Let me just tell you this like we’ve been friends for a long time

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By Nina S. Custodio

Doc@XXLarge

Saturday, March 8, 2014


THE thing I hate about writing my articles using my iPad is the fact that I cannot adjust the spacing between my sentences and paragraphs. It does occur to me now though that the problem may not exactly lie in the device but in the device user. Haha. Oh well. I will never claim to know everything but I guess a 'little' research should help me ease my stress when it comes to technical things. I am often surprised about how some solutions to serious can problems can be so simple if only you take the time out to try and figure it out before getting all emotional and spent about it. Hmmm.

Right this moment, I am sitting quite comfortably, staring at my pistachio-colored toes. Yup. Just had a pedicure. I am waiting for them to dry so I can resume being part of the rat race. As I sit here, I guess I look relaxed to the four other people in the salon. I smile and occasionally nod at the people who pass by my corner, gaze into the distant hall of mirrors as I adjust the inclination of my reclining chair. The chair rocks like a rocking chair, too. I can just uh, sleep. I close my eyes and listen to Joan Osborne singing on the radio. Not bad, although I would much prefer hearing Adam Levine singing his version of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together.

Looks can be deceiving. I may look calm but my head is bursting at the seams with pop-up thoughts on what I need to accomplish before I ride on the plane to go out of town for the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I like multitasking BUT I also happen to be a last-minute type of person. So, here I am, constantly adding to my to-do list as I try to accomplish the tasks that I still need to do! It is a stressful way of dealing with stuff but as it is, it has been the most effective way for me to deal with MY stuff. My friend Mabelle stresses over my end-of-the-grad-school-sem drama each semester since I started taking my Master’s course in Clinical Psychology. Every semester I end up lamenting to her that I want to quit and never take a single subject again. Ever. Of course it never happens but well, both of us have already gone through the stressful gamut of emotions by then. Haha.

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It really is a better to know time management, to be able to plan things and actually stick to them. I plan a lot and I have great plans for the future but something inside me goes pffft along the way, usually leaving me in a compromising situation which I hate, by the way, but most of the time it is almost always what I end up doing!! Arrrghhhh!! As expected, it leaves me ridiculously stressed out and wishing I had stuck to my time table! I never learn it seems.

“What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher.” - Chuck Palahniuk

Oh. Maybe that is why I call it my ‘controlled’ chaos. There are parts of my life I do not entirely get, but some of it, I definitely recognize. It is this sense of familiarity that allows me to keep on doing what I do not really understand completely--it is how we learn things along the way. When the unknowns become known, we have learned the lesson.

Didn’t someone famous also say that the reason why some things keep happening to you over and over is because you have not learned your lesson yet? I guess this is one of those lessons for me.

I remember asking myself and God this question when I was in high school. i would constantly pester Him for the answer why I keep going through the same thing at different times in my life, with different people involved and sometimes in a different place? It has often been a cause of my exasperation but I never really got the answers.

Well, not until I was diagnosed with cancer. I remember that day, August 31, so clearly. Finding that mass in my colon left me dumbfounded and numb, I could not even cry. It felt like an out-of-body experience, a disconnection with myself that my mind simply could not accept, but had to. For lack of an appropriate term, it just felt really… weird.

I went to church because it was all I could think of after I realized that I just might die sooner than I had expected. It was closed. So I went to its Adoration Chapel. I really just need to be in a safe place and although I was not your regular churchgoer (my mom called me an atheist when I was in college and asked me if I knew how to pray the rosary hehehe), but my faith has always provided me with unending solace. So I was pretty glad to find out the Adoration Chapel was open. :)

The moment I walked through the door, I heard a voice whisper to me. It was a soft, calm voice. I do not know if it belonged to a man or a woman.

It said: “This is why.”

And I understood. Suddenly, all th eyears of lamenting about bad and painful experiences made sense. And I realized that not all recurring ‘nightmares’ are meant to teach us valuable lessons in life. There are special cases where it prepares us for future challenges, too. My experiences during my cancer treatment were difficult but I firmly believe it could have been a lot, lot worse if I hadn’t been “prepared’ for it. Somehow, with the bad things that kept happening to me in the past served as the foundation for a version of me that managed to weather a lot of personal storms.

If you have been asking yourself (and God) the same question that I did, maybe you will have the same answer too. Or better. Things happen for a reason and the reasons are revealed when the time is right. Happy Sunday Everyone! :)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 09, 2014.

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