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.

Advertisements

“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.

WillMcAvoyFirstStepToSolveProblem

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.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-19827-1377274514-27

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.

39c488a51ab13f68e7fa2583bd26abd9

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.

tumblr_mbwcppAAT31qec4gro1_500

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.

tumblr_n36nn62ZGe1tpvwyho1_500

 

PICKS: Favorite Albums of 2013 (Part 2/2)

My 12 Favorite Albums of 2013 list is finally complete.

2013 Albums

In Part 1 of this list, we talked about Sara Bareilles, Lorde, Birdy, Janelle Monáe, Tommy & The High Pilots, and The National. The next six albums complete my 12 favorite albums of the year.

Not making this list are “Settle” of Disclosure, “…Like Clockwork” of Queens of the Stone Age, and “Night Time, My Time” by Sky Ferreira. I also happen to dig Youngblood Hawke’s “Wake Up”, Skylar Grey’s “Don’t Look Down”, and Youth Lagoon’s “Wondrous Bughouse”.

The following list is not necessarily ranked by it’s quality. I’m too torn up to pick a number one album for this year.

CHVRCHES The Bones of what You Believe

The Bones of What You Believe
CHVRCHES
(September)

Come on, look deep into my eyes and tell me right now that this album doesn’t belong in every year-end list there is out there.

If I am to pick a top 5, this album will certainly make the cut. The success of singles such as “The Mother We Share”, “Lies”, and “Recover” has made Chvrches quite a star on the rise. Intense hype had surrounded the release of their record and when this debut album finally dropped, they didn’t disappoint.

The album is not just an extension of their successful singles but an elaboration of their artistry as well. I love how this album is in equal parts nice and harsh; and it’s always precious when Lauren Mayberry–with all her charm and glory–throws occasional expletives to make her point.

In “Gun”, Mayberry sings so finally, we agree, no place for promises here–perhaps that’s the case for some relationships but that’s clearly not the case for this album.

STANDOUT TRACKS: We Sink, Tether, Gun, and Lies

[Read a full review of this album here.]

075678690143

Paramore
Paramore
(April)

Say all you want about Paramore’s change in sound but I will stand still in saying this is their best work to date.

There’s always an upside to change and Paramore has welcomed change with arms wide open.  Gone are the hateful, emo-ish rock tunes that we all grew accustomed to. Instead, Paramore welcomes us to a brand new era of their music, in which they are now fully embracing the pop side of their rock brand without detaching themselves from the type of rock they are best known for.

With their self-titled album, Paramore leans heavily on telling their story–a tell tale of growing up, and growing together as a band; and the grown up factor is not subtle in this record. It’s safe to say that Paramore has landed on their feet, that after years of searching for the proper definition for their name, they have finally found a place to plant their feet on.

In this record, Hayley Williams owns it–even so much better than she did before.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Still Into You, Last Hope, Ain’t It Fun, and Grow Up

Arctic Monkeys AM

AM
Arctic Monkeys
(September)

If you ask me, AM is the sexiest album of 2013. Hands down.

The Arctic Monkeys has always been one of the bands that come out strong record after record.  Over years, they have experimented on different brands of music but they manage to make a masterpiece every damn time.

With AM, they score their best attempt in showing that they have grown so much since the first record. The Arctic Monkeys takes a bold risk in this record; from prom, slow dance music they previously delivered so well, AM brings you out of the club toward the nearest hotel and a collection of bad after-party decisions.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Do I Wanna Know’, R U Mine, No. 1 Party Anthem, and Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High

[Read a full review of this album here.]

Beyonce 2013

BEYONCÉ
Beyoncé
(December)

It would be an utter disrespect to the Queen if I didn’t include this surprise album in the list.

Do I even have to elaborate?

Well, if I really must, I’d say the best thing about this album is how human it is. Where Queen Bey’s previous records took pride on her sheer flawlessness, this record takes it a notch higher by capitalizing on Beyoncé as a real person. Here, she talks about motherhood and marriage in an emotional and moody kind of way that her previous records didn’t.

I stand by my belief, Beyoncé could be my Secret Santa because this record, even without a word of buzz, is easily one of the strongest albums this year.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Pretty Hurts, Jealous, XO, and Blue

[Read a full review of this album here.]

Fitz and the Tantrums - More Than Just A Dream

More Than Just A Dream
Fitz and the Tantrums
(May)

This album came as a surprise to me, honestly.

If you dig neo-soul or a little bit of 60s pop–or even if you’re feeling just a little retro–Fitz and the Tantrums is your guy.  More Than Just A Dream is a record full of groovy tracks that combine the strong influence of 60s soul with programmed beats and modern indie-pop.

The record is, overall, light-hearted. The vocals are perfect for the classic feel of their music and it’s one of the most fun records that came out this year.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Out of My League, Fools Gold, The End, and Break The Walls, and Spark

[Check out Fitz and the Tantrums here.]

Haim Days Are Gone

Days Are Gone
Haim
(September)

If I would pick the best album of the year, this will be one of my two options.

Aside from making the idea of sisterhood a lot cooler than it actually is, the Haim sisters are actually good at making their music. The expectations on this album were high and they have responded by exceeding all of them.

The success of their singles “Forever” and “Falling” has given Haim enough confidence to push through a well-put together record. Days Are Gone is a compilation of songs that are both sunny and edgy. The record also parades excellent layered vocals, syths, and a kind of signature build-up tailored for radio.

Haim is a force to reckon with. These girls know their material and this album is a testament to that. Days Are Gone is partly a statement (of Haim’s sheer talent) and partly a promise (of future things to come) but mostly, it’s a brilliant record that’s allergic to half-assed production. I’d give 11 out of 10 stars.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Falling, The Wire, If I Could Change Your Mind, Don’t Save Me, and  My Song 5

[Read a full review of this album here.]

And… we’re done here.

To sum it up, my favorite albums of 2013 are:

The Blessed Unrest (Sara Bareilles)
Pure Heroine (Lorde)
Only Human (Tommy & The High Pilots)
Fire Within (Birdy)
The Electric Lady (Janelle Monáe)
Trouble Will Find Me (The National)
The Bones of What You Believe (CHVRCHES)
Paramore (Paramore)
AM (Arctic Monkeys)
BEYONCÉ (Beyoncé)
More Than Just A Dream (Fitz and the Tantrums)
Days Are Gone (Haim)

Please don’t judge my music preferences.

PICKS: Favorite Albums of 2013 (Part 1/2)

‘Tis the season to be listing albums of the year la la la.

2013 Albums

First off, let me clear it out that this is not a “Best Albums of 2013” post. A lot of music websites have said Kanye West’s “Yeezus” is the best of 2013 and my list doesn’t include that–so maybe, something’s wrong with me but that is not the point. I’m just listing my favorite albums because you know, year-end lists… ’tis the season to be listing albums of the year la la la. (Please tell me you didn’t just sing that.)

The following list is not necessarily ranked by it’s quality. I’m too torn up to pick a number one album for this year.

Sara Bareilles The Blessed Unrest

The Blessed Unrest
Sara Bareilles
(July)

I’ve always been a fan of Sara Bareilles. So when this album rolled around, I was pretty much psyched.

I didn’t have too much expectations about this new album because I’ve always been satisfied of Sara’s work. To me, the only important thing is that she releases a new record. What was surprising though is that it turned out to be a superb record. After first listen, I already knew it’d end up in my year-end list. And apparently, so did the Grammy’s because The Blessed Unrest is nominated for Album of the Year (you have no idea how proud I am).

Sara didn’t change much when it comes to her sound; she still remains the same old piano-pop singer-songwriter that brought us “Love Song” and “Gravity” but The Blessed Unrest has given us Sara in a whole new level of artistry, further raising the bar she set herself.

The best thing about this record? The songwriting.

STANDOUT TRACKS: 1000 Times, I Choose You, Manhattan, Chasing the Sun, and Brave

[Read a full review of this album here.]

Lorde Pure Heroine

Pure Heroine
Lorde
(September)

Okay, so maybe, there’s too much talk about Lorde these days. Duh, “Royals” was number one for nine weeks; I repeat, nine weeks.

It may be a bit self-righteous to say this but I have been listening to Lorde since last year when she released her first EP, The Love Club. The now-legendary track “Royals” is a part of that EP so trust me, I am probably as sick of Royals as you are.

Pure Heroine though came quite a surprise to me. I didn’t like it at first listen but it kinda grew on me until it became an album I constantly listened to. There’s something about Lorde’s music that captivates me. The pure rawness of her voice and the beats and subtle syths make the whole material unique. And it’s always nice to listen to something fresh.

Bonus points also goes to Lorde for being such a damned good live performer. She’s 17 and she nails it every single time.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Royals, 400 Lux, A World Alone, White Teeth Teens

[Read a full review of this album here.]

Tommy and the High Pilots - Only Human

Only Human
Tommy & The High Pilots
(May)

This may be not one of the most popular choices out there but this album made its way to this list right on first listen.

Tommy & the High Pilots has proven me that the alternative-rock genre hasn’t lost its charm amongst the swarm of bands that come and go these days. Only Human is a simple record, something that doesn’t try too hard to come out strong. There’s a constant ascending tempo in every track, willing each song to be someone’s anthem or a song of redemption. It’s bare but in a fun way. It doesn’t take away the fun in its personality but at the same time, it’s honest.

Tommy & the High Pilots is one of the bands I’m glad to have discovered this year. They always take me back to the days of rock where no gimmick is required to make a record work.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Devil To Pay, Young & Hungry, Somebody Make A Move, and Outta My Head

Birdy Fire Within

Fire Within
Birdy
(September)

I wonder sometimes why this album never got the attention it deserves.

‘Fire Within’ has got to be one of best–if not the best–non-conventional pop albums I’ve heard this year. Birdy, best known for her rendition of Skinny Love–steps out of her comfort zone into a larger arena of music where she shines deservingly so.

Just when I thought the album was going to be a collection of tracks that sound exactly like Skinny Love, Birdy surprises me with the purity of her talent and artistry. It’s a pleasant surprise nonetheless because I remember listening to this album for weeks!

STANDOUT TRACKS: Light Me Up, All You Never Say, Wings, and Maybe

[Read a full review of this album here.]

Electric_Lady_Target

The Electric Lady
Janelle Monáe
(September)

Look, I didn’t see Janelle Monáe coming. I don’t usually listen to futurist funk-pop but The Electric Lady is an exception to that rule.

I’ve listened to Monáe’s material before and wasn’t entirely impressed with it but her work with this album simply exceeds everything she’s done before.  This album is ambitious, mostly about ‘breaking free’ which also means it gives zero f***s about what the general audience might think about the message she’s trying to send. From her vocals to her style up to the last detail, this album is apologetically  electric and fun, and just entirely exceptional.

The entire album urges to step outside of a world where people are pressed onto labels. It’s a prequel to her debut album, The Archandroid that tells the story of Cindi Merryweather, Monáe’s alter-ego.

This, overall, is a confident album. No doubt about that.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Q.U.E.E.N., We Were Rock & Roll, Dance Apocalyptic. and Victory

Print

Trouble Will Find Me
The National
(May)

Come on, you can’t say you didn’t see this coming.

Every time The National releases an album, it’s entry to a favorite/best albums year-end list is almost automatic. They are that good. The band’s dire need to create song that radiates painful melancholia has almost become their identity. They never fail to give us something that is cold-bloodedly heartbreaking. Their records are mostly elemental of despair and deep-rooted longings.

But Trouble Will Find Me is probably the band’s most self-assured one. It’s that one record that holds The National right in their respective place in the indie-rock scene.

For the most part, Trouble Will Find Me is a statement–one that finds serenity in talk and criticism, thus the name. It is, as always, a brilliant record.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Demons, Fireproof, This Is the Last Time, and Hard To Find

2012, You Suck. Royally.

But just like the many things 2012 brought me, when the clock strikes 12 tonight, everything 2012 will be in the past now.

I would have taken on a “2012: The Year in Review” blog post but trust me, 2012 is so bad, it pains me to even review it. So, on the last day of 2012, I can say that as we celebrate the transition of the year tonight, there would be a plate for you in this home, forgiveness.

But before I start forgiving the freak of a year you are, 2012, let me just tell you this: FUCK YOU.

That felt good.

Now, on to the forgiving part.

Let me start by saying that 2012 was really a bad year; like bad, as in I-wish-I-could-just-skip-this-year kind of bad. But just like the many things 2012 brought me, when the clock strikes 12 tonight, everything 2012 will be in the past now.

Finally, I get to say: that’s so 2012.

I guess having a year of various losses and heartbreaking moments could really change people. I should know; I spent the entirety of 2012 just losing everything and repeatedly breaking my heart for a mixture of reasons.

Then, again, just like in one of my previous blog posts, I decided I probably should just start forgiving people, events, and fate for changing me into something else—a far cry than what my 2011 self had imagined me to be.

2012, I guess, bitch-slapped me countless times because I was this heartless, annoying kid who didn’t care about anything else but herself.

So, I guess, I should just learn to forgive myself for every mistake I did—for decisions I made, for letting people hurt me, and for dragging myself into a hole I couldn’t seem to get out of. I realized that most events that broke my heart were all results of my poor judgments, insecurities, and fears; that the beast I have turned into is a product of every good thing I refused to acknowledge: love, faith, and letting go.

Like a few unfortunate ones, I would have broken my own heart for trying my best not to let others do it.

I figured that to forgive people, I must do that to myself first. You can’t give away something you don’t have for yourself in the first place.

If you ask me however, if I regret anything I did this year, I’d definitely say yes. I regret everything I did that made me suffer in the end but would I change it given the chance?

No.

Definitely not.

In effort to try and bring something good from 2012 to the next year, perhaps, there were a couple of good things: experience, a new heart, and definitely a brand new outlook in life.

I guess, having a hard year makes you accept the truth that life isn’t fair at all; that people fuck up, and that fate always finds a way to screw you up.

And that’s okay because as we go along, we stumble into a few good things—and that would be more than enough to keep going even if it means you’d have to drag yourself up in effort to bring yourself back on track.

I’m just human and I make mistakes; but as they say it, being human does not save you enough from the fire when it bounces back.

So, tonight, I’ll raise my glass to forgiveness; to forgetting.

As what the preacher said hours before I edited this blog post, forgetting is not the absence of a memory—it is not being influenced by what the memories bring. It is about not being threatened or scared or hurt by your past.

I cannot buy back time to redo every single thing that 2012 brought. I cannot re-make my decisions. I certainly cannot undo everything I did or go back in time to do something I didn’t.

It’s done.

The best thing I could do now is not make the next year just like 2012. How do I do that?

I don’t know.

I have no idea how starting over works. I’m sure I have a long list of starts that didn’t quite work out. Just like what was said on a TV show:

“It’s all anybody wants, right? Clean slate. A new beginning. Like that’s gonna be any easier. Ask the guy pushing the boulder up the hill. Nothing’s easy about starting over. Nothing at all.”

I don’t know where to start but just like what the preacher said: be delivered from your past.

Let it go.

Stop looking back because that’s not where you’re headed.

I guess, out of the many times I told myself not to look back, this is the one moment I just know I never will.

Maybe it’s the sound of the early fireworks out the window or maybe, it’s just the optimism the new year brings but I know I can’t fully see the things ahead of me if I will keep myself trapped in the past that didn’t make me happy.

I am not my past—for first real time, I believe that.

2012 never worked for me in any way it should have and that’s exactly the reason why 2013 will be about making things work for a change.

Read more books.

Travel more places.

Take more pictures.

Pursue more things.

Breathe more air.

Feel more emotions.

Dream more.

Live more.

2013 is going to be a good year.

I feel it.

I just wish that—unlike so many things in my past—this feeling isn’t wrong.

Be delivered from your past.

It’s plainly stupid, I guess. But it’s a concept of self-destruction not every human being has the ability to realize.