I am not really sure how I would describe the year that just flew. There had been so much hurt—immense pain— that is contained in the previous year. But there is no denying that accompanied by all the sorrow were pieces of wisdom which helped me come out tougher and wiser.
The year that has gone opened me to romantic love, the kind I never expected I would welcome. It was an unconventional-unlabeled-one which lasted for only a short three months. Was I serious about it? Heck I was. Was he? Maybe, I have no idea. We are two young souls carried away by the current so strong we mistook it for something special. We were attracted to each other (or maybe it was just I who had real feelings for him). However, no matter how much we liked each other we lack one of the essential things that will sustain whatever it was we had— presence.
I have no regrets on letting Ale in my life; in fact I am thankful for him because he let me (for the first time) embrace something I fear— that is, being romantically involved with someone. He made me see that I am worth a man who will see past my flesh; that I need someone who can keep up with my spontaneity, mood swings, and drama. My experience with Ale cracked me open, it had shown me that I deserve someone who will not wound me using sharp words and make me feel less than who I truly am. Because of him I now understand that I am for a man who will embrace every hollow part of my being and not just some boy who only settles for the sweet toppings.
I am aware that I was not the only one who has gone through an ailing spirit. I did inflict pain on others without the knowledge of its severity. Failed romance did not end with Ale; there was Anton who embodies the real definition of a man—dignified, intelligent, humble, well-spoken, driven, kind, and passionate. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not return the minutest of attention and feelings he had for me. I did not ran away, I gave it a shot even if I knew I wouldn’t be able to give more than a friend’s love for another. It ended just like any real life story— painful and sad.
2015 was also a 360-degree turn-around for my career. Scared and uncertain where I was headed, I left my previous job. I was mocked and laughed at for such drastic decision.
I was shallow for leaving behind a good future they said. I am out of my mind for letting go of my job which pays well they said. I am wasting my life believing that I will land a profession where I can find meaning and purpose they said. The external voices were way stronger than my own during that time that it almost irreparably damaged me. It got to the point wherein sunrise became a dreadful reminder that I am still alive and that I had to face the day as well as the people while wearing a mask. The nights veiled me while I silently cry in the darkness with the stars as my audience in such an emotional display.
Looking back, I am grateful I took the courage to take the hazy road toward damnation. If I had not done so, I wouldn’t have learned the value of ‘walking away’ for the right reasons and pursuing what truly matters. The experience led me to see that I am indeed a moron. If I was not stupid enough I wouldn’t have been bold enough to leave behind certainty for something hazy. And if I had chosen to remain in the safety of the field I was in before, I wouldn’t have been able to land on the place where I am right now.
Now I am putting a lid on the year 2015. There had been some darkness and grey areas, but the sparks were far greater than the shadows and the colors were more vibrant than the muted hues.
Cheers to 2016 and to better version of the self.
Out of selfish interest, I dragged two of my friends to watch the new Disney Pixar’s movie “Inside Out” on Sunday. We were supposed to watch it with my bestfriend Kristin, who unfortunately got ill the day before. We pursued with the plan without her because I badly needed to divert my attention from all the negative things floating within me.
“Inside Out” was being talked about by so many people in my Facebook newsfeed since its release date. I wanted to see for myself what the fuss was about. Finally I was able to catch it with Lor and Kevin.
Being a satisfied viewer, I could not resist the urge to write my personal take on the movie based on what I experienced inthe theater as well as the impact it left on me as a spectator. Hence, here I am putting everything I could into words.
Similar with many Pixar films, “Inside Out” is a motion picture packaged in an entertainment that kids and mature viewers alike would appreciate. It is in the form of animation which the grown-ups usually consider as something for the children. If one would scrutinize however, it was presented in a classic Pixar style which is in a medium “child-like” yet targets the adult audience.
Noticeably there were so many Psychological concepts and terms encapsulated in the film which kids are not usually familiar with. Long term memory, core memories, personality islands, the dump, sub-conscious, dream production, REM, and whatnot are the ideas which one gets acquainted with and expounded on in Psychology101 classes. These are not things which children would usually encounter nor are these concepts one throws at children during play time.
What Pixar did though was it laid down something seemingly-exclusively-mature in a manner that could be digested and could be easily comprehended by the young viewers. More importantly it provided a good introduction of Freudian and Jungian Psychology to consumers which made the film not only interesting but informative as well.
Five personified emotions namely Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust which every human person without alexithymia would easily identify with were the central characters in the movie. They were the key feelings inside the head of the 11 year old girl Riley Andersen who was originally from Minnesota and moved with her family to San Francisco. These five characters controlled Riley’s insides as well as her reactions in the day to day events of her life.
When Riley was still younger, Joy was the dominating emotion. Most of the memories stored in her memory bank as well as the ones that made-up her core memories were happy ones. Such thoughts were the ones responsible in the development of her bubbly personality. Same is true with a sunny girl like me who used to dwell on the happy side of things until a certain point in time when reality hit me with several unfamiliar circumstances.
As the story developed, Riley began to get into more complicated situations just like a phase in normal pre-pubescent years which stirred her emotions. The once prevalent feeling— Joy, started to be overpowered by Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. The memory balls stored in her long term memory which were once mostly yellow turned into a mix of blue, red, lavender, and green.
The anxiety brought about by the move to a new city triggered Riley’s complex reaction on things. Joy and Sadness were also sucked away from the headquarters causing her to lose two important emotions for a certain period. This particular point in the movie reminds me of the numbness that I am presently feeling—an apathetic and indifferent attitude towards life.
Losing some of Riley’s happy memories which got deposited in the dump—a natural process of burying memories in a deeper level of cognition— caused things to be out of hand. She experienced more mood swings and emotional fluctuations as she tried to deal with her current life. This resulted in the core memories crumbling down and thus shattering the personality islands one by one.
As the story progressed, the old islands were replaced by new personality traits founded on new experiences. This shows how dynamic a person can be and reflects how personality traits are ever evolving. Therefore, it is impossible to peg a person or to box an individual in one single definition.
Moreover, human memories are associated with emotions. There are those memories which were once happy but by shifting ones perspective (which happens as one matures) could become gloomy. Aside from this, the movie was able to emphasize that it is possible that there is no one ruling emotion— that it is natural to conceive mixed feelings.
The most striking part in the film for me was Joy’s effort to resurface despite the ongoing clamor inside Riley. It puts emphasis on the human’s desire for happiness even if sadness casts a huge shadow within— no one wants to be in a miserable position. Such portrays how we try to cover up the melancholy inside us by putting on a mask of pretentious laughter or smile.
What was more salient about the movie was how it was able to show the audience that Joy and Sadness are actually not opposites. Pixar was able to break the common notion that one contradicts the other. “Inside Out” was able to acknowledge that Joy and Sadness are coexisting and that the two are part of the same coin.
Additionally, the movie was able to express the importance of an emotion we usually deem negatively—sadness. We dismiss such emotion so often and fears the tears that accompany it; but in reality it is healthy to pause for a while and cry.
In films we watch or novels we read, we are so concern about looking for the moral of the story. “Inside Out” like the other Pixar films is not similar to an elementary book reading report that tells one ‘not to judge the book by its cover’. It is a movie that presents and tackles the natural human condition. It implicitly aims to guide viewers in understanding the ‘individual’ as well as the self. I believe we need more movies like “Inside Out”, a film that does not simply dwell on the ‘what’ but more importantly on the ‘how’ and the ‘why’.
Yesterday was your birthday, but to me you will never age. Your image will remain the same in my memory as you were 12 years ago when you left us.
It is indeed difficult to believe that it has been more than a decade since you took your eternal rest. Despite that, we have never forgotten you— most especially me. Each day you are always with me, in my mind and in my heart.
There are days that I would cry myself because I miss you badly. I have not told anyone but I have not gotten over the pain of your departure. Whenever I think of you, I felt I was cheated by fate. You left a void in my life, an empty part that echoes its longing for you.
I miss your presence; the sound of your overtly-excited-high-pitched-voice that used to spread happiness among the people around you. I miss your sweet and pretty face with those almond eyes that resemble mine as well as my papa. I miss your unwavering energy from the break of day until the sun sets. I miss the way you spoil me with illegal goodies you bring every afternoon— the chocolates, candies, chips, and other junk foods prohibited at home.
I remember how you would sneak and kidnap me whenever my parents are at work and I was left with the house helper. I remember how you would put the whole household in panic when we set out our plans for escape when I was not allowed to go out. I remember how you would throw me in the water in pools and at the beach just to teach me how to swim. I remember how you would bring me in your friends’ as well as your office outings.
Aunt Majean, I would never forget you. I would never forget that every morning you would vocalize in the shower and sing “Mickey Mouse March” from the Disney Classics. I would never forget that your place on the dinner table was on the left of grandma. I would never forget that it was so easy for you to earn a three-digit score in one turn in scrabble. I would never forget that you were the only one among the family members who crunch numbers like it was just Snickers. I would never forget that taco was something we bond over with every single day. I would never forget that you allowed me to have a few cans of Cali (although now I realized it’s non-alcoholic) and got me drunk when I was about five. I would never forget that you are the reason why I am always out and about until now.
You are the only person I knew of who took cats seriously; you would pick up every single kitty we passed on along the streets. It is true that most of the time the cats were the source of yours and Uncle Glenn’s (your brother) misunderstandings. He would secretly throw away the cats you had brought in the house, because let’s face it— they trigger yours and everybody’s asthma. Despite that, no one can stop you from sheltering more stray cats.
You are known in every corner of town and unofficially earned the title of Ms. Congeniality. We were surprised how popular you were. The amount of friends you gained and the number of people you touched while you were still living was very evident on the day of your wake and the time of your burial. Everyone in the family was surprised at how you were able to fill an entire Church. There were so many strangers, people whom you and you alone knew.
I believe that you were happy surrounded by friends on that day before we laid you down on your final resting place. It was obvious on people’s faces how they were hoping that you would rise from your casket, take over the microphone, and start singing one of the Air Supply songs. I was wishing the same, but it never happened.
Everyone will agree with me that you were taken from us too soon. Like the rest, I was not ready to lose you. At 10 years old I was not prepared to welcome your death and until now I have not learned how to let go of you.
There are so many what-ifs running in my head. In that short while given to us, I am fortunate that you had played an important role in my formative years. You taught me that there is nothing wrong to sweat, to be dirty, and to be surrounded by guy friends. You showed me that it is not a shame to lose and that it is better to satisfy one’s curiosity than to settle and memorize facts.
Thank you for exhibiting what the true meaning of sharing is— that it is not about the material things but more importantly on the giving of one self and one’s being to others. Thank you for sharing yourself to me the most— for considering me your bestfriend and for helping me understand what it is like to be one.
You are so far from me now but you will always remain my bestfriend. Thank you for being my angel in heaven and for gifting me another person I can turn to in the form of Kristin.
I miss you and I would never cease to love you.
Hugs and kisses from earth,
Your favorite niece.
How are you? I really don’t know how to begin this letter. I thought that maybe, great grandma’s way of starting it would somehow work— I pray it does.
Remember how I always tell you that after college I want to be a lawyer? Remember the time capsule I made before high school graduation where I wrote my long term plans and the goals I should have achieved once I reached 25?
Yes, I had always been known as the girl who has big dreams and well-engineered step by step recipe for success. You even made a tagline for me, “What the princess wants, the princess gets”. It did work for me, for whatever I put my mind into I actually get.
It was not always easy, yet I still succeed. I know, I know that like everyone else you believe that I always have it in me. That I am a naturally born achiever, that I have what it takes to be whatever I desire. I believed that too— that I have the ‘it’.
I know you are pretty confused at the moment as you read between my words. I am definitely confused myself.
I am sorry to disappoint you, to have not grown up as the girl you always thought I would become. I put law school aside for now because I started doubting myself since third year college. I do not know how I lost that decisiveness that I once had when I was younger— that certainty to be in the psycho-political game.
I was unsure whether or not I truly want to get myself into it, the very reason why I decided to take the usual track of corporate life after graduation. I went with the current along with other fresh graduates. Like them I was thrilled by the idea of getting a real job, of wearing black and white, and earning for myself.
However, while I was already walking that kind of path I realized that I do not have a sense of purpose in that field. I was making more than a usual fresh graduate’s salary but I could not see any meaning behind what I was doing. It felt like I was submerged in a pool of lifeless machines working day in and day out with “that’s the way things are” explanations about everything.
They are people too, only they have gotten used to almost everything that questions, wonders, and amazement became pointless. I felt so out of place in an environment where the people forgot that they too are persons.
Trust me, I also regret that I let a really big opportunity slip off my fingers. Call me crazy and moronic, but what would I be doing with that money when each day that passes by I was breading hate and alienation not just on my job but on the entire workplace including the people?
You can throw that stiletto on me. I would gladly take the hit for it truly was a stupid move to leave my previous work without any plan. Do not ask me what I would do now for I too do not know the answer to that.
I apologize to you and to everyone else that I had been bothering lately. I am floating in a vacuum and I do not really know what I want. I do not want to go to law school or to take masters or to enter a new job or to be part of whatever there is in which I cannot commit myself completely.
Forgive me for I am lost. Forgive me that I cannot figure things out. Forgive me that I have no sense of direction. Forgive me that I do not know myself yet. I am truly sorry.