Unsaid thoughts

I am writing this letter to you, my good old friend. It frustrates me that this is the only way I could convey my thoughts to you. These are the words I badly want to say but I couldn’t utter any. I kept on making segues and excuses everytime we talk about this. My bad, I feel uncomfortable whenever this becomes the topic of the conversation. But I have the slightest bit of hope that something will lead you to this random blog post, your eyes to these words and your mind to what we are now. Here, lemme (try to) organize these things baffled in the clouds of my mind.

There are two things I want to say. First is my gratefulness and second is a wish.

This is to express how much thankful I am to have you– despite ages, despite distance. Thank you for being real. All these years, since the joyful high school days, we’ve been very good friends. We’ve known each other for quite some time now and it is certain that we can always get along. Comfortably. And from being a friend, you mustered all the flecks of courage you have in your every vein to confess the “love” you have for me. Whatever that kind of love we knew back then. And I appreciate it. So much. For ten years, you consistently say and make me feel how much you love me. You were there when I need a shoulder to lean on, to listen to all my non-sense drama over a shot of rhum or a mug of beer. You were there to comfort me when I felt melancholic. When somebody broke my heart. When I did not know what path I was going to take. You were there to support me in all my endeavors in life– in the academe, in future plans, in all. You are the kind of person anybody would ask for.

But my dear, my heart sinks whenever I think that this love of yours cannot be reciprocated evenly. Cause I see you as a friend more than my man. No matter how much I imagine and try, I couldn’t give you the assurance that I’ll be the woman for you. For some odd reason, I dunno. Maybe I am this kind of a person who treasures friendship more than any other else. More than a relationship one can ever have. More than the kind of togetherness we both could have. If there is only one thing constant in this universe, that’ll be your sincerity. I will forever be thankful for that. And we both know, nothing can ever replace the friendship we have built over the years.

I would also like to send you my wish. If only I could ask all the stars in the sky to grant all the wishes of your heart, I will. Because you deserve that. I wish that in the years to come (or less), you’d find the woman who deserves all the love you have to give. You deserve someone who will love you as much as you do. Someone who would bring you the rays of sunshine when your world seems a little too dark. Someone who would brighten up the galaxies around you and someone who would love you in return. But, I should admit, I am not that someone. If only I could send you back all the love you have given me, I would. I’d place it in a jar, embrace it so tight and will send it to you with the love I know. I wish, time would come that you’re gonna gather all these love again and pour it to someone else instead. That this time, you’ll be happy. I want to see you with someone else smiling just like the glow I see when you smile at me. I wish I could be just like you. I could be someone who loves as genuinely as you do. Consistently and passionately. And I wish you could forget about me soon. That there will be a day or two in your life that you won’t think about me. That I won’t be a part of your day. That you’ll forget all the pains I’ve caused you and how cruel was I to you.

Someday, we’ll see how we’ve grown and how we learned from life. We’ll someday understand why fate made our parallel paths cross. Someday, we’ll have the kind of love we both deserve. Thank you so much for every little thing! Until then, I am wishing you the best.

 

Sincerely,

M.

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The Hidden Panorama: Lakes Pandin and Yambo

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I always love the idea of discovering majestic places especially those that only few people know about. I am not into getaways with a lot of people in it or in a place where I’ll be part of a huge crowd. I am not that sociable. Ironic, I know. I don’t want to be in a sea of strangers. I am quite introverted. I’d rather stay home than be with people I barely know. I love going to places where I’d certainly find tranquility of the heart, a serene place to think, to reflect, to cast my mind to my favorite days and even to breath a fresh new air- literally and figuratively.

Our mini-trip to Lake Pandin was somehow out of the unplanned. I know ourselves. Planned trips do not always happen. Well, they do. But very rarely. The original plan was a getaway to Enchanted Kingdom. This was planned months ago but since nobody gets the responsibility to buy tickets for the group, we were about to go tabula rasa. Good thing, Jushtine called Manuel, his friend, the night before and asked how much a ticket to EK would cost. We were all surprised that one costs about 800php since it was holiday and it is expected that people will make their vacations worth it.

But God has amazing ways why some things do not go as planned. We rather chose going to Pandin Lake and we immediately looked for its photos online. Thanks to my friends in UP who have been to Pandin months ago, I got this idea. But I contemplated at first because a friend of mine invited me I insisted, going to the same place. But I was feeling under the weather and I unfortunately cannot go on the date we have set. But I and my high school friends planned this the night before. We were four (Jushtine, Romar, Grace and I) on the original plan. But during the morning of our trip, Ate Marian informed us that she’s gonna join. So.. mukhang makukulayan na ang drawing namin. 

Pandin and Yambo lakes are two of the seven lakes in San Pablo. The city is quite near to Sto. Tomas and it is quite sad that I only had the chance to see only one of the seven lakes- Sampaloc. I am working in San Pablo City and the lake is just behind my workplace (school). Sampaloc Lake is becoming part of my everyday monotonous life. And I thank the heavens that I had the chance to see two more. So… four lakes to go!

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HOW TO GET TO PANDIN:

From San Pablo City, ride a jeepney (Ilog bound) at 7/11 near San Pablo Cathedral. Politely ask the driver to drop you off at a tricycle parking space bound to Pandin. Fare is Php350. (This is quite costly because getting to Pandin was really an upheaval.) The road was smooth and there was no traffic but it took us around 30 to 45 minutes to finally get through the lake. We were dropped off at Yambo lake which confused us at first but discovered that Pandin has a twin lake. Haha, seriously! Lake Pandin and Lake Yambo are known to be “Kambal na Lawa” since they are really near to each other. A mini-hike away.

We first went to Yambo Lake and rode a bamboo raft, hiked to get to Pandin. It was only a “mini-hike” but it exhausted me a lot. Yes, adulting, it is! Loljk. I cannot fully remember the details of the cost we have paid and the breakdown of it but we have paid around Php360 pesos each inclusive of foods. The foods include ensaladang pako, grilled tilapia, ginataang hipon, banana, mineral water and fresh buko juice. I didn’t even know that pako (fern) is edible! Poor self. We ate our lunch at the bamboo raft and it was really great! It really felt good. Actually, it was way better than eating your lunch in a restaurant or in a buffet. Very refreshing! At a less-than-Php400 cost, we already had a full and sumptuous meal whilst enjoying the scenic picturesque of the lake.

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The place has amused me in so many ways. I saw how plain the lifestyles of people living in it. Children happily play around, there were no presence of toxic social media among ’em, they do not use gadgets. What a very good way to live each day! Far, far away from the lives of children in the city.

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The lake itself invites positive aura and we undoubtedly felt relaxed. The serenity is perfect for me to think, to breath and appreciate the beauty of nature. The clarity of the water and the melodic sound of it brings nothing but calmness in the one’s ever chaotic heart. The cold breeze of the air is a galaxy against the skin. And the ray of the sun is a torch that liberates me from my every unforgiving ground. Fascinating!

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We went to SM before going home. Bought our favorite donuts and sip a cup of coffee while looking at our photos. It was kinda funny that we dared went malling with dirty shoes/slippers and wet pants/shorts. But.. who cares?

It was a fun adventure, though! A good and quick escape on a whale of a time with persons you enjoy company with. Looking forward to new more adventures this 2018!

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God’s subtle way of telling me I am loved

2017 Realizations

Few days left before we bid 2017 goodbye. Time flies so fast that we are about to open another chapter as we close another. My 2017 has been a saga full of twists and turns; full of heart breaks, happiness and even lessons. How do you feel about it? Here are random realizations in my 2017.

  1. Things fall perfectly in places. Never think that you are a failure or that you are weak. No, you’re not! If you didn’t happen to achieve something or you failed or you get rejected for so many times, never think that you are stupid. It is just, those things were not for you. No matter how hard you try. You are not thwarting opportunities and you are never stupid. When we succumb to believing that we are victims of our own circumstances and yield to the plight of determinism, we lose drive, we lose hope and we settle into resignation and stagnation. Engrave in mind that there will always be things that are fated to be yours. You just have to wait for God’s perfect and magical time.
  2. Go with the system and play. Accept the fact that there are some things you couldn’t change. The universe won’t conspire and there will be moments that you can’t pull yourself over and stand right. Sometimes you’ll find yourself “kinain ng sistema” and it really happens. Some people won’t treat you fair and square. Some are just around to ruin your day and you have to brush off the flimsy stuff that may mess up your mood. Go and deal with it. It couldn’t be even more straightforward but we like to conjure up all the reasons and excuses for people when it boils down to the same truth– the system won’t adjust itself for us.
  3. Not everyone will stay. Not everyone we meet along  the road has deep purpose/s and roles in our lives. Some were meant to have a cameo appearances and will eventually leave. People come, people go, they say. Indeed. We don’t need a thousand friends to be happy. Few but real ones  who will stay with us in best and in darkest times–without any other thought– would be more than enough. We don’t have to ask people to stay. Staying is a choice and if they must leave, let them be. Then treasure those who would choose to stay.
  4. You won’t receive all that you give. The world is not about give-and-take kind of relationship– like what we ought it to be. You give all that you have, left nothing with you, and receive nothing at all. Give but never expect something in return. This might dampen your spirit most of the effin’ time. But the world wouldn’t be harsh if you have empty hands. We may not have the things we are supposed to receive but we will have the things we certainly deserve.
  5. Studying is fun. I am serious. You read it right. STUDYING IS FUN. This sounds strange since (most of) you might wonder what crossed my mind or what spirit has crept over my body to say this thing. If you know me, you already know how I spit fire over my notes and how my paper drafts bleed in red ink. I had a VERY DIFFICULT time getting through UP and my friends know that. Until now, I still ask myself if the academe is really meant for me. But nonetheless, I am enjoying this path I am tackling right now. If there is a moment I love to get back to, it would be my student life. I miss studying. I miss getting to the class as a student, not as an instructor. I miss reviewing for an exam and working on papers as well. Cause today, the hindrances I am hurdling through wouldn’t be academic struggles already. There are much more complicated problems in the real world than what we all have/had in school.
  6. Unicorns are real. All this time, I believe in unicorns. Some would slap me with their self-proclaimed truth that unicorns do not exist. Ostensible, they are. But believe me, they do.

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    Spotted somewhere in Sto. Tomas, featured in Philippine Star, June 2017 (photo not mine)

  7. People will take you for granted. You give all the love you can give but there will be people along the road who would see you as nothing. Like you never really exist. You were constantly there when they needed you, but would vanish when they won’t need you anymore. They’ll seek for your help, you go to them, then leave you behind. Some won’t appreciate your efforts. Some won’t feel the love and affection you give. Might seem derogatory on your part but we have to accept the fact that some of them don’t deserve all your love. Invest it to people who would see the galaxies within you.
  8. Salary won’t satisfy your happiness. When I was a student, I thought when I’ll have a work, I’d be happier. Basically because I can buy all that I want, invest on some things and all. But nope. Happiness and fulfillment is not about money alone. I dunno but there is a part of me that still feels incomplete despite earning good salary and starting up my career.
  9. You don’t have to explain yourself to everyone. The world is not about pleasing others and being the person they want you to be. There is no room for you to exonerate yourself from the judgmental eyes of others. There is no way for you to be subservient and passive. Go dress according to your taste, drink the frappe you love, go to places you find serenity at. Be weird. Express yourself liberally and free yourself from the cage people have built. This is your life and to live means finding your own happiness. Not the happiness you get from pleasing the eyes of others. Live according to your rules.
  10. Social media are toxic. We can’t deny the power of social media nowadays. Social media can even change lives. But these have a different face now. Don’t you miss those little days where facebook and twitter were used to share good vibes and radiate happiness among people we consider as friends? What we actually see today are shitloads of witless images, fake news and strong personal emotions posted online. These days, we need to find ways on how to get some moolah.

There! only few lessons and realizations I got in my 2017 adventure. Massive thanks to 2017. It was indeed a good memorable journey full of life lessons. Looking forward to more in 2018. Cheers to one beautiful year!

Thank you, first sem.

The past semester was one roller-coaster ride for me. Full of twists and turns. Full of excitement and thrill. It has been a semester already since everything started. since everything began to fall in its designated places. Months ago, I began to somehow see my life-driven purpose. If you know me, might as well you know how lost I was in this world–nowhere to go–having the aftermath of a chapter that has just ended. You’ll see the chaos in my eyes. Hence, a vestige of all that had happened to me became a subtle realizations of the things I am having today. Inch by inch, my life is having a purposeful meaning.

I taught Personal Development and Understanding Culture, Society and Politics. Both are near to my heart. UCSP reminds me of all the remnants of my college life. Everyday I was bombarded with too many concepts, theories, fallacies and social phenomena. And all meant something to me now. Now I clearly understand why I needed to deal with all those before– that something is meant to happen in the years to come. That I, too, was meant to accept the “Invitation to Sociology” of Peter Berger discussed on the very first meeting of the bloody socio days.

I mustered a lot of courage teaching PerDev. I know in the deepest corner of myself that I am not a well-developed person. It is quite ironic that I handled such course where in fact I do not see myself as someone anyone can look up to, someone who can share good thoughts, someone anyone can get a motivation from, someone who can set a good sample to the humanity. I AM NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL. As I teach, it is not only becoming a one-sided process. I learn from teaching, too. I am not only developing my students like a seed that needs to be poured with love, compassion and courage. I am also unleashing the unknown part of me from which I myself did not know.

Grade 11 STEM 2 Slate is one of my best classes. They gave me outputs more than what I expected. In every performance task (and even exams), they always give their best shot. I see that each of them is intelligent in their own little ways. Some are really good in writing. I encourage them to continue writing because that will lead them to places. Some are good a public speaking– a manifestation of how good a person can be when it comes to organizing thoughts and ideas. Some are good at visual arts. They can turn a simple stuff to a beautiful creation. Some are musically-gifted. Aside from playing different instruments, they can sway with their music and temporarily escape the world. I can say that this class is undeniably a mixture of intelligent and talented creatures.

Grade 11 ABM 2 Obsidian is the home of my best debaters. There was never a dull moment in every single debate we’ve had. I am glad that they are not afraid to say what’s in their mind and the standpoints from which they trully believe in. I wish I could be like them. Someone brave enough to show people how they think and will not only sulk themselves in a corner and get drowned by their own beliefs without sharing it with the rest of the world. The best thing I learned from them is to never be terrified of voicing out your opinions even if the world will counterargue on you. Because being brave in this world full of cowardice is the best thing we can always do.

Grade 11 HUMSS/GAS Rhyolite made me feel a sort of feelings. For so many times I was annoyed, pissed and bothered, they still impressed me in one way or another. Truth be told, I can see that they are getting near to the dreams they have shared with me. I am certain that in the years to come, they’ll someday be my colleague who have the heart for the society, who believe in the beauty of social science and will pursue a career in the discipline. A heart of a social scientist lies in them and that will eventually flourish. A heart that is brave enough to scrutinize things and people in a deeper sense, in different perspectives. For this, I commend them.

I was challenged by the advisory class assigned to me– Grade 11 STEM 4 Quartzite. It was my first time to teach and if you keep on following this blog, you’ll perhaps know that I am not really into teaching. Nonetheless, I did. You see now how chaotic my life is? Surely. Anyhoo, my STEM 4 is one of the most significant people who challenged my whole being. Here’s the thing: Some label them one of the worst, they know that. Some belittle their capabilities. Some see them unworthy of anybody’s trust. There was never a week a teacher would complain about them– their behavior, performances, exams and all. And I was one of them. They cut classes, came to classes late, behave in ill-manner, frequently absent in class.. name it. I was their teacher for two consecutive courses with only a twenty-minute break in between. In fact, that two-hour period sucks all the stamina I have reserved for the whole monotonous day.

This was the section I where I felt I wasn’t loved. Hurtful, it was. If they are reading this right now, I am certain they would say contradictory words over this. There were moments I humbly questioned myself what have I done wrong for them to treat me that way. I didn’t feel respected. I didn’t feel I exist. I felt cheated. I didn’t feel being valued like no any other. I ain’t being loved by my advisory class. Maybe it was me who became too kind to them so some took advantage of me. Or maybe they didn’t like the way I treat them. Or maybe they simply didn’t like me as a teacher.. and as a person. I dunno. My mind is baffled with so many thoughts that could never escape. But whatever their reason/s was/were, I’d highly pay respect on that. And that won’t matter anymore. It is just quite ironic that I was feeling this way in my very first advising class than my any other classes. Not to compare, but I never felt that way with others. I felt respected. I felt loved. They gave much effort on my subject and they never took me for granted.  Nevertheless, these was all in the past. This thing was resolved already. I just want to express how much I felt during that time. It cut deep wounds and scars will forever be left.

But in all honesty, I can sense that they are reflections of what and who I and my classmates were before. It feels kinda weird but I can see myself in them. How hard-headed and how stubborn I was before. I had a thug highschool life. Maybe I was meant to be their adviser– we have the same personalities. What I learned the most from this class is that, you have to show your real self no matter how diverse the surrounding is. That, there is never a place for someone who conceals who he really is just to fit in the eyes of others. One should never listen to the dictates of his fears and face everything with closed fists even if it takes you to nowhere. Because in this world full of intelligent, know-it-all people, one has to believe in his own principles and that would be the best asset one could ever possess. In all sense, I learned to love STEM 4 as time went by.

To teach is a way of saying you’re rendering all that you have in the call of obligation. There will be things (and people) you’ll sacrifice in fulfilling the roles attached to this profession. There will be moments you’ll say “next time” to people you are fond of being with. You’ll sacrifice the all-night parties, the beat of non-stop loud music, the chill drinks and best moments with your best people. There will be times that you’ll be preoccupied by some works you need to accomplish on or before the set deadline. You’ll feel alienated from the work you intend to do. You’ll feel exploited for some certain moments. And you’ll just whisper at the top of your head that it is part of growing up. But to contemplate it, over espresso or a glass of wine and a serenity is a truthful grace that has come my way.

I want to say, detours, departures, and destinations. I begin and begin again another semester in gratitude and joy, even if years of studying and working has left me with more uncertain answers. But I know succinctly two or three things now: that the drive to know thyself is essential and the kind of work I have now will further define me as a person; that to teach is to learn so as not to cage oneself in a box, learn to seek the boundless horizon; that everyone is entitled to learn, not solely from the books, but what matters most is to learn from the book of life. And engrave the lessons in the heart.

Thank you to everyone who has made this semester a wonderful one, specially to the very first set of students I handled. You are all special to me this way, we grew up together. I said before that students always thank their teachers, but for always, thank you, from me, because you taught me, too. Ad astra per aspera! 

Early Christmas Love

I cannot wait for more hours (or days) for me to write about the outreach programs executed by my Personal Development students. I have decided (prior to the event) that if these will be done successfully, I will cancel the final examination and will replace it by the activity instead. STEM 2 (Slate) decided to conduct the program in Open Door Christian Academy in San Pablo, a social institution for children and orphans. Meanwhile, STEM 4 (Quartzite) conducted theirs at Nazareth Bahay Pag-ibig, a home for the Aged, also in San Pablo. It was so good that the stars and the universe has conspired that my two PerDev classes/sections didn’t conduct the programs simultaneously for I really wanted to witness both classes on how they will execute their plans and its immediate outcomes. STEM 2 began at 8am and ended around 10am while STEM 4 started at 11am-ish and ended at around 12:30pm.

Children in the orphanage were abondoned by their parents/families, abused by others and even some family members, turned over by the DSWD and some were just left by private people in the institution. It broke my heart to hear such stories. How can people neglect these wonderful children whereas they are all adorable and sweet? How can they leave them alone without letting them feel that they are loved and remembered? I dunno. They might have their reasons. But whatever they may be, it is and will never be acceptable for me.

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STEM 2 gave me an outstanding accomplishment. Regardless to say, we are never new to typical children’s party, parlor games, mini programs, gift-giving and all. But this one was quite different for me. The children have already established a close relationship and rapport with their “Ate’s” and “Kuya’s”. It felt so good to see children without biological families smiling and laughing over the mini party they conducted. You’ll see how can a pair of slippers change their moods; how can a party bag lift up their spirits; how can a simple shoebox make them feel that there is someone who actually cares for them. You’ll see how happy they were– they were grinning from ear to ear.

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Mae, 18, one of the children, asked me if I am their teacher while my students were performing their jingle. I immediately responded “Oo”. She smiled and asked me what grade already are they. I answered, “Grade 11 na, baby. Ikaw ba?” “Ah may grade 11 na po ba? Grade 12? 13? 14? Grade 4 po ako, Mam”. “Hanggang Grade 12 lang, baby.”  I asked her what is her favorite subject. She answered me with “Math po.” I pointed my students whilst saying “Sila din. Math favorite nila.” She smiled and told me, “Sana po maging kagaya nila ako..”

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meet Mae, one of the bravest girls I know

Witnessing the genuine smile of the children along with STEM 2 gave me tons of enthusiasm and joy. I am honored that I had the chance to see the innocence in their every laugh and tears. You’ll see in these children how grateful they were for the gifts they have received from my students. You’ll see how happy they were from watching the mini-program the class has conducted. You’ll see a sense of serenity in their eyes amidst the chaos in their hearts. It was very overwhelming that the little things STEM 2 brought gave a thousand smiles, immeasurable laughters and tons of joy.

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STEM 2 Slate

My other PerDev class, STEM 4 (who also happened to be my advisory class) prepared a short and simple program. They sang classic OPM songs, prepared lunch and simple gifts for our Lolos and Lolas. I saw that each of them are assigned with some specific tasks and that became a strong backbone for the success of the program. Everyone participated and I must admit that I didn’t expect them to be as sincere and as involved as what I saw recently. If you know my STEM 4, you’ll totally understand what I mean. They are far, far different in the Home for the Aged a while ago from their other selves in the classroom in their everyday monotonous, chaotic lives. Everyone was enjoying their companies with Lolos and Lolas. And you’ll see that they are acting like everything was not about their grades per sé or just to fulfill the requirements I mandated. They were there to bring simple joys and share happiness with the elderly. And you’ll see this in their eyes. Onserving them close and from afar, I am certain that everyone was sincere in doing their tasks. They never hesitate to offer their hands when Lolos and Lolas needed help. They were sincere in attending the needs of the elderly. Some of them (including my hard-headed men) shed a tear in their eyes. That moment, they all really made me proud.

 

We were about to leave the place when a Lola caught my attention. She was crying. One of my students asked her why. She answered, “aalis na kasi kayo..” We promised to come back before christmas and give a little present for them again. It broke my heart into pieces. I think she’s terrified of being left behind over and over again. I think seeing people leaving her is a pain she cannot handle anymore. And it stings a lot more inside.

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STEM 4’s activity was somehow heartbreaking for me. Seeing elderly being taken cared of by a social institution instead of their families is a pain in my heart. This also reminded me of my Nanay who just passed away recently– on my birthday. By merely seeing them, I can see a vivid picture of the last few years of Nanay on Earth. It was heartbreaking for me to see them living a routinary life inside the home without their families by their side. I myself can never afford to see my parents being taken cared of by others instead of me when they get old.

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STEM 4 Quartzite

It was truly overwhelming that my students get to foster a sense of love and respect for the elderly. I was thankful that everyone participated and became a part and parcel of the success of this activity.

This is the beauty of Personal Development. We don’t always get to develop all by ourselves. We develop through learning from others– listening to real-life stories, getting a glimpse of others’ lives, hearing the noise of the surrounding and the vibe it brings. We sometimes complain about everything, f*ck this goddamn life and take things for granted. We ignore the beauty we get from life, ignore the melody and forgets to sway with it, not knowing that these little things are the biggest happiness of some.

We normally study about life in various perspectives. We talk about the vulnerable sectors of the society. We discuss concepts and theories we read from the textbooks and the handouts. We recite. We report. But more than these, it is essential that we see things in its most profound sense– see life in the actual scenario, learn to live with it to the fullest and thank God for the gift of life.

This, indeed, is an early christmas gift for them. Thank you for an outstanding performance, STEM 2 and STEM 4! I am so proud of you all. Cheers on your success!

(Photos aren’t all mine. Credits to Alena Guia, Darla May Montalbo and Bianca Uy)

 

To my Good Old Friend Who Began to Drift Away

Hi. I dunno why my fingers are itching to write and why you suddenly popped up my mind. It has been years since you veered away from the friendship we have built since we were innocent children. I kept on mesmerizing the moments we had, the jokes we have shared, the stories we talked about, the toys we had, the special occasions that bring chills down to our bones. And a lot more.

I was casting my mind back to that day when our friendship began to fizzle out. Everything seems vivid and clear. I can still remember the details, our lines, the foul words we’ve thrown to each other and the hard feelings I had during that very hour. There were lot of nights I dreamed about you. Perhaps because I think of you before I hit the sheets. I asked the universe whether or not I’ve been good to you for this anguish feeling to ever resonate in me.

Crossing over your social media accounts minutes ago (after n years) got me feeling out of sorts. I am glad that you have become the person you ever wanted to be, and that you are getting nearer and nearer to the dreams we’ve talked about long time ago. I know since then that you will eventually get there. You are intelligent, brave and you’ve got that happy soul. I am also enthusiastic to know that you’ve found the love of your life and you are happily living with him now with your two beautiful children. You’ve promised me that I’ll be your Maid of Honor on the day you’ll tie the knot. That didn’t happen but I am still happy. I was teary-eyed seeing you in a white dress. The plans and dreams we’ve talked about before came into reality. You were amazing!

Today, sad things still dampen my spirit. And truth be told, your absence is a pain in the arse. I am still dealing with constant desolation and my mind is still clouded by too much bitterness and incertitude. A lot of thoughts spread and baffled with astonishing rapidity. The merciless scalpel of criticism still hurts and stings worse from within. My heart was veiled with hatred and contempt. I somehow held grudge and the twinge of regret rested in me. I resent it hundreds, no thousands of time everyday. We’ve both done a single tremendously atrocious mistake and made thick walls between us. From this struggle, we’ve both lost– it broke us down into inextricable chaos.

But here. I guess I never had the chance to say ‘thank you’ for constantly being there. For being my walking diary and for listening to my endless random thoughts and non-sense stories. Thank you for listening and giving me the best pieces of advise whenever I am lost. Having this distance from you, I learned how to be independent; how to decide for my jinx self; how to stand on my beliefs and point of views and to believe in myself even more. Thank you for calling me over the phone at 2 or 3am just to ask if I am okay or how did my day go. Thank you for slapping me whenever I do or prioritize stupid things over the essential ones. Thank you for drinking beer and vodka with me, until we both get drunk and escape the world even for a while.

I might seem to be slipping back to the old habits we’ve spent years ago trying to salvage myself from. I am serene these days that a parcel of me believes that these random thoughts of mine about us are locked in eternal slumber somewhere. Amidst conciousness. But a bigger, unrelenting part refuses to brand me a “vague, non-existing throb in someone else’s life”. In my own life. I am pulsating veins. Locked but never hidden.

Days after you’re gone, most of the things I used to have in my everyday monotonous life seemed a little strange. Years after you’re gone, both of us have totally changed and damaged. For so many times, my life is perceived to hang precariously by the thread of capricious fate. I just want you to know that I totally get it why you drifted away. Maybe, I was just too harsh and some things were left misunderstood. But I still won’t say sorry for being real.

If we ever cross the roads again and a pecuniary nexus has again been made, if we ever see each other from afar, I am certain we’ll be different women– far better than the teenage selves we were years ago. We would see each other from a different perspective now.

PS. I’d painstakingly wait until the day we become friends again.

PPS. I miss you, bitch. Very badly.

An Open Letter to my Students

Hello. Good morning/afternoon, class!

It is always an honor to be part of your academic lives. I am thankful that we are becoming each other’s companion from my seven o’clock till 3:20 from Monday to Friday. You have become a part of my day-to-day mundane life and that is what makes my day extraordinary.

This is me looking back on the life I’ve had before—travelling down memory lane. Casting my mind to those darkest hours, it felt like collapsing. Sad things baffled on top of my head that used to dampen my spirit most of the friggin’ time. There were numerous moments in my life where I felt lost, I did not know what path to take, what career to choose and what kind of life to live. Before, I was wishful to have a job worth having—something I know I would grow, I would learn from and would be my platform towards development. So long, I kept on being rejected and trashed over the shredder. I felt that my world is at the verge of collapse. My mind was clouded with too much bitterness and incertitude. I was uncertain what kind of coffee I should pour on my empty cup. I was unsure if this is all worth it, or will I have a good career on teaching. Or honing the minds of high school students really the fate written in my stars. I was uncertain. I was in the midst of nowhere. Until this opportunity came.

This is me showing the real side of me. I am not your typical type of a teacher, the kind of teacher this society has ever imagined.  I am not a role model. You cannot look up to me. I might never be a good example to you. Yes, I should admit, I have flaws and weaknesses from which I cannot conceal. You’d hear foul words from me. I speak frankly. I do not sugarcoat words. What I feel would be transparent and I’d show it without hesitations. I play DOTA. I drink liquors. I still get home at midnight till dawn. I go chillin’ and (mid)night parties. And checking papers and writing lesson plans are pain in the ass.

This is me introducing my darkest side. I was not your typical excellent student before. I didn’t graduate on time, without Latin Honors. I haven’t been part of the Dean’s List. Like some of you, I cut classes. I sleep during class. I rely from internet sources. I would prefer sleeping than reviewing for my exams. I cram academic papers and researches. I often come to my classes late without even browsing my notes and getting caught by a surprise quiz. I never recite. I stumble from time to time. I procrastinate. I was oftentimes physically present but my mind would be found outside the class. I lack the confidence to face the public. I do senseless things over big matters. I would drink beers and rhum to escape academic problems. I get depressed so easily. This is me showing what kind of a student I was.

But this is me thanking you for being part of this new journey I have today. Thank you for staying with me as I venture the clueless road ahead of me and guiding me along the way. I must admit, I didn’t know how to start, where to begin at, who to talk to and all. I was a tabula rasa from the moment I began. Thank you for being the light that guided me in revealing the shore in this ocean of darkness.

This is me being grateful of all the stories you share. I thank the heavens for lighting up my everyday mood through the laughters we share in the classroom or at the milk tea shops. That the random thoughts and stories we’ve talked have deeper meaning to me. You’ve introduced me to the real social world, not only to the texts and articles I read over the news and tabloids. I am genuinely thankful–and I see it in your eyes– that you are very much willing to share your thoughts to me, your life experiences, your struggles, your jokes, your naughtiness, your predicaments, your burgeoning concern in some random things– with me. I enjoy the sagas we use to belabor. In that way, I felt like I am not only becoming a teacher. I am becoming your friend.

This is me apologizing for all the shortcomings I had. I might have shouted at you or spoke virile and bad words on you for the ill manners you’ve shown. I might have scolded you for speaking with your seatmate whenever I discuss in front of the class. I might have brought vexations among you. I might have thrown sarcasm over the senseless and mediocre things you spoke about. I might have pissed you, denigrated you or daunt you in one way or another. This is me saying “sorry”. For all those times I wasn’t able to attend our class for I was preoccupied by extra works and personal matters, this is me feeling guilty.  Believe me, I wasn’t wasting our time. You were always in my mind whenever I was not around.

This is me saying sorry for not memorizing your names too easily or even familiarizing your faces. I have a hard time recognizing faces and memorizing names of people I encounter. Time will come that I’ll forget about your name, your section, the subject I taught you and the moments we had shared. But this is me hoping that if we happen to cross the road, you’ll greet me with a happy face like you usually do today. This is me letting you know that those random times you say “Hi, Maam” or “Hi, Mam Maldonado” meant a lot to me. It is a subtle indication that I exist, that I am meant for something, I am worthy of the few seconds of your lives.

Many of you would find me “cool” for some odd reason I don’t understand. I sometimes need to assess myself how do the public eye looks at me. Or how do you see me as your teacher. The word “cool” would be hard to operationalize and would be harder to define. I am just being myself. What you see is what you get. Cliche as it may sound, however, that is the personality I should portray. This is me admitting that one of the best things I learned from life is to be real in whatever aspects. That the best things aren’t those we normally conceal just to be accepted by the society. It is, for me, better to show the darkest and deepest part of ourselves than to hide in someone else’s shadows.

This is me reminding you that all your efforts and sacrifices are all worth it. It is not merely by recording your performance tasks, quizzes, exams, and projects from the record book until I encode it to Microsoft excel. The moment you learn from it and see a glimpse of life from it, would be better than I ever hoped for. The best sorts of lessons are not recordable in the class record. But in life.

This is me reminding you that all those mistakes you’ve done will not forever be a mistake. There is no need to mull over the shortcomings we’ve done. Acquiring a mistake is a mean for us to grow. Much more maturely than before. And by being mature, we are starting to comprehend things profoundly. We deal with stuff in a more sensible way.  This is to remind you to never vindicate yourselves over the things won’t matter anymore. There is never a constant thing in this ever-changing world. Things are inevitable, and we must be accustomed to this changes. Change is not a capricious or nebulous process. Embrace these changes.

This is me hoping that the best for you is yet to come. You might have been given a failing mark, or a grade below 80. But trust me, that will never define you as a person. Your line of 9’s will never be your ticket to success. This is me hoping that the lessons you obtained from me would be more than what were written in the handouts I give or the random stories I share. Not even the identification and essay type of questions I bestow. I hope your learn from life and engrave in your minds that learning isn’t only confined in the four corners of the classroom. You’ll learn much more things outside the class. This is me reminding you to think outside the box. And remember that passing the course and learning the lessons are two different things. Fight mediocrity.

This is me looking forward to having more memories to share with you as the semester reaches its end. This is me saying I love you and I do not regret choosing this path.

This is me. Your teacher, your adviser, your friend and your companion.

Class dismissed.

I miss you when it rains

The weather’s kinda gloomy
Here all alone, feeling lonely
Things lately are becoming a little mundane
And I miss you when it rains

Your calls asking me if I arrived safely
Visiting me home just to see me
Little things I now miss, my life’s in vain
I still miss you when it rains

The cold breeze of the surrounding’s air
The warmth of the coffee that we share
Still linger beside me, make me insane
Yep, I miss you when it rains

Lying on my bed with nobody to talk to
Scolding me for the bad things that I do
Chatting moments way down memory lane
Then, I might miss you when it rains

Feeling empty without you by my side
Sad things dampen my spirit, I cannot hide
Uncertain if you feel the same
Because I miss you when it rains

Listening to the same old songs
Through this same white earphones
Until we fell asleep and call it a day
And I’ll miss you when it rains

Pluviophile, I love the sound of those beautiful drops
Music to my ears, hit like a pop
Times when with the water we play
I miss you when it rains

We used to cuddle under the night sky
Trying to find our hiding brave star
When raindrops kept on falling against our skin
I miss you when it rains

These raindrops are the tears in my eyes.
And you will always be my rain.

Twenty-two

A week ago was supposed to be a happy day. It was my twenty-second birthday. Too many thoughts kept baffling in my mind from which I couldn’t help but stare on an empty space and think of all these random thoughts bottled up inside me. I was happy yet feeling empty and cold at the same time.

I am glad that God has given me another year to conquer life. Another year to live. Another year to accomplish tasks, to strive for the best version of myself, to add rainbows and unicorns in my grayscale world, meet people and learn new things. From my each and every day living my monotonous life, I am glad beyond compare that I can now see my defined purpose. That, the things I was praying earnestly a year ago are now becoming pinches of reality. I am beyond happy upon seeing myself undergoing my metamorphosis. I am thankful for another year waiting ahead.

But that was my most sorrowful birthday. My Lola whom I fondly call Nanay passed away on the day I was hoping to be one of my best. It was exactly 1:00 in the morning when she sighed on her last breath. God must have heard my prayer the night before. I thanked Him for giving me my Nanay and that, I am more than blessed to have a grandparent like her. I prayed that if this is the right time for her to rest, so be it. I am letting her go. I know, she had lived a beautiful and meaningful life, after all. And anytime God wants her to leave this chaotic place, I asked Him to let my heart be prepared. That was my birthday wish. Hours passed and I didn’t notice I had slept. My mother woke me up crying and voiced out the worst news. Nanay was barely breathing and the whole family were gathered altogether. Tears streamed down my face upon looking at her suffer and subtly bidding her goodbye. I was thanking her for everything and that I am good and she can now rest. Memoirs kept on flashing in my mind as I was staring at her. From my childhood and carefree days, my high school years, the complex college life up to date. I was casting my mind back to those days and they all seemed so fresh. And those precious memories which used to be a source of my happiness were now the sad things that dampen my spirit most of the friggin’ time. It got me feeling out of sorts. I stared at Nanay, kept on memorizing her face, tracing every line, every fiber, every detail of her– the beautiful yesterdays. I will surely miss her. I was given another life to live as one was taken away. Unorthodox, it might seem. But hell yes, this is life.

But this. I am grateful that God has blessed me with people who lift me up when I feel down, people I can turn to in times of pain and sorrow, people who stay true to me despite all my imperfections and flaws. I thank my family for staying strong and to never giving up on me whatever it takes. I thanks the heavens that I have these positive spirits beside me to cheer me up when I feel that my world is at the verge of collapse. To my friends who stayed by my side and continue staying at the periphery cheering me on despite failures and rejections. You, guys are the real MVP’s!

I would also love to share my very first birthday surprise. My (very first) advisory class, STEM 4, threw a birthday surprise. That was a day after my birthday, same day with the Cook Fest. Three of my advisee students came to the faculty room, rushing, reporting that one of their classmates (Alex) was again hyperventilating. I was stimied for a moment. I even scolded them for wasting time going downstairs instead to bringing their classmate to the clinic right away. But that was no new to me. So I came up at the third floor, a bit panicky but still composed, so I can immediately respond to her health needs. And ta da!!

(can’t embed the videos, so here. Part 1 and Part 2)

I was not used getting surprises though I know that is one of my strengths. I have the flair to smoothly throw a surprise to my friends’ birthdays without them getting any hint. I was the one who prepare birthday surprises to my teachers and mentors and even to my closest buddies. And during my birthday, I felt how good and overwhelming it was. I thank God for having this beautiful moment in the midst of my life’s chaos. Thank you, STEM 4 Quartzite, my love.

I’d also like to thank my students from STEM 2 Slate, HUMSS/GAS Rhyolite and ABM 2 Obsidian, along with my 9-Bernoulli (Brace), 9Coulomb, 9 Dalton, 9 Erlenmeyer and 9 Faraday who greeted me that day. I love you, my dearest students! You are all blessings from above. My heart was overflowing with so much joy upon reading your letters and messages. Thank you from the bottom of my broken heart.

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ABM 2 Obsidian

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HUMSS/GAS Rhyolite

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20? meh

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Rhyolite babies

I am twenty-two, still immature and young. I know I have a lot of things to learn from life. Today, I realized that life must be fully-lived and every moment must be seized. C’est la vie! Life is never always a piece of cake and a cloud of happiness. There are moments I should embrace pain and eventually come up stronger. I have to let go of people not because I don’t love them but because this is what they need. This is their fate and God’s heavenly will.

I was born and a life was taken away in the moment when a great soul awakens out of the protospirituality of ever-childish humanity and detaches itself from the mantle of the earth. A from from the formless, a bounded and a mortal thing from the boundless and enduring. It blooms on the soil of an exactly definable landscape, to which plant-wise, it remains bound. At twenty-two, I am that plant wandered around, seeking for the ray of sunlight.

I honestly did not know what to feel during my birthday. Even my feelings were uncertain. But there is only one thing I am sure of right now. I am hundred percent sure I am deeply loved.

Life is (still) good. Happy birthday to me.

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First Step to the Real World

I was a star lost in the dark. A star that gradually eradicating its brightness as time passes away. A star so distant from the light of the moon. Unsparkling. Losing. Vanishing

I am uncertain if this is worth posting. I just want to share an experience of mine how I was hired for the first time after (finally) leaving the university life and making my initial steps to the “real world”.

The Human Resource Department of Laguna College sent me an e-mail two months after my application. (By the way, Laguna College is my family’s Alma Matter.) I have known that they prefer UP, Ateneo, La Salle graduates and their alumni in the workforce. That was a relief. They were inviting me for a job interview (1st week of April). I immediately responded to their e-mail and showed up on the day they have set. It wasn’t really an interview. It was more of “little talks” about my life. Simple questions were asked and I did not encounter the typical interview questions we normally see and observe. I was just asked light questions like my family background and the school/university I graduated from. I was really chilled and there were no butterflies in my stomach that time unlike my experiences in the previous companies I had interview at.

They called me after a day or two and invited me to conduct a teaching demo. I confirmed and did the actual thing. The thing is, it was the same presentation I demonstrated at Mariwasa where I got my very first rejection. (If you keep on following my blog, might as well, you know the reason why.) However, I somehow modified the slides and made it even better since I will be discussing the topic for more than one hour. The topic was about conspicuous consumption and I focused in the Philippine setting for it to be more interesting. I felt confident presenting the topic to the SocSci (Social Science) class under Professor Calix (unsure of the spelling). The students came from Accountancy and Education division/department. There were five professionals in the panel including Miss Baldrias, the dean of the Education department and Miss Lazado, the Vice President of the university.

Since the topic was about conspicuous consumption and I merely had to magnify it in the local setting, I gave examples near to their hearts– consuming products that are not really necessary but were rather consumed because of the status they bring. It was a fun discussion though, as I saw it, since they were all attentive and enthusiastic as we went along. I gave first an ice breaker, a Logo Quiz, to set up the mood on a hot yet placid afternoon. The consequence was, the losing group should throw a joke or a knock-knock joke at the end of the session. It was followed by an interactive discussion and an evaluation/assessment. I found it hard to think of a way on evaluating or assessing them what they have learned within that particular hour. I hate quizzes– that was really old school and I felt that there was a need for certain kind of innovation. So I ended up conducting a mini pageant since many of us still can’t get over the recent Binibining Pilipinas. I found it quite relevant so I adopted the Q and A portion. I grouped the class into pairs. Each should pick a question from a box and answer it within 30 seconds only. They, I guess, were excited of it. The questions I prepared were light and the answers should come from their hearts. I mean, opinions and reflections. I assessed my students subjectively rather than pressuring them objectively.

And it was all a success! Yay! I did my ALL– more than my very best. I was praised for my job well-done and the panel congratulated me. That moment, I was inch by inch adjusting to the class as I was presenting and it was kinda weird that I didn’t felt any nervousness at all. (Nux! Haha) unlike the feelings I had when I was standing in front of people whenever I report/recite in class. Nahh, it’s just I learned to trust myself more than I trust anybody else. And there can be nothing greater than doing my best in all the things that I do.

Teaching is really a great profession. It makes all other professions possible. I have lots of family members who are in the same profession. And another, it is my passion to engrave knowledge to others whilst continuously learning every day. This is something I look forward to when it comes to finding my job. My first job is really a big deal to me and I want this to be something I know I would love and something I am passionate of. Yes, I never excelled during college. I didn’t even aced an exam. I never belonged to the dean’s list and honor roll. I was just passing my courses. I was just a commoner barbarian kid in UP.

When I applied as a Training Officer in a company, I was really eager to get the job. Because, being a trainer means getting involved with the students- or in that case, workers- and bringing impact to their professional lives. That is something I would like to do, to teach, to train and to lead. The proximity of the work will only fall as a secondary consideration. Thinking of it, this is ideal. It would also be great if I will have teaching in the academe as a good platform for me to venture the real world in a clean slate.

source

It just came all of a sudden personal realization that I am not weak and my presentation was not that bad. I mean, it only should take the most suitable people to appreciate and see the best in my work. It’s not that the panel I used to present before wasn’t that great, they are, actually. But I suit better to the people I stood up with for the second time around. I mean, it is not me who was lost and unable to see the right track. It’s just, I have to find the best kind of people whom I can grow and nourish more professionally.

Here’s the thing. I kept on being rejected from different companies I applied for. I applied to so many companies and it’ll take forever if I’m gonna mention ’em all. However, after being interviewed and evaluated, they will end up sending me regret messages and even, not sending follow up messages and results of the interviews and screenings. There were also calls inviting me for an interview yet I didn’t respond. It’s just I felt damn tired waiting and giving myself false hopes over and over again. I felt broken and I bled on the inside. I was too exhausted seeking the best path for me.

For some, they might think that I was thwarting opportunities. Yet for me, it is the other way around. Those “opportunities” kept on putting me on the shredder. For so many times I did try, I wasn’t accepted. I thought it was me who doesn’t fit to the standards they have set. But I now know it was not that. I am not weak. I am not incompetent. I am not unskilled. It’s just I fit to better roles where I know I can further improve. I don’t hold grudges to companies who rejected me. Aside from being so used to such feeling, I still thank them for letting me tackle a better path; for letting me know that I can be stronger than I am today and the day they said “no” to me.

With these, I have nothing and nobody to hold on to except the mighty and benevolent  powers of God Almighty. I lifted everything to God. I cried and prayed earnestly that I may find the light in paving the path I should take. I asked Him to drive the car of my life and I will be passenger sitting on the front seat trusting Him without any doubt, without any words.

Despite the optimism I see from myself, there are still people negating my decision. They keep on asking me why I “fall down” to teaching. That– I should’ve pursued Education as my degree; Teaching must be the ONLY thing I can do. I kept on hearing (and reading) “Sa pagtuturo ka din pala babagsak.”;  “Bakit ka magtuturo, di ka naman teacher?”; “Akala ko ba ayaw mo magturo?”;  “Sadyang wala na ba ga talagang mapuntahan?” and the likes. Thank you for the derogatory words! But hey, I am not belittling them but why can’t they think that teaching is far too better than what they do with their jobs– stapling papers, picking up calls, photocopying and scanning? But geez! I always choose not to ruin my each and every day so I better get rid of all those kinds of persons in my life. Instead of questioning my decisions, why can’t they just get a life instead? And (again), it is myself who would do the job, at the end of the day.

indif

For quite some time, I felt like giving up and thought of sulking myself in a corner and just quietly bleed. There was a pivotal point between me being a happy person and me having a divided spirit. I temporarily wallowed in pain and shut myself from the world. But still, there were no harvest of barren regret during the moments I’ve tried. Because God wants me to realize deeper things in life and I am sure that He will never left me hanging and let me live my life out of nowhere. I kept on being rejected because God is directing me to a better and clearer path. Cliche as it may sound, there is always something greater waiting as we lose another.

I thank those who see the best in me despite all my weaknesses and downfalls. Those who–in one way or another– believed (and still believe) in me despite the failures I get in life. Thank you for waiting for my right time. I mean, you all never changed. You are still the same friends I have in the whatever hype of my life’s roller coaster ride. You da real MVPs!

And to everyone who I failed, I am not sorry. It is you who put all your expectations high on me and I was this kid who still strove for the best of who I can become. I see that you are only with me during the “up” times. Whenever I achieve something, I pass licensure examinations, pass hard core subjects and get awards. You were there for me during my successes. You were the ones who stood along the peripheral road cheering me on. And I thank you for that. But it was quite disappointing that you were not there with me during the dark times. And you were the ones who slap me with my weaknesses instead of making me feel good, better and more inspired. Your words cut down as hell and it felt like it stabbed me in the back. But yeah, thank you! I know now who I should keep and those I should get off of my life. I am now drawing the lines between us.

I decided to drive my own life and conquer the path I would love to tackle. I will not be this pawn of the system people have designed. I am now brave not to heed the dictates of my fears and listen to my heart this time. I know I should’ve done this long time ago but everything still turned good and it seemed to be my sweetest downfall. Everything still happens for a reason.

It was a smooth week for me. But since I am a newbie in the department and is one of the newest faculty member, I am still adjusting myself– from my daily routine, the culture they practice, my fellows, the students and the kind of work I must perform. Several of the faculty members came from UPLB, some from Ateneo, PNU and Laguna College. It was nice to see fellow alumni from UP.

First week

Monday. Orientation and there was nothing that we did except that we (newly-hired faculty members) were introduced to Grade 11 students in the gymnasium.

Tuesday. I was designated to be the adviser of HUMSS/GAS along with Mr. Flores. Meeting students from both Senior and Junior High was somehow exciting. New faces, new experiences.

Wednesday. I am now the adviser of STEM 4. I alone. And it was a challenge for me. I am inch by inch adapting to everything and I need time to fully understand how it is to be an adviser. I let my students write a letter to their 25-year old self and hoping to give it back to them after n years. I do not know how but let’s see what I can do.

Thursday. The struggle is real. It is. Having fully loaded with seven classes a day is a pain in the arse. Discussing concepts would be good yet the stamina I have preserved for the whole day is gradually losing. Junior high is quite challenging than the seniors.

Friday. Last day. Yayyy! I only have two classes during Fridays. And a three-hour vacant in between. Classes are both in the Junior high. And the only thing I am challenged of is the way I should handle them. They differ (a lot) from Seniors in many aspects. Well, I am still adjusting and I let myself take the adequate time I need.

I do not even know why I am writing this and how should I syntax every fragment. I do not have to let other people know who am I and there is nothing I must prove. It is just, I am tired of explaining myself to people who won’t bother understand. I am just being myself and this is my humble beginning.

These are just few initial steps of the long journey I will going to explore. And along the road, I will keep only the positive people and might as well leave others behind who will hinder me as I move along. This is the real fight and I am now ready to conquer you, real life!

I was a star lost in the dark. Not knowing that a star shines more brightly during the darkest hour.