Unforgettable Childhood Memory

Music has NOT been my first love. But I do have a certain affinity for the song Memory by Barbra Streisand since I was eight years old.

At the time, singing contests was already popular in the country. There was this one singing contest in a national television show that ran every Sunday. We always looked forward to this show since there were no other forms of entertainment at the time. One of the contestants was a young girl almost my age. Thus, she got my sympathy. I was so awed by her talent because for me, she sang like an angel.

She made it to the grand finals. Her song choice was Memory. The way she sang was still so vivid in my mind. It was full of childlike innocence and sincerity. I felt so much the moonlight in her words. Though she ranked only second place, the song was ingrained deeply in my soul. After the show I ran towards our huge window and looked for the moon. Coincidentally, the moon was full. I looked up at the moon with total amazement and wonder. I gazed at it longer as if it were my first time to see it in all its majesty.

Thus, every time I hear the song Memory, what comes to mind first was my eight-year old self looking at the full moon by the huge window, loving its light and the mystery behind it. To this day, the full moon still left me speechless and lost. And the song Memory stayed with me since then.

What song stayed with you too?

purposivewriter - nezel yurong

Song

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To Quit or Not To Quit?

to quit or not to quit

When you have unfinished business, God will give you the strength to hold on.

One common scenario in a corporate world: the employer calls, looks for a specific employee and when she answers the phone, the employer bombards her with filthy words without caring about the listener’s emotions. Her anger is poured out in the open. Period. She does not care what the other person has to say, nor dig into the issue.

Okay. That was me. Not the employer but the employee. For eleven years, that was a common scenario. I have a choice I know. But third world country culture is far different from the more advanced nations. Finding a new job is a pain in the neck due to few job offerings and massive number of applicants.

After enduring such scenario for eleven years, I came to the point of giving up. I already suffered burn out and had experienced symptoms of stress. I have to walk out, I told myself. However, is it sensible to pack your things up just because you are angry and hurting? Of course not, right? I weighed much the options before me. My wounded self was in a dilemma of choosing between self-preservation and martyrdom. Actually, it just appeared to be martyrdom for the length of years I suffered. I am no martyr. I had good plans for my future. I was already decided to take back my life and live the best life I could have.  It was just that I was not yet ready to fly because my wings had not yet developed fully. The time was still unripe to do so. The situation only called for more patience, more forgiveness and much strength. But let me tell you, at that point I was at my edge. I was at the brink of my sufferings. I felt I would lose my sensibility if I would go on with a situation like that. I seemed to stand before a precipice. If I would not retreat, one more step forward and I would fall.

But then, do you believe in miracles? Or inner voice? Or the wiser self? Or whatever is that which God placed inside our bodies to rescue us when our poor self is dying within? That voice spoke to me as if it were my own. A scene from a television series suddenly flashed before my mind, wherein the heroine was at her lowest and with much grit told herself: this is not going to destroy me; I would not break. Those were the same words the voice told me. My more conscious self repeated it: No one and nothing could ever destroy me nor break me. I felt a surge of strength building up inside of me, with much faith that I would get by quite alright.

The path to being “alright” was long and winding. But if I were to go on with life, I have to traverse it even if I have to eat all my pride along the way. There is an adage that goes, “If you can’t change the situation, change yourself.” I was left with no choice than changing myself, and making it strong like a tree planted by streams of water that sends out its roots to the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

A year has gone by and I get on quite alright. I am still in the same situation, surrounded by the same people and faced with the same problems. However, I was no longer the same person I used to be. I am a lot happier, a lot better and a lot tranquil.

Had I quit that dreadful moment, I don’t know what would become of me now. I can only say, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Had I quit that moment, I would walk away a defeated person bringing along with me lots of pain and anger. For now, I have this inner purpose: to make the witnesses around me wonder why some lights in me still spark despite what I have been through. Sweet revenge, is it not?

So before you finally say I quit, take a deep breath, listen to yourself; for it alone knows what is best for you.

May you have a purposeful day!

~Nezel

In response to WP Daily Prompts: dilemma/unfinished.

 

 

The Rough Road

Free

I never ever like to talk about panic. All because it brings not so good memories. It brings me to the days where I totally live my life being panicky. All those frustrations that resulted to decades of suffering from depression. However, that was time gone by; and experiences that had been lived and learned.

My panicky behavior started when I was sixteen years old. Before that I live the life of a fearful duckling. Just mention my name and my body’s alarm will immediately ring and would give me the choice between fight or flight.

Anyways, this was how it happened. Since I was one of the top students in our class my teacher chose me to be the class’ representative for the declamation contest. It was the foundation anniversary of our school. As is custom of every school, contest like this is common. That time there was no internet yet. No YouTube videos to serve as an example or explained how something is done. Everybody was not that expressive too. My teacher gave me my piece but did not work with me in the practice. I just practiced inside my room alone. Since I was not the expressive type, it did not occur to me to ask someone or even my teacher to practice with me and gave feedback on how I was doing.

When the contest arrived I was very nervous. I got even nervous before that. Just the thought of it, doubled my heartbeat. So then I climbed up the stage when my name was called. The stares of the audience alarmed me. I started to utter the words nervously. After uttering the two lines, my mind went blank. I groped for words. To my dismay I did not found any. The auditorium was then filled with deafening silence. That silence seemed to last for eternity. Then there was murmuring from the audience. The murmuring grew and I felt it was going to eat me until I surrendered myself in defeat.  I dragged myself and embarrassingly returned the microphone to the emcee who happened to be my class adviser. She took off the microphone which was tied around my neck in irritation. I was an embarrassment to her.

Then and there everybody seemed to look at me as a loser. Nobody tried to tell me, hey it was okay. My world crumbled. Honestly, at that point I wished the earth would crack and eat me up. How I wished the people would not remember my face or even may forget my name.

Consequently, I lost my self-confidence. I became irritable and hot-tempered. A very nervous person to add. Worst, depression started to engulf my whole being.

For years, I have not won a goal at once. I started something and when the going gets rough I gave up. Then start all over again the next time. I stopped from my studies and entered in the nunnery. Because of depression I went out eventually. I was advised by the sisters to seek professional help. I did not. I carried my depression alone. My family even did not understand why I behaved the way I did and sometimes judged my poor character.

Through all those experiences there was one who never gave up on me. He was called God. Ever since I was a child I was a bit of prayerful. I prayed and prayed that God would take away the cross I was carrying. He led me to read certain books and met inspiring personalities through my reading. But my healing did not happen instantly. It took decades before I could finally say, I was healed. I did not even realized I was healed. I just woke up one day and realized life was beautiful and too precious to live it in fear.

My bout with panic, depression and everything made me fearless and bold. Fear still stares me in the face but my body is strong enough not to surrender to its whims. Acceptance and letting go were keys to my healing. However, without my God my life might have ended years ago; for the thought of giving up on life many times occurred to me.

Now I could say, I am a little braver and no longer the nervous duckling I used to be. That panicky little thing. In the grand scale of life I still have not found my right place. But finding a home in myself is the greatest achievement I could be proud of. All because my God did not let go of me; did not leave me floating in the air; loved me for everything that I am.

My message to “panic”? Your shadow may look gigantic; but at the voice of my enormous God you disappear quickly like bubbles in the air.

Life is beautiful. May we live it fully!

~Nezel

In response to WP Daily Prompt: panic.

The Most Important Lessons I Learned From A Not So Perfect Hiking Adventure

the most important lessons i learned from a not so perfect hiking adventure

The year was 1992. I was eighteen years old then. Just imagine the civilization back then of the third smallest island in the Philippines, the Siquijor island. A trek to its highest peak would be too adventurous and challenging. Camp Bandilaan, the island’s highest mountain, could only be reached on foot back then. Since I just came from the city, my aunt and two cousins invited me to take a hike there. During that time, the beaches are not yet developed for tourism, thus the local folks, as well as the visitors, believed that the most beautiful sight the island offers is its virgin forest and lofty mountain.

From where we start, we would cover a total of seven kilometers hike in order to reach the peak. My companions, though local folks, were not expert hikers. We followed a trail which they said was a shortcut to the mountain. Eventually, we lost our way. We had no compass, and no map. We then just followed my aunt’s instinct of where the way could be. Many times, we scurried because of some loud croaking and crowing. According to my aunt it was the sound of a snake calling for prey like frogs or roosters. We also found some loose snake skins along the way. My excitement of the hike was transformed into one of fear and worry. Who would not be, when you are in the middle of the forest, lost, surrounded by tall trees and lush vegetation and with no one to call for help. The look on my aunt’s face too was one of worried and afraid. Yet, she managed to encourage us to not lose hope, that we would find our way. Luckily, after an hour of wandering and searching, we found a trail that lead to the peak. We arrived at the peak at around 1 p.m.

The island is such a warm place. But there on top the wind is so cool. The sun was overlooking at us, but its heat failed to penetrate into our skin. The sight was very amazing because it was still foggy up there. From there we could see the entire island and all the neighboring islands surrounding it. I felt I was on top of the world, away from the cares and worries of the reality below. For thirty minutes I was on a different world, engulfed by nature’s beauty. It all was worth the hike. The sound of the leaves kissed by the breeze and of the birds chirping were all music to my ears. It were all meditative for me.

After thirty minutes of relaxing and having our lunch, we started the journey home because my aunt was afraid darkness would fall with us still on our way. Our trip back was faster and we no longer followed any shortcut paths. It was almost 5 p.m. when we arrived home.

I felt so victorious and fulfilled then. That was the first time I ever took a hike at an island’s tallest and most beautiful mountain. Only that there was one thing I was never prepared for: I got sick the next day. The reason? I got sore muscles all over because I did not take short or long walks before the hike. All in all that trip took us almost ten hours of walking. And I lacked the physical preparation for it.

From that experience I learned several, very important lessons (I also add some tips that are needed for modern-day hiking):

  • Before a hike, you must have walked an hour or several hours a day before the trip that your body would be prepared for it.
  • If possible never take shortcuts, wherein you have not been into before. You never know the dangers along the way.
  • Bring a map with you, and know some landmarks as a point of reference in case you lose your way.
  • Never forget to bring your cellphone and have the numbers for emergency. (At that time we never had cellphones yet.)
  • Always have someone with you who knows the place well.
  • Wear comfortable footwear.
  • Never forget your water and pack lunch, in case you’d be hiking for a whole day.
  • Wear a hat or a sunscreen.
  • Tell your family or someone that you are on a hike and the place that you are going to hike.
  • Pack basic first aid kit like bandages, moleskin, tweezers and antiseptic wipes.
  • Never forget your camera. (One of my disappointments. I never brought one when we did that hike.)
  • A sturdy backpack with a stomach strap is good to carry everything in.

A hike is a very good adventure. I never hiked for a whole day after that. But I am willing to in the future. Nowadays, I just do short and long walks with my kids; just a form of exercise for us. Hopefully, someday soon, I’ll be trekking at the same mountain with my family. I had returned there several times on a vehicle. But hiking would be much fun and challenging still.

Hope you have taken a hike one day in your life too. Have a purposeful day!

~Nezel

In response to WP Daily Prompt: hike.

Behind The Smile

behind the smile-purposivewriter

I may be smiling on the surface but deep within my heart is bleeding. This is a scenario I had been into for many a million times throughout my lifetime. A scenario I have come to master due to its constancy in occurrence. I had been in the company of good people. And I had been in the company of the not so good ones. Sadly, the not so good ones outnumbered the good ones. A reality that says these people are the representation of the broken souls caged on a neatly furnished surface: from hair to clothes to footwear. They look so neat and perfect. But when they open their mouths, the foul and withering spirit inside fails to hide. From these type of people I receive insults, blunt comments and condescending sneers. My best defense is just to smile as if everything is okay. I have not been trained earlier to receive fire with fire. I was trained to keep quite and shut up. I stated my reasons only to myself. And felt good every time my dear self says: yeah you are right.

I know, the best thing to do is to point to someone that his/her actions are wrong. In short, I have to defend myself calmly. But how can I when that someone does not also want to listen to explanations? When that someone is not open to the possibility that he/she is wrong? Many times I did this instinctively. Only that my good intentions are trashed. The result? A much heated argument; a much deadlier monster comes out. So I learned to shut up and smile if I still could manage to do so.

I found out, in my journey to freedom I do not need anyone to clap their hands in approval. I do not need to be perfect. If others find me imperfect, and my imperfections do not hurt them, then I am well on my way. In my experience (aside from the formation house where I once was) only three or four people managed to point at my mistakes and asked me why I did such and such things. Most of them, directly insulted me, underestimated me and many other things that could deflate someone’s ego.

Anyway, that was the past. I am here in this imperfect, yet beautiful world of ours not to solve someone’s changing moods. I may carry these people if I could. I may love them if I could. With a heart that bleeds no more. Along the way, through the ups and downs of my journey, I have come to learn to smile on the surface as well as smile deep within too. My days are numbered, as much as I can I would not want to waste any second of it on things that only complicate life. And the greatest lesson I learned is when you smile inside-out, the world almost always smiles back at you. I still encounter some broken souls. It is my fervent prayer then that may I be healed fully, that my healing would be a healing for others too.

May you have a purposeful day!

~Nezel

(WP Daily Prompt: surface)

Would You Care Enough If I Would Say I Am Sorry?

The memory still lingered in my mind. It was already ten years then. I worked in a place away from my family. I rented in a boarding house with five other people who also came from other parts of the country. Despite the differences of our local cultures we get along well. Ordinarily, there were few times we disagree over something. But we managed to patch things up. Other times we just had to pretend it was okay in order to avoid heated confrontations.

One time, one of my board mates got sick and was hospitalized. The main problem was, she did not have enough savings to pay for the hospital bills. All of my board mates helped her financially to get through it, except me. They also expected me to do the same. I had money then. But that money was already allocated for something with lesser urgency than paying hospital bills. Only later did I realized how selfish I was. I hate to admit this here, yet I have to let it go. Am I trying to come out clean? I do not know. As I get older I realized it does not matter whether I am right or wrong. It feels lighter inside to lay everything on the table. It does not matter what others have to say. I am not perfect anyway.

After that realization of mine, I tried to do everything in order to recover the good relationship we had, for I knew my actions displeased my board mates. I was able to do it. However, I knew in between the lines there was something broken that could never be rebuilt again. People may forgive but they could not forget. I admit, if you knew me before you would perhaps like me only a little bit. I used to be the person whose thinking was caged inside a box. That box is concrete, not flexible, no holes for seeing things the way others see it. Unfortunately, I was getting on quiet fine. I do not know if it was included in the total packaging of a loner’s personality.

The story above is not the only incident where I hurt others feelings. There are countless situations I did that; sometimes unaware, sometimes with awareness, with intent, at times without intent; at times out of hurt feelings, at times out of anger. No matter how I described it, it does not change the fact that I have hurt someone’s feelings. I am guilty, yes.

One day I woke up thinking to ask apologies for the people I have hurt. Would this act change the past? It would not. It would only cleanse me of guilt. It would only make me believe myself that I am a clean person because guilt is no longer lurking inside my head. Besides, forgiveness is a two-way street. I did reach out to my board mates through social media since we have been apart for a decade now. I only discovered a sad truth: I am not an ideal friend they want to communicate with. I could not blame them. There is no need to cry over spilled milk too. The good thing with life is that, we could always start living a life we want. And we could always become the person we want to be. To all the people I have hurt, whether it was your fault or mine, this is what I have to say:

I am not perfect. I hope it would not sound as an excuse. I ask apologies for what I have done. I was immature then. Full of hurts too. Full of issues. Full of fears. With a mind that was narrow and a heart so hardened by pains. I thought the world revolved around me. I found out now it is not. When I hurt you, I am hurting the more because we are connected by the same breath that gives us life. I already forgive you for hurting me too.  If it is hard for you to forgive me, it is okay. I know you would when your heart is prepared. And may God give you the peace He has given me.

We are all not perfect. This is a fact that stares us in the face. We are all hurting. We all need acceptance. We all need comfort. We all need a safe place to just be our self.

The irony is, we have to trod through the path of acceptance and healing alone. We have to be brave enough to face our very self and conquer that monster within who is pushing us to hurt others and our self as well. If we were to live a peaceful and joyful life, we must do it. We can do it. With God we can.

May your day be full of purpose.

~Nezel

(WP Daily Prompt: apology)

Unpremeditated Path

anniversary-blogging

There was something yesterday that I missed out. I am grateful to WordPress for making me remember. It is just that this blog turned one year yesterday. Yehey! Cheers!

The reason behind this blog’s creation.

Actually, this blog is not my primary blog. I created the blog Purposive Ninja to be my portfolio blog for my virtual career. However, I have no knowledge whatsoever of WP’s roundabouts. Sure, there are many video tutorials out there. But the hosted WP is different from the free one. I don’t want my portfolio blog to be an experimental one. So I opted on creating an expiremental blog. Out of nowhere I called it Purposive Writer because the name is nearer to my other blog. I then started tinkering around here. My priority was never to post daily. I believed I could never do it. I just posted when an inspiration sparked within. There were even months that I posted nothing. From time to time I also wandered to my other blog. What kept me busy by then was making the assignments my mentor gave us for our portfolio blog. The greatest challenge though was the juggling of time. I am a full-time mom and a full-time employee as well. Somehow, I managed to get on even with a turtle pace.

Looking for a direction.

Come April. I reviewed my goals for 2016. I was dismayed for it seemed I was running around the bush. I needed a push to get to where I want to go. One of my goals is to become a writer. I know I would not become one just by  dreaming of it. So I vowed to myself to write daily. At first I wrote on my journal. I got bored in there because no fresh ideas came. It were just full of my bantering with life. I decided to check on my blogs. While browsing, I came across the WP challenges. Then and there I challenged myself to post daily. No excuses.

Dramatic change.

I did post daily with the aid of the daily prompt starting May 5 with the purpose of honing my writing skills. Then came the likes, the comments, the followers. Wow! I got surprised. I never expected someone out there would read my blog and even cared to show some reactions. I was greatly overwhelmed and inspired. I learned to check out others’ blog too. And at times found inspiration from my fellow bloggers’ piece. I even found friends. Posting daily was no longer a burden for me. I eagerly looked forward to the next prompt. I also got inspired joining some challenges from fellow bloggers. And I further discovered my love for photography. Before I knew it, I got hooked with this blog.

Well, there were days when I got sick and days when the schedule was too tight. If I could, I still did the prompts even if it were days or a day delayed. No excuses, I kept telling myself. Having someone read my blog is an achievement for me. Really!

Thank you WordPress for the greetings! I am very much happy to be here. And am looking forward for another great year ahead. My plans for this blog? Let me just keep it a secret for now. Or should I say, I will follow wherever this will lead me. I am sure it would be for the better.

Lots of love!

~Nezel

(WP Daily Prompt: dramatic)