Back Here

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That beautiful place? It exists.

I’m back.  Hello, Manila.  I’m back.  I learned something these past few days.  I’ve failed miserably, I’ve failed so much, so far and screwed everything up.  There’s nothing left.  Did you think this would be inspirational?  It’s not.  I realize how far gone I am.  This trip helped me discover that I’ve been living a fucking lie.  I’m not happy, I’m miserable.  I’m miserable, trying to measure up.  I’m miserable, never being able to measure up.  Who am I trying to impress?  Mom.  Non-existent dad.  Peers.  The world.  But who am I kidding?  I’ll never measure up.  I’ll never measure up for as long as I care.  So I just won’t care.  Life will find a way.  It always does.  Who cares about leaving a legacy?  I just want to live.  And I’m not where I want to be.  I’m just drifting along, play acting.  I want to fit in.  I always have.  But it’s never going to work because that’s not who I am.

I’m not right, of course.  Haven’t you been listening?  I’ve gotten it all wrong, all this time.  And that’s okay.  There’s always room for improvement.  Nature weeds out the weak.  Time will tell if I’m weak.  I can’t control myself, but I’m trying.  I can’t change the core of who I am, but no one is trying.  I’m not trying… yet.  Maybe that’s okay, maybe it isn’t.  Maybe life is supposed to mean something, maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe this search for something tangible to anchor myself on, a purpose, cause or meaning itself… maybe it doesn’t matter as much as I thought.

Have I paid attention to the essential things?  No.  I don’t want to get caught up in the concepts, the logistics of being smart, of knowing and understanding everything.  Maybe I should just accept that this is how I roll.  I’ve learned long ago, how not to let go.  But maybe I should.

I find myself wondering (through the years) of what could have happened if I was raised differently.  I know what I’m talking about: what if I was raised like that girl.  It’s out of my hands now.  I can only try to raise myself.

So when you’re sad, go ahead and cry.  When you’re hurt, go ahead and feel it.  Feel the pain of knowing you’re alone in this.  People will disappoint you, because you’ve disappointed them.  You may not have meant to hurt others, but you did.  That’s life.  Say sorry and move on.  Are they pricks?  Are they insensitive jerks who kick you around when you’re down?  Acknowledge that they too are like you.  People with feelings, mother/father issues and hearts of their own.  They react.  That’s what we all do.  We tend to defend our own heart and that’s okay.  That’s okay.  Circumstances don’t matter, people do.  And people are free to feel the way they do, to say the things they want to say when they feel like it.  There’s no right and wrong when it comes to people and their feelings.

You feel despondent and disappointed?  That’s because you hoped for something else.  But get used to getting disappointed.  People will do that.  The ones closest to you let you down a long time ago.  What made you think that they wouldn’t?  They will.  They did.  They will do that again.  And it’s okay.

You did it too.  You’ve done it lots of times.  You’ve hurt them badly.  You’ve said things and done things designed to get your own way, to make you feel good.  You’ve disregarded feelings, you’ve acted like an asshole whether you admit it to yourself or not.  You did it.  Without meaning to.  Pride weasels itself in.

And you did this to others.  We all did this, at one point or another.

Learn your lesson, and move on.  Don’t dare to trust again.  Don’t trust yourself with anyone.  Trust in yourself.  Listen to your friends and family, they mean well.  Find something to believe in, to hold on to.  Never stop your search for meaning and God.  Meaning and God is right there in front of you.  He/She/It has been holding your hand all this time.  God has been urging you to get up every morning.  God has been calling you to keep on acting in a loving way, even when your heart is spent.  And now, God is telling you that it’s okay to feel the way you do, to admit that you’ve gotten everything wrong.  God is also telling you to be kind to yourself.  We’ll never get everything right in the world, but maybe we can choose.  Maybe we can choose to be whoever we want to be.  Maybe we can choose the people we’ll travel with and love them, despite holding them at a distance.  Maybe you’re meant to be alone.  As tough as it sounds, that’s okay too.

It’s okay to feel like you’re all alone.  People will come in and tell you that they’re there for you and they love you, that they’ll be there no matter what.  And that’s nice and all, and wonderful to hear, but we all know the truth.  I’ll never believe that I belong, that I’m worthy of being loved, if I’m not at home with myself.

It’s okay to feel like no one is there for you.  It’s okay to feel that no one understands.  It’s okay to lie in bed one night and cry hard without knowing why.

Because when you open your eyes in the morning, despite thinking and feeling that you are alone, the fact is, you’re never alone.  The world is too big a place to have no one like yourself.  There are a lot of us out there and no one really knows the answer to all these happiness and belongingness questions.  We all want to be happy.  But maybe, true happiness is in admitting that everything is not okay.  People will hurt you.  Sometimes they’ll drive the knife in, just at the moment when you’re going back and forth on whether to pull the trigger or not… 

A heartbeat walks by and you realize you’re still alive.  You didn’t do it.

El Nido is perfect.  That beautiful place?  It exists.  It’s there when you’re laughing with friends, diving down to watch the fish living happily in the deep blue spaces of the world.  There was this moment when I was sitting on the motor boat, my back resting against a friend, our hair whipping in the wind.  I saw the threatening black shards of rock shooting up from the ocean, enveloped by deep green of foliage coming from Lord knows where– it was at that moment I knew: Life will find a way.  When I’m gone, this will all continue, in one form or another.  Human beings may one day demolish the world as we know it, but the earth will find a way to sustain life.  We will all live on, in one form or another.  For the meantime, this is my life.  I’m back, and I’ve failed.  I’ve failed so far, so bad and so much.  And for now, that’s okay.

Life will find a way and you will too.

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