01 June 2016

Closing Time

Yesterday will definitely one for the books, tagged and filed in the saddest slash devastating moments of my life. 

Early morning tumawag si Maryam while I'm still attached to my bed. Her first words were more than enough to deliver the whole point. "I have a problem. The business is not doing well." and all of a sudden I turned out to be unwell. She mentioned the status of our target market and industry, which is currently unstable. 

Sobrang opposite sa inaasahan ko. I trust Maryam more than anyone else. I joined her team without signing a single contract to have an assurance. Kasi naniniwala ako na sobrang bait niyang tao at hindi niya ako lolokohin. Oo, mabait nga siya and she has to be brutally honest about the real score. The context of her message is  telling me to find another job. Oo, maghanap ng trabaho sa panahon ng Ramadan. Parang sinabi niyang magtinda ako ng halo-halo sa panahon ng tag-ulan. Tsong, gusto kong maiyak. Kasi naman kakakwenta ko lang nung isang araw ng magiging budget, savings at investment ko monthly para ma-reach ko yung goal ko na mag-travel, magkaroon ng investment at makauwi. Isang malutong na shet sabay iyak tawa. 

Una kong sinabihan si Karl. Pagkagising ni Win naglalaban ang loob ko. Ayaw ko naman itago sa kanya e. Baka lang kasi maiyak ako sa harapan niya habang pinipilit kong kumbinsihin ang sarili ko na okay lang yan. Naisip ko agad san ako kukuha ng panggastos, pambayad sa mga necessities ko. 

Nakiusap ako kay Maryam. Although naiintindihan ko rin ang sitwasyon niya, di ko lang rin maatim na ganito kaswabe ang pagkabigo. Pero ito na yung reyalidad. Naipit na rin siya. 

Minessage ko si Grace kung gaano ko na gustong sumuko sa Dubai at umuwi na lang like how we used to rant to each other about life shizness back at the hub. Natuwa ako kay bakla nung sabihin niyang "Baks we've been to worse". It somehow kick my balls as if i had balls. May sense talagang kausap to si bakla e. More likely nakaka-relate siya sa pinagdadaanan ko dahil halos magkaduksong ang mga bituka namin sa magkaparehong tadhana. 

Gayunpaman di ko pa rin maiwasang malungkot. Hatinggabi na mataas pa rin ang pagkabagabag ko. Umaaliwangwang pa rin sa isip ko yung sinabi ni Maryam e. Salamat sa kwek-kwek na foodtrip namin kagabi, it sort of save the day from being totally miserable. Simple joys ika nga. Time to sleep, but no, I had to spill this shit inside of me. Nasabi ko na rin kay Mimay at Florence and I couldn't just ignore that sadness they have felt for me. Pero kahit papano nabawasan yung bigat sa pamamagitan ng pag amin na nabigo ako. Gusto ko ng umuwi sa loob ng isang buwan, kaso naisip ko hindi pa tapos tong braces ko.

This morning I managed to convince myself that everything will be alright. Naglakad ako papuntang office na katulad ng dati. Pagpasok sa office nagsindi ako ng pot pourri para sa konting aroma at relaxation. Turn on the laptop and listen to "Even when it hurts" ng Hillsong. Lord nakakaiyak. Hindi ko alam pero nasabi ko "Lord use me according to your will" And I started to recall a short message I received last week. "Is it really a bad day? Or it's just a bad 5 minutes that you milked over the whole day" Then I asked myself "Is it really a bad life? A bad luck?" Yes I freaking lose my job, but I still have awesome friends, supportive family, loving boyfriend. I have the basic things I need and even the stuff on my wishlist. I have saved a little amount of money, I'm debt free. I'm healthy, I'm capable, I'm alive. It is not a terrible life after all. 

I spent the whole day sending CV's to several companies. I got time to have a skype call with Karl and it was enough to bring me back on track though I'm still struggling. Karl reminded me that I will always have a home with him. That anytime I could go back to Ph and we'll start anew. It feels consoling than it sounds sweet. Pero para sakin nandito na ako, sayang eh. It is not entirely messed up. I could still build myself up. And I love what he said "You only have five seconds to move on. Yan ang motto namin sa trabaho kasi after 5 seconds may susunod ng client" and that makes sense. There are things ahead, whatever it is I have to pick my ass and get back to life.


Nag-aya ako sa tropa na mag-abra, pero busy ata sila. I guess it calls for a "me time". Thank God hindi mainit at mahangin sa labas. Nag-abra ako pa-Ghubaiba. I feel relaxed to see flowing water. Siguro may psychological explanation doon. 

Took some photos of the sunset and went to the local shawarma house where we used to have chai tea. I ordered parata meal and chai. Hindi ko naubos yung pagkain ko. Napansin ni ate na nagseserve. Sabi niya mukha pa akong teenager but we later on found out na mas matanda pa ako sa kanya ng isang taon. Mukha daw akong bata at walang problema sa buhay. Gusto kong sabihin ate kung alam mo lang wala na akong trabaho what the heck naman buhay oh. Tinanong niya bakit mag-isa lang ako. Sabi ko trip lang. Sabi niya "may problema ka ano?" Hay ate magbu-burst out ang hormones ko kung alam mo lang, but I was able to say "oo meron" without a blink of an eye. Out of nowhere she suddenly started to tell her story and from that point i felt some connection between the two of us. She put in details how and why she came in Dubai. And it wasn't the usual ofw stories that boils down to poverty. She's the eldest, she came from a broken family then they lost their mother at young age. Dati siyang drug addict, at early age she admits of becoming a pokpok to provide and sustain for their family. She became kabit, she have 3 children all from different fathers. She's extremely been into worse. But here she is, taking steps to change her life, grateful to God and continuously praying for her life and for her family. Yes, she is a waitress in a local and small shawarma house. As far as I know hindi ganon kalaki ang sweldo nila and the fact na they haven't provided an accommodation by their employer makes it legit for them to say na ang hirap maging ofw suck it. I wonder how much money she send to her family back in Ph and it sort of bothers. Beyond that, what resonates is knowing where her heart is after all the effin bs in her life. Si ate maagang binigo ng mundo, maaga ring lumaban, nabigo, natuto at bumabangon. I am amazed how grateful she is to God for what she has become right now. And that is sufficient for me to realize that there is more to life than sadness, pain, failure and rejection. 

Tapos ayon nagpaalam na ako kay ate. Tumambay ako sa labas ng Ghubaiba Metro and it is a perfect place to feel alone, to be sad at ano ba grabe yung iyak ko sa gilid pero walang nakakapansin dahil madilim. But i felt safe, i was relieved afterwards. Yung hangin effect iba, sapat na para makahinga ng malalim. Tapos nag-text si Win ng moral support. So syempre umagos na naman ang damdamin ko. Kaya pinakalma ko muna ulit ang sarili ko ng mga isang oras. Nakinig sa mga worship song, drown myself in pain and sadness, allow God to speak in silence at niyakap ang sandaling yon at umiyak ulit na parang hindi na sisikat ang araw.

Lord I really don't know what is happening in my life right now. But whatever it is, I'll get through this with you. Whatever you want me to do, wherever you want me to go, I'll certainly be there with your grace and guidance.

22 May 2016

MOVING BEYOND MEDIOCRITY

Guys, guys, guys! Okay, uunahan ko na kayo, hindi ako professional writer o magaling sa storytelling and ek-eks. I was asked to write a reflection *paminsan-minsan* sa Feast Dubai Bulletin and this is my very first published article. Again, hindi po ako pro writer at hindi ako magaling sa grammar, subject-verb agreement and the likes. So please bear with my errors. Just posting it here for whatever purpose (to inspire? for my own reference? basta). Nonetheless, all of the things I have written here were from the bottom of my heart and of course, this all for the glory of God. 

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MOVING BEYOND MEDIOCRITY
by Heavenknows
Published in Feast Dubai Bulletin
May 6, 2016

“Bahala na!” – these briskly decisive words are very common with Filipino. I remember how this expression has become my way of life for the past years of struggling with emotional despair. I lost my dear mother at the age of 19, a sudden twist of fate that brought me to a long road of agony. I was never ready to let go of her hand. There was grief, and then there were the pangs of despair. I really lost my enthusiasm. My father has been there along the way, shared with my pain, cried and struggled with me. Eventually, I rebuild my confidence with him and he has become the source of my hope. Three years have passed, we endured and gone through each day without my mother. Until one day, my father was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and was given a lifespan of one year. Time ran faster as it seemed, all I could remember was his last days with us. It torments me a lot to see him stumble on simple things. He cannot walk without falling, he cannot swallow soft food without having to throw it up and we came to a point where he cannot recognize us anymore. My heart was shattering into pieces all over the place. It was November 2014 when he passed away. Grief and despair were drifting over my veins, again. I felt I was left in the desert after the joy of dune bashing experience. I was helpless, I lost my purpose, dreams fading away, I’m not going anywhere and all of the things coming are senseless. Life has hit me one-time big time, once again.

I surpassed each day either extremely drowning in misery or utterly floating in the obscure air, knowing that in no time I will swiftly fall again. I was either sentimental or completely deadpan. It made me care less about things, about people, about life. I was in a battle invisible to others. Something that I leave underneath my bed sheet in the morning, go out, does nothing and go back to it again when everyone else is sleeping. I know I have been going through the motions of life all those years and “Bahala na.” has become my mantra. I live in my own curated comfort zone. I was mediocre, I bound myself to act without giving too much effort and accept that things happened like that. I thought whatever fall out no one’s going to care anyway. Losing both of my parents made me independent in the sense of being selfish, that no one’s accountable of me and I am not accountable to anyone. I thought that was the best way to move on with life. But it unconsciously dragged me down. My relationship with people is failing, because I couldn’t care more for them the way I couldn’t care more for myself.

I came to Dubai and just be whatever fate wants me to be. One day I needed to have a video call with a loved one in the Philippines. It’s been a very long time since I opened my Skype account. Then I saw a short statement below my profile, which I have written there a long time ago. A striking message in bold text, “Work as if everything depends on you. Pray as if everything depends on God.” and I found myself in tears. All I know was I am going to have a video call and just catch up but something has struck me. It was God calling me that moment to restart my life with Him. He committed Himself as my heavenly father.

From there, I started to regain a sense of hope. Every day I go through a process of moving forward with God. He filled my heart with the desire to move out of my comfort zone and be on the courage zone. I have built a new dream not only for myself but also for my sisters who have struggled the same way that I did and for my future family. God’s love is overflowing. He has filled my love tank that I became capable of giving, pardoning and living with optimism.

Looking back to where I was before, all I can do is to be amazed at what God has done to my life. As long as my hopes are with Him, I will never run out of purpose.