It’s the Little Things

As a kid, I distinctly remember saying that I couldn’t wait to grow up (I said it more than once actually). I saw all of these amazing things around me and I met so many fascinating people along the way that I thought this world held nothing but wonders. I looked at life from a different perspective back then. I can even say that, as a child, I looked at the world through rose-tinted glasses. All I saw were the beautiful things this world had to offer me. There was only that, and nothing else. I remember thinking, “One day, I’ll end up doing everything and so much more.”

At 23, I find myself gazing back at the little girl who thought she held the world in the palm of her hand. I still get amazed at the things that catch my fancy and I still meet so many riveting and beautiful people every day. The only difference is my perspectives have changed. I have changed.

We may not want to see it for what it is but in the back of our minds, the thought is there. Life is never easy and it doesn’t always play fair.

There are a million things to appreciate but there are an equal number of things that leave your heart broken into several little pieces.

The glasses are off and reality rears its ugly head.

 

Yes there are happy people, but there are also those that literally live their lives one day at a time. There are kids who play with mountains of toys, but there are also kids who are forced to wander the streets begging for food. There are people who jet set all over the world yet, there are those who are content to live their lives cooped up within the 4 walls of their home, not realizing how ginormous this world truly is. Then there are the little girls who dream of conquering the world and holding it in her hands. They dream of controlling time and moulding life into a Utopia that’s been built on fantastical stories of happily ever afters. Somehow, they grow up and realize that princesses are for stories and worlds could never fit into teeny tiny hands. With this in mind you can’t help but think, “If there are so many things wrong with this world, what is there to live for?”

 

 

I always pass by Recto on my way to the train station. For those of you who don’t know where that is, it’s a fairly rough neighbourhood in Manila, Philippines. It has a reputation for housing some of the most badass people in the country who mug you blind if you’re not careful.

As I was walking, I came across two street urchins running up the sidewalk and pointing at the train that was passing above them. One of the little boys stared in awe and said, “One day, I’ll be able to ride that train too” the other little boy looked at him and said, “One day, I’ll make a bigger train that can take us to the moon.” As the train disappeared from their sight, they smiled, picked up 2 discarded sticks from the ground, and ran along the side of the street without a care in the world. I went home that day with renewed spirits and a brighter outlook on life.

Here’s the thing. Kids may be little but their hearts are always so full, their words almost always hold true, and their minds are constantly conjuring up dreams of a better and more exciting future.  If those two street kids, who may or may not have 20 pesos  to their name, dream about one day claiming the world as theirs, who’s to say their dreams won’t come true? That’s the problem with the real world, a lot of the time, when things don’t turn out the way we plan them to, we sulk in a corner and give up.

If you want to be happy, you have to remember that you can’t be good at something if you don’t work at it. It’s a basic lesson but it’s always shoved aside for the more highfaluting morals that are basically just a more flowery version of the original.

Another thing I’ve learned is that you have to want to excel. If you refuse to rise above and beyond what you think you’re capable of, you’ll forever be mediocre. I know a lady who used to work as a household helper. 10 years later, she’s opened her own restaurant and owns a franchise of a popular Filipino fast food joint.

 

To answer the question, what is worth living for? My answer would be LIFE!

Amidst all the chaos and “horrors”, there is still hope and a chance to turn dreams into reality. Sure there are bad stuff, but there are also instances when your heart is on the verge of exploding from so much joy and love.

 

“Such is the way of the world. Balance is in the greater scheme of things.”

 

One thing is certain, years pass and we all grow but that doesn’t mean that we have to completely let go of the kid in us. We can still dream for a better tomorrow and leap towards a brighter future. All it takes is hard work, faith, trust and a little fairy dust. 😀


 

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Another List for 30 More Days…

I saw this challenge on a couple of blogs that I visited.  It’s a challenge where you have a list of things to do in 30 days.  You don’t have to do them all, but it would be pretty cool if you could give it a shot. 🙂

I know I haven’t exactly been the poster girl for these things as I have yet to re-start my 30 days of Truth blog project but this seems fairly easier than that so I thought I’d give it a try.

I’m not exactly sure what the rules are but I think you’re allowed to do more than one thing on this list per day.

  1. Send a surprise, I think you’re fabulous card to someone
  2. Unplug for a whole day
  3. Get a massage
  4. Flirt with a stranger *brief eye contact, smile and look away*
  5. Go for a stroll after dinner
  6. Have champagne for no reason other than to celebrate life
  7. Set a timer and write down something you’re grateful for every hour for a day
  8. Remove 5 things from your environment that doesn’t make you feel beautiful
  9. Do something completely out of character
  10. Invite someone you want to get to know for lunch
  11. Kiss someone
  12. Read a poem to someone you love
  13. Watch a foreign film
  14. Throw a slumber party
  15. Send your worst enemy flowers anonymously
  16. Donate $10 to charity or in my case, 400 pesos.
  17. Put something beautiful on a blank wall you see everyday
  18. Spend an afternoon reading
  19. Have a fancy midday luncheon complete with cloth napkins and wine
  20. Spend an afternoon taking care of pesky issues then treat yourself to a steaming mug of coffee or tea
  21. Donate 5 items out of your closet that don’t make you feel stunningly beautiful
  22. Buy an utterly frivolous piece of lingerie
  23. Get rid of 5 items in your home that don’t bring you pleasure
  24. Hold a baby
  25. Read a biography of your favorite screen star or the bravest most badass chick
  26. Write down your wildest dreams
  27. Create an occasion to wear your most outrageous shoes (maybe throw in a wig too)
  28. Make lemonade
  29. Jump into a body of water
  30. Give someone a hug and wait for them to let go first
  31. Research something that sparks your curiosity.  If you are still curious after 15 minutes delve deeper
  32. Forgive yourself
  33. Forgive someone else
  34. Spend an hour in silent reflection
  35. Select a part of your home and organize it.
  36. Upgrade your sleepwear for a night or go Marilyn Style
  37. Pretend for a day you are as amazing as you want to be.
  38. Do ONE thing you’ve always wanted to do.
  39. Go to a playground and swing on the swing set.
  40. Bake a cake.

Sounds easy enough… We’ll see how far I’ll get this time! 🙂

And The Hunt Begins!

After one has been able to enjoy the life of a student, most are forced to face “the real world” (so to speak.) Ironically, reality seldom involves Algebra, Trigonometry or the ability to hit the volleyball over the net with a perfectly executed serve. One cannot truly be labelled an adult until they are exposed to the gruelling adventure that is JOB HUNTING.

Graduation marks the end of an era. Once you walk up that stage and get that diploma, you’re on your own. Naturally, those that graduate with top marks get the most job offers. They are the gods of the hunt. As they busy themselves with shopping for the proper attire, the mere mortals step off that platform and type up their resumes with a flair that would put Jane Austen to shame. Despite what people might say, first impressions do last. Thus begins the tedious task of highlighting possible career options as well as the mental calculation of efficient employment hunting routes.

Here in the Philippines, more than half the population rely on public transport.  The lucky ones with cars show up for an interview with a dazzling smile, a perfectly put together outfit and impeccable personal hygiene. The ones that struggle for a seat in the jeepney at six in the morning to make it in time for an interview at eight tend to develop unnecessary sweat stains and rumpled clothing. Not a pleasant sight but sometimes unavoidable.

Regardless of your personal circumstances, you start the day with hope in your heart and a spring in your step. By 6:00pm, you hear the echo of the pounding of your feet, the growling of your empty tummy as well as the slumped position of your shoulders. Day 1, no luck. You go home, tuck yourself in for the night, wake up in the morning and the cycle begins again.

The direction of your hunt should seem pretty clear. ALL nurses end up working in hospitals, ALL tourism graduates land jobs in airlines or travel agencies, ALL engineers and architects join or start their own firms, ALL teachers get to share their hard earned knowledge with the next generation and every single cow in this world can fly to the moon and back. Impossible? Well so is that ridiculous notion of everyone landing their dream job.

A friend of mine studied nursing for 6 years. That’s 6 years of sleepless nights and hard hitting exams. At present, she works as a call centre agent for a multi-national company. Another friend took up Culinary and Hospitality Management in college. She is currently waiting tables at a restaurant in Singapore. I seriously doubt if these were the careers they had in mind when they worked their butts off to graduate. Unfortunately, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

We should all be so lucky to get a job that we like much less a job that we actually love. We’re never really certain where life will take us. One day you’re ready to tackle the world with a vengeance but the minute you don’t get your way, all is lost and everything is dreary once again.

This world holds so many brilliant minds. The sad part is, only a few will be given the chance to actually shine. Whether we want to admit it or not, there aren’t enough positions in this world to accommodate everyone’s wants and dreams.

Job hunting is a battle against hundreds, sometimes, thousands of people vying for the same spot. You think you stand out? Well, other people in that same line you’re in think the exact same thing about themselves. Will you be the lucky one? You’ll just have to wait and see.

It’s OK to Crash and Burn But Don’t Stop Living

Dear Shay,

This entry is for you and your broken heart.

You’ve been with him 2 years and 15 days. That’s 745 days of your life you will never get back. I’m not saying you should regret it though. I’m just stating a fact.

I refuse to say “I told you so.” Aside from the fact that I don’t see the point of rubbing your mistake in your face, I’m pretty sure your other friends have already overused that statement so I won’t even bother.

I’d like to say I understand but sadly, I don’t. As much as I would like to spare your feelings, I don’t want to sugar coat any detail or any thought. Instead of adding another lie to that mound that’s already starting to pile up, I’ve decided to lay it all out there and be completely honest with you. It’ll be a refreshing change after all the other stuff you’ve had to go through.

Those fiercely loyal to you have probably already told you what a horrible person HE was and how HE never deserved your love. First thing you have to remember is, love changes you. Before you go flying off the handle, allow me to explain. Love is a beautiful thing, it takes a hold of your senses until there’s nothing left but that feeling that rises and falls with each memory that you build together. Love is beautiful BUT it can turn ugly at any second without warning. You don’t mean for it to happen, it just does.

 

HE was a good guy Shay. The first time I met him, you said what you loved most about him was his goodness and the way he made you feel. Once upon a time, you saw him as your Prince Charming come to life. Now, he’s nothing more than a nightmare that haunts your every step. Still, there was a time when you loved him.

I know for a fact that a friend of yours said that HE never loved you. I know this because I was there when those words were said and I have to say, that statement couldn’t be farther from the truth. HE loved you Shay. HE must have loved you. At the end of your relationship, when you thought you were the only one fighting, he was fighting off his own demons to get back to you. I guess in some bizarre way, he loved you the only way he knew how to at the time. I know this because while I was holding your hand, I was also holding his from a distance. You were never fighting alone. The only problem was that you were fighting two separate battles. It was when he won his that you decided to surrender to your own demons.

I don’t blame you. So much has happened and so many people have made it their life’s mission to be your sentinel that it was hard to see past all of that. You told me that allowing yourself to wallow in that pool of sympathy that people have made for you was your own way of coping. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,

“Breaking your heart doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life.”

 

It’s hard to start peeling all the other layers of your relationship to find that one small, vital piece. You both were so busy trying to be perfect lovers that you forgot how to be friends. I’m not an expert and I’ve had ZERO experience so don’t take my word for it. I’m just calling it like I see it. The rest of the world saw it, I’m just not sure the two of you saw it too.

Truth is Shay; nobody’s immune to the power of love. Love is unpredictable and it works in the craziest ways. You mope and whine over 2 years and 15 days. My parents were married 16 years before they decided to call it quits.  That’s a lifetime compared to 745 days. I’m not saying it’s any less important but it is a hell of a lot longer. I asked my Mom about it and I believe Shakespeare couldn’t have said it any better. She said:

“Love is a give and take relationship. The problem is, you can’t give something you don’t have. How can you give all of you when you’re not even whole to begin with?”

-M. Lerias

 

This entry right here is my ultimatum. Either you sit down and work things out OR you find closure and separate as two full-grown, free thinking adults. I hate to be the one to break it to you but you’re driving your friends crazy (myself included.) It’s been almost 3 months and no matter how hard we try to help, we can only do so much. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to face the hard hitting questions and make the toughest decisions on your own. We can all see that HE’s starting to mend, why can’t you?

 

You have to start living again Shay. Life is a wonderful thing and you’re letting so many opportunities pass you by. Lingering won’t do you any good so why do it?! You have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and allow that beautiful you to shine through 🙂

The Wanderer and the Little Princess

I was waiting for my friend Gypsy (yes that’s her real name) in a café the other day. It’s been a while since she and I have seen each other so I was pretty excited. It wasn’t long before I saw the mass of red hair she warned me about. She recently had it done and apparently, it takes a while for the actual colour to surface. That day, she walked towards me with hair similar to the colour of a fire engine. I admit, I bit the sides of my cheeks and looked away pretty quickly so she wouldn’t see the grin spreading across my face.

As my shoulders were going up and down from my apparent mirth, I was distracted by a shrill shriek, “Ninang Jing” I turned and saw my 6 year old godchild Shani (although she says she’s 6 ½ now) barrelling towards me, a huge smile plastered on her face. She leaps into my open arms and says, “You still feel like a pillow” (gee, thanks) and proceeds to plant a slobbery kiss on my cheek before running off to look at the menu of the café.

Gypsy then gives me a big hug and I inhale the nasty chemical-ish smell of her crazy red hair. She moves back, sees the expression on my face and says, “Don’t start! Mom already gave me an earful last Tuesday.”  I put on my most clueless expression, looked straight into her eyes and said, “What? This is wonderful! Call of the search! I’ve found Nemo.”  She rolls her eyes, whacks my arm with her hand bag and walks to the counter to place her order. From our table I could see Shani bouncing up and down the side of the counter engaging one of the baristas in a story about Jess, her purple stuffed rabbit.

Shani had barely settled into a comfortable position on the couch beside me before Gypsy  launched into an all-out, animated story telling of the past 2 years of her life. She talked about backpacking through Europe and about visiting Malaysia, Alaska, Phuket and Brazil. She talked about all the interesting people she met (mostly men by the way) and the different cuisines she was able to try (she and I are both foodies)

Gypsy seemed so worldly that I felt like a country mouse in comparison. How is it that she and I are the same age yet she seemed to have been able to immerse herself in a lot more adventures than I have? Granted, she has yet to step into the hallowed halls of a University but I had to wonder; did she choose a better path than I did?

As these thoughts coursed through my already frazzled mind, Shani pulls herself up and hands me her iPad (yes, this 6 year old kid has an iPad. I roll my eyes at the injustice) and says, Ninang, you have to answer all the questions I listed honestly and truthfully so help you God.” I glanced at Gypsy for help. My friend, being the wonderful creature that she is, sticks her tongue out at me, smiles, pulls out her iPhone and starts a game of Draw Something (which reminds me, I have got to get into that game!) Left with no other choice but to comply to a 6 year olds demand, I smile down at Shani and scan the questions she listed down. (I later found out that Gypsy had already answered the same questions a few days back which explains the sticking out of the tongue)

 

PRINCESS SHANI’S TREASURE QUESTIONS!

  1. If you had to kiss a prince, would he be a pig, a fish or a frog? (Can’t he be human instead? What happened to that option)
  2. If Peter Pan came to your window, would you fly away with him forever? (I’d miss my family too much. If they could come along, then why not?)
  3. If you had to eat chocolate forever, would you choose Snickers or Butterfinger? (I guess I’ll starve because I’m not too crazy about either one)
  4. If you were a princess, would you be Cinderella or Snow White? (Neither. I’m more of an Ariel, Jasmine girl)
  5. If Barney asked to be your best friend, would you say yes? (Probably not. I kinda think he’s a little creepy plus, I’m pretty happy with my human best friends)
  6. If you could be a superhero, would you be a mermaid or a fairy? (What happened to the Justice League and the Avengers and all their cool super powers? Can’t I be one of them instead?)
  7. If I tell you a secret, will you promise not to tell Mommy? (Okay. – then she leans towards me and whispers, “Mommy has stinky feet.” HAHAHAHA!!!)
  8. Would you live in Disneyland forever? (YES! YES! YES!)
  9. Who’s your favorite cartoon character? (Winnie the Pooh! :D)
  10. Who’s your favorite Barbie? (There’s more than one Barbie now?!)
  11. Who is your Prince Charming? (I’ll let you know the second I find out kiddo. 😉 )

Questions made by Shani and Lana (her Mom) de Leon

 

That was some list huh?! I asked Lana about it after and she said it was all Shani. She just changed the spelling but those questions came straight from that little girls funky and colorful little mind. I felt a tinge of pride at how amazing this kid is turning out to be.

Truth is, as much as I loved being able to hang out with Gypsy again after all these years, my favorite part of the afternoon was my little conversations with Shani. There’s just something about a mind of a little kid that sets them apart from everyone else. It’s refreshing to be able to see the world the way they do. None of the bad stuff, only the good.

Thank you Shani for teaching this big lug a thing or two about setting your mind free and letting it wander for a while. One of these days I shall join you in Shanisia (her imaginary world) Don’t grow up too fast okay? 🙂

Walk Away From WALKING DEAD

I’ve never been one for horror flicks. They scare the bejeezus out of me every single time. I guess that’s why it took me forever to actually get into the whole Walking Dead fad. I could go on and on but, long story short, ME + ZOMBIES that actually look real (not that I’ve actually seen one in real life) = DISASTER

Having said that, I’ve made a personal list (here we go again with the lists) of the people who should AVOID watching this series. (I say avoid instead of never because, well, you never say never right?)

 

____________ + Walking Dead = BAD IDEA!

  1. LITTLE KIDS

    It’s more than a little gory and it CAN get pretty violent. My brother is 16 years old and he still cringes and looks away in some parts. My friend, being the smart Mommy that she is (and I say this sarcastically,) watched the show with her 6 year old daughter. Now her daughter goes into her room at night saying, “Mommy, I think I hear Walkers outside.”

  2. CHICKENS

    By chicken, I don’t mean the animal (although the chickens here at home do react to the sounds at times.) The chickens I’m referring to are those people that pee in their pants every time a loud BANG bursts out from the TV. Unless you get your kicks from staring at a friend of yours passed out on the couch, watching this show with a scaredy cat couldn’t be farther from a stress-free Saturday night with the gang. Yeah it’s funny the first couple of  shrieks but when your friends lips start paling, you know it’s time to hit the stop button on that DVD player.

  3. IMAGINATION ARTISTS

    If you consider yourself someone with an active imagination, you should think twice about watching this series. Usually, people who are able to picture things vividly in their minds carry a very special gift. Unfortunately, when left with their thoughts and the lights are off, the zombies start to become that much more real.

  4. QUEASY QUEENS (my brother’s contribution)

    I can’t stress the word GORY enough. Blood is one thing but severed body parts, exploding heads and continuous spillage of guts can get your tummy turning inside out faster than you can say WALKER!

 

With that, I end my 2 cents worth on the topic of WALKING DEAD. If you do decide to watch this series, ease into it. Trust me, diving into it from zero will keep you up at night wondering about all the little bumps and creaks around the house.

As for me, I’m a CHICKEN, an IMAGINATION ARTIST and a QUEASY QUEEN rolled into one big mess. I watch this show and my eyes start bulging out of their sockets and my nails run out faster than the eraser on the end of a number 2 pencil.

The funny thing is though, the minute I started watching this show, I was HOOKED! It drove me crazy the night I first started watching it. I woke up at 3am, looked around my dark bedroom and wanted to glue my eyes shut. I freak out easily and I don’t really know what pushed me to start watching this series but in a way, it’s been both the reason for a few stress lines on my face as well as the reason for some of the smile lines too.

 

FINAL STATEMENT, Walking Dead is INSANE in both the good and the gory way. If you do decide to stick it into your player, make sure you’ve cleared your bladder and screwed your head on real tight! It’ll be one hell of a ride! 🙂

ADIEU

I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to narrow down the topics I’ve conveniently listed in my head. Mulling over what to write about always gives me that strange sense of déjà vu but that’s probably because the act HAS actually been pretty repetitive (although the thoughts are never really the same.) It’s the reason why I haven’t been able to write anything for a while. I know the excuse sounds pretty lame but, that’s all I’ve got for now.

As I try to put my thoughts into proper perspective, I’ve realized that there’s been one subject in particular that’s always managed to weasel its way back into my mind. Friendship!

I’ve been itching to write about it but I just haven’t been able to find the right angle to weave words through and around the topic. After a lot of contemplating, I’ve decided to write from experience. It won’t be all warm and fuzzy but it’ll be real and honest. Tears aren’t a guarantee but feel free to cry your eyes out (although I have serious doubts as to whether that will even be an option.)

With this in mind, I start…  

 

Friends really are the darnest creatures (and I say this with love and affection.) There are loads of definitions on friendship. Some are accurate but lack sentiment, others are over the top and way too flowery and then there are those that are just plain blech! But the most beautiful explanation of friendship is one that’s kept secret and shared only by those people whose craziness match yours.

Personally, I’ve been extremely blessed to be surrounded by the wackiest set of goofballs this side of the world. My friends keep me grounded and sane when the world seems just about ready to tip over. I may not be a whiz when it comes to some things but I’d like to think that I have a pretty good handle on the friends department. My friends may not be perfect but they’ve certainly made my life interesting.

Here’s the thing, if we end up building relationships and memories with every person we meet in life, I doubt the world would be as mixed up and topsy-turvy as it is. Unfortunately, life refuses to compromise. Hence, we are left with those few people who are willing to give of themselves and meld their character with yours. Together you begin a journey through the forbidden woods and rigorous mountains of life. Those that are in it for the long haul become your chosen family.

You paint a picture so perfect that you’d never think how something that started like this,

ends up becoming a relationship only slightly better than that of strangers.

 

What if one day the person whom you thought was one of your bestest friends cuts all her ties and leaves you hanging; no explanations, no proper goodbye, just a disappearing act that leaves you clueless, scratching your head and throbbing with an ache that doesn’t go away?

What if you make all the efforts to rebuild but she takes it all and shoves it right back without even realizing that she did something that horrible in the first place?

What if she tells you everything’s fine but uses the “I’ve been busy” line over and over again ’til it sounds like a broken record in your head?

 

What if you write the most heartfelt letter and get an incoherent and callous reply in return?

The question is, when the tides turn and luck runs out, how do you muster enough strength to say goodbye to someone you’ve slowly given a part of yourself to?

What do you do then?!!

See that’s the thing about friendship. This is what they always leave out in happily ever afters. All they show you are the rainbows and the skipping across the meadows of Happyville part. They don’t tell you that desertion from a friend can be more heart wrenching than saying goodbye to an old fling. The possibility of having to say goodbye is never easy but sometimes it has to be done.

 

So…

This is me telling you that I’ve come to terms with everything. After months of putting it off, I’ve decided to slowly let go of the past. We’ve had a good run and I’m glad you’re happy with where you’re at in life. I want you to know that the years we’ve spent as an inseparable duo will remain one of my fondest memories. It breaks my heart to say goodbye not just to a friend but to a sister.

If you get to read this, (and a part of me really wants you to) know that the bitterness has left my system. I’ve cried about it and I’ve even tried telling myself how you were never really a true friend. As much as I would like to keep thinking that way, I find it unfair to label you completely based on the last few months. Once upon a time, you were the most amazing friend that anyone could ever ask for. I guess that’s why this has been so hard to write.

 

“But fate ordains that even dearest friends must part.

-Edward Young

 

If we’re lucky, fate will give us another shot. Till then, I bid you ADIEU!