silence

Silence

When all that’s left is silence,
there is nothing you can do
but to endure the cacophony of voices in your head
at two in the morning
in the middle of that cold dark room.
One tiny voice tries to scream
to keep the sanity inside that head
but the million other voices
seem to think otherwise.

When all that’s left is silence,
your senses seem more alive.
You can feel the darkness creeping in to your soul
freezing everything inside of you
as its claws touch your heart.
And even though the heart pumps more blood
to keep you warm as a sign of protest,
the darkness wins and you fall in to the cold pit
especially made for you.

When all that’s left is silence,
you begin to lose sight of the light.
You become trapped in an abyss
where not a single sign of hope is visible.
And no matter how you cry,
how you howl or scream or shout,
nothing will answer you back from all your whining.
Nothing at all, even your echo will be afraid
to reverberate within the emptiness.

When all that’s left is silence,
the past slowly walks in and fills the emptiness
with all of those moments, those memories
that you have been trying to erase with utmost effort.
Yet here they are, endlessly haunting you
and trying to bring back the excruciating pain
from the wounds you thought already healed.
Tears roll down your cheeks quietly because you already know
that crying out loud makes no difference.

When all that’s left is silence,
you suddenly find yourself bare and unarmed
in a duel against the scariest of foes.
It is ‘You of the Now’ against ‘You of the Then’
fighting for the right to be the ‘You of Tomorrow’.
Opening old wounds, creating new ones,
not realizing that neither one comes out unscathed.
In the end, the ‘You of Tomorrow’ will similarly be
scarred and scared of living.

When all that’s left is silence,
there’s nothing left to hold on to
as if every one you love has left you behind
empty, frozen, and unimaginably broken.
You hear voices screaming your name along with words
that make you doubt yourself even more.
All you are left with is a small piece of self-worth
that you keep in your pocket to push you forward
yet swiftly vanishes on the palm of your hands.

When all that’s left is silence,
you’d feel numb and beat and sore
from fighting your inner demons within the edges of your mind
as they burn your soul until it leaves you behind.
As always you find yourself alone and cold,
up against the things that scare you the most.
You even wonder what keeps you fighting,
you question yourself how you win each match
and end up facing a new day to live.

When all that’s left is silence,
you try your hardest to calm yourself down
so that sleep can finally embrace you
and tuck you under your warm blanket.
Only to be interrupted a few deep breaths later
as the sunlight creeps through the window sill
shedding light once again to your once cold dark room.
You open your tired eyes and reach out for your mask
trying to hide yesternight’s battle scars.

When all that’s left is silence,
you ask yourself, ‘What else can I do?’,
thinking that there’s no purpose to be in this world.
At the end of each day you find yourself
in the same state, so detached from reality.
Routinely putting your mask on and off
and continually fighting your inner foes,
you ultimately conclude that maybe it’s time
to finally succumb to the quiet.

fickle-rain-drought

As Fickle as Rain in a Drought

Sometimes, all it takes is one touch.

From the moment their hands merge with yours, it is not just your skins that meet each other. There are times this kind of touch reaches your heart, touches your soul. They undress you and leave you so exposed that you show them the magnificent view of the universe inside you. It transcends the physical and reaches the depths of the spiritual. You bare all of yourselves to each other without a care in the world, confident that you have found a better and far more wonderful world in each other. How amazing to imagine that with just one touch it brings two souls to a state of euphoria so intense that it transcends boundaries of the self. It can keep you in a high so immense that a once broken self feels so whole again as two souls merge into one.

Yet all it takes is a word, or a lack thereof, to bring you back to the reality that there are things that just do not last. With one word, a world crumbles or a universe explodes. Add a few more and they are like a rain of arrows bringing down a liberated soul from achieving full freedom. But sometimes silence brings a far worse devastation to the heart. It is like a thief in the night, patiently waiting for you to fall asleep before taking away those which you hold dear. It draws you close and embraces you while stabbing you slowly, gracefully, then you realize it is all too late; that as you shed a few tears, you have shed more blood feeling almost no pain.

You suddenly endure the pain induced by something that once gave you happiness; just as Icarus’ wings were burnt by the heat of the sun to push him away from that wonderful feeling of reaching something magnificent yet incredibly fatal. As you fall back to the ground broken into a million pieces, you ask your innocent self how this could happen when all you wanted was just to grab that one thing that you thought could bring you bliss.

But just like the sun, not everything bright and warm is wonderful. Not everything wonderful could provide the happiness we deserve. The things we desire, those we constantly ask for, come as often as the rain during a long and seemingly endless drought. In the end all we have to do is accept that some things are not meant to stay.

Sometimes, all it takes is one touch; one touch to force the universe inside of you to explode and show its grandeur to someone else who becomes your world until eventually it starts to lose its glow; your soul gently dying as they shut their eyes, turn their backs and slowly walk further away.

gwangju-fave-cafe

Turning Korean

When friends and family tell me I look like a Korean now, I do not think they are serious. But recently I have been mistaken for a Korean by Koreans. So I guess it is kind of true.

-Exhibit A-

Last weekend after partying until late, I was going back to my dorm and a Korean from the same building was walking behind me. As I was about to put in my password to open the door, he warned me about entering the dorm after curfew. He was speaking in Korean so fast I only understood a few things. I said it was okay, and that my Korean is not so well. He was about to enter his room (which was at the first floor in front of the elevator) while I was waiting for the elevator when he tried speaking in English saying he was sorry because he thought I was Korean. But really, I was quite grateful for his concern.

-Exhibit B-

Just this afternoon during my walk around the city, there were these Koreans who were promoting some sort of event/product at the underpass. The guy nearest to the stairs where I was walking approached me and started talking in Korean about whatever they were doing. I did not quite understand what he said because of the noise. I just told him that I was not Korean and I could not speak really well. His friends seemed to understand what happened as they all chuckled and started saying some English words.

Today, before I went back to the dorm, I stopped by my favorite café downtown and had a short talk with the cashier as I was ordering. She was speaking a little bit quickly so it took me quite some time to answer her questions. When she asked me what my major was, I told her I’m still studying Korean. I explained that this was the reason why I cannot speak well, but she said my Korean sounded good. That time, I was already thinking of ending the conversation but her compliment gave me a confidence boost so we talked a bit more about why I was alone today and what my friends were doing. It was a really short talk but it made me realize something. After one semester of learning basic language, I am now more confident when it comes to speaking with the locals as opposed to my first few weeks here. My listening and reading skills also improved. Hopefully, this confidence boost will help me push myself further come the next semester.

I find it amusing that after three months of staying here, locals think I am also a Korean. Quite flattering perhaps, but it also puts a bit more pressure on me to learn the language faster. Sure, I have to go out more and practice what I have learned so far. But just for a bit, I am going to enjoy the few days of vacation and fall in love more deeply with Korea. 😉

Empty Spaces and Goodbye Notes

Today is my last day at work. Part of me wants to scream “Finally, freedom!” but another is saying “Is this really goodbye?”. I’ve been in this job for two-and-a-half years and it has been a blast working with the various people I’ve met here.

It suddenly dawned upon me that everything that comes with today — all things existential, figurative and literal — is not just happening inside my head. Reality bit me. It bit me really hard. Its ice-cold fangs punctured my heart and made my whole body shudder. This is it. I am leaving.

All the random events of today are still floating in my head, trying to push their way to the bottom of the pit. It’s just hard to let them sink in. Our office is left with nothing but me and some of the very silent and inanimate furniture. My officemates shared a good meal to send me and one of my friends off (two of us will be leaving the office). I have finally turned over all of my tasks and responsibilities to other officemates. There is nothing left for me to do but to walk out the door and close it shut behind me. Right now I feel like everything just seems so surreal.

Honestly, I don’t even know what else to say. I’m just full of different feelings right now like a blender turning tons of different fruits into smoothie. My mind is almost blank, my body is cold and my heart feels heavy. I couldn’t even manage a sigh of relief. Maybe it’s just the mocha icing.

Probably it’s time for me to stand up from this chair and start walking to the door and finally close this part of my life. This time, I shall run free to the world outside and open myself to this new journey I am about to begin. I say not “goodbye”, but “see you later” to my friends who have become part of me in my two-and-a-half-year journey that is about to end.

A Friendly Advice

I might seem a bit off to some who would read this post but I do not intend to offend anyone. I simply wish to tell the truth to some of the teenagers and 20-somethings like me that our parents owe us nothing. It is just a simple reminder so that the next time we want to act like spoiled brats in public or spend our parents’ money as if it is our own we would think twice, thrice or even a hundred times. And I am saying this not only to other people who I might actually not know, but also to myself.

Sometimes I wonder how some kids spend their parents’ money to buy expensive things one after another even if they really don’t need them without considering how hard their parents work just to provide for them. Honestly, we were not born into this world to be pampered for the rest of our lives. Come to think of it, we are the ones who owe our parents everything. Without them, we would not even exist.

Currently I am in my early twenties, working and living independently from my parents. There are still things which I can’t afford without their help so I do ask them to provide for me from time to time. But whenever I intend to ask for something, it takes me about a year to think it through before I go to them and ask. I consider the fact that I am already capable of surviving on my own which is why I have to check and double check the reason why I should be asking for their assistance. Most of the time, I come to a conclusion where I learn that I can do it on my own saving them from spending their money or effort for my sake. It is like my own way of paying back the time they have spent in taking care of me until the time I can be set free.

It is not our parents’ job to feed us when we are hungry but to teach us how to feed ourselves. They will not carry us for the rest of our lives but will teach us how to walk, how to run, how to fly to reach for our dreams. Once again, they owe us nothing but we owe them everything.

Think about it.

Our First Night

It was the first time I saw you. Your long black hair shining amidst the darkness of the night. As it seems, the moon has grown a liking to you, like you were under a spotlight and the whole park was your stage. When you walk, it seems as if you were gliding through the clearing and the fallen leaves dance as you pass them by. My heart thudded rhythmically with every step you took. Flowers woke up from their slumber when your fingers touch their petals. The crickets played a serenade only you can make them do as if they were under a spell. Everything was simply beautiful.

You suddenly stopped and everything fell silent. Your cute little chuckle broke this silence and it melted my heart. I can feel that you were smiling even though you were not facing me yet. I choked when I was about to say something, your laugh grew louder and prettier. Listening to you when you laugh felt like I was having a music therapy. Every part of me was soothed by the mere sound of your voice. I started laughing with you, I already forgot the words I was about to say.

There was nothing else in my mind in that moment but the longing to see your face. You began walking towards the moon again. I started to follow you but for some weird reason I can’t seem to reach you. I started to run, almost tripping on a tree root, which made you stop. I saw the balls of your feet moving, you were turning to face me…finally.

If only I did not wake up, I would have seen your face. The face of that girl who makes wonderful music from her laugh. Now I am left with only this wonderful memory of spending a walk with you one night in my life without ever knowing who you are.

For the Love of Books

It was the second time I indulged myself in this certain book therapy also known as the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF). It’s an annual book fair where bookworms, authors and publishers unite to exchange and share thoughts, love and appreciation for the literary arts. This year, it was held at the SMX Convention Center on September 11 to 15, 2013.

Last year was the first time I ever enjoyed a book fair. That time, I was not yet able to control myself that I forgot about my budget. But can you blame a hardcore book-lover from going crazy over shelf after shelf of books with discounted prices?

Of course this year, I came prepared. I already allocated a budget for this once-in-a-year event so that I can control how much to spend and how many books to buy. And I made sure these books and literary works are all on top of my checklist so that I would be reading them for sure and not get stuck for a while in my book box.

When I learned about it, the first person I automatically thought of inviting was my co-book-lover cousin, Che. Although she recently bought some books — since it’s her birthday month — she still said yes and went to the MIBF with me.

For us, it was such a wonderful sight entering the halls of the venue. Regardless of the crowd, we managed to go around and check out shelves and stacks of books. I almost lost my cool that my insides started to panic. It was so hard to resist buying a lot of good titles. Good thing my cousin was there — she kept getting out of sight that I have to look for her — so that I would stop the urge of picking up another book which I might not be able to read yet.

inside MIBF

I consider books as gateways, a sort of portal. They allow me to travel to different places, to distant lands, through time and space — all of these things without leaving the comfort of my bed. Books sway me, they can make me cry or laugh out loud, or even scare me to the point of insanity. But that’s the wonder I found in books. That’s the luster that captures my eyes. It’s a wonder how books can deceive me, how they can make me believe I am living in the stories they tell instead of just reading them. These are some wonderful treasures, those books. We may find ourselves drowning in each chapter, each page, each word found in books without realizing how deep we had gone.

Books keep me sane when the real world starts to drag me down. A pinch of fantasy, a dash of fiction and a few drops of poetry can turn a frown on my face into a smile. They are like optimism that fuels my mind and body in order to keep going — considering that I am one helluva pessimist.

Personally, I have a lot of reasons why I consider books as my second great love — next to food, of course — and I don’t really think they would all fit in this blog post. I mean, they might but nobody would actually read a very long post, right? Literature is a blessing I would never get tired of receiving. So there, before I start to drag and say a lot more nonsense about how much I love books, I must be off to a brand new world/time/space or whatever and start a new adventure with books I recently purchased. 🙂

When Words Aren’t Cheap

Words. I love them. I really do. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts in Facebook today, “I believe the best story about unrequited love is this: falling madly in love with WORDS without realizing how deep you’ve gone.”

Words make up our daily connection with mostly everything. They can be tools, materials, even weapons. They can heal you, they can steal from you, they can even inflict a great deal of damage on you without leaving a physical mark on your skin. I believe words have been used and misused by many of us, not excluding myself. That’s probably why there is this saying, “Words are cheap.” They can be used in misconduct and dishonesty. Once you use words to cut someone so deep, even a sorry would not be able to erase those scars.

But ironically and amazingly, words are meant for a lot of wonderful things in life. When used properly, they can motivate you and push you forward. They can even heal your wounds — not entirely erase them but at the very least ease the pain. It can help you grow and make you more knowledgeable of the world. It makes you bigger, it gives you further reach and may even bring you to success. That’s why I consider words not cheap, but rather, priceless.

Of course, we would get the benefits if we use them properly. Just remember that even though some people may be tossing out words as if they’re worth nothing, it’s still our choice if we would treat ours as something worth cherishing.