The Truth Behind The Silence

July 18, 2017

I don’t know where to start. It has been a long time since I wrote something so personal. So bear with me, this might be a bit heavy on the heart and a bit tiring to the eyes.

This year didn’t quite start in the best way for me. January 2017’s first few days were good but something happened that really took its toll on me and somehow affected me deeply (too personal to even elaborate on). On the third week, I got an e-mail from our former boss that was about to drastically change a lot of things – I was going to the US for work. It was something that I have known since my US Visa application got approved last year but the only thing I wasn’t sure of was when. And so two weeks after that e-mail, I hopped on a plane, endured almost a day up in the air, and finally landed in Dallas, Texas on January 28.

My first few days and weeks were all about learning how to live alone, getting to know more about how things go and work around here, and trying to figure out all the stuff I need and want to do before I go back. It was a mix of all the possible emotions I could feel. It would be the first time that I would be away from my parents and my friends. I won’t be elaborating in full detail what transpired from that point forward but to summarize it was mostly work, trying to visit must-visit places in Dallas, dealing with sudden bursts of anxiety, missing Filipino food, my parents, and friends, trying out Texan food, flipping through the pages of my planners and journals, visiting craft stores – but I wasn’t really that homesick. I felt guilty because I was enjoying my time alone.

I started being weirded out by myself. I realized that I was becoming so used to the idea of being alone and the freedom felt so liberating. I felt so happy – I was alone, but I wasn’t lonely. In my alone time, I drew closer to God. I didn’t have anyone else to lean on but my faithful Father and Best Friend. I had no desire to tell other people what I was doing, where I was going, or what food I was eating unlike the way I was before, when I was in Manila – I became too quiet on Facebook and Instagram. I was slowly realizing that maybe, just maybe, I was starting to experience what people call “quarter life crisis” but the question I kept on asking myself was “Why did it have to come seven months before I was supposed to turn 25?” Aside from enjoying the independence, I realized that some of the relationships in my life were becoming so unhealthy, no matter how happy or “perfect” they seemed to be to other people. The distance gave me a chance to re-evaluate myself away from people I have gotten used to being with every single day. I started realizing a lot of things – and when I say a lot, I mean a looot that I can’t even enumerate all of them. I’m the kind of person who’s used to dealing with issues by her own, and only telling other people about it once the intense emotions have subsided and when I can try to find the right words to describe it.

For more or less two weeks starting end of March until the 2nd week of April, I deactivated my Facebook and my Twitter and Instagram accounts were shut down for a week. I was going through something and I figured that social media wasn’t helping. I knew I was supposed to work on myself but the time that I was supposed to do that, I found myself scrolling for hours and hours on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and that wasn’t doing me any good. It was an abrupt silence, one my friends and family didn’t expect from me. Like a similar event four years ago (where I said goodbye to social media for a month), I knew deep inside I had stuff to work out with myself. I felt so afraid of disappointing people that I ended up prolonging my own agony. I lost interest in a lot of things – writing, my planners and journals, going out and exploring, BLOGGING – I just felt like staying in all snuggled in my comforter was the best way to spend a Friday night and the whole weekend. At first, I thought it was only because I was just becoming too lazy, or because I was just too tired to even care or because my hormones were acting up. But no, it wasn’t. In Filipino, sobrang nawalan na ako ng gana sa maraming bagay, all because of the heaviness I was feeling. The only important thing to me back then was knowing that I had God. It was more than enough.

During the first week of my Facebook absence, I tried to slowly reinvent myself. I evaluated myself and my goals and for a person who most people think has her life all figured out (I still can’t understand why I have that “aura” on people), I realized that I was still clueless about a lot of things. I wanted to take my time to figure them all out and to love myself even more. I started turning to healthier food options. I pushed myself to exercise 5-7 times a week. I was constantly looking for ways to be more productive. Trying to look up new places to visit, reconnected with my past, music wallower self, and I started sleeping every night with music on again. I learned to stop putting make up on everyday. And for the most part, I became more fervent in praying more and more than I have ever had before. All of the above, while trying to focus and be better at my job. All of these happened while I was trying my best to handle all my issues. On the 2nd week of April, we booked a flight to New Jersey for a client onsite. And though I wanted to focus so much on work, something just kept dragging me down no matter how much I begged it not to. After that business trip, I realized that although not fully certain, I was ready to reactivate.

Looking back now, April was such a difficult month for me. Everyday was just so dragging and it felt like every day seemed to last more than 24 hours. Work was really stressing me out and I felt pressured about the need to have our project go live before the month ended. The pressure of work and a certain aspect of my life didn’t go well together. I then realized that there were stuff I was so keen on ignoring before because I was blinded with what I was feeling. I was so focused on that part of my life and its possible future that I ended up taking for granted more important things in my life – my family, my friends, and my personal goals and dreams (the ones I wanted and already had solely for myself). I suddenly felt trapped because as much as I wanted to leave, the conversation just wasn’t ending and it all went to a do-while loop-like situation where someone else was manipulating the logic. I had every reason to leave but I was being held down.

In the end I realized, I had to let go of some people and give up some things that I realized weren’t getting better. There’s just too much that were both said and unsaid and both done and undone before that either piled up or was kept in the dark. Spending time alone and away from those people made me really think of a lot of things. My closest friends know how patient I can be with other people but I’m only human too, and I get tired. Some people say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and although that may be true for some, absence became a friend and made me realize stuff that I kept on ignoring or postponing before, all during that month. For the most part, I understood how unfair some of those decisions were, for weeks I felt so heavy about it but praying to God, talking to my parents and my closest of friends really helped me a lot to understand that sometimes things just don’t work out the way you expect them to. Some people won’t be able to understand why it all came down to that but they don’t know the whole story and I have no plans of disclosing it unless you’re a close friend. People might paint me as the villain here but I know deep down what the real story is. What you see in social media can never define what’s happening in real life.

Selfish as this may sound, everything felt so light after. After less than three months, I’m slowly finding myself being immersed even in the most ordinary moments and I found myself smiling again. I know people might probably think, “Nag-US ka lang, ganyan ka na.” But you see, I never really was given the chance to be by myself for a long time. For some, they might think that it’s negative, but I appreciate the friends who have been really supportive of me and all the realizations I have had since I got here. My Mum told me before, “Don’t rush into getting married. We want you to enjoy your life the way we never did when we were your age.” I didn’t quite understand it before, well I do know. I should never settle for less just because I thought it’s the only thing I have. There’s just so many stuff I want to do, so many places I want to go, so many things I want to experience. And maybe, nearing 25 awakened all those realizations in me for the better. The desire to live and not merely exist became more fervent. Not only did I discover more things about myself but I also discovered more about other people. I discovered more about possible passions I can pursue and the countless possibilities I have if I focus on and love myself more instead of always putting other people first.

So here I am, breaking the silence that has encapsulated this blog and myself for months. The truth behind the silence was that because I wasn’t in the right condition to write or open up my heart and express myself – so I didn’t. I never want to sabotage what I can write just because I felt I had to. My only intention is to let the people know who are going through the same thing I went through – cliché as this may sound, you are not alone. Someone, somewhere in whatever part of the country or the world, someone understands you and someone is longing for someone to understand them. So be kind. Always be kind to others.

I am slowly finding the interest to do things again – old and new ones. I have reconnected with friends from way back, watched new movies, listened to new songs, learned how to reach out to friends just because, and so much more. I want to make up for all the lost time spent on all the wrong reasons. Now I’m back and I’m willing to try to write again. I’m excited to try more new things and keep up.  I have never been this excited to grow up – not only grow old. I have so much memories and lessons learned to bring back home with me. I’ve now developed this enthusiasm about looking forward to what the future has in store for me and I’m loving the way it feels so far. And sometimes, more often than not, when you least expect it, you’ll find things. There’s so much I want to say but right now, I guess, I have to leave it this way before I start rambling on about something that’s off topic.

Do not worry about me. I’m the happiest I have ever been in a long time. 🙂

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  • Reply Charmaine July 18, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Hi Rej! I had this hint of what you are going through but I am not sure if I am right. But, I just want you to know that seeing your posts in social media, doing what you love, trying to get better inspires me. You’ve always been one of my favorite bloggers and I’m happy seeing a new post from you. Good luck! I’ll take note of everything you said in this blog post. 🙂

    • Reply Rej Relova July 18, 2017 at 11:15 pm

      Thank you, Cha. I needed time to process a lot of things. I knew that if I wrote this when it was still so fresh, I might have regretted all the things I’ve written. 🙂

  • Reply Jamie July 19, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Hi, Rej! We’re not really that close but I remember seeing your posts and thinking how sad you seemed. I didn’t want to talk to you, not because I didn’t care, but because I would’ve seemed feeling close. But know that I was that someone, I felt and somehow still feel the need to be understood. If you need to talk to anyone during these days, hit me up somewhere on the intrawebs! I’ll be glad to listen! 🙂

  • Reply Jae x SCATTERBRAIN July 20, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Sending you warm hugs from Sunny San Diego, Rej! <3

  • Reply Ochi Bernadas August 2, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    I was thinking this would be a long, dragging read until I started realizing how familiar the notes are. Good to know you’re at your happiest, that’s all i wish for anyone, really. Cheers xx

    Ochi | Ochi In The City

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