unrequited love

Long Distances (The Only Love Story I Have)

Hey guys. Been a while since I checked in just for the sake of checking in. It’s past midnight on a surprisingly lovely Sunday (Monday?). I may have spent the last half-hour blog-stalking some of my poetry idols (as you do). I’m in the sort of mood where you want to ravel on a thread, and I’d rather do it here because this blog needs some love, and also I need to deliver on the “lit” and the “musings” of my subtitle.

So. Love. Last night we had another round of Hideaway, with (so original) the theme of love. People sang love stories. Spoke them. Made me cry a couple of (hundred) times. My friend Marvs turned up with his girlfriend, and they are adorable in the way that couples I feel should be–the kind of adorability that comes from two people who are their best selves, making each other better.

Also, I realized something.

Last night I realized there’s a difference in the way people who have experienced love talk about it–write about it, sing about it–from those who have only dreamed of it. #Hugot traffics in the clichés of the unrequited, while the real thing? The real thing is often  horrible Pokémon jokes and audio love letters and retellings of a life’s story framed from the perspective of the years he gave you. I’m pretty immune to #hugot because it’s so popular now, but real love still gets me. Every time.

I don’t have a real love story. Not really. But last night I tried to add to the score of authenticity by telling the best story I had that comes close to one. I sang a song about a city I loved, not for itself–because to be honest it’s too new, too chrome-plated and luxury-decorated and, forgive me, but who cares about Disneyland?–but because the one time I was there I could only ever think about one person.

I have never been in a long distance relationship, but I fell in love with long distances because one boy, with a Hong Kong British accent, looked at me and said I was as beautiful. It was the first time someone I crushed on (a shallow but, I suppose, technically accurate word) said that to me, matter of fact, like I was the sky or a sunset, and that was the first moment I felt anything like love coming from someone who wasn’t God or my mum.

In actuality, the story of him and me became something that was sadly more conventional and embarrassing: the tale of a naïve girl who hoped too hard and a charming boy who played his cards too well–the Jake Gyllenhaal to my Taylor Swift, whose mark on my life was equal parts “Treacherous” and “Sad, Beautiful, Tragic.” There have been boys who have tempted me and boys who have made me fall, but this boy–maybe we should call him Jake?–is probably still the closest I’ve ever gotten to someone who was both.

I call him my “one big college love,” and while that’s probably an over-romanticization of everything, it’s also somewhat true. Before the crash and burn and pathetic lingering with its multiple attempts at closure (a pattern with me that I’m hoping ends now that I’m turning twenty-three), there was something.  Maybe not a something that ends with me getting chosen, or even a chance, but it was enough to hang my inspiration on.

He was the closest I’d ever gotten to a love story, so I wrote him into them. Poems. Stories. Letters. I even tried to launch a “Twitterserye” (after my thesis mentor) based on fragments of how I’d fallen for him. The day I’d found out I’d won a national love letter writing contest with a letter I’d written to him, I was in Brazil and me and my then-crush were having cake to celebrate and though then-crush was (and still is) the most gorgeous dude I have ever seen in my life outside of Tom Hiddleston…all I could think of was if I should tell “Jake.”

High on cake and the fact that I’d actually won something, I did. I Facebook messaged him. But before I could say anything, he told me that he had some great news–he was in love. He had a girlfriend.

Before you start shouting “HUGOT!” please know that statement actually hurt a ton less than it sounds in writing. Honestly, I didn’t expect to become his girlfriend. I even wrote that down in the love letter, used four pages of university yellow pad to say that I didn’t expect us to ever be anything more than what we were. Even then, I knew our love story, for all of its literary potential, would eventually devolve into what it became.

But even after how it “ended” (really, there was nothing to end), Jake is still the first person that pops into my head when I need to write something about love. A friend (who I used to like) joked at a poetry event that I was his “contribution to the arts” because I wrote six poems about him. The boy I liked after him got a short story and nearly a whole #NaPoWriMo blog.

But, as you can see, I’m still writing about Jake.

The last poem I wrote about him is dated over a year ago. It’s on this blog, if you’re feeling like digging, the title reference to a song by We Are Scientists that he used to sing when he was teaching me guitar. The Jake who walks around now isn’t anything like that poem suggests, truth be told. Maybe he never really was, because when you fall for someone and turn them into words you sort of make them convenient fiction. I think I can accept that, but I’d like to believe, even for a just a little while longer, in the Jake who loaned me a copy of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin despite barely knowing me, just because he saw me post a quote from it (you know the one) and had to comment, excitedly, in all-caps, “YOU’VE READ CCM?”

I’d like to believe there was a Jake who told me “You’re beautiful” in a way that has me carrying around that statement in my head ever since.

Last night a poet I respect turned to me excitedly and said, in the vocal approximation of all-caps, “You like Hamilton?”** For a split-second the light in his eyes reminded me of what the skyscrapers looked like at night, when you’re looking down from Victoria Peak.

“There will always be that boy that every boy reminds you of,” my friend John B. said, earlier that evening. I don’t know if Jake is that boy–I don’t think what we had was “love” enough to justify that–but of all the stories in my world, his is the one that comes closest.


“Do I really need to tell you anyway?”



**I do, and the line I forgot from “Wait For It” was “Love doesn’t discriminate/Between the sinners and the saints/It takes and it takes and it takes/And we keep loving anyway.” You all need to listen to the Original Broadway Cast recording. You will thank me.


The Friday, Currently 005: I’ll Be All Right (Just Not Tonight)

By some miracle, I have actually managed to do two things I’ve intended to do this week!  They are:

  1. actually publishing a blog post this week that isn’t The Friday, Currently, and
  2. starting this post early enough that it might actually get posted on a Friday.

*confetti* *Finally, Ariel Happened to Me*

Been spending more time journalling–as in, actual, on paper journalling–this past week, so hopefully this currently, unlike it’s predecessors, isn’t as TL;DR.  Have realized that I tend to run to verbose in these blogs, averaging 1,500 words (a.k.a. a standard Dragon U reflection paper) per entry, and while I flatter myself that my prose might be so compelling as to hold your attention that long, given the current statistics on millenial attention spans…je doute.

That being said, I’m going to try (operative word, and do not invoke Yoda) to keep this short, which should be easy since, outside of College Collision getting rained out (which you can read about here) nothing really unusual happened this week.  This is The Friday, Currently, Issue 005, and I am C U R R E N T L Y . . .

R E A D I N G  The Reason for God by Timothy Keller, which, while a well-written and even sassy read (not surprise that they’re calling him this generation’s C.S. Lewis), was probably not the best choice for my 2015 Reading Challenge.  This book is not something you breeze through.  It’s not heavy, per se, but there are so many lines you’re going to want to go over with a highlighter/commit to memory/annotate with all-caps “WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT!” that you really do need to take reading “breaks” from time to time.

Also, an update on A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, which I was reading two weeks ago: still not finished with it yet, but will (wisely) probably go back to it before proceeding further with the mental acrobatics of Keller.

W R I T I N G  as I mentioned, a ton of journal entries, and more calligraphy stuff.  Am attempting to resist the urge to run to SM Aura right now, as Scribe has just texted me telling me that my long-awaited Zig Cocoiro refills are in.  Just when I’m in a self-imposed austerity program.  Drat.

L I S T E N I N G to Sara Bareilles, by forever favorite, on loop.  If there’s any artist that I keep coming back to, it’s her.  Ever since I watched the MTV music video (back when MTV Asia was still being broadcast on Sky Cable) of “Love Song,” I’ve been hooked, snatching up all three of her studio albums, and Spotify-ing the rest.  You know how they say that Taylor Swift has a song for everything?  In my case, Bareilles understands me best, rendering the throes of unrequited love in less-dramatic, more tongue-in-cheek terms with wry, self-aware lyrics.  And when she does power pop, boy does she fill it with power: from the feminist anthem “Fairytale” to the bold and brassy “Brave,” Sara’s songs make you feel like you could take on lions and win.

She’s not extremely well-known in the Philippines (at most, just for her singles), but with the publication of this article from social media’s spoken word poet, Juan Miguel Severo, I’m hoping Sara gets more of the love she deserves.

W A T C H I N G, or about to begin watching, Wayward Pines, recommended to me by my source for all things TV Land-related The Style Reader (a.k.a. Arra Abella).  Also, based on recent developments that I’ve heard/read about regarding what’s happening in Westeros, I think I may be returning to G.o.T. for the sixth season.  Sansa’s character development has once again started moving in the right direction, and as long as Weiss and Benioff BLOODY STAY IN THAT DIRECTION I could see myself following the series again.  Maybe.  Only the finalé will tell, to be honest.  For now, I’m contenting myself with looking forward to Legends of Tomorrow and the debut of my darling Darvill.

F E E L I N G  a bit of panic about how my June is going to go.  As far as things happening, this month’s pretty packed for me, with College Collision being rescheduled, a Stories Told gig at Mow’s Café on the 19th, Hideaway on the 20th, and a whole lot of planning, practicing, and plotting in between.

Actually, maybe running these things over wasn’t the smartest idea–I’m getting more as I go on.  NEVERMIND, BRAIN.  FORGET I SAID ANYTHING.


S M E L L I N G  the last remnants of the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Body Spray I spritzed myself with this morning after my Mini Stop store run.  I don’t fancy smelling of fried chicken all day, no matter how delicious that fried chicken actually is.

W E A R I N G  Muji blue button-up (not button-down; there is apparently a difference), my Old Faithful Topshop black skinnies (looking as battered as ever), and brown leather loafers from Via Venetto.  It’s a lazy-dressing day, as it has been every single day this week.  My hair isn’t even ironed; #IWokeUpLikeThis.

L O V I N G  Criminal, a new podcast I discovered while going through withdrawals from Serial.  Instead of following a single crime’s thread throughout one “season,” Criminal profiles the perpetrators, victims, and witnesses to various crimes, big and small, providing a unique “human interest” angle that usual “detective” podcasts don’t usual put forward.  Also, because Criminal isn’t a serial podcast like, well, Serial, you can start it at any time without being compelled to catch up on everything.

I listen to episodes before I go to sleep, and strangely, end up sleeping pretty well.  Read into that what you will.

W A N T I N G  this day to end, to be honest.  The prospect of facilitating a meeting, even if it is for something I love, tends to fill me with no small degree of stress.  How did I end up organizing an event, again?

(How do I really end up doing anything, really?)

N E E D I N G  to have some chill.

W I S H I N G  my sore/hoarse voice would go away.  Hoping it’s not nodes again, and as I’m not having any difficulty reaching my higher registers (like I did when I actually had nodes) am dismissing that possibility at the moment.  Still, I miss how my voice usually sounds like.  I can make the chainsmoker-vocal work, especially with Elinor (my guitar/girlfriend, for the uninitiated), but I’m getting tired of it.

T H I N K I N G  that maybe sawi does not necessarily have to equal sad.

The title of this blog post comes from one of my favorite songs from Sara Bareilles–this upbeat, doo-wop pop anthem that is, surprisingly, also an unrequited love/break-up song.  It’s titled “Gonna Get Over You,” and unlike the usual sad-love-song that has you wallowing in a cesspool of your pain by the end (Sara also has one of those; it’s called “Gravity.”), the track practically dares you not to get up and dance.  It’s imbibed with sassy one-liners (“I won’t beg to buy a shot at your back door!”) and hilariously self-aware verses (“Goodbye/Should be sayin’ that to you by now, shouldn’t I?/Layin’ down the law that I live by/Oh, maybe next time…”) that sum up exactly how you feel when you’re in unrequited infatuation, half-headdesking and half-pining.

It’s a situation I know all too well, with my sixteen ex-crushes and current, this-is-a-bad-idea-why-are-we-here infatuation with S (yep, him again), who is both annoyingly aware of the fact that I like him and ridiculously clueless as to how to handle it.  (Here’s where I have to give it to C, who I incidentally, also used to like–at least he knew how to address the elephant in the room with minimal douchery.)

(Not that C needs any more compliments, to be honest; I’m pretty sure they’ve all gone to his head.)

(Love you, C.)

(Not in that way.)


There’s a temptation, when dealing with unwanted emotions, to go the Taylor Swift-ian route and imbue every last moment with all the longing and frustration and desolation a post-pubescent heart can hold.  And I’ve done this.  I’ve done this a lot, hence my first ever The Friday, Currently.  But then there comes a time when wallowing in loneliness becomes counter-productive (a girl can write only so many poems) and annoys even myself.  After all, it’s just a boy, in a string of fifteen (if you haven’t been able to tell yet, I keep count) other boys, and I haven’t died.

(Or killed anyone, which is honestly a bigger victory considering the overwhelming temptation to take out the competition.)

(Especially when they start giggling and PG-touching body parts.)

…But I digress.  (Looks like this isn’t a “short” one after all.  Sorry guys!)

There comes a point when sad playlists, bad poems, and imagined violence no longer cut it.  When it no longer makes sense to be sad over someone who, in the words of the Patron Saint of the Sawi, Éponine Thenardier, “…was never mine to lose.”  After all, as she also sings, why regret what cannot be?  Sure, as humans, it’s a natural reaction to be upset over not getting something you want, but also as humans we recognize that the things we want aren’t necessarily the things we need to have…

…and we move on.  Slowly, maybe, but all the same, we do.  And that’s why I love “Gonna Get Over You,” because it says exactly that: “I’ll be all right.  Just not tonight, but someday.”

In the meantime, I’m going to drown out the images of distant flirtation with my doo-wop anthem, sing along to Sara Bareilles at the top of my lungs (when I won’t disturb anyone, anyway), and laugh at, honestly, how silly this whole “heartbroken” business actually is.

That’s it for my fifth Friday, Currently.  If you have any suggestions for stuff I can write about…to be honest I’m running out of ideas, so please please please send them along!


The Sunday Currently was created by Siddathornton. I’ve added/subtracted categories for the sake of the narrative, and also because I’m copying the format of NothingSpaces.com.

[From January 2013] The Lover, Discoursing

I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.

— Augustus Waters, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green


Ordinarily, I’d be scribbling this in my diary, the scrawl looping in bigger and bigger letters across the page of my red faux-leather Venzi, but sometimes it’s easier to type than to write.

The question that bothers me, many nights, is why I fell.

Why do you fall for someone you can’t have? For someone who would be supremely wrong for you? Why do you fall for a dead-end street, an inevitable car-crash? Is the reason that “loving him was red,” as Taylor Swift puts it, truly enough to make up for the blue and the gray of losing him and missing him? Isn’t it just some fancy form of self-destruction; a slow and lingering death versus a quick and (relatively) clean one? Like the worst sort of drug, the initial rush of adrenalin and euphoria is never worth the letdown. The deeper you’re drawn in by the delusion, the more painful it is when you are blindsided by the truth: It’s never going to happen. Why, then, do we choose to hope, to wish, to long for something that could never, should never be?

This willful sort of stupidity confuses me. Rationally speaking, it’s in our best interests to select the best possible options and pursue them. Why is it then that most of the time we’re longing after the worst ones–the unattainables, the bad-for-yous, the friendzoners–hanging on a hope that does not exist? We bear long hours of awkward silences for seconds of exquisite conversation. We perform great feats of self-humiliation to attain just a brief nod of approval. We tear ourselves into little pieces and try to reconstruct ourselves as someone more appealing, more attractive, more “worthy” of affection and attention. We die for months to live for moments. We throw our hearts into the void and hope we’ll somehow receive them.

PhiloAnthro would have me believe that what distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom is that we humans possess a intellectual soul. We’re capable of rational thought, of awareness beyond awareness. We can see things coming. We can anticipate consequences. Yes, we can change our circumstances to a degree, but we also have the capacity to know when the battle isn’t worth fighting because it’s impossible to win. The survival of our species has hinged on that capacity. And yet, when it comes to love, why do we throw ourselves into the battlefield with no ammunition, practically wearing bull’s eyes on our chests?

Why did I do it?

Despite my habit of self-deprecation, I know I’m not a complete idiot. I have a survival instinct, for all that it is impaired when it comes to crossing the street. I know about cause and effect, about avoiding things that can only end badly, and yet I persist. The first few times should have sufficed to tell me that while the euphoria is fleeting, the scars left behind aren’t. My heart is a topographic map of those scars, stretching as far back as the onset of puberty, some still as tender now as they were then. I don’t think it’s an incapacity to let go; it’s just that heart-wounds run deeper than most, and more than any other injury, have far-reaching effects.

Do I do it for the sake of creation, so that I, like Neruda, can write the saddest lines? In that case, the pain is scarcely worth it. Some days it feels like I’ve amassed a lifetime of angst with just one person alone. Many days, it feels like I am drowning, swallowed up by the emotions–shame, regret, revulsion, longing–that wash over me like tides coming in. Why would I fall in love someone, only to end up hating myself? The promises I’ve broken to myself, the stupid things I’ve done, the boundaries I’ve overstepped…all of that is what is left behind after the rush and the whirl and the haze and the hope has cleared.

And yet I keep shouting into the void, hoping that somehow my voice will carry and he will hear me and that somehow, somehow, I can engineer an improbable fiction of a happily ever after.

What do I hope to gain from this hopeless exercise?

Maturity, maybe. There’s a case that can be made for that. PhiloFamily said that unrequited love is not a wasted love, because it acts as a “school” for learning how to love an “other.” But if that’s the case, is it really worth the tuition fee–the swollen eyes, the sleepless nights, the aforementioned bouts of self-loathing? Taylor Swift may make millions off of her failed loves (reciprocated or not), but the rest of us have neither the talent nor the good fortune to be able to do the same. All we get in exchange are those scars and those memories, and sometimes they do not mature us so much as hold us back. The question “Was it all worth it?” terrifies me, because I don’t know if it was.

I don’t know if it’s more difficult to ask these questions of a relationship that ended versus a love that goes unfulfilled and unreciprocated. I’ve never known the former, so I won’t even begin to judge. What I do know is that when I ask myself “Would you do it all over again, if you had a choice?” I’m never sure what to answer. Some days, I say yes. Some days, I say no. Do I spare myself the pain of the months of silence, the awkwardness, the effort of finding a “new normal” before I’d even gotten used to the old one? Or do I take the risk to taste the sweetness of that first blush–arguably one of the best parts of being young and in love–all over again?

Another Augustus Waters quote: “My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.”

Falling is a constellation I can’t fathom, a chemical equation I can’t balance, a phenomenon I have no explanations for. It makes no sense, this inextricable pull towards a person: the thrill of hope and my weary world rejoicing, only to have said world crash down all around my ears. I’ve referenced one too many Taylor Swift songs tonight, but if I knew you were trouble when you walked in, why in the world didn’t I run for the exit?

Why do I think I would do it all again?

We think of crushes–the other common term for unrequited love–as such arbitrary, immature things. The word itself sounds frivolous: “I have a crush on him,” “I crushed on her,”–youthful fluff easily forgotten. But do we ever stop to think of what the word means? To deform, pulverize, or force inwards by compressing forcefully. To crease or crumple. To violently subdue. To bring about a feeling of overwhelming disappointment or embarrassment in someone. All these speak of devastation, of a wasteland that has to be navigated in the aftermath, of damage that will most assuredly be done. And while we can gather our friends around us, and slowly but surely recover, it’s a long process of regeneration. Tissue has been lost. Skin has been torn. There is a physical ache, which I like to compare to having wet cement being poured into my chest cavity, that I experience every time I long for someone or fear I have lost them. It’s so intense that occasionally I’ve felt like I was suffocating.

I’ve tried to rationalize the whole experience, compared my heart to a muscle which needs to be torn apart time and time again in order to become stronger. I guess it helps, thinking of it that way. But then I wonder if it’s just something I’ve come up with to make me feel better about the situation. And then I wonder if it actually encourages me to hang on to the pain–not that I need encouraging; sometimes I willingly do so because it’s the only piece of the person I get to keep.

In the end, I can’t answer these questions. I’m not sure what I’ve gained even by asking them. Might as well ask why lighting strikes, or try to bottle it when it does.