perfect

i’m a perfectionist.
i control things because it’s the only thing i have real power over —

i fluff the pillows before and after i sit on the couch
i refold my blanket at least ten times a day
i sweep the entire floor every time i see a single piece of dirt
i move the perfume bottle one inch forward because there is only one acceptable position
i fold my used clothes before putting them in the laundry
i align my papers and folders before working

and when i sense a slight deviation to this order,
i feel uneasy
i feel bothered
and i won’t stop feeling this way until i fix it — i have to fix it.

i create my own little world, wherever i go.
this little world is perfect, safe, and simple.
but once the outside sneaks its way in, it is lost.

even while i’m writing this, i want to throw my laptop across the room for the way these words sound. they don’t flow. they don’t sound right. i’m a perfectionist, and this has to be right. this has to be right.

in-betweens & gray areas

in-betweens sound a lot better than gray areas.
when we talk of in-betweens, you get this idea of the little things, the quiet.
the things that go unnoticed and we tend to look beyond.
i like this kind.

but when it comes to gray areas,
it’s the kind of in-between, where you don’t know where you’re going.
you’re in this place of uncertainty, and you can’t seem to find clarity.

i’m here to talk about this kind.

gray areas are difficult.
once you fall into it, it’s as if there’s no way out.
you start questioning every decision you’ve ever made, and think to yourself,
how the hell did i get here?

your heart starts to race, your palms start sweating,
your eyes get bigger, and your breathing gets faster.
and then,
you’re just lost.

you don’t know who you are anymore or at least you feel as if you’ve been thrown so far away from yourself.

it’s the worst feeling — not knowing yourself,
or not even being able to recognize who you are anymore.

how do you pull yourself out of something like this, when you can’t even tell whom to pull out?

so many things are happening all at the same time,
and you’re just lost in this gray area.

my mind has never been this clouded, and
my heart has never been through this kind of pain before.
nothing hurts more than losing your sense of self.

how can i undo this?

how can i bring myself back to same feeling and state as i was,
when i could feel all the fire and life inside me?

back to when i knew who i was and wanted to be.

i want to say i need someone or something to save me, 
but it’s n0t about being saved anymore.
it’s about carrying myself through this and whatever i may be put through again.
i need to be able to do this.

but then again,
it’s not that simple.
you can’t make your heart feel as light as when you wash away all the dirt from your body at the end of the day.

it stays in your chest. over and over and over the last pain and heart break.

i’m broken. and i’ve never felt this kind of broken as much as i do now.
let’s start there.

for you

to the baby,
who was born out of the strength of her mother
who was held and wrapped with love
who saw the sky for the first time

to the child,
who felt and fell on the ground before ever rising from it
who looked at the world with big eyes
who spoke of things she read from books

to the girl,
who dreamed
who asked questions
who hated her body
who cried and laughed
who grew up

to the young woman,
who saw the world for what it truly is
who heard things that built and broke her
who gave her heart
who sacrificed her passion
who lost herself
who struggled to find the light again

to the woman,
who tries
who gives everything
who smiles with tears in her eyes
who is finding her way back
who continues to get up with every sunrise after all that she has been through

this is for you.

on the road

early mornings and hot coffee
hours on the road with the perfect playlist
gas stations and a sunrise in the middle of nowhere

all to get to a place
where simplicity and living with less
are more than enough

every time i’m reminded of the sea
or of what it’s like to be human
i’m reminded of what it’s like to truly live

if miles and miles are what it takes to feel this way
then there are no bounds to what i’d do to be in the right place

glass figures

i was in the car with my family,
driving up and down the hill-like streets of downtown San Francisco.
i looked out the window as would every other person riding a car,
searching for something to admire or simply relieving boredom

and there they were,
the warm lit squares and rectangles on the surfaces of every building.
windows of every size,
some open and bright from the light inside and some shut closed.

windows tell a lot of stories.
they give the shortest glimpse into the life of a stranger,
or provide a brief opening into a story.
and the beauty there is that you can make anything of it.

i saw one with a floor to ceiling book shelf and thought,
maybe the person who lives here is the type to carry a book with her wherever she goes
maybe the person who lives here sits right beside that window for her morning coffee and read
just as i would

another had a christmas tree and a bunch of frames and i thought,
this is the home of a family
by the window is where the family sit cozily in front of their tree and talk to each other
just as my family would

and then i saw a few more
but instead of noticing the things behind them,
i thought of what my own window would look like from the outside.

my window would have soft and warm light illuminating from it.
it would show my wall shelf with my collections of books and trinkets from the cities i’ve been to
it would show my dog sleeping
it would show me typing away on my laptop as i sit on the couch and have a cup of hot green tea in one hand
it would show me curling up on one side of the couch reading a book with a candle lit
it would show laughter in many faces for when my friends are over and we’re all reminiscing
it would show me softly and passionately looking at him and giving him a kiss good night

my window would show many fragments of my life,
but that is all they’ll ever be—
a glimpse, a brief opening, a fragment.
it’s never going to be the full story.

people will only continue to see parts of your life,
no matter what those may be.

through a window, there is hope.
there is light, there is beauty, and more importantly, there is life.

windows of a building or an entire street co-exist much like humans co-exist wherever they may be;
life continues to happen for each of us, and so it does through these windows.

Amaya

Water, in all its forms, speaks to me in different ways,

in ways that words will never be able to give justice to.
It ignites something in me that I thought was long gone.
It pulls my entire being back to where it has to be.
And for some apparent reason, though I am floating in the middle of the ocean or moving against its current, in those moments, I have never felt more grounded.

The water always feels right.

Soft rain— when I barely feel it touching my skin and all that it is is a soft touch that resembles a tickle, a gentle reminder of something sweet and good.
Thunderstorms— when strong wind, a heavy pour, and continuous loud thunder partner, this is when my heart beats faster and faster, my eyes widen, and suddenly I find myself more aware of my surroundings.
Waves off the shore— when the remnants of something that was once so strong is brought right before me.
Waves breaking— when I find myself battling out at sea to stay up, only to be washed out, but in the end, I rise back up and feel that full breath of air in my chest.

The ocean has a lot to say, and so does the rain. The ocean is gentle in the way it settles, allowing me to close my eyes and take it all in. And just when I’ve taken that breath, it riles me back up and urges me to keep moving. The water is a reminder that I am alive, that I am both strong and weak, and that I have it in me to rise and beat the odds.

So when the waves or the raindrops finally speak to you,
I hope that in that moment,
your mind is at peace,
and your heart is in the right place.
Just enough for you to accept what it has to say,
to breathe it in and live in it.

The Airport Effect

Going somewhere unfamiliar has always been a challenge within the idea of itself. The very thought of leaving leaves us lonely and nostalgic, but there might have been some things that they forgot to tell you about leaving behind the familiar. 

You can never truly find what you are looking for in the midst of mindsets that urge you to stay within your comfort zone. There is a reason for that yearning you feel inside of you to get a taste of something you have never known before. And that is possibly why I get so enlivened in airports.

Everywhere you turn is a new and different story unfolding. There is that security guard who has worked in that terminal for more than half of his life watching people come and go. There is that airport employee manning the check-in counters deciding who you get to sit beside in an eight-hour flight. But more importantly, there is you. There is that traveler who chooses to leave home for a while to see what else this world has to offer; that same traveler who gave in to the desire to venture out to a certain city to see if what she has been feeling can be healed by the mere uncertainty of who you are going to meet or where you are going to end up.

You see, airports are actually just a small part of a grander thing happening for every person leaving. It does not tell you where you are meant to go, but it allows you to do exactly what you need to do. It gathers up the adventurers, courageous souls, and anyone who wants to find something that would deem itself significant.

The whole concept of finding yourself is sometimes overly fantasized by films, social media, or any form of literature. One thing is certain, you do not find yourself the moment you step out of that plane. And every so often, it is not mostly about the destination or end-point, but the journey you have taken to get there. “It’s the excursion that shapes us,” said Rebecca Sambursky.

It is the people you encounter, new places you go to, flavors you taste for the first time, art of everything you are witnessing, and feelings and emotions you face along the way. In essence, it is how you choose to respond to these things. 

Do not be too caught up with the fast-paced lives of most people. Learn to slow things down around you and notice the beauty, energy, and everything that lingers there. If you pay too much attention to the noise and distractions, you can miss it. That is why slowing down is so important because these moments of realization can fade away in a single second. And what you are going to find can be all sorts of life-changing sensations. You find yourself in those people, those moments, and those in-betweens, where you sort of have an epiphany; and all the dots will eventually start to connect.