How do you let your pain change you?

I’ve read from somewhere before that pain changes people.

Well, it’s obvious everywhere. I’ve seen people being changed by pain right before my very eyes.

In a span of two months, a lot of things happened in my life. I splurged my savings for future travels, started wearing skirts more often, had a night-out routine every Monday night as if I don’t work the next day, appreciated the taste of Smirnoff and soju more, changed my type of playlists, started writing poetry in Filipino and the most recent was dyeing my hair to rose gold.

I am almost never at home in Bulacan, since I spend most of my days in the city near my office. When I come back there, I always got people saying, “Uy, nag-iba ka!”

Was it because of the hair? Or the way I dress? The way I talk and laugh out loud more? The way I ditched black for neons and pastels? The way I write? The songs I play in the car?

Sonetimes I get so confused. Was that even a compliment? Though some of them follows up with, “Mas bagay sa’yo!” or “That’s better,” I got one who said, “Is that your way of moving on? Rebellion?”

I don’t get it. (I mean, of course I smiled back. But seriously?) I don’t get the rebellion part. Is expressing myself by ditching the blacks for neons and pastels already rebellious enough? Is changing your music preference a sign of rebellion from yourself already?

I don’t have someone to rebel to. All I know is that the past two months have been the most fun and liberating times of my year. I smiled better. I had fun a lot more. I fell in love with the city I used to hate — I made it my own so won’t be associating it with memories, or a person anymore.

I lived the life in the city and I loved it.

But I’m still the same girl from the North. I still crave for the Bulacan fresh air from time to time. I’d still prefer our chicharon over Pasig’s. I am still bobo when it comes to directions, and I am still clumsy. I still write from the heart. I am still myself.

But I am happier now. I am free. I am clean.

Being clean doesn’t mean you don’t have episodes of anxieties. I still have those moments, like walking into a mall and spotting a familiar face from afar, and the next thing you know you’re walking into the nearest store so you can avoid bumping into each other — ’cause you know it still can pierce and crush you. I still had one or two mornings when I just cry after opening my eyes from a flashback dream.

And being clean doesn’t mean you don’t miss it. I still do at times.

But I’m “sober” now. I’m not love drunk anymore. I got a life, a busy one actually, so why not make the most out of it while I still can? I was served pain in a platter (with garnish pa, mind you!) two months ago, now it’s up to me on how I will consume it.

I choose to be a Sansa Stark. Or a Daenerys Stormborn. Yes, these women are bitchy and have their own temperamental episodes. But both of them were also scorned, raped, persecuted and all. Pain has changed them, and where are they now?

sansa dany

Sansa now takes charge of the North while her brother is away, and Daenerys has finally landed to conquer the Iron Throne. They chose to be changed by pain and be stronger. And braver.

And if you are face to face with pain right now, you also have the choice. How do you let your pain change you?

You can either let it consume you, turn your heart into a stone and be a selfish monster, or you can let it change you into an upgraded version of yourself — the one that’s smiling better, the one that has a lot of love and happiness to give without being selfish.

I have chosen the latter.

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