Poetry

t-eye-dal wave

Staring out at the stars
their eyes glisten back at me
reassurance of being guided
the right path leading me silent
a journey diving into my mind
I never realized my full potential

A climb of my mental staircase
I stared blankly into the doorway of my past
they whispered flashes of memories back at me
a humble reminder of where I come from
my feet have now been washed
a new set of toes will carry me home
eventually

Bright lights in the sky
a common sign
guiding those lost
especially those that have forgotten
either or
something is always missing
always searching for the next high
these altitudes have been played out
my senses need to heighten
I promise I won’t get lost in the clouds
Instead, I’ll carry them home with me
eventually

This energy seeps
spitting droplets of hope
replenishing rough grounds
I am comfortable
feet firmly planted
I have grown roots in my time here
leaving an imprint in the soil
a full cycle
multiplying its frequency
its energy never dies
its energy never lies
I give myself life once again
reviving my soul to its standard
yet always surpassing where I last was
I will keep growing
until it is time for me to go home

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thoughts

farewell?

It’s been months since my Lolo has passed, over a month since my Lola passed, and a few days since Mac Miller has passed.

Y’all probably reading that last name with a confused face, thinking, Mac Miller? She’s hit after his death?

Yeah, I’m fucking hit. I’m still hit. I cried AT work when I got messages in two group chats about him passing… He’s so young, so fucking brilliant. Only God knows where his career was going to take off (only God knows how heaven is rocking with him right now).

Death has heavily surrounded my life this year, (let alone these past two months) and I’m not too sure where my head is at, at the moment. I’m stuck between wanting to surround myself with my friends (and being completely content in our silence, as I more so want to sit in their presence) and completely isolating myself. You don’t even have to tell me because I already know that the latter is unfuckinghealthy. A few minutes or hours or even a day of solitude, fine, but not a habitual turned ritual state of complete isolation… Which is something I am trying to fight – and if it weren’t for work and its unruly hours, I wouldn’t have this problem. BUT STILL. (There are issues within these hours themselves but that’s for another chat)

Anyway.

I had spoken to one friend about how I felt after my Lola passed. I was numb, yes, but also in a space of already accepting her passing. After being flooded with messages of, “Are you okay?“, “Let me know if you need anything“, and similar consoling words, I was already feeling annoyed with having to repeat the same, I’m okay, I’ll be fine, I’m just riding the waves at this point to everybody, and I had told her that over dinner. I’m glad she understood where I was coming from because I just wanted to be left alone. However, I also understand where everyone is coming from. They were just doing what friends fucking do – provide love, support, and care. And I love them eternally for it. I do.

But now, after Mac’s passing [at such a young age], thoughts about my own death came in like a dam breaking. These thoughts first fruitfully came after my Lola passed. I was thinking about my passing. I started to think about the fact that my parents… I can’t even finish that sentence without freaking the fuck out. I was thinking about how I’d have to face what my mother once faced and what my father is now facing – losing a parent. I don’t know how my dad is taking it, but I remember a brief conversation with my mom the other day and she casually said that death was my dad’s biggest fear. This made me [somewhat] understand why he moves the way he does in terms of his caution and alertness – something that my sister and I tend to joke about. But now I get it.

I also get that no matter how cautious and prepared you may be, death always finds its way and wins.

I move like I’m so ready to die at any given moment because [I like to believe that] I’ve lived so much in so little time but I’m only twenty fucking three. I haven’t even scratched the surface of living. I’ve lived in my youth and I am now starting to live as a young adult. I’m confident enough to say that this shit I call living isn’t even living. Nobody prepared me for the struggles of adulthood, the loneliness of adulthood, let alone the strength that you have to constantly have just to push through adulthood. Oh, and then we die. Eventually. Ha.

I’m tired. I feel like I’ve psyched myself and thought my way into this white noise.

But really and truly, I am fucking scared. I’m really going to die in like 60+ years (if I’m lucky) and I am terrified as fuck. Life is moving too fast for me. 2018 is almost over like January wasn’t taking years to pass. We’re only getting older and time does not wait for anybody.

These are the thoughts that have been haunting me for the past month… And will still continue to haunt me.


There’s nothing well about a farewell – there’s always a fare involved in saying goodbye.

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Poetry

Letter to Lola

As you rest in power, I can’t help but to think of a string of apologies that I’ve kept at the back of my throat
The strength in holding them weakened my voice
So I apologize for staying silent for so long,
I’m sorry I’ve missed you

I’m sorry for my absences
I never thought my attendance would matter in the long run
I skipped quality time for time that ticks money
And now I’ll never be able to share my wealth with you
The times I’ve spent while away
While paying my dues
While making sure that I was okay, first and foremost
If there is one thing university taught me, it’s that skipping classes will have you miss out on key lessons – and most times they’re not from the textbook

I’m sorry for being selfish
It was so hard for me to see you suffer
I watched you carry my sister, my younger cousins
As I am sure you have carried me, Chris, Jas, Kuya and Ate too
Your arms spread like Nike’s wings, you carried us to victory
Up until you no longer could
Up until we ourselves learned how to fly on our own
And had to look down to see you laying with all of your strength confined to your bed
It hurt to see you incapable
It hurt to fly without you
I promise the clouds will comfort you more than your bed ever has

I’m sorry for letting go too soon
For the times I’d see you and not hold your hand long enough
For not constantly reminding you who I was
Who I am
Anak si Pidong. Anak si Meren. Capatid si Melissa.
I will never forget the smile that shone when you remembered
It was the brightest 10 seconds before memories faded back to black

I’m sorry for not being by your side in your last moments
But I promise you I celebrated life
Especially yours and its freedom into eternity
I felt the supernova of your soul touch the atmosphere
Maybe that’s why it was scorching outside that day
I felt the heat of your steps catching every beat
I swear you were with my friends and I
You let me know that you can walk again
That you can sing again
That you remember who the fuck I am

And I know you can see and hear me better now
But I’m sorry that this is not in Ilokano or Tagalog
Though I recently developed a craving for it
I still yearn for my mother tongue
An opportunity for a seat at the table
An opportunity for a seat with you
I wanted to know your story
To capture the beginning of as far as I knew the Toquero’s ran
The start of Tita Rose’s crawl
It was the beginning of us being rooted to you
We are the fruits of your neverending labour
Though we are not your end
Your legacy will transcend generations

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thoughts

Aloha, Anak

The Sariling Gawa Youth State Council is hosting its 38th Annual Youth State Conference. This year’s theme is “R.I.S.E. – Recognize, Involve, Strengthen, Empower”. It is a three-day, two-night event that ran from Friday, March 23rd through to Sunday, March 25th. It is annually held at the YMCA Camp Harold Erdman in Waialua, Oahu, Hawaii.

To be honest, I had no expectations of this event itself. There wasn’t much information on it online besides the theme and the organization’s philosophy for me to formulate some sort of opinion on the conference. However, I already had my fears and assumptions of this conference before stepping foot at its doors. Prior to attending the conference, the Toronto youth delegation had a briefing about our Filipino experiences as a whole (since we hadn’t bonded as of that moment – we literally all met at the airport) and had the opportunity to speak about why we wanted to attend in the first place.

About two years ago, I made a goal for myself to learn more about my cultural roots (hence my choice of placement). I had written a poetry book last year as my final project for my Midwifery elective. My original concept for it was to learn about the cultural practices of pregnancy and childbirth. My plan for this was to interview my mother and aunts about their experiences of pregnancy, childbirth, and thoughts on motherhood (which I still ended up doing). The research aspect of my project is what flipped my concept from learning about these cultural practices to an act of representation. In doing research for the essay portion of this project, I basically found no peer-reviewed articles pertaining to my subject matter – this is why I made my poetry book into an act of representation. I wanted my book to start/carry this conversation. In realizing this, I grew a stronger need to dig deeper into my cultural background as our knowledge has been erased and also taken from us.

It took me about 21 years for me to hit this point of self-discovery because I grew up dissociating myself from my Filipino identity. Of course, I knew the importance of food and family and understood Tagalog (my mom made sure that my sister and I can understand at least one language from the Philippines), but never wanted to delve into the actual substance of Filipino culture. After having gone through the writing process for my project, I soon realized the importance for me to be connected to my roots (“Rooted” is the title of my book). With all of this in mind, I also had to face the fact that I would be surrounded by those who are so confident and proud of their Filipino-ness (or, so I had assumed). I was nervous and definitely scared to be among other youth with such knowledge because I was afraid of having nothing to contribute in regard to my Filipino experience. This is because I only knew my culture within the boundaries of both my direct and extended family. However, prior to having this fear, I was slowly coming into terms with the validity of my own Filipino experience. I sometimes forget that I have my own narrative in the grander story of Filipino experiences. I am a part of the generation that lost touch with their culture, I am a part of the generation that is relearning their culture and learning to love it, I am a part of the generation that is reclaiming their culture.

I specifically stated: I’m here for the Filipinos that never identified as “Filipino” while growing up. I’m here for the Filipinos that don’t know what it means to be Filipino. I’m here for the Filipinos that are making an identity for themselves. I’m here for the Filipinos that were the token Asian friend. I’m here for the Filipinos that got lost along the way but are trying to find their way back home.

This trip is another substantial part in my journey of self-discovery and self-actualization. I hit a point where I had to ask myself, How much more can I grow without knowing about my roots?

I had many fears coming into this conference – meeting with the other Toronto youth being one of them. I didn’t personally know or meet any of the other Toronto youth prior to the trip. I had met one of them for a fundraising event we did beforehand, but it was only small talk. As I had previously mentioned, we literally met for the first time at the airport in Hawaii. I didn’t know what to expect from them other than what I had read from their bios for our gofundme page. I didn’t know what I expected from them, either. I just hoped that we would all get along for the sake of the larger project at hand – which is the Toronto camp for Filipino youth. We had bonded over the days before the conference, but I think what really hit us is when we had the short briefing prior to leaving for the conference. I had to take it up with myself and the other Toronto youth delegates to address my fears and assumptions. I admitted that I was initially scared to even attend the trip as a whole because I was so unfamiliar with being surrounded by a group of Filipino youth outside of my group of cousins. My context changes once I step out of familiarity – in this case, outside of my family. I also had to address the fact that I was already having thoughts about how the youth are like there in comparison to the Filipino youth in Toronto. After having had the conversation with our group, which included me addressing my thoughts and assumptions and unravelling the complexity of my Filipina identity and essentially telling a group of Toronto Filipino youth my story, we were able to deconstruct not only mine but our assumptions. We were able to deconstruct our stories to discover why we feel the way we do, think the way we do, and are the way we are. In knowing this, we were able to shift the way we think about ourselves and how we see ourselves within and among others of our culture. This alleviated my worries because I initially thought I wouldn’t be able to contribute to any conversation – forgetting that my experiences of my own culture are just as valid.

Now, fast forward to the conference after having these conversations, I was able to go into the conference with an open mind, ready for what the youth have to teach me (us). But this is easier said than done because I started to worry about what the youth would think of me. My worries led me to think of any possible assumptions they had of me, of us, as we’re coming from a completely different city and context.

Though we got a different experience from the rest of the youth delegates (who are all high school students), we were still able to interact with and be among the youth. Joining us were two university students from The Big Island and together, we were Barangay 8 aka Maganda Forever. We were in a separate group as we are all in post-secondary education. The purpose of this was to teach us a more advanced set of leadership and facilitation tools and frameworks to take back to our communities. The leaders felt it didn’t make sense for us to join the high school youth as we would just be shadowing the leaders there and not fully grasp the learning aspect behind the lessons. This was great for us because we had many fruitful discussions on practice on and off the field. This is where I intersected my Social Work learning to the lessons of this conference. Although AOP is heavily instilled into our learning, I had to remember that AOP is not prescribed medicine – it may not always work in every setting – so I took off my AOP hat and allowed for my environment to teach me.

It was during this activity in day 2 where we hit the pinnacle of the conference – all of us ended up in tears while articulating our individual stories. It was at this moment where we got our struggles off our shoulders and onto the table. This is where we realized, maybe we’re not as different as we thought. In doing this, we were also able to see how many obstacles we have to get through in order to reach our goals, or in order to make that step. In hearing out everyone’s experiences throughout this activity, I realized that our work starts with us. There is a lot of work to be done and many battles to fight, but now that we have uncovered our pain together, we now have each other for that support. But the work starts with us, in understanding our struggles and deconstructing them to see how we can fight against them, or work alongside them to move towards a better [collective] future.

There was another activity that same night where we had to make a skit of a value that is important to us. We had another discussion which led us to have less than 10 minutes to prepare for this bigger group activity and we ended up presenting on the topic of consent. To me, our skit wasn’t that impactful, it was our participation. But our skit wasn’t even my highlight because being there and sitting through everyone else’s skits was what really hit me. They touched upon topics of family, loss of culture, discrimination, trust. I was shook (for a lack of a better time). By the end of the skits, they leaders asked if anybody had any thoughts. I shot my hand up because I was truly amazed at what the youth put together. I remember saying something along the lines of noting the similarities between our struggles despite the difference of where we come from (me being from Canada, and them in Hawaii) and acknowledging them and thanking them because I didn’t feel alone.

I think that was one of the biggest pieces for me that I learned on this trip – the fact that I’m not alone, or, we’re not alone. Despite our geographic differences, we were able to see that what we experience is mirrored. With that being said, it made me think about how I view myself within the community in Toronto considering I didn’t even see myself as part of the community until this year. I’m still being introduced to many members of the community at this point in my life. I’m no longer embarrassed by it as I take it as part of my journey.

I get it now. There was a lot of talk within our group about why folks come back every year as VOLUNTEERS for this conference, and I think I get it now. There is something that was always brewing in the SG air and I even felt it when I got on that bus to get to the camp. It was like there was an overarching force field of warmth and welcome that protected us from negativity. There are very few spaces that I can walk into without feeling any type of judgement and this is one of them. I mean, yeah, perhaps we got a different experience because we were older but even in our interactions with the youth, we were included. It was like we have already been there and with them prior to the conference. Not only that, but the leaders ensured that the youth were engaged in a positive and comfortable light. So, I get it. It’s like one big family that’s been having a reunion for 38 and counting years. Even in hearing the youth delegates’ conversations, I noticed that a lot of them want to come back next year which makes me want to come back (The Universe needs to give me a [monetary] sign, if we’re being frank about this). There is something more that’s brewing there alongside instilling Filipino pride within the youth and educating them on a bit of cultural history. I left the conference feeling stronger about myself, feeling confident in another goal I want to achieve, and I left the conference with three new friends.

This conference has shown me that what I feel is bigger than me. What I feel is supposed to feed our purpose for tomorrow. There is so much work that needs to be done and it overwhelms me to think about it, but we now have a stronger network of likeminded folks that want to work at this together. It all starts with us.

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thoughts

#BellLetsTalk

about silence.

About why I’ve been silent for all of these months.


Let’s talk about the absence of my love and presence of hatred. Because I’ve not only forgotten but chosen to forget what it was like to feel love. This absence of love has destructed my ability to feel love and feel empathy, compassion, sympathy. Though I had been feeling this non-feeling, I was completely aware of it. I never gave myself the time or space to truly feel all that has happened to me, even though I reflect on these events everyday. Even though I was and am completely aware of the fact that I still held on to hate.

And it was only one week ago where I had stood in my room and cried for ten minutes. That was when I felt it. In that short period of time, I felt the hatred dissolve and I felt one step closer to the love I used to hold for not myself but for those around me. There was still something missing, though. I knew what it was but it was entirely my fault as to why I was where I was… My fault as to why I am where I am – mentally and emotionally.

It’s been a lonely, dark road that I built for myself. I was tired. I needed to stray away to figure out what was going on inside of me. But in doing so, I became too comfortable with my solitude. I became too comfortable with my independence. I feel like I’ve built this road while destroying my path in the process. There was no intention behind this, behind the construction of this path off-road, away from the people I love.

I’m still here, but I haven’t looked back… and because of that I feel like I’ve lost so many people that I love. I feel truly alone and I have nobody to blame but myself for this.


My loneliness is a cause of my actions and I so desperately try to look back, to reach back, but I feel as if it’s too late.

Because it is.


Though I feel like I have emotionally grown from this past year alone, I think that I often blur the lines between numbness and being emotionally aware of myself and how I feel – in other words, I stop myself from feeling.

I preach the book of self love and loving yourself wherever I go, however, I never speak these words to myself. I feel like I have conditioned myself to (as my friend puts it) react differently. As opposed to feeling things so deeply and allowing myself to do so, I don’t. Instead, I fill up my schedule so that I will continue to keep my mind off of what my actual problem is. This has become my way of “coping”. I know it’s counterproductive. I know it continues to push me further away from the people I love… I know this… So why does it not register to me that I need love again? That I need to allow myself to love the rough parts without forcing them to be smooth so soon? Is it because I have conditioned myself for so long?


I’m sitting at my desk in my office as I type all of these words and I wonder when it will hit me. When my old heart will make its appearance. But do I really want to allow that side of me again? I’ve learned to love and I’ve learned to let it in but I’ve also learned to be choosy. To be picky. To not exert my love to things that don’t water me…

Maybe I have grown and realized that I cannot be fully logical without compassion, without love.

I sit and I wait and it hits me but I let it fall.

I sit and I wait and it hits me but I let it fall.


There are moments where I do catch the signs but don’t apply them to me. I just store them and I now carry a collection of inspiration but it hasn’t spoken to me yet. Perhaps the words don’t fully mean something to me yet.


How much more can someone wait until they fall into complete isolation?


How much more can someone do until they realize their actions do not fulfill their void feelings?


I miss having a best friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Poetry

mother nature

Moving in synchronicity with my mothers past
I feel at one with the way the world revolves

The speed at which water paces
forcing its presence into new homes
into places it does not belong

But I am here

As existent as the winds during a storm
there is no telling where I will land but

I am here

As vicious as a raging fire
once born a meek flame
I make it known that I am here
yet you manage to walk over me
and I am still here
absorbing your very steps
all while guiding you to your next destination
where I will be

There
Here

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thoughts

wy[h]a

It’s been three months since my last blog post. I have chosen not to write as I am not in the same place as I was before. I needed the time to myself to get things off my chest – I needed to clear my mind, and most importantly, I needed to clear my heart.

I did most of that all while deconstructing myself (once again) to get to the root of my bittersweet feelings. The wait was intentional because I wanted my heart to be back where my pen was. However, no matter the number of times I tried to get back to it, the feeling was no longer there, or the words didn’t flow as easily as they used to. Excuse or not, I took one of the longest hiatuses from my pen game which is why I’m not able to produce as well as I used to. I’ve turned to other means to release any feelings of discomfort and negativity which could be another reason as to why I haven’t been back at the pen. My pen seems to be missing my heart but I will keep [my attempts at] writing until they meet again.


In getting to know myself and feel myself grow, I have prioritized doing everything else instead of allowing myself to feel through whatever I am going through. I am not sure if I have grown into this or if this is just another one of my coping mechanisms but I feel like I have become wiser with my emotions (if that makes sense) and more realistic with how I feel as an emotional being.

Control is something that I have lost before my hiatus and I took the time to train myself into gaining more control over my emotions and mental space. I took the time to really hone my feelings so that I  won’t lose my shit again, but even more so that I won’t lose myself again.

Getting back into the other hobbies I like doing has also helped to restore some kind of balance in my life that I have been missing for a while. It was almost as if it was a reminder that there is not one formula to reach self love. Though I spend my time delving into other side projects, I’ve also been dedicating a lot of my time to my job. (Who doesn’t need money in this economy?)

I’ve become more focused on my larger goals and dreams that I pushed all else aside so that I can work within a tunnel vision. As great as that sounds, having tunnel vision made me miss the importance of things outside of the view, such as my health, my friends, family, etc.


Not even gonna lie, my mind is all over the place because I have yet to start this paper, but I made a promise to myself to start writing again because I’ve lost touch with something that I’m actually good at.

And after spending time reading through my old poems and watching old performances, I can already feel the disappointment from the writer side of me.

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