There is no such thing as getting lost. We wander. We go to places and encounter strange things and faces. But we never forget our way back home.
I know that my heart is still in pain. I have been telling myself that I am stronger than the pain and that soon, I will be able to rise above it and forget. But I also know that my own strength is not yet enough. I needed to be with people who have seen, known and loved the stronger version of me way before this day. I needed to go back to that one place that first taught me about self-love and confidence. So when I finally had the chance to leave town, I immediately traveled to Baguio, a city that is 2-hour away from where I live.
The moment I stepped out of the bus, I knew I was home. The cold wind brushing against my face, the sound of taxis and jeepneys passing by, the busy streets…they all are familiar to me.
On my first night, I ate dinner at a Japanese restaurant with a former colleague and a former student of mine who now calls me ‘Nay, a Tagalog term for Mom. They both knew I wasn’t really doing fine and gave me their time, listened to me as I told my story. And once I was done, both of them smiled and said: “Marami ka pang maaaring pagtuunan ng pansin.” (You can still focus your attention on more important things.) They reminded me of another fact: There are still other more important things in my life. While enjoying our meal, we talked about the careers we now have, the challenges we face everyday while doing our jobs, the plans we have, the possibilities of working abroad or finishing our Master’s, the projects we want to be a part of…and I realized that yes, my life shouldn’t be marred by betrayal committed by people who don’t really care about me.
I only stayed in Baguio for 2 days and still went back to Pangasinan. But being in Baguio and with people who appreciate me for who I am really gave me peace.
Many say truth hurts. I used to say, no it doesn’t but it liberates someone. But whatever it does to someone, one thing will remain constant – it can never be hidden.
I have battled against negative thoughts for months. Everyday I would observe some people’s actions and words, would even stalk them on their social media accounts to fish for details that could back up my assumptions. Every time, I would end up having more negative thoughts of me being betrayed by the very people I love. Every time, I would embrace the pain caused by these thoughts. There were nights when these thoughts lulled me to sleep. There were days when I woke up hating myself for entertaining these thoughts and vowing I won’t let them in again…I hated myself for entertaining negative thoughts, for thinking badly of some people…only to find out that my thoughts were actually real and that I was right all along.
I was indeed being betrayed. That in itself is already painful. But when the people involved are those who once called you “my best friend” or “my love,” and those you grew up with, the pain becomes more unbearable.
Whatever their reason is, I don’t want to know anymore. It’s not that I don’t want to hear their explanation or that I don’t want to give them a chance to apologize. It’s because there is no amount of explanation that would be valid enough to justify what they did. You don’t betray someone and say “I didn’t have a choice” or “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.” You betray someone because you want to satisfy your own longings, whether they’re selfish or otherwise, and there are no words that could soften or cover that fact or the impact of what you have done.
Many say truth hurts. I used to say, no it doesn’t but it liberates someone. And now, I’ll say, it will soon be a part of the past. I may not forget it. But I definitely have learned from it.
I had my first serious heart break when I was 16. After that, I prayed and fervently asked God to shut the doors of my hearts so it wouldn’t be deceived again by anyone.
When I was 25 and thought I was ready to really fall in love, I said yes to a man whose spiritual beliefs are really similar with mine. I thought, he was an answer to prayer. But after a year, I got my heart broken. He decided to end our relationship – the first real relationship I ever had with the words “you will meet someone better.”
And now, I was about to turn 30…and many might think I have already found someone better and is already happily married…but no! For the third time, my heart is again in a dark place, nursing a pain caused by two years of ‘special friendship’ with someone who introduced me to so many car-related stuff, Mexican food and other crazy yet interesting things. Or maybe, it is only I who thought we had something special. It was the kind of special friendship you thought would eventually blossomed into something greater…something like many younger people now call “forever.”
Honestly, I can’t think of any poetic line to express how I felt and still feel right now. I can’t find a metaphor or any object correlative to which I could compare what I’m going through right now. But I could sum it all up in just three words – I. WAS. HURT. (And I still am.)
Weeks before I started writing these words, I spent a lot of nights crying and days wondering if he’s also affected by the thought that our special friendship (or whatever it is that we have) is about to come to an end. The worst part is, my pain was never acknowledged. I was trying to understand it and battle with it…and I was doing this all by myself. I was feeling sorry for myself, for assuming things that are way beyond what I should assume, I was sorry for everything I need to be sorry for…and all I got were the words “No, don’t be sorry” when the truth is, I was waiting for “let us not end this.”
He once said I’m strong and that I am a fighter. But a real fighter needs to choose her battles; and maybe, this is one battle I have to say ‘no’ to. This pain needs to end at some point. I don’t want this pain to call my heart its ‘home.’ A friend once told me that healing is not an easy process and that no matter how hard we try to make it fast and light, it’s never going to be like that. However, I know it has to start, and I want it to start NOW.