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An angel’s touch




I AM crying. I cannot stop crying.


Dear God, please help me ease my pain. I don’t want to hurt others through my pain. Please, send me someone whom I can fully trust, someone whom I can fully express my feelings to. Someone whom I know does not judge but listen with open ears. Someone whom I feel safe to be around with.

Someone who I can love.

I don’t want to cry every night like this anymore. My face is starting to show. 

Please, please… Send me someone with whom I can find comfort. Someone who keeps his word. Someone who means all the things he says.

In this night’s thunders and storms, I cannot take it anymore…

I’ve committed to death and a lifetime of dedication to my life’s purpose. 

Please do send me an angel. 




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When the sun shines we’ll shine together



I AM smiling.

One thing that I’m grateful about this morning? It’s not that important. But it is quite something to note to me.

I’m really fortunate.

I went into Walgreens this morning, the one on Mission. Well, actually, I was scurrying as soon as I got off the 38-Geary bus on Kearny’s stop, and it was raining quite heavily and I was drenched in my hooded sweater once I got to Mission street. San Francisco has been shining for too long, I guess.

I found no umbrellas left once I’m in Walgreens. Luckily, instead of looking for another Walgreens right away, I bought all the stuff I needed to buy on my weekend shopping list (which I carry around in my multifunctional notebook). 

Once I was ready to checkout, the cashier guy smiled earnestly to me. I handed the cash, and I asked: “You don’t have anymore umbrellas, do you?” And he smiled even wider and said, “The Sun has already came up. You won’t need anymore umbrella for the day! Now you can go to your class.” (He wished me a great day too, with a very sincere smile, or you can call me naive). 

Thank God all the umbrellas sold out when I got there in the first place.



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What happened today that I’m grateful about



I AM gratified.



1) I got 9 hours of sleep. Though not straight hours of sleep, but it’s 9.

2) I got time for some intimate sharing with my friend, Maria, while in the BART on our way home from Sunday church. We see each other eye-to-eye, after a couple of years being mere classmates. Plus, I was blessed by the visiting Pastor, because he prayed for my goodwill.

3) My boyfriend and I got to talk about our private matters in our private areas (Like, sexually). After all, today is our three-month mark, and we still have forever to go for the upcoming sexciting events to come. We discuss things openly, that’s what I’m glad about. Most couples don’t do that.


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A moment of gratitude for today



I AM thinking of good things.



As an attempt to reduce my worries and plentiful negative thoughts, I’m writing down some of the good things that happened to me today.

I video chat with my boyfriend. He looks at me the same way he looks at me when we first met. He looks after me as if I’m the most precious thing in his life, which I am. I’m someone special to someone else, and I have a special someone in my life in return too. We share, we grow together, and we nurture this relationship further. As of tomorrow, we’ll be reaching the 3-month mark. It won’t be an itch if God is the center of our relationship.

I also exercised for 2 straight hours today. It has been a while since I’ve last worked out that long. I’m frankly quite surprised I am still strong enough to achieve that, especially from a night of not getting enough sleep.



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Long mane was the truth; while I’m growing my hair back, graduation is coming soon too.




I AM thinking while I’m in school.




They don’t suck.

They suck because I have no responsibility; no sense of self, not centered at all, not grounded, just pretty much free and flyin’.

Last year, at my lowest, through my severest depression, my locks are even shorter.

I’m struggling to graduate from my college by next year.

In-between these two brief, short moments and hair lengths, I had my longest hair ever.

I also had the best time of my life, living in my best body. OK I just lied. I am having the best relationship of my life right now, just not in the best body.

I was disciplined about a lot of things. I was myself, trying to achieve the best self inside and out. And indeed; I was the best, and I knew that.

I was also pompous; even more self-seeking.

Now it’s onlt that I know there’s nothing to seek other than the Almighty.

I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I don’t want to lie. I want to bear the truth, say the truth, and nothing but the bare, naked truth. And I also want my long mane back. 

And now, back to school.




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Drive your feelings, it’s a do or die.

…because knowing the end is the surefire way to move forward right.

I AM screaming.





Screaming in my head. I want to yell. I want to shout out loud. I want to kick some ass and box some nose. But I can’t.

I’M SUPPOSED TO BE A GIRL. I’m born one. Just sometimes quite unlucky enough to have a naturally higher testosterone levels than most girls.

You can tell by the length proportion of my fingers. They’re long, lean, and my index and ring fingers are relatively similar in length compared to most women I have observed in real life. “The links with sports are the strongest I’ve found,” explains British psychologist John Manning to USA Today. “They’re particularly strong with endurance running.”

No wonder I’m physically more resilient than most women I know. But that’s not my point here.

To the world, I am just one tiny little dot. And I’m still shutting up and listening.

BUT, I DO WRITE. I hope to write down other things besides my anger. These emotions in my head I know I cannot control. There are so many things beyond your locus of control in life, but there are just some things that makes you more emotionally vulnerable. 

Why does everybody keep telling what not to do? What not to do? What not to do? What NOT to do?

As a matter of fact, I almost wrote a sentence from the last paragraph as “I hope NOT to write down …” Here’s my problem: Even though I’m physically resilient, my emotions run wild and free whenever I run, I am less emotionally resilient. For the solution, I keep this diary of mine as another way to move on from my negative feelings, because it’s just a bad idea to dwell on negative feelings, and I don’t feel comfortable either. Really.

Although I know that the world loves to scream at you back that you’re not supposed to do this, or you’re not supposed to be that, or you’re not this or you’re not that. You’re a nobody.

But I guess that’s just a test of what real endurance means.

As a fellow practitioner of positive psychology, Martin Seligman reinforced me to think about the positive things out of every situation, then reinforce the positive people who have made the situation happen. Sure, Reed is now my boyfriend, although for some reason, Sean keeps coming back into the picture. But instead of thinking about the love of my life, or the life that depends upon someone else, I’d like to think that everything I do is ultimately a self-fulfilling prophecy, because I believe in it.

I BELIEVE IN CREATING A LIFE enriched by my active voice, my valuable voice. I guess it’s the sum of money I actively value-add through the act of writing, while I’m thinking about killing myself.


Should I actively kill myself, or should I let it bow down to me with a passive voice? I guess that’s the closest way I can get in order to think positively right now.

In every bad feelings I emote just because somebody tells me what to NOT to do, after being the youngest one in every situation and not just in my own family, I am aware that I’ve been taken preventive care, because the world is indeed full of shit. Yes, I’m aware of that. My whole life I’ve been told what NOT to do. NOT to move, NOT to get into an art school, NOT to date anybody, NOT to do things until you understand. Ironically, it’s by DOING SOMETHING that you come to understand. You have to be young and stupid to be old and wise.

JUST A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, I’ve just learned how to drive a car properly. Now not afraid to drive alone, even at night. 

Yesterday, however, due how much fragile these bottled up feelings are, which is the case for most women, I was driving at a high speed with my brother by my side. He disappointed me yet again, this is not the first time. My blood was pumping high when he didn’t show some responsibility in alarming situations. When he disappointed me for how he reacted when he found out I have a boyfriend, I think it was just me trying to expect something that I know I won’t get. But yesterday, he overtook his emotions and throw it against me, saying that he just didn’t feel like going. Just didn’t feel like it. Just did NOT feel like it.

Last night, I drove at the highest speed and rammed the car on its highest. I exhausted the car’s fumes as if I’m releasing my rage while keeping my mouth shut. The traffic was unbearable but the motorcycles and cars taking over me and all did NOT matter. What matters is the question of my emotional resilience: How can I get over feeling this bad?

So I just go along and take risky turns from left to right but still going really fast. I have to be on time and that’s the most important thing. What matters is not taking somebody else’s life.

Including the person sitting right beside me.

NO MATTER HOW MUCH ANGER I FEEL because of certain people, or certain situations, I know I hold the responsibility for their lives to a certain degree, no matter how big or small. Saying things to people you are related to physically or emotionally, negative things like “I want to kill myself” or “I wish I was never born” is completely unhealthy. The Bible also said that it’s not right to kill. I figured, not even yourself.

Sometimes it’s a pain, really, to deal with shit. My momma even told me: “You see all the motorcycles on the street? The angkot? The public bus? They can prevent you from moving forward anytime they want, however they want, so just let them go. Once you’ve lost sight of them, you’ll move forward even better. If not, always find a way out.

True, they always say when there’s a will, there’s a way.

“Just think of them as shit. Ignore them and they’ll pass you by.”

I was awe-strucked. She never really said the word ‘shit’ before in my entire life, not at least in front of me. After nagging me things I should NOT do my entire life, she learned that the right way to teach me is to encourage me, not to prevent me, and that shows care.

She has really changed over the years. She deals with her feelings so well. And I know I must too.

And my will is to die, honorably.

My pen is a torchlight. I am invisible.

My soul is no-thing. Yet, of me the fire inside burns forever.

And before my soul is buried under the deathbed I shall do whatever it takes to withstand the tests of time and thrust through the linear successions we are all innately capable of moving called LIFE. That was my oath to death.

AFTER WRITING THIS ENTRY, I finally realized the problem: I learn better through reinforcement rather than punishment, or anything closer to punishment. When my mother seated beside me while I was driving, I always feel strong. She privately prayed for my safety in the temple, but in front of me, she has my best interest at heart. 

“You have to keep pushing yourself so that you have no fear. Take control of the car. You control the car. It leads you to where you want to be. There is no right or wrong way to drive, but you have to drive safely because you are dealing with life and death.”

Instead of a constant negative reinforcement whispering behind my back, I do better at occasional positive reinforcements about my strength.

So I guess that’s why I get so angry. And after some thinking, I’m now calmer. Thus the saying writing is thinking.

 Phew. (Note: Emotional resilience is not a trait. It’s a process. It’s a way people cope with life’s most annoying obstacles).

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I saw mommy dancing with Santa Claus.

…because knowing the end is the surefire way to move forward right.

I AM watching.


WATCHING OVER my mom, watching her moves and her facial expression. Well, actually, it’s not Santa. It was just a man. A younger man. Who’s not a father trying to lie to his children and dress up in a big, fat, red and bushy man.

I’ve never seen my mom dance like that. Her arms swing effortlessly, her legs bouncing beautifully, her soul moving along with the music, twirling across the room as the man led her in his hands.

They went over Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive, and other Latin dances, and I sat still in the corner, preferring to watch the beautiful face that gave birth to the flesh and blood my soul is living and breathing in right now.

I’VE NEVER SEEN THAT FACE BEFORE, except when I was very young, about 8 years old or so, when I used to relax on the King-sized bed in my parents’ room. Embedded on the bedstand was a stereo system. My mommy and daddy used to ask me a favor every night: To put on the Cha Cha music on the cassette player. Grudgingly, I put it on. I was so relaxed, and now they’re going to dance it off.

But, as soon as they began to dance, I love watching how my daddy led each and every tiny movement of my mother. He held her tight in his arms, and my mother would free her body and soul across all directions, and then her big eyes and her wide smile would look at me, and then back to my daddy, and my daddy would look down, close his eyes, and open it again and let out a smile.

Although the music is just horrible to me.

THIS YOUNGER MAN I’m looking at right now is, no doubt, a man with charisma. He held the power to unveil the beauty and health and youth within the aging woman who has been so tirelessly looking after three children, now all grownup. I don’t know what it is about this man; he just come right in to our home and introduce himself to the house as if he’s some old friend or something; but he taught me how to Salsa though.

My mom sweats like a young athlete breaking into the Olympics at her blooming age, her eyes beaming whenever she moves toward me, wide and clear as if I saw the skies beyond these years unbroken. The music playing in the background keeps interrupting my thoughts; so does my BlackBerry Messenger.

JUGGLING BETWEEN TWO MEN (and/or more), is something that I will never know how to do, or how to deal with. I don’t understand how my mommy does it, but I know for sure that happiness is just a state of mind and never an ending; you can actually learn to put yourself to work and negotiate your feelings with two or more people as you move along with life, but love is so precious, how can I separate my soul into pieces, don’t they turn into broken dreams?

Or maybe, I just don’t fit the modern definition of how love “works”. I’m afraid to give up my soul again, and the possibility of getting hurt. I have been doing well behind my bushy fringe and long hair and that silly sunglasses I always put on everywhere I go. At the same time, I keep my beauty and my health and my youth in check by hitting the gym most of the week. I let go of these things whenever I run for two, three hours outside, outdoors, when nobody would notice me, when nobody would know I exist. I run free, and that’s the best feeling anyone can ever have, or give, or receive, even if it’s just 2 hours, or more.

Am I willing to give up these armors of mine again? So strong I’ve built these walls and now knowing that it’s about to crash any day, any time in the near future.

I’M WATCHING THE SCREEN. My arms are trembling. Sean and Reed are calling. 

How can I trust others when I haven’t trust myself enough yet to move forward? Or sideways? Or, anywhere, for that matter?

No matter how things can go wrong, no one can ever replace the daddy that used to buy me enchanting Cinderella castles and pretty Barbie dolls, the one who used to hold my mother so tight she might as well become some precious gemstone, say, diamonds.


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Three-storey complex

…because knowing the end is the surefire way to move forward right.

I AM remembering.


This is how I cover myself up. This is a statement I made when I was a lot younger, when I was still quite inept in using the English language (or rather, wisely using the thesaurus), when I thought that everybody else should understand me better. Now I still do, that’s why I’m not a grownup yet, at least, with respect to my high superego standards.


My first layer seemed unapproachable
that cowers people with my grim visage
that seemed unreal as if wearing a masquerade
that engulfs people with doomed obscurity

My second layer seemed buoyant
that enlightens people with my blithe facet
that seemed absurd but actually jocular
that amuses people with loose-fitting accomodation

My third layer seemed sophisticated
that comforts people with my ambrosial countenance
that seemed more private rather than unpredictable
that maturates people with emotional disseminations

Easy to narrate
Hard to comprehend
But that’s ME!



The inflated ego was so much happier back then just by writing beautiful words down and label it as poetry. This is definitely not who I am today. As a matter of fact, if there’s going to be so much adjectives around, might as well take all the “I” out and change it into “me”, so that I view the external world more objectively, rather than trying so hard to complain about how others will never comprehend me. Does that make sense? 

My inner critic is on fire right now. High, high superego. Ego is still a weakling blossoming into adulthood. Id is always around. I can’t imagine how Freud thought of separating parts of the self so much that generations of people influenced by his thoughts develop behaviors that exhibit their weaker sense of selves.

Let’s see what will it look like if I change.



Her first layer seemed unapproachable;
it cowers people with a grim visage
unreal, as if it wears a masquerade 
invisible, engulfs people in obscurity, doomed.

Her second layer seemed buoyant,
enlightening people with facets of blithe
absurdity, it seems, but really, just jocular
amusing people, accommodating, wears loose-fitting jeans.

Her third-layer seemed sophisticated;
it comforts others, that countenance ambrosial
more private, grounded yet unpredictable
its seeds maturates, disseminating, everchanging

Let her narrate,
and you’ll understand.

That’s her story. 



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Showers, depresses, suppresses, and liquidation

…because knowing the end is the surefire way to move forward right.

I AM rewriting.

Writing is thinkingWriting is rewriting. Three months ago around this time, when I didn’t think of committing to anything and started thinking about death, I took a mental note of the following message on a rainy day, when late-night crying in the shower felt so good.


Darling relax ok? dun depress anymore.. mum say to papa all now mum know how you love mom very much n how you try your best to make mum happy. Thank you my love.

Thanks so much my love.. mum will not blame you again in the future coz i know you try your very best alrdy. Thks so much my love.. mum apologise if make you depress

Papa promise me to send you money till enough n not make you stress anymore

We all love you so much darling



LAST NIGHT, when Reed and I was out (and quite frankly the whole day), he told me: “The best way to learn your way towards success is to read biographies, biographies of people who have done it.” It’s been a while since I truly admire the words of someone else. You can hardly find a good man out there who speaks decent words, no matter how hard he tries to look at you as anything else but a woman. Oh boy, don’t think for a second there that I forget he smokes.

I think my autobiographical memory works best during showers, so I went for a little shower again right after he dropped me off my place. I pondered on some questions in my head, holding its pieces together with the mental note in my head and looking at my thoughts in so many different ways.

There’s so much decisions to make becoming an editor, and there’s only so much things you can handle at once. My mother told me I was a tiny dot on the globe, so I’ll have to always remain objective. 

It was a very windy, cold, and rainy day. As usual. San Francisco’s weather was getting moody during that time of the year. Two weeks ago forecasters predicted a snowfall since the last thirty years. It was as cold as ice, but in the end, we didn’t see any snow in downtown, though.

I got home from school, got off from my night class. It was drizzling on my way home, and I got my hair all greased and bag all wet. So I decided to take a night shower.

I checked my blinking BlackBerry. A message from mom. Again.

I went to the shower to, just, let go. My body doesn’t feel like doing anything but seep into the comfort of lukewarm water. I was hoping the freshwater showering on my face would wash away the tears slowly dripping out of my eyes. Sooner than I expected, my nose became runny. I sniffed hard – the water’s running at its warmest, but my body’s still feeling cold.

I MISS HOME. I haven’t feel – been at home for so long. I haven’t feel like I have a home for so long. I’ve gone so lost in thoughts and in the randomness of the American society that, in so many ways, I’ve lost sight of who I am and my sense of self.

The more I go on these runny waters, the more I realized that my only purpose here in the U.S., getting a degree in communications, is to learn the many ways to communicate better, so that I can be that glue that holds back the separated members of my family.

FOR A SECOND THERE, I had a silly recollection. I saw the happy faces of my mom and dad, dancing their cha cha. They asked me to turn on the stupid cha cha music that I thought was just simply horrible, but I love watching them dance anyway. It’s always much better than watching the news on the TV that evening. And then, by 9 P.M., they would ask me to go to bed already. Every single day, at 9 P.M., I say “good night” to both of them. I never missed a day not saying that, because they would kiss me on the forehead.

Was I ever that little girl? A year has gone by so quickly and that memory feels like a memory I secretly stole from some happy little girl down the street.

I closed my eyes to feel the tears falling down on my face and the waters washing away the tears. All these waters just keeps going in and out of my body like rivers flowing. Right at that moment, I no longer know what my dreams are anymore. Why am I here? Why San Francisco? Why go so far, chasing after what dream?

I used to have many dreams. What are they again?

AS I SPATTER on some soap on my neck and brushed my legs, stroking one way to another in all kinds of movement, an epiphany struck me hard – If I had to choose between my dream, living to my fullest potential, going after all that I want, developing to the best source of hope I can ever be, and making the world a much better place for everyone, and with the other choice as taking the best care of my family for the rest of my life, risking all that I have, all that I am, and all that I may and will potentially become, I would choose the latter.

I’d spend the rest of my life giving my all to them. As long as I can see my mother, my father, my brothers all smiling at the same time, at the same place, and sharing the same moments and memories together like a moving picture on a photograph, it makes me feel my warmest.

I don’t need a loving husband. I don’t need a shopping spree. I don’t need a huge diamond ring or a golden necklace, never a tiara to make me happy. Even if I can make each of my family members happy separately, like having money to take my mother to live out her dreams – travelling around the world, and make my daddy’s business thrive, by being the best ever salesperson I can ever be, and then move on to become a PR person of my big brother, who I’m proud of but nobody ever sees his skill sets, his sharp intelligence, and his charms, and for my second brother, with whom I can spend endless days and nights walking around the streets in Japan, exploring their world, experiencing their cultures… All these things are the only things I want to do. The only reason to take care of myself is to maintain my energy level just enough to spend my time doing all these things, nothing else matters.

THE REST OF THE WORLD IS FROWNING. Most people say the older you get, the less reason there is to smile.

Why did I choose the latter one? Because doing these things make me smile. The only true things that can keep me smiling for as long as I live.

The waters showering my skin, and underneath this skin I feel for the world and its tears, drowning itself to death because there are lesser and lesser reason to smile. Perhaps it’s one of the many reasons why I changed my major to communications. Perhaps, subconsciously, I thought that I can make everybody talk to each other, become happy together, and communicate better for a greater all, for some good, for the power of One and that is the Greater Good that we all believe in but too proud to admit that we believe in it the moment we grow up.

There are a lot of things we bottle up from each other. Which is not good.

How do I respond to a husband and a wife, sleeping on the same bed, but have never physically had meaningful conversations for over 10 years running? The only communications there is between them is nothing for themselves, never for their own good, none for it’s own sake; “It’s for the kids, or so they say. How much money would they need? How long will they graduate? What will they do later on?

I HATE LISTENING to the voices coming to my head when I had my most meaningful talk with my father 2 years ago, the last time I went back home. I felt his self-pity; I’m a failure, I’ve never finished school, I left school because I wanted to make money, now that I’ve made money I never get the chance to do the things I love doing.

I HATE LISTENING to my mother whenever she complains about how my dad mistreats her and how she keeps nagging away, or when she keeps cursing to herself: My life has no luck; I’m destined to be unhappy. Aunt so-and-so is beautiful, even though she’s divorced someone fell in love with her. Aunt so-and-so is lucky, she can’t handle anything in this world by herself but she has a husband that takes care of everything. I have no luck. I’ll just accept it as it is. I get what I get. Got it.

I HATE EVERY HATRED. I hate every negative voices directed through me. These waters flowing inside and outside of me. They’re killing me. Perhaps if I’m a better mediator, a better communicator, or an empty vessel but looks a beautiful body, I can change all these negative aura, or something like that. Like a vase.

Now that I have a little background in psychology, can I teach them to communicate better? Or will I keep on being a burden, the only reason that forces them bind their marriage together, the only reason why there must be some monetary income to provide me an education abroad? Here, in San Francisco? The only reason why they went on living, because they have high hopes that I will bring happiness to my own life?

WHAT USE IS AN ARTIST, I ask myself. Even if I’m still in the business of illustration, trapped in a fictional world where I draw out my own reality, unafraid of letting the world know what I think, what I feel, or how I act – I will never face the reality of the adult world. How do you guarantee a steady income when you’re an artist? Money is important.

Maybe I shouldn’t be a communicator, nor a psychologist. Maybe I should be a sum of money – an indefinite sum of money, which must surely be of high value because high value is useful and helpful to the pursuit of happiness.

These waters running through me, my skin soaked under these bubbles and liquids – can they be what the people in the financial department call “liquid assets”? With money, my father, my mother, and brothers will stay happy and continue living.

HOW MUCH is the sum of money I am? Uncertain. Since I have to aim high, I must be valuable.

The only thing that I can do now, the most direct action I am taking every single day, is writing down words.

A VALUABLE VOICE, then. a highly valuable writer’s voice. If so, then choosing the right words is a currency. What other assets are there in the back of my mind I can keep working on? Skill sets, good looks, and a smile everyday to at least lie to myself that I can still remember who I used to be, full of hopes and dreams to get to the person I’ve always wanted to be.

I’M DONE with my shower. There’s no more use in crying. As long as I’m a living, walking, breathing money, it’s all good. And I have four family members who love me just as much as I love them. And, I have God.

That’s all.

This time round, the shower felt better. At least I know that in the back of my mind, someone, or rather, everyone that meant the world to me, will always have my back no matter what. Just that when you’re far away from them, you tend to forget that. With words, you can remember so much. But in this diary, I remember a lot of other important things outside of my family by birth; as this journal also keeps the words coming from my family by choice. 

“TO WRITE a good memoir you must become the editor of your own life, imposing on an untidy sprawl of half-remembered events a narrative shape and an organizing idea. Memoir is the art of inventing the truth,” writes William Zinsser in his best-selling guide to nonfiction writing, On Writing Well.

And then I’m done showering. Here I am, writing this.


SALUNA is signing off.

Saluna and her stories: View all / Diary entries