Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Rose By Any Other Name

Just the other day, fate led me to discover an ancient hard drive of mine tucked neatly in a corner behind my not-so-neat side table. I consequently unearthed heaps of my old work, including this essay, which I wrote as a part of my college application requirements.

This piece dates back to 2011 (making me about sixteen years old when it was written, so I'd appreciate if we could all overlook the adolescent choices). I applied to Ateneo de Manila University, and proceeded to take up Creative Writinga period of my life that would leave an indelible mark in me. However, in the slim chance you were wondering, I did not finish, and am currently under college-dropout status.

The facts I reveal in this essay may be unknown to many, so in the event that you are in a confused state regarding the topic I am to discuss, this should explain.

* * *

A Rose By Any Other Name

“What's in a name?” Juliet Capulet proclaimed. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”1 I remember clearly the moment in which I read these words. The strong reflection evoked by these simple phrases stringed together in passionate dissent remains fresh in my memory. What is in a name? Is it of such great importance? Does it define one, or is it simply a label which, if done away with, would not so much as alter a thing? Names we all must live with, despite whatever varying beliefs we may hold regarding its significance; it is inevitable we all possess one. Well, what if someone took yours away?

It was late July of 2010 when I had received word. It had been decided on long before I could even perceive the slightest idea of its existence. An understanding had been agreed upon. It was final: They were going to change my name. Once the complete and utter shock of the news had subsided, my initial reaction to the motion was indubitably to question it. Why? What's wrong with my name? Suffice to say, it was agreed that my name simply was not glamorous enough. Being in the entertainment industry, I was no stranger to the need to satiate the public's thirst for glamour; it was an effort I was forced to succumb to on a daily basis. But to take the very thing upon which my entire life was structured and treat it as you would the latest productsusceptible to immediate disposal if found unpalatable to the masseswas crossing the line. I was slighted, to say the very least. However, whilst wallowing in my self-pity and licking my wounds, a rather optimistic thought interrupted my hopeless tirade. What if that which I considered such a blasphemy was exactly what I needed?

When I was younger, I brimmed with an eccentric desire for amusement, and would go to great lengths, taking unnecessary risks along the way to attain it. Whether it was leading a parade of friends on the roof of the school building after classes, or climbing into an unlocked classroom through a previously locked window, I had always found myself in some sort of trouble. I was prideful, and immediately leaped through every open (sometimes closed) door on impulse, ignoring any form of sound advice that would contradict me. I was unwilling to hear what anyone else had to suggest if it would threaten to thwart my escapades. I held fast to my childish beliefs and would not release my grip unless experience would teach me otherwise. I had roistered in my stupidity, and soon became widely recognized for it. It was all downright blatant, heinous pride. Emmanuelle knew best.
Because of this, I pondered the possibility—a clean slate, a fresh start on life altogether. Who wouldn't revel in the proposition to eradicate from existence every single mistake committed in the past, and instead, armed with a wealth of previously acquired wisdom and knowledge, create an entirely new person? Who wouldn't jump at a chance to embody perfection? Part of me was mesmerized by the idea. I would be doing away with everything I was ashamed of: the remnants of my irresponsibility, foolishness, immaturity, and imprudence. But the pragmatic side of me knew better.

It was not until after getting a hefty number of fellow students punished with an entire month of community service, nearly finding myself suspended, and winding up in the hospital in a near-death state did I realize the gravity of my foolishness. My pride had been shattered, and I was left with no other option but change. In retrospect, I am saddened that it required me hitting absolute rock bottom to see how utterly pointless all my deeds had been. I had severed a great deal of relationships and wasted a significant amount of time and resources. Worst of all, I had compromised my own wellbeing, all in the pursuit of something that is fleeting—momentary thrill.

Unfortunate as this may be, it is due to this very realization, and the countless incidents I had to endure to unearth it, that I am who I am today. Yes, I suffered much, but because of it, I had emerged wiser than I ever was and stronger than I'd ever been in the past. I had mustered the ability to piece my life back together, and had found my way back to the road that would gradually lead to where I ultimately want to be. This time, I was not ashamed of my past anymore. Every single thing I'd ever done, all the hurdles I had managed to leap over, had become a part of me, and losing a name, I had thought, would be losing myself. I would be bidding goodbye everything I'd ever worked toward: the sullied reputation I had finally wiped clean, the accomplishments I had endeavored to achieve, the character my parents had spent years striving to build, and most importantly the woman who had to be subjected to much pain in order to arrive at who she presently is. Did I truly want to sacrifice this for a delusive “clean slate” in attempt to conform to the petty impositions of the entertainment industry?

Ironically, it was in that moment that I grasped the notion that, while names do possess power, they do not by any means define you. They may speak into your life, but only to a certain extent. They are incapable of determining who you are—rather, it is the choices you make that do. The individual that you are has been written in stone from the beginning, and no external force will ever succeed in altering it. The last remaining task one has left to fulfill is to live up to the identity he already owns. What is a new name? It is the exact same being, only with an unfamiliar label. Call a rose ironmonger; it will still be a rose. Call it scaffolding, excrement, epoxy resin, and yet it will not lose itself. Irrespective of the label you dub it with, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

1 – Shakespeare, W. (c. 1591). Romeo & Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Out From Under the Claw

Why do we bother wasting precious energy moping over other people's successes? Why is it so unbelievably difficult to revel in them instead?

Pride is the root of insecurity is the root of the lethal crab mentality is the root of the downfall of our society. Unfortunately, the notorious crab mentality is a frame of mind that plagues us all at certain points in our lives, for the simple reason of pride being embedded in primal human nature. However the higher level of one's consciousness must be utilized to introspect and raise self-awareness, and then to fight this destructive tendency tooth and nail. It is essential to overcome this if ever we aspire to personal growth, and ultimately the betterment of society.

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Quick & Liberating Thought

Here's a brief thought that may completely alter your life's course if ingested and applied. The practice has so far worked wonders for me, and it is my hope that it will do the same for you.
Life becomes infinitely lighter, days more hopeful, and thoughts less complicated when you learn to release your insecurities. Admittedly, it's a tortuous process, but the initial step imperative to kicking the process into motion is simply resolvethe capacity of which every human being possesses. Upon making the decision to do away with ill self-worth and committing to it, it’s only a matter of time before your entire being falls into step. Stick it out and you will eventually come into alignment with your resolve. Trust me, it will be the best decision you’ll ever muster the courage to make, and the lifelong returns will prove to far outweigh the pain of the grueling first step. 
Love yourself, because you can’t give what you don’t have.

Another Attempt

Transferring this post from my new, yet now obsolete (it'll make more sense as you read further) tumblr, as my Google account has just been recovered! *cue rejoicing*

* * *

Hello, reader (and potential follower)! 
If you have been following (even loosely, or maybe just casual browsing, or whatever) the wealth of blogs I’ve created, tended, and then neglected over the years, you may be wondering why in the name of God I am starting another one. To answer the question that may or may not have been on your mind, this is an attempt to start afresh with the entire online journaling concept, considering my original tumblr is a confusing overgrowth of my thoughts, a mishmash of all things outmoded, and my blogspot along with my entire google account has been disabled due to “suspicious activity.” (Whoops, run-on sentence.) 
I’ve been trying to recover my blogspot, as it would be a waste to simply let all the pieces I’ve spent hours writing, rewriting, editing and proofreading slip away. But in the interim, I’ll be needing a platform for my thoughts that can double as a cork board of sorts (and no, 160 characters surely will not suffice). Tumblr seems like the only appropriate in-between host, and is thus my blog site of choice! 
So, folks, that was the extrapolated version of what should really be a concise statement along the lines of “I’ve decided to return to cyberspace, but do not have a medium as of the moment. So this is what I’ll use in the meantime.” 
I suppose this initial post could serve as a preview of what’s to come. My thoughts are far from eloquent, sage, or organized, but I am hopeful that they will entertain you. Cheers! 

* * *

You may discard the bit about my transferring mediums, however I have not discarded the entire post as it also functions as an announcement that I am back on the internet, ladies and gentlemen (as if I ever really left)!

To give you more information than you asked for, although you asked for none at all, I have recently been a faithful millennial, spending a wealth of (wasted) time on Facebook. Upon realizing this, I deactivated my account and took to online journaling as an outlet, hoping to reap the benefits of having to carefully consider and craft each entry.

I hereby bid overly emotional, pessimistic status-update rants farewell, and commit to replacing them with more well-thought-out, hopefully sensible thoughts in the form of blogs.

Once again, cheers!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


"Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,
you are slaves of the one whom you obey,
either of sin, which leads to death,
or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?"

* * *


A push, a pull, an ebb, a flow

Back and forth and 'round we go
A give and take; increase, decline
A quest to feel, attempts to hide

Beyond all that my eyes have said

Or what's transpired inside my head
A layer underneath the growth
Account for things I'll never know

So here I lie, face to the floor

To my dismay a moment more
To my demise, to my release
To chain me down, to set me free

To all this push I acquiesce

A sudden flux, I deliquesce
And all I ama remnant but
A surface that's begun to rust

       I take this time to sit and muse:

       We are all slaves to what we choose

Sunday, March 17, 2013

You Sit Afar

You sit afar like cheetahs
Swift and violent are your blows
The cackling of hyenas
Resonate through your burrows

Behind the shrubs you speculate
As just after I crawl,
I finally learn to stand—
Your hearts anticipate my fall

I wobble on my baby legs,
Fight to support my weight
"Please do not fall," a desperate beg
My newborn lips do pray

Alas! This child stumbles
Atop roots—an overgrowth
Direct into the mud I fall—
A scattered mess of woes

"Please help me, lift me up!"
My spotted, soiled hands I fire
Into the sky, in hopes someone
Will lift me from the mire

I see a rustling in the bush
Mere yards from where I moan
"I do not know this forest
You right there, please lead me home!"

Another rustling, hushes, crushing
Leaves beneath your paws
Those silhouettes—your bodies rushing
Far away from this bog

You say to them, "My hands are clean
And blameless do I stand.
I did not touch her filthy, mucky,
Dirty, evil hands."

You sit afar and ponder
What you saw with your own eyes
To your own pride you whisper,
"None is holier than I."

How can one say he is a friend,
But only through the good?
Till when I fall, he scampers
Can’t be caught within the woods!

Your claws, they injure easily
Not pain that aids growth, though
But maims that lift you high
By pushing me further below

I wish not to pierce with words
As your gaze has punctured me
My wish is for your benefit:
That your sightless eyes may see

What kind of love shoots daggers
At one that's been overthrown?
and causes him to stagger
Just to leave him on his own?

The holiest, the whitest hands
Are quickly spattered on
By magnifying spots
On someone else's blemished palms

Don't wound without intention
Of helping also to heal
Don't let your heart shrivel
So that our pain you cannot feel

Do not point out my wrongs
Without intent to help recoup
These flaws don't judge for judging's sake
Lest I point out yours, too

Monday, February 25, 2013

Beneath Their Snow

Genuine love will stand the test of the public.
Written for the only Love I've ever had

* * *

Beneath Their Snow

Yes, I should be asleep, I know
I cannot seem to will myself
Beneath the sheets of all this snow
Though I perspire, I'll never tell

They gaze us down through spectacles
So shrouded; How could they not know
Inadequate receptacles
Do they appoint to be their trough

Unknowingly they perforate
What they believe to grip and hold
Through leakages reverberate
Their confidence; their self-dug shoals

And shall I spare them but a sigh,
These thieves exposed beneath the sun?
Their shifting eyes at once belie:
They do not know what has begun

Yes, I should be asleep, I know
But they amuse me far too much
Beneath the sheets of all their snow
You lie with me, unharmed, untouched

Friday, February 15, 2013

I must warn you

I do not normally consider myself a poet, but wrote this poem a while back in response to one written for me, and discovered that possibly maybe I actually just might specialize in this field. Haha! We'll see. ;)

In any event, if there's one thing I intend to leave you with, it's this: If you know that you know that you know that you aren't ready for romantic love (or a relationship), please, even if just for the sake of the other person, do not get into it. Wait. It may be the hard option, but it's definitely the best one. For you. For them.

* * *

I must warn you

You do not need this heart of ash
In vigorous search for breath
Strive to revive what once had life
And die a double death
You do not need these eyes that sever,
dismantle, shatter, run—
Sequestration of evidence;
Refusal to be dunned
You do not need these lips that bellow
One a jeer too many
That cast their lines in foreign seas
Retraction?—a job too heavy
Secure inside this galaxy,
Yet burning to be free;
You do not need this wrestling comet,
You needn’t chase for me
I tie my recourse to a tree
Not far from where I live
Many hearts I pin upon my sleeve,
Not one I mean to give
I pray you rest your heart tonight
In equanimity
You see, beneath this ruthless blight
You don’t deserve to be!
The wind himself so flawed and fickle—
Constant is he in this:
My jaws—too sharp a place for your heart,
A dream you best dismiss
You do not need befuddlement
Nor desolate streets to roam
My love is a profound abyss
Too dark to call your home

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Facing the Heart Facts

A little entry I wrote this time last year

* * *

  It was my final year in high school, and due to the erratic schedule of the new program the school was trying out, five major subjects had been issued a mere month and a half before graduation, leaving me several weeks to finish an entire school year’s worth of work. I was overwhelmed, to say the very least.

     I absentmindedly watched the sun rise from the corner of my eye, and proceeded with finishing one of the many papers I had been working on all night. One by one my family members descended the staircase, each one bustling about with an odd air of enthusiasm. An extremely loud paper bag, complete with handmade trimmings and an envelope plastered to its side, was excitedly placed in front of me. Feverishly exchanged whispers and murmurs seemingly carrying some sort of greeting filled the air. Finally, I was roused from my somnolence. Is there something I'm missing? I picked up the card laid in front of me, breaking out of the position I had been frozen in, hoping the heavy piece of paper would shed some light.

“I love you, my Valentine! Through everything. Love, Mom.”

      At that moment, every last remnant of my drowsiness vanished. I glanced at my calendar; it was the fourteenth of February. Of course! Valentine’s Day. How could I have overlooked the swarms of saccharine posts circulating the internet, mushy songs ubiquitous in commercial establishments, and countless glaring preparations being made all around? How could such a celebration have been disregarded by one who was once so consumed by it? I slumped in my seat, half beating myself up for my ignorance, half wondering how I could have possibly been so oblivious. But then my peripheral vision brought back into focus the half-blank Word document that faced me, and I put my emotions—whatever they may have been—aside, suppressing them for my own wellbeing, even if only for the meantime.

     At that, I realized exactly what I was doing, and had been doing for so long: how when I was hurt, or would rather not be bothered by particular emotions, I would set them aside. And that’s why I was unaware of—or aware of, but insensitive to—Valentine’s Day: I unwittingly chose to be. I unintentionally intentionally ignored it. It had become second nature for me to conceal myself from things that hurt, to the point where I did so without my own knowledge.

      With a sigh, I recalled previous Valentine’s days—flowers, chocolate, candlelit dinners, handwritten love letters, stressing over presents, tiptoeing around making surprise arrangements, significant others and I outdoing one another—until I was interrupted by the feeling I had so long buried in the dust: my pain. I was hurt because that year, there was nobody wooing me; because I didn’t have a “Valentine.” My lack of suitors had left me feeling incomplete, as I believed I needed somebody else to make me whole.

     Little did I know I was already made complete when I became worth dying for. I was created with deep longings that only my Maker's intense, unconditional love could satisfy. When I finally came to realize this, the need to search for love elsewhere immediately dissipated. My entire perspective was altered: the way I viewed life, myself—everything. I had learned that my refusal to acknowledge the predicament I was in was the very predicament itself, and I could shove legitimate, significant feelings away no more. Searching for temporary love to fill a heart that was made to be empty until filled by its foremost Lover, its Savior, proved to be a vain undertaking.

      I allowed the heaviness of exhaustion to weigh my eyelids down, greeted my mother a happy Valentine’s Day, walked over to my room, and shut the door. In the silence, I could only conjure a proper response to the love that had first been given me; I let an I love You drift softly out from under my breath. And for the very first time in my life, with all sincerity, I meant it. Although certain facts are more difficult to come to terms with than others, when you muster up the courage to do so, you'll find you acquire an ounce of strength you didn't initially have. And for that I was grateful. Because of what I had discovered, I was satisfied. Because I was loved perfectly, I was complete.

       Maybe I had phrased it wrong... Head tilted back, eyes shut, heart swelling, I whispered, "I love You, too."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Tale of a Prodigal Heart

I thought I'd share a story of a very good friend of mine. This event occurred, and was written last year, and speaks of the deceptive allure of desire in contrast to what truly counts.

* * *

This story is of a girl—one of the more reasonable people I knew. She sought God and loved him, just as he first sought and loved her. She trusted in his will and wanted to please him above all else. But despite her fervor, she was undeniably human, and inevitably prone to failure. She rushed into something she shouldn't have—something that was designed to be treasured, savored, undertaken with caution, and most importantly, prayed through. Silly girl tried doing things her own way, and learned a valuable lesson from it.

During a time in her life where everything appeared as mere dust, she caught a glimpse of something that glistened with radiance like nothing she'd ever beheld. Immediately, she believed that this was what she had been searching for all along, and was absolutely positive it was meant for her—how could it possibly not be? She had been captivated from the moment she laid eyes on it, and it was now a mere stone's throw away. Little did she know, not all that glitters is gold.

Forgive me, that (extremely overused) cliché wasn't necessarily applicable in this situation. What she had stumbled upon was most definitely gold—pure, genuine gold—but maybe not quite what she needed at the moment. Or maybe it was treasure intended for another's hands. But in the meanwhile, with the gold she had managed to snatch, she was able to purchase some objects she had needed. Like the precise emotion she had to replicate for work, or the encouragement she didn't realize she so desperately needed to hear, or the boost of strength to finish something she had almost given up on, or some new writings, or the motivation to delve into a new language.

Although contented with her new acquisitions, she gradually began to recognize her ignorance in taking what she thought was hers without consulting its owner. At this, she began to pray.
"God, this is all getting so confusing. If this is distracting me from you, as much as I'm enjoying it, please take it away from me. Please."
This became her prayer night after night. In a sense, she was quite proud of herself for requesting something so noble. But when push came to shove, she realized that this prayer was much easier to ask for than to actually desire. After all, things are always easier said than done.

The first word came, plain and simple:
"Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts." (1 John 5:21, NLT)

Then it hit her.
"Lord, if he's taking your place in my heart, please take him away."
Great! Great, prayer. Finally, she saw where her ignorance was taking her… And then came the next bit.
"But if not (which I don't think he is anyway, because nobody could ever replace you in my heart!) then you can let these feelings stay. No problem. By the way, thank you for letting me meet him! He's so sweet! And absolutely everything I could ever ask for in a guy on top of that. And oh, his heart reminds me of yours…"

But God saw her heart's true motives even before she could see them herself—He saw what she had tried so hard to mask over and deny. She had received fair warning, yet still asked if it was possible that she have her way. Just a little bit more. He saw her stubbornness and yearning to fulfill her own desires under her guise of obedience. Now, although she needed a lesson (quite badly at that), God in his infinite wisdom knew that it was terrible timing for one. His kind, merciful nature will never permit him to give you more than you can take, and at that moment, there was only so much more her young faith was prepared to carry. Her heart belonged to the One who gave her life, but before she knew it, she was slowly letting something in that had the potential to dethrone him, given the circumstances and her frailty. And that's when the rubber hit the road.

She grew distracted. She let this man in a bit more every day, and thought about him just a little more with each passing hour. This continued on to the point where his presence caused her to lose her grip on everything, including her own self; his face caused her to forego focusing on what should have been of first importance—including God himself. She had to take physical measures to keep her spirit in step. But her feelings increased, as did the need for her precautions, until she needed another word. She begged for one in her state of seemingly irreparable perplexity. Stubborn little girl and all her self-inflicted confusion.

Well, God in his invariable faithfulness sent another one:
"Treat younger men as brothers ... with absolute purity." (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

At this, she finally opened her naïve eyes to the possibility that she might just really, really like him, and resolved to pray for grace every time she spoke to him, that she may treat him in absolute purity, without subtly disclosing the feelings that overwhelmed her. But because she insisted on treading as close to the boundary line as she could without falling off, rather than taking heed and fleeing immediately, Somebody had to step in. Apparently, she was just about to receive an advanced warning.

Lo and behold, her feelings grew even stronger than they already had been before, and the man seemed to be reciprocating. Although she knew she should have stayed far away, especially in light of the prior warnings, like the infant that thought the socket too interesting to avoid, with dripping wet hands, she thrust her fingers where she knew she shouldn't have. Although Daddy warned her not to, she really, really wanted to! She liked the idea too much—the socket was too appealing.

And on the last day, she received this:
"Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is none to comfort her…
This is why I weep
and my eyes overflow with tears.
No one is near to comfort me,
no one to restore my spirit." (Lamentations 1:2, 16)

Just as the director called "Cut," so did he.

She wanted to see how much fire she could play with before she got burned, how much she could get away with unscathed. Little girl ignored wise counsel, and burned did she emerge indeed; she sought comfort in something that didn't have the capacity to satisfy like the Lover of her soul could. Because she did not utilize the wisdom he had so blatantly presented her with, and foolishly decided to "follow her heart," she was caught red-handed, blindsided, and oblivious all at once. She fell into the pit she had dug for herself, and no existing words were capable of conveying the extremity of the pain her heart succumbed to.

But now she knows better. She knows better than to follow her heart at the expense of sound advice and slight discomfort. She knows better than to neglect the one she loves the most, who's always loved her the most. She knows better than to desire anything apart from what He wants for her life—He who created her, redeemed her, is her constant guide, loves her despite all her wrongs, comforts her, counsels her, gives her peace, joy, strength, grace, sustenance, satisfaction, and purpose. He gave her his all, she must give him her all.

She learned that trusting him is so important, as he alone knows her inside and out; he knows the beginning from the end. His vantage point is so much higher than hers. She can only see as far as her limitations permit; he sees the entire panorama. His ways are highest. What he tells one to do (or not to do), one must do. She learned to trust his better judgement, that he has the best in mind for her, and to obey when he commands; to give up everything and do it; to give up her own desires and trust his, because he would never desire anything that would cause her harm. Trust. Simply trust.

Ultimately, of all the things she acquired from her gold, the most important was the stepping stone that led to an entirely new level of faith. God used her stupid decisions and greediness for "gold" as a means of strengthening her faith and teaching her a valuable lesson.

God > everything. Everything.