon and your sky and who knows, someday, that would be enough.)