Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Climbing Mountains

I have climbed a lot of symbolic mountains — striving to reach my career goals, traveling alone to places I haven’t been to, or getting over a painful heartbreak. I would like to believe that I am a strong person, but I never would’ve thought that I would actually cross out one item off my bucket list this soon — climbing an actual mountain.

Mt. Daguldol in San Juan, Batangas, Philippines, 3/9 difficulty level, 672 MASL, is my mother mountain. I never planned to do it so soon, but opportunity presented itself. I had a lot of hesitations and insecurities. It has been a few months since I was doing cardio at the gym. I live a sedentary lifestyle. I prefer glamping over camping. I don’t want to be stressed while enjoying nature. That’s not me. My mind is full of excuses, but guess what? I figured a lot of things I didn’t know about myself after I grabbed that opportunity.

Mt. Daguldol summit view | 23 June 2018

A couple of days before the climb, I donated blood during our office blood drive. On the climb itself, my menstrual period started earlier than expected. It was probably triggered by undue stress caused by my initial ascent. I felt like I was running on low fuel. I can feel my heart overworking to get oxygen to my lungs and blood to my veins. It didn’t help that the further I go up, the less oxygen there is. I had to stop for a few minutes after covering only short distances to catch my breath. I was thinking of quitting and of going back down. I told myself, the spirit is willing but maybe the flesh is weak.

I’ve been through different types of pain, I often tell myself maybe I am just a self-proclaimed masochist. I’m sure this was just another type of it. Besides, I’m already there. Even if it takes me hours to reach that summit, I will do it. No pain, no gain, right?

Mt. Daguldol summit | Pretty tree | 📷: Paula Africa
Mt. Daguldol summit | Lone white horse | 📷: Paula Africa

I took a lot of chances to rest. Because I have supportive companions, I walked at my own pace. During these rest stops, I watched the scenery and listened to nature sounds around me. I appreciated the cool and clean air. I spotted birds, flowers, butterflies and wild plants I haven’t seen before.

On the other hand, I kept pressuring myself because: (1) I don’t want to keep my other group mates waiting for me; and (2) I don’t want to quit. It took me almost twice the time as what it took almost all of my group mates, but I did it. The summit scenery was well worth it.

With my group mates at the summit. Thanks for waiting for me! :) | 📷: Chis Cailo
With my physical and emotional support systems at the summit | 📷: Paula Africa
With my physical and emotional support systems back at jump-off | 📷: Paula Africa

I’ve discovered a sense of community throughout the trail. I’ve met strangers who became my instant friends. People were kind and accommodating. People respect each other. I was grateful I witnessed that and became a part of it. I was also grateful for the perfect weather. I thank those who believed in me and even those who did not because I know I’ve proved them wrong. I was especially grateful for the physical and emotional support. Without them, I wouldn’t have survived.

Me: Achievement unlocked! | 📷: Paula Africa

I never thought I could do this, but as they say, I’ll never know unless I try.

So, I did and it was worth it.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Putting Out The Fire

They say we're shittiest to the ones we love. I agree. We're more vulnerable around people who we thought would accept us despite our imperfections.

Maybe he thought I wasn't good enough for him and he found a better one to fall in love with. I may be emotional or shitty, but I guess I just loved him.

Now, I still have rage in me like a fire burning, but it's time to close this chapter in my book. I will deal with it like I've dealt with my father's death-- take it a day at a time. I hope that one day, I will recall the good memories, acknowledge it, then let go. No more tears, no more anger nor hatred.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Thoughts 2017

Photo from Fox Hill Resort

I do not celebrate Thanksgiving, but I would like to use this time and space to show how grateful I am for the following:

  • My life. It may be a rollercoaster right now, but this is all I've got and I have the will to make this work.
  • My family and close relatives. We may not agree all the time but I know they have my back and they love me come what may.
  • My friends. We may not see each other all the time and they may not agree with my decisions in life, but they still like me and respect me.
  • My work. I have an amazing boss and and awesome team. Yes, there are stressful days, but they're worth going through.
  • My life lessons. May it be from heartbreaks, broken promises, disappointments due to unmet expectations, financial hardships or physical illnesses. I will stand up every time I fall. I will stand up stronger and wiser.
  • The little blessings. May it be good weather or a great book or alone time or a delicious cup of coffee or tea. I have to remind myself that every day is a blessing.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Solo Trip

It was exactly a year ago when I experienced my first ever long-distance, solo, out-of-town trip. I wanted to go to a place where I thought I would get to know more the culture in Northern Luzon, particularly in the Ilocos region. Before that trip, the farthest I've been to up north is Baguio. I have to say, that trip was a total eye-opener for me. I shared a room and dined with strangers. We made each other's presence a part of our memories.

I have to admit that one major reason why I took that Vigan-Laoag-Pagudpud 3-day trip was because I wanted to get to know a certain person more. At that point in my life, he was someone special and I think if I am going to be a part of his future, I better learn a thing or two about his roots.

What a change a year can bring! Today, this person is no longer a part of my life because he chose a different path and he was never quite honest about it. I am still in the stage where I am confused, sad, uncertain and angry about what he did to me, but I am taking this anniversary of my trip to be another sign that I should embark on another SOLO trip. This time, I will embark on this journey for only myself.

So, here I am, a bit lonely but still feeling hopeful, on the edge of another year. I hope I will look back to this blog entry next year and smile because I know I will be better. I know that everything will be better.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Moving On: Day 19

Funny that I asked for a sign to help me make the right decisions and I got a barrage of signs that I am about to drown in them.

It is true that some people are not what they seem. It is always a risk to fall in love. You don't know what kind of fall you're having. Me? I got destroyed. All my dreams, hopes and beliefs in love got utterly destroyed.

Now, I will give the reins to karma. Today is the day when I can truly say that I don't want him in my life anymore. No more looking back. I will just retain all the lessons I've learned from this experience.

My world is currently topsy turvy. I lost my grip, my mind is whirring and my heart is full of anger. I will need some time to regain focus. I will need some time to be calm. Maybe then, I can cry all the heaviness in my heart.

I'll be okay. Soon.