Counting Tuesdays

I’m writing this because unlike most of my friends, I believe that 2016 deserves an essay from me. I experienced the lowest of lows that year and I have no idea how I managed to survive all of that. To say 2016 is full of crap wouldn’t be fair to all of the good things that happened last year. With lows are highs, with highs are lows, and the space in between is big enough to make room for learning and realization.

Nope, this isn’t a resolution post because I know at some point this year I’ll be breaking my own rules. I’m just writing this to resurrect my blog and to pay tribute to all the events that happened last year. It’s also a post I intend to go back to, should I doubt myself once again in the future.

So, here we go. In 2016, I learned…

That Every Minute Is Literally A Chance to Turn It All Around

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Words of wisdom c/o A. (c) 2016 | Canon 550D

There are so many things that I don’t post on social media mainly because I feel like they shouldn’t be there. I’ve actually been struggling with the whole sharing my life vs keeping things private shiz that’s why I’ve been on and off with my blogging. On one hand yes it’s fun to have an audience and thousands of followers, but on the other hand, it’s not fun to have an audience and thousands of followers. Anyway, back to the story. I found myself in a hellhole that started around April. It was tough and at some point I wanted to give up. Good thing I had my family, and close friends with me that time because they pulled me back up with I hit rock bottom. The problem would have lingered a lot longer if I didn’t decide to put an end to it by looking for ways to solve it.

That the Sun Shines Equally On Everybody

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Sun catchers | (c) 2016, Canon 550D

Some days I agree with it, some days I don’t. I mean really, how can the sun shine on the murderers, the rapists, the robbers, the naysayers, or people who don’t have at least 1% of kindness in their hearts? How can the sun shine on those who gave me a hard time? How can the sun shine on all the douchebags who broke my heart?

But the more humbling question is, who am I to decide?

I first heard about it in August and I’m still not able to digest it. On the days that my higher self is more dominant, the statement makes perfect sense. When you set your judgement aside, you’ll be able to see that indeed, the sun shines equally on all of us. However, when the higher self decides to go on a vacation, that’s when all the questions begin to appear. This is something that I’ll have to keep going back to during reflection and meditation.

That I Have to be Kinder to Myself

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I | (c) 2016, Canon 550D

I went on an art therapy session once and the funny thing is, my art revealed the things I tried so hard to conceal. Of course the things discussed during the session won’t be revealed here, but if there’s one realization that struck me, it’s that I have to be kinder to myself. It’s easy to be kind to other people but it’s hard when the same amount of kindness has to be given to ourselves.

That Grieving is Personal

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My babies | (c) 2016, Asus Zenfone

When Marley and Roxy died, people were quick to tell me that it’s okay, they’re just dogs and that I should move on. I tried my best to filter out the words of nosy naysayers because really, what do they know? I took my own sweet time to process, recover, and accept their deaths. Some say I’m taking an awfully long time to move on, but for me, the speed is just right. I also don’t believe in moving on because that means having to cancel out their existence and forgetting about them. I’d rather move forward. I wear my scars with pride, and I carry their memory everywhere I go. This is also why this entry is entitled Counting Tuesdays because both dogs died on a Tuesday, both dogs died last year, and it feels like the perfect title for a tribute post to the year that was.

That Family is Everything

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Ohana with my ohana | (c) 2016, Canon 550D

I was helping my grandfather stand up from the hospital bed when I realized that I was holding the hands of a man who used to hit me with a belt/slipper/wood/whatever. The very hands that would spill rock salt on the wooden floor and ask me to kneel on them. I was looking at the eyes of the man who once grabbed me and threw me on the wall. I was assisting the man who once called me stupid just because I had a red mark on my report card.

But know what? None of that mattered. Set all the disciplinary stuff aside, I know that my grandfather meant well when he did all of those. I wouldn’t be able to write all these entries if it weren’t for him. When the world told me that I’m an accident, my grandfather agreed with my mom when she said I’m a blessing. He’s still one of the few men I look up to and I can only pray that he’ll be with me on my wedding day. That man means the world to me.

That the World Needs More Love and Light

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Paper Cranes | (c) 2016, Canon 550D

Oh man, where do I begin? For the most part of last year, I’ve been trying to tune out the negative juju. People are so quick to bash other people these days, those who scheming minds are now in positions of power, and don’t get me started on the cruelty that we’ve been showing to Mother Earth. I’m just hoping that things will turn around this 2017.

2016 was insane, and I’m sure all of you will agree with me. I’m not sure what 2017 has up its sleeve but what I do know is this: I’m ready to face the challenges that it’ll throw my way.

Bring. It. On.

Snippets

Emotions are useless if you don’t produce creative outputs. Some will disagree with this but for me, emotions should serve as fuel for something. The best songs/crafts/artworks I have were made when I was emotional. The emotion doesn’t have to be good or bad, it just has to be something that you can use to release your creativity.

That said, I’ve been trying to write a song this past week to hopefully celebrate Marley’s life through the lyrics. I’ve been told that a sennheiser hd 202¬†will help get things done, but for now I just want to focus on the words I’ll be putting in the song. I only have a few lines for now but I’m hoping I can come up with something soon. Stay tuned!

Questions

I won’t lie, I still haven’t gotten over Marley’s death and I think it will stay that way for some time. It’s not about playing victim, nor is it about begging for attention. It’s about accepting, dealing, processing, all these emotions. Guilt is one thing, grief is another, but when you add regret, frustration, sadness, and anger you enter this carnival of emotions. One minute you’re up, next minute you’re down, and the only person who understands everything is yourself.

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(c) Aliya Agbon, 2015

I’ve been asking a lot of questions the past weeks and I have yet to find the answers to them. I was once told that the questions we ask are more important that the answers, and that the answers change depending on the questions we ask. So I’ve altered words, punctuations, and tones, hoping that I wake up to an epiphany the next day but to no avail.

I’ll just have to keep on asking, I guess. After all, isn’t that what this life is all about? Ask questions, get answers.

The Healing Power of Music

I was browsing random websites the other day when I chanced upon Music Center USA. Seeing their collection of musical instruments made me want to pour my heart out on sheets of paper and write songs for Marley and Roxy. I’ve always believed that the universe makes us feel these emotions so we can create beautiful things from them. It’s a shame if we just let these moments pass us by.

I have every intention of writing a song for Marley in the days to come. I’ll post it here, so stay tuned. ūüôā

A Tale of Two Beagles

Two years and four months ago, I sat on the edge of my bed, thinking of ways to put Marley to sleep. It was his first time in our house and he couldn’t stop running around the place. Such a curious little thing. The dining area was a huge playground for him and the more I begged him to sleep, the more he ran, as if asking me to play with him. I remember posting a question on Facebook and asking other dog owners for tips on how to¬†deal with puppies. Most of them said that I have to be patient because it’s not easy task. I tried different techniques, even tricking Marley into falling asleep, but to no avail. I was sleepless for two months!

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Marley @ 2 Months | (c) Aliya Agbon, 2016, Canon 550D

 

But that’s how I learned to be his mom. Sometimes we buy pets thinking that our role is limited to just being their owners when in fact, our responsibility is so much more than that. With Marley, I had to learn how to scoop poop, clean pee, and deal with the many scars I gained on both arms and legs because of his sharp nails. He never bit me, although there were times when he attempted to, because I’d make it very difficult for him to access his food.

On our third month together, I realized that he was already seeing me as his “mom” because he’d run to me and ask me to carry him when I arrive home, and cry hard whenever I have to go. He’d follow me everywhere I go, and he’d find ways to still see me when I’m busy with crafts at the work area. He’d greet me first thing in the morning and I’d hold his front paws so we can do our “good morning dance”. I’d sing to him, tell him how much I love him, and give him a belly rub before sending him to bed.

 

As months went on, we noticed so many things about him, like how much he enjoys running around the garden. He enjoys barking at the dogs outside our house, and then he runs around the garden once more while waiting for the next opportunity to bark at somebody. Whenever I notice that he’s sad or mad at Taz, the other male dog, I take him out for a drive around the city with Manong Noning because he enjoys riding the car. He loves the view, he loves sitting on my lap, and he likes to put his head outside the car window to enjoy the the wind on his long ears.

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Marley and the Moth | (c) Aliya Agbon, 2016, Canon 550D

My mom gave him ube ice cream for his first birthday and he enjoyed it so much! He devoured every single bit of it. He likes eating what we’re eating, and hates it when I tell him he’s not allowed to eat chocolates. He enjoys playtime with the other dogs at 4 in the afternoon, and joins us when he sees us making our way back to the house. He enters the house and sleeps under the dining table or my mom’s bed at around 6 PM and come 10 PM, follows when I ask him to go outside. He’d argue with me sometimes, but after receiving two of his favorite biscuits, he’d oblige.

My thoughts are always with him whenever I travel, and I’d make sure that I have something for him whenever I return home. It’s always a joy to see him, after weeks of being in another city for work. His hugs and kisses are always worth looking forward to, mainly because they are genuine and sincere.

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My guard fell asleep | (c) Aliya Agbon, 2016, Canon 550D

When he was a year and seven months old, we introduced him to Roxy, his partner. Roxy was a different character. She has this weird way of running, her howl sounds funny, and she has this habit of hugging poles whenever she senses that Manong Noning is preparing their food.

Having Roxy around meant having to learn to be a mom all over again but this time, I was faced with another challenge: how to balance my attention between the two beagles. There were times when Marley felt left out and I’d explain things to him to help him understand. After a month Marley finally learned to accept that Roxy will be sharing his space with him and that she is his partner, not his enemy. They’d play around at exactly four in the afternoon and come night time, they’d sleep beside each other. They eventually became best friends. As a matter of fact, they were both holding each other’s paws on ¬†New Year’s Eve because they were scared of the fireworks.

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My babies | (c) Aliya Agbon, 2016, Asus Zenfone

Everything was okay, until we noticed that Roxy was getting weaker and weaker. After a series of sessions with the vet, we were told that she has Ehrlichiosis and they cannot guarantee her survival. We did the best we could but on February 2016, just a few days before my first marathon, Roxy went to heaven.

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Roxy | (c) Aliya Agbon, 2016, Canon 550D

It was so painful, I spent weeks crying, and for a long time, I had to struggle with her absence. I decided to focus on taking care of Marley, and it helped so much that my family was there to join me on my journey. As months went on, Marley and I grew closer. There are times when we’d just sit on the floor and enjoy each other’s company. I’d sing to him sometimes, and when we’re both in the mood, we’d play catch. I enjoyed watching him sleep at night and sometimes I’d wake him up just so I can hug him tight. I made sure that he knew how much I love him.

I planned on making videos with him, training him, and playing with him. I imagined what the next few years would be like for both of us and I wondered how handsome he’d look like on the day of my wedding. Each day I’d thank God for giving me the chance to take care of him and for telling him to choose me as his mom.I looked forward to spending more years with my baby, but unfortunately, that won’t happen anymore.

Last September 20, 2016, Marley rushed outside our gate and he got hit by a car within minutes. He lost a lot of blood and he was no longer breathing when I approached him. The blithering asshole of a driver did not apologize, and nope he didn’t even stop to check if Marley was okay.

So here we are today.

It’s been two days since my baby earned his wings and we’re still trying to understand what happened. I’m hoping that this blog will help me accept things in the future, but for now I need to write down my thoughts here. I don’t understand why Marley left. There are so many evil souls in the world, why did God have to choose Marley? And seriously, why did I lose Marley and Roxy in just seven months?

I’ve been told that Marley has a higher purpose, and the world needs his light. There is so much evil in the world, and it needs the guidance of pure, spiritual beings. That does not make a lot of sense for now, but I know that in the future, I’ll be able to accept it. All I know for now is I’m waking up to a quiet house and my baby is no longer with us.

I’m trying to deal with the guilt right now. As a mom, it is my duty to protect Marley from pain. But I failed. Miserably. I keep seeing snapshots of his dead body on the street and it keeps on breaking my heart. I’ve been crying non-stop since the day he died and I don’t think I’ll be stopping anytime soon. For now I just want to deal with the fact that he went ¬†home to meet his Maker. For now, I just have to try to process things in the hopes that someday, it will all make sense.

When I had my heart broken before, I thought it was the end of the world. Losing Marley only made me realize that those heartbreaks are a huge ZERO compared to this one. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this type of pain before, and I’ve been trying to take things by the minute. I cry when I have to, laugh when I need to, and work when the situation calls for it. I declined a trip to Manila because it’s something I cannot do for now. I just need to be here. Where Marley is. Where Roxy is. Where family is.

I guess this is also my way of telling you, dear reader, that #beaglethemarley finally went home. I’d give anything to have him back, but I have a feeling that the world needs him more. All I can do for now is miss him, think of him, pray for him, and deal with the eerie silence now that he’s gone. The word “gone” sounds final and cuts like a knife, but it is what it is.

Two years and four months from Marley’s first night here, I’m back to sitting on the edge of my bed, but this time for a different reason. I’ve been begging for Marley and Roxy to come back and asking for the Universe to hear my plea but I have a feeling it’s just falling on deaf ears.Or not. I don’t know anymore.

My heart is in so much pain and I’m filled with questions and no answers. There are so many emotions inside me and as much as I want to believe that the sun shines equally on everybody, I demand justice for the death of my baby. Dear driver, if you’re reading this, I want you to know that you killed a beautiful soul. Maybe someday I’ll forgive you, but for now let me deal with this anger. You do not get to kill my beagle and drive away pretending that nothing happened. I wonder how your conscience lets you sleep at night. I really do.

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My baby Marley | (c) Aliya Agbon, 2015, Asus Zenfone

Marley taught me a lot of things. He taught me to be patient, he taught be to be kind and compassionate even to those who do not deserve it (eg. driver), he taught me to be playful and funny, he taught me to focus on the now, he taught me to let got of the past, he taught me to look forward to what the future has to offer, and he taught me how to love. Because that’s what Marley is. He is love. Right now, I don’t know how to move on and frankly, I don’t think I want to. What I do know, however, is that someday I will need to move forward and bring Marley and Roxy’s memories with me.

In the days to come, I want to honor Marley and Roxy by celebrating their lives and sharing to the world all of the lessons I learned from them. I’m grateful that they chose me to be their mom, and that somehow, the universe brought all of our souls together even if it was just for a short period of time.

I miss you dearly, Marley and Roxy. I am very sorry I could not save you. I am sorry I failed as your mom. I hope you forgive me.

I know you’re both watching over us. It’s painful now, and the pain has manifested physically but no worries because we’re working on it as a family. I hope that our spirits will meet again in this lifetime or the next. I also hope that when we do see each other, you’ll recognize me and I’ll recognize you. I cannot wait to see you both and hug you once again. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. Now go forth, my love! Let the world see your light! I miss you so much! I love you!

Breta

As I type this, I’m literally feeling a huge lump in my throat and a void in my chest. It sounds so dramatic and I planned on NOT writing about this here for fear of being judged but ugh, who cares? This is how I process things so I really need to write.

I just returned Breta to her owner and I’m not supposed to feel anything since she’s not my dog in the first place but here I am, writing a blog about a 3 y/o beagle who spent the past seven days with us.

Seven beautiful days. It feels like a dream.

Perhaps going back to day one will help me understand where this weird feeling of emptiness is coming from. People say we need to forget the past in order to move on but for me, I believe that we need to understand the past so we are better prepared for whatever it is that’s on our way. I’d rather acknowledge and understand than forget.

It all started two weeks ago when I received a text from Marina. She was asking if they can bring their beagle, Breta to our house. They learned about Marley’s good genes and they were wondering if the two beagles can mate. I thought of it as an answered prayer since I’ve been wanting to find a partner for Marley so I said yes. A couple of days later, Marley and I finally met Marina and Breta. After a short conversation with Marina, I was left with two beagles: a shy Breta on my left and a giddy Marley on my right.

I remember feeling a bit annoyed at first because I had so many things to do. There were articles that had to be written, crafts that needed to be finished, plus some more errands but despite my annoyance, I found myself checking on Breta every now and then. Marley immediately attempted to do what he was supposed to do but Breta just wanted to sit down and familiarize herself with the new environment.

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Seeing double | Canon 550D

Knowing that I easily get attached to people, animals, events, whatever, I kept a safe distance from Breta. I’d feed her when needed, clean her wounds and play with her for a bit but I remained distant. As days passed however, Breta showed some similarities with Roxy. That’s when that familiar area in my chest started to hurt again.

Their barks sound the same. Plus, Breta also does the little things that Roxy used to do. She’d put both front paws on my knee whenever I approach her, or she’d put both her paws on Marley’s back as he walks around the house, and she’d stick her head inside the hole on our door to see if we’re cooking food. It was bittersweet. Think of it as… still trying to be friends with the dingbat who broke your heart. No matter how much you want to break the person’s neck, you need to take the high road, stay classy, and be civil. That sounded a bit morbid but yeah, having Breta around was like that. I didn’t want to break her neck though. I just didn’t want to be overwhelmed by all of the similarities I was seeing, but I had a job to do.

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I finally decided to take down my walls of defense. I began to appreciate Breta’s presence because having her around reminded me of how things were when Roxy was still with us. I went back to feeding and playing with two beagles. Mornings once again meant receiving greetings from two happy beagles, both wagging their tales. For a brief moment, it felt like Roxy was with us once again. Everything felt right once again.

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It was fun, but then this day came. I already knew the fantasy would end at some point, and as much as I want to keep it going, I’ll have to give in and press ‘STOP’. I kept checking on Breta last night, and she was extra cuddly. Her feet were sore from stalking me all morning and I felt bad. I guess that’s how dogs are when they know they’ll be leaving soon : they stalk you, and they stare at you for a long time, as if trying to memorize every single detail.

I was bawling my eyes out hours before Marina and the owner came by for Breta. Part of me didn’t want to let go but part of me also knew that it had to be done. I managed to squeeze in a few minutes with Breta before finally bringing her downstairs. I thanked her for being with us and for allowing us to relive what life was like when there were two beagles in our house, and for doing antics that made us laugh.

Roxy, if that was your doing, tuso ka talaga. I know you would have wanted to say goodbye properly but God had other plans. If that was your way of saying goodbye, of helping me deal with the pain of losing you, of telling me that you are in good hands and that you are no longer in pain, thank you. I felt your presence, and it was a joy having you around once again. In four days you would have been a whole year older and I will blog once again on that day. For now, I’ll have to deal with missing you every single day, reliving all of our happy memories, and looking forward to that time when I’ll get to hug you once again.

To Breta’s owners, thank you. My heart is filled to the brim. Until we meet again.

Monday Moth

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Monday moth | Canon 100D

Since I saw this moth on a Monday morning, I’ll be calling it “Monday Moth”. I was on my way back to my workstation after taking more pictures for Eco Choices when I noticed that Marley was staring at something on the gate. That’s when I saw Monday Moth.

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Marley and Monday Moth | Canon 100D

At first I thought Marley was trying to ignore me because I insisted on giving him a bath this morning. I found it funny that he was sitting beside the moth and looking at it, as if trying to figure out if it’s something he can eat.

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Chillin’ on a Monday | Canon 100D

You probably think it’s weird that I’m writing about a moth and I don’t blame you. When I started with Project 366, I thought it was going to be easy, but I guess I underestimated the project. The tricky thing with ¬†Project 366 is that at some point, you run out of things to shoot. I know it’s supposed to challenge your photography skills and creativity but sometimes you just feel like you’re shooting the same subjects, and then you decide to just ¬†give up and do it next year, and then Monday Moth appears. Ding! Lightbulb!

Well, here’s to the remaining four days of the week! Cheers!

While You Were Sleeping

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Siesta | Canon 550D

Third week and the daily grind is starting to affect Project 366!Gah. Backlogs. Anyway, I was in the middle of a product shoot when this was captured. Despite the cozy pillows that we placed on his sleeping area, he prefers this spot near our window.

Flow

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The Accidental Glass Coaster | Canon 550D

You never know what to expect when you’re working with resin. Even if you strictly follow the instructions, sometimes external factors affect your output. Case in point: floral bangles. I tried to work with dried flowers and turn them into bangles, but I ended up with a bigger, and much more colorful coaster from my Alma Mater.

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Doubtful | Canon 550D

Marley is definitely not impressed with the output. Well, so was I but it was so hard to pop out the coaster. I think I spent the whole morning using up most of my upper body strength but to no avail.

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Anticipation | Canon 550D

Of course when things don’t work out, it’s¬†best to proceed to the next task so off I went to the next item on my to-do list:¬†production for Eco Choices. After hours in the work shop, I managed to finish a new set of accessories! I’ll post it tomorrow so stay tuned!

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Downward Dog | Canon 550D

When I finished production, I went outside to shoot. That’s Mordred, our Aspin, trying not to fall asleep during yoga.

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Bloom Forever | Canon 550D 

In case you want to know what happened to the coaster, ta-da! ūüôā