Here I am! I CAN SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“The past the present and the future are all side by side hand in hand.”

– Kate Havnevik, “Unlike Me”

Here I am, in this very moment, when time is just a word we try to grasp and try to visualize. Here I am where my emotions can only be felt when my memories are flashing right in front of my eyes. I am in a space where I’m looking at a panoramic view of my dreams, my failures and my comebacks. Here I am standing stiffly on a cliff, ready to take a plunge and to begin a new chapter.

I can’t believe that it’s been more than five years since I was at the bottom of the staircase, wondering when life will finally turn around for me. I remember being so lost and I had no purpose. Now, here I am, almost surrounded with stars and I can breathe a little better and at ease. I’ve come a long way.

I’m no longer lost, but I’m scared of the unknown. I’m not used to the good things that are starting to appear. I’m scared that if I take my guard down, or that I indulge to the sweet life I’ve accomplished, I’ll be lost again. Is this  a trap? Or am I finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel?

Five years ago, I had a hostess job, I got paid $12/hr, I was appreciated by my looks and not with what I did. I served rich, overindulgent snobs who thought I was one of those girls who likes to have a sugar daddy. I didn’t feel satisfied where my life was going. I wanted to become someone or to do something so fulfilling and purposeful that gives a worldly impact to those who needed my help. I wanted to become a strong person, someone to look up to, and I wanted to become the girl who was more than just a pretty face. I’ve imagined my 25- year -old self to be successful but I don’t know with what. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be that girl.

If I didn’t quit my hostess job five years ago, where would I be now?

Now, here I am, look at me, here I am! I am expected to graduate as a Registered Nurse in May. I have sacrificed so much, I’ve worked harder and I’ve come so far. I’m going to be someone and I am going to do good in this world. This is another beginning and I’m looking forward in growing and in becoming someone whom I am met to become. I am so grateful for the bad and good things. I AM SOOOOO PROUD OF MYSELF!

To God, thank you. To my family, thank you. To my husband, thank you for inspiring me to become the “someone” I’ve imagined five years ago!

To my readers who are reading this, thank you for reading bits and pieces of me while I was in the process of finding myself and in finally, growing up.

Day 34: Meet my new friend

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The question I’ve been asking myself lately:

Why do I waste my time for people who don’t value my effort to get in touch with them?

Why should I pursue them to fill the ‘void’ of emptiness inside me?

Do I really need friends?”

Indeed, “No man is an island.” However, it is possible that you can be your own man in your own island. Besides, at the end of the day, who can solve all your problems? Sure, you look for guidance in God or for what religion you believe in, but who fixes it all in the end? You, not your parents, not your friends, no one else, but you.

You are your own hero. Do we have to wait for someone to motivate us to change? Do we need to find someone to fill that void we feel inside? Do we have to be around people to make us happy? Of course not! Change should start within us. Hope should blossom in ourselves. We should find happiness in ourselves because it’s permanent and it’s stable.

All of this that I have mentioned, came to me in one, quick blow while I was showering this morning. It felt like it was a revelation initiated by an invisible baseball bat that made me break from what I previously believed in: I need friends because they make me happy. In that moment, in the shower, I felt like I was indeed all on my own:

I am my own best friend,

I am my own hero,

It’s me against the world.

Although, you might think I’m skeptical and distrustful of people, you’re wrong. I know there is good in people, but I can’t rely on anyone to be in their good side all the time. I can’t rely on anyone to be by my side when the tides of darkness suddenly comes hurling in my life. I need to stand – fully armed and head strong – when things get rough. If someone is next to me, then I’ll be happy, but I won’t require an army of ‘nobody’ to stand there with me, because it only takes one person to finish it. It’s my problem, it’s my life and it’s all mine.

Before I end this post, I want to make an oath to myself:

I, Khristine, promises myself that I am perfectly happy with or without any friends. I am fully accepting that I cannot convince everybody to be my friend. I am no longer seeking for people to fill the empty void inside me. I take full responsibility in providing love, security, happiness and hope for myself. Finally, I am going to accept my imperfections for being an insufficient friend to some and start establishing friendship with myself even if it takes a thousand million tries.

This is the beginning of a new friendship with me 😀

Day 31: Here’s a nightmare, I hope you wake up.

I have been depressed for the past few days and I think yesterday’s post revealed that I was in my lowest point. Miraculously, somehow, I woke up today with a bit more optimistic look in my life and it seemed as if I literally woke up from a nightmare.

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Last night, my dream revealed my deepest fear -something I have been hiding for quite some time now. I thought I’ve locked it somewhere safe, but apparently, it managed to sneak out. My deepest fear- which I think is utterly ugly- is the thought that Ricky might cheat on me. I dreamt of him as someone who resembled my first ex-boyfriend, Dave. It was as if Ricky and Dave was battling to be someone in my dream: Ricky’s calm persona switching to the douche-know-it-all Dave, all at the same time. Although, I knew that I was talking to Ricky because I remember asking who he was talking to and I immediately speculated that he was lying based on his nervous response “It’s nothing. It’s just… Zach, I…um I gotta take this outside.” Immediately, I saw a copy of his phone (I was dreaming!) blinking next to me because a text message arrived. I saw the contacts in his phone- each with an alias name- something that he has done to all his contacts in real life: He calls me “Crazy Bitch” instead of Khristine and “Big Poppa” instead of Zach. Well, in my dream, I saw different names and pet names of people. I wanted to open all his messages so bad, but his phone immediately locked itself. I began to wonder, “He never locked his phone and now he does.” This thought motivated me to speculate on Ricky. I tried opening his phone with my own code, but it didn’t open. I decided to catch Ricky’s act of cheating by waiting for another text message to arrive, so that the phone will unlock itself again, thereby allowing me to read everything. Unfortunately, in my dismay, I woke up- very nervous.

However, there was a small pause, almost like a porthole to reality that led me to believe that I was dreaming. I felt like I was in heaven, among the clouds and I was about to enter reality when it happened- I was repeating what I said from my previous blog post: ““I feel so ugly” and “I hate myself… why do I have to be like this.” Somehow, in that moment, (which I would coin as lucid dreaming) I wanted to make myself realize how my insecurities are starting to take a toll in my life. My insecurity of feeling worthless has led me to question my trust with Ricky. I recognize the same insecurities I had when I was dating Dave. Dave cheated on me with a girl whom he thinks was better than me, because I was insecure with myself, which he found undesirable. Subconsciously, my mind was trying to open my eyes by leading me into a nightmare- it was making me feel that same heart-wrenching poison of finding out that I’ve been cheated on. Despite the crazy dream, I realized that if I continue being insecure and being depressed, my insecurities might repeat history.

And so… I woke up and I was further slapped by an interview I’ve watched in Access Hollywood with Carol Burnett. She quoted her deceased daughter who died of cancer:

“One day, the nurse asked her [Burnett’s daughter], ‘Why are you so happy all the time despite all that has happened to you?”

“Every time I wake up, I decided to love myself,” responded Burnett’s daughter.

It was right there and then that hit me in the face. That girl died of cancer, yet she loved every bit of herself. She had so much optimism, despite the drugs and all that she has done in the past. I looked at myself and I felt ashamed for letting myself down too much.

She was dying of cancer and I bet the chemo was turning her physically different, but she still loved every bit of herself. That’s true love right there.

 

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I believe that insecurity is the ugliest thing that can make a girl undesirable. Forget not wearing make-up. Real beauty is found in the inside and if a girl does not realize her own worth and her own unique beauty, then a man will never hold on to her. He would rather be with a girl who doesn’t wear make-up but she is content in her own skin and she is happy with her life whether it’s shitty or not. I want to respect myself and forgive myself for all the things I lack. I’m not perfect and I accept that. I want to be contented with what I have and make the most out of it. I believe that my life is beautiful and that I am truly blessed to have a chance to live and try again. I didn’t know how my mind saved me, but it triggered me to do something with my life. I know I’ll be depressed again, but hopefully I can go back to this moment and come out even stronger.

Day 12: Pointers

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It’s been a week since I ranted about my weight gain. I’ve also laid out several goal plans to help me successfully lose weight. A week has gone by and I can say that I learned a few more pointers and found some new ways that motivated me.

I can’t say that I started off with a bang and successfully lost 1 pound. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I have yet. I started off thinking that I should go easy on myself, maybe work out 3 times a week and then eat healthy. I was okay with the thought that I’ll be fine with that pace. However, I didn’t find my first week productive as I worked out 3 times with plenty of breaks and a whole lot of carb munching.

Nevertheless, I still managed to learn a few things and successfully burned out my weekly calorie goal. Anyways, here’s a few more pointers that I’ve learned:

1. To lose 1 pound weekly, you need to burn 3,500 calories.

Of course, keep in mind that it is accompanied with a “right” and a healthy diet (more protein and fiber, light on the carbs and fat!). So to lose 3,500 calories weekly, I need to lose 1000 calories 3x a week and work out lightly on the fourth day, leaving nonconsecutive days as a break for my body to recuperate.

2. Allot a specific time in your schedule for a work out. 

I’m not a morning person, so running in the morning is a bad idea. However, I found out that my mind and body are both awake mid-afternoon. I usually run around 3pm because I know that I won’t feel lazy and tired. It is important to know which time of the day you are most energetic (given if you aren’t that hectic), because working out will be easier for you. You won’t feel like you still need to wake up yourself up!

3. Two minds are better than one. 

I never found this necessary in working out, until I ran today and met a best-personal record in running. I ran for one and a half hours with my sister, burned 1018 calories and ran for 8.7m! (Best personal record evar!) The last time I was able to run-walk an eight mile was last summer and it took me 3 hours! I don’t think I would have done it without her giving me a few things to keep in mind while running. I personally think it helped that she was there. She wasn’t only mentoring me, but she was very supportive. I think it’s important to find a partner, so you’ll feel a lot more motivated and to know that someone is there for you.

4. Join a marathon. 

One of the reasons why I started to run again was because I signed up for a 5k (3m) marathon event in April. My goal was to finish 3m within 30 minutes, which is what I did today, but now I hope to finish it in 15 minutes. Joining a marathon, according to my sister, who recently quit smoking and finished a 13m marathon (I’m so proud of her!), told me that it’s the best motivation and the best accomplishment to do. Even if it’s only for 3 miles, it’s still something to motivate me!

5. Satisfy your cravings with smaller bites. 

The biggest challenge in losing weight is trying to get rid of the bad habits that harbored into our lives. It’s almost like trying to quit smoking, only, I’m trying to lose my cravings on sweets, carbs and fat. Let’s face it, the good stuff are bad, especially when they are taken in larger than usual amounts. However, I found that it’s okay to eat a piece of chocolate, but you need to eat it slowly! Don’t engulf it, savor every taste of it. To keep yourself from having another one, spoil yourself with LOTS and LOTS of water. I swear by this, it helps A LOT.

So far, after all the pointers I’ve learned and followed, I think I’ve been a lot more active. Losing weight is a tough road. Being motivated to work out is harder. It’s easier to start and yet it’s so hard to finish! I really hope I can make it even though I’ve been slacking off a bit, but that’s okay! It’s better to start slow than never!

Day 25: The reasons why…

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So… I heard your Italian ex-boyfriend is coming back. If I were you, I’d be sh*t scared. – Ashley

The thing is, your love for Beppe was completely different from Ricky. For goodness sakes, do you remember how much you cried for Beppe when he left you? It took you a very long time to finally move on. And I know Ricky saw how much you struggled in those times. He may not show that it doesn’t bother him, but the idea that you might end up getting confused is there. -Sis.

You won’t know what you’ll feel for Beppe until you actually see him in person. You could say all those things that you don’t like him, but if you actually see him and he started doing things that wooed you in the first place, I bet you’ll have that 10-20% chance that you would want to get back with him. Beppe is a very charming guy… he’s Italian for f*ck sakes. -Rami.

I think it’s better to see him. This is a test of how much you love Ricky and of how much love you have left for Beppe. The only thing though, I highly caution you to not see Beppe alone and especially without Ricky around. No matter how much Ricky trusts you, you need to respect him as your boyfriend and bring him along; even if it’s just the three of you. -Sis.

Promise me something Khristine, NEVER, ever see Beppe alone. If Ricky isn’t available, call me and Ashley so we can come and join you.  – Rami

Those were the voices that kept replaying in my head.

Can I be trusted? 

Of course. I can, just don’t do anything out of the ordinary. 

Why am I having flashbacks recently?

I remember how I struggled and how much I tortured myself. I remember that very last time I pulled away to say goodbye to Beppe. That very last time he looked me in the eyes and in a hurry… “We do not say ‘addio’ piccola, we say ‘a presto’, okay?” A presto… how soon? How soon do I see him again?

ME: After two years, I’ll probably graduate. Do you promise to see me in my graduation?

Beppe: “Well… it depends if I have work that time and then I wouldn’t be able to come.”

ME: “Oh, I understand.”

Beppe: “But of course, I will promise to come, it may not be on the actual graduation date, but I will come.”

Two years came and don’t I wish I didn’t ask him to come back? Everything seems to be flowing smoothly in my life, but why does he finally intend on visiting? He could have visited me last year, but why now?

Looking back two years ago… oh my, that image is vividly painted in my head:

I clearly remember falling down to my knees, crying at the airport when he walked into the gate. I felt ashamed now that I am looking back to it. How could I made myself fall for him so deep and so intense when I’ve only dated him for 3 months? Why did he made such a huge impact in my life? And until now, I still have a few recollections of how we spent the summer of 2010 together.

Perhaps the real reason why Beppe made such a huge impact in my life, it’s because he made me realize my own worth, that I can be treated differently and that my standards should never fall short when it comes to men. He was my summer fling, but he taught me so much: he taught me to love and to make sure that I am loved in return.

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Before I dated Beppe, I dated Dave, my very first serious relationship of 3 years. Dave never surprised me, never took me out on dates, and most certainly, we never went anywhere but his house or mine.  Our relationship was purely based on sex. He made me feel very insecure of myself and I felt very distrustful towards him. I felt like I was a bird trapped in a cage. One of my friends, Ngoc, perfectly described him: “The poison of [my] life.”

When Beppe came into my life, I was treated like a queen. I never felt so dignified and confident until Beppe became my boyfriend. I believed in myself and I felt loved and cherished for the very first time in my life. I saw him as a man who came out of the heavens: he was a very romantic, sensitive, passionate and understanding. There was never a day when he didn’t say “Sei bellissima.” I could have sworn, if he asked me to marry him and run off to Italy two years ago, I would have. I owe all my transformation and all my realizations to Beppe. If I met Dave again, I’m certain that I’ve changed so much and I never regret breaking up with him.

Despite the fact that Beppe and I can no longer be together, he stays close to my heart as a friend who helped me forgive myself. My love for him was bittersweet. He was almost like my drug. His love felt so good and yet it was so hard to get rid of it.

When Beppe left me, I was crushed and torn down to my very core. I went through boyfriends like I was buying shoes- seasonally. I broke guys’ hearts and broke some of mine too. I banged as much as I can to feel numb to the point where my standards even went low. I grew cynical to every guy, collected them as trophies and treated them all the same. I was looking for a slight hint of Beppe in all of them. I never found him in any of them because he was different. However, to keep loving him was almost like having the feeling of chasing empty pavements. I felt rather lost and unsettled. I finally came to my senses and started picking my broken pieces when:

I saw pictures of him partying and mingling happily with all sorts of women. He was smiling in his pictures, mindlessly thinking that maybe the girl who’s looking through those pictures haven’t gotten rid of him completely. It was there and then that I realized that I, too, needed to move on. He’s in Italy and I am in the States. One of our friends, Nadine, said “And for what purpose does Beppe need to come back here?”  I became quiet.  She looked at me, “Oh…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say that.” She did mean it and she was right.

He’s coming back here for vacation, NOT to woo me to wear a wedding gown. Of course not! He’s just here to enjoy himself. Yep.

Maybe it was all a one-way street. It was good while it lasted though.

This weekend, Beppe will finally land here in America. It’s going to be interesting. I’m not going to deny it- I’m curious and I’m quite excited. Not because I’m going to run off to Italy with him, but I can’t wait… I can’t wait to show how much I have become strong and changed.

Day 14: Why, hello there, my old friend.

The other day, I was endlessly ranting on and on about how depressing it was for me to find a girl buddy. It seemed impossible at that time. Maybe it was because I wanted to find one rather than, acknowledge what I have. Ricky has told me a billion times,

“Things won’t come to you if you expect them to. Don’t look for them, let all things happen the way they should.”

Rather than joining a meet-up interest group with strangers, I turned to my old and dusty, contact list and phoned (as in sent a text message) to a few old girl friends from high school. It has been years since I’ve talked to them and it sure was awkward to suddenly arrange an out-of-the blue dinner date. But, I was highly desperate and so I took the bullet. What do I have to lose anyway?

Last Tuesday, I went to a pizza place with a Vietnamese friend of mine, Ngoc (pronounced as if to”knock”). I haven’t talked to her in two years and I admittedly sort of ignored her in some cases because she was rather… too hyper for me. I remember how she would rant about something, jump onto the next topic and I couldn’t quite figure out the relevance of both topics and of what she meant, because by the time she finished her sentence, I felt exhausted like a Persian rug, hanging on a balcony to dry, and was batted on too long and too much by a baseball bat. Whenever I talk, I find her either looking away or chipping off the remains of her nail polish or she’d mention about some random crap she just saw in her surroundings. She demonstrated, right there what I hated the most… If I’m talking to someone, face-to-face, with the exception of he or she is driving or sitting next to me, that I expect him or her to look me straight in the eye or pay attention, or I will jump into a conclusion that my ranting is pointless because no one is listening. Despite her imperfection, I began analyzing her in our dinner get-together: she’s just the typical girl that rants on and on and I wasn’t quite used to that, or I do that to my guy friends and I don’t seem to notice that I do it too. Regardless of Ngoc’s obnoxious side, she was able to point out a few facts about friendship, our achievements and about myself.

I wouldn’t go into too much detail because there was too many to talk about.

But from what I got from her is that she was also struggling to find a genuine girl-friend. She, too, find it easier to bond with guys because in her opinion,

“Guys are real, they aren’t insecure unlike most girls. Their brains are simpler and ours is so much complex. They are reasonable, logical and they see the bigger picture than us girls who are the opposite: we tend to rely on our emotions and we think too much on the smallest details.”

She also emphasized that girl-groups aren’t what they seem to be.

“It’s hard to find a genuine girl friend. Sure, there are a few girls that you’ll meet, but give it 6 months, they either disappeared or replaced by someone new. It bothers me that competition plays a role too. If they find you a threat to the opposite sex because you’re pretty or confident, they either use you or they hate you. There are so many fake girls out there and you have to watch out.”

I love that about Ngoc. She voiced out her opinion and I needed to hear that from her. She wasn’t there when I was hated on or used by previous so-called girl friends, but she clarified everything with a reasonable truth and she knew about it because she had experienced it as well. That invisible connection we had woke me up. We totally related with each other!

I know Ngoc isn’t perfect, but she do rant bluntly, sometimes what she means is irrelevant, but somehow, I know she could be trusted. She was there for me when I was dating my ex-boyfriend, Dave, she saw him as a “poison” to my life when I was completely blind. She pointed the obvious and I was hesitant to see it. She comforted me when my ex- boyfriend, Beppe, left for Italy. She was in my high school graduation and she recognized my recent nursing graduation far more than any of my friends. I felt that she was there for me than I was for her. I feel so selfish, blind and ungrateful. Here I was, wanting to find a genuine friend when Ngoc was sitting right in front of my nose all this time.

I wanted to promise Ngoc that we would hang out again, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to tell her, rather, I wanted to show her.

I’m hanging out with her this Saturday, hopefully, she can take the wild side of me that she has never seen before.

Or maybe… we’ll just talk more which is fine with me! 😀

Day 12: Want to be my friend? Stop using me.

My Facebook friends and the others who have connected with me through Instagram, have the misconception that I am the happiest person alive at this moment. Probably it’s because I’ve been posting pictures of my recent graduation pictures (Yes! I’ve passed the exam I failed), my latest achievement with Ricky on keeping our relationship for 7 months (wow, time passed since the day when we took a major turn from our friendship to lovers), and pictures of my late night drunken hang outs with friends.

It sounds like I am very happy, but why is it that I feel so sad inside? I feel alone and lonely.

Despite my achievements and having to find the guy I’ve been so in love with, I don’t seem to have any luck with the friendship part of my life. It’s nice to say that I’ve gone out on bars and clubs every weekend with so-called friends, but I’ve come to slowly realize that people only seem to hang out with me when I’m in my best side: when I’m stumbling around drunk and making people laugh because my randomness and drunkenness are highly entertaining. It seems that when people wants to throw a party, go to a bar or a club, it’s almost a necessity that I’m there. Don’t get me wrong, I like the VIP treatment, but when they have regular hang outs without having the involvement of alcohol, my name seem to disappear in their contact list.

Am I that lame when I’m stone-cold sober?

What triggered my realization to this assumption is when one of my friends (per se), An, invited me to her birthday party and begged for me to drink when I didn’t want to.

She said, “Khristine, you should drink! You’re so fun when you’re drunk!”

Like motha- effer. She said that to me last May and I cannot forget that. She thinks I’m only fun when I’m drinking hard core because of how I’m making a fool of myself? Seriously, am I only over-reacting or what? She never called me when I’m sober. She never invited me to go out and do something. What do we have in common really? Oh yeah… we both love drinking alcohol. EFF.

Another scenario like this happened when two of my so-called good Filipina gal-friends, Min and Jen, almost always invited me to go out clubbing or go drinking at their house. It’s awesome being drunk with them because I’m free to speak or share funny jokes in my language. But what disappointed me is that when they are doing the most sober things such as watching a movie, I don’t hear a phone call from them. What’s worse is, when I wanted to go out clubbing with them, they give me BS excuses on how they have plans when it turns out that they recently have boyfriends and no one even told me about them.

Damn, I feel special.

I wish I could just have a (girl) friend or two who likes to do activities that doesn’t involve burning our livers with alcohol. I enjoy watching movies, going shopping (even if it only involves window-shopping), doing our nails together, gossiping, cooking, running. I wish I have a friend who’s a girl because I’ve got too many guy friends who likes to do so much more than drinking.

Ugh. I have so many things to be happy for, I know. But knowing that I can’t have decent friends to go to when I’m down (besides Ricky), it makes me feel quite lonely.

So… if you’re a girl, tell me… what’s your secret in having girl-friends?