“Just Friends.”

It’s funny how life always surprises us at the most random times.

Rewind to 2015/2016: I thought that I had my life together, at least for someone who was just 21.  I had graduated on time without any student loans.  I had passed my NCLEX (entry-level nursing exam).  I had left the familiar Manila atmosphere to begin my first chapter of adulthood.  I was starting a promising career in an old place that I had called home.

Initially, I did not plan on engaging in any deeper relationships with others.  My main focus was to adjust to a new work environment of my new career.  I wanted to do good and to be good…well that was the plan anyways.

Then, I met him.  It wasn’t the most romantic introduction of the year.  It was just the casual, “Hey this is my friend X.  We went to school together and he works here too.”  I felt that there was an imaginary thread that kept me with him.  We just clicked right away. Maybe it was his sarcasm? Or his charm? Or his intelligence? I don’t quite remember, it had just happened.

Long story short: he made me happy, possibly the happiest that I have been in a while.  We went out for dinner and drinks after long shifts at work.  We would talk about anything and everything.  We would share details about our interests and our lives prior to meeting each other.  It had felt like I had known this person forever.  I thought that I was on Cloud 9.

But here’s the catch: we’re “just friends.” No matter how much time spent together or how many secrets we had shared, there would always be limitations. I was already warned in the beginning of how he is with women. So I bet you’re probably thinking, “Shame on you.” Yes — shame on me for being stubborn, yet hopeful. I don’t like listening to what others have to say, so I guess I had set myself up for defeat without even knowing it. Shit happens.

Ironically, threads are not strong enough to keep its original form when difficult situations occur.  I live for challenges, so I continued to hang on to a thread of uncertainty.  I would like to believe that time heals and maybe it does sometimes.  Maybe it just depends?

It is difficult to be that hopeless voice in the shadows. You want to scream out your thoughts, but there are boundaries in your relationship. You don’t want to sound too controlling because you don’t want to be labeled as the “crazy friend.” I let myself down by trying to uplift him. I thought that I was trying to be strong for the both of us, but I was wrong.

I gave him all the space and time that he needed.  I was there for him during his darkest hours when he had no one to run to at 2 A.M.  I gave him all the respect that I had because I had hypnotized myself to believe that he would come around someday.  Guess what?  He didn’t.

It had devastated me for months.  I’d constantly ask myself: “What is wrong with me?  What else do I need to do?  What am I doing wrong?”  I had explosions of thoughts in my head.  I needed answers, but I could not seek anything from him.

Luckily, I chose to be strong for myself. Have you ever heard of self-love? I remembered that I had vowed to love myself more than I would ever love a man. Because after all, how can you love someone if you don’t even love yourself in the first place? After a few months, I had decided that the problem was never me to begin with — it was him.  I could not wait for him to be ready. Who knows when he would ever become ready to open himself up to someone again? I did not appreciate waiting for something (or someone) that was not sure of me. I deserve better than that, I think we all do.

Just friends…or maybe even less?  It does not matter anymore. I don’t regret those memories. Like I said earlier, he made me the happiest that I had been during that time. He’s my blessing in disguise: a reminder to always put myself before anyone despite the circumstances.

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Dear Future Me, 

The following is an e-mail from the past, composed on July 01, 2014. It is being delivered from the past through ‪FutureMe.org‬

Dear FutureMe,

Hi.  How are you?  Kind of awkward to be writing to yourself eh?  Well it’s the 1st of July.  I’m spending my last days of summer before senior year of college starts in Seattle.  I’m in the room bumming it out because I have nothing better to do.  I am drinking numerous glasses of water infused with strawberries and lemons in hope that it will aid in a miracle weight loss.  Who knows?

Earlier, I cried my heart out.  Again.  You know the drill, _ _ _ ?  You know, your ex-boyfriend that could have been the one but you were too young and always fucked things up?  Well yeah, it’s because of him again.  You tried to be casual over a conversation thru viber because you know you missed him.  You always do even if you don’t want to believe it yourself.

I have a piece of advice to the future me.  Suck it up.  It sounds so hard to accomplish right now. but I know one day you will eventually suck things up, move on and finally let go.  I know _ _ _ isn’t just any guy.  You spent practically more than 3 years with him and that is a lot for someone young.  You met him when you first became classmates at Letran and were together throughout more than halfway of your journey in college.  But you know, all things must come to an end.  Sadly, you ended it and regretted it like a little b*itch.

Suck it up. It’s your fault anyways.  If you’re still sprung over _ _ _, you seriously have issues as a new 23 year old.  And if things haven’t gotten any better, it’s been 3 years.  Don’t let yourself waste your life away because of one guy.  I know it’s your fault.  You didn’t appreciate him when you had him, but we all make mistakes.  We’re young, we f*ck things up, we regret and want it to be all better sooner or later but sometimes life can’t always give us what we want.

I hope you’ve taken care of yourself lately.  I hope you graduated on time without any deficiencies I hope you cut down on the drinking, the smoking, and the spending.  I hope you cut down on being so harsh on yourself.

You don’t always have to put the blame on yourself whenever something wrong comes along in life.  It’s not always your fault.  You can’t let one incident affect your whole life.  It shouldn’t drag you forever into a constant mess.  You’re better than that.

Why am I writing this?  I didn’t know there was a website like this and I always planned on writing myself a letter but was too lazy and never really put in time to actually do so.  Until I watched Starting All Over Again and found out there is a website like this.  So this leads me to now….

You fucked things up with _ _ _.  Like I said, it’s fine.  But you can’t always go running back to him because he’s the most familiar thing you know in this world.  We all know it’s over.   _ _ _ does, your family does, his family does, all your friends and people who don’t even matter know it’s over.  It’s your fault.  You just wanted so much attention that you didn’t realize all the efforts _ _ _ did just to give you what you wanted.  But here I am being so harsh on myself..

But honestly, give it a break.  If _ _ _ really is “the one,” eventually he’ll come back.  Eventually you’ll get back together and get married.  But that’s if destiny allows him to become “the one.”  If not, you shouldn’t be lingering on for more.  There are a billion people in this world.  And I know there is somewhere out there that would love you unconditionally, the way you wanted to without any limitations.

You were really young.  You had started your relationship with _ _ _ when you were only 15 years old.  What the hell do 15 year olds know about love and commitment anyways?  You were foolish, naive, stupid and just didn’t know how to balance everything in life.

I hope you have grown into a mature women.  Slowly, but surely you will.  I hope you’re a registered nurse in the states working at a hospital and helping to support your family OR in medical school.  I just hope you do things for you and be a little selfish because you do deserve it.  The years you had with _ _ _ were really selfish though.  But you can never take that back, even money can’t buy the time wasted.

I hope you learn to have a longer period of patience and learn how to cook.  I hope you learn to become independent without depending on so much people.

If there’s ever a guy out there for you, I hope he treats you right and I hope you treat him right as well.  Give love back.  But before you start into any serious relationship, I hope you start learning to love yourself.

You deserve it. Don’t forget that.

* Received on May 3, 2017 at 22:04


February X

Happy Leap Day, every one! xx

First of all — I’m sorry (LIKE SUPER SORRY) with the delays of my blog posts.  I’m finally going to be active after a month of being M.I.A., so yay to upcoming adventures of The Tracy Express a.k.a. TREX!!!  

The past February was such a roller coaster — filled with new, yet exciting experiences.  I had been on my feet these past twenty-nine days, which had allowed me to have a love-hate relationship with February (especially after a few months of hiatus).  Let me try summarizing the last month to my fellow readers:

1.)  I had my first professional interview (I think I kinda nailed it, lol) for my current job as a registered nurse at an acute-care hospital in the medical-surgical unit.

2.)  I had met a handful of people, who have expounded my outlook of life because of their diversity.  It was quite interesting to meet new people who are locals, and those who had just moved to my area.  It reminded me that the world is really a big place, even though there are times we may belittle and underestimate it.

3.)  I had celebrated mass on Ash Wednesday at my local parish (for the first time in years) and I am currently practicing abstinence during the Fridays of the Lenten Season.  This is a big thing for me (on a religious note) because I did not participate in Catholic events despite attending a Catholic university for four years.  One of my new year’s goals is actually to adapt a healthier spiritual vitality.

4.)  I  FINALLY received my learner’s permit for driving (LOL yes – I don’t have my driver’s license yet and yes I am almost 22, but better late than never right?), but I still don’t have a clue on how to operate a vehicle.  Give me a break – I still have 5 more months to learn!

So let’s just conclude that I had tried my best to make the most out of February, despite it being the shortest month of the year.

Anyways, can you believe that four years has passed since the last February 29 on our calendars??  Seems like time is flying by quite quickly, but maybe that is a good thing.

Do you remember what you were doing this time, four years ago?  Some say that dwelling back to our past is a habit that we should cut off completely, but I always find it as an interesting opportunity in evaluating how much we have changed.  Let’s face it, no matter how cliche this may sound — we cannot deny that the only constant thing in this world is “change,” so we might as well embrace it.

Hmmm anywho, let’s go back to the year 2012 (Lol, this makes me feel like I’m a character from “Phil of the Future.”)  We were all probably hypnotized by the thought that the world was going to end on 12/21/12 (or at least had a few thoughts about it) because of what they referred to as the “beginning of the end.”  But let’s see – I was a freshman in nursing school and I probably had a terrible sleeping schedule due to irregular nights of studying for Anatomy & Physiology and Inorganic/Organic Chemistry (my fave general subjects, lol okay not exactly).  Life was completely different from how it is at present.

Looking back, I don’t think that I would have realized that I had potential in myself because I can be such a pessimist.  But look at me now – I am the person that I had dreamed of becoming (at least during the meantime anyways).  Sure — there are some things that I have done that I was not proud of, but that is what makes everything so interesting:  the scars that you create while climbing to achieve the things you want.  I let those scars serve as personal reminders of second chances and how I would never stop until I reach my goals.  Just remember that it is important to have goals to begin with, no matter how big or small that may be.  Don’t be afraid of making mistakes during your journey of aiming towards your goals.  You may not be aware that mistakes may actually become a trigger point to success in it’s own mysterious ways.

Let’s all make the next four years something that we would love to look back on — aim for the galaxy, every one!

I’ve always found that anything worth achieving will always have obstacles in the way and you’ve got to have that drive and determination to overcome those obstacles on route to whatever it is that you want to accomplish.” — Chuck Norris

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Good in Goodbye

Remember those heart breaks that I had promised to share about during my first post?  Well, let’s start with one of my favorite stories, how my love for someone had shattered me into fragile pieces.

Who doesn’t remember their first love?  Sure – every one may say that your first love never really dies, but do you think that’s actually true?  What if your first love was the reason that you were killing yourself inside?

Let’s keep this part short and simple.

Once upon a daydream, I was fifteen.  Yes, I know what you all are thinking — “YOU ARE SO YOUNG TO BE IN LOVE AT FIFTEEN, TRACY!!!”  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself and Taylor Swift’s songs weren’t helping me much either.  He was my high school sweetheart and we fell in love for a few years.  It was as magical as any of the Disney princess movies that we have all seen when we were kids, but in my case — I didn’t have a happy ending with my prince charming.

All relationships must come to an end, but denial made it harder for me to realize that initially.  When he left, I became a mess.  I didn’t smile as much and I stopped laughing at corny jokes.  There would be times that I would choose to be alone – away from the evil civilization my mind has created.   I would repeatedly asked myself, “Why?  Why does this have to happen to me?  What did I do to deserve this?”  Unfortunately the only way I had tried searching for answers was after a few bottles of beer, and nothing seemed to make any sense at all.  I was in a horrible state and I didn’t care.  The only time that I could fall asleep was when I was finished crying.  My meals consisted of alcohol and saltine crackers (I know, it’s as disgusting as it sounds).  Sometimes, I would skip class because I did not want to see people.  I did not want to show people of how vulnerable I had let myself become.

I was losing my mind and I was losing myself.  I knew that the only person who could save me from becoming an even bigger emotional wreck was myself.   

One day (after a few months of being broken), I had decided that I had enough.  Even though I knew that I was hurting, I had chose to become strong — or at least try to in the meantime.  I had started attending class and studied my ass off.  I had stopped drinking every other day (I would only have a drink or two during a special occasion).  I had converted my energy to playing on my college’s football (soccer) team again and I had even joined other random extra-curricular activities at school (The Search for the next Thomasian Nursing Ideal Personality, yes — a school pageant lol).  I chose to believe that this heartbreak became a blessing in disguise.

Just because something had shattered you into pieces, doesn’t mean that you need to remain that way forever.  You can’t expect to wake up one day and just tell yourself, “I’m ok.”  You can fix yourself, but trust me – it will take time.  Like I said earlier, it took me months.  So in the meantime, you can cry your heart out if you have to, but when you think you had enough — stop!  Don’t forget to remember that you are a special person, too.  One day, He will give you one of the greatest gift that you can be thankful for — CHANGE.

“The biggest mistake one can make, is losing yourself in the process of valuing someone too much, and forgetting you are special too.” – Unknown

Save some love for yourself

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I ate the NCLEX for breakfast

Wait, what did you say?!  NCLEX for breakfast??? Is it any good?! Give me some of that!

I hate to have gotten your hopes up, but the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse) isn’t exactly a type of food that you would normally eat for breakfast.  It’s actually what I studied for during breakfast — or usually during the early hours each morning.  

The NCLEX-RN is possibly the scariest exam for any nursing graduate seeking licensure in the United States.  I had a hard time searching for updated blogs about the exam, so I decided to write about my recent NCLEX-RN experience in hopes for helping those lost souls “googling” tips online.  Here are a few (ooopps semi-lengthy lol) tips about preparing for the NCLEX-RN:

REGISTER FOR THE NCLEX-RN

Check with the Board of Nursing/Regulatory Body in your state (https://www.ncsbn.org/contact-bon.htm) for the requirements that you will need in order to apply for the NCLEX-RN because they may vary.  Usually they will ask for original transcripts (mailed from your school to the BoN/RB office), recent police/court clearances, and the application itself to name a few.  After the board declares you eligible, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) email.  The ATT email will include your authorization number, candidate information and an expiration date (typically you need to take the test within 90 days of receiving your ATT).  Afterwards, you may schedule for your exam on the Pearson VUE website ($200).

I DIDN’T GRADUATE NURSING SCHOOL IN THE UNITED STATES, WHAT DO I DO?!

The American dream never really dies, so who wouldn’t want to be partying (AKA working) in the USA?  I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at the University of Santo Tomas (Manila, Philippines) in May 2015.  I had extra fears of taking the NCLEX right after graduation because I felt alone and I’m pretty sure I was 90% of the time.  There are more requirements needed to take the NCLEX-RN if you are a foreign nursing graduate, but like I said early – it still would depend with your local BoN/RB.  Some of the other requirements could be: local licensure in the country that you had graduated from, CGFNS Credentials Evaluation Service Professional Report ($350), International English Language testing System (IELTS), work visas, etc.,

KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE

The NCLEX-RN is basically a nursing exam consisting of a minimum of 75 to a maximum of 265 questions that will determine if it is safe for you to practice as an entry level nurse.  It is definitely a different test compared to the ones you have taken before during nursing school.  You cannot learn everything overnight — preparation is a must!!!  Make a schedule of the topics that you want to tackle per week (or per day) so that you can be able to track your progress.  Space out the topics and don’t rush with recalling concepts.  Don’t forget to revisit your old frenemies – your books, notes, and power points during college!  They definitely will be waiting for you to go back to them.  Keep in mind that procrastinating will always a bad idea, so keep it at minimum!  It’s better to be on track than to be stressing out on being behind with studying.

HEALTH IS WEALTH

Just because you are studying doesn’t mean that you have to kill yourself doing so.  Rest days are important too!  Make sure to have a day or two off from studying each week to relax your mind.  Try to have at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night so that you will be well rested.  Eat healthy, be healthy – it would be even harder to study if you weren’t feeling well.  Exercise – it can relieve the weight off your shoulders if you go out for a run or hit the gym for a good work out.

PRAYERS

Find comfort in asking for guidance before and after you study your material.  Personally, I had always asked for strength because sometimes I would doubt myself.  Remember, you want to pass this test not only for yourself, but for Him too.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO MEMORIZE EVERYTHING

Trying to memorize all the lectures, terms, formulas, and pathophysiologies is impossible.  STUDY SMART!!!  Find a technique that would be suitable for your study habits.  It would be a better advantage on your part if you tried understanding concepts more than trying to memorize every single detail (but you NEED to memorize the normal laboratory values, that’s probably one of the only exceptions).  Once you understand the important concepts, you are more likely to connect all the information together with critical thinking in answering questions.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Personally, I had difficulty answering questions thru a computer because I was used to the typical pen and paper examinations every week.  Practice answering questions online (or download Q&A apps – check out NCLEX RN Mastery 2015 and Kaplan Q banks, they’re FREE!!!) until you get tired of it.  I also bought Q&A books with rationales and read them over and over again (Saunders Q & A Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination 6th Edition and Kaplan NCLEX-RN Strategies, Practice & Review with Practice Test 2015-2016 were my best friends for months!).  I think that I had probably answered more than 5,000 questions before taking my exam (haha, it was totally a love-hate situation).

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

I think that one of the hardest things about the NCLEX-RN was waiting.  I HONESTLY HATED IT.  I had waited 4 months before getting my ATT (I also had to fly back to the Philippines to get some missing requirements, but that was my fault haha so this is an avoidable situation).  After the exam, you have to wait a few days before knowing if you passed or failed — SO AGONIZING!!  There are a few ways to check if you have passed or failed hours after your test (PEARSON VUE TRICK), but it is not 100% accurate – best thing to do is wait!  I remember that I had cried so much after my NCLEX-RN because I had stopped at #76/77 and I was just overwhelmed by it all.

Everything may seem impossible when you are preparing for something really important, but always remember — if there’s a will, there’s a way.  Hard work, perseverance and sacrifice will always pay off in the end.

EAT THE NCLEX FOR BREAKFAST BECAUSE YOU CAN DO IT AND YOU WILL.     

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Expect when you’re expecting

Hello, hola, mabuhay, bonjour, 안녕하세요, ハロー

Welcome to The Tracy Express, otherwise known as TREX.

Soooooo…blogging huh? What exactly do you expect when you are expecting — especially from this blog.  I have been wanting to do this for about a year, but unfortunately I have been putting this off due to a whole handful of things and of course, procrastination.  I had promised myself that once I had passed my state boards (FYI I PASSED GUYS!!!), I would begin sharing my life experiences this 2016.

You are probably wondering, “Oh, who is she and what does she want?”  In general, I am a lot of things: daughter, sister, friend, registered nurse, the laziest athlete you will ever meet, but you can just call me Tracy.  What exactly do I want?  I find it quite amazing that a single post from a random individual may have the potential to actually inspire people from different places around the world.  Let me be that individual, let me inspire you.

There are many things that you can expect me to share on my blog: food (need I say more?), old heartbreaks (I’ll try to squeeze in an old story or two), school/education/career (mainly in Nursing), and style/shopping (I’m a girl, it’s given) to name a few.

So, are you ready?  All aboard THE TRACY EXPRESS

We are the same humans, raised from different environments.” — UnknownScreenshot 2016-07-13 23.33.53