The Roadblock

I was once ambitious. I had the fire. I was willing to explore the highway. I told myself I’d overcome all the obstacles, climb the top of the mountain, and make a difference. But somewhere along the road, I took a detour and never went back to the path I originally wanted for myself. Somewhere along the road, I lost myself.

What happened?

I feel like I no longer have that fiery spirit one needs to succeed. I lost my competitive streak. The sad part? I was aware but I never did anything to bring it back. Or if I ever did, it obviously wasn’t enough.

I was an adventurer willing to venture into the unknown. But somewhere along my adventures, I came across  a comfortable zone that I didn’t know I craved until I was there. Unknowingly, I settled in and the  comfort was too great I couldn’t get out.

Or maybe I could but deep inside the recesses of my consciousness, I didn’t want to resist that pull.  Maybe during one of those short intervals wherein my fiery spirit resurfaced, I didn’t cooperate. Oh I did try. Many times, in fact. But not enough. It obviously wasn’t enough.

Maybe I wasn’t the determined adventurer I thought I was. Maybe the failures and mistakes I thought I conquered left wounds I never noticed and wore me out. As the path became more challenging with all its traps and barricades, did doubt in what I’m capable of creep in making detours more tempting? Was the blazing fire I thought I had merely a flame from a candle? Easily lit, but easily extinguished. Was I not good enough for the path I’ve chosen?

I feel like I’m stranded for a very long time now. From this small haven I call my comfort zone, I observed countless others fighting their own battles. While I was willingly trapped, I watch them take a step forward towards their goals and dreams. Become a beacon of hope and a role model to those who still have a lot of challenges cut out for them. Then I’d think, “Why am I still here? Haven’t I over welcomed my leisurely stay? Shouldn’t I be out there making my mark in the world too?” Finally, reality is slowly catching up with me.

From someone who detoured and chose to be a spectator as others traveled their paths, I realized that the road I was in isn’t even worthy of comparison to the roadblocks that tried to hold others back. I let a few tumbles stop me when others had to jump off a cliff. If their fire remained, why can’t mine?  If they were able to find joy in every step, why can’t I? Why did I choose to be happy in my comfort zone instead of being happy at the sense of accomplishment I’ll get if I participated in the race as well?

I let opportunities pass by because I was too comfortable. Why am I settling for less when I can have more? Why did I lose the competitiveness I used to love about myself? Why am I not as driven to better myself anymore? Instead of being a tiny flame that can cause a forest fire, I easily let a little bit of wind put me out.

What happened? I asked.

I happened. Somewhere along the road, I turned myself into my own roadblock. I was the one holding myself back, denying me of the life I wanted. I became the detour that trapped me into a comfort zone of my own creation.  Am I the only one suffering from this affliction?

I haven’t done anything because what time I was given, I wasted on the senseless while others have made the most out of theirs. Seeking out opportunities and turning obstacles into windows of opportunity. I chose to see my scars in the form of self doubt and insecurities instead of seeing them as a reminder that I can heal from whatever mistakes or failures I’ve been through. I chose to see a glass as half empty instead of half full.  I’m less because I allowed myself to be contented with less. I chose to spend my time on triviality instead of participating in substantial and life changing opportunities. Because of this, I haven’t accomplished as much as I initially wanted to. We’re a product of our choices and their consequences. In my case, I became a roadblock that I have yet to overcome.

Will knowing that I was at fault make me a better person again? Is wishing that I can escape the lesser self I’ve become enough? Will planning my escape from this roadblock I’ve created bring me back the fire I needed to make the escape  possible?

No.

What is merely a thought will remain a thought until they are put into action. It’s just then that they will start making a difference. It’s then that I can finally find again the path I originally planned on pursuing and become the better person I wanted to be.

A roadblock should be seen as an opportunity, not an obstacle. A chance to be better. Stronger. Wiser.

And now, there’s a new roadblock a few steps ahead. A new opportunity to prove something for myself. I’ve been thinking, planning and enjoying long enough.

It’s time to make a difference.

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*

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

Failure seems to be the hardest word.

The idealist in me had planned 5 months ago that a change in ways, manners, principles and outlook must be enforced and achieved. However, the results showed otherwise. If ever I did change, which was definitely not the case, it wasn’t for the better. Unfortunately, it was for the worse.

For a semester deprived of dance trainings every night, I was supposed to be performing better in an entirely different arena—the academe. The decrease in the number of distractions and consequently, the time allotted for such distractions should have resulted to an increase in the improvement of my grades. Logically, that should have been the case, but reality turns out to be the complete opposite. I don’t have a boyfriend anymore to share idle time with, no dance training every night or performance to think about. I should have had more time for pursuing academic excellence—as what our professors continuously remind us to do.

The plans my ideal self planned to achieve was a failure. The realist in me failed to live up to the standards, simple because I lacked the discipline, the will, and the enthusiasm to do so. My grades were mediocre. I was a complete and utter failure.

I often find articles regarding how grades should not define a person, how learning has ceased to be an enjoyable experience due to the stress that running after excellence has been giving, how being in a school for achievers has made grades the yardstick of success, how we became victims by trading our enthusiasm to learn for an uno. I often applaud such articles, for the simple fact that I can see myself in those words. Knowing that several others approve of such articles and relate to the predicament these articles voice out was a breather. It was like pulling a huge thorn out of my heart.

I was not alone.  Someone had the courage to write and voice out the situation that has inadvertently made me and several others see that we have become victims of the determination to maintain the cream of the crop status. A status that has forever been the light that we often find ourselves following and the light we enjoy immensely, despite its burning consequences, like a moth attracted to the light lamp, only to have its wings burned for being so near or aiming to be near, fascinated by the shine its light promises.

Being an emblem of excellence has promised us of a brighter future, one with success hanging unto every step we take and every word we say. Yet, how many college drop-outs and students with mediocre or failing grades had disproved that? Plenty out there, I’m sure. Somehow, this could be a suggestion that an absence of excellent grades in the transcript does not entirely equate failure, doesn’t it? Surely, there must be something else besides the grades, right?

Having such thoughts, however, does not make me feel better about myself. I was merely looking for an excuse for the lack of improvement on my part. I was desperately looking for an explanation that would remove the blame from me, and unto the system. I may be a victim of such circumstance, however, that does not justify that I should take these subjects carelessly, which I did. What a shame.

Somewhere along the years, I had ceased to enjoy learning just for the sake of learning, even for the things that I used to be interested in. I was a history enthusiast, a literature geek, and one who appreciated Science and all the wonders it offers. Yet, here I am, no longer able to read anything about History, of have the time to take a time for enjoying the Classics. Much worse, I have come to a point that I don’t want to learn anything about Science. Ironically, my course demanded me to love it, for I was a student studying Chemistry. The Queen of Science, they often say. Learning about her has been a very tough and rocky ride. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve shedded tears over her, whether it was for a failing score on an exam, the extensive laboratory reports, or the failing grades.

I want another chance to prove to myself that I can be better than that. I often wonder why I couldn’t even appreciate the number of blessings and chances that have been knocking on my door. I’m not even sure if I had ever allowed those chances to get the most out of me or if I had ever appreciated and put to use the blessings that has been pouring in, waiting.

I may have told myself a number of times that I would change. I sincerely hope that this time, it’s not only about telling but doing.

Staring at the mirror of the past and the present

After decades of being lost or whatever you call it, I have decided to write again or die trying.

I really miss writing, especially the part of it that makes me express myself and my perceptions on things. Staring at this monitor in front of me, I find it so hard to let the words and thoughts flow out like the way they used to before. This is the downside of neglecting doing something for so long. When you try to go back, it’s as if you have to start from scrap. Crap.

I’m not even sure anymore if what I’m writing right now is grammatically correct or not.

When I entered college, I thought I would be able to explore myself more… be more.But from what I am seeing, leaving my comfort zone resulted to leaving a part of my identity as well. Don’t get me wrong, I like who I am right now but I love who and what I was before. I guess I just miss those times wherein I was able to do the things I really like and the things that I was obligated to do… all at the same time. Before, I was able to balance my studies, extra-curricular activities, and hobbies.

Of course, university life is obviously a different level compared to high school but then again, what I’m pointing out is my attitude towards responsibilities, obligations and whatnot. I was never the type who easily accepts failure and being average. Why should I be satisfied when I could do more than what was expected of me? I guess the reason for this kind of outlook was the fact that I have a reputation and an identity to live up to. People expected a lot from me, to be like this and like that, to be able to do this and that.

But cliche as it may seem, it’s true that when you go to a new environment, you have a chance of being a new you. Of course, it wouldn’t be so easy to assume a new identity or personality because more often than not, it’s not easy to pretend being someone else when you have been so used to being the you that you have known. But that’s not the real point here, the point is that with a new environment comes a new set of people. They don’t have the same expectations from you or perceptions about you compared to the people you knew before. They don’t really know who and what you were before.

For people like me, who used those very expectations and reputations to succeed or strive to do what it is that they want to achieve… losing that fuel meant losing the fire.

It’s really frustrating. I hate it that I have come to adhere to the concept of bahala na andpwede na yan. Why am I satisfied with the ordinary when I can do extraordinary? Why can I no longer balance my studies, extra-curricular activities, and hobbies? Why am I like this? Why?

I guess I’m just upset over the fact that I can no longer do or I don’t have the same enthusiasm for the things I love to do before. I miss reading on Literature and History. I miss writing. I miss parliamentary debating (even if it was mentally stressful, lol). I miss watching Anime and Korean dramas. I miss watching documentaries. I miss doing things that  had defined and shaped me as a person.

When I think about it, the only thing that I like to do that I’m still able to do is dancing and I have this feeling that someday, I might have to give that up too because of my studies.

It might seem shallow to be overly affected just because of these simple things but what I’m stressing here is that I am neglecting doing these little things, these very little things that I love doing just because I have to do the things that I am obligated to do but I don’t enjoy doing.

I know that I’m sulking and brooding over this situation that I’m currently in and instead of continuing to do so, I should do something productive or constructive out of it. But that’s the point, it’s as if I lost that part of me, that kind of thinking that I used to have.

Instead of becoming more, I’ve become less.

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.