It’s been a while since Mix and I last went out. Last night, we had delicious Chinese dinner with friends then hung out after. A little past 12 midnight, the girls and I started yawning after continuous chikahan. When I felt my eyelids getting heavy, I remembered why we hadn’t gone out in a while. We hadn’t because we’ve been choosing not to. We have phases of Lolo and Lola-ness that occur regularly. The cycle has its breaks, but then it continues. There are weekends when we just want to be sloths together.
I’m sure it’s not a rare occasion. I, for one, just feel extra lola because most of the people I know who are my age, still get dressed to go out and socialize every weekend. As mentioned in passing in my previous posts, I’m generally shy and there are only a few people with whom I let down my guard. I probably “blog” because I’m more comfortable “talking” here, without any physical crowd in front of me. Anyways, last night, despite our default granny mode, Mix and I missed hanging out with friends. I missed having girl talks. I missed having girls to talk to, which more importantly means sparing Mix from one night of my girly thoughts. Or maybe a week, because the girls and I covered almost everything from travel plans, new brands, bands, upcoming concerts, teleseryes (I mostly just nodded because I don’t watch local TV that much anymore), to old school love teams — i.e. Heart-Jericho, Claudine-Rico (I was very active in this topic, even pitching my most loved, Dawn-Richard), makeup (a topic which I don’t have much to contribute to), shoes, and of course, clothes. I don’t consider myself a typical girly-girl but I must say, I had fun chatting with the girls about hashtagfirstworldGIRLproblems. When 2AM was nearing, the boy who was spared from hours of my continuous chit-chat nodded my way amidst his crowd of boys, asking if I was ready to call it a night. The girls and I packed it up and both groups found their way to the parking lot.
On our way home, not sure how, Mix and I found ourselves talking about a fictional character who found herself in a predicament that cast her adrift, leaving her distant from the people she called her best friends. To say the least, she ended up tainting her relationship with friends she grew up with. I told Mix that I somewhat saw myself in this character, to which he was quick to dissent. Not so long ago, I lost my closest friends — or, a small group of friends in which the one I considered to be like my own sister belonged. It wasn’t so long ago, so it still crosses my mind from time to time. And when it’s a relationship that you both grew up and grew with for thirteen years, it’s not something you can just dust off.
Mix insisted, “No, your situation is different. You aren’t like this character in any way.”
“Why not? I lost close friends, too. I know how it is to have people turn their back on you.”
“But this character did it to herself. She did this and that to people, she took advantage of them, she made people look bad, she was abusing people, using them, because she couldn’t get her shit together.”
“Exactly. I did things, too! I did things that made people turn away.”
“Yes, you may have. Pero iba, eh. You weren’t deliberately destroying people, it’s not the kind of thing that other girls fight about, not something as horrible as sleeping with others’ boyfriends or talking crap about your own friends.”
We both let out a silly smirk. High school much? We laughed because we knew it was a juvenile example. But I got what he was trying to say.
“Your situation is different because though you may have done things that hurt people, it wasn’t purely you. We all do things that cause pain. But this is different because someone took advantage of the situation. Someone wanted to bring you down. There was manipulation. I’m just saying that you are not like this character, so don’t for one second think that you are.”
Mix paused, and I didn’t feel like pursuing the conversation anymore. Maybe he had a point, maybe there was truth to it, maybe he was being patronising. No matter, I know my flaws and the things I could have done better.
We’ve gone through this before, but this was the only time that there was an unexpected air of resolution, like we were merely talking about it, not to scrutinise.
Mix sighed, which meant he was mired in thoughts but his final statement was coming. “The most important thing here is that you’ve moved on. You learned, and you’re doing great.”
The struggle, to me, had become quotidian at one point. So the words seemed to just roll off my tongue but definitely brewed from deep inside me: “I’ve been working on it. Not easy, but every day I try. It’s a work in progress.”
We arrived at my house, he walked me in, and we quickly said our good nights. I was excited to retire (lolang-lola lang) and while I was getting ready for bed, I felt peaceful. Despite Mix’s argument, I still hold myself accountable to my shortcomings. I always have, I always will. I respect his take on the matter, and I appreciate how he tries to lessen my burden, in anything, all the time. But sometimes, I like my burdens. I like being shattered if only to learn to muster untapped inner strength to get me back on my feet, stronger and hopefully wiser. I like being momentarily broken because no matter how much I call myself a sinner and a sorry excuse for a Christian, apart from gratitude, my brokenness brings me closer to The Guy I talk to about my rants and raves 24/7. My family and non-blood relationships inspire me every day. The weight that I put on my work keeps me motivated. My dreams and aspirations keep me going. But This Guy, He keeps me alive. This life, I owe to Him. This life, He gifted me with. This life, He can take anytime. This life, He gave for me to live. Not as a victim, but as a victor. Not as a slave of anything, but as His precious child. As our Pastor said last week, “You are His princess.”
No matter how I flood my thoughts with my transgressions, no matter how I convince myself that it’s shameful for me to start talking about my faith again because of what I am and the things I’ve done, a part of me thinks I still should. Not for myself but for the one who keeps me alive. I always see myself as unworthy to be called a Christian. As a matter of fact, I deliberately ceased to talk about Him a couple of years back. But now I find myself asking, why? Don’t we celebrate people and things that make us joyful? Don’t we commend good work? Compliment pretty things? Aren’t we hasty to talk about events that excite us? People who make us kilig? People who touch our hearts? Movies that leave us wanting for more? Songs that make us happy? New TV shows that we can’t wait to watch? Aren’t we quick to post and share via every social networking site all these things that make us sigh in awe or jump for joy? I ran these questions in my mind and yielded to ask myself why I must abstain from talking about that one thing that gives and brings together all things that make me joyful. That one thing that instills sense into every struggle, courage in my dark days, wisdom in times of doubt, healing for my wounds, and the will to pursue greater purpose despite vast uncertainty. And then I realized, I shouldn’t put Him on mute just because I doubt myself and I am shameful of not being an ideal Christian. Besides, my choice to be a Christian doesn’t mean I’m pristine. Au contraire, it means I want to have a personal relationship with My Creator because I am a sinner. Because without Him I am weak, insufficient, lost, purposeless, lacking of joy, and just plainly dead — nothing. And if one thing’s for sure, it’s that I wouldn’t want to be walking on this earth without a soul. Para saan o kanino ka gigising? What drives you? What will keep you wanting to be alive?
So on my way to the loo as I took a break between typing this paragraph and the previous one, a paper bookmark managed to find its way in front of me with the quote: “When you turn to God you discover he has been facing you all the time.” How timely. Seriously, how can I shut down someone who stalks like that? Last week naman, I was talking to my older sister who I always confide in and seek guidance from because she and her husband have this kind of faith that can move mountains. Seriously, I always feel like crumbling into a pile of irrelevant and unworthy dust when I think about her love for God and how she and her husband get to live it out. Anyways, we were updating each other with our lives and she made a comment about my Facebook posts (speaking of Facebook, I only have ONE account which is PRIVATE and exclusive to people I know personally, beware of posers please) that made me think. She didn’t mean it in any way. If anything, she was just being candid about her thoughts. “Seems like you’re doing good there. Your creations are really beautiful. Sometimes lang when you talk about the things you do, it sounds like, you know..” In my head I’m like, eh? I don’t know. So I go, “What do you mean?” and she finishes the mind game with “That it’s because of you.” Immediately, I knew. I knew because back when I was in college, she and I talked about a book entitled “It’s Not About Me” — a book I was so eager to read but didn’t get to. And I knew because we’ve always shared that belief, that this life is not and will never be about us. I knew because at the back of my mind, I was guilty of consciously omitting God and my faith from my posts. I thought I was getting away with it, and there my sister was, on the other end of the phone, in a different continent, thousands of miles away, pointing it out, leaving me with no room for excuses. After the conversation, I was struck, but unmoved. I had no intentions of “blogging” about my faith again like I used to. Hell no. I’m way too sinful and broken, sorry. Better luck next time.
But now, guess what? As if the aforementioned serendipitous encounters aren’t enough, here’s a blog post that without warning, as we speak, winds up to be exactly about that. Even in doubt and shame, He finds ways to nudge me towards certitude and ease. If He wants to use you, He will use you. O Diyos Ko, You drive me crazy. The good kind.
I’m no saint. Thank You for loving me and looking after me and my loved ones every day.