Twenty Four

Wow. I’m on my 7th version of this now. I do this every year, one month before I turn another year older, where I look back on what I did for the last twelve months and see how’s my life going so far.

When I wrote my entry last year, I was in a place that I didn’t like. This isn’t to say my 23rd year was the absolute worst. It’s just that I felt stuck half of the time. But that’s all in the past. They really don’t matter as much. Because right now, as I’m writing this, I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop, in one of the most magical places on earth for me.

My birthday usually falls on the end of the summer. Which means it’s annoyingly hot outside right now, and surely for the rest of May. The sky is clear today. It looks like the kind of blue that I love. And the trees in front of me are motionless. Why is it important for me to say this here, you ask? It’s because I want to remember where exactly I am as I draft this. It’s a yearly tradition.

My 23rd year started in my room. As usual, I waited for the clock to turn 12. The moment my calendar changed to May 26, I closed my eyes and prayed. I thought it was the best way to start the year. And I still do.

After I said everything that I hoped for, I consumed my favorite drink and snack and chocolate. Again, it’s a tradition. I am weird like that. After I went over through my rituals, I filmed myself for the sake of having something to remember one day. Up until this very second, I don’t know what’s my point for doing such things. I guess I’m just really crazy about turning a year older and I want it to be extra. So whatever.

My family and I woke up at around 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. because we were celebrating my birthday at the beach. I was excited but obviously tired since I only had 3 hours of sleep. I saw the first sunrise of my 23rd year came up behind mountains. My uncle was driving the car and my sister and my cousin were beside me. It was a satisfying way to start the day — or the year. I was sleepless but smiling.

We had breakfast at a fast food chain. Drove for couple of hours before we made it to the beach town. It was raining quite hard at that time and we were all down because we knew we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the beach. The resort and the view in front of it were both mind-blowing. Saying the place was Instagram worthy was an understatement. But it was raining so it was still a bummer.

An hour passed and — finally! — the clouds cleared and we started enjoying the day. God is good like that, you know. I had my yearly photoshoot. My sister and cousin — actually all of us — joined the bandwagon of taking selfies and groupshots. It was fun. It was great. I loved it.

We dipped into the pools like we owned them. There were no people around because it was a secluded resort so it felt like the entire place was ours. There were two hills in the middle of the ocean in front of us. I felt calm every time I stared at them while I rested my elbow on the edge of the pool. In that moment, I felt like my life was in a movie again — something that rarely happened.

One of my favorite parts of the day was when we spent our remaining resort credits on foods. We had so much of them that we ended up ordering different foods that could feed twenty people. My cousin and sister and I were laughing so hard just realizing how insane the situation was. As soon as we had enough of everything, we packed up and went home.

I guess I was dead tired from the running and swimming and eating and sleeplessness that I passed out on the car. Our car came to a halt and I jolted awake. I looked on my right and we were on a beach mall. Time for dinner.

We ate at this pizza store beside the mall and I thought it was a cool way to end the day. It was completely dark when we came out and the breeze of summer air was the only thing that I could smell. Spending time with my family on the most special day of my life was one of the best things that I did.

If I’m going to paint the picture of what my 23rd year looked like, it’d be like this: quite boring, but extremely successful. I didn’t travel much for the last twelve months. Actually, I didn’t travel at all. And I know you’re wondering what the heck was I thinking or was I doing in life. But here me out, okay?

I learned so much in the previous years of my life. I felt so behind because my resume was so weak and so shallow that I told myself, “Fuck it. I’mma drop my cravings and desire for travel and focus on being the best shit in my generation.” I was sick of being thought as the kid who is great but inexperienced. So I flipped the table and gambled my time. And it worked. It damn worked. Still working.

I continued to work as an accountant in the morning and built myself to be a better writer at night and weekend. I worked 7 days a week — I shit you not. But I don’t recommend this to anyone. Because just recently, I have realized that it’s mandatory that you give yourself one whole day to not do anything.

I worked really hard and aggressive and strategic. At 23, I had a book published by an inpendent publishing house in New York. It was a dream come true. I still couldn’t fully believe I did it. It was insane. I mean, at 23? That was huge. It was a hard process to go through and I spent a lot of time building my portfolio for me to get a book deal, but I freaking did it. I hustled and bled and succeeded.

Since I didn’t like the city that I was living and I felt like the company that I was working with was dead end, I revamped my resume and jumped ship. I bumped at this fast-growing company that has over a thousand of employees and so far I’m liking it. So far I’m loving the small and laid back city that I’m in. I’ve been sort of wanting to be here before. So I guess everything is kind of okay.

Before my 23rd year wrapped up, I made it to the featured writers page of Thought Catalog. This was another big deal. This was another dream come true. I feel like if I look at my life on an outer persepctive, I would say I have my life running fine right now.

I mean, I have my own apartment. Something I never had since I moved out of home 7 years ago. My day job is okay. I have a book that is being sold worldwide. And a lot of people know I’m a writer and that I write for an international digital magazine. Life at 23 was a great life on paper. I didn’t step to new places and felt magic, but I put myself in a good spot in life. I didn’t have it all, but I had some things good.

I sacrificed my time. I saved some of my money. I disciplined myself. All in the name of building my resume. And I am proud of myself for doing so.

As I enter my 24th year, I can’t give myself a guarantee that I would have worldly adventures. I’m still being careful with my actions after everything that I learned when I was 21. It’s important to me that I save money instead of impulsively spending them on travel. People don’t realize the power of money and where it can bring them, but I do.

No matter what happens to me, if I have savings, I can be anywhere else I want to be. I can start a new life somewhere. I have a safety net to fall back on. And I can afford to have an independent life.

I think the thing that I want people to learn too is the benefit of not comparing ourselves to other. It’s easy to be like, “Fuck he’s been to a dozen of places and I’m here living an uninteresting life.” But what we forget to ask ourselves is, “Do I really fucking want to have his life?” Because I can guarantee you, 98% of the time, you won’t. I think it’s important to really concentrate on our own paths and stick to our goals. We all want to achieve something. And sometimes we slow down because we allow other people to drag us with them.

I have woken up and learned how vital my 20s is when it comes to establishing myself. I know I can be something more and someone bigger. I want to stay grounded and keep following everything that I’ve learned from successful people.

In my 24th year, I want to just remain where I exactly am physically and become stronger. I might want to go back to school and pursue a masteral degree so I can add more bullets in my gun. Of course there are infinite things in this world that I have no control of. But what I’m ultimately trying to say is I won’t stop doing the right thing for me.

Yes I’ve done enough at 23, but I do recognize that I’m still young. I have an amazing and beautiful future ahead of me. With God, I know He’s guiding me to make it into the promised land. Right now, He’s giving me everything that I need. And I know that from here, I can only take one baby step at a time to get to where I am going next.

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I’m Late At The Party (And I Am The One To Blame) 

I’m probably — maybe — going to grow old alone. I know I’m being such a downer, and this is, without a doubt, a sad way to open a paragraph — but I truly have a good feeling I’ll never get to experience true love. 
I also know that this might come off as a shocker to a lot of people. And I understand why. I mean, I write about love and relationship a lot. Shouldn’t I be, among all of us, the best when it comes to dating? Shouldn’t I, at this point, have a wonderful partner that I can brag to anyone? Theoretically yes. 

I have a good amount of knowledge about what love is, about what we deserve, about the kind of person we should all end up with. I know the ins and outs. I am super familiar with relationship red-flags, with fuckboys, with temporary relationships. I promise you I can talk all day about love and relationship and I will never run out of something to say. 

But the irony — or shall we say the biggest joke — is that I am sitting here, wholeheartedly accepting that I am destined to keep loving myself until I draw my final breathe. I am sitting here, remembering how everyone that I deem to like is unavailable — legally, physically, emotionally. It seems as if someone screams, “The boat is sinking!” and people just grab whoever that is near them. And I am too slow to ever catch one. 

Every time I look all around me, I see couples. And it made me think how there’s a party somewhere that we all need to go and we’re required to go in pair. Everyone has found the right person for them. Everyone has settled down. Everyone is ready to head to the party. And, as obvious as it is, I am late and I am coming alone and I don’t even care. 

I am going to the party on my own and I am the one to blame. I have been picky. I write about not settling for less, for what I don’t deserve. I talk about wanting to be partnerless than be with someone I don’t like. And as always, I follow what I preach. 

I am single AF. And I am the one to blame. And again, I don’t really care. 

The scary thing about me is that I know exactly how to magically put up walls all around me, iced anyone that I don’t like, and not feel anything at all. I am good at shutting my emotions down just to prove a point, or get what I want. I know how to pretend I don’t remember certain memories. 

What’s even scarier is that lately, I’ve been obsessing over having a great career. At 23, I am fully determined to take my life seriously. 

No strings attached with anyone. No personal relationships involved. There’s only one word that I have in mind — and it’s not love — it’s success. 

I’ve had so much shit in the past few years and I guess I’m just done playing games with anyone. I hate wasting my time. I hate sharing my attention and energy to those who don’t give a crap about the person that I am becoming. I highly value my future and I am quick to turn around to anyone who’s going to slow me down. 

I love my job. I love my client. And I love my company. This is what I’ve been waiting for so long. This is what I’ve been dreaming to have. And I earned this moment. 

Everyone’s most likely having a good time at the party. Everyone’s going to stay late. But I won’t. Because it’s not the kind of party that I came here on earth for. I’s not the kind of party that can ultimately make me happy. And if people are going to blame me for being alone, I don’t really mind. As long as I will live this life unapologetically, fabulously, single AF. 

Twenty Three

Exactly one month from now I will be turning 23. I can’t believe I’m on the sixth version of this now. The first time I started this, I was turning 18. Six years quickly came by in what felt like a blink of my eyes.

A year ago today, when I wrote my first draft of what happened to me before I turned 22, I was sitting at the 2nd floor of Subway fast food, overlooking the Dubai Metro station and Emirates Tower. I just had my lunch. Everything was so different then. My mind was consumed. I was a little bit scared and uncertain with where I was, and with everything that I had. But I was keeping myself intact. I was fighting, with my head above the water.

Now, 12 months later — I am here, back in my home country. Back in the city I’ve lived for almost 6 years, sitting at a conference table, overlooking the city skyline. Saying a lot has changed in a year is an understatement. I mean, look at where I am right now from where I was?

How did everything happen so fast? How about we start from the very beginning.

Six hours before I turned 22, I decided to spend the night and wait until midnight at Jumeirah Lake Tower. That place always had a special place in my heart so I thought why not celebrate there? It was the first time I’d be welcoming my birthday outside my home and I knew it would be exciting. And it was — but not everything that happened afterwards.

I had my last dinner as 21 years old at a Chinese fast-food chain. I celebrated my pre-22 all by myself. I thought it was a good idea to think things through very clearly. I never wanted to turn 22 if I was being honest with myself. I had an incredible year and I felt like I didn’t want that to end. A huge part of me wanted to stay young forever — careless, worry-free, ambitious, don’t-a-shit young adult.

But I had no choice. As soon as the clock in my phone turned 12, reckless party would be over.

So I roamed around for a bit on the shopping boutiques along the JLT Boulevard before I head down to the beach. It was pretty dark already as far as I could remember. I saw this amazing grocery store. I never saw it the last time I was there, I thought to myself. I went in, bought some snacks to munch while I kill time before midnight, and promised to myself that I’d go back later. I didn’t care about the money I was spending, even though I was technically a broke 21 year old kid. It was my pre-birthday after all. I deserved a break.

Finally, I walked to the beach. It was quite dark but I was glad for the moon, the first-world country establishments, elite residential, and Movie Theater in front of the beach that gave tiny light to my surroundings. I knew the Palm Jumeirah didn’t give much impact on what I needed, but I was glad too that I could see it shining brightly on the distance.

I sat on the sand, breathe the salt pre-summer Middle East air, and allowed myself to unleash the real me.

I watched these two kids playing around by the water. Their parents were sitting not so far beside me, watching too. I wondered if they’d grow up to be the person they wanted to be. I looked at them and they seemed really happy and content with where they were, with what they had.

I stood up and had the urge to walk along the beach. There were few people still on the ocean even at around 8 pm in the night. I walked more. The ocean looked blue green. I thought to myself, “I would never forget this moment.”

I pondered about my life as I let my feet drag me further down the beach.

Am I really happy? Is this what I want? I’m so broke here. I feel like I’m living under the rock. Should I just go home? But I’m already here. Besides wouldn’t that be an embarrassing move to do? Especially that I spent the last four years bragging I’d be here sooner?

I was confused. I was somehow lost. Al though I couldn’t remember how terribly lost. I talked to God while I walked. I knew He’d help me. I was also worried about something else. Someone else I needed to save. I was worried about a lot of things in general. Money. Rent. Gadgets. Travel. Food. Savings. Choices. Name it.

There was this weird mist in the air I was having a hard time to explain. But it was like the wind was warm, but the ocean was cool, and they just sort of collided. I don’t know. I hope you could picture that out.

I realized I walked very far. So I turned back to where I left my bag and snacks and slippers. One more reason why I fell in love with the city real hard was that, there was almost no record of theft. You could leave your things and you could always find them.

I sat back to the sand. I looked at my watch. I had less than 4 hours to kill. What else would I do? Should I just head back to my apartment? This was silly. I pulled out my phone, inserted the earphones in it, then played Ariana Grande’s newest album. It was my pre-birthday gift to myself. I loved it.

I dragged myself to the tip of the ocean, careful not to wet my shorts, and listened to Ariana Grande’s songs while I twirled around the water, pretending I was on the music video, and being sexy. I was that weird. Really weird.

I got tired so I settled back to where I was sitting. I thought about my life more. My mind was bleeding — that’s for sure. I was 21. Did I truly know what I was doing? What my purpose was?

I was a very deep person. That was me in my normal habitat.

I got tired, sat back again, then made a list. I shouldn’t forget that to mention here. I made a damn list! One that I would love to call “Jinxed list”. Almost every item in there never came true. The content was stored in my iPhone4s. I should re-read that again. I wrote the list and promised to myself, “These are the things that I need to have or achieve at 22.” Which was bullshit obviously.

But in case you’re wondering, from what I could remember, the list included: having a go-pro, writing another novel, saving someone, focusing on career (?), save money (!), go back home to visit. And so on. I can’t remember them all.

So I was getting a bit bored. I browsed the shops more on the Boulevard, and went back to the grocery store as I promised to myself.

I walked into the store and I said to myself, “This is such a movie moment.” It’s kinda weird but I was starting to feel magic. Like, something was just so different. Like, everything at that moment was special. I looked around me in that shop and I swore I could live in that moment.

I went out with a huge cookie I guess and a ginger ale. A freaking ginger ale because I wanted to get drunk but apparently Dubai banned alcoholic drinks ever since, so I dumbly thought ginger ale would do. Freaking ginger ale.

Two more hours before Angelo officially turned 22! How exciting it was to celebrate by myself. I mean, wow!

I transferred to the back portion of the Boulevard and left the sand because it was getting late and it was getting creepy there. I sat on the well-maintained grassy area with all the beautiful night lights around me. Some expensive restaurants were closing behind me. I could still see the ocean from my spot all too well.

Different people walked pass by me. But it was pretty much spacious since it was a weeknight. Again, it was such a movie moment. I inhaled some air more.

I yawned. I was somehow dead tired, and my emotions started creeping in. I looked at the Palm Jumeirah. Still bright. And I finally faced that one thing that was looming on the surface.

The truth that I had no love life. That I felt lonely for most part. That I questioned myself if there was something wrong with me. But how could there be something wrong with me when I’m so dateable? All of my girl best-friends would testify to that.

But I was all alone, not only that night, but for most part of my life. I guess I shed some tears on that hour. I thought leaving my home country would make a difference in my romantic life but alas, it didn’t. So I thought about going back home again since being there was stupid anyway.

My then considered best-friend, texted me to greet me Happy Birthday and sent me a picture of, ahm, (N). She thought it was a crush joke. I thought too. But subconsciously there was more to that. And there was more to that story later. Specifically how N affected some of my decisions.

Few minutes before I turned 22, I was giddy and pumped and beaten up and sleepy. But pretty much alive. I counted down the seconds before midnight like it was a New Year. And I sung myself Happy Birthday. How sad right? I wished to the world, to God, to everyone or everything that was listening. Do I remember what I wished? Uhm. Not exactly sure. But they had probably the same fate as the lists.

Okay. Take a shift in your seat. This is the turning point of the story.

Not even an hour after I turned 22, shit already came bothering me. And it pretty much set the tone for my whole year. I know. It’s weird and strange and odd. But I felt like that moment, the world was giving me a warning sign.

What bad signs? I’d give a quick montage: no more bus, no more train. Had to take taxi. Paid almost 80 dirhams. Embarrassed myself to the taxi driver. Transferred to the only bus that would bring me to the apartment. 2 am and people had so much shit already. Bus driver yelled at me. I felt weak and just allowed him win over me. Said to myself, “Fuck this. Does he know it’s my birthday?”

Came home safe. Slept.

Want more bad signs?

Woke up in the morning with no breakfast. Cooked my own. Was kinda yelled at. Lunch was whatever. But good thing we had dinner party planned. More personal horrible story I wouldn’t share.

But unto a good one on my birthday, my Aunt — favorite Aunt — surprised me a bouquet of flowers. How lovely! Yes it was but… she was the first person who gave me flowers. But it’s okay! I was still sort of happy. Birthday dinner was okay. It was sweet, small, solemn, and yeah — unforgettable.

End of my birthday.

But wait.

Worse signs came in after that. And the world didn’t truly give me a break. Not even 3 days after my birthday, my entire hope collapsed.

I went back to the office with no birthday greetings. Nobody cared. My best-friend and few of my friends (?) tried to give pleasant wishes, but they were also just whatever. No surprise. No anything.

I locked myself in the toilet for Idk how long. Cried. Missed home. Felt the loneliest in my life ever. I was wearing something special and beautiful, for nothing.

But here’s the worst part on that day. I was called for a special meeting. I was lectured for not following a company policy for which I ignored, didn’t care, or was ignorant. I informed someone high-ranking through email about me taking a day off as I would celebrate my birthday in the most light-hearted and funniest email I sent in that company. But since I had no luck whatsoever, it didn’t work.

I was 22. It was the only day I took an absent. And it was the most special day of my life. Was that hard to understand or sympathize? Were people really that cruel? Would this be the life I wanted to live in the next 2 years?

I was heartbroken. And nobody knew, cared, understood. I am a human being. I have emotions and feelings.

Things changed after that. I felt even lonelier and purposeless. I had my lunch alone for couple of weeks that followed. I barely talked or trusted anyone. I snapped too easily to anyone. I just didn’t care at that point. Because I was a young 22 year old kid and nobody gave a shit about me. So why would I?

The best-friend I thought would protect me ended up not caring too. The person I had feelings for (N, this was you) wanted me out. The person I believed had a crush on me just stayed quiet, and chose to be blind. The person I shared the same roots betrayed me.

How could I continue to live in that environment? I was suffocated.

I tried to get my shit together and stick around for more.

Back to my personal life, maybe God answered my wish. I was on the lowest point in my life. Literally about to give up. Then you came into my life A. We met on the bus. (For those of you who’s interested in this meet up story. Scroll down and find a piece with the title “June 6, 2016”)

We dated. Or so I thought. No actually we were fucked up. We were complicated. But it was Ramadan. You were weak — I meant vulnerable — for the whole month. I don’t know what we were.

I was worried more, and worse this time. I was worried about the person I wanted to save, about A, about both of them going home. But guess what? We all went home. Wasn’t that the sickest joke?

Back to the working life, so we could wrap these detailed parts already. I tried to change, fitted in, swallowed my pain, and smiled like nothing was wrong. But I was just about to see the worst.

Before things blew up, there was this one morning and I could remember  so well. I was in your car N. It was Ramadan month, and as part of your “charity”, you gave me a free ride. Which was fitting because our apartments were only 10 minutes apart by walk.

While you were driving, I was on the back seat, looking at these tall buildings from the distance. They were all perfectly aligned. I wanted to take picture of that scene but was afraid you’d judge me N. What strike me, though, was that I felt something in that particular moment. It was weird. And I almost whispered to myself, “Take a look. Take them all in. You’re going to miss this.” It’s like I was saying goodbye already.

Maybe the universe was screaming at me, making me feel what was about to go down – a preview of what I’d do.

But before we go to that part, I have a question to ask.

Do you know how sometimes, it feels like you have a complete control over a situation, and one little decision can change everything?

Well, I had that moment. And it did really change everything for me from then onwards.

I was having a rough time at work, pissed off as usual. I compromised my liberty in response to your “charity” N. Because I’m the kind of person who has a heart. But you took me for granted. All of your folks took me for granted almost every day. And I’ve had enough. I was honestly tired. You wanted to take more of my freedom, but I couldn’t. What you were all doing to me was too much. Too much.

And if there’s one thing you should know about me N, as I write this, is that I’m smart. I know what I’m doing. What I did on that day was a thought I decided was right.

You don’t know this N, but when you wanted me to finish something and stay longer, I was planning to lie and walk away afterwards. I finished some parts of what you wanted. I had few couple of minutes of debating whether or not I should pursue my plan. A series of flashbacks passed before my eyes as I deliberately weighed my options.

I decided to do what I was about to do. I smiled. I turned off my computer. I stood up. I slung my backpack to my shoulder. I walked pass you. Then you were stunned. You didn’t expect I’d do that. You asked me if I was done. I said, “Yeah”, nonchalantly. You asked if I was sure. I made a hand gesture to confirm yes, and showed how defeated I was already at that point.

Did you see how defeated I was N? Did you even care?

I went to the pantry to get my lunch-boxes, then you watched me through the glass doors as I left. You found out I lied. I left my task unfinished, on purpose. I wasn’t dumb. I knew what would happen next. And I chose that to happen.

But did you know where I was heading N? Did you know why I was eager to leave?

I went to my cousin’s birthday. Yes Adrian. I picked you over them. You didn’t know this too. We celebrated your birthday while I was trying to bury my worries. I knew I was done. But I wanted to enjoy the night. I wanted to see you happy on your birthday.

Because, Adrian, honey, I will always choose you over them.

The following day was, well, the doomsday. I didn’t want to go through the details as few people knew the story already. There was a piece in this website where I told the part when I was standing at the 19th floor, crushed on the inside and so done with the world, while I looked at the highway below. I watched the fast cars raced through the streets and thought it’d be the last time I’d see them.

My final words that all of you folks would never forget was, “This isn’t the kind of life I pictured myself living in.”

It was the bomb that I dropped that destroyed everything.

The list I made before I turn 22 turned out to be defective.

I made bold moves. My theme on my 22nd year was: “Carpe diem that one great leap of faith and have fun for the wild ride.” And I did carpe diem the great leap of faith. Was it a wild ride? I bet.

Half of my 22nd year, I spent sort of lost. I didn’t know what I really wanted. I had no idea where exactly I wanted to be. I was weak. I had so much in my mind. I played a little too aggressively — impulsive even.

I admit that there were so many things in life I couldn’t understand or wanted to understand. All I knew was that I was young and I should be having fun. But I was wrong.

Half of my 22nd year, I spent redeeming myself. I gave myself second chances to do things right, to correct my mistakes, and to begin again. It wasn’t an easy process. Some days, I would get discouraged. Some days, I would regret for what I did. Some days, I wish I could go back in time.

But you know what? As I sit here right now typing this, I am wholeheartedly decided not to go back in the past.

Yes this city I am in right now is stupid. It’s killing me every day with its flaws and imperfections. But this is where I actually feel more at peace with myself than where I used to be.

I have a room for myself. I have a decent salary for my age. I eat take out fast food every day, as opposed to canned goods. I see my grandmother every weekend and it’s the best thing ever. I get to be in my room at the country side every weekend too. My work schedule is light. I have 4x more time here, and because of that, I am able to write for Thought Catalog. I can buy myself expensive clothes in here as well, but I just choose not to. Sure I probably can’t risk my money with chocolates, but will they just eventually destroy me if I go on with that addiction?

Point is, I should truly consider the substance over form. Intrinsic value over face value. It’s true this city is nothing compared to the beauty of Dubai. But I’m actually calmer here. I have more time here for myself, for the things that I love. It’s just a matter of opening my eyes and knowing what makes me really happy. And where I’m genuinely happy.

I recognize that I’ve let some people down because of my decisions, and I choose to silently ignore them, and proceed to living my life. But I just want to say to anyone who rooted for me, that I am sorry you realized I wasn’t that great.

But I think I’m allowed to make mistakes at this age, and figure out what I want for myself, and not for anyone else.

I know it sucks. But I’m trying to move on, be better. And I hope that you do too.

I will be turning 23 soon. It’s a totally different story this time around. Now, I’ve found my voice, my dreams, my goals, myself.  And it’s time to make the tables turn.

I am not scared anymore. I am no longer the 22 year old kid running around, always panicked, always worried. I am confident with the skills that I have and with what I can offer to the world. I know what I want to pursue and I have plans in my mind I want to execute patiently.

I see a bright future for me now and I know I can bring a one big success this year. I’m starting to figure out my purpose and why I am here. I am glad with the achievements I’ve had in the last five months, and I think I’m good for it to go on until I’m ready to make my own mark.

I am moving on slowly. And writing down my past allows me to let go. I am comfortable with my own skin. I barely have insecurities anymore. I only do what I love, and not pay attention to anything that’s irrelevant in my life.

I am happy and I think I’m living the life that I picture for myself. This year, I can feel that I’m going to be even happier. I trust myself, the world, and God more.

I am working hard day and night for some of my dreams to come into fruition at 23. I am excited for this year, for all the possibilities, for all the better experiences, for more amazing memories, for more people to meet, for more places to visit. I am more focused on my goal now, and craving for success, than I’ve ever been.

And I think I am finally seeing the stripes of lights, because I know, in my heart, that I’m heading to where I am supposed to be.

 

Twenty One.

First of all, I still can’t believe that there’s already two words printed in the title section. Actually it’s still hard to accept the fact that I’m turning 21 already because to be honest I still feel like I am 16. Al though there are some times when I can catch myself acting appropriately like my age, overall I kind of believe I do not fall into the category of being 21. 


To describe the past year in a word, without a doubt, I would have to say successful. Regardless of everything that has happened whether it’s a good and bad experience, in the end I always wrap it up with the reality that I made it, that I have proven myself a worth in the entire universe. But since this is a yearly tradition to look back on the last twelve months, here is my fourth version of narrating my previous year.

I want to begin with the romance part. It is the most interesting side of my life because I have spent my year having a fucking zero good experience with it. None as in nothing. I guess before  my year started I already made up my mind that I was going to determinedly defer my usual epic search for romantic partner because I was thinking if I want to achieve something in my life I had to concentrate by all means of going after it. So since I was a graduating student I thought why not wholeheartedly dedicate my 24/7 time studying. Miraculously I was able to surpass my deal without any complication. I learned that if you focus yourself a hundred percent in reaching your goal, it’s possible that you can forget everything else that doesn’t matter.

Regarding my relationship with my friends I am glad to conclude that I have found a group of friends that I can keep for life. I am claiming to God and to the Universe that I am so happy to have met my Pamilyang B. They mean so much to me more than any other material thing. If I’m going to be honest yes we have our ups and downs but I realize that’s exactly the true test of our friendships. The important thing is how people are able to make peace with everyone at the end of the day. We love each other and that’s all that matters.

As in terms of life in general, I want to portray the other side of me that clearly shows how tough I am. Like I can be flat-out nice to everybody but if someone tries to be rude or mean to me that person will see how bitch I can be. I have spent my last 2 years trying to please everyone and let them wreck me but I always remember what some of my friends told me about being brave, courageous, and indestructible. I feel like in this life there will be people who will belittle you and take you for granted so you have to show them that you’re the exact opposite of what they expect you to be. 

On the very good side though, I believe I own this year. I remember thinking that 2015 will be my time and as proof to that I graduated college. It was a five year worth of hard work and patience and being able to cross the finish line was a huge sigh and relief. The fight isn’t over yet because I have to get my license as a public accountant but I am positive I will be able to achieve that as well. 

For 365 days there were a lot of things that had occurred but the only thing that I am putting in my mind at the moment is that I am done with school and I already have a degree that I can use in my life forever. I am excited for what this year has in store for me. I want to pray, hope, and wish that there are a lot of great things ahead of me. 

.04 This is to you.

I feel lonely sometimes. And this is one of those sometimes. There’s no sugar coating the fact that I need saving. I need someone to take me out of this loneliness. I need you.

I have made peace with my friends and it felt really great. They welcomed me with open hands and right then I knew they were the kind of people to keep forever. Too bad I’m faraway from them right now. I guess that’s why it made me think about you again lately. Remember the guy I met online that I wrote about previously? Well jinx got the best of him. He banished all of a sudden without any explanation. I was okay with that. I mean, people come and leave. I got used to it.

I bet you a thousand bucks you’re wondering what went wrong again. I just realized important aspect in my life. Like how it was hard for me to maintain a strong grip on relationship with people. In my defense, I always explain that what I do is the exact reaction that is normally anticipated on a certain situation. So in my mind I am always right because I am always nice to people and when they take that for granted and waste it, I usually walk away without any reconsideration. I hope you’re here with me right now to hear this drama and understand me.

Once in a while I remember the time when I was sitting at a chair in the middle of the night wishing someone would come and pick me up and fly me somewhere to make me feel better. That feeling never fades. I am very fragile, I easily get affected by tiny unexpected things. Like this book I have read 2 weeks ago that still sticked to me no matter what. There was a part there that said something like you see people the way you perceive them but you have no idea how broken and messed up they are from the inside. I guess that’s why a lot of people commit suicide. Nobody figures them out. 

I want you to figure me out, every single detail of my life just the same way that I will. I love you babe. I’m sad you’re not here with me.

.03 This is to you.

We’re on our third version my love! I can’t believe we’ve made it this far. To be honest, I’m feeling sort of skeptical as to continuing this thing but I realize love tests patience and so I solemnly agree to bear the foolishness in the name of you.

Character development is what I’m trying to tell you this time. I acknowledge the imminent changes and developments along the way, so goes in terms of romance. I have grown from seeking you in this superficial suit into the close to reality one. Al though you never come yet just like before, I pray my words will get you this time and make you realize that I am here sitting beautifully, patiently waiting for your arrival. I’m not expecting destiny will exactly play it this way at the moment, I understand that. But still, I have hopes and dreams. I can proudly adress to you that I cry no more, not a total dry spell but no more unexpected roller coaster rides.

Maybe you’re wondering what have happened since the last time, however I believe it will take a whole new long story to tell you those.

I see you differently now. And it makes me incredibly grand for doing so. I’m pretty sure you feel the same way too. Well I wish you do. Seconds will tick down, minutes will pass, hours will lose in an instant, memories and moments will fade. But I will freeze them for you. I will write you a thousand words for as long as I can. I will make you smile to begin the day with and I will sooth whatever pain you have by the end of the day, through my letters I will. Come and be here and we will work with the world to make it a better place through our romance. I think I am ready for you, more than I have ever been. I’m not afraid anymore, no worries, no pretending, it is the only me I will show show you every time until infinity.

I think I don’t need to remind you how much I love you because I am sure it’s already drilled in your soul. I miss you and I hope you come soon. I am prepared, I swear, cross heart. I love you to the stars through adversity.

Just like Taylor Swift’s song.

Look at your phone and tell me what you remember.
There we talked endlessly and felt so much better.
This invisible space we called ours.
In my room, in your room, every hour.

It was Decemeber and I remembered it was so cold.
But you were there to give me warm I dearly hold.
You gave me confidence knowing someone liked me too.
Your generosity made my heart melt which I loved in you.

All throughout I was living in illusion.
What you gave me was unreal.
I realized that you add me in your long list
Of people you let hang by a thread.

I stopped saying hi.
And this song is to let you know why.

Just like Taylor Swift’s song.
You paint me a blue sky and go back and turn it to rain.
Just like Taylor Swift’s song.
You gave me love and then you take it away.

It was the kind of love that’s fast-paced.
I forced myself to forget you but all I did was crave.
You made me soar high and fly.
But you let me live in your lies.

It was embarrassing what I did to move on.
I deleted you everywhere so I could go on.
It was immature but I can’t help it.
I always fear to be left in a heartbeat.

Avoiding you was as hard as trying to solve a crossword.
Denying I never loved you was not as easy as reciting the letters.
Forgiving you was as hard as sleeping in nightmares.
Letting you go was not as easy as counting numbers.

I fooled myself into thinking it was love.
But love was never one-sided.
Love was a mutual feeling.
We did not have that.

I stopped saying hi.
And this song is to let you know why.

Just like Taylor Swift’s song.
I lived in your chess game but you changed the rules everyday.
Just like Taylor Swift’s song.
I regret when they said run as fast as you can.

It was the kind of love that’s fast-paced.
I forced myself to forget you but all I did was crave.
You made me soar high and fly.
But you let me live in your lies.

Here I am sitting in my bed.
Making this and hoping it would reach you.
Here I am remembering those short times.
Making you a song and hope that one day I’d sing it to you.

Perhaps you thought I haven’t gotten over you.
You’d think it’s funny that I still liked you.

But just like Taylor Swift’s song
I already took the matches before fire could catch me.
And just like Taylor Swift’s song
I’m shining like fireworks over your sad empty town.

Those December nights.
Those invisible spaces.
Those endless laughs.
Look at your phone
And tell me what you remember.