“My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor
Remember this: you are working for yourself and not anybody else. Relationships in the future should complement your own passions and not have you adapt to them. Your weight loss is something you think will make you happy and you can admit that you are reaping the benefits of that. Do not think that failure is pressure that makes you less qualified for whatever bar that was set, because it’s definitely not. It shows you your flaws, in this case, the relationship you had showed you that you cannot handle a relationship and school at the same time. It showed that you lacked patience, that you were insensitive of someone else’s feelings in the time of trouble. Learn from it, rather than demonize it. Those failures can last for a lifetime if you let them, but there’s always a try again button somewhere. You may not get the same chances as you did the first time but you still come back stronger regardless of the scenario. Do what you think will make you happy, define your own version of better or rather, define yourself in a way that you are content. You have to set your own standards in your work and goals for your own sake. You need to be proud of whatever you achieve and you need to reach for whatever you are passionate about. Your life is about you because you lose and gain everything on your own. This is not about anyone, this is not about whoever you’ll end up with in the future. You are your own person and you are just as special as how you see your family, friends, and significant other. Don’t let anyone or anything affect what you want in this life. Just do not. You have no excuse to be unable to stand, breathe, and live on your own.
Maybe it’s just the optimist in me talking but it seems like I’m learning a whole lot now that I’ve stepped out of the box I’ve been in for two years. The transition is hard but I know I can’t go back to my typical self. The indulgent, prideful, constantly-judging person I used to be is something I don’t ever want to relate to any longer. Yesterday while talking to Vina, an old friend, I realized that my cold demeanor sprouted from her with an email she had sent me back when we were in 11th grade. We both thought we were mature then, like most teenagers, and around this time she sent me a Facebook message called “You are an I D I O T” and this was in response to how I dealt with assimilation as I lived here in the U.S.. I believe she sent it two months before I moved to South Miami and during that time, I was still adjusting to the new lifestyle we have in the U.S.. Back in the Philippines, we had a maid that would do chores for us, we had luxuries that we can’t possibly afford here. I had friends but I had issues relating to them and I was venting to her my frustrations thinking she would l listen and emphasize with me. WIth that email, I realized how wrong I was.
That email was essentially her telling me to fuck off. She said harsh things and it even came to a point that I stopped reading because I was already trembling. I was told things that hurt so much, like how ugly I am, how much I whine about everything and how I should just die because I am a parasite or a pest to her life. I still feel the magnitude of it as I write this. It is not to say I never forgave her because I talked to her a year and a half after the email was sent because I was so ashamed of everything she had put into light that I stopped communicating immediately after that email. I carried the pain and dealt with it alone during that year and a half, and I realized that people aren’t as caring as I thought. I began to build walls and I never confided anything with anyone because I was constantly afraid of being told all those things all over again. It hurt more than it made me better but yes, it did make me better. After that, I met the person I thought I would spend my life with and it took me a year to easing into wearing my heart on my sleeve but once again I was shattered. I guess it was a reality check for me that 1) anything could happen: that no matter how perfect things look right now, it can turn into a living hell in an instance; 2) enmeshment is never a “thing”: enmeshment is when you become dependent on people emotionally that you include them in your decision making in an slightly beyond normal level. I am learning this the hard way but I realize that this is non-existent in a healthy relationship, that I am meant to synergize with the person I’m with. With this said, it definitely means I will not trust anyone completely, maybe not until I’m stuck with them for life. This is a hard mantra to live by but I do believe that walls need to be up for our own safety. We have to protect ourselves because people can inflict so much pain with mere words. I’m not trying to say never confide anything to anyone but it must have its own limit. Do NOT be at a point where you become dependent of someone else. Respect silence when it’s there. It can be healing if you want it to be. Life is a zero-sum game as George Carlin had said and it’s true, we lose in the end. Why would you live it for someone else if you are your own entity, entitled to dreams and aspirations like the person in front of you? Be self-sufficient, be selfish and love yourself.
I held someone like I was holding a fragile angel, always constantly worried about the pain I would inflict if I did certain things. It was not healthy because despite the fact that I played by the rules and did whatever is right and whatever is noble, I was not taking care of myself who is more important than anyone around me. Your first priority is always yourself because there is no such thing as true alturism. Everything is done with a motive and motives come from our own selves. It is only right to honor and protect the source of that alturism first then sparingly care and give to those around us.
One and a half years ago, I used to be driven with ambition. I wanted certain things and I worked my way to get them. I was on my way in getting credentials I needed but I procrastinated as I entertained new things in my life. It was not something I expected, something I hated at first, but I found happiness in it. Eventually I found myself losing focus, changing plans, and accommodating different circumstances that may come my way. Even having a dog named “Thundersheep”. Well, that’s still a keeper, so maybe someday.
Anyhow, I lost myself in the time I invested in that, and come two years into the present, I got a reality check that I was holding myself back. I didn’t do the things I was passionate about, I wasn’t enjoying life, I wasn’t living. I do feel free right now though it does seem more alone. Three weeks ago, I realized how tethered I was to the same old routine of: go to school, avoid homework, come home, play video games, sleep. Everyday I did that and my only happiness was not even something unhealthy. I used to be told that I was amazing and I don’t boast in that. I knew I was passionate with certain things and I grew in knowledge because of that passion. I learned photography as I purged out what inspired me, I bought and sold in the pursuit of the thrill of profit. I enjoyed school as I thought that I really wanted to be a pharmacist that would do research for the cure of rare diseases that pharmaceutical companies tend to ignore.
In a year and a half, I changed completely and I let go of all the passions, I modified my reasons of doing the things I loved in order to make room for things other than myself. After, I realized that I need to stop dwelling on that temporary happiness but focus on things that endure. My next conversation with someone must matter, the next act I do must be something I can look back in pride. It hurts right now to be ruthlessly dropped from what I thought was stable ground but I didn’t die from that fall. Sure I got a few bruises but like all other wounds, they will heal.
I always find myself saying that I used to do x and y, I know in the future I’ll still say the same thing but I know that at that time it’ll be more like “I used to do x and y, and now I do z.”
I lost myself two years ago and I’m not gonna bring that back, I will change but definitely, it will be for the better.
Watching the movie The Grey, probably one of the most inaccurate movie about wolves ever made, it ultimately ends with the guy running into the worst situation he could ever encounter in the entire movie. What he thought was a way out, he went right into the abyss of danger which ultimately resulted in tragedy. He kept on reciting a poem that he saw framed in his father’s office, and in the movie, that was his last words. As much as I dislike putting references in this blog, I think it’ll do for now as my mind is turning into mush right now. The poem is as follows:
Once more into the fray.
Into the last good fight I’ll ever know.
Live and die on this day.
Live and die on this day.
Although I cannot fully comprehend what it means, I want to hold onto it as a means to live by. We recreate ourselves everyday to get through our tasks and it is an ongoing battle of our wit, our strengths and endurance. Every challenge we face is a good fight we are willing or reluctant to encounter, and I don’t believe that these challenges get easier as we get older. To live and to die in a day seems to mean knowing two extremes and doing that on a daily basis can also be a way to enrich one’s self. To live is maybe to learn and to die is to immerse feelings with what you do, as I think that death makes us feel more than we usually do. I feel like it is a call to be more aware, to slow down and really reflect on everything going around us. Understanding what it means to live and die is highly subjective but as it is a process that everyone goes through, everyone probably has the same general idea of what it is.
I think it was sometime two years ago that I remember someone saying to me before that I’ve been rushing my life when I ought to stop and enjoy the scenery once in a while. Perhaps maybe, this is the start of that moment.
You see I am no criminal, I’m down on both bad knees. I’m just too much a coward to admit when I’m in need.
The line was taken from Passion Pit’s Take a Walk and I think it epitomizes the thought of human vulnerability. I believe that these lines are thoughts buried deep within each of us and it is something we take for granted. We are all weak and vulnerable but no one dares to admit it. Nobody wants to admit that they are not able to stand on their own and as empowered individuals, I think each one of us have a sense of personal responsibility bestowed upon us through adulthood, and we are implied to meet those expectations. Finish school, have friends, get money, have a boyfriend/girlfriend, and so on. Sadly enough, these are things we are meant to do but we were never taught. When we are lost, we cannot admit failure and we can’t seek help because it shows how vulnerable and incompetent we are. Truly nobody needs to see that side of us.
Admitting we need help is a hard thing as we are burdened with pressure of meeting people’s expectations and even our own. I write this realizing that vulnerability is where we realize our strengths. It is the time we embrace risks as we take a leaps of faith and cast hope on something or someone other than ourselves. I feel like I was at my most vulnerable state a week ago. I told a few people about what I’ve been going through, and it was me opening up to people I have not known for a long time yet. They were supportive than I ever imagined and it was good opening up to them in ways beyond my comprehension. They told me things I could relate to and I feel fully happy that my feelings was worth their time. Some tested my strength, and others encouraged me to be stronger. I’m happy and grateful to realize that it’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay not to have walls all around you to look strong. All of the expectations that were set out for me feel less of a burden now. Instead of constricting me, they were actually set out to lead me to be better.
In trying so hard to act strong, we are made weak and helpless. It is only when we understand our weakness that we find our true strengths.
Looking back, I find so many things I regret in my life. But as I linger on them, I realize that I don’t think I’d mind going through the same regrets again.
It’s been almost 4 years ago that I finished high school and I think senior year was the hardest year of my life so far. I moved schools which pushed me down on the GPA rankings, I got rejected to my first choice, I didn’t have much friends, and I took 4 AP classes which was more than I thought I could handle. I had so much school work and the fact that I never liked school made it a lot worse. I came from a bad school prior to that year, a school where you can BS your way through getting A’s without opening a book. The teachers would allow you to pass because nobody really tried hard enough for them to make an effort. So ultimately senior year became the hardest school year I’ve ever had with so much demands from me and my poor learning skills. I was initially running away from all of it, and certain scenarios were compromised to accommodate me although it did haunt me in the later years. That year, I learned what it meant to not give up and really study hard when I realized that everyone else cheated their way to the top. I remember going through all 4 “semesters” during that high school year testing different things, and the third one, I remember I tested not caring to get good grades and I did get the grades I deserved including a not doing a project that was worth 24 F’s (I didn’t do it because it didn’t affect my GPA if I did it or not, I still would have a B).
But being older, I realized that, that year gave me a glimpse of what to expect when I’m in college and possibly as a professional with much demanding problems and scenarios. I remember having the mantra of “Don’t think. Just do.” which I should be applying to everything I’m doing now. What it essentially means is that I shouldn’t question the small things I need to do for school but just do it without any thought put on it. I am a person that loves planning and I often write schedules and other plans but since the past years I’m in college, mainly FIU, I tend to deviate from them. The reason why I do not follow is because I look into the details too much, slowly taking them for granted and questioning their validity that I tend to put them off for another time which translates to never. An example is a former me writing a schedule to follow on a Saturday and yet do something completely opposite like cook or go out to the library and try to read there when I can do it at home. I analyze the task at hand and I over think it, making me over prepare and then sidetracked onto something else. The purpose of this mantra is ultimately take out that factor and completely eliminate the thinking I put onto things. Of course this may mean mechanically executing a task, but isn’t that so much better than not doing a task at all?
With school, with my money, my aspirations; I do believe that this can still be applied to be successful. It is a matter of trusting what I have planned initially for myself, as a list or a schedule. Then the next step is just doing the task at hand without doubts distracting you. This is how I got through high school, while building myself from the ground up. I wasn’t anything amazing when I finished high school and my GPA wasn’t extraordinary but I was miles ahead who I was when I began that year. It is definitely hard to not think and question little things but with the right planning, the ”Don’t think. Just do.” mantra should easily fit any situation thrown at me.