I Used To Listen To Up Dharma Down


I used to listen to Up Dharma Down.

I was in high school, when a friend of mine told me to listen to Oo. “Pakinggan mo…” she said. “Tagos sa buto.” She handed me the left earphone and started playing the song on her 4th gen iPod classic. As I was listening and getting a hang of the rhythm, the girl vocalist dropped these lines:

‘Di mo lang alam ako’y iyong nasaktan
O baka sakali lang maisip mo naman
Puro siya na lang, sana’y ako naman

Damn, my friend was right.

Each and every line made my heart pound like it was being beaten to death. This was the time I really felt the essence of the catchphrase, ang sakit bes. The lyrics of the song blended so well with the melody, that it gave me instant feels. I was able to relate to what they’re trying to say. The lyrics resonated with a universal truth – to finally receive reciprocation from that ‘unrequited love’ that we all have. And at that moment, that was what I longed for. At first I thought, this is stupid. I shouldn’t like boys who don’t like me back. Then I said to myself, if Up Dharma Down is singing about it, maybe it’s fine. It’s okay to like someone who obviously doesn’t like me back.

You see, I always had strong feels back then. Strong, melancholic, emo, wrist-slashing feels – but not the My Chemical Romance kind. I thought that the world forever turned its back on me and all I deserved was crap and a handful of rejections from love. So discovering songs by Up Dharma Down made me feel down, still, but hopeful, as I’m not alone in this world. I’m breathing the same air with this band that also share the same thoughts as mine – but they’re way cooler as they can translate these thoughts into songs.

Up Dharma Down became my tool for solace. It came to a point wherein I felt like the band would always have me in mind whenever they’d write songs (even if they didn’t know my existence- yet), because it seemed like they were singing about moments that occurred in my life. I played their songs whenever it would fit my current mood – which basically was everyday.

I abused the repeat button on Sana and Indak when I had my first heartbreak. I finally understood the meaning of The World Is Our Playground And We Will Always Be Home when I was trying to save my first relationship from falling apart. I convinced my friend to listen to Unspoken Definites because I thought that that song deserves some attention. I played the whole Capacities album on full-blast in my room, and had a soft spot for Feelings and Luna. All these songs consoled my heart and trained it to welcome pain with a different perspective. It made me think that there is no such thing as perfect love, only imperfect people crossing paths that are bound to part soon – and that’s okay. It’s part of the relationship package.

I used to listen to Up Dharma Down, until one day I stopped. I stopped having melancholic feelings. I stopped accepting the fact that there’s no happily ever after. I stopped believing that the world decided to forever turn its back on me. Then, I started having feelings of love. Real love. Real, happy, giddy feelings of love. I stopped relating to Parks, and Pag-Agos. Sana didn’t invoke any feelings anymore. When I’d listen to it, it just feels like I’m listening to a song with powerful lyrics – and nothing more. It stopped breaking my wall and pulling my heart down. I stopped listening to Up Dharma Down because my heart couldn’t connect to their songs anymore; songs that once comforted my sapped and burnt-out heart. I told myself that it’s a big relief, not being able to relate to these songs that I used to play over and over. A little tear rolled down, as it felt like it was an end of an era. But it’s okay, I know it’s now time to make good love come my way.

Recently, I opened my Spotify and tuned in a playlist that suggests new songs every week. The first song that played sounded quite familiar but I couldn’t seem to figure out the artist. The first few lines were ushered in by this smooth voice and my heart immediately knew. The lines spoke to me just like how Oo did, but it reinforced intense good feels.

Hindi kita iiwan
Kahit pilitin mo
Ako’y iyong iyo

I stopped listening to Up Dharma Down for a very long time. But now, I’d make an exception for this certain song. I’m sure. Sigurado.

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