Adventures of the Lion
Depression vs Me
A lot do not know that I just recently won another battle with depression. It was at its height 3rd/4th quarter of 2017. Behind a smile where nothing seemed to be going wrong and everything seemed to be going right, were a lot of pain, regrets, and “shoulda, coulda, wouldas.”
It was very ironic because this was the most successful chapter (to date) of my musical career – this newbie won 3 Awit Awards; won a gospel songwriting competition; and wrote a song for an international brand interpreted by two of my fave OPM artists, KZ and Inigo.
I even said to myself, it’s true what Alicia Keys wrote, “Everything means nothing if I ain’t got you.” I even said to my Manager, I would trade all these for a simpler life with the person I love. So yes, my stupidity was because of “love.” Taas kamay ng mga nakaka-relate at #TeamTanga. Well, naging tanga. Pero kung nandon ka pa rin Bes, panalangin ko, makaalis ka na sa pagtambay mo jan.
My journey to recovery took time. Pero nakarating rin ako. And it really is bravery and conscious decision to help myself that became the first steps to this. And I say conscious decicion because admit or not, the stubborn part of you will always say, “pero mahal ko talaga sya.” That’s why I got professional help. And to break it down to you, that means meetings with a Psychologist and a #MentalHealthPH friend. And this is the reason why I also advocate about mental health. Depression is real.
Ang Tanga Tanga Ko
Those were the first words that came to my head one morning. As in! And that pretty much sealed the deal for me. Sabi ko, “Wait lang. What the f*ck am I doing to myself? I gotta get my sh*t together. “
But getting my sh*t together wasn’t an easy process too. And because I am not perfect (just gorgeous. Kape!), I made a lot of mistakes along the way. And that includes finding someone to fill that empty space… and ermmm… with “love.” Mali! Along the way, ilang beses akong nadapa, naumpog, nabalian. Pero kailangan ko lang talaga siguro maexperience para maniwala ako sa alam ko naman na matagal na na “it’s not the way.”
And to sum all this together in a song, ito yon:
"Minsan, parang di pag-ibig ang sagot
Kahit na sa pag-iisa ay nagbabagot
Aanhin ko ang paghahanap ng magmamahal
Kung sa sarili ko ay 'di pa masaya…
Mabuti nang mag-isa
Nang makilala ko muna ang sarili
Pag-ibig muna, para sa akin"
Sapul ba? Sakit di ba? O iyak na. Hinga. Tapos sabihin mo, “Ako muna.”
It’s not about not taking risks in love again. It is about finding happiness on your own. It is knowing your worth as a person so that you do not lose yourself ever again. Love is selfless. But ironically, you can never love selflessly without self-love.
Finding New Love
Noong nagmumuni-muni ako, I thought, “Maybe I should go away… to a place I’ve never been to – new environment, meet people I’ve never met before, do things I’ve never done yet. And maybe walwal on my own.”
I’ve never travelled alone. Wondered a few times. But I always shrugged it off. After watching the movie, “Siargao,” I got encouraged to finally do it – find myself plus learn one thing I’ve always wanted to try, surfing.
I found the opportunity to do it when I got asked what I wanted as a Christmas gift. Syempre masyado naman “ambisyoso” to ask for a Siargao trip. After consulting Google and a few friends, Crystal Beach in San Narciso, Zambales it is!
Fast forward to “Independence Day,” it just took 3 and a half hours to get to Crystal Beach (with breakfast stop). Para ka lang natraffic sa EDSA. Or 3 beses umikot yung favorite #HugotPlaylist mo.
Pag dating, checked in. Walked a few steps and got welcomed by the #SingleZone Wall. Mej nag-isip ako, “Do I belong here? Or uuwi na ko kasi kakadating ko pa lang, nang-aano na tong resort.” Pero nandon na din naman. So, wala nang atrasan.
You see, I’ve always loved beaches but never the sun. I love listening to the sound of the waves. But never really swimming in the waters. I would normally just stay in the hotel or find a shade under a coconut tree to write (or observe).
But this Crystal Beach trip was different. My mind’s made up that I’d brave the sun and the waters. Afterall, it’s beautifully inviting.
After a short on-shore briefing – knowing the parts of the board, learning the proper posture, we were off to ride those waves. Fell on the first and second tries. Third try, and I stood up. Very good start. My coach, Tylyn said I am a natural. I got good rhythm and good sense of timing with the waves. I told Coach, it’s maybe because I felt a connection. Nung una kong niyakap yung surf board, para kong naramdaman na kami ay iisa. Then it just dawned on me that I was born under the water sign. And water should be home. Okay, umimbento lang ako ng rason. Added #Mema. But this I am certain, at that moment, I fell in love again.
While I was learning, what my coach didn’t know was that I was having these little conversations in my head. At sa bawat alon ay realizations that reminded me things about life – during the strongest waves, bow your head or get hit straight in the face much like how we should bow our heads and pray sa pinakamatinding unos sa buhay natin. It also reminded me these words from Jericho’s character, Diego about crashing, “Ride and ride. You crash again. You never stop. You take on that wave, you pop up and you keep on riding.” Keep going.
In between surfing sesh, I went around and I realized how Crystal Beach is much more than just your regular beach. I’ve never seen a beach with tall Agojo Trees, #Kapamilya ng Pine Trees which I am crazy about. Parang Baguio na mainit at may dagat. While they have the usual concrete rooms, they also have a jungle hostel, glamping site and hammock village. At natulog ako sa hammock nung first night. No walls. No aircon. Just nature. Feeling Tarzan ako!
The rates are very reasonable:
The sunset is one of the most gorgeous I’ve seen. #NoFilter needed.
There's another memorable moment tong trip na to. After playing beach volleyball with new found friends, humiga lang sa buhangin. Started gazing on the star-filled skies while significant chapters of my life flashed before me. There, I made a decision to make sure to never let anything or anyone take my joy ever again.
I’ve had such a relaxing time. But the most important part, I left the place whole. Healed. Reassured na walang kulang sa kin. Just like what the bible says,
"You are beautifully and wonderfully made." - Psalm 139:14
And it doesn't get any better than that.