The worst is over; so here’s my New Year’s resolution

My first post in the year 2017! Yay!

Now that the worst is over, I want to go through these 12 months with an optimistic thought.

2017 will be better.

However, I have only one New Year’s resolution.

This year, I decided to keep a safe distance between me and people I know (including friends and family). What prompted me to do this, I still don’t know what, but my inner turmoil is figuring out whether this is selfish defense mechanism or a plain logical move. Either way, I think this will be good. (It may even be unnoticeable, idk)

Last year, I was suffocated by people. Figuratively, of course. I felt like I was being an unnecessary burden to others. At the same time, I felt like they’re constantly on my personal space. I felt like I wasted other people’s time by communicating with me. At the same time, I have been drained by multiple incidences of small talk. This inferiority, I think, has stemmed from my constant worries of failing to fulfill expectations and constant dwelling on my acquaintances’ reactions, feelings and responses to my words and actions.

This year, I feel like my self-esteem will sink even lower.

I’m the type of person who can adapt to change but is afraid of it. I want things to be as they are. But we know they can’t be.

I am not in any way an incredible or memorable person. I bet only a few people from my high school know me. I bet my college friends will soon forget that I exist. My elementary friends have grown and matured while I’m still the invisible girl, someone constantly in the background.

If pulling away is a solution, then I would have done so a long time ago. I don’t believe this can solve my personal issues but it’s a step in avoiding hurting people I cherish. They could go on without me. I could go on without them.

Maybe co-existence is enough for now.

(I’m being irrationally emotional again. One of the reasons why I hate myself.)

On Rediscovering Reading

Photo on 01-02-2016 at 8.39 PM.jpgIt has been a while since I’ve read something. Since last year, I have been struggling to finish a book but life and my messy mind got in the way. I’ve been looking for a way to go back to what I love doing the most. But a year has passed and I still found myself in the same slump as before.

My heart has been set on reading ever since I learned how to do it. At an early age, slim storybooks slipped into bars of chocolate became my treasure. Illustrations and wonderful stories between the nicest smelling pages enchanted me. Nothing makes my heart beat faster than books and reading.

Gradually, without me even knowing how it began, I forgot that magic, letting it slip through my fingers.

Because of books, I have developed a positive outlook in life. If characters with incredibly tough lives could live through the hardship and find their way to a happy ending, why couldn’t I?

Things happened, countless times, and it’s like life freely threw punches at me, left and right. My hands are tied behind me. I was helpless, at life’s mercy. Reading took a backseat, my books gathered dust in each corner of my room.

I couldn’t let go of my hunger for stories, though, so I turned to the less emotional, less connected alternative: television shows. Series that run for  around 10 to 15 episodes, 45 minutes each. I could say my hunger was satiated, but I feel like I have only eaten Sky Flakes instead of an actual filling meal.

That’s when I came around watching Juhan Shuttai. A 10-episode Japanese office drama. I initially started it because of a vague review on a confessions page on Tumblr. I’m glad it didn’t turn out to be a bad spontaneous decision of mine.

On episode 5, the president of the publishing company, Kuji Masaru, said this line as he watches the surplus products run through the recycling machine:

“To keep living, books may not always be necessary. We may be able to go on living even if we don’t read it. But just one copy of a book can change a life, too. It may help save someone…A book made me human.”

We may have left the books to dust for a while but soon, we’ll have the courage to pick it up again and start reading. I realised that it is a habit that I will never forget doing. For others, this must be another thing to spend my measly money on, but for me, it’s like medication: I’m buying something that’s essentially keeping me alive.

This post is a thank you letter to everyone who has dedicated their lives in creating books. From the authors to editors to proofreaders to the publishers. As a reader, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for not giving up on writing, on editing, on proofreading and on publishing books. I am also grateful for the storekeepers who decide to put them on shelves and have people discover the joy of reading.

I don’t know who invented reading but I’m thankful for him or her, too. You saved a life. I know it’s not much, but know that it’s mine.

A Tale of the Other Me

Note: This post is just too sad to read. So if you’re not into that, please browse other posts from this blog. 

I am not myself these past few months.

It was easy to say that I’ve been doing great. My life is perfectly fine: I’ve got a stable job, awesome family, great friends, and a normal person would have been content and happy with that, I think. But then one day, sometime last year, I realized that I feel strangely insignificant. I started to question why do I do these things and how could I proceed from this point on. I planted doubts in my mind about my own ability. I have downgraded myself as someone incapable. I wasn’t proud of myself. I wasn’t convinced that anyone liked my presence.

These thoughts continued to pester me for months.

For months, I have tried to put on a happy face, going out with friends to eat and play games, riding on with my workmates’ shenanigans, hopping off to another city with my family on a road trip, and pretending that everything’s all dandy with my wacky posts on social media.

It was dangerous.

Because at night, I would burst into tears for some odd reason. I would dwell on embarrassing episodes. I would shy away from company. I would even avoid people just because I don’t feel comfortable anywhere. I felt out of place…everywhere.

I felt sick.

Like I was a lost soul in a body of a stranger. Like I was not supposed to be here. Like I could disappear and no one would care.

But I know people love me. They tell me so.

Still, my mind wanders to strange places when it’s too quiet. I hide in bathroom cubicles, composing myself. I feel secondhand happiness but I don’t feel that happiness for myself.

I am inadequate.

I know I am depressed. I know no one would understand because I would not tell this embarrassing story out loud. But writing about it felt amazing.

As I am writing this, I recognize that this other me would stay for a while, like my shadow, only more sinister. I’m not keen with the idea but I’m learning to live with it. I don’t know how I can make this go away but somehow, telling this to the void (or on a blog post) soothed me to the bones.

I hope no one I know reads this.

 

Mindless Chatter, Endless Thoughts (An unwanted — and possibly incoherent — update on my life)

It’s hard to organize your thoughts when you’re sick.

That’s my nugget of wisdom for today (and oh, speaking of nugget, I’m too hungry.)

This is a random chatter about recent happenings in my life, constructed with numerous metaphors in an effort to conceal the identities and the ideas within the stories.

The chatter commences.

Sometimes, I imagine I’m in some kind of parallel universe, you know, of the usual sci-fi-ey kind. There’s another me, in another world, living a completely opposite life from mine. It’s fun to think about because I suddenly feel miserable in the middle of daydreaming, thinking my other self is swimming in riches right now with no interest in reading, whatsoever, or she might be out with her friends while I go home, eat and then wallow in self-pity. I’d like to think I’m not the real version because if I am, then this sucks. Too much.

In this day and age, although robots are not that unheard of, I still think in some way, we are all robots, manned by some higher power. When I say higher power, I don’t mean God per se, but someone with significantly MORE. The privileged, if you want a better word. A weak higher power means weaker defenses and weaker in every aspect. An overbarred robot, on the other hand, is limited to a few movements. I know his body will eventually rust in inactivity. It’s pitying. But somehow, it’s reality.

I am a robot myself. A different kind. A robot with the ability to think on his own, make sound decisions for his sanity, has hobbies and likes, has relationships with other robots. But you’ll know he’s a robot because he’s compelled to move. Even if he doesn’t want to move, he will because someone holds his remote. One wrong move and it’ll mean one loose screw in the machine that is his body. One wrong move and he’ll be turned off for good.

We’re all robots, blinded and convinced that we’re humans with appropriate rights and privileges. But no matter what we do, no matter where we go, the higher power holds us, keeps us in invisible shackles, so they could pull us back whenever they wanted. How convenient.

Sometimes I imagine aliens while I write reports for work. I would think of what would happen if a UFO suddenly crashes in the middle of work hours. I bet I won’t come home immediately like all the others. I’d like to investigate everything. I have always been interested in otherworldly creatures. They seem more interesting than these people.

But then I would imagine myself getting disappointed because the aliens look exactly like us. Their lives, however, are significantly better. I wish I could escape into another world, though. I know in my heart that I’m not from around here. How else could I explain how out of place I am on Earth?

My imagination runs wild in the latter part of the afternoon. It’s when every little thing sparks my interest: the staple on the corner of the documents, the tiny container of chocolate sunflower seeds, the folded edge of one scratch paper from the wad, the smell of cold coffee from my never-been-washed cup. I become painfully aware of every little thing, it’s crazy. That’s my 5:00pm sickness.

The chatter ends.

I thought this would never end.

(I honestly have no idea what I’m writing about but I’m super tired, super sick but never just “SUPER”. UGH)

#JustWritePH: Thanks for the feels – A review of the For the Feels bundle

For more information about the #JustWritePH blog tour, click on the banner above! 🙂

Bundle Description:

The feels come in all shapes and sizes, with a million different unique stories for every kind. Experience bitter feels, forbidden feels, pretend feels and young feels in this four-story bundle that’s sure to tug at your heartstrings. Features “13th Prayer” by Lee Miyaki, “Never the Princess” by Maria Criselda Santos, “My Ampalaya Story” by iamloid, and “A Bump in Athena’s Life” by Kristine Cuevas.

The Verdict:

Since I couldn’t launch into a full-on review for each story in this bundle as of the moment, for now, I will just summarize all the “feels” I acquired from this wonderful set of stories and put them into this. (Maybe I will re-edit this and put full and detailed reviews when I finish my articles for work.)

Before I continue spreading the feelings, I would like to share how these stories came about, because this might just strike up your interest.

“The #JustWritePH workshop, which ran from July 1 to August 8, 2015, challenged participants to write a story and prepare it for publication in a little under 6 weeks. Tips and lessons were delivered online & in person. The reward? Guaranteed distribution on Buqo, plus marketing opportunities like a bundle launch (held at Bo’s Coffee Megamall on August 22), a Facebook party, and a blog tour.”

I signed up for this blog tour, initially because I was interested in local aspiring authors and the works they could come up with. But I didn’t expect this.

I am easily pleased by stories about love just because of the feelings they invoke in me. And this bundle was such a delight to read.

13th Prayer by Lee Miyake tells the story of Eiffel, described as a skeptic young woman, who meets Jem, a seminarian at the church Eiffel’s parents were actively participating in. By her thirteenth prayer, she begins to realize she’s falling in love too recklessly.

For the first ever story, I think it has done its job in inciting unwanted feels in me. I think it’s wittily funny and strangely relatable. The fact that the writer even used Filipino as a medium to tell this story was just admirable since well-written Filipino stories are very rare nowadays.

The flow of the story was fast with the writing constraint but it worked perfectly for the plot. I wished it went on for much longer, though.

Never the Princess by Maria Criselda Santos is an equally enjoying piece and I must say that it exceeded my expectations. It is the story of Meryll Yuson, a 16-year-old bespectacled bookworm, who wishes to dance with the school’s badminton star at the prom. Although this sounded a bit of a cliché, the feels that come with this fiction plummet. I genuinely think the story’s quite entertaining, too.

I like this one very much and I’m sure any hopeless romantic who confesses to be a sucker for cliché but still interesting plots will surely love this one as much as I did (but I will elaborate on this further as soon as I finish my work, I promise).

My Ampalaya Story by iamloid is funny, as I expected it to be, but I share the same sentiments. This is not a story for people who crave for happy endings, the author writes. The character’s bitter thought about love is a major thing in the whole story. If you believe in forever and living happily ever after, then this one may not be for you. (Again, I promise to elaborate on this soon enough)

A Bump in Athena’s Life by Kristine Cuevas is the last story in the bundle. A rejection leads Athena to become Callum Young’s assistant which will eventually direct her into an offer to pretend to be Callum’s girlfriend. But how can an assisting job turned pretend girlfriend role be of help in getting to Juilliard? (Real and more detailed review to follow soon enough)

All in all, the stories in the For the Feels bundle lived up to the bundle title. The feelings were properly conveyed, every single one of them. I think every author somehow had their share of feels, and the abundance of feels in their lives must have been the trigger to write these stories. It’s just a hunch but the pull of their stories are unmistakable.

PIXEL HEART RATING! 

3.5 out of 5 pixel hearts. The hearts are in their right place.

Some helpful links are below so you can get to know these authors plus a giveaway link for you to receive this bundle! You’re welcome, in advance! *winky face*

Continue reading

Body shaming is real…and it destroys people

I’m just going to delve into this topic once because I was hurt and terribly affected by a video, cleverly titled “Dear Fat People.”

I wholeheartedly admit that I am fat. It’s a known fact. I have put on weight since high school and I have been eating unhealthily since I was a kid. I am overweight, according to my recent physical exam. People around me have been telling me to try and lose weight so I’ll fit into beautiful clothes and I know they say it because they want me to look and feel beautiful.

But, and I will only admit this today, I am secretly hurt by comments about my weight. I am hurt because I am ashamed of my body. They do not know that every time I stare at my body, all I see is my bulging stomach. In every picture I take, I will always take note of how big I looked in it. It’s terribly painful to look at yourself and loathe what you see.

This is the initial reason why I got issues with my stomach. I was deluded. I thought that if I forget to eat a few meals, my stomach will recede and I will eventually get thinner. But I was very wrong. This thought rewarded me with awful sharp pains in my stomach and constant nausea. This is painful to admit because I was ashamed of myself for that. But I’m working on it. I’m working on changing things because of this. (And I’ve begun exercise through biking recently. I have also tried to regulate my calorie intake. It’s a slow process, but I’m sincerely working on becoming healthy again.)

My dark days are still here, lingering like unwanted shadows. But I won’t let it consume me completely. I just wanted to write this to show people that if they are concerned about someone’s weight, then go about telling them in a nice way. The mean or even teasing jabs about it will not help them in the long run. They may resort to desperate measures that will cause eating disorders. We don’t want that.

This has gotten pretty long but I hope everyone is okay. If you’re struggling with weight problems like I am, here’s a video that I guarantee will make you feel better:

That’s all from me for now. Whoever you are, I hope you’re doing fine. 🙂

20 Notes to Myself (Yes, I’m turning 20!)

So, tomorrow’s my birthday, if someone out there cares. And here are genuine notes I have taken to remind myself of things I should be or I should do in the future. It’s quite liberating to expose it all in one post but since I haven’t blogged in a while, I have decided to put these notes on a public online space and have everyone take a gander.

  1. Stop trying too hard for the wrong people. But try to help as much people as you can.
  2. Learn to say no. Being helpless is not the worst thing you can do.
  3. Some days, you will find yourself not wanting to get up, dreading the coming day, and that’s okay. If you need time to get used to the darkness, then by all means, go ahead. Just don’t let it slip into your routine.
  4. If they laugh at you, laugh with them. Refrain from crying too much. You don’t drink enough water. You might get dehydrated.
  5. Have a little faith in yourself. You can be confident. You can talk without stuttering. You can finish that project. You can get that job. You just need to believe.
  6. Stealing a golden quote from Aiba Masaki, “Rather than smiling because things are enjoyable, I always think that if you smile, there’s something enjoyable waiting for you.” So smile more.
  7. Learn to take risks once in a while. You never know where that risk will bring you. (Hint: maybe another trip to Japan?)
  8. If someone tells you, “You shouldn’t be afraid because there’s nothing to be afraid of,” don’t believe them. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to worry. It’s okay. They don’t know you enough to know your fears anyway.
  9. There should be a step by step manual on how to become an adult. But I guess that’s what adulthood meant anyway: the lack of useful manuals on what to do and how to do it.
  10. Make friends. Make more friends. You need someone who will listen to you go on and on about your favorite actor without judging you.
  11. People will only care if you’re pretty or you’re sick. You’re neither. But you’re doing fine.
  12. Embrace your weirdness, Ed Sheeran says.
  13. Say “thank you,” more often. It makes people smile. And in turn, it makes you smile. In a little way, you’re actually doing something nice for the world.
  14. Stop going with the flow. If you need to know something, learn to ask by yourself.
  15. Let your body rest. Sleep. Leave your worries aside for about eight hours and surrender to peaceful slumber. You need it.
  16. Write, write, read, and write more.
  17. “Do not lose [your] idealism.”
  18. There’s nothing wrong with being an avid fangirl. You don’t need to feel guilty about it. But sometimes, learn how to downplay your excitement.
  19. You may hold grudges for a long time. But don’t let it affect your judgments.
  20. Live and love your life. This may be a bit cliché, but you’re the one behind the wheel. You can go wherever you want to go. You can be whoever you want to be. You can do whatever you want to do. But never forget that there are people behind you, people supporting you, and people surrounding you. You are not alone.

As a final note, here’s a fancy work from 8-bit fiction, which mirrors my birthday sentiments:

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