they run around in your head
like cockroaches in your bedroom walls
unseen but they linger
like an itch underneath your skin
when you close your eyes to sleep
they’re like the tiny lights dancing in your eyes
unwanted. uninvited. but just the same they stay
you brush those thoughts away
you try but fail
like a hair out of place
a crooked line. a blank page.
like victory that’s always out of reach
like running in your dream but you haven’t really moved
like the smell of nicotine on your hands
you try to ignore it
forget about it
beg for sleep to take you
but like a faceless whisper, it’s there
it’s always there.
And I thought I have moved on.
Apparently, this moving on thing is a very organic process for me. Translation: really slow.
Last year when an opportunity to start fresh came my way, my former manager and supervisor threatened me with a lawsuit. Citing a clause in my contract that would forbid me to take that opportunity. I got scared. Turned down the offer and stayed.
A year after, I got another opportunity to leave. I took it. But my former company would not want me to get that opportunity. But this time, I thought myself brave, so I moved forward.
I still remember how it happened, my leaving:
Since I would be working for the same program but in another company, I made it a point to be open, honest and direct with the people who supervised me. I told them my plans. That my decision has no malice. I do not intend to bring anyone down. I was taking this opportunity because I no longer see myself growing with the organization. So I left. They still threatened me with a lawsuit though.
I was about to start working again when I got a call that my job offer would be retracted because of two things: the clause in my previous contract and the program director reached out to my would-be boss effectively blocking my employment.
I was devastated. I never knew that their fear would be their ultimate weapon against me.
What they did to me broke me. I am broken. I thought that not thinking about it would make this feeling go away. But it still lingers. It’s still here.
Now a lot of people believe that I am better than this. And I appreciate that. But right now, I don’t see myself as anything but broken.
I will pick up the pieces and start again. I know that. There’s nothing to do but move forward.
But I am still broken. They broke me. And I’m angry.
On my first day at the gym, my ultimate goal was not to die. So these were the things that were running through my head while I was making my way through the unexplored (in my case) territory called “the gym”:
- I seriously hope I don’t die today.
- The gym’s on the 3rd floor? I’ll take the stairs then. I’ll consider that as a warmup.
- Oh good, the place is not packed.
- Where’s the locker room?
- Wrong hallway, God, did I just try to go to the women’s locker room?
- Okay, found the men’s locker room, no people, that’s a good sign.
- So this is what a gym treadmill looks like. So many buttons! Do I need a college degree to operate this thing?
- Two minutes in, I think I can get used to this. Do peolple die on treadmills?
- Stretching time! Wait, you want me to do squats? Sure i’ll do squats. How many?
- Can we stop doing squats now? Can’t feel my legs!!!
- Oh Lorde, more squats!
- Oh good, we’re moving on to a machine. What is this thing called and how would it torture me?
- What do you mean “chest out”?
- These things are heavy!
- My heart can’t beat any faster. Is this the onset of a heart attack?
- Another machine. For legs. This one’s better. At least I get to sit down.
- Whoa, almost fell there. Dear legs, don’t give up on me yet.
- Water, I need water. Every cell in my body is screaming for water.
- Wait, more squats?!?
- Another machine. Leg curls. These things look like they could kill me.
- Why do others make this look so easy? Like the guy i’m next to. Was he born ripped?
- Don’t they have a “beginners'” area? I mean it’s my first day for crying out loud.
- Ten-minute jog, are you fucking kidding me? My legs are nothing but dead weight.
- Oh good, we’re done.
- Locker rooms make me aware of all the body issues I have. Yes, at 30, I still have body issues.
- Wait, why is walking down three steps of stairs feel like an Olympic sport? My legs, my legs are gone!
- This is so fun, let’s do this again!😊
you’re still there
want to come inside?
maybe have a drink or two?
how about we go out for dinner?
see a movie? or dance?
tell me, what’s on your mind?
it’s been ages since we last talked
how’s life treating you?
i’m doing well
given the circumstances
so tell me, where have you been?
it’s been what, a year? two years?
i really don’t remember
since we last
here, let me show you
i still have the photos
remember the time when went to that place?
never mind. it’s embarrassing anyway.
but it was something.
well. here we are.
again, it seems.
we keep running the same circles
going through the same lines
though things have changed
i have changed.
so you’re there
and i’m here
what happens next?
some people put a premium on it. relationships last because of it. workplaces thrive on it. unfortunately, some companies think of it as a trivial commodity; relegated to the desperate, the uninspired, lacking in value, the stagnant ones.
what some fail to realize is that loyalty is an investment in itself. for individuals to devote their time and energy nurturing the relationship with an organization (which apparently is lopsided, at times one-sided) requires heart and passion.
loyalty is never built-in. it is earned, gained and should be valued. beyond the customary cards and certificates of appreciation, loyalty should be celebrated. leaders should not expect loyalty, for loyalty is earned.
i work in a dynamic industry: ever-changing and always fast-paced. the toll it puts on one’s body and mind is so great but are most often relegated to the sidelines. “comes with the territory” as some would say.
and that’s exactly my point. my work is stressful enough as it is, that each milestone, little as it may be is an achievement. and achievements ought to be celebrated.
it is highly disheartening to see that after years AND years of doing beyond what is expected, all one gets is a gold-plated pin unceremoniously handed without even a sugar-coated “thank you for your loyalty, you are highly appreciated and the work you do is always part of our success” quip.
makes me wonder, if i have placed my loyalty somewhere else, would it be the same too?
UPDATE : I’m still waiting for that pin.
I am a Filipino
I have a spirit that cannot be bent nor broken
I am remain resilient, unfazed and unbowed
I am a survivor
I fall, I lose, I cry but when the sun rises
I get up, I win and smile again