One Year After

**Late post

At around 11pm on January 8, 2016, Dad, after enduring constant chest pains, breathed his final labored breath. I can only describe that night to be unexpected as a few hours before 11pm, he was telling all of us that the day after, we’d still get to talk to him although he won’t be able to reply evidently because of the tube down his throat. Now that I think about it, after watching mom cry and hear her ask dad if he wanted to go already, he, at his last few hours alive, still remained courageous and managed to furrow his forehead at the thought of giving up. He didn’t want to be defeated. Not for us (and I mean all of us). Aside from the old woman who came up to me and said that the same thing happened to her husband a few days prior and yet, was still able to evade the unspeakable, dad fighting gave me hope. Sabi nga nila na masakit talagang umasa. 

I’m not one to easily remember things. At some point in my life when I was younger, I used to forget my moms’ birthday. To my surprise, I can play that day from start to finish without missing a thing. I can even remember what snacks I bought at 7/11 before heading to the hospital. (two Side-Winder gummy worms and two Loaded chocolate packs)

For a year already, I’ve played that night over and over in my head. If you’ve seen me gaze into the distance, that was probably what was going through my mind. I didn’t do it to make myself feel melancholic. No. In between all the chaos and stress, there were quick moments, such as tight squeezes dad made us feel on our hands as if to say, “Stop crying” or a big nod which I know meant, “I love you guys, too”, that were comforting and would easily put a small smile on my face.

You may be gone, Dad, but you have Mom, your five awesomely talented kids, and everyone you’ve touched and helped to always make sure that your legacy and memory will forever live on. I miss you very much, and I love you even more.

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What do you expect? You met them on Tinder.

There is a general stigma that people open their Tinder app and swipe left or right in the hopes of finding someone to cuddle with at night (after of course the Rated R stuff), and that’s it. Of course, that was what the app was made for, but I believe that isn’t the case for everyone.

Whenever I mention to my friends that I met a guy on Tinder, they’d immediately give a mixed look or try to be as nonchalant as they can be. (Bless my college friends, though, who don’t make a big deal out of it.) What’s the difference? What’s the difference between me meeting a guy in a restaurant, bar, or grocery store from meeting him on Tinder? Personally, I don’t go on Tinder to get the “booty”. I downloaded the app because I wanted to prove to myself that there are people out there who can actually hold a decent, substantial conversation, have the same interests as I do, and basically, are the opposite from my ex-boyfriend in terms of personality. As cliché as it may seem, I didn’t want to mark that one failed relationship as the only kind of relationship out there. Moreover, I was just generally very curious.

Going back to the title, that comment stemmed off from an incident when my friend caught his girlfriend cheating. Before I elaborate, I would like to say first that no one deserves to be cheated on. However, it wasn’t the most solid relationship to begin with because my friend had cheated on his girlfriend already countless of times. They were together for over a year, and genuinely loved each other (as they continually say).

So, what does Tinder have to do with it? Does being on Tinder immediately mark you as someone incapable of having genuine connections with another person? Does it easily make you a target for poor relationship circumstances? Is Tinder an easy scapegoat that people cannot complain if they’ve had their hearts broken over it? I’ve had friends who had relationships with people they’ve met on Tinder, and just like any relationship goes, they were genuinely happy about it. Unfortunately, they’ve all broken up already, but I doubt it was because they found each other on Tinder. The only common reason that rises of why things didn’t work out is that they weren’t compatible enough as much as they would like to be. And that’s ok! It’s normal. It isn’t a Tinder curse.

It’s littered across the media, movies, TV shows, and even on Friday night gossip sessions with friends that someone out there is either cheating on their partner, getting laid, or just out on a date. I feel like it’s so unfair to blame an app that only came along a few years back on the existing infidelity (How could you?), hook-up culture, (Remember, #ConsentIsSexy) or just plain casual dating scene that usually people my age enter into.

Out of the hundred matches I’ve gotten on the app, I’ve only met up with three of them. One was completely a big no-no from the start. He wasn’t a creep or anything. He was just exasperating. The other two, however, were great. Nothing romantic stemmed out of it which is fine with me. I consider one of them to be my guy best friend now. We tell each other everything – from mundane things happening in our day, to juicy gossip, to serious things like politic and family dynamics, and random jokes thrown here and there. The other is getting on that level. We just kind of met.

What should I expect? Nothing, really. Neither should you. It’s just online dating for crying out loud. No app (or website) is going to change the dynamics of how complicated relationships are. I don’t think adding that aspect is going to change anything. If anything, it actually makes things easier. It’s quick and saves a lot of time. Next time anyone scoffs at your alleged poor dating choices, pity them. Apparently, they aren’t as mature and open as yourself.

Do It “Like A Girl”

I was your typical sexist’s definition of a girl: weak and a cry baby. I was told that I dressed “like a girl”, ran “like a girl”, played “like a girl”, and spoke “like a girl”. It came to a point where I thought hearing the words ‘like a girl’ was an insult, a label that I couldn’t run from but wished that I could. Up until high school, I was criticized for dressing a certain way, acting a certain way, or speaking a certain way, ways that didn’t fit in with what the limitations of how ladies ought to be. I have to admit that it was very constricting and confusing. It was as if ever since I was little, the society that was there to build be up failed me.

It was also an acceptable excuse for people. “Oh, she’s emotional because she’s a girl”, “She’s dressed that way because she’s trying to impress someone”, “Don’t mind her, she’s just hormonal”, “That’s just how girls are”. It has always boiled down to the point where being a girl was something definable and limited.

Luckily for me, I got to escape the toxicity of it all. Despite having been stamped “GIRL” like part of a herd of cattle, I chose to leave my safety bubble. Sheltered that I was, I chose to study in a university miles away from home. That decision changed it all for me. Albeit there being doubts on my part with countless tears at night, I realized that I wasn’t that weak girl everyone made me out to be. I was weak because I listened to them. I grew stronger the moment that I didn’t.

Twenty-three years of hearing the same words over and over again, sometimes directed at me, most of the time I hear it around me, I’ve understood and come to terms with one of the key ingredients in life: You shouldn’t let others define you, let words constrict you, and most of all, lose yourself in all that mess.

I’ve transitioned immensely from being that little girl who thought that being like a girl meant something derogatory to the woman that I am right now who has experience so much from the world. I’ve had the opportunity to explore the places far beyond where the waters meet our lands to realize how strong we were built, how creative we were made to think, and how beautiful being a woman truly is.

So, let me tell you what it really is to be “like a girl” (a woman):

“You dress like a girl” means I wear with me my dignity and confidence. I express myself in the humblest yet intrinsic way. You will look at me in and awe and see not what brand I’m wearing, what color, nor the cut, but you will see the allure of regality.

“You speak like a girl” means I speak with eloquence and brilliance, with validity in my speech. I impart with the subtle parting of my lips meaningfulness, not hate. With every letter that rolls out of my tongue, I enunciate my thoughts that they may educate others, not tear them down.

“You move like a girl” means I let grace drip from my fingertips. With every step, I show my strength with how I carry my body, my soul. With my poise, I bewitch you, and with my elegance, I enchant you.

“You cry too much because you’re a girl” means with every tear, whether out of joy or melancholy, I care. I have every right to feel what I feel, to let out every drop to heal myself and those around me. I express my innermost thoughts and desires and rage in the meekest way by being quietly enveloped in my thoughts as I wash my face of yesterday’s despair. I cry because I am human too.

“You think too much like a girl” means I am critical and creative. I analyze at the same time I let my ideas flow. I am a master of thinking of one thing to hundreds of things all at once without breaking a sweat. I am the maker of my path, the architect of my future.

“You are a girl”, a woman, means there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. So, please, continue to do it “like a girl”.

 

Words Are Just Words

 

How are you supposed to answer the “How are you?” or “Are you OK?” questions after your dad just passed away?

People keep saying “I know we may not be close, but if you need someone to talk to, I’m here”. Even the people I’m close with have said that they’re “just a call or text away”. I’ve taken some of them up on their offer and hoped to get a good conversation out of it. However, people have seen zoned me or just immediately went offline while I was typing my reply, and they never got back to me. I’ve made it a point to ignore people that I could reach through my phone or laptop for a couple of days because it was later on that I realized that people really don’t know what they’re saying, and they end up saying things just to seem nice but actually don’t mean whatever they let slip out of their mouths.

Whenever they ask if I’m OK, I just do the good ol’ tilt head & smile and say nothing else. Saying that I’m OK is lying to them and to myself. Saying that I’m not just makes things awkward because it’s as if they are now obliged to make me feel better. Some, however, have returned the “tilt head & smile” gesture and just turn around and walk away to do the same to another member of the family.

I’ve always told myself to feel whatever I have to feel at the right setting and time. If I need to cry, I will. If I need to get angry, then definitely I will. If I need to just be somber and quiet, I’ll allow myself to do that. I’ve come across so many faces during the past two weeks, and most of them have told me to stop crying and move on or be strong because, according to them, that’s what my dad would have wanted. They’re right. My dad wouldn’t want me to obsess about his death and cling on casket for dear life (which I did, but isn’t that what wakes are for?). However, people who said those things either (1) don’t know what it feels like to lose a parent  (or a child, a loved one so dear) or (2) are just completely heartless and are used to being inappropriate.

How can people tell me to move on when the month of January hasn’t even ended yet? I understand completely that my dad is so much better where he is now. He is no longer dependent on his oxygen tanks, no longer thinking about the many problems my cousins, aunts, and uncles give him, or no longer stressing about a libel case or if the Lakers won or not. When I look at his urn and picture, I smile a bit because I think of what he could be possibly doing up there. He could be playing basketball with his brothers, relaxing by the beach, drinking, again with his brothers, while my grandparents frown at them, or eating to his heart’s content. I understand all of that, and I am legitimately happy for my dad that he is now at peace.

But, you see, for us mortals still in this world, we continue to feel pain and despair. Those are not easily forgotten or brushed off of our shoulders. We are constantly hit by memories that we choose to remember over and over because that is all that is left for us to cling to. Scents fade, and things aren’t the same without the person you are missing are there to use them. I think memories are the only things that are secure and constant in times like these.

I have a friend whose step-father passed away a few years ago. He said that he knows how insignificant words can be and that whatever people are saying cannot bring back my dad or truly console my broken heart. However, he said that even if people’s words don’t mean anything, at least I know that there are people who care. I guess that’s one way of looking at it. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate my friends’ messages and attempts of cheering me up. There are just some people who become too much for me. 

He also advised me to listen to Largo from Concerto No. 5 for Piano in F Minor by BachI guess that’s what I’ll go do now.

Stop Telling Me I’m Drunk

Stop telling me I’m drunk so you think you have an excuse to touch me. I don’t need you holding my hand while I get a glass of water. I don’t need you to help me sit back down. I don’t need you touching my shoulders to “help” me sit up straight. I especially don’t need you caressing my head while I dozed off. I am not drunk.

Stop telling me I’m drunk so you have an excuse to say that I need you. Why is it so hard for you to believe something like this:
“I guess I’m just the type of girl who doesn’t need to depend on a guy”
because all you said was:
“haha yeah right. Whatever. You’re going to eat your words.”
No matter how many times I said “I’m okay. Really”, and no matter how many times you’ve seen me move about the room soberly (going to the restroom, getting a glass of water, changing the music playlist), you insist that I need your help, like I’m a 6 year old girl who can’t decide for herself. Why?
I am not drunk.

Stop telling me I’m drunk so you have an excuse to follow me around to make sure “I’m okay”.
“Let me just stay right here beside you.”
“No, it’s okay. You can go back in. I just wan’t to look at the sky.”
“Haha. Don’t be stupid. Should I lie beside you now?”
I am not drunk.

Stop telling me I’m drunk to come up with stories about you and I. I didn’t tell the room about whatever non-existent past we had. I was completely aware of what I was saying, no matter how slurred they may have seemed to you. I asked one of our friends if I’ve said anything. She said, “Uh, no.” Stop putting words in my mouth. I am not drunk.

Stop telling me I’m drunk to blame me for “coming on to you”. I in no way “came on to you”. All I’ve said (not even remotely close to coming on is), “Come on and join the game!!!!!!” You said I kept touching you. HA. HAHAHAHA. The only touching I did was the same touching I did to everybody else – put my hands on all of your shoulders to either get your attention or to let you guys know I was passing behind you. I am not drunk.

Stop telling me I’m drunk so that you have an excuse to criticize me about my body. “Oh wow, you have a lot of stretch marks.” “Your breasts look small.” “You do squats? HAHAHA….ok, sure.”
I don’t know if you’ve said those things hoping that I would forget them the next day. I am not drunk.

Stop telling me I’m drunk to make my ‘NO’ sound meaningless. No, I do not want to kiss you. No, I do not want to date you. No, I do not need a hug.
“hahaha, ok. sure…..but, can I at least have a kiss?”
Didn’t you just ask me that, and didn’t I just say no?
I am not drunk.

Stop telling me I’m drunk to make whatever you wanted to happen justifiable.

No, Really. Go Live.

At 22, I feel like I have the whole world at my finger tips. My best friends and I keep planning trips all around the globe, and as far fetched as they may be, we have to make it happen. We have to see the Pyramids in Egypt, swim in the beaches of Bali, fall in love with the beats of Rio, eat pizza in Verona, listen to the song of the mountains in Austria, walk down Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, run on the Great Wall of China waving to the sky hoping someone will see us, and scream as loud as the lions do in Africa.

Why?

I know a 60 year old man who has to be hooked to an oxygen tank 24/7 because his lung (singular) needs all the help it can get. Walking becomes a chore. Staying in bed all day becomes the norm. He has lost muscle mass because he can’t do any form of exercise and all his physical efforts go into him focusing on inhaling and exhaling. Don’t get me wrong. He can still walk around but maybe just for a few meters or so. More than that, he has to catch his breath.

Just like how any other story goes, one day, he saw a picture of Machu Picchu on facebook. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and I’m sure that you, whoever is reading this, has thought “I want to see that someday!” He thought the same thing but added, “That’s part of my bucket list of places to visit that I am never going to see”.

When I heard that, I couldn’t understand what I felt. Pity? Sadness? Regret for him? Maybe all at the same time? I don’t know. But, I knew what I thought at that moment. And it is what I am sharing with you all today.

An average person has about seventy or so years to live, eighty-plus if you’re lucky. Many of us think that “70 years? That’s more than enough time for me to do the things I want.” In reality, seventy years can honestly feel like 7 seconds. One minute you’re putting on your black shoes for the first day of elementary school, the next minute you’re putting on your black dress shoes for a job interview. The next thing you know, you’re 70 years old wishing you could go see all the places you once wrote down on your list of “Places to see by the time I’m 30” or could do all the things you’ve postponed and said, “Nah, there’s always tomorrow”.

So, to answer the question at the beginning of this post, we have to make the trips happen for this reason: to not regret. I am slowly learning that once you say “no” to an opportunity, how sure are you it’ll come strolling down your path again? I remember one of my high school teachers telling us that Opportunity is this beautiful man with no clothes on (just go with me on this one), drenched in oil (no, really, it’ll make sense), and has a pony tail on his forehead (keep reading…). He appears to you all majestic looking, and you are then awestruck. He’s coming at you fast, and you have only one chance to grab his hair and go with him before it’s too late. If you missed that chance, that second, you’ll find yourself grasping for his arms, legs, but to no avail because you’ll just slip right off. Then, where does that leave you?

Those posts online that go “Life is too short, buy the shoes” make us go, “Ha, yeah right. If only I could, honey”. BUT YOU CAN. Maybe save up for it?

And it doesn’t even have to be about buying things. It could be finally jumping off of a cliff into the ocean, screaming at the top of your lungs when the roller coaster drops, seeing for the first time a wild penguin up close, or dancing in the streets late at night.

It doesn’t have to be an adrenaline rush thing either! Let’s say all your life you’ve always wanted to learn how to cook, paint, sing, or play an instrument. Guess what? YOU CAN. So what if it doesn’t taste good or your painting ends up looking like a 5 year old did it? Practice and keep searching for what you’re good at, and at least you’ll be able to say, “Haha, at least I’ve done it”.

But make sure you’re not hurting anybody or doing something illegal. Maybe don’t rob a store. Maybe… you shouldn’t curse that man for cutting you off. Opportunity isn’t waiting for you down that road.

Make your own sentence that fits you and your story. “Life is short,…” Don’t make the common mistake of waiting and then suddenly regretting. Just be smart, and really, go live.

Tell Me It Isn’t Just Me

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Image from Buzzfeed

I have risen from my grave to share with you all my current state of mind.

A little update about my life (,and I’m sorry that I feel like what you see most on my on-again-off-again blog are updates rather than something with more content):
– still studying languages in the University of the Philippines (which I would not like to brag as much, but more on that for another post)
– still dancing (yey!)
– I turned 22 eleven days ago hihi
– still no job (but I’m trying to work on that)

With that being said, notice the keyword «STILL». Although, I love what I’m doing (especially the dancing – There is no way that that’s ever going to end), I feel like I’m caught at a stand still. I feel like this happens to me at least once a year, and I just forget all the time and panic when one of these “mid-life crises” arise. Hah. I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve just been feeling a tad bit robotic. I get up, get ready for school, go to school, come home from school, watch shows, surf the net, sleep. (I know, I know, if I want something to change, I literally have to change something, but just hear me out.)

Another keyword, rather, key-number is «22». I keep thinking I only have 8 years left ’til I turn 30, and God knows what’ll happen to me in those 8 years. Yikes! I feel like if I started sooner, if there could be any “sooner”, I would’ve done more things…just things in general.

I believe that these feelings always come up when I have a big decision to make in front of me that I am not even 20% sure of making. The semester coming to a close, and I have yet to decide if I want to study for another semester or apply for a job at the Department of Tourism (which is my only plan A so far). I’m on the fence because although I still want to advance on my language skills, I feel like I can do it now on my own without having to enroll in a university (or now enroll in the language centers in the city), but I don’t know how that will work out time and money-wise. (ayudenme). I still have a lot of thinking to do, still have a lot of advice to get, and all that.

But please, tell me that I’m not alone in this. Tell me that “It’s OK, it’s normal”. Tell me it isn’t just me.

18 Things We Can All Start Doing To Make Our Lives More Exciting

Thought Catalog

1. There’s that old saying, “Dance like nobody’s watching.” Forget that. Put on your headphones, crank that song that pumps you up, and dance/strut/own it
as if all those strangers you pass by forked up unbelievable amounts of money to come see you sell out a stadium.

2. Make a list of everything you fear the most: the worst-case scenarios, the phobias, and those things that keep you up at night when everyone else is sleeping. Look at them all written down. As you read each one back to yourself, realize the world didn’t stop turning. Your fears aren’t holding back the universe, only you.

3. You know that cute barista, or the acquaintance you run into at parties, or the person you’ve been secretly crushing on for ages? Swallow that fear of rejection and ask them out. They say no? Ouch, but you’ll be okay. They say…

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Manly Ballet… 5 misconceptions about male ballet dancers

A Ballet Education

Male ballet dancers get the worst reputation… And there is a reason why…

Honestly, it comes down to tights and a dance belt and for some reason that equates to effeminate, which equates to gay. But, if you look at the spectrum of dance, ballet is probably the most manly when it comes to repertory, with the exception of Dresden SemperOpera’s version of bluebird… That one is just… well… flashy… (click here to watch the youtube video)

The roles for men in classical ballet are the following: prince, cavalier, slave, pirate, prince, cavalier, lover, prince… you get the gist. Because of these roles, the vocabulary is limited, say compared to a jazz dancer. Now, because the way the music was written, and male variations are these extremely heavy, weighted variations, the steps a male ballet dancer usually performs are… well limiting. While women are known for their pointe shoes and flexibility, male…

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17 Things To Expect When You Date A Girl Who’s Used To Being On Her Own

15. Expect her not to need you, and not to believe in needing much of anything at all. But she’ll want you. And when she does, it’ll be the most exhilarating feeling you’ve ever experienced.

Thought Catalog

1. Expect her to do her own thing often and without letting you know, at least at first. It’s not that you don’t matter; it’s just that she’s learned to love doing what she wants, when she wants, and without asking permission or informing anyone.

2. She’ll probably want to take things slowly because she’ll not be used to all the attention. Don’t think she doesn’t like you enough, she probably likes you a lot; it’s just all new to her.

3. Expect her friends to be overprotective of her and to be suspicious of you at first. They’re not used to her being with someone and they’ll want to make sure you’re the kind of guy who will treat her well.

4. She’ll have a hard time letting you do things for her. Try not to take this personally. She’s just used to taking care of herself and it’ll…

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