This Is How You Remind Me What Truly Matters

Dear God,

You really have a strange way of making me understand my life, my journey. You don’t want me to think that the choices I’ve made are purposeless. You want me to see everything clearly, find reasons, know the answers to my whys.

I’ve stumbled upon this website called: instant street viewer. I’ve known it before, used it before. Whenever I’m missing a certain place, I’ll just visit the site and type the address of where I want to be.

I chose the place I lived for 8 months. I didn’t exactly know why. I just felt like I wanted to revisit it, and made myself feel like I was there again. I picked the part where I’d go down from a bus stop and walk home. It was so funny that I still knew every single direction to my apartment. It’s as if I could navigate my way even when my eyes closed.

The feeling was all TOO familiar, as I passed through the street using the cursor, instead of my feet. Immediately, a sense of longing and nostalgic poured inside of me. Everything felt so near, yet far so away. I remember all the details that I saw. I can’t believe that part of my life ended abruptly.

I used to walk on those streets every day of my life, and… it was disheartening how I took those moments for granted, not knowing that one day they’d soon end. I wonder how many times I walked on the same cul-de-sac, how many times I smelled that distinct odor, how many times my heart fluttered as the wind brushed my hair.

I remember how lucky I was to be living somewhere different.

But then, when I was on my halfway through my old apartment, I realize how the park in front of me reminded me so much of how young I was at that time.

I remember how stupid, and ignorant, and emotional, and weak I was. I remember all the reasons why I should not look back. I rolled my eyes and contemplated whether I should close the screen. But then a part of me wanted to finish what I already started. So I pushed through.

10 minutes to the building. I saw the grocery store where I bought my snacks on late afternoons. I saw the car shop — I used to think how amazing it would be to work there, because my place was close to it. I saw the spot where I dropped my phone. Everything was still fresh in my mind. It was only less than a year of me living there, yet I couldn’t forget all those memories that I experienced.

I tilted the screen to look up at the sky. This was the part when I said I wanted to go home. This was the part when I was so crushed on the inside and nobody knew or understood why. Nobody wanted to know or care. This was the part that I asked You why.

5 minutes to the building. Those establishment I saw on both sides of the street were old (this website wasn’t updated). I saw men in their traditional dresses. They used to frighten me in the beginning. But they made me realize that the world is actually a safe place.

I was below the building that I lived. I couldn’t go inside. Guess they left that part for privacy reasons. I looked around. Turned around and round. Checked the sky. The street. I was here. I used to live here. I’ve made lots of choices. LOTS.

I admit I missed everything. Ugh. Too much emotion. It was getting hard to explain.

I moved on to the main street where I rode a bus to get to work. Again, I knew the direction by heart. I saw the big grocery mall I went into — even at 11 pm. That was such a fun experience — midnight grocery shopping. Think I should write about that one day. That was such a movie moment experience.

A long stretch of road. I saw the bench I sat on a late summer afternoon. My body was sweating and I was unable to cry because I was SO dehydrated. (Middle East problem)

I saw the city mall. Again, I missed it.

I’ve had enough. It was too much time, too much memories, too much looking back.

Towards the end of it, I felt okay. I have learned that my emotions are confusing me a lot of times, especially during this age. I wanted one thing and then hated it. I left one place and wanted to go back again. I admit that sometimes, I don’t know what I want. I don’t know where I want to be.

I’m hot and cold. I’m young and impulsive.

But I guess that’s what You want me to learn.  You want me to learn how to control my emotions. And maybe one day I will. I’ll just have to give myself time.

Some days I missed the cities that I left. But as I closed the window on my computer, I knew in my heart that I was happy with the final decisions I made. I’m happy with where I am. I’m happy to be with the people that I love, and who love me.

I get confused once in a while, but I think that, what You’re wanting me to learn is — knowing exactly what’s really important to me.

And ultimately, this is what is important to me.

Amen.

In another lifetime.

Remember the first time we met? It was like the world brought two strangers together who immediately clicked and became comfortable with each other once the conversation started. We talked about life, religion, and ambitions not considering the question that bugged us at the back of our minds about “Who the heck is this person sitting next to me?” We hit it right off the bat, topic after topic, skipping the old ways of introducing basic information about ourselves.

We exchanged contact details just like any universe-arranged situation. Then we stalked each other out on social media; eager to know every single thing that made out our lives. I decided you were not a psychopath so I agreed to hang out with you. We went on to dinners and see beautiful places all the while pretending they weren’t a date. You showed me the best of you and made huge efforts to bring smile on my lips. No one has ever done those kinds of wonderful gestures to me before so I felt like those were the most magical moments of my life. You didn’t want a relationship and you were just happy with what we had. We argued and fought somehow over tiny or irrelevant issues but we managed to make peace immediately afterwards.

We were in the right path of building whatever relationship we were heading into, until the universe intervened and took back everything it gave us. We were separated by something we could not control.

I would never forget the way you held my hands on the train the way you knew it would be the last. I broke down as soon as the doors closed and the train accelerated forward. That was the last time I saw you. That was the saddest part of my life. I am still crying as I write this.

Months passed by and our distance away from each other slowly made us strangers – again.

I wish you know I still care about you. There are parts of my days when I think about you, how you’re doing, if you’ve completely moved on. I wonder if you look at the sky at night, see the moon, and remember me when I was sizing it by my thumb. I ask myself if you miss me the same way I miss you. I wanted to know if you have ever loved me too.

I don’t understand why the universe would give me something I would eventually lose.

In another lifetime, the stars would align accurately in our favor. We would still go out on our free time and figure things out by now. I would change religion for you and I’d make you so proud. You would meet my mom finally after all these times I said “not yet.” You would have proven to my best friend that you are the right person for me. We would excel on our careers and have dinner at the end of the day to celebrate. You would be more open about your feelings and ask me to be in a relationship.

In another lifetime, the universe would not throw sick humor against us. I would not need to shed some tears and wonder how things could have been. I would no longer miss you and think if you love me.

In another lifetime, we would still be together and I would be the same person with a smile on his lips.

4th month

There will be days when you feel like you’re running through dead-ends again, seconds when you think you’re almost behind everyone else, minutes when you somehow lost the passion to finish a wonderful project, hours when you realize you’re so far away to start living your dreams it makes you sad.

There will be chilly nights when you look outside your window, look at the dark sky, and feel terribly lonely. There will be moments when you get to remember the part of your life you place your heart to someone’s hands until he crashed it and dropped it. There will be times when you finally admit to yourself that you fell in love with the wrong person at the wrong place and at the wrong time.

But then…

There will also be days when you feel like binge-watching a TV series on the couch while eating your 750 ml worth of ice cream and a bag of Cheetos. You will sit down on your bed and not let yourself be side-tracked by your comparison thoughts and instead focus on your ultimate goals. You will wake up one morning after a refreshing 10-hour of sleep and feel energized to pick up the pieces of that project and start again. You will pursue a hobby that’s going to make you appreciate the present and make your dreams less than far away.

There will be nights when you listen to a current pop song, sing and dance like crazy, and realize why you’re better un-partnered. You will grow up and be wiser in choosing people who you’re going to trust with all your heart. You will look back objectively and know that even in alternate universe, things wouldn’t still work out between you and that person you fell in love.

There’s going to be dull dark moments in the same way that there’s going to be blissful happy moments. And you know what? That is okay. God didn’t promise us Utopia or road which is smoothly traveled. It makes our journeys more fun and interesting.

What’s comforting is knowing that one day you will be given second chances to start your dreams again and redeem yourself against the mistakes you did in the past. You will find a better place than the one you left behind and be surprised to uncover why leaving does you only good in the end. You will meet a guy you like so dearly who’s going to respect you and tell you how much he loves you.

The night is still young and there are so much crazy things to do. The future is just short distance away if we’re willing to be patient and work hard. Because there will be mornings or nights one day when we find something as equal as gem that’s going to make us fall in love, look at the sky then smile, and whisper to ourselves, “We made it.”

Forgiveness and Second chances

Forgiveness is a prerequisite of second chances — they complement each other, they go hand in hand. I learned that you can’t move forward in your life if you don’t forgive yourself, the world, and all the people you believe did you wrong. You can’t have second chances if you stuck yourself living in a place that’s long overdue. It’s gonna take sometime to forgive but it’s always worth it when you have those second chances later on. 

On the outside of my shell, I make it so certain that it’s shiny and strong. I stand with pride and resilience against all the waves the storm inflicts upon me. But when I’m all alone in my room in silence and contemplation, I cry. And just like any other human being, I let myself feel. 

It was painful. Perhaps maybe it still is. If I dig deep down enough, I might lose the battle and admit that I regret. But I won’t, maybe only partly. Certainly for sure, it crushed me. It was a dream I had at a very young age and the best thing the world had to give me was that I had it so easy — very easy some people wanted to try my shoes. But I took the dream for granted. I was that person who wanted something so bad but once I had it, I started complaining and never stopped. I made decisions purely based on emotion and as a result, I went home with an airfare ticket in my hands combined with a mountain of ego that’s bound to fall apart. 

 It did hurt. When it’s all over and I get to zone out of the game then look at it in an outer perspective, I saw that I wasn’t totally the victim I convinced myself dearly. I played my part as a villain too. All along I was feeding the bad wolf and it became me. As soon as I realized it, I put my head in my arms because I knew it was too late to go back and change everything that triggered the chain of events. 

I cancelled all my upcoming interviews. I wasn’t emotionally ready to work. I needed some fixing and so I packed my bags and joined my family for a long road trip travel. I took the chance to stare outside the car as the view passed by and breathe. I accepted the reality, the truth that I’d be stuck in the same place I was itching to abandon 8 months ago, the country and its system that never failed to disappoint me on a regular basis. Looking back to that 27th of June at the 19th floor early in the afternoon staring at a first-world country infrastructures and modern vehicles, I thought I would be blissfully happy fast-forward to the present. I asked myself inside the car, “Am I?” 

Thank God and the universe, my life forever changed the following night of our travel. It was 17th of August, a little close to a month of my post-Dubai. I was alone in the pool on an early evening, rain drizzling like a movie moment set up just for me, in front of the ocean, inside Casa Consuelo known as the almost tip of the northern Philippines, I talked to a Higher power and allow myself to think clearly about my future. That moment right there was when I forgave myself, I forgave the people who hurt me, I forgave the past. I prayed for redemption and another shot to make things right. 

In God’s loving arms, everything worked out accordingly. I passed both my scheduled interviews 3 days after. It’s a matter of faith, trust, and renewed relationship with Him. He gifted me second chances full of circumstances I wish I had in my previous job. He knew exactly what I wanted deep down and He gave it to me in His perfect timing. And I love Him more because of that.

Nothing comes perfect. I lived in a well-ordered city that I fell in love with but I hated my job. Now I have a job I might potentially love in the long run but live in a city I can’t fall in love. It takes hard work to stick around. It’s too early for me to give a final judgement about my second chances and I don’t want to be the kind of person anymore who strategizes so hard. I have the wheel in front of me and even though it might seem like I don’t know where exactly I’m going right now, I know sooner I’ll get to that place God knows my heart is wanting. 

Good decision

When I’m tired, sleepless, and a bit hungry, it is so easy for me to regret and doubt myself whether I made the right decisions in life. All the could haves and would haves play in my mind like a bad song stuck in my head. But as soon as I place myself in a healthy functioning state, I take back all of them because I know I made a good decision.

To best explain what recently happened in my life, I am like the Zayn Malik of One Direction who pulled himself out of the group. Because like most kids of my generation, I was also stupid enough to realize that I wasn’t happy anymore, that I couldn’t look forward for tomorrow, and that yes I couldn’t find my “purpose”. But unlike most kids of my generation, I had the balls and the Beyoncé swag to say, “Nope! This isn’t working for me anymore.” 

I was brave for taking the risk to get out of the job without even considering whether I had another job to back me up in the city that I was in at that time. When they fired their guns, I took the bullets immediately and became a war hero for myself. At 22, I know that was something I would be proud of one day when I look back.

I made a good decision because I was smart enough to save myself from wasting precious time in an environment I knew I would never prosper and could not help me get further in life few years from now. I made a good decision because I wanted to give justice to the things I worked hard for 5 and half years and satisfy my mind by the end of the day that it was all worth it. I made a good decision because I disconnected myself from the roots that were sucking all the happiness inside of me and made me feel lost along the way. And most importantly, I made a good decision because I wanted to cut my mistakes from continually happening, give a quick solution, and have another shot for redemption.

I feel bad for all the people who believe in me and have faith in me that I could still hold on a little longer. But I love them for giving their best shot to help me fight against all the demons that I had. There’s a need for me to address that I appreciate the endless life lessons and career guidance they give to me and just know know that I am holding them in my mind up until this second promising to remember them forever. 

The best advice I received was, “Failure is when you let what happened to you destroy you and not let yourself stand up again.” 

Maybe there are a lot of things that I didn’t understand at 22. Maybe there are a lot of things I was misunderstood by being 22. But I made a good decision.

The guy who grew a brave heart.

Remember the last time I wrote about you? I thought it would be the last. My friends were with me to back me up. I had all the support in the world. I was willing to move on with my life without you in it. But then, it only took one chat from you and everything began again.

 

You were like a tragic book that made me cry a little. I stopped reading you and stacked you in the bookshelf, never to touch again, because I just couldn’t go through the ending anymore. However my heart wanted to know how it’d feel like to progress in the story. So I went on and I did fairly enjoy the thrill. My guard was up, constantly waiting for the right time when you’re going to rip me apart again. It didn’t come so soon. I set a date when it should come. You decided it still wouldn’t — I was glad. And then one day you surprised me, without any prior notice, you crushed my heart and dropped it without hesitations.

 

I was floored. In fact, I lied awake up until 4 am in the morning deciding whether I should pop up some sleeping pills. I forced myself to sleep, told myself, “Fuck this, I’m too used to this.” But then it haunted me. I shouldn’t have gone through your Facebook profile at that point so I could have postponed the found-truth that you deleted me. I felt like I lost mainly because growing up, I always wanted to be the one leaving and not the other way around. You won the game and it did upset me horribly because I didn’t expect you’d be willing to play that dirty. I guess I wasn’t always right about people.

 

Two days before that we had the most fun of whatever relationship we had. I was ready to tell you my goodbye and I was okay about that. You promised me it wasn’t a goodbye yet, there would be one more. What I didn’t understand was that why did you have to remove me completely from your life? Sure I was aware I said something stupid in the day that followed but weren’t we clear about the fact that we’d still keep in touch no matter what?

 

It’s not in my discretion to tell what people they should do. And so be it. You opened the door and had your way out. I was ghosted. I didn’t know what it meant before until now. I’d still stick to the plan to use our experiences together in the book I’d write in the future. Unlike you, I’d fulfill my promise to cherish and remember the memories we shared. It was the closest thing I had in romance Azam. I wished I could have told you that.

 

I wasn’t the guy who went home crying with a broken heart anymore. Instead, I am the guy who grew a brave heart. The guy who can easily differentiate between what love is and what love is not. The guy who knows exactly how he should be treated and what his heart deserves. And most importantly, the guy who learns his best lesson in a painful way.

 

I guess I can start over now, wake up tomorrow and set my mind in a different perspective. The question about why I let you continue to be part of my life after the second meet-up is something I’ll try to find an answer to. But I’m trying to be okay now. Soon, I know I will totally be. There are so many better things that will come along in my way and you can’t be part of me by the time I’ll get to experience them. So it’s me saying goodbye after all.

Roller coaster

When you thought it’s over and done but something shifted and the continue button has been pressed. Somehow all is getting pretty well but chaos is a friend and once again you thought it will end. It’s a wild ride of an emotional roller coaster. You can’t help but love it and be miserable at the same time. 

It’s like a fire that burns so bright it’s captivating. Then you’re the firefly that goes round and round, careful not to get close, however curiosity takes the better part of your mind, so you shrug and take risk. 

That’s how the story goes for most part. You’re quite psyched to reach the top, put your hands in the air, and scream as the speed takes your breathe away. The fall will take your energy. You’ll feel tired and convince yourself it’s going to be the last. But as the rail keeps moving, of course you wanted more. You’re greedy like that. 

It’s a cycle. It goes up and down, round and round. Eventually, you know it’s gonna end real soon. You see it coming. You could feel it in your bones. There’s no denying. Maybe nothing lasts forever. You’re petrified because damn! How could you survive when it’s the only fire you surround to? 

Then you’ll feel scared, frightened even, by facing the hard truth. The fire will burn out and the feelings will not be as strong as it used to before. You will move on, try to find a different fire, but the memories will remain the same. Because how can you forget such special fire that gives you a one of a kind roller coaster ride?