An Ode to Nineteen

My chests and back have been experiencing pain lately. I didnt want my mom to be worried so I ran to the clinic and it turned out it’s only because of my heavy bag. They gave me medicine (which I still havent taken), advised me to do more yoga and reprimanded me because my bag that day was too heavy for someone with my frame. I assured them it isnt always like that. Maybe I shouldnt have borrowed 5 hardbound library books to read for the weekend. Oh well.

It’s the longest Ive gone without my mom. I cried at the spa yesterday because right when I walked into the room, I was reminded of how we used to go there often. And then I laughed as I remembered the bathrobe incident that one time. I think Id skip the story for now. She always calls me now to tell me how she misses our petty fights and how I have different tones of calling her depending on what I need.

Having two places to call home is a bit strange and it’s even more confusing how when Im in one, I crave the other. Being back with my family every week gives me a break from all the rushing and clock-spinning. I love how my Lolo rushes to the market to get ingredients for my favorite dish and gosh, sharing food is just so nice until it’s time to wash the dishes when everyone turns their cheeks. Most of all, I love the little noses I get to boop of my little cousins who are just the best distractions by being so irresistibly cute.

Then again Ive grown accustomed to the the sense of independence the city gives me. My little routine, being close to everything. Sometimes I come home to an empty room and have to decide between feeling disappointed or happy because I have the room to myself. My roommates who make me feel safe although I would never admit. They are just endlessly beautiful. I always have to put the garbage out to make sure the housekeepers would be able to take it but I don’t really mind. One of them lost sleep the other night working on her project, and the other said “Just let me know if you need me to talk to you. Im not sleepy just yet.” Inside I was sobbing for such a sweet gesture. Why are girls so beautiful? Why is friendship so?

Colors give me refuge. I choose a color, focus on it and suddenly the whole world becomes it. This is how I trick my mind when it goes on bad places. When things get too much, as if I have every right, I drop everything and put on my yoga clothes then run to the building rooftop to enjoy the camlness of the fading sun and all of its hues as I come back to myself, still and quiet. No responsibilities, no deadlines. Just me.

Although Id like to think I’m better with money, I still look at my purse most days and wonder how on earth did I spend so much in a span of 3 days. Perhaps a few more videos on Money Saving Tips would help. One worked for me at first where I had to divide my money into 4 -- Spending, Tithes, Investment, Savings & Giving. I really shouldnt spontaneously buy something that I know my friend would like. (but what can I do when I have such pretty friends who just deserves the whole world?)

At this point I can probably use my fingers to list the every artist I listen to. I havent changed nor added to the songs on my phone from years ago, only depending on spotify that isnt even on premium and lyric videos on youtube. I listen to podcasts more than music. However, when I go to the club (which is probably once every six months), I dance as if Im a regular and know every move to the songs. Let’s go, DJ mister.

School has never been better, but only because I get to attend the same classes as my friends and work with them again. It’s so so nice to not worry about having group mates, you know? And the occasional jokes between class discussions are what I live for. Also, I spend too many nights over my friends’ places that I wouldnt be surprised if they make me pay half of the rent.

The only current jewelry I have is my necklace from four years ago and a pair of earrings my mom got me for my birthday. I handmade the necklace out of a seashell because the ocean gave me safety when I was younger and I wanted to bring part of it with me. The latter, I got after a debate with my mom on whether or not she should get me it. I insisted she just get me another harddrive out of fear I’ll just lose them like I did the bracelet someone gave me. In the end she won and it can’t be too bad because I liked the style she picked for me. It’s very classy and gives me vintage vibes. I’ll try to be more careful with them.

Everyday I try to be better. And it was only recently that Ive muttered up the courage to apologise for being such an awful sister to my siblings we were a sobby mess. I took them out for some dinner and desserts afterwards and wondered when was the last time we took selfies together. It really only takes a few seconds of courage and then everything’s okay again.


This is me at nineteen.


Saying that still feels alien to me and bittersweet just like how my mouth tasted the night before my birthday. The number still feels so distant and a bit scary, like a million years away with my naive heart. Wasnt it only yesterday when I was so anxious to turn 18? When I stayed up til midnight waiting for the magic sparkles to signify turning into adulthood? It’s so weird how Im emotionally attached to being 18. I guess it will always be special. It was more than anything chick-flicks couldve promised my 12 year old self. 18 will always remind me of carefree days full of adventures and new experiences. And most importantly, it has taught me growth.

That night, I was playing tug of war with time. I didnt sleep because I didnt want ‘tomorrow’ to come just yet. I wanted time to stay here. To stay still. In my head I still felt so young and 19 sounded wrong. It sounded like responsibilities and being an adult. Of more queues in the bank and running paperwork. Except maybe the groceries. I love doing the groceries.

I continue to seek reinvention. Evolution perhaps. I keep my eyes focused on what more is out there for me that I forget what is here. I forget that Im never too old nor too young. Some days I feel like a grown up lady. On the others, I am but a little kid in utter daze, both certain and confused at the same time. There are so many things that I want and so much I want to be. I’m still learning not to see that as a negative thing. I’ll keep my promises, be gentler, try harder, and just be plain unapologetic for the space I am, by all means, allowed to take. Here’s to me at 19.


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