When

When you feel like crying or actually cry for the littlest or no reason at all. And you can’t stop.

When you feel so sad but you don’t’ know exactly what you’re sad about.

When you know you need to work at work and knows what needs to be done but does not do them at all for no reason at all.

When you barely function but keep up a good show that you are functioning very well. And do a good job at it too.

When you feel angry all the time one day and feel like you’re the nicest person in the world the next.

When you tick off a long list of things you need to do, then curl up in bed and sleep for 10 hours.

When you wake up but stay in bed for countless more hours because you cannot find any reason or the energy to get up.

When you exercise, eat healthy, pray, go to church, go out with friends, help the poor, fall in love, read interesting books, write beautiful stories, cook, garden, take care of adorable pets, have smart hobbies, be an awesome, thoughtful friend – all in your head. For years now.

When you have a list of a hundred and one things you want to do and all are realistically doable and feasible – even easy – but cross out not more than 5 of them after a year.

When you are pretty sure that your passion, interest and talent is in creative writing but you hardly come up with anything creative. And it scares you because if you were no good at this after all, then there is absolutely nothing else you are good at.

When you don’t want to be angry and grumpy and sullen all the time but you can’t seem to stop.

When you almost literally feel different kinds of thoughts racing through your head all at the same time and you can’t keep up with any of them and it feels like your mind is going to burst that you literally hold on to it tight just in case it would. Your mind is swirling in all kinds of colors but they’re not colorful nor beautiful, just chaotic and uncontrollably swirling until you realize that it will spin so fast that it feels like one day it will explode into smithereens and all that will be left behind is a sad, incomprehensible emptiness.

When you see someone living a life that you imagined yourself to be living and your eyes just immediately well with tears.

When you want to be left alone but at the same time be surrounded with friends and family and people who like you and enjoy your company.

When you don’t really have any specific plans or dreams about what your own family would be like in the future because you’re almost sure it wouldn’t happen and the worst thing is you can’t bring yourself to care that much and then you begin worrying that something is really, really wrong with your psychological make-up.

When everyone’s commenting about how nice, mature, sensible, responsible, kind-hearted, intelligent, gentle, you are when they have no idea you are this close to wanting to end all this never-ending emptiness but you know you’ll always be too much of a coward and a Catholic to pursue it any further.

When you were Catholic-schooled all your life and you can easily win a Bible quiz bee if it there was one on the spot and you really are scared of hell and you really do believe in God and Jesus and Mama Mary and your guardian angel but you hardly ever hear Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and you hardly ever read the Bible and you haven’t’ been to confession in more than 10 years and you feel guilty about all these trespasses and sensibly think that you really ought to start changing but nothing ever changes with every single day and week and month and year that passes.

When your life seems alright on the outside because you are about to get a big promotion and a big pay increase, you are about to earn a Master’s degree, you are about to take a casual vacation abroad with friends like you’re living the life, you are beginning to have the swagger of a well-educated, upper middle class yuppie, you can send money to your family, you are paying all the bills, you are helping send your siblings to school but in reality, if they take a peek into you they will see nothing but a deep, black never-ending abyss of darkness where your pale soul is curled up in a corner.

When you wrote all these non-stop banging away on your keyboard in a matter of minutes and can feel your tears coming, only, you can’t because you’re in the office an hour from when you were supposed to call it a day writing all these while leaving behind urgent office things to do because you don’t want and know how to do them even if you actually know how to in moments when this black empty thing enveloping you seem to have gotten itself distracted and you actually feel normal and mature and adult and the world seems to be tilted in the right direction. Then it turns out this black thing just went on a pee break and is back like it has never gone away.

Here Comes the Rain

I can still recall the day my mother finally allowed sickly 9-year old me to bathe under the rain and watch (then later join) my paper boats float down the gushing brown waters of the neighbor’s canal. Dirty. Flu-inducing. Priceless. Of course, the memory of being actually allowed may not have been entirely accurate.

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It’s that time of the year once again – when the floodgates of heaven open up to charmingly join the school gates this side of the world. The rainy season is here and unlike the excitement we always have for summer, we generally meet it with ambivalent feelings, welcoming the relief from heat but dreading flooded streets.

If I were the rain, I would have sulked by now. Unfair, you people, I would say. You know you miss me when I’m not around.

We get overwhelmed with the adventure and fun that summer brings that we tend to underrate the wonderful things that rain has to offer. Sure, it cancels appointments and disrupts classes. But who doesn’t appreciate burrowing into the comfort of warm blankets and hitting the snooze button because you suddenly have two extra hours to sleep some more? And remember the feeling when classes would suddenly get cancelled right when a difficult exam you didn’t study for, was supposed to happen? Ahhh, what joy the words “way klase” could bring! Rightly or not, we thanked the gods for that torrential downpour.

The magic words in a poet or perhaps the melody in a musician’s heart. It’s the watershed from the skies bringing hope for a good harvest to a farmer.

It covers up the tears of the broken-hearted when no onion is at hand.

Pouring rain and the cold it brings is the perfect reason for snuggling and cuddling. It’s one less guilt trip for curling up in bed all day. Have cats and dogs of it on a weekday and what you have is a heaven-sent, legitimate excuse for being late to work that a summer day never can be. And for the fashionista, it’s the most opportune time to properly strut those trendy boots and thick stylish jacket in this tropical country. Out with the bikinis and in with the jackets.

Rain is coming. Let’s meet it with a sunny spirit and positive vibe while sipping from a steaming mug of coffee. Let’s embrace the small and big blessing it brings us and countless other creatures. And, as any Game of Thrones fan will profoundly advise, just be glad it’s not winter – you don’t want to know.

Back to that gushing, murky waters of neighborhood canals. Nothing beats the memories of childhood friends frolicking under the rain with you, stomping on puddles with raindrops tattooing a beat on your naked backs.

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”      – Langston Hughes

On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

– Kahlil Gibran