The blank stare

Tonight I dropped by C’s house with Gail to look for something. The first person I saw was Jopy. I no longer froze, nor felt my heart race in panic, and neither did I feel like a hunted rabbit. I just stared at him, then past him, before I realized I wasn’t at the brink of a panic attack. I can breathe, and feel like a normal person.

Maybe it was the darkness, or the presence of Gail, or of my own urgency because there was something I needed to find that night — for whatever reason, I felt like a “normal” stranger in front of a person from my college org. More than that, I didn’t feel like crying in front of one of the key people who said unpleasant things about me last year, in addition to having treated me pretty badly. In front of him, I was able to maintain an emotional calm.

I’m hoping it’s not just a one-time momentary calm, but rather a sign that I’m no longer as badly affected by things. I’m not eager to test that hypothesis, but for whatever reason I got it together, I wish I won’t lose that reason again.

It was never about deserving

For almost a year now I’ve struggled with the idea of being deserving of some things. Deserving goodness, deserving happiness, deserving love. Being blamed and getting called names by people whom I used to think of as, at the very least, “old friends” was the worst and most painful (and freshest) memory I have of college. During and after everything, I often thought of being so undeserving of anything because they must have been right about something if they, as people who I’ve spent years with, would treat me that way. Maybe they were right about my being wrong about all of the things that happened. Maybe I really did not deserve to explain my version of the truth. Maybe I didn’t deserve to have my own point of view of things. Maybe I didn’t deserve explanations. Everything was my fault and I felt like I did not deserve anything at all.

At that time too, we were talking about the story of the Prodigal Son in sir Bobby Guevarra’s theology class. In our discussions, the saddest words I’ve ever heard were: we will never be enough for the World. The world will keep on taking, taking, taking from us and even after giving our whole selves to it, it will still never be enough. 

I’ve always tried my best to be useful to other people. I almost never said “no” to anything, always wanting to please them no matter what it was they asked from me. Never you mind that I was going to be butchered in the process. I thought that in that way I’ll get approval, I’ll be worthy of being considered a friend, a confidante, whathaveyou.

I was wrong. Although I still find it hard to say “no” to most people, although I still have this impulse to please everybody else, I’ve learned that it was never about being deserving of, or, about deserving anything.

Although from Theology class, Bobby Guevarra said that it was only God who could give us the limitless kind of love that not one person is worthy of. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t experience it from other people, also mere mortals like any other person is.

Last week, Isa wrote an article about undeserved love. She said:

Undeserved love means I don’t have to work for the love that I dream of. It is entirely possible in the here and in the now, in later, in tomorrow and in always.

Nothing in this world will inspire me as much as this kind of love. Because it took me in and wanted me, even though it had no reason to. It desired me, believed in me, and stuck around. I will become all the better because of it. And, at the end of it all, I might even grow into actually deserving it. Who knows?

I’ve experienced this in my closest friends, who at one point really lost the reason to love me — and yet they still did. Ruby always said she was scared the four of us would never be friends again after that, but for some reason things just worked out and they’re still the very best people I trust unreservedly among everyone else in this world.

C is also one of those people who inspires me to at least try to become better than who I am right now because of how he loves me even with all my issues (self-inflicted or not). He always deals with others far more generously than I do, deserving they are of his friendship or not. That is basically one of our biggest differences, mainly because I’m a very unforgiving person.

But if I’m really out to learn something in this world, I should start by forgiving because love is, as these wiser people have proved, never about “deserving”.

Isa ended her entry with:

“Love is unfair and I thank God for that. Because the truth is that the only love we were made for in this lifetime is the kind of love we don’t deserve.”

And as I’ve wrote C: isn’t that beautiful, and also true? Although we can never be truly “deserving” of anybody’s love, this doesn’t stop anybody from trying to work so hard and do everything to make themselves feel they deserve love. Any and every kind of love. But the amazing thing is: true love is being able to give and receive love that you don’t deserve. Because there is so much more to love than just “deserving” it. Love has nothing to do with deserving. More than anything, it is the potential for more possibilities, for more beautiful things to come because of loving and being loved. And all these people writing about this kind of love and most especially those who live it — they make me feel hopeful and I think also push me to grow little by little.

Being misunderstood hurts too

I’ve been watching this Korean drama, The Greatest Love/The Best Love. It’s about a celebrity, Ae Jung, who, ten years after her debut, has had a string of scandals and a lot of bad kind of talk that ruined her reputation. She does her best to stay in the industry and is actually a good person, but all the rumors and bad PR has made her very unpopular.

In this episode, she was talking to her friend and she was saying that if they weren’t celebrities, the things that happened ten years ago shouldn’t be talked about anymore. I wonder…am I also going to be remembered in that way?

I always feel for Ae Jung when I watch this drama. Maybe because I can relate, to an extent. I’m not a celebrity or anything, but I know how much it hurts when people, despite the fact that you don’t know some or most of them, believe the worst in you. Sometimes, I begin to doubt myself because of the things other people believe of me. Being misunderstood hurts too, and sometimes I feel like I have to live this life proving everyone else wrong even though they’re not there to see me live it. Not being able to say anything about it hurts too. At one point, I really tried to disappear (in the most literal sense of the word) from everyone’s lives because I can’t take being talked about anymore. I don’t know how celebrities do it. How Ae Jung survived it.

Some people believe I stole somebody, or snaked someone, that I’m easy, etc. I don’t believe it’s true. If the only mistake I’ve done is hurting someone to help somebody else, then people have had impossible expectations of me and it drove me crazy. Thinking about it still does. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe in myself. Those months confuse me too. I don’t understand anything about it anymore. Sometimes, I don’t even know what to cry about except that it hurts too much and I can’t always keep it in. In my worst moments, I feel a mixture of hurt, anger, and helplessness. I’m just hoping that one day all of those will go away because right now, no matter how hard I try, I still can’t forget.

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Camille, I had met you for few occassions only, but you had left a good impression to me. How much more ur old friends who have spent more time with u. You deserve kindness.

This makes me feel really sad.

Some things I can stop running away from already

Dear You,

Thank you for being concerned and being nice and kind when I don’t deserve it. You have a reason to get angry at me. You don’t have a reason to be nice at all.

I’ve been running away from everything, but it’s time to take responsibility again. Especially for things that involve other people.

So far:

(1) Apologies.

(2) Start all over.

Truth be told, this is one bridge I actually want to save.

The broken other

I read posts at LJsecret because sometimes I read good advice there. That, and there are things that make me think because it’s somehow significant to me in my life right now. This reply is an example:

I have that problem. I have some theories as to why, but my therapist had one, also. He said that people who have a fear of abandonment tend to gravitate towards relationships where the other person needs you more than you need them. That way, you have greater control in the relationship. I think that may be part of it.

Another part of it is when I meet someone who seems like a genuinely good person who gets stuck in a bad situation, I tend to want to fix it. My friends joke that when I meet new people I should say, “I’m Winston Wolf. I fix things.” I have been through a lot in my life, been hurt in many relationships, come very close to dying, lost a limb, and I generally have a sunny disposition. I work on myself a lot, read, and I study theology and philosophy. Those things help me give pretty good advice.

In addition to that, I’ve always like seeing people succeed. My wife was kind of a wild loose cannon when we started seeing each other, but she later admitted that her lifestyle wasn’t really what she wanted. So, I gave her positive encouragement to start working towards her goals, and I handle most of the household and household expenses. She has grown a lot, and I am proud of her. Historically, that’s how most of my relationships have gone in one way or another. Usually they outgrow me, but my wife and I just got closer.

I don’t think it’s bad to need each other or to get a lot of encouragement to better yourself in a relationship. It’s okay to be weak. It’s okay to be vulnerable, but it shouldn’t always lean in one direction or another. Outwardly, it appears that I handle most everything. I present a front of totally collected calm control. In reality, I am emotionally demanding. I need support, and I can’t trust my own mind half the time. My crazy girl gives me a counterbalance and a sounding board. I can always talk to her about it, and in that, she pulls her weight in the relationship. It’s not always a bad thing if one of you is like that, as long as there is plenty of give and take.

(1) I have a fear of abandonment. Note on neediness and relationships.

(2) It’s almost impossible for me to resist people who need me for something.

(3) As Bobby Guevarra said: “When you go out of yourself and reach out to a broken other, you heal each other.” Being weak sometimes is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it’s a sort-of give-and-take and in the end both of you are helping each other become better persons.

Filtering

Some days I go through my writing journal and I think to myself,

“I can’t write like this anymore.”

There was, at a point, when I was very young, I wanted to experience everything I read from books, saw in movies, heard from adults. I wanted things to happen to me because I knew the best writing can only come from experience. How do you write about love when it has not happened to you? Of flirtations, confessions, confusions — feelings that get you so drunk, drama that burns painfully but beautifully make you make things happen in an attempt to take hold of that flame. How do you write about the slow process of breaking — the expansion of cracks that makes holes but in their deterioration creates an object more precious? How do you write about the exact feelings of disorientation, lostness, fear and anxiety and anticipation for the worst?

I welcomed the best things and accepted the most horrible and most painful because I try to convince myself, I have gained experience and one day I will write beautiful words with it. Maybe this means I can understand more people — understand their pain and help them with better advice so they may have better stories and happier endings.

But at that time when I was making that wish, it never occurred to me that residuals of many aftermaths can sometimes rock the soul. Gently, harshly, unknowingly, leaving marks that can either bring a smile to the face or tears when left with the solitude of silence.

And where am I now?

Sort-of at the process of filtering. Going through things that happened. Deciding what I want to forget and what are those worth keeping. Tucking away things that still hurt because I can’t deal with them. Floating, not going anywhere. In no hurry, just drifting along with the waves, wondering if I could ever really just run away.

This is for You

You are going away, and what will I do without you?

The role you’ve played in my life in the past year has grown bigger, in a way that I didn’t expect it to. You’ve been the person who held my hand and said, “Come with me, I want you there.” You’ve been the only person, at one point, who told me I was missed. I didn’t always listen to your advice, but you’ve been a good friend nonetheless. You never left me, unlike everybody else. You told me to be strong when I couldn’t, and I never could for myself. But for you I was.

You are one of the very, very, very few reasons that I’m trying not to forget. Because memories are painful, but you’re there and you’re part of it and I thought maybe I could keep these things because I want to remember you. But what do I do when you’re gone? Nothing’s going to tie those memories to me anymore. I have less reason to, when all I want to do is forget, forget, forget, and forget.

You are one of the few people I’d have stayed alive for. I would do anything for you. If I wanted to disappear because everything hurt, and if you said, “Stay,” I’ll stay. I’ll stay if you need me to. If you want me to.

You are one less hand I can hold.

You are one less hug I can give.

One less hug I can receive.

You are one less kiss on the cheek.

One less person to run to.

One less back to hide behind.

You are one less person I can trust.

I know you’re “just moving,” but it isn’t “just moving” anymore when there are fourteen hours of sea and land that separates my hand from yours, my arms from yours, me from you. And thinking about this makes the warm tears fall, because I will miss you, and I feel —

just a little lonelier without you.

I love you. Thank you for being the best person that you are. I hope I can see you again soon, and maybe by that time I’m not as fucked up anymore, and you can be proud of the person I’ve made myself into.

Hugs.