Busy streets. Deafening sounds of vehicle horns. The irresistible aroma of Kwek-kwek, Fishball, and other Filipino street foods. And the wide smiles of the students every after class. I can still vividly remember how an everyday school dismissal looks like. It was worthwhile. Not until one day, everything changed in a blink of an eye. An unprecedented crisis entered and interrupted our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic. No one expected it. No one was ready. No one thought it would happen. We were all stuck in our homes because of the mandatory health protocols implemented worldwide. It affected our daily living big time. Routines were forcibly changed. Schools and workplaces were closed. Businesses were shut down. Most people lost their jobs. It was just a matter of survival. It was something terribly different. Full of adjustments and hardships. It felt like imprisonment, not having the freedom to do things you used to do. Just like how a face mask covers half of our faces as it serves as a wall of protection from the virus. This pandemic has been a barrier for easy communication and physical interaction. Needless to say, the transition from the normal world to the situation we are in today was challenging and crucial. I should say losing a loved one is difficult, but it's even more so in our situation today. I lost a good friend, a dedicated educator, and a selfless grandmother on the verge of this pandemic. We were not able to see them for the last time because of the prohibitions from the health department. It was something unwanted and was just a result of having no choice. I fought something bigger than the virus in this pandemic. I suffered from anxiety. I was not used to not having good grades after good grades, medals after medals and praises after praises. I dwelled on my insecurities and flaws. I felt like the odds were never in my favor. Slowly, every morning felt like I just needed to survive a day and I'm done. That I'm just a living organism wanting to escape the harsh realities of the world. That time was one of the moments I wish I were a kid again. That I'll just play minecraft or watch Barbie: The Princess charm school to ease the pain away. I started to question God because of the tragedies that have happened in my life. But after days of being empty and nights full of tears. I realized something. What are the chances of a person living in a city with existing local transmission and rising cases day by day to be Covid-free for almost 2 years. What are the chances of a person to be privileged enough to eat three times a day, have a family to be with through all these, and be able to study despite this pandemic? What are the chances of a person to be able to breathe fresh air rather than inhaling from an incubator? To be alive and kicking today is already a precious gift. The moment I accepted my imperfections, my flaws and my whole being, I began to see life in a bigger, better and brighter picture. I've come to the point where I continuously embrace not just my strengths, but also my weaknesses. I decided to feel human again by not letting my expectations and my thoughts define who I am. I chose to live without regrets, just gratitude. I always wondered about the things that I can do and how I can achieve those things. I explored myself. I bonded with my family more. As a matter of fact, we'd watch Netflix movies every friday night! I learned to check up on my friends and chat with them every once in a while. I started to play different musical instruments passionately. Those instruments include the harp, the kalimba and my favorite, the piano. Because of that, I became our church's pianist and safe to say, I have improved my people skills. Though face-to-face classes and interactions were banned, I found a way to enlarge my environment. I connected with people through joining online youth organizations. I should say my birthday this year is the best. Instead of having a glamorous party, I chose to celebrate it with street children, and it was fun! To satisfy my love for literature, I participated in writing webinars and joined international writing competitions like this! Fortunately, I won an outstanding position over 1500 participants in the International Creative Writing Competition organized by India. Sometimes, we forget to appreciate the beauty of life because we focus on our downfalls and shortcomings. There are still so many things to be grateful for. Look around and see what the universe can offer. Use it to your advantage, for you to grow and to be the best version of yourself. Always strive to get better each day, even if you're not in the best situation and in the best circumstance. Never let any catastrophe, even this pandemic, ruin the person you were, the person you are and the person you will be. Find your sanctuary of peace in a chaotic world. There will always be light in the darkness.
I hurried inside the music institute. Mrs. Birdwhistle, my vocal coach-also my high school's choir conductor-had told me that she's going to teach me a new technique today, I was so excited that I forgot to bring my notebook. I went back to get it, that's why I'm late. We started the training a couple of minutes after I got in and caught a breath. I walked to our dorm after my class. “Hey Luna! How was training?”Rain, my roommate, asked. “Fun! I got tired though.” I replied.“You know what I say, success takes sacrifices.” She said. “I know. I'm putting my whole energy into singing.” Rain has always been my #1 supporter. We're both seniors. “You know; the talent show is on April 6th! Please participate this year.” Said Rain, hopefully. “Rain, you know how insecure I am about singing.” I said. “Luna, you can't be afraid of people's reactions forever. You have to come out of your shell.” Rain said. “I'm waiting for the right moment. I don't want to rush myself. Plus, that's only two weeks away!” I explained. “Whatever suits you.” She said. Rain's words replayed in my head every time I closed my eyes that night. She's right; it's time to take the risk.I know I'm good, but I don't know if I'm that good. I am a part of the school's choir but people don't know my purpose is to become a Hollywood artist. I don't know if I can set my voice free in front of Annabelle, the #1 bully. I don't care about her but she is the one who follows me 24/7. I'm not her only target, but I am the only one who stands up to her, and that makes her even more eager to ruin my day. I was asleep when my alarm went off. I got up, grabbed my backpack, and ran out of the dorm. I saw Mrs. Birdwhistle the moment I got in the institute. “Hello dear, how was school?” she asked. “It was fine. The midterms are going to kill me though.” I chuckled. I have no idea how my report card is going to be at the end of the semester. “Well I really hope you survive,” she said, and made me suspicious, “because I signed you up for the talent show.” “Excuse me, but why would you do that?” I said in a controlled voice. I don't know how I didn't thunder. “You're a senior-” “But you know how scared I am; you know that I can't do it!” I interrupted. “Look, I know that you're scared; but I also know that you can do it. If you don't do this, you'll regret it for the rest of your life.” she tried to convince me. I couldn't sign out anyway, so I agreed. It's April 6th, the big day. “Have you chosen what to wear?” Rain burst in when I was tuning my black guitar. “I'm wearing shorts and that shirt.” I said. “Why don't you wear that yellow body? Also, you can wrap that beige scarf around your neck, it'll be more stylish.” Rain suggested. “You need to be my stylist when I become famous!” I said. She has a really good taste in fashion. It's been an hour since we arrived at the school and each of the participants is waiting for their turn. I was in my thoughts when I heard my name: “Luna Cox!” I hurried to the stage with my guitar. I tried not to think about anything. “Hey everyone! I'm going to sing my song called Lionhearted.” I explained and started. At first, I could feel the anxiety holding my voice back but I set it free the moment that I saw my parents. I can't believe they made time for this! “I have to make them proud.” I thought; and that was when I felt magic coming out of me. As I finished, everyone burst into applause. Annabelle was sitting with her arms crossed; I even heard a boy say “you go girl”! The show's over. We're waiting for the judges to announce the results. My parents came to me and we hugged. “We didn't know you could write!” my mom said. “You were amazing out there!” my dad said. “Thank you! I appreciate your support!” I saw a woman walking towards us. She came and after saying hello, she said “I heard you singing tonight Luna. You're really talented.” “Thank you!” I replied. She explained “I'm Dalla Archer from Summerfield Studios, a new-born record label looking for new artists to help one other grow. I would like to offer you a 2-year contract with us. I adored the lyrics and the colors your voice made.”I was shocked. I expected a few compliments; I didn't expect this! A record label is suggesting a contract after my first talent show?! “Give me your answer by April 27th. Wish you success, goodbye!” She gave her card to me and walked away. My answer is already yes. I'd dreamed of something like this for years. I have to convince my parents though. I thought convincing my parents would take weeks, but I convinced them by a week. I explained my passion for music and assured them that I'll put my 100% energy into it. I went to my room and looked at the card Dalla'd given me. I called her to ask when should I go to her office. We rode to her office at 6 pm. I could feel the excitement climbing up my spine. We went to the 4th floor to meet Dalla. We were done by 7:15. My life changed forever since the last time I saw my signature.
Today is June 2,2020 and i sit here alone writing this book. Aparently ive made enormous mistakes and im useless to men because i look like a porn star but i am not! Ive been searching for my ride or die and Im now officially giving up! The sorrow in my heart after the torment of my journey.. Im planning on leaving for Texas but in my heart i really wanted to be with this person. They seemed concerned and he was surprisingly good at predicting my needs! I wish him well , but right now i hurt like hell!🔥🔥🔥 I hope yhat he knows that I care for him alot! I will miss him annd wonder . Always
When I was little, I always dreamed of being a rock star ever since Hannah Montana came out from Disney. Every time the opening plays, I would always be on top of the bed and singing and dancing along while using the remote as a microphone. Sometimes my mother would even scold me for jumping on the bed. Though as I got older, I realized I cannot be a rock star since I was not that musically involved as Hannah was nor did I even have the voice to be one. Then when I was in sixth grade, my English teacher noticed that I was quite good in writing, so she encouraged me to join the school paper in which I did. There, I discovered my talent in journalism something that I did not know I possess. It also happens to be that I was chosen to be a part of a contest, the annual Division of Schools Press Conference, a contest that I had no idea was going to be huge and I was assigned to the Sports writing event. My coach for that event would be no other than our principal himself, a wise man that many people including students and teachers alike respect. To be trained under his wing was an honor because despite the small amount of time I had training under him, I learned a lot from him. When I arrived on the venue, I was surprised at the number of contestants. I felt like I was swimming in an ocean of sharks, but I was not going to let these ‘sharks' intimidate me. After witnessing the live sports event that we were going to cover, I had taken the necessary information needed for my article and proceeded to the room where we will have an hour to formulate an article. I applied everything my coach taught me and submitted my article written in the official paper. The results were to be announced later that day and I did not know what to expect, I did not whether I would win or not, but I thought to myself that someone like me would not stand a chance against those seasoned contestants. But the unbelievable happened, my name was called to come up on stage, a surge of joy and pride ran through my veins. The feeling was foreign to me, but I could not help but smile as I received my medal and certificate, who thought that someone like me who lacks experience would win 2nd place? I was so mind blown that it took a moment for me to register that I would be going to Camiguin for the Regionals. From then on, I became confident with my writing skills and continued to expound my vocabulary by reading articles, books, stories and any reading material I could find. Though as time went by, I realized that as much as I love writing, I did not enjoy it. So, as I continue to find my dream, to find what I really want to become in the future, I let my mind wander by watching films. That is when it hit me, filming and theater arts are the things that I am most passionate about which would explain why I would have the urge to re-enact the most intense scenes of my favorite actors in my own bedroom as a kid. Why I would spend hours back then impersonating people and experimenting on my facial expressions and imitate various accents. The reason why I would be in awe every time an actor has wonderfully delivered and embodied their character, as I pay close attention to detail and dialogue as well as search for any sort of symbolism in movies. It was something that I enjoy. It was something that I look forward in doing soon and as young as I am now, I want to practice it as early as possible. I already have experience in both video and photo editing, my photo capturing has also gotten better and I intend on joining as many workshops as I could that would enhance my potential and my passion in film making grow stronger. There is only one problem that might hinder me from pursuing my dream and that is my family. Mainly because film schools are pricey and as much as I want to pursue it, I do not want to financially burden my family. Also, the last time I opened up to them something similar like theater arts, they were not quite convinced. Even my grandfather was not into the idea of me starring in films because he does not find it practical compared to courses let's say nursing. I admit that broke my heart a little but just because they are not in favor of the idea does not mean I am going to stop myself from pursuing it. Which is why I find ways to enter in different academic institutions that offers courses of my interest by looking up and planning to apply for scholarships. I may still have one more year to worry about it since I am still in Grade 11, but I just want to tell that whoever is reading this, whoever you are, that do not stop dreaming. Pursue it if that is what you truly want. I once read a quote from my school's computer laboratory in which it said, “Allow your passion to become your purpose, and it will one day become your profession.” It was a statement that struck me so much that it has instilled itself in my own mind and has become my motivation in life. Because I know one day, we will all achieve it no matter what.
I was born aboard a roaring C130 over the airspace of the Caspian Sea. This was pre-9/11, so modern air travel rules on pregnancy didn't apply. My mother, petite and unassuming, escaped scrutiny with her tent-like dress. For some reason, the Air Force allowed her to accompany my father on assignment. Perhaps it was our Italian-sounding surname. Somehow, it was a passport to inaccessible areas. My mother's screams at childbirth upstaged the din of the C130's engines. This, together with my caterwauling, formed the backdrop of my entry into existence. Perhaps this was why I despised any sound above a certain decibel. Whenever I complained of loudness, regardless of the source, my mother would remind me of how I came into the world: “From noise you came, and to noise you will return.” Thus did I return. A life-altering event prompted me to revisit the land of my parents. I thought I'd stay a month, just long enough to tie up loose ends. Alas, offshoots materialized, forcing me to stay. Initially, I was happy to be here, having reconnected with friends and extended family. Now that I'm stuck here, I've ceased discovering pleasant things and have instead focused on annoyances. What I can't understand is the residents' affinity with noise. It's all-encompassing, yet no one seems to notice. Maybe you think I'm inflexible or used to living in fancy, quiet ‘First World' cocoons. But I've visited developing countries. This is, by far, one of the noisiest. Fortunately, my host lives in the suburbs—where I ensconce myself. I knew what this area was like 20 years ago. But it turned into a city. With this new status came progress—along with shopping malls, people, traffic, crime, and pollution. You would expect the noise to proliferate just in the primary city, not in ‘ex-burbs'. But it seemed the generators of noise got tired of subjugating the capital to its malevolence, and turned its sights instead to the formerly peaceful spot where I'm forced to park my hide. It starts with roosters crowing in the morning, followed by dogs barking, people talking/arguing, motorcycle engines rumbling. Late morning brings in blasts of music from amplifiers owned by neighbors dissatisfied with ordinary speakers; they MUST have turbo. Equally virulent is the venom of the traveling boombox in a tricycle. The driver, enamored with his favorite ditty, would crank up the volume for everyone to hear. Thankfully, midday provides a lull in the cacophony. Naptime for noise-mongers. I schedule my most important activities during this period. My rooster friends, however, manage to cackle in. I thought they only crowed at dawn or early mornings. Here, they squawk and scream at all hours. Is there a pattern? Nope. It could be 4 am, noon, or midnight. That blasted crowing would pierce into the darkness or the heat of the sun. Utter disregard for the clock. Why do the locals love roosters so much? Back home, there are zoning laws. You can't raise farm animals in residential areas. They're confined to the countryside and appropriate businesses. I searched for an explanation. Apparently, cockfighting is legal here. Roosters aren't just pets. They're worth a lot of money if successful in the ring. In the evening, reverberation from a microphone would signal in the most vexatious noise of all: karaoke time. Most singers are out of tune. Singing would go on until dawn. Later, the country's leader issued a no-karaoke rule after 10 pm. My sigh of relief was short-lived. People just ignored the law. Friend #1 had a karaoke bar for a neighbor. Singing went beyond curfew. One day, she couldn't take it anymore. Time to see if the law upholds. She called the municipality anonymously, citing the neighbor. The next day, the bar was closed down. Triumph! After listening to one of my tirades, Friend #2 remarked, “Maybe you should live in a cemetery.” She was being mean, of course, but I actually considered living in a mausoleum—a result of attempts to escape the noise. Alas, during my visit to the country's most prestigious memorial park, my ears were assaulted by sounds from lawnmowers, digging machines, and construction. This is one place you won't rest in peace. I thought of moving to the countryside. “Huh-uh. More chickens,” Friend #3 advised. “Why not try a monastery?” So I begged a priest-friend to take me in, offering rent. But he said, in order to live with the religious, you have to join them. Permanently. Yikes! Perhaps it was poverty. Making noise was a way to drive out demons, forget problems. For most of the populace, this was probably true. But these neighbors aren't poor. Theirs is a middle-class enclave. Maybe some people are just inconsiderate. Silence is golden. I still believe that. But I decided to make the ultimate sacrifice: give up the fight. You see, the event that led me here was the death of my mother and brother. Now alone, Father refuses to budge. His enemy is silence, not noise. For him, I will embrace my adversary.
#5SOSJUSTWOKEUPINMNL I witnessed how 5SOS grew as a band— from the little kids that makes covers, to opening 1D's show, to where they are now, grown up men who keeps making art and inspiring others. Listening to each and every word of their songs, and with each beat that goes to my heart, it became my coping mechanism to actually avoid feeling alone. It's like every song were meant for me, and it feels like they know me so well. I deserve to watch them live and show them love and support, and make them feel appreciated, just like how they did the exact same thing to the fans. Real bands save fans, real fans save fans, this has been up for years but i will never ever shut up about it. 5sos saved me. (this was my entry for an event giveaway, i gave my all, everything written above is true. i didnt win though hahaha)
I was 7 years old when I remember my mom first leaving me. I suppose you could've considered me naive. I always thought she intended on coming back. One night, we were hanging out in the living room, watching her favorite; Keeping up with the Kardashians. (Not my taste). The oven was heating up some bagel bites and it rang, indicating they were done. My mom told me to stay put and she'd be back down. So I waited. After a couple minutes I went upstairs and she was sitting at the table, phone in hand, looking distraught. When she saw me she immediately hung up. She asked me if i wanted a coke, I said yes, and she told me she'd be right back. She left into the garage to fetch it. I waited and waited for what felt like forever but finally my patience wore thin. I walked into the kitchen and opened the door to the garage where we kept a fridge full of soda and found the main garage door open into the dark night and my mom no where to be seen. That is my first recollection of my mom leaving me. Throughout my life she would come in and out, always in spurts and never for long. Drugs controlled her life. It got to the point where when she'd stay the night I'd hold her hand so that I would wake up if she went to leave while I slept. Fast forward to when I was about 12. I found out my mom was dying of a liver disease; a rare one. It had been a couple years since I heard from her. She got into contact with my dad, and from then we scheduled calls. I kept up with her as much as my 7th grade mind could. I didn't really comprehend exactly what was happening. 8th grade. By this time my mom was in hospice. Her disease was beyond repair. With her not staying sober, she couldn't be placed on the donor wait list for a liver. On the night of April 31st 2014 my mom died. I was... devastated. I had gotten home from church and my dad called me into the room. He told me and my brother she wasn't going to make it through the night. I remember picking up the phone, and she could barely speak. I said; "Mom... I love you. I miss you. And I forgive you." And just above a whisper. So soft you could barely hear, "I love you." She said. We hung up the phone and my heart died. My life, as I knew it, would never be the same. I would never see my mom at Christmas again. She wouldn't see me dress up for prom. She wouldn't see me graduate. She wouldn't see me walk down the aisle. Now I am 17 years old. It's been almost 4 years and I still hear her last words to me as clear as when she spoke them. I love her. I forgive her. And we both are free.
Subscribe and stay tuned.