Stoichiometry

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Once, I thought it was enough to have one thing in common–music, books, movies, food. I believed it was enough to fill the void that exists between two people.

Opposites attract.

They complement each other.

But then you realize, it isn’t. There are silences that weigh you down, heavy enough to open your eyes to make you realize that no, it takes more than that. Chemistry, maybe? I don’t know.

***

I didn’t expect that a simple car ride would end up to mean a lot to me. When that song started playing and the first few verses reminded me of Patrick, I couldn’t help but ask, “Homesick at Space camp?” No, it wasn’t that song but seeing you smile so wide, surprised that someone other than you knew about that, made me realize that I made the right guess, the right answer, to a question I didn’t know I was asking that time.

And so we talked about Fall Out Boy. Believe me, I was as surprised as you are, when I found out you liked their old songs. I didn’t really know anyone else who did aside from my high school friends. That was the band that got me closer to them and now, it’s doing the same thing by getting us closer, providing topics for our late-night chats. Do you know this one? Were you shocked when they got back from hiatus? Name your top 5 favorite FOB songs. How about this other band, do you like them? We could talk about them for days.

They say one common similarity could only take you so far and I wondered how long we could keep this up. We did, though. It’s been a month since I gave you that link and watched their concert together, we’re still here. We still keep each other up at night, way up, that I wonder how much time you have to be doing this while keeping up with school. Or who else you’re talking to. I didn’t even think we would be talking to each other, that we would have something to talk about since you seemed quiet, the basketball player everyone likes (I was right about that, to some extent) so I was surprised–and still am–that we hit it off.

***

You like sports. I like literature.

Kobe was your God. I think LeBron can beat him anytime.

You said you didn’t like Lizzie McGuire. Hilary Duff was my role model when I was an awkward teenager.

Norah was good for Barney, you told me. I think she was overbearing.

You pointed out how we seemed to not like the same things. Of course, I began to worry. How couldn’t I? It could mean how we’re not compatible. It could be a big roadblock. Yet, I realized how it was more interesting that way.  I like reading the passion in your messages whenever you try to tell me why you’re into those things, convincing me to believe it as well. I almost did, especially after you gave me 5 supporting statements as to why Kobe Bryant is the greatest NBA player of all time.

***

In a balanced chemical reaction, the relations among quantities of reactants and products typically form a ratio of positive integers.

I guess that’s also the reason why two positives repel each other; a positive and a negative attract each other. There is no one without the other. You can’t always agree on everything; you need something to spur a discussion. Ironically, those differences are the ones building the bridges between us, our similarities providing the scaffolding. I hope that as we get to know each other, we learn to accept this even more. I can’t wait to hear more about you and I can’t wait to tell you more about me. I just hope you’ll let me.

Did I tell you how watching a movie together while being in different places is part of my bucket list? Isn’t it funny how we were watching Landon cross things off Jamie’s List in “A Walk to Remember” and, in the process, you checked something off mine?

 

coffee (n.)

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Late-night conversations and spontaneous movie viewing with you always seem to be the highlight of my day. We can talk for endless hours non-stop that I begin to wonder if this is how it feels to have time stop for you, for our little secret, for us. Before we know it, it’s already 4 o’clock in the morning and it’s time to sleep. We don’t need to worry, though. We know that when night falls, the honesty of the late hour draping over us, we know we can find each other again. You keep me up at night and I don’t mind.

Five is just a number

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First Year

Rec Week, Freshman year. For a freshie to see all these orgs can be quite overwhelming especially when there are a lot of interesting ones. I’ve already joined AMS, my home org, and I think I can still join a few more. Instead of signing up alone for this other org, I decide to join my block mate in SPEED because at least I know one person there. It seemed interesting, anyway.

***

It was a Saturday and we were supposed to have our culminating activity in SOC to end the sem. Sadly, I woke up at around 10 and missed our 8am-call time. I tried calling our area head, Carlos, and said sorry a lot of times. I was really looking forward to it and would’ve wanted to spend time with the kids but I guess I could never win a fight against sleep.

I guess one of the reasons why I couldn’t wake up that time was the weather. Ever since I woke up, it was raining and it just got worse as the day went on. Eventually, all the Saturday classes got cancelled, warnings were given, and the waters kept rising. That was the day Typhoon Ondoy hit.

I later found out that they were in SOC for more than 5 hours; they got home at around 10pm because of the rain and therefore couldn’t really leave the area. They played cards and tried to assure each other and the kids that it will be alright. I’m not sure if missing the last area visit was a good thing or a bad thing.

Second Year

It goes without saying that Sophomore year was my lowest year; things just kept going from bad to worse. Yet, I’m glad how SPEED kept me afloat and gave me enough motivation to still swim. Instead of worrying about Accounting, I had long forms and program flows to settle as part of being SpFiesta’s co-project head, along with Steph. I know acads should’ve been the first priority but doing things for the org was what kept me going, enough to at least give me a reason to look forward to another day. At least I was waking up for something and for someone.

Finally, it was time for SpFiesta. All the kids and volunteers were all very happy from playing all the games we prepared, watching the performances, and just by spending time with each other. In the end, the project turned out to be a big success. I can’t say the same about my grades, though. Still.

Third Year

It’s already my third year in SPEED and I still haven’t been to one EvSem. I’ve been invited to attend one a lot of times but kept missing it since I always have a ticket home ready before I even know about the dates. This time though, I made sure to schedule it properly. EvSem was when I met a lot of new people. I initially thought Benjhoe was really quiet since he didn’t talk much on the way to the venue. I later found out I was wrong. Super.

Since I don’t usually hang out in the Sproom, it was a first for me to really get to talk to the other speple. For someone who doesn’t talk much, it was quite a challenge for me but it turned out really well. By the time we were back in Katip, I already knew how to play Werewolf, saved the phone numbers of male speple in my phone, and, most importantly, gained a lot of new friends.

That was also the year I finally decided to run for Spofficership. After long hours of discernment, I became the next VP for Advocacy.

Fourth Year

I thought I would be good at this since I’ve headed projects before but you’ll never know until you’re actually there, juggling different aspects of the project—and of the org—all at the same time so I was really glad that I could always count on Joni to help me, saving me from my tendencies to be disorganized or to panic easily. A student’s smile or hug, and even from the volunteers are enough reasons to remind me—us, the whole Advocacy Team—to keep doing what we do and how all the panic and stress is worth it.

Senior Year was also when I started going to the Sproom during my break, getting to know not only the welcoming atmosphere of the room (despite how it’s usually full of people and other things) but also the people inside it. I got to know their stories and I told them mine as well. I learned to go past my introversion and actually talked to everyone; I even joined Sproove. It was when I really found what it meant to be a Speple, to be in a SpFamily.

Like all families, disagreements are inevitable. It could have ended on a better note but there are things you can’t control. So we just move on and learn from them.

Fifth Year

I always have this feeling that my time as a Speple has just begun. There are always new people to get to know and talk to, official events and even random bonding moments to attend. I thought it would be a quieter year this year since most of the people I know have graduated but I was wrong (again). In fact, the list of Speple that I meet just keeps growing exponentially. There’s still a lot of things to talk about and bond over. More importantly, there’s still so much we can do for our students and for the advocacy. I haven’t even been to some of our areas but I intend to do that before this year ends.

I know the clock keeps ticking—there’s only two or so months left—but my five years in SPEED has taught me that you never really stop being a Speple. Although you may have graduated, the random kulitan and bonding moments will never stop. The advocacy will still be there and I hope that graduating and being in the real world will even drive us to do more for it.

I can only imagine how it will be to see the students again in a few years’ time and realize how much they have improved yet they remain to be the sweetest and best people to give out hugs. Those who stayed would’ve taken care of the org well and then there’d be new faces who, like me, were drawn to the org in their own way. Then, it would feel like I never left.

I wrote this article for my org’s Tumblr site (Check it out here). My org, Ateneo Special Education Society, caters to persons with special needs and we do weekly visits as well as organize various advocacy and fundraising projects for our students from partner and non-partner institutions. Looking back, I don’t know how I different I would be if I didn’t join the org. I’m going to miss it once I graduate (which is, hopefully, in two months). 😦

This Is How You Almost Date Someone

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I’m sure you felt it, too, but I guess it wasn’t enough.

Thought Catalog

We existed in the strange in-between of the possible and the probable. It was in the unsaid, in the expected, in the logical next steps. Our friends accepted it, anticipated it, shook their heads and said, “It’s only a matter of time.” They’d ask sly questions and accuse us outright, and all we ever managed were shy smiles and hopeful maybes. We were almost dating. We almost dated.

But almost doesn’t count for much. Almost doesn’t bridge the gap from “not quite” to “yes.”

When you almost date someone, it’s not because you’re only doing things by halves. Everything depends on the build and the anticipation in that gray area of maybe. You do not keep your secrets from them, do not laugh at half the volume, do not kiss them with only half the intensity. Maybe you’re shy about how you feel. Maybe you hold back there, but that’s…

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Moon Landing

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1Q84

I’ve always liked looking at the moon. The way it shines at night, bringing light to the vast, dark night sky aside from the stars of course.

Does the moon ever feel lonely? It’s far out into space. People often look at it since it shines but do they really look? Can they really see? Back then, they thought it was that far, that it was impossible to ever set foot in it. Yet, Neil Armstrong did it. He showed the world that you can.

I dream of going to the moon, exploring its vastness. One day, I’d like to raise a flag with my name on it, just so I could say that I was here. I was there for you. That you let me. It’s not that impossible after all.

I just wanted to write something quick since I’ve been meaning to write something for the past few days but I couldn’t find myself to actually start. This was done in a hurry so it might not be the best one. There’s just many things going on that I don’t know where to start. Anyway, I hope you’re having better days! 🙂

Putting yourself first

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You should start putting yourself first before others.”

My friend just told me that after I told him how my friend also likes the same guy I like (sounds familiar, don’t you think?). I guess it really struck a chord with me.

Maybe you can point it to my “big sister instinct,” one I’ve had since I was a kid, after I got a little brother. I think acquired this thing wherein I let him do the things he wants just so my mom wouldn’t get angry at me. I’m not sure, really. I just have this thing wherein I let people have their way, where I put other people’s needs and wants before mine. I encourage and “support” them to go after the things they want even if that means giving up my desire for that same thing, too.

It has happened before: I happen to like a guy then I find out my close friend likes him, too, after confiding to me her feelings about him, worries and hopes included. Maybe, that’s why nothing “good” has happened to me.

I don’t go after the things I want.

Contrary to what I’d like to believe in, I don’t really pursue things. Sure, I decided to take the leap and shift to another course even if I wasn’t sure how it’d turn out. Yet, it’s in the Big Moments that I don’t know how to do the big jump. I chicken out. It’s like there’s this internal switch that tells me it’s okay to stay in this comfortable circle. This leaves me within my own confines while I go and watch other people progress.

And I guess I’m done with it. It’s my turn to be happy.

I’m sure she would understand if I would still pursue this guy, in my own little way. She called herself a “ballsy girl,” being able to ask a guy out on a date or even maybe tell him how she really feels; this somehow riled me up. Is it called cheating if that motivated me even more to be more direct?

I’m blabbering now, am I?

Point is, I’d still continue liking him. Love is a battlefield; some win, some don’t. I’ll just continue doing my thing, in the hopes that he’ll like me, too. Wouldn’t it be funny if he chooses none of us because he still likes that other girl?