Betrayal More Than Unrequited Love

Guest Post: Author – Anonymous

Tonight, as I write this note, the moment is still fresh and vivid, so is the feeling. In this the same hotel room that it happened, I took the courage to enter its door – it still has the same windowpane soaked in the rain that felt the cold night; still the same bed that impressed the warmth after; and still the same mirror that  witnessed the utter confusion. It happened again, tonight; but I was never exactly the same person who entered the doorsteps of this prison. I am now a different person. The person who is progressively accepting his reality because no matter what, I have to choose where I want to be.

I know it’s been more than a year; it’s been more than a year since the last time I felt I was caged in a dark prison, wanting to help myself escape from my haunting reality. Something happened and the feeling was enormously confusing as you were turning the lights off and whispered the unsolicited words I never thought that will come from you, two words that I never imagined that will change my life – a total revamped, “Be Yourself.” I was paralyzed for a second. I did not know what to do whether to give in and take it as the best advice someone could give or to resist because I fear. However, I chose the latter, I decided not to bargain for what the circumstance was trying to bid because I have nothing to tender yet. And I think, I made the best decision not to gamble. I had to preserve myself.

The next day after, I sat in a problematic position still thinking about what happened the other night. I asked myself whether to applaud you for noticing the reality I have been living secretly or should I destroy you into pieces so that no one will ever know the furtive me. Then, you woke up, you had to go. The four-day show was over.

I brought you to the airport, stormed through obstacles and anxious whether you were able to catch your flight. And we made it. As we were sitting in the cafeteria, I was trying to count every minute of that moment and asked myself many times, will I ever see you again? Yet I kept it to myself, because I know we will. I assured myself that I still have years coming not to make it happen. Then, the time has arrived, you had to depart, you gave me an embrace, and that feeling of confusion struck again. You said goodbye.

I received an international call from your father, he was checking if you were safe. I said yes. I did not even realize that the four days will break my insurance for who I thought I am.

Days, weeks, and months have passed and still I was reminiscing every nostalgic moment we had and your interesting stories. Everything was perfect. You were perfect. You said you were going to Southwestern Europe to chase your dreams and make it happen. I supported you, all the way, as a friend. I did all my best to help you in your endeavors –I did it because it was my choice and you never demand for it. I gave it freely.

For more than a year, our all-nighter conversation continued, probably checking what we are up to in life or by simply talking about the good times we had. You promised things and I believed them because I had no reasons not to. There was a time you deliberately ignored me for a month, because you were afraid that I was falling in love with you. I tried not to open up everything because I know I will receive rejection. For that span of 30 days, I had sleepless nights, continuously questioning what I did wrong. Then I asked myself, is it a crime to be who I am? I was steadfastly looking for my true self. I thought someone will be with me the moment I was willing to open my eyes and I thought it was you. You said words that made me feel it was mutual. And I was wrong. I realized that I was seeking for something that only myself can give. I was blinded that it was going to be you who will rescue me even for the sake of friendship.

A misunderstanding happened – you valued your ego more than anything in this world. I judged you for that and I strongly think you deserve that judgment. There were moments that you value your ambitions more than the friendship. I cannot even fathom how you value and hold on too much into something you have never had yet. You apologized, not because you meant it but you said you rarely do that because you have an ego. What kind of person are you? I felt that you used me for your personal whims and selfish ambitions.

One night, I decided to send you a message confessing what I feel yet your reply was a mockery. You proved yourself that you are a selfish, conceited and judgmental individual. You questioned why I had to believe every word you say. From then on, I no longer know what to believe about you.

I blame myself for over-giving, maybe because subconsciously I was asking for your approval and attention. I tried too hard to be appreciated by the person who never appreciated me to begin with. I know after this, I will be whole again and I will take your last words as my greatest revenge.


Let Go

I realize that we should never put expectations on people. People make promises not because they intend to break them (but as a form of reassurance); it’s just that sometimes there are volatile circumstances and they can’t anymore.

We can’t always expect things to go our way, that’s the thing that we have to manage on our own; sometimes it makes us wallow in self pity.  We get addicted to that kind of ambiguity, sadness, regrets, loss and uncertainty. We often ask, why do feelings need to be so complicated sometimes?

In the end, no matter how much we want to keep something that makes us happy, we learn to let it go naturally. Until the next thing comes along.

The Untold Dreams

Past few days, I had this series of interesting dreams. So I decided to write them down. I will try to update this post once in awhile because it seems that these two are somehow connected. Sometimes, dreams give you answers the real world can’t.

i. In a vast dark space he stands, wounded with an unknown cause, he bleeds. He curves his back as he shouts pain in silence. He seems unsure what to do next yet a shadow stands with him as he continuously weeps in despair. From nowhere, a hand was extended to offer him rescue but the response was an unexpected rejection.

ii. In a peaceful place that offered solitude, he sits in a bench with a girl with a short hair, wearing a white sleeves and a pair of jeans. They were quiet but in silence they started kissing.

To be cont…

What is your dream for others

by RJ Barrete

In our existence, the genesis of human life gives us that mysterious question, “What makes us human?” The day we first cried after our mother has given birth to us; the moment we started to walk and learned to stand again no matter how many times we fall; and the time we started wanting what we want to become someday – a dream has been founded.

The cycle of life taught us that fulfilling our dreams weren’t as easy as expected. The eternal thought that keeps us anxious whether someday we will reach the state of accomplishment remains unclear. Yet despite life’s uncertainties, the certain passion that triggers us to pursue them surely outstands the hurdles along the road. The drive to course the unsure path is neglected by human mind; and the light of perseverance serves as the guide to reach the end of the victorious road. All things said, it makes a dream powerful.

We let our parents dream for us; we let other people indirectly influence what to dream about; and we let ourselves ponder what our dreams are truly made of. The intersection of different dreams made in our existence creates an overlapping point. A point that offers a message to the world that dreams are not selfish, it is meant to be shared.

We have our own dreams in life but do we have dreams for others? What if one day, the dreams we have steadfastly worked for were all ruined in a sudden.

November 2013, the dreams of my people were tested – homes destroyed, families longing for loved ones, and properties entirely washed out. In the place where my people learned to dream became a frame of grief, despair and misery. Haiyan tested us all.

Most of the areas devastated by supertyphoon Haiyan were located in the Central Visayas and one of the provinces hit by the typhoon was my province, Samar. It’s a 4-hour drive from Tacloban City and fortunately gained a slight damage. Right after the incident, I went to Tacloban to initiate relief efforts in aid for the immediate needs of the typhoon victims. There, I witnessed how miserable the situation of my fellow countrymen was. Almost everyone was in line in every relief missions of the government and other international organizations. There was no electricity and mere candles served as their light, no clean water and all government operations were down. I thought it was the end of the world.

I have witnessed how my people were resilient over the odds brought by the unwanted tragedy. The strength they have showed to the world was incomparable and the ability to smile again to regain what they have lost was unbelievable.

Magkahiusa means “To Unite”, a Visayan word that calls for action. A word full of significance as it illustrates unity among people. I have also witnessed how the world helped my country and my people, however, I think our role as a global citizen never ends – it is a responsibility we have for humanity.

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Dreams were shattered; giving my people enough reasons to give up how maybe life has become unfair to them. However, as young individuals, for awhile let’s realize that our dreams are other people’s dreams too.

I have a dream. You have a dream. We all have a dream. Sharing a dream with others makes us human. 


The place I called home

Yesterday morning, I went to Makati for a meeting. The busy district congested with people; the smoking vehicles compelling me to cover my nose; and the sense of rush everyone was doing make the entire city unlovely. Yet despite of what makes the city unlovely, it is a place where people invest hardwork to earn money for a living; a place pact with dreams and ambitions; and a place where opportunities abound. Everytime I go, the height of its buildings make me feel inferior but the sense of superiority outstands it as my personal motivation counters everything. Makati is more than just a business hub for me. It used to be my home.

After my meeting, I grabbed a cab and asked the driver to bring me back to the office. During the ride, we passed by Makati Avenue, and a place that seems familiar caught my attention. It was the place I once called home. A parking area.

The place has not changed much. The small quarter was still there and the scene was almost the same. The moment was nostalgic.


When I was in high school my parents worked in Manila and they always tried to save money so I can visit them. My father was just renting out a small room at her sister’s place. One night, they had a sort of misunderstanding and so we had to leave. That moment, we didn’t know where to go. It was a night of silence that seemed like the world was whispering hopelessness towards me, trying to figure out what will happen next.

My father called his friend who was working in a parking area in Makati. He asked a favor if we can stay there for a night, and fortunately we did. I know at a young age, it wasn’t safe but the survival instinct in me, said, “You have no choice but to survive for the night.” And so the one night of stay, turned out to be a month of hearing cars and buses passing by the busy city – But I  dismissed the feeling of discomfort for as long as we had a place to stay.

Man cannot aspire if he looked down; if he rise, he must look up.” – Samuel Smiles

I had to cross three rows of cars parked at the area so I can take my shower for the day. I had to hide myself whenever the supervisor of the area comes. I had to cook meals outside the quarter. The experience was challenging but it gave me a lot of lessons that I could never forget.

The importance of holding on to my dreams made me even stronger as a person. The experience taught me to how “live”. I know someday, I will no longer need to hide myself at the back of the door; because I made a promise that I will build my own house as big as my dreams.


Be in the moment

Share. The word share has brought this generation to a whole new level – with the capability of social media as a platform to post our status updates and photos in just one click. It changed how we behave as a person or worse slowly disregarding the deeper meaning of “sharing”. I am writing this note not because I abhor the existence of internet but I wanted to share how I, as a social media user is also a culprit of these allegations.

Be in the moment.

Be in the moment.

I remember one morning, it was raining in Manila and almost all roads were closed and weren’t passable. That day, my friend who visited the Philippines had a scheduled flight back to Malaysia. I told him that the only option he had was to rebook his ticket, but he insisted to go. So we called a taxi, grabbed his luggage and went to the airport. The journey was tough. We had to ran through traffic, and even rode a tricycle while sitting on its roof because the waterfloods were above the waist. The challenging yet fun experience gave me that certain feeling that I wanted to share that moment with friends. So I took my phone from my pocket and asked my friend for a photo. However, he said, “You know, there are things that should be kept just between us. 10 years from now, at least, we have a story to tell our “friends” about this awesome experience. The world doesn’t need to know.” Still I insisted for a click.

“Be here, be present. Wherever you are, be there.” – Willie Nelson

Connection. Once we shared something on our social media accounts, we get a connection in an instant. We get connected with friends, even acquaintances – with the like and comment they give, there is a sense of gratification. We share how our day was; what we had for lunch, an interesting conversation with people or even our obligatory selfie. Yes, definitely we get connected.

But where did that connection bring us? There was a time, I was staying in my room in Nong Chok, Thailand and I had no internet connection. I felt incomplete, I was searching for something that I couldn’t have in the first place. I asked myself with a hanging question, “Is internet really a necessity?” So I gave myself a scenario, if one day the internet vanished, would people still be eager to connect with people? The link that this generation gradually forgets is the value of human connection. A connection that gives us real life learning and experiences.

“Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.” – Harriet Goldhor Lerner

Sometimes, we fuss about trivial things that we waste our time thinking about. For once, let’s not think about social media, whether who liked our photos on Instagram or who added us on Facebook. We must learn to value the moment and be in the moment.

Today, I went online on Facebook. Almost everyone  was posting photos of their mom captioned with messages of gratitude. I paused for awhile and thought about it. Was it really necessary for the world to know how thankful you are to have her? So I posted a status, “It’s okay to share to the world how thankful you are to have your mom. But telling her personally would be incomparable.” Then someone commented and says, “We did and felt that telling her was not enough and that the entire world must know how we feel.. 

I think the value of personal relationship and intimacy with the people that matter depreciates because you let the public know about it. “Personal” messages that are dedicated only to a certain person becomes a status on your wall waiting for public’s affirmation or reaction. The line between what’s personal and public becomes vague that we couldn’t even figure out what is what.

All things said, I am guilty too.



Over a bottle of beer

Officemate: “If you are to choose between successful career and relationship, what would you choose?”


I answered, “I have never wished something grand in life because if you become successful, does it really matter to other people? Although I know it might personally matter to you. But I choose relationship because when you value relationship, it makes you more as a person.” 

Make an effort to connect with people

She was cheerful. She makes people laugh but often misunderstood because of her poor English. She sings, she dances and most of the time, she smiles. I always see her barefoot while picking some flowers at the garden. She even plays football with us. These are some of the things I noticed about my friend, Wanida. Everybody loves her. Her simplicty, genuine kindness, and compassion make her who she is.

One time, we had a conversation in class. We were facing each other and I saw her eyes in focus. I knew that within her, there were stories to be told but importantly, waiting to be listened. Then she started talking, “In my age, I know that I may no longer be able to get married.” I was confused. I never thought this thing matters to her despite of the “happiness” I have witnessed. So, I replied, “What do you mean?”. She answered, with a voice signalling tears, “People see me smile and often act as if the world is so perfect for me. However, within me there is fear that until now I wanted to overcome. Yes, marriage matters because it brings happiness with someone you love. I am sick and I do not know when I am leaving this world, today or tomorrow.” She started crying. That very moment, I didn’t know what to say but mere hug was the only response I could offer.

Kuya, it means brother. Fikri is a guy whom I considered my eldest brother in the group. I witnessed the “brother figure” in him. He was kind and he knows how to share the things he has. And if there’s a distinct trait I mostly like about Kiki is that he never coated things for the sake of comfort.

Early afternoon while in class, I received a message from my cousin. The message says, “Patay na si Lolo Intoy” (Grandpa has died). At first, I didn’t know what to say because it was so sudden. I wanted to go back home but I was too far away to make it, especially that I committed myself for a study program abroad. I went out of the classroom without my teacher’s permission. I entered the main house, sat in a wooden chair and started crying. I tried to hide myself from everyone but the silence in the area that seemingly tried to extend empathy and comfort just triggered my emotions. Fikri passed by, he asked, “What happened?” I didn’t say a single word. He hugged me and I started crying again.

The next day, he asked Rose, one of my professors. “Is it necessary to feel empathy to someone? Because yesterday, when RJ hugged me and started crying without any clue what happened, for a minute or two, I felt nothing. Then, he was still heavily crying for five minutes… that I felt connection.”

I knew that even I left Fikri with no answers, my tears were enough to tell him that there was something wrong.  His interesting question made me think on how do people react on things that really matter to us. Oftentimes, when we’re stuck in despair, we try to seek caress from someone; not because we want attention but to get rid of loneliness. We may hear comforting words that serve as a symbol of empathy. However, have we asked ourselves, “Do they truly care?”

Sometimes we do not know what lies within a person. It gave me the idea how important human connection is. Connection that brings people together with mutual understanding and respect.

Challenge existing thoughts and ideas.

Our society sometimes dictates who we are as an individual and often manipulates the way we act – things that are considered acceptable and morally upright. I knew from the very beginning that differences exist between people, however, there are issues that keep us trapped in our boxes especially if it’s about religion, culture and identity.

I remember a conversation with friends from Afghanistan and Egypt. That night, I was so keen to ask questions about Islam that were totally sensitive but I insisted because I wanted to hear the answers. I asked, “Why do you marry your relatives without assurance of love?”. He answered, “When my mother asked me what I want in a girl, I said it’s up to you mama. I felt that it’s the best way to give back to my parents as a sign of courtesy. I remember one day, I went out for a haircut and when I got back, everyone was partying at home because I was already engaged with my cousin. Later on, I learned that love can start after marriage and I don’t consider it a surrender.”

Another statement that really caught my attention was the late night conversation with my roommate from Bangladesh. We were so passionate discussing about culture and social norms that sometimes keep us away from “freedom”. He was conservative and committed to Hinduism but I totally disregarded that idea for the sake of honest conversation. I asked him, “Do you think you can leave your family if the person you are to marry isn’t the person you love.?” He replied, “As a human, I have thought of doing that but I always go back to my commitment to Hinduism – the respect that I am ought to deliver to my family and religion. Sometimes, social norms keep you away from being hurt.”

I know that in these conversations, the things they said were totally opposite with the world I used to know. I had the chance to argue but I did not grab that opportunity, I learned to listen. I realized that their realities weren’t the same as mine. I was not in the position to dictate how their realities should be like. If there are times I didn’t understand, I ask questions and if the answers I hear are not enough or the sense of dissatisfaction becomes my agrument, I always remember to hold back. It’s not that I wasn’t capable of challenging their thoughts and ideas but the silence I gave to them in every words they said served as my appreciation and respect.

11 Instagram Photos That Show Life’s Uncertainties in Perspective

In life, we learned to chase our dreams. We were once asked when we were young, what do we want to become someday, we uttered words without hesitation and proudly answered. Some of us wanted to be a teacher, doctor, policeman and even president of our respective nations. The innocence in us gives no doubt that there is a bright future ahead. And the reasons we provided were noble, coated with pure altruism.  

And believe that for as long as we pursue our dreams relentlessly, they will come true. We realized that reaching our dreams and goals weren’t as easy as staring on our favorite stars on a clear calm sky nor appreciating the formation of clouds. We have learned that life is full of risks and uncertainties we can’t predict. 

Though sometimes unsure to where we are headed. We continue to dream on because those dreams keep our life worth living. There are moments we question our ability in making them happen; and decided to settle for what we have in the present. 

We keep our faith as our strongest resort. What keeps those dreams alive is our faith that it will happen. Faith that manifests in our words and actions. However, we should never settle with faith alone, couple it with hardwork and perserverance; because dreams remain dreams if we won’t work on things to make it our reality. 

And realize that there will be people who would inspire us to keep on believing in the dream. Sometimes, we are so enamoured with the idea that our dreams are who we are. However, dreams are meant to be shared with the genuine people who surround us. In smiles, there are dreams; in despair, there are dreams waiting to be restored. They are not meant to be kept for ourselves. In reaching them, we must learn to give.  

In times of adversity, we learned to continue moving forward. There are times that life could give us the worst offer it could give; enough reasons to blame why it becomes unfair. But we were able to accept things as they are and move forward. Sometimes, the more we often question things, the likelihood we don’t get answers we seek. In life, the things we are so keen to know about comes out naturally by the time we are ready enough to hear the answers.  

Because we know that there will always be sunshine after the storm. We learned that no matter how hard life is; seldom we get used to it and appreciate that challenging the obstacles make the battle worth fighting.  

Then we pause for awhile and be reminded that there’s nothing wrong to stop.Let’s wait for the green light before we buckle up again and continue with our journey.  

Because there is value in waiting. Often times, we become so impatient and we consider things to be instant. We forget that the things worth valued are the ones we have steadfastly worked for filled with passion and enthusiasm. In waiting, it helps us to understand that nothing in this world with value comes in a glimpse of an eye. Sometimes the things that easily come may easily go, so think twice.  

We learned to challenge our realities and chose the life we think we deserve. Amid life’s troublesome road, we have chosen the path we think can give us peace and solitude. We refused to accept life’s chaotic uphill battle but it didn’t mean we were soldiers of cowardness. Sometimes, we were just brave enough to challenge them, even if it means being alone.  

Yet our journey in this world never ends unless it means going home. 

Photos used in this article are owned by the author.

Instagram: @rjamesbarrete