This Is What It Feels Like to Finally Know Your Worth

Have you ever been taken for granted by someone you hold dear? Did you cry yourself to sleep thinking that you deserve better? Did you blame yourself for loving a person who can’t love you back?

Well, I’ve got news for you. I’ve been there, too, except that it’s nothing romantic. Sure, it was a relationship. Yes, it involved love. And yes, it shattered my heart and soul to pieces when I finally called it off, but it’s not what you think it is.

Have you ever been cheated on by someone? You loved her beyond words, like Tom loved Summer. You thought she loved you. She made you feel as if you were her universe, her life, her everything. You even convinced yourself that it’s okay that she didn’t love you as much, because nothing compared to the amount of love that you had for her. But then one day, everything turned to dust. She did not appreciate your efforts, much more recognize your actions. Her friend told you that she was seeing someone else. For her, you will never be enough, and this left you in fragments.

That’s what I felt.

To be honest, quitting my first job did not cross my mind until Company Y came in the picture. Company X was far from perfect, but I stayed and gave them the benefit of the doubt. When Company Y came, I realized I’d been turning a blind eye for so long.

Although I will always be grateful for the opportunities that Company X has given me, I knew that it was only about time that I would try to explore the opportunities that others have in store for me. I stuck around Company X for almost two years, and as a millennial, that’s saying something. Most of my friends are already on their second, third company right now.

When I signed the contract with Company Y, I began to appreciate myself again. That was the glorifying moment when I finally realized that I deserve this. On that day, I became reacquainted with an old flame that I haven’t seen since high school–confidence. It just feels so good to have people who know your worth, who recognize your skills and talent, and believe in all that you can offer.

The next time the world drops doubt-bombs all over me, I’d look back to this memory and believe that I can do all the right things with the right mindset, in the right timing.

***

This is my entry to my college friends and I’s weekly blog challenge.

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Airen Petalbert Blog

I Don’t Need Saving, I’m Not Sally (Published on Candy Mag)

Here’s an open letter to the guy who told me I was just being too emotional when I almost killed myself.

I know things are not going well in your life lately, but let me take this moment to say that I am sorry. I’m sorry for shouting at you. I’m sorry for not keeping my cool that day.  I’m sorry for calling you stupid. I’m sorry for giving up trying to explain to you what I feel. I’m sorry I can’t make you see what this all means. I’m sorry if I keep blaming you for not being able to know exactly what to say and do at exactly the right time.

Lastly, I’m sorry I am not sorry for thinking you’re an insensitive human being. To be honest, I still think that you are.

You laughed at me when I was on the verge of crying. I hope someday you’ll realize that mental health is no laughing matter. I will always remember the day when you told me to just get over it. I want you to know that I won’t.

Depression is an illness just like how cancer is an illness.

Like a fluid released from a ruptured cyst, it will permeate your brain until you can no longer take the pain. You won’t know when it’ll hit you and when it does, there’s no escape. You’ll feel like your days are numbered, so you’ll think you’re better off dead.

Have you ever wondered why some wealthy cancer patients refuse to undergo chemotherapy? Have you ever wondered why many people kill themselves? Please think about it.

You told me that I wouldn’t be a drama queen if I didn’t read too many books and watch too many films. I want you to know that I think it’s the other way around. Perhaps you don’t understand depression because you have not read enough books or watched too many movies. Perhaps you have no idea what mental health means because the only time you were forced to read something about it was through textbooks. And that was back in high school. Perhaps you don’t feel what I feel because you have not seen more of life. Perhaps you don’t pay much attention to the world.

And perhaps it’s about time that you do.

You judged me for having suicidal tendencies instead of singing me to sleep. You could have saved the day if you just kept silent–the words that you said were like a poison that could ruin me anytime.

Still, I forgive you.

I hope to God that this won’t happen to you, and when it does, I will feed you with my love and let you know that I am here no matter what happens, especially when this happens. I won’t be mean like you were once to me; I will be here to listen, or if you don’t want to talk about it, I’ll wait patiently until you open up to me.

I will be the friend that I needed when I almost gave up–not the friend that you were to me when I wanted to disappear from the world.

You left me when I was at my most vulnerable and told me you’d come back once I’ve gotten over my depression. You chose to leave me in fragments because I refused to believe you when you said that other people had it worse. To tell you the truth, they did not. You told me that this was just a phase and that I’d get over it. That I needed to stop being too melodramatic. You thought that by saying those words to me, you could save me from my misery.

You were wrong, but thank you.

It’s because of you that I am a stronger person now. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t realize that I am the best friend that I could have. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t know that I am the superhero that I needed.

To the guy who thought he could save me, thank you, but I don’t need saving.

This was originally published on Candy Magazine

My Story Isn’t Over Yet

So today, I received the sweetest, most beautiful Valentine’s Day gift that’s not from my boyfriend. I know, I know. I said in my previous post that the poem from that guy was the sweetest, most beautiful Valentine’s Day gift that’s not from my boyfriend, but the day after I wrote that post, a rather unexpected gift from someone I hold dear came and my perception about the sweetest, most beautiful Valentine’s Day gift that’s not from my boyfriend will never be the same.

The Valentine’s Day Mystery win_20170215_22_34_53_pro-2

Last February 14, I received a notice from the Philippine Postal Corporation to claim a parcel sent to me by an anonymous person; otherwise,  it will be returned to the sender if unclaimed within 30 days.

To be honest, I had no idea who sent that mystery gift. The name of the sender was not revealed in the notice and I also didn’t expect something from anyone–I didn’t order something online. I asked my best friend if she sent me anything. She said that she did, but that was last September and she was not sure if the parcel was from her.

Now here’s the thing: I’ve never been to the Manila Central Post Office before because I’ve no business there and obviously, sending handwritten letters through mail is a thing of the past. When I received that notice without the slightest idea of who the sender was and what the thing was, I realized it would be a waste of time to claim it personally. So, I ordered my sister to claim it, wrote an authorization letter, and gave her my IDs.

Earlier today, I changed my mind. I wanted to experience what’s like to claim something at the post office. Lakas maka-hipster eh.

My “Post Office” Experience

I went to the post office before noon and was drawn to the structure of the old building. If I would be honest, the structure was beautiful because #vintage, but walking down the dimly lit hallways on my way to window 124 where I claimed my parcel gave me the chills. Sobrang creepy kinilabutan ako. 

After a while, I was finally able to confirm who the sender was–no, the Customs and PhilPost officials didn’t tell me and the parcel didn’t reveal the name of the mysterious sender either–I just knew. Inside the parcel was a bracelet and it’s no ordinary bracelet–it’s the bracelet that my best friend *sort of* promised to give me on my birth month last year.

The Back Story

Oddly enough, September 10, my birthday, is also the Suicide Prevention Day. This is the biggest joke I’ve ever heard in my entire lifetime and I don’t find it funny at all–my best friend and I have lost count on how many times we attempted to put an end to it. Anyway, I saw this [photo below] last September (I’m just not sure if this is the actual post) and tagged my best friend on the comments section. It said “Free” and “all you pay is the shipping fee” so she took my address and got two para matchy matchy.

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Source: ThirtyOne Blue

The Surprise

Five months later…

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My best friend ordered one for herself as well but she still hasn’t received her parcel yet. I can’t wait to see a picture of her wearing this semicolon bangle because although we don’t say it out loud, this bangle will become a mark of our friendship that will remind us to always #StayStrong because our stories aren’t over yet. In fact, we’re just about to write it. Wait ka lang, bes.

project-semicolon
Source: Grammarly

13 Real-Life Struggles Only Introverts Will Understand (Published on Introvert Diaries)

Let’s admit it: most people still do not get that introverts are normal human beings who enjoy the company of small groups. Truth is, we just need to recharge our introvert batteries often through alone time. But don’t let the fact that people think we are weird bother you–you are not alone and the force is with you. We have compiled 13 real-life struggles that we all experience every once in a while:

1. People think you’re boring.

Little did they know, you can be the most talkative person in the room when discussing your passion.

 

2. Putting on headphones to avoid conversations.

If the headphones do not translate as a “Do Not Talk to Me” sign for other people, I don’t know what will.

introvert-struggles

3. What do you mean, small talk?

Talk about your fears, your dreams, your favorite author, your childhood memories–anything but the traffic and weather. We introverts prefer deep conversations and get bored easily when someone talks about super random stuff.

introvert-struggles

4. The words “team building” aren’t in your dictionary.

The mere thought of forcing ourselves to socialize with others makes us cringe. But unlike parties organized by friends, attendance on team buildings are required by most companies so it’s hard to find a way out.

introvert-struggles

5. Parties.

Are you kidding me? We’d rather stay in bed than pretend to be interested in other people’s stories.

introvert-struggles

6. Phone calls don’t exist.

For most introverts, texts and emails are a requirement because We. Hate. Phone. Calls. Imagine a job recruiter calling you impromptu and you can’t think of a brilliant thing to say when in reality, you imagined your job interview to be seamless. Now you lost your chance to work for them.

introvert-struggles

7. Round-table discussions make you sweaty.

Of course you have so many ideas in mind. Of course. You had it all figured out last night and you think your suggestion is better than the rest, but you flinch when it’s your turn because you can’t seem to find the courage to speak up.

8. That feeling you get when somebody interrupts your reading time.

Reading is one great way to recharge our battery and nothing infuriates us more than an annoying person who does not understand that the book is a virtual “Do Not Disturb” sign that means go away I’m reading and I don’t want to talk to you.

introvert-struggles

9. When the teacher calls random names for recitation.

Recitation is fun when you know the answer and you’ve rehearsed how to say it confidently but when the teacher calls your name randomly, that’s far from fun. We all have a tendency to panic when we’re asked to speak in front of so many people so we just uhm, oh, actually no, we stutter and grope for the right words to say.

10. Running for cover when you see an acquaintance on the street.

And when that acquaintance happens to be one of the most talkative persons on earth, you’re dead. So, you immediately run for cover, find a shield, or walk fast to avoid being identified by the culprit.

introvert-struggles

11. First days.

Can you imagine walking in an unfamiliar place full of strangers and having to introduce yourself to everyone? If you can’t, congratulations because you are a certified introvert! *virtual high-five*

12. When you need to recharge your introvert battery in the middle of a socialization.

Sometimes, we can’t help but feel the need to recharge when we are in the middle of a party of a social event. Large crowds bore us and the more time we spend alone, the happier we become.

introvert-struggles

13. Everyone asking you if you’re okay.

This one’s a classic real-life struggle of an introvert. The million-dollar question: Are you okay? The answer: Will everybody just shut up? (but of course you didn’t say this out loud because you don’t want to be rude so you just nod and smile). We feel you.

introvert-struggles

 

This was originally published on Introvert Diaries

The Sweetest Gift I’ve Ever Received on Valentine’s Day That’s Not From My Boyfriend

Confession: I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost eight years, but Valentine’s Day has never been cheesier for me than on February 14, 2013 – the only time in the past eight years that I was single.

February 14, 2013. Apart from the tiny drops of rain on the school grounds and the cold weather, all was well that day. I was single – my ex-boyfriend (who’s currently my boyfriend) and I broke up in December of the previous year. I was the one who wanted to end our five-year-long relationship and I didn’t regret it. We got back together in May of that year and during the five-month break, I let myself enjoy the freedom that has been deprived of me since my sophomore year in high school. I allowed myself to get out of my comfort zone. I let myself get to know those guys who wanted to court me but couldn’t because I was taken. And then I met that guy.

February 14, 2013. I never paid much attention to Valentine’s Day. I’ve witnessed a bunch of Valentine’s Days come and go in my entire lifetime and the only solid conclusion that I’ve made so far is that this day is too overrated. To be honest, one of the things that made me fall in love even more with my boyfriend is the fact that he knows how to respect my disdain for overrated stuff. So, when it’s that time of the year again when everything is about hearts and flowers, we do anything that’s not hearts and flowers. However, there is an exception and it happened on February 14, 2013.

February 14, 2013. My blockmates and I were waiting for our English Proficiency II professor when one of my friends told me that someone was waiting for me outside the classroom. When I asked him who the mysterious guy was, he told me that it was that guy. Like the introvert that I am, I told him to tell that guy to go away. But that guy insisted and told me to come and meet him outside because he wanted to ask me something personally. I said no. After a few minutes of persuading me to accept his offer, that guy finally gave up and left an elegant black box wrapped with a thin blue ribbon. When I opened the gift, it immediately knocked me off my feet – inside was an intricately made paper rose and a three-page-long poem that the 17-year-old me would remember for the rest of her life.

February 14, 2013. My disdain for mainstream gifts and routines on Valentine’s Day was so deep that I posted this on Facebook: “Dahil ang mga tula at kanta ay naaalala at ang mga bulaklak ay nalalanta.” (Because songs and poems are remembered while flowers wither.” That guy wrote so many poems for me – some of these he posted on Twitter, some he handed me on our way home, some he left in a book that I borrowed from him. And on February 14, 2013, that guy sent me the most beautiful and thoughtful love poem that I think was the sweetest thing I have ever received on Valentine’s Day that was not from my boyfriend.

Get ready to get knocked off your feet.

Tonight I write you a Valentine

Gazing upon the sky’s great divide

The deep purple of the coming night

The vague orange of the departing day

The clouds fade and stars appear

Tonight I write you a Valentine

As sleep eludes and tortures me

With the suspense of dreams

That won’t come true

Sandman taunts me not

Tonight I write you a Valentine

You may not want it, but you can’t stop me

For even the strongest of cactuses

Needs to feel rain every now and then

So tonight I write you a Valentine

You are the lead buried deep in my finger

I may never get it out but if I do

It would leave an everlasting memory

That once in my life you were a part of me

Without you the days would go by

Unexciting and uninspiring

Tonight I write you a Valentine

I promise I won’t look for another

Every time I close my eyes

For you are my only Valentine

But how does one keep petrified

Staring at your amazing eyes

Looking deep in my soul

Shaking my very core

Ripping every fibre of my sanity

Tonight I write you a Valentine

My heart melts faster than ice

Every time I see you smile

Everything and everyone is a blur

Nothing more exists in my world but you

Tonight I write a Valentine

Words uttered from your beautiful lips

With the most angelic voice

Creates the perfect air disturbance

Known as sound to many

But it is music to me

A tone that punches my heart with every line

Tonight I write you a Valentine

Your hair is what I miss the most

The way they wrap around my finger

Like snakes not wanting to let go

You give me butterflies at best

And killer bees at worst

Tonight I write a Valentine

You are the most amazing girl

You are one of a kind

Your voice makes my heart melt

Even when you say good bye

I will always look forward to

The next time I could try

To make you fall for me

Because you have that smile

That makes me feel so alive

Tonight I write you a Valentine

But will you be my Valentine?

When there’s a will, there’s a way

And my will is to give you

An unforgettable Valentine’s Day

Maybe not on the fourteenth but

If you’d let me I’ll do it every day

Tonight I write you a Valentine

In hopes that you’d want to be mine

I will wait for your reply

As long as the sun would rise

 

P.S. Because songs and poems are remembered while flowers wither.

Now don’t get me wrong. My boyfriend may not be a poet like that guy, but my love for him goes beyond words. I’ve lost contact with that guy ever since my boyfriend and I got back together, but I want to take this opportunity to tell him what I’ve been meaning to say since he gave me this poem:

Thank you for making me see that “I don’t just stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me.” There are plenty of fish in the sea they say, but it’s you who made me realize that I stay with him because I choose to. You could have been my guy, but I chose my boyfriend because I love him. Perhaps for me you will forever remain as that guy, but I believe that the time will come when you’ll meet a girl who will treat you not only as her guy, but as her man, her world, and her life as well.

Lastly, thank you for helping me find the answer to the question that I’ve been asking myself for a long time since February 14, 2013: did I make the right choice?

Answer: Yes.

8 Books That Perfectly Capture What It’s Like to Be an Introvert (Published on Introvert Diaries)

When not writing stories, introverts spend their time reenacting fictional tales and narratives inside their heads. As solitary dreamers, we all have a tendency to fantasize about things even when we’re in the company of other people.

After all, reading is one of our favorite escapes from reality and it also paves the way for a more energetic and recharged mind and body. We rounded up a list of books that perfectly capture what it’s like to have an introverted personality to spoil the daydreamer in you.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
the-catcher-in-the-rye

Known for being the last book that David Chapman read before shooting John Lennon, The Catcher in the Rye is a coming-of-age novel that tells the narrative of a 16-year-old-boy named Holden Caulfield.

Although this novel had been accused of encouraging teenage rebellion, an introvert would relate to the story because Holden also likes to live inside his head. In fact, the entire book was narrated in first person point of view. It’s like Holden talked to himself all throughout the entire novel–one trait that we all can relate to.

One can argue that this fictional character is a misanthropist–all he ever does is hate people and the things they do. He is also fed up with the world that he would rather be alone. In the end, it seems that the only thing that can recharge this introvert’s battery is his love for his family.

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget-Jone's-Diary

If you think you are a socially awkward person who always gropes for the right things to say, can’t confidently present her best self in front of other people, and keeps a diary to herself, you might be a Bridget Jones at heart. The Bridget Jones installation comes in two books and three movies. You can read or binge-watch them if you want to celebrate introversion in a light, fun way.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion

Written by a spinster herself, Persuasion is about a woman in her late 20s whose introversion led her to become a spinster. Often overshadowed by her extroverted family members, Anne Elliot, the protagonist, is a reserved woman who had a hard time finding her other half because of her always-quiet nature. This book celebrates self-love and introversion at their finest.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Like most introverts, Cath, the protagonist in this young adult novel, escapes the world by putting her emotions into writing. As a fanfiction writer of one of the most popular (fictional) series in the world (Simon Snow), Cath is well-known on the internet for making up stories about their favorite characters.

Unlike her twin Wren, Cath is an introvert inside and out–she doesn’t like socializing with other people and she’d rather lock herself up in her own room and write fanfiction. Her only social interaction happens in the online community. This book is a must-read for all fangirls out there who are proud introverts at heart.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

the-great-gatsby

In this book, we learn about Nick whose introverted, observant nature led us to Jay Gatsby. As the novel progresses, we learn that Gatsby only throws extravagant parties to be with Daisy, his ex-lover whom he plans to reunite with.

The story tells us about how someone like Nick can survive in social parties by merely being a wallflower and how someone like Gatsby will go above and beyond to be with the love of his life. Their pensive nature is what made them buddies.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

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For most introverts, life is about finding a deeper meaning. This book is highly recommended for introverts who “go to seek a Great Perhaps.”

When Miles Halter, a purely introverted junior high school student comes to  Culver Creek Preparatory High School in Alabama, he meets the self-destructing Alaska Young and his life is never the same. Miles begins to have fantasies about Alaska but he constantly keeps them to himself. When Alaska dies in an accident, Miles continues to look for answers about life.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane-Eyre-Charlotte-Bronte

I must say, Jane Eyre is the most fictional character for introverts. All that matters to her are her loved ones and passion. She cringes at the mere idea of social gatherings and would rather stay in the house with her friend Helen or Mr. Rochester.

Jane enjoys her alone time and paints when not working in the house.She also loves to get lost in the world of literature where she can be her best self, dream the wildest of dreams, and take on adventures that she would never attempt in real life.

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

the-perks-of-being-a-wallflower

I bet every introvert who has read this book would agree with me when I say that this would not be a legit list if I didn’t include Perks of Being a Wallflower. If you haven’t read this yet, here’s a trigger warning: you won’t be able to put it down because you will highly relate to the protagonist.

Charlie is a quiet teenager who spends his freshman year reading books, going to school, and observing things. And most of the time, these observations make him want to seek answers to poignant questions about his existence, his transition from youth to adulthood, and life in general.

This was originally published on Introvert Diaries

Photo Series: A Quick Stroll in Rizal Park

Earlier today, my boyfriend and I went to Rizal Park to take some photos for our project Humans of Rizal Park. As we were pressed for time, we were only able to take a quick stroll. Feel free to check out some of the photos but please don’t judge me huhu. To view the entire photo series, check out my portfolio.