I find it really ironic how I managed the past semester’s academic hurdles without once shedding a tear, but am sobbing right now, having shoved my face in my pillow – on my birthday no less.

And it’s not even the happy sobbing, nor the thankful one. It’s the sob that makes people, comfort you, or pity you even. It’s the sob of feeling sorry for yourself.

And no, I don’t feel sorry because I didn’t reach a certain quota of greetings anywhere, nor because not a single person waited for the clock to strike 12 to post on my wall or anything. I felt sorry for myself because I knew I deserved better.

I deserve to own this specific 24 in the 8760 hours in the year. I deserve to be happy today more than the other 364 days of the year. I deserved even a few seconds of my friends’ time tell me they love and appreciate my presence in their lives. I deserved at least that.

Really, no one should suffer that fate on their birthdays. The awkwardness in the expectation that your closest friends will do something for you. The pang in the chest that crosses you when you realize they didn’t even remember. The realization and confirmation that you aren’t as important enough to them as they are to you.

It’s the confirmation I needed to see who the people who even care for me are. And ironically, though that’s probably due to the familiarity, my recent org and block greeted me first. (In fact, scrap first, they were the only ones who greeted me.) I felt like I wad abandoned by people who I once invested my time and efforts to building relationships with. I felt abandoned by the same people who called me “best friend” and “sister”.

It’s a slap in the face. A wake-up call.

That friends are products of our time and situation. That quality is always better than quantity.

And even when you think you have both, that’s not an assurance. Because friendships will always be two-way. Too much from’s and no to’s is unhealthy. Friendships like that are superficial. The kind you don’t remember after not seeing them a mere year after graduation. The kind that forgets. or worse, isn’t even interested to know.

It’s devastating to know that the investment that I give in every singe relationship I’m in is not even reciprocated in the least. It’s heartbreaking

I’ve always disliked myself. Hated even.

But yesterday, I just wished I could give myself a big hug and endless pats in the back.

If it weren’t for my family, who’ve been my constants thru all the bullying, the discriminations, the rejections, the failures, I wouldn’t be able to survive yesterday.

I ended my night by reading the messages by my family, first from my awkward brothers, from my mom, then the one sent by my Papa first thing in the morning. “We’re lucky to have you Nikki. We’re very proud of you. We love you so much”. I sobbed so hard I frigging swear.

My parents called me late that night. I talked to them for about an hour about all the silly things. Hearing their voices and consolation made me want to jump to Bicol right then and there.

I never celebrated my birthday with my family the past few years. I either was in my dorm, or in Manila. But yesterday June 19 2017, it didn’t feel like it.

I wish I can just stop studying and just spend more time with them. But I know I can’t. It’s for them that I continue acting tough and persevere amidst the consequences.

It’s for them that I even bother understanding theoretical things that don’t seem to make sense. To make them proud.

I’m reminded of why I existed for 19 years now.

All for them. All for the Lord.