Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi 1

I’ve been attending Simbang Gabi, a ‘devotional nide-day mass’ practiced by Filipino Catholics (and Aglipayans).

I used to attend them more religiously when I was younger. My parents would take my siblings and I almost every year for at least one day. I completed the nine days of Simbang Gabi back when I was in high school, the first time I could remember doing it for myself. I attended it with my eldest sister, ‘The Artist‘.

This year, I’m trying to complete it to 1. prove something to myself and 2. because being at church makes me feel more whole than I am outside.

What does that mean?

To me, being at church means no walls to fortify. It means that I don’t have to keep up appearances. Being at church makes me feel like I’m facing Him and no one else.

And so, I accepted tonight the inevitability of the one fact: we are all searching for our true purpose, who we are, and what we’re here for. So, I sigh because that means now that I’ve acknowledged that, there’s this looming feeling of never truly knowing who I am.

The whole point of postponing my degree was to look for me.

Forcing myself to look within and ignoring most of my surroundings did help me realize a number of different things. I won’t lie and say that pushing people, important people, out of my life, temporarily or not, didn’t help. It did. As sad as that may sound, I found bits of my past self. It was nice and refreshing. I liked learning that I haven’t really changed as a person. I have grown and I know my standings in more things than I did before, but mostly, I haven’t changed.

One of the things I did to help myself now was take care of my hair. What I mean to say is, I cut out all that mass produced stuff from my regiment. I strictly use baking soda once or twice a month, raw honey at least once a week, and water. But why did I do this?

When I was younger, I used to tell people I didn’t care about it. I didn’t care how I looked and how people perceived me. That isn’t true. When my hair started to cur, frizz, and thicken more often, I could no longer wear it down. I was always tying it up. Most of the time I had it in a pony tail in middle school. I’ll admit and say, I started to lose my confidence in myself then. I didn’t feel beautiful. I didn’t feel comfortable. I changed myself in other ways to compensate. Essentially, I tried to fit in.

In high school, I learned of hair straighteners and kept my hair short (maintainable). Totally killed my hair. I used hair products, colored my hair, changed my fashion throughout the years because I didn’t think I fit in well enough.

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Now, I find that I don’t care what people say about my hair. The intense change in my hair routine hasn’t completely settled. I get really oily and matted down through out the week. Regardless, I don’t care because my hair feels healthier and I don’t feel the need to keep up my appearances when it comes to my hair. No need for straightening. I’m embracing the curls. Taking care of that frizz.

Back then, I would always brag that I have a lot of friends, that I floated around from one clique to another. That just meant, I didn’t have close enough friends.

I didn’t commit myself to one thing. I joined multiple clubs to show how diverse I was even though, I didn’t join the one club that really mattered to me. By the time I got to senior year, I lost the opportunity to join because the club was pretty much gone.

The things I regretted growing up, they’re things I didn’t do for fear of what others might say about me.

Sure, I was a rebel about certain things. I wore a skirt over my pants. I didn’t go to parties no matter how many times I was invited. I didn’t stay late at school (until I was 18). I didn’t have a boyfriend (not that it was ultimately my choice). I did a lot of things for other people because I thought it had to be done. I didn’t realize then how much I would regret those decisions and how much they unshaped who I was already as a child.

Art was one of those things I didn’t choose until later in my life.

Senior year in high school re-opened some of the doors I had long ago closed like having really close friends to hang out with. Or taking up an art class regardless of it not being part of the ‘plan’. The ‘plan’ was non-existent anyway, I now have learned.

I’ve lived my life for other people for so long that me being confused whether or not I go to church because of my mom, or college in general- these things in my life now, I’m confused about because I haven’t been me in so long.

I go to church because it makes me feel free and unguarded.

I chose to go to college because I didn’t want to be a disappointment, the black sheep.

I chose to fail my first college because I didn’t think it was important.

I chose an art school because I thought it was right.

I chose to take a break and continue that break for the coming months because regardless of the debt that I’ve accumulated, I feel free and unguarded.

I choose art now because it makes me feel happy and carefree.

Money is neither good nor bad, it’s scary. – Shining Inheritance. That has stayed with me. Money is scary. Money had me making decisions. Regardless of the debt, a degree in something I’m not entirely in love with is useless. It’s just a piece of paper now.

Maybe, someday, I’ll go back there and get that degree. But if I’m going to pursue art, I’ll take it day by day. Right now, I’m on a break. I’m painting. I’m having fun and that’s what’s important.

Another thing I started back in October was grow flowers! Paperwhite Ziva bulbs. Two of them are sprouting blossoms. I’m really excited for when all the blooms open up. They’ll be beautiful. I find that taking care of something delicate has helped remind to take care of myself in return. If I don’t feel good, they get less love from me. So, I try to better myself in health.

They usually start with just the brown bulb part. These are my girls already growing. These are actually two weeks old. They’re taller now. The one I’m holding has a larger bud grouping- not sure what it’s called. It has multiple flowers insides. And yes, that’s Anna from Frozen with Kristoff, and a part of Olaf, and Elsa (a gift from my brother last year).

Physically, I’m still trying to get into a good habit. I don’t drink a lot of water these days because of the cold. I don’t feel thirsty often and so I forget. Also, I wake up late… just a lot of different things like my room feeling stuffy most of the time and me waking up in the middle of dusk having to blow my nose because I can’t breathe.

Actually, at 4AM today, I woke up to clear my nose and I had a serious nosebleed problem that lasted for about 30minutes. It was a pain. And when I tried to go back to sleep I couldn’t, immediately. I usually wake up aroun 8 or 9AM, but today, I decided to stay in bed for a couple hours later. Plus, it was colder than normal. (How am I going to weather the cold air of northern states if I can’t even handle California…)

I’ll probably get to bettering my physical health once the holidays are over. Maybe…

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been thinking about since going to Simbang Gabi and an update at some of the things I’ve been doing to battle my depression.

To be honest, I haven’t felt depressed (not including my trigger relapse) in a while. Not since taking a break from school. If I delve into that, I’ll probably feel down because I take a part things a lot and my mind can’t handle that.

I hope this made sense. It made sense when I figured it all out. Not sure if I translated my thoughts well enough.

Basically, the point of this is for me to get back to my life. No more putting people outside and letting them back in. No more pretending to be confused about certain decisions. No more blaming others and putting blame on myself. This is me accepting things I already knew about me, the good things I’ve been afraid to let people know. Maybe, I have shown it before, but this is me consciously knowing that I’m doing it. This is me trying to be okay with being me, of not caring what others expect me to be, and stuff like that.

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3 thoughts on “Simbang Gabi

  1. I read recently that we do not need to find our life’s purpose, we are here on earth to create it… Along those lines I see that is what you are doing. You are realizing you have control of your life, one that up till recently, was created (and controlled) by others. Any sadness, or depression, is life telling you that you are not in alignment with your goals, your desires. This whole post shows a maturity and a wisdom that has grown stronger in you. Keep painting, refining your art, and the plants are a lovely idea! The church can be your guide, but know you should Look inside for His love. Have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

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