Archive for the ‘Prose’ Category

I wrote this piece for my Speech and Stage Arts subject (I crammed it and finished two minutes before I was called up front, but yeah), dedicated to all my younger PNU sibs out there who struggle with all that life–and college–throws at them. This is for you. Remember, we can hear you. ❤

“Love, Light, Hope”

When I entered this university about four years ago, I did so with much hope, and determination. I entered college with the hope of a new start, of a clear record to work with. And there was determination—I was determined to make things right, to not make the same mistakes my high school self did, to make things work this time. I was so sure that I won’t mess up my college days the way I messed up my high school. Turns out I did mess it up. Turns out I failed.

Maybe, just maybe, you are like me. Maybe, you too were so eager to leave behind your traumatic years of being bullied and of failing, and trying harder only to fail again. Maybe you were all too willing to close that one dark chapter in your book and to proceed to a hopefully lighter one—only to find out that the first pages are just as dark as the ones you tried to forget.

Maybe you find it hard looking for the place where you belong, like a puzzle piece whose edges were too rough to fit anywhere, like a piano key that’s a little too low or high for the octave. Maybe you’re like me; trying everything you could to juggle everything that life throws at you—from term papers to terror professors to friendships lost and misunderstood—yet somehow all your efforts are still not enough. If you are, I just wanted to tell you: you will get through the dark clouds of today because you will find love, light, and hope.

I was a sophomore—tired of myself and of my faults—when I have found love, or rather, when love has found me. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t get a boyfriend—I still don’t have one. But when I saw love, I saw it in the form of a friend. A friend who lovingly puts up with my heavy silence to listen to the story that comes after. A friend who loves me like a peculiar treasure, and understands me despite my flaws. Love has found me at the right moment. Let love find you too. Remember, I’m willing to listen to you.

I was a sophomore—down and doubting—when I have found light, or rather, when light has found me. It found me not when I went out to meet the morning sunshine in the streets. Rather, light found me in the dark corner of my room looking like a candle—light not too bright, just enough to make me see that someone still cares for me. Someone does care, struggling one. Someone longs to reach out for you. You’re not alone—that’s what the light has told me then. Let me tell you the same. You are not alone. And if the candle whispers aren’t enough to convince you, let’s take this a notch higher—let’s have a coffee session together.

I was a sophomore—depressed and totally giving up—when I have found hope, or rather, when hope has found me. And this is nothing I could ever claim to have accomplished. I was totally fed up with my flaws and incompetence—from reports gone wrong to friendships severed and lost. I decided it would just be a matter of time before I vanish in this story book. But the Writer of my novel thinks otherwise. He let me find hope in my darkest moments—in the form of a loving friend. Sister. In the form of someone who loves and understands. And if you haven’t found it yet, let me be that ray of hope to you. Let me be God’s extending hand to show you that your story is far from being over. That your story is just about to take leaps of plot twists that would turn your dark, stormy clouds of trials and failures to a peaceful rainbow of happiness.

Love, light, and hope have found me. Just at the right time. Just at the exact moment. Let them do the same to you. I am here. And so are the others who care. We can hear you.

Aesthetics: Preserving Humanity

Posted: February 17, 2016 in Prose
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All throughout human history, developments on man’s various aspects have been on perennial progression. Intellect, skills, and livelihood are observed to continuously advance. With the dawn of the 21st century, however, these developments picked up a pace so much faster than was ever recorded in history. While it took several centuries for man to discover fire and how to utilize it, only a few years is needed for various inventions and scientific advancements on how to improve the global community to occur. The rate of human and societal development has escalated quickly indeed—so much that everything is now deemed as fast-paced. Food, coffee, clothes, and services can now be acquired instantly. Even properties like houses and land can be acquired quickly and easily through various programs. In such a scientific and formal world, humans tend to become mechanical and routine-driven individuals. Through these changing times, however, arts and language have the role of preserving humanity’s essence by reminding it of life’s beauty, intricacy, and uniqueness.

In a time when everything is too scientific and technical, art and language remind humanity of life’s beauty. In today’s context, scientific method comes into play in almost every life scenario. Logic is put at the pedestal of, and is made to rule in all instances—be it in home, school, or work. Life, however, is not just a series of point A’s and B’s, not something that simply comes out of empirical observation. Life is something beautiful, thought-provoking, and emotion-inspiring. Intellect, truly, is a crucial feature, but not its sole characteristic. Life is not all logic. There are still instances when the heart must be provoked to feel something, and art and language give humanity that aspect. When one sees a painting portraying so vividly human love, the heart is moved to utmost appreciation. When one reads a poem distinctly voicing out the pain of human suffering, one is moved to tears. This is humanity’s essence preserved by art. Art and language are what keep humans from being one of those unfeeling cyborgs they have invented.

Art and language do not only preserve human emotions, but also, in an age when acquiring everything seems so simple, they remind people of life’s complexity. People nowadays are so used to the notion of simplicity. If one wants to eat, the process is simple—go out and buy. If one wishes to travel to far places, he could simply go and ride a vehicle. The world is portrayed as smaller and simpler with the rise of countless scientific and technological advancements. Conversely, life is not as simple, and language and arts always remind that. All those sculptures carved with such great details; those building designs of intricate substance; those canvases painted with the most vibrant, colorful images; even those literary works written with such great and complex wordings; and those dramas acted out with the most complex of emotions—these things are the reminder of life’s intricate complexities. They help humanity to remember that life is not a simple set of formulae and computations, that it is far more complicated than a problem set having one specific answer.

Alongside all these rich aspects, in a context where everything is manufactured too similarly, art and language are also reminders of life’s uniqueness. These days, houses are designed into uniformity, buildings are all alike, and everything for daily use is mass-produced, having a form for everything. Art, however, deviates, refusing to be boxed into similarity. Every handmade art is as unique as the fingerprints of its maker, just like every poem written is as unique as the poet who wrote it. Every painting, sculpture, story, and drama is one of a kind and peerless. These things declare to the human mind that people’s lives are multi-faceted—something that cannot be measured completely by a single measuring stick, something that cannot be defined by describing its one aspect.

The world indeed is changing, and changing fast. Humanity has taken great leaps in terms of the improvement of intellect, skills, and competencies. The development will never be balanced, however, if the progress is one-sided alone. The other side of the spectrum is the affective capabilities of humanity—the one thing that keeps humans human, and not any sort of artificial intelligence. Through art and language, this important aspect is kept in check. Through them, the human mind is reminded of its essence, of the reason why they are more valuable than the best computers invented. Truly, with art and language at play, life becomes more priceless and appreciated through the changing times.

When I Become A Teacher

Posted: October 5, 2015 in Prose
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When I was a kid, I wanted to become a teacher so when I do, I’d go back to my homeroom adviser, smile at her and say, “I’ve become like you, teacher. I wanted to be like you because I remember the sheer joy I felt the first time I took hold of crayons and water colors, the smile I had on my face as I was drawing stick figures and thinking they were the most beautiful drawings I’ve ever seen.” And after some dramatic pause I would ask her, “It is ever so lovely to teach, isn’t it?”

When I was in middle school, I wanted to become a teacher so when I do, I could raise an eyebrow on my science instructor and say, “I’ve become a teacher, and a proper and competent one at that. I chose this profession because I saw a lot of supposedly brilliant students go dumb because you sat lazily more than you talked effectively. And I wanted to prove to you that people do not take up education just because they can’t qualify in anything else.” And after some scornful laughter I would tell her, “See? It isn’t so hard to teach properly, now is it?”

Now I am in college and am learning about what really makes up an educator. And when I finally become one, I wish to go back in time and meet my high school self and tell her, “I’ve become a teacher, like what you’ve always wanted. But guess what. Being the competent, ideal pedagogue that you’ve visualized–it’s not always lovely, nor does it become too easy if you just work hard enough. It means many sleepless nights, countless mugs of coffee–and you know your stance against caffeine–unnumbered frustrations, and tears, and feeling of severe incompetence. And the more ‘properly’ you teach, the more difficult it becomes.” And when I see her disbelieving, defying eyes, I would laugh softly and say, “Wait and see–it’s not as easy as it appears to be.”

Ostracized

Posted: September 14, 2015 in Prose
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(Photo URL: https://hdwallpapers.cat/alone_umbrella_girl_silhouette_abstract_hd-wallpaper-1612615/)

September 13, 2015

I too was once ostracized. I too was once—no, multiple times—isolated. I was misunderstood. Misinterpreted. Misjudged. The “me” I’ve always been for the past eighteen years—they didn’t like it. Not really because it’s morally wrong, but because it doesn’t fit quite right in with theirs. They were all going north. I was going, well, north-east.

So they didn’t like me; didn’t forgive my faults, didn’t overlook my flaws. I’m not saying they should have. I was just hoping they tried to understand. But I was shunned away.

My imperfections were too highlighted. I was labeled too many things for too many times. I was too serious, too selfish, too aloof, too indifferent, too picky, too proud, too this, too that. Too horrible of a person to maintain friendship with. Too locked up in my own world. Too smart. Too self-centered. I become everything every one of them detested.

I too was once ostracized. And that time I felt like I was the heaviest burden in the world, ever. I felt like my community was the ship, and I was the cargo they had to get rid of in order for them to survive the storm and see the shore by dawn. I too was once ostracized, and at that moment I felt like I was the dead weight hindering the entire team from moving forward.

But you know what I felt most at that time? I felt that I’m not worth other people’s time. I felt that I don’t deserve the blessing of human companion. I felt that the world I live in would have been better off without my existence. I felt that if I would be invisible, everything would turn out okay. That if I would leave, if I would retrace my steps and retreat to the confines of that library desk, it would be for the better.

Because at that time, I felt like a leper that does nothing good to the community, a malignant cell to a healthy body. I felt worthless, someone who doesn’t have any right to live. Someone whose very existence is the reason why nations degenerate and fall.

At that time, I tell you, I felt too ashamed every time I opened my eyes in the morning. I felt too guilty every time I drew my breath and continued breathing.  Life felt like a constant struggle to keep my face straight and my chin up.

I too was once ostracized. And if it hadn’t been for those people who cared so much that they were willing to break through the isolating walls just to hug a crying, heartbroken girl and just to whisper in her ear, “You are loved. You are worthy.” If it hadn’t been for those people, I don’t know what I would be feeling today, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be doing okay. I wouldn’t be able to stay with others in one room and not feel guilty of being a burden. I wouldn’t be able to look into someone’s eyes and not feel broken for simply being who I am. And I surely wouldn’t be able to smile without aching severely inside.

I too was once ostracized. I know how all of those isolated people felt. I know the pain, the heartache, which words may cause. I too was once trapped inside the walls built up by words spoken too hastily, by judgments given too rashly. I too was broken, seemingly beyond repair, all because of first impressions. And even after these walls broke down, even after I’ve been spared from further pain, I’ve already lost too much because of words too few.

Nobody could bring back the bygone times, the lost moments, the wasted opportunities that should have been mine to smile at and cherish. Nobody could erase the painful memories, nobody could wash away all the heartache. And no one could ever bring the persons I’ve lost because of the walls I’ve been trapped into. Those moments, those people—they have simply slipped away from my very hands, and now I could never hold on to them ever again.

I too have once been ostracized. I have once been a witness, first hand, of how destructive words can be. I too have suffered much. I have been well acquainted with the pain. And I’m not asking you to take it all back and heal me. I only ask that you make nobody else suffer from the same fate as mine. I too have once been ostracized. And it’s just a lot to go through, that I pray to be the last one.

An Unsettling Paranoia

Posted: July 14, 2015 in Prose
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July 7, 2015
________________

I really appreciate this notebook. As an effort to make the fellowship among SGC youth more intimate, a youth meeting every Sunday afternoon was formed. But Ate Hapi also wanted to have a talk just among the girls. And understanding that perhaps spoken words (not poetry, lol) may be a challenging avenue of expressing ones thought. Ate Hapi gave us this. Supposedly, this is for questions and thoughts one would like to discuss.

Mine is not a question, nor a logical/reasonable thought. It’s a paranoia, a fear on what’s yet to happen. One also that I haven’t been able to shake off, for years now. And that is, my fear of being hurt by the ones I love.

Mingling with non-Christians and becoming friends with people who do not hold on to the same faith as you do is not so grave of a conflict. Dwelling on the common ground, one can actually work with them; laugh with them, even. But whenever I get to think of these non-Christian friends, there is always, always that looming thought.

The thought that, one day, the civility would have to end. That the common ground would cease to exist. The thought that, today, it may seem that we are treading towards the same direction, but someday the road will be forked and the demarcation line shall be clear. That, right now, we may be content to leave each other in peace with out own personal convictions, but someday we would wake up and find out–we can’t do that anymore. The rift would be too great, the division too vast. There would be no more gray area. Everything, everyone, would be in black and white. Hard line. Explicit.

And then–I think–what? What would happen then? What would become of us, of the years of friendship and laughter, and sorrows shared together? Would it become a shield to protect me from agonizing pain, or would be the knife to wound me lethally from the inside?

You see, that’s what I fear. I fear that, because these people I dearly love do not adhere to the same belief I succumb myself to, and because one day the “wicked shall be wicked still and the righteous shall be righteous still,” they would actually be the cause of my future affliction. Persecution.

I could already picture myself in the years to come–being tipped to the authorities by a Catholic, hunted down, captured, and arrested by an agnostic, tortured and executed by an atheist. The image burns in my head, perpetually. To the point that, at times, it gravely affects my dealings with these people. That sometimes I’d wish I could just shut them out of my heart and keep my emotions at bay.

But then the question remains, and the fear, the paranoia, is still not dealt with. Would the friendship suffice, when fate has declared the war? Because more than the idea of being persecuted, I melt with fear and anxiety with the thought of having to suffer affliction and betrayal in the hands of people I used to share such golden memories with.

Silver Lining (6.12.15)

Posted: June 13, 2015 in Prose
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For her, it was a night to remember. A silver lining in the midst of tempestuous gales and dark storms. For him, it was a night he was willing to relive, over and over. A moment he was ready to turn into a time loop, had he been given the power.

She could still remember how she slipped into that red velvet as if it was a black mourning robe. She remembered the silver stilettos making every step prick with pain just as every breath she took stabbed her heart. Before it even all began, she knew. It was the night when the world would slap her into reality: she was alone, from the time she entered the world-stage up until the time she would waste away from the life-play. It was a night to bear patiently, and then be buried deep into nothingness with all the other forgotten memories.

He was in all black, yet it could have been pastel by the way his eyes shined. As he fixed his tie, he smiled ever so contentedly. This would be a night to spend with the loveliest woman; a night to cherish, to embed in one’s memory forever. Or so he told himself. As a fleeting thought came to mind, his eyes dimmed ever so slightly, his smile faded quite subtly. Nobody noticed, not even him.

She entered the battlegrounds with her head held high, but with her heart breaking at every smile. Hi, people greeted. You look so gorgeous, they complemented. It didn’t matter. None of them meant what they said. She settled to be the night’s wallflower. She walked to the far end corner and there she intended to stay with a glass of wine to keep her company. From there she saw him, happily talking to his girl. His girl was beautiful, probably more so for him. She smiled sadly and looked away from the scene.

He just entered Paradise with his angel, who was wearing an elegant blue. He looked at her, and did not wonder why he was held captive. She was his angel, the one who saved him from himself. The only person in the world that reigns in his heart. Or so he kept telling himself. She talked on, he nodded and smiled, but kept scanning the room—slowly, carefully. Then at the corner of his eye he saw her. Alone. With a glass of wine in her hand. Smiling to everyone who passed by, but sadly so. Are you okay, his angel asked. Yes, of course, I am, he smiled and kissed her, but he felt hollow. He was with the love of his life, and yet… Why was he yearning to be at the far end corner?

Though she turned away, the image still burned inside. She saw him, with the woman he loved; they were perfectly happy. She was just a blurred figure in their everlasting picture. A voice called out to her from that direction. She didn’t turn. She couldn’t—her heart might shatter into a thousand pieces if she would have to look a second time. But the voice called out again. She sighed and dared a glance.

He couldn’t rationalize, not this time. He swam through the people and reached out to her, leaving his angel, approaching his probable doom. But he didn’t care. He couldn’t just watch the plaintiveness of this girl’s eyes. And he could no longer silence the beating of his own heart. Just as she turned, he took her hand, soft and slightly trembling.

Dance with me, she heard him say. She flushed pink and thought she dreamed of it, but seconds after he still stood there. Her head was still reeling—just from wine, probably, but why take effect right after he came? She didn’t care anymore. This time, her logic lost. Be it or not a fancy, it was a moment worth living. She let him guide her, as a moth is led to the lovely fire.

He glided with her through the golden dance floor. His heart was soaring, dancing with such joy. He smiled at her. What are you doing, keeping your beauty and elegance all to yourself, he asked her. She laughed a little. It was music to his ears. I don’t think anybody wanted it, she had said. But I do, he uttered before he could stop himself. She smiled at him, confusion evident in her eyes.

The harm for her was done. She knew he didn’t mean any of it; that he was just making her feel a little better by giving left-over compliments. She knew her place. She was but a dog, begging for scraps under the table. Yet he being the master gave a little too generously, and suddenly she was yearning for so much more.

But the music had stopped. Neither of them wanted it to, but it did. It ended. Slowly she smiled and gently pulled away. He was reluctant, but he let her go. With glistening eyes, she whispered, Thank you. Then she smiled once more, genuinely this time. I think you should now go back to her, she told him and added, you are such a great friend. She just wished they could be so much more.

He kissed her hand ever so lightly. He told her, don’t thank me. You gave me the best friendship I’ve ever had. But as he walked away, his heart was crying out, if only we could be so much more.

For her, it was a night to remember, despite all the pain. It all evened out. It was her silver lining. Her calm amidst the fatal storm. For him, it was the night of real happiness. He made it his own time loop. But the silver lining soon faded, the storm broke out, and the moment was lost forever.

Fight Valiantly

Posted: March 27, 2015 in Prose
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One cannot simply cry out, “Lord! Deliver me from evil!”
when he himself has caused that evil to fall upon himself.
No one can pray, “Lead me not into temptation,”
and afterwards seek to be ensnared by that temptation.
You cannot ask God to make you grow in the faith
while you continuously neglect His means of grace.
You see, you just can’t ask someone to save you from burning
when you insistently keep on setting your own clothes on fire.