You’re like a firecracker. You look plain on the outside, but your insides are ready to burst into flames, so much magic and wonder if only you’d ignite.

I think about falling in love. With a boy so beautiful and mysterious I’d get the shivers trying to uncover him, wondering him at nightfall unable to sleep, thinking about all that runs through his mind. I want to memorize his favorite song from his favorite band, know if he’s closer to his mother or his father, if he likes school or thinks it’s a complete waste of time, what he thinks of God and going to mass, if he’s the kind of guy who texts or calls, if he snores when he sleeps– all he is when he thinks nobody’s watching. I want to know his favorite game and soccer team (I will deny he’s a basketball lover), his dream car and the kind of girl he always imagined being with, his dreams for this life and others.

I wonder about the boy I’m going to end up falling in love with. If he wonders how I look, the treasures hidden deep behind my protective soul, the prayers I sometimes forget to whisper before I go to bed, my first thoughts in the morning when my eyes awake from slumber, the books I enjoy reading and the movies I enjoy crying to just because it makes me feel human. I wonder if he thinks about me, about all I am and all I could be in the future; about all the kind of love we are going to make, and if he knows that we’re going to create a love unlike a time bomb but everlasting, so beautiful and sweet and deep it’ll move with you forever.

I wonder about love between a beautiful boy and a hidden girl, whether it’ll come true and last long enough for an entire novel to be written, strong enough for songs to be sung and music to be played, and fought enough so it’ll last till death does them part. I wonder about the kind of love that springs so powerful, the words meant of a single promise, a single vow with the winds and the Heavens as witness, the birds and the leaves singing in chorus: “No matter what happens, I will take care of you. No matter what happens, I will be here for you. No matter what you do, I’m not leaving. Even if you grow fat and unbearable to look at, I will stay. Grow white hairs and huge pimples and become the ugliest girl in the world, I will hold your hand for the whole world to see that you are mine. Be a pain in the ass most times and thrash out on me during your monthly hormonal days, I will hang on tight until the morning. I love you in spite of the things you do and not because for our love is inconsequential. Our love is real.” I hope to make myself worth it for this boy and this kind of love. Please come, please come. 

Ignite your bones

The Skyway Lights

I swam today like I said I would. In that pool, nothing could reach me. All that was on my mind was swim or die, swim or die, because when you’re under, all you’ve got is to fight for your life. Otherwise you drown. And there was light at the end, a square that marked it, and all I had to tell myself was “just reach for that little dark square. come on, you see it. you’re almost there. resist yourself and reach.” I realized life contains a lot of self-resistance and self-restrictions. If you want to get somewhere, you can’t give in to yourself all the time because your natural instinct is to satisfy what you think you need. You have to learn how to say no to your own self if you want to transcend.

I can’t stop listening to Fix You by Coldplay. It’s such a beautiful and heartbreaking song; the lyrics and the music at the bridge so wrenching I need to hear it over and over again. It makes me feel human, so graceful, so weightless I could spread my arms out wide like a ballerina and fly off the ground.

That’s all I want to be: weightless. I don’t want to tread heavily anymore. I want to press lightly, like I barely leave a mark. As light as a spirit. As free as a bird. This body cannot hold me down.

Are you happy?

You’re beautiful, you know that? You are beautiful but you are also suffering.

Have you ever noticed that it’s the beautiful people who suffer most? So angelic in their forlorn faces filled with days of strain as saltness falls from their eyes and pores; lips parted halfway. Their eyes are usually empty or purely full as they propel themselves to do it, harder this time, no pain no gain their self-proclaimed mantra as they move through life with determination, unknowing that anytime they are ready to buckle under the weight. When they push and give it all they have, short breaths and painful joints, unstopping until they get there. And when they’re there, nobody gives a damn, people say “that’s not good enough!” and in turmoil they scream “I am trying, why doesn’t anybody see I am trying” because when it comes to people the hard work doesn’t matter. It’s the results everybody’s eyes are focused on. Results of success and hard work paid off.

I wonder about the beautiful people. The ones who use up their life desperately trying to prove to people that they’re good enough, putting up a front in the way they dress, walk, talk, and act, just to save face. I wonder if at the end of the day, they feel good enough about themselves and are satisfied or still want more, a fire geared to spread if uncontrolled. I wonder if they know there are people out there who admire them and are inspired by their work, just in who they are and what they’ve accomplished so far. But it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, none of it does. The only opinion that ultimately matters is theirs, whether they’re fooling themselves or not. It is true what Eric Weiner said in the Georgraphy of Bliss,

Maybe happiness is this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.

On Being Good Enough

“If you’re convinced you’re not good enough, you’ll have a hard time letting someone into your life that thinks you are.”

– Steven Rosas

It’s not you. It’s your perspective. It’s in the way you care about what other people think and say about you. It’s in you letting society dictate the kind of person you should be and therefore forfeiting your own unique identity. It’s in looking at yourself as a stranger instead of becoming one and realizing that your relationship with yourself is a lifelong journey of coming to terms with your flaws and imperfections, seeing the good and beautiful things too, and loving all of that.

Before you change yourself, change your perspective. Allow yourself the ability to see you the way other people might see you: perfectly okay.

I just want you to know that right now, at this very moment in time, nothing is wrong with you. So shut your thoughts up for a moment of not being good enough, or pretty enough, or thin enough, or simply enough because you’re wrong. Shut everything out and listen to your inner self– the life that radiates from you, the feelings that get you up and make you brave, and the loves you’ve made but were too afraid to say. Nobody else can be you. You are unique and one in the zillions of people out there. Someday, somebody’s going to realize that. How lucky he is to have you in his life. Sure, you have plenty to improve and this is nothing to be ashamed of but I just want you to know that right now, wherever you are and whoever you may be contains a perfection in itself and in the hands of time. You’re who you’re meant to be today. And tomorrow, when you initiate change and be better than before, you’ll fulfill your destiny.

I am beautiful too!

 “See I just want you to know that you deserve the best

You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful
Yeah and I want you to know                                               You’re far from the usual, far from the usual”

– Lil Wayne, “How to Love”

I’m going to be painfully honest here, not to anybody out there who stumbles across this blog and reads this particular post but to myself. I can’t deny this anymore: I do not feel beautiful. I think it’s particularly hard being a woman because there are the pressures of society that every woman tries to fit in– the idea that women should be beautiful, and graceful, sexy, and alluring that guys have to fall over their feet when she passes by. She’s supposed to exceed a kind of elegance that’s mesmerizing and attractive to the masculine character, and at the same time she has to be strong and confident. There is no helplessness now; no longer damsels in distress on our age and time. But here I am left with the things I have been given: a body that’s bulging out in all sorts of places, fingers too short and stubby for my liking, chicken legs like sausages and bucked knees I can stand on the account that I wear jeans anyway to cover them up, small chubby feet with a massive bunyon to go, and a double chin that’s started to form since I’ve gained weight. I have messy hair on most days, pimples that ascend from stress and spurs of hormones, and a kind of slow awkwardness when I move; far from the kind of motion men seem to be drawn towards. Don’t get me wrong: I used to feel pretty. When I was younger, I had people tell me “you’re so pretty,” and I had a swimming teacher say “you should join the Ms. Philippines contest,” and then there were the occasional foolish boys who had crushes on me, the boy in the park who asked if I was a model, and the European men who hit on me like I was the last woman on Earth. I still feel pretty some days, when I dress up in something loose enough to hide the things I don’t want particularly revealed, but as a woman I want to say that there will be times when I want to wear a dress or a skirt or shorts, wear sleeveless tops and look good in them, and wear slippers that accentuate my bare feet. Here’s something I wish to point out that most men do not seem to understand: women will always want to feel beautiful. It’s the epitome of being a woman: beauty. There are so many beautiful and slim women out there and there will always be days and moments when I feel embarrassed for myself– because I’m not like them, and I can never be. I will never have pretty legs for one thing; it was something I was born with and can never replace. My fingers won’t magically grown unstubby and unshort because these are my dad’s, unless I have them surgically prolonged which I would never result to. To consider surgery just to feel beautiful is wrong in so many ways and I do not wish to go down that road. I want to work on myself and feel beautiful on my own.

I have always wondered why I have never got a guy to be particularly attracted in me, enough that he’d think it’d be worth it if he got to know me and asked me out. I still wonder if I will ever get a guy to want me for me– flaws and all. I have always thought that beauty was a light within you; like a trait that shines through your personality that draws attention. It’s nothing really external; it’s more of in the way you move– a kind of mystery to uncover in a person’s actions and behavior. But again here I am: awkward and stumbling and ungraceful. And I have to remind myself: nobody’s going to love me if I’m not going to love me. I have to learn to love myself, first and foremost, with everything I am and everything I can still be. I think the most heartbreaking thing I am doing to myself is that I won’t even give myself a chance. Here I am a little bit over the weight I should be and I’m still eating and eating without a little effort on exercise or reducing my take in. I am not taking care of myself and being good to myself like I should be. The sad thing is that even I won’t want me enough to work on me and I have to firmly tell myself that this has to stop. I will have to do a little more work than others on being beautiful but I think that’s something beautiful in itself: effort. Like how you can only appreciate it more when you’ve been through the exact opposite of what you’ve achieved. It makes you grow and it makes you better and that’s the thing I am always looking forward to every day; the reason why I haven’t given up hope. I am still in change. I have modifications to go through but I am not yet done; I have ultimately many more things to adjust and revise on myself. I am going to love myself so much that I am going to give myself second chances, every single day I fail or feel like giving up, I am going to stand my ground and tell myself to try again because I AM WORTH IT. I am a beautiful human being in the making and I hope that one day, somebody else will fall head over heels with me and realize it too. I will aspire to inspire and admire: “I can’t be as beautiful as you. But I can be as beautiful as me.” 

Here is my yes to change and to effort and to struggle because like a mother experiencing the agony and the shooting pain for hours upon the delivery of a baby and the tedious months of care before that, a new life is born. Surely I am on my way.

My (Required) Letter to the President

Aside

Dearest  Mr. Aquino,

As a legitimate citizen of this country and as a student of Sir. Benj  Barretto, there are six things I know to be true:

(i). Good governance is a product of the power of the people relayed to sovereign authority for the public good or value.

Long story short, we are called to be public servants. Because we are in need of a clean and good government to lead us into a better nation, the people of the Philippines have decided to transform their rights into specific people of the government in hopes that these people will share the burden of the responsibility in doing good governance. That means you and your minions, Mr. President. We are counting on YOU. A good governance composes of several things: an effective and efficient leadership towards the alleviation of poverty, which is the problem of the Philippines. It contains transparency and accountability of leaders towards transferability and sustainability of the government. Now I’m not saying that you’re not exactly doing it but there are several names in the government in power that are known to abuse their power and be corrupt to the point that they are not practicing good governance anymore. A good government heavily relies on its leaders and that is something we are lacking: good and responsible leaders who are indeed for the cause of the public good instead of merely themselves. There is a strong need to implement this point across all borders of the government and remove those corrupt officials to be replaced by those who work for the people. Remember that we were the givers of your power. Use it appropriately. Don’t be afraid to do what you’re tasked to do, even if it means discharging some people along the way.

(ii). The state is a parent or guardian of the country.

This means you have to watch out for us as if we were your own children. Like any good parent who just wants what’s best for their children, you must do the same. This means that we, the public and the citizens of this country, are your top priorities. Not your undercover line of work, your career, your reputation, and certainly not the numbers of your income. Your main concern and responsibility is the people. Make sure your children are doing good, are happy, and are moving towards bright futures. At the same time, favoritism is not a good trait. A parent loves all his or her kids the same and this means that you cannot just focus on bettering the lives of only a few parts of the country and forgetting the rest. Reach out to everybody. Coordinate. Get personal. Maybe if you get to know the people you are actually serving instead of working up there on your pedestal, it’ll give you more passion and drive to better serve your people more quickly and efficiently. Be effective. And do not waste the hopefully ample amount of time given.

(iii). There are three fundamental powers of the state: where does it all go?

Given the rights of police power, power of taxation, and power of eminent domain, are they being used justly? In previous years, our taxes were raised but we didn’t know where they were going. Actually, in the end we found out they were being shoved into the pockets of corrupt officials. Let me remind you that you are the head of the state. No matter what you do (as long as it is just and righteous), your people will be behind you in support. Your powers—do not abuse, do not take them for granted, and do it for the people. Let it be for the good that resources are not wasted, social justice is achieved, and decision-making is righteous. Always for the people. Make sure your other minions pertain to that as well.

(iv). Politics are messy, complex, and unsightly.

For some reason, when it comes to Filipino politics everybody’s hands get dirty. Personal connections influence political reputations (your parents, in your case), popularity is more important than excellence to earn substantial votes, there is a high present tolerance for mediocrity, and then there’s the idea of utang ng loob, hiya, and pakikisama behind the scenes. Otherwise known as self-absorbed to please the wrong people just to stay in power, position, and good name. This is wrong. Politics are to be used for the good of the majority of the people. Being in politics is not about yourself. You are in control because you have a vision of a better Philippines and you want to make sure you earn the chance to try to make it come true. Do not say things to the public and turn you back and do something else or back down from your words. Be strong, Mr. President. The country needs you to be.

(v).  The government consists of three branches: the executive, legislative, and judiciary. Are they staying true to their tasks?

This morning I had an interesting lecture in Sir Benj’s class about implemented laws not followed. Like the law requirements for a municipality to be a city ignored by the council themselves! Traditionally and according to the Constitution, those who break the law should end up in jail. The executive implements the law, the legislative creates the law, and the judicial branch decides on legalities of actions based on these laws. Why is it not being taken seriously? What is the point of making a law where our leaders are too soft to follow through? Like that R.A. 90003 intended for the leaders of their communities to have a waste management program after three years ignored. I understand there is the problem of financing to follow through so here’s a tip: Make laws that can actually be pulled together and done so that no excuses can be accepted. Do not tolerate heedlessness. How will the country move forward if our own constitution is being carelessly ignored, worse, by the makers or implementers themselves? Another thing, I believe in the saying that if you really wanted it, you’d do everything in your power to find a way.  Let the leaders be leaders. This means that the heads be responsible enough to not avoid responsibility, take the initiative and act for the best without waiting to be reminded or told.

(vi). Taking aside corruption, poverty is the biggest problem of the Philippines. How to alleviate?

I don’t know the answer. You have inkling to running your government well but it is only the beginning and I am certain so much more can be done. I agree with you when you say that corruption should first be dealt with but my concern is if it is actually being dealt with genuinely or is it still swept under the rug, especially with clearly corrupt officials in your office? Like I said, stay strong and stay true. Live up to your promises to the public. At the same time, there is a mentality that must be changed among the Filipino people and I believe it goes along the lines of helplessness: being the damsels in distress and waiting for the knight to come save them. I don’t know how to instruct through this but as a president, I suggest you simply be more open. Clear your mind and steadfast your heart. Be available, be determined, be responsible, and do not waste any of the opportunities that pass by. I cannot imagine a day in the life of a country president but I am hoping days are not wasted simply sitting on a desk behind view trying to act like you’re doing something important when you really could be. This letter aims as simple reminders, in case you lose your way along the unpaved road. I have faith in you. And I’m guessing since you own majority of the nation’s votes, they believe in you too.

                                   Hoping that you don’t disappoint,

                                                           Me,

One of the many concerned citizens who actually really care about what happens next.