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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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

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.

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.

I Need To Say This

I’m sorry, in advance, but what follows is a rant.

Today, at exactly four o’clock in the afternoon, I received my nth call from Home Credit (HC). In a nutshell, HC is a credit group that allows people, from all walks of life, to purchase electronics, home appliances, and in my case mobile phones, and pay in installments, with minimal requirements.

But no, I did not avail of HC’s services; A co-worker of mine did, and without my knowledge and permission, he made me his guarantor. When did I find out? When I received my first call. Let’s call him DCW, for Delinquent Co-Worker.

What burns me are three things.

First and most importantly, DCW did not bother to ask for my permission, much less, let me know that he will use my name and contact details in such transaction. When someone (S1) asks you for someone else’s (S2) number, it is only proper to ask for S2’s permission first, right? What more if you’re going to make someone your guarantor. Show some respect especially when you only know of my number because of work, not because we’re chums, not because we chit-chat, and certainly not so you can use my contact number any way you want.

But the damage has been done though, what matters to me now is the next step. A sincere apology would be nice, and a little bit more than, “Wag niyo na lang po pansinin pag tumawag ulit, Ma’am.” How can I do that when I keep getting calls because you are a delinquent debtor, and you conveniently changed your number.

Second, typical of collectors is their attitude. They will not listen to your explanations; they will not care if you were just innocently dragged into this mess. They will rudely talk to you, and persistently get a hold of you at any time convenient to them. Rudely. Typical.

And third, just a while ago after receiving the call from HC, I had a chance to talk with DCW. I was upset, but I was calm. But for some reason, I only ended up feeling much worse after the talk. I felt guilty when I know I shouldn’t have because I had nothing to be guilty about. I hate this.

To be honest, I find no shame in loaning or borrowing money. I don’t even keep an opinion on how and what someone chooses to spend money on. But I do take offense in being thrust into a mess of a commitment someone got into, and cannot and won’t own up to his responsibilities.

Come on. Grow up. Man up.