A Thank You Note From a Muggle: How J.K. Rowling Saved Me (Published on Candy Mag)

This week’s writing prompt is “favorite superhero.” If we’re talking about Marvel, DC, folklore, local, or mythical, I don’t have any. I could write about the people who saved me, but I’ll save that for later. Right now, I guess I’ll settle for my favorite author.

Let me tell you a story.

My sophomore year in college was revolutionary. Life-changing. Soul-shattering. Heart-wrenching. You name it. I began to see what life really is about, which is far from the fairytale stories that they made me believe when I was younger. Thanks to my depression, I became a drunken bookworm.

I held on to books as if my life depended on them. And by books, I mean To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Looking for Alaska, The Women’s Room, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Thirteen Reasons Why, and the likes. These books justified the realities of life and existence of all the bullshits—evil, racism, loneliness, aloneness, depression, societal sexism, injustice, failures, and death. These coming-of-age realizations made me want to disappear from the world completely. They knocked down my studies, relationships, and above all, my emotional, physical, and mental health.

All of a sudden, alcohol became my constant companion. My favorite pastime was to drink the night away with my college friends. I wanted to leave the city and disappear forever like Margo in Paper Towns, but I didn’t have money. Even if I did, I didn’t have the courage to leave. One day, I decided I’d be Alaska Young. I thought that perhaps if I smoked and drank too much, I could suffer from a serious disease and die. Still, I didn’t. I was like Marla in Fight Club. My philosophy in life, like her, was that I could die at any moment—the tragedy was that I didn’t.

Then I decided to read everybody’s favorite—the Harry Potter series. For a girl with great disdain for mainstream stuff, I admit that I have fallen head over heels for this series.

I was lucky I became acquainted with these witches and wizards. In the times when the Death Eaters cast unforgivable curses on me, I buried myself between the pages of the books and lived in fantasy. In the moments when the Dementors tried to kiss me, I relived the movie scenes in my head and became happy. At school, my friends and I even formed a friendship as strong as the Dumbledore’s Army. To make the long story short, the Harry Potter series became my ultimate escape from reality.

So thank you, J.K. Rowling, for saving me from real-life Dementors when they kissed my soul and sucked all the happiness out of me. You are the Sirius who inspired me to keep fighting while the Slytherins awaited my downfall. You are the Ron and Hermione who cheered for me when Draco caught the Golden Snitch. You are the Professor McGonagall when Snape closed the door to the Headmaster’s office. Yet you are also Snape who saved me from the worst enemy of all.

You were like me once—the aspiring author who suffered from depression and chose to write her way through life instead. You are the Molly to my Ginny and the Lily to my Harry. You are the Mad-Eye Moody who inspired me to become an Auror. You are also Dumbledore, the greatest Headmaster I’ve ever known.

Thank you for creating all these characters that became my companion during my life’s darkest hours. Thanks for teaching me Defense Against the Dark Arts to prepare for Voldemort’s returns to power.

Thanks to you, I am now on a journey to find the Deathly Hallows and destroy the seven Horcruxes. Thanks to you and your magical spells, I am now ready to battle against the Dark Lord.

This was originally published on Candy Magazine, was featured on Mogul, and was also published on Thought Catalog 

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This Is Why I Don’t Want to Make Love With You (Published on Thought Catalog)

I don’t want to have sex with you.

I don’t find pleasure in it at all. The wet kissing, the touching, the banging, and all? Fine, but these things only satisfy the beast in me. Nothing less, nothing more. There’s no real connection, only physical attraction. Sex is for the weak. I’m not weak.

I don’t want to make love to you either.

Making love is for hopeless romantics. I’m not comfortable with it a bit. The slow moving, the passionate kissing, the tender caresses, the affirmation of love after sex? Fine, but these things make me hold on tight to the idea of us.

When we make love, everything’s just too much. There’s fire, and fire always seems a bad thing. Fire can ignite us, but it can also destroy us. Lovemaking is for passionate people who believe in forever. I believe in love.

Kiss me, caress me, fuck me all you want—hard or gentle, I don’t give a fuck.

But I won’t have sex with you, much more make love to you. I want to lie beside you and hear words of affirmation, but don’t promise me that this will last.

That’s the thing with lovemaking—it makes you look forward to another day. It makes you look forward to spending your lives together forever. It makes you hope for more. And sometimes, there’s nothing more. Sometimes, the night is all you’ve got.

I don’t want to make love to you not because I am weak, but because I believe.

I can be as passionate as the most passionate lover, I can stay up all night doing nothing but sex, but I won’t hold on to those moments and act as if they’re bound to last.

I won’t make love to you not because I don’t love you, but because I want love to make us.

If it’s meant to be, I won’t have to worry. If we’re meant to be together, we don’t need to promise each other forever. Let our love lead the way. I won’t have it any other way.

This was originally published on Thought Catalog and was also featured on Mogul.

This Is Why Depression Is Not ‘Just a Phase’ (Published on Thought Catalog)

Please stop saying that depression is “just a phase” because it’s not.

I know, because I’ve read it many times before.

In the chatroom, when a friend said that she was so lonely and she didn’t know what to do with her life anymore. In the comment section of posts that read “I give up” “I can’t take it any longer” “I hate life” “Fuck life” “Fuck this world” “Kill me now” “I wanna die” “Goodbye.”

I know, because I’ve seen it many times before.

In the television screen, when three celebrity moms interviewed a brokenhearted teen. In the school, when my best friend cried because the person she loved confessed that he was gay. In the office, when my workmate broke down because her favorite dog died a few moments after his father was admitted to the hospital. In the bar, when one of my friends said she had this weird feeling that her boyfriend was about to break up with her.

I know, because I’ve heard it many times before.

In my bedroom, when I bared my heart and soul to the person I love most. In their bedroom, when I got too drunk that I let out my suicide plans. In the coffee shop, when my friends and I were talking about how fucked up our lives were.

I know, because I’ve been there many times before.

But unlike others who gave up, I lived to tell the tale.

It’s just a phase, they keep telling everyone who almost lost the battle. It’s just a phase, they keep saying to the broken souls who can’t escape the pain. It’s just a phase, they keep telling me, but “It’s not ‘just a phase’,” I told them yesterday.

Depression is not a phase. You wanna know the truth? It’s bound to stay with you until your last fucking breath.

That just when you thought things could not get worse, it will hit you. It will fill your head with monsters and one sleepless night is never enough. It will haunt you and suck all the remaining happiness out of your mind, filling your brain with dreadful thoughts that will make your heart ache. Every. Fucking. Time.

And even if you live through a day without them, they will come back when you’re at your most vulnerable to remind you that your worst fears and nightmares are coming true. It sucks, but it’s true.

Depression is not “just a phase.” Truth is, you just learn to live with the pain.

So next time a person tells you that “it’s just a phase,” tell them they’re wrong. Tell them it will stay with you forever and that it’s okay. You won’t get over it because it will haunt you when you least expect it. It will come for you when you’re lonely. It will come for you when you’re happy. You won’t move on from the pain. You won’t forget the feeling. Ever. It stays with you until you grow old, even as you watch the last moments of your life tick away before your very eyes.

It will always hurt, yes, but the time will come when even the strongest storms won’t tear you down. Depression is not just a phase, but the time will come when you’ll learn to cope with the pain. Please tell them to stop acting like they know your pain because they do not. Please do it for your own sake.

From a woman who learned to live with the pain.

This was originally published on Thought Catalog and featured on Mogul

The Art of Dying as Told by a Not-So-Self-Destructive Millennial (Featured on Mogul)

There are times when death feels so close yet so far.

Those were the nights.

I would toss and turn in bed, willing my brain to veer away from unwanted thoughts, only to be haunted by dreadful illusions the next moment. I would pick up a book and try my best to absorb each word, only to leave the bookmark untouched and give up pretending in the end.

And then I would fall asleep, the kind of sleep that is heavy, the type that drags my heart to the bottom of the ocean until I fall into the abyss of the unknown. One moment I was fighting my way to sleep and the next thing I knew, I was having the worst dream of my life.

I was losing all of my teeth. I was falling endlessly into God knows where. I was being stabbed to death by a monster whose face I’ve become acquainted with in the past years. And then I would wake up from those nightmares, only to find out in the morning that reality is more terrifying than these dreams.

“It was a meditation on life, love, old age, death: ideas that had often fluttered around her head like nocturnal birds but dissolved into a trickle of feathers when she tried to catch hold of them.”
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

I tried to convince myself that I had always been prepared for this.

Those were the days.

My alarm would go off three hours before my shift at work. I would force myself to get out of bed because I knew that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to make it on time. Still, I would hit the ‘snooze’ button and fall back to sleep, only to wake up two hours later. I would go to work hoping that the day would end sooner, killing the time by pretending to be interested in my work and faking a smile whenever a co-worker tried to spark a conversation. I would keep my head high for eight hours when in reality, I was constantly willing the weekend to come faster than usual. It was a routine that I would never get used to. What a fucking boring, useless, shameful life it was.

And then I would go home, not to rest but to fix myself a drink. That was my favorite time of day: the moment when I could finally start to drink the night away. Optimism was not in my dictionary. Happiness was a strange sensation I’ve long forgotten. Life was but a dream, but melancholy was forever. Death was an old enemy that wanted to befriend me. Still, I stood there–breathing, laughing, talking, working, crying, living. Truth was, inside, I was dying.

“Marla’s philosophy of life is that she might die at any moment. The tragedy, she said, was that she didn’t.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Three years ago, my neighbor committed suicide.

I was browsing my Facebook feed at work when I saw the news: a college student committed suicide in a church after confessing to the priest that he was gay. I’ve read different forms of suicide, but this one shook me to the core. I never met the kid personally–he was a wallflower who became an instant celebrity when he died. I wish I had the nerve to do what he did. What a courageous act, I thought.

Since then, I had always forced my creative juices to cooperate and help me come up with a unique way to die. I wanted to be like that kid. If I couldn’t make my life worthwhile, I could at least make my death worth remembering. But I couldn’t think of anything.

I could try to jump off a high-rise building, swallow cyanide, jump on train tracks, hang myself, die from an overdose, cut my wrists, cut my throat, or stab myself, but these physically painful suicide methods were clichés. I didn’t want to be a cliché.

“Nothing resembles a person as much as the way he dies.”
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

After months of wallowing in self-pity, drowning myself in the pool of my own misery, smoking thousands of cigarettes, and gulping down millions of glasses of alcohol, I was finally able to make up my mind.

I settled for the less physically painful, but it is the kind of pain that I would have to endure for the rest of my life. This is the kind of suffering preferred by the brave souls. I chose to live, and that’s more savage than any form of suicide. To live is to suffer eternally from the pain that is life. Slowly, but surely. After all, no person is braver than the one who chooses to live.

***

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

This post was featured on Mogul.

To the Twenty-Something Girl Who Thinks She’s Fucked up… (Published on Thought Catalog)

We know that you’re starting to see that life isn’t always what it seems. When you were younger, the world was black and white. The religious people were the good people; the atheists were the evil ones. The people who knew the Bible like the back of their hands were the saints; the people who held alcohol and cigarettes in their hands were the sinners. Girls should wait until marriage before they let a man deflower them; boys should fuck as many girls as they want once they’re circumcised.

Now, you’ve read too many books, have watched too many movies, and have met too many people. Now, you have seen more of life. In your eyes, the world is now blue and gray.

We know that you often wonder why things don’t always go according to plan. Back in college, you thought you had it all figured out. Your goals back then were as simple as to graduate on time and to find a high-paying job related to your degree. You did it. You got your diploma, you found a steady job. The pay was not as high as you expected, but you still earned more than some of your friends did. Your friends were not happy but you were. A year later, you realized that money is not always equal to happiness. You envied your friends who pursued their passion and were content with their jobs but did not earn as much as you did.

Now, they are happy and you are not.

We know that the FOMO struggle is real. Your friend posted a photo of his newly bought iPhone on Facebook with the hashtag #feelingblessed. Your classmate, who’s a year younger than you, shared photos of her on Instagram in her condo unit while sipping her venti-sized Starbucks coffee. Then there you were, browsing your newsfeed while your friends were checking in five-star hotels near white-sand beaches, sharing photos of them at the peak of a mountain, or spending their weekend in the happiest place on earth.

Now, you think you’re fucked up because you can’t travel to cool places like they do and you can’t buy the cool things that everyone is buying. Now, you’re feeling blue because you’re already in your 20s but you haven’t achieved anything yet.

We know what it feels like to think that your life is fucked up. We are the Clementines of this generation and there’s nothing wrong with us. We know how hard it is to stay positive when there’s so much on your plate and when everything is simply too much for you to handle. We know how you feel when someone tells you that you’re too young to suffer from depression, that you’re just being too melodramatic, that you need to get your shit together, that mental health is just a state of mind, that there’s more to life than crying yourself to sleep, and that you’ll get over it. Fuck them all. But if you think you are the only one fighting this fight, then you are wrong.

We know what it feels like to think that your life is fucked up and we are with you because we are you.
We are you because we live in the same generation when social media defines our very existence, when the FOMO struggle is real, when everyone is trying their best to be cool, when everyone is rushing in, when everyone is feeling some kind of pressure, when everyone is dealing with depression.

To the millennial who’s reading this right now, you are not what people see on your social media. You are not the statuses that you post or choose not to post on Facebook. You are not the photos that you share or choose not to share on Instagram. Your life isn’t limited to 140 characters. You are not your job, your salary, the coffee that you drink, the places that you go to, the clothes that you buy. What you are is young and free. You deserve to be happy. All those fucking things do not define you; the way you treat others does.

To the twenty-something fucked up girl looking for peace of mind, you are not alone. No man, no counselor, or no other person can save you; only you can save yourself. We know that it might take a while—it really does—but things will become bearable. Not better, only bearable. And when the time comes that you find what calms your mind, life will still throw you a curveball. Bear that in mind. Things will still be as fucked up as they are today, but if you ever find yourself stuck in this situation again with no one to turn to, don’t suppress your emotions. Let yourself suffer.

Break down. Cry. Remember that the first step to letting go of pain is to feel it.

Things will become worse than they are today and that’s okay. You are invincible, woman, and that should be enough for you to keep going.

This was originally published on Thought Catalog and featured on Mogul

10 Reasons Why an ESFP-INFP Relationship Is Bound to Last (Published on Thought Catalog)

I’m speaking from a point of view of an INFP who has been in a relationship with an ESFP for seven long years. I don’t know if the seven-year itch is taking its toll on us, but we’ve been through a lot of major fights lately. And mostly, these fights are because of our differences.

Good thing, I became so into these Myers-Briggs personality types, and thanks to the writers at Thought Catalog, I found the enlightenment that I need. Now, it all makes sense to me.

After digging deeper into the INFP and ESFP personalities, I came to the conclusion that it’s hard to make a relationship work for these two types. But when these two choose love over their differences, RSVP your attendance on their wedding as early as now because their relationship is bound to last. Let me show you what I discovered.

1. ESFPs move too fast. INFPs always need space.

ESFPs are outgoing and adventurous by nature. They always want to be on the move to try something new. Often, they get too lost in the moment that they forget to think about their partners.

Meanwhile, life can get so overwhelming at times for INFPs that they need to take a break for a while and meditate over the events that transpired.

When it comes to hobbies, ESFPs love parties and adventures while INFPs love to stay at home and get lost in the world of books.

2. ESFPs love to be around people. INFPs prefer to be left alone.

At a party, ESFPs would spark a conversation with people who come their way. ESFPs are actors who want to get everyone’s attention, and there’s nothing wrong with that. ESFPs are often the ones who bring life into any situation.

ESFPs are often the ones who bring life into any situation.

INFPs would hide in the corner, regretting why they even entertained the idea of going to the party and wishing they had stayed at home with their favorite companions: books. After all, INFPs can’t sleep until they finish the next chapter.

3. ESFPs prefer small talks. INFPs love deep, meaningful conversations.

While you, an ESFP, want to receive text messages about what your partner is doing every once in a while, your INFP partner is waiting for you to open up about your fears and dreams, to talk about how wonderful the stars and moon are tonight, to ask her progress in her current read, or to talk about the last open mic where you both went to.

INFPs don’t care about the weather, what you ate for breakfast, or if you’re stuck in heavy traffic for the nth time. They want to avoid conversations that don’t make sense as much as possible. They are deep, creative people whose minds are always filled with never-ending battles between what is right and wrong and questions without answers.

4. ESFPs are optimists. INFPs are mediators.

The best thing about ESFPs is their spontaneity. They always come up with a quick solution to a certain problem, however short-term the solution may be. These lively, always-positive people’s first line of defense is to think that a situation is no worse than it actually is, which is good in a way that when you avoid thinking about a problem, the less anxious you get.

INFPs, on the other hand, are neither pessimists or optimists. They decide whether a situation is hopeless or not based on their intuition, feeling, and perception. They don’t judge too easily.  They analyze the situation and weigh the pros and cons before actually being positive, negative, or neutral about it. They are mediators by nature.

5. ESFPs run away from problems. INFPs think too much about them.

When an ESFP and an INFP get into a fight, the ESFP would focus his attention on other things like going to parties, getting drunk, and flirting with others. ESFPs don’t like to admit to themselves that there is a problem, so rather than taking in the pain and thinking about it, an ESFP would do what he loves to do most – to be around people.

INFPs, as we mentioned earlier, are always thinking about things. When they have a problem, they overthink about it until they get the answer. INFPs are thoughtful people. They want what’s best for others, so they won’t stop thinking about a hundred different ways to solve a problem.

6. ESFPs are full of pride. INFPs are selfless people.

ESFPs have a hard time finding fault in their actions. They are always in denial and they find it difficult to swallow their pride to admit that they are wrong. Apologies? Nah. ESFPs would rather jump off a bridge than say it aloud, even though a part of them tells them that it’s time to apologize. But when they realize that they are wrong (which takes a really loooonnnngggggg time), they are more than willing to make up for their actions (and you’ll love them even more for it).

For INFPs, remember that these people would put themselves into someone else’s shoes before deciding on the situation. They are selfless individuals who would give a hundred chances before they give up on someone. And when they do something that hurts the other, an INFP would not hesitate to apologize.

7. ESFPs are attracted to physical appearance. INFPs fall for intelligence.

ESFPs want to look good themselves, so it’s normal that they look at the physical appearance when dating. And since the INFPs love intelligent conversations, they would fall for someone who reads the books they read and talks about the topics that they are interested in, among other things.

8. ESFPs are explorers. INFPs are not.

In the workplace, ESFPs would always aim for promotion because they love challenges and the thought of trying new things excite and thrill them. However, INFPs would settle for a position for as long as the job ignites their passion and fulfills their desires.

When it comes to relationships, most ESFPs are afraid of commitment because they are free spirits who do not like being placed inside a cage. For them, relationship means less time for friends, for partying, for adventures. INFPs, on the other hand, stay in a relationship no matter how good or toxic it is as long as they still see some hope in it. INFPs believe in people, in humanity. They think that someday, everything can fall into place as long as both sides are willing to work on it and adjust.

9. ESFPs are realists. INFPs are idealists.

ESFPs digest basic information but are still open to other possibilities and new options. Thus, when faced with difficult circumstances, they stay positive and go with the flow even though their heart tells them otherwise. They decide based on what’s practical and normal.

Individualities and differences are unusual to ESFPs, whereas INFPs dream of a world where people respect each other for their unique traits. For ESFPs, what you see is what you get. For INFPs, there is a meaning behind everything.

For ESFPs, what you see is what you get. For INFPs, there is a meaning behind everything.

INFPs believe that human beings are good by nature, so they see through their partner and hold on to the belief that they can help them become a better person. INFPs dream of a relationship that stands the test of time, while ESFPs stay when it’s convenient and leave when it’s difficult.

INFPs dream of a relationship that stands the test of time, while ESFPs stay when it’s convenient and leave when it’s difficult.

10. ESFPs are passionate lovers. INFPs are the MOST passionate lovers.

Despite their outgoing and careless personality, ESFPs are passionate lovers. They have extroverted thinking but introverted feelings. ESFPs may be natural flirts, but when they love, they give their best.

ESFPs may be natural flirts, but when they love, they give their best.

But of all the personality types, INFPs are the most passionate lovers. When they love, they don’t only give their best – they give their all. Sadly, there is a downside to being an INFP. No matter how passionate they can be, they are, after all, idealists. When they give their all, they expect to receive the same from their partners, which do not happen very often. INFPs are hopeless romantics who dream of happily ever afters – something that exists only in fairy tales, in books.

INFPs are hopeless romantics who dream of happily ever afters – something that exists only in fairy tales, in books.

If you want proof that opposites do attract, well, I just gave you a couple of examples. These 10 explanations, which may seem in contradiction to the title, are exactly the reasons why an ESFP-INFP relationship is one of the most interesting matches of all the MBTI. It might look too complicated at first glance, but it’s simple:

ESFPs and INFPs may want to stay in completely different worlds–ESFPs in a lively, crowded world and INFPs in a peaceful, solitary one–but their introverted feelings and perceptive abilities will always, always tell them to ignore their differences and choose love over and over and over and over again. Always. 

This was previously published on Thought Catalog and featured on Mogul