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*

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.

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. 🙂

A Shopaholic Realization

To some, it’s just another romantic comedy meant to entertain people, making them laugh their hearts out. But in between the cheesy lines and happy moments lie the truth about the real lives of people, shopaholic or not.

Confessions of a Shopaholic had been released months ago and I was only able to watch it because of a friend and I can say that even though it was too late, having the chance to see the movie was really an opportunity I was happy not to miss.

Despite the exaggerated lines and lighthearted atmosphere of the movie, you could see the real deal behind.

That even though the world spits you out, expect your parents to catch you and give everything they could ever give just to make things better for you (I especially felt touched at the part wherein Becky’s dad told her that he’d sell the trailer he’d been dying to have since he was young, just so Becky could pay for her debt and when Becky didn’t agree, saying it was what defines her dad, her dad said that it was her and her mom that defines him…aww.)…

That regardless of the shortcomings and the misgivings, a real friend will be there to support and forgive you. Someone who won’t criticize you for who and what you are and would be ready to help you out whether you ask for it or not(Suze!!!)…

That if a person really loves you, at the end of the day, he or she will still be there no matter what and would try what he/she could to see the good side of you and won’t simply leave you behind when things are not as good as they used to be. A person who would share with you, the ups and downs of life and would make you see things in a different perspective…

And that you could change for the better, even if the people, the environment and everything there is are actually pushing you down. It wouldn’t be as easy and yet, it could happen. Even if your dreams are meant to shatter in front of your eyes, expect other opportunities to come your way, and even if they weren’t like the dreams and the goals you expected for yourself, these are something that will define you as a person and sooner than later, you’ll see yourself happy with it and will even make you realize that maybe, these are far better than the ones you’ve been dreaming of. You just have to keep your eyes open. You never know what you’ll see and miss.

People often get their inspirations from other people and unconsciously, we might be one of those. You’ll never know, that girl across the street, or that guy next to you in class are just some who see you as different. As someone who has a quality they like and will see that as a motivation in life.

When we are able to overcome certain problems and be successful at something we work so hard for, unknowingly, we became inspirations for those who would want to achieve such a feat. It doesn’t  have to be as great, but it’s a start.

All of these, I’ve come to see and realize after watching a movie that was supposed to be “comical”, but then again, you’ll never know until you see it.