Tag Archives: Relationship

Tough Love

Mother and Daughter
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I was maybe eight or nine.  Mommy and I were playing Scrabble.  And she was clobbering me, her scores outmatching mine.  At that young age, I wondered why she would not let me win a match even just once.

Now I know why.

Mommy’s refusal to let me win showed how she believed in her daughter’s ability to go toe to toe with her.  It also showed her refusal to stroke my ego by letting me win albeit untruthfully.

Mommy taught me how to lose.  And in doing so, she taught me how to accept defeat with grace.  But she did more than that.  In teaching me how to lose at such a young age, she armed me with valuable lessons and truths about life that helped me get to where I am now.

For instance, she taught me that life is not always about winning.  In as much as our game of Scrabble was more about having fun during the game, life is also more about having fun while living.

Mommy taught me that I cannot expect people, even those whom I  love to always go easy on and be gentle with me.  Once in a while, people will knowingly or unknowingly hurt me and I must forgive them for that.

She taught me that in life, I get to face bigger foes and many difficult challenges, but tackling them head on is better that backing down and not learning anything at all.

That losing does not mean the end.  Life goes on.  And so we must too.

That perseverance will take me to where my defeated self cannot go.  I can definitely do better and get it right the next time (I won my first match against Mommy when I was about ten).

More than anything, my game of Scrabble with my mommy has taught me that love can get tough, but it’s love just the same.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy!  🙂


Thoughts on Turning Thirty

About ten years ago, I included traveling solo on or before I turn thirty in my list of to-do’s. Early this year, it dawned on me that I have only until this year to fulfill this goal and so as planned, I packed my bags a day before I get the big three-O and headed to Camiguin for a much-needed respite.

Away from the hustle and bustle of city life and the demands of my job, I spent my first two days volcano trekking and falls-and-cold-and-hot-springs-and-island hopping, while the last three days were for “me-myself-and-I” moments as I did nothing but nap on hammocks while my favorite sound of the crashing waves lulled me to sleep. It was a truly unique experience, especially since during this trip, I went on “digital detox” (read that as going “offline” from the world), and lived on a treehouse and by the beach without television, or even electricity at some point (more about these in my future posts).

celebrating the gift of my life in captivating Camiguin

celebrating the gift of my life in captivating Camiguin

As I had a lot of time on my hands, I was also able to reflect on what the past three decades of my life had taught me.

Faith is everything. In myself. In the people I love. In others. In God. Because I wouldn’t have gone this far if I didn’t believe in myself. And I wouldn’t have stuck to my loved ones if I didn’t trust them. My faith in people makes me believe in their capacity to be and do good, while my faith in God keeps me grounded and going.

Family is love. Yes, we did not choose them, but because we did not have a choice, we learn how to accept and love them as they are. Stitch said, “This is my family… Is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.” My family has had its share of struggles, but it’s the same family that has and will always be my home.

Friends are the family we choose. So Edna Buchanan said. And it’s true. I have been told many times that I am choosy with people, but this same trait is the reason why I am surrounded with TRUE friends who share their lives with me in whatever moment of happiness, sadness, craziness, etc. we find ourselves in.

Life, like happiness, is a matter of choice. While we do not have control of life’s circumstances, we always have a choice on our attitude to everything. It’s not about the cards dealt to us, but what we do with them. I’ve had my share of “bad cards,” but I did not let them cause my defeat. I even emerged a better life player because of them.

Be yourself. I know this is a cliché, but this is one challenge everyone goes through. We all want acceptance of or at the least, understanding for who we are. I have done things – even bent myself out of shape at times – to please people, but this is not really necessary. As Dr. Seuss said, “Those who matter don’t care, and those who care don’t matter.”

Any relationship entails risks, and pain. Just because s/he loves you doesn’t mean s/he won’t hurt you because wittingly or unwittingly, s/he will. More often than not, our loved ones are even the ones who cause us our greatest heartaches, and we have to forgive them for this, and move on. After all, the world does not stop for our grief.

Truly loving a person sometimes entails excusing the inexcusable in him/her. It is not turning a blind eye to his/her frailties but seeing beyond the imperfections and beholding something totally beautiful.

It’s not enough to be kind to others, we must be kind to ourselves too. We all make mistakes. And despite our best efforts and most fervent of hopes, we fail. I used to be overly critical of myself. I was my worst enemy, but over time, I learned to do away with self-blame and self-pity. They’re self-destructive.

Expect nothing. For someone who grew up aware of people’s expectations of me and who has had her share of disappointments, I know that expectations place unfair restrictions on people and ruin spontaneity. Live without expectations and you will find that life and people are full of pleasant surprises if we only let them be.

Keep peace with the person that you were, are, and will be. In 2010, I wrote, “Closure isn’t just about putting an end to the vexations of the mind, heart, and soul. It is also coming to terms with the difficulties of the past and from hereon, beginning a life of acceptance, gratitude and learning, and in so doing, achieving the serenity we so long for.”

Age is just a number. I am thirty, and I may live to the ripe old age of ninety, but there will always be a child in me who will view the world with childlike wonder and still believe in happy endings. I will act my age, but I will not let my age hinder me from doing what others think I cannot do.

It’s been a good three decades for me, and now I look forward to more years of living life to the fullest.


Too Strong a Bind


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The ties that bind.  It can be friendship, it can be love.  No matter what ties your heart to another’s, always remember that any tie that is bound too strongly is bound to snap.  So go easy on your loved ones.  Do not be possessive.  Correct if you must but do so with gentleness.  Love truly.  Cherish the person.  And always, show to them and let them know you care.  For the saddest part about love is not what is said or done but what isn’t.

the heart weeps


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i watch listlessly
as the sky
is being painted russet
by the setting sun
i heave a sigh
and not out of relief
as my heart sinks
and my face
turns ashen
with my refusal
to cry the tears
that threaten
to spill down
my cheeks.

how can something
with such a promising
have an ending
so heartbreaking?

are meant to be
so they say
but now i know
that they can
and will
break hearts too.

and now i know
that the most painful
part of this
isn’t losing you
but is the awareness
that my heart
is still being held captive
by the same man
who broke it.

but i’ll unchain myself
from you, you’ll see
and i’m starting now
by letting my heart weep
the tears that my eyes
refuse to shed.