I AM BEAUTIFUL

Dear Doreen:


Yesterday, just as you were about to conclude what was supposed to be a great day, someone ruined it for you, with words that you feel (you believe) although meant to be funny as a joke, were unnecessary, offensive, and hurtful. That person might not have realized it, but her words stabbed you in the gut, quite badly. Her words left you embarrassed, angry, hurt, and worst of all, ashamed of the way you look.

Go ahead. I am allowing you some time to feel the pain. Cry if you must. Let it out, and let it go.

How very timely and apt that you chanced upon an article about someone else’s own struggles and how she lifted herself from such. It gave you some relief and assurance that you are not alone, didn’t it?  You are not the only one who gets undermined for the way you look. You are not the only one who has body issues. Everybody has it. But these so-called body imperfections are what makes you who you are. These imperfections are what makes you, YOU. These imperfections make you beautiful.

Yes, Doreen, you are beautiful. Say it again. You are beautiful. One more time, and this time, mean it. You are beautiful.

Look, I know you’re tired of the hurt, the pain caused by people’s words, expectations, and opinions of you. Stop listening to those that pull you down, and start appreciating yourself for who and what you are. I know it isn’t easy. It never really is, but it is possible — attainable, and you can do it.

Realize and acknowledge that as you go through life, you will still meet more people who will size you up and judge you. Let them. Keep in mind that you can never really please everyone, and you don’t really, actually have to.

Cast away negativity, and keep yourself open to positivity, always.

I love you. ❤️

Squirrel

Picture this: You’re on your usual quiet morning. It’s 10AM, and you’re already either busy with work or still ogling over the latest news on the internet.

Then in comes one of your workmates. There’s a distance between you and the office entrance, but you’re sure that workmate has arrived because she just greeted the office security with a “Good morning!” at the top of her voice, which reminds you of the same amount of cheer a preschool teacher greets five year olds. Workmate does this to everyone she passes by on her way to her desk — you included, except after she greets you, she lingers by your desk for some chit-chat about her commute to work this morning — every morning, and why she came in late today — and every day. She engages you in a conversation, which you accept out of courtesy because you just don’t have it in you to burst her bubble this early in the day.

Somehow that conversation ends, and she heads on to her desk greeting more people before she finally takes a seat. You, on the other hand, continue on with work (or your browsing), thinking you’re done with her chattiness for now, knowing fully well though, that the day has just begun, and the worst is yet to come.

Sometime in the day, not long after your first encounter, while you have your nose buried in all the paper work, a weird feeling of someone or something hovering over interrupts you. So you slowly, cautiously lift your head to see — there she is, trying to keep herself from giggling — almost as though hovering over you just as you suspected. This creeps you out, and you let her know, but she doesn’t care because she goes on engaging you again on yet another senseless conversation. The conversations are fine, you can probably look past that. Probably. But it’s more than the conversations, it’s the time both of you spend on it; it’s her loud voice —the kind that even her whispers sound like it’s coming from a megaphone; and it’s the animated way she tells her stories — complete with body gestures, yes, body gestures with her arms flying all over the place. It’s a whole show, and it’s a show she enjoys performing in.

This annoys you because although you’re an outgoing person and enjoy the once in a while mingling and socializing, you do value your ‘alone time’. And when it calls for that, you need people to understand, know, recognize, and acknowledge personal boundaries. This one particular workmate though is not capable of that, you feel. You’re tempted, every single time she comes to you, to tell her to back off or at least take a step back, but you don’t because you know it will offend her — terribly.

It’s quite a pickle you’re in, huh? This is your reality every day, at least at work, or when that particular workmate is around.

Your workmate oddly reminds you of a cartoon squirrel. The kind with two large front teeth, always munching on a nut, always lurking around, always with a seemingly crazy annoying smile on her face. And like a cartoon squirrel, oddly too, and admittedly, workmate’s demeanour annoys the heck out of you, but not in the way that would make you want to throw a shoe at her at every single encounter. She’s annoying, but not that annoying.

If you were both cartoon characters, workmate would be Dee-Dee from Dexter’s Laboratory, and you would be Daria (or if Daria’s too much, maybe Eeyore). You’re not just from different cartoons series, but you also do not (and should never be) in the same one. You’re just too opposite; and no, unlike what Paula Adbul believes in, opposites do not always attract.

Actually, come to think of it, in your case, opposites do attract because why else would workmate always ‘squirrel around’ you in the first place, right?

Point is, things — your work world (at least between you and workmate) would be a much better place if workmate just knew where to draw the line and actually acknowledge it.

That, or if you just had more patience in you than you have now. More patience to understand that not everyone’s as introverted as you are. And some people, like workmate, are just naturally harmless squirrels. 



Detach

I stand in the middle of a field

Endless tall greens surround me

I feel the cool chill of the wind brush on my face

I close my eyes and hear the leaves whisper

I have no clue where to go, or what to do, and how to start

Do I walk, do I run

I just stand there, in the middle of nowhere, with all the chaos just passing me by

The sun rises, and then it sets

Beginning and endings — all happening right before my eyes

Within my reach, and mine for the taking

Yet I do nothing

Except stand there

And experience the world in still.

If You Have Nothing Nice To Say…

Mom and I had our haircuts the other day.

While I was having mine, and mom was waiting for me, an elderly lady came in and started chatting up my stylist. When she noticed my very short hair (I now have a pixie with an undercut), she asked my mom, “Lalaki ba yang anak mo?“(Is your child a boy?) To which my mom politely replied, “Ay, babae po.” (Oh no. She’s a girl.) I heard what she asked despite the hair blower practically screaming at my ear, but I just gave her a smile.

When I was done, she sat next to me and promptly told my stylist she wants the same haircut as mine, but also quickly added, “Kasi may nanliligaw sa akin. Para di na niya ako ligawan. Ikaw, hija, hindi ka dapat nagpapagupit ng ganyan. Hindi ka naman pala tomboy. Ganda ka pa naman.” (Because I have a suitor, whom I want to stop pursuing me. You shouldn’t be having your hair cut that way if you want someone to pursue you. It’s a shame because you are pretty and not lesbian. Your hair shouldn’t be that short.)  I was stunned, but I didn’t say anything and just smiled. There are other battles that are more worth winning.

I am very adventurous when it comes to my hair, in fact right now, I am at my shortest cut, but that does not mean I am lesbian. I am straight. I appreciate women, but I like men. I know I don’t even have to declare or explain it. No one has to really, but sometimes, people have to be told. And so what if I am? A difference in preference does not make one less of a person.

We tend to do that, don’t we? We see a man who’s more refined compared to other men, “Bakla yan.” (He’s gay.) We see a woman with short hair, “Tomboy yan.(She’s a lesbian.) We see a person who just doesn’t smile or laugh as much as most of us, “Masama ugali niyan.” (He/She is a rude person.)

We are quick to judge. We are quick to isolate. We are quick to offend. We are quick to hurt. That’s just sad.

Personally, I don’t really care what people think of me.  Everyone is entitled to his opinion anyway. I’d just like to believe I am now wise enough to know that not all opinions are important.

Re-Vision

I used my lunch break to walk around our building and get a breath of fresh air. And fresh air I got, at least for the first few minutes, right before I was chanced upon by one of the office’s legal officers. His concern was simple, but fairly old to me. He finds it “off” how their drafts are being edited, “over and over”. I felt that saying drafts are being edited “over and over” is an exaggeration, but I tried my best to explain and appease him. I, however, was not really given much chance to do that, so nothing was clarified or resolved in that encounter. Too bad.

Some people were not really very welcoming and happy with the idea that someone is tasked to edit or proofread their works. It does not help either that this someone has no Law background, whatsoever. I have found myself a subject of legal officers’ ire and complaints, and to a point, one of the people (reasons) they actually held rallies for. Thus has been the case since I started work here, and this is even after it was explained and agreed upon why someone like me had to be hired in the first place.

Their lack of acceptance makes my job a bit difficult, for whatever I do, no matter how great I am at what I do, there will always be some people who will despise me for it, and even curse the day they met me.

I understand the resentment though. To most after all, it is difficult to receive and take criticisms; to be corrected, particularly by someone, whom you may feel, is inferior to you. I understand that much, so I go through every day with much caution and an open mind, but I still do my job, and every day, make sure I do it well, regardless of the hate I’ve been getting.

But do we honestly have to take every single criticism, every bit of correction negatively? Shouldn’t we take these as opportunities for growth and learning instead? If there was acceptance, wouldn’t that be a much better place to live in — filled with butterflies, flowers, and unicorns? Dream on, girl.

I go through every day with a fervid hope that one of these days, these people will realize that what I do is merely my job; that nothing should be taken personally, and that at the end of the day, we are all in this as a team with a common goal which is to speed up the resolution of cases without compromising quality for our clientele, the farmers.

I hope for that much, not exactly a world filled with just the good stuff, but at least, respect and a bit of consideration — acceptance and being one.

Oh well. Next time, I’m going to think twice about walking around our building. Or at least, do my lunch break reflection and walk on some other area.

C’est la vie.

Whut? Huh?

Someone I know got visibly annoyed when after she had shown me her pictures in the society page of a Sunday newspaper, I reacted less enthusiastic or impressed as she had expected.
This confuses me a bit. Isn’t “Wow! Cool.” coupled with a sincere smile a socially acceptable response? I was not being sarcastic, nor did I come off as such, but my reaction annoyed her anyway.
Had it been a work published or the paper featuring her for something remarkable she did, then I might have reacted differently, or maybe even envious. But we’re talking about her pictures at a party she attended. I understand it’s something to be excited about, and I would have felt just as excited if I saw my picture in a newspaper or magazine, too. But expect people, even those you are not close to, to react in a particular manner and feel disappointed or annoyed when they don’t, is a bit off, don’t you think?