What a Great Time to be Alive

After taking up Nipun Mehta’s graduation speech entitled “Miserable and Magical” in my English IV class, I am immensely inspired to do something worthwhile with my life. The feeling I had after reading that essay evoked something real, something concrete in me that no other essay or speech have reached. This is one of those rare moments in my life when I finally realized all the good I can achieve, all the kind deeds I can do, and all the hearts I can touch. Needless to say: it was an eye-opening experience.

“Give, receive and dance.” These are the three keys Nipun Mehta to overcome the millenial traits of having a sense of entitlement and narcissism. These are now the three things I commit myself to do. Simple, brief and catchy: these keys summarize everything about kindness. Kindness, as I have observed, is everywhere these days. Maybe it’s because we read it for class but I have come to see goodness in my batchmates inside and outside the classrooms: they smile more now, they greet everyone sincerely amidst the tired look in their eyes, and they don’t even think twice about doing random acts of kindness that range from paying for the next kid who wants cotton candy to leaving a cupcake for the teacher in order to sweeten their day. What a great time to be alive! If every week was like this one: I wouldn’t mind how “cheesy” everything is. Amidst all the academic stress, there is no time to be negative when you’re surrounded by such kindness.

The past few weeks have been a wild roller coaster for me – with the occasional migraines and surprisingly, a huge number of miracles.  I find myself thanking God every single day — and I find that it’s a better way to spend my time rather than wasting precious time complaining over and over again about the troubles I face.

Last week, I was quite weary after dealing with my duties as a club head and on the day of my school’s Pep Rally, I was close to losing all my energy and enthusiasm. An unexpected blessing came in the form of my new freshman friend who handed me a letter calling me “Ate” (Filipino for sister) and wishing me luck for my upcoming college entrance exams. This simple act of kindness gave me so much hope and happiness (100x more than what Coca-Cola ever gave me!) that I quickly regained my enthusiasm and going forth to cheer and show my spirit for my school.

Today was an interesting day as well: my mother and I were walking home when a van stopped near us. It turned out that it was our usual carpool we thought we missed and they stopped so they could let us ride. This saved us a number of steps going home and the bus fee. Happy that I got to rest my feet and ride a comfortable car home, I went to buy my mother roses while she stayed in the market to show how much I love her especially now that she’s been having bad days. With a spark in my heart and a smile on my face, I walked home happily and what happened next goes to show how the cycle of kindness is wonderful — my brother bought twenty drinks in his cafeteria just so he could collect coupons so he could get me something I’ve wanted for the longest time: a Coca-Cola planner.

Again, what a great time to be alive!

The kindness we give goes back to us whether or not we expected it.

Most of the time, we don’t even expect anymore. The happiness we feel when we do something good is somehow enough for us.

“A hundred million miracles are happening everyday.” We just have to open our minds and eyes to witness the goodness we overlook in the people around us. This janitor named “Kuya Tolits” would never fail to greet me with the warmest smile I have ever seen and he does not know how much difference it makes to me to be greeted with such enthusiasm and sincerity in the drowsiest of mornings and the sleepiest of afternoons. He will, soon. 🙂

“Give, receive and dance.” – Nipun Mehta.

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That Kid In Me

Imagemiss being a kid.

Being a High School senior, seeing little children playing around just brings out the little green-eyed monster in me wishing that I could go back to those wonderful days. Those days when no one really cared if you wore something fashionable or not. Those days when toys were your BFF’s. Those days when you could sing at the top of your lungs (and end up singing out of tune) but you didn’t care at all because Old MacDonald Had A Farm was your jam and when having a Princess-themed lunchbox made you really feel like a princess. Those were the good days.

My parents constantly remind me that I was that kid who “said the darnest things.” Up to now, they could never forget how I openly thought that there were people inside ATM machines, giving money to those who needed it. When Former President Erap got impeached, my folks tried explaining it to me that he was a mean, grouchy man who stole the country’s money and I was passionate in saying: “We should punish him by keeping him locked in the ATM and make him give all the money back!” I remember my parents erupting into laughter and tears but I was intent on making my plan happen. (I still kind of am, so future corrupt officials, beware!)

Another thing about me as a kid was that I believed in everything my sister told me. One time, she told me that she was a half-witch that goes to school only at night when I was asleep. Thing is, I believed her. I was intent on going to this magic school with her so I stayed up all night to wait. Nothing happened. But that was the night I learned something new: how to stay up late.

I never did learn my lesson so my sister continued to make a fool out of me. She explained the day after that she was too tired for magic school. I understood. She started telling me afterwards that she got terribly sick because she drank orange juice. Apparently, she was deadly allergic to it. In another time, we went downstairs for a midnight snack and she acted as if she was about to die after drinking some orange juice. Not even minding her poor acting skills, I panicked and started crying for my sister.

The last thing about me that I can finally share without feeling all that bad about it is that I was bullied a lot. Having been the only “englisera” (english-speaking person) in the pre-school I attended, I was the target for most of the rowdy boys. I remember this one boy who kept trying to steal my Coke and pulling my hair (I think his name was Kevin) — he was always be out to make me cry. (It was revealed after I left the school that he apparently had a crush on me.) Another boy would snatch my pad paper and use it as a “skates” around the classroom. Other girls would think I wasn’t girly enough for them so they avoided me. Being me, I stayed quirky and weird throughout those painful years and I’d like to thank the 6-year old me for never changing who she was.

My childhood proved to be eventful and actually quite funny when I remember about all the things I said and did. I cried at all my birthday parties because the clowns and mascots seemed like they all wanted to eat me. I pretended to have learned Atlantean and impressed the other kids by writing random symbols. My best friend is a witness to how I told everyone that I could control the wind just by raising my hands. Looking back, I was such a cool kid. 

Growing up, I learned that no, it is impossible to punish corrupt officials by locking them in ATM  and no, my sister isn’t allergic to orange juice and wasn’t attending a magic school. The older I grew, the more I understood about grown-up things like Economics and literature. I learned about how love isn’t just about sending an anonymous valentine card to your crush. (And that cars are not psychic– the driver actually controls the arrows that light up.)

However, the older I grew, the more I forgot about the child in me. Here I am, constantly doubting the capacity of the girl who was absent for every graduation practice but still ended up shocking people with her original poem for the graduation ceremony. I find myself constantly forgetting how wonderful it felt for the 4 year-old me to finally get a baby brother — when I get impatient with my now 13-year old brother because he’s “painfully annoying.” Also, I never really got to affirm the little girl who took all her guts to high-five that horrible clown just so she could get a balloon sword. Lastly: Why do I even allow myself to feel awkward when asked to dance, when I was that girl who got the “Best in Dancing” award back in Kindergarten?

Why is it so easy for me to lose confidence in myself now when the kid in me never gave up on being loud, proud and amazing?

It is a wonderful and thrilling experience to grow up but one should never forget the kid in them that believed that they could do anything, the kid in them who wasn’t afraid to dream big. Image

Careless Mistakes

Forgetting to put a negative sign before the number, misspelling a word especially when it’s basic (i.e. “peple“), and accidentally following the wrong rule for significant figures are actually a few of the worst things that you can do. Making careless mistakes can actually drive people to mild insanity and unnecessary violence. For some reason, there will be that voice in the back of your mind trying to mimic Adele’s singing, “We could have had it all…………” (Or Anne Hathaway’s emotional cries of “But there are dreams that cannot be!!!!!“)

If anything, I could be crowned as the Queen of Careless Mistakes. I’ve overlooked negative signs, lost my sense of spelling, repeated “there” more than once, confused ‘your’ with ‘you’re’ and forgot to extend that sneaky radical sign over the whole term. Every test I answer proves this. It could be said that I’ve gotten used to it but I will never get used to that fiery rage in me every time I realize how close I was to a perfect score if it weren’t for that dumb, careless mistake.

“I should’ve…” “If only…” “Where did I even get -3 from……” “WHAT THE F IS WRONG WITH YOU”

I say these things quite a lot but I realized that I should actually assert less energy in ridiculing the Ancilla who answered the test the day before. I should put more effort into making sure that the Ancilla who answers the next test doesn’t make the same mistake. I forget that I could still be a better version. I forget that I could move on.

So the next time you make a careless mistake, don’t complain about it. What good would complaining do when it’s already there on paper? Instead, tell yourself, “Hey, you’re only human. Next time, you’ll know better.”

Never beat yourself up for these little mistakes because these are lessons you needed to learn. Learn them.

The Story of You

(I’ve been trying to write this as a poem but it came out as an essay.)

There are stories that deserve to leap off the page to be loved and be lived. The challenge is to live a story that deserves to be written down — because you have loved and lived.

Each and every one of us are stories, with small beginnings, climaxes that we alone can write, and endings that could either leave others hanging or leave people inspired by how you managed to overcome the plot twists and unfortunate events in your life. People judge books by their covers and it’s terrible that they never got to the good parts of you. It’s okay. Shrug it off. They have no idea what they’re missing.  

When someone decides to read you, what will you show them? The day you found your calling to be a dentist? The moment you had your first kiss? The dreams of the little child in you? The heartbreaks you had to go through? It’s really up to you. Show them who you are. Show them the story of you. 

If people stop reading you midway, your pages will be left open, and your story hanging. It’s difficult to have to tell your story to someone new. Starting over sucks. Being back on the shelf hurts.  Something dies in you and you start to believe that the story of you is a worthless read.

No. You were written to be read. Never forget this. You have something great to offer this world. The words you speak, the characters you meet, the obstacles you overcome are yours and yours alone. No one can tell the story of you even if they read you from front to cover. You may not be a best-seller but someone wrote you in hopes of making a small difference to someone out there.

And you will. Someone out there is waiting for the story of you because you are exactly the story that they would want to be a part of. The story that they would never want to put down. The story that deserves to be written down because you have loved and you have lived.

 

The Best Medicine

“Laughter is the best medicine.” 

As it is one of the weirdest things I have ever heard (I mean, please, did it ever cure fever?), I have to admit that there’s a truth to this. Laughter makes any day better. Try it – when you’re down and out, find something humorous. Share it with someone. Laugh with them. And later on, laugh at them when they try to crack the joke to others with the wrong punchline. That frown’s not gonna stay down forever!

Personally, I’ve learned to find humor in everything I see be it a lesson in Chemistry or a Biblical story. This is the reason why one might find me snickering on my own in the corner like some sort of weirdo. Still though, such attitude has its perks. Recovery is much faster (all I need is a musical marathon, a dozen doughnuts and a crate of Coca-Cola to get over heartbreak) and for some reason, you get friendlier. There was I time when I was completely anti-social — I still kind of am, but it’s getting better. 

I’m known to be a really “corny” person and this is actually true. I make jokes about school lessons but it’s not 100% humor. It’s actually how I study. Finding puns (aka word association) in topics help me remember them more. Plus, it actually helps me laugh the complication off. When I decide that I loathe a subject, I shrug it off and change my perception of it. I tell myself, “No, I will love this thing and it will love me back.” So, I end up showing my affection towards it and make even more jokes about the certain subject. 

Laughter is contagious. Laughter is healthy. It’s not some sort of escape from reality — that is if you, for some insane reason, cackle like an old, thin woman who wants to make a coat of dalmatians. Laugh. Find something to giggle about. Find something to be happy about. It is the best medicine after all. 

 

Math & Me: “It’s Complicated”

I have a love-hate relationship with Mathematics. 

It all started in first grade. New school, new language, new people. I didn’t understand any of it — and if I remembered anything else about Grade 1, I spent most of that year being a lost soul. Math was a strange, unfamiliar alien back then — I knew my numbers, of course but that was it. GEMDAS, operations, and the concept of time killed me. It went on for another year but thanks to a good soul (who I am now proud to call my best friend for a whole decade) who helped little me understand how the numbers just kept appearing out of nowhere on the blackboard, I was motivated to actually work to understand it. Summer after second grade, my parents pushed me to memorize the whole multiplication table. (I suffered everyday but) I thank them everyday for pushing me to do so because after that, Math suddenly became easier. Needless to say, I excelled and I ended up being placed in an off-campus Math course and the school’s Math Enrichment program. 

It doesn’t go “happily ever after” though. After a while, I found it difficult to catch up with the lessons. Maybe it was my laziness and overconfidence but it also had to do with the solitary room we would always go to, leaving the Regular class back in the classroom. It felt so isolated and suffocating to be in a small room, studying Math with a bunch of geniuses. I ended up wondering if I really belonged there. This insecurity of mine became my downfall. After two years, I was placed back in the Regular class — where I bloomed again. It was the best year of my life (for Math) because everything felt so easy, so free. I should’ve seen what was coming: after seventh grade, I was moved back to Enrichment. Same thing for first year, I felt insecure and I dropped — back to Regular. Excelled again and was brought back to Enrichment for third year. Now in my senior year, I feel like I must have done something right ’cause I’m still in Enrichment. 

Enrichment, Regular, Enrichment, Regular, Enrichment.

The circle of my life.

Looking back, I realize it was my attitude towards it that affected my performance. My feelings of insecurity and being mentally suffocated caused me to stop caring about it. In the Regular, however, taking comfort in the slow and sure pace and a bigger room gave me a better feeling about Math. 

I’ve started this year with a bad mark. As my mom said, “It still sucks — but your perspective of it should contradict that.” It’s all in the mindset. Whether or not I think Math is easy peasy, I’m right. Whether or not I think Math is difficult and a pain in the ath, I’m right. Knowing this, I’m determined to stay optimistic (stay positive hehe) for this year.