Facebook: Killing You Softly

www.popularairsoft.com

 

 

What started out as a school project became real life inspiration about a month ago. Me and my partner chose a topic that was close to our hearts – that are close to many of our hearts – Facebook. Facebook has had profound impact on our lives since its inception in 2004. It’s been connecting long lost families, friends from the past, and I even know couples who have met on Facebook. I ride the bus, and find people scrolling through Facebook. Heck, even my mom is on Facebook. I guess a little Facebook is beneficial. It allows you to “connect” to people like never before. But, as I was going through life, I began to question if I truly had connection with my Facebook friends. I have 1000+ friends from all over the world. I have lived in many places throughout my lifetime; from the Philippines, Toronto, Northern Ontario, Oshawa, and Ottawa and I have made “friends” from all those places. It was quite satisfying to keep up with friends this way. With every update, I felt like a part of my friends’ lives. And when I update my status, everybody knew how I was feeling, doing, and thinking right away.

Somewhere along the way, I became tired of this superficial living. It’s as if people around have become zombie-like mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. Then, one day, I looked up from my phone. There was a sinking feeling that another day has gone, and I haven’t had anything done. Facebook has become a way of life, embedded, incorporated, enmeshed, and we don’t even realize just how deeply it has penetrated society to the point of it as natural as breathing. Isn’t it the first thing we check in the morning and last thing at night? With two billion users worldwide, Facebook isn’t just a benevolent site for connecting friends, it is a corporation. Some guy is making money off these dysfunctional friendships.

Not only that, Addiction to social media may affect the physical health of a person. Studies have shown that prolonged sitting as is mostly the case when engaging in social media world, kills more people than HIV aids, and is not being dubbed the new “smoking” (Schulte, 2015). Sitting, although harmless as it may seem at first, may have adverse effects on the health. Individuals are more susceptible to obesity, cardiovascular diseases, which may lead to heart attack The physical inactivity that is linked to excessive social media usage is also an increasing problem in society due to economic cause of healthcare; most diseases could have been preventable by physical activity, such as morbid obesity leading to heart problems. Not only that, users’ eyesight may be unnecessarily strained due to prolonged screen staring which could lead to permanent vision impairment. Most of the damage are subtle yet irreversible – the users needlessly suffering.

Studies have also shown that Facebook usage makes users unable to devote cognitive resources to task fulfillment and involves problems in initiating and maintaining action. Individuals lose the ability for self control and often ruminate in negative thoughts.

Sounds a lot to me like Good ‘Ol Brain Washin’. People are incapable of performing even the simplest task because their brains are hijacked by the constant feed of Facebook. Isn’t it sad how our society has become like this? People are merely existing, scrolling through artificial photos of friends who seem to be having the time of their lives. But often, these pictures are doctored, filtered and enhanced, I know, because it’s a well-known secret amongst people my age to use apps that filter our imperfections and present only our best self. The only thing missing is a label “pictures are far less fun than they appear.” It seems people are only doing “fun” things so they can post it on Facebook. The essence of true living is lost in order to perfect the fantasy life that is Facebook. Addiction to Facebook is real. Facebook use can be a vicious cycle of perpetual escape from reality equated with that of alcohol and drug use. Marriages and relationships have fallen apart because of this “greener on the other side” mentality. While it’s great to catch up with family and friends, Facebook must never take over our lives. Facebook is a tool, don’t let it make us a tool. Facebook is capitalizing on what is one of the most important things in a person’s life – friendship.

Facebook use is sheer mindlessness that is brought upon by diverse factors converging to create a generation of automatons – zombies. The cognitive faculties are easily hijacked by Facebook usage which could actually lead to depression, these negative effects include chronic distraction, engaging in social comparison, ruminating, and recalling negative memories (Tran, Uebelacker, Wenze, Collins, & Broughton, 2015).

It’s time to break out of the mold. After doing my project and doing hours of research and reading many articles, I realized I am addicted to Facebook. I had physical symptoms of withdrawal when I quit. I would felt so lost, with suddenly so much time on my hand. Facebook did not let me off the hook easily. When I deactivated my account, it showed pictures of my closest friends saying they will miss me. It even prompted me to list my reason for quitting, and had suggestions to improve my Facebook experience for me not to leave, like a very clingy lover. But, I had my mind made up. While I may undoubtedly be back, I want to take my time to really live, and not have this website control who I am and how I’m supposed to be.

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Don’t you just feel so betrayed?

 

So, I’d like to encourage you not to quit Facebook just because, but challenge you to live life with whatever you have been given. For me, that is school, my volunteer position, my writings, and all the things I never had time for because I was umbilically bound to Facebook. What was life like BF (Before Facebook). What did you enjoy doing? Life is so much more than the imprisoning hold of Facebook; much more than the jail cell(phone). Be so engrossed in life. Take time to really live right in the moment. Go to the gym, read a book, cook, and feel the intrinsic satisfaction of doing things you love without the external validation of a virtual thumb. Because, those are the things you remember on your deathbed, and not how many likes you attracted that one time you posted a heavily filtered picture of yourself.

The Day I Almost Kind Of Met The President Serendipitously. (Based on a True Story)

If you ask me “how did your day go Elle?” I’d say “Fantastic!”
“Tell me about it.” 11109174_858746097507121_1163259547570328187_o
*Cue dramatic music*
I woke up in the morning and went for a jog down my street. 11169818_858744760840588_141186769074917456_o
Little did I know, there were police on motorcycle on my way. My first thoughts were “Oh no, was I jogging too fast? I swear I was only running 5 km/hr.”
Then they just smiled at me. Just then, I saw a car which had a small Philippine flag inside the windshield! Then it hit me: The Philippine president was staying at Westin hotel on my street! (I was like OMG!) I felt giddy and proceeded to the Parliament. Philippine flags were flirting with the wind against the cerulean skies and crisp spring morning breeze. (And there was a small spider on my shirt. Yikes!)

I spotted the GMA and ABS-CBN reporters, two of the largest TV network station in the Philippines and I had the opportunity to talk with the GMA reporter, a very pleasant lady who congratulated me for being a Canadian citizen and a university student. (Thanks(?))11169561_858744784173919_8257164897656022841_o11143306_858744697507261_7705715045796455072_o

Then I made me way near the Parliament building where an RCMP officer informed me that the president was coming at 10:00 AM. He insisted we take a selfie. 10458771_858745117507219_4711129163424079065_n

It turned out, Filipinos in Ottawa were too busy to meet the president and it was only Miss Eve, a fellow Filipina who left work to take videos, and I who decorated the street to meet the president. As all decent Filipinos would do, we took a selfie. Teehee.

We waited and waited. And of course 10:00 AM was Filipino Standard Time. The president arrived at 10:45ish (Canadian Time). We didn’t realize it was him and we completely ignored the diplomatic cars going by. Turned out, he had passed right under our noses!

Nevertheless, we met the Filipino “Men in Black” Rolando Vargas and the other guy (dunno-his-name) and we chatted with Rolando and he informed us that they were indeed staying at the Westin Hotel(!!!!) Few doors down my apartment. I was like “Waah no way! That’s like soo weird.” His Excellency had gone to Rideau Centre, (Mall next to my house) which was connected to Westin, to buy some CDs.

Just Miss Eve and I greeting the president

Just Miss Eve and I greeting the president

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Soon, we made a mad dash towards the parliament building to capture Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Benigno Aquino, although from a far distance as we were not allowed to be near the building.11174236_858746060840458_7622855120725923977_o

Going home, I also witnessed a peculiar sight with different types of Canadian army. They had a moment of silence and oops, I pressed the button to cross the street and got dirty looks. I’m really sorry!! D’:11110996_858745280840536_6061408003603359724_o

Hello Again: Blessing of Quietude

It’s been such a long time since I posted here. I’m still alive. I have just finished 2014-2015 school year. However, this summer, I decided to take a course at a local college for American Sign Language. As an introvert, I have to periodically withdraw from the world as I get agitated easily by the crowd or overwhelming attention.

My exams were tough tough tough, but thankfully, I managed to somehow get through the year without dropping out. Certainly not my best year, but hopefully the next few years will be better. My life has been very quiet, and I love it! My favourite part is when I attend sign language class. My teacher is deaf so he only communicates by sign language, and it is the quietest 3 hours of my life. Spring has also been wonderful and I can just be still as I listen to the humming of birds and the rustling of leaves. 10407207_858872390827825_8173246675482256283_n

Quietness keeps me grounded as the world is constantly bombarded by unnecessary noises, especially as I live in the city being a country girl.

The Real Philanthropist

I’m not a social activist, economist or Sociologist, but in my short time on Earth as a social observer, I cannot help but feel appalled by the entitlement some of the rich of our generation feel.

The rich complain: “We’re giving large amounts of money to the poor. Billions of dollars coming out of philanthropists for housing projects and charitable organization, but the poor never help themselves. It seems every year, the population keeps growing poor. Poverty will never end. What’s the use of giving?”

Let me tell you, that the very same “poor” that the rich are complaining about are the true philanthropists. They sacrifice their precious time, talent, and money just so the rich could satiate their insatiable greed.

It is the poor and low-wage workers that serve you in restaurants, check out your groceries, it is the poor that make up your bed in hotels, who take care of your kids, who pick up the garbage; you know, that thing you make you cringe by the mere thought of taking it from your front door to the sidewalk.

These people make sacrifices, living in minimum to no wage just so the rich could afford that new Ferrari because Ferraris are so important that the precious, endangered species – the rich, would suffer from hypoxia without it.

When it comes to appraising dignities, the poor are automatically valued to a scale that would shame a thermometer in the North during mid-winter.

Do you really want to help the poor? Don’t cling to your money, make life an expression of genuine concern for humankind rather than to flaunt wealth, because you owe it to humanity, and humanity does not owe you sparkling trophies and accolades.

“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.”
– Mother Teresa

As a human being, I feel pitiful towards the loss of humanity, as many of our co-humans are reduced to becoming money-making machines to the point of delusion from the dizzying hamster wheel of perpetuating pursuit of wealth.

But it doesn’t matter, does it? Because in this world, money is the measure of one’s worth, not the consistent, selfless services stemming from the core of human kindness.

Mental Hygiene: How Dirty is your Mind? (Rejection, Failure, Obsession)

I have a confession to make. When I was a little girl, I hated brushing my teeth. I would often skip out on the bristles for even as long as a month. Gross? Of course! But I thought it was normal. My siblings complained of course especially my sister as she had become a dental hygienist. I had a lot of cavities but thankfully, they were my primary teeth and not my permanent teeth. I wasn’t very keen on my personal hygiene either. I would go into the woods and the murky seas just a few steps away from home and play, not minding the mud, and the corals cutting my skin. I didn’t care too much about showering either as I hated the cold water touching my skin. I wasn’t particularly neglected, but was rather independent, and I had a lot of caregivers, so much that everybody else assumed somebody else took care of me. (I told a little lie here and there.)

Disclaimer: For the record, I do love taking showers now and brush my teeth regularly twice a day. 😉

Living in this day and age, many of us are educated about our personal hygiene. In fact, a person who does not practice hygiene is often avoided. But not too long ago, in history, we’re talking only 160 years out of the world’s long history was the tooth brush invented. Even then, it was not widely used. Brown teeth were quite common.Animals brown teeth bears wide HD Wallpaper

Before having hygiene as a norm, people went on living in unsanitary conditions without even thinking of the dire consequences. Doctors would not wash their hands as they operated, and people left their excrement in open places.

We are reminded of human ignorance in this matter in the form of many disasters and several plagues, namely the Bubonic plague.

It’s a no-brainer that personal hygiene is crucial, but have we ever thought about mental hygiene?

Is mental hygiene really important? If you ask me, I think it is.

We are living in an advanced digital age. Just as the push for personal hygiene as the population increased just a few hundred years ago was necessary, so is mental hygiene in this time and age where knowledge has indeed increased pressing our brains to work to the fullest capacity. Our brains are constantly stimulated, our mind taunted by the challenges of the and we don’t even think about the consequences and injuries we are causing just because there isn’t a pool of blood, browning of our brains, or even odour emanating from our heads.

Some common injuries to our brains include, rejection, failure, negative self-talk and obsession with the past encompassing guilt and rumination.

Mental hygiene is more important than you think, more important than ever as our brains are constantly on the go. We make erratic choices in response to failure and rejection because our mind did not have time to heal. Imagine running a 10k race when you had just broken your leg.

Fear of Failure – Fear of failure is really the fear of the unknown which is ubiquitous. As humans, there will always be unknown since we are but finite beings. Knowing this, we can equip ourselves to better cope with failure. This takes mental hygiene as a habit. This habit would include positive self-talk, the will to try again, and not label oneself as inherently “bad”, or a failure.

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

– Albert Einstein

Develop a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset described by Stanford professor, Dr. Carol Dweck. Growth mindset is the type of mindset asserting that those who believe their success is based on hard work, learning, training and doggedness are  more likely to thrive and succeed. People who have growth mindset believe they never stop learning and intelligence does not depend on one’s initial IQ.

By amending our mistakes, we get wisdom. By defending our faults, we betray an unsound mind.

– Hui Neng

Rejection – Today , I was called for the first time by an elderly as a “stupid, damned faggot.” She said some other things, but I had ignored it as I continued to wheeled her across the hospital’s ward where I volunteer. Rejection hurts a lot. There were many times I had been rejected, from university, love, friendship, jobs, and even in my volunteer placement such as today. But there also been many times where I had been accepted for who I am.  It is important that with every rejection, we must take time to shield ourselves by building up immunity. We can build immunity to rejection by knowing who we are first before internalizing everything. If the elderly lady had called me a stupid damned faggot a year earlier, I would have cried right then and there, but today, I could only empathize with her. You see, she had Alzheimer’s and desperately wanted to go home. She did not even remember who I am. She was yelling “God, Jesus, please help me. I’m gonna die soon.” I saw the desperation in her eyes as tears began to form behind her glasses. Often, people who reject us are not rejecting the very essence of who we are, more often it’s about them and not because we are useless. Reject rejection.

Rumination – I am guilty of this as my brain has obsessive tendencies. I would ruminate about all the things I have done wrong all the time, things I could have said disabling my from moving on. Indeed as a CD is scratched from constant replaying, so our brains obtain scratches until we injure ourselves.

Dr. Guy Winch, a renowned psychologist in his book Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries, has said, “We often neglect our psychological wounds until they become severe enough to impair our functioning.”injured brain illustration

All of us go through mental injuries that sometimes manifest itself physically in depression and ultimately suicide if we are not careful to remedy our mental needs. There are a bunch of us running around severely injured, yet we just smile and shrug and say ‘I’m fine.’

Like bacterias and diseases take over our bodies if we are not careful about our body hygiene because our immune system is weak, so will negative and equally dysfunctional people prey on our mental weaknesses. If we have low self-esteem people will happily take advantage of that to their own benefit. If we are suffering from depression, people will easily point out “it’s all in your head.”

But the worst vulture, my own worst enemy – is myself.

After living with their dysfunctional behavior for so many years, people become invested in defending their dysfunctions rather than changing them.

Marshall Goldsmith

We have installed a virus inside our own mind limiting our own capacity to live life to the fullest. It’s that “Obnoxious Roommate” as Arianna Huffington calls that negative voice. “It feeds on putting us down and strengthening our insecurities and doubts.”

It’s time to put the eviction notice on the door and start caring for our mental health more now.

Develop a healthy mental habit every day. Isn’t it time we learn first-aid coping tools when dealing with mental injuries such as rejection, failure, loneliness?  

There are many books available to help establish that routine so that you would be able to combat negativity and become mentally healthier and stronger.

The Frog Race: Ambitious Frog

Once upon a time, a group of frogs decided to have a race climbing a long pole, slippery pole.

The toughest frogs came to compete and all the frogs in the village came also to witness the race.

Everyone was ribbiting and croaking. “Ribbit ribbit, croak croak.”

The First Tough Frog ascended up the pole. The village frogs kept croaking “You can’t make it! It’s too slippery.”

The First Tough Frog felt the pole slip from his hands, and he could not hold on any longer, and the poor frog gave up and fell on the ground.

The Second Tough Frog was up next, and he was even bigger and tougher than the First Tough Frog. But sure enough, the village frogs croaked “You’ll only fall like First Tough Frog. Ribbit Ribbit. The pole is too slippery you can’t make it.”

Indeed, as you might have guessed, the poor frog fell on the ground.

The Third and Fourth frogs also tried but only to end in demise, as the village frogs croaked in harmony “You can’t make it, it’s too slippery. You’ll only fall.”

Finally, one determined, ambitious frog was up next. Before the village frogs were ready to croak, he was already climbing the pole, as he neared the top, the village frogs kept croaking discouragements louder and louder in perfect unison, but the determined frog kept going and going until he reached the top.

Everyone was amazed, and of course, they wanted to interview this Ambitious Frog.

But as they asked him questions, they noticed he was not responding no matter how loud, or how long they asked him.

The Ambitious Frog was deaf.

Often, life is full of discouragements. Perhaps not verbal, but they are manifested in the results of our actions, maybe it’s in grades, work performance, or in relationship.

But if we are set on a goal, we must never let anything discourage us no matter what. Most importantly, it is imperative to do your part of the race by doing things to the best of your abilities despite the croaking discouragements of peers, results, or authority.

Drown out the noise with the noise of the engine of the wonderful machine God has designed for you; these are your brain and hands. Keep doing.

Good News: You Are Not the Center of the Universe

                                  Good News: You Are Not the Center of the Universe

*Letter of advice to my children [nieces, nephew, and future children] in form of a Sonnet. 

Yours is a fragile soul dear child.

A fragment which you value above all else.

You have no regard for the things of the wild.

Until Love’s gone; all left are farewells.

Don’t you see your soul’s shadow is but a darkness?

Concealed in the universe in which you have harnessed.

The starless firmament of your soul is but an empty vacuum.

A Black Hole devoid of vivacious sights and dancing lights.

For you have let the dark shadow command in great volume.

Dear child, your soul is but a frightful night.

Open those eyes of yours and lighten that darkened soul.

For there are no grim gremlins nor ghouls most foul.

There is only the impenetrable stubbornness of will.

That fear conquers your heart – innocent and inculpable.

When it seems all these worldly things cannot fill,

Unlatch the windows of your soul to what is most valuable.

Carry not the universe into your soul for it exists in itself.

For the universe, even for your soul, is impossible to engulf.

Set free what must be free, and abandon consternation.

Be an observer, not the controller, for the universe must run its course.

Although you must stride with caution for a lifetime’s duration.

world-revolves-around-me

Me- Center of the universe

There is a larger, more powerful source of force,

Than your fragile soul dear child.

Cast your worries away; into triviality compiled.

The universe is vaster than the imaginings permit.

But it does not exist within your soul, but merely in part.

But such news should not crush your spirit,

For only relief it brings, to a weary soul impart.

No longer shall you bear the world upon those thin shoulders.

Look up! Tis no longer a burden to live; life no longer series of heavy boulders.

Let go of what once was, in humility acknowledge fallibility.

Thou art merely human, not God from whom all wonders flow.

Instead, refrain from control and succumb to vulnerability.

Instead, nourish the soul with kindness, and fertilize with meekness to grow.

For your soul is not the center of the universe,

But the universe lies within you, never the reverse.

The Envious Frog

March.01.15

I have been told numerous times by people that they envied me. This causes me to raise a brow because it puzzles me why anyone in the right mind would ever envy me as I have nothing worthy to brag about. In fact, if I may be blunt, envy is one of my weaknesses that started last year at this time of the year. I have always believed in hard work and focusing on my own goals, but this time last year, I started to envy a girl. She was very pretty, wealthy, had glamorous friends, and won the heart of the one person whom I loved most.

The envy became horrifyingly terrible that I started acting and dressing like how I thought she is, and I was shamefully

"Do I look like her now?"

“Do I look like her now?”

becoming overly obsessive. I painted my nails, bought a new wardrobe maxing out my student credit card, but I didn’t care. I am ashamed to say, I spent hours and hours just obsessing over this person, wasting my precious time trying to be someone else when I could have been improving myself intellectually, and perhaps my skin would have been smoother had I not stayed up too late obsessing, instead, I would have eye bags and break outs due to these late night obsessions!

I was intimidated by this person, and I put her upon a pedestal. I adored her, idolized even, yet hated her to the core without even talking to her or knowing her life story. I just knew she was perfect. I compared myself to an Instagram-filtered, made-up, perfect-haired, starbucks-drinkin’, mall-wanderin’, food-enthusiast, selfie-takin’, nail-polish-wearin’ stranger. How silly.

Yet, seeing her perfect life made me unhappy, and unable to cope with my broken, imperfect one. For many months, this went on, but something changed one day.

I was not happy with who I was becoming. I felt I have betrayed my old self – that idealistic, simple, person.  For one, I do not really like nail polish, I like wearing comfortable clothing, and I hate wearing make up. Shopping bores me, and I’d prefer to read a good book by myself than to concern myself over trivial girly tasks.

Envy is a deadly disease that is insidious, caused by an uncontrollable virus of negativity. But why waste your time on something that you cannot control. Sure, maybe I can throw acid on her face to make her ugly, but would that really make me feel better about myself? Probably worse.

WHY NOT: Begin to work on something productive and something of value not only to yourself but to the                                 people around?                      

                  Stop focusing on other’s strengths as this is completely useless and frustrating.

                   Focus on your strengths and accentuate it, and let your flaws fade out in light of your new found                            confidence in being the best in your specialty? 

Envy creates a false sense of entitlement. Why claim something that’s not yours in the first place, when you could claim your own strengths and ability and hone it from there rather than letting someone else’s success paralyze you until you can no longer function properly? Don’t let envy be the compass of your life.

 “Whatever quality you envy in someone else is reflecting back to you a part of yourself you have    denied. ‘If I envy someone’s looks, I am denying my own beauty. If I envy possession, I’m           denying my own abundance, my ability to create whatever I truly desire.'”

Start evaluating your own core values. For me, it was to work hard, be inquisitive, and continue to learn. Realize who you are, one in 7 billion, and count your blessings knowing you have the power to be an even better you if you so choose. If you want things, it’s up to you to get it.

Accept who you are in life; a driver of your own vehicle. You are not merely a window shopper, drooling outside a BMW store. Because it’s never merely about what you are given by God, whether you are prettier, smarter, wealthier, it’s about driving towards your dreams with what you are given and keeping your eyes on the road so that nothing will ever knock you off – not even envy or jealousy.

Envy and jealousy are powerless against people who are focused on their own journeys and those who do not wish to be on another road for they know that each road brings its own challenges and difficulties that are unique to each of us.

           *If there’s anything you can take from this entry, I hope it would be that if you are envious, don’t let envy ruin you, turn it to motivation, and emulation. Grab envy by the tail and turn it into gratitude; from focusing on what you lack into what you have. Wish the best on those you envy, and you’ll find that you, too, will be blessed. Be confident. 🙂

Truth or Lie – A Manifesto of My Faith

Truth hurts. Whenever a friend, who is incredibly honest shoots me with the arrow of truth, I could not help but cringe in pain. Of course I could not get mad at this friend because [they] are telling the truth. It has always been a goal of mine to be honest and be real, but sometimes I am guilty of cotton candy compliments.

Now, the Bible has some of the most hurtful truths. But many manipulate the Bible to fit their own desire. Let’s take for example Leviticus 11. It details all the animals that God does not want us to eat. Now, people could say, “hey that’s for the old testament, it doesn’t apply today.” Really? God made our bodies, shouldn’t He know what diet is good for us? Like a manufacturer of cars know which oil is most appropriate for the car. It was not a matter of life and death, but God knows what’s best for us.

What about the fourth commandment? (Exodus 20:8) “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy six days you shall work, but the seventh is for the Lord your God.” What is the seventh day? Look in your calendars, isn’t it Saturday? The Jewish people have been keeping this for millenniums, even Jesus kept it (Luke 4:16). Nowhere in the Bible has the Sabbath changed. Historically, it changed because of a Roman/Pagan emperor named Constantine wanting to integrate the Christians with the Pagans who worshiped the Sun god hence Sunday. Many say again, “That’s an outdated truth! Foul! Foul!”

If you love me keep my commandments. – John 14:15

Why is it so hard to follow the truth? Because truth hurts. That’s all we’ve ever known all our lives, and that’s all we’ll ever believe because some people would rather manipulate the Bible than to be proved wrong. 

I want to be proved wrong, because that means I am closer to the truth, but I will only believe when there is evidence in the Bible.

Just because humans have believed otherwise for many thousands of years, does not mean they are right.

Does God ever change? I don’t think so. As Christians, we take pride in our unchanging God.

I am not perfect in any way. Jesus, who came down on earth taught us to be humble from His examples.

I believe being humble is essential. We do not know everything, so why do we always insist we are right when the Bible says otherwise?

For me, if my childhood faith is proven wrong with sufficient evidence and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I would rather obey Jesus than what my parents, pastor, or teachers say, because after all, our salvation does not depend on the authority but on our own.

So I urge you, whoever is reading this now, be a truth seeker. Do not be complacent in your faith. Search the Bible for yourself.

 And the truth, shall set you free. 

An Open Letter to my Ex

I used to have a boyfriend. *Gasp* I know, I know, but a girl needs love, too! :’) But it has been almost a year since the break up. It wasn’t a pretty, or amicable one. I won’t get into details because I still do have a lot of respect for him because he really helped me grow into a mature (ish) young woman I am today. 

I highly doubt he’ll be reading this, but if I could see him again one day, all I could say is thank you. 

Dear J________

How are you? I hope wherever you are, you’ve found true happiness. I remember you sent me that song “Happy” by Pharrell, saying I was not happy enough. You’re right. And I guess my unhappiness drained yours.

It became clear when you left:

When you left, I was so desperate. I gave my phone to my friend so as not to text you, only to wake her up at 3:00 AM claiming my phone back. (Poor girl.) But there was no text from you. I was dismayed. I did not sleep for many days, I would lie awake all night and I felt physical pain from the heartache. But of course, it was because I loved you so much. There has never been another human soul to whom I gave my whole life wholly. It was almost as though I idolized you.

I had no idea how to move on. You were my support, my best friend, lover, and one and only. I did not keep most of your things. I gave them away, or threw it in the trash. I had only kept one letter. I fell into deep depression. How could we be the best lovers one moment, and all of the sudden, in a matter of a few days, you turned cold.

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.

Elie Wiesel

It’s been almost a year. Am I over you? I would not say completely, but I’m getting there. I have been very patient with myself. Somehow, I am still afraid of relationships. There are many suitors but I am afraid of falling again. All I can see is you in them.

I hope that you are well. I hope you never give up on your dream of becoming a doctor, because I’m not, although I had a really bad first semester. It was our dream to be medical doctors together and going to poor countries and help out. Remember we planned to have 4 kids? Naya, Asher, J(your name)elle and Irene or Esther. I wish I was as studious as you. You seem to have everything in order, and I’m a mess.

But don’t worry, I’m growing up. Can you believe it? I turned 19 already. We met when I was only 16, I was so immature then, but you put up with me.

My dysfunctional, insecure, immature self still surfaces at times, but you were right when you said I’m still young. I let mole hills turn to mountain. I survived boarding school, and I’m still alive. The stress did not kill me.

Thank you for opening my eyes. I still do believe you’re my soulmate – like you said I was yours, we had chemistry. But, I think you were only my soulmate for the two years we had dated. I know you love someone else, and it would be a shame to break up what you two had and insist myself on you. Afterall, who am I to do that? Like I told you, you deserve your own  happiness.

I have lost you, but you’ve given me a priceless lesson to be learned. I was never angry with you. A part of my heart still belongs to you. I’m not asking for a second chance. On the contrary! But I am filled with gratitude, and my deepest respect to a man I once loved and had the privilege of intimately knowing.

So, I am moving on as you have. This March will mark that one year since it was over.

One year, without you. And I survived.

That one year will catalyze many more years without you, and I am content.

I realized I can live my life without you, and still be okay. Now I’m beginning to wonder if I am the manifestation of the “Overly Attached Girlfriend!” Oh no!

May God bless you, and keep you safe always.

Truly yours,

Ellie xox