28×22: 28 Experiences That Will Stay with Me Forever

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This will be the 6th year since I started this tradition of writing a list of something once a year. And as the years go by, it’s getting harder to find topics I can make a list of and talk about. I don’t know what hit me that I ended up making this list because honestly, it scares the living daylights out of me. Much more than my normal lists, this one is almost like a confession. I might be revealing a bigger part of me than I normally do. Why did I say that? Because some of the things on this year’s list are things I have never told anyone before. Not a living soul, that is. My only consolation is that, nobody really pays attention to my blog posts so I’m still safe. Probably. At least, I’ll be able to keep up with my yearly ritual. So without further ado, let me start ‘listing’ 28 Experiences I’ll always remember (in no particular order).

28×22: 28 Experiences That Will Stay with Me Forever

  1. Failing the CPA Board Exam when I was 22.

When I look back at it now, part of it was really hilarious than heartbreaking. You see, I don’t like other people seeing me cry. When I found out that I failed, my first thought was to go somewhere no one can see me crying. Guess where I went? The cinema. I paid for the movie that was showing right that instant and cried myself in the dark.

I was in a bout of depression after that. I didn’t really know I was depressed but looking at it now, I definitely was. I hate myself too much at that time and I can’t even pull myself to do something useful. In fact, I sleep at night wishing that tomorrow just won’t come. Pathetic, I know. Depression is a real thing. I even contemplated on suicide at some point but I guess I don’t want hell. That and I’m too coward to actually do it.

Sometime along those days, I had a huge fight with my sister. She told me really really mean and hurtful things which I know she really thinks about me. I was so hurt and angry I told my dad I’m going back to the city. I was partly running away. But it actually did me good. I was able to start anew and pull myself together.

  1. Watching Shrek 2

This is partly the reason why I can’t forget #1. It was the movie in the cinema I paid for when I decided to cry myself in darkness. I didn’t know it was what the cinema was showing. Everyone inside the cinema were laughing their hearts out while I was crying. The funny part? There was a couple sitting right in front of me. And every time I sniff and blow my nose, the guy kept looking back at me. He must be thinking I was crazy. I can’t see his expression and I don’t really care that time, but I could feel that the girl was sort of annoyed.

  1. Joining the school theater when I was in my junior year in high school

It was an amazing experience for me even if the memory was somehow tarnished by a couple of guys from my class who were such big emotional bullies. Man! They ruined my confidence big time. But then thanks to the guy from the theater who was not only good looking but a great morale booster as well I was able to pull myself through the night of our last performance. Too bad I can’t remember his name anymore.

  1. When one of my high school teacher told my other high school teacher something bad about me.

This one happened by accident. I was going to the faculty office to clarify something with one of my teachers but before I entered I heard my name being mentioned so I did what most people do. I eavesdropped. Oh I was shocked. This teacher was always sweet and nice to me it really caught me off guard hearing her bad mouthing me to the other teacher. Don’t get me wrong, I am not so above myself to believe that everyone will like me. In fact the opposite is what always happened. But I just felt betrayed because I’ve been so genuine towards her with all my interactions with . I was really hurt hearing her talked that way about me. I don’t think I ever gave her a real smile after that incident.

  1. Getting kicked out of the school paper when I was in grade school.

Our newspaper advisor got promoted and transferred to a different school. The new one and I, well not really new as she was my homeroom teacher, we don’t see eye to eye. We get on each other’s nerve. She doesn’t like me probably because I speak my mind too much which often times do not agree with her. I don’t like her because she always play favorite and give credit to people who don’t do real work and just kiss her ass. I was 12. And when I disagreed with her again, she told me that I can always quit if I can’t accept her terms. I quit. The really annoying part? All the articles that I wrote before I leave the paper, she put it there under someone else’s name and she didn’t even named me contributor.

  1. Getting bullied in grade school.

I guess at this point, you can say that grade school is not a happy memory for me. I was bullied almost every day of my grade school life. I had this classmate who breaks any of my new stuff just because. Almost every guy in the class calls me name for their past time. It was terrible years for me. If I could ever go back to my past, I’ll definitely not go back to those years.

  1. First Day of High School

All the firsts in my life made an impact that will forever be remembered. Beginning my high school life is one of those. Most kids who start high school are excited about it. You know, new environment, new friends, and maybe a sense of being older than what you really are. Me? I was scared. I was so scared I almost want to tell mom if it’s possible not to go. Grade school has been pretty traumatic for me but along the years I have learned to handle all of that. High School, well I felt like there’ll be bigger bullies since it’s a bigger school. And I don’t know if I can handle that. I was anxious from the time I took my exam to that time I step in school for the first day. It went well. Shocking I know. I put up my wall and pretend that if I know more than I really do, maybe my classmates will think I am someone they can’t mess with. It worked for quite some time. But that wall came back like a boomerang on me on my junior year causing me to deal with bigger bullies I dealt with in grade school.

  1. Being named editor in chief in our high school newspaper

It’s not as exciting as any other event in my life. In fact I didn’t even expect to have it. I guess after what I experience from grade school I just tried not to expect that much anymore. But I remembered it well. Maybe because it proved me that I can be wrong about the people around me. I didn’t expect the people around me to be happy by that news either. But they were. Somehow, I felt like it was the good karma for what happened to me before.

  1. Being bullied in high school

If I thought that being bullied at age 9 until 12 was bad, man! I was wrong. Being bullied when you are fifteen was a lot worse. I think it’s because looking back at it, I could tell myself that I was bullied before because my classmates were childish and that they don’t really know what they are doing. They are kids. But the same self-consoling can’t be applied when you are fifteen. You’re old enough to know if you are doing something wrong by then. And what hurts most was that these people who bullied me, they are the same people I put my lunch breaks and go home much later than usual after school just so I can help them understand physics and chemistry or trigo and algebra. They are the same people I wasted time making reviewers for just so I can help them improved their grades. And hearing them talk nasty shit behind my back and I mean literally behind my back, I felt so used and I felt so stupid for trusting the wrong people. And I hated myself for not learning from what I’ve experienced before and made a laughing stock of myself.

  1. The guy who helped me regained my confidence when I was 15.

By now I guess it’s appropriate to say that I have the knack of meeting assholes in my life. By the time I was 15 I almost hate men. Almost because my best friend was a guy so I can’t totally just go hating all of them. But really, after being bullied in high school I don’t want to be in speaking distance with a guy except for my best friend. Then summer came and I met this guy. He was three years my senior. He’s not really tall, but dark and handsome. He was really good looking. Everyone in their circle of friend was. But I don’t like talking with boys and men at that point. But I could tolerate watching them. Because I love basketball. And this guy, he was just so nice and always has a smile for everybody. We didn’t really became friends. But every time I saw him he will always smile at me and tell me hello. Even if I try to pretend that I didn’t see him. And when there’s a chance he would even spend time making small talk with me and tell me jokes. Well, clearly, I had a crush on him even if I don’t want to. I guess it was destiny telling me that not all men are bad and that there are still men out there who could still be nice to me and treat me good even if I’m not beautiful and even if I can’t help them in their exams and home work. It must look like something so shallow but back then it was big deal to me. To someone whose confidence and trust in people was in the verge of shattering to nothingness, he came like a savior. And I will forever remember him for that.

  1. When my mom told me to never cry when I had a fight with somebody

If I’ll rank my list, this will probably be number 1. I was 9. I went home crying because I had a fight from the school bullies. I didn’t remember what exactly happened in school. All I remember was that I wanted so bad to be home to tell my mom what happened. I was expecting her to console me and comfort me with her words and maybe a hug wouldn’t be bad too. But as I entered the door she was in hysterics asking me what happened so I told her. But the words of comfort and the hug didn’t come. She went on a roll nagging me why I didn’t fought back, and that why did I just cried. Her exact words, “Kapag inaway ka, awayin mo rin. Hindi ‘yong iiyak ka lang.” (When somebody fight you, fight back. Don’t just cry.) I was so upset after having that talk. No hugs. No comforting words. No telling me it’s okay. But when I grew up, those words have been my strength. Looking back at it reminds me that crying won’t get you anywhere. And that I should fight my battles and not let them win easily. To fight when I believe I’m right. It’s the same reason I don’t ever want other people to see my tears.

  1. My first love.

Of course most of you who knows me knew that tragic story of my first love. It’s the usual I love him, he loves somebody else sort of thing. There was a point that I actually thought I could have a chance with him. But I got scared. And gave up. Then he found someone else. He’s happily married now. And I’m happy for him too. After everything that he went through, he deserves to finally have that happiness and more. I moved on. It took me a while. There was even a point where I wondered if I really ever will. Time flies, seasons change and you get to meet new people along the way. It wasn’t an easy journey but I guess time heals all wounds. Now I can go back through the memories without feeling sad or hurt about it.

  1. My first boyfriend.

“I remember the boy, but I don’t remember the feelings anymore.” I guess this would be apt. I may not remember anymore that kind of feeling I had the first time I was in a relationship but I will forever remember that person I was with in it. He’s a great guy. He’s the first guy who ever made me feel beautiful and loved. But then I was young and I was afraid to make mistakes. I don’t really know how to handle a relationship back then. I let him go. And I guess I won’t really ever be able to return the kind of love that he has for me so it’s just right to let him go. Last I heard, he’s married now with one kid.

  1. That guy who is now in that happy place

He’s probably the person in my life I never really told anyone about. It’s probably because we met in the most unconventional way and I’m afraid my friends would judge me on the way it happened so I never really had the courage to talk to people about him. Until now. The way I met him an accident. And I never even want to talk to him when I met him. Except that he was persistent. I guess he was bored and he probably thought it will be a great past time to annoy a stranger. But eventually I warmed up to him. He was six years older than me but it was not a problem for us to become really good friends. We even went to a couple of friendly dates. In fact the first time I experienced being on a date, friendly or otherwise was the first time we went out. We only had two because I was busy with studies and he was busy with work. He was in their family’s business. But we always talk on the phone. We never went beyond being friends. He was like my breather when school became too much and I guess I was the same for him when stress with work became too much for him. We were each other’s stress reliever. About a year after the last time we went out, he told me he’s going away. He said he’s going to visit his mom. I’m not really sure I believed him. We lost touch after that. Almost a year later when I’ve almost forgotten about his existence, my phone rang with his number on it. It was a day I’ll never forget. It was November 1 when I got that call. I thought the call was because he was back. But no. The person on the other line was his brother. And he called to tell me he was gone forever. And now that I’m writing this, I feel guilty. I realized I can’t remember his last name any longer. But to the guy who cheered me up when I felt that I can’t keep up with my classmates at school, or when I failed a test, got shamed on by my professor because I didn’t know the answer, the guy who was simply there when I needed someone to listen. Thank you. I may not remember your last name anymore but the rest of you is etched on my heart forever.

  1. The people I met last year through PBB.

I never even thought that PBB could play a part in my life. It was a television show. But mutual love for this show had led me to meeting people whom I was able to share a part of myself not many people know. And it’s nice that despite being what I am, they have accepted me and became good friends who were there to listen and talk even if it’s not about the show anymore. They were the people who were there when times were tough and friends were too far. It was memorable too because it was where I learned that online tones can be easily misconstrued. Remember to use the smiley from time to time.

  1. Meeting Rafael Rosell in person

All my friends and my family knows that I’m a huge Rafael Rosell fan. It’s been fourteen years now but I can still remember clearly how I became a fan. That’s why when I met him the first time in 2010, I was ecstatic. I wasn’t able to sleep that night. But I guess aside from that thrill and happiness of meeting that person you admired for so long, it became more memorable because of the friends I gained because of that night that I met him.

  1. Attending a writing workshop at PHR

It was not really the workshop that got stuck with me but the people I met there. It’s the place where I met someone and became good friends with and I know that this person will always be there for me through thick and thin. If it weren’t for that workshop, I’m not sure we’ll ever cross path. And there are a couple more people I met from there that are now an important part of my life. Attending that workshop was like a milestone. It was also that workshop that made me realized how much I love to write even though I can hardly do that now.

  1. My first day on my first job.

I was an accounting assistant on my first job. It was a lending company. I only stayed there for half a year but the experienced I gained from there felt like I worked there for years. It was a great experienced. The people there were nice too. If it weren’t for the fact that I can hardly feed myself with the salary I was getting, I’m probably still there. It was where I learned to deal with clients, collectors and officemates. It was where I learned what it feels to be a working girl. A working girls whose efforts on the job gets appreciated by the people around her.

  1. My last day on my last job

My last job was a total opposite of my first job. From the position I was in up to the people around me, it was like two ends of a pole. I stayed for more than two years but looking back at it, it felt shorter. I have this notion that it’s the way God helps us through our battles. He makes the enjoyable feel longer even if they are short and the hellish ones feel shorter. Sometimes when I look back I wonder if I regret ever resigning from that position. I can’t deny I was receiving better salaries then. But man, the stress and depression it got me into was nothing but hell. I don’t smoke. But during that time that I was so stressed, I kind of realized why some people do. There was a point my stress level was bigger than me I feel like joining those people doing ‘yosi breaks’ wondering if popping out a smoke would take some of it off. Of course I didn’t. Aside from all the side effects and what not I’m allergic to it. But yes I survived. Some people may think I was a coward for handing in a resignation than enduring it all but I felt free after I did that. No more working the extra mile just so people could take credit for your work. No more dealing with asshole bosses, no more begging for something that should have been mine in the first place. If politics is bad enough, work politics is even worse. I don’t think I’ll ever want to be in that road again.

  1. Getting my manuscript approved.

This is something I continue to struggle with and as long that I aspire to be an author, I would always have to deal with this. And I guess it’s okay. Out of 8 manuscript I have written I only had one approved and published. And it was such a great feeling I can still remember every bit of when it happened. If I need to get rejected another 8 times before I get that one approval, it’s worth it. It’s worth the struggle. Well, of course it would be better if I get less rejection and more approval. I guess what I’m really trying to say is, I’m still here and I won’t give up. It may be taking me longer time to write the next one but slowly, I’m getting back to that old me who get inspired and write just out of anything.

  1. My Grandma’s Death.

My grandma’s (on my father’s side) death was not the first death in the family but it caused the most impact on me. First because I loved her very much and a lot of people do. Her death was not only our loss but a loss to a lot of people whose life was touched by her love and generosity. Second, as creepy as it sound, is because a few weeks before her death I’ve been dreaming that someone will die. It’s not the first time that it happened either. The difference was, my dream didn’t show me exactly who was dying. There was even a point that I thought it might be me. It was around Christmas. The dreams had me agitated and anxious. To let that feeling out, I made Christmas cards for all my family and friends and bought gifts for those I love dearly. I was thinking, if it’s me whose gonna die, at least they will know I love them. Two weeks before Christmas my grandma was hospitalized. I was the only one who wasn’t able to take care of her and I felt so bad. But she got through that and I said to myself, maybe the dream was false alarm even though that nagging feeling won’t go away. A week before Christmas and it’s vacation already. A flood broke out in my province. I can’t go home. There was a typhoon too. I badly want to be home. Dad said I need to wait because the ships are not making trips one almost sunk. I got more agitated. I want to insist on going home but then that dream, I felt like I’ll make it come true if I push through. I got home a few days later. I was safe. Everyone was too. I told myself again, false alarm. And Christmas came and was gone. I gave my grandma the card I made for her. She died the day after Christmas. Until now, I remember very well the things that transpired that night. But above all things, I will forever remember how even through her death she showed us how much life she had touched, how many people she inspired and that though she was gone her legacy and inspiration will continue to live on.

  1. Getting Angry.

I feel it’s so wrong to talk about anger just right after talking about my grandma. Because I know she wouldn’t like what I’ll be saying next if she knew. But I’m running out of entries and this is what came to my mind. So… anger. I’m bad at handling anger. I’m vengeful and I keep grudges pretty well which is not pretty at all. But you know, I think God gave me the kind of patience that I have so I could compensate the way I handle my anger. I’m a very patient person. I don’t get angry easily. In all my years of existence I’ve only been angry four times. I still remember all of them well. I’ve healed for the other three event that it happened even though it took me a long while. The recent one was not so easy to forget, much more to forgive. And I realized that it’s even harder to forgive people who’s not even sorry. I’m trying, really but it is so hard. I know it’s wrong to keep that anger in me. It’s not healthy and it’s a sin. Hopefully by the grace of God, one of these days I’ll get there.

  1. Family Trips.

My dad’s side of the family love going into trips. Since 2008, we had 3 family trips. That meant uncles, aunties, cousins and siblings all together in an out of town sort of family reunion. It was always so fun to spend time with them. I and my cousins practically grew up like siblings but there’s something on a trip that lets you get to know them more. My aunts and uncles too. I learned that there are some with anxieties with regards to travelling by sea or air. Some of them a little kill joy and mood killer at times, some can walk forever it was almost hard to keep up, some who are definitely the life of the journey. More than the wonderful place that we get to visit, the bonding moments are really priceless.

  1. Walking the streets of Hong Kong alone.

It’s been in my bucket list to travel alone. And though I didn’t really planned on going to Hong Kong alone, it was self-satisfying to know that I manage a day in a foreign country all by myself. Of course, I had help from a few Filipino there with directions and instructions (I can’t read Chinese) but still I went from one place to another and explored the place with just me, myself and I. It’s not as fun when you travel with a friend with you. But since it’s on my bucket list, I felt like I achieved something when I did it. And thank goodness I didn’t get lost. Almost every Chinese I talked to started with “no engrish, no engrish!” and it was so hard to communicate with hand gestures.

  1. My tutee.

When I was in college, I worked part-time as a tutor. One of the kids I was tutoring for was a high school student. I can’t remember his name. His size was thrice mine. But I remember him the most among those I tutored for. Maybe because he was the oldest among them and he was the only one bigger than I am among them. It made me feel accomplished that I was able to exercise authority to someone so much bigger than I am. And well the fact that I really helped improving his grades felt so good. That meant they didn’t waste money hiring me and that I know what I was doing.

  1. Passing the Civil Service Exam

For some people passing the civil service exam may sound petty. Compared to board exams and some other exams, the civil service exam may not be as much as a big deal. However, after failing the CPA board exam, I felt like it would be utterly stupid of me if I failed this one too. Like I would really be a total loser if I did. Add to that the fact that every family member who took that exam passed it. The day after the exam, I failed so drained. I don’t know how it was no big deal, it was hard. For me it was. Maybe not as hard as the CPA board but those who told me it was easy was lying, deep within me I’m hoping I made it but I’m scared to checked the results too. That’s why I was so relieved that I passed.

  1. The year I turned 20 and 23

Some people remembered their 18th birthday the most. The day I turned 18 was no different than an ordinary day. I was even at work and had no time to celebrate it. But the year I turned 20 and 23, a very dear friend surprised me. When I turned 20, I decided to really celebrate it. I was so stressed with school and my thesis and the people I am with that time didn’t make it easier for me. When my birthday came, I decided to prepare something and invited a few friend. But I was so surprised when the number of people came were too much for the space that our little apartment could accommodate. 23 was a little different. It was my first week on my first job and I didn’t even remembered that it was my birthday. I came home to be surprised that my cousin prepared something for me. And that friend who surprised me before came with an ice cream and cake and another friend. It was one of the best birthdays I had.

  1. TODAY.
    I’m supposed to list 28. There are more I can list down but I don’t really know how to express them in words. So I decided that the 28th is a blank page. Today, I will fill it with another memory that I’ll never forget. It’s been a while but maybe I don’t need to wait to be thirty to celebrate that I am still alive. So instead of an experience, I give my thanksgiving. For this life, for all the blessings, for all the wonderful people in my life that multiplied that blessings and for you who have given me inspiration for the past year. And if anyone actually took time to read this, thank you! It doesn’t always happen but if ever it does, thank you for wasting some of your time to read something about me.

If you get to this point, that meant you were able to endure reading bits and pieces of the last 28 years of my life. I know I don’t exactly lead an exciting life. It’s pretty boring actually. But it was years full of learning for me. Thank you for staying and enduring the details of my life even though it would not benefit nor entertain you

~shy
9/22/15.

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