Dilemma

He stares at my lips,

they were your favorite sight.

He tells me I’m beautiful,

that was your favorite line.

He says he’ll never leave,

that was your favorite lie.

Do I learn from the past; 

and watch over my heart?

Or do I open it wide 

and just let fate decide

If he’s a you in disguise

Or a you minus lies?

What’s funnier than 24?

I made my long-awaited debut to this world on the 18th of May, 1995. That’s a fancy way of me saying it’s my birthday. Not just my birthday but my 25th birthday, a milestone some people never get to reach. As I bask in the afternoon sun trying to find the perfect lighting for a selfie, I got taken aback by how little I’ve changed throughout the years. Before I knew it, my photoshoot turned into a session, I got candid about so many things in my life and started to confront myself. What in the world am I doing? Is this what being an adult looks like? could this be what they call a quarter life crisis?

Hours into my one woman show, I noticed that my skin was burning like hell. So, I composed myself, snapped a couple of pictures and ran as far away as I could from the sun. But the thought of being grown was still lingering in my head. The pedestal I’ve put my future in was way too unrealistic and it finally caught up with me. I realized that I’ve been trying to cheat my way through life one year at a time. I guess there’s no cheating in life. You live and you learn.

Yesterday was my last day as a 24-year-old. So, it’s fair to say that I know enough to talk about it. When you’re young and hopeful, you forget that the world can be filled with so many plot twists. 24 has been, without a doubt, the most challenging year I’ve had to live through so far. I feel like I did years’ worth of growing up in just one. It was the year that I can look back and say I got older and wiser and actually mean it. Before I’m officially kicked out of the first quarter and into the next one, I wanted to share some pivotal lessons that 24 has thought me.

  • Never take life for granted: If there’s one thing I learned in the last few months, it’s that life really is fragile. Watching hundreds of thousands of people suffer and die has been heartbreaking. My heart aches for those whose journeys have been cut short and for those who’ve lost loved ones during these hard times. As ironic as it may sound, it took a tragedy for me to promise that every breath of fresh air I fill my lungs with, every ounce of blood my heart pumps, every synaptic message my brain sends out – I’ll never take for granted again.
  • Life’s not a competition: No two lives in this world are meant to be identical. Just like snowflakes, we are all unique and so are our lives. Different experiences breed different people with different destinations. The sooner you accept that the sooner you’ll let yourself grow.
  • Not everything happens for a reason: Failed relationships, aborted friendships and missed opportunities leave you with a long list of lessons learned. But don’t waste too much time looking for explanations, somethings are just arbitrary. Speaking of time,
  • Time is your frenemy: There’s never enough of it yet living in it is a privilege many don’t get.
  • You are not as smart as you think you are: Have an informed but open mind, live life as both the teacher and the student.
  • Patience takes you a long way: Nothing in life comes effortlessly, be sure to work for everything you want to achieve. But don’t forget that good things come to those who wait. To quote the song that’s been going around lately, don’t rush.
  • Humble yourself: before life humbles you.
  • Be kind to yourself: kindness starts from within. How do you expect yourself to be good to others when you can’t be good to you?
  • Love with all your heart: yes, that sounds like a recipe for disaster but there’s nothing worse than being on the giving or receiving end of a disingenuous love.
  • Life is a celebration: there are so many people that didn’t get to make it this far in life. So, your mere existence, despite your situation, is a reason to celebrate.

There’s nothing new about being 25. I still like eating Nutella out of the jar, I still don’t know how to cook ( nor do I have any interest in learning it ), I still buy my cereal from the kids aisle, I still don’t drink ( because alcohol tastes like poison to me ), I still ask my parents for money and I’m still 4’11’’. But what do I know? it’s only my first day out here.

What I know is that, I’m in content with my journey in life. I am grateful for all the 25 years I have been blessed with, for the family I was chosen to be a part of, for the friends I have had the pleasure of knowing and loving, for the roads I’ve travelled and for the days I shed tears laughing or crying. Though I am not the person I had hoped to be at 25, I am alive and thriving. And that’s worth a celebration. So, here’s to celebrating me and my life.

 

Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes! … and many more!

Regret

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Scenes of lamentation
Unfold in my head,
In a pool of maybes
I lie infested.
Contrition, compunction,
Dejection, can’t decide.
I’m longing but I’m here
It’s my hurt I can’t hide.
Maybe absence really,
does make the heart go fond.

Is it true? Are you gone?
Did you really walk out?
If I’d loved your music
Would it all have worked out?
If I’d said, “I need you”
Would you have held me tight?
Or would we still have ended
A million miles apart?

A tree named Jorge

Ever since 43 Maybrook drive became my home away from home, I’ve watched Jorge live, die and resurrect. As it bloomed like a teenage girl that just hit puberty every spring, its leaves, ripened by the summer sunshine, desiccate and drop to the ground every fall; the way age makes a once young army veteran fall into the hands of an aide. As every winter comes, it loses its leaves one by one until it’s left naked and alone; the way one loses his mind, body and soul as he lays in the nude under the ground, stiff and still. Jorge is truly resilient in the face of adversity, so much so that I’ve witnessed it come back from the dead, grow back its leaves and blossom as spring approached once again. Jorge never succumbed to debilitation. If Jorge could speak, it would quote Martin Luther king and say, “we must accept finite disappointment but we must never lose infinite hope.”

What I inferred from living in this world for quite a while now is that, regardless if you’re a human, a cat or a tree, existence is going to always spice things up a notch by throwing a little hurdle your way. You’re subjected to all kinds of emotional disequilibrium for no other reason than merely existing. And when that happens, I don’t believe that we’re expected to keep our composure and stay intact. I think we are allowed to break down, fall apart and shatter to the ground. As long as we persevere, pick the pieces up, reassemble and get ready for whatever comes next. The world is always going to come at us armed with challenges, none we couldn’t overcome. Everything will get better, until it gets worse and then better and then worse and then better … Nevertheless, we will be alright.

(yes, I have an idiopathic compulsion of naming almost everything in my surrounding. I named my computer Leilani and my phone Ebanee.)
(For the sake of normalcy, Jorge will not have a pronoun, even though it’s pretty suggestive that it’s a male name.)

The girl who died to live

“Code blue”
“No, she’s a DNR”
“we’re just going to turn off the sound, and you can say your goodbyes.”
.
.
.
And suddenly, the hallway was overcome by a deafening silence. Everybody was looking around with utter confusion and dismay. I thought death was peaceful. Why am I hurting? As my body begun letting go of life, my soul took one last look at the world that doesn’t have a place for me anymore. Coming out of my mom’s womb, Playing hide and seek with my dad, Wrestling with my brothers’, Plumes of black smoke coming out of our old house, My best friends, My first kiss, The taste of Coke, My 3rd grade teacher, My childhood dog Leo, That one time I fell in the subway in front of people, My graduation… My life flashed before my eyes while I was literally gasping for my last breath. “No, I’m not ready yet!” I screamed. But my vocal cords are stripped of their blood supply. I can’t speak. No one can hear me. Where did the rest of my memories go? What about that time I was fired from my dream job? My Heart break, the fatal car accident I survived from? My Grandpa’s funeral? What about those times? Where did those memories go? Why aren’t they flashing before my eyes? The memories I refused to talk about, the ones I packed in a box and buried somewhere deep in my head. Hippocampus, do you have them? Neocortex, do you have them? Amygdala, do you have them? Hello, can you hear me? I can feel my blood thickening, clotting. My head is spinning. What now? Who is coming to get me? Where is the light? Oh crap! I haven’t finished the book that I started. I wonder who Liz is going to end up with.

From cradle to grave, from breath to asphyxiation. My time has come. I am leaving now. My story is over. I am a walking cliché; I waited all my life to die and now, now that I’m dead, I lived. I lived my life through my memories. I lived and re-lived my whole life in these agonizing 3 minutes. What a blessing in disguise it is to die and then to live again.

Work in progress

Getting rid of the toxic people in your life is all fun and games until you realize that the toxicity happens to come from within. Yes, you can be toxic to yourself; Even, Oxygen, the gas vital to sustain life, lo and behold, can also destroy it.

I believe that self-criticizing is one of the most common and subtle ways of self-harm. Slicing every bit of your youness, to the point where you end up being emotionally crippled. Speaking from my experience, I am my worst bully. I have never been enough for me. I have always expected so much from myself. Be it looks, intelligence or success. I criticize myself so much that it became a habit. There was a point in my life where a simple complement like,” you’re cute!” would make me so combative. Which paved a way for my inner critic to bully me in to creating a toxic environment that essentially harbored my low self-esteem.

Only now do I realize that my berating behavior has stunted my emotional development. I still have a lot of growing up to do. Part of that growing up is unlearning some things that I was taught by my inner critic. In retrospect, I probably should’ve been a little nicer to myself. At the end of the day, being hostile to oneself does nothing but harden up delicate arteries. Therefore, I am resilient to have survived the debacle that I created without a stroke. Literally.

On the basis thereof, I am a work in progress. Every day, I learn and unlearn something. I have existed for almost a quarter of a century yet; I still haven’t figured a way to get rid of my “lovely as a dream, hideous as a devil” inner critic. In the midst of it all, I learned to be appreciative of myself, to toot my own horn and to love myself despite. But learning and doing are two different things.

Lifespan of a pimple

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Like a zit on the skin
You never came to stay
Prowled your way in to mine
Looking for easy prey
Rock the boat, cause a scene
Create a matinee
You needed a riot
Before you walked away.

Blemishes, I’m left with;
Memories that won’t fade.
More dark spots to conceal
More emotions to hide.
27 whole days,
I’ll wait in agony.
For my whole skin to shed
And get your marks off me.

Take the scab that you made
As your sweet souvenir
Strike a pose, fake a smile
A picture with your kill
Wave it around the world
Hang it up on your wall
Easy come, easy go
Like the good old pimple.

Oblivion

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Whatever death maybe,
is it the end of me?
Once I’m 6 feet under
Will I go obsolete?
Will I be forgotten?
Will I be history?
In the realm of the gone,
Will I recognize me?

Oblivion, the sublime
Will I still feel your leer?
From the eyes of the world
Will my face disappear?
Little by little
Will my life fade away?
Will my color vanish?
Will my silhouette stay?

A life lived in a haste
A journey so futile
Will it all be a waste
Am I here just to die?
Will life keep going on
After the big good bye?
Will my ashes be spread?
Will I fly up so high?

“Que sera sera”
What will be, will be.
Whatever death maybe
I just hope to see,
Tiny bursts of myself
In a world with no me.

Never been kissed

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My first kiss was a boy
called him “Brian the frog”
maybe it was his nerves
but he choked on his tongue.
Lesson learned, moving on
maybe I should rehearse
and so, I kissed Braydon
who was just even worse.
He held on to my hands
as though I wouldn’t run,
He bit my lips so hard
Like he’d never seen one.

Then I thought to myself
that a kiss is an art.
So, I got me a Sean
An outstanding poet.
He had his ways with words,
His poems were superb
But when It came to my lips
He truly needed help.

Then I met Dominic
The human Hercules
Guess, old habits die hard
He wrestled with my lips.
Although I’ve got to say
He’s better than Marques
The king of saliva
What a waste of a kiss.

Sloppiest of them all
Was David with braces
Let’s just say that I know
What he had for breakfast.

So, I hereby, declare
The Virtue of my lips
I do not kiss and tell,
I have never been kissed

Not based on a true story (maybe there’s a little truth somewhere in there. All the names were taken from one of my favourite songs by Jhene Aiko – comfort inn ending. Biggest apologies to all the Dominic, David, Braiden, Marques, Sean and Brains out there. I’m sure ya’ll are amazing kissers. I just wanted to try something new and have fun with my poetry, since all my poems are super depressy. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

FYI

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If the five years ago you
Met the five years later me,
he wouldn’t have let go,
he would have kept me.
The me after heart break,
The me that has been loved,
Is greater than the me
That had veins full of pride.

This me says, “I’m sorry!”
This me is justified,
This me picked out the weed
That me held on so tight.

for what it’s worth;
you’d have loved this me,
you’d have had no choice.
Too bad you never stayed
To witness my rebirth.