Moving On

By accident, I clicked on a link that would lead me to his Facebook timeline. I was scared to feel hurt; I was scared to cry. But as I browsed through his photos, I felt, well, quite normal. It was as if nothing happened.

This is not the first time that this happened, yet I still feel scared every time I do this. Believe it or not, I intentionally click on the link every time I did it in the past. Why? I wanted to know if I have really moved on. And all I can say is this: yes, I have moved on.

Erasing something from your past is impossible, even if you have amnesia or any other memory-related condition. Something can never be undone, even if you keep on covering it up. Your dark and painful past is hard to forget, but I didn’t realize that you can choose to remember the past but forget the pain until today.

He took my innocence, my confidence, my pride, my being. And yet, I look at him, feeling no pain. Maybe I feel indifferent, but that’s alright. At least now I don’t want him to rot in hell. I even wish him well.

See how time heals? I sought no help, only listening ears. Recovering from molestation and attempted rape is burdensome, but I got through it. Though its effects are here to stay, I can see that I have moved on.

Now, if you think that it’s the end of the world, look around you. You’ll see people who have problems that are a million times bigger than yours. But look at them, still fighting. You can always surpass it and move on. Just believe in yourself.

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(If Only) I Knew You Were Trouble: Facebook

I’ve been a victim of feeling disappointed and discouraged over negative Facebook comments. But, I’m not the only one who goes through this. Feeling disappointed over social networking is actually a reason why other people don’t have social networking accounts. This is also why people unfriend their Facebook friends. This is why some people get the feeling that they are bullied. This is why others get depressed. Social networking is actually good, but bad contents can ruin it.

So before scrolling down on your news feed, take a while to read how other teenagers think about the negatives of social media.

 

So, what is social networking for? Aira says “it’s one way of communicating with my schoolmates since most (if not all) of them have accounts. Also, I have relatives who live abroad and it really does help in keeping in touch with them.” In deed, social networking is a form of communication, whether you’re communicating to the person beside you or to someone who is miles away. It’s also a venue to express oneself, since social networking could also be microblogging. Social networking is one of the countless ways to show the world that you exist.

Many of us post about our interests, experiences, and whatever is going on in our lives in social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few. Why do we post? Well, we want to share to the world what we’re going through. That is, if we want to share. I myself love sharing whatever is going on in my life to my friends and family here and abroad. So, I post stuff, but I filter them. I asked Aira if she does the same. She says that she doesn’t post as often as others (maybe like me) do. “I just don’t see the need to post every little detail of my day. I mean, if I went to an important event, vacation, or see something that’s related to my personal interest, I would post about them because it’s something special but that doesn’t happen often”, she says.

But hey, let’s face it: we all see comments and posts on the internet that hurt and offend us. Lucky for Aira, she hasn’t experienced getting negative comment, but she does know when she sees one. “If the post itself is something negative and offending, I don’t really mind the negativity it inevitably attracts. That person needs to be told off that he/she is wrong. But if the comment’s on a completely respectable post come from unreasonable hate, mindless jealousy and bitterness… It disturbs me. It frustrates me. But I don’t reply to them because I know that I’m just putting fuel to the fire if I give even the slightest reaction. Negative comments shouldn’t be given attention because that’s what they’re seeking.”

Roie has received negative comments on social networks. So, how does she react? “It depends. There are times that I feel annoyed pero hindi naman tumatagal. Tipong after a few minutes, okay na ako. There are times naman na sobrang naaapektuhan ako to the point na I have this urge to block that person.” (It depends. There are times that I feel annoyed, but that feeling doesn’t last. After a few minutes, I’m already okay. But there are times that I get so affected to the point that I have this urge to block that person). On her view of those who say those negative comments, Roie says “at first, hinahayaan ko lang. May kanya kanya naman tayong opinyon diba? Kaso nung lumala na, yung consistent na niyang ginagawa yun, napapa-iling nalang ako. Although dumating din yung time na medyo naawa ako kasi ganun yung pag-iisip/pag-uugali niya.” (At first, I let them be. We are entitled to our own opinion, right? But when it gets worse, when the comments are consistently offending, I get turned off by her. Although there comes a time when I feel bad for him/her because that is her way of thinking/attitude.)

Axl says “How do I deal with negative comments? Hmm… Paano nga ba? Ako kasi, tinatawanan ko lang eh. At least kung may negative comments man. Tinetake ko ‘to as good pa rin so that alam ko kung anong mala kaya sila may negative comment.” (How do I deal with negative comments? Hmm…how do I? Well, I just simply laugh at them. At least when there are negative comments. I still take them as good so that I know what’s wrong that’s why they have negative comments). Well, she is right. Sometimes what we write can offend others, too. So it’s best to review what we write.

I have received bad comments on Facebook, too. Those were not pleasant experiences. One was clearly offensive, and the other sounded rude. How did I deal with them? Well, I felt bad. Being the sensitive girl I am who isn’t 100% healed from depression, I took them hardly.I cried to my friends about it. There was even a point when I had to deactivate my social networking accounts just to make myself feel better. I also unfriended those who said those bad comments. I felt better after doing so. A few months after, the rude comment came. What did I do? I just told my friends about it. Releasing the feelings made me feel lighter without unfriending that person who wrote that bad comment. Even when I saw that person in school, there was only a little teeny tiny pang of hurt. I decided to let it pass by. Feeling good about negative comments is not easy, but I’ll get there.

As for those who are experiencing the same problem as mine, here are some tips from fellow users of social networking sites. Aira believes that ignoring those nasty comments will do you good, unless they cross the line. “Just ignore them. You shouldn’t waste your energy and your time on something as petty as negative comments. But if it is extremely offending and obscene, report it. A lot of social networking sites provide services for this kind of problems and you should take advantage of them.”

As for Roie, premature reactions based of pure feelings are not to be entertained at the beginning. “As much as possible, huwag muna masyadong magrereact. Yung iba kasi sinasagot agad. Kumbaga bugso ng damdamin ang nangingibabaw sakanila. May mga times din kasing indirect yung post/comment. May iba feeling nila para sa kanila yun kaya kadalasan sinasagot nila yung taong yun o hindi kaya binoblock agad. Hindi muna nila iniisip yung possible reasons kung bakit nasabi/napost yon. Kung direct post naman lalo na kung kilala mo yung taong yon, pwede mo siyang i-confront nalang privately. Either, in person  kayo mag-usap o kaya tawagan mo.” (As much as possible, don’t react too much right away. Some people just reply right away. It’s like their feelings are the ones who control them. There are also times when a post or comment is indirect. There are others who think that the post was meant for them, so they reply right away or they block the person. They don’t think of the possible reasons why the said post/comment was posted. If it is a direst post, you can confront the person privately, especially if you know the person. One can do it either in person or through phone).

Axl advises to not take those comments seriously because people naturally say negative things about others. “Advice ko lang, ‘wag nilang masyadong dibdibin kung ano man ang sasabihin ng tao. Alam naman natin na kahit anong gawin natin, hindi natin maiiwasan na may masabing negative ang mga tao. Instead na masamain natin, intindihin na lang natin sila and take it as positive comments pa din so that next time di na natin gawin ung ayaw nila.” (My advise is that you shouldn’t take whatever people say to heart. We all know that no matter what we do, we are unsure if people would say bad things about it. Instead of taking them negatively, let’s just understand those people and take those comments constructively and positively so that next time, we won’t do what they don’t like.) I understand her point, but I think that just because other people don’t like it, we shouldn’t do certain things already. I believe that we should just be ourselves, but be cautious.

Sofia puts things simple and straight to the point. “Ignore them or prove them wrong.”

Alie takes things in a biblical context. “Take every thought captive. [Read] Philippians 4:8. Focus lang sa mga bagay na nandun sa verse na yun. Pag di aligned dun, do not take them in to your system. Mahirap gawin. Ako nga kailangan ko pang i-remind ang sarili ko to do it.” (Take every thought captive. [Read} Philippians 4:8. Focus on those written in that verse. If your thoughts are not in line with the verse, do not take them in to your system. It’s difficult to do. I even have to remind myself to do it).

Philippians 4:8New International Version (NIV): Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

As for me, talk to your best friend about what you feel (much emphasis on what you FEEL). Ask people for comfort and reassurance. But, one should learn how to stand on her own feet in the end. Letting things out makes people good (just not violently).

The bottom line is, social networking is actually good, but bad contents can ruin it. Social networking is a good invention, for it can connect us to anyone and everyone. But, we should be reminded that social networking can be bad, too. Relationships and moods can get destroyed just because of a single comment or post. There are many ways to deal with these comments. If one does not want to get bothered by that person anymore, nothing is wrong with blocking or unfriending. But if one does not want to pursue that, just take things light and think happy thoughts. You can even talk to that person who posted something not so good about what happened, or just talk to someone about it.

But one should always remember that things will turn out to be alright eventually.

Social networking is on the internet. Whether you delete something from the internet or not, it stays in the minds of everyone who saw it forever. To end, I’d like to quote GMA News on their view on social networking. “Think before you click”.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Special thanks to my girls Axl Esguerra, Aira Leung, Roie Moralde, Sofia Nacpil and Alie Tumbaga for letting me interview them for this post.

The Amazing Faith: Healing

And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” – Mark 5:34 NKJV

Faith? What is faith? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term “faith” is a noun that has several definitions which follow:

  1. allegiance to duty or a person: loyalty; b. fidelity to one’s promises, sincerity or intentions;
  2. belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion;
  3. firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) complete trust;
  4. something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially a system of religious beliefs

Now, what is faith healing? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, faith healing is a method of treating diseases by prayer and exercise of faith in God. Today, due to the awful living conditions in the Philippines, many of the sick in our poverty-stricken country would wish for miracles for the sought-after extensions of their broken and unhealthy lives. Not everyone can afford a heart transplant, dialysis, and rehab. Even government hospitals are now semi-private. There is limited free health care in our land, thus the sudden deaths of some of our citizens. No one knew he had a heart disease, not even the diseased. So most result to folk healers, but most Catholics in our land turn to God…and to those who are gifted by God to be faith healers.

It’s so amazing how the faith of so many people can cause the slightest of commotions, then amazing miracles. Saturday, January 18, 2014, at 9am at our little parish church of Nuestra Señora De La Paz Y Buen Viaje, the famous Fr. Fernando Suarez held a healing mass. Our parish priest was supposed to postpone the mass probably due to the fear of having a crowd too large for our parish grounds, but the healing priest Father Suarez refused to postpone it (well, it may be because of a tight schedule. After all, he’s pretty in demand). So many of our parishioners flocked to our teeny tiny church at the corner of Tandang Sora Avenue and Capitol Hills Drive, hoping to get healed from all their ailments, whether physical, spiritual, emotion, psychological, and many more.

In the registration station, representatives of our dear parish would ask us what our ailments are, and then they’d write them down on a piece of sticker paper and ask us to stick them on our shirts. I had too many to ask healing for, so I just decided to write down the obvious ailment that needs healing: my knee dislocation. Then I saw my mother (who left for the mass earlier than me because she’s in crowd control), and she gave me the sticker paper she had for me. It had most of what I needed healing for: physical, psychological, emotional. I asked her to add my hypertension and my knee dislocation, and then she added trauma and bad memories too. I was kind of embarrassed because I was asking for too much…but I know that the Lord will hear me. Since the church was small, I sat outside the door. Good thing I brought with me a folding chair. And so I sat there during the first part of the mass. At first, I really couldn’t concentrate on the mass because I saw all of the other people’s sticker papers. Stroke, high blood (a.k.a. hypertension…my dear countrymen and countrywomen refer hypertension to high blood), goiter, cysts, diabetes, cancer, coughs and colds, and many more ailments are what I saw. I even saw some pieces of sticker paper with simply “good health” on it. So I found my way in the church building, but I didn’t want to go in at first. I had a feeling that maybe some people would get mad because I was able to come in, but they can’t. See, Filipinos are really loud when it comes to wanting to be physically “close” to God. But anyway, I got in.

It was during Father Suarez’s homily when I got in the church. He was stressing on our behavior when inside the church, and how we should live our lives. He mentioned that it’s so sad how Filipinos can’t stop and give one full hour to God every Sunday; he’d see some people taking phone calls or simply chatting during the mass. Then he emphasized that the mass is the one that heals the person and not simply his touch (though his touch is really God’s touch). Next, he gave a point to our lives before and after asking for healing. He said that if we ask for healing, we have to change ourselves. He shared a story about a man who went to a healing mass of Father Suarez because he needed a heart transplant. He heard the homily, and the priest’s message is to change ourselves. The moment the man arrived home, he asked forgiveness from his wife, and he lived a life filled with Christ. The man never had to undergo the heart transplant anymore after his metanoia. Father Suarez pointed out that asking for healing without doing something to make it possible is pointless. He is asking us to change our ways and be more like Christ, the divine healer. As the homily ended, I was awoken by his words. I did need to change a lot in me. If I wanted to be healed, I should believe that I will be healed. I must think about the good things, I must forgive, I must surrender, I must serve, and I must change.

As the mass went on, my eyes couldn’t help but wander. I mean, I was focused in the mass, but my eyes weren’t. It’s as if they were so into the people with me inside and outside the church – those people seeking total healing. Most of the people were driven by their faith to go to that mass. Some seemed to be desperate for healing, as some would really make their way inside the church, wanting to get touched first. I didn’t understand how some wanted to be touched first, but I did understand why they wanted to be touched – their faith may be the only thing they have left to hold on to. I thought, “so that’s why many Filipinos are devotees of the Black Nazarene, of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and other images of Mother Mary, St. Jude, St. Pio, and all the saints. They believe that their faith, with the help of the prayers of the holy ones in heaven, will save them and heal them.” On that moment, a big admiration in the Filipino faith was instilled within me.

The mass ended, and the healing rite began. The healing rite goes like this: Father Suarez will touch you. You may feel like falling or not. Either way is okay because we all have different cases and different paces. Some received instant healing, like this man who had difficulty walking before getting touched by the healing priest. After falling, he stood up and walked fast towards the podium to give a testimony. I was lifted up while listening to some testimonies, but I cannot help my tears. I held them back during the whole mass, and I didn’t really know why I felt like crying. After some time of reflection and waiting, it was my turn. I continued to pray until I felt Father Suarez touch me twice. I felt something push me back, but I don’t know if I stopped my self from falling, or I wasn’t meant to fall. Well, I did have some fear because of my knee. I didn’t fall, and I still had pain in my knee. I thought “maybe not today…or maybe not in this are of concern”. I was thinking that my slight hesitation of falling might have meant a hesitation from surrendering to God. Still, I cried. I felt relieved. Wiping my eyes, I went out and bought a rosary bracelet to support Father Suarez’s ministry.

Afterward, I went inside again and I saw my mom fall. After she stood up, she went to me and hugged me so tight. Her companions in the Apostleship of Prayer noticed us and went near us. Actually, I met a lot of them throughout the mass, and they kept on expressing how beautiful I am. They continued to say words of praise and encouragement towards me…and then I realized that God made a way to make my self-esteem shoot up again. It wasn’t the physical pain that was starting to get healed…it was my broken spirit that was starting to lighten up again. The healing rite was almost over for the ushers were the ones getting touched already. As my mom and I made our way closer to Father Suarez, I saw the woman who gave the “constructive criticism” I had during parish involvement in third year. I was so hurt when she spoke to me then, but now I forgave her, and it felt so good while sharing words of faith and encouragement to each other. I felt that God is really working on my broken spirit then, and I felt limitless. As Father Suarez sprinkled holy water on us, I feel like I was cleansed. I was soaked in holy water, drowning with so many blessings. Then someone gave out water bottles filled with water that was said to be blessed by the healing priest. As a kid, my mom would always put holy water or oil on my chest whenever I had a tough time breathing, and I felt better. I was given a bottle by my mom. I wanted to give it to someone else who wanted it, but no one seemed to have interest in it. I thought that the water was meant for me. Though I know it’s not miracle water, I know that the water will cleanse me. As we headed out, my aunt asked for my rosary bracelet. She said she’ll try to ask Father Suarez, who was already in his car, to bless my rosary. Luckily, he was able to bless my rosary. Mom ran to him to have her new rosaries be blessed, and was happily walking back to me after a minute. As we met with Father Joel, our parish priest, he was smiling at my mom, saying “I claim your healing, tita (auntie). Cloie and Kyle are healed, too.” (Disclaimer: we are not related. In Filipino culture, we call others using terms that pertain to family members, like ‘ate’ (older sister), ‘kuya’ (older brother)’ and others). He saw me and he smiled so wide. I smiled at him, too. I was feeling so infinitely happy…like I’ve never been so happy before.

And so we left our little church and headed to a nearby mall to have our prayer cards laminated. We were tuned in to a Catholic AM radio station, and a renowned broadcast journalist was sharing her experience with her faith during her coverage of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s beatification. She shared about what her colleague said about the procession during the feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila. He said that he finally understood why people hold on to their faith so much. He saw that it was as if that the people’s faith in God is the only thing that they have left. In this third world country, that is most likely possible. What’s really amazing is that the Filipino spirit is similar to the Filipino faith in God. We had to turn off the radio already since we arrived at the mall, but I wanted to listen more. But any way, I know I’ll be able to hear more testimonies.

Many people hold on to their faith so much, and it’s really amazing. But most of them forget to do their part in their partnership with God. We Filipinos do have a saying: Na sa Diyos ang awa, na sa tao ang gawa (translated to: With God is blessing, with man is action). Some tend to forget the latter part of the saying. Even I am guilty of this. But today, I am inspired to serve others in my own special way, just like Father Suarez. God gave him a special gift…he even once touched a dead person, and she came back to life. I, too, want to give life to others in honor of serving the Giver of life.

Today, I claim my healing in Jesus’ mighty name. Tomorrow, I will give life in Jesus’ mighty name.

You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me. – Psalm 85:5-7

Beginning With The Past

I haven’t written for a long time…not even saved drafts… But hey, let’s start anew!

HAPPY 2014, SIOMAI! Hoping that the new year will bring a belief in the new beginning that everyone dreams of.

Yes, I said “a belief in the new beginning that everyone dreams of”. 2014 won’t automatically bring a new beginning for all. It will depend on the person, of course. 🙂

BUT BEFORE WE START, let’s have a background of what I had in the last two months of the year. Just so that we can all follow the events and not ask why I act/write in a specific way. Also, read my posts I Can Feel The Stress, Back To Sticks Called Crutches, Sick and Tired…and Torn, No Pain, No Gain, Dear God,  Psyche, and Tired.

My brain really wanted me to rest A LOT! See, school was really tough on me in 2013 (well, since the beginning of my high school life, actually). Add my injury and all the depression brought by it. My psyche gave up on me and exploded as November  came by. So my loving school offered me to take a break for now and just go back to complete then 2nd-3rd terms in the summer. They didn’t want me to repeat the year…they said that my credentials didn’t belong to a repeater. Besides, they want me to go to college…especially that I took entrance exams to three of the Big Four universities around. So yeah… I’m just busy having fun as of the moment…including some attacks of rage. Well, I haven’t had an attack in the past three weeks, and that’s a big achievement for me.

In December, I had a few attacks. But like what I said, I haven’t had a wild and outrageous attack in the past three weeks. THANK YOU LORD, and the increased dose of my meds. I also took my entrance exam in my 2nd top university, UST. I took the USTET with an aching knee, but it was alright. I wasn’t able to finish two tests but it’s fine. 🙂 Though I was hapong to pass for my first course choice, secondary education.

Aside from that, I was busy with my new love…BAKING! I love baking! My mom loved the craft so much until she married my dad. She didn’t like cooking/baking for someone who keeps on criticizing her food. She fell in love with it with me again. I’ve been baking brownies and cookies lately, and my family and friends love them. I’m thinking of expanding my knowledge soon. I might enroll in baking and cooking classes during my vacation!

Also, I was busy preparing my gifts for three of the most important friends’ birthdays. First was for my boyfriend Kelvin (it was grand because it was our monthsary too), the next was for my childhood best friend Audrey, and lastly is for my best friend and co-Z Gurl/Barden Bella Bon-Bon (though I’m still not yet done with her box. I still have until the 7th to finish it since her birthday in on January 8). Working on personalized gifts is one of the things that I’d love to do anytime, but I never had the time to do so. Now that I’m on vacation, I’m doing it. 🙂

AND THIS IS THE BIGGEST NEWS! I was happy and busy working my way through the holiday season when on the midnight of December 23, an old acquaintance sent me a congratulatory message on Facebook. She told me that I passed the UPCAT. I didn’t believe it because I knew so well that UPCAT results will come out in February 2014. But she sent me a screen shot of my name in the list. (this photo below has been edited so that my name could be seen. Go to upcat.up.edu.ph/results/page-113.html for the list with my name on it).UPCAT RESULTS

 

Until now, I couldn’t believe that I passed my dream university…in my dream campus! 😀 So I’m waitlisted for BS Psychology, but I passed for BA Journalism. Some asked me which of the two will I pursue (given that UP gives me the chance to go with psych). Most told me to stick with what I really want. So I told them that when the time comes, I might shift to secondary education. Follow your heart, everyone says. But who knows what the future has in store for me? Well, I know in my heart that I want to teach. 🙂

 

So that was how I ended 2013…in a happy note. I hope that 2014 brings be happiness… Well, I claim that it will bring me happiness. 😀