Yes, I Was Dumped.

Everyone seems to be crying their hearts out on Facebook.

We get it. You’ve gone from an “In a Relationship” status to being “Single.” It’s not like I haven’t gone through the pain of going through a breakup myself. Trust me. I know what you’re going through. And my friends can attest to that, too.

Oh, the lonely nights when everyone else seems to have fallen asleep and you couldn’t because you’re lying there in the dark thinking about what he must be doing right now? I’ve had those nights myself, and a lot of those, if I remember right. And the literal twisting of your insides when you think about how he could have done this to you after all his promises? I know that feeling too. What about the temporary high you get when you go out with your bestest girlfriends then the succeeding dive-plunge-crash your spirits take the moment you are alone? I know I’ve taken a lot of nose-diving myself. Oh, oh, oh! And the incessant pleading to his family to tell him how much you loved him? Repulsive, I know, but I did all that and more.

Breaking up with a boyfriend seems to be one of the hardest experiences a girl can have. Minus the ones who were never really serious about him in the first place. It’s a wonder why many of us are able to let the broken pieces go and move on with our own lives. But it happens. We have moved on. And sooner or later, you will too, as long as you allow yourself to move on.

In the meantime, however, what do you do with all this heartache? All the tears and the crying and the screaming inside and self-pitying? What do you do with your life right after you have broken up? I’m no expert on relationships, really, if by expert you mean having a Ph.d. in psychology. But I’ve experienced it myself and, a lot of times, I feel for those girls on Facebook who can’t stop posting about how they miss him and all that. I know I’ve posted my fair share of breakup statuses in the past. It’s disgusting, if I think about it now, that I have ever felt so much love and admiration for a person who doesn’t even know how much I am worth. Then again, that’s because my ex is an asshole. Not everyone’s exes are assholes, I agree. But everyone’s gotta move on one way or another. Here’s what I did—and it’s in no particular order.

I cried.

For boys, crying is a sign of weakness. For girls, it’s how we let it out. Crying was especially helpful for me in the first few weeks after the breakup. It didn’t mean I was weak. It meant I was strong enough to acknowledge that I was hurt. I cried during the nights and I cried every time one of my friends would bring it up. I know I’m sounding so much like a crybaby, but it doesn’t all end with crying. I know crying too much is bad for you, too. So I decided that I have to stop sulking and do things I need to do.

I got drunk.

No, no, no! I’m not saying you should waste your money on liver damage, too. And besides, alcohol is bad for the skin. It’s just that, when you get drunk, and I know a lot of people will agree with me, you get to say a lot of crazy but true unsaid things that you would otherwise be too embarrassed to say when you’re sober. So crying did not let it all out for me, getting drunk did. Because then I got to hear from my own mouth the ugly truth that I always wanted to mask when I was sober. Just one thing, though, if you want to get drunk, and I’m sure a lot of people will, get drunk with friends. They’ll be there to listen to your seemingly never-ending litany of pain and hurt. And, when you’re sober, you’ll be glad someone else was there to help you stand up when you couldn’t, or at least get crazy drunk with you.

Unfortunately, much as I would have liked to get drunk forever, I knew that it wasn’t the ultimate solution to the breakup. Letting all your feelings out is okay; drowning yourself in misery and alcohol is not. So I decided I had to start letting things go, but how? As an Internet junkie myself I—you wouldn’t believe this—I asked Google. And sure enough (or not, if you think Google doesn’t have the answers to all questions about life), I found some answers. Not all of them, but some that really helped. Here’s what.

I went out with friends, all the time.

It’s amazing how an army of your girl best friends can be so helpful after a breakup. They’d shop with you, eat with you, watch movies with you, and just hang around with you anytime they can. They’d be there to remind you that not everything in life is about your ex-boyfriend, without you having to talk about him at all. When I was struggling post-breakup, my friends made things a lot easier by literally dragging me out of the house. We’d go someplace new, do things I’ve never done before. We even had themes for girls’ days out. Monday was Desserts Day (We’d buy them or make our own, whichever we felt like doing that Monday.), Tuesday was International Day (We’d try out new cuisines from other countries.), Wednesday was Nature Day (We’d go hike, walk, swim, etc.), and so on. Before long, I started looking forward to everyday I’d spend with my friends and I didn’t miss the cry-pillow I used to hug and pretend it was my ex.

I got a new hairstyle.

Seriously? A whole new hairstyle can do wonders to your attitude about yourself. Us girls hold such high regard for our hair. We may love it or hate it, but, most of the time, we would never do anything so drastic to it. When something happens to our hair, we treat it like our entire lives have changed. So that’s what I did. I changed my hair. Because my life has got to change. Because the bad things have got to go. And my big, bad, unruly hair was the ultimate symbol of my big, bad, unruly breakup. I had it chopped. I got bangs. I had it colored. I had it straightened. The result? Something entirely different. It was still me, but I was different. The transformation had begun. Whoever said your physical appearance didn’t matter must have been probably too busy being jealous of the women around her that she didn’t find the time to start taking care of herself. I felt prettier. Because I was. And that boosted my confidence a lot.

I began to meditate.

Before you begin, let me tell you that meditation is not some New Age bangle about floating off into thin air and seeing things that aren’t really there. Well, okay, I don’t believe that’s not possible, but meditation is real. For those of you who equate real with scientifically proven, then meditation is real. Doctors tell their patients to meditate because it eases up the stress. A lot. And this leads to so many health benefits, like prevention of heart diseases, cancers, mental disorders, etc. if there was one thing that really, truly, greatly helped me a lot in dealing with my heartbreak, it was meditation. It helped me clear my mind and find answers to the questions I always asked.

Okay, so how do you meditate? It’s simple. Find a place where you know you will not be disturbed. It can be the beach, a forest, on top of a hill, or just plainly, your own bedroom. You can set it up for a more relaxing atmosphere, if you please. Turn off the lights, light up some scented candles, bring in some flowers, or if it’s relaxing enough then it’s okay if you don’t do anything. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Breathe deeply and slowly and focus on your breath. Be aware of every little thing that has to do with your breath. Each inhalation, each exhalation. The pause between inhaling and exhaling. The rise and fall of each breath. Thoughts will begin to appear in your head. In my case, they begin to talk. They still do after a year of meditating. But it’s important that you do not follow your thoughts. Let them be there, but do not focus on them. Always, always, always go back to the rise and fall of your breath. Do this everyday for 10 minutes each day. You’ll be surprised at how much lighter you feel after each meditation session, but it takes a long while to know that the effects of meditation last a lifetime.

I confronted the situation.

This is not for everybody. This is for those who were dumped, just like me. When breaking up is a mutual decision, it’s most likely you and your ex have talked things through before going your separate ways. In some cases, though, where men are just too cowardly to break the girl’s heart to their faces, they simply break it up through text, or a phone call that you paid for, or email. And the girl is left behind in the dark, not knowing what just happened or why it happened. So I decided to leave the speculating behind and take matters into my own hand. If your ex is just like mine, he’ll make up excuses and little lies. He won’t tell you straight to the point why he broke up with you. At times, he’ll even turn the story around telling you it was you who dumped him, that arrogant little narcissist. But more about that in later posts. So I did some little snooping around and finally found out he had another girl. I didn’t need to ask him anymore. I knew. And that, somehow, changed how I saw him. He was no longer the honest, loyal, loving man I thought he was. He was now a sneaky little liar who was too afraid to tell things to my face. And seeing him for what he really is allowed me to move on.

I decided to move on.

Yes. Contrary to what you think, moving on is as easy as that. I read somewhere that time doesn’t heal your wounds, you do. It only depends on you on how much time you want to take up. The moment I saw my ex for what he really was, I decided to go. So it’s up to you when you’re going to decide to move on. It only takes a single powerful determined thought to do it. Mine was, This is it. I’m done. And I really was. I had felt as though it had been years after the breakup, as though my ex had been so far away in time already. So what did I do with my life after that decision? I did what I always did. I went out with friends, read my books, I worked hard for my money, I spent time with my family, and eventually I decided to go back to school. And I stopped looking for men who could replace my ex-boyfriend. Surprisingly, the “replacement” had been there all along. I had known him before, but I didn’t pay too much attention to him because I was just too caught up in my own delusional feelings for my ex. It’s true that it’s when you stop trying so hard that things become a whole lot easier for you. Now I’ve grown and am finally moving on and on and on each day. And the “replacement” has become more than just a replacement. He’s so much more now. And he’s helped me see that my life has become even more beautiful.

I’ve long stopped trying to get drunk and now only cry at sad movies, but I still continue to go out with my friends, try out new things once in a while, and meditate. I figured doing these things make my life a whole lot better, so I’m not letting them go, even long after the breakup.

 

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I am Heaven

So my favorite writer and philosopher Robert Fulghum said that we are all made of cosmic stardust. Everything in this world is made of cosmic stardust—even the disgusting bits of hair, nails, and dust you find under your bed every few years you get the urge to just suddenly clean everything up. It isn’t just amazing, if you think about it. It is totally mind-boggling.

With today’s breakfast consisting of chipped conversations about antimatter and astrophysics spurred by a National Geographic show about the birth and evolution of the universe and astrophysicists themselves telling the world exactly what Robert Fulghum told the few hundred thousands who read him, the thought that I actually am a heavenly body gets stronger and stronger every minute.

Of course, that isn’t to say that I entirely think that I am equivalent to the gods, or the giant brilliant stars, and the supernovas, and the massive black holes, and everything else that I, an insignificant piece of flesh, bone, and blood, cannot match up to. Well, there is that part of me that likes to think so. I am part of the universe. Robert Fulghum said so. And I believe everything he says. National Geographic says so. And many people believe everything that comes from them. Right after sipping a cup of piping hot green tea, one of the NatGeo scientists came out saying, “We’ve been drinking an element that has been around since the beginning of the universe—hydrogen.” And for a few moments there, I just sat there, thinking about the element as old as time that I have just taken inside myself. Again, like I said, totally mind-boggling. The things that have been around for billions (Billions! I cannot even imagine what it feels like to be 22 years old, even when I am 22 years old!) of years are here inside of me. So if hydrogen were really an essential part of my body and if I really couldn’t live without hydrogen (Almost all doctors will attest to that), then part of me is also billions of years old! I am as old as the universe! Ohmigod! (If there is the traditional, conventional, stereotypical god many other people usually call to.)

On the other hand, if I am part of the universe, which I had already come to believe even before watching the NatGeo program, then how can I compare to the stars? I am small, only five feet tall, and minutely insignificant to the rest of the universe—even to that piece of unthinking rock that can fall over from a cliff and crush me underneath anytime the rest of the universe warrants it. Other human beings tell one another that we are above everything else because we can think and feel. That’s part of how we rationalize our existence. Maybe stars and supernovas can produce the elements that keep us alive, and they will eventually dissolve in on us in the end, but stars and supernovas do not have endless strings of thought running around inside of them. They don’t hear different versions of their own voices verbalizing the emotions inside of us. Or so we think. Can joy and pain, love and anger, guilt and fear, excitement and cheer even match up to hydrogen and oxygen, helium and iron, gold and silver?

My friend NC, one whom I think doesn’t even acknowledge his emotions every time they remind him that they exist, once told me it’s nice to be human. It’s a nice quote, and I agree with him that it does feel good to tear your walls down and give in to whatever it is that’s brewing inside of you. Maybe, just maybe, that is what we humans were made to do in this rapidly expanding universe—to just be ourselves. To just be ourselves. To continue thinking about the things around us. To continue feeling the things inside of us. And to merge whatever it is that we are thinking and feeling so we can try (if try is all we can do) to better understand. So here’s to me, and to everybody else. Small, insignificant pieces of cosmic stardust. We’ll eventually die and rot away and become parts of other stars and planets millions of miles and light years away, but we will always be part of this universe.

 

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Only the Rich Can Get Ahead In This Country

So after a long while, I turned to the TV and saw groups of UP students marching to Mendiola to protest. Apparently, the Aquino administration has (not surprisingly) done something wrong again to stir the wrath of the Iskolar ng Bayan. It was only a few seconds into the news that I realized the government has made, yet again, another cut from its budget for education. While doubling the pork barrel.

In an ambush interview by ABS-CBN, President Aquino said that the government’s priority is basic education. What I understand about basic education is not education during the early years of life. Basic education, for me, is the education you need to survive and be able to live a healthy and normal life. These days, having graduated from the sixth grade won’t help you get anywhere in life. Not even high school will get you through to a decent job. In fact, if you really think about it, even college students are facing the challenge of their lives looking for a job that fits their expertise and actually pays the rent. For us to survive in this overly competitive world (or country, if you please), you have to go through college and get a degree. Otherwise, any potential employers will ward you off, saying you can’t be a waitress or a saleslady because you didn’t go through college.

So, hello, Mr. Aquino? Where does your idea of basic education get you?

A maid, maybe.

Or a laundrywoman.

A garbage collector.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not look down on these occupations. I am happy with our new maid, who cooks great dinners on time and is kind enough to fix up my things for me when I have to rush to get to school. The problem is, do they make enough to let them and their family live healthy and normal lives?

If being the house help for an average-sized, middle-class family and being paid three thousand pesos every month is the government’s idea of surviving, then I hope they would like to try it out for themselves. Cooking, cleaning, and gardening for other people and not getting enough to get all of your kids through elementary school because these tasks just don’t require as much effort as being a business executive or a celebrity lawyer does. Why don’t those government officials in their SUVs and posh executive suites try their hand at the kind of life that their idea of basic education can get them? Then they’d know they wouldn’t survive.

The problem with these people—the government and everyone else who supports the idea that everyone has to compete with what he already has—is that they never experienced what others who struggle to be able to pay for school do. A lot of them were born into families that owned comfortable lives and never experienced going hungry during recess. Some of them were born to unfortunate homes, but were lucky enough to experience the struggle and get to the top. But after getting what they want, they settle. Worst, they never look back. That’s the problem with these people. It is so easy for them to lash out high-sounding theories on the principles of free market capitalism and other grandiose concepts the masa will never understand and humiliate people who do not think like them by calling them idiots to their faces.

I think this is selfishness at its worst—to toil, to struggle, to succeed, and eventually to forget what you’ve been through and abandon the people who toiled and struggled like and with you. Well, at least that’s for people who say they have worked hard to achieve their successes. For the majority of the congressmen, however, who instituted the budget cut which they so lamely hide under the excuse of, “The budget was actually increased,” get off your SUVs and walk in the sun. Sell your mansions and donate the money to the people you have made your promises to. Give up your pork barrel, or can you?

Is it arrogant for the Iskolar ng Bayan to think he deserves to be educated? Is it arrogant for him to think that he needs to know for him to be able to make better decisions in life? Is it arrogant for him to believe there is a huge reserve of potential in him and that he could use this potential to good use in the future? If the answer is yes, then isn’t it more arrogant for others to refuse to help other people because they think people who need help actually deserve the difficulty they are going through? Life is unfair, yes, but people were not made to make life better. For all of us, not just for ourselves.

Don’t be surprised when all this country is left with are people who are extremely poor they can barely stand to find food for themselves and people who are filthy rich they can drown themselves in their own money. The former will be crying for help from their fellow human beings, and the latter will be high and mighty in their lavish mansions with all the slaves they can afford to boss around, telling their fellow Filipinos they gotta work hard like they did to get some food.

As for the middle-classes who barely had enough to get through school but somehow managed to get through it anyway? They won’t be here, sad that they’ve left this beautiful country to a small group of greedy monsters, but glad they’re far away from these monsters as well.

It’s every man for himself in the Philippines. The moment you begin to feel compassion for your neighbors, you’re dead.

 

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