Saturday, December 31, 2011

my 2011

In Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert said that every place has a word. Stockholm: conform. New York: achieve. Italy: pleasure. I’ve always felt that the same holds true for years. 2001: teach. 2008: heartbreak. 2009: changes. 2010: confusion.

But 2011 really belongs in a league of its own. 2011 cannot be neatly contained. Too much happened to most people i know and on a personal note, too much happened to me.

I finally finished my masters, wrote more, got confused a lot, traveled, faced some of my fears, got to know family better, met amazing people and cried as I burned bridges. I lost a lot (nagpahabol pa ang favorite shirt ko just today. maaaaaaan, i love that perfect white shirt!) but I gained much too. I also gave myself the chance to be happy again, even though it still makes me so scared most of the time.

I cannot think of a word for all of that.

i already wrote about the four words that describe my 2011: risk. fear. betrayal. loss.

And so I need a word - just one - to connect everything, to make you see how much this year meant to me; how personal 2011 is to my heart.

My brother gave me this: GROWTH.

i guess he's right. he told me this a few months ago: "i've never seen you evolved like you did this year. you were able to make ends meet. you were able to stand up for yourself, albeit not all the time but you took baby steps. you made big decisions. you grew up fast this year compared to all the other years before. it took some great losses but as what our parents taught us, with every loss comes a bigger gain."

and gained, i did. not so, materially (i didn't really get anything for myself this christmas but i have lots of happy moments and happy thoughts which mattered more) but this year made me get to know myself a little better. There were mornings when I could already foresee my heart breaking for the rest of the day, maybe even for a few more days. There were sleepless nights spent worrying, over-analyzing, crying. The ugly messy stuff were all necessary to jumpstart a new life, a better one.

I am leaving this year with a few beautiful scars. In Chris Cleave’s Little Bee, here’s something he said:

“I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.”

I still have a long way to go but I've come to realize that this year helped me become a better me.

We’re all living different stories and we’re all walking through different seasons. And whether we’re taking over the world or taking time off, it’s good to remember that wherever we are is exactly where we’re supposed to be.

Here's to a wonderful ending of 2011 and as 2012 approaches, I pray and hope that this year will be the start of what's best for you and your loved ones.

Happy new year, everyone.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

a confession

When you’re young, your dreams change every now and then. One day, you want to be a singer; the next, a writer. A world-class violinist, an astronaut, a doctor, the scientist who cures cancer — it’s a hodgepodge of possibilities until you finally find the one that sticks.

For me, it was wanting to make a difference in people's lives.


When I got to the age where I started falling in love, I started building another dream. The people closest to me know this. Alongside helping other people, one thing I really wanted to be was a wife and a mother.

I’ve thought about it and come up with a list:

Why I Would Really Love To Be A Mom Someday:

  1. I really enjoy the company of children. I like to babysit. I like hanging out with kids. Put me in a room with adults and kids and I'll be singing Disney songs with the lil ones.
  2. I think, if given the chance, I could actually be really good at it.
  3. This heart’s got a lot of love to give.
  4. Parents make (or break) a child. I think I would love to take on the challenge of raising a fantastic human being.
  5. Motherhood teaches you the value of real love. (Read Harry Potter for further proof.) To quote Mitch Albom: “But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begins.”
  6. I had a really great mom, and I have great "nanay"s too.

Real moms, of course, would laugh at such a stupid list. Because it isn’t something you’d really sign up for if you knew the agony of sleepless nights, getting a door slammed in your face and the grief of having to give up a few good dreams.

I know marriage and motherhood aren't easy. My friends have shown me that but I still want that someday. I think I'll be good at it. I really hope God give me that gift.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

word number 4

i told myself i will limit my words for 2011 to just five, and since i already gave three words, i've been choosing my last two words carefully. fourth word for 2011 is this: RISK.

"Risk is the potential that a chosen action or activity (including the choice of inaction) will lead to a loss (an undesirable outcome). The notion implies that a choice having an influence on the outcome exists (or existed). Potential losses themselves may also be called "risks". Almost any human endeavor carries some risk, but some are much more risky than others."

I took some risks this year. Some went sour and it caused me lots of stress and sleepless nights and tears, too. Some turned out for the better. And then there was this one decision - this very big risk i took - that is still proving to be worth all the confusion and uncertainty it gave me (although I would really really reeeeeeally like the confusion and uncertainty to be lessened). I took a leap. It made me question myself a lot. It made me look into who I am, what I believe in, what I am scared of, what are important to me.

thinking about this reminded me of this:

i took risks and i know i could have taken some more but fear kept me from doing so. however, i am glad to take these steps and i reckon the risks i took this year are the ones that must be made. 2012 is fast approaching. by then, i will take more risks.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I like corny. I'm looking for corny in my life: Christmas movies I will never get tired of

The Holiday

Iris: I've found almost everything ever written about love to be true. Shakespeare said "Journeys end in lovers meeting." What an extraordinary thought. Personally, I have not experienced anything remotely close to that, but I am more than willing to believe Shakespeare had. I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives. It was Shakespeare who also said "love is blind". Now that is something I know to be true. For some quite inexplicably, love fades; for others love is simply lost. But then of course love can also be found, even if just for the night. And then, there's another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. Its called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space! Yes, you are looking at one such individual. And I have willingly loved that man for over three miserable years! The absolute worst years of my life! The worst Christmas', the worst Birthday's, New Years Eve's brought in by tears and valium. These years that I have been in love have been the darkest days of my life. All because I've been cursed by being in love with a man who does not and will not love me back. Oh god, just the sight of him! Heart pounding! Throat thickening! Absolutely can't swallow! All the usual symptoms.

Arthur: You know what I've been asking myself all night?
Iris: What? Why I'm bothering you with all these questions?
A: I'm wondering why a beautiful girl like you would go to a strangers' house for their Christmas Vacation, and on top of that spend Saturday night with an old cock-up like me.
I: Well, I just wanted to get away from all the people I see all the time!... Well, not all the people... one person. I wanted to get away from one... guy.
[she sobs]
A: So, he's a schmuck.
I: As a matter of fact, he is... a huge schmuck. How did you know?
A: He let you go. This is not a hard one to figure out. Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.

Love Actually

True love lasts a lifetime

All I want is just one shot of me in a wedding dress that isn't bright turquoise - Juliet

and the winner is.....