Losing Myself to be Found

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“That’s what I’ll be. A silhouette, rarely seen, and yet believed in.” – Ellen Hopkins

BACKGROUND: After almost 3 months of silence here in my blog, it’s kind of challenging because my writing skills have become rusty. My third year in med school started a month ago and it has been, so far, one hell of a roller coaster ride. I thought of writing this piece maybe months ago but due to the busyness (which you might be always getting from my posts, dear reader) it’s only now that I get to unload. The trigger? Recent happenings in my life which I somehow wish didn’t happen but I ended up with lessons for life, some or maybe most I’m going to share through this write-up. Or if not, just reflected in what I would share. And probably some observations I’ve had the past days. Doing this not only alleviates the burden of not having someone to share at the moment; it is one way of self-assessment and reflection which are very important to me.

GOING THROUGH THE NOTIONS: Have you ever felt so empty and wasted that your life seems nothing but an endless cycle of mistakes and failures? That at the end of the day, before you go to sleep, you tell yourself: “Everything’s fine” but deep down inside you know it’s the other way around? And the worse part is people around you see through your eyes too. But they don’t know the truth; they don’t know what’s choking you inside, the broken mess that you have become. So, in the process, people have  placed you in the category that you don’t deserve, somehow stereotyping you unconsciously, making them act differently around you or just avoid you. As a result, you end up somehow isolated or you feel that way; the familiar feeling of loneliness creeping in as you succumb to the harsh, cold statement: “History repeats itself.” You try to see the bright side of things but it seems inhuman of you not to accept the reality of the state of your life. Well, you are responsible to how it turned out this way. So you have to face the facts. You have to face the consequences. You have to face you.

*Sighs*

Welcome to the complex of my weary and burdened mind! I may sound a bit paranoid (actually, that sounds like an understatement!) but I do have basis for my thoughts or feelings. You see, one close friend of mine revealed to me before that many of my batchmates saw/see me as someone so good and include-all-the-nice-adjectives-that-you-know. I’m exaggerating that prior sentence because if I remember it right, it was as if I was described “nga daw santo” (“like a saint”). And I was startled; I was clearly not amused. Don’t get me wrong, being considered good is something I’m NOT against with. And to have a favorable or respectable reputation, that’s something worth building in life, in my opinion. But to be placed in a pedestal I’m unworthy of prevents them from getting to know me for me or interacting with me to the fullest. Plus, going back to the point that I know myself and God be my witness, it would pretty much be a relief to have someone see me for what I truly am, through my eyes: a sinner saved by grace, a work in progress, a wretched human vessel still being fashioned into what the Master Potter wants me to become. And even more: I can get mad, like real mad if provoked. I can crack jokes, even green ones ’cause I’m a hormonal being after all. I can be pissed off or do that to others with my incessant teasing. I can cry, even a river that could flood Iloilo City worse than Typhoon Frank. I can be a lot of things regardless of my involvement in a religious organization or simply just my being a Christian. In short, I’m not all good; I have flaws, like major flaws which God certainly knows what. There is still darkness in me but I choose not to let that snuff out the light. It is my choice on how to deal with what I clearly know about myself now as I did then which would spell the difference. After all, before becoming a saint, one was once a sinner. But never would such a one feel worthy of being called or considered good. Even Jesus Himself! (Mark 10:18).

In expressing myself through this writing, I was brought to think of the following: Does it really matter what people think of me? Or what God thinks of me is more important? Should it really bother me if I feel lonely or I’m mostly alone? Or better yet I’m different compared to the majority, hence the rejection or isolation? Would I still live up to the expectations of people and not God’s?  I have the answers inside me. But rest assured, I am not pushing the ‘me-against-the-world’ ideology. It’s just me wanting to break the mode of  placing people into boxes and leaving them there! And that goes for me as well; I’ve placed myself in my own box that’s why my life feels this way. That’s why I’m still stuck up in the past and in others’ definition of me. Before I forget, I’m also applying what I learned from a misunderstanding I had with 2 friends before: to stand up for myself and speak out my mind wisely. I guess this is it.

So hopefully, starting tonight, it would be different. May it be a beginning of a new story: one where I get to have the right perspective as I live not for men’s praise or approval but for God’s glory and cause!  I echo what Selena Gomez once said and I quote: “I’m not trying to get validation nor do I need it anymore.” I already have value, far precious than anything, that it caused my God His life and borne out of that loving sacrifice!

I am ready to lose myself.

Now, I am found.

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Finding Joy in Medicine

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Isn’t it great that the one who shot this is the actress who played a significant character in the movie? Credits to Jade Marie

 

While watching the short film entry of our batch ADeoS entitled Joy in Medicine this afternoon, I was having ‘goosies’ all over me. The emotional masterpiece has appealed to my soul and no matter how I may try to prevent the surge, it has brought back certain emotions attached to hurtful or unwanted memories in my not-so-distant past. Trying to find composure within myself through prayer as I was on my way home, I was so moved by the film that I had the prompting to write what I felt because of it. And it was so funny and weird at the same time when I reached the shed going to the main gate of the campus ’cause the song playing was Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood. When I was near the gate, that’s when the song ended and for the duration of seconds I listened to it, my walk was all the more emotional. (Yes, this speaks volumes.)

(Sighs…) I’ve come to realize that medicine is not only an academic challenge because it affects other aspects of your life- physical, mental, social, emotional and sometimes sad to say, spiritual. But I guess what’s important is that you learn to adjust and accept things for what they really are, believe in yourself and in the people who are worthy of trust and learn to commit everything to God in faith. (That first small group session we had before the screening really helps to set things into the right prospective now.) Unlike one character in the film who clearly lost all hope to live, I choose to see and focus on the bright side of a medical student’s life. (So help me God!)

Through the inevitable that is to come, here’s to finding joy in medicine!

 

Note to ‘My 22 Year Old Self Going 23’

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Wounded and scarred but not for life… Photo taken by: Shannen Cruz

 

BACKSTORY: Hey guys! It’s been a while, I know, since my last post. I’ve been so busy ever since second year of med school started. And finding time to write on my blog just doesn’t fit to my priorities recently. But since tomorrow is my 23rd birthday, I’m taking the time to really put out my feelings especially that the past year has been meaningful and challenging, unforgettable in ways I could not express. Such release will be expressed in a letter to myself, highlighting some (or maybe all) my hard earned and valuable insights or lessons throughout my 22nd year of existence….


Dear Kyle,

How are you? Happy birthday, by the way… Well, happy seems to be an understatement because it’s not happiness that you feel. It must be joy. It is joy. Relentless joy that is merely the outcome of a life filled with blessings from above. God has been so gracious to you in ways that only you know, in ways that you don’t even deserve. But then again, God is love, God is good, as you’ve experienced time and time again.

The past year has seen you gain a lot of new experiences and new friends worth remembering and keeping. You have learned to overcome your fears and get to do things for the first time like that zip line experience in Palawan or that board exam reviewer task you took . You learned a lot of fascinating things especially in med school. From neuroanatomy to ECG to the Cattell maneuver and recently to pemphigus vulgaris and all those mind-blowing skin conditions. (Wow, med school can really kill you…)

You’ve grown, Kyle; but human as you are, you also had your moments of decline- physical, mental and spiritual. You suffered many bouts of preventable sickness which in turn affected your studies; your academic performance has not been exemplary as before (but that’s okay, don’t push yourself too hard!) and worst of all, you succumbed to the darkness inside you, to the very things that separate you from God. But thank heavens, God is mighty to save! In your greatest weakness, at your lowest points, throughout your pains and sorrows, you learned to survive as you learned to depend on His amazing grace! Out of such events which have left you scarred and jaded, you have come out victorious! And unto victory to victory you shall achieve!

Yes, you have been careless – in a lot of things, with a lot of things, tangible or not. And it is only at the end, when you cannot do anything, that you consider their value. You have been too naïve and look at how some people seem to have manipulated you or used you for their advantage. Well, hasn’t it been like this for a long time already? I forgive you for being like that. Maybe it was high time for you to realize this after all before it could be too late, before you end up being the masochist. All these when a close friend of yours would all of a sudden, distance himself from you? And you gave him space, time to sort things out for himself. But when you tried to reach out in ways that only felt possible, you don’t get any response but just pure, cold treatment. Or is silence worse?  Then you question yourself: “Did I do anything wrong to deserve this? Am I or was I guilty of something unknown to myself which caused this dilemma?” As far as you know, your conscience is clear. And it brings comfort. May it’s better for you when some things are left unspoken or unknown. Yes, comfort yourself with these words and move on! Remember that it’s never your loss. You did what you had to do. You deserve a better life minus the unnecessary confusion and drama. Maybe it’s safe to say you have better friends, the onesyou need to focus on.

Despite your carelessness, Kyle, you can still do something about it. Despite your mistakes and failures, you can always rise up and never do them again. You can become better. You can still choose to look at the bright side of recent trials and past tests. You can still live your life to the fullest!

That’s why you’re blessed to have this fresh start as you leave the portals of 22 and become a year older! With God, altogether with your family and your ‘real’ friends, you are able. You are not alone. You are loved.

Lovingly yours,

Yours truly


P.S. Sorry I had to vent some things out! Writing is sometimes the only outlet I have in order for me to ease the burden…. Your prayers for my personal concerns would be appreciated….

 

 

My First Day of School

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When a happening got you thinking…

My first day of school was cancelled.

Ouch! As for most of my classmates I believe that means hurrah, it spells disaster for me and that is what I’m going to share through this post. I felt the urge to share what I went through today before I hit the books.

You see, I was absent on the real first day of classes which was last Monday, August 8. This was a great disappointment for me, of course but what can you do when you get infected with a virus? I suffered from viral exanthema for roughly 2-3 days and I thank God I recovered quickly so that I was able to return to Iloilo yesterday. (Thank God even more that it was not dengue or chikungunya! Spell relief!) So yes, I missed out a lot on the 1st 2 days  of 2nd year which is considered as the hardest and is even dubbed as “Hell Year.” But I got to move on with that!

However, what happened this morning seemed to tell me that I belong to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. I have to say that what happened wasn’t grievous  but it wasn’t non-stressful. Well, for someone who was absent for two days already (and one lecture on one day to be exact), I was looking forward to having one full, regular class day at Roxas Hall today. To add, we were to have our first meeting for Jericho Walk, an annual event of CCC, a college organization I joined. I was going to speak. So yes, my plate was full and before I forget, I even had to go to my aunt’s house to have her sign my excuse letters.

With my exigencies written, you could imagine how busy my day could have been. And with the rain not cooperating with me, it was a challenge to keep my white pants clean and spot-free. After visiting my aunt, I was on my way to school when I learned that classes were cancelled. Burn baby, burn! Wow. That was hard to swallow. (And yes, if I were to swallow such, it would still be really difficult because my throat still hasn’t cured completely and eating these days is a painful experience.) Anyway, in a time where some would lash out the S word or get mad, I’m glad right now I chose to laugh it off. I can’t remember if I prayed but the Lord knows how dependent I was/am on His will. I wish I did and more importantly, I  wish to be more prayerful. Good thing, the org head was communicating with me and with encouragement, it was decided that we push through with the first session. She and her best friends would come just for the event! (May God bless these precious, passionate souls!) So there I was, walking my way to school while other students were going home. I will not deny that I felt a bit downtrodden but God was good enough to encourage me so yes, I walked with determination along the muddy puddles of water.

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With the wind so strong, my bag looked like it swam in a pool.

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(sighs)

And as if my sickness and the weather/class suspension combo were not enough, some of the people who came for the event had to leave because it turned out they still had one class. Talk about such relentless opposition from the enemy of souls! But it was clear as Rejine (our group coordinator) expressed: we were doing something right as God would be doing something powerful through us and Satan doesn’t like it; hence, all these. But we still pushed through with the first session. We could not afford the devil to succeed with his intentions and plans. With Arvey and Jib (God lovingly provided him to add to the company), I shared my prepared message on renewal and we closed the session with a prayer. Matthew 18:20 comforted me as it says, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.

So yes, that was how my first day of school went so far! With a trial (or was it a test?) that didn’t prevent me, didn’t hinder us from doing what must be done for the Lord and with Him as well. I will still be looking for reasons why the Lord allowed such especially throughout today. But once again, He has gently reminded me that no matter what happens, He is always there, He is always in control.

On a brighter note, I can still have classes at my room. So, let’s study!!

And Then You Poked

(I’m not the type of person who shares much of himself publicly like through a blog. And especially if it concerns some things that are very personal, for me they are not probable subjects to write about. However, this post would be an exception [Please read this again with Paramore’s Only Exception playing in the background…] and that’s because there are some things you can’t help but share in order to lighten the burden of having them. Anyway, this won’t be in the most specific of details so that’s a sign of me playing it safe. )

Have you ever experienced being so enthusiastic about someone that you can’t wait to see that person again and bond with him/her? You felt as if this person, despite the great odds and risks you both faced, still deserved the privilege of being your friend. And somehow you believed that the feeling was mutual. You were proved right when he/she expressed the same sentiment. And that hearty moment made you long for the time to come when your “friendship will finally take its rightful place in this world.”

At the start, everything seemed amazing and somehow surreal. I was fueled with matchless optimism that we would stick together like an Oreo and the relationship would become better. We were friends, more of the virtual kind but it didn’t matter as long as there was interaction. And with the luxury of time, going beyond Facebook was pretty much desired. However, to my dismay, this was not realized. Yet having a connection was better than none at all. This virtual friendship could suffice.

Have you ever felt abandoned, confused and a bit denied when through the only media you get to communicate, you did not get a reply? Or this one’s worse: you received a reply but it was one you did not expect or want. Then you start to wonder why? Or how can he/she do this? It leaves you hungry for answers which he/she can only give. And in my case, it left me hanging on to our friendship. But was it really one? Because what I know is that a friend does not dodge a friend’s words. After the long term of silence from this person and compounded by the absence, I started becoming dubious of our relationship. “Have I really been his/her friend? Did I do something wrong? How can he/she do this to me?” He/she may have reasons but how I wished these were revealed. It was truly a heartbreaking realization that hit me hard to see that some people can evaporate and leave you hanging on. No explanations, no reasons, just the harsh reality of silence between us like we never knew each other in the first place.

But thank God the circumstances did not dampen me to the core. Yes, I was hurt, sad, disappointed, you name all those negative adjectives. Yet the pain of losing a friend did not mean the end of the world. There are still billions of people out there and I still have my family so why be stricken with all these? Foolish of me though ‘cause that person was special, different, a diamond in the rough. All these could have made me mad or something turning me into a Captain Hook, yearning for vengeance on Rumpelstiltskin in Once Upon a Time. But I could not afford to live such a life. Bad blood does not belong to me. I think it just clicks with Taylor Swift.

Well, as time passed by, I was able to let go and move on with my life, ready to put an end to the chapter this person played in it. It was really remarkable that I got to accept all the overwhelming things that happened and still live without being affected much though at times, this person did cross my mind. And just when I am about to close the door (which was hard to do ‘cause we did share some nice moments together but was inevitably necessary), lo and behold, there was a poke. A poke which could mean many things. A poke which really made me more confused than before (I mean “Why now? Do you ever know who this makes me feel?”). A poke which irked me out ‘cause after all those times I was avoided or neglected, it’s so ironic to be responded to now. A poke, bittersweet as it is, which made me smile because it means this person misses me and remembers me still.

And I wonder if we'd ever be friends again....

And I wonder if we’d ever be friends again….