Sunday, October 11, 2009

To All The Single Ladies

I happen to stumble upon this blog entry by Prince Marvin and I thought that this would be perfect for my blog. He's a really good writer and I enjoy reading his entries. This one is short but sweet...

Women are like apples on trees.The best ones are at the top of the tree. Most men don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt.Instead, they just take the rotten apples from the ground that aren't as good, but easy...

The apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality, they're amazing.They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the one who's brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.Share this with other women who are good apples, even those who have already been picked!

And the men?Well, that’s a different story.Men are like a fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it's up to women to stomp the shit out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Journey of Faith

This blog entry is long overdue. I’ve been meaning to write about the testimony I gave at church before I left the Philippines in July of this year.

As I was waiting at the Australian Embassy, eagerly and nervously anticipating the result of my interview for our visa application I constantly prayed to the Lord that if my visa will be granted then it will truly be a testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness.

You see, I’m not most Filipinos who are so eager to leave the country in search of greener pastures elsewhere. I actually didn’t want to migrate, I only want to travel the world on vacation. So I wasn’t the kind of person who would exert so much effort just to live abroad. But since most of my relatives are in Australia I knew I was bound to go someday. When my mom and sister both got married to Australian citizens they decided to move down under and I knew that I had to make a decision. I asked the Lord where He wants me to go, if He wants me to stay then I would not get a visa but if Australia is the land where He is sending me and where He will bless me then I will be granted that visa effortlessly.

I have been so scared to be left alone in the Philippines. For months I’ve cried out to God because of fear that I will be financially unstable, an orphan, single and literally be living alone in my house. I carried with me the burden of worry and fear from other people feeding me negative thoughts like how impossible it is for me to be granted a dependent visa because of my age. But this season of waiting on the Lord has taught me what it really means to wait confidently with unwavering trust and what it really means to pray without ceasing. This experience has humbled me and brought me to my knees. I said to God that I know it will only take a miracle for my visa to be granted given my circumstances. And once again He demonstrated His awesome power that He is the God of all possibilities because a miracle He did give me and my family.

I grew up in a Christian family, raised with solid Christian values (I’ve even attended all the youth camps throughout my teenage years). But that doesn’t make me the perfect little Christian, far from it actually. I have stumbled and fallen so many times. I’ve had strings of broken and ungodly relationships, things I’ve done in the past that I’m not proud of and skeletons I’m hiding in my closet. I’ve broken God’s heart over and over and over again. Thankfully, He has always remained faithful, even when I haven’t. My walk with the Lord has been a journey of faith. I know that God has a purpose and a wonderful plan with everything happening in my life, even in the worst situations and in the midst of my seemingly impossible problems.

In the past couple of years, I never really understood why I had to go through the torture of painful loss and heartache. Why I remain single in spite of my constant dating, while my friends and cousins are getting married left and right. Why I only keep meeting “Mr. Right Now” and not the one who will stay for the rest of my life. But, now I realize why…

I am going to Australia because I am unemployed, childless, never been engaged or married and SINGLE at 27! You would think that my situation seemed bleak and unappealing but that’s exactly the reason why I was given such an amazing privilege to start a new life in a country of boundless opportunities. If I was married or in a relationship or was engaged in the past or have a child then I would’ve been left behind. My life is a perfect example of how God can turn something less than desirable into a blessing! I didn’t even exert so much effort, this opportunity just fell into my lap without me orchestrating it, all I did was pray.

I never even planned or dreamed that I would be moving to Australia this year. In fact, my family was supposed to be the last to migrate. There were two families and one cousin supposedly before us, then my sister, then she would get my mom and then me. In my relatives’ plans, I was literally the last person on their list, which means I would have to wait a minimum of 4 or 5 years, but I only waited 3 months! It just really shows how our ways as humans are not and will never ever be God’s ways. His way is perfect and beyond awesome!

This was the verse in my devotion the night before our interview at the embassy (it wasn’t really the devotion for that day but as I was flipping through the pages it caught my attention):

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

I only noticed the morning I was writing this testimony that the date for that particular devotion entitled “Confident Hope” is July 11… our departure date.

It’s just truly, truly amazing how God perfectly works out his plans in our lives if we just trust in Him and allow Him to be the Sovereign Lord that He is. My walk with the Lord has been and is still is a journey of faith, preparing and equipping me to face another chapter in my life as I continue to grow and mature. I know that the life waiting for me down under is going to be even tougher but I believe and know in my heart that He is sending me to a place where He promised to bless me even more.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Singapore Adventure

I've been so busy that I haven't written anything in more than two months! I was so caught up with life's busyness that my body told me to stop and rest. All those weeks of lack of sleep and over fatigue took its toll on me. So now I'm forced to stay at home for almost two weeks. I'm on house arrest for having the flu coupled with a nasty attack of my allergic rhinitis. I was tested for A(H1N1) over the weekend but thank God my results came back negative. If my fever didn't spike up to 39.4 and I didn't have a history of travel abroad in the past 10 days I wouldn't have to go thru the torture of the throat and nose swab.
Oh yeah, I went on a 3-day vacation spree in Singapore...this entry is actually about that among other things.

It was my first time to travel abroad and I did it alone...finally! No wonder the immigration officers at the Centennial airport questioned me. They said something about how I look too young to travel and how my profile fits someone who would only go to Singapore to be a victim of human trafficking. Talk about judging people by their appearance! I was both shocked and disappointed at how the immigration officers treated me. They were very rude and condescending! They questioned me like I had no right to travel on my own. How disheartening that my fellow Filipino would treat me this way while they were so nice and friendly to the foreigners in front of me!

"I'm already 27 years old, it's right there in my passport," I stated the obvious.
"You're already 27 and you're still single? Dapat may asawa ka na ah (You should be married by now)," the immigration officer remarked.

"So what if I'm still single? That's why I'm doing this now. I want to be able to travel alone while I'm still single," I replied idignantly.

Again, I don't remember a law in the constitution saying that a woman in her late 20's should already be married! Seriously!

I was beginning to regret insisting travelling on my own. I didn't expect something like this would happen to me. My young looks have always played to my advantage until that day. I've charmed (and cried) my way out of traffic violation tickets. I've mostly gotten away with anything because of how I look, but not this time.
However, I received the exact opposite reception from the immigration officer in Singapore. The woman was very friendly and polite! She just asked where I'm staying and wished me a happy vacation. I heaved a sigh of relief!

Even though I had the most tiring trip ever and despite the setbacks I encountered right from the beginning of my journey I'm still glad and thankful for the experience. Most of my family and friends have already migrated to different parts of the world and I wasn't really very interested in leaving the country for good, I only wanted to vacation around the world. I've always said that I won't exert the effort to apply for an immigrant or working visa, only if the opportunity will arise. I didn't want to leave my comfort zone because I've always believed that I could be just as successful here as I would be in a another country.

For months, I've struggled with the turn of events in my family's life. I've had hesitations in migrating to another country this year. I prefer to stay here in the Philippines and have a family of my own but on the other hand, I also don't want to be left behind by my mom and sister. Short as my trip was it opened my eyes to a different horizon. I've realized how it is true what I heard in the news a few weeks back that the Philippines is 45 years behind compared to the first world countries. I've seen how advanced, disciplined and clean Singapore is. Sadly, our country truly is lightyears behind in terms of everything.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not ashamed to be a Filipino. This country will always be home, but I'm now starting to look at our migrating as a wonderful opportunity and I'm even excited about it instead of dreading it. I know that the Lord is bringing me to a country where He will bless me and my family. My Singapore trip was a sneak peek of what life would be like in Australia. A whole new world is waiting for me and I've faced all those challenges in the past 27 years to prepare me for this big move.

As I was stressing getting off the deisgnated bus stop and topping up my EZ link card at the same time, I cried to my friend, "Ella! Wait for me! Everything here is moving too fast, I'm not used to this!"

My friend replied, "Mich, ganyan talaga dito sa Singapore. Lahat dito may systema and disiplina. (This is really how it is in Singapore. People here are organized and disciplined.)"

"Pasensya ka na, galing kasi ako sa bansang walang disiplina. (You have to forgive me, I came from a country with no discipline.)"

I'm 27, still single but fabulous and I got to travel abroad on my own! What a privilege and a liberating experience! It was just awesome!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

When The Phone Rings

One hot summer afternoon my sister and I started arguing. As sisters we have a knack for turning a petty argument into a war zone. It was as simple as who will answer the phone.

Ate: "Get the phone."

Michy: "You're nearer, you answer it."

Ate: "I don't want to answer it because I don't want people to know I'm here."

Michy: "Well, I'm not getting it."

Ate: "I'm not getting it either."

This went on and no one seemed to want to give in until I stood up to answer the phone... then it stopped ringing. A few hours later, the phone started to ring again. This time I didn't say a word and just answered it. It was my mom.

Mom: "I was surprised to see Bruno online." (Bruno is one of my exes. Of course that's not his real name)

Michy: "You're chatting with him right now?"

Mom: "Not anymore. We just finished chatting."

Michy: "Maaaaa! Why didn't you call me while you were chatting with him? I would've gone online. I want to talk to him too."

Mom: "I was calling you but no one was answering the phone. I thought you guys weren't home."

Michy: "Oh. So that was you who was calling..."

My mom told me in detail exactly how their conversation went. I kept saying that I wished I could've gone online if only she told me she was chatting with him while my mom kept pointing out that no one was answering the phone.

As soon as I put down the phone, I felt tears rolling down my cheeks. I don't know why but I felt really sad after hearing about him again. I haven't heard from him in almost a year now. Months after we broke up I tried to keep in touch but he made it clear that he doesn't want to, at least for now but may be in the future daw (at kailan pa kaya yun? pag over na 'ko sa kanya? pag huli na ang lahat?). He kept saying that we're still friends and it's not like he's never gonna talk to me ever but what he's doing now is quite the opposite. I sat crying on the floor opposite my sister.

Michy: "Why am I crying? I shouldn't be crying anymore! It's been almost two years now!"

Ate: "Ewan ko sa'yo. Bakit ka nga ba umiiyak?"

Michy: "Because I so desperately want to talk to him. It's not like I want us to get back together but he could at least be friends with me and still talk to me!"

Ate: "Ganun talaga. For some people it's better not to stay friends with their ex."

Michy: "Funny how I don't understand why Bruno can't be friends with me when I find Pipoy (a more recent ex, of course I didn't use his real name as well) really stupid for not understanding why I don't want to be friends with him."

In the article Can You Still Be Friends With Your Ex? I wrote two months ago, I talked about how there are some exes you can be friends with and some that you just really can't. I mostly talked about the jerks I dated in the past and how they're the type of exes I just really can't be friends with. This one particular recent ex, Pipoy, kept bugging me to remain friends with him. I think he's really annoying and stupid for not getting the fact that I never want to hear from him ever again because... well, he's a douche.

I guess I can't blame Bruno for not wanting to keep in touch. I did break his heart by giving up too quickly. As much as I have my reasons for not being friends with Pipoy, I'm sure Bruno also has his own reasons for not wanting to communicate with me even only as friends. (Kung ano man yung dahilan nya eh bwiset sya! Friends lang naman ayaw pa nya! Buti pa nanay ko kinakausap nya at minsan pa nga nag-eemail sya tapos ako ayaw nya kausapin! Ang arte nya ha! Bitter-bitteran nanaman ako... Wahahaha!)

What made me really cry was when I heard that he said, "I still think about you guys." Even though he didn't say "I still think about your daughter, Michy" (pero syempre hoping ako na sana nga yun ang ibig sabihin nya..hehe) at least I'm one of those people he still thinks about. At least he still thinks about me, period.

I still think about him too.


Until now.

Even after I've dated a few guys after him.

None of those relationships ever worked out because deep inside I knew that I was only on the rebound trying to move on (meaning move on to other guys). At the end of the day I just realized even more that I'd rather be with the one I really want instead of settling for a consolation prize.

It's been almost two years now. I really wanted to believe I was genuinely completely over him. I literally deleted and burried everything about him. I've given up all hope that we can ever be together. I've actually already accepted the fact a long time ago that we're just not meant for each other. It seemed to me that I'm over him. But I guess I'm not. I wouldn't be crying if I am. I may seem pathetic but that's the truth. It's a truth I've been battling to escape and deny. I still miss him and I miss him even more each day that I'm far away from him.

Michy: "You know Ate, mama could've told him something like, 'Michy is also online, would you like to chat with her too?'"

Ate: "Eh pano kung ayaw ka naman niya pala makausap, anong gagawin mo?"

When my tears have dried, I then realized that there's a reason why my sister and I were too lazy to pick up the phone that day. It may be God's way of sparing me even more pain because if I would've gone online there's a big chance that he would probably go offline the minute he finds out I wanted to chat with him. Or may be it's not yet time for us to start talking again. It's better this way...sila na nga lang ng nanay ko ang mag-usap!

I honestly thought that I've happily moved on. That I could care less if I hear news about him again.

But I guess I never really got over him.... I just learned to live with it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Broken and Messy

Many things in my life are broken and messy.

People would often (as in every time they see me) ask/bug me why I'm still single. They would start with asking the million-dollar question,"So who's your boyfriend now?" (as if expecting that I have a new boytoy every time they see me). Then they would follow up with, "But you're smart and beautiful, sayang naman (what a waste)!" or "You should be married by now because your biological clock is ticking." I would usually respond with "So what if I'm still single?"
Seriously people! Get a life and quit stressing about my own!

The only person who has earned the right to stress about my dating life is my mom who just told me yesterday while we were dicussing yet again my single status, "It'll be difficult to get pregnant and give birth once you turn 30."

Most singles out there would go with the cliche "I'm single by choice". Some of them may very well be telling the truth but in reality most of them are just saying that so they won't look like, for the lack of a better term, losers. You can't really say "Oh I'm single because no guy has asked me out in the last century." No one in their right mind would admit to being undesirable!

But not me. Because at this point in my life I am NOT single by choice. If I had a choice I would love to be in a relationship right now. I love to be in love! But there are things in my life that still need sorting out before I can commit to someone. Even if I want to, I still can't. I am single by default. For now, that's my default setting.

Many things in my life are broken and messy. I am a product of a dark and hurtful past. I have a closet full of skeletons (who hasn't, right?) that I'm hoping will be kept buried and never to haunt me again. I have often blamed other people for it---from my absentee and alcoholic father to my always-too-busy to-have-time-to-listen mother to my sister, cousins, classmates and playmates who teased me for having dark-skin when we were kids (they even said I was adopted and my real parents lived in the slums alongside the Pasig river) to the jerks I have so many times ranted about in this blog who broke my heart.
But because of God's grace, He has given me the strength to finally admit to myself and to those people that I'm not a child anymore therefore I shouldn't be blaming other people for my own mistakes and bad decisions. It's time I own up to my choices. I no longer choose to be a prisoner of my past...of my anger, wrath and unforgiveness. I am learning to forgive myself and receive the forgiveness of the cross.

Over the years I have collected a string of broken hearts---mine and those that were broken because of me. I often referred to my first boyfriend as my "training ground". I had a relationship boot camp with him. He absorbed all the hard punches and blows of a screaming spoiled insecure brat. And yet inspite of that he still loved me and even begged to work things out (I'm surprised that we remain good friends until now). But old stubborn me thought that I have successfully passed boot camp and was ready to join the troops (read: move on to the next guy). What I didn't realize was that the Lord wasn't done with me yet. I still had so much training to do but I chose to prematurely cut that training short. Because I was in such a hurry to skip the growing up part and move on to my happily ever after I ended up getting beaten and badly wounded. I wasn't ready yet.

But the good news is all these things can be mended in Christ. I may be broken, but I know that I can bring it to Jesus and He can make me whole again. He can glue me back together and clean up the mess. There are days when I feel down and depressed but I always remember that I belong to a people blessed by God and when He has blessed, He would never revoke it.

"...but the Lord your God turned the curse into blessing for you because the Lord your God loves you." Deutoronomy 24:5

Too many times I have felt unworthy, that I have not lived up to the expectations of people and even myself. But I learned that that is if I focus too much on other people and myself. However, if I focus on God who reconciled all things to Himself then I will find fullness in Him. If you've seen Jerry McGuire you know very well the famous line, "You complete me". But this is what I've realized over years of failed relatonships... No human being, nothing on earth can ever complete me, only God can. It says so in Colossians 2:9-10:

"For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
and in him you have been made complete,
and He is the head over all rule and authority..."

I have always been angry, disappointed and unfulfilled because I expected my family, friends and especially my boyfriends to fill a void in my life and make me feel complete. I have depended my happiness on mere human beings so whenever they fall short of my expectations I get mad, hurt and frustrated. I blamed my unhappiness on others. But fullness will only come from God. So don't go searching for it in people, money, possessions and achievements. It's a waste of time and energy to put your hope on temporary things that in the end will be in vain. Having a boyfriend/girlfriend or being married doesn't necessarily equate to ultimate happiness.

People have often told me, and this include ex-boyfriends, "Pag nagmahal ka wag mo ibibigay lahat, magtira ka para sa sarili mo" (When you love someone, don't love them with your all, leave some for yourself). Until this day I don't get it. What do you mean by leave some for yourself? It just goes against the Bible's principle of loving unconditionally. In my point of view, it should be: When you love someone, love them with all your heart but always love God first with all your heart, mind, body and soul above anyone. Find your fullness and identity in the Lord so just in case you relationship fails you will have the strength to move on because your joy is complete in the Lord.

I would like to say that the new me has learned her lesson. But, I still haven't got life quite figured out yet. I'm still on a quest... searching for what I truly want in life---career-wise and relationship-wise, and where I really want to be. I'm a work in progress, God isn't finished with me yet. I'm still in relationship boot camp but I hear that I'm making progress.

Relationships can be at times messy, frustrating and does not meet my expectations but in spite of that I no longer wish to remain jaded and bitter and choose to love instead.

This is my prayer, "No matter how wanting and longing I am, you fulfill me Lord. No matter how shaky and unclear my future is, I know for a fact that it is secure in you. Help me to make you number one in my life (and heart), my true source of joy and fulfillment. Amen."