P.S. I Still Love you by Jenny Han

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P.S. I Still Love You is the second book in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han. I loved the first so I was looking forward reading the second. I have read this a while back as well.

I love Peter Kavinsky and his fake relationship with Lara Jean but for some sort of reason, I was looking forward to reading Lara Jean and John Ambrose McClaren ( I really love the guys’ names on this series!).

P.S. I Still Love You continues the story of Peter and Lara Jean and of how they turn their reel to real. Josh, who was one of the major third party in the first book in their fake relationship, is more or less non-existent in the book except for the occasional mentions. The story continued with the fight that previously ended To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Peter and Lara Jean kissed and make up and now decided to become a real couple. While they were in a ski trip, somebody took a video and spread it online making it seem that the two of them were having sex in a hot tub, instead of just kissing. Earning bad reputation for Lara Jean. (Oh, the sexism of the world. The guy’s a god, the girl is a slut). Of course, Peter is to her rescue which kinda had the rumors die down a bit. Then here comes John Ambrose McClaren reuniting with her from the next town. He tells her that he just received and read the letter because they moved houses. Then they become pen pals sans John knowing that Lara Jean is already taken.

Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship started having trouble at the reunion party Lara Jean hosted in the treehouse in their backyard where her and her childhood friends decided to dig out their buried time capsule. Peter came with Genevieve (Peter’s ex girlfriend and former BFF of Lara Jean) when he perfectly knows it will piss and make Lara Jean jealous. When Lara Jean confronted Peter, all he says is that he can’t help it. Genevieve is having a problem and that he needs to be there for her. The group of childhood friends played Assassins where the last one standing will be granted any one wish and in which Lara Jean became the winner.

During the time that Peter and Lara Jean is not talking much,Lara Jean and John became closer. But alas, nothing still happened because LAra Jean realizes that the one she loves and still loves is Peter Kavinsky (after she learns what Genevieve’s problem and secret is). They got back together the night before the treehouse is to be cut down and everything is good again.

This series is all about young love – silly mistakes you make, the not being honest with each other part, being jealous, and all those other young love recipe. Lara Jean who is learning the ropes of love and relationship and doing things that might not seem to be appropriate. She enjoys the attention that the boys are giving her because it’s not that often that somebody gives her any. When she is exchanging letters with John, i really hated her while she is with Peter, I really hated her character. She never once in the letter mentioned that she is now with Peter giving hope to John who is clearly falling in love with her and hiding things with Peter about the exchange. Then, she has the nerve to be jealous about Peter meeting with Genevieve in such often and kinda suspicious time and ways.

I truly believe that honesty and trust are the pillars of good relationship. If you cannot be honest with each other, then your relationship is doomed to fail. We saw in the book how not being honest almost cost Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship to the point of no return. Young love can be a bit messy. People with blame immaturity with age but still, at a young age, we should know better.

I still enjoyed the book over all even with al the cringing and “Why are you like that?” shouts at some of the characters’ actions. haha. And I guess, others enjoyed it too.

How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne

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How Hard Can Love Be? This is a question I often ask and I often answer. Love is hard, and always almost something will doom your relationship to fail. (Not that I have first hand experience. This is all based on my friends’, cousins’ everyone else’s stories). It is rare to find that true and lasting love in this day and age. This is why I was able to relate to Amber, the main character of the book.

How Hard Can Love Be is the second book in the The Normal series of Holly Bourne. It focuses on Amber, the tall, ginger, and insecure 17-yr old girl who crossed the ocean and traveled to America to spend the summer with her mom while agreeing to be one of the counselors in her stepfather’s summer camp. She anticipated that it will be a good summer, if not the best, since she will be spending six whole weeks with her mother whom she haven’t seen for two whole years. But life happens, their relationship grew worse. Kyle, one of the camp councilors and the All-American Golden boy, who as Amber described is the epitome of American guys she know of – Prom King, star athlete, scholar, oozes sex appeal is one of the only two good things she was glad about the camp. The other one being Whinnie, one of the girl camp counselors who she was able to be friends with. She tried to resist her attraction to Kyle at first. She’s insecure so she doesn’t believe that a gorgeous boy like Kyle will be interested in her, even if there are all those mixed signals (much like what i will feel if ever somebody tells me they like me). With the advice of Evie and Lottie though, she let go of her insecurity and worries for the future. She followed her heart and lived in the moment. (Isn’t it nice to just live in the moment, never caring about the consequences of your action and what the future brings?) And their whirlwind romance started only to be stopped by her mother. Her mother went hysterical when she discovered that she and Kyle are together. Kyle was fired from the camp and they decided to runaway. Her mother caught up with them in Vegas where they were able to come to peace. And she and Kyle then continued their journey.

How Hard can Love Be revolves around identity, finding yourself, being comfortable in who you are, and, of course, relationships.

I loved this book more than Am I Normal. One is because I have felt the connection to Amber. Two, because I also have never fallen in love yet (Yes, in my twenty-something existence, I still have yet to experience first love). Three, because it makes me feel that I will be able to find love still. Maybe not now, not in my country, but surely I will.

I can relate to Amber but I have mixed feeling on her character description and actions. Yes, she’s describe as insecure with her physical appearance thus is socially inept. But her character’s actions show otherwise. She’s not afraid to be herself. I actually don’t see her insecurities affect her social relationship much because she was able to make friends easily. She was able to take courage and take the first step in talking to the other camp counselors the first night she arrived. The only time that her insecurity really shows is when she is in denial about Kyle’s possible attraction to her (which she also overcome). 

Kyle’s character on the other hand, is sort of like a doll. A person without his own will. It shows that, sometimes, we do the things we do just because they are expected of us and because we don’t know what else are we supposed to do. Identity. This is one of Kyle’s character representations. We struggle to find who we are, what we are supposed to do, while in the time we don’t know who we are yet, we act so stereotypically and do things which might seem nothing at the moment but might have a greater effect in our lives later on. In Kyle’s case, he kissed Megan, the kinda slutty girl camp counselor. He did it because it was like it was expected of him to kiss a sexy babe. However, this one kiss, later on, is one of the major obstacle in Kyle getting together with Amber. Good thing, it was overcome in the end.

Amber’s mother also serves a major role in the story. She is an a recovering alcoholic. But as any other addiction, it is a long, windy journey. This is the greatest reason for her wrecked relationnship with Amber, the summer Amber thought would be the greatest. They reconciled but it already left a mark in Amber’s heart. This is also one of the greatest contributors to Amber’s insecurity to love.

Everything is going good, then suddenly I was met with the ending. I was literally trying to flip still the pages trying to see if there’s any hidden chapter, epilogue, or just something that will satisfy me. I found none. And I was heartbroken. This has also been my problem with Am I Normal. I am like That’s it? Really? Oh well, I just have to deal with it since I can’t do anything else.

How hard can love be? The answer? Love is definitely hard especially if you do not know who you are or if you’re not comfortable in your own skin. There will be a lot of hardships coz life is such a freaking *****. But, as long as you have true friends to count on, a partner to rely on, and you are not afraid to be yourself, love can be manageable.

 

To All the Boys I have Loved Before by Jenny Han

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This is a book that I have read some time ago, around a month or so ago. The cover is so cute and there’s this Korean girl in it so of course, being the everything Korean fan, it piqued my interest. I have been seeing it displayed in bookstores for months already before I decided to pick it up and read.

The basic premise of To All the Boys (the title is too long so from this point on, I’ll just shorten it to To All the Boys) is about the 16-yr old main character”s (Lara Jean) kept love letters suddenly mailed to each one of her previous crushes of whom the letters were addressed to. I would definitely be mortified if this happens to me. Who would want their deepest, made-for-self thoughts be out there in the open?

When I read the synopsis of the book, I didn’t know the name of the guy main character. And I am the type of person who wants to know their main character’s from the start so I won’t root for a character, only to find out later on that it’s the second lead and be heartbroken because of it. So, I did not know who I should root for when I started reading this book. I rooted for Peter Kravinsky only because he was the first guy that was introduced and Lara Jean’s first letter recipient. But glad that I did.

To All the boys is a light, fun read that will make you reminisce about your high school crushes and how you dealt with being in love and in a relationship for the first time (not that I have experience in that dept but I love my high school fantasies). More than the romance element, it also shows the dynamics of a single father with three teenage daughters and most especially, the relationship between sisters.

The book reminded me that first love is not usually the last love but sometimes, it works. It reminded me of the silly first days and experience – first crush, first heartbreak, first (in my case, just a fantasy) relationship, first time being far apart from someone you dearly loved, first fight with your bestfriend/sister, first major embarrasment, etc. To All the Boys is definitely enjoyable to read even if sometimes I don’t get why Lara Jean and Peter act the way they do. Sometimes, I just wanna bang their heads together and stick them together like glue so they can see that they are made for each other. But of course, the book shows how relationship and falling in love is never easy. Love never is.

To All the Boys I have Loved Before series with P.S. I Still Love You and Always and Forever Lara Jean (which I’ll post about later on) is definitely recommended for those wanting to be reminded of how loving someone for the first time and experiencing all new things with him feel. It’s a great read.

 

P.S. I just learned that this will become a movie. Hoping that it will justify the book!

The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon is, by far, one of the novels that took me a bit of a time to read. (It took me around a cumulative of 5 days in total, I read and finished Tangled in between). Not that it was not interesting or captivating enough. But somehow when I started reading it, I was not into the mood of reading such contrasting pairing (which made me love the book in the end though). It took its time to grow on me but when I was hooked. Boy, oh boy, I was wrecked.

The book is about two opposite and contrasting characters and an unusual pairing. One in which you won’t read much in the young adult scene. This pairing is what made me not to be much interested in the book at first but which also made me love the book to pieces in the end. It tackles and incorporates a lot of societal issues such as undocumented immigrants, racism, dream vs reality, to name a few. It has so much depth and shows how, in one way or the other, we are all connected in the end.

The Sun is also a Star tells the story of Natasha Kingsley and Daniel Jae Ho Bae and how destiny or fate brings them together in one faithful day. Do you believe in love at first sight? In meant-to-be’s and destiny? In coincidences and fate? I do. Yep, I am a certified hopeless romantic and this book solidifies it even more. Natasha and Daniel couldn’t be even more different from each other. Natasha is a science geek, a logical person. Daniel is the poetic, emotions rule kind of guy. Natasha doesn’t believe in true love and destiny. Daniel is all about fate and meant-to-be’s. Natasha is African American. Daniel is Korean American. It might just be Natasha’s last day in the US. Daniel’s just about to start a new chapter in his life.

****SPOILER****

The story goes that one fateful day when Natasha tried to stop her family’s impending deportation that night and Daniel’s on to his Yale interview, theirs stars collided and it seems like all the universe conspire for them to meet. Okay, not really, Daniel had to do a bit of action, but, nonetheless, their world intersect in a record store after Natasha confronted her ex and his girlfriend who she caught shoplifting. Daniel took the courage and invited Natasha to spend the day with him of which her answer is a blatant no. Daniel, though, being the emotional and fate-kind of guy persisted until Natasha and him spends time with each other a little bit just more each passing minute. Natasha’s wall eventually breaks down and she admits that she is now falling in love with Daniel less than 24 hours after meeting him (which might have been aided by Daniel’s questionnaire). And oh you know, when things finally seem to start going into their rightful place, suddenly there’s a BOOM that will bomb your hope of happy ever after. But maybe, in the end, if you’re meant to be, love will find a way.

There’s a lot of lessons to learn from this book as it touches on a lot of concepts.

One, believe in fate and destiny and meant-to-be’s. Nicola Yoon certainly ignited the fire for hopeless romantics. If you’re for each other, love will find a way. Even with all their differences and the time and distance that separated them apart for more than 10 yrs after that ONE AND ONLY day they spent and fell in love with each other, they still found each other in the same plane and who knows what happen afterwards.

Two, love can definitely change everything. It was for his love of acting that Natasha’s father – Samuel Kingsley – decided to move to US and stay as an undocumented immigrant. It was the love of Natasha’s mother for her father that she decided to follow him to US from Jamaica, becoming undocumented, and settling for the poor lifestyle for years. It was love that changed Natasha’s last shot for staying in the US when Atty. Fitzgerald missed the court appointment essential to reverse the immediate deportation of Natasha and her family just to be with his newly admitted love of his life, his Paralegal. And it was love that got Daniel to spend the day with Natasha, even with all the logical reasons he should not to, which changed his life forever.

Three, racism is still here. As much as we would like to admit that times have changed. Still, racism is still undeniably here as evidenced by Daniel’s and Natasha’s families” reaction to them dating. Need not to elaborate more.

Four, everything is connected and combined with butterfly effect can affect the future. We are all connected. What we do, how we interact with other people, strangers, or friends, our decisions, is related to something else, and the smallest of our steps, of our thoughtless actions, can ignite a bigger impact in the future.

Five, the unending debate of passion and dream versus logic and practicality.  This is certainly one of the themes of the novel as well. Samuel Kingsley’s acting dream vs the poor reality of his family, Daniel’s parents’ American dream which is not really a dream as it consists of attending a top college, being a doctor, and having a good life afterwards vs Daniel’s passion of poetry. Natasha’s practical future job – data analyst – vs her unknown passion or dream as she doesn’t believe in those anymore. We all want to have a work that is something we love, something we are passionate about. Success will come, we say. However, as we grow up and reality takes a toll in our lives, it is hard to live life the way we want it to. There’s so much responsibilities that most of the time leaves us to do what is practical, what is logical, even if it’s something we don’t like. The Sun is also a Star, though, is giving hope to the dreamers. If they have just the right attitude and enough determination, the difficulty of choosing your dream over logic will definitely pay out in the end.

The Sun is also a Star is a wonderful book, creatively written. The characters intertwine and even the side stories in between (which at first I think are not necessary) gives even more depth to the main characters that you’ll realize in the end. Aside from being not your usual, the characters are strong and you can see why they are the way are. Although i feel that towards the end, after Natasha and her family moved back to Jamaica, everything was rushed and was just laid out there straight-up, I still love the book over all and would recommend for everyone to read it.

One thing I still don’t get though is why it was titled The Sun is also a Star, maybe i missed that section, I read it in the chapters but maybe I just needed to re-read it again.

I haven’t read Everything, Everything yet, also by Nicola Yoon, but after this, you know i soon will. 🙂

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo

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When I first read the tile, it’s the popular Thai movie “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” that immediately popped into my mid. Oh, I so love that movie! Reading the plot which involves korean dramas and lots of it solidified my intention to read the book. So I did.

I am a certified korean-anything addict (you can also include japan-anything in the list). I am addicted to anything korean or japan. Dramas, music, culture, food, etc. Thus coming across a novel which does not only portray a Korean character but also revolves around the Korean drama scene in a way hooked me up!

The novel is actually not what I expected. It revolves around Desi Lee, a Korean American girl whose life is ruled by RULES, by precision, by steps. Everything can be achieved if it’s taken into perspective as an experiment. Identify the problem. Create steps and rules. Problem solved. That’s why falling in love, which she was the only thing she was never good at, also must have some rules to follow to achieve success, right? This is where K-drama comes in. After a random and unexpected day where she got to sit with her father in their living room binging K-drama and binging some more on her own after, she analyzed everything she has seen so far. Then came up with “THE K-DRAMA STEPS TO TRUE LOVE to win her current object of interest – Luca Drakos.

There were 24 rules in total. Some I agree with, some I don’t. But over all, it was pretty hilarious. K-drama fans can totally relate. There were a lot of K-drama references scattered across the novel. It brings back the feeling when you were watching those kdramas which makes it nostalgic. Desi Lee is a calculating character but will drive you crazy buy how ridiculous some of her plans are just to follow the steps.

In the end, Maureen leaves us the lesson that true love cannot be controlled. It is not achieved through meticulous steps and definitely not through crazy ideas. True love is built by interaction, by communication, by trust.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love is a funny and feel good read. Best for KDrama lovers!

 

Tangled by Emma Chase

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I am going through my phase of being under sensual novel frustration again. Under Her, as much as I don’t want to admit, opened up again my desire to read something sensual. Tangled by Emma Chase .was the latest one I’ve read.

So i’m really a bad girl in a good girl’s clothing. I am a closet girl hiding all her desire to explore the wild side – including sex. This is where the internal conflict starts though. It’s because I’m also trying hard not to, being a Christian and all and wanting to be worthy of God’s grace but I always fall time and time again but that’s a story for another time. Let’s get back to Tangled.

The book is about Drew Evans and Kate Brooks. I just love it so much when I like the names of the characters. It makes reading the novel more palatable for me. Drew Evans and Kate Brooks are just perfect for me. The story is about a douchebag, fuck boy, egoistic Drew Evans whose world turned upside down when he met Kate Brooks, the powerful, hot, . There’s really no much substance and lesson learned as I assume having a lesson learned is not the purpose of the book. It’s an easy read if you’re looking for a quickie.

What strikes me the most in the book was the way the characters are described and characterized. The characterization is awful, so sexist, so…… But maybe this is just the ways characters of novels of this genre works. I have read a few and yeah, mostly are worshiping the guy that does such dickward things and the helpless girl, even though described as strong, will one day cave in to the wiles and charm of the guy, and they will live happily ever after. The worst part is I still keep reading similar novels time to time. I can’t seem to keep my hands off of them if i tried.

Tangled is steamy but I don’t see much difference in the other novels of the same genre. Also, I was kinda annoyed about how it was kept being asked how the reader would get the drift, how the reader would know what to expect, how the reader should get this or that. I swear though that if a guy does to me even a fraction of what Drew did to get Kate back, I would be head over heels it’s not funny.

If you have nothing to do and is looking for a novel to pass time with and get you hot, then Tangled is for you.

Perfect by Maia Mayor

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Now, to all those expecting this is a book review, sorry to disappoint, but this slam poetry deserves its own post.

I’ve gotten into slam poetry after reading Slammed by Coleen Hoover. It re-introduced me to the beautiful word of poetry and I’ve been a follower ever since. It introduced me to poets like Olivia Gatwood, Neil Hilborn, Sandra Benaim, Maia Mayor, and many talented others.

However, across the poems I have viewed so far, Perfect by Maia Mayor resonated with me the most. The first time I heard it, I could not unheard it and I needed it to be replayed again and again so badly. That is how bad it hit home. It’s like Maia is describing my entire existence in under four minutes.

Let’s take a look at the verses. Here is also a link to the poem: PERFECT by MAIA MAYOR

Is there something wrong with you?
A lose screw or two that loses you’re ability to function?
Why…are you always so tired.
You’re life is uninspired and small. All you do is sprawl on the couch with outstretch limbs like a sloth in slow motion.
Where is your devotion to succeed Maia?
Did it drift out your window with a smoke from your weed? Do I have to force feed you discipline til you finally concede I cook and I clean and I don’t stop til the soles of my feet bleed
But I’m fine…
I’m perfect.
Be perfect Maia. Be perfect like me.

Stop wearing those god-awful ripped pants and that lipstick like a whore with double D implants.
You only get one chance. Stop acting like a cat with 9 lives left. Stop committing youself to songs and stories and spoken slam bullshit in a world where degrees and PhDs impede the need for poetry.
And stop chewing on your nails.
No wonder you never attracted any males.
Why do you do thhat? Do you like the taste?
Are they sweet?
You can’t eat sweets Maia. You’re ruining your teeth like you’re ruining your life.
My teeth are perfect.
Clean and pristine. They glean like a golden halo above my perfectly conditioned head.
I don’t need sugar Maia. I am above sugar.
Why are you down here Maia? Why are down here when you need to be up here. Up here with the ones with promising career, who listen when information goes in one ear and doesn’t come out the other.
You’ll never be up here Maia. You act as if the act of listening is a crime or you would have hear me, the six hundred and sixty sixth time I told you to stop chewing on your nails. stop chewing on your nails like a goddamn piece of trash. You can’t be trash Maia.
You have to be perfect. Be perfect like me.

I get up at 5 in the morning everyday. I start my day the same way, worried that I’ll collapse as my bones start to decay from cleaning up your scraps. Why is your room such a mess? The clothes go in the hamper Maia. Not displayed on your bed like your lack of morals. Not littered on the floor collecting more dust than my withered expectations. You disregard my rules in a stubborn contempt in a substandard attempt at teenage rebellion. But you can’t be a rebel Maia. You can’t be interesting enough. you need to obey and say yes and okay. you need to do it with a smile on your less than average face. You need to try harder Maia. Make it wider Maia. Why don”t you know how to smile?
You disappoint me Maia. You never appreciate what I do for you. You never try to be a winner and you never eat your dinner. You never eat the dinner I consistently provide for you as I constantly remind you of the life I set aside for you. That meal doesnt pay for itself. I don’t care if it’s ideal. Stop telling me how you feel. You need to eat it. Eat it all. Eat it at a reasonable time with a glass of milk. You need milk Maia. You need calcium like you need a catalyst for growth. You’ll never grow to be tall. Be tall like me, I drink my milk Maia, drink your fucking milk.
Be tall. Be perfect. Be perfect like me.

You need to pay more attention Maia. Stop the daydreaming Maia. Stop staring at the ceiling as if you’re one redeeming quality lies hidden in the plaster. You need to organize your life, your life is a disaster just like your room. Just like your teeth. Just like your future which will soon come to an end if you don’t put down that pen. You need to stop writing Maia. Your life is not a book.
Don’t give me that look Maia. I’m just trying to help you. I’m just trying to love you. I’m just trying to love you. You have to let me love you so you can be perfect. Be perfect like me.

The poem is a direct reflection of the thoughts of my mother when talking about me, or so my feelings tell me. This is one of the major reasons why I feel that I am not good enough and never will be.

You see, I graduated with honors at the top university in my country. I didn’t like my degree though. I just graduated for the sake of getting out of the system which is sooo wrong. Just so wrong. Don’t follow me.

And now, I am working in a less than stellar (but mind you, stressful) job – call center – which is like looked down upon by most. Every time I go home, there’s always THE SPEECH. “You’re asleep again?” “Haven’t you just slept a while ago? You might not be able to sleep at night already.””Why are you always so tired?” “You can’t even do your own laundry. I am not your maid.” So yeah, I am guilty of being such a lazy ass. I wanna scream “Why can’t you understand that now that I’m working at night? Of course my body will feel tired than average. Why can’t you let me sleep as much as I like on my days off? Don’t you know how hard it is to sleep during the day?”But of course, these are all just in my head.

I’m also guilty of the nails biting, the not eating the dinner, the messed up and dirty room, the not being tall enough (coz I only stand 4’9″even at 24. I’m so damn guilty about a lot of things that the poem is talking about that it makes it feel much more intimate. Much more personal to me.

The verse “Why are you down here Maia? Why are down here when you need to be up here. Up here with the ones with promising career, who listen when information goes in one ear and doesn’t come out the other,”  really gets to me. Not only do I hear a similar voice from my mother, but it’s also my voice hunting me with the same thought every damn second. And it’s just so tiring, not to mention futile.

I know it’s not healthy to compare yourself to others but you know you just can’t help it. Call me immature and all those crap but this is still the way I’m feeling. I have failed to convinced myself time and again to not care what other people think especially when the people you call family are the ones making you feel this way the most. It’s like there’s a constant reminder, especially from my mother and younger sister, that I can do much better if only I try. Why am i in the call center? Why am i wasting my smart mind in a job that’s so not needing much brain. Why am i rotting away when my colleagues, high school classmates, cousins, are all soaring high with their careers? Purchasing houses and cars, travelling to all these gorgeous places? DON’T YOU THINK I DON’T FEEL THAT? DON’T YOU THINK IT HAS COME ACROSS MY MIND AND THOUGHT OVER ABOUT IT?

I know that you might say that maybe I am probably not trying hard enough, not working hard enough, not looking hard enough. Enough. Maybe indeed i am. But who are they to judge? It just lowers my about-to-hit-the-floor ego. And it freaking gets me depressed every time. This will then get me into this bad habit of mine watching indecent and inappropriate things which will further make feel guilty (coz i’m a Christian, or so I want to really become one), which will just repeat the cycle on and on. It’s not helping.

It’s hard to fight your battles alone. It’s even harder to change, to fight for life, and for the future when the ones you expect to fight along side is you is fighting against you. Some do succeed even when they’re on their own. But I am not strong enough yet. I just hope the day will come when I’m strong enough, strong enough to overcome all this mind crazies I have.

Perfect is one slam poem I will never get tired of watching. It makes me feel less alone. Hopefully, someday, I hope, when I come across it, it will only serve as a look back of the past I had once, far from the current one I have.