Turtles All The Way Down: A Temporary Fix

It was a gloomy Tuesday afternoon and everything was traumatic. I had an unannounced observation for my last class where I lacked resources for the lesson. I had to spend forty excruciating minutes that felt like hours inside the computer laboratory, pretending that I knew what I was doing as I taught second grade kids about Rizal. The experience was similar to getting a root canal.

When it was all over, my head told me we had a meeting. To my dismay, I have misplaced my friction pen. Again. Hoping that my Mumuso pencil case (a gift last Teachers Day) will help me be organized with my writing materials this time, I went to National Book Store to buy another pen and its refill. As I tried not to overthink and replay the events of my day as if it will do anything to change it, my aimlessly wandering eyes landed on the Just In at the Fiction isle and it was like Christmas morning.

Yes, John Green has that effect on me. Us awkward nerds, we have to stick together you know? But kidding aside, I remember chatting with my fellow bibliophile cousin and when she saw me with the latest copy at the exact day of its release, she didn’t doubt my urge to buy it. It’s the John Green, man. You can’t give an excuse for that. But fret not, my wallet did not die in vain. I used up all my Globe Rewards to pay for a portion of the price. How much money did I actually shell off? P179. What a steal! It’s like a Book Sale from the year 2030.

I finished it in three days, forcing myself to pause and sleep because I had work the next day. As per usual, if I didn’t have anything else to do, novels would only last a day on me. I like to finish things at hand at all costs or else I would spend the rest of the day just completely anxious to finish it. I can’t function. It’s going to have a voice in my head saying come on finish the book but I have work tomorrow morning how can you sleep not knowing what happens next in the story I’ll read it when I have free time at work you can sleep while the students are copying notes no I can’t I should be working but we need to find out what happens next.

Such as the case of Aza Holmes, the girl with the beginning and the end in her name and cool vintage car named Harold. She’s a little more anxious than most, and who wouldn’t, when you know certain facts about microbial organisms that are more than the amount of cells in your body? But she tries to be normal, especially for her mother, with the help of her best friend and resident cool kid Daisy. And she does become somewhat cool, because she has met Davis Pickett when they were at Sad Camp for children with a dead parent. A few years later, Pickett becomes a household name, and a controversial one at that. This leads Aza and Daisy to snoop around the Pickett estate to find clues, only to be warped inside the world of the rich and the famous. Warning, it doesn’t feel so good.

Although sometimes it does, when Aza is with Davis. She discovers that he is more than a rich man’s son, and that he writes poetry and blogs that make her blush when it’s about her. They like to look at the sky despite the crappy Indiana weather and watch space movies in the home theater at the basement.


Just when you think things are going so well, sometimes you are your own worst enemy. That’s not uncommon, according to Dr. Singh. More often than not, we like to hold a grudge on ourselves, as to why there could be many reasons or in this novel’s case, none. It just simply is. Dealing with anxiety is not something that is easily cured by medication and therapy. How can you deal with an internal thing using an external force?

They come in the form of thoughts, some solicited and mostly not. You cannot unthink something. You can try to put it deep within you in your subconscious, and it might work temporarily. But some people cannot simply do that. It will be hard for them, and more often than not, for the people around them. It will get frustrating.

I have always wondered why we are so complex as human beings- with values, morality, intellect- only to disintegrate with our depreciating bodies. I would lay in bed at night, hearing my body work like an old grandfather clock with its wheels and hear it churn inside myself. Then I would always sleep with the fear of what happens to me when I die. Where does me, or the vessel of me, go? Maybe that’s why people who are devoted to their religion are blissfully unworried about these things. They have something to believe in. The rest of us ask: How can you simply believe? And so the thought spiral goes on and on. They’d never understand that because they are so sure. And we’d never understand anything because we’re not sure of anything. Nothing is ever really certain.

The way I see it is that it’s like the Philippine seasons: rainy and sunny. Except that it doesn’t always last for a few months. The rainy days can last for a year or two or ten, until it drowns you and the people around you. So you try to sink to the bottom, hoping there’s a plug at the end. But plot twist, there is no plug. You just drowned yourself swimming to the bottom for nothing.

We can’t say sorry enough that we are causing other people pain over our anxiety. We wish we could take all that burden away, keep you all at a distance so you won’t see. We feel more like we are a bother if we tell. It’s going to be a constant battle of wills, which in the end we just give up on. Mental health is such a sensitive topic that is easily diverted into something else- religion, self-confidence, sakit ng mayayaman– for it just to make sense. When in fact you just have to let it be. Not let it be in the sense that you abandon your search for the cure. It is never going to be cured, but it is something that can be perceived with understanding.

Turtles All The Way Down somehow made me validate these thoughts with a character you can relate with. I found myself crying at the part where Aza and Daisy fought all the time, because it’s just so accurate. People can love flawed people, yes, but you can’t demand them to change something they can’t control. It’s like having a family of lizards with one pig, and every other lizard wants the pig to be like them. It’s biologically impossible.

At a topic just like this, the only thing that’s left to do is to use your damn heart for once in a good way. Understand and empathize. That’s all there is to it. There is no great moral, no big reveal to a secret to this story for the whole world to know. Only something to read and hope on. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Calcified

I once thought my heart was too wild
that I let it cower, and in its cage it grew;
any sign of life, I run and hide,
so it was smaller that most hearts that I knew.

But then I made the mistake of letting a stranger
touch my wild heart and then it went in flames;
my heart was never the same as I remembered,
I thought I was even going insane.

Now my heart is too big, too raw for my cage,
and it leaves me with no other option-
to let it burn in a fiery rage
until someone willingly accepts my destruction.

The Stranger

There are things I should know about you but I don’t, but frankly, my dear, does it matter?

I don’t know your zodiac sign,
and I wonder if the stars align
for us to be together
but I know how your eyes
can never tell lies
when you are happy, angry, or somber.

I don’t know the name of your mother and father,
or how many siblings you have if there are any
but I know you work harder
than all of your friends combined together
and love to spend time with your family.

I don’t know your favorite song,
book, movie, weather, or day
but I know how you’d like
to sleep in on weekends
and snooze that alarm
on a Sunday.

I don’t know you, my dear,
quite frankly I don’t you at all-
and yet somehow I know you
like how I should after all.

Balang Araw

May mga araw na rumaragasang sa bilis, mga araw na nakakamuti ng mata sa bagal. Isang segundo ay tila masyadong matagal o kaya’y wala na sa isang iglap lamang.

May mga araw na nararamdaman mo ang napakaraming bagay ng sabay-sabay na parang buhangin sa iyong paa tuwing ang alon ay tumatama sa iyong paa habang nakatayo sa dalampasigan-
unti-unti kang nilulunod, nilulubog.

May mga araw na wala kang maramdaman, nabubuhay upang huminga lang. Ramdam ang pagdaloy ng hangin at dugo sa iyong katawan, rinig ang tibok ng puso. Walang saya, walang lungkot, at wala ring kasiguraduhang buhay talaga.

May mga araw na minsan pakiramdam mo ang iyong sariling bahay, kasama, at katawan ay hindi mo tahanan. Na mistulang alam mong mayroon kang paglulugaran sa mundo pero di mo alam kung saan. May hinahanap ka na di mo alam kung ano. May tinatawag ka pero di mo alam kung sino.

May mga araw na pakiramdam mo alam mo na ang patutunguhan mo sa buhay, na alam mo na ang bawat hakbang na iyong tatahakin, alam ang daang susuyurin. Handa ka sa kahit ano mang parating, at kahit ano man ito ay malalampasan mo rin.

May mga araw na nagsasama-sama silang lahat-
ang oras ay mabilis at mabagal,
ang damdamin mo’y puno at walang laman,
ang buhay mo’y may saysay at walang katuturan-
at para kang isang bombang sasabog na
at gusto na lang mawala.

May mga araw na pipiliin mo na lang sabihin sa iyong sarili na maaayos din ang lahat,
hindi man ngayon,
hindi man bukas,
pero balang araw.

Two Truths and A Lie

Yesterday, despite the long lines, I watched Finally Found Someone with my mother. Of course we’d never miss the new AshLloyd (still bothered by the love team name but whatever) movie, so it was imperative that we watch it by the weekend of its release. It does not come as a surprise that I, like most Filipinos, love romantic movies with main characters that have palpable chemistry. Just last week I rewatched Got 2 Believe starring Rico Yan (bless his soul) and Claudine Barretto, another all-time favorite by most Filipino romantics and cinephiles. A few days after that, I rewatched Vince and Kath and James starring Joshua Garcia (bless your heart), Julia Barretto and fafa Ronnie Alonte. Needless to say, I grew up in a country where love is this all-encompassing feeling that makes you feel all warm and tingly inside and that every thing has a happy ending.

Ano Toni, mag-iinarte ka pa?! Kung ayaw mo akin na lang!

Some of you might be saying, gurl masyadong kang romantic, get a life! Walang forever, blah blah. Unbeknownst (naks!) to all of you- which now I will fully divulge- I have been going through a secret project for myself that involves me bringing my heart back to life after my two-year long romantic slump. This is because I have been the kind of people who would tell me to take off my rose-colored glasses, those who want to shake me awake. I’ve been there too long, and I am prepared to say that I am ready again. Here’s my proof:


For a little background on the situation, since I was an original romantic, naturally I give my all when it comes to my relationships. I don’t play around, literally and figuratively I suppose. Literally because I have poor hand-eye coordination, and figuratively because I do things wholeheartedly. That’s the problem with me I guess, I take things too seriously to the point of paranoia. But then again, who doesn’t? Of course we’ll worry, because we want things to work out. I did it to the point that I had these stupid ideas of pagpapamiss (making someone miss you- ang lala nito!), saying things hoping the other person can read between the lines, lululili (lulubog, lilitaw) system. Basically I micromanaged my relationship as if it was my work, when in reality relationships do need work, but not that kind. In the end, obviously it didn’t work out and I got drained, thus the romance slump.

It was lately that I realized that before I can get myself out there- for good this time- I needed to take things seriously by doing what I should have done first a long time ago: open up. Honesty was the main value the movie wanted to embody the most, because realistically speaking, who is truly, fully honest anymore?

So as an oath to the movie and to myself, this is me finally being honest and telling the truth, FFS style: Two Truths and a Lie.

Number 1: It’s not that I haven’t moved on, it’s that I don’t know if I am capable of loving and hurting that way again.

Being INTJ, I am a very calculative person. I estimate my ulam-rice intake, my transportation fare for the month, and occasionally even my calories. I’m a strategist and I like things to be precise, so typically there is no room for failure. What happens when I do fail is that I am back to square one: calculating my every move, going on a different path, and hopefully it will work out better. Relationships aren’t like that.

I wish relationships weren’t as messy as it is usually portrayed and romanticized. I constantly tell myself that love isn’t supposed to be messy, but then I’m clouded by the thoughts of what society has instilled with their love for drama that if there are no trials, no conflicts, then it is not worth fighting for. Do we really have to fight for it when it is what we rightly deserve? Everyone deserves love, a love that doesn’t have to give you more pain that you forget its true value.

Number 2: At a young age, I actually welcome the idea of building a family of my own.

It must come as a shock to most people, but I feel like I’m already at a point in my life where I don’t have to gain anything more professionally, not what I want anyway. I’m almost done with my Masters in Education, I have a stable job, and there’s this whole Top 3 thing. I feel like I could not ask for more. The mention of my accomplishments often make me cringe, to be honest. I wouldn’t say it stems from my lack of self-confidence because boi do I have plenty of those! It wouldn’t be humility because if I did use that term, that makes me the complete opposite of that, I think? So I don’t know what to call my ungrateful, iffy feeling with my accomplishments.

Anyway, since I felt that I have done what I could to have a stable professional life, it’s time for me to focus on the other aspect of my future: family. My own, per se. All this baby fever happening around people my age has been disconcerting. All these babies! In fact, I believed I missed my memo that you have to find your SO around this age because you’re enduring your way into marriage at your thirties. It’s not that I am pressuring myself into it, I happen to have very strong will when it comes to urges except for food. I’ve heard people say I’m young, I have all the time in the world, it’s too early to think about that, but to this I say what Julia Stiles said in Mona Lisa Smile:

To you a housewife is someone who sold her soul for a center hall colonial. She has no depth, no intellect, no interests. You’re the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want.

I’ll just let that do the explaining.

Number 3: I’m afraid that the mixture and swings of desperation and/or isolation will make me end up being alone.

This says a lot considering that I am a reserved, isolated person. I love my own company, in fact, I enjoy it very much. There are times when I would willingly tell my friends that I can’t hang out with them because I want to have some time for myself. They respect my decision of course, they would not be my friends if they didn’t. But there are some times- not simply the cuddle weather, Valentines Day, or when I have so many things to bring like during Christmas Party (I’m not even kidding)- that I wish I had someone else other than myself to rely to. Someone in the romantic sense.

And I tried to get back in the wagon, I really did. I’ve had my fair share of different dating scenarios and instances that could have been compiled into a booklet. Some had potential, like an actual possibility of seeing a future with them, but in the end I just lost interest and ended it. It must have been rude to do so, but you can’t force yourself into something that your heart and mind is not really into. I’ve got my highs and lows, yes and nos when it comes to finally jumping into the relationship bandwagon. And with this, I fear, no one will ever get, not even myself, therefore ending up with no one. You get either too desperate for a relationship that people will think you’re ridiculous or too independent that no one will even try. No matter what road you take, the end is the same, you are alone. Scary, isn’t it?

So, what do you think is the lie in these three statements?

If This is What Adulting Feels Like, This is What I Learned


I’ve been an official adult for three years, and maybe I’m a late bloomer or an early one. It depends on one’s perspective. And I could just be having a moment, and then next thing you know by tomorrow I’m back to being a lost puppy in the city of maturity. But if this is it- the moment that we’re all waiting and dreading- then these are the things that I have learned.

Money is not about saving, it’s about putting it to good use. I have to admit, and we all do, that we could not help but wonder where our money goes. Sometimes we like to delude ourselves that they disappear out of thin air or an imaginary entity took it away, but we all know the truth. You can have big savings and guess what? It will be a waste if the next thing you know, you’re dead. (Knock on wood)

I like to invest in memories and experiences, but I also don’t forget to secure my future. The first year of my work, I already got my life insurance policy. Initially it was because I did not have the slightest idea what to do with my money (until I found my expensive hobby of concert going). Later on, I found out its purpose. I won’t be reaping from the benefits now, but with a future that’s uncertain, at least there is one thing I’m sure of- if I live to reach 42, I’m financially secure af.

I’m not asking you to do the same as I do, because your heart might not be in it. You find your happiness- people, memories, experiences- and don’t be afraid to invest or spend on them. Knowing what you really want and need, whatever it is, nothing could be wrong, and allot your money on it. You won’t have regrets.

Friendship does not require constant companionship. I like to joke that I have no friends, and that’s okay with me. It seemed appropriate to say given my social anxiety. The truth is, I have friends. They’re great, and I feel tremendously lucky to have them in my life. And it does not and should not come as a surprise that adulting can result in less meetups, girls night out, and sessions that last until the sunrise. That doesn’t mean the friendship ends or becomes dormant. Why do you think social media exists? I’ll get to that on the next one.

I don’t have the time and energy and sometimes money to meet up with my friends, but we find the time to check on each other through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. And it feels like youre updated. Besides, you can have some follow-up chats about it in person. It won’t feel like you haven’t seen each other in forever.

Of course nothing beats meeting them in person with a couple of wine or beers, maybe over coffee. Traveling together is a great way to know them better and spend time with them too, with a different environment and circumstance. But when there are time and financial (LOL) constraints, instant messaging is not so bad. You know friendship is real when it endures time and distance.

Social media is not something you have to hate or shun away from if you use it wisely. I know a few people who tell me they don’t like Facebook because their feeds give them a brain tumor by friends who post and share irresponsibly. When I hear them say it, it makes me think of either two things- they’re incredibly snobby or they don’t know how to utilize their social media correctly.

If you don’t like what you see, unfollow. If you don’t like the person in general, unfriend. If you don’t want strangers to mind your own business, make your profile private. Technology is humankind’s greatest achievement, next to the teacup pig. It’s not your fault other people don’t use it properly or is abusing its potential. You can only change what you can control, which is most of the time, just yourself.

I like social media because it makes me able to share my expressions, hopefully helping someone or simply just to relate to. I learn a lot from it, gaining my storage of unnecessary facts that I still like to know. I get to meet people from across the country and the world and learn from them in return. I recently joined a Facebook group about the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale, and it feels so good to know people who are as passionate with it as I am. I know that I am not alone, I mean I’ve always known that, but it just assures me even more. This I wish my skeptic friends knew.

Dating is supposed to be easy when you know what you want. Just yesterday, I went through Matthew Hussey’s YouTube channel. It’s never early to go through a self help phase, especially when it comes to relationships. I’ve only ever had one serious relationship. Does that make me a loser? No! Does that make me choosy? Yes! And I don’t mind it one bit.

You can never attract what or who you want when you don’t know what you need. Some might want casual relationships, and that’s okay. Some crave for serious, long-lasting relationships, and that’s okay too. The key is to know what you want, and look for the same species as you. If one wants caszch (short for casual, but not really) and the other wants the real deal, well they can’t really date now, can they?

My very brave friend messaged me and told me how he likes someone at the moment and confessed his feelings and intentions for the girl. It made me so happy! It was because I wish all people were like that. The what ifs are harder to bear than the oops. It’s better to be flat out vocal and honest to yourself and the one you’re eyeing on than drag it along, hoping it will change. Of course, as a friend, I’m totally pining for his crush to work. And when my time comes too, I will be as brave as him.

Hygiene with yourself and your surroundings doesn’t have to be painful. Style can evolve and return, but comfort is forever. Just like any normal human being, I went through every possible phase I can go through in my lifetime. And often, it was not because of some deep reason, but because I wanted to belong. It’s fun to look back at it that I feel bad for the others who didn’t, because their childhood sucked. When I was a kid, I loved dressing up. And I still do.

My wardrobe is a mess of girly dresses, military jackets, and sports tees. Does that mean I don’t have a concrete personality? Of course not. But the truth is I keep them because I feel comfortable and well, pretty damn good in them. And when I do buy them, I only think of two things- do I look and feel good in them? If both, and it has to be, answers yes then that’s only when I get it.

Same goes with my things. There’s nothing wrong with spending your Sundays organizing your tupperwares (I just did that earlier), accessories (I used labels!), or your workspace or apartment. Self help books know a thing or two about how tidying up helps you subconsciously. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

There will be times when you want to do everything or nothing, don’t resist it. I’ve had my fair share of quarter life crises for the past year, and when I dealt with it poorly, it lashed out on me. The consequences sucked, but I can only look back at it now, not change it. Along the line, I forgot who I was, what I wanted and needed. I zombied my way through it and I gained nothing.

Someone told me there was a specific time in your life that will be a point in reference for everything else in your life. To me, it was different. I am slowly and gradually changing, wanting and needing different things, but one thing is constant- I don’t want to fight it anymore. 

There are many things that I want to achieve. I want to reach my full potential, though I don’t know it yet. But I try every day, even if it seems too much and it’s overwhelming. At least I did something about it.

And then there are times when I don’t want to do anything (cue Bruno Mars’ song), because maybe I want to rest or take a timeout. Maybe I want to be a bum for a day or two. I indulge myself with it as well. Being a superhero teacher sometimes takes a toll on you, you know? But you never give up, you just rest. I don’t want to be called a quitter like in The Pacifier.

Something To Read When You Feel Like Your Life is Too Messy

At times like these, we just all wish we had a rewind button. But rewind button is too cliché. And if you had one, you’d go far back as to your, I don’t know, birth? That is because you don’t ever remember having experienced pain, hurt, fear, and heartache. Also the thing about life is an awful roller coaster ride, with ups and downs. Sometimes it just happens that you’re down there too long that no matter how patient you are in waiting to get to the good part, climb up, that you just want to get off the ride because it’s so boring.

Life gets so boring, you wonder why you’re still given the time and space in this world, in this life.

So we either do two things. One, we find plenty of ways to regain that feeling, or any feeling at all. We go through such lengths that involve the unusual, the bizarre, and then the uncharacteristic and sometimes immoral/illegal. The crazy lengths we have to go through makes everyone else put a distance from you, or worse, condemn and ostracize you. Honestly, you’d rather they just leave you alone than tell you what to do with your life. If you wanted help, you would have asked, right?

And second, you get so tired of it all that you just want to end it.

Everyone knows those two things, but there was that one obvious answer we often forget in which we really need.

You just need to rest. What we need is a pause button.

Whether it be a vacation, a retreat, or a simple timeout. Hell, it can even be a small bathroom break. All it just takes is a time for yourself, remember who you are, what you really want to do and become.

I’ve always thought the point of roller coasters were not the feelings of the highs. It makes my stomach queazy and awful, so I don’t like it at all. Nor is it the lows, the plummeting down, because I’m afraid of heights. What I like, and what I think is the purpose of me riding a roller coaster is the view. Open space, clear skies, and the fresh air despite coming from the speed of the ride, is what I’m in it for.

Life can get high and low, bumpy and smooth, good or bad, but when you never lose sight of what matters most, then the messiness of it all doesn’t seem as colossal at it does at the moment. To some, it might seem like you’re trying to forget, project, or even neglect. But the view looks too good for every other distraction, am I right?