Building Myself and Loving Baguio Once More

My assumed married life revolved around Baguio City. It is where I discovered a lot of unknown things in my personality and where much of my transformation as an adult occurred not physically but rather mentally and emotionally. It is the place where I fostered my love for my recent ex and it is the pool of my personal experiences ranging from worst to best.

I really think that it is one of the loveliest cities in the Philippines because of its wonderful combination of nature, urbanity, and weather. The only catch is that it is about 600 miles away from home (Tagum City) and is considerably far. I remember that despite all the difficulties that waited in this place, I still opted to leave my comfort zones, fly to Baguio, face different kinds of people with different cultures and values, learn languages somewhat alien to my own, and start life anew with him. I thought that if loving him meant that I must do this kind of sacrifice then I did not see why I should not.

I learned to love Baguio only because he was in it. I fully embraced a lifestyle that is far different from what I had back home until the point came that I decided to leave everything behind for a reason only few can fully decipher. The escape I made for home and freedom from the chains in my life was carried out. I left the place as a torn and incomplete being. Some pieces of me were still left with him and even a lot more were left in Baguio.

For more than a month, I was a complete mess yet I knew that there was a need for me to push myself a little forward. I tried to bring myself back to the right track in both personal and professional aspects of my life and started to pick up the pieces to build myself once again. I remembered that in order for me to completely do that, I must go back Baguio. I knew That someday I will and when that time comes I must be prepared to face it.

Now, I am back in Baguio! Being here again this early did not occur to me at all because I felt I still needed more time at home for myself and for my family. But, due to demands of the times and my desire to finish my masters as soon as possible before I migrate to the USA, I forcibly induced my preparedness to be back. And so I made my choice...

Now I am starting to take back the pieces I left here and I think I am really doing a good job at it. My mind is set not to see him as much as possible because the wounds that have started to heal might be agitated once more. In time, I will cross that bridge but for now I must do what I am supposed to do out of love for myself and for people who truly love me. Moreover, I learned to further appreciate and love Baguio City no longer for reasons related to my ex but because of the splendor that it contains and every beautiful thing it has to offer!

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Denial: The first stage of Grieving

I used to see him every time I opened my wallet. I forgot that it was an important thing for me to remove his picture because it no longer had a place inside it. I was in denial. I acted as if the break-up did not happen. In my mind was the awareness that the relationship is gone but the heart did not feel any pain, misery or despair. Like I said I was in denial – the first stage of grieving according to Kubler-Ross.

I thought that if this repression carries on, all the painful emotions might someday come rushing to hit me all at once and I might not be able to manage them in the context of sanity. I then rushed my heart to feel the hurt but the effort was futile. I was still in denial. My heart was numb to preserve its wholeness and muster energy before facing what has to be faced.

I remembered what my co-psychotherapist told me that I should fully embrace the grieving process including the time it takes for its completion. I said Okay and so it was time to wholly embrace the grieving process! I knew that I cannot rush healing otherwise I will always deal with a non-ending cycle of relapses.

Every time my girl best friend (Lani) brutally scolds me for keeping the picture, I always pull out the reply that his picture does not cause any harm so why bother. If I am in the denial stage then so shall I be in denial! Days passed by and I continually performed the regular check by staring at his picture on my wallet.

Before the second week ended, looking at him in the picture seemed to start giving me an absurd feeling that was not present before. I already felt the pain slowly crawling into my nerves and into my heart. Finally, I was hurting!

I already got the stimulus I need to finally remove his picture from my wallet along with four other photos of us together. I hid his solo picture in a secret place and decided to burn the other four in a special ceremony that I devised the night that followed. I cried while slowly burning them. I allowed myself to feel the pain I was longing for.

The pictures are gone but the memories still lived. I was hurting so much that every thought of him was like a direct stab on the chest. But I knew it was good because finally, I made it pass the first stage of the grieving process! I was no longer in denial.

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It Pays to Cry

My career gave my newly single life a good kick start. Since the break-up, I received more demands from work and passed the NCLEX which is one of the three exams I will be taking this year to open more opportunities for me in the world of professional nursing since nowadays, being only a BSN graduate and a registered nurse in the Philippines is no longer enough to give you an edge in the labor force.

My current job as a lecturer in review centers gave me an opportunity to expand my knowledge in nursing, skill in teaching, and finance my lifestyle which is quite posh at the moment. Unfortunately, this job blocked my way to fully prepare myself for the upcoming NCLEX. I only had 20 days of self-review while working and I still did not see any reason to reschedule the exam to a later date.

Prior the exam, I had to travel from Baguio to Makati where the examination will be held. During the trip, I came across places where my ex and I used to go to when we were having our vacation in Manila. I consider it one of the best vacations I had in my life only because I was with him. Seeing those scenes triggered memories to float in my mind and while seated in the bus, I was constantly sucked into my inner vacuum and slowly being consumed by the feeling of misery, despair, and loss.

Upon arrival to my hotel room, all of the weakness both physical and emotional met to the point enough to cause distress. Seated on my bed, tears suddenly came rushing out from my tear ducts. They were in a hurry to go out along with the heaviness I was bearing inside. I cried and screamed, sworn bad words, punched the bed and the walls, and threw anything I could touch that I knew would not break. Out of ridiculousness, I even took the laundry from my luggage and washed them while crying. That night was a night of crying, meaninglessness and misery. I finished doing the laundry, stopped crying, and immediately went to bed. I took it as the final and crucial preparation for the NCLEX.

On the next day, I took the NCLEX. There was not a drop of anxiety in my nerves despite the lack of reading and preparation. I took it with all confidence with no concern on the result. Two days after the exam, I knew from the quick result service that I passed. I PASSED! And in front of the computer I once again cried so hard but no longer did I shed tears of misery but rather it was tears of victory that rolled down my face!

From that experience, I learned that I am a victor, not just because I passed the NCLEX and are on the right professional track, but because I know how to cry. Once again I have proven myself that I am indeed a master of my emotions and this is the strongest foundation of my victory.

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Our Gay Wedding Plans: Adjourned!

A friend told me just lately or rather viciously ordered me to stop the “if only” and “what ifs”. Not only does it foster false reassurance, it also becomes an emotional obstruction towards moving on. She told me that I have to help myself and not rely on others for me to do that. After all, it is I who is moving on and not them. Okay, so I got the point! I must help myself and that is why nowadays I am doing just that.

On my half-brother’s recently held wedding, I was caught into an emotional interlude when the entourage led by me – the best man – marched across the beautiful cathedral’s aisle. The bride and groom’s eyes seemed to sparkle as if it only communicated happiness, excitement, and the words “This is finally it!”

While everybody was in mind of the ceremony, I on the other hand was busy sinking myself into my own fantasy. My strong conviction to move on was nowhere to be found that time. Then I started to ask myself the not-to-be-asked-ever-again-question “WHAT IF Dale and I got married like what we planned to have on the late quarter of this year? How would it be like if we both exchanged the “I dos” and kissed in front of everyone?


My thoughts came to a halt for a while but the sequel still followed…“Our families were already supporting of what he had, it would definitely be a great gay wedding!” and I added “We were so sure of ourselves that we were meant to be together. IF ONLY we did not break up. IF ONLY as live-in partners, we did better”.

STOP!!! And I mean it.

And so I stopped and came back to my senses. I realized that the heart would not stop calling out his name out loud. This is probably normal given the fact that it has really been just two months yet that passed. The brain should always have the power to interfere these fantasies and govern by answering “It is over and done. Lesson learned. Move on.” This phenomenon is what I call the brain and heart working, not equally, but in synchrony.

I proved from this experience that my friend was indeed right! From now on, I should give myself a favor and start helping myself (seriously this time). I now cling on to the hope that someday everything that Dale and I had will become “a thing of the past” and remembering it would only elicit a smile and a thought of how better I have become since then. I believe that I will get married perhaps not now but in the right time… and of course, with the right man!
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