Monday, October 28, 2013


Last week, I got a short reprieve from work and went climbing up the north. Had a few stops which include me and my friends getting lost somewhere in the mountainous area of Ilocandia. Nothing to worry though. We got out of it alive with few scratches and, as my friend love to call it, a near-death-experience, where we were holding onto each others' arms for our dear life, indeed narrowly escaping death via a sharp fall straight to hell from that treacherous cliff. Again, we're fine.

But the main target of this short get-away is to experience surfing in San Juan, La Union, christened as the surfing capital of the north. 

The waves looked pretty cool. Death-defying, as my friend described it (he loves equating everything to death), but I actually thought they were gentle enough for beginners like us. It's the genesis of surfing season thus both locals and foreign fanatics are starting to troop to different surfing camps across the country.

It was a year ago when we discovered the joys of surfing. It was in Baler, Aurora, where, despite our fears of never stepping onto a dry land again drowned by the deafening roars of the Pacific Ocean, we hired an instructor and just went for it, hearts thumping from nervousness. Surprisingly, before five minutes of it could pass, we knew. We're in love with it!

La Union's waves, as I initially observed, indeed was way gentler than those of Baler's. Although I should say that my Aurora-native instructor was gentler compared to the guy I hired in San Juan. The latter was more professional about it while the former seemed more like a friend teaching than a real instructor. In fact, I'm still blushing every time I remember that instance when, due to the smashing wave of the Pacific, my board short almost left me, exposing my ass as I was climbing back on top of the board. Luckily, he was kind enough to put it back. Embarrassing. 

Going back.

As I stepped on the surfing board, the familiar sensation kicked in. It was liberating, euphoric. If diving into the sea feels like being with the sea, and diving is like being one with it, surfing is like conquering it. And because it relies deeply in ephemeral conditions, every ride, though only last for seconds, felt like a glimpse to eternal ecstasy. 

It's possible that I'm exaggerating. That my overly poetic mind is altering the simpleness of it all. But really, it's no walk in the park to be able to stand the staggering waves. Truth is it's dangerous. It's tough. It requires a lot of strength, timing and balance to push yourself up. That's why it's a different rush of bliss, a revelry of its own kind. 

From the simple thought of being able to surf up to the metaphorical progression you can equate with it, surfing is one of those few things that brings me a certain kind of calm and pleasure. Like basketball and writing and jet skiing. A memory I always visit when the tides of everyday grind get tough. For whenever I'm up there alone, the sea on my feet, the heavens on my face, the entirety of it, it tells me that "it's alright" and "I'm alright."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Untitled loss

To be honest I still don't know how to put into words the feelings I had back then. All I know is that when the host mentioned another name as the winner, everything fell into deep silence. And then I saw people in tears. Happy tears. People were hugging one another, clutching trophies, exchanging handshakes. Slowly, I felt like fading. I just looked straight ahead without knowing where. 

"There must be a catch to this, a punchline perhaps. There has to be," I told myself after realizing what happened. But the final number of the program took place, a song number performed with a Disney classic "Go The Distance." It was a motion blur. Until I found myself sitting inside a car. As the strong wind and rain of an approaching typhoon pounded outside, the truth began sinking on me. It ended so quick. Empty handed, I'm going home without anything. The winner took it all. 

I was not able to sleep that night. I was thinking what went wrong, what I did wrong. And if so that I did something right, then why weren't they enough? But what made this loss such a huge heartbreak is the realization that I failed people's expectations. I wanted to say sorry. Not only for my mentors, but especially for my family and friends who always say "I can." I wanted to say sorry because I proved otherwise. 

I felt shame, like a tattoo branded on my skin for everyone to see. I didn't just fail. I failed every person who believed in me. 

I was afraid that grief would once again bring me into depression. Because if so, I'd turn sick again and then I can no longer hide the nagging pain I was trying to keep from everyone. I rant on Twitter about this, even behind verses, and this very entry, but very few people are aware I was taking this blow very hard. 

Surprisingly, not even a single drop of tear were shed because of this recent failure. But always, its throws me into some deep contemplation where I still try to fathom the things I could've done differently. Sometimes, I chase that flickering flame of hope, consoling myself that there will be next time. Only, I would go back to the drawing table because, I think, that for as long as I am not able to determine where mistakes were committed, where I fell short, I'd met the same fate over and over. And that would mean another failure. Another loss. 

I have not yet fully absorbed the consequences of this loss. This I'll have to bear beside the feeling of defeat. I should know that most people suffer the same as I have. I should know you can rise from every failure, and opportunities can spring from it, or something like that. But to borrow a favorite writer's words, "I look for resolution and find none."

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