I am a single mother on a never-ending journey.
I clung to every hurt, every painful memory of my past: growing up without my parents and the horrible realization that I was not beautiful and fair skinned like the rest of my cousins.
I was so afraid of moving forward. Letting go was a trait I was not capable of.
When I grew up, I was not much better.
I fell in love and clung to this relationship like an arbor. I panicked every time I found him drifting away from me and again, my self-esteem would take a beating, further dragging me down to fits of depression I am already so familiar with.
Then I met a man similar to me in so many ways. Though he was never wanting of a perfect childhood and a loving family, he was a lonely and sensitive fellow.
He became my rock, my life. He understood me and loved me the way I needed to be loved and so I married him.
But he turned out to be insecure and emotionally abusive. The happiness I felt was short-lived and once again, I drowned in my misery and built a protective wall around myself. I kept love at bay for many years, avoiding the risk of getting hurt all over again.
But they say no matter how high you built walls around yourself, there will always be someone who will come along and break those defenses.
And so after many years, I opened my heart again to someone new.
After laying dormant for so many years, I let my passion consume me and I gave it my everything, so afraid to even blink and find out it,too, might eventually fall apart.
But it did, all too soon.
And the pain it left was even more powerful than the ones before it.
Almost a year later, there is still that hollow, gaping wound that festers in my heart but I buried it way, way down in my subconscious and allow it to resurface only briefly during unavoidable circumstances.
He did not only break my heart, he broke my spirit, my faith in love, and my hope that somehow, somewhere, I would find my way home after being lost nearly all my life.
I did, however, managed to have a semblance of a normal, happy life after that brief interlude.
I knew he was right when he told me to learn to love and put myself first before others. And I have been trying to do that ever since that day he asked me to let him go.
So far, I have been successful. I am happier now. Life is far from perfect but the truth is, I know I am not yet ready for a real relationship—at least not now, anyway.
I know, too, that true love may be just around the corner and I am never wanting of companionship from friends and possible lovers but I am now enjoying my freedom, my newfound independence.
I am now a drifter who goes along wherever life takes her. I am no longer afraid to be alone and someday I know I will find myself a new man. When that happens, I will no longer drag him into my destination. I prefer to chart my own journey and with or without someone with me, I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.
Here is something my ex-husband wrote that still resonates with me after so many years, especially since I went through the exact same thing.
“I can never perfect the art of forgetting.
Always, your little thoughts will spill out,
occasionally a picture of your smile
slips by my mind
so how can i not remember?”
the drifter: simply going along where life takes me
Finding “home” in myself
Because these pictures are worth a thousand words:
Two years ago when she was just three, Sof met her dad for the first time. Despite having seen his dad only in pictures, she immediately ran to him like she has known him her whole life.
It was a defining moment for all of us who were present at that time including my in-laws.
It was a tearful reunion of sorts. A special moment for both father and daughter.
It was one of the toughest decisions I made in my life, so far. But looking at how happy Sof is every time she is with her dad, I know in my heart I made the right decision.
I will be another year older in a few more days.
I don’t know if you still remember or if you do, does it even matter?
I would like to assure you though, that I am happy now and that you were right when you said I should start loving myself more.
It all seem so long ago. There was a time I thought you and I would never end. But we did.
It was not a secret that I felt lost after that, unable to get past the hurt of recalling memories that stubbornly refused to leave my mind, much to the distress of people around me—family, friends, workmates.
It was a slow road to recovery. Yet eventually, hesitantly, I finally opened my eyes to the reality that you were but another sad chapter in my life.
Time did fly. And it flew by very fast.
Time has made me find myself too: this strong person struggling to get out, someone who thought she has lost her magic only to find out it was within her all this time.
And with the days, weeks, and months that followed, it was not only my eyes that I opened but my heart as well to let a new one in—Myself.
Sometimes it’s funny how our lives turn out to be completely different from the ones which we had carefully planned out. Different places, situations, people. But they would all change our lives, eventually. Not in the way that we had imagined it would be but better, more than we hoped for.
And it is, because, in all of this, it was ourselves that we focused on more. It really is true, no one can love us more than ourselves.
Looking back, my 31st year on this earth has been the best one in my life so far.
The 365 days begun with meeting you for the first time, getting to know you, being with you, until finally losing you and myself in the process. Fortunately, I found myself again later on and became a better, stronger person because of that.
Now that the 365 days is almost over, I rejoice in the thought it may have taken me 31 years to finally realize my worth, but the journey towards that realization was all worth it.
I am, after all this time, finally free.
Ella enjoying her “me” time in the waters of Cebu
Show me someone who has not experienced heartbreak and I will show you a person who has not yet truly loved and lived.
Heartbreak, whether it’s the mild or the crushing, sleep depriving kind has the power to make even the most cheerful and optimistic person look inwards and reexamine his or her life. In short, no matter how seemingly put-together a person may look outside, he or she is never immune to feelings of anger, denial, and resignation brought about by a break-up.
It is a reality that spares no one, not even the ones you think are most likely to be unaffected by terrible things like war or famine or internet censorship. Everyday, billions of people all over the world are struggling with this quiet, stirring pain with the help of family, friends, and sometimes a bottle of whiskey.
And like you, or everyone else on this planet, I, too, have battle scars to prove how much of my heart has been broken to smithereens in varying degrees at various stages in my life.
But not to get into specifics, and I’m sure all of you will agree with me that the best way I know of that has been proven to drive the blues away, although not right away, is to get busy finding a new passion.
Whether it’s something as strenuous as signing up for a fun run, or artistic as enrolling in art class or just simply updating your reading list, no heartbreak is permanent if you channel your depression into other things. Things that will make you busy and make you lose track of time because well, you’re having so much fun you’d have no time to think about other trivial, self-destructive matters like slashing your wrists or inhaling a can of Lysol. :)
I found my passion in baking.
There is simple joy in the the smell of freshly baked pastries that I myself have created so much so that I have also recently graduated to making baked pasta. Just seeing the look on people’s faces after they said how much they liked the cookies I made is enough to put a smile of my face. Besides mixing dough is one activity that allows me and my daughter precious bonding time as well. Being covered in flour is fun (but not for my mom who cannot stand the mess)!
And so the most important thing I’ve learned is that once you put your heart and mind into it, there are just so many things in this world which are REALLY worth spending your effort and energy with than waste precious time crying over the wrong ones.
How about you? Are you ready to look for your new passion?
Now that’s what I call passion—and a yummy one that is. First baked pasta created by yours truly. :)
chocolate delight: brownies by ella
ingredients for a sweet life
cookies made with love
These past few days, I’ve learned so much about people and friendships than I ever did in my whole life.
It’s not a secret that I have been through a lot in my life and that should have been enough for me to be more wary, more cautious in trusting people and wiser in forging relationships.
Apparently, I was not so wise after all.
At almost 32 years of age and a veteran of many setbacks in life, I made myself immune to the outcomes of many of life’s unexpected and not so good moments: the crushing, overwhelming, I-am-so-not-prepared-for-this kind.
Sometimes I ask myself if maybe I should have been more careful in choosing the people I let myself be close to and not be too eager to bask in their affirmation of me.
Or maybe I am just too stupid and naive for my own good to expect people to treat me the same way just because I have been kind and good to them.
Everything comes with a price. All good things come to an end. People come and go.
I’ve read about them, experienced them myself, and ingested them all until I was made to throw up their lessons, one by one. And boy, were they bitter.
I know it’s a little embarrassing, but for someone in her 30’s, I know I still have a lot to learn about people and relationships. I was wrong to think I will not be betrayed and hurt again just because I may have reached my quota limit for heartbreak. It turns out, there really is no limit for this kind of things.
After everything I’ve been through, you’d think I may have become unrelenting and hard to bend. But the truth is, I’m still a softie inside and I have not outgrown that occasional, “why me?” attitude.
Next month, I will be another year older. And I know that as long as the sun continues to beat its fury upon the streets of Manila and the Mayan calendar continues to be functional, there is still a lot more to discover, both good and bad, about the world.
I’m pretty darn sure, I will be able to get through all of it because the world is one big classroom, they say.
You never really stop learning.
Everything’s bright and shiny: Ella growing up and learning more about life each day in style.