The Love of Quality Time

If it’s one thing about me, it’s that I LOVE spending quality time with people. This can be a 1 on 1 interaction at our favorite coffee or boba shop, or even a group setting indulging in delicious Korean barbecue and taking shots of soju. Though these are some of my own personal experiences, I favor more of the 1 on 1 aspect because it has more of a personal feel to it.

I remember having a 1 on 1 with my direct supervisor in the Student Housing Department of my college. These 1 on 1’s are not only mandatory but my supervisor makes it best to have it intimate to where it doesn’t feel forced and having to direct every issue dealing with residents about policy violations in Housing or maintenance issues/requests due to the condition of the apartment complex. These 1 on 1’s are the opportunities to be human and voice such concerns about our own lives.

I took this idea but implemented it with the people that I love & care about. Every 1 on 1 spent with a different person has an outcome of new positive emotions that transpire as well as feelings that gravitate towards stronger feelings of love & care. These moments are the time where undivided, uninterrupted attention is dedicated towards this person and this also applies to the other party. When you are giving them that time, you are giving them those moments where you will never get back and showing that they are worth that sacrifice. That’s the beautiful thing about life, is that we allow to let these people in our lives and allow ourselves to dedicate that love for them by means of quality time. Even with a multitude of demands in the 24 hour time frame of each day, we do best to be able to work accordingly around our schedules and are willing to make those sacrifices without ever having to think twice. It’s a refreshing feeling knowing that you and that one person are sharing thus making a recollection that you are able to take down memory lane.

Quality time comes in different forms such as doing an activity that one party enjoys while the other partakes in that interest. Even if having no sense of the given activity, do best to question it, show deep interest, this knows that you’re willing to put in a loving effort of showing them that you love and care about them.

My boss and I share the same philosophy: “people that you love & care about come first.” I stand by this statement to the fullest extent. Ending on a good note, if you are willing to make those huge sacrifices that require effortless planning, money, and more, you are showing that person that they are worth it. That in the end they are worth everything.

The Ugly Truth

Ever since I started to embark on this journey of journaling my experiences and express the darkest of feelings I’ve learned to come across such posts. Those blogs on the topics of love, heartbreak, healing, driven kindness, any kind of human emotion that is essential and that I can resonate with to the fullest. I find comfort in these sort of posts no matter how triggering and painful they get when reading about them.

At best, I know what I am getting myself into and the shocking truth of what I fear and feel so utterly embarrassed and ashamed about, but for what specific reason?

I fear of the actual truth and facing it seems more daunting than actually said. I feel ashamed in that sense that I cannot withstand and accept that kind of realization, that these feelings I have are real and completely normal. I guess that it ties along with that sense of embarrassment in which my pride settles in and a wave of uncertainty floods in.

Some of you may ask what “truth” I’m talking about. For me it’s the simple truth of fear and fearing to face the sure reality with nerve-wracking human emotions. It feels like a plague which treatment cannot suffice. At times, I wish that I can never feel and be numb to these emotions. That way my heart will never have to go through those highs that can instantly turn into such lows.

But to come to think about those flustered feelings, it’s a beautiful struggle.

Life is, in fact, constantly and irrefutably, a beautiful struggle.

We focus on things that we tend to leave our feelings on the back burner. We forget how fragile life can be once something traumatic or heart-wrenching creeps in and settles for a duration of time, and that focus is directed towards whatever emotions we want to feel and subside in.

Though going through such chaos and hell, we eventually find the time to heal. Healing can take days, months, years, maybe even what we consider a lifetime, but always remember to heal at your own pace. Never feel the need of pressure from someone to rid yourself of whatever plague that surfaces. Most importantly, never pressure yourself to heal at a fast rate. Just like college, there’s no rush whether it’s four years or even seven years, take your time. You heal at your own rate. Remember to surround yourself with those that want to be a part of your healing process.

As much of a work in progress I am, this settling feeling shall wither eventually. As the saying goes, “this too shall pass” as much as I want it to, I believe that some small measure of hope, it shall.

And that’s the ugly truth, to wrap it all up.

Thanks for listening to me Ted Talk. HAHA

Where I checked back in

This summer was very short-lived in all honesty. I had six weeks of freedom to do as I pleased back home but to an extent (typical strict Filipino moms). But as my summer had come to an abrupt end, I had to jump back into Resident Assistant training as a returner RA. I had no worries in this position especially with the amazing team that I have been gifted with each having their own unique sense of style to handle certain and difficult situations. From these 9-5 sometimes 6 work timeframe was the most tiresome hours I have been through, there have been certain days where they have fully stood out to me.

I’ll never forget going on my second retreat as an RA and where I felt utterly disconnected.

It was the first Thursday of August and the whole RA team were on their way to go on a retreat to Point Bonita YMCA center in Sausalito just right outside of San Francisco. To make a long story short, it was better than last years and more refreshing.

However things just came at me sideways and I still do not fully understand why they did. The flow of this disconnect came in the afternoon of the first day and it was honestly the hardest feelings to feel especially in front of the entire Res Life team. As stated, this feeling was indescribable and frustrating to wrap my head around, and thoughts were floating in my head that afternoon to night constantly. Even when half of the RA team and myself took a walk down to the beach, I coerced myself to snap out of that feeling but it didn’t work whatsoever, or at least I think it didn’t. I was masking my emotions that were written all over my face and no one saw it. I guess I do a damn good job at that. The beach was an eye gazer for sure and the whole vibe of those moments spent on the serene area were just the right amount of what a measure of serenity is, but why was I feeling the way I was and hating myself on such a beautiful day surrounded by beautiful people taking their pictures to distract my own self. I was facing something that made me wanted to scream and punch the concrete walls of my apartment, and I have no idea how I was still able to go on about that whole time in front of everyone. I had felt that I had given up on the world as it did for me.

As depressing as this post sounds already, I checked back in with myself unintentionally. Someone saved me from this even if it was only for twenty plus minutes, those moments salvaged me for the time being.

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My good friend Aimee who I have previously mentioned in one of my posts “Two Souls” was also at the beach with half of the entire RA team. Even when I was feeling so flustered I had always been checking in on her that whole day because it was a nerve-wracking experience for her and plus I always do on a good basis. The sun was setting reaching about to reach the cover of darkness some RA’s started to trail off the beach to go back to the campfire session with half of the ResLife team, I bumped into her and had asked her how she was doing. This was me trying to force myself to be there for someone that I truly love and care about no matter how bad I was feeling emotionally. This is when I snapped out of it and checked back in. Ironic as that sounds, right? After I had asked her that, she told me that something was really bothering her and I can tell that it was for the duration of that day.

As the other RA’s were straying off the beach to head back to the center I had asked Aimee to sit down on a wooden log with me overlooking the beach with the huge cliffs to the far left-side of us and just simply discuss the issue she had been facing. We had talked about it and hopefully it made her better but in all honesty it made me feel better. Normally something like this would sound as if it were coming straight out of a adventure or love novel, even a movie, but everything about that moment meant everything to me. The fact that someone actually came to me first and wanted to vent and discuss their personal problems to me while sitting on a log on the beach, overlooking the Pacific Ocean with its waves crashing on the lower rocks of the cliffs, seagulls with other marine animals passing by along with the summer sun setting in front of us, with the cool ocean breeze swaying in, and just having that pleasant conversation of remedying the underlying situation literally meant everything to me that evening. I comforted her as best as I could and reassured her that everything will fall into place. I hugged her and told her that I loved her offering the 110% support she deserves. I know that it sounds weird and even just typing while reading it out sounds weird but I hope y’all get where I’m coming from.

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I know later in the nighttime the emotions came flooding back as I was wandering aimlessly in the wild while everyone was enjoying the campfire and sharing a multitude of laughter with songs of hype and love, but as I reflect on that specific moment with Aimee, it was something that I will never forget about during my college years. It meant everything to me and still does to this very day.

I ended up getting my 15th tattoo in dedication of this moment and scenery. It serves as a gentle reminder and a dedication of that special moment with her.

I will never forget that spent summer evening moment with Aimee . I take a walk down memory lane and revisit that blissful experience with her in hopes that I would see her there where we can sit at that very same wooden log, at the same exact spot, with the same beautiful setting where nothing else mattered and everything is right in the world. The description of scenery I previously mentioned inexplicably felt right in that moment. It was absolute and for that evening I felt ok because it’s where I checked back in.

L’exquisite douleur

One of the the most powerful things in this world is love. The love from family, an animal, a friend, a significant other, your partner for life, it is no doubt one of life’s greatest feelings that a living creature can ever feel. However, it can be the most cutting and hurtful emotion one can face. All my life I was taught of the idea that the greatest law is love indeed, and that in the end it is love that wins. I truly do believe that to the furthest extent. It is irrefutable to say that this emotion carries an insignificant amount of heartbreak and turmoil in unexplainable methods.

Heartbreak comes in many forms when love is intertwined: the heartbreak of not feeling loved as before or seeing betrayal as if the love was a myth in disguise.

The kind of “love” that resonates more with me, or so I feel like I have an endless connection with is the French phrase, “La Doleur Exquise”.  This phrase holds a remarkable stamp of my approval for how relatable the context is and the complicated affection that holds no title for relationships.

“The exquisite pain of wanting someone that you know you can never have, and knowing that you will still try to be with them.” The best explanation for a phrase that has so much meaning to me on a personal level. I know that I titled this post differently than the actual phrase itself but for a certain reason. One of the most noted bands in the music scene I associate with, Being As An Ocean, tackled this phrase in the most sophisticated way I can only imagine.

“You just can’t see all that you are to me. So I’ll just have to learn to be alright. Without you by my side. My bed seems so much colder at night.”

These lyrics may be read in a simple minded status but the song itself holds more emotion and feeling..

I may not fully understand why I feel like this but it serves as a gentle and hurtful reminder ironically so that my heart never forgets it’s flaw.. To prevent it from forgetting the keen sting of one-sided love.. So that when and if it happens again I’ll be used to the pain no matter how aching it gets.

From what I thought would be a beautiful relationship can make a huge one-eighty resulting back to square one.

This is just a fraction of how I feel towards this espceically discussing this sensitive emotion.

I try my very best to show the people that I care about the love and affection they need. From simple things as sending text messages to remind them to hydrate on water, going out of my way to the store and surprise them with their favorite snack, to even those serious moments where I fully embrace them and tell that I appreciate them for existing and letting me be a part of their life.

In serious moments, where a majority of times I feel as if I am not loved enough or appreciated I find myself questioning if I should ever feel remotely apologetic for feeling the love I have for people. One-sided love, unrequited love, it is blinding and confusing in the darkest of times where this may be the only feeling that is actually and simply there. It cuts very deep and all you can do is smile faintly with a subtle expression, holding in an emotional scar.

L’exquisite douleur. Thank you for existing to remind myself that I am alive and that love will never be an easy discovery.

Two Souls

I’ll never forget the earlier years of my college endeavor, especially up to now. Before I got involved working for Student Housing I wouldn’t have come to think that this department would bring me close to many people that I hold dear to. Specifically, two people have made a huge impact on me these past few months in particular. Ironically, they are both in Greek Life Organizations in the same sorority. Who knew that these two individuals would have made such a huge impact on my life for the better.

At first, I made quick judgements based on the reputation that Greek Life holds as a whole: partying, enough beer cans/bottles to make stain glassed windows at churches, sexual assaults/rape, khaki shorts and Sperry shoes, valley girls, the list goes on. As ending my 4th year here, I’ve learned that those hasty assumptions are not all true. I’ve grown and learned to work with people in that community who turn out to be some of the greatest people I know and love.

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This person I became close with my 4th year of college is Clara. She was my Resident Assistant for the first quarter of my 2nd year and sure enough she had to move to another area. Years pass and I would remember seeing her my 3rd year here and there living in the library and tackling her nursing school work. 4th year hits and we both became RA’s in the same department but in different areas. More library instances happened to the point where we found each other studying together doing our own classwork. Oddly enough we hung out more and more other than just the library and we eventually became close.

Every food run, laughing about the unnecessary, inside jokes, always reminded me of the dry humor and inner dad jokes that I have potential of. Every hang out was 99% of these instances.

I consider her ‘Daily’ because of the frequent hang outs and time together we spend on a day-to-day basis and she does the same. Clara and I became close other than just stupid jokes and laughs: we found ourselves in serious conversations at times where they became genuine and different from others, especially the conversations of my depression, but not as in depth as I share. Now, she has graduated from undergrad with a Bachelor’s in Nursing. I cannot stress enough how proud of a Daily I am and how sad I am now that we won’t be working alongside together.. Though she may have graduated and I will no longer be seeing her as frequent, she will always be a Daily to me, a Daily that I love very much.

 

 

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I remember this day vividly. It was the week of Thanksgiving break on a Monday over at Tierra Mia in Oakland. Aimee was raving how great of a place it is so we had our coffee date here and it was our first 1 on 1 in months.. An overdue one that we both desperately needed.

This is Aimee, someone that is very special to me and like no other person I have met here at East Bay. I met Aimee during FDA training in September ’16, we paired up for an activity exercise because everyone else seemed to have paired up so we looked over and smiled at each other and did the activity together. From 3rd year we were coworkers but were able to work night shifts together sporadically.. We would see each other on a seldom basis and had a class together. By the 4th year we were able to lock in more time spent along with having a class together.

Ever since this year, our relationship has blossomed to something beautiful that I wouldn’t have come to think of. Aimee continues to have this happy, upbeat, and positive personality that I rarely see nowadays. It would physically and mentally pain me to see her hurt because how can a big ball of sunshine be an emotional bean the next?

The role of being an RA has taught me multiple things from this person; but one important thing that I learned from Aimee is the value of spending 1 on 1 time no matter who it is. Every 1 on 1 we got to spend together has always had a great outcome; just getting coffee, food, or the simple visits at her work always made my day brighter and happier. Matter of fact, just seeing Aimee for a brief moment would instantly change a bad day into a great one. Her smile would always leave a huge smile on mine and my heart which is what everyone should see in a person.

If it wasn’t for Aimee, I honestly wouldn’t know where I would be to this day.. In the world of being an RA, it is mandated in the contract to have weekly 1 on 1’s with our supervisors. I implemented this idea for Aimee and I but differently. Our 1 on 1’s consisted of laughs, heart to heart conversations, and even moments where tears were shed through hearing one another about their passions, through serious instances, and so on. She would always listen to me no matter what I had to say; whether it would be good or bad, she never passed any harsh judgement to me. She has always given me the words of encouragement and advice in the most endearing way possible. If it wasn’t for Aimee, I would forget how to keep a calm manner within myself even forget to check back in and most of all be in touch with my emotions.

 

To wrap this up, both are equally wonderful in their own unique image. They are brave, courageous, down-to-earth young ladies that I love. Both of them have been there for me through perilous situations hearing the same stories but have given me different viewpoints making such immense impacts on my life in different ways, and I cannot thank them enough for letting me grow with them and mending me through my own war.. Who knew that two important individuals would come from a stigmatized culture who turned out to be the most sweetest, caring, and admirable people I know?

Clara, thank you for everything and the mom humor you always through at me even when I don’t laugh at your jokes 50% of the time. You taught me how to be a better thinker for myself and to let things happen naturally along with living in the moment.

Aimee, thank you also for everything.. For always listening to me no matter what I had to say. I know I had come down more with negative thoughts this past year but you were always the one to make something negative flipped to a positive side. Thank you for teaching me the value of 1 on 1 time and giving me the drive to become a better listener. Thank you for reassuring me and showing me the gentle reminders of my emotions.

I love you both with all my heart and I want you to know that I’m trying my best to be a better person..

I am forever grateful for life letting these two souls cross my path.

 

Spiritual Focus

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As many know, it’s obvious that 50% of my arms are covered in permanent ink in a variety of beautiful colors and tattoo designs. When I first started getting tattoos, I only had one goal: strictly and ONLY get American Traditional style tattoos. Most of them can be viewed as a old school, cartoon styled form of art which I can attest to. Personally this style of tattoo has drawn a huge interest in me not because it’s closest associated with those in my music scene, but for the beautiful art and design of them. Primarily the only reason why I got them through flash designs is because of the liking and appreciation of the artwork itself even though I constantly was getting shitted on for it not having absolute meaning… However, out of the 13 tattoos I have, 2 in mind do have significant meaning that I hold dear to.

I have been giving this a lot of thought when deciding what next tattoos I’ve been wanting to get. Aoife urged me to at least get something with a value behind it, so, I took her suggestion into consideration and went through with it. Through her suggestions, I got the most beautiful tattoos I have: Mandala Flowers.

I got these tattoos located on both of my elbows and man.. Did the life leave my soul during the tattoo process.. These flowers hold more than just a specific design and factual meaning behind its realness. Simply, I got these not only because they are beautiful, but for more of a personal wellness. As researching on these flowers, I learned that many religious and spiritual interpretations are shown at hand. For someone who has lost faith in religion, I however did not lose my spirituality (or at least I hope I haven’t). Through my interpretation, these flowers heal through a spiritual and mental barrier. They bring me back to a sense of reality and the focus. These last few months I had felt that I lost myself in a disconnect; with being as an RA, school, the people that I love, and myself. I was wearing a coward’s mask written in “courage”. I was launched into a sea of depression and fell under the cracks of mental slavery. I still feel that way in most cases; however I will be getting the professional help that I need which I will talk about later.

I’m sure that Mandala Flowers are personal for those who seek it more than just the art form itself; I do give credit that its spirituality defines the deep focus of life. They are personal to me and only a few select people I hold close to know some kind of meaning behind it.

 

“Let a garden and a set of flowers grow between yourself and whatever Hell you encounter. Give yourself the honest reminder to heal even in pervaded spaces of harm and apprehensiveness. In the love that you live without, remain untethered and give that endearment effortlessly.”

The best reasoning I can possibly at best explain about these pieces of art.

These are inspired by my own mental health. For my favorite band, Counterparts whose lyrics resonate with me.  For my everlasting healing process that is a work in progress. This is for my Spiritual Focus.

Lyrical Genuis’

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It is irrefutable to say that we all have some kind of outlet when it comes to shit hitting the fan. Arguably I have many outlets where I am able to keep my emotions at bay; hiking, talking a walk, the sporadic glorious house of gainz getting the sickest pump, spending one on one time with the people I love and care about, the list goes on and on and on. My biggest outlet from what I have learned in search of myself is music and live music (shows/concerts). I can easily say that I have attended many concerts and like to say that my genre of music is diverse as the Bay Area. But what really gets me moving is one of my favorite bands in the extreme music scene, Counterparts. To them, I owe them a lot for not only the sick breakdowns I mosh to in my apartment and at their shows, but most importantly piecing the words that I can never say..

Counterparts is a band primarily from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Who knew that one of my favorite bands would be from the land of Maple Leaves, eh?

Anyways, I have seen this band 6 times throughout my 5 years of going to shows. The first time I saw them was in Oakland 3 years ago at the Oakland Metro, one of my favorite venues in the Bay Area. The second time last year in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall, the third and fourth time were back-to-back Vans Warped Tour dates in the Summer of ’17: Mountain View and San Diego, fifth time in San Francisco at the Regency Ballroom 2 months ago, and lastly, the sixth time in Berkeley at the Cornerstone Brewery just a few days shy of May. Seems like that I’ve caught these guys for a good amount of time throughout those 5 years, right? I have taken an interest in these guys but not as much as I thought I would now.. Man, I wish I was a dedicated fan during the 2011-2014 years..

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The only reason why they are any relevant now in my life is because of the real, honest, accessible lyrics.. During my state of depression from January to even now (to be honest), they have been my go-to band for whatever bad feeling I was ravaged by. Most of my statements are pulled from their lyrics that all the band members have wrote in their songs. The confiding feeling reassures me of why I feel the way I feel and that someone who has gone through Hell, feeling the same feelings as me, gives me the gentle reminder that I am not alone in this world even though I feel that I am most of the time. A majority of their lyrics deal with a dark imagery of self-worth, the loss of loved ones and oneself, loneliness, abuse, the list goes on. Ironic that something so lyrically negative is my catharsis in my own world of chaos? It sounds like they can be the contributing factor that triggers my emotions, but they’re not, it’s more than that. Yes, whatever they have in their songs can come off as negative and depressing but I’ve learned to be ok with it because of the emotional tension and anger it feeds off. The raw energy is just what I need.

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Counterparts holds a special place in my heart. No matter what sound they drift to, the shows I have attended and will attend in the nearby future, Counterparts forever. Hats off to these lyrical genius’.