I am writing with dirty forefinger nail after rising up as early as 6 am to make that morning vote. It’s better that way; queues are less, and so are headaches and angry voters fanning themselves while trying to find which precinct they belong to. Speaking of precincts, I don’t understand why they’d put different numbers in a list then shove us all in the same room! So much confusion! But the voting was done, and so were few encounters with people from the subdivision. And the fact that we just got home from McDonald’s for a quick breakfast (I know, we make bad choices) got me back to my writing mood on a Monday.

So, here it is. A Weekend Closing.

True story: on Sunday afternoon, a kid asked me about my age and, after pointing out my singleness, recklessly, for perhaps lack of proper wording, asked, “Ibubugaw kita?” The proper word would have been reto, a local term for finding a match a la Tinder, but, despite taking this humorous masochistic poke, I snapped back, “Do you think I need a man?”

Whoa, girl. Whoa.

It was validation, not some sort of sexism. And yes, I know; despite the tone obvious with brimming masochism (hence the words), it also came from a place of concern? Perhaps, to them, I was too broken, too weak, too indoorsy that I needed someone to whole. But I already was, thank you very much.

Many years before, I considered myself a glass-girl; bones ready to crack at the first sign of flaw. As someone carrying anxiety, being around people made me, and still makes me, fearful and fidgety. But change came. Silently, swiftly, turning the pages and giving me a whole new name. And for the first time, I had all pieces of me, shining and strong, all in one place. Inside me is a brewing bad-assery that is about to take on the world in her own race and in her own pace.

Sure, I’d love a lovelife. I don’t need a man — atrophy guy (or me, otherwise, that makes better sense because I’m capable and charming HO HO HO), to live like normal boyfriends-and-girlfriends do. I’d prefer someone to hold my hand and tell me it’s alright as I take on the world with my bare palms. Because I’m taking myself back. I’m in a pursuit of greatness.

If there’s something I want to tell Josh (who’s probably going to read this, knowing him), it’s this: one day, you can take yourself back too. On the same Sunday, he texted Help! when he arrived earlier at the meeting venue and the things that made him wither before were there, right there, sitting right across him. Of all days. I arrived twenty minutes later, carrying my 1001 Knights book which I proudly showed off (it was the only book that carried my name), before sitting down and actually talking to him about things. 8 years. Warm glow lights. Big stuff on a little piece of paper.

While I chomped on Ate May’s mint-chocolate coins (which I absolutely love, help me find these), we finally got to talk, back here, in our home church, like it was before. This Sunday was a Sunday of miracles. Trying, but a miracle, still. And on trying times, kindred spirits come together; I know a thing or two about my kind. They’re raw and beautiful and creative. They’re also hurting.

I call them irrational emotional pain; things that traditional Christians consider as made-up and invalid excuses. My brother once asked me that once one is in Christ, one shouldn’t feel pain. True. But my retort is that everyday, Christians, humans with frail hearts, are struggling to get there.

Being a Christian is not a one-time-lifetime achievement. It is a daily journey. An hourly mountain climb. And for those carrying a thorn, just as Paul had, this walk becomes more tough, but so much worthwhile.

It’s not easy to carry depression. It’s not easy to have anxiety. People would say, “Ginusto mo ‘yan.” “You could have done something to prevent it.” “It’s not that difficult to overcome.” But I have news: people, humans with beating hearts and soft flesh, fall. They need to recover. They will recover, just give them the time, space and love to.

And last: they will overcome.

We’re walking through tunnels. Many of them. Some, short; some, long. But each of them is dark, only with little glimpses of light in between. That’s how I see life. You just have to walk through it. Don’t stop. Carry the glow you get and make it your strength.

One day, you’ll be radiant enough to be unafraid of the dark, because you shine from within and without. And those who walk in the same pitch-black route as yours will find comfort in your glow.

Why do Christians struggle with depression? Maybe it’s to be a light in spaces so cluttered with darkness and hopelessness and tell them there is hope. That there is peace. And there is redemption. x