bad poetry and my good God

Yesterday I woke up to a bad, bad poem. I stayed up all night writing it, went to sleep satisfied by it,  but as I was poised to do my second draft I just… unraveled. It was really bad. In two or three hours I was supposed to present it in class (it was my homework) but I had no strength or courage to present something I wasn’t proud of. And it wasn’t even because I didn’t give it my all – I did. Pored over it, racked my brains, squeezed whatever creativity was in my heart. One would think that hard work is always rewarded with laurels, but not really. 

Tough times, tough times.

Some of my friends and I have formed a little study group – we’ve been meeting every night to be productive and support each other in between. I have been blessed by the conversations we have, the company they give, the comfort of knowing you’re not alone in struggling to achieve your dreams. I have nothing but love and intense admiration for each of them… but my heart. My heart has been so toxic lately.

When our little study group meets, well, I don’t really “study”. I write. I read books on film, because I’m too impatient to wait for film school. I work on whatever freelance work I may have pending. The others – one is studying for a regional quizbowl competition (she’s representing her university!), one is studying for his upcoming board exams, the other is studying and working on her thesis on chemical engineering. And me, well, I just sit there and stare at the walls and try, desperately try to write. 

I’ve had a lot of time yesterday to process all the voices hounding me (yey, day-off) and this is embarrassing to write. But I know somebody somewhere have heard the same voices, maybe believed them, too; so let this be our virtual hug, virtual high five, all that.

To start – there was my very very bad poem. Then there’s my attempts to study film. I borrowed books from the library. I tried to sit and write short films. I wish I was kidding when I tell you that I’ve been stuck on scene 2 for three days now. There’s also work. I can’t say much about it but it has been very, very frustrating. In all aspects I’ve been feeling really small. Unappreciated. Not good enough.

I wish those were just feelings but the story is different when you got actual, tangible proofs that you are not good enough. Like that bad poem. Or my cursor blinking for hours on page one. Or one of my bosses working on what we should’ve been working, because what we already did (or do, apparently) seems to be never good enough. The fake applause is much more painful than the silence.

I thought hard about my life. Felt frustrated that I could’ve chosen to heal people or build power plants or uphold the Philippine economy but what did I choose to do? I chose to put words beside each other on paper. When my teacher gave this writing assignment, he said he didn’t want to hear poetry that sounded like prose.

I read and reread my piece and I just wanted to take the words and punch them one by one. None of them were good enough. Nagmana yata sa akin.

Oh. what I would give to be squeaky clean and graceful and perfect. To be smart, productive, useful. To be able to write well everyday forever. Sounds like a dream. Days like this make me wanna curl up and do nothing, be nothing, because it does feel that way. Maybe I’m not cut out for greatness. Maybe my words don’t resound as much as I dreamed they would. Maybe I’m not supposed to be.. good? Just okay. Occasionally bad. Quiet, obscure, bla bla bla

THANKFULLY, my God doesn’t tolerate me when I marinate myself in lies. Thankfully with Him it’s never about what I can do, but who I am in light of what He’s done for me. I gaze upon the cross and suddenly it doesn’t matter that I wrote a very bad poem and it ruined me. Doesn’t matter that I’m 21 and in a world celebrating young achievers I’ve only had one (1) short film. Whenever I’m at the feet of Jesus my words stop becoming my master because they do not give me life. But His words do. I can be messy, fractured, have wrong grammar for days and that’s okay.

He said His banner over me is love, how grateful I am that it is true. David once sung that whenever his heart was faint he looked to the rock that was higher than him.  It is the hardest to look up when shattered hopes and perpetually delayed dreams weigh you down. But when you do, when you finally manage to look up – you find strength. Hope. Your identity.

Maybe I have to remind myself more often that I am not meant to be Krizia the Writer. Or Krizia the Filmmaker. God is a giver of good gifts, and maybe one day those will be true, but those are subtitles. He created me to be His daughter. That’s who I am. That’s why His Son had to bleed Himself dry on the cross, paying for sins that I committed with my hands, heart, head. He wants to be the lover of my soul. He wants me to know Him and behold His glory and be filled by His beauty and when I couldn’t contain any of His goodness anymore maybe I’ll use some of my words to write about it. Maybe put pictures on screens and make it move. 

To end this, I begged (and maybe dared) God to confirm my calling. I did not want to waste time. I was so ready to shift careers. I was so sure I am not cut out for this. I looked for comfort in Isaiah 40, my go-to, and instead I found this:

You who bring good news to Zion,
    go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,

    lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
    say to the towns of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”

To be continued, then.

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