February 27, 2016 / 10:32 AM
I am terribly afraid of becoming a person who only goes places because it is good content and attention for my social media platforms.
There, I said it.
At the beginning of the year, I promised myself I would stop my senseless spending (on books, beauty products, clothing) and take my hard-earned money and start creating memories elsewhere. This is a resolution I fulfilled because of my intentional shopping ban and some little miracles from the Great Provider. Now, this is something new to me because I have never been too fond of uncomfortable experiences plus – being the youngest child amongst my siblings – having too much independence. My friends tell me this is a new side of me they never thought would be possible, and I have to agree. I have made too much excuses to forego the possibility of travel simply because of fear of the unknown. It scares me to think that I actually booked my very first flight without any family members to a foreign country (with just a friend), and I fly in April. I tell you, this newfound freedom is both completely life-changing and at the same time, paralyzing.
I see my flawlessly filtered Instagram feed championing this dynamic way of living: communing with nature, feeding on new experiences, and refusing dullness. It thrills me to see this new version of myself I only dreamed of becoming but it makes me question my motives again and again.
Months ago, I lost my phone during a short trip to Singapore. I believe, I knew I was heartbroken, not because a year’s worth of memories were stored in the device but because I was in uncharted territory, and no one would know about it. I could be experiencing a night out at the red light district tasting their street food for the very first time, taking in Little India’s tapestry of colors, and finding Jojo Moyes’ After You at the airport bookstore but why should it matter, right, when I cannot even capture it for the entire Instagram population to see?
I am starting to be so consumed with this new way of life; I feel like every single free day I have should be spent living up to this, should I say, commitment. I see my Instagram feed, and I am alarmed that I have not posted in two weeks because, having been educated by life, everything else cannot compare.
Is it just me or do you also feel the same way?
October 31, 2015 / 12:00 PM
I already had my future planned.
At 23, I would be (successfully) self-employed. I would have my own studio juggling one project after another – completely lost in this whirlwind of captivating busyness, which brought me instant validation for years. I would have the luxury to write from home or whichever part of the world I would fly off to, on a whim. This online platform would be more blown-up than it is now, reaching multitudes of readers from all continents. More importantly, I would have already made a brand out of myself.
That is not the case. This glorious fantasy is completely foreign and far-fetched…as of the moment.
I have been at the same place for the last two years, a creative slave to my entertainment-savvy Filipino brothers and sisters from all walks of life. I hardly touched my blog on my first year of full-fledged, confusing, and liberating adulthood. I rarely book jobs, and when I do have the chance to work elsewhere, I am oftentimes too tired to even accept.
That is the truth, and I am pretty okay with that.
I write to my readers through the heart-wrenching pain, the undeserved goodness, and the inexorable beauty of life. I read voraciously, traveling to endless, inexhaustible worlds when I have to be still and unmoving. I try to be kind to every single person I encounter, and when I fail because I am finite, I am weary, I apologize. I pray in crowded streets, in almost empty trains, in my isolated cubicle – even when I don’t feel like it. I try to be more intentional with my relationships, I try to be present – I try so very much.
I am conquering my own selfish desires and aspirations allowing every single day to fill me with gratitude and beauty. It may be quiet, it may be unremarkable but it is a life built on purpose. I have learned to embrace delay because it is not denial. It is merely a refocusing on more important things, such as my character and my spirit.
There are days when I will feel insignificant, days when I see everyone doing everything else I am not, and that does not make me any less important.
My path is solely my own. My timeline is no one else’s.
I (must) wait, and in the waiting, may I be moved, may I be transformed.
October 29, 2015 / 12:00 PM
In all seasons of my life, I have waited, I wait, and I will wait.
My restless heart wanders aimlessly and lands on people’s doorsteps where I never belong. I turn sadness into beauty, signs into full-fledged answers, and prayers into excuses. It has been painful, heartwrenching, and self-destructive. There are really bad days when it consumes me indefinitely. Waiting paralyzes me so that I can spend months unmoving – devoid of hope – because this is all I (want to) know. I become so comforted by my ache, I make a home out of it.
I wait for my husband. I wait through letters unsent, prayers recklessly whispered, efforts wasted, and mistakes consciously made. His absence follows me wherever I go. I mistake him for genuinely good men who remember everything I say and proud boys guised as my ‘savior.’ I wait, to keep up with his kind of (crazy) wonderful, yet we never meet.
I wait to be a mother. I wait for the reassurance of love that constantly needs me. I wait to be held so fiercely, my absence becomes her, his, their very first heartbreak. I wait for late night cuddles and kisses, which trump whatever riches and success the world may offer. I wait for stories to be told through the eyes of someone seeing everything for the first time.
I wait to be enveloped by purpose. I wait for passion to burn in my heart. I wait for dreams that have yet to be realized. I wait to reach a point in my life where I can confidently say I am proud of my work, my self. Yet, I also wait to be selfless, that my energy, my gifts, my words may reach a multitude of others who seek the very same thing I do: meaning.
I wait for the Lord. I wait, that in every season of my life, His hands hold me – though I choose to let go. He continuously redirects my gaze to His path yet my stubborn heart chooses to go astray because my desires are often too strong – they are really weak. His will becomes blurry, and I lose sight of it. I wait for answers I can only find in His might, His compassion, His grace, His salvation. I wait to be delivered from every wretched thing taking the place of the Lord in my life.
I wait for more things I am too scared to say. How long must I wait?
Still, in my waiting, I learn. I learn all these unspeakable things about myself. It scares me, it scares people away. Some stay, some have long gone, and a part of me continues to grieve for them. Slowly, I strip off these parts I’ve learned to love yet will always make me unhappy. In my waiting, I see people, places, things I can selflessly offer myself to, without compromising my best. I pay attention, I am present, I discover, I give, and these I can only do through glorious solitude. I learn to reevaluate my priorities in every season my prayers remain unanswered.
I do deserve delay. I deserve delay because I am finite. I deserve delay because I can only see the convenient, the good, when I was promised the life-changing, the best, the eternal. I deserve delay because there is much work needed to be made in me so that when I do receive the gifts that have yet to come, I can claim them without guilt, without doubt, without fear, and without abandonment.
I deserve delay because there is much I have selfishly harbored and kept only to be left with (more) unnecessary suffering. I have to learn to let go of these things I will not learn from. I deserve delay, more than anything, because I do not know what He is doing in my behalf. I do not know what He is doing with my prayers. I do not know what He is saving me from – a lifetime of mistakes, a self-seeking heart, listless growth. I do not know what He is purifying within me before I can be everything I hope and pray for. The wait becomes a duty I must fulfill. And in my waiting, I learn, I grow, I become. I trust that is enough.
October 24, 2015 / 12:00 PM
There are days when work is simply tolerable, days when it is purposeless, days when it fills your heart – no matter what job you have, it happens.
Growing up and taking responsibility for your life and your everyday choices means understanding that you cannot always find joy in what you do. Some days, you will be left with an intense desire to just give up altogether, quit, and leave. After all, this is your life.
We are all presented with this grand idea that this is the only way to deal with discontentment – to move. Find some place else to fulfill your heart’s utmost desires but believe me, spend a few more months in the same place, and the cycle will just repeat itself.
Some seasons of our life seem to take forever.
We exhaust ourselves in the waiting, never truly seeing how we are being molded in the present. We look for purpose elsewhere, finding ways in which we can change the lives of others not seeing how our characters are being perfected through the everyday stillness of things.
In these moments of restlessness and frustration, see how you are being made into a better person where you are planted. How do you communicate with your colleagues? How do you handle conflict and stress? How do you take on assignments you know you can gain nothing from?
This is how we are refined – through the little, insignificant things that truly make a big impact.
“And where does faith come from? How does it grow? In the soil of empty hours, as much as in busy ones. Faith grows with time.“ (Relevant)
May 27, 2015 / 12:00 PM
I have a couple of drafts I’ve been working on for the past year(s) that I’ve completely neglected. It may be my fleeting interest, my sparse (even nonexistent) emotions, my lack of passion, my post (full-time) work exhaustion or all of the aforementioned.
I’ve spent a copious amount of time staring at my screen, purging words and ideas that aren’t there in the first place, and when they are, this voice inside my head stops me from continuing because why should I? No one even reads (my) blog(s) anymore.
In this Instagram obsessed culture, who would even take the time to read a blog post – hey, I can’t even be bothered to read a lengthy caption. Our audience has evolved – as my best friend would put it. We are bombarded with easy information, easy advertising, easy marketing through a perfectly curated feed, validated by the ‘double tap.’
This phenomena makes long-time bloggers like myself – six years and counting – lonely, irrelevant, and uninspired.
I tell myself it doesn’t truly matter because I started my blog – post-heartbreak and all – for no one else but me. I’ve been in denial for the longest time but let’s face it, it does matter, my God, it does.
Over the years, I’ve garnered a following, I’ve gained friends, and most of all, I’ve discovered myself because of my little blog. I do not exaggerate when I say tumblr completely changed my life.
A few weeks ago, I received a very special letter from a long-time reader. An excerpt:
“I was in 6th grade when I came across your blog. I was just starting to explore the online world and you had that apple green Springfield theme.
…I just wanted to thank you, my coming of age inspiration, for always keeping me attached with the world. I find peace reading your posts. I’m now in college, all busy with my academics, but with my spare time I still read your posts. You’re like the Dumbledore to my Harry Potter, and I would always adore your blog, Ms. Elisa.Thank you very much for inspiring me.”
I cried after reading it because I’ve been feeling immensely irrelevant the past months. Her words reminded me how much of myself, my heart and my soul, I’ve poured out to my blog.
It was there as I penned down my late-night heartbreak over a clumsy boy thus cleansing me of unforgiveness and anger. It was there whilst I tethered word after holy word upon rediscovering Jesus Christ, my everything. It was there as I screamed and cried of joy upon getting my very first A, my entire college life, from my year-long thesis.
My blog was, is my constant, and knowing it is for other people too, means the world to me.
The year is 2015.
I have been blogging for six, emotional, exhilarating years.
I started writing this lonely, irrelevant, and uninspired. I end this feeling loved, appreciated, and inspired.
This was inspired by London Beauty Queen’s similar blog post awhile back. This may have focused on her life as a full-time blogger, which I am not, but it pretty much resonated something greater within me, thus this.