#internetfriendsday

A few weeks back my sister got home from school seething and usually I steer clear of her -or anyone that pissed- when I can but something about her screams ‘let me vent’ so I asked what’s she’s reeling about. She told me that in one of her classes a prof blatantly told the class that there is NO such thing as a friendship forged online.

They’re not REAL friendships.

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Let me tell you about my little sister, she’s a world of words in her head but she usually stays in her quiet corner outside of it. You have to be either really dorky, like me, or very close to her for her to even consider starting a conversation with you much more maintain it. When she started with Twitter and Tumblr, she met teens just like her- a little awkward and shy but very creative and witty and with so many stories to tell and talents to show. She grew more outgoing and trusted people more.

People may argue that it’s an unconventional interaction. You can choose to hide behind anonymity or refuse eye contact or whatever else traditional social interactions it requires to make the encounter a success. Really though, what are the rules of friendship? And who made anyone judge of it?

IDGAF

Because trust and honesty, they’re not founded on proximity or your ability to physically touch someone, Yes, it makes it infinitely easier to comfort your sobbing best friend if you didn’t have a few thousand miles separating you but where were these apprehensions when we force women into arranged marriages or soldiers falling madly inlove with women they’ve ONLY written letters to. THEY WEREN’T BECAUSE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE ARBITRARY AND YOU HAVE TO JUDGE THEM AS SUCH. 

My ability to be a good friend is not limited to a hug or hauling ice cream and a bunch movies to your place when you feel like crap. It also means that I’m here to listen to your rants, share in your eccentricities, reassure you of how much I care, confide in you when no one else is willing to listen and accept you for everything that you are and choose to do including SHARING A FRIENDSHIP WITH ME ONLINE. No one has the right to tell me what my standards should be for friendships.

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I CHOOSE WHO MY REAL FRIENDS ARE AND THEY’RE BASED ON SO MUCH MORE THAN THE SUPERFICIALITY OF PHYSICAL AFFECTION. 

I’m in no way belittling the treasure mined from friends I’ve physically met and spent lots of time with. They’re all amazing and I thank the heavens everyday that they put up with me. All I’m saying is the connection that I organically feel with them can manifest with anyone, in any form, anywhere. It doesn’t have to be 2 meters away from me. It can be behind a screen, 5 time zones away.

So I’ll end this with a personal message to every single person I’ve met online and established a friendship with. The means of our meeting doesn’t in anyway change my admiration, care and love for each and everyone of you and I’ll debate any prof who tells me otherwise. 

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and danie if you’re reading this, it’s for you love. -wink-

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united colors of bullies

It’s been awhile since I last put up an entry and before I start sobbing and saying sorry for leaving you guys hanging, let me just say that I had a tough month writing 15 chapters of a book I’m hoping to publish. So please please put down the pitch forks, I’m not one to make excuses but my brain was fried (figuratively of course).

Today I thought it would be fun to write about a topic that inspired one of my book concepts and that is bullies– in all their colors and varieties. We already know about the obvious ones, which mind you are a scary lot but there are more subtle versions. They hide under the covers labeling themselves something more beautiful and attractive. The magpie in us grovel for the promise that it oh so boldly declares then we realize later on that the shine it has is all that it is, shine.

The inspiration came from a nostalgic evening of coffee with 2 of my best friends- after they convinced me to keep writing on this blog because THEY ACTUALLY READ IT AND LIKE IT. Imagine my surprise when they started talking about entries I wrote, I mean these are my overly critical, highly intellectual and difficult to please best friends we’re talking about. My self loathing subconscious found that difficult to believe and quite frankly, I was speechless for a few moments.

On the same night, we realized a lot about the path we took together in college. We gave up so much to be that image of an over achieving student whose main goal is to get the best grades, manage as many  extra curriculars and maintain as few creative, non logical pursuits as we can. Labels and expectations- the box they made for us- those were our bullies. 

photo from caity-bullying.blogspot.com

I’ve finally learned that bullies don’t just come in different kinds of people, they come in every shape, size or form. I may not have been shoved around or locked in a janitor’s closet by some teen fiction stereotype queen bee but I’ve been confined in a society where there’s a predetermined standard of beauty- one which some may claim I don’t fit. That norm, that belief, that is my own brand of bully. It follows me around, taunting me to cinch around my curves and smoothen my edges to fit this overused mold already made for me.

When I  found enough courage and fought back, told society to shove its size zero, fair-skinned, blonde perfection up their bums, another bully manifested from the shadows- one far stronger and more paralyzing than its predecessor. The firm grip of its manacle, over sized hands smother me with ridicule of how success has and will continue to elude me because the career I chose to love and devote my life to will not earn me millions, buy me a mansion or a jet-setting lifestyle

Your bullies may be far more frightening or life threatening than mine. I can’t be the judge of that and I won’t try to. If there’s one thing I took away from dealing with bully after bully, people and circumstances alike, they’re never as easy to deal with as they they seem on the outside. It’s a bully for a reason. They know your weakness and capitalize on it as much as they can so you’re hurt in the worst possible way. They planned the perfect, most gruesome way to twist and turn the knife they stuck to your heart so you’re left clutching at it, trying to rip it off and stop the bleeding.

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But if you don’t know already, let me be the first to tell you, you’re far stronger than any of your bullies. You have the ability heal and those battle scars will remind you every day of how you fought and how you deserve to be happy- HOW YOU’RE WORTH A LIFE YOU CHOSE TO LIVE and not one chosen by some thug or an unfortunate circumstance for you. 

You get one shot at life my friend, don’t let some bully take that away from you. 

how to give it to him straight

(no pun intended)

Let me start by saying this isn’t an easy post. I went back and forth. I finally decided to publish it after having a long talk with my cousin who convinced me that this is indeed AN ARTICLE WORTH WRITING and that I shouldn’t be scared about what people will say or how they’ll react because I never was before this anyway.

 

I know. I think I’ve always known you’re gay and a part me of thinks you’ve known for awhile too. I won’t insult you by describing the times you made me realize it but like Bobby’s mom said, ‘You always know.’ I don’t know if in the many conversations we had, you tried to tell me. If you did and it didn’t work out or I just wasn’t listening well enough, I’m so sorry. I can get caught up in the noise sometimes and you know we’re a noisy crowd.

There are days when I feel so helpless because I can’t just hug you and tell you it’s gonna be okay. You haven’t even trusted me with your secret yet so all I could do is wait for the time when you’re ready. I wanted to write this for when that time comes. This will be the proof that I’ve always supported you, whoever you are and whoever you choose to love.

It won’t be easy because we still live in a society where you’re an anomaly (that word hurts me more than you know). Trust me when I say it’s all gonna be okay. I’m here for you. We’re all here rooting for you. When the harshest, most painful slings from others and even from people you love come, I promise to stand beside you and just be around for whatever you need.

I want you to know how much I love you. I hope when you finally get to read this you’ll be a proud, happy and free man.

photo from comingoutjournal.tumblr.com

I am reaching out to all those who were in my position or those in his. What should I do? I don’t want him to think no one cares. WE don’t want to make the mistake of just ignoring it but in the end make him feel unaccepted or that he can’t tell us anything.

 

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Note: Bobby from the entry is a reference to Prayers for Bobby a 2009 movie exploring the life of a closeted gay Christian finally coming out to his family and how being ostracized drove him to take his own life.

 

 

 

i’m just not into him (the guy best friend stereotype)

Dedicated to every girl and guy who were ever told they’re more than friends

Okay so most people in my family (and some from my peer group too) think I was in a relationship with this guy- an old friend. I used to be okay with the taunting and the teasing- when we were friends at least- but lately it seems it’s all they ever string my life with. It just comes across as juvenile to me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m okay with a good love story. In fact, I look forward to it during family sit downs because that’s probably the only part of my life I don’t consider a damn priority. Hearing it from other people makes me feel normal.

What is it that truly gets to me?

Clearly it’s not just the matter of getting paired up with a guy I was once friends with. That’s just the symptom. The disease is the overwhelming feeling that my own family (some of them) might know very little about me if they do at all. Don’t they get it yet?

I HATE BEING PAIRED UP WITH GUYS ESPECIALLY MY FRIENDS.  I cringe a little each time they do  (not because my friends aren’t attractive- they are). If I am casually seeing someone, dating or in a relationship, I’d downright say it. They don’t have to wring it out of me. To me it seems that they’re saying I’m incapable of keeping strictly platonic relationships with guys which is sad because I don’t have many female friends.

There are things only a your guy friend can do and everyday I’m thankful I have a few. 🙂 (photo from http://www.pinterest.com)

I love my guys. I DO

BUT…

that doesn’t mean I picture a romantic future with them if I even want that at all (another issue all together). Except for my few good moments, I’m mostly a cynic for relationships and marriage and fairy tale endings. Shouldn’t that be red flag enough?

I’m not sure if it’s projection or tradition but the way they see all male friends I talk about or hang out with, it’s as if they’re all relationship material. My best friend for instance is one attractive man and I’ve known him forever which means we’re super comfy around each other. Their thought process is he’s a guy. She’s a girl. They’re always together. They must be a couple. Let’s tease her and find out. When did that stereotype start and who suggested it? I’m gonna go and hunt him down because I wanna be able to spend one day, share one experience I had with him and not have it be turned into some dramatic romcom.

photo from diaryofthebrokenhearted1220.wordpress.com

photo from diaryofthebrokenhearted1220.wordpress.com

Maybe most their guy friends (or girl friends for the men) courted them or if they didn’t it’s because they’re shy or whatever lame excuse they have for not dating someone they like. I’M NOT IN THAT SITUATION AT ALL. If I like a guy and want to be relationship with him (which is not very often), I’d tell him. I won’t stay on the friendzone. Anybody who truly understands me knows that.

I know society is partly responsible for it too. At some point we’re painted a picture where guys and girls cannot be friends without developing deep-seated romantic feelings for one another (total bullshit if you ask me) so most adults and even some youngsters too expect that to be the norm.You have to understand though that new norms are created everyday especially in areas of human life as subjective as friendship.

Don’t expect every person to fit the stereotype because there are always deviances like me. I have a bunch of male friends and if society never labeled it weird, I wouldn’t even be writing this article.

It feels normal to me.

The bottom line is I love my friends- guys, girls and all in between- regardless of how people perceive our relationship to be. It just gets exhausting explaining myself sometimes. Any suggestions on what I should do?

coffee all day, everyday

I’m a coffee person, that much I’ve made clear.

My morning ritual includes a 10 minute stare down with my poster-infested ceiling, a loooooonggggg shower and a big cup of black coffee. But that’s not the only time of the day when I drink coffee. Sometimes I drink a cold Macchiato for lunch with my sandwich or a quick shot right before I sleep. It’s my go-to drink. There’s just something about coffee that draws me in; maybe it’s the aroma or the comforting bitter taste or maybe even how it reminds me of being back home with my grandparents. Whatever it is, it helps me get through a really tough day.

Then I thought, I know SOMEONE (well a few) who does that for me as well. My go-to people. You know, those people who, during a really BAD (as in all caps B-A-D) day, will wallow with you in your bitterness then lift you up and make you feel soooooo much better. You feel they really love you because you can go to them at anytime of the day (at 3 AM when only the roosters are up or at 10 PM when everyone else would rather party) and they’d be there, listening, comforting, hugging and encouraging.

photo from slowbuddy.com

If you have those friends, you’re lucky. Not everyone does

Cherish them. Tell them how amazing they are and how grateful you are to have them. They deserve at least that if not a free cup of coffee (*coughs*). So to my friends who have been there through all my craziness, here’s to us. Here’s to you AND THE CUP OF COFFEE I OWE YOU.

 

this girl and her ‘boy friends’

Catchy right? *wink*

I’ve been mulling over this entry for awhile since quite frankly, I don’t know what to say. People who just met me often ask me why most my friends are either dudes- really tough, macho men or gay guys- who are fun, quirky and a little crazy. I’d always say, ‘Well, we like the same things.’ Now that I’ve been thinking about it, I actually also like girly stuff. I look forward to shopping trips, check online for trends and purchase women’s magazine when I can but I still seem to find it hard to connect to women my age.

To this day, I have no concrete answer. I have guesses, mostly psychological in nature but here’s what my guy friends think.

Maybe it’s not what I like but how I live.

photo from boyishnotions.tumblr.com

photo from boyishnotions.tumblr.com

When I like something I say it, I’m not exactly cryptic.

  1. During confrontations, I’m seldom emotional. I rely heavily on reason and don’t involve feelings in how I take in an argument.
  2. I hate crying.
  3. I’m not a big fan of romance. When we watch romcoms, I think they’re sweet but they’re never gonna happen. Real life romance is far to complicated to summarize in 2 hours. Plus I don’t think all successful relationships should end in marriage.
  4. When they ask what an ideal afternoon is, I say one spent in the projects building make shift houses or tutoring kids.
  5. When we talk about where we see each other in 10 years, I say a few steps from the peak of my career and hopefully still travelling the world. I don’t see myself settling in a white picket fence home, with a minivan and 3 kids. That’s great but it’s not for me.

They say that because I think that way, I prioritize things in my life differently. Most of them can identify with that and like that about me. I guess I can see their point. My priorities are more akin to a guy than to a girl my age. Now I don’t know if that’s good or bad but I love being myself and being with my dudes, sloppy mess and all.

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why we all love reunions

At different points in our lives we decide that the best thing to do is move on and live our lives towards the path that would help us grow the most. That usually means leaving people we’ve met, ones who we used to spend every waking second with, while awkwardly meeting new ones. It’s never easy especially if you’re not the type to open up quickly.

The key for me is to know that moving forward and meeting new people doesn’t mean saying goodbye to them completely. Yes, the relationship will change but so do most other relationships that you will have. I may not spend every vacant period with my college friends anymore but we still enjoy trips together or the occasional coffee after work. I try my very best not to take them for granted and to recognize that they still are an important part of my life even if I don’t see them as often as I’d like.

with meh

an entire afternoon with my Remontados Debate Varsity family

That’s why moments like yesterday are ones I live for and always look forward to. Reunions with old friends who I feel most comfortable with, who ground me in the best possible way. We all love the chance to reunite with our friends because it reminds us of who were, what we used to love and what made us really happy once. Our relationship with them, their recollection of us also underlines how much we’ve grown and how far we’ve come.