Copyright 2018 © drafts and brews byBernadette D. Sueno
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Saturday, November 11, 2006


(FOR TINE-TINE [pls. let's meet one of these days] … and for my many classmates and college-mates who have felt that they have wasted away their lives in Eng’g before coming to ILIS)
“… aftr ds, il knw f I cud stl b abl 2 cntnue&fnish skul… I may win&lus aftr ds… it may b ovr ng gnun2 lng... u rli wud nvr wnt 2 fil d filng dt uv bin left bhnd & chncs r out f reach... got 2 b strng smhw… I dnt knw hw… got 2b strong….” 7-Nov-2006 / 10:51:27


Just how would one define strength? And how can one find it, if he/she believes that he/she doesn’t have it?

I have just finished a record of all the subjects I have taken in preparation for my application for graduation. As I was encoding the subjects with their corresponding grades, my mind couldn’t help but remember how those past years have been.

It has been almost eight years. That included a year’s worth of taking LOAs because I was just plain lost, plus two years AWOL, just trying to find myself. Yes, it took me that long. And during those long years, the longest stretches of time were also the darkest.

Can you imagine your world literally turning gray at 17? Or being just one step away from literal madness? How about having to be overwhelmed by an inexplicable fear whenever your bus is almost near the campus, to the point that you are almost always driven to go back home which is about 2 hours away? Or just wanting to sleep away every waking moment so that you wouldn’t have time to realize your predicament and feel your helplessness.

Looking back, it was actually quite ridiculous to have thought of being broken just because of academics. But I almost was. My confidence was at its’ lowest then. My hope barely survived. I just never gave up that easily.

I lived from moment to moment. To get through every day, I would tell myself that it’ll only be just a day more before I could take a rest and find a moment to finally find my missing soul. I merely existed, true. It’s because during those times, my world was just this big gray bubble that meant nothing, yet was hurting me so much that all I could yearn for was to find a chance to just run away and forget who I was.

My grades, except for the last three semesters, they tell my story. Mediocre as they were, more so was my sense of self. Perhaps it was because like most young scholars, academics has always been my area of expertise. It has always been my source of self pride that was why it had meant so much to me. It was why when faced with the possibility of losing it and bringing ‘shame’ to my ever trusting and proud family, I came close to losing myself altogether.

I used to have nightmares about things relentlessly chasing me. They went on for years, each time bringing back dark, old memories. It used to cloud my heart with such a fear that it can still darken my days. Whenever that fear surfaces however, I give myself a reality check by reminding myself that those things were already done and accounted for; that they were things which I could no longer change. I, who was my own worst enemy, became my best friend. I always did pep talks with myself. It became my mission to always find something beautiful in everything, everyday. I would make lists of things I did well, and of things that had made me smile somehow, no matter how seemingly silly. Worries about the consequences of things I could no longer undo, I tried my best to replace with thoughts of things that I could still improve and strategies of how to proceed doing so. I kept myself busy. I always counted my blessings… I still do.
… an object is only as strong as its’ weakest point… physics. ”
– Disney’s Ice Princess

Maybe it’s true; that only if we dare to plumb our depths, face our deepest fears can we find out just how strong we are. Of course, this is easier said than done. In life though, NOTHING WORTH HAVING is EVER EASY TO COME BY.

Awake thyself
from such benumbing stupor
If thou suffer,
At least continue the struggle.
Don’t turn away.
Don’t run..
Do what it is that you must.
Contend with the fears that render you helpless.
Awake, oh awake !
Shake thyself free from the mediocrity of such an existence.
You are, what ?
A rock ?
So be one. Be steadfast.
A bird ?
Don’t fly away.
Soar. Triumph over.
A smoker ?
Have HOPE.
Smile. Act. Awake.


It took me two years away from UP to finally believe in myself again; to finally regain the confidence that I am one talented, unique individual who has everything she needs to succeed in anything she wants to. It took me that amount of time to see academics as just one part of life that may or may not define who I am, depending on how I would allow it to be. It took me that long to realize that life is not just about medals and recognition nor even education as we usually understand it to be. I got to grow up a bit and finally embark on a journey to return to myself. Two years had been long enough to suffer through my seemingly endless fears, yet short enough to lose myself in the struggle to educate people and in turn, to be educated by them and their million stories. I had the chance to see life through different eyes and in so doing, had realized that my life should not be about what the world expects of me. Rather, it must be about what I would expect of it- something I should very well be aware of all the time because it is always I who make the decisions about everything I do. I would define my life. It would have a purpose.

So come quickly, Fair Aurora.
Be the thief that steals away
the gloom of night
Be the midnight rain that showers hope
Upon this yet slumbering spirit.

Take me into Awareness;
To that land yonder
these melancholic dreams.
Carry me to freedom
Through your sweet promise of a brand new day.


I do not presume to have answers for people who are feeling lost, tired, drained or simply, empty. I am only saying that I know how it must feel like to be in their shoes because I have walked the latter years of my teenage life in them. I could regret those years. I could kill myself with the thought that I have wasted them. Instead, I have chosen to accept that I was meant to live through those years and learn something. And so I did. I tried to find the lessons. Among them was the fact that I will always have a choice, no matter what. I have chosen to believe that I have had to experience so much hurt so that I could know how strong I am, how resilient. I have also learned to live for something beyond the pain, understanding now that just like every other moment, they too would pass soon enough and give way for better things and happier moments.

I have watched countless films that said that courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to face fear. I also have read countless times over those immortal words of Nietszche that says that what does not destroy someone will make him stronger. Well, I have news: they’re true and they’re very much intertwined. Courage is the only way to find strength because strength is defined by one’s ability to live through fearsome burdens and hardships. To find courage therefore, is to find strength. As to where to begin, one only has to dare to look within, and find, and accept one’s real self.

Let me not fear the morning.
I’ve tarried in this darkness for too long.
Let me not shield my eyes
from the brightness.
Gladden my heart instead
with welcoming song.

For endless nights I have languished,
Praying for a long-awaited dawn.
Now that it is here, let me not cower.
Allow all weaknesses, from me, be gone,

What right would I have to tomorrow
If I can’t face up
to the challenges of today?
My mistakes I have relegated to the past.
Let them hinder not my way.

The day awaits, I’ve got to get going
If I’m to fulfill every opportunity.
See how the sun shines,
chasing away shadows.
Showcasing life in all it’s brilliancy!


kaigachi is a conjugation of the Japanese term "kigaicha" or crazy. It roughly translates as "crazy about something."

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious." - C.Jung

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