The Friends You Outgrow

 

goodbye

People say that it’s hard for some women to form bonds or friendships with other women because of the tediousness it entails.  Somehow, women have been seemingly wired to take each other down and view each other as competition.  I don’t know if there’s some primal instinct (made recessive over evolution but still figuring strongly in the female psyche) that wires women this way.  Or maybe it could just be me.  My experiences, even as a young girl, with female-folk have always been to size up the competition.  Who’s the better dresser, who’s prettier, who’s wittier, who’s more demure.  Ironically, my exclusive all-girls education hadn’t also really prepared me to interact better with guys.  Despite the inherent cattiness and internalized misogyny, I’m more comfortable dealing with females.

I don’t really have a best friend (save for Teki).  I dunno… ever since I could remember, I found it difficult and strained to befriend people, more so with other girls.  The moment I strike an interest in a playmate to elevate them into a more permanent status, they tend to veer away or gravitate towards other girls.  And growing up in a strict household, I wasn’t allowed to go out to play or go on play-dates, so it didn’t really help develop much my social skills.

That’s why it pains me so when, over the course of time, I find myself outgrowing some people who once upon a time, you thought the world of, and was willing to take bullets for.   I’ve most certainly invested significant time, effort and affection into building and nurturing these relationships.  Some may not have even really wronged you, even directly.  But somehow, there are certain circumstances that make one get a better glimpse of who they really are as a person and their values, what they stand for.   And somehow, you find these aspects about them as just being non-negotiable.  No matter the length or depth of the friendship.

I feel a twinge of regret from time to time.  Maybe I judged too harshly, too quickly.  Maybe the friendship could have still been repaired, had I exerted more effort.  But then, I’m reminded that I’ve come to terms with who I am, and learned to truly love my person.   I just can’t accept or accommodate anyone who doesn’t value or puts me in the same esteem as I do.  For far too long, I believe that I’ve acquiesced and compromised for the sake of relationships.  Later on, I realize, that I’m not important to these people.  The latitude I’ve been extending were all for naught.  They’ve made up their minds about me.  Hence, the decision to break off ties regardless the number of years comes with ease and resolve. I realize that in showing others how to respect you, you need to show them not only what you cannot accept, but also consider the things that you tolerate.  Small incivilities create a permissive environment for big incivilities.  Once you learn to love yourself, you cannot tolerate others who don’t.

Sometimes, it feels like making the best choices for yourself requires letting somebody go or somebody down.  Maybe women are socialized to put the needs of others ahead of their own; how society is set up to make some shoulder more than their share of the burden, so claiming space for yourself, is so radical and liberating.   In the end, I realized that maybe perhaps these people weren’t meant to continue on the journey with me.

Oprah’s words ring so clear and true.  And from them, I take comfort.

Advertisements

A foray into the infinite sadness

In my social media, there are some who still insist that depression is a matter of overcoming the self.  That it is a matter of faith over oneself and the greater being.  That to be able to NOT overcome this, is definitely a sign of obstinate attachment to the condition, or that one has romanticized it to the virtues of being “a tortured soul”.

If I at one point, had been insensitive to anyone’s melancholy or depression, I truly ask for forgiveness.  I ask pardon for my ignorance.   I understand it is difficult to be of help to someone suffering this condition and not all are equipped.  There is the fear, perhaps brought about by self-preservation, that in attempting to save one from ‘drowning’, the weight of their burdens may pull one down and drown them too in the process.  But at the very least, we could just let them ‘be’.   Compassion can often eclipse even the basest of ignorance.

If you haven’t experienced depression yourself, avoid comparing it to times when you’ve felt down.  Comparing what you’re experiencing to normal, temporary feelings of sadness can make them feel guilty for struggling.

Should one find themselves even with an infinitesimal amount of fortitude to venture to talk to someone about depression — be it their own or someone else’s, please do.  In our society which still considers depression as an affliction of the rich, a form of escapism, or a mark of willful weakness, doing so helps others to at least seek help.

Even just talking about depression openly can help…. Open conversations about mental illness can help erode the stigma.

Information is an antidote to ignorance-driven iniquities.  Hence, this primer on depression.  The more we know, the less we fear it and perhaps refine our approach towards it — be it to our own or others.

I would like to believe that there is a limit, an edge just waiting to be stumbled upon. And even with the little light there is on depression, sharing its illumination could help others grope their way out of the seemingly infinite sadness.

Signalling False Virtues : Is it About You or The Cause?

we are better than this

I have friends who consider themselves ambassadors for gender equality.  There are those who exert remarkable effort to genuinely promote the cause.  Then there are those who simply practice  virtue signalling.  What is this virtue signalling? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as:

The action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue.  

There is  such a mismatch in the ideals one supposedly espouses versus their actions, while using social media as a platform where they can wield influence.  Looking at one’s Facebook feed for starters. Perhaps you would find in it a pastiche of causes and ideologies supported by friends, relatives or the general public sharing profiles.  There’s LGBTQ causes, women empowerment, peace movements, mindful living, progressive parenting – the list goes on.  Supporting varied causes is good.  It demonstrates a diverse empathy for the multitude of collective issues that affect humanity.  It further expands social awareness, heightens discussion of issues, and promotes a call to action.  What I am greatly turned off by is  when it becomes a  combined  expression of slacktivism, hypocrisy and virtual feel-good socialism to exhibit a superficial moral ascendancy over others.

Take for instance the perfunctory OOTD (Outfit Of The Day) posts.  Some would make a short-sighted (laughable even) attempt to make it ‘relevant’ by adding the hashtag representative of the group or cause of their fancy e.g. #GirlBoyBaklaTomboy  #Androgyny  #ClothesforAll #WoMan  #FreetheNipple (hashtag ad nauseum). It then becomes confusing what to make of the post.  Is it simply sharing their fashion sense to webdom?  Is it a call for the DGAF stance that conventional fashion shouldn’t be defined/limited by the gender binary?  Is it a message that clothes don’t make the man/woman?

Or take the proliferation of shameless selfies while misappropriating  popular hashtags of the day to exploit for likes.  An example is when Filipinos use #ImWithHer to promote their support for Leni Robredo, Lila de Lima, Judy Taguiwalo, without understanding its original function as election support for then US Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.  What’s more unfortunate is that some selfies abuse these hashtags to promote more about themselves than the issues at hand.  It then becomes a contrived expression of support, superficial at its core, if not a tad tasteless.

Here’s my thing though:  Gender Equality is not solely about gender.  The word equality takes greater precedence and focus.  Equality is not about sameness.  It’s about being equitable. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  While this may be a graphic, it strikes a powerful message.

We can take something from a popular Harvey Spectre (Suits) line:  “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”  At face value, the quote cannot  be taken literally.  Context is important.   It means  a positive kind of change – elevating the conversation to a more intelligent narrative or discourse.  There are a number of ways to show support for a cause:  joining marches, signing campaigns, participating in media campaigns and getting involved in issue-laden discussions.  A more powerful, inclusive message comes across when one speaks about why they love rather than simply bash on what they hate.  More importantly, support for an issue can be done in the day-to-day activities that require real conversations.  In empowering women, we can introduce our young girls early to various women role models.  We can encourage our daughters, nieces and girlfriends to speak bravely about their ideals. We can compliment their budding intelligence and expression attributes rather than focusing physical attributes and outward appearances.  We can uplift the right of women to safe spaces, by teaching our sons to respect personal and even physical spaces.  Ask them to man-spread less in public transport to accommodate space for senior citizens, children and the sick.  One can start by changing one’s internal narrative.  By believing yourself empowered, you increase the probability to empower others as well.   It’s in the day-to-day,  granular activities that are the building blocks to fortifying a cause.

This reminds me of a line from an Oasis’  Don’t look back in Anger, which may as well be a fitting soundtrack for the daily battles we choose to fight.

So I start a revolution from my bed
‘Cos you said the brains I had went to my head.
Step outside, summertime’s in bloom
Stand up beside the fireplace
Take that look from off your face
You ain’t ever gonna burn my heart out

The strength of one’s convictions is tested in the daily, conscious actions one makes to rise to the challenge.  I am consciously placing this as a daily motivation myself.  The real ice bucket challenge is when you virtually douse yourself with the conviction that change starts with you, everyday.

 

 

Photowalk 24 May 2017

True to form, I’ve neglected to upload, let alone do photo walks.  (You know, life.) So much has happened since my last photo-walk upload.  (Has it truly been three years?)  It feels so good to be able to go on a photo-walk again.   Although it feels a little pretentious on my part to term these little outings as such because I don’t deem myself a photographer, nor an artist.  Nonetheless,  it is blissfully fulfilling, cleansing even, to go on a creative field trip of sorts and refract the oft neglected ‘eye for beauty and whimsy‘.  So without further ado, here it is.  I am a creature of habit and the familiar.  Let me share with you some of my favorite haunts around our little Eastwood community.

Pretty marble design adorns the lobby floor of the current condo we call home.

Enjoying Eastwood Mall’s wide open spaces.

I have always been a fan of this Supermarket.  Service is always on-point.  Although product variety & selection can still be improved.  

Definitely my happy place.  CoCo is the perfect antidote to downers and the blues.  My current fave:  Chocolate Pudding with Black Pearls.  All-time favorite:  Two Ladies (Pearl Milk Tea with Pudding & Black Pearls)

Purple print dress against an orange weave.  Odd complements.

Even the salad place is a call to action.  Good thing we know better to ignore it than succumb to its pressure.

While I still wish more flourishing flora to feed our oxygen starved metro, I’m thankful for the patches of green that bravely dare to thrive in the concrete jungle.

Eastwood Mall hosts interesting events.  Like these plush, luxurious massage chairs for free trial.  A temporary oasis for the work / life weary.  

I also like taking aimless walks around the small plaza.  Typically busy during the weekends, is now a leisurely domain ideal for head-clearing walks.

The trellis is pretty as much as it is functional, offering shelter against the sudden downpour.

How vibrant the plans look in the rain!

While others were struggling to seek shelter to stay dry, I willingly stepped into the rain to get a better shot of the raindrops falling.  

Even the man-made pond manages to look alive and pretty, when it rains.

Kept getting weird looks for being the girl standing in the rain looking up.

Going against the flow can be freeing sometimes.

Eerily sleepy in the mornings, Eastwood business offices come alive in the evenings, as they house several BPO, KPO  and shared-service hubs.

Stepping out of the rain for now lest I catch a cold.  

Until next time.  

TTFN!

 

First Thoughts on Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”

The Handmaid’s Tale is truly captivating but I can’t help but put it down from time to time.  Despite its label as a dystopian novel, I am absolutely shaken as to how shockingly, disturbingly possible this could happen, or if not is already happening in real life.  I remember a signage held up in the recent Women’s March, “Make Atwood Fiction Again”.  I didn’t quite get it then, but I definitely do now.  It reminded me of the workplace, where having a “women’s league” is part of a company’s pseudo diversity machinery yet continues to systemically treat women as ‘special’ or different in a multitude of ways, the varying degrees of subjugation I’ve experienced, (I’m a childless, unmarried and middle-aged, so yeah!  that makes me fall under the err, Unwomen category?), the callow yet knavish clique mentality women have to pit women against each other as a means of validation, the subtle and overt sexisms taken as normal or accepted, typical to a predominantly male organization. And I really wonder, would I have the courage, to stand up to take a stand or fight all this?  I also think of my nieces and the state of womanity that they are now entering. How much have I contributed to championing women’s rights, or at the very least, not add to its backsliding?  I feel like I suddenly woke up forty, my 20s & 30s whizzed past, with little to show for.  How much have I glossed over, let pass, overlook, for the sake of uncomplicated, agreeable and easy?!  How much of the freedoms that I enjoy as a modern woman, have I taken for granted or been flippant about?  What would it be like if taken away? How will it be taken away?  I’m still reading, to get clues, insight on how it got to this deplorable state, and what is in our present mores should we watch out for lest we become Gilead-esque.
Despite it’s disturbingly enthralling pages, there is a sardonic humor and a deft use of satire along the lines of A Clockwork Orange and 1984.  It’s now wonder it captivated the interest of Bruce Miller, the creator of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale TV series. (starring Elizabeth Moss,   I’m glad the tv adaptation tried to stay faithful to the book and all changes and creative input were actively taken with Margert Atwood.
In one of my breaks from reading, I came across this article,  that further fueled my fears and apprehensions.
But then, I check myself and take heed from Atwood herself.   I definitely must read on.
”Anyone who wants power will try to manipulate you by appealing to your desires and fears, and sometimes your best instincts. Women have to be a little cautious about that kind of appeal to them. What are we being asked to give up?”                                                                                                                –   Margaret Atwood
Beanie Handmaid

Variation On The Word Sleep

2

This poem exemplifies the deep, sincere craving to be intimate, to truly connect with another person.  It starts off as tender and wistful, in askance even, for the chance to sleep with another person.  Transcending the physical, it is a desire to tap into one’s unconscious, one’s vulnerability.  The imagery evoked in the passages, while sensual, is able to articulate the longing of a pure heart, hence transcending its lines to beyond love, but an earnest desire to know the full depths of the other person, both conscious and subconscious.  The poem can be likened to the steady breath of slumber.  At the onset, inhaling peaceful, building up to an apogee, like in the middle of a dream, then letting out a soft, slow exhalation of release and resignation.

What truly resonated with me is the last stanza.  It speaks of selflessness.  It embodies, perhaps one of my life goals:  to be deemed necessary, life-giving as breath, yet given without the exacting ties of expecting something in return.

And with that, I dedicate the last four lines to my beloved, Teki.

Creativity, the elusive muse

I like how Elizabeth Gilbert described the creative process of some writers / artists who viewed themselves as vessels or in her case, she called herself a mule.  Like a deity deigning you worthy enough to impose their inspiration, must drop everything and chase it, capture it, while you can, lest it vanish and dissipate into thin air.  And just like so many contemporary artists, I find myself in this conundrum of having inspiration come to me in the weirdest, unlikeliest places and times, so much so that my chase of it has caused some let’s just say unpleasant encounters and strained relationships.

Nevertheless, I try to find comfort in what she said when she tried to change this process.  To reign in that fleeting, fickle, elusive muse when she’s good and ready.

She saysDon’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed, for just one moment through your efforts, then “Olé!” And if not, do your dance anyhow. And “Olé!” to you, nonetheless.

However this may be, I still find myself chasing, pursuing this illusory, evanescent and baffling inspiration that seems to take various shapes and forms over the course of days.  There was one time that I vowed to update the powerpoint decks to my training courses.  But since I recently installed the latest version of Windows, I had yet to familiarize my way around it.  I was baffled at how different things were and how everything seemed so updated and complex.  I started with choosing a new design template for my deck.  Upon choosing one design, it told me that I needed to have Office Mix installed for it to work.  So I thought it was just a quick click of the download button but I was mistaken.  It involved learning to manipulate things on a new platform, now merging once separate applications into one presentation, etc.  Long story short, I needed to learn it again.  So even if my muse was there, I had to let it wait while I struggled to study it.  Until I felt it fled, somewhat miffed that I had the audacity to keep it waiting.

Chasing Pavement

Then came vlogging.  I’ve been watching a couple of youtube videos, and have even been offered one, albeit in passing, to collaborate on a video with a friend, who was a budding youtuber.  Also, Teki’s niece started to do youtube videos as well.  To support her and keep her motivated, we thought of doing videos ourselves.   I’ve read somewhere that anyone with a camera can be a star on Youtube.  That Youtube is the future of TV/movies.   It’s funny how the mundane and the trivial, once given the right animation and other swooshes and “ja-raan!”, would make it ever oh so interesting and fresh to the eye.  I’ve spent countless hours on youtube, riveted at the banal on-goings in random people’s lives.  So I said, “Hey, I can do that!  I can walk anyone through my life. I can recount the tedious details of my day with a much better vocabulary than stating the obvious.  (More than “See this meal?  It looks so nice.  It tastes so bongga!”) I thought, this would be a walk in the park. Ok.  So recording oneself is easy. But editing it is another ballgame.  A plain “talking” video can be a bore to watch.  It’s like being chained to watch a ruthlessly boring show without the mercy of commercials to ease the misery.  Not only is it time-consuming, it still also entails learning to navigate one’s way around the controls.  Learning new terms like “timelines”, “splices”, “transitions” and “time-warp”.  As I watched more and more tutorials, it started to feel like I was on a Start Trek odyssey.  So again, my muse left in a huff.  Leaving me with nothing to show for but hours of unedited, unabashed self-promoting videos.

And so I find my way back to an old love, blogging.  I was looking through old posts and I decided to write down my “creative journey” so far.  By the way, the reason why I had to put blogging aside was due to a heavy work schedule and the general feeling of ennui that comes from being held hostage by the company of unsavory characters.  Plus, my old laptop finally bid adieu and had breathe it’s last.  I was recently blessed to get a replacement from my one true love.  And hence, here I am, tapping away again.

So what’s my point?  I guess, I’m heeding Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice.  So.  I’m here.  I’m gonna keep at it, even if obstacles (real or self-imposed) keep cropping up.  I’m gonna do my part.  I’m gonna show up. So that creative afflatus better start flowing.  I guess it’s a process.  I just have to trust it more.

In three… two… one…

trust the process

 

 

 

Furballs and furloughs

image

image

image

These are our cats, Harriette (top), Keaton (middle), and Beanie (bottom), all curled up to be little balls of fur, taken from different parts of the house.

There’s a certain soothing reassurance to see a sleeping cat. At least for me.  One may scurry about, fixated on the many demands of the day, and then you see a sleeping cat.  Oft, they lazily half open an eye to gaze at you as if to say: “So what’s the big deal about what you’re doing? Why rush? Relax.”

Cats sleep an average of 16-20 hours in a day.  Watching my cats, they seem to really savor the deep slumber they are in. They really commit to recharging not only their bodies but seemingly their spirits as well.  As if they really are saving all their strength for something majorly important later on.  If only for the 45 mins.-1 hour frolic and roughhouse play they do around the house after they get their full quota of sleep.

They are a visual reminder for me to slow down my pace at times and give as much value to rest as it is to active engagements.  They remind me that a few hours of restful meditation and slumber can render one better prepared for the many battles ahead. Most importantly, they make me stop and weigh whatever it is I’m doing is worth the effort or would my time be better spent resting, bracing myself for the better, more meaningful pursuits.

And with that, I end and head off for a nap.

F is for Forty

I have a couple more months before turning forty. 40.  Four-Oh.  Quarenta.  Ugh.  Just looking at it sends shivers and gives me pause.  I’m somehow in disbelief at how much time has passed yet, so little have I achieved.  Well, at least by my standards.  I remember a checklist of things I should have accomplished by this age, and somehow, I am nowhere near even a fourth of its completion.  Man, all those years just sneaked up on me.

They say that age is a state of mind.  You are only as old as you feel.  I seem to have stopped counting at age 25, and continue to live my life (recklessly) as a twenty-something.  I am blessed to look younger than my age, so thankfully, I don’t have a daily reminder every time I see my reflection.  I have however, other reminders of my age.  The other day, I was asked by an audaciously brash head-hunter, what my age and gender was.  In this day and age, I reminded him those items should not be an issue, but then again, this is the Philippines.  I’ll reserve thoughts on this on another entry. I just realized when filling up a form, I now belong to a different age-bracket.(OMG! It just hit me, I am now what they call “middle-aged”.) When I logged into a new game I was trying out, I was asked my age.  And admitting to playing such a game at my age suggests that it was…unbecoming.  It seems that the older I get, the more unsavory I am for a job, a coverage or a specific service.  I now am part of a different segment, where my tastes, thoughts and proclivities are deemed no longer “new” or novel.

I guess more than turning forty, I need to get used to the concept of not being “new” and “fresh”.  Moreso, being “un-new” is not a bad thing.  Perhaps familiar and predictable are not exactly lesser, inconsequential things to be.  I guess more than accepting how you look once you’ve reached a certain age, is first accepting that there are certain things more befitting to a certain age.  For instance, to be broke, clueless, vacillating from one project/job/interest to the next, was considered “normal” and even romantic and rebellious, in your twenties.  To be so in your thirties, is deemed risque, yet bordering on a wake-up call to straighten up.  But to be so in your forties, I would think, is just darn plain unacceptable.  Or, indicates a mid-life crisis of some sort.  Thankfully, I have a couple of months left to mull over the intricacies, nuances and ramifications of being forty.

I came across this quote somewhere: “The forties are the old age of youth,and the youth of old age“. This is definitely true for me.  Hopefully, by the time I officially become “it“,  I would’ve come up with a list of things about what it’s like being forty.  Either they’re fabulous things, or effed-up things.  Until then, allow the incredulity of the whole thing to sink in.