On Suffering v2.0

Kaya mo pa ba?”

We all suffer. And often, our pain seems to linger. Even after so many days, so many months, so many years. Eventually, we get tired. We want so badly for it to end, but it seems like it never would. We cry out to the Lord to free us from all our burdens, to free us from the cross we carry. And when our prayers seem unheard, unanswered, we begin to doubt, to despair, to fall apart.

I guess it’s okay to feel this way. I guess it’s okay to allow ourselves to be human.

Even so, please know that the Lord sees everything. The pain we endure won’t ever be in vain. The Lord will reward our suffering. Maybe not now and not here, but in His own perfect time. More so, how can we ever follow Christ if we refuse to carry our cross?

All my life, I’ve been asking the Lord liberate me from my pain, from my suffering, from my cross. Today, I ask the Lord to give me the strength and the courage to carry my cross and to follow Him no matter how difficult, no matter how painful, no matter how long.

My suffering is my offering.

More of You and less of me.

Kaya mo pa ‘yan. Jesus loves you more than most.

 

 

Thank you for a wonderful mass, Fr. Hans. Right at the time when I needed it most.

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Short Reflection on the Taylor Issue

In a world filled with “From Adele to Taylor Swift, how fast can you move on?“, slut-shaming, and hate, let us take a moment to ponder upon some reasons why we should probably stop judging Taylor Swift’s make out sesh with Tom less than a week after the announcement of her breakup with Calvin.

  • Maybe Taylor and Calvin were already completely over each other even before their breakup was made public. Maybe Taylor’s moving on wasn’t as swift as we thought it was.
  • There are a lot of ways to cope with loss, tragedy, or pain, and it varies with every individual. It’s not one-size-fits-all, just like our varying notions of happiness, success, and fulfillment. Some people may be able to cope better when they have someone who’s there for them.
  • We don’t know the entire story, we most probably never will, and we don’t have to. Maybe we should spend less time formulating opinions on how other people choose to live their lives and spend more time actually living ours.
  • This is an opportunity to stop talking about Taylor, Calvin, and Tom, and to start having worthwhile discussions on relationships, romance, moving on, and their psychological implications.
  • And maybe we should really just stop judging people. Period.
  • Dang, I’m not even a fan. I’m just so tired of everyone always having something to say about other people’s lives. Aren’t you?

 

I would always rather be happy than dignified.
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

On Suffering

I won’t dare romanticize suffering. I won’t tell anyone, including myself, that it happens for a reason, that it will make sense, that it’s beautiful. People suffer without a reason. Most often than not, it never makes any sense. It’s nowhere near beautiful- it’s crying yourself to sleep, it’s feeling like your life is worthless, it’s being angry all the time. It doesn’t always make someone stronger or better. It doesn’t always make a person grow. Often, it breaks you. It takes and takes until you have nothing left. It makes you lose sight of everything familiar, of everything that makes you feel safe. It destroys every inch of you, makes you a ruin beyond repair. It isn’t their fault they made their end their choice. Because for people who suffer, that end is the flickering light in a long, unending night.

Into the Wizarding World

Sitting at my office desk and bored to death, I didn’t know that I was a few moments away from embarking on the greatest adventure of my life.

I’ve known Harry Potter since high school. Hold your horses, my childhood didn’t particularly suck- it was actually a fun and simple Filipino childhood that I’m proud of. It’s just that it didn’t have anything to do with Harry Potter. To begin with, I wasn’t even into reading novels during my younger years. I was into reading but only trivia books (preferably with pictures) and short works like essays. Then again, just because I didn’t initially love reading novels doesn’t mean that I love it less than those who did. The same goes for Harry Potter.

Of course, I had peers who were solid fans ever since the beginning. The way they talk about it, it seemed utterly interesting. So I began catching up by seeing the films (which isn’t too difficult for a movie buff). To be more specific, I binge-watched the first five films then waited for the rest to be shown in theaters. Expectations were shattered and a new love was found. Then some months after I saw the last installment, I thought the flame died out. Maybe I wasn’t exactly a big fan after all. Nevertheless, during the height of my love for Harry Potter, I told myself that I would read the books. But apparently I didn’t read them right away. I guess I was afraid.

I was afraid because even after discovering my love for reading novels, I might not do well with series. Well, I’ve read The Hunger Games trilogy before. But that’s the only trilogy I’ve ever read. I was more into standalone novels- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Alchemist, and The Little Prince to mention a few. Anyway, my THG adventure is a whole different adventure (and it’s here). I was afraid that I wouldn’t like it much, and if I already started, I would feel obliged to finish the whole thing. And it’s seven books! The way I see it, deciding to read the series is a serious commitment that I can’t just break when I feel like I wanted to stop.

The moment I began, I realized how foolish I was to ever doubt. The moment I began, I knew it was the beginning of something good, something unforgettable, something beautiful.

What’s funny is that even after the seven books, eight films, three supplementary books, and Pottermore, I still can’t get enough. I want to read more, know more, discover more. I want to talk about it, to write about it, to dream about it.

In Harry Potter, I’ve found another world that isn’t only an escape but also a world which gave me a deeper and better understanding of the one I’m in.

Thank you, JK.

 

I intended to have an in-depth account of everything Harry Potter- largely consisting of my musings and my feelings. I even already prepared an outline of the characters I would like to talk about. However, due to recent realizations, I decided to put it off for some other time. I just figured that if I am going to make a thorough Harry Potter post, I wouldn’t want to it to be half-cooked. So I’m saving it up for a time when my head (as well as my life) is less of a wreck. I just want to give it my best, which I know I can’t give now.

PS
Someone take me back to The Nook, please.

 

Why I Value Feminism

Over the decades, many efforts have been exerted to rid the world of prejudice. We’ve witnessed how prejudice, in its extreme, can cause the greatest horrors. History has shown us that you’re on its unfortunate end if you happen to be a Jew or if your skin is black. And since then up until now, it may happen to you if you’re a girl.

Whenever I hear someone say “She can’t do it because she’s a girl”, I cannot help feeling mad. You’ll be tagged as incapable or weak just because you’re a girl. It’s not even because of failing after trying. It’s not being given the chance to even try.

It’s being paid less for the same job a man does. It’s people telling you that you’re supposed to be at home cooking food and looking after the kids. It’s people thinking that a woman cannot decide for the family, that what the wife has to say isn’t as important as the husband’s.

It’s when they think that if you try to look nice, it’s because you’re trying to get a man’s attention. It’s when they believe that everything a woman does is for the benefit of a man.

It’s them continuously reminding you to “act like a lady”. It’s also telling you that being raped is your fault. It’s telling you that you were raped because you wore skimpy clothes instead of telling men not to rape. It’s teaching you how to defend yourself instead of teaching men how to control themselves.

What’s worse is that in other parts of the globe, it’s denying you education. It’s making you cover your face. It’s telling you that you have no voice. It’s taking away many freedoms, including the freedom to choose who to love and what kind of life to live. It’s teaching you to know your place, and that is behind a man.

It’s all these injustices just because you’re a girl.

I value feminism because of one simple truth- we are all created equal.

I value feminism because even until today, being a woman means being the weaker sex. Because even until today, being a woman means being less competent. Because even until today, being a woman means never being strong enough.

I value feminism because girls should be treated with respect not because a boy has a mother or a sister. Girls deserve respect as much as boys do because just like boys, girls are human beings.

I value feminism because I want to live in a world where we don’t even have to talk about feminism anymore because we have ceased needing it, because women are already valued just as much as men.

I value feminism because it means valuing equal rights. Many of our brothers and sisters who came before us have died fighting against discrimination. Feminism is not allowing their deaths to be in vain because feminism is battling the very same thing they have fought against.

I value feminism because it is a testament to my being human. Because feminism recognizes how all people are the same instead of how they differ.

I value feminism because by doing so, I can help change lives, change destinies, and change minds.

I value feminism because I believe that someone is important regardless if that person is a he or a she. A person matters simply because that person is someone. Humanity’s progress includes everyone, and it all begins with the realization that “everyone” does not exclude anyone.

Let me end this with a powerful thought from Malala Yousafzai- the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, a Pakistani activist, a human rights advocate, a woman. “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”

Yesterday, I Asked For a Miracle

Yesterday,
I asked for a miracle.
Life has been dark lately
and so has been my heart.
I was angry,
I was sad.
But most of all,
I was tired.
I wasn’t even sure
who I was talking to
when I asked,
but yesterday,
I asked for a miracle.
And I didn’t even
bother try
saying what,
saying how.
I just said,
I wish for a miracle,
and I need it today.
It wasn’t even an hour later
when I found out
that the miracle
I was asking for
was you.

Death as a Choice

Spoiler Alert: It is highly suggested that you first read Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, just in case you haven’t yet, before you go on.

I was just done reading the book and I am struggling with great difficulty to keep the tears from falling. But anyway, this isn’t some sort of a book review. It’s more of sharing my perspective regarding the primary theme of the book, which is no less than a person’s right to die, and looking at it on a kind of intimate level- through the life of Will Traynor. And throwing out a little disclaimer out there, this is not an attempt to find moral redemption in defense of Will or whatsoever.

A little refresher: Will lived a big life- he’s smart and good-looking, he’s athletic, he had an illustrious career, he travelled a lot, and he loved adventures. He was born to wealthy parents and he’s used to having his way- not in a bratty sense but in a way that things he want seem to be falling upon his lap mostly because he has made himself a great guy. He had a girlfriend who was as perfect as what his life used to be. Then, the accident happened. He became permanently damaged- he can never make use of everything from chest down except from slightly moving his fingers on one hand. Two years later, Will decided that he wanted to die.

I believe that the choice really is up to Will. And it is just right to leave him to the end he had chosen for himself. When I lost the one thing which I believed is my only ticket to the life I have dreamt of for myself, I wanted to die. I cannot picture myself doing something else for the rest of my days, and I wouldn’t. And the funny thing is I only had to let it slip for a year. Given that we are never entirely sure of the future, and mine may hold a dozen more obstacles to hinder me from achieving the life I’ve wanted, I had and still have countless chances. Even if I don’t end up being what I have pictured myself to become, there are so many paths that I could possibly take, most of which could potentially make me feel happy and whole in the long run. And despite knowing all these, grief still got the better of me. During those darkest moments, I was sure I no longer wanted to continue. My moments are still kind of dark, and having known what it felt like to be someone with nothing to lose, I think I stopped fearing death. It’s not everyday that I’m ready to face death, though. It just feels like from that moment on, I am a little bit more prepared for the day. If I felt like that over something that would look petty in the grand scheme of things, I never wondered why Will knew what choice to make. Even after Lou.

Ironically, even if it was Will who’d eventually die and cease to exist, I think this choice was easiest for him. It’s not too hard to put myself in Will’s shoes. I know I’d never fully understand how much he had suffered, and even so, I already fully understood what he chose for himself and why. What I cannot imagine is being Lou, Steven, Georgina, and, most of all, Camilla. I cannot fully absorb how it would be to allow the person you love to choose to die. Sometimes, or maybe most of the time, it’s easier to fight the battle than to surrender. And this time, letting go means no more going back. It’s locking doors and throwing the keys.

It wasn’t easy being Steven or Georgina, having a son or a brother committing suicide with you allowing it to happen. But they had full lives ahead of themselves, even Steven despite his age, and they could surely move on. It may take time, months or years maybe, but they would. It was perhaps more difficult to be Lou- imagine meeting the one true love of your life who understood and saw you in a way that nobody else did or ever would, throwing the life you’ve always known and grown comfortable with out the window all because of this person, and, in the end, never being enough for that one person to change his mind. Then again, Will made a mark on Lou’s life, and this mark would allow Lou to live a much different and better life, a life that Lou has always deserved. Will paved a whole new road for Lou, and she has so much in store for her even after Will. However, the tragedy of being Camilla is beyond words. Camilla has always held back but I don’t think she actually wanted to. I think she just felt that being more intimate or involved would hurt more than it would help. Though at the end, Will asked for his family after he shared his last few moments with Lou. And I’d like to think that the distance between Will and Steven, Georgina, and especially Camilla was braved and given proper closure.

Despite ultimately agreeing to Will, in the course of reading the book, I admit that I wasn’t completely into his choice. Just like the people who loved him deeply, I wanted him to choose life over death even if it means no chance of him getting better. It was utterly heartbreaking. Yet, when he said that this is the only thing left he had a control over ever since the accident, I knew that to accept Will’s decision for himself was the best thing someone who loves him could do for him.

Will wasn’t selfish or too proud to accept his fate. It’s not about Will, and his family as well as Lou for that matter, being right or wrong. It’s about being human. And that, more than anything, is what we should be after all.

Random Post

This is nonsense but I feel like I have to type it down and kind of keep it so here you go. I had a dream last night. It seemed so real that when I woke up, I had to contemplate for a few seconds if it actually happened. Dreams can truly be like that sometimes. Everything is too ordinary for you to suspect that your mind just unconsciously made it all up. No dragons, no zombies, no superpowers. I usually have dreams about the most unusual things, but every once in a while, a dream like the one I had last night randomly occurs in my head. So anyway, what happened was that I was at the office where I used to work. I brought in a box which contains the new cellphone that I just bought for myself as a Christmas present. I was showing it to a friend when my crush (who works at the same office) walked up to me and said, “May, natanggap mo ba yung text ko?” Damn. And though it’s highly unlikely that such would transpire with my eyes wide open, it felt so real. It felt like everything was in place when, in fact, nothing was. For one, we are not allowed to bring electronic gadgets into the operations floor. I didn’t buy myself any Christmas present. My last day in that office was two days before Christmas so it would be impossible for me to be in the ops after the holidays. And most of all, my crush (whom I bet I’d never see again for the rest of eternity) doesn’t even know I exist. That left me dumbfounded for like five seconds after I woke up. But yes, it felt so good to be noticed by someone I find attractive and, of course, to finally have a new phone.

Yes, that’s about it.

I would be glad to know what that text message said, though. 😜

And if this ever means anything, I surely hope that it means I would get a dashing new phone. Really. 😄

To My First Love

Dear love,

Hey. I honestly don’t know how to begin. I mean, how do you start talking to someone you’ve never even met, never even seen, never even knew existed? The better and probably the more important question here is this: why? Well, today I guess I’m feeling a little hopeful.

When I’m not doing anything that requires a lot of focus like when I’m just walking around or when there’s really nothing that I do or can think of doing, which is most of the time these past few weeks, you often cross my mind. I always wonder how you look, how you dress, what you do. Do you have thick brows that I’ve always found attractive? Do you have long lashes that are even more noticeable when you close your deep brown eyes? Is your hair short and neat? Or maybe you have delicate curls that touch the back of your neck and your cheeks? Do you wear glasses, too?

Nevertheless, despite having no idea at all on what you actually look like, there are quite a few things that I can be pretty sure of about you. You have beautiful eyes, not because of how they look but because of how they see. You have the capacity to always notice the good in everything, in everyone. In me. I do not have such beautiful eyes, but because you do, you help me see. Your smile brings me warmth. And when you do smile, everything, no matter how beautiful it appears to be, just blurs into the background. Because no matter how beautiful something can be, when it comes to your smile, nothing can ever compete. The sound of your laugh is music to my ears. It is not the kind that mocks, but the laugh that reminds me that it is always possible to be completely and genuinely happy.

It may sound sad, unusual, weird, and whatnot, but to tell you honestly, despite being already a young adult and being way past my teenage years, I’ve never been in love before. You can blame it on me being critical, me being socially awkward, me never being able to find someone who shares the same kind of understanding regarding certain things in life, and a bunch of other possible explanations for this early life tragedy. They may be true but I’d like to think that it’s as simple as it was just not yet my time.

That being said, I outgrew a lot of things about young love- matching shirts, passing notes, and mistaking love for romance. It is highly likely that my first love experience would look nothing like that of other first loves. I’m thinking that it would be a little bit more “grown up”. It will take a lot more than just “good morning” texts, hanging out, and holding hands. Because romance is not love even though they may look exactly the same most of the time. Romance is easy (though it never appeared that easy to me) and love isn’t. More so, true love surfaces once you get rid of all the romance. It is a choice that both of us would make everyday- choosing to stay especially when things get hard, choosing to hold on even when it seems like there’s nothing left to hold on to, and choosing each other again and again.

At this point, while you’ll be the first tangible proof that I am capable of loving and being loved, it is likely that you’ve already had your first even before we met. And that is another story I cannot wait to hear from you. I want to learn of all the places you’ve been to, all the persons you’ve become before your path crossed mine. I want you to tell me about all the books that you’ve read, the adventures you’ve had, the choices you’ve made. I want to know what makes you smile, what makes you cry, what kills you inside. I want to know about everything that you love, everything that you dream of, and everything that you’re afraid of.

I guess you can say that this long-overdue first love is something I both fear and look forward to. But I believe that the moment you hold my hand, I won’t be too scared to take the jump anymore.

I’ll see you when it’s time.

Love always,
May

Hiatus Update

About two-thirds of my 2015 was awful. I mean, there were good days. A lot of them actually. It just feels like I’ve lost a lot during the past year, most of which I haven’t gotten back just yet. There were things I’ve learned also, as always as every experience ought to teach us something. Maybe I just couldn’t appreciate them as much as their true worth because I haven’t figured out how much they’ve changed my life for the better, or should I say how much they would change my life along the process. I don’t think I can still post as often as I did before (which was not really that often anyway) but I’ll surely do when something comes up. Of course, I won’t let you go. You are my confidante. You allow me to breathe, and to bleed. You allow me to spill my thoughts even when there’s no actual person to spill them to, even when I only have myself. And for everything, for the past three years and the many next, thank you from the bottom of this broken-but-still-beating heart.

Further update (around 9:00 AM): FINALLY after so many months, I was able to update my reviews on RT. Though most of them are just one-liners, it still took me more than an hour maybe. There were about 30-40 films that I took care of earlier. Boy, I will never let it pile up that much again.