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. 

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by her side (a poem by the 12 year old me)

Disclaimer: Before anyone gets the funny idea that I’ve crossed over to the hopeless romantic, can’t eat, can’t sleep, truly, madly, deeply inlove side, let me crush those hopes with the sad truth that I am still the rational, calculating, priorities first kinda girl who does a little flirting on the side. We all need a little flirting right?. *winks* This poem was from when I was 12. I have no idea who I wrote it for or why because as I remember I discovered the word crush in high school.

I found it extremely amusing though so here goes.

By Her Side (the 12 year old me)

Falling for you makes me wonder,

how everyday your smile makes me fonder,

how I can think of a thousand words to say

but around you I seem to fade away.

I know you like her, I can see.

Don’t worry I’m not asking for sympathy.

I just don’t understand why it still hurts me

knowing that she makes you so happy.

I just hope and pray she’ll love you

the way I’ve always wanted to.

But if she ever makes you cry,

I’ll be by your side to wipe you tears dry.

my childhood resto: Naga Garden

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yummy food and a cozy little nook for 40 years- Naga Garden Restaurant.

A  couple of days ago we had dinner at this old restaurant, Naga Garden, in my hometown. I remember my parents scrambling to buy toasted siopao (bread stuffed with pork and a quarter of an egg) to take to my grandparents when I was younger. Buying pasalubong or a little trinket when visiting someone is a common practice here in the Philippines and in my family especially so I still distinctly remember walking into the restaurant almost every weekend.

Aside from a paint job and some new chairs, everything is pretty much the same. It’s the same lady who greets you with a smile by the counter, the same waiters (with the exception of a few of course), the same menu, the same recipe, the same homey feel you get when you walk in the door until you finish your meal.

yummy toasted siopao

yummy toasted siopao

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You should have seen me gorge on all of them. 🙂

Although there are a lot of newer restaurants offering similar food at probably a more intimidating ambiance (and price, ehem!), nothing beats the hearty feeling I get when I sit down on one of those chairs just like I used to when I was 6 or 7, with pig tails and in a princess dress.