# 11.2

11:

One of my favorite numbers.

It’s probably because in elementary school, when we were assigned a class number, I was #11 for multiple years.

It was also the number of people in a group with whom I thought I’d be friends with forever.

11…

More than 10, but less than 12.

There was something “odd” about it (no pun intended).

But this is probably another reason why this is one of my favorite numbers because I always felt like the odd one out.

2:

Not one of my favorite numbers, but I can appreciate it.

After all, they say two is better than one.

Two peas in a pod.

Two halves to a whole.

A lot of things come in pairs.

If we take the 1’s in 11 & add them, well, 1 + 1 = 2.

2 makes us feel complete.

2 tells us we get a second chance at life.

But when we add 11 & 2…

11 + 2 = 13

13:

The unlucky number & quite conveniently, my karmic debt number.

12 is considered universally perfect; it represents harmony & all good things.

But 13?

13 tells us that we took things one step too far, & now harmony has turned into discord.

13 causes us to look back & try to figure out where we misstepped.

Did we do too much just to receive so little?

We try to go back to the very beginning.

And that’s exactly what I did.

I made it back to the very beginning with a sad smile on my face.

But as I scrolled through the archived messages on my desktop, the system crashed.

Perhaps it was a sign that I wasn’t supposed to be looking.

If we take 11.2 & turn it around, it becomes 2.11.

And I see it as 2, 1, 1, as if I am nearing the end of a countdown to something big, but I am afraid to say “zero” because I fear becoming nothing.

I’m counting down the days to my showcase, to my graduation, to moving back home, to my MCAT.

I’m counting the days I spend time with people, & the ones that pass where I wish I could renew a friendship.

I’m counting the days of my hair growing back, while hoping that the stress I’m feeling won’t cause it to thin again.

I close my eyes & count to 10, hoping this is all just a bad dream.

Because I’m terrified by the numbers.

# Clarity.

It didn’t make sense to me; like the fact that you decided to buy fake glasses when all you need to do is update the prescription on your real ones.

But I understand.

You wanted a new look, to try something different, without the worries of committing to something so serious; a path that seems to go only one way.

And wanting to test the waters doesn’t make you a bad person.

Because in the past months, you have had the taste of sweet freedom.

And damn. Doesn’t it feel good to live for yourself?

As for me, I desired knowledge.

To feel so close, yet still somewhat disconnected, I wondered what was going on.

I wondered what could be, because I always wonder.

And that’s the thing about me: my curiosity about the world is what keeps me alive.

But it is also a hindrance because I know that curiosity killed the cat, & this cat overthinks & feels all too deeply.

But a cat has nine lives & I am not dead yet because I am meant to chase the mouse that is my dreams & I am very, very hungry.

And you also understand.

I am grateful that you aren’t going to take this conversation & walk out of my life because you feel uncomfortable.

I am grateful because, around you, I can be raw & unfiltered.

I am grateful because you are honest.

I am grateful because you remember the details about me that people usually pay no mind to.

I am grateful because you stimulate my mind & provide me with conversations that I wish could last forever.

I am grateful because you travel far & wide to see me.

I am grateful because you are always great company.

I am grateful, because all the care I’ve ever put into others, is now finally being reciprocated in the same dynamic.

And I’ll admit that it was confusing; I’ll admit I found it strange.

You’re different; you truly are a special one.

But you are just a friend, & if this is what friendship is, then the world needs more good-hearted people like you.

I am not mad, & never could be, for many reasons that I could list, but will refrain from doing, for that list would probably be excessive & disorderly.

But no matter to that.

I am blinded by love. Not for you in particular; I just naturally fall in love with all of my surroundings.

I try to see the good in everyone & everything.

And there is so much good in you.

Things were blurry, but now I have the lenses to see things clearly, & I could not be more content.

I could not be happier to be so blessed with such a close friend near & dear to my heart in the time that we’ve spent together.

So thank you, for being a weirdo in your own right (although you disagree), because I’m a weirdo too & I think that makes our friendship all the more better.

I hope this lasts a lifetime.

Thank you, for giving me clarity.

# Them.

It’s hard, I know.

They screw you over.

“It’s okay, we’re human.”

It happens again.

“Have patience.”

And again.

“Forgiveness is key. Don’t worry.”

And again…

You find yourself looking in the mirror,/ Trying to stare deep into your soul.

“What’s wrong with me?”

At this point, it’s time to let go./ You’ve done everything you could.

You’ve forgiven and tried to forget./ Then you realized that you can’t forget./ Because if you forget, did you learn your lesson?

You’ve loved when it was hard./ You’ve given, even when people told you it was pointless./ Who else would be there if you weren’t?

But sometimes they just don’t see it./ Sometimes they just don’t understand./ They don’t know the blood./ They don’t know the sweat./ They don’t know the tears.

They may have been there for years./ They may have been there for months./ And in an instance, gone./ Like they didn’t even know you./ Like you don’t even exist.

All you get is a head nod./ Sometimes just a stare./ And you crawl into your shell for a bit,/ Because you feel out casted./ You don’t belong.

But darling, it’s okay.

That’s just the way life is.

People come and people go./ You are wonderful./ Imperfect, yes, but nonetheless.

You feel like a lone wolf,/ But you’ll find your pack someday./ Not everyone can run beside you./ Not everyone can keep your pace.

If it’s meant to be, maybe they’ll come back.

But baby, don’t waste your time.

Because you are worth much more than they make you feel.

“What’s wrong with me?”

It’s not you, it’s them.

# Excuse Me if I’m a Bit All Over the Place.

It’s mid-April and with a little bit less than a month left of school, I have succumbed to the stressors of the final stretch. With my second year at my small, private university coming to a close, the deadlines and things needing to be done are starting to dance around my head. Combined with my desire to go out to concerts and events, but my unfortunate circumstance of being a broke college student, I have definitely become more grumpy.

But what is all that without a bit of insecurity to be the perfect cherry on top?

With the spring semester being filled with more time-consuming events than fall, such as the rehearsals for a cultural showcase that took place multiple days of the week and endured for about 3 months, I gained weight and lost definition in the muscles that I had just barely gained back over winter break.

As I had to spend more and more time going into the lab for research, I found that I was having to spend more time by myself. I saw people for even shorter periods of time than I did during the previous semester. Some people had switched majors, dropped out of classes, or changed sections for classes we had together. And while I admit without shame that I thoroughly enjoy a full dose of “me time” as much as I can get it, sometimes I feel as if I’ve isolated myself so much that I just don’t fit in with places and people I was a part of.

To be quite frank, I never really fit in anyway.

One time in elementary school, every person in class had to give a presentation about a certain type of music. While most of my peers chose HipHop, R&B, and Pop, I chose to present on Italian Opera. And long before EDM became widely popular among my friends as it is now, when people asked me what my favorite song was in the 6th grade, I would reply, “He’s a Pirate (Tiesto Remix).”

And as far as looks go? Well, I’m no poster girl…

I can say I am grateful to be blessed with a skinny physique. Standing around 5’4 with slender arms and legs and my size 7 feet, people have often asked me if I am dancer because of my stature. Or maybe it’s the way I walk… Or how I sit? Or dance around? I don’t know. Anyway, to be honest it makes me smile when people think that, (1) because they think I have talent and (2) because I can appear fit without putting so much work into it. Don’t get me wrong, I DO dance; I just consider myself more at home on a dance floor doing my own random thing rather than performing choreography on a stage in front of a large crowd. Also, just because people think I look fit, that doesn’t mean I’m not unhappy with my body sometimes. Trust me. I still have to put in serious work at the gym.

But sometimes it’s hard to get my boyish figure to cooperate. For some odd reason, at one point in life I thought I had an hourglass figure.

HAH. I’M FREAKING HILARIOUS.

You stupid little high school girl..

I’ve come to realize that I pretty much have a straight figure. I’ve always been a late bloomer and can still recall being ridiculed for “having no butt.” It was the talk of the town about how I couldn’t really fit into a pair of pants just right without needing a belt and how my cousins’ butts were so big. WOW. BIG WHOOP-DEE-DOO, AUNTIES. So when I was able to slip on a size 24 of Forever 21 skinny jeans that hugged me perfectly, it was a very, very sweet victory. Thankfully, my bum has grown a lot since then, and no one has uttered a word about it. It’s not big, but its presence is slightly acknowledged, and I’m content with that. And it’s not knocking anything over, which is cool. However, being boyish in figure means not having boobs and that’s a little harder to embrace. I would like to wear strapless dresses or clothing with bold cuts more than I do and actually have something to show off. To make matters worse, it doesn’t exactly hide weight gain. Seems like the girls who have slightly bigger breasts than mine and can fill B cups and even some A cups can conceal their tummies better. As someone who’s trying to workout to look and feel better, I frown in envy at the bitches who eat all they can at restaurants all the damn time and still come out looking fabulous.

Then there’s my flat nose, with an almost nonexistent nose bridge. My chubby cheeks (a result of excessive sodium intake from a phase when I would snack on sunflower seed for hours in a day). My deep eye bags. My eyebrows that may or may not be visible in certain lighting.`And my scars, blemishes, and uneven skin color. You’re probably thinking, “Wow, Allex. That’s a lot of negative things you’re pointing out about yourself. Can’t you think of anything you like?” Of course I can. I like my big eyes My straight, pearly white teeth. And my lips (you can find me trying new shades of lipstick all the time). My legs, my feet, my fingers, and even my innie belly button. But these things to me have become so overwhelmed by the imperfections that it’s hard not to feel bad about them. I’ve grown up feeling a lot of pressure about my appearance. Filipino aunties can be blatantly brutal about your flaws and it’s unfortunate to say that it has affected me to such an extent. It doesn’t help when random cuties are flirting with your cousins or friends either. Guess who’s left in the corner on their own looking a loser? Oh, me. Again.

Didn’t mean to sit on the pity pot for too long, but I just needed to get that off my chest.

Don’t mistake me for a girl who is rushing to get into a relationship, because it’s actually quite the opposite. I’m guilty of being a bit overenthusiastic when I meet someone new or when things start to get serious, but for now, as I mentioned earlier, I’d rather spoil myself. I like this freedom that I have. And while I am aware that one day, I will be able to dance around without a care and have someone by my side that will accept my craziness and probably dance alongside me in the goofiest way possible, today is not that day. I’ve had a scary close encounter, but I have not yet met my match and that’s fine by me. I don’t want anyone holding me down and I don’t want to hold anyone else down. I just don’t feel as if I’m ready for a relationship yet. Simple as that. I still carry a lot of baggage and a lot of it I feel is stuff I need to learn to take care of on my own. I want to be the best I can be when entering a relationship (even if I’m still far from perfect) and I definitely know that I have to really, truly love myself first. I could have the whole world telling me to stop putting myself down and that I’m beautiful, but it all doesn’t matter unless I believe it myself. But just for shits and giggles, I like to think that, because I don’t really possess the stereotypical type of cute girl looks that guys covet, it just means that there’s an extraordinarily atypical cutie out there for me that’s waiting to be found.

I’m definitely a work in progress. Looking back though, there is significant growth from this exact point in my life last year. I’ve learned to love, forgive, and let go, and for those who’ve known me since at least high school can definitely attest to my issues in doing so. These first four months of the year have already brought events to test how much I’ve grown, but for the most part, I can say I’ve combatted then pretty successfully. Clearly, some tweaking needs to be done, but it’s a lot better than it was. The struggles live on, but God knows I’m happier.

As for the relationships in my life, I know I should break out of my shell even more than I have. I’m beyond thankful for the new friends I made in such a short amount of time and have taken me in like family nonetheless. I’m thankful for the friendships I’ve strengthened. I’m thankful for having a few people out there that I can always fall back on no matter what, even if distance separates us and we don’t get to talk that often. You know who you are. 🙂 I’m also thankful for realizing that there were some people in my life that are really not even relevant and that I shouldn’t give two shits about. You’ve given me some valuable lessons and it’s nice to take a break from worrying so much. There are still kinks: people I hope to reconnect with, people I hope to get to know more, just some things that are up in the air, but I hope the upcoming months will help lay that down for me.

As I’m writing this, it’s just about to hit 5:30am and I’m going to get up in a few hours because I’m supposed to be productive and grind down on these last few weeks of school. This is what I get for napping at 7:30pm and drinking caffeinated tea at 11pm… Shout out to all the insomniacs!

So I’m a bit all over the place.

My life is a state of chaos. I don’t quite know where I’m going anymore and it’s scary, but I’m also okay with it. I have my share of bad days like today, but I have never loved my life more. I’ve discovered just how passionate I can be and reignited my desire to travel, so God willing, when I have some idea of what I want to do, I’ll be able to take my passion and go great places, literally and figuratively.

In a sense, I’ll always be “all over the place.” Whether it be with the internal struggles in my head right now, or traveling around the country and eventually the world with friends and family, there’s just something fantastic about this whimsy. I once wanted to be an ornithologist. For those who don’t know what an ornithologist is, it is someone who studies birds. And here is yet another atypical thing about me because, let’s be real, how many people have said, “I want to study birds for a living!!”? I say this because admire the freedom of birds. There is good deal of sadness in a caged bird that is never let out, but a bird in the open air, able to express its full potential in flight, is a sight that enraptures me, reason being I can relate to this perfectly. I’d consider myself a baby bird, given that I’m still trying to get used to this and I’m not as independent as I wish.

But I’m still a free bird.

So I will sing. At 6:15am.

And probably make a mess.

But you’ll have to excuse me.

# A Blessing for the Broken Souls.

Hello old friend.

I saw you walk through the door, but it was only when I saw you walking towards me that I really recognized you.

And I will tell you now that I was elated; I wasn’t feeling too well this morning, and the sight of a familiar face gave me a reason to smile.

It damn near seems like you’ve disappeared off the face of the earth. Every once in a while, I’ll see your tweets pop up on my feed, but your Instagram pictures are close to none.

As you neared my pew, I wondered why you decided to distance yourself.

Then you sat down next to me, and I knew why.

You gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek and when we broke away, I could see how tired you were. The lines on your face were more prominent; you had aged since I last saw you about 8 months ago. You aren’t even a year older than me, but I looked at you and saw a worn-out old man.

You asked me how I was and I said, “Good,” with a shake in my voice. I asked you the same and you replied with but a sad smile, whispering, “Okay.”

We didn’t speak much after that, and it was in that very moment that I found it extremely difficult to hold back tears. I had I turn away to wipe them from my eyes, but I knew my heart was breaking for you.

Your eyes were sallow, wandering off into the distance with some strange thoughts.
You didn’t joke around with me like you used to so many years ago.
The tone-deaf boy I once knew to never be afraid of shouting out praise, even though singing was not his forte, did not open his mouth once for a song.
He did not even open his mouth for a smile.

Maybe it was pure coincidence that you decided to wear a black shirt and dark jeans, but I could sense the lack of life in your countenance.

But that was months ago.

And you still seem to be away from the keyboard, but last I saw you, you were happier. So I hope that one day in church was but a simple slip in the road, and you’ve picked yourself up. Last I saw you, you looked better, stronger.

And that’s all I could want for my friend.

Because last I saw you, I could argue I was feeling the same. And in what, 4, 5 months time? I’ve realized how blessed I am and how much sadness should not weigh me down.

I am not perfect. You are not perfect. This is for certain. So I only hope what this new year holds will be the best we can grab.

So cheers to the broken souls that dance anyway. Happy 2015.

# A Day with You.

I would very much like to spend a day with you.
Just the two of us.
You and I, I and you, together again.

But it is not because we love each other deeply.

Not that way, at least.

No, my love for you is star-crossed because I fear I am forever trapped in the wonderful knots of our friendship.

That has both its pros and cons.

So I would very much like to spend a day with you.
You’ll talk about how things are in your life and I’ll talk about how things are in mine.

I do so in hopes that we will return to what we once were.

I do so in hopes that I will remember why we were such good friends.

And I do so in hopes that I will be rid of these feelings for you.