September 10 Is World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. The funny thing is, it’s also my birthday. Could it get more ironic than this?

As you know, I’ve been vocal about my mental sufferings in my blog. For months, I did nothing but wallow in suicidal thoughts, going back and forth from being a cliche suicidal teen to a mental health advocate. 

The perspective of my writings keeps shifting from being The Nega Star (ever-pessimist-human-who-wants-to-stay-positive-but-couldn’t-thanks-to-my-depression) to The Advocate (the-writer-who-writes-about-depression-without-shame-to-supposedly-inspire-others-to-hashtag-never-give-up).

Thanks to this blog, I found refuge whenever I needed to let out my thoughts and emotions. But just because it has seen an almost-month-long hiatus from yours truly, doesn’t mean I’m suffering no more.

Truth is, the depressive cycle is not yet over.

The battle is not over yet.

And because I like to make a big deal out of trivial things, I want to make up a reason behind all this: of all the days in the year, why did the universe choose my birthday to celebrate suicide prevention?

When I first heard about this, I wasn’t okay with the idea. My first reaction was, “Are you fucking kidding me?’

But as I became used to it, I started making myself believe that it happened because I was ~destined~ to become The Advocate, not The Nega Star.

I’d like to believe that The Great Universe conspired so that every September 10, I am reminded of two things: first, my existence and second, the reason why I shouldn’t cease to exist.

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Liebster Award

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I don’t have a large following, so I was #shookt when Niall, an English professor from Ireland, followed me. If my memory serves me right, he stumbled upon my blog when I posted a confession about being a former Grammar Nazi and I instantly regretted hitting that “Publish” button when I discovered he is an English professor. LOL.

Anyway, thanks for not unfollowing me even after seeing my grammar mistakes. Kidding aside, thanks for nominating me for the Liebster Award. (Check out his blog if you want to know if steal and rob are interchangeable and learn a thing or two about the beautiful English language)

Now, here are random facts about me:

  1. I sleep on my stomach.
  2. I won’t get tired of watching the Bridget Jones movies.
  3. I feel like I’m a 65 years old woman trapped inside a body of a 21-year old girl.
  4. I’m in a love-hate relationship with my boyfriend’s loud snoring.
  5. The word “ardent” makes me swoon.
  6. I don’t own a pet.
  7. I can cook but I’d rather write. Or read. Or live.
  8. I want to visit Liverpool and all the places referenced in The Beatles songs.
  9. I prefer a house over an apartment.
  10. I’d love to live in the countryside.
  11. I’m not a fan of the restaurants in our area.

In turn, I’m giving these people, whose blogs inspire me, a chance to speak:

  1. Rebel Rookie
  2. Out of Desk
  3. After Hours
  4. INTP Bubbles
  5. Cari’s Blog
  6. Very Happy Berry
  7. Booknomnom
  8. Hainrihi’s Discoveries
  9. Untouristing
  10. Smitten Wordsmith
  11. LonelyHappyThoughts

The questions would be:

  1. What’s your favorite book?
  2. Who’s your favorite blogger?
  3. American English or British English?
  4. Have you seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?
  5. How did you get into blogging?
  6. How many books do you own?
  7. Name one item on your bucket list.
  8. What’s the one local band you would recommend to a foreigner?
  9. How do you normally spend your Sundays?
  10. Do you have a library at home?
  11. What’s your favorite F word apart from Friday?

And for the rules,

  1. Display the award and thank your nominator.
  2. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate 11 blogs.
  4. Notify them.
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer.

Cheers to blogging!

Dear Universe, Keep ‘Em Coming

Fine. I know I’m 18 days too late and this post is a shout into the void, but I want to thank the Universe for all the wonderful things that transpired last month. Best. Month. So. Far.

I welcomed February with a Facebook post that said “Dear Universe, Keep ’em coming” and the Universe hasn’t failed me since. *kilig* Here’s a roundup of all the graces bestowed upon me by the Great Universe.

Can you believe all of these happened in just one month? Because I still can’t. If there’s one thing I wish I was able to do, it’s to make more time for my project Humans of Rizal Park. All in all, the month was so perfect I’m afraid the Universe will end the streak. And so, Sir, allow me to plead once more: please keep them coming.

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.

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Source: Grammarly

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.

Humans of Rizal Park: A Hashtag Squad Goal

My workmates inspired me to create a blog and in return, I invited my college friends to create their own. Mission accomplished. Ha ha.

So, one rainy day in the middle of December, I was wallowing in depressing thoughts and drowning in the pool of my own misery when a fucking wonderful idea hit me: a project that my bored college friends and I would enjoy. And because I am so creative and original, I made a blog that’s so uncreative and unoriginal: Humans of Rizal Park. If it rings a bell, that’s because we borrowed the idea from Humans of New York.

 

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HoRP’s Mission Statement

 

In this blog, we feature slice-of-life stories and portraits of… (for more information, visit our blog). Why Luneta Park? Why not Humans of Manila? Humans of Manila already exists. And to answer the question why Luneta Park, check out our About page.

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Preview of HoRP’s Blog

 

This post is my way of introducing our hashtag squad project (and inviting you to follow our blog hihi). The project started last December but as my hashtag squad had been busy for the holiday season and had post-holiday blues (don’t we all?), we were only able to officially launch the blog and Facebook page yesterday.

I seriously can’t contain my excitement right now so I’m leaving it here. Please also like our Facebook page and spread the love! Thanks in advance, beshies!

The Fab Four on My Wall: A Family Project

Last September (my birthday month), my family worked together to build a hanging bookshelf inside my room. It was one of those activities that bring a family closer together and  I’m glad that my parents and siblings contributed to the project not only because they wanted to fulfill my birthday wish, but because they were into creative activities as well.

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Me and my hanging bookshelves

Recently, we brought out our creative juices once again to give my wall a makeover. This time, we added a touch of classic to my wall.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’d know that in one of my previous posts about the evolution of my bookshelves, I immediately thought of painting my wall as soon as my shelf was ready. Sadly, it took us three months before we could finally turn my vision into reality. My sister Jenniza had been busy with her studies and work and my younger brothers waited for her go signal before they embarked on this creative endeavor.

I knew that Jenniza’s workload won’t get any lighter soon, so I decided to leave the task in the hands of our bunso. Andrew was more than willing (and excited even) to take the lead, so I had no problem with him. All I did was give him the blueprint with a P200.00 as bribe (lol) and he already had the sketch ready after two days. My father helped him do the sketch and it turned out perfectly well. Jenniza gave it a final touch.

Here’s a picture of them working on the sketch and painting my wall:

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We had a great time working together even though my role was merely to judge their work, pinpoint their mistakes, praise the final output, and boast about it on my blog. That’s how creative directors should act, right? I just did my job.

The best thing about this project was that all of us contributed to make it perfect. My mother and grandmother entered my room every now and then to catch a glimpse of the WIP and help in their own little ways like bringing the washcloth near the painters. My father helped with the sketch, Joshua, my younger brother, helped paint the silhouette of George’s face, and Angelica and Adrian cheered as the project progressed (laking tulong wiw).

Here’s the final output:

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The Fab Four on My Wall

We had pizza delivered courtesy of yours truly when the project was completed. It was my simple way of expressing my gratitude because another item was crossed off my bucket list. More creative works and family projects to come!

Production Team

Creative Director: Airen Jem (Panganay)

Artists: Andrew Joseph (Bunso) and Papa

Painters: Jenniza Anne (Second), Andrew Joseph, and Joshua Aaron (Fifth)

Personal Assistants: Mama and Mommy (Grandmother)

Fans: John Adrian (Third) and Angelica Joyce (Fourth)