Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An open letter for my future daughter

Dear Future Daughter,

If you're reading this and able to comprehend what's this about, then I must have done something right.


I haven't seen you but I know you're going to be a beautiful lady full of respect to others; I haven't heard your voice but I know someday that voice will sound like a voice of a woman full of experience and the wisdom she'd gotten from those; I haven't experienced your touch, but I know your touch will heal broken people's lives because of your compassion; I haven't looked into your eyes but I know those eyes would never lie.

I want you to know that you could be whoever you want to be. People's judgement will break you. But don't let these judgements define you.

Someday, when you are old enough, you will have all the freedom to decide for yourself. I won't interfere, but know that I am just in the background still looking after you.

Somewhere along you might fall — you will fall — but know that my hands will always be there waiting for you to grab on.

I want you to take your life slowly, live in the present. There's no rush, honey. There are so many exquisite little things in life that could be taken for granted because people tend to look so far ahead, on shiny big things.

Make mistakes. But if I could have a say on this, make mistakes that you wouldn't be ashamed of when you grow up. The kind of mistakes where you could learn a thing or two.

Never be scared of failures. Because from failures, we learn to come up with solutions; Get frustrated, because from frustrations we try harder.

Love wholeheartedly. Love is for everyone. Love doesn't choose. And so even the most difficult people, love them. And don't expect to be loved in return. Because that's what unconditional love is: loving selflessly.

Take risks. Take a leap. Don't settle for the norm. Because in these, you'll find your true self and your true passion.

Always — ALWAYS — follow your heart's desires. These might lead you to opposite ways, even confuse you at times. But the heart knows what's right. And so please, follow it, wherever it may take you.

And most importantly, be genuinely kind. A kind heart goes a long way than a pocket full of dimes.

Love,
Mom

P.S. Be your own sunshine, baby. Always be a sunshine. So that when you meet people in their darkest days, you could light their lives up. I love you.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Find your "push" and start losing

Nine years ago, I was 45 kg before I entered a long term relationship. I read an online article saying that long term relationship could be one of the reasons why women gain weight. Because apparently, we get too comfortable knowing that there’s someone who loves us despite our size. That was true for me. But when my 6-year relationship ended more than three years ago, my weight gain spiralled out of control. I knew I needed to do something to shed the pounds I gained. But I never really had that shove I’ve always been waiting for. I was one of those “bukas diet na ako” people. And I had the mentality of “I’m not yet obese anyways, overweight lang”. I had a “valid” excuse anyways. I was taking corticosteroids for my allergies which cause face mooning, bloating, blah blah blah. I can get away with the weight gain. Not.

Until I felt like I wasn’t healthy anymore. September last year, I reached 65 kg. For my height it was already borderline obese. My father and brother had been very vocal about it. They couldn’t take it anymore. And I couldn’t take them always saying it to my face. My father decided to have a biggest loser competition within our family. We had 85 days to lose weight. I took it as the “shove” I’ve been looking for.

It wasn’t easy specially because it was Christmas season when the competition started. The most difficult part was the kick-start diet plus exercise. I had to change my lifestyle 360 degrees. The first thing I did was to get flavored/colored drinks completely off my system. It was a punishment because I was a self-proclaimed coffee-addict. I slashed my intake of sugar by avoiding sweets 100%. I also started  to lessen the rice I eat and started to run in the mornings before going to work. The first week was hell. But I pushed through until after two weeks, I completely abandoned eating rice and all I drink was water. I joined fun runs too.

I struggled a lot. I struggled so hard I felt like it was the most difficult challenge I ever faced in my life. But what really made it bearable was the people I was with when I was doing it. It became an enjoyable journey because I wasn’t the only one who suffered during birthday celebrations when all your senses were being tempted by the food around you. I wasn’t the only one who woke up at 4 in the morning to run at least 8 kilometers every day. I was doing it with the people who had the same goal as mine. I had the best support system during this ordeal. On Christmas day, during weigh-in, I was 55 kg. I lost 10 kg in 85 days. And I won the challenge. I never imagined I had that kind of discipline to do it. I was determined not because of the monetary prize, but because I believed it was the best for me. The result was worth all the sacrifices.

It has been 9 months and to date, I weigh 52 kg, 2 kg shy away from my target weight. Now, I eat whatever I want, but I never went back to eating rice. I got used to it. My diet isn’t as strict as 9 months ago but I enrolled in a boxing gym as another form of exercise. I never expected I’ll be enjoying this kind of lifestyle. Yes, I haven’t reached my target weight yet, but I am not worried at all. I’ve already proven I can do it, I’m just taking it slow this time with a new mentality burned on my will, that I am never going back there.

WEIGHT LOSS TIPS


1. Find your push button and set your target weight within a time frame.

2. Drill your target weight into your mind and up your determination.

3. Cut out sodas if you're into it. If you can, cut out ALL drinks with artificial ingredients.

4. Drink lots and lots of water. It makes your skin glow literally!

5. Find a good carb replacement for rice and white bread. I started eating wheat bread every meal in replacement to white rice.

6. Be physical. I suggest running outdoors with your friends. It's more enjoyable than running on a treadmill inside a gym. But if you want to enrol in a gym, go ahead! As long as you’re comfortable with it.

7. Be constant with your diet and exercise. Never miss for the first three weeks so you can form a habit.

8. Do not give in to the temptation of munching on junk food when you feel hungry. Instead, munch on some energy bars or better yet, fruits!

9. You can always have a cheat day, but if and only if you think you deserve it. I splurged on coffee after running 12K in a fun run when I was just starting. And then I punished myself the day after. Because I also deserved that. ;)

10. Never ever think that you are doing this for someone or everyone else. DO THIS FOR YOURSELF. Because you deserve to live a healthy life. I promise you, all the cravings that you've fought hard to resist, all the sacrifices running or going to the gym are all worth it when you start feeling healthy again. Every time you step on that weighing scale? Best feeling — because those numbers serve as your reward.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

My little miracle of 2013

There are so many things in 2013 that I am thankful for: family, work, old and new friends, travels, books, the opportunity to know authors personally and so much more. But there’s one thing I would like to share with you that has marked me in a manner I could never fathom. This could be shallow for some people, but for me, this one is a concrete proof of how God works in ways we don’t expect…

I learned in more ways how great our God is. That although you’ve stray so far from Him, He’d still show you His unconditional love even in the simplest things your heart desires. Almost everyone who knows me has seen that 2012 wasn’t a great year for me and my family because of the flood we’ve experienced. We had needed to evacuate during that time, the second time in ten years that I’ve been living in this place. Having undergone that, I was still thankful because no one from my family was hurt. I was grateful; although my heart was weeping I was able to move on.

After four months we were able to go back home and start all over again. I wished with all my heart that we won’t go through the same thing for 2013. But that experience put a constant worry at the back of my mind that flooding in our place is inevitable because climate change is a bitch. Still, I was hopeful at the start of the New Year. I went with my normal life; work-home, books and more books and blogging. When one opportunity at work presented itself, I prayed. I prayed so damn hard that I would get it. I CLAIMED it. I believed that God won’t let me not have it this time. I was happy and contented because I believed in Him. It was summer then. And then came the typhoon season; flooding everywhere. When I would open the TV to watch news, I would see the same thing: submerged houses, overflowing rivers and dams, cities turned into rivers. I was scared as hell.

The lake behind our house began rising and I knew 2012 would repeat itself. The water level rose gradually and I would constantly bike around the neighborhood checking the water level if it has reached the streets, and it has. At that point we all knew there’d only be days before we need to pack our things and leave. It was a week before the result of the opportunity came out when I saw a carabao (water buffalo) submerged in neck-deep water, I made a decision and prayed.  I talked to God and told Him I don’t want that opportunity I craved with all of me anymore. I’d rather have my neighborhood spared from the flood than get what I desperately wanted...

AND HE ANSWERED MY PRAYER. It wasn’t a straight forward answer but it was more than I could ask for. The streets of my neighborhood were still flooded; hell the water even reached my grandmother’s kitchen and living room. If the rain didn’t stop for three consecutive days, we would have evacuated once again. But God is so good He didn’t allow it. We were spared and I was so, so grateful that He answered my desperate plea.

I knew I would be so ecstatic, over-the-moon if I had gotten that opportunity. But now I know, nothing could ever beat the feeling of satisfaction when a prayer for the greater good of other people is answered. It was the best feeling I have yet experienced and I wouldn’t trade anything for it. For me, it was pure unconditional love in a tangible form.

Thank you God, amidst all the tragedies that happened around the world, I can still stay that 2013 has been one of my greatest years because I was blessed with your eternal love.

Note: This is unedited, so sorry if you find some grammatical errors. I typed as I think and I didn't read back. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

An Open Letter to the SSS board members re: bonus

To the SSS board members who have the audacity to decide how much bonus they want to give themselves,

Good day. I bet you all have a good day since we are talking about money here.

I am a Filipina employed by an international institution and I work from Mondays to Fridays 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, 40 hours a week. But most of the times I work more than those hours, and I am not entitled for an overtime pay based on the institution's rules. But what choice do I have? I need to work if I want to live a decent life and if I want to secure my future.

I AM NOT WORKING TO FEED YOUR FAT ASSES. WHAT GAVE YOU THE IDEA THAT YOU COULD DECIDE TO GIVE YOURSELVES MONETARY BONUSES AMOUNTING TO MILLIONS OF PESOS?

JUST BECAUSE YOU WORK DOESN'T MEAN YOU ARE ALL ENTITLED TO GET MILLIONS OF PESOS LIKE WE, PAYERS, OWE ANYTHING TO YOU. THAT WAY OF THINKING IS SO CONSTRUED. PLEASE DO NOT FORGET THAT PEOPLE WHO PAY THEIR SSS DUES ARE THE REASON WHY YOUR FAMILIES COULD EAT A DECENT MEAL, LIVE IN A DECENT HOUSE, WEAR DECENT CLOTHES.

WE DON'T OWE ANYTHING TO YOU, YOU OWE US. WE PAY YOU TO DO YOUR WORKS. WE DO NOT PAY JUST SO YOU CAN FILL YOUR POCKETS WITH HARD-EARNED MONEY WHICH ARE NOT YOURS. I REPEAT --- NOT YOURS.

HOW CAN YOU ALL SLEEP AT NIGHT KNOWING THAT MANY FILIPINOS STRUGGLE JUST SO THEY COULD MAKE BOTH ENDS MEET? I MEAN, WHERE THE HELL IS YOUR HUMAN COMPASSION? OR DO YOU EVEN HAVE ONE TO START WITH? ARE YOU EVEN HUMAN? DO YOU EVEN HAVE A HEART?

YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING THERE NOT JUST TO COLLECT MONEY FROM US AND PUT IT STRAIGHT INTO YOUR POCKETS, BUT TO ASSIST PEOPLE HOW THEY COULD BENEFIT FROM THEIR OWN HARD-EARNED MONEY THAT WAS PUT INTO YOUR CORPORATION, OR COMPANY, OR AGENCY OR WHATEVER THE HELL SSS IS.

FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, RETIRED PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS HAVING A DIFFICULT TIME GETTING THEIR OWN MONEY OUT FROM SSS. WHY? WHY, WHEN IN THE FIRST PLACE IT IS THEIR MONEY? WHY DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE THINGS DIFFICULT FOR THESE PEOPLE? THEY TRUSTED AND HOPED THAT WHEN THEY RETIRE, THE MONEY THEY'VE PUT INTO THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM WOULD MAKE THEIR OLD LIVES EASIER. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THAT WAY, RIGHT? THEY SHOULD BE FEELING SECURED. WHAT WAS YOUR TAGLINE AGAIN?

SSS, KABALIKAT NATIN

OH YEAH, THAT BULLSHIT YOU ARE ALL PLASTERING ON THE TELEVISION. WHY DOES IT SEEM THAT IT'S THE OTHER WAY AROUND? LIKE, SSS IS BEING A BURDEN ON THE PAYERS' SHOULDERS? AND THEN WE WOKE UP ONE DAY, YOUR MILLIONS OF BONUSES BEING ANNOUNCED ON NATIONAL TELEVISION.

WOW, WHEN I HEARD THAT NEWS I WANTED TO HURL MY TELEVISION TO THE WALL. BUT THEN I REMEMBERED, WAIT, A NEW TV IS NOT ON MY BUDGET. SSS DEDUCTION IS ON MY BUDGET AND THIS IS WHAT I GET? AY PUTANG INA NYO PO.

I KNOW ME RANTING ABOUT IT WOULDN'T DO ANYTHING, IT WON'T HELP THOSE ELDERS FALLING IN LINE TO GET THEIR MONTHLY RETIREMENT BENEFITS. THIS LETTER WON'T BE DOING ANYTHING AT ALL. THIS WOULD BE JUST ONE OPEN LETTER THAT WILL EVENTUALLY BE DROWNED OUT INTO THE VASTNESS OF THE INTERNET.

BUT WHATEVER, AT LEAST I GET THE FREEDOM TO CURSE ALL THESE PEOPLE.

WITH ALL THESE NATIONAL ISSUES, SOMETIMES IT FEELS LIKE BEING HUMAN IS JUST TOO TIRESOME, WHY DON'T WE JUST TURN INTO ANIMALS LIKE THESE PEOPLE IN THE GOVERNMENT ARE?

BUT THEN WHO WOULD WRITE OPEN LETTERS LIKE THIS? WE'LL BE ALL TOO BUSY POCKETING MONEY THAT ISN'T EVEN OUR OWN.

Just one of those millions of voices that won't be heard,

Nikki Arivel Larazo


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Frustration and Regret

Oh boy, am I seriously considering writing about this? Ha. You bet I am. ;)

So what about these words that when you hear them you can't help but be suck into a vortex and think about everything that has happened in your past? Like right now, I think I am in that vortex. Why would I ever want to write about my frustrations and regrets if I am in my happy place right? Well I think my med is messing with my mind and now I have to feed it with what it wants like a pregnant woman craving for a pineapple without "eyes".


FRUSTRATION


Career-path


This one is something that doesn't affect me to the bones. Not something that when I think about makes me want to puke my guts out. Thinking about this makes me crazy-frustrated. And this, I know for sure, is brought to you by >>> quarter-life crisis. Yes yes yes, no other than this limbo that I am currently stuck into.


Hey readers, don't get me wrong. I love my current job. What, with the mission of ending the world hunger, who wouldn't love a job that gives them a chance to make the world a better place? Every once in a while, you dream of being a better person than you already are. Admit it, we all wanted to be some part of a legacy and I am so lucky I was given a chance to work in a non-profitable institution with noble intentions. Not all people are given the same chances. Well not all people would want to work for the same intentions, do they? Honestly, this job I have is redeeming.


So why the frustrations you ask?


When I was in sixth grade I fell in like with Botany. Those plant stuff made a way to my heart and grew its roots in there. Then came high school, the same time Harry Potter was born (well not Harry's birthday people, I meant the book was born). High school was a blissful part of my life, I came to love the English subject more since I started reading HP series. I was happy whenever there are English assignments that would require us to write poems or essays. I thought I was falling in love with Literature, and whatever comes with it. I thought I found my true love. Until my last year in high school when I needed to decide what course should I take in college. There was really no confusion in my part, I knew I would choose Biology even though my parents felt like I should be somewhere along the line of Communication Arts or Journalism or whatever course to take to become a writer. But I went with what my heart was telling me. I took BS Biology and majored in Botany.


And now I am 26 years old working in a science research institution when frustrations started to come crashing down on me. My true love is haunting me relentlessly. And this people, is what those shrinks call quarter-life crisis. I have a stable job that already grew on me but there's still something amiss.


I admit, one of the reasons that's been keeping me to decide what to do with my life is the concept of comfort zone. Right at this moment I am in that zone. I am so comfortable with the career I have right now that it feels like a walk in the park (when my immediate supervisor is not stressing me out, that is).


The uncertainty of the other choice is scaring the hell out of me. Most times it feels like it's too late for me to change careers. I am not getting any younger and that fact puts a pressure on me. But then there are people who encourage me that it is never too late to try to do what you really wanted and loved to do. So I started blogging. I started a book blog of my own to somehow ease the "itch" that's been bugging me for more than a year. It's not the answer to my ever-growing frustration but I know this is a start.


I still don't know what decision to make, where to take a turn, and when to start changing the gears. I am still waiting for my heart and brain to come up in a truce and decide. But there is always this fear that when they finally agree, it would be too late.


REGRET

Regret. Just a word. A single word but makes you feel helpless. You think you are strong enough to overcome it. But hell, thinking about it makes me want to grab a pen and stab my brain. No, I am not suicidal or something. It's just so frustrating. There's only one regret I have at this point in my life. Ugh, I hate to admit it! But I wrote it. And writing it somehow makes it the truth. I tried to avoid it like I am running from a plague but every time I turn into a corner there it is, staring at me like a death eater. It's as if it has been waiting long enough for it's presence to be recognized. Alas! Regret, I am giving you the spotlight! You want a plaque of recognition or something? Or can I just kick you in the butt and happily yell "go to hell"? I wish I could do the latter, it's way easier and it's bad-ass.


Regret No. ONLY 1: The Love of my life (or so I thought)


The biggest regret I had, and I know will ever have. I am so not going into details with this shit. Or maybe I will? Okay, maybe little details.


I've wasted 6 years and 6 months of my life with the wrong person. I knew from the beginning we had it all wrong. Third party and all that shit. Oh wait, I didn't mention I was the third party back then. For ten months. Hey I'm not a saint, I was just an 18 year old college student who fell in love. Shitty as it sounds.


We all knew the saying that karma's a bitch. That what goes around comes around and hit you in the face full force. Well, guess what? Karma has been my best buddy for those six years. I've been cheated and lied to by the same person five times. Yes, five fucking times. All those times I've been in denial that that was my karma. I didn't want to believe it. I didn't know how or when I began to trust the person when in the first place our relationship obviously started with trust issues. I was stupid. So fucking stupid I should have cut my brains out and fed it to stray dogs. Or maybe those times I thought I had no brains at all?


Love is fucking blind. No, let me rephrase that. Love MAKES you blind. Love makes you see what you want to see. Love makes you believe what your heart wants you to believe. LOVE MAKES THE LIES YOUR TRUTHS. Is that love? Or is that complete stupidity? I couldn't really draw the line between the two. As time passes by those six hell of years with me completely blindfolded, I started to think of happy ever after. Of OUR happy ever after.



"if happy ever after did exist,

I would still be holding you like this.

All those fairytales are full of shit,

One more fucking love song I'll be sick."
<<< this according to Adam. ;)


 

Looking back, I don't know what out-of-this-realm creature has possessed me to act like everything's fine. Like I'm living in a fantasy land with the you-and-me-against-the-world theme.

Until one day I discovered I still have brains. Hallelujah! And that same day I felt like I've lost that loving feeling... And now you're gone, gone, gone. Wait, what song is that? Haha. So yeah, I woke up one morning feeling like I've lost the capability to love the same person. Dramatic? Hell, yes.


But there you go, one day I decided to reach across my head and found a string tied around it across my eyes. Thankfully I had the courage to pull it off and found myself holding a blindfold. What did I do? I chuck it to the winds together with those six years and didn't look back. Until now. Until now that I could talk about this experience without feeling like my heart is shattering into millions of pieces.


Okaaay, this post actually gone out of hand. I could have written a book with this stuff right? Who will ever read this long shit? Haha.


If you are reading this up until this point, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You might not know me and just came across this and read it out of boredom and then you became more bored because what you're reading is boring. ;) but seriously, thank you.


And those people reading this who know me personally, you might not know this side of me. And you might feel like you had to read this to know more about me. Thank you for your time reading this.


I put these all out here keeping in mind that everyone who will read this will have their own opinions. Good and bad. You can judge me as long and as low as you want, you are all entitled to that. After all, it's all about freedom of speech. ;)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Weight Gain, What? Say it again?

To be honest, I didn't give a fuss with people commenting about me being fat or being a pig because I call myself those kind of stuff almost everyday. But I guess there will always come a point when you feel you've had enough, hence this writing.

It doesn't hurt my feelings when someones tells me to go on a diet or do something to lose some weight. Why? Because I don't give a shit what people think about me. Get it? I don't give a shit. But these comments are starting to piss me off so here I am, ranting when pissed.

So first let me clear some points here, shall I?
  • Don't state the obvious. Seriously. Just DON'T. You think I don't notice it myself? Like you think I am blind or something? Well, newsflash: I do notice and if I don't give a shit about it, why would you? Get a life because I won't give a damn if eventually you'll gain some weight too (I wish in the near future)

  • I am under a corticosteroid medication. I have these recurring allergies since I was 16 years old and from time to time my allergologist prescribes me corticosteroid specially if my allergies are at its worst. And to those who don't know the side effects of these meds well now you will know, thanks to me. 

    • Weight gain: Surprise surprise! What, you think my weight gain is mainly because I eat like a trucker and have the lifestyle of a sloth? Well aren't we too judgmental? Do you ever think for a moment before you open your stupid mouth and call someone fat that maybe there's a deeper reason behind their weights? Do you? No? I wouldn't be surprised, humanity is screwed.

    • Face "mooning": Face ballooning, face bloating, or whatever shit you want to call it but it's the most obvious side effect of taking corticosteroids. From the term itself, your face balloons out of control sometimes you fear that when you wake up one morning you'll be floating around because your cheeks are too bloated. The reason behind it is because corticosteroids are water retentive stuff.

There, I've made my points pretty clear. I know that my diet and static lifestyle are the major contributors to my weight. Trust me, I know. I also know that I've gained 17 kilograms since I graduated college five years ago. There, I know how much weight I gained for the past years. So stop telling me that because I ALREADY KNOW THAT SHIT.

Let me just ask you a question. Why are you so bothered? Does my body type offends you? Does it dampen your mood? Does it want you to vomit? Does it, in any way, affect your life? I'm sorry, but do I make you pay for the truckloads of food I devour? No? Thank fuck! Get over it and shut the hell up!

And one more thing, don't fucking tell me that you are just concerned with my health because I will only believe that shit if it comes from my family. But if you're just a random person in my life, that doesn't give you the right to anything.

Thank you people! This would be the first and last time I will be saying anything related to my weight. And I guess I can't say the same with the freaking people around me. So go on, say anything about my weight to your heart's content, and the only response you'll ever get from me is a look that says "Really? Really? Well, I don't give a fuck".

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My thoughts about the Philippines Voters Registration

So I wanted to write my thoughts about the voter's registration in the Philippines for the local elections come October. Why? Because it's pissing the hell out of me and I want to rant. Thank fuck I have a blog.

This bullshit voter's registration has been the topic in the national news for the past week and every time I hear about it my blood pressure shoots to the highest level possible. I feel like blood would spill out of my nose, eyes, ears and my head would explode. Really, this issue affects me so much that I need to write down something or I'll die early. Haha.

Whenever the news about it comes on the TV, I keep wondering why all of a sudden registering has become a big issue. So big that these people even caused a stampede.

You see, we just held the national elections two months ago. That is just two fucking months ago and then now there's a sudden explosion in the number of voters? WHY? WHERE DID THEY COME FROM? ARE THEY ALIENS?

OR ARE THEY FUCKING FLYING VOTERS THAT THESE FUCKING POLITICIANS HAULED FROM SOMEWHERE???

Someone please tell me because I can't contemplate how these people were able to vote two months ago and now they are killing themselves to be registered. I don't get it and I don't see the point?

And why the fuck would you bring babies and toddlers when you fucking know there will be a lot of people in there?! Please enlighten me! Are these people not using their brains? Seriously?

Seriously, why don't just these informal settlers die together with the fucking politicians? I don't give a shit if I go to hell for saying this but I am so sure the Philippines, particularly Manila, would be a better place if all these society's nuisances die.

~End of rant~

Monday, July 29, 2013

That One Summer: Unedited Chapter One

Chapter 1
ON MY OWN 

This summer vacation will suck. I can feel it in my bones. I'm supposed to spend the summer with my family. Everything was planned, even the smallest details like how many shirts I should be bringing. My Mom made me do a list. Can you believe it? I'm nineteen years old and my Mom still bossed me around like I'm five years old. I’m not complaining though, I would give up anything, everything, just to have her around. Just to have my family around. Again.

Did I mention this summer will suck? Ugh.

I knew this is a bad idea. But I have to do this, I had to this. Alone. It’s as if I have a choice. Of course I have to do this alone. There’s no other way. I AM ALONE.

My eyes get teary as I take in my surrounding. It’s the only saving grace. My Mom and Dad and Mar would’ve loved it here. It would have been one of the greatest summer vacations; instead, it now feels the worst. It is the worst. A nineteen-year old college student spending her summer in a middle of the woods with the clearest lake and posh log cabins; if you put it that way, it’s awesome. I’m sure many nineteen-year olds would sell their souls just to experience this. Except, I’m not one of them. I’d rather sell my soul for a different reason. Do I still have a soul? I’m not sure any more. I feel like it left me, together with my family, eight months ago. Jesus, it’s been eight months already? Why does it feel like it just happened yesterday?

“You’re just prolonging your agony, Ash,” I mutter to myself. Time to get out of the car and get this over with. That of course is the stupidest lie I’ve ever told myself. I can never get over it. Never.

I drag my butt out of my car. Some car I have, it gets everyone’s attention, wherever, whenever. A Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S Awards Edition would do that. Not bragging but we have a lot of other cars, but I chose to bring this one because this was Dad’s birthday gift to me and the last gift I'll ever receive from him. It just seems fitting to my current situation. Thanks Daddy. I just wish you’re still here to witness how awesome I’ve become of a driver. Not.

I was contemplating a while earlier while driving on the way here if I should just fling this car on a tree. With me in it. Stupid, I know. Depressing even. If you talk to my shrink she’ll tell you I have a PTSD. Maybe I do have, maybe I don’t. Maybe I just don’t want to accept whatever they are telling me. I’m no doctor, but I know myself well enough. I spent months holed up in my room, researching every goddamn thing about PTSD. I’ve concluded that no shrink, even the best ones, can really help someone who’s suffering from a depression whatever the cause is. They think they know better because they’ve studied it their whole lives? Please. I’ve experienced it firsthand. Knowing and accepting the fact that you do have PTSD doesn’t make it easier. For me, it made my situation worse. It made me depressed even more. Who wouldn’t be depressed knowing they have a freaking disorder?

If there’s one thing I learned from everything that’s happened in the past months, it’s that no one can really save you except yourself. People will try to help you because it makes them feel human. It’s instinct: a broken girl and the need to try and repair her. But the truth is, they don’t give a shit. After a while they will forget about you; like a dust in an abandoned house.

Okay, I admit there are also those people who genuinely care. People who don’t just stick around because of your money. But I choose to withdraw from them. From the life I've been used to. Because really, what good does it do to me? I still feel alone even if I’m surrounded by a bunch of people who doesn’t really understand what I’m going through. So why not just cut them loose right? Every single one of them. I don’t want to be dependent to anyone anymore. Look where it got me; alone and feeling lost.

I look around once again before getting out of my car. It’s so damn peaceful in here, maybe that’s why my brain’s acting weird. Luscious trees are everywhere and ahead, not too far from where I’m parking my car, is the clearest aquamarine lake I’ve ever seen. It’s hypnotizing. It’s calming. It’s around noon and the sun is shining brightly trying to warm up the lake. I notice how the water produce ripples, as if they are dancing and celebrating from the warmth of the sun. I felt sadness creeping in, and not long, tears are falling down my cheeks. 

***************************************************************** 
Nine months ago

I’m browsing through the internet for a secluded place where we can spend the summer. Dad wants to have a serene vacation and he told me no Europe or crowded beaches this time. I decided I also want somewhere just near where I can bring my new car along. I stumble upon this newly opened place called Maison du Lac somewhere in White Mountains between Conway and Lincoln in New Hampshire. Perfect. Just a three-hour drive from Vermont. And the best thing? There are only ten log cabins. Meaning, there’d just be ten families max. Very, very enticing.

So I printed out the brochures, called Mom and Dad and Mar into the conference room and handed them the brochures. I’m like a sales agent selling out a property. I even dressed in a gray pencil skirt, collared white tee and black pumps and prepared a PowerPoint presentation. I love role-playing. Dad is shaking his head, but with a hint of a smile in his lips. “We’re going to New Hampshire in summer,” I announce. “If you would just please look into your brochures, you can see that Maison du Lac is a newly opened place designed mainly to cater to families looking for a place to stay for the summer. It says there that their service is top of the notch since they only allow ten families at most every season. They set the limit to make sure that everyone’s need will be taken care of in the highest standard possible,” I explain while pointing with laser on the projected presentation.

I show them the pictures of every cabin and the amenities. Mar raised her right eyebrow when I showed the picture of an infinity pool. “And the price?”, Dad asks. “Daaad,” I groan. “Why lady, you’re trying to sell this stuff right? I’m actually sold. So onto the next thing, the price. This is the deal breaker,” he says with seriousness.

From my peripheral vision, I can see Mom trying not to laugh. Thanks for the support, Mother. “Are you serious? Dealbreaker? You can’t break this deal, I spent too much effort already trying to find us a place,” I answer annoyingly.

“The price, Miss?”, he repeats. He’s toying with me. I know price really doesn’t matter to him. We don’t talk about prices here at home. Ever. If my sister and I want something, we just go tell him and he’ll buy it without asking except for specs. So what is his problem today? I sigh, “It’s $4000 for two months. Food not included.” He made an effort to pop his eyes when I said that.

I sit on the table while fidgeting with my phone, waiting for the verdict. I can’t believe this. He never once made it difficult for me. Even the transaction for the last vacation we spent hopping around Europe, he gave no fuss. “Hmmmm... You see, I spent quite a lot last week on this new car for my beautiful daughter,” he begins. “I’m actually pretty broke at this moment. But maybe if we can sell one of the cars, say the Dodge?,” he finishes. “Daddy!,” I exclaimed. This is ridiculous! I can’t believe he said that! He knows how sentimental that car is to me. I’m on the verge of crying. Call me a shallow bitch. I don’t care. “Enough Martin,” Mom says softly. Thank God for mommies!

Dad bursts into laughter. “Come here baby,” he coos. I walk toward him and he hugs me. “I’m impressed with your presentation. Are you sure you don’t want to work in the PR department of our company?,” he asks. I don’t talk, instead I just shake my head indicating NO. He laughs softly, “I’m sorry I was just kidding. You know how I love stressing you out,” he says and kisses me on my forehead. “Go book the biggest cabin,” he instructs, “and be in the garage at 6:00, we’re going out for dinner,” he says before he turns his back and walks out the door.

*****************************************************************

I find myself on my knees beside my car. How it happened, I’ve no idea. Tears continue to flow like a waterfall. I’m trying really hard to suppress my emotions but it seems I am not winning. It’s been eight months, but this scene I’m currently into is like the same scene I had, the only difference is eight months ago, I was on my knees in front of my family’s grave. Whoever gave me the idea that I can move past this knows nothing about devastation and grief. I want to move past this. I want to live again. I badly want to, but this grief is like a vortex sucking me into nothingness. Is this how Amelia Earhart felt when she was suck into the Bermuda Grass Triangle? I would gladly switch places with Amelia if it means I’m dead and with my family. God, when did I ever become suicidal?

My fists are pressed hard on the gravel and it feels like they’re bleeding but I don’t get up. After all those months, this is the first time that the need to die is all I can think about. It’s not that I want to die. No, it’s nothing like that. What I feel is more than that. I need to die. I need to die like I need air to live. I’ve never thought that death would one time be my ultimate wish. It would be easier to die than to live at this moment. Right now, I don’t feel like living at all. I am breathing, I can feel that, but I am so sure I’ve lost my will to live eight months ago.

Why does it have to be so hard? It’s so unfair that I am left alone and I have no choice but to endure this fucking pain! Where is the justice in that? God, where is the justice? I’m losing it. Maybe being here isn’t the best idea after all. I’m having an emotional breakdown right here. Shit.

“Get a grip, Ashton,” I scold myself while wiping away the tears. Enough of the drama, I have the whole summer for it. 

***

Note: This shit is a product of my brain. Thank God I have one! ;) Any similarities to other shits you've read may just be a coincidence. I do believe in coincidences. Sometimes. ;)

That One Summer scene

"So your name is Ash?" he asks without getting the clue that I am in no mood to talk to anyone except to myself.

"Smooth. Is that how you get the name of the girls you stalk?" I raise my eyebrow.

"No. I don't get names from girls. They shove it to my face," he says confidently. "And for the record? I don't do this stalking thing. ALWAYS. It is the other way around. I assure you of that," he continues while pointing his finger to me and back to himself indicating that I'm one of those dumb girls who have no other things to do but to stalk this prick and inflate his goddamn ego.

Is this guy for real?

Time to scout for a new spot where this douche can't find.

Perhaps somewhere outside the earth?

I should probably sign up to that one-way ticket to Mars if it isn't too late yet.

That One Summer quotes

*****

That one summer I crave to forget;
The same summer I always remember.

*****

Allowing people to own a piece of your heart is giving them permission to take these pieces away from you, leaving you shattered and incomplete.

But remember this:
You will always have that privilege to choose those people who can hurt you, so choose those who are worth the pain.

*****

Sometimes it takes all the pain in the world to finally have the courage to accept the things that aren't meant to happen. But sometimes, pain isn't enough to let go.

*****