Of faith and fate
Not quite surprisingly, 2013 was, in many ways, an extension of the heartache and turmoil that 2012 was. I welcomed it with a confused and heavy heart: while I was making an apparent effort to stand up and dust myself off from everything that happened, I knew deep down that there was no ground to stand on in the first place. I've lost faith in a lot of things in life: mostly love, but also partly, myself.
And perhaps that's the biggest heartbreak of all: to lose your self. To find out that stripped away of certain things (and people), you do not recognize the person that you are. To realize that outside certain expectations, there is no you to speak of.
I thought I was crippled by my own sadness. But little did I realize that I was crippled by the wrong sense of self I was trying so hard to reach. By the end of 2012, I just wanted to be happy. But happy is not something that comes crawling back to you one fine afternoon, inviting you for lunch, begging you for a second chance. Happiness is not a call at two in the morning assuring you that it's not getting drunk with a girl in Ilocos. It is not sacrificing what you want for some version of yourself that someone else is blindly holding on to.
Happiness is a choice. It's walking away when you have the chance; it's cutting your losses when there's no more left to gain.
I had a lot of heartaches for 2013, more than what I've had in the last few years, definitely. I lost people I've once loved. My grandmother hit her head and suffered a minor brain injury. My grades were not something to be proud of. I seriously questioned the power of prayer.
But it's true what they say, that when you're at your lowest, it's when the universe surprises you. When you finally look up to the heavens and think, "Where else do I go from here?" does the cosmos align finally, as if waiting for such a password, and moving to make things right again.
Little did I know that the choices I had to make would pay off so quickly. But they didn't seem so in the beginning. It was difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you're crying yourself to sleep every night, or when you're standing up in the middle of recit, stumped, even when you've read for everything. The good things certainly didn't come trickling in in a second.
But trickle in they did. And I couldn't be more grateful.
I once thought that I could no longer be the former happy person I once was after everything. I couldn't be more wrong. Because it's only after such a bad experience that you are able to wipe yourself clean and truly be able to feel what it's like to be glad and content, sans all the hurt.
Last February, I saw my most favorite band in the world, Stars, perform live, and it brought tears to my eyes, and a great shock to my entire being. "Hold on when you get love, so you can let go when you give it," they sang. I raised my hand then, closed my eyes, and swayed myself to the song, not knowing if it was true, and if it was going to happen.
But it did. It did. Life (and love) has a funny way of working itself around our everyday. We shouldn't - and should never - stop holding on, even when our entire being says so.
I was truly lucky to have been given the chance to just push restart and have everything go back to zero some time in the middle of the year. It was a fresh start - the real new beginning that I truly needed. Looking back now, because of certain choices, 2013 wasn't such an awful year after all. I gained the most amazing set of sisters with the UP Portia Sorority. I've been having the best, most honest conversations with my grandmother after her injury. I realized how much my parents truly loved me, faults and all. I discovered that true friends know no time or space; they will stand by you regardless of your personal decisions. I realized that going to Mass every week is truly an enriching experience. And I found out that love is never a stranger to a heart that always believes.
And that's the greatest take away from all of this, I guess: at our lowest point, it's hard to believe that things will get better. But they will. They really will. And it will always be so much more worth it than it ever was. You just have to trust the universe, and wait.
Because you never know. Sometimes happiness is a strange fellow. Sometimes it will come with a jar of ube in tow from Baguio, and before you know it, nothing - nothing - will ever be the same again.
Oh hello, 2014 :)