A Thief in the Night

Yesterday night, I heard that a local celebrity got into a road accident (I think the bus skidded off the road and fell over a cliff) and was one of the passengers who died instantly. It was all over the news and my News Feed was full of posts saying how sad they were that he was gone. That he may have died young but he lived a meaningful life. I never knew him personally, just another celebrity who made me laugh when I was younger. Still, it caught me off guard. I didn’t expect that and I still can’t believe it happened to him. And it also made me realize how unpredictable life–and death– can be. I once said in a blog entry that,

“Death is like a thief in the night. You can never be sure when it’s going to come and rob you of something precious–your life.”

At some point, each one of us is going to die. Millions die everyday. It can be because of a disease, old age, or an accident.  I’m not afraid over the likelihood that I may die any time. However, thinking about the possible death of someone I love or someone very important to me? That I’m really afraid of. I understand old age or disease, at least I’d be able to prepare myself when the time comes. But accidents? They’re another matter. I’ll never be prepared for that. I already get teary eyed just thinking about the possibility that what if later on today, tomorrow or a few months from now, my parents, younger brother, relative or a very close friend gets into an accident and doesn’t make it out alive…

Especially my family. I don’t know how I’ll cope up with that. Hell, it took me a year to get over a silly college heartbreak. What more for the death of my… Ugh, I don’t know if I can handle that kind of pain. I’d probably cry for months. Even writing this down makes me teary eyed already. As if a part of me is ripped out. I think death can do that to a person. Even watching a TV show or a movie with someone dying in it makes me cry really hard, as if I’m the one who lost somebody. And it’s just a show for God’s sake! How much more if it’s real?What if something happens to my family? How will I ever be able to deal with that? I think I’ll never be ready for that possibility. And that’s the problem, it’s very possible. It’s there, lurking in the shadows. Looking… Waiting…

They say that death ends a life, not a relationship. You can say whatever you want to ease the pain. That they’re in a happy place or that as long as you think of them, they will still be there. That their memories will stay with you for as long as you live. Still, you can’t change the fact that it’s a period at the end of a sentence, the last chapter of the book for that someone so dear  to you. It will never ever be the same. They will never be there anymore for anything that happens in your life. 😦

These are sad and scary thoughts. I don’t want to think about all these things but I can’t bring myself to not think about it.

Ah, shit. *sigh*

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An adult trapped in a child’s body

A child is supposed to go outdoors to play, not to work.

While some of us had a childhood filled with fun memories—playing with other kids in a playground, having toys (educational or otherwise) and being fed with whatever is necessary for a growing kid, some aren’t as lucky. Just like this little boy on the photo I took last week when I went out with my friends to buy some yoghurt and chocolate milk.

He should’ve been at school, learning that horrible subject called Math and complaining about how his teachers are making his life a living hell. He should’ve been playing with the other kids before, during, or after school.

June1He’s not supposed to be out in the streets or anywhere in that matter, to sell products in order to help support his family and maybe his studies too.

I don’t know where his parents are or what they’re doing. Are they working too and he’s just helping them because the money they earn is still not enough to support their family and his studies? Are they wasting away their life gambling and drinking and doing whatever it is reckless and irresponsible parents do? Are they sick and couldn’t work so he just has to step up and be the bread winner of his family? Are his parents still alive?

I guess I’ll never really know.

I just hope he doesn’t grow weary and resentful. I hope he sees this as a challenge and a chance to better his situation. I hope this becomes a motivation for him to try hard, work hard, and excel in school (I do hope he still goes to school) so as to make sure that he gets a better shot at life sometime in the future.

I just hope that he doesn’t lose hope.

Finding Beauty in Escaping

Sometimes, you stay at one place for far too long it starts to suffocate you. Suddenly, everything is just wrong. You become too restless, like there is a need to just drop the things you have to do, need to do, and usually do and just… go. Be free of the burden that is everyday life.

If that happens, listen to that nagging whisper in your head to escape because sometimes, that’s exactly what you need at the moment. Find that one thing you could use as a means to escape reality and the problems associated with it.

Escape for me usually meant a good book or if one isn’t handy, then I just do marathons of my favorite TV series. Why? Because they bring you to places you’ve never been before, they make you feel and experience things without being exactly there. Because they make you forget just for awhile all the things that have been stressing you out lately be it work, studies, family, social, or love life. Or you can empathize with them because you know exactly how they feel at the moment because you’ve been there or currently there. Or you can simply just be entertained and admire the wonder that is creativity and imagination.

But sometimes, there is that need to literally go or escape and for me, that meant traveling to places I’ve never been before or to places I’ve been that gave me some peace and quiet. You can call it anything you want. I call it soul cleansing because there comes a time when you simply have this urge to break away from everything. Suddenly, you feel like you don’t appreciate your surroundings and feel weary. That’s the time to escape. Be cleansed. To go to places you’ve wanted or dreamed of going. To places where you can relax, be a different person without having to be judged or to be over analyzed or to simply just escape the pressure, the expectations, and the problems you face everyday.

Traveling makes you see the beauty of life. It makes you realize that there is so much beauty out there that you can take in if you let it. Do it alone if you like or you can do it with friends, whichever suits you the best.

Just recently, my academics has taken its toll on me and I’ve been a bit upset and resentful over some things, which I don’t really want to elaborate right now. When opportunity in the form of my high school friends inviting me to a 3-day getaway in a place a thousand miles away came my way, well, I can’t find it in my heart to say no. By the way, that 3-day getaway turned into a week. I was really, really reluctant to go back and do my thesis.

Here are two photos taken from that trip.

Stay at a wonderful resort away from the city. Photo: Club FortMed, Boljoon, Cebu

Stay at a relaxing and peaceful resort.

Try snorkeling and swimming with the whalesharks! They're really huuuge.

Try snorkeling and swimming with the whalesharks. They’re really huge!

But always remember to go back because no matter how tempting it is to get away from the source of all your stress and problems, it will never be a permanent solution. Don’t forget that this escape is temporary, more of a pause button than a stop. When things are too much to handle, pause. Take a breather and then resume after awhile. When you return from that getaway, you’ll feel refreshed. Like you can take on the hurdles being thrown your way and the stress becomes more bearable because there’s something you can look back to. Something beautiful, something different from what you usually encounter.

Because sometimes, that’s what we need. When we start being less enthusiastic and less appreciative due to problems and stress, then we start complaining more about our current state than doing something to change it. That’s exactly the time to go out there and see the world in order to make you realize that there is still so much beauty waiting to be appreciated, discovered and experienced. 🙂

I’LL REMEMBER YOU THIS WAY…

Death is really like a thief in the night. You never know when it’s going to come and rob you of something precious—your life.

Just this month, one of the founders of the dance group that I belonged to passed away. I’ve known for some time that he wasn’t well but even if I’ve known that the result was inevitable, I still couldn’t believe it when I heard the news. I could still remember that day clearly. It was early in the morning and I was preparing to visit him. I was just waiting for the message that would give me the directions to the hospital and when I heard the message tone of my phone, I expected to read directions to where he was. I didn’t expect it to be, “He’s gone.”

I didn’t know such a short sentence could hurt so much.

I cried. Hard.

I couldn’t help it. I just can’t. I know that I should feel better since he’s no longer in pain but there will always be that part of me that’s going to miss him, that part of me that can’t believe that everything was real, that I’ll no longer be able to see or hear from him again. I wasn’t as close to him as he was with the alumni of our group but it was already hard for me. How much more for those who were closest to him? When I was there during the wake and in the interment, I could feel it. Whenever I was able to stop crying, just seeing his family and those who were very, very close to him trying to control themselves from crying made me cry again. I can feel it. Their pain, their loss.

It showed that he was very much loved and appreciated.

         And just like what the first stanza of his favourite song says,

Every now and then
We find a special friend
Who never lets us down
Who understands it all
Reaches out each time you fall
You’re the best friend that I’ve found
I know you can’t stay
A part of you will never ever go away
Your heart will stay

 He might be gone, but our feelings for him will stay because, “Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

There were things that I wanted to say but wasn’t able to and I hope that somehow, somewhere, this reaches him…

Kuya W,

I could still remember those moments when I always badger you about money (I was Finance Head in our organization before). Ever since then, whenever we meet, you’d playfully hide from me and tell me, “Ayan nanaman siya, maniningil nanaman. May utang nanaman ba ako?” (There she goes again, collecting and asking for fees. Do I still have debts?). I will miss those times. I will miss you. Even if you kept on hiding and avoiding me because you think I’m going to collect fees from you! 😀

You were a good mentor and a friend. My memories of you were always so… energetic and fun. When you visit us during our trainings or when you go to our competitions to support us, you lighten up the pressure and the heavy mood by your jokes. You also inspire us to give our best and not be intimidated by the other competitors through your words of wisdom and encouragement. You were always supportive and you always believed in us and in what we can do.

I could still remember the first time I was able to dance and perform with you, that first time when you taught me a dance you choreographed. I felt this urge to give my best because I wanted to be as good as you were and I felt that I could do it because you were very encouraging and patient and I can feel that you believed that I could do it. I was just a trainee then. You were also one of the persons I first performed with when I finally became a member. The performance was for an orientation of our dance group. It seemed so long ago…

I remembered a few lines I’ve read in Tuesdays with Morrie,

“Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine?”

If I was asked this question, I could proudly say that you were this kind of teacher and I know that all of the people whom you had taught whether about dancing, or life in general, when asked by this question, would think so too.

You may no longer be physically present, but you will always be remembered. You might have lived a short life, but it was well-lived. I’ve always believed that a life’s worth is not based on how long it was but on how much good has been done while living it. You will never be forgotten because somehow, you’re immortalized through the things you have done for others.

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” –Henry Adams

I admit that I was really sad that you’re no longer here, physically. But I’m contented with the fact that now, I know you’re no longer in pain and your struggles are over. I may not have seen you in the last moments of your life, but maybe that’s for the better.

My memories of you will always be that of your energetic, fun, encouraging, and believing self.

I’ll remember you this way. 🙂

Captured…

…only in pen and paper.

I wish I have a good digital camera instead of a pen, paper and a cell phone camera. While words cater to the imagination, catching a part of life behind the lens of the camera would aptly describe the things that words will never be able to fully explain. I will try though, as much as I can.

I was sitting in a kiosk when I saw two street children playing and disturbing other people. What caught my eye wasn’t the typical “they-still-know-how-to-enjoy-life-despite-their-state-in-life”. What caught my attention was that one of the children was trying to mimic what seemed to me as a headstand(I can’t describe it in detail so just google it, lol). Eventually, he fell and based from the reaction in his face, it was painful. He just laid down there on the grass for a minute or two and then he smiled, got up, and went about chasing the other child with him. After a couple of minutes, he went back and tried to do a cartwheel, landed on the wrong foot and went limping back with a smile still plastered on his face.

I don’t know what made him do those things when obviously, no one really taught him to do so (or so I thought). It could be something he saw on television or have seen some older children do those things.

Aware or unaware, he was actually learning how to do some stunts.

Funny that people still think that education is confined within the four walls of a classroom when a lot of people actually just observe life, experience it, and then learn from it.

Give the child a few more years, open up possibilities to develop his skill and he can become a professional dancer. Sometimes, how skillful a person is or becomes also can be reflected from the opportunities that come his way. Everyone is capable, but not everyone is given the privilege to develop their abilities and their potential.

I just feel sorry for the state that these people are in because while there are those who don’t take things for granted, there are those—including me—who just don’t realize what was being served in their plates.

All my life, I’ve been given a lot of opportunities. Some I’ve grabbed and taken the most out of while other’s I’ve ignored or neglected. Why I chose to ignore them, I can’t exactly say. Maybe I didn’t really like them or I just haven’t seen its worth. When I think about it, those opportunities I’ve chosen to ignore or neglect (and there certainly was a lot of them) could have been the opportunities somebody out there have been wishing to have or need to have.

I just hope that these kids wouldn’t get tired of learning and waiting for better opportunities. Just like in Pandora’s box, when all of the bad have been pouring out, there’s always hope left. 🙂

Do you believe in Fate and Destiny?

“Destiny has brought us together.”

“I have to accept that this is my fate.”

Blabla.

I mean really. Is there really what we call Fate and Destiny? Does each and everyone of us has his or her future planned? Heck. I’m not just talking about love here. I mean, about everything.

Honestly, I don’t believe in fate and destiny. It’s not that I’m being hard or I’m trying to seem to be indifferent about it but because it seems to me that when we say that we believe in fate and destiny, we are actually indirectly accepting that we have no hold on our own future.

We, humans, are being dubbed as the higher species because we have FREE will. We are given the ability to think on our own, plan on our own and the like. But, this free will would seem useless in a sense because sooner or later, no matter what we do–if there really is what we call as fate and destiny–we would still end up to where we are supposed to be placed. Now, wouldn’t that be so…discouraging on our part?

If it exists, wouldn’t it be so…unfair? Unfair in a sense that, for example, you really, I mean really want to be a corporate lawyer working on a very prestigious law firm. You study hard, work hard, the list goes on. You have every opportunity open for you and you are really rooting for that dream. But then again, it’s already “written” in the “book of your life” that you’d end up as a say, a janitor or something so different from what you really like. What’s the point of letting you go all through those mazes, letting you feel you’re getting what you want but at the last minute, voila, you end up with something you didn’t want to.

We were given our own will to decide and to choose. But then because of those two bitches, what’s the point of deciding for your own when it’s not actually given for you to decide? You strive hard to ride your way to the right side but it was written that you end up on the left corner. What’s the point of letting me strive to go to the right when I won’t really end up there and good thing if you like what’s meant for you. What if it wasn’t really what you wanted out of life? Wouldn’t it be downright…mean?

It’s like letting you taste cotton candy when in fact, it would be taken away from you because you should be eating uh, I don’t know…Vegetables? You get my drift? Well, we could say that it’s just giving us the chance to experience other things before we end up with what we should be really ending up to but WHAT IF you don’t want what was laid before you? What if you wanted to be that other thing?

You could say that it could be changed. You could change your future. Then if that’s the case, it’s no longer fate or destiny because when we say it’s fate and destiny, the term itself is describing something that is fixed. Unmoved. If we could really change our future into what we want it to be, then fate and destiny isn’t working. It means, it doesn’t really exist.

For me, I guess it’s a product of commercialism and of the media. The way they seem to manipulate people’s minds and perceptions into believing something like this to suit their interests and in the end, benefit from it.

There are times though that I feel so tired doing everything I could to get what I want but in the end, all won’t be the way I want it to be. During those times, I often say, maybe this is where I am supposed to be or this is where I am meant to be. But it wasn’t because I actually believed what I was saying. It’s more of resignation or just passive acceptance. An excuse, maybe, to my current predicament.

This of course, is only an opinion. I’m not saying that I’m right or what I’m saying here is absolute. After all, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, right? I respect everyone’s perception on things and I hope you would do so with mine.

Somehow, someday…

I grew up in a world wherein what I need was always laid down on the table. I never had to beg for food or wear ragged clothes. Every time I feel cold during the night, a cozy home is always there for me to stay in. Despite the niceties and the comfort I’ve always experienced, apathy was never a trait of mine. To see the hungry children begging in the sidewalk; to feel the sadness and hopelessness radiated by the poor; to hear the cries of those who felt pain emotionally and physically;to smell the injustice of society…it hurts. It hurts because here I am, sitting pretty while people are actually suffering out there and I CAN’T DO ANYTHING TO CHANGE their state in life or even ease the pain they feel.

Who am I anyway to feel so troubled about this? Just an ordinary student, coping up with academic life and trying to just have fun. Sometimes, I wish I was extremely rich so that, somehow, I could help them. I’m so tired of looking out in the window of our car, seeing everything of these happening outside my circle. Sometimes, I’m so damn angry with people who are so busy accumulating wealth they don’t even CARE about those around them. But then again, I know that somewhere around there are people who really do go out of their way to help.

There are times that I ridiculously imagine myself a very rich and successful woman, influential even. Then, a large sum goes to charities and organizations who–like me–want to help make this world a better place by helping people. Of course, given that I’m successful in my own right, I’d use my connections to make sure that my plans would work faster. Given that I’m influential, and therefore famous, I would use this fame to gather more followers and to make people more aware of their role in uplifting our society and inspire other people who wanted to help but lack the courage and the means to do so just like me at the present.

Somehow, someday… I hope I could do this.

I want to do this not just for these people with whom the world has been utterly unfair to but for myself as well. Yes, for myself and maybe you’d say, “What the hell, it’s not your problem.” It might not be my problem but everyone has a responisiblity for everybody else. You don’t have to be a government official, NGO, or a religious leader/member in order to say that you have to help. Everyone simply has to because that is how things should work.

I often feel frustrated and disappointed because I want to help but I can’t. I feel lucky though because I was sent to a school that is active in helping other people, most especially the poor and the people with whom life has been unfair to. If not for my school’s outreach activities, I would have never been able to help in any way, big or small.

But I’m disappointed in a sense that yes, I was able to help BUT I wasn’t able to do something REALLY BIG. I want to help them in a life-changing sort of way. It isn’t enough for me to be able to teach the uneducated through Catechism or to be able to give them things and happiness through reach-outs and donations. I want to do something bigger maybe like, making a good school that isn’t even expensive but offers quality education. I want to build houses for free. I want to provide protection for the abused. I want to give people jobs with employers who wouldn’t take advantage of them. I want these people to enjoy life.

I want to make these happen…

Somehow, someday.