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.

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.

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.

TLC

I’ve been obsessing about skin care for the past few months. It’s part of my “I’m turning 40 soon. Damn time I take care of myself” program. Better late than never. Haha.

The goal is to eventually go makeup free. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a huge makeup junkie. I just want a much healthier looking skin. Radiant. Naks.

Going back to dancing (exercising) helps, too – – – getting rid of toxins and unwanted extras. People close to me would know I don’t do diets. I mean, obviously (see my bilbil for easy reference). I exercise to keep active and to be able to eat what I want – everything in moderation.

More than the products I use though, more than the dance class I attend, I think, it helps best when I keep a more positive outlook in life; When I keep my stress-level at bay; When I choose to turn things around when circumstances are just plain sucky; When I choose to be kind, always; When I pray.

No amount of product can give the same gorgeous glow. The one that emanates from the heart.

And here I am now – – with a selfie. No makeup, no filter. Armed only with a refreshing Saturday morning sun, some liptint, and a heart filled with hope and love. ❤️❤️❤️

Reflection on Beliefs and Faith

Features and preparations for the feast of the Black Nazarene have been flooding the news since last week. 

It is worthy to note how most of the devotees that were interviewed are all asking the Lord or the Black Nazarene for something – – – a better life, a better job, more income, etc. None, of those interviewed, are there to give thanks. 

But the same goes even for some of us non-devotees. We tend to only remember Him when it’s most convenient for us, or when we need something from Him. Seldom do we find ourselves saying, “Thank you, Lord.” A habit most of us should have learned in Catholic school Kindergarten. 

While I have nothing against following age-old beliefs, such as what devotees do for the Black Nazarene, I just can’t help but ask and wonder about the following: Whatever happened to keeping one’s faith? If we asked something from the Lord, shouldn’t we just have faith that in His time, in His own way, though sometimes it may not be in the form that we expect, somehow He will deliver? Why do we have to go such lengths, as put ourselves and others in danger, just to be granted what we want and asked the Lord?