Vignettes

Serendipity

Serendipity is one of my favorite words in the English language. So is kismet and bliss. I imagine kismet and bliss bubbling away in the cauldron of my belly. All that barely repressed longing escaping through my eyes–belying a slow, delicious burn from the inside.

I heard a name I hadn’t heard spoken of for a while now. Saw 1111, 222, 555, and 1221 within the space of a few hours. Heard my name whispered like a tinkling of Tibetan bells, sweet and light in the wind–a lover’s plea. Why does something like this happen when I least expect it, when all I want is to be free?

Somebody up there must be laughing with all the energetic push and pull going on, the constant turning of Fortune’s Wheel when I haven’t even lifted a finger, moments when I doubt everything. I don’t know why the Universe is stubborn and persistent nor why I am still getting signs. And whatever happens, whatever I do or not do, serendipity always finds a funny way of pulling me back to the center. But one thing I know for sure: I released my desires to the Universe many moons ago, and I am living in my truth. There were low moments when I struggled to get back up, but there was also sweet relief at finding peace and acceptance on the other side–a sense of victory that I pulled myself through. I needed to change the lens through which I see the world–one that’s full of hope and possibilities. It feels like waking up to gaze at the early morning sunlight drenching our garden with a rosy glow. I can make of it whatever I want. I’ll find and take joy wherever and whenever I can–joy in solitude and shared joy with those I choose to spend my time with. And I won’t hold on with clenched fists. Like floating effortlessly in calm waters or gliding on ice, I’ll let serendipity flow through me and carry my weight.

*Inspired by the movie Serendipity (2001) and the song Northern Sky by Nick Drake (1970)

#2222 #222

Northern lights + Nick Drake
Personal · Vignettes

Rise

You don’t just grieve loved ones you lost through death. You grieve broken connections, people you once loved that you let go of, traumatic situations, lost dreams, the old versions of you. You have the right to grieve each and every one of them, to feel the sadness and heartache, to cry. And you have the right to allow yourself the time you need to heal from them. 

A lesson the Universe teaches me constantly is that everything and everyone that happened in my life–even the most painful, difficult, and confusing ones–they were all for my growth. Whenever I choose to see it that way, I see the purpose and value the lessons I take away from every person and every experience. I honor the truth of love that I received and gave away. No matter how fleeting or how much it has moved me to tears, it is always freeing to love and have loved than not at all. Nothing and no one is a waste in the grander scheme of one’s life and journey. 

You have the power to heal from any grief in your own time, at your own pace. And like that Katy Perry song, you will realize after every healing that you will not just survive. You will thrive. 

Photo by: Lea Vergara Apilado (“Undas 2021”)

Vignettes

The soul always knows

Your soul already knows. The rest of you just needs to catch up.

It’s that shiver along the spine, goosebumps blooming on your arms, hairs at the back of your neck standing up.
It’s knowing with a heart certainty that doesn’t need tangible proof to be true.
It’s an invisible hug warming you from the inside out when you least expect it.
It’s the soul bond that is never broken, never conscious of time nor space–it just is.

And when you finally embrace this deep knowing and surrender it back to the Universe, you are free to fly to greater heights, to flow with a vastness of spirit you were always meant for.

Affirmation: “I trust in what my soul already knows. I listen to the nudges of recognition I receive within.” 💜✨

Image credit: Nicholas Ng @ Unsplash

Poems · Vignettes

The New Moon’s Clarity

There was a night like this after Cine Europa years ago,
when I went home on a taxi
and knew I was in love.
But before all that we were trying
to keep a straight face,
avoiding each other’s personal space
with a love scene playing out on the screen.
But ended up arms brushing
against each other,
locked in a starry-eyed gaze
that lasted an eternity,
an extended heartbeat,
it didn’t matter.
It happened.
And suddenly,
it was the closest we have ever been.

And if you had taken my hand in the dark,
it would’ve been different.
You knew it. I knew it.
Maybe we would’ve talked more after Kimono Ken.
But it never happened.
All you left me was a napkin with an I O U.

We didn’t talk about feelings because
we were too scared,
we were too young.
We didn’t know what we wanted.
And after,
all I could say was how cruel it was
to feel something close to love,
only for it to be snatched from you.
I spent years
searching for that spark again in others
and found something infinitely better.
I found love in me that was always there all along–
a love in flames that will never die.
Love that will continue to burn
long after all traces of me are gone.

Thank you for being the first to teach me
to be true to myself–
to not keep my love under lock and key,
to be brave to love big and open,
to do all that and not be ashamed,
no matter what happens.
I wish you the same.

5th post in the series: Music / Film + Writing Heals 💖

Image credit: Alex Iby @ Unsplash

Accompanying song: “I Thought I Saw Your Face Today” by She & Him (Volume One)

Personal · Vignettes

Petite Big Love

I didn’t take nap time seriously when I was a kid. I pretended to nap as I planned my escape with my eyes closed. When the coast was clear, I’d get up as quietly as a movie spy and make my way to my Legos or continue my adventures with the current book I was reading. When I was at Nanang’s, I’d check if any other cousin was awake who I could turn into my partner in crime. Since we knew Nanang was in nap mode and couldn’t hear well, and we had no one else at home to answer to, we’d sneak out the kitchen door (always careful to cushion it back into place to avoid alerting anyone of our escape) and into freedom, off exploring secret short cuts, picking siniguelas from the tree, knocking on Auntie Emmy’s door to buy ice candy or halo-halo and see if cousin Jam is up for playing taguan.

Photo credit: A.J.L. (2017)

I grew up hearing jokes about how I didn’t grow tall because “hindi matakaw sa tulog” or “kulang sa siesta”. But I never consciously thought of being limited by my size. If anything, it only fired me up to be larger than life, to go beyond people telling me that I’m too small–I couldn’t be this, I couldn’t do that–and just think of solutions to get what I wanted to reach both literally and figuratively. When I needed to get something from a shelf that was out of my reach, no biggie. I’d just pull out the humble wooden bangko dad made especially for me, or any chair I could stand on, and go for it. I wasn’t afraid to climb solid furniture and countertops either when no one else was around. When my mom caught me standing on my tiptoes on the kitchen counter one time, about to grab something from the cupboard even she couldn’t get to, she freaked out and shouted at me, “Ay, bumaba ka diyan!” Dangerous yes, but I was a stubbornly independent kid who insisted on doing things for herself. A tall friend needs a hug? Sure–I’d just get on my tippy-toes, hold it, and stretch my arms out to them. Height was never an issue when things seemingly out of my reach became challenges both tempting and fascinating for me.

When teachers would ask us to line up shortest to tallest, I automatically assumed the front of the line. In class and photos, I was always in the front row. There was a comfort in knowing I had a fixed spot like a star–something I could rely on that I was always sure of–and embracing it. From that constant spot, I reached for the stars in my own way.

Now, I’m what’s considered as petite. It’s a nicer way of saying tiny. And it’s just a label. It doesn’t define me nor diminish my worth. I’ve learned along the way the joys and surprises of being open to discovering a person’s infinite beauty–of going beyond the externals to see who they are inside once you get to know them, and the depths they can achieve. When overcoming doubts and perceived limitations, I summon the courage to go back to that fixed spot where I have always known and felt that I love with a huge heart and a larger than life spirit that continues to shine amongst the stars.