Friday, March 9, 2018

The Invisible Battle (My Journey to Self love and Acceptance)

Old photos are supposed to make you reminisce memories, but what if the old photos of you make you want to cry?

I guess I am not alone on this boat, specially for women who have been struggling with self-love and acceptance of their bodies. To be honest, this was a topic I am always passionate writing and talking about because I have so much strong feels about it. But why is it something that I feel so strongly about?

You see, I am really on the heavy side.Though I know I don't have to explain myself further, I know there are also other women like me, who gain weight easily (in as much as there are women who can eat heartily without gaining a single pound). In fact, this has been my issue for so many years since I was a teen ager.  In a world where they judge you by your looks and by the pounds you seem to gain, how do we face the world confidently and avoid all those comments about your weight?

There seems to be no escape, really. In the Philippines, "ang taba mo na" seems to be a way of saying "hello or hi." While I am done shedding tears for hearing such comments most of the time, I can't help but also feel for those girls who are going through the same thing. Girls who find it hard to love their self, their body, and all their flaws. Girls who try to starve themselves and to exercise extremely to lose weight. While I know that there are innumerable health benefits of having the ideal weight, I think it does not have to reach the point when someone has to be crazy just to reach that ideal number on the scale. You never know the pains that the woman has gone through- how she let go of her favorite snack and painstakingly sacrificed her leisure time and spend it working out or exercising. At the end of the day, it boils down to her wanting to feel confidently beautiful with her body, and people still making remarks with her weight are adding to the burden and are not helping at all.

Perhaps, we can easily be blindsided and unaware of what another person is going through and it is easy for us to utter words without thinking of the implications for the person. How do I go about this then? As for me, I have been crying for this for years and God knows, but it is a gradual process of acceptance. I have to accept that this is me and my body. This is God's gift to me. I should cherish and care for it, because it is a wondrous blessing. And, no matter what happens, through thick or thin thighs, believe that God always love you for who you are and there are still people who will accept you for who are you are even with all the cellulites and fats.

If I can just make an appeal and plea to the world, it is this: let us teach girls to love themselves and their bodies instead of just conforming to the crazy ideal standards of the world. Every girl is beautiful in her own way, and let us help one another believe in her own beauty, instead of unknowingly putting them down.  Besides, being skinny does not equate to being happy, just as being chubby/overweight/ fat does not mean you are ugly. Can we just be genuine and heartfelt with our hi and hello, instead of starting our conversation with "ang taba mo na?" ( Hey, you have gained weight.) And if ever they really do, don't you think they are unaware? Words can either make a break a person, so it is a gentle reminder to be wary of cautious of what we say, and the gravity of its effects, all the time.

And so the other day, I looked at my old photos and reminisce. I can't help but laugh at how skinny I was (maybe I was back then) years back. I wondered where did all the sexiness and confidence go? And while maybe I can still bring them back, or maybe if they never will, there is something that can never be taken away-the wisdom and maturity I have gained over the years. I think, more than being sexy and fit (according to society's standards), this is what matters. Beauty and sexiness  will eventually fade, but a good and sincere heart, and a strong mind, will forever remain.

I may be pounds heavier. So what? I choose to be happy. And I owe it to myself to enjoy life and not to please anyone's eyes.

Friday, March 2, 2018

It's time

I wrote this about a year ago, when I am still about to give him my sweetest YES. Now we are about to celebrate our first anniversary in a month's time! God has really been good!


It’s Time. J

“Love comes when you least expect it.” That sounded so clichéd. But I am starting to believe it’s true, in my case.
I have experienced several heartaches and heartbreaks. And every time I seem to fall for the wrong guy, I feel downtrodden and would often have myself to blame. Little did I realize, that all those “rejections” are redirecting me to someone better.
Because sometimes you search for love in faraway places only to find out that it has been so close to you all along. We met about 2 years ago, and I knew that you were a good guy. Certainly you are. In fact, sometimes too good, that you can’t say no. But I honestly did not see that as a flaw. You were the typical geek, quiet, shy, and man of few words guy- which I think was my ideal (and I only came to realize that a little later). We would tease you and you barely fight back and simply respond with your signature smile. You were always that one person whom I would always ask for favors because you were easy to approach and ready to lend a helping hand. I even remembered telling someone that the girl you will fall in love with is lucky, because you are sincere and hardworking. I never really imagined, with all honesty, that that person will be me.
Life can be full of surprises, indeed. The past few months feel surreal. And though I have been told that you have been admiring me for quite some time, I still find it hard to believe from the start, as if I’m in for a joke. But recently, I was finally convinced that it’s true, and yes, this can lead to something serious, and something beautiful that I have been waiting and praying for.
And every day, when I wake up, I am thanking God for another wonderful day He has given me to spend that moment with you. We may not meet every day (because we are really busy people), but I appreciate that you will always take the initiative to greet me “Good morning” and to send me off to sleep with your “Good night.” I will wake up each day with a smile, and sleep peacefully, knowing that there is someone who cares for me, and is eager to know if I am doing well or to ask how each day went. For many other reasons that I wish I can write, enumerate, and try to verbalize and expound, I hope that I will be able to do my very best to say the very least, how much I am thankful for the genuine care I have been getting from you. I wish not a day will be wasted because I was not able to thank you enough for all that you have done for me, thus far. And maybe, what they really say is true, in the perfect time, you will meet that person, and everything will just feel so right.
I am looking forward to that day when I can finally say how I feel. But at this point, allow me to cherish and enjoy what we have. As we take things slow and get to know each other even better, I know that I am more convinced, that very soon, I will be making one of the best decisions I can ever have in my life. That will finally be the day, when I will be telling myself (and you) wholeheartedly and courageously that “It’s time.”

I remember the boy

I Remember the Boy
(And a Love Story That Will Never Be)

She entered the café hurriedly, lined up the counter, and ordered her usual tea. Upon getting her drink, she searched for the most quiet spot she could possibly stay in that café. She found what she felt was the perfect spot, brought out her laptop, and began to work.
Her nose was buried into work, and was oblivious of the world around her. The noise was nothing but plain murmur, or the mere passing of sounds which her ears barely recognized at all. Maybe, this was the state of her mind and her heart, too. Drowning herself to oblivion and embracing the solitude of this world was her thing for the longest time. But in the middle of her work, a familiar deep voice, broke her “silence.”
“Myka?” the voice was from a man. It was a baritone and soothing voice. Something achingly recognizable, from someone she almost forgot. Or thought she did forget.
It took her a couple of seconds to look up and stare at the man who called her name. That few seconds of her life, she was battling a lot of things on her mind. Somethings like “How shall I start? Should I smile? Should I act apathetic? Should I act as if I no longer remember him?” But none of the things she thought happened. Instead she said, “Jacob? Is it you?” And she said all these things with voice shaking, arms a little bit trembling. She looked at him intently in the eye, searched for the emotions in the windows of the man’s soul, till she was transported back to her yesteryears…

She used to be that girl who was so infatuated with Jacob. And maybe, infatuation is such an understatement. Oh how she worshipped and loved him dearly. Jacob was the center of her world, like the gravity that pulls everything to the center of the Earth. He was smart, had the boyish charm she can’t resist, aloof but a good conversationalist. They would talk about anything under the sun, and she would see herself chatting with him till the wee hours of the night, but she would never get tired. They would have silly fights, but would end up talking to each other again even without saying sorry to one another. It seems that “destiny” always finds its way to lead them back together.
And so their friendship deepened. So just maybe, Myka thought, this friendship will soon blossom into a real relationship.
Or that was what she thought. They would go out together and she believed that the feeling is mutual. “Was it wrong to assume that he liked me, too?” Myka thought back then. Jacob was a dear friend and he was the one she can always depend on. He was the one who understood her perfectly. This could be the start of a perfect relationship.
But her dreams collided so easily, in just one blink of an eye.
They were having a sumptuous dinner after a good movie. He was his usual and casual self, talking about work, hobbies, future plans and dreams. It was a light and enjoyable conversation, until they ended up talking about girls… and relationships.
“And then they were setting me up with this girl they met at a bar,” Jacob said.
“A girl they met at a bar? Your friends met a girl at a bar?” Myka asked curiously. “Was she pretty, charming, sexy? Do you like her? Did you date her?” Her questions came one after another, waiting eagerly for answer.
“She was all that. Pretty will not even suffice. More like gorgeous, captivating. We had a good conversation, too. More like ours.”
“Do you like her? Did you date her or will you date her?” She repeated. This time her voice was insisting, yearning for his response.
“Oh yes, I like her. I think I might consider her. But not now. She will make a good girlfriend, I guess. One you can proudly show-off to your friends. Even so, I’m still not looking for a girlfriend at this time. I have other priorities. You know, work, career, travel, investments, and all that stuff. My life pretty much revolves around making a good name for myself. I’m building my empire.” He smiled at her, and as he said this, he was beaming with pride and so much confidence.
“You said you have no time for a girlfriend.” She repeated the line she just said. This time she emphasized the exact same line. She stressed it, as she wanted to hear it again, another time.
“Yes. I am not ready to have a girlfriend right now. I’m so busy. You know that, right? I barely have time for myself, even for you! Ha ha!” He said, as if trying to make a joke, and pinched her cheek lightly.
She held his hand and put it away abruptly. She stared at him, looked at him straight in the eye. She knew it felt awkward. She knew it created tension. But she did it just the same.
“Hey, hey, hey,” Jacob tried to make the atmosphere lighter, and laughed nervously after. “What’s with that look? Are you going to gobble me up? Are you still hungry? Would you like me to order more food? Come on! Tell me, what do you want?” He reached out, held her hand, and tap it lightly after.
“Why don’t you want a girlfriend?” She asked, this time, with her voice cracking.
“Hey, Myka. Let’s not get serious! You know me. I’m such a baby. Wa-wa.” He tried to make face as he said the word “baby.” “I still depend on you so much. Someday, when I’m a big boy, more so, a man. I’ll be ready to court a girl, I guess. In the meantime, I’ll be your baby boy.” He laughs, seemingly enjoying his joke.
“I’m in the mood for your jokes, Jacob.” She was angry and nervous now. She could feel her heart and mind, pounding, ready to burst. At any moment, she will explode.
“What’s wrong, Myka?” Jacob looked at her in the eye, searching for an answer. Her mood was all different. She avoided his stare. He held her hands. She tried to let go. He held her hands even tighter.
“Well, I am the one who is wrong, Jacob!” How can you not know? How can you not know that I like you? How can you not feel that I have been here waiting all along?” Tears welled up her face uncontrollably.
“Myka…” Jacob looked shocked, or rather confused. He seemed dumbfounded, and the Jacob who was so certain of himself, looked like a lost child. Her name was all he could say. He was groping, trying to find the right words to say.

The conversation and the dinner that night did not end up so well. Of course, Jacob was consistent in his stand that it is not the right time to have a relationship with anyone else, even with Myka. She left heartbroken, and her world turned upside down. They did not have a chance to patch things up. And Jacob did not attempt to reach out after that incident. All he did was to leave a letter which he sent to Myka’s house via mail. The letter contained an apology, for he knew, he could not reciprocate his close friend’s love, and even if it hurts to say those words,  he had to be honest, rather than further hurt Myka’s feelings. Even so, it hurts her just the same.

They did not have a chance to meet after that incident. Jacob seemed too afraid to even approach Myka. Myka was deeply hurt with the “rejection” and the “avoidance.” So at the moment, right in this coffee shop, Myka has no idea, what to expect, from this “friend” of hers. Though she believed, she is ready with what she has to say.
“It has been a long time, Myka. How are you?” Jacob sounded sincere. She knows, for he was her close friend after all. Here is that man, who used to be the friend she would talk to almost every day. But now there is that high wall between them.
“Yes, it has been so long, Jacob. I’m doing very well, as you can see. I don’t know if you have heard, but I just came back from Australia. And I’m just here for a short vacation. I will be back anytime soon.” She tried to sound aloof. She wanted to sound that she is on a hurry.
“Aren’t you even going to ask, how I was? It has been years. It has been years we have not talked.” This time, he pulled a chair, sat down, and clasp his hands together. “How can he act so confident? How can he act as if he did not ever avoid me?” Myka was in awe of what she is seeing. She cannot feel trepidation in his voice, not at all.
“You seem your usual self, I believe. Confident, so self-assured. As I see it, Jacob.” She was still trying to maintain that distance.
“That has been a long time, Myka. For God’s sake. Seeing you at this café, unexpectedly, is just so rare. I took a chance to say, Hi, and this is what I get?” He sounded a little annoyed, and she is uncertain of what Jacob expects from her, at this point.
“I was not the one who forgot things so easily, Jacob. After that “eventful” dinner, you disappeared from my life. But oh yes, you left a letter. Thank you for giving me a goodbye letter.” She is now sarcastic, anger starts to rise.
“I regretted that, Myka.” He tried to calm down, assuring her, that he really did.
“I regretted that I let go easily, Myka. I regretted not talking to you. Yes, I was a coward. And when you left, God knows, how I felt stupid. But what can I do? I’m just so lost. I don’t know what to do after your confession. Oh yes, I knew I was not ready. I’m such a fool for doing that. But years passed, and things have changed. For once, can you please accept my sorry? Can you please accept my apology and let me do things right, and start again?” 
Myka felt the sincerity in his voice. This was what she had been wanting to hear after all those years. After all those years. And the years were long, and the time has passed. He said it himself that years did pass and things have changed. He was still that guy who would go for his dreams, but is lost when it comes to matters of the heart. She tried to look at him fondly and she also did try to feel her heart. Was she hurt? Yes. But not that much anymore. It was more apt to say, that she has learned to move forward, after all those years. And this time, she was ready, for the answer that she had been rehearsing for the longest time, in her heart, and in her mind.
“I was waiting for that exact and same words, Jacob. But you cannot expect me to say, yes, so easily, in this random coffee shop in this part of the world, after bumping into me coincidentally. God has been a witness of how I cried so hard and maybe regretted that I said those words to you. But I was not prepared that you will vanish from my life that easily back then. You said you were lost? I was more than lost! Before I left, I know that you knew that I was leaving, I was hoping that you would even drop by to say, what? Goodbye, Hi, Hello, Bon Voyage, God bless your trip? I just want to hear anything random from you, Jacob! I was waiting all those years and I did not get any word, not a single sound or letter even from you!” She can hear heart thumping. These were the words, and now she finally has uttered them.
“I tried to, Myka. I’m just a coward back then. I’m sorry.” He really seemed regretful know. For the first time in Myka’s life, she feels that she will see Jacob ready to cry.
“I know, Jacob. I can honestly feel how sorry you are right now.”
“Then are you ready to give me a chance? Just this one chance, Myka?” He held both Myka’s hands, but Myka pulled them instantly.
“I can’t.” Myka gave a quick answer.
“But, why?” Jacob was stricken. But Myka did not allow it to get into her.
“Because I have moved on now. I have lived a good life, without you, after so long. I learned to be happy on my own. And I can still be happy for more years to come, because I feel so free. My heart is free from pain, hurt, and fears.” Myka was so convinced with her answer and she said it with all her heart.
“You know, what?” she continued. “ I just want you to be happy, sincerely. Whatever that happiness is, I hope you find it, in the same way I just did. And though it was not expected of her, she stood up, and gave him a tight hug, much to his surprise.
“I may not see you again, after this. But I’m glad I did. Live a good life, will you? And after this conversation, remember me as your good friend, as you will always be to me, no matter what happened between us.” With those words, she felt no more anguish. She was relieved. And finally, she was ready to totally heal and forgive, the man who broke her heart.
Jacob hugged her back tight, seemingly not ready to let go. But Myka released him, and looked at his face, his eyes.
“I’m sorry, Myka. Is this goodbye?” Jacob’s voice started to crack.
“I think it is.” Myka smiled and looked at him fondly, again. “I’m a permanent resident in Australia now. And it might take long before I come back for a visit.”
“Will you send me a message? May I chat with you sometime?” Jacob was hopeful. He was thinking he can still have the slightest chance.
But Myka knew the answer, yet she said. “Maybe, Jacob. Maybe.”
Then she turned back, grabbed her laptop and bag, and left, with head high. She did not say goodbye, nor did she try to look back. There were no tears, no pain, no anger, no regrets. There were just plain memories of yesterday, of the boy she used to love greatly, of a love story that will never be.
All there is a woman who became strong after a painful heartbreak, who just conquered her world, and someday soon, is ready to fall in love, in the right time, again. 

Heart's spiel

You are Heaven’s greatest gift to me
One that I prayed for and waited
Perhaps, which still came as a surprise
And did not expect.

If this love of ours I have to define
And put into words
Find rhythm and rhyme,
I will end up speechless, tongue-tied
Of how this heartbeat of yours
Greatly matches with mine.

Is there such a thing as perfection
And a love that’s so divine?
A love that’s perennial and timeless
Which conquered all fear, doubt, and miles;
This kind of love you got it covered-
From today, tomorrow, hereafter.

And you incredibly knew the way
To make my heart flutter
To make my speeches stuttered
All fears casted and thrown away
For your perfect love
Which came in the perfect time
Has made all my doubts in love wither.

For you have awoken my once sleeping heart
Your love has revived the dreamer in me
Till finally it is for me to see,
That true and perfect love is a reality
With you, this love will be our perfected art,
And To the world we shall make a decree
That no one can ever tear us apart.

I love me

I will never be that hot and sexy girl.
I cannot wear skimpy outfits confidently, knowing that my flabs and bulges will be seen through.
I’d love to wear that short shorts, but my legs are like logs.
I never had that coveted thigh gap, but I can walk, run, jump still as much as I want. So that thigh gap does not really bother me anymore.

I look at girls and see them very trendy with their fashion,
baring their arms and shoulders, confidently, for the world to see.
I want to do that too, but every time I do, I would get remarks which all boils down to saying that it does not suit me.
So I go back to having myself covered,
Hiding the imperfections and insecurities.

But even with all that I don’t and can’t have,
It won’t let me love myself and my body less.
For the flabs, bulges, lines, stretch marks, creases, freckles
Make the person that I am.
And these flaws make me human
Worthy of love and respect,
Regardless of whether my totality
Is equivalent to the world’s crazy standard of beauty.

And maybe, I may not be that hot and sexy girl at all,
Nor one that warrants a second look when you see at the streets
But I don’t need to be that one.
I will wear what I feel that suits me, even if that means pants that are loose and baggy.
I will be happy and healthy, rather than thin, frail, and sickly,
Because I deprive myself of savoring good food to eat.
And the people who truly love me, will know that despite all the imperfections
Is a lady whose heart is genuine
One that is passionate for her craft
Who embraces what she lacks and remains unabated by the world’s pressing standards.
For it takes wise and like-minded people to see,
That beneath the mien of this simple looking girl
is a beauty that is skin deep.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Love Thyself

Knowing to love yourself is the greatest love of all…

Growing up, I have always been called that “fat kid.” I was that ugly, heavy, obese girl who was so insecure of herself. The only thing that I take pride of was knowing that I am a little smarty-pants whose efforts and hard-work was well noticed and acknowledged by her teachers, and sometimes even by my classmates. I never saw myself as someone beautiful back then, because it appears to me that my beauty was obstructed by my fats. Part of being the obese child that I am was being bullied for my heavy size, but over time, I learned to shrug it off, and be numb of the constant and persistent teasing and mocking of my peers, and even strangers who see me.

It was not an easy journey for me. In my teen-age years, I lost weight when family issues kick in. I focused on my studies; while on the side, eating lesser than the usual. It yields good results until I noticed that my uniform was more loose. Then, I am more motivated to be slimmer. I learned to curb my appetite and even to slowly embrace exercising. But even though I lost those pounds and somehow gained confidence, the hardest thing for me to do until now is to love myself, for who I am, and for what I am not.

In a society where people perceive slim and skinny as beautiful, I have always been insecure of my weight and looks. Honestly, even if I am far from the obese girl that I was 13 years ago, I sometimes see the same girl when I look in the mirror. There were days when I honestly do not like and appreciate what I see, even if people have been somehow complimenting me for my beauty or so called “transformation.” My body issues are still haunting me, and I know that I will continue to work-out or eat lesser to maintain my weight, as I know that I gain weight easily. I know people will continue to tease me as chubby or make fun of my flabby legs and arms; but little did they know that when they do these things, a girl has long died inside of me. I am hurt, more than they ever know, but I kept it to myself, acknowledged and swallowed all the criticisms, even if it hurts so much, after all the efforts I have been through. But that is life, and I know, people will always come to notice your flaws, and instead of sulking and moping over it, I just have to let them go.

And there are little things to do to make me love myself all the more, even if sometimes, it can be the hardest thing to do. Rejections and criticisms are unavoidable, but somehow, I managed to make it through, as I become tougher, wiser, and even stronger. There are countless days when I feel like giving up, and life and my emotions are always one hell of a roller-coaster ride, but I always get-up again and again, after all the tumults and storms. At the end of the day, I know, it will still be always about me- how I see myself and how I manage to make it through which will the determine the course of my path and my destiny. It all starts with making little efforts to love yourself, even if you don’t feel like it, or despite all the criticisms.

At this point, I know I am still not over my insecurities just yet. Or maybe I will never get over them, and only time can tell. But one thing is for sure, I know I cannot please everyone, and it is a normal occurrence in life that people will throw rocks on you. I will never have that 6 pack abs, 36-24-36 figure, or a face of an angel or a beauty queen. It will take time before I become that “confidently beautiful with a heart” kind of woman. Even so, deep inside, I believe that I am still beautiful in my own way, and it takes the right people to appreciate that skin-deep beauty, that not all people can see. My body issues may be there to stay, but maybe, it is not my looks, my weight, or size of my jeans that will always matter. In my heart, I know that I will have the noblest and purest of all intentions, and that is the most important of all.

And as cliché as it may sound, there is that someone out there who will appreciate you despite all your flaws and imperfections. There are people out there who love you just the way you are. Your life here on earth is with a purpose. Knowing all those fuels my desire to live more, to persevere, and to continue to fight my demons. More so, it makes me believe me in myself, that I am significant and I matter. It may be a hurdle, a battle, an obstacle I had to go through every day of my life. Still, I will try, to the best of my ability, always and above all, to love myself. 

Poetry is not a dying art

Poetry is not a dying art
For it is by which my words come alive
And the mind has the chance to speak
As the heart can express how it feels.

It is what has saved my soul from drowning
When trials come unrelenting
It has transformed what seems like fleeting
To something everlasting.

As long as there is something to write about
To ponder over and to confess
 Though the heart and mind is sometimes a mess
It’s through poems that I can impress
Heartbreaks, joys, musings, and pains
As long as there are words to say
Poetry shall find its way.

And poetry will never be a dying art
As man, thinks, breathes, and feels
And through the test of time and seasons
Poems shall forever withstand

And I shall write again and again with all my heart.