Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Bestfriend Before The Boyfriend

March 28, 2010

I miss my friends.

When I was younger, I chose friends who had interests similar to mine. We collected the same things, watched the same tv shows, played the same games, liked the same types of boys, idolized the same celebrities, bought the same food during recess, and backed each other up whenever one was involved in a rumor or a fight. If one deviated from the "usual", we "break up" and find another friend again.

As I got older, I have come to realize that people are not defined solely by their interests. There is always more to a person than what you can see and what they want you to see; you just have to stick around. He can either be the best friend you've always wanted, or the worst enemy you wish you’ve never met. It's always worth it because in the end, you get to know more about them and a lot more about you.

The friends that I have today are very different from each other and from me. Their uniqueness is exuded in the ways they show their fondness and affection for me, how they give advices, how they choose to spend our time together, how they reach out when they need me or when they know I need them, and how we deal with our arguments or misunderstandings. Actually, most of my closest friends are those whom I’ve had a spat with, who initially didn't like me, and those who thought I'm too shallow and childish. I'm very grateful that the friendships I have now are more lasting because of the tremendous love and respect we have for one another, and the maturity we bring to every situation that tests the strength of our bond/s. Even though we’re far apart and uncertain when we'll all see each other again, we're not worried because we know we’ll always be there for each other no matter what.

 There is one friend though, whom I miss all the time. I think that what we had didn't reach its full potential because I didn't know how to balance love and friendship. She was the bestfriend before the boyfriend. If you all go back to the time when you first fell in love, when that person meant the whole world to you, when you thought you couldn't live without him and that he's all you needed to survive, then you'll know what I'm talking about. Nobody else mattered. All others were taken for granted and/or abandoned if they didn't have anything nice to say. I can't say I regret all that now, but I swear I'd think a million times more before I ever make that same mistake again.

Her name is Maria Luisa, and she is one of the most beautiful, intelligent, and kind-hearted people I've ever known.

                                          Lui and her Beloved Canine "TJ" 

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Beauty and The Dweeb

I remember being 22, confused, heartbroken, sad, and lonely. I just passed every exam I took and, more than pride, I was just relieved that I didn’t have to answer another multiple choice question. The immature Hency believed that life is unfair; Exam questions have 4 choices each but in real life, I had only one- to mature.  I was killing some more time as a volunteer nurse at a small hospital in my hometown, when the intense feeling of boredom made me encode a very elaborate resume to send to all the top hospitals in Manila. It was also boredom that pushed me to ACTUALLY send all of it and accept the very first training invitation I received via SMS. It wasn’t a hard decision for me. It’s wasn’t like I was leaving anyone behind. My family will always be with me wherever I go. The house I grew up in isn’t gonna go anywhere. I wasn’t able to sustain the friendships I had in high school, and all my close college friends were either living or working in different parts of the Philippines. The only one from then who had my heart had his own life to live- so do I. I packed my bags and left, determined to survive whatever comes my way.

I joined St. Luke’s Medical Center’s Nursing Staff Effectiveness Training May of 2007 with no expectations. I just prayed that… nope, I didn’t pray. I was entertaining too much negativity and left no room for spiritual enrichment. I had my beliefs, but that was just about it. After gaining eligibility for their training program (with a friend who opted to work at another hospital), I attended my first day with not even a whisper of gratitude to The One who got me there. I only breathed a sigh of relief when I saw her- the beautiful lady I met after I passed our written exam. She seemed nice, and except for her scolding me for not having been a responsible Filipino Citizen (I didn’t exercise my right to vote during the “then” elections), the long elevator ride was tolerable. We made our way through the noisy crowd of sixty-something, equally intelligent and able new nurses in (needless to say) white uniforms, and waited for someone to scold us. After an eternity, we were told to enter a room. My new “friend” and I found ourselves in a rather large group of mostly males, with “this” guy in particular who was being too nerdy for his glasses. This is the part where I’ll cut the story-telling short.

Four years and six months later, and after all of the following (and more): the long wait for deployment, professional adjustment, fast-paced and expensive urban living, occasional arguments, 5 break-ups (combined?) and an engagement (confirmed!), the emotional rollercoaster rides, and the painful geographical separation (whew!)- we are still here. We don’t talk as much as we did, mainly because we have our own “things” going on, but I’m not worried at all. One important thing that a friendship needs to survive other than love is trust. I think the best thing the kind of bond that we have has given me is this incredible sense of security; near or far, I know they’re just within my reach. I cannot even begin to describe how a couple of people’s mere presence in my life can soothe whatever pain it is I’m feeling because of whatever. Even when everything seems to be going wrong, at least there’s still something in my life that’s right. I can still pull through every ordeal and maintain an unconditional positive regard for myself in spite of my mistakes (that I’m not proud of). I can still believe that I’m good, because I am friends with good people. To be a good friend then, is to honor my friends by being a good person. To be a good person, I should (in the very least) be grateful to The One who gave them to me.

Ever since I started REALLY praying, an activity that I did not waste a breath on before I started my spiritual journey, I have come to appreciate my friends more. They make my prayers longer, with the words “thank” and “You” whispered before their names and after a memory of us together comes to mind. Our friendship, which is a blessing in itself, was a means for another blessing- change. I am now a different person; Imperfect, but better and more mature. Life is fair however it is today; it’s all just a matter of perspective.  Yes, I have lost some “friends” to lies, betrayal, and self-righteousness, but the ones who count are still here, accepting me for all that I am and all that I’m not. I don’t ask of God to make our friendship last forever for only He holds the future, but I pray for them to have the best lives they could possibly have- with or without me as their friend. Whenever I imagine the next happiest moment of my life, I see not only my family and Mr. Maybe; I see both of them, with the same youthful and vibrant faces as when we all first met. I can only hope that they’d still see in me the same Hency underneath the new and improved one; the person I have become as a result of having them in my life- nerdy but beautiful, and good.

Novie Jay and Mary Louise,

Happy Birthday to you both. You are two of God’s countless blessings to me in this lifetime. Our friendship continues to be an amazing source of happiness for me. My sincere apologies for whatever I did or did not do, intentionally or unintentionally, whether I was being too “ME” or not being myself at all, that caused you a considerable amount of pain at any time in our friendship. While this gesture is not enough for me to fully express how much I love you both, this promise will: I won’t ever be where you can’t reach me. My “BESTest” Best friend up there, The One who gave you both to me, taught me that. To Him, I now am eternally grateful.

                                                                                                                                                      Just here,

                                          The Beauty and the Dweeb (2007)
                                          FYI: DWEEB (def.)- Nerdy or Dorky

                                           My Break-up Bestfriend and Biatch Buddy
                                           (Hency's Birthday 2009)
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hency’s 5 Simple Tips to Surviving a Break-up

Before my recent break-up with a “guy” I was with for (almost) ten months, I had to recover from the pains of a bitter separation with the “boy” I was in love with for (almost) ten years. Like a lot of people probably would, I thought moving on from Ex2 would be a breeze considering everything that I went through after Ex1, but it wasn’t as easy as I expected. It’s not that hard either. For one, I’m five years smarter, tougher, and more mature. Also, I have a pretty clear idea of why I’m here, what I aspire to become, and how I’d like my life to be. I guess I’m finally realizing my true worth as a person and unlike before, I don’t let other people determine that for me. I have learned to love myself first by not letting my love for another consume me.

I’ve gone through something so hurtful (twice) and I’d spare the rest of the planet from this kind of misery if I could, but I can’t. What I can do is be the hand that holds a brokenhearted in his/her reading. Having had "only" two break-ups does not make me an expert, but I’m sharing a few of the countless things I learned in the years that I’ve been dealing with this kind of drama anyway. Who knows? By number five, one of you could  be  "the" bad-ass of the Moving on and Letting go Industry.  

1)     As in any list, PUT GOD FIRST. Pain can do all sorts of things to you- from doing things that you may regret, to forgetting the best way to deal with it. Praying is not only communicating with God. It is also a means of introspection wherein you confront yourself with your own thoughts, feelings, and actions. It allows for an opportunity to work towards an unbiased conclusion as to how and why the separation happened. Slowly but surely, you will understand that God is and will always be in control. No matter what you’re going through and whatever else happens, you are not -and will never be- alone. You could lose a hundred lovers, but you won't lose Him.

2)     After a heartbreak, give your heart a break. Let your feelings die a natural death. If you bury them alive, they will inch their way up their graves and haunt you. I don’t know about other people, but settling for a “rebound person” will only give you more problems. You already have one. Deal with it first. I know of a person who came from one bitter break-up and ended up with five in one year. Give yourself ample time to heal before you jump into anything. When true love finally comes, it will be best if you are available on all aspects so you can have a stress-free relationship without the potential complications your cluttered history might cause. The same goes for drugs, alcohol, and other diversions that can “divert” you to darker places of “break-up darkness”. If you are currently in this kind of situation, take this: It’s better to lose someone else than to lose yourself. In fact, losing someone you’ve lost yourself into gives you a chance to find yourself again.

3)     Focus on moving forward, one day at a time. After you’ve extracted yourself from a relationship that is proven to be beyond repair, use your “alone time” wisely. Give yourself a chance to be angry and depressed for a short while, then switch off the “mope” button. Do not engage in activities that will pull you back into the pit- like going to places you used to frequent as a couple, listening to your theme song all night, or stalking him/her. Deal with change. Find something you love to do. Discover new things and be excited about what God has in store for you. Be productive. Spend time with your loved ones. Find a way to be genuinely happy by yourself, so that you won’t have to be dependent on other people for your own happiness.

4)     Learn how to love without "owning”. This ain’t easy, but it ain’t that hard either. Well, my literary hero P.C. didn’t only give me something to think about. He also made me realize that we have to recognize a way of loving freely, unconditionally, and without expectations. If you want to reach out to your ex for closure and/or reconciliation, look inside your heart first. What do you really want to happen? Do you want to move on for good, or do you just want things back to how they were? Remember that the relationship ended because of how things were. Don’t start playing with fire if you don’t want to be burned- again. Know that you don’t have to “own” someone to love them because in reality, you can’t own anyone. Stop being miserable, lift up your loneliness to God, and set the object of your affection free. Eventually, you’ll be free from the emotions you had for that person and you’ll be given what is due you- the love and the kind of relationship you’ve been waiting for all your life.

5)     Look back with a smile. If you lose something bad, would you feel sad?  The reason why you feel “bluer than blue” after a break-up is because you know that you’ve lost something good. Your relationship may not have worked out, but it’s not like it was a colossal waste of time. Never regret something that made you happy. Allow one good memory to ease the pain, then let go and look forward to making new ones. Be thankful for the time you spent with that person, for the things that you’ve learned, and for the love that you shared. Gratefulness is an awesome cure for bitterness and sadness. It is also a sign of maturity. When you are grateful regardless of the pain that you’re feeling, forgiving is easier, healing is hastened, and before you know it, your heart is as good as new. After all, every relationship that ended wrongly will lead you to the right one.

A good friend of mine once said that each break-up is different. The intensity of pain that you felt with each separation, and the speed of your “recovery” are not measures of how deeply you felt for each person you were with. Your state of being at the time of your break-up is a huge determinant on how well you’ll pull through, so work on that. It all depends on your general outlook on life, your attitude, your will to move on, and your faith. I must admit that the road to recovery wasn’t that smooth and I’ve had a few “lapses” (I call them my "bad break-up days") over the past months, but that’s okay. I’m okay. I figured that as long as you’re dead set on moving forward, you’ll manage to keep yourself on the track. Always believe that God had planned a wonderful love life for you. Wish your ex/exes well and you will be well. Eventually, all will be well and you’ll live happily ever after - with or without a lover. 

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