Girl Code: Don't Let Me Down

This week, the girls find ways to dance around disappointment.


We're on the beach. I can't see a thing, but I can feel the fine sand between my toes. The salty scent in the wind that whips my hair is unmistakable. I've given up on asking my Mom what this is for, but a tiny voice in my head is telling me who's behind all of this.

We come to an abrupt stop and Mom says, "Okay, kiddo. Time to remove your blindfold." My heart is pounding and my hands are slick with sweat. I feel a set of hands remove the blindfold, but my eyes are still squeezed shut. 

"Open your eyes, loser," I hear ate Sam's voice and my eyes instantly open in surprise. She lets out a laugh when she sees my face, then turns me around.

I can't breathe.

Around me are my family members. On the sand are photos of my memories with James: the photo of the neon pink cotton candy we ate when we went to the carnival, the flickering campfire from our camping trip, and the footsteps on the sand when we went to this same beach for the very first time.


I stand there and look down at the photos. I feel the sand between my toes and the salty wind in my hair. I blink back the tears in my eyes.

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And when I look up, I see James. 

"Hi, Rae. I know this is a bit over the top, so I made sure only your family and I would witness this. It's been a while... And I thought about our last conversation long and hard. In the end, I just wanted to know... Um. If you'd go to ball with me?"

He's nervous as hell, and I throw my head back and laugh. All the laughter I've suppressed in the past months just flows out and I'm crying and giggling like a lunatic. I wipe away the tears in my eyes, and take a second to compose myself and shout, "Of course, you idiot."


Dear Diary


Dear Diary,

Rae is going to grad ball already. I can’t believe how fast she’s growing up. I wish I could tell her to slow down with her boy problems and just enjoy being young and carefree. Life is going to be so different for her once she goes to college. It’s a whole different world. I miss it so much. It was such a safe place compared to this fresh-grad life. I feel like a bird that’s been thrown out of the nest and barely knows how to fly. Everything is such a mess.

I texted Ben today. I know, what was I thinking. I got all emotional thinking about Rae growing up and I figured my ego wasn't worth all the drama with Ben. We shared three years together, and that's got to be worth something. Right?

Sam: Hi, Ben. It’s been a while since we last talked. I’m sure you’re going to read this, raise your eyebrows, roll your eyes, and ignore me. But I just feel that we’ve both been given enough time to think about what happened and where to go from here.  Sam: I’m still sorry for what happened, but I wish we could meet up to talk about it. I want you to understand where I was coming from, and I want you to understand that I’m not a villain. I know it’s a long shot but let me know if you’re free to meet up for some coffee.  Ben: Hey, Sam. I’m quite surprised you texted. Thought you had moved on already with that Mike guy.  Sam: There isn’t anything going on with Mike. It was really nothing this entire time. There’s no need to be mean. I’m really trying here.  Ben: Don’t worry, I know we had a lot of reasons for breaking up. You and I both know it was a long time coming.


Sam: So, coffee?  Ben: What for? Why do you want to meet and talk?  Ben: why not just continue not talking, going on with our separate lives  Sam: I don’t know… closure? So we can say everything that needs to be said and move on?  Ben: I think the true sign of moving on is knowing you have so much to say but realizing there’s no point in saying it.  Sam: I just want to explain my side  Ben: What for? It’s not going to bring anything back.  Sam: Because I want to prove to you that it wasn’t just my fault, ok? I want you to know where I was coming from and maybe give our relationship some credit? I know we aren’t getting back together and that wasn’t my motivation.

Ben: Look, Sam. You don’t need to prove anything. We were a team for 3 years. Nothing is going to discredit that. I loved you, and probably will always think you’re special. We don’t need to meet and set facts straight.  Ben: and you don’t need to feel guilty. I know I wasn’t a perfect boyfriend either  Sam: So that’s it? No proper goodbye? Just leave everything hanging? I don’t need to prove anything to you. I just want to catch up, see how you’re doing, and maybe end things properly instead of breaking up over a text message. Why can’t you see that? I’m setting my pride aside here. I know we were falling apart and I didn’t do enough to save it, but come on, Ben. I’m just asking for coffee.  Ben: Alright. Fine. We can meet up for coffee.


Now I just feel stupid for even reaching out to him. How can he seriously think that we could end our relationship via text and then just leave it at that? “Not going to bring anything back?” God! I don’t even WANT to get back with him. I think it’s high time I stay single for a while. Relationships are so exhausting.




April 29, Friday

I haven't written in this journal for a while, so... greetings, half-hollowed pages.

Well, the only reason I’m writing here is because I'm still not sure if I should tell Raya just yet. I know I'll tell her soon when I clarify the matter with myself, but right now, I’m still quite iffy.

I have a new crush.

I've taken Raya's words to heart, and I've done some self-evaluating. I've realized that there are some things and people I need to loosen my grip on, and yes, one of those people is James. I think I've moved on from him. I don't love him any less, I actually love him more. I appreciate his little gestures from a non-romantic standpoint now, and it makes everything much lighter and much easier on the chest. There is utter bliss in not having a crush. Total freedom. Finally, I'm completely happy.


Well, I was for about a day and a half, at least. Until James introduced me to Brian. Brian Lopez.

Brian is apparently James's childhood friend. Funny, I've never heard of him. Brian plays football, so we got along pretty well. We support opposing football teams (I support Real Madrid, he supports FC Barcelona), but we still clicked.

Nights subsequent to the day I met him, we would talk for hours on end. You might think: Oh wow, nighttime, how romantic! How mysterious! Well no, it's none of that; that's the only time our schedules are in sync—athlete problems.

I'm not expecting much from this teenie-tiny crush though. I just hope I won't end up hurting myself in the process, and I hope he won’t let me down.


New email


---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Alex Lacsamana<alacsamana@EagleAdGroup.com.ph>

Date: Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 9:12 AM

Subject: Re: Final Slides - PITCH DAY

To: LessandraVenzon<lvenzon@EagleAdGroup.com.ph>

*Sending this again as a final reminder. As previously agreed on by the team, taking a vacation leave does NOT exempt you from your responsibilities when it comes to this particular project. Reply ASAP.


Where are your slides? Charles needs to input them all into one computer so tomorrow’s presentation will be seamless. We do not want to waste our clients’ time; they are already on the fence about partnering with us for the new facial wash commercial.

Give me a heads up once accomplished.



* * * * *

From: Cristina Venzon<cristina777@gmail.com>

Date: Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 6:03 PM

Subject: Please come home

To: LessandraVenzon<lissavenzon@gmail.com>


Benji and Darren called me last night saying you decided to “run away” from home??? You know you can always run to me when life gets a little too overwhelming. Don’t make your brothers worry—they already worry about you enough. I’m so frustrated because I can’t just get on a plane from New Zealand to come and help them find you… Knowing you, I know you’re safe, but please, for everyone’s sake, Anak, just send us a message to let us know you really are. I’m making the worst scenarios up in my head; it’s been one week since you were gone. Everybody is worried sick.


We love you very much, Lissa. Please don't disappoint me now.










About the author
Gaby Flores
Girl Code author
When she's not taking three-hour naps, watching makeup vlogs, or drowning in microscope slides of 48-hour chick embryos, Gaby spends her downtime with her jammies on and her nose in a book. As a self-confessed bibliophile, reading has always been her first love, and it's been that way for as long as she can remember. It started as an addiction to Dr. Seuss' Bartholomew and the Oobleck when she was barely three years old, and it has grown into a fervent love for the written word. In fact, it's from her favorite book, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, that she gets the inspiration to write about someone so radically different from her: Rae. Writing each chapter as the soft-spoken, sensitive Rae is a challenge for someone as effervescent as Gaby, but she takes it the way she does an impossible Embryology exam: with a prayer, a lot of verve, and the excitement of venturing into the unknown.
About the author
Chandra Pepino
Girl Code author
Chandra is 20 years old, a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, and a writer for Candy Magazine and Real Living online. She writes to heal herself, not from pain, but from curiosity—the world is mad and cold, but writing warms her soul. You will find her nose buried in the works of Chuck Palahniuk and Haruki Murakami, but in real life, her loved ones are her muses. Lissa is, in a lot of ways, Chandra’s twin, and yet her polar opposite: she is impulsive, introverted, and very, very hard on herself. But Lissa is also loyal to her friends, and when she finally falls in love, you’ll find that she falls hard and fast. If you ever see Chandra in person, say hello. She'd love to have coffee with you. Conversations are her favorite.
About the author
Joanna Kennedy
Girl Code author
As a former member of the Candy Council of Cool, Joanna is no stranger to writing for Candy Magazine. Inspired by fleeting expressions, old photographs, song lyrics, and illustrations, she started writing on a private blog at the age of 14. While it started off as a hobby, the daily practice of writing short fiction turned into a full-blown passion. Aside from writing, she owns a bar named Walrus, works in events, and is a travel junkie! Frequently found soaking up the Philippines' beaches, her next travel dream is to hike in the Himalayas and backpack across Mongolia on horseback.
About the author
Niña Alvia
Girl Code author
Eighteen-year-old Niña was never a Team Captain, nor was she a part of any National Team (spoiler alert!), but her world revolves around sports. Now she lives vicariously through the character of Charlie, tackling issues such as teenage angst and struggling with change. Niña is a Sport Studies major in UP Diliman, and may look familiar to UAAP fans as this season's Courtside Reporter for UP. Aside from writing quick reports about the UAAP games, she blogs about her personal musings along with her sartorial attempts on ninaalvia.blogspot.com. Her favorite writers are Margaret Zhang, a blogger, and J.K. Rowling.

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I was, but I am not. Desperately, I am trying to reach you – my hope. I am in this particular space in my own constructed world where doubts and frustrations recur. Emphasizing how scared I am being here, I never explored this area before. I was always in those places filled with benevolence, hope shining like the light the sun and the moon possess. And I didn’t have any plans to visit a ‘dark’ place, as how I described it then. But, as funny as how my world suddenly flipped, I am now here, completely lost with monsters persuading me to go insane.

How did I end up here? I can’t logically tell you the answer for that, but I guess, I know when. It started when I had to consider what college course do I want to pursue. Well, if you want to ask what ambition had occurred in my mind when I was young – which is usually the case in terms of life when you were like 7-year-old young - it was definitely being a doctor. I’d thought about wearing a medical coat with a stethoscope around my neck, ready to cure people from their illnesses. It was actually stuck in my mind for so long I almost thought that I was sure of it, yet, as a particular song yields, almost was never really enough and still, it is and will never be.

When I realized that such a perspective was slowly draining me, I tried my best to stand tough. I convinced myself that this was just temporary, that I could think of a way out of this. “There’s still plenty of time,” I once convinced myself. However, my environment demonstrated the contrary: I felt like I was completely out of time.

I was there when my classmates were happily talking about that ‘dream course’ they wish to take in their ‘dream university.’ I was there when my family was suggesting the thought of using my ‘suitable’ speaking voice for broadcasting and voice acting purposes. I was there when my teacher was convincing me that Education suited me the best. That ‘Stand tough!’ aura I used to own back then, suddenly transformed into ‘I give up!’ state, slowly destroying my being. And now, I am here in this space where doubts and frustrations are filling my former enthusiastic self. I need help.

I know, at this point, some of you may never consider me ‘fatal’ because, as you’re reading this, you may judge that I still have the ability to transform my thoughts into words that can be read, so that ‘automatically’ falls into the aspect of complete sanity. No, because I will never tell everything to you in the first place if I still have the urge to stand like I used to, relative to my belief that speaking up through writing is the best way to attract help.

When you look at the photo of mine above, you may say that I was okay. That I was successful. That I was never losing myself. Yes, I was. But, think about what happened days after that was taken and the message of this passage you started reading minutes before, do you think I am still the same girl smiling in the photo? I hope I will be or better yet, improve if the world will permit me. But, now I’m sure – I’m not the same.


This blog is dedicated to all teens out there struggling in determining what they really want in their life or if you simply want a glow up. And since were still facing a pandemic, I think this is also a season where everyone is re-thinking about their lives. So, I hope these advices might help you.

Tip #1. TAKE RISK - since most of you are still young, I advice you to take your biggest risk. Whether it may be taking the course you want, a skill you want to acquire or just simply taking the risk to throw away your emotional baggage from your childhood. While you're still young, you have very little to lose. You dont have that much commitments and responsibilities. Because the older you get, the more responsibilities and obligations came. So when they are still not piling up, take the risk! As for me, the biggest risk I took when I was still a teenager is to CUT OFF TOXIC FAMILY TIES.

I may sound rude here but, yeah. I decided to throw away my emotional baggage from my traumatic childhood and cut off some of my family ties and it is completely okay! You dont have to be bothered by whatever they will say. Because at your age, you are already investing on your growth as a person. If you really want to grow, THERE IS NO PERFECT TIME FOR YOU TO TAKE RISK BUT NOW. Because in taking risk you are actually giving yourself a reward of getting something amazing or beyond what you expect you can have. As they say, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Keep in mind that the bigger the risk, the bigger possibility of FAILURE. But that is completely OKAY. Because just like what I said earlier, you are still young. You dont have so much to lose so, dont be afraid to take the risk and then fail. But after failing, learn from it and the more courage you have to take risk the greater the learning, reward or happiness. Ito na nga, how to take risk nga ba? And what are the risk that would actually help me to grow? #

2: VOICE LESSON - dont get me wrong, hindi ito vocalization para sa pagkanta. What I mean is, learn to listen to that VOICE INSIDE YOU. Listen to your heart, to your intuition and to your visions because it will be your GUIDE. Because I realize that as you go along your journey of your life and if you really want to be YOURSELF and be successful in achieving your goals, the only GUIDE that you should follow is your OWN VOICE.

It is okay to take and consider other people's advices but at the end of the day,you should never forget to listen to your own voice. Because that voice is what tells you what you truly want. How would you know that if it is your 'own' voice? Your own voice always comes from your HEART. The voice where YOU and GOD'S voice are one. Because I firmly believe that God knows your heart and that is where he reside. I like journaling because whenever I journal my thought every night and every morning, I feel a dual voice inside my head. Like, it contradicts what the other voice is telling. For example: If we have dreams or goals that puts us so much weight and pressure to the point that it makes you exhausted, STOP. Because it might be a dream or goal of someone else. I believe that your own dreams and goals may be frustrating most of the time, but that frustration has fueling feeling that will always tell you that 'This is the hard way to better so keep going'. Frustration in your own dreams will not make you feel exhausted because achieving a dream itself is a fulfilling feeling.

#3. TAKE ACTION - if you really want something to happen, take action. Dont just sit there and wait things to come your way. Make action or decisions that will take you to where you want to go in your life. Just like what I said in one of my novels that I am writing in wattpad, "There is no such thing as destiny or fate. Because YOU make your OWN life choices." For example, I cannot expect to be a published author if I dont write any novels right? The bottomline here is, if you are not moving forward you are actually moving backward. And it is a sad thing. Life is full of situations where you will be put in the line whether you take courage or just stay where you are. Because GROWING needs consistency in moving forward. So if you dont have to enough courage to take action, your life will always stay the same or worse you will continuously shrink down.

#4. EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS - this means stretching your comfort zone. I watched an anime entitled "Black Clover" there is a captain there where he always tell his subordinates to surpass their limits right, here right now. Going out of our comfort zones are surely scary and uncomfortable. But you have to accept the fact that you cannot stay on the coast forever. You have to change, because the only thing that is constant in this world is change right? Go out of your comfort zones because LIMITS are just in the MIND. There are disabled people who are successful in their own careers. Because the lesson here is, if you hold back there will be no growth. Because GROWTH blooms in DISCOMFORT.

Last, #5. INVEST IN YOURSELF - especially now that you are still young, you should focus on investing on yourself more. Time is your bestfriend at this point of your life. You have so much time to discover things about yourself. I never regret buying and reading books that I never knew will help me later on in dealing life's challenges. You can use that time to read books, gain wisdom, or pick a new skill, improve your talent and learn from your experiences. Keep learning outside your home or your school. Because the real battlefield is OUTSIDE. What you learn in school will only help you in your career but your wisdom and experiences will help you in life or as a person. People who doesnt embrace growth will never succeed in their life. (This is a reflection blog from my 21st birthday last week. I hope you can feature this on your page and I hope it can help others as well. )

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