Mirror

Every morning, as I prepare for work, and every night, as I prepare for bed, I tell myself that I am beautiful. My special someone tells me I’m beautiful multiple times, every single day. Sometimes, out of complete humor, I send text messages to my family, just to remind them that I am beautiful. I don’t always get the best responses, but I know deep down, they know it. Lols. There was a time though when I was not this confident and loving of myself.

I was a thin and lanky kid growing up. So thin and lanky that a relative actually told my mom I probably had tuberculosis. At first in school, it wasn’t so much about me being ‘too thin’ though. I was teased for having a ‘big nose’. “Tomato nose” that’s what I was called, and it’s the reason I’ve always been bashful about my nose. I remember one instance when a classmate told another classmate that when I smiled, my nose only got bigger. That very instance was the reason I smiled less back then.

There was also a time when I was considered ‘maitim’ (dark skinned) and ‘pangit’ (ugly). That confused me because at home, my family considered me ‘beautiful’, and no one ever called me names because of how my skin looked. It bothered me why some people in school referred to me as ‘ugly’.

I still remember those days like they were only yesterday. I still remember how I felt.

I eventually moved on from it for some time, but it was like a voice that kept haunting. You never forget those things, do you?

I started having weight issues in my 20’s. Who knew that the thin and lanky girl would get flabs in the most unflattering of places. I was mostly teased about my arms that were likened to those of a boxer’s, and my belly. I used to wear whatever I wanted, but then, I suddenly couldn’t. It felt like it didn’t fit. It felt like it didn’t look as good as it did before. It felt like it didn’t look becoming.

There was always something wrong because my body was so wrong. My body was so wrong all because it didn’t look like the others that were leaner and more shapely. I disliked my body so much that I even avoided full-length mirrors like a plague. All these, just because I didn’t look like everyone else.

It took time, like just recently, for me to realize how I allowed other people’s perception get the better of me; how much I’ve punished myself for looking the way I did; and how unforgiving I’ve become of myself.

I realized that I can’t control other people’s opinions of me. Or even if I did, I figured, it’s not going to be worth anyone’s time. But I can change how I see myself. I can change how I feel about myself. I can be more positive.

Part of the journey is surrounding myself with people who inspire and encourage, and at the same time, learning to accept and give criticisms in stride – – constructively, and not insultingly. Certainly, hateful words do not and will never help.

And of course above all, I am learning to accept myself for what I am and for what I am not, knowing that how I see myself is more important than how others see me. I take steps to better myself FOR myself.

Frankly, it’s an awesome journey to be on. ❤️

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Gift

Do you remember this?

It’s the pen that you gave me during one of our occasions as a couple. “Write your story,” it says. In the box that it came with, you attached a short note. Part of your note says, “Take this everywhere with you, and let it remind you to write your own story, your own destiny. I hope to be in it.”

I remember feeling all giddy about what your note said, and even more because, of course I knew, that you were pushing me to write again.

But I didn’t write again.

After we broke up, I stopped taking it everywhere with me. I stopped using the pen. I placed it back in its box, together with your note. I hid it somewhere I can’t immediately see. I didn’t want to be reminded of you. I didn’t want to be reminded of us.

That was almost four years ago. Over the weekend, I saw the pen, and I read your note again. There was a slight tug on my chest. It wasn’t because of past hurts, but rather for the first time, your words – – – the ones you had engraved on the pen and written on your note – – – actually, truly spoke to me.

I have since gone back to writing, and I’m creating pieces more than I’ve ever. My pieces allow me to be myself, with each work baring my soul, allowing me to be free, and hopefully reflecting honesty, sincerity, and authenticity.

With each work, my story is told; With each work, my destiny unfolds.

My life.
My own.
On my own.

Without you.

Seven

Seven years ago, a day after my last day in Xavier, I started my journey in government service, on the 1st of April in 2011. My mom thought it was an April Fools’ joke, to be asked to start on such an awkward day. It’s true though, I was asked to report on April Fools’. And report I did, excitedly.

Quite fitting though because many thought it was foolish to leave a stable job where I had already reached my peak and where, to them, I had more room to grow even further; And even more foolish to join a government agency I had no idea actually existed before. Or even if I did, I chose to ignore.

To be honest, it wasn’t an easy choice, and at one point, because almost everyone was saying it, I started to think that maybe I was being foolish.

But life’s like that, I think. It allows you to be foolish in order for you to realize what’s actually important, or what will actually make you happier. In my case, it was important for me to explore other options, to see what else is beyond the walls of Xavier, and to find fulfillment again.

And explore and find fulfillment, I did. (Also convenience.)

Foolish choices don’t always turn out well, I know, but they’re also not complete and automatic failures.

In my case, my 7-year foolish choice has turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever made.

Segregate

Been cleaning my room since yesterday afternoon, and I’m only halfway done. Everything is being categorized into ‘dump’, ‘donate’, and ‘keep’.

It’s amusing how cleaning out your stuff can turn into a trip down memory lane though, and how difficult but liberating it gets when you start deciding on what to keep and what to throw away, and how each thing, though material, has played a part in your life. It’s like saying, “I want to keep remembering this” or “I want to stop being reminded of this.” I found lots of both in my pile. I’m a hoarder, I know. I’m kind of like Sheldon in that sense although unlike him, I choose to let go of most of my stuff.

Here’s one I found that I’m choosing to keep and always be reminded of. Taken either in 2007 or 2008 for the Grade 7 yearbook, during my last year as an administrator. Quite the throwback, indeed.

Scarred (Revised)

It’s been one month and six days since my finger accident, and I’ve spent the same period of time applying Betadine and protective band-aid it. It has been one month and six days, but my finger isn’t 100% fully-functional yet. Visibly, my finger looks okay because the wound has closed-up, and all that’s left is a scar that to me resembles a lightning-bolt, like Harry Potter’s. Do you see it? No? I do.

There’s still some pain though when I press on my finger which only means the wound inside has not fully-healed yet.

There are days when I get impatient, I skip the usual Betadine and band-aid, and just end up hurting my finger more. I miss pointing at things with my pointy finger, gripping on my pen when I write (I write with conviction!), and properly holding my utensils when I eat, but my finger needs time to heal, so I listen. I let it heal.

My injured finger loosely reminds me of people, who may appear ‘okay’, with big smiles on their faces; who engage in fun and laughter, but are actually not truly happy; who are most probably hurdling through struggles of their own.

People, like things, aren’t always how/what they appear. The way a person (re)acts in a particular circumstance does not always define her/him. Think Dobby, or Sirius Black, or best yet, Severus Snape – – remember how time and time again, Harry Potter was proven wrong by his initial judgments about these three?

Pause. I got carried away with my Harry Potter reference, I think. I blame the lightning bolt-looking scar on my finger.

But I do have significant realizations. With people, it’s best not to judge too quickly. It’s best not to assume too fast. It’s best not to conclude so easily.

But as for my Harry Potter finger, I should allow time for healing. It’s best to be patient. ❤️

*Harry Potter pic borrowed from the internet.

Scarred

It’s been one month and five days since my finger accident, and the same period of time of applying Betadine and protective band-aid. One month and five days, but my finger isn’t 100% fully-functional yet. Visibly, my finger looks okay because the wound has closed-up, and all that’s left is a scar that to me resembles a lightning-bolt, like Harry Potter’s, or maybe not. There’s still some pain though when I press on it which only means the wound inside has not fully-healed yet.

There are days when I get impatient, I skip the usual Betadine and band-aid, and just end up hurting my finger more. I miss pointing at things with my pointy finger, but I have to remind myself to give her time to heal. My finger needs time to heal.

My visibly okay but not fully-healed finger and my impatience remind me of people.

Like my finger, people may appear ‘okay’, with big smiles on their faces, engaging in fun and laughter, but it doesn’t always mean they’re actually truly happy, and it doesn’t always mean they don’t have struggles of their own.

Most of the time, things – – people aren’t always how/what they appear, so it’s best not to judge. It’s best not to assume. It’s best not to conclude so easily. It’s best to be patient. It’s best to allow time for healing.

Habit

It’s Sunday, almost 5 in the afternoon, and I just finished ironing two days worth of office outfits. I would have done a week’s worth, but I’m PMS-ing, my migraine and early abdominal cramps are acting up.

I formed the habit, of prepping my outfits NOT getting migraines and cramps, just a few years back.

Before though, I’ve spent years of stressing over what-to-wear before I left for work; Years of feeling upset because the outfit I chose made me look fat, which then resulted to me ransack-ing my closet yet again in desperate need of a ‘better’ outfit; Years of leaving the house upset and grumpy because I was already running late, and I wasn’t 💯 okay with whatever I was wearing. I spent years of being miserable.

Reflecting on it now, I don’t know what took me so long to realize that I didn’t have to feel miserable (all the time). I realized that I was miserable because I saw convenience in choosing misery even in the most petty of things. It took me awhile to understand that I could actually turn things around.

Now, on Sunday afternoons, I spend a few good minutes, in front of my closet, taking mental notes of what to wear for each day. Then I scan the battlefield in front of me and start sorting a week’s worth of office outfits. And then, I plantsa.

Now, I surprisingly enjoy a task I used to despise. And more importantly, I’ve become less grumpy in the morning. Less. Baby steps.