To My Friends Who Are Still Trapped In Toxic Relationships

My Symphony: Skeletons / Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Love is not a prison. Maybe at this point in your life it sometimes feels like it is, but it shouldn’t be. It’s not a prison. It shouldn’t look like one, it shouldn’t sound like one, and it certainly shouldn’t operate like one. You should be able to hang out with your friends, with your family, with your co-workers, even with the sidewalk fishball vendor you’ve gotten to know well over conversations about politics and religion on the corner of your street as you wait for the bus every morning. You need to understand that you are not behind bars. You can go outside and live. You are allowed to watch the sunset from breathtaking horizons with your loved ones. Your hands are not tied, your feet are not chained, your life is not limited by four rusty corners. You can breathe, and whenever you do, you should be able to breathe deeply and freely.

Love is not a game. You shouldn’t be tossing and turning at night debating with yourself about where you stand in someone’s life. You shouldn’t be losing sleep wondering if you are worth loving, because you are. And that person making you question that is nothing short of garbage, and you need to throw him or her out of your life as forcefully as you can. All of the mind games just need to stop. You are not a toy and your soul is not a punching bag. You should be looking at someone in the eyes and not feel like you’re staring at a stranger. You should be able to look inside them and feel like you’re home. You should be able to hold them without fearing that they’re going to let go first, because they won’t… because they never did… because they never will.

Love is not a test. You do not have to pass anything. This isn’t an examination where you have to burn the midnight oil to make sure you don’t fail. There is nothing to fail at, only bits of lessons you can learn, only glimpses of perfection you can sometimes miss. You shouldn’t ever feel like you have to prove something, or that you have to improve something – about yourself, about your life, about the world that you live in. You shouldn’t ever feel like you’re walking around eggshells in fear of “fucking things up”, because “fucking things up” should be a thing so un-thought of that you have started to forget what it even means to fuck things up. And in the slim instance that you do fuck things up, you should be so engulfed in the realness and the greatness of what you have with that person that you are confident enough that love itself can straighten out what is crooked; that even though you know a genuine apology cannot fix everything, it is a magnificent start.

Love is not a contest. You are not trying to be better than anyone; You are not racing to the finish against anyone. It is not a competition, nor is it a race. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you should see how beautiful you are, even when you never explicitly acknowledge that. You shouldn’t feel less than what and who you are because of the relationship that you are in. You should never, ever, be compared to anyone in his or her past or present life. You shouldn’t feel insecure about how you look, or ever doubt that you are worth it, or ever fear being incomplete without your partner’s validation, because you know you were whole long before you even met this garbage person.

You should be looked at like a Vincent van Gogh art piece, listened to like a Beethoven symphony, embraced like the warm waves in the Pacific Ocean, and kissed like the first drop of rain after a long, dry summer.

If there was anything I wish could be learned the easy way, it’s that you are amazing, just the way you are. We all have doubts about ourselves, we all have insecurities about ourselves, and we all have imperfections we wish we didn’t have. We’re just humans. But when the time comes that you do share your life with someone, it has to be with a person who builds you up, who makes you feel better not just about yourself but about life in general. It should be with someone who brings the sunshine in any rainy day.

So get up. Get out. And start living the life you deserve, with the people who deserve you.


Kenn Edward Tenorio ❤

My Happily Ever After

My Symphony: Gotten by Adam Levine Feat. Slash

“Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.”
Andy Warhol

You know how when people say that there will always be that one person you can never forget no matter what? I think that’s pretty valid. No matter who we are, what we do and where we’ve been in life so far, there will always be that ordinary person who will always have an extraordinary place in our hearts. Sometimes we are afraid of confronting the depths of our beings, our very souls, and sometimes we just don’t want to admit it to the world, but it is true. It is true that somewhere out there live the people who once entered our hearts and never left.

I have loved. At the age of 18, I have been through 13 relationships (mostly not-so-decent-ones at that) already. Just like normal teenagers, I have my own share of first kisses, first dates, first LQ’s (love quarrels), first movie marathons and first sleepovers with the people I’ve been in a relationship with. Inevitably, I also have my own share of the lasts, of the moments that defy the end of each of those relationships. I’ve experienced last text messages, last phone calls, last kisses, last dates, last LQ’s, last movie marathons, last sleepovers and last everything because of the painful (and sometimes torturous) break-ups. Generally speaking, I have had my own share of happiness, sadness, loneliness and misery all because of love. Still, I keep on going.

A good friend of mine told me just last week, “Kenn, don’t you think your heart is overused?” Overused. Out of more than 220,000 words in the Oxford English dictionary, he chose that word. Nevertheless, I agree with him. I think that I have put my heart on constant work for such a long period of time that it has finally seemed to have lost its flair in its own duty. But despite the reality that I’ve selfishly deemed my heart to suffer a “death defying” hard labor, the fact remains that it is still functioning. All the gutsy creatures in this world always say that “If you snooze, you lose”, and I couldn’t argue that. My heart may be all beat up and tired, but is that any reason for me to just stop loving?

Since I was four, my eyes were already opened to the crazy world of relationships. It started at that age when I could already (though very slightly) understand it when my parents argued over something or when my 16 year-old cousin and his girlfriend yelled at each other for some reason I was still too young, or too innocent, to completely digest and incorporate into something logical. But even during those “innocent” days of my life, I already learned something bold, unusual and way more mature than many adults and adolescents would ever know. Even when I was just four and playing with Lego pieces, at the back of my mind, I already knew that relationships are messy, that they are a lot of work, and that in the end they just leave people depressed and miserable. It was already official. When I was four, I already understood that commitment is the root of all heartache. Yet even with that knowledge, I still got myself involved in those 13 relationships. I was too young to rationalize everything I experienced and too eager to just let all those moments pass. I fell in love a lot of times, and I let myself own and be owned. And it’s all because of this one thing that sets the youth apart from the rest of earth’s inhabitants: curiosity.

However, after taking life experiences in large doses when you’re living barely the last two years of your -teen age years, you find that a  vast portion of your curiosity has already been filled with blocks of satisfaction. And perhaps almost all of the questions you’ve had as a teenager have already been answered by those experiences. Relationship by relationship, day by day, little by little, you feed your mind not just with additional knowledge of what you already knew when you were younger, but also with wisdom that enables you to see life and everything else around you in a new perspective. You learn more about yourself, about the people in your life and about the world until such time that you begin to feel like you’ve learned enough to let go of the complications and get back to the simple conclusions you’ve come up with when you were a kid. I don’t know what your conclusions are, but I remain faithful to that conclusion I arrived at when I was four.

Do you really believe in commitment? I used to.

A well-known author, Paulo Coelho, once wrote: Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realize that nothing really belongs to them. No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it. 

If you have read his book entitled Eleven Minutes, you’ve probably also been moved by his words and how he used them in a way that you, as a reader, would just be left so amazed and fascinated that you just find yourself questioning what you believe and what you used to believe. In my case, I have finally given up my journey towards the so-called “perfect relationship”. It is pointless, if not dumb. In fact, I give up my belief in human relationships as a whole. I choose to step out of the notion that two people can be committed to each other, face the world and live happily ever after. There’s no such thing. We live in a real world where there are sluts, thieves, homewreckers, delusional jerks and envious pseudo-friends. We’re not dwelling in a place of pink clouds and sweet-scented bunnies but in a jungle where only the free and the independent can ever survive. And that’s exactly where this all boils down to: the true nature of freedom and its vital role in love.

To put it in concept, I personally believe that one doesn’t have to possess someone in order to experience love. This is where my stable belief that loving isn’t owning comes in. I never really understood why people want to be in a relationship with someone they can call their boyfriend or girlfriend so much. I mean, is that really necessary? Is it really necessary to trap yourself in a protective bubble only for you to find out months or even just weeks later that you yourself have selfishly chosen to jolt out of it? Is it really necessary to walk around holding hands, planning the unpredictable future with someone you dream to have kids and build a house with? Is it really necessary to be labelled as a couple and try so hard to make it seem to the rest of your friends and family that you two have gotten it all figured out? Is it? Will you say it’s still necessary after you find out in the final stretch of your relationship with that “The One” that it was all nothing but a make-believe and a failed promise? Based on personal experience, I have learned that relationships are all the same. They all start as a cup full of hope and promises, and they end up as a bunch of broken vows. In other words, it’s all a myth– something we deliberately construct in our minds because it seems better and it seems more exciting. But it’s not. It’s not even cool, to begin with.

Most committed teenagers who, even with the slimmest chance, are reading this right now may say that I am just being bitter because of my ugly experiences with relationship. Maybe you’ll say I have issues, or that I am a troubled young adolescent. Well I hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t work that way. I am not bitter; I am just lucky enough to have the capacity to still face reality without being miserable. 

To love is not to do all those cheesy, over-the-top things with the one you love. It’s not to see movies together, talk romantically over coffee together, take a breathtaking ride on a rollercoaster together, sleep together, wake up together, live together or die together. If you really come to think of it, true love is actually associated with the person’s absence rather than his presence. The kind of love which is used to all the cheesy stuff mentioned above may be love, but it’s not the kind which is the deepest. As far as I know, the deepest, truest and most exciting love is the love that endures not just the lack of physical presence, but also the long and treacherous years of knowing that it will never be. Pretty ironic, ei? Well that’s what love is. It is ironic. And I am 90 percent sure that my readers won’t really get what I mean here immediately.  So let me just put it this way:

I think that love dies the moment you try to possess somebody. For me, it doesn’t make any sense to be in a relationship with anyone. It’s like trapping a beautiful bird in a cage. I hope the following story will help you understand:

Once upon a time, there was a bird. He was adorned with two perfect wings and with glossy, colorful, marvelous feathers. 

One day, a woman saw this bird and fell in love with him. She invited the bird to fly with her, and the two traveled across the sky in perfect harmony. She admired and venerated and celebrated that bird. But then she thought: He might want to visit far-off mountains!

And she was afraid, afraid that she would never feel the same way about any other bird.

And she thought: “I’m going to set a trap. The next time the bird appears, he will never leave again.”
The bird, who was also in love, returned the following day, fell into the trap and was put in a cage.

She looked at the bird every day. There he was, the object of her passion, and she showed him to her friends, who said: “Now you have everything you could possibly want.”

However, a strange transformation began to take place: now that she had the bird and no longer needed to woo him, she began to lose interest.

The bird, unable to fly and express the true meaning of his life, began to waste away and his feathers to lose their gloss; he grew ugly; and the woman no longer paid him any attention, except by feeding him and cleaning out his cage.

One day, the bird died. The woman felt terribly sad and spent all her time thinking about him. But she did not remember the cage, she thought only of the day when she had seen him for the first time, flying contentedly amongst the clouds.

If she had looked more deeply into herself, she would have realized that what had thrilled her about the bird was his freedom, the energy of his wings in motion, not his physical body.

Without the bird, her life too lost all meaning, and Death came knocking at her door.
“Why have you come?” she asked Death.
“So that you can fly once more with him across the sky,” Death replied.

“If you had allowed him to come and go, you would have loved and admired him ever more; alas, you now need me in order to find him again.”

And so, there will always be this person whom I will love for an eternity. We have never been together, and I hope we will never be officially a couple. I can just love from afar, and that’s honestly more than enough for me. Loving without owning. That is my happily ever after.