Rest

At times when work gets too hectically busy, my go-to source of relaxation is a hot tub (mug) of coffee or tea with honey.

I put my pen down, take off my earpods, and head on to the office pantry to fix myself that perfect cup. This seemingly rough patch-free task is sometimes disrupted by an already empty hot water air pot, which I have to re-fill because someone chose not to, and now, I don’t have any choice but to. Once that’s done though, I stand beside the dining table with my favorite pink/green mug filled with my beverage of choice: today, it’s hot tea with honey. 

I do not drink it at the pantry. Instead, I proceed to stand in front of the window behind my desk, always my favorite spot. I draw the blinds just enough to reveal the green pastures and birds waiting to greet me. When I’m lucky, I watch, oftentimes in amazement, how the soft drizzle of rain touches the greens that happily await below. 

No chit-chat. No unnecessary things said or heard. Just me, my mug, and nature – – – the same, only more meaningful, respite from work. ☕

Empowered 

Two days ago, someone gave an offensive and unnecessary remark about the way I look. It left me hurt, sad, and very angry. I didn’t say anything at that instance, and opted to let my anger pass and calm myself, and confront that person the following day. I prayed on it, and finally resolved to just let the incident pass, choose my battles. 

The following day, I chanced upon an article on The Female Network. It was a feature about Jodilly Pendre’s (Asia’s Next Top Model runner-up)  own struggles (similar to mine), and how she lifted herself up from it. How very timely and apt to read about that. And right at that moment, I became even more convinced that I had made the right decision – – – to be the better person. I picked up an idea from Jodilly, to write to myself, as a way to release my anger and frustration, and eventually, let the hurt go. 

The anger is  gone, and I can laugh about it now. 

Earlier, with a bunch of guts and kapal ng mukha, not expecting that Jodilly would even pay any attention, I wrote her a short message on Instagram to thank her for the inspiration and encouragement. I believe, when someone gives you inspiration and encouragement, you let that person know. That’s one of the many ways you can spread love, show appreciation, lift each other up, and hopefully, inspire as well.

She replied. 🙂 

Smile. We’re all beautiful. ❤️

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. ❤️

What It Means To Be Present 

I’m sitting at a Korean chicken place waiting for my takeout. I am surrounded by tables of young students, some women dining alone, and families having their Saturday lunch. I am reminded of those Sundays mom and dad took my siblings and I out for lunch after hearing mass. I used to look forward to weekends because it meant not just a break from school, but more importantly, it’s time spent with family. It’s a time everyone listened to each one’s story, shared on food, and cared for nothing else but having fun. 
My trip down nostalgia is interrupted as I glance around me again. I see other people dining, talking momentarily, but quickly bowing their heads to tinker with their phones. I think maybe if the lights are switched off, and there’s no sunlight coming in from outside, the light from everyone’s phones would be enough to see in the dark. The faint laughter coming from a few tables is overpowered by the deafening music from stereo speakers. The picture I see now is the complete opposite of how it was before. 
Truly, being present is not just being physically there at that moment. To be present is to engage.
*photo borrowed from the internet*

Jitters

Every year since I finished high school, around March and April, I get constantly bothered by an uneasy feeling. I usually get fast and hard thumps on my chest and a troubled tummy. I get anxious, nervous, and fearful that something bad is about to happen even when there’s none. It has become so much of a normalcy that I already have a name for it — “End of the School Year or Graduation Season Woes.”

I finished high school in 1995, but I did not graduate. I studied at a non-graded school, from Kindergarten to Senior High, where students learn and master lessons at their own pace, and unlike other schools, students do not receive numerical grades (during our time, at least), but rather checks (if passed) and squares (if failed).

Unfortunately for me and to make a long sad story short, I was not able to finish all my (graduating) requirements on time and graduate with the rest of the batch because of poor choices and priorities. To make things worse, I kept everything from my parents.

I fooled around instead of prioritizing my studies. I lied to my parents even up to the point when I already knew things had gotten worse, and I already needed (their) help. 

I lied to my parents, humiliated them, and broke their hearts and trust in me.

In order not to repeat my graduating year though and still be able to enrol for freshman college on time, my mom had to practically beg teachers to allow me some time to finish all my requirements. I was given only a week and a half to finish a year’s worth of Physics, Trigonometry, and Geometry. A year’s worth in a week and a half. 

I was dang lucky enough to even be given another chance, so finish, I did. And I was able to enrol for college the same time as everyone else.

Every time I’d share this story, people are left in awe at how I was able to accomplish all those in less than two weeks. What they fail to see though is how and why it had come to that. I fooled around and lied. I chose to have fun and defy my parents. Plain and simple — there’s absolutely nothing amazing about that, at all. And if given the chance, I wouldn’t want to go through it again; I would do things differently. I may have learned lessons from it later on, but the difficulties and hurt I had put my parents in, are totally not worth it.

That’s why, after all these years, I still get these bothersome feelings around graduation season. It reminds me of a time when I was at my most foolish self. It reminds me of a time I hurt the two people, who despite the betrayal and lies, still chose not to leave me alone to deal with the mess I have made for myself, and forgive me for it.

And I guess that’s also why, after all these years, I continue to share this story, not just so that others may somehow learn from it, but also, in the hopes that with every re-telling and sharing of the story, I learn to forgive myself as well.

*Photo borrowed from the internet.

No More

I don’t think you have even the slightest idea

How much I hurt

How difficult it is to move on from the past

Because the pain, the pain you caused persists

No matter how many times I try and pick myself up

The countless times I tried to disguise tears with laughter

And the endless declarations never to think of you again, never to care

Are all for nothing because something always brings me back to you.

I hate so many things about you

Yet, I compare everyone, anyone to you

And no one, not a single one, comes close.

I’m angry at myself for doing that

I’m angry at myself for still having these feelings for you

After all that’s happened, after all you’ve done

I still miss you, love you

I will have to learn to forgive us

That time will come soon enough

Things may be uncertain right now

But this I am sure of – – –

It is because of the hate and love you’ve made me feel

That I don’t ever want you back.

During Ungodly Hours

When my older brother and I were kids, taking afternoon naps was a must. It was part of our daily routine. I never enjoyed them. I just wanted to get my toys and play with my neighbor friends. I always tried to look for an excuse to get out of it. One time, I tried tricking my grandmother that I had already gotten my afternoon nap. I remember scratching my eyes to make it a bit red, messing up my pigtails, and heading downstairs yawning and stretching. My grandmother greeted me with a big smile on her face, and told me to go back to my room and take a nap. I didn’t know that I had only spent a few minutes upstairs, and naturally, all the ‘preparation’ did not fool my grandmother, not one bit. 

As I grew older, I slowly lost the habit. Afternoon naps became a rarity – – – a luxury. An evening’s sleep most often eludes me. Now most of the time, I catch myself thinking about those afternoons I should have spent napping, but dreaded as a kid. 

I should have listened. 
Oh. Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda. Zzz.