Madhu

I went to see a seer recently, accompanied by a good friend. He was very good, they say.

Well, I’m one of the most skeptic people you’ll ever know. I hardly believe in prophesies because I believe that life is what you make it. Until a seer 11 years ago predicted that my marriage will fail. Had I listened to that seer, I should have avoided such pitfall.

That leads me to deciding to see this seer, Madhu. When I was in Bali, I was tempted to have my palm reading with the famous Ketut Liyer but I was short of time so I didn’t bother. Besides, I read some bad reviews about his prophesy from famous people, so I reconsidered. This guy, Madhu, however is different. He doesn’t look like a 100 year old Yoda man with no teeth. At first glance, you wouldn’t een consider him as a clairvoyant based on his looks. He is the usual 30-ish Filipino guy with a curly top on tees. No amulets and clairvoyant robes. You might even mistake him as Bruno Mars.

In general, these are his predictions and advices to me:

PERSONAL
Be more patient. You have a very short patience. You are also a very jealous person
You always want to get what you want, hard working and independent
Your instincts are very powerful. Follow what’s on your mind.
Pray all the time. It makes things happen.
You have talents and skills. Try to focus on those. But you can’t manage your own business because you are of other people’s needs. It is your personality to complain but still you give.
Don’t look at what’s happening that is your bad in your life now. Focus on future joys and happiness.
Stop any addiction that you have now. Eg: internet, etc.
Your life is refreshing now. Time for acceptance and renewal, time for new understanding.
Be positive like before.
Take care of your health
US is your lucky country.
Good news after four days.

LOVELIFE
It’s your pregnancy year. You’re most likely to get pregnant.

Me: But I don’t have a boyfriend
Madhu: And who is this man I saw in the cards kissing you?
Me: Oh my, you are so good! (I should have kept my mouth shut, nothing escapes him, I guess)
Madhu: Just be careful about this person. Something is wrong with him. You’re going to meet him again.
Me: No way! Everything about him is wrong.

Your birth date represents unstable relations. Preferable relationship for you is LDR. You should marry a seaman,a traveler, an OFW or a pilot.
You don’t want to get hurt again. Your previous marriage is only a pity retribution and because the papers need it.
Don’t expect from a person near you because he is a bisexual.
2014 is your lucky year, 7 and 29 is your lucky day.
You’ll get married again. Lucky year to get married is at the age of 32.

CAREER
You’ve been stagnant this year, try to be productive. Don’t worry, it’s the end of your bad fortune this year.
You’re a career first before love life woman.
You’ll be a millionaire.

Well, I’m not sure if I’m going to believe in Madhu’s predictions yet. What struck me the most is when he asked to pray. “Seriously, pray. It makes things happen.” It’s not that I don’t believe in prayers, I doubted the intentions behind my prayers. Some prayers are just meant to heal a broken sense of pride. A prayer to provide direction to my lost soul in attempt to find the answers. A prayer for good health, I, myself neglected to take care of. A prayer for broken dreams’ resurrection.

“Believe in the good again.” I don’t know why I need a Madhu to remind me of this in order to believe in the good again. Maybe, I’ve been cynical for a long time that I’ve become disillusioned with my own set of standards of what a good life should be. Indeed, why did I allow a past mishap to redirect my future? Had I lost so much confidence in myself already? Had I failed a lot that makes believing so damn hard? Had I been hurt this much to love again? Had I died long ago that I forgot to live again?

Dusting myself from the cobwebs of disillusionment, I’m going to believe again. To dream. To smile. To live. To love.

Thank you, Madhu for letting me see life in a rose-colored spectacles again.

Why I Left

3:06 am

And I’m still wide awake.  As usual.

I am a certified insomniac. Maybe, it is due to the fact that I don’t have to wake up early to work tomorrow and I have the liberty to sleep anytime I want, at any given day. And so I decided to write. For me, the wee hours of the morning are the best time to write since everybody is asleep and quiet. My mind loves the gift of solitude so much.

It’s been a month since I resigned from my job. I’ve wanted to do that for a long time but the voice of pride is taunting my mind to prove to myself that I’m not a quitter. And there is also the voice of sanity that is crying out for my immediate help. It’s like having two best competing teams inside my head, trying to prove their point or their worth.  There’s also this cold, clammy feeling coating my heart with uncertainties like where will I go or what will happen if my plan won’t work out. What if I’m wrong with what I think is right? And the warm, liberating feeling of having a choice to do so. Two opposing temperatures that are equally strong..

Perhaps, what they say about the universe wanting to be noticed is true. Or maybe, I want the universe to notice me.

Although a heart can be deceiving a lot of times, the universe listens to it. I can hide or deny what my heart desires, but it sneaks out of my mind and do what it wants. Sometimes, it can grow really strong and adamant, even the smartest mind can’t control. It sent out signals to the universe about its own wishes, struggles and even fears and questions. And voilà! The universe, always wanting to be noticed, presents me with circumstances and situations.

I have a very strong sense of respect to the heart. I have proven its strength a lot of times. Even  as a girl, I have received its power. Thus, I believe that when you want something really, really bad, to the point that your heart bleeds for it, the universe conspires to give it to you. Maybe not all the time, but most of the time. Maybe this is why a heart is not made of bones and crystals or glasses. So that it can’t be broken. Maybe, torn into pieces but eventually regenerates on its own. Because it knows it has a purpose. To be my strong guide.

I have reached a certain point in my life when I hated waking up in the morning, thinking how dreadful a particular day will be. My day is an endless routine of always running after someone, some goal, some plan, some expectations, some deadline, some form of security, some responsibility, some things to prove, etc. (Although I am pretty aware that I signed up for this.) I hated what I have become: a hateful person. I complain a lot. I judge people based on what I perceived to be as good or bad. I hate eating in haste and not being able to appreciate the good food because I am always in a hurry. I hate the unfavorable circumstances that affects my sense of self-esteem. I hate not being able to enjoy my week ends. I hate being of service to other people and a stranger to my family. I cannot give what I don’t have and so I can’t love the people around me if I can’t even afford to love myself. I hate getting a little for giving so much. Time and luck is working against me. It was also a time when I am so confused about who I was and what I was here for.

My concerns may seem to be so trivial to some people but not being able to know what am I and why I am here for means the world to me.

Until a friend asked me a very simple question: “Cris, are you even happy now? (paraphrased, sorry friend!) I wanted to scream in his face. Inside, I am yelling with thoughts like: “You think?! Can’t you see I’m a total mess?”. But instead, I keep quiet. Knowing that he had asked me a very good question, because the question itself is obviously, the answer.

Letting go is oftentimes the hardest decision to make but also the most rewarding.

To quote Chris Assaad, “As been said many times before, it is not the goal itself we are really after, but how we will FEEL when we get there. It is not the soulmate that we really want, but the experience of love, connection, and intimacy that we will be able to share with them. It is not the job itself that we are after, but the sense of accomplishment and security that will come with it. It is not the shiny award that we really desire, but the feeling of being enough and the validation of our ability that it represents. And the great mystery of life and the spiritual path is that all of those feelings are available to us RIGHT NOW, not out there but deep within us.

And so it is with PEACE.”

I have no road map right now. To be honest, I am completely lost. But I know that my heart is happy and at peace. Happy and at peace because it gets what it wants: to be free and to  be still.

And so I enjoy waking up slowly each morning. I enjoy not knowing what day or time it is. I enjoy leisurely eating a simple meal. I enjoy a worry free day. I enjoy watching people and the kids at play. I enjoy thinking only about myself and my needs. I enjoy having coffee with friends without hurrying. I enjoy just being with myself in slow motion.

I pray to God that He may continually bless me with this gift of being at peace with myself. And may my strength be always greater than my worst fears. Maybe life may not guarantee me of a better tomorrow, but I do hope that it offers me the opportunity to be stronger and an even better person to withstand its tests.

“When we stop resisting what we don’t want to feel and embrace the state that we are in, we move through whatever it is SO much faster to find our way back to truth and clarity.” -Michael Eisen

Disclaimer: The statements or opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not represent those of whom I am affiliated with.

4 Years After

I suffered in silence. Denied justice to myself. Trying to help myself to crawl out of the dirt I’m helplessly in for a few years now. Yet I decided to forgive thinking I won’t be better off than those people who hurt me if I hurt them back.

Today, I am writing again to release this anger inside me. They bothered me again. And I couldn’t help but be dismayed by the fact that humans are intrinsically selfish. We cannot steer away from our evil ways.

A client/friend called me today to let me know that my sister in law has been trying to ask about me and if I’ve been visiting this client/friend of mine till now. She believed that my ‘ex’ husband left with some money in a bank account named after me after he left me for another woman. How was that?!

I feel so dumb-footed! Where did these people got the nerves to think and act this way? It maybe evil of me to wish that she should be on the same boat as I am so that she will know and realized what I feel and how she is making me feel. Jesus! Her brother left me for another woman while stripping me of everything that I have — pride, justice, self respect… Everything! And here she is, trying to shove her “mukhang pera” face to me. How come did these people continue to live without conscience? Why can’t they just rot in misery & die in vain? I curse this family! I curse his family! If I cannot give justice to myself, surely, Karma will gladly do the favor for me.

And I cannot help but still be appalled by the fact that humans are so selfish. I am a hairline away from filing a civil case to him.

Ugh! I maybe bloody right now, but I won’t bow my head in surrender.

Why Can’t I Just Die, Mom?

Tonight, I hear my silent screams of hopelessness again.

Why did this life choose me?
Will I ever be happy?
Will I marry and have some kids someday?
Will I be able to live a life of purpose?

Questions asked by a selfish person like me.

When I think of the future, tears start to fall,
I still can’t understand why fate is difficult to change.
I tried, really hard to glance up in the sky,
Trying to catch even just a ray of light.
But the dark clouds, stubborn as I am,
Refuses to let me have even just a grain of hope.

When others are perhaps scared and crying,
I am fighting by myself,
Not trying to stop —
Always trying to look for words, sentences that might encourage myself.
But I do grow weary too.
Trying to fight my weaknesses and self doubt.
Trying to fight myself.
I don’t have the strength anymore.

Sometimes, I don’t know what to believe anymore.
I am afraid.
I am hurt.
I feel unloved.
I feel unwanted.

I tried searching for a warm hand.
To hold me, to walk with me.
But each pair of hands seemed busy.
Minding its own life.

Why did this life choose only those who are strong?
As if being weak is a curse?
Why did this life choose to go on?
When there is nowhere else to go.

Mom, why can’t I just die?

Purity of a Teen’s Dream

I miss the times when I used to dream big. Especially during high school days.

I used to dream of the possible huge career in the future.
Of having a family of my own.
Of having faith that never doubts.

At that time, when I dream, I never considered the unknown & the unforseen.
Only the good things that comes with it.
But when I grow old, I doubt a lot.
Is it because I’ve seen too much suffering?
Is it because I’ve suffered from broken promises?
Or is because faith had too much faith on me, it tested me beyond my perceived limitations?

I’d like to dream again like that.
Like I’ve never been hurt.
Like I’ve never failed.
Like I’ve never experienced the ugly truth.

To My Angel — on her birthday

Mamang,

I’ve seen you hurting more every time you see me crying,
I’ve heard you wishing to take my pain just to see me happy,
I’ve felt your love even when there are times I hated you so much,
I’ve tasted your happiness and pride when you cheered at my achievements…

You have unselfishly dedicated your life to me, when you could be someone else, somewhere else,
You feed me with the remaining piece of bread even when you are still hungry,
You have me defended against life’s demons,
Your hands are scarred with hard work, just to give me the things that I want (not even a need),
You lost your health when you thought I was lost & left home (I’m sorry, I’ll never do it again),

While I was undergoing a surgery a couple of months ago, I searched for your face, your comforting voice, your gentle touch among the crowd…
But I choose not to let you know,
Because I know you will worry too much.
But honestly, I was secretly wishing you were there…
Because I fear that I may never see your loving face again if I die.

Many years ago, God might have anticipated I needed an angel here on earth,
He didn’t give me someone that I want,
Instead He gave me someone that I need.
Someone…
Bigger than love,
Deeper than faith,
Brighter than hope…

If God will asked me now what I fear the most?
It’s loosing you…
I think I’ll never be able to bear it.
Because I have found no other person who loved me more than you do.
Who thinks of me more than they think of themselves.
Who forgives me when I least deserve it.

If God will grant me with only one wish now.
I’ll choose to grant you with all the happiness in the world…
Even that, can’t repay the goodness that your heart beholds.
Even that, is not enough for someone like you who deserves only the best.

Sometimes, I wonder what your heart is made of.
Why is it so resilient and tough and soft?
Sometimes I wonder if you ever have a dream about yourself.
Because it seems like you only think about ours.
Sometimes I wonder if you want to be happy too.
Because you sacrifice to live the life you’ve always wanted, just because I am already here.
Sometimes I wonder if you don’t know how to fight back.
Because you still love me with all your heart even when I fight with you.
Sometimes I wonder if you were ever wrong.
Because you were always right.

When I am old and forgetful,
I only want to remember the times when you fought for my war when I don’t have the strength to face it.
The times when you first taught me how to say “Thank you” and “I’m sorry”,
To walk and talk,
To smile and be strong,
To sing and dance,
To pray and to love,
(But you never taught me how to be unhappy…)

Mamang, there are a lot of times when life seems to be too much for me,
When hope, faith and love failed me.
But you know what keeps me going?
It is just by thinking how hurt and devastated you will be when I’m gone.
So if ever you think that you are just a nobody,
Please think again.
I am just one soul
Being saved and loved by an angel like you.

An Interview with Myself

I take time out today. For a long time, I wasn’t able to process my thoughts, feelings and even myself. Every day, I drag myself to work and when random thoughts came to my mind, I just shrug it off. But today, I will face my fears, ask dauntless questions I never dared to ask myself before and get to know myself better.
I don’t know if this is necessary. I’m not even sure if this could help. All I ever wanted to write what I feel. I fear that if I don’t, I’ll never be able to remember it. I’m afraid that if I don’t process this, I’ll be ‘damaged’ forever.

Who am I?
It will take a lifetime to answer this question. It is because of the fact that I am not yet who I am. Surely, the Past had shaped me, taught me a lesson and will continue to haunt me in the future, but it doesn’t define me yet. As they say, the saint has a past and the sinner has a future. And it is always been said that no one can predict the future, so I could only hope that the best is yet to come. The Present may not be as hurtful as it may be but I’d rather have it now than in the future. I do not want to rely my happiness to the future but I want to believe in its many surprises. My heart knows what it wants and I hope that someday, I will set foot to where and what should I really be.

What are your greatest fears?
I fear that I might lose sight of what is essential in life.
I fear going through life without a purpose, without direction.
I fear that I may never find my true love.
I fear that I will get hurt again, and it might be more painful that I might not be able to manage the pain.
I fear that I’ll grow old alone and miserable.
I fear losing my mother, she’s everything to me.
I fear being sick, not being able to support myself and being a burden to my family.
I fear getting old and having all the remorse in my ‘senior’ years.
I fear not being able to be in control of what is happening.
I fear of hurting someone with my words and actions.
I fear sunrise as well as sunset. I don’t know, there is just this cold, clammy feeling once in awhile.
I fear that I might lose my sanity.
I fear to know some truths that will hurt me.

Where do you want to go?

Right now, I wan’t to go to a place where I am impenetrable to pain, disappointments and sadness. I want to learn how to forgive myself for my wrong decisions, wrong actions and wrong person to love. I want to go to a place where I could start all over again.

What do you pray for?

I pray for forgiveness. I pray that I will be able to forgive myself. I pray that I may be able to forgive the people who have hurt me.
I pray for peace of mind. My mind is my enemy at this in time. It reminds me of the memories that I don’t want to remember, it blames me of my mistakes, and it gives me doubts about myself.
I pray for my family’s good health and happiness. I pray for my mother’s happiness. I pray that she will always be proud of us.
I pray for happiness to come soon. I’ve been in this cold, clammy feeling for such a long time. It felt like a curse to me. I want to run as fast as I could so that I would be able to see the light at the other end of the tunnel. I want to be happy. I want to feel the feeling of being happy. I want to smile. I want to laugh hard, the one that comes from the heart. I want that warm, happy feeling again.
I pray that my biggest mistakes in life will lead to my biggest blessing. I hope that my bad choices will turn out to be best and my hidden aspiration knows better where I am going than what my rational mind can fathom.
I pray that someday, he will feel sorry for giving up on me, because he will realize that would have never given up for him. I keep on wishing he will be man enough to face me, even just to say he’s sorry for causing me so much pain. I was hoping he’ll have a little respect, enough to honor what we have together when we are ok.
I pray for someone who can stay with me no matter how hard it is to be with me. After all, a heartbreak is just a heartbreak, not a heart loss. I know I may be able to love again. It makes me think that though love sometimes shows its ugly face, it is one of the strongest & most powerful gifts next to faith. It could overpower all hates & cynicism. I may have hated the lover who broke my heart, but will never hate love. I believe in love.
I pray that even when I do something wrong, even if I fail, even if I make poor choices, I am loved. I pray that I will do the right thing next time. I pray that I will learn from my mistakes.
I pray that I “may be able to accept everything about myself – no apologies, no regrets. I’d like to have the self-acceptance that comes from meeting life’s challenges vigorously. I don’t want to numb myself to my trials and difficulties, nor build mental walls to exclude pain from my life. I will find peace not by trying to escape my problems, but by confronting them courageously. I will find peace not in denial, but in victory.”
I pray that maybe the reason why he left is because someone else will come into my life — someone who is capable of loving me — the one who will not leave me hurting and hoping. Someone who is worthy of waiting. Someone who deserves my love, trust and thoughts. Someone who shares with my dreams, my pains, my success and my happiness. Someone who can’t imagine living without me. Someone who puts God in our center. Someone who respects and loves my family. Someone whom I could laugh with, someone whom I could share my deepest, secrets and thoughts. Someone who will always try to understand and protect me. Someone not so perfect yet human enough to admit his mistakes. Someone I could grow old with. Someone who will correct me because he wants me to become a better person. Someone who puts aside his own personal interest just to make me happy everyday.
I pray for all my prayers to come true…

What matters most to you?

God
Love
Health
Family
Dreams

To my future love

no, we didnt meet today. perhaps the universe is too busy making our lovestory or the materials arent ready yet. or maybe the scriptwriter is on sick leave, the director has a short fuse today, whatever.. but im not at all in a hurry, love. because i know, that the moment we met, it’ll be for eternity.

i know how excited and anxious you are. i am too. you cant wait to hold my hand and whisper loving words in my ear. you cant avoid touching my hair and smiling seeing me smiling back at you. you perfected the wonderful breakfast, you learned was my favorite. the flowers bloomed, ready to greet me when i wake up but i’m still sound asleep. you decided to learn how to play a guitar pretty well because you knew i’d like to be serenaded.

sorry to keep you waiting love, but this isnt our time yet. meanwhile, i’d learn from my friends how to take care of a baby because i know you’d want some. i’d like to learn a few dance steps because i knew you will ask for it. i cant wait going to monumental places with you, sharing jokes, riddles or poetry. i forgot to ask your favorite movies but there’s plenty of time to watch it with you. i dont want you to get sick but just incase, i’ll always be there. promise me we’ll walk under the stars and moon, we’ll laugh until our eyes will burst tears from too much laughing, we’ll encourage each other, learn and grow from each other’s mistake, write a love letter often, learn something new everyday, paint a sunset, listen to waves’ song, photograph the horizon, enjoy the good food and look into each other’s eyes…

for now, i’m gonna sleep, love — smiling. because i know, someday, sometime we’ll meet. i know.

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A Drugpusher’s Diary

6:00 am

My alarm scandalously woke me up. I have to chose a “scandalous” tone for my alarm because if I don’t, I may not be able to wake up.

I am still sleepy (I only got 4 hours of sleep) because I decided to stay late last night, doing a very unproductive thing — “facebooking”. I’m tempted to hit the snooze button but my inner self is reminding me to move my lazy ass ASAP. I can’t afford to be late, six times of recorded late in our EBM (Early Bird Meeting every Monday) per semester means suspension from work. I firmly believe that late is the most undesirable reputation I could possibly reflect in my 201 file. Well, lucky me, I didn’t experience such shame in my almost four years of service in this pharmaceutical company.

With the speed of Flash, I have taken a bath, dressed for luck and whispered a prayer for world peace. I think I am ready to conquer the pharmaceutical selling world. I grab my car keys & head straight to our meeting venue.

A few of my colleagues (we call each other counterparts) are already there when I arrive. I could hear them chatting about their week end’s escapade, their kids & families, the latest happenings in this crazy little city and some interesting tweets/fb statuses. I just smiled politely and sit quietly in a vacant seat, carefully choosing which of their topics I’m interested to listen or to participate to. Oftentimes, I prefer to be quiet and apathetic about their issues. Because sometimes I think it is too petty to be considered. Big issues for me are like something that could make this world a better place to live. Well, before you judge me, to each its own, right?

After almost three hours, the meeting concluded. There were a lot of discussions about work activities, doctors’ requests and the competitors. Ofcourse, there are pocket meetings too. Sometimes, they form a group and talk about a particular topic, a boss, a colleague, etc. I do not exempt myself in participating in such such gossips. Sometimes, I need it too.

THE COVERAGE
I headed to the first doctor to cover. It is located in a clinic somewhere in the city. If a clinic isn’t located in a hospital or out of town areas, we call it it “territorials”. Well, throughout this blog you will encounter a lot of terms we designed to cater to our lingo needs. For starters, let me introduce some terms for you:

Cover- to cover means to visit a doctor or a group of doctors, discuss a few salient features and benefits about the medicines that you are promoting. Sometimes, it is merely a product mention incase the doctor is in a hurry. Sometimes too, it is to talk about a particular concern like sponsorship requests to a doctor’s convention, a round table discussion invitation (and other invitations), food sponsorships for the doctor’s meetings, etc. In between, it is important that you have your device or call sheets signed by the doctors. It is the only way that a particular pharmaceutical company knows that you are working.

Call/s- it is the number or frequency of times you visited a doctor. 1 call means 1 doctor. 3 calls means you have covered 3 doctors already. On the average, we are required to make at least 18 calls per day.

Quota- means your sales target. It could be in terms of monthly, quarterly and year to date quota. Reaching your quota means having incentives. Oftentimes, incentives are way higher than your monthly salary. This is what I often bleed to achieve. LOL.

1 in 1 out – term used to refer to the number of patients. 1 in, 1 out means the doctor is seeing 1 patient right now and there is another 1 patient waiting to have an appointment with him. “Last out” means you better keep your “detail materials” ready and do not go anywhere. Not even to pee. The doctor will have his coverage anytime soon. “20 outs” means good luck to you. It will may take an eternity before you could see this doctor. Depending of course on how much time he spends in consulting each patient. You could grab some lunch at this time or see another doctor to cover.

To Detail- means to present your product’s benefits and features during a coverage. It involves sharing to the doctors a particular scientific studies about your products. Detail materials may include brochures about your products. Also, you share to the doctor the samples of medicines that you are promoting for their patients to try.

Medreps – a collective term to refer to pharmaceutical sales representatives like me.

Well, those are some basic terms you need to understand. And it is important to note that the pharmaceutical environment here in the Philippines behaves so differently compared to other countries. It has a “unique” setting. I will share some of it in this blog in a little while.

Going back to the first doctor that I visited, it was just a casual hi-and-how-are-you-today-doctor coverage. She mentioned some of her patients whom she has prescribed with my products. She asked a few scientific facts about my products, too. As a medical representative, you are equipped with some basic knowledge about how your products work. It is important also that you communicate this very well to your doctor. In my opinion, it is very crucial because it can save a patient’s life or it can make it worse. Imagine telling your doctor some wrong information about your product because you did not take it seriously. A patient can die!

It is almost noontime. I rushed to the parking area where I left my car and rushed to the hospital to my next coverage. I waved to the guard who allowed me to park. It is necessary that you are nice these people. They come in handy when you are in dire need to park your car in a busy street. Be aware though that they love to ask for ball pens and other promo materials. I don’t know where did they get the idea that medreps are their personal school supplies store. Anyway, it is necessary that you plan your day very well. There are doctors whose coverage time is unplanned. So it is important that you know their schedules so that you won’t waste time going to & fro their clinics, only to find out that they don’t have a clinic that day. That is already a “missed” call. Remember, you are required to meet a particular number of calls per call cycle.

Sometimes, I arrive too early in a clinic. That means the doctor is still attending to his patients. Depending on how “important” a doctor is, it is my judgement whether or not to wait for the doctor to finish his consultation to his patients. Well, there are unlucky times when you waited for hours, (missing your lunch and not minding your tummy aches) when the doctor’s secretary announced that there is no coverage. You can do nothing about it but still smile and curse under your breath. A customer is always right sign is tattooed on my forehead.

THE SECRETARIES
There are “difficult” times. It is when the doctor’s secretary is not too friendly. It is important that you are nice to them. They are the gatekeepers. Sometimes, your coverage depends on them. They may or may not allow you to see the doctor. Most of the time I don’t have any problems with the secretaries. Thanks to my charming personality, I don’t have much trouble getting along with them. LOL. I suggest you buy stuffs from them (snacks, brassieres even pre need plans) to befriend them. You must engage in a little chitchat with them so that they will “warm” unto you. They can provide you with some much needed information like whether or not the doctor is prescribing your product or not. They may tell you about the group of patients that the doctor is seeing. It will help you determine your “strategies” on how you detail to the doctor. If a doctor is seeing a lot of hypertensive patients, you may opt to highlight your anti-hypertensive portfolio. Some secretaries are kind enough to let you see the doctor before his patients, depending on the doctor’s rules too. In this case, you are very lucky. Some secretaries are not “kind” enough. There is this one particular secretary whom I really hate. Whenever I asked her how many patients this particular doctor has, she doesn’t seem to hear me. Sometimes she makes me wait for hours, only to find out later the doctor is just relaxing inside his clinic and waiting for medical representatives like me to cover. Still, I have to smile to this secretary and curse under my breath.

THE DOCTORS
My cellphone beeps for the first time today. I checked to find out that a doctor texted me. She is asking if I’m free later to fetch her after her clinic. She is asking for a “servicing”.
Servicing means doing menial tasks like fetching a doctor from his clinic to his house, a mall or even from an airport. I have nothing against this. In fact, sometimes it is a “tool ” to get close to the doctor. I can get an additional time to spend with the doctor and get really “close” to him. Sometimes you need this especially if the doctor is quite aloof. Whenever you are alone with him, you get to know more about him, his peculiar interests, his families and his practice. It could be your talking point to your next coverage. A medrep will usually do almost anything just to please a doctor. The “closer” you are to the doctor, the better. It sometimes means that a doctor “owes” you a favor. In return, you may politely asked for a favor, like asking him to prescribe your medicine in lieu of the generic counterpart of your medicines.

But this particular doctor who texted me is quite peculiar. Let’s call her Dr. A. Dr. A is known to us medreps to asked about almost anything. Her bestseller requests are servicing from her clinic to some place she wishes to go, sometimes even on week ends when I am supposed to rest. Oftentimes, she would bring along her family with her. At times, she would asked for a “lunch out” with her family. It means treating her and her family to dine to a restaurant of her preference. Dr. A is also fond of asking for a sponsorship to a particular doctor’s convention. It means asking for my company to pay for her airline and hotel accommodation while attending her convention. There are times she surprises me when she asked me to drop by a rabbit store to buy some rabbits for her son’s science experiment. (I told you, she is peculiar). Dr. A is very helpful to me because she prescribes my product a lot more than my generic counterparts. But since she is doing me a favor, I am “expected” to give her a favor in return. This is why I have a hate-love relationship with this doctor. I have a difficult time saying no to her requests. I have to consider my company’s policies too about dealing with these kind of requests. I am paid as a “walking advertisement” of my products, not as a chauffeur. Again, it is my judgement whether or not saying no to her would affect my “business”. Take note, she is easily offended and allergic with the two letter word, NO.

Then there is Dr. B and his wife, Dr. C. They are my personal favorites. Sorry, but I play favorites among my doctors too. I like this particular couple doctors because they are very responsible to my own opinion. They do charity works like free medical consultation, with free starter medicines among the less fortunate. They prescribe medicines to their patients because they deemed it to be therapeutic to their patients. Not because of the favor you have given them. They are also very grateful. Oftentimes, I will bring them snacks like coffee and some pastries during my coverage. And they will be eternally grateful for your thoughtfulness. Sometimes, they will surprise me with unexpected gifts — foods, branded bags and oftentimes, the gift of valuable advices about life in particular. (I appreciate the gift of a good advice more than anything else). They would asked me how could they further help me achieve my sales quota and how I am doing in my day to day life. They are the type of doctors who will definitely win in Best in Kindness doctor competition. They do not look and treat me as a mere medrep only, but a human being of their equal footing. They do not asked for servicing or sponsorship. They just sincerely want to help me. I am so lucky to have known this doctors.

Meet Dr. Joker. No, he isn’t a villain. But a doctor who loves to crack jokes, pick up lines and witty one-liners. Be smart enough to be able to retort an appropriate joke. It helps if you read a lot and keep yourself updated. Anything can be a topic during your coverage. This doesn’t apply to Dr. Joker only but for most of the doctors.

Dr. Bring Me. Ah yes, sometimes you’ll meet a doctor who loves to ask you to bring him something— usually foods. Which reminds me that I’m not just a medrep but a food server too. Kidding aside, I seldom encounter this kind of doctor anymore. And if I do, I won’t mind. It’s just food anyway. I couldn’t help but mention it since I believe this is pretty peculiar type too.

If you are the “cocky” type, be afraid. This won’t work for Dr. Q. He is often silent during coverage. I do most of the talking (which I usually do), he merely say a word. You’d be very pleased if he gives you a nod. It means a “buying” signal. Or maybe, it is a signal that you stop talking already because he is bored or effin sick of your nonsense. Your call.

Dr. NR’s: about 30% of the doctors that I cover. No reaction. I just visit them, promote my products, have them sign my device and leave their clinics. All about science. No emotions involved.

There are also doctors whom I considered to as “important” doctors. I call them, Dr. I. These particular type of doctors are usually VIPs and influential. They either hold an important role in a medical institution, decision makers and are influential too. Oftentimes, they have a lot of patients. And a long line of medreps is usually wanting and waiting to cover them. These are the types of doctors whom you would often consider giving foreign and local sponsorships. By this time, I hope you already have an idea why.

You shouldn’t miss Dr. L. He is a type of doctor known for his many issues and rumors. It may be about his love issues, issues with other doctors or issues with medreps. I don’t usually allow myself to be affected by such rumors and issues. For all I know, it isn’t true and it may ruin my perception about a good doctor. There are even an unconfirmed rumors about doctors who are sleeping with some medreps. Some medreps are rumored to do so for the mighty name of Sales Quota. Ugh! I think these issues are so 1980’s. And again, these innuendos are capital letters R-U-M-O-R-S.

Sometimes, you will overhear your fellow medreps talking about Dr. B. Why? Because this type of doctors who are businessmen rather than doctors. They are the ones who make their profession a business rather than a vocation. They will charge unbelievable consultation fees among their patients, would not consider if their patients can afford the medicines or medical procedures, etc. Who am I to judge? No one. It is my personal opinion that doctors are meant to help a patient heals, and not to personally gain from it. We don’t call it a Hippocratic Oath for nothing. Don’t worry. In my own experience, there’s just a few of them left.

I can enumerate a whole lot of types of doctors but this blog isn’t about them. I just wanted to emphasize that as a drugpusher, you have to be very flexible. You will encounter a lot of personalities everyday. From the doctors, secretaries, patients and even from your fellow medical representatives. It is necessary that you maintain some sanity when dealing with them. You should also have a set of your own standard “ethical” behaviors. I may not be the best in my field of work, but I am proud of what I am made of. I may be imperfect in my work, but one thing’s for sure that works well with me: I am dealing with them with my utmost sincerity and honesty. Bear in mind, doctors are just human too. They eat rice or no rice (in case they’re dieting) and they poop too. Don’t be afraid to ask them with questions especially about healthcare of their patients because they know better. I treat them with utmost respect too, as healers. And for the unselfish service they gave to their patients. They are on call round the clock. They will save a life regardless of the fact that their own family’s lives are in danger. They’ve spent countless sleepless nights while in med school.

THE PURCHASERS
These are some people who play gods during sales cut offs. You beg, you promise (that you’ll make your products “move”), you even play dead (just kidding) in order to make them dispense your products. Be careful in dealing with them. Some of them, I heard, are quite astute. They make some of my poor medreps friends bleed by asking impossible “deals”. Lucky me, I have my salesman to deal with those kind of people.

THE BOSS
They could make or break you. It depends so much on you. Again, I’m not a perfect, worry-free medrep. I have my own struggles with my work. But I often wonder why most medreps are “clamoring” about their bosses. I often listen to them telling me about their boss asking too much from them. And most medreps dreaded “work withs” with their bosses. It simply means that your boss will work with you in a particular day. Fir me, it is an opportunity for me to brag about my work. What the heck! I work my ass out of it. Your boss will observe how you deal with your doctors, will coach you with some strategies and sometimes, he will buy your lunch. LOL. So why do they hate fieldworks? It is your time to shine & learn. I maybe just lucky enough to have little issues with my boss. If I can’t get a job done, I will tell my boss about it, ask for his coaching, do my best and hope for the best too. If he can’t understand, that’s not my problem anymore. If ever I commit a mistake, I’d be honest about it. If there’s anybody who can defend you, it should be the boss. But he should know everything. Most of the time, they’ll reprimand you and make you own your mishaps but nevertheless, they’ll defend and teach you. And most importantly, learn from it. And be inspired. And a good boss should inspire his sales team. Not expire them.

THE COLLEAGUES
Actually, this is one aspect of work I often have issues with. I am still learning how to deal with this. I am the type of person who prefers to work alone, in my own pace. I have strategies of my own. But I do recognize the importance of working as a team. It’s just that I hate waiting for someone especially if they are late. I don’t like carpooling to work, especially if there are gossips involved. I don’t like if a colleagues interferes with my budget plans. I’m not comfortable with free-loaders. Nevertheless, I acknowledge the fact that I have to blend in. I have a lot to learn in this aspect but I am a work in progress.

THE COMPETITORS
I don’t mind them. They are just doing their job too. It’s just that, sometimes, they do their job in an unfair manner. The playing field is not leveled. They sometimes entice the doctors to foreign trips with nothing but just plain R&R, no scientific meetings involved. It is the patients who suffer. Again, this is just my opinion. My own judgement. They are just doing their dirty job. LOL.

THE JOB – AN EXPERIENCE
If you are going to ask me why I chose this job, I honestly don’t know why. But I have considered a few sunny side of it. Well, there’s this handsome incentive package when you are able to hit your sales quota, there’s the car, the free medicines, the flexible working hours, travels and the opportunity to meet various kinds of people. The job has a lot of “toxicities” on its own, that’s why it is not a job for everybody. Somebody warned me before applying to this job that if you have an “onion skin”, please reconsider. You can’t just cry when your doctor reprimanded you in front of your colleagues or fellow medical representatives incase you “promise them with something” and you don’t deliver it. Or when they asked you about myriad difficult medical issues. Remember those personalities of doctors I mentioned awhile ago? You must be tough enough to withstand and deal with it. Tough enough so as to not commit Hara-Kiri whenever you fail to meet your sales quota and whenever your boss asked you to present a business review of why you performed poorly in your sales. Be sure to know how to defend your figures. You’d better be smart and witty too. You’re talking to doctors, not just anyone else. You must be able to relate to them and make them laugh too. Remember, they are dealing with serious health concerns on a day to day basis.

Sometimes, I hear people belittle our job. They say it is relatively easy. I just go to the doctor, wait for the coverage time, talk a little, give my samples, have them signed my call cards and off I go and party. Pft! They’ve only seen the tip of an iceberg. Well, maybe there is nothing so noble about our jobs. It is not comparable to being a doctor, a teacher or a social worker. Most people just see the glamor of it — flashy cars, well-pressed uniforms, techie gadgets and eating out in a posh restaurants. They didn’t see the perils we encounter each day when driving to far flung places just to share with the doctors about the latest cure of a certain ailment. They didn’t get to experience the many stressors we have in our chosen career. Sure, there are no easy job out there. Even a dishwasher can be stressed whenever there are so many plates to be washed. But I am, with great pride, could say that this job of mine brings food to the table. I provide my old parents with the medicines they need. And I pay my taxes even before I receive my salary, 32% of which are coming from my salary and incentives (which reminds me to bully the government that I don’t deserve that slow-down-men-are-working sign across the road while driving my way to work. (Better yet, why don’t they replace it with: “sorry for the inconvenience, slow men are working!”)

In general, thou shall know:
– we often missed our lunch while waiting for the doctors. I don’t know why. Our time is quite flexible but sometimes I just can’t leave the doctor’s clinic to grab some lunch for the fear that they might go somewhere while I’m filling my tummy.

-we do servicing for our doctors when I couldn’t even provide some servicing to my very own kin. Honestly, I seldom drive my parents in going somewhere. And my mom cannot understand why I should do this for my doctors. She told me they didn’t send me to a fine university to be a driver. I should go back to my Calculus teacher and tell him how unnecessary it is for him to give me a removal exam for Calculus. The knowledge of solving for the derivative of whatever isn’t helpful in performing the servicing. But a good driving skill is.

– have a lot of patience, perseverance and humility while preserving your own sanity and self esteem. Confronted with so many doctor personalities, you should be able to “adjust according to their personalities”. Also, patience comes in handy while waiting for your turn to cover. Patience to keep on pacing back and forth, up and down the hospital, looking for the doctor to cover. Perseverance in trying to “win” them. Laced it with utmost humility, and you’re good to go.

– be an entertainer, and be prepared to be entertained. As I’ve mentioned, doctors are bombarded daily with many health issues. These issues are not to be taken lightly. I believe it is my job to somehow make them feel relax at times. So bring some good jokes with you. If you are lucky enough, the doctors will entertain you with their funny encounters with their travels and patients. The clinic will be filled with genuine laughters and will keep you wondering what did you do to deserve this. LOL. The best part is, you won’t feel like your work is a drag.

– be unique, but not very unique. This is oftentimes, my pitfall. I am the kind of person who loves to express myself, sometimes without reservation. Being unique helps you get “noticed” instantly by your doctors, therefore, setting you apart from other medreps. Remember, most doctors are seeing more than 20 medreps nowadays and it is important that he remembers your products. Having a great personality will somehow help you make him interested to listen to you. A unique you will draw their attention. A very unique you might scare them. Have that X factor. Not a triple X factor.

– Be conscious of everything. You can’t just say anything of course. There are proper ways on how to talk to the doctors. Don’t worry, the pharmaceutical company that you’re in will teach you that. What a pity though that some medreps forget about this, or maybe they are just unaware of it. Very often, I couldn’t help but smirk every time I overhear a medrep telling false praises to the doctors just for the heck of having something to say: Doc, you look younger and slimmer, you look “blooming”, you sing very well, blah, blah, blah. I seriously doubt that the doctors can’t see right through them. Or sometimes, we spend too much time talking to the doctors, we forgot that they have other more important stuff to attend to. Be conscious of the way you dress and carry yourself. You represent your company and your products.

– be prepared to be disappointed. You woke up early and drive for more than two hours straight just to see the doctor. When you arrive at his clinic, the secretary informed you that the doctor is having his skin tanned in some remote beaches in Timbuktu and will be back after a month. Seriously, you must expect disappointments in this line of work. Or in life. It is never complete without it.

-peculiarities, you will surprised. There are a lot of doctor’s rules when you are covering them. Be sure to know about it. To name a few: you may be asked to leave your red stilettos outside the doctor’s clinic whenever you cover because you might ruin his expensive carpet (although, be prepared too. Some medreps have the tendency to pull some pranks, they might hide your pair of shoes and let you find it in a garbage can ). Some doctors require medreps not to wear strong perfumes, others require you to wear surgical mask while you are covering and infected with flu. There are doctors whose coverage time is at 12midnight to 2 am, you might confuse yourself as a call center agent rather than a medrep.

– shit happens. Enjoy your first coverage weeks blooper. I once saw a rep asking a woman walking through the hallway where Dr. W is. She didn’t know that the woman is Dr. W herself. She said that the doctor looks like a secretary that’s why she has mistaken her to be one.

– be ready to be assigned anywhere. This is often asked in a job interview. I was assigned in 5 different areas before I was assigned near my hometown. So if you are a family oriented person, you might have a hard time.

– lifestyle, the medreps’ way. I couldn’t blame some people who thinks that being a medrep means being shallow. Yup, I eat in fancy restaurants, buy designer bags, travel abroad, drive a car, update my gadgets and well, party on Friday nights. Not all of us though, and not very often. It’s just a way of life. It’s a part of the package to look nice, to feel nice and to experience nice things. But I have to remind myself every time that is not the stuff that I need. It’s just a want. What I need are healthy lifestyle, a balanced work/family life, a spiritual/intellectual/emotional growth and a serene mind. These are the things that I should dress myself with.

Well, these are just a few things I’ve learned and experienced while on the job. The industry is evolving very fast, I’m not sure how it will look like 5 years from now. I just hope and pray that somehow, it will not deter from its purpose of helping this world a healthier place to live.

Oh, I got to go! I forgot to tell you I said yes to Dr. A’s servicing request. Sighs!

Disclaimer:
This blog does not intend to mock the pharmaceutical nor the medical industry. The author just wishes to share her experience about what she deems to be a reality. No pun intended. This is purely the authors own opinion & experiences. It does not represent the opinion of her employer.

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Writing My Very Own Story

Even as a child, it has always been my greatest dream to be able to write a story — a story that will inspire a lot of people and if I’m too lucky, will help a lot of people. I do not have the skills and talent of a writer but I know it is always what I wanted to be. In fact, it is the only dream that I haven’t given up yet.Not until God has given me a beautiful story to write: my own life’s story.It may not be a very impressive or striking or rare for you. But one thing’s I’m sure about. It is real.

I practically grew up and belong to a family of something in between the rags & riches kind. We are not that dirt poor but we are not rich either. I’m just lucky enough to have a ‘not so demonstrative in showing his love’ kind of a father but nevertheless, a very dutiful one. But my mother! You should meet her. She’s the best. No matter how much you argue about how equally awesome your mother is, I will defend my argument to my last breath. It is a bonus that I have a bully for a brother (just kidding, Kuyang!) and an elder sister who has a middle child syndrome (admit it, Ats!) It took 14 years before my parents finally decided to conceive me, so it gives me the idea up until now that I am that special.I hope I have given you a fair picture of how my family looks like from afar by the way I describe each member of my family. To cut it short: just a normal Filipino family. We argue a lot, eat together, take care of each at times, laugh together and so far, nobody goes to jail yet for killing anyone else. Pretty boring but beautiful.

But since this story is about my beautiful life story, let me focus about how it is like being me. I have told you already that I am a very extraordinary child as what my mom always told me. Unlike my two other siblings, I was born with the aid of a Caesarian operation. (I haven’t been out of the world yet, but parents already have an idea on how costly it might be to raise me as a child in this world). Well, it didn’t took them long enough to realize how worthy I am of all the initial expenses when I gave them priceless entertainment with my song/dance/poem number after dinner. (Facebook isn’t a fad yet at that time and so are the pirated movies). I am a very talkative and demand so much attention as a child. And I did got their attention every time I get flying colors at school (every year during my elementary years, believe me), payed half of my tuition at our local’s Catholic high school because I’m proud to be an honor student. They also didn’t have to worry much about my college education because I was an Iska ng Bayan and my monthly allowance from first year to fourth year college was being taken cared of by the taxes paid by the hard working Filipino people. Don’t worry. I did what I am supposed to do. I studied very hard and if time permits, joined in some political rally against the government. Well, needless to say, my future’s very predictable. I am going to be a very successful, important person in this universe. I would often paint a picture of myself being clad in a corporate suit, always busy, always making important decisions, always needed. I am delusional, ofcourse. I flatter myself too much. I woke up from my delusions and realized that I have to start from the scratch. And before I disappoint you, let me reassure you that I am still awesome. Because I have a fairly good start.It was a hard yet fulfilling start. My first job was being an Account Management Assistant of an advertising agency. Sounds big, huh? But basically my job is about perfecting the taste of how a cup of coffee for my boss should taste like. But hey! Before you judge me, believe it when I say that that perfect cup of coffee will determine the kind of mood that my boss will have for the rest of the day. Even as a lowly coffeemaker, I saved humanity from an extremely, unimaginable kind of wrath.

Being young & pretty, it cannot be avoided that someone will fall for me (blush) . I met this person who will play a somewhat meaningful role in my life in a ferry during one of my official business trip. (please play the song ‘The Terminal’ while reading this. It will helped you a lot in trying to understand how I feel at that time). To cut the story short, that man ( sorry I cannot disclose his name for some highly ethical reasons, thus kindly refer to him instead as ‘the man’ in this story), became my first ever official boyfriend and two years later, (super fast forward) became my legally wedded husband. (Your shocked expression, please).The most disappointing fact perhaps is that I have entered the state of being married without my parent’s knowledge, blessings & consent. (Sigh, I know I messed up a lot with this but please stop yourself from that disbelief/bewildered/shocked/whatever-you-call-it look, but until now, believe me beyond your reasonable doubt that I couldn’t even believe why I made such decision). Will it suffice for now if I only have two possible answers? Either it is due to the fact that I am madly in love or that I am extraordinarily stupid. Ouch!It still gives me so much pain talking about this excruciating kind of love but this is where the ‘serious’ talks begin. And mind you, “we’ve only just begun”.I am momentarily sidetracked from my promising career to my much controversial love story. ‘The’ love that we had was a May-December love affair. He is 10 years older than I am, a college drop out, no promising career, not much significant material wealth — but he has the cutest, sweetest smile that could melt your heart! (I’m sorry, I know I have unjustly portrayed him here but let me remind you that I have fallen in love to this man). We lived together for 3 years, me, working as a young manager in a retail department store, and him, as a houseband. I forgot to tell you that before we met, he used to work in the Middle East for three years and had failed to find a job after that. He prefers to work abroad because for him, it is a very well-compensated kind of work, regardless of how hard the kind of job it is. I finally gave up my corporate/career-obsessed picture of myself and settled for a much less stressful but stable (read as no growth) kind of work. Despite the fact that there’s just the two of us, we can hardly make both ends meet. Both of us have crushed ego but what the heck! We were ecstatically happy and deliriously in loved as much as I am concerned. Seriously, it was one of the happiest part of my life. And to satisfy your curiosity, we do have long walks under the stars, the endless ‘I miss you much/can’t live without you’ kind of drama and the you and me against the world ‘cheesy’ stuff..It may be too soon, but here comes the twist. After 3 long years of being a bum and a ‘tax-free’ citizen, he had finally found a job in a nearby Asian country. I was both happy and sad. But mostly happy.

After a years of living in a scrimping budget from my meager salary, we can finally build bigger dreams adorned with material wealth. The first year of him being away from me was the hardest. To paint you a picture of how it looks like, I can’t open a bottle or a canned goods without crying (I’m used to having him doing this little thing for me), I miss his cooking (alright, he is a good cook), I can’t bear to watch MMK alone anymore (without his shoulder to cry on), I have no one to argue with (the kind of argument which I’m always sure to win), etc, etc. but the hardest thing of all: no one is there to call me beautiful regardless of how messy I look. And please don’t disregard the cold, lonely nights. Allow me to skip the other important, beautiful details of him. I don’t want to make you cry yet.After another 3 long years of long distance relationship and unimaginable loneliness of which God only knows how I managed to survive, he finally came home for a vacation. He was in his new ‘balikbayan’ self image, me in my extra beautiful self. (I can, at that moment, afford a hair rebond, you know). I’m sure you can only imagine what a meaningful, happy reunion that was. It was too good to be true. By the way, I quit my managerial job in a retail department store at that time and became a sales representative in a pharmaceutical industry up until this press time.In between our second honeymoon were “horrible” stories about my in-laws of which I chose not to disclose. He finally met my parents and out of choice, they accepted him. Two months after, he left for another job contract in the same country, disappointed of the fact that I wasn’t pregnant yet.I wish my story ends here.

But I got another twist. The horrible story of the in laws in which I chose not to disclose, (and still not choosing to disclose) became the reason why our MMK like love story ended. Don’t ask me why. I still don’t know his reasons yet as of this time. Whatever his reasons may be, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.So, for the details: I’m a frequent traveler to hell after that. He refused to answer my call, he withdraws any emotional, financial and social role he played in my life just like that. Being depressed is an understatement to what I’ve felt at that time. I refused quitting work, it’s the only sane thing that keeps me from living. I tried every possible way to talk to him and to his family, only to further add insult to my injury I don’t know how to describe what I’ve been through at that very moment but you know the feeling of being in a dark, clammy, endless tunnel? Every bit of my dreams were shattered in pieces. Humor yourself, I know I’m not the only separated person in this whole wide world but for me, I never felt so alone, so useless, so forsaken, so unimportant, so hurt, so betrayed. I keep on asking myself: “why?” And the only I answer I got so far was: “why not?” (LOL). I’m just kidding, but the truth is, I bend over backwards in looking for possible answers but I couldn’t pin point the real answer except for the hard, cold truth that everything is possible at any given time and situation. I keep on asking myself what I have done wrong to deserve this? I wonder if I’ll ever laugh again. I wonder if I’ll be able to find meaning in my life again. I wonder if I’ll be able to trust again. Or to dream again. I guess, this is the perfect moment wherein I may allow you to cry with me.I have imagined more or less 53 ways to die. I imagine myself falling into a cliff while speed driving but I couldn’t bear the thought of subjecting my mother — the only person aside from God who loves me unconditionally — to such extreme grief. I always wished for the earth to swallow me whole and release me unconscious and temporarily unaware of my pain. Selective amnesia became a good option. Death by somnolence sounds good to me too. Death caused by depression. Accidental death by someone who had ran amok. The variations may sound funny but honestly, it all occurs to me. Even suicide. It may be anything that could possibly end my pain and suffering. Some people may have greater problem than this, but for me, well, it means the whole world for me. It hit me right to my very core, I don’t know what to do and where to start.

In the years that followed, I lived half alive. I wake up in the wee hours of the morning, finding myself hugging and crying to my mother (she was so worried she came to live with me for awhile because I work away from home), only to find out I am suffering from anxiety attack. I go to work every morning trying to eat a little and helping myself believe that I can get through this. On the outside, I was trying to live a normal life by putting on some make up & a fake smile that I tried to muster (it is necessary when engaging with my colleagues and doctors) but on the inside, I am squirming with extreme pain and sadness. At any given moment, I’d burst into tears. Or stare blankly at anything. Add to it the unsolicited and insensitive opinions of some people who knew nothing of what you are going through. I would bother my sister and even my brother at some ungodly hours just to call them in order to cry and talk to them. Some true friends are equally supportive and well meaning. They are those angels that never fail to remind me of how important I am and oftentimes,they are the one who are fighting for my own battles when I am too weak to fight my very own battles. But my mother — my mother is a wonder. I often overhear her and my father talking over the phone, blaming theirselves for what had happened to me. Everytime she sees me crying in a corner, I could tell that she is feeling twice the pain that I am experiencing. I do not want to see her motherly heart crushed like that but I’m too busy nursing my own heart. She even bargained the rest of her life just for me to be back to my old self again. I’ve been through a lot of difficulties and trials in life but I was able to conquer it. Every possible problems seem to have some fair answer except for this one. This time, I blamed myself for every reason why my marriage failed. I am at a total loss. A mess. Helpless.I couldn’t say I get tired of crying myself to sleep at night but somehow I managed to pull myself together. Not my usual self anymore, I’m afraid to say, but someone who decided to be strong because she needs to. But there is no single day that I am not reminded of my pain. Everyday, I pray for an answer, a call or some news about him. I joined a community of wives experiencing broken marriages and learned from them how to cope with the situation each one is facing. I read the bible until I cannot understand a single word anymore. I went to a vacation abroad. I buy material things that can provide me with temporary happiness. I talked to the priests. I write. I cursed. I talked to everyone whom I know that could possibly help me ease the pain. I seek the help of doctors to give me anti-depressants. I tried to go out and have fun with my friends only to find myself feeling empty every time I go home. I tried every motivation, every possible way to put even just a little value to my crumpled self esteem. For two years, it became my pledge to go to Simala monastery to pray for an answer and healing.

Until one night I dream of him vividly. I started looking for his family’s profile on the social networking site and I have found out that he has now a family and three kids. In my mother’s skillful calculation, he already had the kid during his first three years of working abroad.And I am back to square one. Gone were my high hopes and prayers of us being back together. The only constant remainder were the hatred and the feeling of betrayal. But I finally had some answer. Much to my disbelief and horror.Up until now, I am still recuperating from pain. Up until now, I still can’t believe it happened. Up until now, I don’t have the strength and courage to confront him. I’m not sure of what my answers are. Maybe I still can’t accept how a maddening love story such as ours ended up so tragic. Maybe, I made myself believed that no matter what I will do, it will never be able to bring back what is lost and taken away from me. The unconditional love. The time and memories spent together. The trust and respect. And I haven’t imagine pain to be so real like this.

But perhaps pain is indeed a universal unifier. It is the one that unifies the rich and the poor, the pauper and the king, the love and the hatred, the unknown and the famous. It is experienced regardless of your status in life. It doesn’t choose . Regardless of your story, may it be a physical or emotional kind of pain, petty or mind-numbing pain, a birth or death, it is still pain. You cannot quantify a pain based on a situation or experience alone. It may differ from one form to another, but undoubtedly, it is painful per se.But you see, there is beauty in every pain. Like in a birth pain, it gives you either a death or a new life. In health, pain signals you that something is wrong in your body, thus tells you that you must take good care of it. In work, it is the pain associated with hard work that gives you the meaningful recognition. In religion, it is Christ’s painful death that shows us how much He loves us thus giving us the gift of resurrection. For me, it makes me human.Also in life and love, one must learn how to befriend pain and everything that goes with it. There is beauty in weaknesses too. If you are suffering from fear and uses it to your own advantage, you end up being courageous. If you feel so alone and use it to your own good, you will be able to know yourself better. If you have enemies, appreciate them for their risking their own souls being thrown to hell for you to go to heaven. If you experience sadness, use it to push yourself to find your own happiness. If you experience injustice, do not repay it with revenge but rather, be proud that you have not caused pain to anyone. If you experience failure, be glad to savor the happiness brought by success when you surpassed it. It maybe the very same eyes that shed countless tears that will allow you to see the same thing in a different perspective.And if all of these are not yet enough and you’d still like to ask why God and life let you suffer from all of these, be reminded of how little is our suffering compared to how big and great God’s suffering is, just to show us His unconditional love. I once asked a doctor friend of mine who had just survived cancer if she ever blamed God why she had cancer despite her being a good person, she looked me in the eye and firmly told me: “You only hurt the one you love.” She believed that God loves her so much, that He let her experience sickness to remind her that He is the Great Healer. He made her even a better doctor because she can relate even to the most unfathomable physical pain that human science can’t heal.One can go on with life with the least possible form of tribulations and trials but the most beautiful ones are those who has experienced great pain, surpassed it and are proud of their scars and wear it around their necks like life’s medals. You do not want to miss the beauty of a rose just because it has thorns on it. You may hate the rain because it spoils your sunshine, but it gives you a rainbow (and if you are very lucky, with a pot of gold in both ends!) You may fear the darkness of the night, but it is when the stars shine the most.Revenge is indeed a two-edged sword that wounds the one that wields it.

In the darkest part of my heart where hatred resides, I tried to dislodged it with a big space for forgiveness. Up until now, it is still a challenge for me on how to totally forgive and forget. In there, I had never realized before, how truly big one’s heart is if we let forgiveness lives in it. In the end, when we all die, we do not remember who are the richest or the most powerful man who ever lived in this world, but those who touched our lives and made it meaningful.On my 28th birthday, I was too depressed to even celebrate it. But a good friend gave me a note that sincerely says:
May you win back your smile again.
May you be whole again from your brokenness.

That, I think, is what I still owe to this wonderful life story.

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