Thursday, January 31, 2019


What do I write about when I’m not sad or in pain, but I’m not ecstatically happy either? What do I write about when I just am?

My life has been going really well these past couple of years. I can say that I’ve conquered my depression. I do still get swept under the occasional wave of hopelessness. But by now, I already know to just roll with it and remember that it won’t be long before I break through the surface and get that gasp of air. Then everything goes back to normal.

Normal. For so many years, that word had been so abstract to me. My life had always been a series of abrupt shifts between highs and lows - joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, love and hate. I didn’t really spend time in the between, and because of that, I never really had a grasp of “normal”.

But that’s where I am now. I’m in the between. I’m in the normal. I finally know how it is to just be. I think this is how it feels to be at peace. And I must admit, when I started feeling this way, I felt a little jealous of people who’ve felt like this their whole lives.

I think it’s the meds. I’m always on antidepressants now. Those little pills help clear the noise in my head, help me think straight, help me see pathways where there used to be just clutter. They even out the highs and the lows, keep my thoughts and moods within the normal zone.

I don’t really get “too sad” anymore. But I don’t get “too happy” anymore either. It’s as if life itself got dulled. I still laugh and I still cry. But I don’t feel the things that I used to feel. The meds shield me from the bad, but they also numb me from the good.

This is my normal. This is who I am now.

I’m not complaining. I’ve already felt more than enough emotions in the past. I’m content to just be in the normal right now. This is where I can keep my eyes on my dreams and not get distracted by the overwhelming colors of life. This is where I can become more. This is where I can move forward.

But I do miss it sometimes...feeling the intensity of life, letting myself get smothered in its embrace, feeling the warmth, the pain, the ecstasy. Maybe someday, I can get to be that guy again. Maybe someday, I can once again drench myself in pain, in sorrow, in regret. Maybe someday, I’ll experience again how it feels to be intoxicated with joy, love, passion, and all of life’s sweet flavors.

Maybe then, I can be strong enough to have that as my normal without being destroyed.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Writing Challenge: One More Time

It started because I was bored at work and I decided to read some of my old blog posts. One of those was a post called Writing Challenge: Spirit of the Glass. This was when, almost seven years ago, some fellow bloggers and I decided to all write horror-themed entries.

This got me feeling all nostalgic, and I decided to issue a call-out to my blogger friends in Twitter:

I didn't really expect that to get picked up, but to my pleasant surprise, several people were on board with the idea. I decided on a a general topic: ONE MORE TIME. The rest of the specifics, like format, theme, etc, were left to the participants to decide. 

And your good old bloggers did not disappoint. Here are the entries:

One More Time by redthemod

Club Havana by Aris

Pagkakataon by Journey Man

Isang Tagpo ng Pag-Uulit by Eternal Wanderer

One More Time by RyanSecrets

Old House by ShatterShards

One Lasting Time by john stan

One More Time by Nishiboy

Remember by Atty. Mico

Sa Muli by Mugen

Si Tropa by Mamon

THANK YOU by Papa Tagay

One More Time by McVie


Friday, February 2, 2018

The Fate Of Our Love

Three years. I’m a little surprised that it’s been that long since our relationship ended. Back then, I couldn’t even imagine a life without you. I was so sure that we were always going to be together. I held on until the very last strand of hope that we would get past the breakup and end up as a couple again.

I’m not really sure why I’m writing this. I guess, I do still think of you sometimes. I still remember some of our happy days. Those memories are not as vivid as they were before, I’ll admit. A lot of it as faded away, and I’m pretty sure my brain has just filled up a lot of the spaces. But I can still remember how it felt to love you. I remember how seeing you made my heart skip beats. I remember how I felt whenever you said my name. I remember how you fit in my arms when we slept. Some of those memories are still with me. I don’t know until when, but for now, I still have them.

But I guess, with those memories, it’s inevitable that I also remember some of the pain, the feeling of being suffocated by the embrace of love and hate.

I know that I was a very difficult person to love. You had me when I was at my lowest. I was already broken when you found me, and the pieces crumbled further under your every touch. You did your best to love me, but I wasn’t ready.

I did my best to love you. I loved you the only way I knew how. I loved you with everything I had. But I was stupid. I thought I knew everything, but I knew absolutely nothing..I ended up hurting you too many times, too much.

Will we become friends someday? I don’t know. I can’t be friends with someone I can’t trust. And I can’t trust someone who hurt me and left me in such an undignified manner. I may not have been the best lover, but Im sure I deserved better than that kind of breakup. I’m afraid I’m not one of those people who can just forget without forgiving. And no, you don’t have my forgiveness.

You don’t have my forgiveness, because you never asked for it. You never walked up to me, looked me in the eye, and said sorry for the way that you left me. But that's okay. At this point, neither one of us needs that anymore. We’ve both moved on.

Hey, do you think things would have been different if we had met at a different time? I do. I can see things a lot more clearly now, and the more I think about our time together, the more I see that we had met too soon. I wish we had met when our hearts and minds were already at a better place. I wish we had met when I was more capable of loving you the way that you deserved to be loved. It always feels a little cruel to me, how fate led us to each other when I wasn’t ready.

We deserved better. You deserved so much better.

But that’s all just wishful thinking. What-if’s, what-could-have-been’s. This is the reality that we have now. We've parted ways, and we will continue on with our lives drifting further apart until we become all but strangers.

Such is our story. Such is the fate of our love.

Monday, January 22, 2018

One More Time

Why are you depressed?

That’s the question I often get when people learn that I’m dealing with clinical depression. Should be simple enough to answer it, right? I mean, we’re used to the idea that there’s always a reason why people are sad. Something bad happens, then we get sad. The thing is, it’s not as straightforward for me.

Looking back, I’ve always been the melancholic type. I think it started creeping into my system when I was in college. There were several days when I just didn’t have enough drive to get up and go to class. I would just stay on my bed and not move because it felt like there was no point in getting up. I even missed several exams this way.

My lowest point in college was when I got so addicted to online gaming. I spent almost all of my time, and definitely all of my money, on computer rentals. I got such a kick at being badass in my virtual life that I couldn’t care less about my real one. This went on for a couple of year and culminated with me failing all of my subjects one semester.

I did eventually manage to graduate, but my tendency to withdraw from life carried on. I became notorious as the guy who disappeared for days at a time without telling anyone. My first job kept me in spite of this because I was a high-performer and because my boss saw potential in me. However, I wasn’t as lucky in my next jobs. I got fired a couple of times because of this. In one of those jobs, I got the “Where’s Waldo” award during our Christmas party. You can guess what that was all about.

It wasn’t always clear to me why I did that. I’d just wake up one day and not be able to think of a good reason to get up. It’s not like I didn’t know what my responsibilities were and what the consequences would be if I neglected them. My mind was logically in-tact and I was able to see clearly what the end-game would be for the choice that I would be making. I don’t come from money so those consequences are a huge pain. I was fully aware, and yet it still wasn’t enough to make me get up and face the world outside my room’s door. I didn’t spend my time in anything particularly interesting, either. I just stayed in bed, sometimes played a video game or read random stuff in the internet, maybe ate something if I was hungry enough.

During this time, I also went through a phase of heavy drinking and experimenting with different substances.I found that when I was intoxicated, I was able to break free from whatever it was that was holding me down. This will sound a bit dramatic and cliched, but I felt more alive whenever I was doing those things. Never mind that I was risking a lot, at least I had a chance to live and feel and be drenched in all the colors of life, even if it was only temporary.

Eventually, I did decide to “be more responsible”. That was back in 2014, which I declared to be my “commitment year”. I decided to stick to one job, one boyfriend, and do everything that a 27-year-old is expected to be mature enough to do. It was very tough for me, but I did whatever I could do to motivate myself. I must say, it went well for me. I was able to maintain a relationship that lasted for several months. I was able to start saving up. I went out and traveled with my boyfriend so that I could also be part of that whole “traveling-to-be-a-complete-person” movement. If you had seen me during those times, you would have said that I was at my best, my most responsible. And I probably was. For the first time, I was thinking long-term, and my life was going in a clear direction.

What people didn’t see, though, was that I was caving under all of the pressure that I had put on myself. From the chaotic, irresponsible boy that I had been, I was suddenly trying to be all manned-up and in-control. I was burning out from my job because I had tried to do much too soon. I was stressed out whenever I had to shell out money from my savings. And I was quick to be disappointed whenever something in my relationship didn’t go the way I wanted. But I kept at it, thinking that everything will be worth it in the end, that things will get better.

Only, they didn’t. My boyfriend broke up with me, the company that I was working for all but went bankrupt, I watched my savings burn down as I had no choice but to live off of them, and to top it all off, my estranged father whom I haven’t spoken to for years suddenly fell ill and passed away. This all happened within months.

That broke me. I was finally trying to get my life on track, I was doing everything right even if it was so hard for me, but it still wasn’t enough. In the end, everything still fell apart. If it had been difficult for me to find a reason to get up and face life before, it became downright impossible after that. I didn’t go to work for months. I just stayed at home all day, then went out drinking all night. I had trouble sleeping. My appetite was unpredictable. I was a total mess. I can’t tell you why I’m depressed. I can’t tell you when my depression started. But I can tell you that this was when I succumbed to it.

My road to recovery started when some friends told me that I should get help. The first time I talked to a psychiatrist, she watched me with a concerned face all through the one-and-a-half hours that I talked about the events that led me to her office. When I was done, she told me that I had all the signs of severe clinical depression, and that I’d been trying to fight it alone for far too long. I started going on meds, and therein started my long path to recovery.

One of the biggest challenges about my depression was getting my mom to understand my situation. I had been very distant from her throughout the whole ordeal. This left her feeling inadequate. She felt helpless as she watched her son burn down from afar. That, and she was also still new to the idea of depression as a medical condition. She kept on telling me to get over it, to have a better disposition, to think of those who had “real” problems, etc. She meant well, of course, but it brought me down even more. It took a while for her to really start listening to me. And to her credit, when she did start to listen, she went a step further and did her own research.

My friends and relatives were surprisingly a lot more informed and open-minded than I’d expected. Many of them already knew someone else who had the condition. And for those who didn’t, many of them were receptive to the information that depression was not something that could be overcome with positive-thinking or a change in attitude. In turn, this made it a lot easier for me to accept that I was not just a bad person, or a lazy person, or an irresponsible person. It made it easier for me to accept the fact that I was sick, and the hope that I would get better.

But the road hasn’t been easy. During the first months of my recovery, I decided to stop taking my meds and just try to be more positive about life. Obviously, this didn’t work, and I ended up having to quit a job because I couldn’t handle the pressure, and I accepted that I needed the meds, at least until I got a lot better. I went back to excessive drinking a couple of times. There were also a few times when suicide crossed my mind because the thought of having to deal with this condition for the rest of my life was just too overwhelming. No,it hasn’t been easy. It has been a very long, very difficult road to recovery.

But I’ve made it so far. I’m still here. And I’m better than I’ve ever been. I’ve found a job that I really enjoy and that I’m really good at. My mom and I are now closer than ever. I’m now more connected to my relatives. I have great friends who keep me going. But most of all, I’m really just happy that I’m still here, and I get to keep enjoying life with the people I love. I am lucky. I am so fucking lucky.

That’s not to say that I don’t have bouts of depression anymore. I still do. It’s still a constant struggle to rise up every day and face the world all over again. And I’ll admit, there are still days when the depression gets the better of me. But that’s okay. It’s gonna be a lifelong struggle, but I’m taking it one day at a time. One small victory at a time. There are those people who can work their way by looking at the distance, keeping their eyes set on that goal on the horizon. Then there are those of us who have to navigate through life one step at a time. We move forward by living one more day, winning one more battle, loving one more time. And for us, that’s enough.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Finding My Worth

I can’t remember the last time I looked at myself, or thought about the different facets of who I was, without hating something about it. In fact, now that I’m actually trying to think about it, I can’t remember ever being completely comfortable and at peace with who I was. To help put that into perspective, you should know that I am already turning thirty next month. That’s a long time to spend not loving myself.

The reason why my self-worth has always been so fragile is because I’ve always based it on what other people thought of me or on how I thought they saw me. I got major confidence boosts when strangers complimented me for my looks, or when guys who were generally considered within my circles to be highly-eligible took an interest in me, or when people told me how smart they thought I was from some conversation I had with them.

I strived to get those compliments. I went to the gym to be “hot”. I flirted with the cutest guys so that I could get more trophies. I did my best to learn about the things that were popular in my circle so that I could be seen as smart.

I wanted to be admired, to be desired, to be envied.

I must say, my efforts did pay off at some point. There was a time when I had one of those “alter” accounts in twitter which talked constantly about sex and posted pictures which hid my face and instead highlighted other parts of my body. I accumulated followers and gained likes from strangers. Of course, I also got propositioned several times.

I joined orgies and did drugs so that I could also experience those things that the “hot guys” and “cool guys” experienced. It was extremely gratifying to have five or six guys simultaneously getting a taste of me, giving it everything they had just to pleasure me. I loved it when hot guys left their orgy partners and focused on me instead. Then I’d gesture to those who were left behind and entice them to join in the fray. They always did.

I loved it. I loved the attention. I loved the feeling of being desired.

And while I was in this phase, I was also on the lookout for the right boyfriend. I was always out at parties meeting new people and trying to get the guy that everyone had their eye on. I even dated a few guys whom I wasn’t particularly interested in for the simple reason that a lot of guys wanted them. I didn’t have the quickest wit, I am actually generally regarded as the “slow” one in my circles, but I used that to my advantage. I realized that they found it extremely attractive when the good-looking guy they’ve dismissed as stupid started to reveal a smart side.

Oh, I was a confident bastard.

But the problem with that kind of confidence is that it didn’t take a lot to tear it down.

All it took was for one of the hot guys to reject me.

Or for me to see someone else who was doing better that I was.

Or for them to not give me the kind of praise that I was expecting.

Or for me to see my body on a bad day.

All it took was just one small seed of self-doubt, then it was back to the meat market for me, desperately seeking another dose of validation.

I hated myself every time that happened. I kept asking myself, why was I still not good enough? What more did I have to do just to prove to the world that I was worth it? What else should I do to show them that I was event better than them? What more did I have to do for the world to stop seeing my flaws?

It took me a long time to realize that I’ve trapped myself in that cycle. I lost some friends, let some really great guys slip through my fingers, and missed out on a lot of chances for happiness because I was too focused on measuring up to my perceived standards, and because I spent too much time hating myself for failing.

I am tired of hating myself.

I am trying to love myself more. I am trying to see the good, beautiful person that I am. I am trying to believe in that person’s worth, a worth that cannot be diminished by anything or anyone.

Right now, I no longer have the body that body that got me into so many strangers’ beds. I am single; I don’t have a hot guy to claim as my trophy. My brain is not in its best shape as I’m still recovering from a long battle with clinical depression. I just started a new job and I’ve just finished paying off all my debts which, unfortunately, means that I am still broke.

I don’t have a lot of the flashy things I used to have. I don’t have the things that I thought I needed to have in order to be worth as much as the “great guys”.

But I know now that I never really needed to have those things. I know now that it's okay to be flawed and still love myself. I know now that I am made up of so many amazing parts and that I only had to realize it.

It’s not a bad thing to accept compliments. It’s not a bad thing to feel good when other people appreciate that parts of me that they think are great. It's not a bad thing to enjoy the feeling of being wanted. What’s bad is when that becomes the sole basis of how I love myself. What's bad is when it becomes my goal to be praised and when it's the only thing that can make me feel good about myself.

I should stop judging myself through the eyes of the world. Sure, I still strive to be a healthier and better version of me. And someday, I might go back to being that good-looking, outgoing, smart guy, but I will not wait until then to love myself. I will appreciate myself for the person that I am now simply because I’m already a great guy. I am already beautiful. I am already worth it.