For the lonely souls obsessed with ice cream

There’s nothing much about today that I find interesting, but for some reason I wanted to write. Has that ever happened to you before?

THE COMPLETE LACK OF SIGNIFICANCE

BUT THE OVERWHELMING NEED TO SHARE THE WITH SOMEONE

Does that mean I’m lonely?

Or illogical?

Perhaps I’m just delayed on my period again and my hormones are going mad.

Here’s my point in this completely random entry. Sometimes the things that make us feel better don’t make much sense. I mean, I don’t get why anyone want chocolates when they sad – apart from the biological reason – or why driving around makes someone think clearer. I can only speak for what makes me happier or, at least, feel a little less like a menopausal 24-year old.

I need to write.

What’s your pint of ice cream or box pizza when you feel unusually down?

how to be strong

Am I even strong?

There’s a lot I have to learn about strength, and I won’t pretend to have the worst experiences to back up whatever I have to say because I, most likely, don’t.

The last few weeks has been rough for me, and the only time I ever felt like this was 3 years ago. I remember shutting everyone and everything out when I crumbled because I was terrified of being judged, of being deemed as weak then taken advantage of, and I know a part of me didn’t wanna trust anyone anymore. I guess that’s why I ran; it wasn’t just figurative either.

When things started coming at me again about a month ago, I wanted to do the same thing. The feeling reminded me of my worst nightmares, not that I wanna wake from them, but that I wanna stay in them. Surely, they were all better than how I felt right now, but even that’s not an option because I’m stuck — again not just figuratively. This is where I grow a deeper fondness for John Green’s Papertowns. I wish I was Margaux Roth Spiegelman; I’d grab a backpack and a map and just go.

Leave.

It’s not always as easy or simple as uprooting your whole life and physically running from what you think is the problem. Sometimes the problem runs with you, not after you. You’re the key to the problem.

How you handle it lies in your understanding of yourself and what you’re facing. Trust that, and if it’s not too much to ask, trust the people who genuinely care about you too. I made the mistake of walking away when I could have had the support of those who didn’t leave when I was breaking. Not only did I make the the journey unnecessarily difficult for myself, I also punished them immensely.

I’m not suggesting to cling onto someone because I know, in times like this, you’d want to be alone and think, but don’t cut your connections because they may be your lifeline when you’re done facing your beast. Remind yourself that they want to be a part of your life, hardship or not, because they want you to be okay. Their means won’t always be what you need or want, but that doesn’t dilute the concern they have for you.

I won’t act like I have the answers because, if you’re going through a rough patch, we’re in the same boat, sailing similar traitorous waters. All I have to leave you with is the advice that I never got: strength comes in different forms. It won’t always mean facing the problem head on or running away from it completely. Whatever it means to you, remember that you have the power here, even when it feels like a free fall. 

weight for me

Get it? Weight? Forgive me, my very patient readers, I feel unusually punny this morning.

I was still young when I first discovered the social standards of what’s an “acceptable body type”. Even then, it perplexed me. How can there be a standard for bodies when there are at least 7 billion people in the world, with obviously very different frames and figures? What’s even more confusing is the decreasing number on the scale that’s religiously celebrated by TV ads, magazines and fashion shows—soon enough in the streets of cities and the hide outs of far flung towns too.

Body image is both a personal and a social concept. Much of how we objectify beauty  is caused by the culture we live in. Beauty in an African town, not yet reached by the claws of New York runways, may be an exquisite, dark-skinned lady with a short, curly hair and hefty womb, ideal for child-rearing. In Japan, it could be captivating doll eyes and a petite frame, emphasized by a bright eye make-up and pastel, baby doll dresses. In fashion week, it’s a size zero, thigh-gapped, perfectly-sculpted, 5’7 and above model walking down the runway for some of the biggest names in the industry.

What’s my point there? That even in a very superficial and judgmental society,  beauty is and always will be relative.

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This isn’t the part where I say, well be unhealthy and and raise you middle finger in mock salute to those who eat greens. That’s not my intention.

If the world gets to set standards on beauty, so can you. Make it personal; make it about you. Embrace your curves, your slim figure, your bum, your muscles—everything about you. If you still wanna lose some weight, fine. Go for it! Before you do that though, make sure you love yourself first because if you’re counting on loving yourself when you’ve lost all the weight, it might not work. Often, body image issues aren’t even physical. It’s what you see, not what really is.

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I want you to look in the mirror and see someone beautiful.

I hope you’ll step on that scale and love yourself whatever number it shows.

I beg that you walk in any store and ask for your size confidently, not caring if it’s in one or two digits.

I pray that you’ll be happy with who you are, proud that you’re beautiful in every single way.

 

#SuicideAwarenessDay

That moment when you’re so eager to write about something you feel so strongly about that a million words are begging to burst out and be written but at the same time as the pen hovers over the paper, nothing comes out- not a single word, well I’m having one such moment. I’m just unsure of how to begin this. Do I start with statistics or quotes or pictures or my own experience or someone else’s that has helped shape my own? Something compelling enough to interest you but honest still that it remains as meaningful as it should. Let me start with this:

Suspend your judgments. Suicide isn’t just about statistics, it’s about stories.

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Some of you will judge this entry the same way you judge every person who committed suicide or have tried to, with extreme prejudice and I ask for the sake of this day and this discussion that you open your mind to opinions other than your own. The fault of this bunch, which I don’t find a fault at all but many will, is how we see things. You see them at eye level, for what it is. We see them from overhead, standing on a table and seeing ourselves in comparison to others, in association with things we don’t have or the person we can never be, happy.

I will not generalize the neigh sayers, they come from different backgrounds and varied beliefs, nor will I stereotype those who have had this problem. Trust me they’re not always the guy with the heavy eyeliner make up and a blade pendant secured around his neck. It’s not as plain and black and white as that. Sometimes it’s the town’s golden girl who maintains straight As and is quietly drowning in the pressure of perfection or maybe the quiet kid who sits at the back of the class who is invisible to everyone but the restroom mirror where he spends his lunch dismantling a sharpener.

I'm scared | via Tumblr

To them suicide is a way out, not selfish but reasonable. To stay in a cycle where you’re constantly unhappy and alone, feeling either like a huge disappointment or anonymous is not worth living over every single day. That thought consumes you and dulls every form of happiness most people savor. TELLING US TO GET IT TOGETHER AND DISMISSING OUR WORRIES WON’T HELP BECAUSE REALLY WHEN YOU DO THAT, YOU’RE BRUSHING US OFF. Were you even listening or were you too busy judging us and labeling our problem  non existent because it’s not cancer or ebola virus?

I am in no way advocating for suicide, not because it’s cowardly but because YOU’RE WORTH A LIFE. Trust me when I say that no matter how bleak and dark your life is right now, I need you to hang in there. YOU ARE WORTH EVERYDAY YOU FIGHT FOR. YOU WILL FIND HAPPINESS ONE DAY AND IT WILL BE EVEN MORE WORTH IT BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW HARD YOU FOUGHT FOR IT. I’m sorry you had to in the first place but trust that your strong enough to overcome this and know that wherever you are, no matter how alone you feel, you never are. 

And to those whose made it and are now happier and better, I am so proud of you. You deserve every praise for deciding to stay and choosing to stick with it every single day since. I wish you the happiest of days, you deserve no less for the courage and strength you’ve shown. There may still be rough patches ahead but find comfort in the fact that the enemy you fought already lost a few times before and you have the upper hand because you’re stronger than all you demons.

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My friend mentioned a few days ago how pointless suicide hotlines are because if you really wanna kill yourself, why would you want someone to stop you? She has a good point actually and I’ve considered coming up with alternatives. Although I’d like to think that it’s because most of them, deep down just want a reason to stay. Here’s one:

Everyone is worth saving. YOU ARE WORTH SAVING.

So be it on #SuicideAwarenessDay or any other day of the year, if you ever feel like throwing in the towel, talk to someone. Sometimes we only need reminding of how much we’re worth. There’s no shame in that.

And to everyone else reading this post, I hope you’ll find it in your heart to be nicer, more open-minded and understanding of people whose circumstances may be far from your own. Give that shy guy beside you a chance. Talk to the girl who consciously fiddles with her shorts at gym class. Avoid stereotyping the abrasive jock loitering the hallway. Tweet someone you’ve never talked to words encouragement when she seems down and ask about her day. Get to know to know them and give them more reasons to love the lives the they have and the people that they are. A simple act of care and kindness will go a long way especially to someone who doubts he’ll ever get any.

You matter.

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. 

#trending

I read comic books, wear vintage clothes, listen to artsy and more alternative music, prefer indie films to mainstream ones and do not see marriage in my future despite having been brought up in a conservative Catholic family. It’s safe to say I’ve always had and eclectic taste and personality. Never have I felt the need to conform to trends or apologize for who I am all 22 years of my life. It’s not on purpose of course. There are days when I ask myself why I can’t just like what everyone else likes, see things the way most people do. That would definitely make shopping SOOOOOOO MUCH easier (and cheaper)! Like most people in the ‘out’, I do ask every now and then what is so good about being in the bandwagon. 

What are the perks of trend?

photo from bedetrends.tumblr.com

I’d like to think that genuine appreciation is the premise of those who follow trends, that the cool kids who are trend right and are welcome passengers of the bandwagon are truly into those they claim they absolutely LOVE. In some cases though, there are those who only like what they like because it’s all they know. After all, mainstream is called that for a reason. They get the most publicity therefore a bigger fanbase. In other cases, they’re scared to admit that they listen to, read, like something else because they fear the scrutiny of their peers or crave the approval of others.

Spread your wings!

If you’re the former then you need to spread your wings and fly a little further from the nest. Often the view is so much better but even if it isn’t at least you know you made an informed choice to find your way back to what you’re comfortable with. Growing up sheltered, I thought I already know what I want early on but going through life on my own opened my eyes to things I appreciated more than others. The journey towards them have been revealing and they made me the person I am proud to be- crazy eccentricities, quirky clothes and all.

Be original! Be you!

If you’re the latter, then I suggest you take one long look in the mirror while you tell yourself that what you want is worth showing and exploring. You are more important than the bandwagon some PR specialist probably concocted to raise the sales of an All American pop star and all his merchandise. SNAP OUT OF IT! Trust me, I’ve been in your shoes. Pretending to fangirl on some poor celebrity who I don’t even like sucked the life right out me. I am not going back. Don’t wait for it to happen to you, if it hasn’t already.

The danger of falling into trends even if you don’t like them or solely because you don’t know there are other choices out there is that IT PROGRESSES. It starts with singers you like, movies you watch or clothes you wear. Then it slowly begins to affect your self-image, your goals, your relationships and other aspects of your life that you used to love. When you agree compromising on the small things that make you happy in favor of those that make 90% of the twitter population happy, soon enough that will be your instinctive response to other decisions you make- even the crucial ones.

At least not if you’d rather take your own car 🙂 photo from donutwisdom.tumblr.com

THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH LIKING WHAT EVERYONE ELSE LIKES if that is what’s truly natural to you. For those who aren’t in that group, have the courage to admit it. DON’T LET THE CHOICES OF THE MAJORITY DICTATE WHO YOU ARE because they are happy being who they are; you should be too.

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doing the right thing

A fellow blogger, who also happens to be a really good friend of mine, shared this on Facebook a few minutes ago. I thought it was a story worth telling so here I am on my blog, writing about it.

Photo from Brent Tzu’s facebook account

Meet 98 year old Dobri Dobrev, a man who lost his hearing in the second world war. Every day he walks 10 kilometers from his village in his homemade clothes and leather shoes to the city of Sofia, where he spends the day begging for money.

Though a well known fixture around several of the city’s churches, known for his prostrations of thanks to all donors, it was only recently discovered that he has donated every penny he has collected — over 40,000 euros — towards the restoration of decaying Bulgarian monasteries and the utility bills of orphanages, living instead off his monthly state pension of 80 euros.

Sometimes you just know you’re doing the right thing even when no one else affirms it.

Because we live in a world where meritocracy is the rule of thumb, we forget the greatest contributions that we make to society, to people we hardly know are the things we do out of selflessness and utter disregard for social image. Here is a man who may have little financially and in material possessions but he chose to live a life that still cares about others. I’m not encouraging the rest of the world to crowd the streets and beg for money they can donate rather I’m hoping I can convince you to care. 

Our gestures don’t have to be big. They don’t have to change the world. We at least have to care enough to move towards a gesture, an action, a vision that involves making other people’s lives easier than they are now. This has a very special place in my heart because I’ve done humanitarian work since I was 13 and I’ve loved every minute of it. Because I love it so much, I thought it would be fun to celebrate my birthday, the 18th of this month, with my dad on a gift giving mission. It will be my little contribution to world.

I hope one day helping others out will be a part of everyone’s habit, something they do not as a burden but a vocation even when there are no cameras snapping, no cover stories and no obvious reciprocity other than fulfillment.