What Most of Us are Scared of about Love

I have been stuck with the idea of love since I was kid. It didn’t help that I watched disney and local TV series such as FLAMES, Gimik and TGIS among others. I got even more stuck with the idea when I started dating.

At first, I used to pattern love on how I saw my parents “love each other” growing up. I thought that love was a one shot deal wherein meeting the first would last an eternity. As you probably have guessed, I was doomed. People with expectations such as mine are bound to be doomed.

To date, I’ve only had 2 exes, but the dates to boyfriend ratio seems to be 19.5 is to 1. At this rate I have so much more dating to do to get another shot at love. Haha! But the thing is, I am now sure how vague a target love is.

I got to meet a lot of people of different ages, cultures, and beliefs. And so far it’s interesting how they seem to have all things figured out, but the way I see it nobody has it figured out.

To wit, internet posts on love in Facebook and Youtube contain countless contradictions. For instance, my favorite love idea is from an FB post that essentially says love is a choice, not a feeling.That falling in love is a passive action but being in love is something active. That love isn’t complicated. You just have to choose. 

Then in another FB post entitled Secondhand Love, as it fairly encourages readers to not settle for someone who considers you as a second option, it also poses this idea of love as something beautiful and perfect and that anything besides this is substandard; and therefore, we shouldn’t stop aiming for that perfection–which somehow says that it isnt a choice but a quest to find true love.

I personally think the latter thoery has been used a thousand times to break up with someone or cheat on someone simply because the “right one” came along.

(Sings: Oh it’s sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along… lalalala!)

And though people who broke hearts of others in the name of love seem to deserve hell and a cursed life, ironically they actually sometimes find true love, leaving the one who loved them broken (i.e. cheats on wife of 5 years then stays in love with the one he cheated with for 20 years to forever).

Sometimes people find their true love, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they have already found it then decide it isn’t the one. Others, find multiple true loves.

With all these in mind I have at least placed my fear in love. Loving someone romantically is like a carousel where you try on different ponies until you find the right one. But even when you do, it isn’t an assurance that you wouldn’t want to try the other ones. Even more, you sometimes just go round and round the carousel then get back on the same pony that you left. There are times the ride makes you really dizzy that you’d rather get off than find the pony for you. Note that some are the ponies while others are the riders looking for the ponies.

These are just “theories” behind and observations of love by a guy like me that was disneyfied early on. Reality is even more complicated if not interesting.

I used to think there are surefire ways to love. I used to think that when you give it your best, all will be fine. I was wrong.

There is nothing to figure out about love. There is only trying and experiencing it. It’s either you ride the carousel or you don’t.

I guess it also is not about the journey if my carousel idea works for you. I guess it’s all about the getting on and off of it. That you can’t expect love to bring you places but instead hope it gives you a chance to hold on or to be held, to let go or to be let go of.

I’m convinced that more often than not it isn’t being dumped or being alone in love that scare us. It’s the uncertainty. There is nothing new with what I’m saying. It’s just that now I know what other people have been talking about love. Now I know what I’m scared of.

(Photo from a box of donuts I ate)


Helping Happiness

Helping Happiness

I have come to realize that one of the best ways of getting rid of pain in our hearts is by helping take away pain in others. That way one will see the paradox Mother Theresa found: “…if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

After all the pain I know I am learning how to love even more.




Day after Christmas. I am in a funeral.

As we wait for the coffin to be loaded, I look up to these clouds, hopeful, thinking of how Christmas was for me.

This year it was all about pain, love and forgiveness and how difficult it is to be caught in the middle.

I tried to be brave, I didn’t see it coming. I Tried to hold on.

I tried to help despite the pain. I tried to be a friend because I thought I was ready. At least I tried.

I tried to hold back the tears. Humbled by my misgivings that probably will never be forgotten yet again and reminded by how love doesn’t just get lost in memory, I finally let go.

This year’s Christmas was most peculiar. It wasn’t just about the happiness of being with my family and friends, it was also about the melancholic, yet liberating joy of forgiving myself and others, of reminding myself that in forgiveness I knew I loved and loved well. That though I may be a far cry from a perfect loving person I know that slowly I am understanding what love is, how it affects people, how it crushes and tears you while at the same time teaching you how to love better.

There is still a part of me that wonders of the whatifs should things have worked out, but I know I did my flawed best and I couldn’t have done better at that time. What I know is I can do better should I choose to love again.

Christmas isn’t just about birth amd beginnings; it’s also about death and endings amd how all these and the in-betweens constitute love.


Merry Christmas.

The Art of Letter Writing


My kids have been exchanging letters with other children in the upper grades. It’s nice to see how letter writing still has that charm that instant messaging doesn’t always have–the absolute need for patience and consequently excitement brought by the mystery of not knowing who you are corresponding with and not knowing when a letter will be coming.

Speaking of letters, I wish I could write my kids one.

Dear (most-of-the-time) adorable kids,

Thank you so much for cheering up T. JM everyday. Thank you for your jokes, mishaps, clumsiness, eureka moments and all the other moments that involve boogers, tears, and whatnot.

You probably don’t see it but T. JM is not ok yet. I’m getting there though so don’t worry because you kids help every single day. Just like what we talk about in our stories, poems, songs and books, we get hurt and scared sometimes even if we don’t want to. Soon enough we will realize that it’s okay to get hurt and scared because these only make us human. And that anyway, people who truly love us will always be there ready to catapult us over and beyond our pains and fears.

So, dear kids, keep playing and smiling. For your family is here to keep you safe and warm. Plus, you have me to share humor with when your pokemon dies, when your dorky diaries book gets lost, when your tooth starts to move, when you want to poop, when you scrape your knee, when a classmate teases you because that classmate likes you and you don’t understand why.

I’ll be here for you because I know what it feels to be scared and hurt.

With warmth and love,

Life Check of a Teacher

I want to say Life hasn’t been good to me these days, but I think that would be unfair.

Last summer, I got a fellowship at a writing workshop in Bacolod. This semester, I flew to Cebu twice to facilitate and give a plenary talk in a seminar-training for public school teachers. Last month I visited Biliran to administer a test. This month a chance to write a textbook was opened. Just yesterday, I started writing test items for an educational company.

So I believe it’s unfair to say that life has been unfair.

Yet I can’t help but think that Life hasn’t been too good to me either. A month ago my boyfriend of three years broke up with me for reasons I think were unfair. In addition, work has been very loaded that my performance in MA has been substandard–in fact, for the first time in my life, a professor told me to “please study.” Right now, just as I am trying to pull myself together,  I got sick and had to ditch an event I have been working on for the past weeks and which my department had entrusted to me. Now, I’m lagging even more in my MA work. To top it all, I have been hurting and crying for the past month.

Quite unfair, really. Pathetic, mostly. When things fall apart,they seem to really fall apart, don’t they?

There’s no time to lose, however. I know no one’s rushing me to be ok and that I am entitled to whatever pain I am feeling, yet somehow I know I have to move on and face life just like how I have been facing it for the past twenty-four years; for life really doesn’t care how things are great or crappy. On the contrary, it’s quite indifferent. Sometimes, it is even conceited. As John Greene puts it in The Fault in Our Stars

“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?”

So there. Life is life. No need to overthink it. I have to keep on living and focus on things that I can personally affect even when all the other things seem crappy. I’ll be doing that. I am starting.

When I Grow Up Day

When I Grow Up Day

For now, I’m just thankful that I still have the best clients in the infinite universe–and I am noticing you, universe, as I write this.


High School Teachers

High School Teachers

One of the things I have been busy with this academic year: my Senior high school students in their NSTP class where they share stories to second and third graders. Teacher Bam and I bring our almost-adult-kids kids to two public elementary schools every Monday to inspire in younger kids the love for and of reading. The thought that I am able to build memories of this sort in my high school students’ hearts and minds makes me grin and smile in a sly way. Well, knowing what being a teenager is all about, the plan is to inspire them to help bring change in our country; but actually the greater plan is simpler: to care for, think of, and spend time with people other than themselves. For now, I think that is more than enough.

I’m making change after all.