Still Don’t Know Better

So I just went through another roller coaster. I don’t know why I didn’t take the signs as they are; the red flags as they are; my gut feel as it is. I poured myself out for another man I met online.

Remember what I’ve been saying about getting flowers from a guy would really mean something special for me? I waited for that, and it never happened.

These past months, I tried to open myself up to a few potentials. I wasn’t my usual, snobby self who’d automatically ignore guys. I have this thing where all guys I meet are douchebags, until they prove themselves otherwise. I did that with one particular guy. But he proved to be one good with words. Although a few days after telling me that he wants something serious, I found him back on that online dating site again, I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

It was so well and good. He made me feel loved and important, although he’d disappear for a whole day to work, he says. When I asked him why he doesn’t have any social media accounts, he said he didn’t want one. And I truly believed that someone would actually want that. He would always give me a hard time when I asked for photos just so, you know, I know that he’s a real person. He would turn things around on me and blame me for having trust issues.

I did try to enjoy everything with him. I enjoyed having someone to say good morning to, someone to tell about my day, and someone to rant about my day to. But at the back of my head, I knew there was something he was hiding. Who knows, he might not be the NYU-masters-holding man that he claims to be. He might not be telling me his real name. He might not be working where he claims to be.

But it’s something worse than that. He’s married. He conveniently left out two years of his life just to fool around with me. I was again, willing to give it another chance, but I realized that he wasn’t saying, “married”; he’s still married. He has a kid. So here I am, loving the fact that I finally met a guy who is as career-oriented as me, when in fact he’s a two-timing douchebag. Another one to add to the list.

I have no words. I just feel like maybe I won’t be putting myself out there anymore. Like I said, I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship yet, but I went in head-first with this one thinking that hey, I’ll never be truly prepared. But it turns out I got it all wrong again. I never do know better.


To 5 Months Later Me

(Written December 2017, with revisions)


I know 2017 has been another rollercoaster for you. You hurdled law school, fell in and out of love twice, and proved to yourself that you are indeed a strong and independent woman.

November was peculiar. While you studied your ass off for the 2017 Bar Exams, you met a guy who conveniently took your mind off the stressful and lonely days. Although you had your reservations, you opened yourself up again and let it happen. You tried to convince yourself that it was okay, for fear of losing focus. You tried to accept him, even though you knew from the start that he was trouble. Although you’ve now proven that he is, stay grateful. He showed you a different kind of a fling. He was kind, albeit opportunistic. He was loving, although it made you crazy. You found acceptance from a man who was totally below your standards. You were (and still are) so insecure, that you bit the first one that came your way. But it’s all good, it wasn’t your fault that he wanted to go back to his ex. You weren’t (and still aren’t) capable of loving. You still need to accept yourself before you can accept another person in your life.

And that’s not him. He was so eager to meet your family, to put a label on your pseudo relationship. It was apparent that he was eager to be in a rebound relationship with someone way out of his league. There were tons of red flags–from being overfamiliar with your place; inviting friends to parties when he knows the booze is free; to giving you the pawn ticket so you could pay his pledge; to obviously being still in a long-term relationship when he started asking you out; to having a kid; and finally, to having a less than acceptable family background. You knew from the start that there was no future with him, but you opened yourself up anyway. If anything, you merely needed the companionship, and he was the first person in line. You needed something to look forward to, and he was conveniently there to fill up the space. And you forced yourself to say I love you back.

Regardless, you did not take your eyes off the goal. You still studied. You still persevered and put your faith in God. You hurdled November and accepted help and support only from the people who really matter: your family and closest friends. Chin up, Courtney, you did what you could.

And now it’s all up to Him. No matter what the results may be, keep your faith in Him. Remember that He guided you and your family. The people you really love were there and will always be behind you. If you see your name on that list, congratulations. If it isn’t, then you know that not only did you do your best, but you did not let yourself be sidetracked by some random uber driver who was obviously eager to be associated with a soon-to-be lawyer.

Just know that you are worthy of love. You are worthy of a man wont lie nor cheat. You will meet him, and all your pain and anxiety will be forgotten.

To Courtney of May 2018, congratulations. You did it.

PS: I should write a letter to Courtney of November 2018.

The Best Part About Being an Aunt

(Written Summer 2017)

I just came from what is probably the most tiring 3 days of my life. Yes, even more tiring than law school. My niece, 10, and my nephew, 5, have always spent a few days at Laguna with us during their summer vacation. They’ve always had their yaya go with them here, leaving me with the fun activities and minor supervision work. But this time, there were no maids.

My sister and my brother-in-law have always trusted me with their kids. I have always loved kids; regardless of how much of a handful they might be, I always have fun with them. My niece grew up attached to me. My nephew, who is also my godson, is catching up on the trend.

It has always been tricky managing our sleeping arrangements. They both want to sleep beside me. This time I’ve decided to abandon my bed and set up sleeping mats on the floor so I could sleep in the middle. My fluffy curlies loved it; they actually love the thought of sleeping on the floor while they both get to swing their legs and arms on me while they sleep. It can get a little uncomfortable for me but my god, getting hugs and kisses from them fills my heart with so much happiness.

On our second day, I decided to take them ice skating. While my niece is timid and afraid, my nephew is fearless. While I was holding my niece and teaching her how to glide, she fell on her butt. I cannot begin to tell you how scared I was! She was trained by my sister not to cry in public but she was so scared and hurt that we ended up hugging. I grew up taking care of her; I know how emotional and afraid she is of getting judged. Because of her growth spurt, she has constantly asked me to wear heels so people won’t mistake her as my age. I oblige, knowing how insecurities begin creeping up around her age. When she fell, I was so scared that she might hate me forever–for pushing her to do something way out of her comfort zone, for pressuring her into doing something she wasn’t good at. “Why did you have to make me do this?! I wanna go home!” she said, in the middle of sobs. I hugged her, and after late lunch and a round at Miniso, we came back home. When we were about to sleep, I apologized and told her it was okay to admit to me that she didn’t like it. I told her that I thought she hated me, and she said, “Tita, I had so much fun, and I learned something new that I can tell my friends in school” just when we were about to sleep, she told me “I love you, Tita” out of nowhere. She’s at that stage where she’s sweet and expressive, but she doesn’t say those three words over the phone anymore. Hearing that was a relief.

My niece has always been privy to all my relationships. I made a promise that I can never marry anyone who wouldn’t get along with her. While she was here, she told me how scared she was that when I get married, I might forget about her. She was particularly scared of me having kids because that might very well mean less time with her. To know that she loves me without conditions, even if we don’t get to see each other, is truly the best part of being a tita. To know that she remembers my stories and to see her grow up to be a responsible and loving big sister fills my heart. I know I can sound like a broken record when I tell people about them but my gosh do I love being a tita.

As for my nephew, who I fondly call Fluffy, he cried when I raised my voice at him. But even after that, he cried when we were eating dinner with their parents. He didn’t want to leave Laguna, even after I give him a hard time borrowing my iPad for his games. He enjoyed our make shift tents, our shower song, and our kisses so much I saw him cry for the first time. He even called me once he came back home. And this morning. He fondly calls me “second mom” because I sound and look like my sister. At Kidzania, where we spent our last day, he kept calling me “mommy”. I know, so embarrassing, but knowing that i am loved the same way as a mother is unexplainable.

I guess that best part about being a Tita is getting to be a big part of their lives. To know that I am loved unconditionally, and to love like a mother. I get to spend time with them and push them to their limits; to be a part of their childhood as they are part of my adulting; and to be the one who spoils them and still be respected.

Last 30 Minutes

So change of plans, I’m at Franky’s waiting for my food. And I’m having a beer by myself. I removed my birthday from my super inactive Facebook account to see who actually remembers my birthday. It’s fun replying to happy birthdays but I miss the surprise of people actually remembering my birthday.

It’s fun waiting for my birthday by myself and actually having time to think about the past 25 years of my life. To 26 year old Courtney, I hope you get what you’re working hard for right now. Go out and conquer the world. You’ve grown so much in the past 2 years and you can only grow more and more. ☺️

Lambanog-Induced Writing

It's been almost two months since I've started studying for the bar. Not gonna lie, I have been pretty chill for fear of draining myself to the point of lack of interest by November. I indulged myself with dinners and nights out after review classes with friends I barely saw when I was in law school, and those that I haven't even seen since I decided to pursue the legal profession.

It's been really fun catching up, regardless of my insecurities about how I look now. But I've realized that I've become so disconnected with life outside law school. While my friends talk about new trends, benefits at work, investments and stuff, all I can contribute is the occasional curious question, a few nods, and when the opportunity presents itself, a legal advice. I realized that I have dedicated the past 5 years to this dream. When I'm around people who do not share the same bad recitation days and disinterest in the school system, I become a turtle out of its shell.

I've also become so good at choosing people to keep in my life. This isn't just a law school thing; it's a quarter life thing, I suppose. I do make an effort to see people, but only those who would do the same for me. I am now better at refusing to travel so far to the point of inconveniencing myself, to see people who won't even take a train to come visit me. I only keep a few valuable friends, and I guess that's okay.

I also have my dorm life to thank for making it so easy for me to go from having a car and having home-cooked food to look forward to, to independent life living. While my roommate and friends struggle with homesickness, I am actually happy and excited to go to Taft to start our weekend review classes. It's sort of my break from being at home all the time, studying my ass off. I guess to some extent, I also have my introverted self to thank for making it so easy for me to do things without having to call a bunch of people. While my friends need to call each other up so they won't have to eat out alone, I actually love exploring things on my own pace and time.

I guess that's it. I'm kinda losing my train of thought what with this pure lambanog concoction I'm drinking. Sundays are my Fridays now, in case you're wondering. We also had a specific instruction from our bar lecturer today not to study when we get home. So that's what I'm doing.

Oh and one more thing, I really applaud, love, and appreciate my family for supporting me in this dream. I truly wouldn't be so sane right now if it wasn't for their support. They're my equilibrium.

Letter to 1 week later Courtney

Hey there. 

How was one week of freedom? Or should I say one week of agony, waiting for deliberations to finish? We’re here now, and one week ago Courtney would like to remind you of the past five years you spent studying. 

Yes, there were bumps. A lot of them. You went to law school without any idea what you want to do with your life, other than you want to be an Ambassador, or a foreign service officer. You took entrance exams thinking you got that in the bag, but you didn’t. There were loads of things that law school made you realize, one of it being your lack of intelligence. All your life you banked on your hard work and determination.

So these past five years you’ve learned to let go of your body image. Yeah, there were instances when you’d try to be as sexy as you were as a cheerdancer, but it would all go to waste once sleepless nights, anxiety, and a shit ton of readings would welcome you back to law school. You’ve learned to deflate comments about how fat you’ve become, because you slowly realized that while there are others who flourished in graduate school, you simply aren’t one of them. So you let go and prioritized. 

You also learned how to stay away from friends who never seemed to understand how one day in law school means a day or more of reading to you. It was heartbreaking to always be MIA in almost all events because, aside from readings, you had your body image to consider. You just can’t bear hearing more of those, “bakit tumaba ka?” Comments because, you wouldn’t have traveled and sacrificed precious reading time just to hear that. You wanted to unwind, but there are some friends who didn’t understand that. You learned to keep those who were otherwise. 

You’ve also had your fair share of heartbreaks and love. Some taught you valuable lessons about self-worth, some how to love unconditionally and accept your significant other, while some were just downright bullshit. And because of that, again, you learned how to prioritize. Back to your books, to the solitary and extremely challenging life of law school. 

You learned that law school, or graduate school, for that matter, wasn’t a walk in the park. As your professor said, if you survived and did extremely well in college by doing homework, it wasn’t going to be the case in law school. You realized not only that it was just not going to be a walk in the park, but it was going to be days and days of sacrifice. And being the hard working student that you were in college, you had to put ten times the effort–and for you that meant reading, writing notes, index cards, recording yourself reading or memorizing the codal in the bathroom, and reading again. And again. You slowly but surely realized that while other people absorbed the intricacies of remedial law in record time, you had to read it over and over again because, well, that’s how you’ll get closer to graduation. 

Speaking of graduation, by now you may be anxiously waiting for the list of graduating students or you might already now. Whatever the result is, just remember that you didn’t go through that much only to give up. You may need to isolate yourself even more for bar review, or you may have to endure another year in law school. It doesn’t really matter, because through everything you’ve gone through, the most important lesson you’ve learned is that your family loves you. They understand every bit of bitch fit on mornings when you barely had any sleep. They understand your obsession with school supplies because without it, you’re lost. They truly love and accept you even though your performance is not perfect. They support you through this journey. You’ve seen that for the past year. And, most importantly, you realized the real reason why you want to be a lawyer: to make your hard working parents proud, to hand them that diploma and to give them the pleasure of saying, “oo, yung bunso namin, abogado na”

Never give up, one week later Courtney. It’s your journey. Give yourself some credit. God will provide. 

Spaghetti with meatballs

Mmm. Sounds yummy, right?

This isn’t about that wonderful Italian classic, though. This is about my relationship with the boyfriend material. The one who got away, bf-material-wise. 

I just finished watching episode 9 of 13 Reasons Why. If you’re reading this, and you’ve already watched it, then we’re already on the same page. I had one key takeaway from that episode: Justin Foley, in all his cleft chin, perfect smile, lovey-dovey but still a grade A asshole glory, does not have balls. And how many of us millenial titas can really say that we never had a relationship with a Justin? You know, the type who meets all your physical standards, the one who’s so accomplished, in a high school non-adult kind of way, but can never truly stand up for you? All talk, no action. Yeah he can threaten Clay all he wants, but come on, the dude lets his girlfriend drive him around, clings on to his jock posse for power and influence, but really, on his own, he’s just some pretty boy who can only as much as hurt a fly that lands on your lap. He’s fun, can drink, but will run off to hide the moment some bigger dude challenges him. Yeah, I think you know the type. And I guess we’ve all been there, some more than once. 

My Spaghetti with Meatballs was different. He could be annoying, what with all his trash talk and stuff. But the guy stood up for me. He “flew” to paranaque where some thugs broke into my car to steal my bag, in the middle of a radio show, because he wanted to make sure I drove home safe and sound. He could own up to his mistakes, apologized when he hurt me, and was man enough to change whatever issue I had with him. He faced problems head on–refused to talk through texts when he knew my problems were serious. He took care of me when I got so fucked up during one beach trip–hell I puked all over him and couldn’t remember half of what inception-related shit I said–but I sobered up and realized that I was changed, I wasn’t abused (not like Jessica), and we were on our way back home to my parents. He could be a trash-talking basketball fanatic, but he sure could back it up with actions. 

So yeah, I’m happy to realize that once in my life, I dated my spaghetti with meatballs. I’m glad that after all the Justin’s that keep coming my way, I had spaghetti with meatballs. And I let him get away, for reasons only I and SWM know. 

So I guess thank you, SWM, from the bottom of my heart, for perpetually raising the standards. 



, , ,

Funny how you see another person’s true personality when it’s most needed. Funny how convenient that slip up came. Funny how he tried to defend himself and blame it on my paranoia. Funny how I pulled all stops to cater to him. Funny how I made myself believe in what I wanted to believe. Funny how I still tried to see the good in him, and that slip up came in at the right time. Funny how he tried to act the victim, and couldn’t see up to the very end the point of assurance. Funny how my dad, just after the first date, told me he wasn’t good for me; but I didn’t listen. Funny how every time my messages would be left unread and I’d see him post a ton, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I waited. I understood. Funny how I poured out my feelings, and all he could spew out were incoherent, irritated words. Funny how I thought he was the one all along and that we just couldn’t find the right timing. Funny how I got kilig with his posts on social media, when I mostly felt empty talking to him. Funny how this time, it was all the same. Funny how selfish people can be; how their ego and machismo can get in the way. Funny how he found it funny to send a screenshot of our conversation to his friend, only to realize that he sent it to me by mistake. I almost caved in. I almost believed he was sincere. Funny it all backfired.

Okay na sana…

…sabi niya, he left his heart at China. Tapos turbo speed social media posting again. Aaaand, to add to that, ayan, dance-ables nanaman sila ni ate girl. 

Pake ko if she’s maitim and not your type? That’s not the message you’re sending me. He did apologize, but only for not talking more often. Not that he hurt my feelings. If you’re pursuing someone, you should be more careful what you portray, right? Or am I just being the overly sensitive and jealous person here again? Don’t I deserve someone who’s willing to refuse playful pictures with other girls, no matter how harmless it is, because my feelings are more important? Yes, I do. I don’t deserve to be with someone who shuts me off the moment he’s with other people.

Okay na sana, magrereply na sana ako, kaso ayan nanaman. There are just more signs to leave than to stay.