Monday, December 21, 2015


Metro Manila scares the shit out of me.

If I could choose, I'd never leave Santa Rosa. I'm always so anxious and suspicious of people when I'm in Manila. In fact, this anxiety had kept me from living my life to the fullest when I was in college. I just never felt secure, no matter how long I stayed. And now that I only go there when needed, the anxiety I get before every trip is much worse.

What am I afraid of? Getting run over, cockroaches, pickpocketers, slashers, armed thieves, armed lunatics, traffic, rain, casual rudeness, scam artists... the list is long. And my fears are not helped by the news. It's as if all of the new Modus Operandis are rampant in Manila, especially now during the holidays, and when I'm here in the Safe South, I just don't want to come back (even though where I am isn't 100% guaranteed safe either!).

But you know what? Once I'm there, my commuter switch turns on and I've always come home just fine. In fact I'm one of the calmest people during long waits and traffic jams (even after being puked on by a baby that one time). The worst I've ever been is tired and dirty. I've been very lucky.

Most of the fear only exists before the fact, but it causes enough stress to have bad repercussions all on its own, outside of whatever happens to me when I'm actually out there. It causes sleepless nights, falling hair, and severe anxiety.

It's amazing to know that most of the bad things that happen to me happen inside my head.

In a recent interview, Justin Trudeau said "Fear doesn't make us any safer. Fear makes us weaker." And at least for my own life, this has proven to be true to a point. I do believe that my cautious nature has protected me from many dangers in my life, and I will continue to be careful, but worrying about what I cannot control just wears me out. There are times where I just need to step out of my literal comfort zone. And when those times come, like today, it's better that I just save my energy for the actual trip ahead rather than for tossing around in bed the night before.

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