All Roads Lead to Love

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fear will tell you to lock up your heart

to protect yourself

it will lie and scream

to keep people out

to cut them loose

before they cut you

 

yet to live this way

isn’t a life at all

love alone

is worth the fight

people alone

are worth the fight

 

to have faith in the face of fear

to hold on to hope when you’re trembling

or paralyzed and petrified

uncertain of the future

to trust when it’s the complete opposite

of how you truly feel

 

this is what genuine love looks like

and in the end

it’s the one thing that will remain.

 

My very first attempt at a poem since I started this blog a decade ago, and if I’m being sincere, this is the last thing I feel like doing at the moment.

Yet if there’s one thing I’ve learned about love since the last time I wrote anything substantial on this thing… it’s that love is not about feelings. It’s about being steadfast and committed even when all the feelings have come and gone. Far, far easier said than done, but it’s the one thing in this world that’s worth the fight.

XXP

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To My Best Friend on Her 25th Birthday

Hello, my love ❤

First things first, HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ❤ ❤ ❤

Všechno nejlepší k narozeninám, and yes, I have no idea how to pronounce that :D.

What can I say on your special day, my Katerina?

First of all, don’t end up crying in the bathroom and cleaning the toilet like you did last year, OK?

I know I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to you, but we don’t need to be drama queens, OK? OK. Hahahaha.

To be honest, there’s already a birthday card (or two :p) on its way to you… but you’re just way too special for me to let this day pass by without doing just a little more to make sure you know exactly how loved you are.

No video this year, but you’re the first friend I have ever written about on my blog for their birthday. So, I hope that counts for something ❤

I love watching you grow.

Have I told you that?

I entered your life, or rather, you were brought into mine when you were 23 years old.

So, you’ve been in my life for about a year and a half, and it’s been such an adventure and a journey and a miracle.

YOU HAVE MADE MY LIFE INFINITELY BETTER.

I love seeing you grow, my love.

You remind me of myself when I was younger.

I love seeing you make mistakes and learn from them.

I love your courage.

I love that you live your life without apologies or regrets.

I love watching you live your life to the fullest.

I love watching you love the people around you well.

I love your authenticity.

You are unapologetically you, and it’s such a rarity and breath of fresh air in this fake, superficial world we live in.

I told you that after my time with you in China, and I still stand by my words today.

It’s ironic; you think you’re ordinary, and that’s exactly what makes you my special K.

You’ve changed my life. You’re seven years younger than me, but I have learned so much from you.

You taught me not to listen to sad songs when I’m already in a pensive mood… not sure how I didn’t realize this earlier or on my own. But that’s why people enter our lives, right? To teach us a lesson. You also encourage me to be more physically active and to spend my time wisely, and this has worked wonders for my disposition and overall outlook in life.

You taught me to be more real… as real I can possibly and humanly be. I can honestly say that I’m no longer the same person I was a year and a half ago, and you are one of the reasons why. I don’t care as much about germs, or looking pretty, or eating too much sugar, or being impressive on social media, or what people think, and it’s because of you. Among a million other things. I suppose I’m a city girl with a village girl’s soul. And I suppose that’s why I’m your soulmate.

We’ve had one too many arguments, disagreements, and fights in the time that we’ve had to spend apart, but they live in the past for me. All I care about is the here and now, that we got through everything together, that we lived up to our promise to love each other NO MATTER WHAT, and ALWAYS, and FOREVER. Best friends for life.

Truly, you are one of the most precious souls in this whole entire planet for me, and I want you in my life for always. You have brought me more joy than you will ever know, and you mean SO, SO much to me.

Thank you for helping me grow and stretch and learn in so many ways.

You being in my life has tested my character in ways that I could not have imagined.

I learned so much about myself by being your friend, and while some of the revelations I had to learn through the most painful of circumstances, I still learned and that’s what matters.

And sure, I may have been hurt by matters that should not have hurt me, but I also learned that my love and commitment could overcome all of those things. You taught me to love you, and other people, as I love myself.

What do I wish for you on your 25th birthday, my žirafa?

What I told you a few weeks ago.

To feel loved every second of your life. And I promise you, the only way to get to this place is by loving other people as hard as you can. Even when they don’t deserve it. Even when they upset you and hurt you and disappoint you.

Nothing is worth doing if it’s not done in love. Seek first to understand before being understood. And may everything you do or say be done and said with compassion. It’s the best we can do in this world we live in. To always put ourselves in other people’s shoes and to consider their feelings as we do our own in every decision that we make. Thank you for teaching me how to trust and have faith. In you, in myself, in us, in God.

Thank you for your incredible patience with me. I know my being emotional really pushed you over the edge at times, but you loved me through everything. I remember you losing your patience just once :D. Thank you babe.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be patient with you as well. You’re worth it, kid. I knew you were something special right from the very start, and that I really wanted you to be my friend.

Thank you for encouraging me to be as honest as I possibly can. And to be kinder and better.

I hope and pray that this is really just the beginning of our story.

Here’s to more precious moments.

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From the mundane…

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To the meaningful…

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And the magical (lezzzzzbicka :p)…

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And a hundred million more to come.

I love you, my one and only KŠ.

Let’s keep chasing our dreams together, hand in hand.

Happy, happy, happy birthday.

I’ll see you in a few days, my love (XXVII).

Finally, story to be continued…

❤ , your APY.

ROE-SAKA

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Life. Doesn’t it go by in a blink? A week ago, I was exploring Kyoto with my best friend, our breath continually being taken away by each tourist spot that we visited, and now, she’s set to hop on a plane that will take her 7,000+ miles away from me once more. Back to our long-distance relationship. It’s hard. I’m not gonna lie.

Having had to sustain a friendship without the luxury of proximity isn’t a walk in the park. It’s entailed hard work, patience, and a boundless supply of love from both our ends. But it’s been so worth it. A hundred times over.

There was plenty that studying in Ateneo gave me, but my favorite is Roe. She’s one of my best friends in the world, and I loved the time that I had with her in Osaka. Life is so short, I would like to spend most of my days in the presence of those I hold near and dear. The rest truly is background noise. It’s a distraction.

Roe, I haven’t written in my blog in over a year, I would like to dedicate my comeback entry to you. I feel it’s only fitting, as I started off this year with you. If only walls could talk… our Airbnb flat would tell stories that I’ll forever hold close. Thank you for your love, your company, your friendship. Thank you for sharing THIS SEASON with me. You know what I’m talking about. Thank you for understanding me more than any other person in my life at this point. Thank you for sharing my pain. Thank you for crying real tears with me. Thank you for being real. Thank you for praying with me. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for making it impossible to be with you and not find myself crying from laughing in a matter of minutes. Thank you for being so easy to be with. Thank you that it’s never awkward. Thank you that it’s okay to be quiet. Thank you that it’s okay to dominate the conversation. Thank you for being considerate. Thank you for pretending to be considerate even when you’ve already made up your mind about what place we’re going to visit, hahahahaha. Thank you for being kind. Thank you for being honest with me. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for calling me out. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for staying. I love every part of our story, and I know that the best is yet to come.

I fell so in love with Osaka, and I’m so happy that you were there to share the experience with me. Everything becomes more beautiful when it’s shared with someone we love. And as beautiful as Osaka was, I know my sentiments were amplified by the company. Girl, the point is, I love you! Alam mo na yan! See you in April, I’m counting the moons, amore. Mahal na mahal kita. Always, only, Jesus ❤

P.S. I love this verse, and it really reminds me of you :-*

“Fancy hairstyles don’t make you beautiful. Wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes doesn’t make you beautiful. Instead, your beauty comes from inside you. It is the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Beauty like this doesn’t fade away. God places great value on it.” —1 Peter 3:3,4

I’ll see you soon.

XXP

Peace to You

Pigeon Point lighthouse USA, California, Big Sur

At the Christmas Eve service yesterday, the pastor talked about how God often operates differently than the world.

Case in point: when His Son was born on earth, He first chose to make the announcement to the shepherds. Today’s equivalent of anybody with a so-called “lowly” job. Ordinary. Unseen. Ignored. Overlooked.

And while I love seeing everyone’s photographs of their families and feasts on social media, I know that there are those who feel like the sky has fallen this season and thus have no desire or reason to celebrate. Those of you who’ve lost a loved one. A baby. A relationship. A job. Your health. Or perhaps your joy for life. Maybe it’s been hours or days. Maybe it’s been weeks, months or years. It doesn’t matter. Depression is a very real thing. Pain is a very real thing.

I see you. God most certainly sees you. And you are thought of, prayed for, and loved today. If you don’t know what you know anymore, then know that.

Peace to you.

XXP

Diana

I love the arts.

I love film.

I’ve probably said that a dozen times on this blog, but I do. And not the trash that’s often found in theaters these days, but high-quality, substantial motion picture that actually brings meaning to people’s lives and creates honest conversations.

Last night I finally had the chance to watch Oliver Hirschbiegel’s “Diana” starring the lovely Naomi Watts. I’m a huge fan of Watts and I’d pretty much see anything that she’s in. She’s absolutely brilliant.

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The film garnered negative criticism upon its release in 2013 but I learned sometime ago not to trust the critics. Beauty like art is subjective. Who’s to say that a film isn’t worth seeing if in fact, it resonated with at least one person in the audience? And what exactly makes one person’s opinions more valuable than another? Their film degree? That said, if a preview or plot appeals to me, I see the film…

I truly enjoyed seeing Watts portray “Diana” and I feel that she did it so much taste and grace. There is something to be said for actors that respect their roles and treat them with care and dignity. This especially applies when one is dealing with a notable figure, and obviously, Princess Diana falls within this category.

If anything, the film put me in touch with her humanity and normalcy. The film was excellent in portraying this side of her. I was particularly moved by her heart for people. Marginalized people, the poor, the oppressed, the ignored, the disenfranchised, the ones most people don’t really pay attention to.

Coincidentally, her 18th death anniversary was seven days ago. I was 11 years old when she died. I was so young, but I could sense the impact and gravity of the situation seeing the looks on my parents’ faces when the news broke before noon here.

I was but a child, but it was plain to see that this was no ordinary woman. And upon watching the film, I understood why exactly she was so beloved. She was a humanitarian in the purest, most beautiful sense of the word. Since her mission to Angola, injuries from landmines have fallen by more than 60 percent. Three months after her death, the Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personnel landmines was opened for signature. So far, 161 states have signed the treaty.

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It’s not my place to question why God allowed her to be taken so early on in her life, but I wonder what she would think of the state of the world today. Why are so many living in opulence whilst millions are in lack and dying every single day of hunger and preventable diseases? Don’t even get me started on what’s happening in Syria but if you’re interested in making a difference, just click here. I’m glad this film was made.

And to the British people, I commiserate with you. The loss is all of ours. 10000%.

XXP

A Love That Even Time Would Lie Down And Be Still For

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Dear Gillian,

Sometimes I feel like there’s a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean. The moon tonight, there’s a circle around it. A sign of trouble not far behind.

I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing… I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for.

I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve had my happiness. I don’t want to believe it, but, there is no man, Gilly. Only that moon.

Sally Owens, Practical Magic (1998)

It’s A Shame

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It’s a shame that shame is often found in places, situations, thoughts, conversations, sentences and moments where it has no business being in.

We shame because we don’t understand, we can’t relate, we aren’t the same, we are different, we are jealous, we are insecure, we feel guilt, we are angry, we are bitter, we are hurt, we are wounded.

We shame people because they speak a different belief or lifestyle. we shame culture, race, religion, faith, sexuality, gender, where you live, your profession, your haircut, your weight, your colour, your disability, the music you listen to, your education.

Damn, we even shame people for being too nice. too happy, too kind, too beautiful, too talented, too successful, too positive.

It begins as a thought and can end in war.

It’s a shame.

I love these words from the beautiful, incandescent Bianca Cash.