—I Loved You All The Way
This song perfectly depicts the perfect relationship. A perfect relationship has misunderstandings, financial struggles, and adventures, but also has two people committed to loving each other in sickness or in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse. Life isn’t a fairy tale, but I believe that love can transcend every form of struggle.
I want this to be the song playing in the background while my partner and I are having our first dance on our wedding day. I’m not wishing for someone rich or handsome. I just want someone who, no matter how tough times may get, will love me all the way. ♥
As a kid, I’ve never really paid that much attention to the FM band. My mom listened to it during hot boring afternoons, while I had my Game Boy to keep me company. The only time I listened to FM stations was when I wanted to record a song over one of my dad’s old cassette tapes. I would scan all the channels in search for that song, not knowing that technically, I was pirating.
Everything changed though when I was in my fourth year of college. It was the first term of what was known as the toughest semester in our college life and assignments kept on pouring, day after day. Being a nocturnal being, I loved doing my assignments at night, preferably around 10pm onward, when everybody at home was fast asleep. I was looking for some form of company, since watching the television while doing homework was very distracting and the songs in the CDs I had were getting old. So I decided to listen to the radio.
My mom used to be the only one listening to FM radio, so the default station in our component was a station dedicated to easy listening. I scanned the whole FM band in search of a station with pop and RnB music, and fate gave me Monster Radio RX 93.10. I was instantly hooked! Not only were the songs good, but the DJs were witty and hilarious, unlike those on the stations public utility vehicle drivers listen to, who break out into senseless chatter, no offense.
The first RX program I ever tuned in to was the now-defunct “The Late Nite Clinic” with Dr. Love, Tom Alvarez, Nurse Hazel, and Fritz the Intern. It aimed to entertain late night listeners by having phone-in on-air parlour games, whose winners will get instant requests. Scheduled from 9pm to 1am, it was the perfect program to keep me company while doing my homework.
Not contented at being a mere listener, I wanted to join in on the fun! I didn’t get through the Monster Hotline the first night I tuned in. The next night, however, after pressing the redial button again and again, by sheer luck, I got through. They put me on air and I won my first phone-in radio game! I then became an avid listener, whether I had an assignment or not. I became a frequent caller as well, mastering the art of timing and redialing. And if I didn’t get through, I could still chat with the DJs and join their games via Yahoo! Messenger.
As time passed, I discovered other great programs on RX, the most notable of which is “The Morning Rush,” which has a huge cult following. Another program I liked listening to was “Last Call,” hosted by “J to the L-O” Jake Lopez. Airing after “The Late Nite Clinic” until 6am, this program had a really handsome host. It eventually got cancelled after a year, because Jake flew to the US. The program that replaced it, “G-Spot,” however, was more addictive because the host was really good-looking - Gino Quillamor. To this day, he’s still with RX, now a part of “The Morning Rush,” and is still my ultimate crush.
I’ve been to the RX radio booth once, so I could meet Gino in person and bring him food (DJs love food!). Though I wasn’t able to bring a camera, and the camera on my phone sucked, I had loads of fun talking to him about gaming and other geeky stuff. However, despite that being the first and only time I’ve visited the booth, I’m no stranger to the RX office. I’ve been there a little over 10 time already, because I’ve been lucky enough to frequently win tickets to events. Unfortunately for me though, I’ve never been able to use any one of the tickets I’ve won.
I won my first tickets on August 11, 2007. I was on my way home with one of my best friends and the FX driver was tuned in to RX. Hazel, Jake and Radio One buddy (aka student jock) Bea were on air and called their one-time program “The Furonda Show,” named after Jake Lopez’ crush, ANTM alum Furonda Bransfield. In the program, they encouraged the listeners to call in and show off their talent on air. Each jock would give the caller up to 10 points and the one with the highest number of points at the end of the show would receive 2 advanced screening invites to “Evan Almighty.” Of course, I wanted to join, but I was nowhere near a payphone and my cellphone didn’t have enough credits to call the hotline. So I waited until I reached the MRT station to phone in.
As soon as my friend and I got to the MRT station, I looked for a working payphone and dialed the Monster Hotline, but all I got were busy tones. My cellphone had no FM radio application so I was basically calling blindly. Nevertheless, I persisted and, out of luck, got through. I prayed so hard for one of the DJs to pick the phone up, and after a couple of ringback tones, someone did. I expressed my interest to join the talent contest, and they put me on a long hold, for just about 30 minutes.
While I was on hold though, I thought of what I was going to do. I knew I had to be unique, so simply singing wouldn’t assure me big points. And besides, a lot of callers have already sung. Other callers did tongue twisters, but that wasn’t even in my options. So I finally decided to sing, but in my soprano range. See, I have a well-developed mezzo-soprano range, thanks to the many years of singing as a countertenor in my church choir.
The next thing I prayed for was that they would put me on air while there weren’t a lot people on the upper floor of the train station. Sure enough, they put me on air as I heard a train approaching the station, and they asked me to showcase my talent as people were starting to come up the second floor. I had no choice but to own up to what I was about to do. I started to sing the last part of “The Phantom of the Opera,” where Christine would do those transitioning bravuras, at the top of my lungs. My best friend, who was standing next to me, was stupefied, and people were starting to stare at me. Midway through the third transition, I had to stop, because people stopped in their tracks to watch me and a bit of humiliation crept in. Of course, I explained to the DJs my situation, because it would only help me in getting a high score. And so, in the end, both Jake and Bea gave me a 9, and my dear Hazel gave me a 10! Needless to say, until the program ended, nobody topped my score and I won the tickets.
I went to the RX office to claim the tickets as soon as I could. The advanced screening was on August 16, 2007, Thursday, and I invited my then-boyfriend out a week before the event. He told me that he had indefinite plans on that day and would notify me if our date would push through. Notify… such a formal word. What was I, his secretary? Anyway, come Wednesday, I received no word from him. On the day of our supposed date, our classes were suspended because of a tropical depression. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Despite the suspension of classes, I still had to go out because my research paper group mates and I set up a meeting with an electronics and communications engineer who would aid us in our system proposal. Before leaving the house, I sent my ex a message, but he didn’t reply. Come noon, I tried calling him up, but he never answered his phone. Night came and still, not a word from him. So, after the meeting, with heaviness in my chest, I decided to keep the tickets and go home.
August 28, 2007, I won another set of tickets. This time, for the advanced screening of “The Invasion”. But because I was so busy with my research paper, I decided to give it to a friend. Then, on the last day of August, I found out that Kobe Bryant would be visiting the Philippines on September 5, 2007, as a part of his “Supernatural” Asian tour. My ex (yes, the same guy in the previous paragraph) is a HUGE Kobe Bryant fan, and RX was giving out 6 tickets for the event every hour. All the listeners had to do was text in the correct answer to a question about Kobe Bryant and the first to send the correct answer would win the tickets. I wanted to win the tickets for him, but what the hell did I know about Kobe Bryant?
The next morning, I listened to “The Morning Rush” and in their first hour, Chico asked questions like, “What was Kobe Bryant’s first team in the NBA?” I had no damn clue. Fortunately, the same set of questions were asked on “The Late Nite Clinic” and I was the first one to text the correct answer to the aforementioned question (Charlotte Hornets), thus receiving the 6 tickets to the event.
I was stoked to have won and told my ex about it the next day. He was dumbfounded because he didn’t even know his favorite basketball player was visiting the Philippines. Some kind of fan, huh? I told him everything, but lied about the number of tickets I won. Instead of 6, I told him I won 3 tickets, so our party would be limited to him, his best friend, and I. I claimed the tickets in the RX office and gave it to him on September 3, Monday.
On the day of the event, after carefully planning which classes to cut so I could go to the event, my ex called me up and asked if he could bring one of his classmates, a girl who, apparently, is a basketball fanatic. I clarified that we only had 3 tickets. He then asked if I didn’t mind not going with them, since basketball wasn’t my thing. I did mind! I won those tickets so, technically, they were mine! But I didn’t want to argue with him, and I didn’t want to tag along using my other tickets because he would call me a liar, so I told him to enjoy. The next day, I broke up with him. I was tired of getting left out and playing second fiddle to his best friend. Besides, I think his best friend is gay and has the hots for him. The other 3 tickets of the Kobe Bryant event, I kept as souvenirs.
As time coursed, I won more and more invites - to more advanced screenings, to exclusive parties with free booze, and to concerts. In fact, when I visited Gino during his show, I went to the RX office just because I won advanced screening tickets to “It’s Complicated”. Each time I won, my friends benefited from it, because I would give the tickets to them, except that one time when I won tickets to see Beyoncé perform live. I wasn’t really a fan of hers, but I joined the phone-in contest just for fun. I didn’t expect to win, but I did. So I went to the venue not to watch the concert, but to sell the tickets. The two tickets I won retailed for Php1,200 each, and I sold them for Php800 a piece. Easy money!
Fast forward to July 11, 2012. I was listening to RX and found out they were giving away tickets to the advanced screening of “The Dark Knight Rises”. My “partner” is a huge comic book fan. So I thought it would be nice to win those invites and, for once, be able to use them. I phoned in the station and, luckily, got through. I then played a game, won, then was included in the raffle at the end of the program. Before the program, “In the Mood” with Hazel and André, ended, they did the raffle and I won!
Last July 13, a day after my IELTS written exams, I went to the RX station to claim the invites. After doing so, I sent my “partner” a message, telling him I won tickets to the advanced screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” including the specifics of the event. He’s a little too caught up with his on-the-job training and I told him to ease up, since he already has done 300+ hours of the required 450 hours. To my dismay, he told me he wanted to finish his training as soon as possible. And so I tried to convince him for days, but I found out that he had an exam on the night of the event. I asked him to swap schedules with someone else, since it was a two-batch exam and their professor was really kind, but he didn’t want to, so I didn’t push him to.
I sent my crush a text message, intending to give the invites to him and whoever he wants to bring with him. I told him I wasn’t in the mood to watch the movie anymore. To my delight, he asked if I wanted to watch the movie with him instead. I asked him if he was serious and he said he was, but he had an exam from 6pm-7pm. The venue was about an hour away from his college and the event was going to start at 7:30pm. Even if he took a cab, he wouldn’t be able to make it on time, because, knowing him, he would dress up, which would consume additional time. He wouldn’t go to an event in his uniform and neither would I. So I wished him good luck in his exam and told him that we’d go out some other time.
Oh, the irony of winning tickets but not being able to use them. I blame wrong timing. I know someday, I’ll be able to go to an advanced screening and talk about how great the movie was to the camera crew waiting outside the cinema. But for now, I have the tickets I won as indispensable souvenirs, each carrying a story of my life thus far.
Today, I dug deep in my closet to bring my diaries out. I was going to take photos of stuff that I will be posting in my next entry. And since they were out, I did some reminiscing.
These were my diaries. Sure, they may be makeshift, but they chronicled the last two years of my teenage life. As I read one entry after another, I couldn’t help but laugh, especially at my obsession with this one guy, who, in the first place, was the reason why I started keeping a diary.
After going through the thoughts and musings of the 18- and 19-year old me, I’ve rediscovered how mature I was in handling certain situations in the past and, at the same time, realized how much I’ve grown up since then. I’ve also found out that certain things never really changed, i.e. my spending habits and my idealism. While I’m working on toning down my spending habits, I never ever want to change my being idealistic. As they say, “Whatever the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.”
And as I brought them back to where they were kept, with my memory refreshed, I couldn’t have been prouder of myself. I don’t regret doing any of the things I wrote in those makeshift diaries. Some days I cried, while some days I was over the moon with joy; some days were uneventful, while some days I explored; some days I dreamt, while some days I spent. I’ll never be who I am today without those experiences. And if only I could meet my 19-year old self, I would pat him on the back and tell him, “Job well done!”
This one, I can so relate to! And I agree 100% with this quote! The best times I’ve spent with him are those times we stayed in, just enjoying each other’s company. Well, I guess it’s more of me enjoying his company. Sure, we go out whenever we can, but those simple stuff - watching TV together, me cooking for him, our conversations about anything and everything before sleeping - those are the things that make me smile the widest. :)
THIS is my song. I may be too old to believe in fairy tales, but I do, especially Prince Charming. People say a lot about just waiting for him to come, but most of the time, I get tired of waiting. I guess it’s because of this that I always find the wrong guy. Wrong in a sense that they “don’t swing THAT way,” except for one, who cheated on me and left me hanging. But despite all the tears and heartaches, after getting over one wrong Prince Charming, I live to love another day and another Prince Charming. He may be another wrong one or, finally, the right one, but I believe in loving someone without fear or expectations. “Someday I’ll get wise, but right now I need the lies of handsome men.”
Yesterday was my IELTS Speaking Test. I asked, nay, pleaded my special someone to accompany me to the venue, which was in Tagaytay, to serve as my confidence-booster-slash-inspiration. However, he opted to do his on-the-job training, which I totally understood. We’re not committed to each other, so he has no responsibilities to me. And even if we were a couple, I’d never subject him to such responsibilities. I’m not the type of person who would tie his man in a leash.
Anyway, back to my Speaking Test. It was conducted at One Tagaytay Place, which will also be the venue of my Written Tests (Listening, Reading, Writing) on Thursday, July 12, 2012. I started my day with a much-needed big breakfast care of my brother - Zark’s Burger’s Jawbreaker (triple quarter-pound patty burger topped with Spam and bacon with dripping cheese sauce) - then made my way to Tagaytay.
From Cubao, I went to Coastal via bus. Then at Coastal, I rode a bus to Tagaytay. All in all, the travel time was two and a half hours. Upon reaching the bus terminal, I rode a tricycle to the venue. En route, I got to catch a spectacular view of Taal Lake and the Taal Volcano. I had to resist the urge to ask the tricycle driver to stop so I could take a picture. I told myself that I’d do that on Thursday, after my Written Tests.
I arrived in the venue at 3:05pm and the schedule of my Speaking Test was 5:15pm. After registering, I looked for one of my classmates in the review, Ate Hilda, to ask how her Speaking Test went. I texted her and she told me she was outside, because the one in charge of the registration told her that those who were done could not loiter in the venue. I met up with her and found out that in her Task 2, which was the two-minute speech, she was asked to discuss the meaning of art in her life. I was surprised because to date, all of the task cards given to our classmates who took the IELTS last June were related to activities in one’s daily life, e.g. “Discuss what you do during your leisure time,” and “Discuss what makes you laugh.” Ate Hilda’s task card, despite being in our reviewer, was something I was not expecting.
I also asked Ate Hilda who her examiner was. She told me it was the foreign man described as lenient in our final coaching. She also shared that the other two examiners were the generous old Filipina and the lenient tall, chinky Filipina, as imparted by the other examinees she talked to. I felt relieved because the only terrible examiner of IDP was not in our venue. After asking her a few more questions about Tasks 1 and 3, I went back to the waiting area in One Tagaytay Place and she went home.
In the waiting area, I sat next to this girl who stood in front of me when I registered. She looked friendly, because when we were in line, she asked me what time I was scheduled for the Speaking Exam. I soon found out that I was right because as soon as my butt touched the chair, she started talking to me. Her name’s Mitch, but she insisted that I call her Mitchy, and she’s a nurse. She and her friend had the same Speaking Test date and her friend, Jhet, was already in the reception area of the hotel, waiting for her turn to take the test. Mitchy told me that keeping to herself would make her more nervous, so she needed someone to talk to. And lucky for her, I’m an extremely talkative person. The wife of one of the examinees was also seated next to us and we talked about a lot of things - who the examiners were, what questions have been asked to those who were already done, what answers could we give if we were asked about arts or politics, and Canada. Just like me, Mitchy and her friend are applying for a Canadian immigrant Visa.
It was exactly 4pm when those people scheduled at 5:15pm were asked to proceed to the reception area. Mitchy’s schedule was 5:35pm, which meant I was on my own. Boy, I was a nervous wreck. Mitchy was right, but I kept myself calm by surveying the other people in the hotel. 5, 10, 20 minutes passed and I was still waiting. At 4:25pm, those scheduled at 5:35pm were asked to move to the reception area. So, Mitchy and I were reunited! But instead of talking about the inevitable Speaking Test, we spotted this hot guy and talked about him instead.
4:50pm, I was asked to sit and wait on the stool in front of Interview Room 3. I was on my own again. My heart was pounding so hard but I kept telling myself I could do it. I listened to the voices inside the room and heard the voice of an elderly woman. Pro: I got the generous examiner, meaning my Speaking Test will be a sure pass. Con: Despite being a generous examiner, she has a ceiling grade of 8.0, and I’m aiming for a 9.0. Modesty aside, I rocked my coaching sessions in preparation for the Speaking Tests. And in the final coaching, the speaker said the lenient examiners are typically the ones who give out 9.0s. I wanted a challenge, an examiner that would debate with me. Nevertheless, I told myself that I would do my best to squeeze out an 8.5 or 9.0 out of my examiner.
After around 25 minutes of waiting, the examinee went out the room. I was next! After 3 more minutes of waiting, the door opened and the examiner called my name. She had a smile on her face, which instantly made me feel warm. She’s a beautiful woman, either in her mid- or late 60’s, who looks a little bit like Laurice Guillen, but prettier. I smiled back at her. She asked for my name with her impeccable diction and I answered her. Then she asked me if I was a nurse. “No Ma’am, I’m an air traffic controller,” I half-lied. Her face lit up even more and she laughed, saying, “My, you’re young! You’re only 12!” I laughed too, “No Ma’am, I’m 24,” I answered. She then asked me what country I was migrating to. I said Canada. After that, she said, “We will now begin your Speaking Test.” She fixed the recorder then pressed play.
As per protocol, she introduced herself. Her name was Corazon something. I forgot her surname. Task 1 began and this consisted of personal questions. She asked my name again, for the record. I answered, then she asked me to tell something about my hometown. Now, I prepared an answer for this the night after my final coaching. According to the speaker, two ways to get a 9.0 is to give either informative answers or give out-of-the-box/unconventional answers. I told her, pretty much verbatim, “I grew up in Quezon City, which is the most populous city in the Philippines. It used to be the capital of the Philippines, but Manila had more historical significance, so they made Manila the capital city again. What’s interesting about Quezon City is that you can find some of the famous universities in the world there. Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge and Purdue are conveniently located five minutes away from each other, because they’re names of streets in Cubao.” How’s that for an answer?
Task 1 went on and she asked me to describe my house and what my favorite room is in the house. To the latter, I answered the bathroom, which kind of took her aback. She asked why and I answered, “Because, Ma’am, I am an aspiring housewife and I believe the basis of a good housewife is a clean bathroom. And Ma’am, I enjoy cleaning my bathroom, where I oftentimes become an artist in a concert, belting out songs even if my mom’s yelling at me for being too loud.”
And then she asked me how often I drew. I didn’t expect this question in Task 1. Keeping my composure, I told her I don’t really draw because I’m awful at it, then expounded. She then followed up with, “Do you think drawing is an easy skill to learn?” To that, I candidly replied, “Oh no, Ma’am and I am a testament to that. Art has been a part of the primary and secondary curricula and I never learned to draw well. As a child, my drawings could have passed as cute, but my drawings remained the same as I grew older and that isn’t cute anymore.” She laughed the whole time. Then she asked, “What do you think is the importance of drawing to adults?” OH MY GOD!!! I had to think on my feet. Thankfully, I remembered the answer I prepared if ever I got the same question as Ate Hilda in Task 2. I answered, “Well, Ma’am, drawing is a form of art, and art is a form of expression. For those adults who could draw, I believe drawing is an outlet to express what they’re feeling.” Then I expounded on the idea of expressing one’s self, even bringing up how I express myself through music.
And then there was Task 2. This task is where the two-minute speech is given. Ma’am Cora read my task card, saying, “Discuss a TV show you watch regularly.” Insert sigh of relief here. I had one minute to organize my thoughts before giving out my speech. As much as I wanted to answer “The Simpsons” or “America’s Next Top Model”, I stuck with a talent show, since I could say a lot more about it. I wanted to say “The Voice”, but it hasn’t been on the air long enough so I opted for “American Idol”, since I’ve been an avid fan of the show until two seasons ago. Doing so, I was able to consume the required two minutes for the second task.
Task 3 consisted of follow-up questions. It could either be aligned to what you answered in Task 2 or completely random. Ma’am Cora asked me the type of shows Filipinos are fond of watching. I quickly answered, “Filipinos love to watch soap operas because it appeals to the Filipino masses,” and then expounded. She then asked, “How about comedies and sports?” and I answered her question with ease and confidence. Finally, she asked, “Do you think watching TV is good for a person who lives alone?” To that, I replied, “I don’t think watching too much television is good for someone living alone. Sure, it may be a source of entertainment, sometimes, even information, when that person watches National Geographic or Discover Channel. But I believe a person living alone should go out, mingle and enjoy life.” She asked me why. “I find a person living alone just watching TV sad. I believe that socialization is the key to happiness.” And that was the end of my Speaking Test.
Ma’am Cora stopped the recorder and she talked to me, off the record. “I wish our conversation would never end!” she exclaimed. I smiled and thanked her. She asked me again what country I was going to and I replied, “Canada.” She then said, “I hope you find your partner in Canada.” My heart dropped and I loved her even more after what she said. “Oh, Ma’am, I have one!” I lied. “He was supposed to be with me today but he chose to work.” She smiled then said, “I’m happy for you.” “Yes Ma’am, thank you. In fact, I’m going to be roaming Tagaytay later, looking for pasalubong for him.” She then stood up and led me to the door. Before letting me out, she said, “You’re a smart kid with a lot of ideas,” then lovingly caressed my cheek. “Thank you,” I replied, “You’re too kind Ma’am.” As she bid me farewell, I thanked her yet again.
Outside, Mitchy was seated in the chair I was seated in a while ago. She stood up and was about to enter the room when I signaled her to wait for her name to be called. I wished her good luck then went back to the waiting area, where Jhet and I waited for Mitchy, keeping quiet so they wouldn’t ask us to leave.
When Mitchy got out, she was ecstatic because our Speaking Tests were done. She and Jhet went to the ladies’ room and afterwards asked me if I could accompany them in looking for a room to stay in from Wednesday night to Thursday noon. Our Written Exams would be from 9am to 12nn and they didn’t want to be stressed out by the two and a half-hour commute, so they opted to stay in Tagaytay the night before the exam. A room in One Tagaytay Place costs Php3,600++ per night and that’s highly impractical. The rooms for rent in the various inns near One Tagaytay Place ranged from Php1,000 to Php2,000 (one bed, good for two). It made me think that it’s cheap to have a vacation in Tagaytay. Maybe my “partner” and I could go there one day. Oh, how I wish! Anyway, after finding an inn to stay in, where the room was really nice and costs only Php1,300 per night, we rode a tricycle to the town market, where we will be waiting for a bus bound to Manila.
Upon reaching the town market, I asked them if they could accompany me to a Colette’s stall. As I said a while ago, I was going to buy my “partner” some pasalubong. I wanted to buy some ube pie because I just love ube. However, the saleslady told me that they only sold those in the main branch in San Pablo, Laguna. But I didn’t want to settle for buco pie. Jhet then suggested a store foreign to my ears - Loumars. There was a stall nearby and we went there. They had ube tarts, but in the assorted tarts box. Then the saleslady suggested their blueberry tarts, which I immediately liked. So I bought one box of assorted tarts and one box of blueberry tarts for my “partner”. After that, we waited for a bus to go home.
On the way home, I thought of how my exam went. There were questions that I could have answered better. I could have given wittier answers but, oh well, what’s done is done. I did the best that I can, and I hope it was enough to get a 9.0. Also, I decided to sleep over in my “partner’s” place. I really wanted to see him because it’s been almost a month since I last saw him (June 15) and I wanted to spend quality time with him.
I got off the bus in Coastal then rode an FX to PATTS. On my way to his pad, I saw a lot of my former students. How I missed them! I missed one so much that I screamed his name out loud. I chatted with them a little then continued to his pad. I got there even before he did and when he arrived two or three minutes later, he told me he saw me walking. That asshole didn’t even bother to call me. But it’s all good; I love him still. And I believe he got fatter. Again, I love him still, no matter what!
I was hungry as hell and as I was freshening up, he opened one of the boxes. Lucky for me, it was the one with blueberry tarts. Yum! It tasted so good. I think I ate five and he ate three. Oh well, he still had a box of assorted tarts!
While eating, I asked him if I could sleep over. To my delight, he said yes and I couldn’t have been happier. After taking a bath, we went to his friend’s dormitory to eat some more. Then he went to the computer shop because he wanted to play DOTA. I stayed in the dormitory and talked to one of his friends. He came back at 1:30am and, as usual, we slept next to each other and that’s the best way to cap off a good day - I gained two new friends, am proud of how I performed in my Speaking Test, saw a breathtaking view of the Taal Volcano, saw the students I missed and slept next to the man I love the most in this world.
—Just a Dream
Being an optimist is hard work, especially when things fall out of place again and again. There are just times when you want to believe you’re seeing the silver lining, but it just ain’t there. Flashing a big smile to the whole world while feeling down and helpless inside isn’t healthy.
During those times of weakness, I turn to this song and cry. This isn’t a typical inspirational song because it shows real struggle. Listen to the lyrics, especially the chorus, and you’ll know what I’m saying. Add to that JoJo’s raspy voice and inflections and a simple acoustic feel, you’ve got a song perfect tear-jerking song.
But despite a generally pessimistic point of view, there’s a little ray of hope in it at the bridge. Because, as cliché as it may sound, no matter how hard things may be, life indeed goes on.
A while ago, in my IELTS Speaking Test coaching, my reviewer decided to challenge me and give me one of the harder task cards in my second Speaking Task: “Discuss the meaning of happiness.” I was taken aback on what I had speak about. I usually take time to ponder on some of life’s biggest questions. And there I was, given one minute to organize my thoughts, stuck in a rut. ”What is happiness?” “What factors are important in achieving happiness?” Those guide questions offered no help at all.
All I could think of were two things - contentment and love. The ideas were there, but when the task started, I wasn’t able to vocalize my ideas the way I think I could have, thus falling short of the required two minutes for Task 2 of the Speaking Test. Despite doing good in Tasks 1 and 3, and getting an 8.0 in the Speaking Task practice, I can’t help but feel bad. I’m an idealistic person! How could I have not discussed the meaning of happiness well? I blame time pressure! It’s a lame scapegoat for not doing well, but I’ll use it anyway.
When I got home, I pondered on what to say if ever this will be asked to me in my actual Speaking Test. After much thought and consideration, I now know what to say about this conceptual Speaking Task.
Happiness is an overwhelming feeling inside a person that manifests through a smile. Contrary to what some people believe in, it can never be bought. Materialistic things elicit pleasure, which is usually mistaken for happiness. Though pleasure can make a person smile, its effect wears of easily, unlike happiness. This is because one of the key factors of happiness is reciprocity. Inanimate objects can’t share your happiness, but people can, and that’s what makes it last.
Another factor that affects happiness is contentment. A person is never truly happy until he or she is contented with what he or she has. There’s nothing wrong with wanting more, because that’s what drives people to do better, to reach their goals, or to be successful. However, sometimes, I feel that people need to step back and appreciate what they have. There is always something to be thankful for in every situation in life, good or bad. And if a person focuses on that instead of all their wants and despite all their needs, that person is a happy person.
However, all of the factors to achieve happiness are collectively known as one term - love. Love is the feeling most synonymous to happiness. Love, like happiness, is better reciprocated. One is happy when in love, but happier when loved back. Also, like happiness, love requires contentment, because there’s no such thing as “the perfect guy/girl”. You need to accept your partner, flaws and all and love him or her at his or her worst, otherwise, you won’t be happy.
Transcending human logic is another factor both love and happiness share. A lot of people do crazy things just to be happy, most of which are the ones in love. I, for one, walked five kilometers in steel-toe shoes then ride at the back of a semi-trailer truck just to cook for that special someone than go home because of a flash flood.
Love and happiness share a lot of other similarities, such as having a sense of fulfillment. However, despite these semblances, I believe that love is an emotion that transforms into happiness when felt. When one experiences love, he or she also feels happiness. Simply put, love defined is happiness, and happiness explained is love.
—Right Next to the Right One
Having a friend you can talk to about absolutely anything is a gift. However, having someone of a different sexual orientation you can have the same level of comfort talking about anything under the sun with is rare, and therefore, a blessing.
Yesterday, I met up with a good friend of mine to eat out. He’s one of those people I can hold an intelligent conversation with and our topics can range from the meaningful to the absurd. At times, we’ll be on the same page. Most of the time, however, we’ll agree to disagree. Nevertheless, I appreciate his open-mindedness. His mind is as inquisitive as mine, resulting in a fluid conversation. And yesterday was no exemption.
We talked about the Silverio Compound, one of the slum areas in Parañaque which was in the headlines a few weeks ago. From there, I went blabbing on about my review for IELTS and how hard the writing test is. Then we talked about food, our favorite subject. And after some time, our attention shifted to matters we seldom talk about seriously - that of the heart.
From his ex to the girls he would like to date, we talked about love over our humongous burgers. Then, we stumbled upon an interesting topic - the friend zone. He told me how hard it would be to have someone you love only see you as a friend. I then segued and spontaneously asked him, “What would you do if you fell in love with a friend who means a lot to you? Would you risk your friendship?” He instantly said yes. I reminded him, “You would risk losing that friend.” He said, “If it doesn’t go my way, I’d still try to keep the friendship. And if she starts avoiding me, well, it’s her loss.” “Really? You’d rather lose a great friendship for something that you wouldn’t be sure of?” I clarified. Nonchalantly, he said, “Yeah. Guess so.”
We moved on to a new topic as we continued eating our burgers. In the middle of our new subject, he suddenly said, “Maybe I’ll cross the bridge when I get there.” I asked what he meant, since what he said was awfully off topic. “About what we were talking about a while ago. The friend thing,” he replied. “So you mean to say, you’ll make your move when you find something that would initiate you to?” I asked. “Yes,” he answered. “What if you two have reached that point of closeness where things like watching a movie together is perfectly normal to you guys? That could mislead you,” I challenged. He paused, in deep thought. Then he said, “Well, I guess I wouldn’t bother telling her anymore. You’re right, I wouldn’t want to lose a friend like that.” “So you’ll just go with the flow?” I asked. “Guess so,” he replied.
Falling in love with a friend who holds a special place in your heart is a difficult position to be in. I’ve always been a believer in taking chances, because I wouldn’t want to grow old regretting something I never did. But in this case, the risk involved is high, and really good friends are hard to come by these days. Keeping the feeling bottled up may be hard, but I’d rather be that person’s great friend forever, than lose him by admitting my love for him. I guess this is a decision I would not regret. After all, the answer came straight from his mouth. He would rather not say anything than lose a friend who means a lot to him. And I agree with him because he means a lot to me, and I wouldn’t ever want to lose him.