by Jem

I was with some of my fellow youth churchmates after our anniversary celebration when,

“Pumunta na nga kayo sa kanya-kanya niyong mga pamilya!” (Go to your respective families already!)

I pouted a little and they noticed. And also laughed.

“Aww, nalungkot!” they cooed. (Aww, she’s sad.)

I laughed lightly along with them, saying, “Nandito kaya Daddy ko!” (My dad’s here, you know!)

I tried to take it lightly and I know they didn’t mean to hurt my feelings but it still stung a little. Because I have been an emotional wreck (well not exactly a wreck, just emotional…) lately. For the most part I am still my happy, happy self but I’ve also become very sensitive over the last few days that I tear up/cry over small things that make me happy or sad.


Do you know how hard it is to live alone?

Very. It is very, very hard.

Especially for a sixteen-year-old college sophomore who is struggling to maintain her grades and keep up with everyone and everything around her.


I know there are a lot others like me. I know I’m not in the worst of situations. But as Charlie* says, it shouldn’t mean I should stop feeling bad for myself. And as I read somewhere, saying I shouldn’t be sad because others have it worse is like saying I shouldn’t be happy because others have it better.

I do try my best to stay perky and all and it does work but sometimes it just gets to you.

Especially when you have lunch with your dad after weeks of not seeing anyone in your family. Like today.


But when it does, now I know to think of the substitute homes I’ve come to recognize as such for different reasons but mainly because they make me happy.


One of which is the only school organization I belong to. Debsoc has been very helpful to me in a lot of ways. Of course firstly because I get to be with people who are also very passionate about one of the things in this world that I really love, the art of debate. Even though they would probably laugh at me for saying this because we don’t like being cheesy, DS is my family in school. The members are actually my closest friends here because apparently I’m not very good at making friends in class. When we tambay (hang out), we not only debate about current issues but we also talk about other things like life and love (HAHA) and I guess being debaters, they’re really a lot of fun to talk to because they make a lot of sense and I love listening to deep stuff. And because we all gather to train at the end of the day, I’m happy I have something to look forward to through all the pains classes have to offer. After a very tiring day, despite the fact that debate seems stressful (well, it really is actually), it’s nice to just come to the tambayan (where we “hang out”) and know that you belong.


My church has also become home to me. At the end of the week, I TGIF because my weekends are spent at church. Aside from church being one big family, there are also smaller groups and individual people (well, one person) I love being with.

There’s the recon/worship team where I also meet people who share my love for music. I was never one of those people who played an instrument since birth and stuff but every time I spend a few hours with the team, I learn a lot and I am inspired. We even have end-of-the-month parties for birthday celebrants and it’s just nice how people are so supportive of each other and thoughtful of every single member in the group.

Also, the cell group I belong to. Twelve girls plus one amazing leader. It just makes me feel less lost to belong to a group that is founded on God’s love. We have Sunday lunches sometimes and we celebrate birthdays and we just all grow together. And they are very sweet, very fun people, the girls I am with on Sundays. Plus I don’t look like much of a loser when I get to sit with someone I know during services.


And lastly, the cheesiest one. As much as I hate sounding so mushy and being so clingy, I would have to say that I have found home in my buddy’s hugs. My buddy is one of the most amazing people in the universe. He is very nice and very understanding and very sweet and I am sounding very much like a fangirl but that’s just how he is. And he gives the best hugs. One, because he is, um, very huggable (hihi, love you bud!) and because we hug a lot and because it seems like the most normal thing in the world. And it is. And we’ve only been friends for, what? A year now? And buddies for only a couple of months. I don’t think I’ve hugged anyone outside of my family as much as I have hugged him. I think it’s become our thing. And because I’ve gotten used to it, it feels like home. It doesn’t pick a season or a mood either. I hug him when I’m happy or sad or angry or tired or perky or whatever. And I guess the best thing about it for me is, whatever happened during the day, whether or not we’ve talked, even if sometimes I’m being snobbish or I feel he’s being snobbish, when we part ways, we hug and it’s like sealing whatever’s been going on between us during that day with loads of love. I even remember telling him last night,

“Kumo-quota na tayo sa hugs ngayon ah.” (We’re already reaching a hug quota today.)

Not that I was complaining. It was actually very much appreciated given the taxing day I had.


These are what I go back to, what I look forward to after everything that goes on in my life, whatever they are. And that’s why they feel like home.



*Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky