The World According To Kenn Tenorio and 77 Pieces of Advice On Life, Love and Everything in Between, Coming From the Old People

My Symphonies:

  • Drag / Day Wave
  • Nothing At All /Day Wave
  • Lanterns / Birds of Tokyo
  • Taking Over / Joe Goddard

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We are here, you and me, right now, in this wonderful and chaotic place called Earth. And there are so many of us. Sooo many. So far, the general approximation is 7.2 billion and counting. Can you imagine that? There are more than 7 billion people breathing in this oblate spheroid at the moment. And each day, an average of 353,000 babies are born into this world to join our humanity. On the other hand, roughly 160,000 people die everyday. Every.Day. Isn’t that crazy? The statistics alone are enough to disturb us, scare us and maybe move us in some way, whether positively or negatively.

But lucky for us, we aren’t just here to make up those statistics. We are alive, and each of us has his own story to tell. We aren’t just here so that one day we can either give birth or pass away in order for the statistics to remain interesting. We are here for a reason, regardless of what that reason really is, or if you even believe there is one.

So 7.2 billion. To me, that’s a lot. I mean, I go to SM City Bacolod (which is a relatively tiny mall in my tiny hometown) and I go ballistic over the number of people that make up the crowd there, especially on Sundays. I literally sometimes get excessively infuriated by crowds. There are just times when you’re like “What in the eff is happening right now? Like WHY ARE THERE SOOO MANY PEOPLE?!?!!” And usually I just rush to run whatever errands I need to run in that mall and then I go for the nearest exit. And it really fascinates me how I can be so overwhelmed and stressed out sometimes by the number of people strolling in a nearby local mall, but when I take a look at the bigger picture, it’s nothing compared to the total of people that comprise the human race at the moment… 7.2 billion people.

… 7.2 billion people, yet we are so far away. So far away from each other, so far away from other people’s lives, other people’s cultures, other people’s griefs and joys. But when you think about it, we are one. We are one yet we are separated, scattered. We have gotten so used to life being a cycle that can be lived by following some rules and standards. We have become so accustomed to this process of waking up and surviving each day, trying to make ends meet, or trying to become better than we were yesterday, or competing with others, or gearing towards being successful. Life has become more of a marathon – a race – where money and success is what globally matters. We pass by people on the streets never really acknowledging that they, too, are humans just like us. That they, too, have lives and stories and friends and lovers and bittersweet pasts. For me, it is safe to say that we are the most selfish generation to date. And there are so many things that serve as distractions and deception these days. Technology hasn’t been a big help, either. I mean, don’t get me wrong – technology is great. It really is. I think it’s fetch. Super fetch. But technology has gotten to a point where it is so much of a convenience that it is becoming an inconvenience. I think you know what I mean. If not, here’s a basic example: Ever felt the need to sleep but you just find yourself at 4AM still scrolling away at your Facebook or Instagram feed? Exactly.

We are so caught up in our own little world that we forget to live. We are all just so busy. Gosh, do you even see how busy people are these days? And the most depressing part about being busy for me is that it is actually being globally viewed as a form of an asset, or an appealing attribute. Busy people wear their busy-ness like a golden medal even on their off-day. As if being busy makes you better than someone who lives a less hectic lifestyle. You greet someone and ask how they’ve been, and then he or she instantly feels the need to say things like “I’ve been so busy lately, it’s driving me crazy. But, you know, I’ve been well”. I know I already talked deeply about this back in 2012 in my article called We Are Very Busy People, but I just have to say something just to reiterate the general idea: being so busy is absolutely unnecessary. People think it’s necessary, but it isn’t. It isn’t even attractive, for me at least.

I am just feeling so strongly about this because I know that when it comes to the way the world works and the way that society operates, the numbers are not in my favor. I sit on the minority side of this topic. Even my closest friends and family know this. But they are exactly the reason why I always feel so compelled to share my insights to the world and to a lot of people. The more I grow up, the more I realize that I will never be understood and accepted the way that I truly need to be understood and accepted. And the more I realize that I will never be understood and accepted enough, the more I am empowered to keep on living this life the way that I know I want to.

People have called me a lot of things: a spoiled brat, a directionless immature slut, a lost puppy, a loose air, an un-contained chaos and a disaster waiting to happen. And I’m not angry at anyone for calling me any of those names. Had I been in their shoes and had I grown up with their thinking, I would call me those things too. But see, I’m not them. I am me. And in this world full of outside factors just wanting you to do what everyone else is doing, I know how important it is for me to keep it real. To wake up each day reminding myself of who I am, so I can consciously stay that way.

So life is pretty much a battle for me these days, simply because it is a constant struggle between following my heart and following what is “normal”, “right” and “rational”. To be completely honest, I am very solid in my ultimate life goal of becoming a ‘beach bum’ one day. It really is my only goal in life. I can write a whole book about this, but the basic, most straightforward explanation behind this is this: I love the beach, and I love sunsets, and I love tropical drinks and people whose best talents include meaningful conversations and appreciating the little things in life. I just love it. So why would I wanna live a life that I do not love?

But it’s not that simple. Contrary to popular belief, living the simple life is actually the toughest goal to achieve, especially if you come from a middle or upper-class family. Upper-class children are born into wealth and are therefore used to luxury and excess and most of them don’t even have an idea of what “simple” really means. Middle-class children, on the other hand, are mostly the most driven children on this planet. They aren’t poor, but they don’t have a lot of riches, either. So the general notion is that they wonder what it’s like to be on the greener side of the fence, to be rich, to have it all – they wonder what it’s like to have unlimited credit cards and unlimited yacht parties somewhere in France or Italy every summer. But that’s the thing: Middle-class people always wonder what it’s like to be “up there”, but they never wonder what it’s like to be “down there”. To live simply. To wake up not to jobs and a list of people to impress, but simply to wake up to the sunrise, the clouds, the birds and the trees. To breathe the fresh air in and look up to be reminded that you are whole no matter what.

That being said, becoming a beach bum requires a lot of work from me. But hey, I’m on it. Every single day that I affirm to myself that I am still the me that I know, gets me one step closer to my goal. I’ll be honest, I wanna leave everything behind sometimes. Just drop everything and continue on to the life that I want to live. For my own. For myself alone. If it were just completely up to me right now, I would literally pack my things right now and go on a really cheap tour to nowhere and let life happen to me. I think that’s where most people go wrong. They always feel like they should do things – a lot of things – so that their lives can matter. But what they don’t realize is that your life DOES matter. And it always will, whether or not you kill yourself over the obligations and goal-chasing that you think you need. You don’t need shit. You don’t always have to be the one that makes the waves. Sometimes you just gotta ride the waves and take time to enjoy the beauty that is our planet. Nature. Love. Poetry.

So why am I still here somehow trying to do some of the things that are expected of me? Simple. I love my friends and I love my family. When it comes down to it, their presence in my life matters to me. And even though they do not exactly share the same perspective on life, I love them to bits and pieces, and I just don’t want them to think that they failed as a parent, or a brother, or a friend to me just because I have life goals that to them seem silly. I need to take this process slowly because not everyone has the instant capability to connect with me about this on a soul-level. The general assumption would be that I am a hipster, which is what I am most irked by. Just because I love the beach and hate society doesn’t mean I’m a hipster. Ok, people? But if you really are THAT obsessed with labels, knock yourselves out. Call me whatever.

So in the mean time, while I’m waiting for that perfect time and that adequate amount of strength to reach my ultimate life goal, I’ve decided to do a research on old people. There’s really something about old people that has always intrigued me. If there’s a specific group of people that I openly label under some category, it would be the elderly. And nope, it’s so not under a derogatory light in any way, whatsoever. Here’s the deal. I love old people. If you come to think of it, they are the only ones around here that have lived long enough to know shit that we don’t. That’s just the most basic logic. With age comes wisdom. Generally speaking. And in one way or another, I do believe that old people are the most trustworthy of all of the age groups. Both them and little children.

So I’ve been reading a lot of articles and watching a lot of interviews about the elderly, specifically about their thoughts on life, love and the way that our world works. I happened to come across really interesting findings, so I decided to compile herein quotes I’ve gotten from my research. Fellas, I now present to you… The Top 77 Pieces of Life Advice From The Elderly:

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77  Pieces of Advice On Life, Love and Everything in Between

(from the elderly’s point of view)

1.“Invest in moments and experiences, not in things or properties. It’s not like you can be in your death bed someday and go “why is my condo unit in The Century not here with me right now?! I need it. I’m dying”. Invest in moments and experiences. Because moments and experiences become memories. And memories will never leave you, even when you’re old or dying. It’s the one thing that will be with you until your last second of consciousness, I believe.”

2.“Don’t look at the calendar. Just keep celebrating every day.”

3.“I make myself go out every day, even if it’s only to walk around the block. The key to staying young is to keep moving. Besides, later on in life, you will only wish you went out and moved more often”.

4. “Exercise, to me, is totally unnecessary. I think it’s mostly overrated. Stay active, and try to do it through experiences that you will remember someday, not some workout routine that you’ve memorized like the back of your hands.”

5. Have as many sex as possible. When you grow old, it is your sex drive and sexual capability that leave you, so take advantage of it while it’s still yours to have.”

6. “Fall in love, get married. Sex is to be encouraged.”

7.“Even if you feel hatred, keep it to yourself. Don’t hurt other people for any reason.”

8.“Don’t ever give up on love.”

9. “Nobody else controls you.”

10.”Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.”

11.“If you are embarrassed to be dating someone, you should not be dating them.”

12.“Do one thing each day that is just for you.”

13.“Forgive.”

14.“Find your passion and live it.”

15.“Most time things will figure themselves out.”

16.“Have a pet. Life gets lonely sometimes. Pets are reminders of how we’re all living things.”

17.“Take time to mourn what you’ve lost.”

18.“Keep going and never give up.”

19.“Life is fun. It’s all up to the person. Be satisfied. You don’t have to be ‘happy’ all the time, you need to be satisfied.”

20.“Love people. Find something to like about the person—it’s there—because we’re all just people.”

21.“Get a great education. That is something that no one can take away from you.”

22.“If you’re positive you can get through it OK. When you think negatively, you’re putting poison on your body. Just smile. They say laughter is the best medicine there is.”

23.“For years I would not take any medicines at all. I don’t think they do much, and lots of times the doctor is using you as a guinea pig.”

24.“Just go ahead and do your thing no matter what.”

25.“Have lots of people in the house and lots of different kinds of people—young, old, black, white, people from all over the world. People have always energized me.”

26.“I attribute my longevity to a great extent to walking, not being in the back of the car strapped down.”

27.“We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. I believe that we can keep that attitude as adults, too. It’s best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime.”

28.“My inspiration is Robert Browning’s poem ‘Abt Vogler.’ My father used to read it to me. It encourages us to make big art, not small scribbles. It says to try to draw a circle so huge that there is no way we can finish it while we are alive. All we see is an arch; the rest is beyond our vision but it is there in the distance.”

29.“Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it.”

30.“Science alone can’t help or cure people.”

31.“This is some advice for the ladies. Don’t marry an older man, marry a younger one.”

32.“I try not to worry. I just try to live.”

33.“I don’t eat very much, but I always eat a fruit, a vegetable, and a little meat, and always make sure that I get sardine and salmon at least once or twice a week.”

34.“Try not to eat anything that’s healthy. It’s true. I eat whatever I want. The secret to longevity is ice cream.”

35.“Quit while you’re ahead.”

36.“[Humor is] a life force, a way of surviving the difficulties of living.”

37.“When you laugh at yourself, you prevent others from laughing at you.”

38.“I think [people] have to be curious. They have to be interested in life outside their little aches and pains. They have to be excited about seeing new things, meeting new people, watching a new play—just passionate about life.”

39.“I don’t care what you’re passionate about: maybe saving Dixie cup covers. But if you do it passionately, you’re alive.”

40.“Age is not a disease.”

41.“Keep an open mind, and things seem less strange.”

42.“Always listen to the other person. You’ll learn something. Try to sit back, because you will learn a lot more listening to others than telling them what you know.”

43.“You have to love what you do. if you find a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.”

44.“Take naps every day.”

45.“You get one family, so stick with them. But it depends if these hardships are financial or emotional or other types. Stick it out. Some days are worse than others, and you have to be ok with that. The night is darkest before dawn.”

46.“I try to take the time to look at and appreciate the smaller things that make this life beautiful. When I do that, time slows.”

47.“Do something interesting every day; otherwise you disintegrate.”

48.“Learning new things makes you happy and keeps your mind active.”

49.“Sleep well, try not to worry, and enjoy good dreams.”

50.“Be lovable. I’ve lived a long life because there are so many people who love me.”

51.“I take a drink of Scotch every day. And I feel great afterward.”

52. “I don’t like stress. I can’t stand arguing. If anybody is fussing, I’m gone. I like to be around positive people, people who lift you up not bring you down.”

53.“Mind your own business, and don’t eat junk food.”

54.“Laughter keeps you healthy. You can survive by seeing the humor in everything. Thumb your nose at sadness; turn the tables on tragedy. You can’t laugh and be angry, you can’t laugh and feel sad, you can’t laugh and feel envious.”

55.“Have a good wife, two scotches a night, and be easygoing.”

56.“It is very important to have a widespread curiosity about life.”

57.“Take one day at a time, and go along with the tide.”

58.“You have to be lucky, but I made the best of things when bad things happened. I also ate prunes every single day.”

59.“Do what you have to do. Don’t analyze it, just do it.”

60. “Take it easy, enjoy life, what will be will be. Sleep well, have a Bailey’s Irish Cream before bed if you have a cold—you will wake up fine the next morning.”

61. “I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying.”

62. “In relationships, sweat the small stuff. how you respond if your partner interrupts you while you’re doing something is very diagnostic of how good the relationship’s going to be. If you’re actively involved in reading the paper or doing something, and your partner wants to show you something of interest to him or her, whether you respond dismissively or you briefly stop what you’re doing and engage with your partner is very diagnostic of positivity in the relationship.”

63. “People who share core values typically have better marriages.”

64. “Communicate with your partner as often as possible.”

65. “Towards the end of life, what’s really important to people is to be able to see how their life mattered, how it was meaningful, how there was a story to it that wraps up in a good way.”

66.”Your life is not as serious as you think it is”

67.”When you meet someone for the first time, realise that you know nothing about them. You see race, gender, age, clothes. Forget it. You know nothing. Those biased assumptions that pop into your head because of the way your brain likes categories, are limiting your life, and others’ lives.”

68.”Remember that life is like a bank account: You don’t want to spend everything you have right away, but you don’t want to be a miser and save every penny. Yes, you’re only young once, but, with any luck, you’ll also be old at some point. Plan on a career, but don’t let it overcome the rest of your life. Take care of yourself, but don’t make it an obsession. Focus on your kids, but leave room in your life for yourself. Save enough money so that you’ll have enough for the future and for emergencies, but spend enough now to avoid looking back with regret.”

69.”Books. Read them. All the cliches apply (sunblock, flossing, travel). But don’t stop reading books, lots and lots and lots of books. Crappy ones, disturbing ones, difficult ones, fun ones. You can only live your one tiny life, but with books, you can live thousands more”

70.”Don’t marry young. Live your life. Go places. Do things. If you have the means or not. Pack a bag and go wherever you can afford to go. While you have no dependants, don’t buy stuff. Any stuff. See the world. Look through travel magazines and pick a spot. GO!” 

71.”Don’t chase with your hormones. Attractive people, because of their attractiveness, are seriously overrated. Choose the woman or man for your life by the quality of their character, the warmth of their heart, the kindness in their soul. Really, even if she or he is not the hottest, seek the company of others whose company you really enjoy. The person you marry may be the person who keeps you out of a nursing home. Bodies age and fade, but a deep and abiding love lasts a lifetime”

72.”People will always remember how you made them feel”

73.”Stuff is just stuff. Hoard time instead”

74.”Floss regularly, dental problems are awful”

75.”Collect experiences. I don’t have many regrets, but I do wish I would have travelled more when I was younger”

76.”A friend will come running if you call them at 2am; everyone else is an acquaintance”

77. “Work less. And try to live more.”

The Thing About Him

My Symphonies:

  • Sweater Weather / The Neighbourhood
  • West Coast / Lana Del Rey
  • “Antichrist” / The 1975

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The thing about him is that he’s different. Yes, he came out of his mother’s womb, spilled milk from the baby bottle, scratched his knee, bruised his elbow and went through puberty like all the other biological boys out there, but he’s different. He’s different in the way that he dresses. You can always see him wearing a rather uptight outfit, but look closer and you’ll find that he leaves the most part of his shirt unbottoned; his pants are fairly tight, but he moves with such freedom. And his shoes – you might have seen the same pair in a nearby local store, but the places those shoes have kissed are places you can only imagine in one of your daydreams. He’s different in the way that he talks to people. Unlike the general Western Civilization population, he doesn’t like small talks. In fact, he detests them. He’s different in that he considers a meaningful, honest conversation as a form of sacred privilege – almost like an encounter with God. He believes that a genuine connection between two human beings is the closest thing we’ve come to infinity. Also, he’s different in the way that he loves. He doesn’t want to know what job you have or how much money you make; he wants to know what you bleed for, what you cringe for, what it is that makes you vulnerable. He couldn’t care less about how many virtual friends you have, but it matters to him how many lives you’ve touched, how many nights you’ve survived aching, how many rocks you dodged to still be breathing at this very minute. Sometimes you will be tempted to show him your best side, your pretty side – the kind of filtered version of people that they post on Facebook, or Twitter – the perfect side. But you will soon find that you’ve just committed a fatal act by choosing to show him the perfect side of you all the time. Because he’s not into that. He’s different in that he’d rather gaze at an ugly face with a fat, broken, suffering real heart than a made up Barbie-like mannequin with no soul. In a world such as ours, it may be difficult to comprehend, but he falls in love with you each time you slip, stumble or fall. He falls in love with you each time you accidentally bump your head into the glass door, or spill your morning coffee all over your work shirt, or bite your tongue while you’re eating your dinner, or something. He falls for you, and he falls for you not because of how beautiful you are but because of how your ugliness translates to him as beautiful.

The thing about him is that he likes to moan. No, not always in the sexual way, but actually in the soulful way. He likes it when his heart is being crushed, because that only means that it still operates. In one of your fights or one of your arguments, he will smile a little inside when he sees that you are aching because to him, aching is equivalent to a heart that still cares and a life that still moves. Dead people don’t ache, he figures, and so seeing you feel pain is important to him. The thing is that he’d be damned to lock his hands with someone who is allergic to pain, allergic to chaos. Because to him, what is love without a little tragedy? It is pure pretense. Show him your soul, because by now he has probably started to get naked in front of you.

The thing about him is that he always falls in love with artists. More so with the art, actually, not so much with the people. He looks at a drawing, a painting, or watches a film or a play or a dance routine, and the wheels inside his head just starts turning. He listens to a song and without even noticing, bleeds from his chest down to the floor because he has just been shot with an introspective arrow. If you ever take the time to sing to him, for example; it wouldn’t matter if you didn’t have a Celine Dion kind of voice – you will be able to move mountains inside his world because an art, to him, is the most perfect act of imperfection. It is perhaps his occasional fuel to go on with life, and maybe to go on with you. So he needs art. He needs your art.

The thing about him is that he is addicted to the idea of life being an ephemeral gift that he has to savor, in every way that he possibly can. For him, it is better to be totally ridiculous than be totally boring. Sure, he is dramatic, but he is alive. And the thing is that you’re gonna wanna change him – someday, somehow. You’re gonna wanna fix him because he looks broken; he looks like he needs saving. There will be days when you start to wonder how someone can be so fucked up, so locked up in darkness and pure chaos. You will begin to count ways to get to him and put some sense into his head. And this is the thing about him that you will eventually learn along the process: He just sucks at long-term planning. And he hates making “big life decisions” that should “define his future”. He just hates it. But what can he do? He is not what people want him to be, and probably not what you what him to be. He likes to dance in the rain (literally), talk loud, laugh boisterously and sometimes get a little too drunk and a little too high. He likes to talk to random strangers that may or may not be dangerous, go to places he’s never been, sing at the top of his lungs in the sky train and maybe even scratch his knees over and over again like he did when he was in pre-school. This is what he is made of – life experiences taken in large doses. The thing about him is that he’d rather run, fly and whirl through life like a blind hurricane than carefully walk through it within the bounds of some sort of a Life Instruction Book. He hates guidelines, and he hates rules, and he hates standards. He does not believe in any of that crap. But this doesn’t mean that he is a bad, or a weak, or a broken person. This just means that he is his own person – an individual existing in this planet solely as an individual, working his best not to be filtered by society. His main goal in life has always been to become a beach bum one day, when he is strong enough and alive enough to finally commit to that goal. Yes. He’d rather live by the beach and dance and drink all day with friends and loved ones with the view of the sunset every 5:30PM. In the evenings at the beach, he will be gazing straight into a bonfire and he’ll be looking at the stars above him, listening to his heartbeat. And he will smile. That will be the most authentic defining moment of success according to his watch. This is him, and people always fail to understand that. You will fail to understand that. But he has given up on hoping that anyone will truly understand, because that’s not what this is about for him. It’s about being. Simply being. And that, to him, is beautifully liberating.

The thing about him is that he is a nonbeliever of the future. To him, the future is the biggest deception in all of this universe. If you come to think about it, this thing we call future is really just an illusion until you wake up one morning and it has turned into the present. But until then, the future does not exist. It is a propaganda. And he knows this. He has seen people suffer, lovers break, families part ways and lives shatter because people took for granted a million moments in their lives, all because they had assumed there would be a million more. Live with him in the moment. It is completely okay to want to have a future with him, and to build a life with him, but do not hurt him, or leave him, or take him for granted today just because you want to be happy with him tomorrow. Today is pretty much the only world he lives in. He is in there, right now. With you. Grab him by the waist and kiss him.

Kiss the fuck out of him. 

Most importantly, out of all of the many things about him, know this:

He is not perfect. But neither are you. If you are exclusively looking for the Prince Charming type of guy, he is probably not the one for you. He won’t be your Knight In Shining Armor, or the eye candy stud riding on the White Horse to come and sweep you off your feet and lead you to a castle of riches and pure joy. That is not how it works with him, and actually with love. You will both have mad days, poor days, days like hell and days when you would wanna just disappear. He will drive you crazy, and he will hurt you. He loves you, yes. But he will hurt you. He promises to all of the gods that he will continue to hurt you, because he is imperfect to a fault. But so will you. And that doesn’t mean that you both do not love each other; it just means that you love each other strongly and deeply enough to bother with hurting and to bother with being hurt. You love each other to the point of grief and tears. One morning, at around 5AM, just when the sun is about to rise, you will stare at him while he is fast asleep, and you’re gonna think of how much time you’ve wasted living with him. You will think of the wasted hours and days and months being with such a broken person – too broken a person you could see cracks in his eyes when you hold your gaze a little longer. But those cracks are cracks that he himself had made. He purposefully put them there, so that you will have something to look through, so that you can see him beyond his physical appearance. The cracks are there not so you can fix him, but so you can have more room for your hands to take grip on him, to hold on to him.

He is not perfect, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. And as much as he promises that there will be bad days, he also promises that there will be good days. And you will live to see those days only when you stick around long enough. For him and for the universe, love isn’t a one-track album. You don’t get to listen to just one happy song all the time, you get the whole package. You get like three thousand other songs that come with the album. How neat is that?

So perhaps despite all this, the only thing about him that you must learn is that he is who he is. Good and bad, ugly and handsome, proper and inappropriate. He is both the night and the morning, the cave and the great outdoors, the shot of tequila and the mug of green tea. He is a poem. 

That is the thing about him.

“We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. And it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems—the ones that make you truly who you are—that we’re ready to find a lifelong mate. Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person—someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”

I will find that special person who is wrong for me in just the right way.

Let our scars fall in love.” (Andrew Boyd)

To My Next One

My Symphony: Amsterdam by Coldplay 

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(photo source)

There you are. Wiping the sweat off your forehead after another long and torturous day of wondering where I am.

There you are, just sitting there with your signature poker face. You are holding that Humans of New York book that you’ve read from cover to cover for about seven times now. In front of you is a wine glass full of orange juice. You’re not gonna be getting drunk tonight. You’re not gonna be in the club dancing with sixty other strangers and contemplating each soul that’s potentially breathing inside every person in that room whom you find cute. Because tonight, you’re staying in and cooking your own dinner. Tonight, only for tonight, there is no time for any interaction aside from that which you are having with yourself. You’ve decided to just sit there, in front of your overcooked salmon and lukewarm orange juice, and think.

So there you are. Thinking. Not the kind of thinking that you normally do when you answer your major exams, or the thinking that’s required in planning those summer vacations you go to with your friends in spring; it is rather the thinking that you do when you think about love.

There you are. Beautiful as the sunrise. I don’t even understand how someone can be as stunning as you are. I mean I didn’t even know it was possible, but there you are – a breathing, shining proof that somewhere out there lives a higher power. Something that is way larger than any of us earthlings can imagine; something that’s ethereal, superhuman.

There you are. You have said you’ve been single your whole life because none of your past relationships seemed right. There are days when you wonder what love feels like, looks like, smells like. Does it feel the same way the palm trees feel the ocean-catapulted breeze? Does it look like the view of the city from the rooftop of your apartment building? Does it smell anything like green tea and vanilla extract? You do not know. But you wish you did.

There you are. You have gone to at least eight different countries by the age of twenty-four. What are you looking for out there? Nothing, maybe. Maybe you’re just sort of walking around this entire time, subconsciously hoping to finally bump into me. You have spent a significant amount of time with your friends. And they’ve been really good friends to you. They’ve laughed at your jokes, smiled at your happiness and waved at your moments of randomness. They’ve been with you on all those long walks, all those food trips, concerts, live theater performances and sometimes even on Valentine’s Day. And tonight is no different. They’re still the ones that fill your phone inbox. They’re still the ones that flood your Facebook timeline. They’re still the ones that witness your life as it unfolds dramatically. The only difference is that tonight, the unsatisfied longing for the presence of that one person – that one person whom you will love with all your heart – has definitely hit the deadline. You want love, just as much as I do. But the universe has had a funny way of creating two like-minded individuals who are a perfect match, and then putting them so far away from each other.

There you are. Where have you been? It’s actually quite funny. I’m impatiently asking you this when you have every right to ask me the same question. So where have been?

I’ve been here. Not sitting like you are right now, but floating. I’ve been dreaming a lot and sleeping a lot. I’ve been here and there, and I’ve looked for you too many times in too many places. I’ve been in this dozy tourist village that is my bedroom just writing about you, reading about you and thinking about you.

And now here I am. Jaded after all the rollercoaster rides in my life so far. I am bruised and scarred but smiling. Just like you, I had spent the whole day somehow hoping that our paths would finally cross.

Here I am, visualizing the numerous awesome moments we will be making.

Inside my head, here we are. I’ve never felt this special with anyone in my life. I adore the dimples that form on your cheeks each time I smile at you. I adore that. I adore the fact that I can be certain you will always smile back. Because when you smile, your eyes somehow disappear but your joy doesn’t. And I adore that. I adore that we can be foolish and intelligent with each other without having to apologize for anything. I adore that we are so the same yet so different. I adore that you like dogs, Katy Perry and dim lighting. I adore that everytime the wind brushes through your hair, it dances just enough to create the illusion of us hovering above the ground. And everytime I hold your hand, I adore that it fits perfectly. When you’re far away and I see you, it doesn’t take you long to see me; we don’t yell or wave, and sometimes we don’t even smile – we just look at each other as we approach the center point. There’s all this percolating love and passion underneath the calmness. I adore that. I adore that because all those years of trials and errors have led the two of us to this point. And there’s so much inside of us that we can just explode at any given second. But I adore that. I adore the idea that we are now standing face to face like two active volcanoes ready to erupt. And I adore that the eruption would be an eruption of love.

But here I am. And there you are. No amount of thinking and visualizing can realistically put us right next to each other any time soon.

I like to believe that you are out there, Next One. And if you are, I hope that at the very right moment, you will finish that orange juice of yours and take a walk along the beach.

I will be there. And I swear, you will be the Last One.

This is a Love Rant

My Symphony: Walk In the Park by Beach House

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Taken from my personal journal, dated Sept. 4th, 2012

I’ve always believed that I am someone who is capable of love, and I probably always will. Even as a child, my mother told me I already had so much affection and sincerity in my eyes. But I think that after the things I’ve been through as a teenager, my view on love has changed as much as have changed. You know, I used to think love was easy, that it entailed all of the bright, marvelous things and everything else which is peachy (e.g. bunnies, butterflies, flowers, chocolates, heart figures and jellybeans… or whatever). But apparently, just when I thought I had love figured out, reality bitch slaps me across the face and leaves me wondering if I’ve ever really come to know, understand and feel love on the first place.

I’m not going to deny it – I am a sucker for love. Since I was fourteen, I had always been in relationships. Non-stop. As soon as one ended, I immediately got involved in another one, and it was all a never-ending cycle of what I believed were lasting relationships.

It doesn’t mean that it has been easy. It wasn’t easy. A lot of things about my past relationships were hard (or maybe difficult is the right word to use… or maybe at this point it doesn’t really matter). So yeah. Things were hard. It was hard that they all started and ended, it was hard that I had to move on literally thirteen times, and it was hard having to bear with the momentary feeling of being unworthy of a real relationship. But the hardest part, I think, was the series of nights and days when I was just spacing out, wondering if I would ever feel that feeling again — that feeling of being looked after, of being valued, of being thought about; the feeling that someone actually genuinely wants to get to know you, to be there for you no matter what.

Over the past six years of my life, I had my own share of grief, joy, laughter, sorrow, pain, pleasure and wonder all because of love. Love, love, love.

It hasn’t left my mind at all. The idea of it, the concept of it. It hasn’t left my mind since I kissed my first love in that old hotel room one fateful night in November of 2007. I still remember every detail – how dark the room was, how soft and tender his lips were, how fast my heart was racing, how the bed itself was so messy, how new and unfamiliar the moment was and how all of it, at the moment, screamed “forever!”

I have loved and lost so many times in my life. And quite frankly, I am surprised that I am still able to feel love now. I have grown amazed at how the human heart operates. I’ve put my heart through a hard labor, and yes it is already beaten up, worn out and exhausted, but I find, in all of my heart’s exhaustion, that no matter how hard I try to put up walls and pretend that I am a selfish, cold, bitter, self-indulgent cunt, at the end of the day, I know who I really am – I know that I will not survive alone.

So yeah, I have already established that love, indeed, may just be the central theme of my life. I have established that it can be weird, crazy and sometimes ridiculously hard to fathom. But now I ask myself: what is love?

Right now I’m wishing that time was infinite so I could write on and on in an attempt to discover and rediscover the bittersweet realities and surrealities that love brings to my mind. I know that I can never put a final period on a writing about such an abstract and incredibly peculiar concept.

Four months ago, I had my first encounter with a human being at a soul level. This is probably the deepest and truest connection I have ever been able to generate with another person. And I didn’t see this coming. I didn’t plan this. And I sure as hell didn’t want this. This is the first “relationship” I’ve been in where I legitimately do not know what the fuck I’m doing or what on earth is actually going on. Every time he and I talk, and laugh, and exchange moments of absolute trust, friendship and connection, every time I look into his eyes, I just instantly forget about everything I knew about love. I forget that I was ever in love before. Because every time we are together I feel like an infant, a newborn, a kid… just learning his first steps and his ABC’s.

I cannot ever fully understand whatever it is that I am going through right now. All I know is that for the first time in my life, I feel completely vulnerable. And I just simply do not know where to go from that. I just don’t know. At all. No idea.

Blank. Void. Hollow.

Twelve Things I Need From You

My Symphonies: Heartbeats by José González | The Rock and the Tide by Joshua Radin

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1. I need you to have a traveler’s heart. I need you to have an affinity towards places you’ve never been to and characters you’ve only met for the first time. I need you to be a wondering wanderer like I am, so that we’re always asking, always searching and always finding. I need you to be my tour guide on this life escapade, and I need you to take me to a secret corner and tell me that we are lost, because I need to feel lost with you. You are my home away from home, and I need you to light that bonfire so that together we can stare into it and smile.

2. I need you to greatly appreciate ephemeral episodes of nature like the sunset, or the sound of thunder that breaks the nice silence we share just before saying goodnight, or the sight of a cumulus cloud moving ever so slightly to create a form of what looks to us like a giraffe with a neck that’s a little shorter than normal. I need you to be ecstatic about the idea of sneaking out of your house at 1AM to meet with me, and resting our heads on the windshield of my bestfriend’s car (you also need to know that I don’t drive, and I need you to know the many reasons why). And there, lying down, we will be gazing at the stars. No, we’re not going to be just staring at them; we will be watching them as if they were the venerable Greek gods, simply majestic, simply astounding. We will soon realize, for the millionth time, that the universe is this large, large place; we will be reminded that this oblate spheroid we call Earth dwells amidst many other planets, all suspended as lonely specks in a vast cosmic arena of an enveloping darkness. All of our problems will once again vanish just like that, because we both know that we are nothing but pawns in our galaxy’s game. We will come to see that this moment is all we have, and that this, too, is ephemeral. Just like the ray of sun that kisses my cheeks on a gloomy Autumn day. Just like that shooting star I saw in December of 2008. Just like the stretching of the skin just beside your lips when I crack my lousy jokes. But I need you to be okay with that. I need you to be okay with that. 

3. I need you to be an artist. Even the messiest, most chaotic thoughts and drawings shouldn’t bother you at all. I need you to be creatively passionate about a life without direction, a life of endless mistakes, sadness and anger. I need you to embrace the overall emotionality of our existence, the reality of the human condition and the yin and yang of being alive. I need you to be positive, yes. But I also need your pessimism. When happiness yawns at us, I need you to trust me enough to cry on my shoulder, or maybe even my chest. I need you to not be ashamed or guilty of your own pain and weaknesses. We will both be burned, wounded and trashed. But I need you to cooperate with me; I need us to laugh and cry at everything at the same time.

4. I need you to know that I am a cat person. I will probably insist on buying a British Shorthair and adopting two more kittens from the animal shelter. On days when you are drowning in your job workload, family crisis and financial stress, I will most likely bombard you with Youtube videos of tiger cubs, snuggling jaguars and sleeping lynxes. And I need you to patiently watch them until it hits you that the feline creatures are undeniably admirable. I don’t need you to be a cat person if you’re not, but I need you to look at me in the eyes and, without saying a word, admit that those videos have taken your mind off of your worries even just for a few minutes.

5. I need you to know when to lie and when to tell the truth. I need it to be clear to you that I know the cliche “We’re in a relationship; we tell each other everything”.  Well, it doesn’t work in real life and with real people. Honesty doesn’t always guarantee a healthy partnership. I need you to be warned that I might not react in a usual way when I find out you cheated on me. I need you to understand my familiarity with the complexity of human relationships. I personally think it’s never just black and white. Every lip-lock with a stranger, every decision to not text back, every shot of tequila, every shattered marriage in this world, has a very convoluted story behind it. So when the time comes that you tell me you kissed someone else and my initial reaction is “Oh, how was it?”, I need you to know that that’s the way you can tell I really like you.

6. I need you to understand that underneath this lively exterior, I am an introvert. Most of the time, I will rather drink cheap wine and eat really unhealthy microwavable ramen with you on a Friday night than go drunk-dancing in the club with semi-friends and acquaintances. I might blurt out some passive-aggressive sentiments regarding any subject here and there, and I might talk to you endlessly about a single little incident that bothers me. So I need you to be an extroverted soul. I need you to keep on showing me the world outside of my precious bubble and tell me that it’s going to be okay; that it’s perfectly fine to try and trust other people because even if it turns out badly, you will still be there for me.

7. I need you to be as obsessed with music as I am, if not more. I need you to love seeing live bands, even the ones that play on the streets asking for ‘donations’. We will be walking in the rain one monotonous Sunday night and begin hearing a gentle yet husky singing voice getting louder with every strum on his acoustic guitar as we slowly recognize the lyrics. “Back beat, the word was on the street/ That the fire in your heart is out/ I’m sure you’ve heard it all before/ But you never really had a doubt/ I don’t believe that anybody/ Feels the way I do about you now”. We will then head back to your apartment and immediately listen to the same song on your iPod, and I’ll need you to sit still on your bare mattress as I carefully plug the left earphone onto your left ear. And in that moment, when your left ear and my right ear are introspectively listening to that song, I need your heart to beat faster. Because mine will. It always will.

8. I need you to get used to hugs that are at least 70 seconds long each. And when I say 70 seconds, I really mean 70 seconds. I need for you to understand the power of a long, sincere embrace. Within those 70 seconds, I need you to tell me the things you never can using words, and show me the images you never can using photographs. I need for you to be completely open, like a fisherman’s view of the wide sea from his almost-stationary vessel. I need you to be a blank page right in the middle of a thick mystery book so I can scribble my love for you the way a kindergartner scribbles – liberally and colorfully.

9. I need you to read books, watch films, visit art galleries and slow dance to Radiohead songs because that’s what I am about. I need you to feel how much these things matter to me, and I need for them to eventually matter to you, too. I need you to be influenced  by me, and I need for me to be influenced by you.

10. I need you to be able to freely communicate with my unadulterated physicality. I need you to lay me down ever so delicately and feel the rush of air from my mouth on your neck as I whisper distorted sounds of devotion and satisfaction. I need you to have a fairly long hair so I can brush through it with my fingers when our lips meet. I need your breath to smell like a combination of cigarette smoke and diet Pepsi. And when I finally break from the kiss, I will only be about an inch away from you because I’ll still need you to recognize the heat coming from my lips. It is the same heat that brought me to where you were, and to where we are right now. And I need you to fill in that inch of distance with another kiss. But I need you to stop halfway an inch because I’ll meet you there.

11. I need you to be aware of my self-destructiveness and my existential crisis. I am one of those unlucky ones who were born to ask infinite questions about themselves and the world that they live in. You will find that I sometimes burst out crying mid-way down my coffee mug, but I need you to understand that it has nothing to do with you, me or us, but the simple fact of my morning coffee reminding me of life’s bitterness and atrocities. And I’m not saying that I’m blaming my coffee for my momentary melancholia. It’s in the sight of that mug with my peripheral view of the city skyscrapers; it’s in the sound of the dogs barking outside somehow blending with the sound of my heavy breathing; it’s in the texture of the dining table which reminds me of the sturdy desks when I was in college; it’s in the way that your actual presence and the mere idea of you collide. It is in those little occurrences that a breakfast sends me to tears. And I need you to pay close attention to that.

12. Most importantly, I need you to realize that I have waited a very long time for this; for you. And I need you to know that no, you don’t meet all of my needs. No, you’re not the one who hits eleven out of eleven from my list. And no, you’re not perfect. You probably don’t give a single shit about books, or sunsets, or cats, or my self-diagnosed mental illness, and maybe your life plan doesn’t really include going on long walks in the rain because you catch cold and fever very quickly, so maybe it’s safe to say that you are underqualified for a place in my heart. But come closer. I have something to tell you. Lean in. Yes, and a little bit more. Now let me tell you a secret: when I fall for you, I fall for you. And there’s nothing that you, me, or this stupid list can do about that. I love you, just because.

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Single

Lately, I have been experiencing the wonderful and incredible benefits of being single.

Not having to text or call someone every second of every day, not being obliged to go on a date or a Skype chat even if you don’t feel like it, having the freedom to love without the damage of stress and dishonesty, being able to FLIRT with just about anyone you find attractive without feeling any guilt, having the liberty of “exploring” without the fear and worry of being labeled a promiscuous slut, and most of all, knowing that you never have to lie to anybody and that you will never hurt anybody including yourself… Who needs relationships? I know I don’t. At least not at the moment.

I am not being a heartless douche here. I have so much love in me, and I am saving all of it for someone who really deserves it. In the mean time, I am simply enjoying what life and my age offer me.

And the thing is that unlike most people, I actually am aware that relationships nowadays are undeniably over-rated. Most couples think that what they have is a real relationship but really, it is not. And they know it. They are just too naive and too carried away that they sometimes reach the point of calling what they have “love”.

As for me, I already am experienced enough to understand that love isn’t supposed to be abused. It isn’t supposed to be a game or a booty call. It isn’t supposed to be a venue for greed, lust and self-satisfaction. Because from what my wisdom tells me, love, above all things, is and will always be GENUINE. And if it’s not genuine, it is not love.

And so I am still sticking to that promise I made myself a couple of months ago: I will NEVER be in a relationship ever again… until I am sure it is GENUINE.

The Cherries Within Us

My Tune: Not For All The Love in The World by The Thrills

It’s just so funny that everytime I search about cherries, the images that appear are that of cherries which come in pairs.

There’s something strange and beautiful about the way they come in pairs, though. I mean, there’s really something about the physical appearance of cherries and the way they taste just as sweet as anything which I can’t actually describe that sends me a little message. I don’t know why this is, but everytime I search for photographs of apples, bananas, oranges, lemons or even grapes, the images that appear are simply flat, and by “flat” I mean they don’t seem to make me feel like the way I do everytime I see pictures of pairs of cherries.

What’s interesting is that I believe I have finally discovered what’s behind this yet another scrutiny of mine.

People, especially those who take really generous grips on their pride, always tend to say that they don’t need other people to make them happy. These stereotypical beings wear fake smiles as they tell others how they “don’t need a man to make it happen”, or how they “don’t need girls to be happy”. They say that they can never trust anyone in this modern-day world; that they can’t and won’t trust anyone apart from themselves and themselves alone. In fact, majority of the less-experienced teenagers who have undergone ugly relationships with a friend, a partner or a foe always desperately tries to cope up by saying silly and unbelievable things like “From now on, I’m going to be happy just by myself”, or “I will be a nun!”, or even “Pfft. I don’t need guys! I’ll go shop tomorrow”. See? Just take a glimpse at how typical teenagers are becoming lately.

According to an article about teenage life and crises which I have recently read here in the net, saying the above statements or even just blurting them usually takes place as a coping mechanism which is essential as defense acts of humans. Thus, practicing such activity is basically normal. Yes, it is normal. But who says it can go on forever? No, it can’t and it shouldn’t. This is simply because I now know how it feels when you’re not trusting somebody…

For the most part of my ongoing life, I grew up finding it hard to trust other people around me. This is mainly because those whom I trusted so well in the previous chapter of my life broke the one thing which I really rarely give— trust.

I had friends who scattered scuttlebutts around the hallways of my alma mater like they were just distributing some fancy greeting cards and sticky pads. Well, I am sure those were greeting cards of pure rumors and sticky stupidities that lame people partake (don’t worry, poeple. I’ll be talking more about my “media life” next time, ’cause that’s another long story to tell). The truth of the matter is that it was even rumored that I take drugs… that I am an obsessed drug addict. Wow. Well, the good news is, I have grown up outgrowing gruesome gossips and blue baloneys along my way.

My point here is, trust is something which is even more sacred than love itself. When we trust, everything else just follows.

What’s ironic is that there are just other indifferent people who actually say that they can live without trusting someone or being with someone.

We are but pieces of cherries, my dear peers. Pieces of cherries which are subconsciously looking for their other pairs. Alone, it is plainly boring and flat… monotonous. But by the time we finally found the one person we can trust ultimately, and when we are actually standing right next to our respective pairs, we’ll just realize how great it is to have someone whom you can trust, love… be with.

Indeed, we are but pieces of lonely, but sweet, cherries… always subconsciously looking for their pairs.