Mindanao Times » Kristelle Omar http://mindanaotimes.net Fri, 21 Sep 2018 02:22:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 HAILEYSTONES| OMG http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-omg/ http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-omg/#comments Sat, 03 Oct 2015 05:31:14 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=18460 ]]> THE CONCEPT of a nuclear family has always been intriguing to me, mostly because I was raised by women all of my life. Holidays were always funny because all of my cousins had their mother and father with them, whereas I only had my Mom. Not that this was a bad thing; she would show up for every little school activity at the drop of a hat if I asked her to. She was especially excited about events where I would be required to dance, because it had been her dearest wish for me to have inherited that talent from her. Unfortunately, I was as coordinated as a chimpanzee on stilts.

One thing that I seem to have inherited from my Mom is that I, too, seem to have never dated people of the same religion. I have said this before, but when my parents were going to baptize me, they decided to do so in both ceremonies. I am a dual citizen of both faiths, in their hope that when I grew up, I would just “decide” between the two.

The irony of all of this is that my boyfriend is Jewish. I can just imagine my mother rolling her eyes at us, and my Dad looking frustrated at me. It’s not that they wouldn’t have liked David, because they do. We’ve known each other for ages, and my Mom in particular was really attached to the little boy who dressed up as a pirate at my fourth birthday. We’re twenty-one now, so you can imagine just how long it’s been.

Right now, we’ve just finished a series of High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year, was at the beginning of the month. Yom Kippur was a little after a week. Sukkot started on Monday evening and lasts for a little over a week. It’s been my habit to remind David when the holidays are coming up so he can call his parents and brother, who live in Rome.

It hasn’t been easy for him to try and balance everything, though. His parents are very into keeping the tradition, as they keep kosher and don’t work on the Sabbath. For example, on Yom Kippur, you’re not supposed to work or eat or drink for twenty-five hours. This would make sense if he were actually in Rome, where it would be declared a public holiday, but here in the Philippines he’s left in a bind because we don’t really commemorate that here. He eventually fasted, but he didn’t skip school with the final exams coming up. It’s always been about compromising, for him, but he’s used to it.

I watch him very closely when it comes to his family, mostly because I don’t really live with family anymore and I haven’t had any sort of parental guidance in years. There’s a lot of guilt when I watch him, because he is still so ingrained in his faith (whether he likes it or not) and I know more about being Jewish than about being a Muslim, which I feel is really unfair to my parents. I think about them a lot whenever David talks about Friday night dinners or going to the Synagogue or vacationing in Israel.

Out of everything I’ve learned about Judaism, the one thing that gets to me is their sense of community. I feel very much like an outsider looking in, somehow like an anthropologist studying on location. David isn’t expecting me to convert anytime soon, and he’s been doing his best to help me understand a lot of what goes on, but it’s difficult. I won’t lie. When you’re around a belief system that places so much value on family, it’s not hard to think about feeling like you’re lacking something because you don’t have one.

Sure, we’ve never had to think about what to eat for Iftar and we’ve never been to Simbang Gabi, but my parents had always felt pride in their beliefs and they would have wanted me to do the same. I watch David struggle with being a Jew in a place where only a few people know what that is, and I feel for him. I really do. Maybe that’s why we get along so well, because we’ve always been different from everyone else.

It’s especially hard knowing that his parents are coming over for Christmas, or Hanukkah, depending on when they arrive in the country. The holidays are supposed to make you feel happy and you should celebrate with the ones you love, but I can’t help but imagine what it would be like if my parents were around and we were all learning from each other. The conversations would be interesting, for sure. I wish I could bring something more to the table, but until I can, I will keep listening. Knowledge is power, after all.

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HAILEYSTONES| I’m still fifteen, and other lies I keep telling myself http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-im-still-fifteen-and-other-lies-i-keep-telling-myself/ http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-im-still-fifteen-and-other-lies-i-keep-telling-myself/#comments Sat, 19 Sep 2015 07:37:03 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=17848 ]]> BEING an adult often entails waiting in lines longer than the Nile River in itself, and no one is safe. You can tell that I’m somewhere in the office when, amidst the crowd of people waiting for their names to be called, I am the one bent over in my seat, balancing a random notebook on my knees while trying to write in full sentences. I did this when I was in line to get my police clearance and almost missed my queue. Some things don’t change, I guess.

Peoples’ reactions to this are funny; some are interested, some find it weird. I have been keeping a diary since I was eleven years old, but most of you know that already. Some of them have been lost because my grandmother had a habit of throwing most of my old notebooks away, but the ones I do have now take pride of place among many other prized possessions, like my UP sablay and the shell of my first laptop, Norman. Mind you, I don’t even think I’m very good at it, but I still do it anyway. Which is why, when other people find this passion of mine to be petty, I get a little upset.

The same day I went to get my police clearance, I went to a friend’s birthday. I was talking to someone there and mentioned offhand that I was a writer. I wasn’t expecting a reaction at all, but this one person rolled their eyes at me and then asked me if I “earned” from it.

“Well, not really,” I reasoned. “But I like doing it anyway.”

“So why do it?” they replied.

Oh, wow. I didn’t know what to react, at first. I already felt bad that I couldn’t find time to write as much as I used to. Working and trying to keep a household together is still a balance that I have yet to strike, but if anything, it only makes me want to write more. I wanted to be able to talk about how angry I was about this sixteen year old classmate of my boyfriend’s, who thinks that the horrors of Martial Law are an “opinion” and not fact. When I saw Heneral Luna in theaters on its first day, I was struck dumb at how amazing the film was that it took me several minutes to leave the theater.

Having horrible social anxiety for as long as I can remember, the only thing that has ever been able to calm me down without having to run to my Mom or my boyfriend or Naynay to do so has been to translate my feelings on paper. Whenever I feel stupid or stressed or panicky, I just grab my journal and go. When I’m in sticky situations, writing through it has been the only comfort. I have seen so many people around me lose themselves to things that they could have prevented. Writing makes me take control of myself, and the only time where I can fully tell myself the truth.

My experiences may not be unique, but they are mine, and I will be damned if I can’t write about it. People can judge all they want, but I will continue writing in my diary until I have stubs for hands, and then I’m going to learn to write with my mouth. It’s not that anyone should care what someone does to pass the time, but it made me stop and think about it. I earn so much more than money when I can do what I love. It’s almost instinct, and if there’s any solace to be found in that, then I’m sticking with it.

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HAILEYSTONES| All We Have Left http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-all-we-have-left/ http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-all-we-have-left/#comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 05:48:21 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=16993 ]]> WE LOST Kuya Ken. I received a call from my Aunt Lanie on Sunday, August 3rd, that he was in the ICU and in a coma. It had been the day before when I was told that he was losing his vision, something which I knew was a sign that he wasn’t going to get better. Like a madman, I ran to the hospital so that I could see him before, well . . . before.

I hadn’t even gone inside the hospital when my cousin Pinky saw me. The look on her face said it all, and I went up to the ICU where Kuya was. To my relief, when I got to see him, he just looked like he was asleep. If it weren’t for the machines surrounding him, I would have thought that he was asleep on the couch of my house, the day after Christmas. I was silent, his brother Jiko next to me and the both of us just sort of stared into space. The next day, he was gone.

It’s been a very difficult month, for sure. Aside from my Kuya Ken, two of my former classmates lost a parent. What was chilling was that one of them had been declared missing, before the news broke out. It’s all so harrowing and sudden, and I know being an adult is hard, but I didn’t think growing up would consist of so much death. Losing Kuya has been draining me of all my energy, and I didn’t even think I would be as affected as I am. In a completely selfish way I am jealous of him, in that he does not have to go through any more pain.

There isn’t any sense when you think about why a twenty-three year old would just suddenly go. It is so cruel to think that your body can turn against you, that something could go wrong. Things happened so fast, unlike my mother’s. Hers was a slow agony that only the bravest can endure. Kuya was only two years older than me, and had the rest of his life ahead of him. Losing my Mom had been brutal on all of us, but this is a different kind of sadness. It makes no sense.

Ever since then it has been difficult, too difficult, to put my grief into words. As children, we were all taught to aspire to something from the word go. Kuya EJ was going to be the doctor of the family, Kuya Miko was probably going to follow in his Dad’s footsteps by being this big corporate guy. I wanted — and still want — to go to law school. Everything was planned, lined up for us, as far as the eye can see.

Kuya Ken was supposed to be one of two things; if not an architect, he’d be a full-fledged rockstar. In a way, he was. He was the only one of eight cousins that inherited our grandfather’s sense of musical ability. Lolo Greg passed away in 2006, which crushed my Mom. I don’t think she ever really got over it. In a way, she blamed herself for his getting sick and his eventual death.

My Lolo played the clarinet in the school band, and he was so good at it that he got a scholarship that sent him to college and, in general, changed our entire family’s life and brought us out of poverty and into the working class. Without music, we would be nothing. We owe his clarinet our lives. In a way, Kuya Ken was the same way. He wrote songs and could play several instruments. In comparison, I can’t even play Tamagotchi. With him gone, that part of our Lolo is lost.

And in a way, we are lost, too. There has always been eight of us. I have always had three Kuyas. He was certainly the most colorful of us, what with his tattoos and his devil-may-care attitude and his refusal to conform. He stood out, literally — he was the tallest, although my cousin Elland could give him a run for his money — and it is his humor and creativity and his individuality that I miss most.

I worry about his parents, my aunt and uncle, who are still reeling from the loss of their eldest son. I worry for Pinky, his sister, who went back to school in Cebu without her brother. I feel so bad for Jiko, who is the baby of the family and who looked up to Kuya Ken and now has to find his own way. I don’t worry that they’re not going to be alright, because they will. I worry for the grief, and the loneliness that follows.

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HAILEYSTONES| Looking For The One http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-looking-for-the-one/ http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-looking-for-the-one/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 02:59:32 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=15587 ]]> IT IS VERY strange to me that I’m a working girl now. Currently I am writing this while waiting for my class to begin, as I now teach IELTS at a review center and I handle administrative and marketing tasks for the UP Alumni Association. It’s far removed from the life that I once thought I would have lived. I mean, for the longest time, the thought of teaching and marketing never really appealed to me. My Mom was teaching MBA classes at AdDU, so I thought that it would be too copycat-ish to go into the same fields.

Things changed and then I ended up eating my words. My IELTS classes are doing a lot better than I expected. My co-workers are funny and helpful and my students are really nice, although it still is a little weird to be called Ma’am by people that are much older than me. I also found out that I really enjoy being able to teach. I never thought that I would say that. Maybe it’s because I deal with professionals and not bratty college kids. These people use their own hard-earned money, so I really appreciate that.

My work with the UPAA is also rewarding, but to say that I was surprised when I got the job is an understatement. I thought it was a joke, at first, because I didn’t major in anything corporate-related. I don’t even own a blazer, mostly because my arms never fit in those that are supposedly my size. At the same time, I didn’t think I was that ready to leave UP behind me. That school gave me so much. It gave me my life back and it made me feel like myself again.

It’s completely different from when I graduated high school. Putting things into perspective, I hated it. A lot of my shtick back when I started writing — heck, nearly all of what I talked about as a fourteen-year old– is because I hated being a teenager so much, because I thought differently from everyone else and not a lot of people understood me. I was so sure of what I wanted to do and everyone else just wanted to “figure it out” as they went along life. Not me.

And then, I was sad a lot of the time. I had just lost my parents, I was overweight, and I felt ugly and unloved and awkward even though I had a boyfriend and friends and all that jazz. So I looked inward, found writing, and never looked back. Looking back, I am so glad to be done with it all. I didn’t even pause to take pictures with my friends during my graduation. I left school as soon as I could.

In contrast, I bawled like a baby during my university graduation. It was six in the morning and my shoes were killing me and I had no sleep but nothing could have taken that moment away from me. When it was over, I felt like the sky was crying with me because it was raining so hard. It felt like it was. It was gratifying, after four of the best years of my life. I was telling people that graduating felt happier than gaining a hot boyfriend. David wasn’t too happy about that.

In the end, the idea of “giving back to the country” took over and I accepted the job. The thought that our tuition was subsidized by the government, and that it was taxpayers’ money that was being used, has always stuck with me. When you think about it, everyone from the janitor mopping our floors in school to Toni Gonzaga to overseas workers was responsible for sending me to college. You’re not really obliged to give back; you have to. I would never forgive myself if I never got to do so.

Now things are different; heck, I bring my work home with me. The first thing I do before I eat breakfast is checking my email and going through all the stuff that needs to be done, and I only ever leave the house unless it’s for my job with the UPAA or for IELTS. At least I got one thing right when I was a kid; I always thought that I’d be a workaholic. I like the life that I live now, though. I fought to have financial freedom for a very, very long time. It’s so strange to finally be here.

The only question that bugs me is if I still have any friends left. I’ve been so into work lately that I haven’t seen them in weeks. I might have to make it up to them, if even for just an hour. I’m sure I can come up with some time. Maybe. Sooner or later.

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HAILEYSTONES| Living Outside The Box http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-living-outside-the-box/ http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-living-outside-the-box/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 05:40:14 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=15063 ]]> LEARNING how to balance work and an actual life is harder than I thought it would be. For one, I am still feeling a little displaced, but in a good way. When you realize that the adult in your life is now you, things start to change. My sense of time is very weird because I don’t have 8AM classes anymore — or any classes, for that matter — and I am still adjusting to not being a student anymore. Priorities shifted, for sure, but that was to be expected. Responsibility is something that has never scared me, if it meant that I was in control of my own life.

Well, I am now, and it’s the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me.

There are obvious ones, like the thought that you can stay up late and no one will rag on you. But there are also actual responsibilities that come with that, such as deciding which things to get when you’re at the grocery. It is my favorite adult chore. Just recently I did the groceries all by myself, and I didn’t miss a thing, and I went under my own self-imposed budget. For the first time in my life I was so proud of myself, that I went and bought the biggest box of Honey Stars cereal that was in the store.

This is not a plug for anything. I actually do love Honey Stars cereal, what with the little moons and rockets and the bear in the spacesuit. But, back when someone else was controlling the budget, I could never buy as much of it as I wanted because it was “too expensive”. So, when I got my first paycheck, I went and bought myself the biggest effing box I could find. This isn’t much of a problem because I don’t get stuff like canned or junk food or hair products. It was my one splurge.

The fact that I could buy it without getting judgmental looks was so liberating, so freeing, that I actually cried when I got home and ate my first bowl. It was that feeling, that sense of being able to do what you want, that I had fought so hard to get for the past six years. It meant everything to me to be able to do that. My Naynay was so surprised at this that she thought that I had broken up with my boyfriend. I was just happy, despite making my bowl of cereal salty with my tears. They were happy tears, “thank God I finally own my life” tears.

Paying bills is like ripping off a Band-aid at this point, but they’re just tiny blips on the radar compared to everything else that’s been going on. There are still things that I’m working on getting that make me anxious, like filing income taxes and getting health insurance, but I knew what I was getting into. I have never been as happy as I was when I was eating that bowl of cereal. I have written a book, gotten 1.0 grades, submitted an undergraduate thesis and gotten it approved. . . but this was success. You know how, when you’ve been cooped up for so long, that when you’re finally not in that position anymore, it almost seems unreal? That’s what it’s like.

I’m not saying that it’s easy. In fact, it is quite difficult to balance everything that I have to do with the things that I want to do. I still want to learn Italian — as I promised my boyfriend, David — and to get into law school. I want to teach. I want to figure things out. I want an electric frying pan for my kitchen and a mini fridge for my room so I can always have cold water in my bedroom.

I may not be able to get all of that stuff done at once, but I will. Tiny victories, like being able to choose your own cereal and having no curfew, and finally clearing out closet space for the clothes that you outgrew, is what keeps me going. There isn’t much that’s new. I still keep a diary. I still obsess over Harry Potter fanfiction. I’m still scared of mascots. Heck, I may never get over my fear of mascots.

What’s new is that I’m now in a position to make my dreams come true. Finally.

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HAILEYSTONES| Write From Wrong http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-write-from-wrong/ http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-write-from-wrong/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2015 02:57:13 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=14255 ]]> WHEN I handed my undergraduate thesis in, after months of crying and editing and caffeine-induced anxiety attacks, I was faced with another dilemma. You see, I had been writing in APA format for so long that, as I sat and pondered over what I should write, the page greeted me in silence. No spark. No flow of ideas or coherent thought. Just a vast, empty . . . Blah.

I didn’t know what to say. How was I supposed to condense all the weeks I ate and slept and breathed thesis, and the immense relief that came with hearing the words “Congratulations!” from your adviser? Or the worries that flooded me about not being able to find a job, or not being good enough? What was I supposed to say to that? I wanted to do it justice, but my mind just fell flat.

Strictly speaking, I had now forgotten how to write for myself. I haven’t even had time to update my diary, which I had kept every since I was eleven years old. I remember when I used to have so many ideas, before the world crept in and pulled the rug out from under me. Part of why I loved doing this column is because this is where I can truly be honest with myself, even if it hurts.

Now all I can think about is, well, adult stuff. My bills are due. I need to buy toothpaste because we’re running out. My Naynay has to go to the doctor because, after her hospital scare, I’m terrified that something might happen to her as I’m responsible for her now. When I want to look for an adult, I then end up realizing that, to some measure, I am one. While I am glad to bid college and the pressure of grades goodbye, what I miss is having someone to run to when times get rough. Today, I have no one but myself.

In a way, however, it is freeing. You realize that you make the rules in the house now. Staying up late doesn’t make me feel as guilty anymore. I am more careful with how I spend — as if I wasn’t careful before — and I now realize that my time and energy needs me to be present in my life at all times. I’ve had to cut out a few friends that were toxic, too. Having to make decisions like that is pretty empowering, and I like being in control of my life.

I just wish that, in my quest to find out what sort of grown-up I can become, that I had retained the same sense of wonder I had when I started to write in my diary for the first time. I always had something to say, mostly because I was young and I can get away with certain things. What was cute when you’re twelve is not so cute, and even unacceptable, when you’re twenty. It’s not that my opinions have changed, or that I have become less strong; it’s just that I need to find a new voice. I can no longer write how I used to, and I realize that this is okay. This is part of growing up.

But I am sure that I am still allowed the occasional freak-out . . . I mean, I did graduate from college. Out of all of my achievements, I felt like this made my Mom the proudest. More importantly, I am proud of myself for actually being able to do it. I haven’t felt like that in a very long time, where I actually did something for myself and not for anyone else. I actually started crying when “UP Naming Mahal” started to play during my graduation. How corny.

I just wish now that I can reflect how I felt then in the words that I write. I wish I could shake off all the technical terms, and the medical jargon, and the need to integrate data into my writing to prove a point. This time, there is no defense panel, no methodologies or frameworks of any kind. I can finally look at myself in the mirror again, and realize . . . that I have not plucked my eyebrows in weeks. The horror!

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HAILEYSTONES| Social Introverts Unite http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-social-introverts-unite/ http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-social-introverts-unite/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 02:19:37 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=9459 ]]> PEOPLE are often surprised that, when I was a kid — from the ages of five to eleven — I barely spoke. I tested a ten out of ten in every psychological test I was given in grade school, except for “interpersonal”.  My mother was concerned because I never had any friends that I brought home to play with me. She breathed a huge sigh of relief when I finally met my first best friend, Tiffany. The only reason why we became initially close was because we were classmates, neighbors, and went to the same carpool.

High school was a little better, but not much has changed. I just had more friends, so people saw me talking more. I learned firsthand the effects of talking smack and judging others before knowing them. Teenagers can be really cruel.

I tried to not let that happen in college, and I think I succeeded. People mostly think of communication majors as outgoing, but some of the most introverted people I know are from my major. This is why I suck at production work, but I do really well if it’s a theory or writing class.

Ask me to write anything, from a press release to a full-blown thesis, and I can make it happen. I always end up being the go-to girl in my class for notes and editing and whatnot. However, having to work with audio and video editing makes me dizzy.

I have no eye for camera angles, blocking, lighting, or color. What an “okay” picture looks like to me would be unacceptable in a professional work environment. I submitted Facebook-quality pictures for our photography class, and when they were all printed out, I still couldn’t tell the difference.

What makes it worse is that I can’t draw, either. I’ve been keeping a journal for nearly half my life, and my handwriting has barely improved. My boyfriend says my handwriting is “pretty to look at, but hard to read”. I guess that speaks a lot about how I really deal with things.

In my jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none major, I end up falling flat, and it’s biting me in the behind. I guess it’s true, then, that I’m not the most visual person in the world. I read a lot, which is sort of why I prefer being inside my head most of the time.

It takes a lot of effort for me to be separated from my own thoughts, and actually have to mingle with people. I am still awkward around people that I’ve known for years. It’s not that I won’t talk with people — heck, all my close friends berate me for being loud — but when I’m not around people I’m comfortable with, I’m about as noisy as a wing-backed armchair. I’m learning not to do that, but old habits die hard.

It’s so hard when you want to keep your life mostly private in a culture where extroversion and revealing details of your personal life is so in vogue. Our society is so gossipy nowadays, perhaps more. Everything from drug busts to pregnancy reveals to the color of their kitchen walls is scrutinized. Heck, entire shows are dedicated to just following people around and doing their daily lives. We volunteer to find love and get married on television, for the world to see.

So, I guess, this is why I fight against that. It’s so hard to try and be social when deep down you just want to sit in a corner and read, or just observe and write about it later. People are so judgmental nowadays, but I can’t help but think that this is because we invite people to be critical of us. I don’t want that to happen to me, and this is why I’m scared of oversharing. Sometimes we just have to shut up, but until then, I’m just going to sit here and write . . . And probably work on my production skills.

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HAILEYSTONES| The Death of Friendship Part 2 http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-the-death-of-friendship-part-2/ http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-the-death-of-friendship-part-2/#comments Sat, 11 Apr 2015 07:16:47 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=8998 ]]> HAVING a falling out with a friend isn’t fun. In fact, it’s downright awful.

A lot about getting older is having to say no to things that aren’t right for you, and the same is true in friendships. There are so many things that a person can put up with, but sometimes you just reach your limit. I had just about reached mine.

It stinks having to stick to your guns about it, especially when you still share the same barkada. Hanging out as a group becomes awkward, and the other friendships end up suffering as a result. Not to mention the fact that I have five close friends who have birthdays in April.

Part of why I had to let the friendship go was because she was causing me too much drama in my life. A lot of her problems seem to be caused by her, but she somehow can’t see it. She seems to live a secret life that parents don’t seem to know about. Even when she argues with her boyfriend — when she isn’t even supposed to have a boyfriend — I end up having to fix it.

I was watching an episode of Modern Family where Clare is the one who ends up fixing all her kids’ problems, and when Phil, their Dad, tries to fix it in her stead, it all becomes flat. It was hilarious, and in he end, Phil resorts to using Clare’s style of crisis management, set to The Godfather-esque theme music.

The thing is, however, they are parents. I wasn’t her parent and yet I was fixing up everything for her. It all became too much. What was sad to me was the fact that she hides a lot of things from her parents, like failed classes and past boyfriends. It’s hard when you can’t open up to your family, and I guess she was feeling the stress.

There isn’t much that I want to talk about it, and I don’t really want to explain because I don’t think that there’s anything that anyone can do to fix it. I’m still angry for a lot of the stuff that happened, but I am much more sad that it took me so long to realize it. I guess that’s true for a lot of us. Who has stayed far too long in a relationship that has become toxic, romantic or otherwise?

It was a wake-up call, and it made me want to live a more honest, authentic life. We spend so much time trying to appease other people, and picking them up when they’re down, that we end up being sucked into their own problems. By no means am I suggesting that you abandon your friends when they need you. If they keep falling apart too often for the same reasons, however, it is time to reevaluate.

The shocking thing is that I don’t miss her, at least, not in the way that I thought I would. Maybe, someday, the happy memories will resurface. Upon reflection, however, I noticed really unhealthy patterns that I was more than happy to get rid of. Her friendship was just no longer worth the trouble, because she refuses to learn from her own mistakes. My peace of mind matters more to me now than anything else, and I just wasn’t happy being around her anymore. Owing her an explanation will come later, when I’m no longer upset.

How far can a friendship go before you end up getting the short end of the stick? I just realized that even I have limits. It’s sad, but sometimes people just grow apart. When one person refuses to grow, you can’t just stay there. I know I made the right choice, because I’m much happier without her. I just wish it wouldn’t suck so much.

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HAILEYSTONES| A Shift In Consciousness http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-a-shift-in-consciousness/ http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-a-shift-in-consciousness/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 02:12:04 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=8265 ]]> FOR SOMEONE who doesn’t consider themselves as the jealous type, I am seething with envy. Although their triumph has nothing to do with my own achievements, I still can’t help but feel cheated. I am pretty content, for the most part. I don’t think I’m supermodel-worthy, but I don’t think I’m butt-ugly either. I go to a good school. I have a great barkada. I’m dating my best friend. There’s really not much to complain about my life.

I was never the type to go stalking after anyone, not even my own boyfriend. I have better things to do with my life than worrying about whether he’s creeping around with some other chick. The same goes for everything else in my life.

I can be pretty secure with myself, except when it comes to my own graduation.

Everyone and their mother is graduating. By the time this goes to print, over half of my high school batch will have graduated. Everything from the cheesy Facebook posts thanking their parents for everything, to behind-the-scenes shots of their commencement practices, and even to the numerous selfies of them with the hat and tassel. I can’t help but feel this weird, inappropriate resentment bubble up in my stomach.

I want to graduate now. The fear of what happens next — and of how one’s twenties should be the “time of their lives”– is, right now, negated by my eagerness to do my own parents proud. I want to go shopping for graduation shoes, as UP Min is particular about us wearing nude or cream closed-toe pumps. I want to be able to start writing my thesis’ acknowledgment page, and put into writing the crushing amount of people who have helped me along the way. I want to place an order for my sablay, which is ironic considering that, in any other case, this means to fail. We wear ours as a symbol of pride, of achievement, of glory.

Mostly, however, it’s my own pride getting in the way. I have always been the achiever in my barkada, the one that people look to whenever they need help with their homework. The fact that they are technically graduating earlier than I am has sent me into a little bit of an identity crisis. This isn’t fair, or logical, or reasonable. I have never wanted anything so bad in my life. I am so close, and I know I deserve it.

We all tend to define ourselves by our achievements and merits. I know I worked my butt off in order to get where I am now. There is so much more to prove now that I am so close to graduating, and I am raring to just get out there and go. The anxiety of waiting to find out whether you’re finally going to get your diploma or not tends to get the best of me.

At heart I have always been a do-er, and to see my hopes and dreams within reach is thrilling. I’m not used to having good things happen to me, and so I welcome any opportunity that will help me get them. Even if this means having to flip burgers or serve coffee, I would take it.

Of course, I know it’s not fair to those who are really graduating. My envy isn’t valid at all. Heck, I am ridiculously excited for all of my friends who are making that leap from schooling to the wonderful world of employment. Some of them completely deserve their success. Others were a hop and a skip away from flunking out, but for that I am even prouder. So many people have dropped out of college for one reason or another. Not everyone gets to do that, but the thing is . . . I want to do that, too. I just really want my degree in my hands and to be able to validate what I had already started doing for myself. Is that so wrong?

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HAILEYSTONES| Decisions, Decisions http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-decisions-decisions/ http://mindanaotimes.net/haileystones-decisions-decisions/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 03:10:01 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=7884 ]]> WHEN I was fourteen, my Mom and I used to play a game. On our way home from school, we would count how many “Through The Initiative Of . . . ” signs we would see. They were everywhere, from telephone posts to mini-firetrucks to engraved plaques on the sides of bridges. During one particularly entertaining election season, I counted a record 22 sightings on my way home. And that was just on my side of the road.

Now that I commute, it’s a different story. Through no fault of his own, there are so many “Rody 2016″ posters and signs everywhere. It’s almost impossible to get into a jeepney without it having some sort of sticker that proudly bears the image of our Mayor, looking every inch the straight-talking cowboy we know him to be. He’s also climbing up in the polls, with the latest Pulse Asia poll placing him among the likes of Erap and that other guy. You know him.

I envy those who are so decided on wanting Mayor Rody to run for President. For one, he seems to be the antidote to everything we don’t see in our government officials. He is decisive, willing to get his hands dirty, and has a sense of personal responsibility to his own constituents. We all know how rare that is, whether in politics or otherwise. So few of us hold ourselves accountable for our own mistakes, preferring to blame others. I like Mayor Rody. I respect him.

Do I want him to be president? I don’t know. Davao City is run pretty well. I can use my phone and tablet while walking down the street without the nagging fear that someone might try to grab it from me. The city is relatively clean. I’m not an avid drinker, and I don’t actually mind the speed limit. With my tendency towards car sickness, it’s actually a plus. I’ve lived here all my life, and I can’t complain when I see all these wacko politicians on TV doing all sorts of crazy things. We don’t have a lot of those in the city. No one has made a mockery of any local government office in recent memory, anyway.

Part of my hesitation to support him if ever he decides to run is because I can’t imagine him not being involved in the city’s day-to-day affairs. He’s always been around, like that uncle you don’t see often but here about at every family reunion. When you do end up seeing him, it’s almost surreal. He’s become such an iconic part of the city — not just as the mayor, but as a personality in himself — that to see him run for president seems strange.

He makes a strong case for federalism, and has urged the people to not jump to conclusions on important topics like the Bangsamoro Basic Law. If anything, his hesitation to even run for higher office just affirms everything I know and have heard of him. He doesn’t do things lightly. It’s always done with a boom. I have no doubt that if he does run, he will do so on his terms. Someday I hope that I could hold that same force of personality when it comes to making decisions.

Like him, I would have to make a few hard choices too. As a voter, it is my civic duty to really think about who I should walk up to the polls for. There are issues I care about, like women’s health and environmental conservation, that I wish would be addressed come election time. Voting isn’t futile, but rather a silent reminder to the people in office that I will be heard, one way or another.

To those who are imploring our Mayor to run, he’s hearing you all loud and clear. Let’s just see if he listens. Compared to everyone else who’s blatantly wanting to run for office, the apparent thought that he’s putting into it at least makes for one entertaining saga to watch on television.

Then again, if we go to our news stations and politicians for entertainment, then there’s something clearly wrong with our country. Maybe he should run for President, after all. He would look good in the headshots, at least.

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