15 Apr When You Need to Give LOVE a Fighting Chance
“So when do you stop?” I asked myself one time. What can make you stop? Where does it end? The endless chase. The endless chapters to the story that seems to drag on and on and on. Is it really our decision to just let go, look at the other direction and walk away? Is it really our call?
There will be people in our lives who hide behind very thick walls. They build very strong edifices so impenetrable that it turns away the very people who love them deeply. There will be people who make it difficult for us to love them. The wall is too strong, too thick for anyone to break it. But to the strongest of us, to those who love these people so much, no walls are thick enough to keep us away. Not because we want to. Not because we have to. But because we can.
Today, I believe that everything happens for a reason. There are no circumstances, only situations and opportunities for growth, to be better. I have faced another challenge in my life. A challenge that I never saw coming. It was just like that. As if I had no choice but to face it, thrust on my face and shoved down my throat. No matter how much you try to hide from these so-called challenges, they really have a way of finding you. Then maybe, it is yours for the taking. Now you grab it by the horns and fight it head on.
On March 2010, I found myself at the cross-roads. The very thing which I have tried avoiding all these years was in front of me. It was already a dead-end. I really didn’t know if I should turn left or right. There was this wall, this very thick and very steep wall that was blocking my way. Any sensible person would have just taken a turn. Be it right or left. Any person would have said: “Just take the turn. Take it. Dammit!” But I didn’t. I just stood there, looking at the wall, waiting for it to crumble on its own.
What I’ve failed to realize is that sometimes we do not need to take a turn. Sometimes destiny asks us to go through the wall. Pass through the thick and huge facade, and see what lies beyond. But the ugly part isn’t just breaking the walls, but the fact that you don’t know what lies behind it. Is it a garden full of roses? A palace with my knight in shining armor? Or is it just that, another wall that needs to be broken down again?
That very night, I was sobbing in tears. “Ayoko na!” I screamed for the 100th time. “Ayoko na talaga! I don’t deserve this! I don’t deserve this!” I found myself repeatedly saying those words, as if they were already chants to a mantra. “Lord, why me?” I continued on with my dramatic monologue to God. “Heto ka na naman. Nagrereklamo ka na naman,” I heard myself saying.
“There is no other one to break down those walls because it is only YOU who loves him very much to have the patience to keep on breaking the walls he so insistently puts up every single time you fight. You love him too much. Too much that it consumes you. Too much that you’ve never loved this way before. With that said Maan, when you love someone, you just don’t run at the sight of his monstrous-self being revealed to you. You just don’t run away dahil nahihirapan ka na. You just don’t. Stand still. Wait for the wall to crumble down!”
It isn’t in my nature to just stand still and wait. Like what I’ve said before, I don’t like waiting. I don’t wait. Period. I am very impatient. I admit I am not a very tolerant person. There are certain things, certain values, certain barriers in my life that are very sacred to me. And truth be told, once you’ve crossed the barriers, that is IT for you. I do have the habit of walking out of people’s lives, sometimes for a while, others for good. This time I knew I just wanted to walk out. Turn away and run. Run as fast as I can. Without looking back. Without hesitations and regrets, I wanted to turn around and walk away.
I have come to understand that there is nothing permanent in this world but change. And I don’t believe in forever(s), only the now(s), the right now(s). But when people’s choice have begun to cut across mine, when people are already in the bounds of leaping the border, then it is the end of the line.
I like running after the things that I want and I have this crazy habit of grabbing everything in sight, because I want to. Just because I want to. And when finally I get a hold of these so-called “conquers” I drop it. Just. Like. That. “It is the thrill,” some say, “the thrill of chasing after something so elusive that keeps you running after it. And that elusive price? Oh you aren’t after the price, you are just after the chase.”
In between the sobs and the agonizing pain, I stand in a dilemma of waiting and going, finally throwing the towel in. “I QUIT!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. “I QUIT!”
But there was an ebbing feeling of pain, a throbbing of loneliness that crept inside me every time I said those words. And should I choose to stand still and face my wall, would I let go too? Just like how I used to do it, just as how I like it. Will I just drop this again? “I won’t give up that easily this time. I won’t give up. I just won’t. I am determined to break down the walls. Period,” I told myself.
It was one of the hardest 2 months of my life. The very foundations of who I am were shaken to the very core. I was like a bird with a broken wing, when every time I tried to take flight, I just couldn’t. I was wobbly. Disoriented. Asking myself over and over again, what did just happen? To top it all, my biggest fears were slowly becoming a reality. I was always afraid that the person I have come to love so much will be used to turn against me. He is, as I have said before, my Achilles’ heel. My weakest point. Touch everything else but that. Surely my world would crumble down. The man I have loved with all my life was slipping away. Maybe this time, for good. Forever.
At the end of the first month, I stood up again, feeling defeated. But I’ve managed to put that brave front. Managed to “bury myself in work.” After all, this is the only thing I have now. So I started living my life again, that old life. Catatonic. Robotic.
Still, the exchanges of hurtful words seemed endless. It would cease all right, only to find myself getting hurled by the ugliest comments about me that I’ve ever heard in this lifetime. I started going numb, not caring for what I felt, I’ve got nothing to lose. I already lost the very person whom I have trusted so much, with my life, with my heart, with who I was. Hurtful words didn’t come close to the feeling of losing the most important friend in your life, your trustful ally, your bestfriend. I knew that I have lost him. I have lost the fight altogether. It was too much. We were both buried in one issue, then the next, then another one. And there was already no way out.
But what felt like a stab through the chest were the words that came from him. He put my essence hanging on the balance. And I have also exhausted his patience. There was nothing more to give. There were no more reasons to stay. “Minsan ikaw na ang nasaktan, ikaw pa ang ginagawang masama,” I so thought. “Sige na! Ako na nga ang masama dito! Matapos na lang ‘to!”
I’ve never felt so alone in my life. The only person who made me feel that there was someone at the end of the fulcrum has left his post, leaving me no one to hold on to but myself. I had to grab on to me, to keep me sane. Unbalanced. Unsure. Wobbly. Unstable. I had to pick up the pieces, dust myself and stand up. Facing the wall — that tremendous and massive wall that I so wanted to break, with all my might and with all my heart. I wanted to break it. Pound it. Kick it. Until my knuckles bled. Until my body ached. Until I had no strength to keep on breaking it. So I broke down, in tears again, asking myself “What happened? What did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong?”
I knew that it wasn’t just my heart that was being torn to pieces. Losing something that you’ve worked hard for, taken cared of, and given much effort and will to survive isn’t exactly easy to let go. But I was resigned to the fact that though our hearts may have the strength to endure another challenge, another fight, maybe, just maybe, it was already time. As the song goes, “some good things never last.” It has already reached its expiration date. Its long over due expiration date. It was time.
Then there were the beautiful memories. The laughs, the crazy times together. There were the memories of standing by each other. There were just too much memories. I kept to myself in those two months. I didn’t want him to see me crying over this or throw my usual tantrums, but just the same, my heart was breaking, this time in silence. My soul was weeping for the wrong things, for the bad things, for trying tirelessly and for easily accepting defeat. My heart moaned for the hard work, for the dreams, that didn’t come to its full bloom. My heart wept for the countless battles that we’ve all fought for this, for the numerous times that we won. My heart broke as I was seeing, the you and me that we have fought for all these years and believed in so much, sinking like the once mighty and beautiful Titanic, with no one, not even the most powerful rescue ships can tug it back to shore.
“You are Maan Ilustre, remember? You are the girl who never gives up even at the last-minute. Do you remember that?” a friend reminded me over dinner. “You don’t give up Maan. You just don’t. Not when you’ve come this far,” she said.
Ass kicked, shins bruised
“This is so not you,” my friend started again. “At kailan ka pa nagpatalo sa intriga? Kailan ka pa natalo? Diba you are Maan Ilustre and you always win!”
“It really depends on the prize dear,” I said half-jokingly. “Everything is so distorted right now. Everything is shattered to bits and pieces at this point. I don’t see the point in fixing it, when there is nothing to be fixed in the first place. Hindi kami ang may gawa nito. Ginawa ito para sa amin. Sana, kung sino ang sumira nito, sila din ang magbalik sa dati.”
“That is exactly the point. Haven’t you noticed the marks of desperate people? They just turned him against you, because they couldn’t really face you and fight you head on. Hindi ka nila kaya, that’s why they tried to get someone who could stand up to you. At alam natin, iilang tao lang ang pwede. Can’t you understand that? You said it yourself, the reasons are twisted. Don’t you think he will see through all those twisty reasoning? Don’t you just trust him that much?” She replied.
“I do. But how do I even start? Where do I start? When everything you’ve worked for, sweated for and labored for is being taken away from you, what do you do?” I asked.
“Do what you do best Maan. You fight!” She exclaimed.
I remember telling a friend that the biggest mistake in this fight was when they tried to turn him against me. No, I don’t think they know me that well. He maybe my weakest point, but my weakest points never made me kneel, nor did it ever make me surrender to anyone’s wishes. Taking away my weakest point just made me feel trapped. Desperate. Suicidal to a point.
When you stand pressed to the wall, when you have no other way to go but head on, you just fight. Fight as if it was the last thing you’ll ever do on earth. Fight as if there was no tomorrow. Fight like a crazed person going amok. You just stand up and fight. Even if it takes all of your strength. Even if it takes up most of your courage. Even if you are alone. Even if you die. You fight and give the very thing you hold on to, a fair chance to live. You fight as if there was no tomorrow. You. Just. Fight. For. The. Love. Of. Your. Life. You. Just. Fight.
I have been known to fight my way out of every battle. There was only one thing on my mind when I am on battle-mode: “I don’t get mad, I don’t get even. I DESTROY.”
But to circumstances that involve the greatest love of your life, what do you do? What can you do? When you are fighting for your life, and you can see that the person that you love so much is in the middle, not knowing where to go nor what to do, where do you take a stand? Do you keep pressing for the truth? Do you keep pressing for what’s right? Hell, do you keep on pressing and pressing, even if you know that someone you hold so dear is already trapped in the middle of the war zone?
When I saw that he was already too engulfed in the thick of things, I did the unthinkable. I STOPPED. I just did.
I let go
I was once told, when you don’t know what to do, just don’t touch it. Don’t keep on poking and provoking. Just don’t touch it. Let it be. If it was meant to be destroyed, it will get destroyed eventually. If it was meant to end, then it will end right here, right now. Clichéd as it may sound, “if you love someone, set him free, if he comes back, then in the end, it was meant to be.” I stopped forcing the issue. I let it be. And for the first time in my life, I LET GO.
In my silence I could hear my heart breaking. I began to look at the sunrise with utmost hope for I know that behind the gray-est cloud, is a ray of sunshine waiting to burst through. Peaking. Revealing itself. Like a glimmer of hope, like that silver lining, like the morning that comes after the dawn, the sunrise after every storm, the rainbow always, after the rain.
Life teaches us to move on. Yet life also teaches us to move forward. But I chose to stay. To wait ’till the walls crumble by itself. And as I painstakingly waited for the storm to end, I muttered to myself: “this too shall pass. Just like the others. This too, shall pass.” I believed. I stayed. I stood still. Without knowing what the future holds. Hoping, praying, and hoping some more, that he will come to pass this way again.
On my Freedom day, I bid the three years goodbye. Not forever. For I know that someday, when everything is settled, we shall rise above this and win it one more time. Just like before, win it, again and again. Today may not be the day, not even tomorrow, but one day, he will find his way back to me, like how it was meant to be.
The Rubix Cube
I chanced upon an old post I wrote about the Rubix Cube. Indeed, it was a great analogy to what my heart was going through. Indeed, there have been people who have tried to solve the “Rubix Cube,” and there have been a couple who have given up trying. There were those who tried and tried, and without patience, they almost slammed the “Rubix Cube” on the wall because they were too tired solving the puzzle. But there is this one person, who patiently tried solving the puzzle. Diligently. Patiently. Trying to solve it for a day. Letting it rest for another. Pick it up, and solve it again. Until one day, the Rubix will be done at last.
And finally when he is done solving the Rubix, there it is, the rainbow, the ray of sunshine like a sudden burst of joy that encompasses anyone who knows that all the pain, all the waiting, all the patience is worth his while.
The last two months may have been amongst the most agonizing, but it is when I developed patience and perseverance. I understood that not everything can be taken down by my bare hands. That most of the time, we just have to trust God that everything is just a matter of timing. That everything falls into place if it was meant to fall in its rightful place. I understood what it is to give. To give until it hurts. To give until you bleed.
I loved what Michael Jordan said: “I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeeded.”
We have to try. We have to keep on trying for the sake of the most beautiful things in life that we have. Sometimes we have to choose peace over being right. Sometimes we just have to give in. For the sake of love. For the sake of life. For the sake of sanity. We lose some. We win some. The key to success, be it in relationships, work or otherwise is to keep on trying. The prize isn’t served on a silver platter, no matter if you are already a Queen. Try. Just try. One last time. It isn’t anymore a question of how good you are, but how much you really want to make it work. Choose to try. Choose to forgive. Choose to start over.
And then there is this thing called faith. Unwavering faith. Full trust in the higher power. Full trust in God, that everything happens for a reason. Choose your battles. Understand, that sometimes you have to lose some battles to win the war.
And as I finished reading the last chapter of Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, it dawned on me. We don’t live to please other people. As Bill Cosby once said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone.”
There will be people who wouldn’t want to be your friend. There will be people who will always find fault in you. There will be those who will not love you no matter how good you are to them. There will be people who wouldn’t be pleased with you whatever you do. Pay no mind to people who do not believe in you. Ignore people who are constantly destroying the beautiful things they see.
Bakit nga ba ang tao ang hilig sirain ang mga bagay na magaganda? Dahil ayaw nila na meron ka, ang wala sila. Kung wala sila, wala ka rin. May taong ganyan lang talaga.
But there are those that no matter how much you hate them, that no matter how you try walking out of their lives, you just can’t. Can’t. Because you have no peace without them. Because you were not meant to live life with out them. Because you just can’t, and you just won’t. Because it isn’t logical. It isn’t right. No matter what others say. No matter how much you loathe the times you fought and purposely hurt each other. You just keep coming back to where you started, again and again and again. So you choose to let your guard down and break your silence.
And on that fateful day, I told him, I wasn’t about to let him go. For all the beautiful things that has happened in both our lives, I think, him and me, we are worth fighting for. For the changes, the beautiful changes, him and me, we are worth fighting for. I stretched out my hand for the last time and told him to grab it. I didn’t get any response that day. But I told him, “I will wait for you, no matter how long it takes. I will stretch my hand for you, no matter how far you go. I will be here. Standing still. Waiting for you, because I know, we are worth fighting for.”
As my former assistant Annie once pointed out: “ma’am hindi sa lahat ng oras matigas ang tinapay.”
“And today, more than any other day, I am sure that this is what I want. And I’ll stand by it no matter what.” I told him. Slowly, his walls started to crumble down. Bit by bit. Piece by piece. Day by day. Brick by brick. It was crumbling down finally. He broke down his own walls, broke his silence, and reached out for my hand. I held on as tightly as I could. And this time, I know, I’m never letting go.
“Attraversiamo,” I recalled that word in the book I was reading. “Let’s cross over.”