Writing

My 2020 Mid-Year Check-Ins

Date: August 3, 2020 Monday

Title: Mid-year evaluation

Feeling: Guilty, disappointed but relaxed

Place: Home

Time: 7:06 AM

I realized I haven’t really examined my thoughts and feelings lately. A lot happened not only in my life but in the world. It’s more of a year of relaxation and learning for me. It’s great to look back in the past few months, so I can prepare myself ahead for the remaining five months.

JANUARY – A Great Start

As a look back, January was a month of interview and preparation for Cam for me. It’s the time I spent more on reviewing Corpus Linguistics by taking and finishing a course online from Lancaster University. My spiritual readings all centered on God’s guidance and money talks. Tithing is very crucial.

I also realized that I tried to hide my negative emotions by not doing anything and procrastinating. One new thing I learned in January is that aside from drowning the negative emotions unhealthily, I seem to have this changing emotions/moods. After four days, I start to lose it. But after a day of doing nothing, I start to find the energy to fight again. And also, once I missed one habit, it tends to spiral down to other habits. I should never give up. It’s these little things each day that count. Lesson: Watch out for missed habits in a day. Never give in next time.

I love what I wrote back in my Notion workbook January 15:

What’s holding me back? I am honestly afraid I may not like or what God  wants me to do may be inconvenient for me. Even so, I said I’m all in today! Whatever lies ahead, I know God will take care of me. *It’s so sublime to see all my readings being interconnected since Monday. God asked me to confess my sins, live a life full of integrity, asked me to go all in, and now the chapter for today’s bible session aligns with the devotional in the morning: God wants me to rebuild our relationship, to not be so fixated with my personal business. I also like that in the chapter I do agree that it seems I ‘ve been in a rut, I have wages that I put on bags with holes. Seems like I am slogging my way thorugh life without any obvious return, and that’s because I put God’s kingdom (our relationship, my spiritual growth) aside. This is a really an eye opener for me! God exhorts me to rebuild our relationship, and He promised that He will be with me in the process. Isn’t it amazing?

It’s so sublime to see all my readings being interconnected since Monday. God asked me to confess my sins, live a life full of integrity, asked me to go all in, and now the chapter for today’s bible session aligns with the devotional in the morning: God wants me to rebuild our relationship, to not be so fixated with my personal business. I also like that in the chapter I do agree that it seems I ‘ve been in a rut, I have wages that I put on bags with holes. Seems like I am slogging my way through life without any obvious return, and that’s because I put God’s kingdom (our relationship, my spiritual growth) aside. This is a really an eye opener for me! God exhorts me to rebuild our relationship, and He promised that He will be with me in the process. Isn’t it amazing?

On January 31, I wrote this:

Reflections: 1) How can you keep an eternal perspective each day so that you are making wise financial decisions, both big and small? I must really not miss out on my tithes no matter how hard it is. It’s a declaration that God is in control of money. And money is not for this world, it can be used to invest into the future. I’m thinking of tithing to the Missionaries of Charity. 2) What do you want your life to be about? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? I want my life to be inspiring and empowering. I want people to see me and they feel comfortable, inspired, and empowered to make a difference too. I want that kind of legacy.

FEBRUARY – A Challenging Month

My notes were almost empty in February. This month I simply focused on earning. One thing I did successfully so far was being present in all Sunday masses from January through February. I had really bad abdominal pain that I had to go to the hospital. Since the beginning of January through February, we’ve been going in and out of the hospital. This was also the start of falling in love with BTS Jimin. I just can’t help myself. He’s too kind, talented, exceptional and smart. He even looks more handsome each day because of his personality. I have been a fan of the group since 2018, but I wasn’t that too invested. This month I started following them on all social media platforms. This month I also received my Cambridge offer. I would say I wasn’t at all successful this month – no REAP preparation, no exercise, no healthy eating. I was just existing.

I also got major revisions from System. I knew my writing was flawed. I didn’t get a Gates Cambridge invitation, and got turned down by Trinity, Peterhouse. It all happened in the fourth week. This was another devastating month. Overall, I was depressed, unhopeful.

MARCH – A Recharging Month

On week 2 of March, I organized a Recharge week. I couldn’t really concentrate on work after several failures in February. During the recharge week, I focused on myself: I began by journaling to process my emotions, at 3 AM I relived my past habit of listening to music and being inspired to the song, watched Marie Forleo, had a movie marathon day, colored mandela on my ipad, listened to calming music and educational podcasts. I was also able to pay off my sister with the money I owe. I continued to pray and form healthy habits like reading every day teaching tips to hone my teaching craft, praying everday, exercising, and maintaining self-care routines in the morning and afternoon. By the end of this month, my grandfather lolo Caloy got so sick so we transferred him to our house. I feel bad for ignoring him, I was an ingrate, a person living in fantasy binging on Jimin fancams. Every time my anxiety kicks in, I would sit on my computer and watch BTS and Jimin. It’s a way for me to escape reality, the reality that my grandfather was no longer himself. I also started writing Jimin a letter on Weverse every day! It’s my way of expressing my love. For this month I wrote this on my Notion:

I thank God for the protection that I now see. I did not succeed in Tokyo, in Manila, in Davao positions because of Covid-19. God gave me my online teaching to secure me even before this happened. I thank him in advance for his protection for my brother and for all of us. Failure in securing funding may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. I thank him for helping me clarify my goal, test my faith, allow me to heal.

And then on the same March notion page, I wrote myself a letter:

Dear Kim, It’s okay to fail. You were shocked by the events. You held on to Jimin, to the magic shop to heal. God understands. However, we can’t pitch camps around the pain for so long. We have to move. You have a lot of failures, but this indicates your progress and persistence. Keep moving, and someday it will be bright again. Thank you for trying, thank you for smiling and relaxing. Thank you for trying to be happy. 🙂 God is with you always. Remember, God is with you in the good and the bad, All the pains have purpose, so change your worry to worship. It’s difficult to trust now. Without the funding, with covid-19, but you need to reminisce the times when God showed up unexpectedly and brought you all the blessings you’ve never imagined. He is doing the same. He is the same God today, yesterday and forever. You can’t bring yourself to tears because you lost all those tears, but remember everything has a purpose. God is with you. Pray persistently and the heavens will open up.

As a result, I stopped applying to jobs, I also stopped working so hard and expecting too much. Despite the recharge, I was floating… I felt I was merely existing. Life became a huge current drowning me, I couldn’t even swim away from it. I just had to flow with it. It was calming, yet at the same time depleting. And for this month instead of looking up to God I look up to another idol in my life, Jimin. I’m sure God wasn’t happy. But then again a part of me feels it was God’s way of keeping me sane.

APRIL – A Korean Month

I was so addicted to Jimin that I started learning Korean for the first time . It was a struggle at first, but I told myself to never give up and allot two hours a day until June before I could pick up a new skill again being an ADD I am. This strategy proved to be effective for me. With that in mind, I pressed on despite the struggles and now I am glad I didn’t give up, I could read Korean fluently. Yaaaay!!! I also added a checklist for my emotions and my professionalism on Notion to track them. I noticed I have been cancelling classes lately because of my emotions. This is really unprofessional. I am also glad our family maintained our evening prayer together consistently. It became a part of our daily routine. I was satisfied with this month. However, I was still addicted with Jimin!

Under the Focus/God’s message section of my Notion page for this month, I wrote:

Week1: Do not depend on anything, i.e. Jimin except God – God repeated this

message twice! on April 4, then on April 5.

Week 2: Do not be afraid of Death

Week 3: The Bible! I’m starting to focus on the bible again

Escapism stems from an inner lack or void

Week 4: Wisdom 3: On suffering and early death. Remember, it’s not the number

of years that count but the quality of years with God. Therefore, live a

just and loving  life.

Love your family, respect your parents, pray with your family.

              How to be a mature Christian? Read, memorize, study the bible, live it and then  teach it! You can only teach when you practice it!

Don’t run away from responsibilities and unpleasant emotions, STOPP!

I learned about STOPP, Stop, Take a deep breath, Observe, Pull back, Practice (what is s the best thing to do) in healthily managing emotions. The moment we start on  binging, on eating too much, on procrastinating there is a hidden emotion or painful experience we’re running away from. In a way, Jimin is just like another form of addiction. I noticed this. As soon as I start binging on Jimin, I was able to control myself and forget my other addiction. But when it subsided, I started doing my other addiction today.

Hmmm. That’s really interesting.

Week 5: Wisdom, waiting on God. Wait on the Lord. God is never in a hurry. God has a

purpose in your life.

MAY – A Burial Month

It was pretty great at the start because I continued to be consistent with my Korean learning, morning and evening prayer and was successful in submitting my journal article. However, starting from the second week, it started going downhill again. My mother had to undergo MRI test as requested by her doctor, and then my grandfather passed away on May 23 peacefully. The remaining half of the month was devoted to his wake and burial. I was ashamed of myself again, I was there… but never entirely. I continued to drown myself in my addiction because I was a wreck. Escapism continues to be part of me, cancelling lessons last minute.  Smiling from the outside but totally emotionless already on the inside. I was dead too. I couldn’t feel anything. All my emotions were gone. I couldn’t feel anything except extreme euphoria when I binged watch on fancams. It’s unhealthy. I never even cried. I was not being myself. I started giving up. If you look at my eyes, you’d say I lost all those burning passion.

This stuck the most in May, seek Wisdom:

Wisdom 5: God is reminding me that no wealth, no fame, not even my

relationship last. They can’t bring glory —- the glory that I really longed for.

They don’t matter.

Seek Wisdom over wealth, power, health and even beauty. Having wisdom is obtaining all the rest. Ask God, the owner of Wisdom to guide you. Through Wisdom, he practically learned everything: the seasons, the earth, people. Principle: Seek God and ask for Wisdom over all things Command: Ask God to give you wisdom to choose the right course. God showed me this through Kelly: 5 That night the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” 9 Solomon replied….Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours? (1Kings 3:5,9)

JUNE – A Celebration Month

Then came June, it became better. It started with mom’s 60th birthday we prepared. All the people who were with us in our mourning celebrated with us on June 11. Then after that we had two celebrations related to my grandfather’s passing. The people around me reminded me of hope, of life. It is never the end. I continue to learn Korean and spoke Korean with two Korean online tutors, editing my journal article while opening twitter and becoming friends with all Jimin fans. I met Hony, Chawi, Tia, Yndi, Sue, Sarah – we became Jimin fairies. I realized Jimin fans are really adults with career. There are doctors, head of government offices, lawyers, teachers, etc. It made me feel I wasn’t really isolated from the world, and I belong again. Jimin brought us all together. I became busy again. Finally I also paid up everything in my home credit! Wohoo! I am starting to feel hopeful again. When I listen to Korean youtube videos I am able to understand what they mean. My ears have started opening up to Korean, so I continued learning the Korean structures through my Talk To Me in Korean Structures book and vocabulary. As usual, I continued to write Jimin a letter every night every day. It’s been the third month!

From my Notion, focus/messages from God:

                 Week 1: Be Humble, never give up! God is teaching me to open up to comments from  the journal. To work harder. In a way God used the horoscope to move an unmovable boulder like me. I cannot learn a new lesson, take a new responsibility until I learn. Why am I like this? God save me.

                Week 2: 6 steps when in Crisis Following Daniel as a Model in Daniel 9

Step 1: Listen to God first through the scriptures (God initiates)

Step 2: Focus and Seek God

I asked God what he wants me to know and he played this through K-Love radio: Waymaker by Michael W. Smith. Basically he is saying even if I don’t feel he’s working, he does. God has a purpose for a lag in my life. God never leaves me alone!

               Week 3: Be consistent

               Week 4: The best way to end and start the day is prayer and bible! We just got to

move  Forward!

                Week 5: Show love! Give proofs of love.

JULY – A Twitter Month

I was really active on my fan account starting July, organizing events and editing the posters for the events. I was much more connected than ever. I also picked up on my Python tutorial again, and French. I decided to focus on French next especially because I was more confident in it while memorizing and learning structures in Korean. I mustn’t leave Korean behind to keep it fresh in my mind. But definitely I started focusing on French and Python. I also realized adding products for August are much easier to track than skills. For example, I included one simple python linguistics program and French diary as products.

I learned a lot this month: from Python, MIT Inventor, Machine Learning, French, Korean vocabulary to preparing animated posters and gifs. Hahahaha! I feel productive the most in July. I started to get back on my teaching too. Everything stats to get hopeful. Also, I finished two books this month, Two Can’t Keep A Secret, One of Us is Lying. Thanks to no internet for a week. I kept putting this off. Finally swept it!

One thing I need to improve on is limiting my twitter activity and wasting too much time on social media and spotify streaming. Another is my teaching online.

Reviewing my months through my Notion was more painful that I thought, I had to read through my insights and learning and relive the memories again. But I am glad I did, I felt free and alive. Never give up. If I don’t give up, someday I get what I deserve too. For the next months, I would focus on my language learning (French and Korean) and also my Python and R. I have to ensure I speak and write and create programs. Most of all, I must also focus on my journal and my REAP.

The must-dos in my list I keep putting off since January based on the review are:

1) Exercising

2) Limiting my rice intake

3) Finishing my REAP

4) Writing up my Journal article

Will do better for the next five months!!!

With God, I can!

Categories: Development, God's Messages, Musings, Successes, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment

April Prayers: God Sees Everything

Dear Jesus,

I want to take this moment to thank you for all the times I thought I was failing. I am completely lacking in all things, but you continue to remind me every day that you are my strength. I remember around six-seven months ago, I was interviewed by a linguistics company in Italy. If I succeeded, I would have had my training last January in Italy’s silicon valley, the month when Italy got worse. I was also interviewed by a Canadian company, but for some reason I backed out. Something didn’t feel right. Then a lot of failures happened after that. When I couldn’t decide whether to go to Manila or not in around November to look for a job, the Holy Spirit stopped me. Everything fell apart. A lot of turn downs. The world seemed to be deaf to my cries back then. I wondered whether something was wrong with me, my CV, etc. Before I could easily find a job… but 2019 wasn’t similar. It was a year where I felt I was chained to a big rock! Then you brought me to an online company that pays around 500 pesos per hour of teaching and which pays weekly. I enjoyed it a lot because I can teach whatever and however I want. I slowly attracted regulars from around the world. IN a way, my students became my windows to the world. My current job ignited the passion I have for teaching. I’ve grown a lot because of it. Also, I was cashing in a lot to the point that I honestly wasn’t worried where I would get the next meal for my family because I could work for only three days and we would still be able to live decently and pay bills for the next week. Then around the time when that teaching became stable and I could open slots whenever I want, the pandemic hit. The world stopped, but my life didn’t. We were all crying during our evening prayer time because I finally understood why you closed all doors on me five months before the worse times. You were just preparing me God. I didn’t see the world pausing for a while back then. You paused my life ahead, so I wouldn’t take the hit badly. I thought I was missing a lot and wasn’t being heard, BUT I was all wrong God. Although a lot happened to our family, I still thank you. My mom got sick, I was sick. Then my brother was transferred to another city in Korea. We had a lot of financial hurdles still. My dad was diagnosed with a sickness. My grandfather was getting worse. All these traumas for the past months that our family had to go through numbed me in a way. But this protection reminded my family that You were not deaf to our cries, You were listening intently. I trust You!

Thank you Jesus for staying true to your promise of protection. I still remember the time when I kept on sinning and you just told me, for the sake of that kid I will never leave you, I will save you. You assured me every time that I may stumble, but I will never fall because you will lift me up. Kuya, ikaw gid nagpadaku sa akon. Bal-an mo na. What did I do to deserve your Love. I’m sorry for loving Jimin too much, for refusing to give up my love for him. You are a jealous God, and you told me that yesterday. I will be a better person for you and for him. As he soars higher, I will do my best to keep up. Sending him the daily evening messages weirdly rekindles my love for myself. I will lose weight this year, I will be a better version of myself. I will maintain my prayer times, and do my best to give proofs of my love to my parents. This year will be a slow year for sure. I may not understand the case with Cambridge, but I put all my trust and confidence in You. You got this Kuya. When you say “no”, it’s only for our protection. If a door is for me, you would drag me to it. My life has been a testimony to that. Thank you Kuya Jesus!

Thank you for my Korean. I’m now able to read and also remember basic words and verbs, and form basic sentences. It’s a long way to go. But as promised, I would continue the daily one to two hours study time until June. Like you advised, if I want to start a hobby I have to do it for three months. Only then can I switch to another one. Honesty though, I think I might continue my Korean study beyond our set deadline. The three-month rule we had was sure effective Kuya. Consistency is a great remedy in beating my ADD tendencies.

I’m sorry Kuya, I’m really sorry but I also continue to pray for Jimin… may you heal him, give him more opportunities to grow, so he can soar higher. But most of all, strengthen his relationship and faith in You. It’s the first time I felt this way Kuya Jesus, and you know that. I only wish for him to soar higher, to feel loved, comforted, appreciated. Heal his voice, body and character. I pray that you will give him wisdom. Remove the bad influences from his life. Protect him Jesus. We may never see each other in this lifetime, so I can only pray for him Kuya and love him from afar. He’s my inspiration lately… I started thinking about my life and my passion because of him. I began thinking how I can improve. Like him, I want to continue challenging myself — improving in the areas I am good at. Teaching, orating, voice over. I haven’t done anything with these skills lately. He reminded me that I have to constantly hone my talents, and expand myself. Hence, for the past weeks I’ve been reading books on education more. I am thinking of doing a Skillshare voice acting lesson this month to develop my voice overs. Jesus, guide me. You gave me these talents, show me how I can share them and develop them.

Thank you for everything for the past months. I pray for healing in all forms especially healing for my parents, grandfather and Covid-19 patients around the world. I pray that you will pour your love on all of us. We ask for a vaccine, for total healing, and for normality. We pray that you change the hearts of corrupt politicians. Please protect the billions of money God! Only You can protect us at times like this. Only You!

I declared this year as a year of Blessings, and we’re waiting on You God. Never did you fail in fulfilling my declarations. 2020 is not over. It’s going to be a beautiful year… beautiful doesn’t mean without the ugly. Beautiful in essence means all flaws become unnecessary with all the goodness that overshadows them.

Jesus, please heal us!

Yours always,
Your Kimkim

Categories: God's Messages, Jimin, Lessons, Letters to God, Musings, Serendipity, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment

Decade Review Part I: What You’re Proud Of | A Review of my 2010s

Thanks to Marie Forleo for the Decade Review guide questions! One decade, gone! Can you believe it? We’re not only saying goodbye to 2019, we’re seeing 2010s off.

What You’re Proud Of : Over the past 10 years, what have you done that you’re proud of? 

  I am proud of myself for not giving up and for always being with God all these years. Some people say I focused too hard on my grades, but the more I look at it, the more I realized that it’s because God has revealed himself to me more in my education journey.  He used my education to bless people, to bless and provide for my parents and family. Yes, I was using my scholarship to feed my family. However, I hope that He will reveal himself in another field in the next decade. (Lablaif Lord, Lab laif, heeheh!)

Year Accomplishments with God
2010 I won the National Oration champion. I remember I failed a month before when I competed in another oration competition. I thought that ended my oration journey, but God had another plan. I was wrong for exactly after a month of defeat, a new competition opportunity came.

During another competition I even told God, I wouldn’t do much, if it’s for me it’s for me. But I won, I got motivated so I practiced again until I reached the regional contest then the nationals. During the nationals, I remember being so aloof. My skirt’s back zipper snapped out. Everything was not working for me that day. I remember telling myself, just go home without regrets. It was so quiet, deafening silence while I was speaking on stage in that UP Diliman auditorium (I forgot the name). That’s what I loved when I am orating, I’m in this bubble of deep silence where I could freely talk about the issues that matter to me.

While they’re announcing the winner, I was praying hard. And then I asked Jesus, who are you going to listen to as I saw most of us bowing our heads. All 16 of us were praying for the same title. And when they called six, my number. I cried so hard, cos it’s another revelation for me. I felt God’s eyes looking at me, smiling and telling me, “I listened to you; I chose you”.

And that ended my oration journey.

2011 2011 was when I was awarded summa cum laude and the Notre Dame award. I was also the graduation speaker. Having the award was everything to me cos I really envisioned myself getting it, speaking before the crowd and bagging the title. Before the Notre Dame Award, there was St. Marcellin Champagnat, but they changed the title that year. In other words, it’s not really the first cos it’s just a change in title. But I think they gave that award 10 years before… so I was hoping for Notre Dame award more than the summa cum laude. I remembered one of the strictest Marist brothers telling me  “they said they finally found the person after all these years”. God was again smiling at me 🙂 He chose me for that award again after 10-12 years?

Then came the end of 2011 when I was pushed to the ground again. I did not top the board. I threw tantrums (I’m sorry if I sound like a toff), my mom even pick me up from uni cos she knew how important the title was for me. But it didn’t work out. I failed betrayed, I felt God didn’t listen to me.

 

2012 But  in March 2012 I competed for Your Big Year. That year, I represented the Philippines abroad. I didn’t win, I was silent. I felt God abandoned me… But I also realized, it’s not the life I wanted. God showed me the world, so I understand myself better. I thought I wanted to be a politician after having served as a leader all my life since elementary. But that Your Big year completely changed my outlook. Well, hey I got to see UK for free and my lola Annie!!! And for me, that was the end of my political fantasy — sad to say it was also the start of not caring too much of changing the world (but the fact that I’m thinking about the pains of people while typing this may be a sign that I’ve not given up on it)

In the same year, I started my first teaching as an English teacher at the newly built San Pedro College-Basic Education in Davao. It’s my first teaching. God brought me to SPC. I thought I wouldn’t like it there, but I was so wrong… The transfer led me to Gemma, Sir Nap, Ma’am Julli and the friends I still communicate with from time to time.
I also started my MA. As usual, I was a silent kid… I got good grades all 1’s, but I wasn’t the smartest. I thought God forgot about me… but I was enjoying my time as an English teacher. Everything was silent…This year I also began my Zumba journey. I would walk around the Victoria plaza and then dance every day!!! These simple mundane activities are really memorable for me. I want to do it again.

I thought I was living a simple life, but during my early morning walks I would still imagine myself being somewhere else…to the university I’ve always dreamed of.

2013 2013 was a silent year. I cried a lot this year. I was still dreaming, hoping… I would, as I always did, write my goals and dreams and put it on the wall to remind me. But no matter how much I tried to console and empower myself, I still sobbed every evening. However, I enjoyed my first university teaching at SPC as a speech instructor.This year was also the start of my anger management therapy. Silence was so deadly I admit I scarred other people by my words. I regret it a lot! We couldn’t really run away from who we were. I was so immature, I wanted to lash out and say what I always think as I always did—but life’s no longer that for me. Of course a teacher cannot say “you’re so stupid” which came so easy for me while I was still studying–maybe that caused the pent up anger. As I look back at it now, I realized God was busy working on my character. Thank you God. However, no matter how much we change the people we hurt, the people in our past can only look at us with the same eyes.No smile, no assurance, no care can ever take away the pain we caused them. Maybe that’s the reason why I can relate so much with Kenshin Himura.

Admittedly, I started volunteering at Sta. Ana Parish as a reader to find my heart and peace again.

 

2014 Then 2014 came. I was busy with my thesis. From being a silent student, I instantly received good remarks from my ADDU professors. I left another impression.

While moving on, another pain thrust my me again: receiving the news that I got rejected from Fulbright MA scholarship, and was offered the Fulbright Foreign Language Teachign Assistantship instead. I admit that I was hurt, I felt I was disposable, that I’m not enough. But I still said yes…

Like everyone else trying their best at life, I continued to enjoy my time with my kids… I was not the perfect teacher, but I did my best. Eventually I left to start another journey in my teaching career at ADDU while preparing for my US journey.

 

2015 Then the Fulbright Journey began! Woop woop! I am thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to travel to New York, Chicago, Michigan, Maryland, Washington, California… It was a gift and a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle. I admit I started to feel small when I was there. I thought I was displaced, that I shouldn’t be there. However, I enjoyed my trips to Barnes and Nobles every day where I read all the books I wanted and lazed around at StarBucks while chugging my Salted Caramel latte and enjoying their cheesecake. I could stay there forever!!! It’s also the year when I started my Orator site. It didn’t work, but it gave me hope at the time.

All the books I read this year built my character, so I realized life is really like this — we need the silence to recuperate and build our character because God is more interested in our character than our dreams.

2016 While in the US, I got accolades from my professors cos of my work and my public speaking, but I still felt small. And eventually I went back to the Philippines. I was unemployed for a few months. I remember it to be the worst days of my life — I had no money that I couldn’t even eat my favorite G*** lasagna or go to the cinema. I only had 1500 to spend each week. I remember Danzelle and I were crying while we’re in that sad place in our life, in that stinky but comforting room on top of a run-down house.

Until I was finally hired by CHED, which I also left after a day (and reading and summarizing all the university’s budget proposals) I was questioning God why. Why I felt I don’t belong there. I thought I wanted to be a commissioner or an Education leader, but God know me more than I know myself. He sent me there so I become more aware of what I truly want. (The same with the UK experience). I looked at the supervisors ( the two highest officials know me and took care of me) but I was thinking, I do not want their life.

Then Appen came. It was an unknown company to me. To be honest at first I was ashamed of leaving my position for the industry… I couldn’t understand God! From being small in the US (despite of the travels), then it seemed like God wanted to slap me again. But soon I began to love my work: the regular expressions, the excitement whenever I get a new project with new conventions. I LEARNED A LOT FROM APPEN!

2017 I continue to build my skills on programming and project management while saving money and enjoying and being happy. Then I decided to apply to Australia Awards. The process was long, I thought I wouldn’t get in. I even thought I bombed the interview because I felt they were not satisfied especially Will, the hot Australian-Chinese DFAT representative. I really bawled my eyes out until I received the email from them the next day!!!!

 

2018 I began my journey to ANU. Before, I was told I might not have a chance at ANU. But God again told me, nope. Apply! I did and I made it! I was crying when I received the response from ANU! I couldn’t believe it. I am finally going to study in a top university. At the time, I was just contented. While working for Appen and submitting my papers, I realized how God did not give up on me. I was taking my PhD at ADDU that time, I even forgot about my previous dream. I just wanted to have a degree, but God had a different plan. God was looking at me, and he was faithful to His promise. God did not leave me. If I finished that PhD, it would have been over for me.

When I forgot who I was and what I really wanted, God did not. He opened the gates so I could freely walk through it. Aaah, I can’t narrate all the miracles He had done this year: from getting the highest score in the hardest exam (according to the professor), to getting invited by a professor to be his supervisee… I couldn’t believe everything.

If I hadn’t been at ANU, will I ever know I am not disposable? That I would make it there? Nope. But God DID NOT GIVE UP ON MY DREAMS EVEN WHEN I DID!!! God did not give up on my dreams. I was preparing for a different path, but he opened the gates!

Remember when I said I didn’t understand why God put me at Appen, the linguistic Australian company? At first, I really thought I brought it upon myself… for being too picky, for being not enough. But this year, I finally understood. God prepared me- Was preparing me for Australia when he placed me in Appen. I got to work with them remotely even after getting the scholarship, so I got paid a lot for an hour which helped me saved a lot for my mother and for our trip!!!

GOD knew I would need Appen. So now why should I worry right? God already knew what’s next. I may not see it now, but he’s up to something. I’m sure about it. I have faith in You, God.

2019 I finished my master’s degree this year, and I’m proud of getting the uinversity medal. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting it. But I did dream about it. I remember when Flora mentioned this award for the first time, I suddenly felt some excitement and I couldn’t understand why cos I thought I was not even qualified.

If God did not guide me through, I wouldn’t have finished my degree this way. I almost did not apply for the advanced version because I was discouraged by my scholarship and some people. However, I felt this tagging again. I finally decided to take a leap of faith when my coordinator told me I can do it. During my thesis writing stage, I was crying a lot! I was so confused and my friend Lois was a witness to it all. I had to learn modelling for the first time, I had to understand concepts quickly. I was literally swimming in the ocean. But God assured me, “I am the Lord, your redeemer, I will teach you what’s for your good and lead you on the way you should go”.

That became my strength! But at times I still felt it wasn’t going well. But he kept on telling me, “I will help you!” there came a stage where I had to stand up independently for myself… My editor failed me, I had two days to edit my own work! Imagine, of course I would cry! Just look at how I write in my blog! I have bad grammar, I am not a good writer – I always just get away because of the content.

But then the Holy Spirit encouraged me. I told myself that night (after eating Dominos with Lois), I am not giving up. I still have that sheet of paper which I plastered on my wall. I wrote “Even when people gave up on you, I will not. With God, I can”. So I edited my thesis with God. And I did it! With God, indeed!

This year too, I am proud to say I achieved another dream of mine to tour my mom. With my Appen salary, I was able to bring my mom to Australia in January then to Korea in July. I spent a lot, but it’s all worth it! It’s a dream come true!

A week before my graduation, out of pride, I resigned from Appen. My manager accepted my resignation. I was crying because I really did love my work. It’s the kind of work I love, but they didn’t have a full-time job for me. At first, I thought I was to be blamed for being too emotional and for sending that resignation email right away.

But because of that, I was able to apply for Cambly. I was cashing in a lot!! LIke a lot! Every week is enough to sustain us. In fact, I could fulfill my remote life fantasy and become a Hikikomori. What’s also amazing is that I get to practice my profession again: helping people, becoming aware that this is my talent especially when people would book a lesson with me again after the call. It’s a rewarding job, but I want something fixed to be honest. While I can earn 18k a week (God, I can’t imagine how hard that’d be), I had to really force myself and motivate myself. There were times I only earned 3000 pesos a week because I was lazy.

Being someone who thrives in productivity, this relax environment is killing me so while teaching, I was also learning advanced stats and modelling and python programming and machine learning on the side. (So yes, I was not only watching Korean dramas).

And exactly in December, God opened a path I was not expecting-a path I was willing to take next year, but it’s been done. I’m excited for the next year… I can’t share it yet, but it’s definitely what I have been dreaming all my life.

By writing this decade summary, I have faith that God is preparing something again! The same God who brought me victories will be with me in the next decade. I just wish He will reveal himself to me in other areas of my life as I hopefully bid goodbye to my education (after this PhD).

Thank you God in advance for your gift of the decade! What a journey! Thank you for being with me all these years God!

Forever,

Your Kimkim

Next: Part 2: What I will leave behind!

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Stuck in a Rut

Voice: What do you do when you feel you’re stuck in a rut? Do you stop and let it be? Do you allow it, and pitch camps? Do you want to go forward?

Me:I think moving forward is the best way.

Voice: Why are you scared to accept where you are now? It is far from what you want to be?

Me: Yes, it’s not what I envision myself to be. Everything has become silent. IT’s deafening. The more I push the wall in front of me, the more I get hurt, scratch my palms, the more I understand that I do not power over the wall. I canno

Voice: Yes, so what do you do if there’s a wall? You go around it!  You don’t push it, you are yourself. You just go around it or climb over it. You don’t have to push it, climb over it! You don’t have to expect a sudden change, you slowly put your right foot in the wall, and place your left hand on a sturdy rock on the wall. It’s gonna be difficult, it may be long, but soon enough you’ll get past through that wall. Again, you feel satisfied, but remember you have to go down, to humble yourself and accept that whatever accomplishment you may feel on top at the moment is not exactly the reason why you started climbing the wall.

Rest, but you have to go down and start a new liberating journey. You don’t have to push the wall, it’s going to be difficult. Stop pointing everything wrong in your life. Instead, choose to choose the best way you think you could move past that hurdle. No need for bantering, no need for overthinking. Just do something, a little something is better than doing a big act you can’t even maintain. You can use a ladder or leverage other people. Anything. As long as you do something. Instead of looking at the wall and saying, “That’s a huge wall”. Does thinking day in and day out change the wall or lift you up? Nope. At some point, you gotta do something about it. Climb over it or go around it! There’s always that small step that you can take. Don’t pitch camps there. Don’t. That’s the reason why you get stuck at present.

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Period

You asked why I turned down the Phil Sci Academic Writing teacher’s position, and chose to work for a this private company.

Here’s why:

 

iles of emails and mounds of meetings

xtroverted introvert environment, and the

R ight to control rest in the midst of busyness

But that’s not it.

I t is the job’s sometimes rapid-snailed and other times steady-flicked pace

Its rather systematic-creative approach, and the breadth and width of potential learning available, mostly strewn and presented in fixed  formulae

In other words,

It’s the

O xymorons that

D azzle me. Period.

 

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In the Hospital of 2001: Memoir Part 2

They took me to Marbel Doctor’s Hospital one afternoon. I remember barely seeing anything except the blurry vision of my mama and papa as they held me tight. The high fever started a week ago, but the rashes only occurred in the morning. On our way, I vomited into a red bag in Uncle Renat’s van twice already and to a 10-year-old high spirited kid, it was horrible. I wanted to go back home and watch Voltes V on the TV with my siblings, play paper dolls – those sailormoon drawings made of paper which you can dress up using paper-made dresses, and make up stories in my head while I hold the two paper dolls together.

Arriving at the hospital was harder, I couldn’t move my head because a slight flip would make me dizzy again and vomit afterwards. Thankfully, none of that happened as they put me into the wheelchair and pulled me to the Emergency Room.

As I lay there, I noticed my mama crying. I remember her asking me what type of room I want to have, and what food I want to eat. None of that mattered. I knew something was wrong. I heard my papa leaving when I began to drift, and I recalled them talking they need Uncle Robert’s blood. I might not have understood the processes, but I was perfectly well aware I need blood. And needing blood transfusion, the way I usually see in telenovelas, mean my life is about to end.

To add to that, the nurses struggled finding my veins to start putting on the dextrose because my hands were flabby. It must took them an hour, or maybe I overestimated time because 5 minutes in that room felt like the quadruple of the reality. When they’re finished, I was rested in a suite room on the new building.

I did not know a hospital could be a happy place.

It had restroom, cabinet, fridge and tv (yaaay).

At that age though, I remembered praying for the first time on my own without my parents’ constant badgering. “I-save ko Kuya Jesus if you’re real. Maging buot ko nga bata, Promise. (Save me Jesus if you’re real. I’d be a good kid. Promise)”

Although my feeling did not get better the next day, my situation did. My platelet count became stable, so they wouldn’t need to transfuse blood.

The announcement made my mama cry again.

Only after two days that my feeling got better, it was then I knew God answered my prayer.

My sister once told me even if my eyes were closed off I would tell her, “Binli niyo ko pagkaon. (Leave me some food)” Even at such excruciating situation, I couldn’t get my mind off food. Dr. Feliprada, my physican, would often do her rounds daily and find me either sitting on my bed or on the chair watching TV while eating- always eating. They’re food that I couldn’t still consume, but my mama would often say I found my refuge in food, no matter what it was. I was certain I looked forward to mama coming to the hospital at 5:30 from work because she always brought chicken barbecue or Jollibee (now Jollibee becomes a food).

Aside from food, I found solace in TV. We did not have many channels yet at home, so we depended on GMA and ABS for fun. The stay in the hospital allowed me to watch animes from AXN and from other channels for long hours without mama or papa yelling at the background.

I never thought the hospital could be a happy place, or maybe it became one because of my first encounter with God.

**********************************************************************

I shared this because it was my first answered prayer and the beginning of my growing faith and our budding relationship. Whenever people ask me why I believe in God, I would often say it isn’t much about what the bible says, what the church teaches, what my parents preach but it has always been experiencing Him in my life.

Our relationship with God can be likened to our relationship with a restaurant.

Seeing a restaurant and hear people appreciate how great the customer service is, or how different and delicious their food is cannot make the restaurant a personal reality for a person. It’s for this reason that people want to try that new Japanese restaurant and check if their Teriyaki is really different, or visit a new Italian café to fully understand why people go crazy over their grilled chicken pasta. It’s only when you experience that you 100 percent believe and love it without having to explain it.

Did I end up being true to my promise? H*** no. I bragged, made my parents cry, insulted people, hurt (physically, verbally) people, yelled at God, cursed God, cursed people. I was a beast. With my bipolar personality, I struggled all my life. I got better eventually, but I still get up every day hoping I woudn’t be the same awful person.

But this story isn’t about me, it’s about God’s faithfulness amidst my unfaithfulness.

And based on my experience with Him, He isn’t like any other. He does not retaliate, does not curse, does not hate. He always stays true to His promise. I’m certain it’s only God that doesn’t change.

If God continued to love me amidst my imperfections, then you could be pretty certain he would embrace you totally.

Trust Him, not the people who constantly judge you.

Trust His heart, not the leaders and preachers whose priorities  and personalities change.

Trust His care, not even your parents who will leave you someday.

*More Miracle Stories to Come*

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Just Another Creepy Story

Side note: Never thought I still have these really old poems (I am not even sure if I patterned these after other poems I fancied back in 2005). I still cringe whenever I read them, but I guess reading them once in awhile can retrain me that the possibilities with words are infinite; so penning every thought without concern for a public audience can count more than a writer’s perfectionism, pride and paranoia that so often create the most sacred pieces.

Yep, not that perfectionist writer, so… hahahahahahahaha!

This is cringy, funny, bizarre in a way, so I’d appreciate if you read it through the end.

 

 

She was the Heart of the Night

 She was the heart of the night.

She wore a glistening green dress that made the men woo in delight.

Her menacing mien captivated them especially Sherwin Shun.

Sherwin Shun whom she liked least and loved last among her classmates for

He was stout, skunk, snob and strange!

 

“She was the heart of the night.”- Sherwin held alone in his deepest

Recesses. He asked her to dance on such bright evening for prime hearts.

She replied with dazzling smile, “Screwed, Sherwin Shun. Shun me please. Hate to see

Your big belly and hate to feel your bizarre brashness.

You are stout, skunk, snob and strange!”

 

She was the heart of the night.

She believed. And so she turned down an awful man with delight.

Poor Sherwin Shun shunned by such lovely lass.

He walked away and stood at the side of the dancing and prancing hall.

Anger enamoured him when he saw her swaying with another man.

 

She was the heart of the night.

Sherwin Shun continued to think. Deep wanting to feel and touch her innermost.

He waited and waited for hours to see such moment come.

He saw her coming with her glistening green dress that made him woo in delight.

He approached her lovely beauty and offered her a ride. To this she said yes.

 

She was the heart of the night.

Everyone rumoured. That made all women desire no more to come to that

Evening of prime hearts. Her body was bruised and battered. Her innermost battered.

Indeed she was the heart of the night.

Everyone thought but never thought it could be Sherwin Shun…

 

Revelations of Sherwin Shun

By Xenon

 She was the heart of the night.

She wore a glistening green dress that made the men woo in delight.

Her menacing mien captivated them especially me,

Sherwin Shun whom she liked least and loved last among her classmates for

I was stout, skunk, snob and strange!

 

I can never be the heart of the night.

Though I was the one who held the knife and slashed their heart of the night.

How lovely it was been to be soaked with blood in the evening of heart.

Now, I knew I was not only stout, skunk, snob and strange

But I was also mad…mad…and mad…

 

 

It was only I who kept the secret behind the lie

It was only I who know the truth and so I lie

How lovely it was to feel that nobody thought I can be him

Now, I knew people can be deceived easily

For they are all fools…fools and fools…

 

Would you listen and care to hear the truth behind?

Or would you rather bury the tragedy and keep everything fine?

Nevertheless, I’ll tell you how and why

How lovely it was been to be soaked with blood of the heart of the night.

Now, I knew I enjoy much

So prepare for I’ll come…come and come

 

Hold your breath and listen closely as I narrate everything so you’ll see;

I tore her glistening green dress in our ride to the city crest

And so while the evening was at its peak in the middle of the evergreen

I grabbed the opportune time and relished her, her every part

Woo, I wooed in delight.

While she screamed…screamed and screamed.

 

I slapped her as hard as I could to stop such awful creek;

After a minute or two, she halted as I continued.

I thought I was satisfied but I was not;

An inner voice kept urging me to hold the knife and slash her with might

Which I did with delight that made me woo.

While she pleaded…pleaded and pleaded.

 

 

I yelled at her and continued with might;

Her innermost battered, destroyed which I enjoyed.

Woo, I wooed in delight;

Thus brought satisfaction and light.

I was not contented and so I looked for another bigger knife;

And chopped…chopped and chopped.

 

Like a pig I butchered her with might that brought me delight;

“You are the heart of the night, you say?” I reminded with resentment.

I left with light that brought life.

Life is given once and once it’s taken;

You can never take it back.

So prepare…prepare and prepare.

 

Underestimation, avoid such for if you do you’ll suffer thus

I might be stout, skunk, snob and strange

But what she suffered was worst

For her words brought her fate as thus

Like a butchered pig she became thus-

Stout, skunk, snob and strange.

 

But as I enjoyed my light away from the night

I started to cry when my wristwatch I no longer can find;

The only evidence that brought me in this trial night.

Prepare… Prepare and Prepare

For this is not the end, I swear.

 

 

_taken from the message of Sherwin Shun during the trial_

 

 

poor language, but well – something you don’t always get a taste of. Hahaha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Article I Thought It Could Have Been

When your A**** world only involves doing qualification and managing productivity for some projects, and onboarding processes for **** tasks, seeing random characters together like :%s/apple/banana/gc on a black screen seems a dive into a cliff.

As you are introduced to the new world of the L*** R****, you find out that those random characters aren’t random, but are precisely pieced together to mean “change all ‘apple’ to ‘banana’”, which they call a Regular Expression (RegEx), run in the terminal to change all words (apple) to banana in the extract.

And as you move deeper, you realize that the process is really— well, a dive.

To make the dive a little less daunting for a C***** ******* Task supervisor, who needs the magic of regular expressions and scripts –those commands that end in .py (autocorrect.py, filterlex.py, etc) – in order to make project-specific tasks efficient, a week-long RegEx and Script Training was conducted by ******.

The training kicked off January 09  and continued through January 13, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with the main aim of sharing the L**** R****’ script and regEx knowledge to J***, a ** supervisor.

Although K*** S***, a new **** for ** *******, and I reserved a week before to learn Regexes and script, we decided to attend this new training to hone our skills and learn new regexes. However for J****, the experience was new, challenging and different. She even shared, “It was indeed complicated and difficult; especially that it was totally different with what I do with Content Relevance.”

We’re given separate tasks for Scripts and RegEx to work on, interspersed between short lectures that clarified the purpose of each .py script and formed as practice in creating our own regexes for certain situations. This made J**** say, “I believe this would also impact great result since it would lessen grammar- related issue or typos that judges were not able to capture.”

Knowing how to achieve a particular task by creating expressions from a pool of complicated choices of characters; understanding how all python scripts work; and tailoring the processes according to our project are not an easy stroll around the park. During tasks, I’m sure somehow we hoped drinking hot or iced coffee and nimbling biscuits while staring at the screen of regex and script tasks for long could help us figure our way out, and that laughing during breaks would clear the confusion. Yes, the training only affirmed that learning these can be a stroll, a jog or a sprint depending on what is required, but it also reminded us that the process can, in fact, be fun.

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Sliding Windows: My Memoir Part 1

It wasn’t really a good idea to stay overnight at Lolo Caloy and Lola Estella’s house, a quaint two-storey Filipino colonial-style house. Its sliding wood-panelled windows and decaying walls have been home to termites. To a thief, it’s the last of the last resorts for stealing because it has always been famous as a haunted house.

When my mama dropped me and my siblings off at their ancestral house that night, there was a surge of excitement for a mystery-seeker like me. I remember wearing only a shirt, pajamas and a pair of muddy slippers that was also my companion when I sneaked out three hours earlier to go to another derelict nipa hut about two kilometers away from the back of our concrete bungalow. I remember because that’s the reason why we arrived late at lolo’s house and though excited, my eyes were red and huge teardrops were flowing to the floor because my mama berated me and pinched me hard on the arm.

As soon as a tall burly old man opened the door, his inflated tummy sticking out of his white shirt, I started sniffing to indicate that I was crying as if my swollen eyes were not evidence enough. Noticing my exaggeration, my lolo bent over, stroke my hair and gave me soothing words I can’t remember what.

Upon entering, I could already smell Nanay Cunsit’s aromatic pork Humba: a sweet pork dish with catsup, brown sugar and salted black beans and banana blossoms resembling the more famous pork Adobo. Cooking Humba signaled an important occasion, so our presence could be a significant visit for them.

Nanay Cunsit, a scrawny elderly wearing a stained plain daster, flashed her yellowish teeth and greeted my mother while circling the ladle in her cooking pot. I squinted my eyes to show her I still hated her for making my last summer miserable at Lolo’s house. Suddenly, another plump old woman emerged from the door connecting the kitchen to the dining room. It was my lola Estella. She noticed my muddy slippers so while the rest entered the huge dining room with a long rectangular narra table at the center, my lola brought me to the bathroom where she cleaned my feet several times before offering a pair of clean giant slippers.

I proceeded to my place in the dining table. In lolo’s house, each of us has our own seat. While the old ones chattered, my sister Kathleen a slender kid with short hair and bangs started rolling her eyes and pouting her lips to show her impatience. She was seated directly in front of me in the long table. In response, I started raising my eyebrows several times smirking indicating my agreement. The two of us understood each other by mere facial expressions.

After 30 minutes of eager wait, two huge bowls of Pork Humba, a platter of Kinilaw, raw fish salad, and two bowls of rice were laid on the table. Then an hour passed, my mama bid her goodbye while the two of us with Ate Karen -the eldest among us, who grew up at Lolo’s, more refined and always wore a dress – ran upstairs. The stairs were situated directly across the dining room. Each careful step produced a creaking noise, so imagine running through it. Nanay Cunsit yammered from below while the three of us just laughed boisterously. We stopped when we reached the last step up because it was creepily murky. Only a yellow chandelier “adorned” with cobwebs lit a sprawling bare space upstairs. There were four rooms. The first room from the stairs was Nanay Cunsit’s, the second I haven’t opened and checked, the third was my lolo and lola’s and the last was my Ate Karen’s room.

Three expansive sliding windows bedecked the bare space supposed to be a living room.

We hurried to Ate Karen’s room, threw our bags and as free kids, started jumping on her pillow-filled bed. After a while of jumping and playing “Langit Lupa”, Lola Caloy came in giggling elated to see us in high spirits, bringing a pitcher of water, a cup, and an anerola, a pail for pee. He stopped us though and ushered us to sleep. Because we’re there, he decided to stay with the three of us. He positioned himself at the left side of the bed. I lay beside him while my sister Kath sprawled herself next to me, and my ate Karen slept at the far right side. Two windows were slightly opened, allowing a gush of wind to seep through- its gentle cold breeze ventilating us- and the moon and the eerily silent sky as the backdrop. I couldn’t sleep, my ate Karen too, so my lolo started humming a lullaby.

“Lolo, we’re not babies anymore”, squeaked Ate Karen. But the old man continued. As his eyes were closed humming the tune familiar to him, I faced him and noticed streaks of tears. Puzzled, I questioned, “Are you crying lolo?” He opened his right eye, and gazed at me, smiling. I bugged him to tell us why. Then out of the blue, he started sobbing like a kid. Ate Karen sat down worried, while Ate Kath was already in dreamland. My surge of excitement waned as I listened to a once strong old man’s vulnerable sobs. By that time, Ate Karen stood up and took a cup of water and gave it to lolo.

Lolo sat down, wiped his tears and beckoned us to sit in front of him.

Only the two of us were there as my sister Kath was asleep with mouth opened. Lolo, turned to me and said, “No matter what, love each other. One day you’ll be separated from each other. Di gid ninyo kalimtan nga magutod kamo. (Never forget that you’re siblings)”.

At a very young age of 8, I barely understood what he meant.

Parehas gid kami ninyo dati pero wala gid kami subong naghirupay bisan gisakripisyo ko akon nga pamilya para sa ila” (We were once like you but now it seems that we don’t know each other, I sacrificed even my own family for them).

I was a mere spectator in that mournful monologue. He wiped his tears and poured out, “Gipalangga ko sila. Nagpaningkamot ko para sa ila”. (I loved them. I labored for them).

For the first time in my life, I peeked through the window of this hardworking grandfather’s past.

Sometimes we close these windows terrified that a gnawing memory would haunt us, at times we slide it open, allowing the gentle breeze of the past to seep through. Now, I fully understood what he meant:

The mundane things we did together as siblings became my most memorable windows.

Side note: I seriously miss these moments.

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On Depression

You sit alone in your room, gazing into space while your mind wanders around a spate of negative thoughts… “You are dumb. freak. hopeless.useless…” Actually, you already forget the time when you felt optimistic and passionate. You bawled your eyes out the night before and you wish tonight’s going to be the same – tears dripping, you falling asleep then waking up in the morning, following the same old routine. Tonight’s different though – your eyes are frozen and the time is, too. You search for that one hopeful thought to keep you going, but you can’t and so, a far more dreadful train of thoughts enters and slowly drowns you – “Better end this. I should stop this. There’s no point. When I die, nobody’s gonna cry! My death would make them happy!” You want to stop them from drowning you. Still, you are rummaging through your memories for that glimmer of hope that could stop you from taking your life. Today you are successful, but tomorrow might be different, who knows.

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