1st January. First day of the year. The day started out right and warm and full of sunshine, only to be shadowed by fear and unease after sunset. I did not want to end this day in such low spirits so I decided to confront why I was so afraid of being afraid. I listened to Joel Osteen’s talk about treating every person like a gatekeeper and I saw another way to look at this certain person I am afraid of.

I am afraid of him because he makes me feel uncertain about myself and my capabilities. He certainly has the authority to upset my career and I am so afraid that all the hard work and reputation I have made for myself so far in my short 5 years in the hospitality industry will turn to dust. I am afraid that I will not measure up to standards and be a complete disappointment even for myself.

And then I realized something: I left my previous job because I was no longer afraid. I was no longer challenged. I felt there was no longer any growth to be reaped. So I jumped way outside my comfort zone to challenge myself again. And now I am afraid. But being afraid now is keeping me on my toes. Being afraid now is making me see things in a new perspective, making me think differently, making me learn new things. I am making mistakes, yes. But I am learning anew. Learning new things I would never have learned if I stayed within my comfy circle. I am afraid because my stable ground is being shaken up and I am afraid that the grounds will open up and swallow me whole. But this is making me feel alive again. I am learning that I can be brave at instances when my purpose is being questioned and denied.

I can only be brave now that I am feeling afraid.

He is a gatekeeper towards a higher goal. A level I need to finish and win and surpass in order to get to a higher level. A big problem, yes, but nothing against my bigger God. I don’t want to get preachy even to myself but I keep thinking now that He did not open this door for me just to leaving me hanging helpless on a cliff. I need to do my best and keep an open and thankful and prayerful mind and everything will turn out according to His plan. And His plans are never wrong.

I just remembered now that I had a theme for 2015: it was #PUSH2015. And indeed I did push for a lot of things to happen. It was quite an apt hashtag. For this year, I first thought it should be #Fearless2016. But then I thought, it would be even better if, whether I was afraid or not, I will be brave and courageous. So, remembering my favorite lines from INVICTUS* and DESIDERATA**, I look forward to a stronger, feistier self with a mind that thinks more, a heart that loves more and a spirit that cannot be broken. A #BRAVE2016. 


*…I thank whatever gods may be / for my unconquerable soul … I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul. (Invictus, )
**You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars / you have a right to be here / And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should … Strive to be happy. (Desiderata, Max Ehrmann)
Disclaimer: Credits to the owner of the shark meme. Not mine!



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It was a few minutes before midnight. You can see smoke rising up and some crackle of light coming from a small store here, a two-storey house there. The excitement is so heavy in the air. So heavy that I can feel it weighing down on my cranium. Outside, all lights are lit in anticipation of the final countdown. The old year is almost walking past behind everyone, forgotten and maybe forgiven for all its troubles, maybe thanked with joyful hearts or pursed lips.

I used to love the New Year. But not that evening. Not when the fireworks feel like they are all simultaneously bursting in my head, I can see them like electricity behind my eyelids. Not when the heat of so many busy calderos and stoves are inside my body cooking me up to a weak, sweaty mush of a human being. It physically broke my heart to know my family is a 3-hr flight and drive away while I was there hating every passing second as I hear the neighbors counting down to the New Year. I tried to count myself down to sleep amidst the all-too-familiar noise and confusion outside.

In the darkness, behind closed doors, I promised myself that never will I feel so alone as I did that night.

3…2…1. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Cut Off.”