#SuicideAwarenessDay

That moment when you’re so eager to write about something you feel so strongly about that a million words are begging to burst out and be written but at the same time as the pen hovers over the paper, nothing comes out- not a single word, well I’m having one such moment. I’m just unsure of how to begin this. Do I start with statistics or quotes or pictures or my own experience or someone else’s that has helped shape my own? Something compelling enough to interest you but honest still that it remains as meaningful as it should. Let me start with this:

Suspend your judgments. Suicide isn’t just about statistics, it’s about stories.

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Some of you will judge this entry the same way you judge every person who committed suicide or have tried to, with extreme prejudice and I ask for the sake of this day and this discussion that you open your mind to opinions other than your own. The fault of this bunch, which I don’t find a fault at all but many will, is how we see things. You see them at eye level, for what it is. We see them from overhead, standing on a table and seeing ourselves in comparison to others, in association with things we don’t have or the person we can never be, happy.

I will not generalize the neigh sayers, they come from different backgrounds and varied beliefs, nor will I stereotype those who have had this problem. Trust me they’re not always the guy with the heavy eyeliner make up and a blade pendant secured around his neck. It’s not as plain and black and white as that. Sometimes it’s the town’s golden girl who maintains straight As and is quietly drowning in the pressure of perfection or maybe the quiet kid who sits at the back of the class who is invisible to everyone but the restroom mirror where he spends his lunch dismantling a sharpener.

I'm scared | via Tumblr

To them suicide is a way out, not selfish but reasonable. To stay in a cycle where you’re constantly unhappy and alone, feeling either like a huge disappointment or anonymous is not worth living over every single day. That thought consumes you and dulls every form of happiness most people savor. TELLING US TO GET IT TOGETHER AND DISMISSING OUR WORRIES WON’T HELP BECAUSE REALLY WHEN YOU DO THAT, YOU’RE BRUSHING US OFF. Were you even listening or were you too busy judging us and labeling our problem  non existent because it’s not cancer or ebola virus?

I am in no way advocating for suicide, not because it’s cowardly but because YOU’RE WORTH A LIFE. Trust me when I say that no matter how bleak and dark your life is right now, I need you to hang in there. YOU ARE WORTH EVERYDAY YOU FIGHT FOR. YOU WILL FIND HAPPINESS ONE DAY AND IT WILL BE EVEN MORE WORTH IT BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW HARD YOU FOUGHT FOR IT. I’m sorry you had to in the first place but trust that your strong enough to overcome this and know that wherever you are, no matter how alone you feel, you never are. 

And to those whose made it and are now happier and better, I am so proud of you. You deserve every praise for deciding to stay and choosing to stick with it every single day since. I wish you the happiest of days, you deserve no less for the courage and strength you’ve shown. There may still be rough patches ahead but find comfort in the fact that the enemy you fought already lost a few times before and you have the upper hand because you’re stronger than all you demons.

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My friend mentioned a few days ago how pointless suicide hotlines are because if you really wanna kill yourself, why would you want someone to stop you? She has a good point actually and I’ve considered coming up with alternatives. Although I’d like to think that it’s because most of them, deep down just want a reason to stay. Here’s one:

Everyone is worth saving. YOU ARE WORTH SAVING.

So be it on #SuicideAwarenessDay or any other day of the year, if you ever feel like throwing in the towel, talk to someone. Sometimes we only need reminding of how much we’re worth. There’s no shame in that.

And to everyone else reading this post, I hope you’ll find it in your heart to be nicer, more open-minded and understanding of people whose circumstances may be far from your own. Give that shy guy beside you a chance. Talk to the girl who consciously fiddles with her shorts at gym class. Avoid stereotyping the abrasive jock loitering the hallway. Tweet someone you’ve never talked to words encouragement when she seems down and ask about her day. Get to know to know them and give them more reasons to love the lives the they have and the people that they are. A simple act of care and kindness will go a long way especially to someone who doubts he’ll ever get any.

You matter.

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united colors of bullies

It’s been awhile since I last put up an entry and before I start sobbing and saying sorry for leaving you guys hanging, let me just say that I had a tough month writing 15 chapters of a book I’m hoping to publish. So please please put down the pitch forks, I’m not one to make excuses but my brain was fried (figuratively of course).

Today I thought it would be fun to write about a topic that inspired one of my book concepts and that is bullies– in all their colors and varieties. We already know about the obvious ones, which mind you are a scary lot but there are more subtle versions. They hide under the covers labeling themselves something more beautiful and attractive. The magpie in us grovel for the promise that it oh so boldly declares then we realize later on that the shine it has is all that it is, shine.

The inspiration came from a nostalgic evening of coffee with 2 of my best friends- after they convinced me to keep writing on this blog because THEY ACTUALLY READ IT AND LIKE IT. Imagine my surprise when they started talking about entries I wrote, I mean these are my overly critical, highly intellectual and difficult to please best friends we’re talking about. My self loathing subconscious found that difficult to believe and quite frankly, I was speechless for a few moments.

On the same night, we realized a lot about the path we took together in college. We gave up so much to be that image of an over achieving student whose main goal is to get the best grades, manage as many  extra curriculars and maintain as few creative, non logical pursuits as we can. Labels and expectations- the box they made for us- those were our bullies. 

photo from caity-bullying.blogspot.com

I’ve finally learned that bullies don’t just come in different kinds of people, they come in every shape, size or form. I may not have been shoved around or locked in a janitor’s closet by some teen fiction stereotype queen bee but I’ve been confined in a society where there’s a predetermined standard of beauty- one which some may claim I don’t fit. That norm, that belief, that is my own brand of bully. It follows me around, taunting me to cinch around my curves and smoothen my edges to fit this overused mold already made for me.

When I  found enough courage and fought back, told society to shove its size zero, fair-skinned, blonde perfection up their bums, another bully manifested from the shadows- one far stronger and more paralyzing than its predecessor. The firm grip of its manacle, over sized hands smother me with ridicule of how success has and will continue to elude me because the career I chose to love and devote my life to will not earn me millions, buy me a mansion or a jet-setting lifestyle

Your bullies may be far more frightening or life threatening than mine. I can’t be the judge of that and I won’t try to. If there’s one thing I took away from dealing with bully after bully, people and circumstances alike, they’re never as easy to deal with as they they seem on the outside. It’s a bully for a reason. They know your weakness and capitalize on it as much as they can so you’re hurt in the worst possible way. They planned the perfect, most gruesome way to twist and turn the knife they stuck to your heart so you’re left clutching at it, trying to rip it off and stop the bleeding.

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But if you don’t know already, let me be the first to tell you, you’re far stronger than any of your bullies. You have the ability heal and those battle scars will remind you every day of how you fought and how you deserve to be happy- HOW YOU’RE WORTH A LIFE YOU CHOSE TO LIVE and not one chosen by some thug or an unfortunate circumstance for you. 

You get one shot at life my friend, don’t let some bully take that away from you. 

the subtle art of listening

What does it really mean to listen? Like most of you I am guilty- guilty of not paying attention every once in awhile (maybe more, I couldn’t really say. I wasn’t exactly paying attention remember?).

If on that day I have much on my mind then it most likely drifts aimlessly to those seemingly important things. Sometimes I have too much to say that I forget you too may need to be heard or I might think that you’ve said your piece just so many damn times, I’d rather not be reminded of it for the nth time. It’s selfish, I know. In all those instances ‘I’ is probably the most overused pronoun.

photo from didiondoll.tumblr.com

You’re not the only person in the conversation and if what you wanna say is interesting or if you believe your opinion to be important then you should give the other person the benefit of being heard and actually considered. He too might say something as interesting if not more. Yapping on and on about your worries, thoughts or achievements without giving so much as a thought or acknowledgement that the other exists is not just rude, it’s actually pretty offensive.

If you’re Ms. Busy and have too much on your plate to be in a conversation then politely tell  whoever is talking to you exactly that. They deserve to know that you’re not in the mood to listen before they start pouring their heart out to you. However if the problem is that you too have something bothering you or are just really excited to relay something that means a lot to you then have the decency to let the other finish. Don’t brush off whatever he just said because you’re in a hurry to get to your topic next. That kind of attitude will guarantee you resentment. If you’re too damn mighty and shucking insensitive then why should anybody listen to what you have to say in the first place. KARMA’S A BITCH and it will not discriminate. Sooner or later, whoever you are, the disrespect (or in some cases, the disregard) for other’s feelings will garner you the same treatment and to be quite honest, you absolutely deserve it.

The last possible reason for brushing someone off and not listening to things they’re saying is that they’ve said it too many times before, you can basically say it back to them. Trust me when I say, I know how that feels. My mind starts drifting the moment that happens and I have to consciously pull myself back to reality and remind myself to pay the least bit attention. If that happens, you have to ask yourself why these words are repated to you ever so often. Do you ever take them seriously? Because the repeatition might be due to your inability to heed them. If on the ther hand, that’s not the case or you don’t agree with that advice then say something because chances are, if you’re tired hearing it, they are also exhausted saying it. No one wants to sound like a broken record- at least, no NORMAL PERSON I know.

Of all my peeves, having someone not pay attention or talk over you is probably one of the worse. TO me it’s not just plain insensitivity, it says a lot about what I mean to you and how our relationship is- what it’s founded on. If you have the audacity to do that and not even flinch then that means I may not matter to you as much as I hoped and our relationship, whatever it is, is as unimportant to you as what I have to say.

I know I might not be the best person to be blogging about this since there are times when I violate the same advices I gave but trust me, on the occasions that I stick to them, everything works out fine. For the other times that I don’t, I’m so sorry- temporary lapse in character. I’m working hard to rid myself of that nasty habit. I hope you will too. 🙂

 

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And I really just need to add this. If you are with someone, especially if you’re in the middle of a conversation, KEEP YOUR BLOODY PHONE IN YOUR POCKET AND STOP STARING AT IT EVERY 5 SECONDS. You’re busy I get it but it does make me feel like you’d rather not be here. If that’s the case though, then tell me. I at the very least deserve to know that right?

how to give it to him straight

(no pun intended)

Let me start by saying this isn’t an easy post. I went back and forth. I finally decided to publish it after having a long talk with my cousin who convinced me that this is indeed AN ARTICLE WORTH WRITING and that I shouldn’t be scared about what people will say or how they’ll react because I never was before this anyway.

 

I know. I think I’ve always known you’re gay and a part me of thinks you’ve known for awhile too. I won’t insult you by describing the times you made me realize it but like Bobby’s mom said, ‘You always know.’ I don’t know if in the many conversations we had, you tried to tell me. If you did and it didn’t work out or I just wasn’t listening well enough, I’m so sorry. I can get caught up in the noise sometimes and you know we’re a noisy crowd.

There are days when I feel so helpless because I can’t just hug you and tell you it’s gonna be okay. You haven’t even trusted me with your secret yet so all I could do is wait for the time when you’re ready. I wanted to write this for when that time comes. This will be the proof that I’ve always supported you, whoever you are and whoever you choose to love.

It won’t be easy because we still live in a society where you’re an anomaly (that word hurts me more than you know). Trust me when I say it’s all gonna be okay. I’m here for you. We’re all here rooting for you. When the harshest, most painful slings from others and even from people you love come, I promise to stand beside you and just be around for whatever you need.

I want you to know how much I love you. I hope when you finally get to read this you’ll be a proud, happy and free man.

photo from comingoutjournal.tumblr.com

I am reaching out to all those who were in my position or those in his. What should I do? I don’t want him to think no one cares. WE don’t want to make the mistake of just ignoring it but in the end make him feel unaccepted or that he can’t tell us anything.

 

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Note: Bobby from the entry is a reference to Prayers for Bobby a 2009 movie exploring the life of a closeted gay Christian finally coming out to his family and how being ostracized drove him to take his own life.

 

 

 

CUT NO MORE

Someone in the world commits suicide every 40 seconds.

That is a terrifying number, as if encountering one suicide attempt in your lifetime isn’t traumatic enough. I was in a senior in high school when it happened. Before the commotion, all I could remember was being sleepy in Math class, seated beside my best friend and trying my hardest to look the least bit interested. Then we heard screams and feet running. Because we had quiet hallways, you immediately knew something was up.

I tugged at my friend and motioned towards the door to check it out. Half the class, including my teacher was headed to the same direction. Most of us thought it was a drill or a school emergency. Very few, if not none, would have guessed what we were to see next.

In the middle of a four storey building was a student holding on to the ledge already about to jump. At that moment, I thought I was seeing everything in slow motion. She was struggling to maintain her balance as there was very little foothold on the other side of the ledge while her hands were slowly slipping from gripping the safety bars too tight. Students from our side of the building were running towards her in a desperate attempt to help her because it won’t take long for her to fall off. If she does, it doesn’t look good. There are a bunch of decorative rocks and statues in the middle of the garden where she’ll fall. We already know she might do it as she has always been depressed and we often see her with cut marks on her arms so we were all hoping for a miracle.

Miracle there was.  James and Ken, guys from our batch, came swooping in and carefully lifted her away from the ledge and into safety. She was still crying and inconsolable though- according to my friends who were right there with her as I did not get to see her up close. After our math teacher ushered us back in, I remember thinking to myself what if she did jump?

photo from theeonlyeexceeption.blogspot.com

I’ve had my personal battles with depression and what it reduces you to but this isn’t the time for me to talk about that. I’m still trying to muster the courage to narrate difficult times in my life, times when I was too vulnerable for my own liking and too devoid of understanding to be better. I wanted to share this story not just to show you that there are people who feel as hopeless or as depressed but to persuade you to think twice or thrice or a million times before you hurt yourself.

I know it seems that nobody cares, that nobody understands. The latter may be true, the pain may be unique to your experience but I don’t have to understand the premise for you pain to care about you, to be here for you, to just hug you and tell you I love you. At that moment when she was about to jump, I wanted her to know someone cares. Someone always cares- often more than you think they do.

The next time you feel like hurting yourself or ending it altogether, give me call or send me message. I’ll tell you how big a loss you will be, not just to stop you but because it’s the truth.

You’re worth a life.

such a thing as too personal

Lately I’ve noticed more and more people warming up to the idea of affection. Hugging someone or kissing someone on the cheeks are more acceptable now than it was 5 to 10 years ago- which, in my opinion, is good because I love hugs. BUT for some people it just isn’t as welcome so this entry is all about drawing the line between what’s invasive of another’s personal space- physical or otherwise- and what isn’t.

photo from whenyoureallyliveinvarna.tumblr.com

A few weeks ago I was sitting on a train, minding my own business when this middle-aged woman bursts into a full on confrontation about how close to her I was sitting. To be honest, I don’t know what she means. It’s a friggin’ public transport for  Pete’s sake. Does she want me to jump off the train? How far really is ‘not too close’? If there’s one thing I learned though about confrontational and irritable people, it’s never to engage them on a petty matter. The trouble you’ll get into is much worse than the gratification you’ll earn for telling them off so this little lady marched herself a few meters away from her and stood for the next 3 stops.

It did get me to thinking though. How do you really qualify personal space? Physically, does it mean you can’t stand a feet from another person? How about in lines then or public transports or concerts, do you still have to follow that rule? If yes then that is a really impractical way to live and quite frankly, a bit sad. If not, then is it solely based on context then? There are places where you have to keep your distance and there are those where you don’t have to. There are situations, moods even, when you can allow a hug or a greeting and there are situations where you just randomly tell someone sitting right beside you on the train off.

I think the latter makes more sense because majority of people understand that human contact is inevitable in a populated world which means that Ms. Give-Me-My-Personal space  must be a having a meltdown to snap at me like that. So here’s my advice if ever this happens to you, calm down and let it go. Trust me, she knows she was being silly but even if she never realizes it, a seat beside someone who can go off like that is never worth it. *wink*

the fangirl phenomenon

fangirl

definition from Urban Dictionary

According to the trusty (because every Youtube video explaining something about pop culture seems to refer to this site soooo…) Urban dictionary there are 2 versions of a fangirl, the good one and the bad one but either way, it boils down to an obsession. It seems so stereotypical right? So from one fangirl to another, what does it really mean to be a fan- a dedicated one at that?

Why do most celebrities portray themselves to be relatable and friendly? Well, some of them naturally are but the rest are presented that way because the more people respond and relate to you, the more influential you become. Take for example Glee- the breakthrough series of the underappreciated misfits in high school- it gathered great support because majority of teens feel like they don’t fit in anywhere and they respond to the kind of vulnerability shown in the series. They feel recognized, understood- they’re not alone. For most of us, we see ourselves or maybe even a better version of ourselves in the people we admire.

They represent who we are or who we want to be (and sometimes who we wanna be WITH *wink wink*).

And that feeling- it’s a powerful thing. It draws us to people, stories or groups that fulfill that role and the next thing we know we’re stalking them on twitter, spending 3 months worth of allowance to buy tickets and standing in line just to get their album on the first day.

That’s not to say that fans do go overboard sometimes like stalking their idol’s hotel rooms or stealing their clothes, which freaks me out by the way. There are still boundaries that we have to respect no matter how huge our desire to be closer to our sources of inspiration is.

If we truly admire them enough, we’ll learn to respect them too.

It’s never justifiable to resort to suicide or animal cruelty- as what we often read on Twitter- just because some celebrity refuses to follow you back. First thing to remember, they have so many requests from fans to cater to each and every one and the other thing, they’re not usually the only ones using that account (PR team, anyone?) so don’t feel like it’s the end of the world if they’re oblivious to your existence. That’s just the nature of the fan-idol relationship. I’m not saying don’t go to meet and greets or end all hope of meeting them in person; I’m saying know which lines not to cross.

For those lucky enough to have fans and followers, don’t take it for granted. Other people’s strong belief in you and how they show it may drive you a little crazy sometimes but remember that they go to that extent because you mean so much to them. You inspire them, make them happy and give them something to look forward to.

How many people can say they have posters in houses of people they’ve never even met?

To my fellow fangirls, don’t be so hard yourself. It’s perfectly normal to squeal in delight because the new Mortal Instruments book is about to come out or because your favorite band finally decided to go on a tour. You’re not insane (well…); you’re passionate and overeager. Don’t punish yourself because you find happiness and inspiration in people you’ve never met or don’t have close personal ties with.

If it keeps you pumped, smiling and ready to face the day every morning,

if it inspires you to pursue your dreams and be better everyday,

if it introduces you to friends you share similar hobbies and interests with,

then go continue being a fangirl. THEY MUST BE WORTH IT.