When Someone Said I Needed a Holiday, I Said

What is a bed
when you lie down
and still your mind
shouts and rings and cries
with your thoughts,
your life on replay like a bad sitcom,
and your regrets
play in your head?

What is an empty room
when it’s filled with
the suffocating air
of the words that
you ache to say,
or did say
but wanted to take back-
mixing with the
sounds of the air condition-
and you wonder if
it’s either keeping you cool
or coldhearted?

What is a nice stroll
on a quiet park
when you have
the fear that someone
might mug you,
rape you,
kill you,
or worse,
see that you’re
lonely and alone?

What is a recluse
on a deserted island
when the waves
remind you of
the things, the people
that came and went in your life,
and how you, like the sand,
was never the same since then?

What is rest
of all kinds and places
when all you ever wanted
and needed and craved
was a person,
a feeling,
a moment,
a chance?

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I Like Staying In Thrift Bookshops

Amidst the crooked spines
and the tattered pages
and the smell of
aging paper,
I found my place
in this world.

Left with marks-
like fingerprints and
coffee stains-
once touched,
never the same.

After giving pleasure
abandoned, discarded
they’ve seen it all before,
sometimes more
than once.

I’d like to think
that the next
person to touch me
will keep me
this time.

A Year

is the time
that we spent together-
laughing and crying
and loving
and loving still
until you had to go.

A year
is the time
that we spent apart-
wondering and worrying
and loving
and loving still
but decided to let go.

A year
is the time
that you came back-
trying and failing
and loving
and loving still
but not the same way anymore.

A year
is the time
that I moved on-
wishing and praying
and loving
and loving still
even if it’s not you anymore.

If By Any Chance You Still Love Me

You have to know
that I am not the same woman
as I was before.
You once wanted me
because I was the kind
of person who would
never do anything cruel.
But the world, time, and my loneliness
have made me the woman
you said you did not want.

You have to see
that I have changed for
I no longer look like
the delicate angel that will
touch your hair and
kiss your lips.
I am the iron maiden
in my ivory tower
that you must fight before
you get a taste.

You have to hear
my voice.
My once joyous laugh
has gone to a better place,
and is now replaced with
a dark chuckle
on a good day.

Most of all
you have to see
my demons,
my fear,
my shame,
and wonder if this is what you made me.
If this is what I would always be.
If this is what has been me all this time,
and if you will still love me the same.

Twenty Four

I feel like I’m older from the way I look. Sometimes I think I can feel it when my cells are changing, when my skin is peeling away, when my body is getting rounder with the pounds I am gaining.
I feel like I’m older from the way I strive from day to day. I no longer have the energy to stay up all night and wake up early in the morning. I can’t remember the last time I attempted at a winged eyeliner because of how I would rush every day to work. I don’t even like wearing makeup during the weekends. I get dragged by the slow and torturous flow of traffic, wasting my time and strength to get from one place to another. I spend most of my food stress eating.

I feel like I’m older from the way I have to understand people. Younger or older than me, I have to adjust for their expense. Mostly because it’s my obligation to do so, but because I don’t want anymore conflicts to resound. I know they’ll always think they’re right, that I’ll never win. Millennials are such troubled people, they say. I carry the weight of the people and the world on my shoulders even if I don’t have to, because the rest are happy in their ignorant bliss. I have come to the realization to just simply accept that.

I feel like I’m older from the way I see things. Every other sunset looks different, but beautiful all the same. Every other person’s flaws, including mine, looks hideous in our own eyes. Every other movie, every other song, and every other television show is not just a simple filler of silence, or feeder of eyes, but a window through what I perceive to be worth my time and emotions.

I feel like I’m older from the way I want something. Some people dream to be rich, powerful, smart, beautiful. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I go day to day, grinding myself, and yet only having a simple dream: to be a happy stay at home mom. It’s such a contrary from the ultimate working girl reputation I’ve got going on, with my ivory tower and closed guard. Eventually these lavishes gets so tiring that you just want the simple things so life doesn’t get so complicated.

I feel like I’m older, but like ten times more or ten times less. I’ll always want to be someone who is wise beyond my years, but still have that childlike wonder. To see the world as if it was the first but look at it deeply than others. To grow old but not grow up. Like an age limbo where I can be anything and everything.

When I hear how people my age are striving to be so many things, at first it saddens me, but then it resonates. It’s not because they’re lost and have no idea who they are, it is because they can be so many things in so many ways that the world cannot pigeonhole them into a single person when in fact, those fragments build up to what and who exactly they are.

Twenty four doesn’t sound promising, but it’s not so bad.

If Love Is

The way we talk

about everything under the stars

until it becomes under the sun

The way we still think

we’re cute while on

our drunken stupor

The way we tease

each other and end up concurring

because it’s true

The way we make

a thousand miles

seem so close

The way the years

that we’ve known each other

are not enough for a lifetime

The way we realize

‘You’ve been there all along’

then so be it

What 2016 Made Me Realize

Remember when Kylie Jenner said 2016 was a year of realizing stuff? That lady is a shaman. Because it was true.

1. It’s okay to want new things.

Everyone who knows me will tell you straight away that I am a chicken girl. I love chicken, especially the thigh part. Bur thanks to a lot of short cooking videos, I have learned to like fish, particularly salmon. Salmon is my favorite fish. Cook it in any way and I will eat it. I’m like Jennifer Coolidge in A Cinderella Story. I need more salmon! And guess what? I like it better than chicken. And I think it’s okay to want something new after a few years of wanting the same thing.

2. There is nothing wrong with looking back.

When I was a kid, I was the girliest hoe out there. You can blame Legally Blonde too, because that movie was my anthem. I loved pink, everything pink. Then I grew up and changed into blue. I thought my pink-girly phase was over until last night on new year’s eve, when my family chose pink as the color theme for this year. There is always a part of my blue-loving self that will love pink. There’s nothing wrong with it.

3. It’s nice to feel afraid.

Now I don’t mean when someone is attempting to murder you that you would still feel nice about it. I’m talking about those times when you suddenly feel your heart leap, your pulse go fast, and your breath taken away. It’s a sign that you’re alive. To me, those kind of experiences are hard to find. For example, I like scary movies but scary movies don’t like me. Because I am a lousy viewer and reactor. Every time I watch a scary movie, I rarely get that feeling. I want to experience it more this 2017. Thus, #ayearofYES2017.

4. You find that one purpose in what you you and whatever it is, keep it.

The only reason I wake up and try to go to work every morning is because of my students. Not my salary. Not because my boss will look for me. It’s them. As much as they make me mad, sad, and cry, they inspire me to do it over and over again every week day. I love and hate them for it. I wish they knew that. I hope no matter how many students pass through me, I still have this kind of inspiration.

As for everyone else, go find that one thing. And if you can’t find it, maybe it’s time to look somewhere else.

5. Don’t disregard that change of heart and mind. It might be a sign.

Over the year, my perceptions of some people changed. People do change after all, but sometimes it takes a while to accept that when you’ve built this image of them in your head. And when they’re so different from it, it’s so hard to shake. You want them to be what you perceived them to be but the thing is they can’t. They have to be who they are, and what they are is something you cannot control.

And the thing about these epiphanies is that sometimes they can be exhilarating.

6. You’ll be more burdened with the things you didn’t do than the things you did.

I wish I did a whole lot more last year, but I don’t know, I guess life got ahead of me. And then at the end of year, I would whine about it when it’s my fault. I can’t keep doing that shit over and over again. I’m getting older. And if the people around me are too afraid to take that risk, I don’t want to be like them. Misery loves company. I don’t want to be miserable like them.

Knock knock mom and dad, your first born is a grown ass woman now. Loosen the leash, will you? You’ve trained me well anyway.

7. Finish what you started even if you’re tired, and when you’re done, finally rest.

Oh graduate school, you were so fun. But I’m drained out. Work is killing me. Don’t worry, I will push you through. I won’t give up. I just hope you won’t give up on me too.

Just like that saying, rest but don’t quit. Or in my words, chill but never kill. It. The task. Get it?

8. If you want to dance by yourself, THEN FUCKING DANCE.

People underestimate how much I love to dance by myself. Sadly, I haven’t done that in a while. But when I do, my soul is happier. So audience or no, I will do it. Because it makes me happy even if I look stupid.

Find that thing that makes you stupidly happy and do it.