Of having have left


Photo grabbed from: Vince D.

A year ago, I wrote “The curious case of leaving”, detailing how I felt during graduation and the LAVOXA send-off. There, I told myself that:

I may not be in a good place right now but I know that I’ll get somewhere someday.

Somewhere, after a year, turned out to be on Sir Jun’s roof top, celebrating his attorney-hood with Lavoxans of different generations. Despite initial hesitations about going, I came to congratulate him for achieving his goal and for just being an awesome human being, really. Also, it was the perfect excuse to meet up with Lavoxans and other friends.

In a mix of familiar and new people, I felt less overwhelmed than I would’ve been a year ago. I wasn’t fretting about silence and having no one to talk to (because, bottom line,  I really just wanted to be a part of this moment). More importantly, despite being a potato, I have learned to give in to urges of wanting to see people whenever I have the chance to do so. Perhaps, I have grown up.

Note to self: Missing them could just mean missing them, not distance or rules of separation.

Other than being a little more carefree, there’s a lot that changed about me – both good and bad. The good include this new sense of self-love and assertiveness that I found inside me. The bad include parts I’ve left stagnant and parts I lost.

I admitted it before, there are parts of myself that I may have unconsciously traded away for learning experiences, but at least, now, these missing pieces are currently being healed and filled with a new kind of magic. So right now, I’m happier and I know more of myself.

Status: Healing and Happy.

After a long while, I finally felt like I’m doing something right again. For so long, I’ve been so down about life, getting through days just because I had to. I’d almost forgotten how it felt to do good, to care about people, to pin your heart on your sleeve without worrying that it’ll be slashed into pieces.

It seems that, even though I’m still not 100% percent sure about where I want my life to go, I’m at a place where I’m meant to be. And this place, is not a safe haven where I can hide until I feel better, instead, it’s a home where I can challenge myself and rediscover the “Pauline Navarro” that’s been slumbering for months. I recognize myself now.

God, I’m just so thankful!

A year ago, I couldn’t even imagine how I would be able to go, survive. Now, I can look back on the experiences I’ve had so far and thank them for the lessons they taught me. It’s just unbelievable how after being so lost back then, I’m here now with direction and heart still full of hope.

Maybe, this piggy really has taken flight.



I’ll miss you at a distance.

(Written last July 11, 2016)


Photo credit: favim.com

I miss you and distance is the only thing that allows me to do so.

You see, even if I believe in fighting to stay in your life, I couldn’t find the willpower to fight against my worries. I don’t have the strength to reach out to you, to ask you how you’ve been or to just simply break the barrier between your green dot and mine, and start a short conversation. Maybe, it’s because I wish, deep in my heart, that we connected so deeply that not talking wouldn’t matter. And maybe, secretly, I also don’t want to seem so desperate, clinging onto you.

In my head, I’ve drafted the rules of closure and goodbye, and rule number two is to stay away long enough to miss and be missed. That’s what I’ve been doing all these months, I guess, with every unreplied message and missed call. It works in my head, trust me, and this rule allows me to keep to my thoughts and keep what we had alive in my mind.

I believe that once a farewell has been said, whether it just happened or it had to happen, it must be respected. It’s a both a restriction and comfort. For one, I would no longer worry about messing up the things I say and I would no longer panic about the relationship that was bound to get rocky somewhere. In turn, I won’t hear from you and I would have to stop the urges to tell you how my day went.

You’ve become my far away star. I wish on you every night and miss you when I remember how warm you were by my side. But then again, nowadays, I am more familiar at gazing at you, scrolling through my newsfeed and seeing your photos, and hearing about you from common friends. I am strangely relaxed by this sad comfort.

Still, some days, I don’t know why I do this or why this is worth doing in the first place. The sidelines can get lonely and staying by the walls can feel cold and suffocating at times. But, I also don’t know exactly how to break the silence and this is the only way I’ve come to learn how to think of you.

And so, concealed in messages I don’t send and in attempts to contact you after dreaming about seeing you again, I miss you at a distance.

In my heart, I know that not talking could seem like I’m brushing you off or that I don’t care anymore. I am fully aware that losing touch could mean losing you. But, I just couldn’t wire myself to suddenly open my soul to you, because, trust me, if you see inside me and discover how much I miss you and how sad missing you makes me, you’d be scared. You’d be overwhelmed with the sea that is my emotions and I’d never want that.

I miss you in silence and I’ll miss you like this. This is cowardly but this is my kind of safe.

The poem I wrote as I faced Taal and hid from my emotions

The view that inspired all this

This is where I found you –
in black ink,
on a blank sheet of paper,
stuck to a green-tinted window.
My name was number seven, I think.

This is where I found you –
in mid-air,
at the back of my head when asked if I trusted you,
amongst clammy hands struggling to soften the fall.
Blindfolded, everything was put into perspective.

This is where I found you –
beside me, no longer hiding, drenched,
in front of me, forming a pyramid of sweaty kids and more noise,
around me, wet on an impossible school day.

This is where I found you –
in Tagaytay, Lucban, Tuguegarao and Vigan,
in all the places I never hoped to go to
when I was satisfied with the solace offered by my room,
during late nights when a bunch of cards and lipstick meant everything.

This is where I found you –
inside an empty office that made a mess of itself,
in the sound of printers jamming and doors creaking open,
under the table I never got to sleep in.

This is where I found you –
I stared at the lakeside volcano hoping for comfort.
You were everywhere and I have to go anywhere but.

“This is where I leave you” –
it would’ve been a good conclusion.
I waded through the shoreline the morning I wrote this poem.

This is where I found you –
in myself, coffee-induced and barely quiet.
I miss you, at the back of my head still,
and that’s okay now.

The curious case of leaving


LAVOXA after the Send-Off (credits to Raynold Oruga)

I wake up and for a spit second, before all information registers inside my head, I am fine. I am fine.

In between the small window of silence, I feel the effects of oversleeping kick in – my arms growing heavier and my head ringing – and I attempt to open my eyes. My sense of hearing  activates then and I feel my body power up, my brain being the last one. I try one last time to go back to dreaming, but when I could no longer put the day on hold, I’d turn to my side and grab my phone to check the date and time. The slight change in lighting is enough to nudge me.

It’s been n days since. How are you feeling, Pollen?

I muster whatever motivation I have left to get up, and most of the time, when I do, I feel like something’s not right with the world. Getting out of bed seems to be defying the laws of Physics, because in my heart it feels like I’ve been unfairly plucked out of a phase of my life I’m not ready to leave yet.

I knew it was bound to happen. Being a sentimental person, I’ve been counting down any last thing I could take note of. I relished in milestones and knowing that I have a moment of mine to keep. During my fourth year in college, life satisfied that secret craving. (Part of me hates that part of myself now.)

But when graduation came, it didn’t feel like the pivotal moment I’ve been working hard to have nor did it seem like the milestone that I had to cross to be a person.

In the first place, though I knew I had goals and dreams for my college life and how I wanted it to end, I couldn’t say that I really obsessed over graduation, much less believe that everything I did was for it. Graduation, all-throughout schooling, was just at the back of my head but not really the driving force that kept me alive. (I only kept it there so that I could have what it represents, which at this point, I don’t really know.)

Instead, my graduation felt like a rerun, a do-over of all the graduation “what-ifs” I had in high school. This time, I was the batch valedictorian, I wore my contact lenses right and I curled my hair, just like I wanted to. This time, I was going to deliver the speech, as inspiring as I could make it, and I have no guy to ask closure from. And this time, I could allow myself to postpone the sense of ending because I still had a reason to come back, a reason to stay a carefree young adult, (a reason I’ll discuss later).

Maybe it was because I paid too much attention during the practices that the actual event felt like a simulation. Sure, we were all dolled up but I was familiar with that sensation. And sure, people joked about my medals and borrowing some for the march, but that too had been a line I told one of my old friends not too long ago. It didn’t sink in that I wasn’t going to see much of the same people I shared the day with. It didn’t sink in that I was really going to end schooling right there and then.

I realize now that all the magic of what graduation was supposed to feel like was stripped to a minimum in my head, also partly because I wasn’t allowing myself to process it. I built walls so that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed with how awesome things were going. I denied that maybe I did deserve a good day for once. And, on top of all that, I didn’t want to face closure. Not then and not at all. I only let those emotions overwhelm me when I faced Sasa, one of my close friends and Sir Derik, my publications adviser (because they bombarded me with raw honest emotions and I couldn’t shield myself from that).

Also, so that I could not focus on myself, I focused on my parents, my siblings, my friends, anyone around me whom I felt had emotions more valid than mine to be addressed that day. Instead of claiming the day, I tried to make it their moment and I moved as perfectly as I could, or just according to plan really, so that they can relish my graduation as theirs. It was my way of being grateful because I really did love them from the bottom of my heart and I felt like I had been given too much attention already that it was their turn to own my achievement as theirs too. Heaven knows, I wouldn’t make it anywhere alone.

Bottom line, graduation felt like any other day I was pretending to be an adult, but it was, in a sense, the first real way of leaving.

After graduation, I had a reason not to grow up yet. I committed to organizing the Lasallian Schools Press Conference (LSPCon) which would be hosted by LAVOXA, the student publication I was formerly a part of. I headed the program committee which was basically in-charge with the scheduling and all that.

Because of such an undertaking, I had an excuse not to let graduation sink in. I had an excuse to postpone all forms of farewells. And I had a great time because I had somewhere to go and no one to answer to. I had things to do but I’m working with my friends and it felt like I was in control of my life.

Once in a while I would joke about not having a job yet or feeling awkward about coming to school but I only did those things because I felt like I had to. I mean, who in their right mind would give 100% percent of herself to a project without feeling the urge to complain? If I didn’t “rant” or something to that effect about committing to LSPCon, people might think I’m nuts.

But honestly, I genuinely gave everything I am to that project without asking for anything in return because I loved what I was doing and who I was doing it for. It was my greatest pleasure to be working on LSPCon. And heaven knows this is crazy, but I’d love to work on another project as big as that if it means working with them again.

I couldn’t exactly write about what happened during LSPCon yet (because I’m reserving that for some other thing) but I guess I could tell you about what it did to LAVOXA and to me. LSPCon unleashed the inner stress monsters of everyone and pushed us to our limits. It showed just how farther we could go if we put our minds to it. And the people whom I didn’t expect to up their game, placed their best foot forward. It was amazing to see us all come together like a real family.

To me, LSPCon was my second chance. This is hard to admit here or to anyone for that matter but I have been afraid that I would be leaving LAVOXA just as a name or a legend and that no one would really see past that. I wouldn’t be the LAVOXAn remembered for the shred of moments I spent with them nor would I be the one called up for a spontaneous gathering or something. I felt like I didn’t leave anyone a part of me to keep other than the stories of “incredible feats” even I didn’t know how I managed.

So, in a sense, LSPCon was a time for me to open up to everyone, to be unafraid to let everyone in and to be present in the moment enough to give myself away and to get to know them really.

After four wonderful days, I did just that. I was tired, overworked, stressed but my heart had a sense of fulfillment. I finally let her out, the real Pollen, and for once I didn’t care if I was too loud or if my jokes would make sense.

Then, send-off happened. It was finally time to let the goodbyes sink in. I need to accept that all I got was an extension and that it wasn’t my life anymore.

The hard part is realizing that you found a family somewhere you didn’t expect to and you have to leave them, not because you made a mistake, not because you hurt someone, not because you’re choosing to, but because you have to. The hard part is knowing that you have loved so much and you know you could love so much more, but you can’t. The hard part is knowing that you won’t lose them but you would lose tonight and that’s something different and something you can’t fight.

The hard suck-ish part is how, knowing me, I’d respect the boundaries of closure and I can’t make my head understand that I can still hang out with them anyway. Every molecule in my body is screaming at me to leave, to cut ties because it’s easier that way. My head’s telling me to pack up, clean the slate and go as far as I could. I’m forcing myself to stay away, to just rant on Twitter about the pain or to keep it in in order to be functional. It sucks because I want to be with them and I can’t.

I need to heal this pain. I need to move on. I know that.

I’m choosing to ignore my instincts of flight, my craving for one dramatic closure or realization. I need this farewell to be different. I don’t want it to be clean cut. I’ll accept messy if messy means that I really loved LAVOXA and everyone I had to say goodbye to.

I’ll take my walls down and with that the urge to be in control of how I go. I may not be in a good place right now but I know that I’ll get somewhere someday. And today, when I woke up, it feels like the pinch at somewhere in my chest hurts less and maybe this is closure.

I think of them and they seem distant and I don’t know if that’s okay or just the way of how my brain deals with what it thinks is loss. I’m fighting reason here by saying that I haven’t lost them. It just sucks right now that our circles are expanding far from one another.

I won’t forget them, that’s for sure. I just have to grow up now.

I don’t know where to go from here, really, because I feel like from here on out, everything would be about finding the same comfort they give from places that couldn’t give enough. We’ll see. I’m still wrapping my head around this whole thing.

Whatever the case, I am thankful.

About three months ago I wrote this: “I love them and they will never know.” I hope you guys know now. I’m pretty sure this piece isn’t coherent but that’s all I wanted to say really.

A tribute video to the four years: The LVX Project video