Finally, I am home.

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I saw this photo in facebook when I was in Taiwan. I shared its three-word saddest story counterpart with this caption: Still no data. 

It’s been six month. And while I left a lot of untied ends and I still have to analyze my data, I would still rather be here, where I can’t do anything in case a problem crops up, than over there, with every resource on my fingertips. Research life sure is hard. 

The weather this week has been abysmal. I am drowning in homeworks and class requirements. I am back in the metro, enduring nasty commute everyday. But I am happy. I am home.  For now, that alone is enough. Home is bliss. 

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24 April 105

Upon hearing of my anxiety attack two nights ago, all my friends have advised me to write.  To take up a hobby, to jog. I know they are right. Killing my thoughts with Modern Family marathon and crying endlessly haven’t done much for me. So this is my attempt at verbalizing my messed up thoughts.

 

I am writing. And it’s hard when every line I want to type is a rant against my present circumstances. Every word is etched in despair, every letter a product of all the tears I’ve tried at first to hold in, but failed to. It’s hard because all my words have been drowned in tears I’ve needed to release in the past week. Everything about me right now screams of desperation and stress, in levels unprecedented. Every thought occupying my mind is beginning to sound like a complaint against the God who I still, in my heart of hearts, believe to be a good and almighty God.

 

I’ve done so, so much thinking about my thesis already. It’s been keeping me awake at night, and it’s been keeping me from waking up before noon. It is all I can think about. Sometimes, I have a hard time breathing from all the stress and anxiety. Thesis is literally giving me claustrophobia. Taiwan, right now, feels to me like one big prison I just want to escape. It certainly didn’t start off this way, and I know it shouldn’t end this way, either.

 

I’m not even in the mood to write. I guess thesis really has broken me. I’ll write later.

Sunset

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The day nears its end
And I wonder how the final moment
Could be every bit as breath-taking as the dawn
When the sunrise was filled with promise,
Overflowing with fantasies,
Brimming with dreams of an ideal twenties,
Rife with exciting unknowns
No one – not Gauss nor Newton
Nor an engineer in mint condition
could have solved

Yet, God, it somehow is
As beautiful as the daybreak,
Even with the pain of unclaimed promise
And the wounds left by heartache
Its brilliance not dulled by disappointment
Nor eclipsed by ideals unmet

Perhaps because the sunset knows what I yet not-
That a dawn more beautiful than the last
Suffused with more love than in the days past
Is just beyond the present
Timeless, boundless are the beauty of Your plans
God, How awesome are the works of Your hand!

 

 

 

 

Chronicled by FRIENDS: What College Profs Forgot to Say on Graduation Day

Bum life has given me the gift of time. And I chose to spend it on the comforts of my all-time favorites. More than ever, I am finding wisdom in FRIENDS, Naruto, Anne of Green Gables books and Agatha Christie mysteries, among others. So, here commences a new series: Chronicled by my favorites. It’s going to be about (my) life, according to my favorite books, songs, shows and movies. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

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In a few more days, I’ll be celebrating the first anniversaries of my plant design presentation and thesis defense. It’s been four months since my board exam. I’m pretty sure I no longer own the privilege to call myself a fresh grad as March nears its end. No doubt, universities all over the country have started sending their seniors to the world of unemployed.

Has it already been eleven months since my own graduation? I try to recall what our guest speaker, Chief Justice Serreno told us in her speech last April. (The only thing I remember now is her promise that her speech won’t to put us to sleep. To give her credit, she kept it.)

Now, I’m still the same neophtyte UP sent out, but a little less idealistic, a little more confused. With all the reminders our professors gave us graduates, they must have forgotten to say one very important thing:

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How to Really Un-crush you Crush: A Method Tried and Tested (once)

This is a follow-up to the post where the narrator described a method she never got to try. This new method has been tried and tested once.Again, a disclaimer:
The author is definitely NOT a love/relationship expert .  She’s naive and innocent and that’s great because you get to read her notes without any pressure. She expects nobody to follow her tips but feel free to prove her expectations wrong. If you do that, please let her know how effective her method is by leaving a comment. 🙂 

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So you’ve been crushing on this guy for so long it has broken records. Kim Chiu has finished two soap operas and you’re still mooning about him. The night you first got introduced to him, Hunger Games was still shooting. The people in Hollywood are wrapping up Mockingjay and still you’re hung up with him. You have kept your crush for him alive for so long by constantly thinking of him. You have kept him in your mind, alongside dreams of moving back through time and getting a letter from Hogwarts,  waking up to find yourself training to be a ninja in Konoha  alongside your childhood idols, and sliding down a rainbow and finding a unicorn waiting for you. He was the man of your fantasies and to your fantasies he belonged. In your mind, the two of you have rekindled your acquaintance, built a friendship, fallen in love (maybe, even got married).

And, yes, all this fantasizing has gotten old. And absolutely pathetic. And did I mention PATHETIC?  You decide for the nth time that you just want the crush to be over, despite him being  your best crush ever. What do you do?

Here’s what:

  1.  Perform classic crusher moves. For 25 months, develop affections for him. Devote two and a twelfth of a year to scavenging facts about him and store them in the hard drive incorruptible by virus, your heart. Think about him non-stop and feel guilty afterwards. Summon to mind the pathetically paltry times you had an encounter with him and relive them again and again, in alternate universes, through your thoughts. Pray that you’d dream of him at night and then daydream about him in your waking hours. Like any typical crusher, you stalk him. Use up a lot of bandwidth getting to know his Facebook profile. Google alert his name. Spend countless hours poring over his notes, tweets and statuses.
  1. Watch him fall in love with another girl. You’ve felt it for months. The twitch in your heart  that came with every cheesy status he posted. The doomed hope you had that it was somehow, some impossible how, meant for you. You’ve imagined that the notes he wrote were about you and the hints he dropped were for you. You wondered about his social media hiatus and now, you feel strangely betrayed when the next thing he posts is a picture of the girl and a declaration of his feelings for her. Is that stupid or what? [Your (over)reaction, not his emotions.]
  1. Refuse to feel jealous. Because you can’t! You’ve got no right to feel jealous, negative claims to being affected, absolute zero reason to feel hurt. You forbid yourself to shed tears over news that makes everyone else happy, him and the worthy girl deliriously so. (Yup, you have stalked her wall, too, because at this point, you have neither self-respect nor self-control to stop yourself.) You promptly feel your eyes water. But you stop there. Accept that the two of them will be the couple of the year.  That adorable kilig-inducing pair who will cause everyone around to go “awshucksing“. That model romance who will inspire singles to wait patiently for their love stories- something you should have done from the first. Admit that they make a stunning couple in every way.
  1. Feel embarrassed. Over everything. Every wayward thought, every fantasy, every verbal wedding invitation you jokingly gave away. Let the embarrassment overtake the hurt. Gather your self-respect again. Muster what little control you have over your emotions and direct them to feeling shame instead of pity, and then finally feeling relief. Laugh at yourself twice for every tear you shed. Delete your browser’s history, remove that bookmark and wish him and his soon-to-be-girlfriend well. The embarrassment is little penance for fuelling your crush for him, and it will pass soon. What follows will be self-deprecating humor. Embrace it.
  1. Write the tale. Writing about him is nothing new. For the past 25 months, he has appeared in practically all your diary entries and starred in half. Over and over again, you would spent hours daydreaming about him. And then you’d feel guilty. You would try saying goodbye. You prayed that God would take away every ounce of emotion you’re harbouring for him. You would vow that the entry you had just written would be the last to contain him. You would make promises to let go repeatedly, only to break them all. You failed as many times as you tried. The next entry would inevitably contain something about him. He would haunt your thoughts and the next thing you know, another entry is bearing testament to the madness that is that crush on him.   But the entry you write after watching her picture on his wall rack up likes and comments composed mainly of <3’s will truly be the last. Pray while writing it, begging God to take the edge off the pain and humiliation. You will live up to the words you wrote. It will be the entry that will truly purge you of all the admiration you feel for him.

And then you will feel freer. You admit that it was actually tiring and stressful to be crushing on a guy you so rarely see, and one whose FB profile you know better than him. You will feel better. There will no longer be the euphoria that a crush brings. But you will decide that you actually want this better- this feeling of freedom and anticipation for the one who will make you forget all past crushes, including him. You will say goodbye, and then good riddance.

Good riddance.

Starring me as myself

Call me shallow but I’ve never quite grown out of that stage where I want to be an actress. I’ve always thought that every little girl dreamt of being a TV star. Who among us didn’t wish to be one of those girls dancing in the snow in one of the scenes of Sarah, Ang Munting Prinsesa? Who didn’t try to watch herself cry and do a monolouge in front of the mirror, acting out parts from And Pulubi at ang Prinsesa? Who didn’t wish to be walking along the hallowed halls of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? I’ve imagined millions of scenes in hundreds of TV shows and movies I wished I was a part of.

It’s a big confession for me to make because I was never one to hog the limelight. I love working in the background because I have this ever-present tendency to embarrass myself. I’m not really afraid of crowds. At least five times in my highschool days, I’ve been a host of schoolwide programs. Every year, from freshman to senior year, I was the year representative in our high school intramurals during the opening program. I was even on the debate team my senior year. All this is to say that while I don’t want to hog the limelight, I’ve actually had my share of it. (I think that, for the most part, I want to work on the background because somehow, I have a better rapport with people working on the background. I’m a very relational sort of person so often, the people I’ll be doing things with decide the things I do and not the other way around. )

Weirdly enough, when college came and out popped a million opportunities to try my skills at singing, dancing, acting, hosting, modelling and practically everything else, I turned into this awkward, insecure, cowardly nerd who just let opportunity after opportunity pass because she’s too afraid to embarrass herself yet again. It must be be due to the fact that academics, the one thing I’ve always thought I was good at, morphed into something that kept me awake and stressed out for the better part of my college life. Also, I had a really hard time making friends among my collegemates until I just stopped trying and it basically killed my self-confidence.

Since the start of the year, I got immersed in my thesis and plant design so I’ve had little time for myself but I found out that busyness never quite deters a graduating student from looking back at her college years and counting regrets, frustrations and dreams which were never quite realized and never will be. My dream of becoming a star will be added to the list and will join “graduating with Latin honors”, “starting an org newsletter”, “joining an Eng’g week night event”, and dozens other. (I’m still not giving up on becoming a jologs quiz champion, bringing my highschool friends to church, and having just the tiniest hint of a lovelife, though. wink! )

I don’t even know where this post is going. For sure, I didn’t intend to write a whiny post that makes me sound pathetic. I’ve always projected a front of confidence, an air of I-don’t-care-if-I’m-walking-out-of-a-class-alone-because-I-have-things-to-do, an aura of extrovertism (is there even such a word?). But if this post is anything, it’s proof of my insecurity and loneliness. (This is probably the part where I say, “But I’m happy! Honestly!” because I am and it’s probably the stress in me writing this. )

I may not be a star but I’m a heck of an actress.

*This is a response to the Daily Prompt: The Show Must Go On.

On the outside, Looking in

For the first time in my whole college life, I watched the annual Awitan, our college’s version of a choir competition, last night. Normally, I don’t participate in our college week, not even to watch. Engineering week is is always organization-centric, despite the college student council’s many attempts to encourage participartion from the unaffiliated students.

I used to be a member of an org myself but I never quite fit in the org. After I got inducted as a member, I joined and helped organize our org events (and was technically and technically alone, an active member). However, working with some of my orgmates was far from what I imagined it to be. I always felt ill at ease whenever I was in the tambayan or at any org event. I made a few friends in the org and more casual acquaintances, but I never found a group where I really felt I belonged. Most of the people I felt somewhat close to weren’t active members, like me. Those who were active in the org were more than a little cliquish so I always felt left out whenever I was with them. It caused me to get disillusioned. I joined an org because I wanted to find a place in my department where I was comfortable. My org wasn’t helping me there. And because orglife always entails a certain amount of work, I found it to be too stressful, and yet, not rewarding. I did try to make orglife work for me, but, ultimately, I lost all reason to stay. I did not reaffirm my membership for two consecutive sems, esentially self-revoking my membership, as per our constitution. It was a decision I embraced the next year, and a decision I regret profoundly, since last night.

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When I was about five years old, my mom accompanied my aunt in her Christmas shopping. My mom chose a toy xylophone for me and a plastic makeup/ glamour set for my cousin who was only a year younger than me. However, when they got home, they decided to let me choose for myself which one I wanted. Dazzled by the plastic faux-sapphire earrings, and the gold-colored combs, I chose the toy glamour set. 

Because my sisters were brimming with EQ then, they let slip that my mom had chosen for me the small xylophone and that they thought my choice was terrible. After that revelation, every “ting!” the xylopohone sounded out was like mocking laughter to me. It took only a few hits from my cousin’s nimble fingers to take away what pleasure I initially had with my toy. At least, for that night. (Children are absolute models of fast recovery.) 

This is my first memory of regret mingled with jealousy.

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Regret is a hated emotion. When coupled with jealousy, it is torture. I wish I could say I’m one of those people who never look back but last night is  proof of the opposite.

It was embarrassing to sit with people who weren’t from my college because most engineering students among the audience were sure to sit with their orgmates. It was painful to be unable to join in my orgmates’ cheers when inwardly, I was loyally yelling my heart out for the org representatives. It was most painful to realize that plenty of the times in the year that I was a member, I was asked to join the chorale but I didn’t because I was too shy and too committed in my other (non-academic/non-college-based) orgs already. I was literally shaking during my orgmates’ performance because I was really nervous for them (although it must also be said that the auditorium was rather cold). I wanted them to win so badly, and when they finished their performance, I really felt so proud. I’m finding it so hard to express my pride because I feel that I had forfeited all rights to feel proud of them when I so stubbornly rejected their offers for me to join them in the past.

For the nth time, I wonder if things would have been different if i joined the chorale. It could have been my niche in the org. I wonder if it would have made more sense for me to be inactive in one of my other orgs. I question my decision to always put my acads before my orgs. Are my passing grades a trade-in for the ties I would have made had I stayed in the org? Could it be that belongingness is too high a price to pay for on-time graduation? I am appalled and exceedingly ashamed to admit that unthinkingly, I might have chosen loneliness over failure.

I don’t really know. These are questions whose answers have been lost when I made the choice to quit over a year ago. Questions that stopped to matter the day it became impossible for me to go back. What I know is that sitting in the dark auditorium among the unaffiliated audience last night, I felt sadness, frustration and disappointment wash over me so intensely. I could have been a peformer that night. I could have been someone who mattered.

Regret chaffs in my already disappointed self; Earlier this sem, I realized that last sem’s average ensured that I wouldn’t be getting an academic medal on my graduation day. For the first time in my college life, I feel that as a ChE student, I have nothing.

The things that hurt me most right now are not the ones I never had the chance to own, nor the ones I had and lost, but the ones I could have had but foolishly chose not to. The first entails no regrets. The second would leave me with memories. The third leaves me only with a myriad of unanswered questions, imagined scenarios and a whole lot of regret. It left me here, on the outside looking in.Image

This is a response to the Daily Prompt: The Outsiders. It is an edited version of a journal entry and I published it because I think it fits in pretty well with the prompt.