Just Checking-In: 030317

It’s been awhile… again. I know I haven’t been diligently writing or blogging lately (though I’ve had a lot of ideas to write about). Sorry about that. I’ve been busy processing stuff and going through mini-existential crises recently.

Anyway, despite life being a bit shaky right now, things are starting to look up. For one, I’m loving the sensation in being immersed in something entertaining. It makes me forget about the big deep stuff for a while.

These entertainment stuff are all listed below. They are my comfort things and I’m just thankful that I’m still able to enjoy because of them. (That’s one way to put it.)

READING – ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ by William Shakespeare on Sparknotes

I know I should probably be reading the script before diving into the explanation of the theme and motifs but I don’t know. I’ve been into reading Sparknotes explanations lately. Yesterday, I read the one about the Hunchback of Notredame because I wanted to understand the symbolism behind the plot, and it was a great way to learn and kill time.

LISTENING – JJY and Roy Kim!

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Jung Joon Young’s been one of the stars that I’m following lately. He became known by joining a singing contest in Korea.

One of his fellow contestants turned chingu was Roy Kim who became the grand winner of the competition. They’ve covered a couple of songs like ‘Falling Slowly’, ‘Creep’ and ‘Becoming Dust’. (I’ve been listening to all three!)

Right now, ‘Becoming Dust’ is on repeat in my player and I even downloaded a karaoke video just so I could learn to sing it. It’s a rock rendition of the ballad but surprisingly, I’m really loving it!

WATCHING – Where do I begin with this segment? I don’t even know. I think I may be watching too many things.

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If I must share, I’m currently watching two Kdramas: Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and My Introverted Boss. After Hwarang and Reply 1988 where I was either tense or crying every episode, I decided to go with light fluffy dramas this time. I’m not expecting much plot-wise for both dramas. I just really need a breather right now.

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For variety shows, I’m still into 1 Night 2 Days. I decided to watch it from the very first episode of season three and now I’m at the non possession episode. (I love the cast so much and I have to admit that when I watch the episode of Joo Hyuk leaving, I’ll die inside.)

FEELING – Now that I’ve written about all of that, I feel really happy inside. (And I just want to go home and immerse myself in that happy world.)

THINKING – About how I should spend my time this afternoon. I want to be both chill and productive.

CRAVING – for sleep in the bus.

PRAYING – that all the challenges of the coming week will be surmounted.

NEEDING – a run or a solemn moment in church. I’ve been needing that for a while now.

LOVING – my family. They’ve always made me feel like I’m going to be okay.

‘Unlearn’

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Photo credits: “Lost in Thought” Art Print by Davies on Society6

My favorite English word is ‘unlearn’. To me, it’s impossible to unlearn anything and yet, that word exists. It’s a sweet simple paradox.

This morning, ‘unlearning’ came to mind as I stared at a press release written for one of our projects. It was being edited and I was called so that I could learn from the revisions.

I thought back to my college days, when I was writing for the school paper, and began comparing notes. I knew that the context of the situations were different but, at times, I couldn’t help but internally reject some of the practices/tips given to us because it was different from what I learned. Most of the time, I have to turn off the pub-side of my brain to be able to write press releases according to how the industry wants it to be written.

It’s been almost eight months of that now. Of course, I haven’t been writing press releases only. I’ve been writing various communication materials also, and because of that, I had to adopt the business/marketing language – whatever that is.

This morning, I was just worried that unlearning is actually possible. I worried that by trying to adopt to a certain communication style, I had unlearned one that I am proud of having acquired. If that was the case, then the special-ness of my favorite word would be gone and I’d have to blame myself for being so careless with words and communication.

But then, as I spaced out and thought about it some more, I realized that I did not unlearn. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to write a good news article, using the rules I came to know, if I tried. It won’t be phenomenal, but I will be familiar and okay.

Maybe, just because I haven’t been doing it as much, I have temporarily forgotten. I may have put that skill to sleep in the comforts of my head, but it’s there. And everyone knows, you can’t run after waking up. It takes slow and sluggish steps to get accustomed to being alive again.

Writing is who I am, and like the things we learn and come to realize, our identity is not something that can simply be taken away.

The cost of swallowing your words

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Photo credits: suwalls.com

You stand before the judgment of whoever it was you believed was above you. You tell yourself to keep you head high, to look out the windows if you must, so that at least you could say a part of you fought for something. But your lips, trembling, gave you away. Though your heart was hammering against your chest, rebelling against the control you’re trying to enforce, you knew you’d say nothing in the end.

You weren’t the type of soldier to keep guns in your back pocket. Instead, you carried a flag and a glass of cold water. More than anyone, you knew that there are injustices worth speaking about and people worth breaking the silence for. You wore your principles like a rosary around your neck, that to tuck it out of your shirt would be as powerful as a prayer.

Maybe, you felt like survival meant being quiet in a jungle, that to travel at night and adhere to the rules of the king would be the only way to get out alive. You’ve scraped your knee a little too early when you sang with your inside voice, and that sort of betrayal felt more painful than having nothing for breakfast. There’s something unspoken that followed after – shortness of breath and constant second-guessing.

Now, your teeth are turning yellow and your name is trying to escape. The thoughts you used to be sure are yours sound like another person. Your mouth is dry; your tongue has reverted to its cave. And you feel, with everything you let be and keep inside, you barter a chunk of your soul for temporary comfort.

You cannot avoid conflict. War travels in the air as a given. If you cannot fight for your heart, fight with it.

Just Checking-In: 013117

I haven’t been blogging lately despite all the life-changing epiphanies I’ve had these past few months. I guess, I’ve become conscious with the form and symbolisms I use in each piece I write and that made it a bit harder to just express myself. (This is a public blog after all so I have to watch what I immortalize in cyberspace through this blog.) And, as I mentioned, the down side is that I am discouraged to just write anything, hence, the decrease in posts.

While having lunch today, I remembered a certain format that some of the bloggers I know use. It’s the verb-ing thing and then the description/answer to that. (I made it sound confusing. You’ll get it once you read on.)

(Edited. I researched and it’s called ‘Sunday Currently’ which originated from Sidda Thornton in 2012. I’m not going to do this just on Sundays though.)

That kind of format didn’t seem to be much of a commitment and was easy to write without worrying too much. That’s why I’ll give it a try today, and perhaps on days when I want to blog without making a fuss.

Without further ado, here I go.

READING – The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I realized that I needed to be actively pursuing happiness instead of just waiting for life to throw it at me. (But, since I’m good at putting things off so as to not overwhelm myself, I am reading this very very very slowly. I’m still at page 10+ after two weeks of having it wait on my bedside drawer.)

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WRITING – Nothing! My writer self is so embarrassed. I’m supposed to be writing my would-be novel so that it could have a shot at being published. (It will be finished this year though. I will make that happen too.)

LISTENING – If we’re talking about what’s on repeat in my playlist, it’s either AMY by Jung Joonyoung or Lost Stars sung by Kiera Knightley.

WATCHING – Lately, I’ve been into the Korean variety show, 1 Night 2 Days! It’s a wild travel variety show where cast members travel around Korea, feature tourist spots and delicacies and play games of chance for every essential activity to survive (eating, sleeping…). I just love watching them so much because they’re all really funny and I don’t know, they just make life seem really exciting.

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FEELING – Relaxed. For a person who is about to deliberately undergo change, feeling this way is either my way of putting off the worries or loosening up.

THINKING – About the effect of the coffee I had earlier to my body. And my watching schedule for tonight. And the work load I’ve put on hold. Also wondering if I should edit my pending vlogs already.

CRAVING – For alone time with Youtube videos and just potating with my siblings.

PRAYING – For direction in life. Lord you know this. You got this.

NEEDING – To have my head planted in the ground. It’s seriously floating too much. Haha. I need it at least grounded once a day for me to make sensible decisions.

LOVING – This Pollen that’s so open to loving herself.

 

16 Lessons of 2016

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2016 Highlights

Living through 2016 felt like riding Anchors Away. I was always on the edge of my seat, stomach churning, head spinning, half-regretting why I rode the ride in the first place but then remembering that I don’t have much choice but to wait until it stops.

I’ve been through what I thought was unthinkable this year. A lot has changed for me, the way I live and who I am as a person, and adjusting  hadn’t been as easy as a flick of the remote. (Do you know how hard it was to change mindsets?)

There were a lot of firsts, goodbyes and what ifs. And honestly, I felt like majority of the year I’ve just been wandering mindlessly, bumping into poles once in a while.

That being said, ending the year felt like a relief more than anything. I learned a lot, I’ll give it that, but I’m just thankful that I’m still standing after it all.

Here are the 16 lessons of 2016 that I earned through all the challenges of the year that was:

  1. Allow yourself to have glory days. – I find it difficult to give myself credit for the good things I do because I often do not know how to accept compliments. But this year, I’ve learned to appreciate the feats I’ve accomplished and the obstacles I’ve overcome. (I can be an awesome potato, if I try to be one.) Once I knew how to do that, it became easier to appreciate myself and forgive myself of the misses and fails I did.
  2. You can make/find multiple sanctuaries in this world. – It takes a lot before I feel comfortable and before 2016, I used to believe that I could only be truly comfortable at home or with the people I consider as home. But once I was left to fend for myself (lol exaggerated), I was forced to make places my home. Though it started as something I had to do, it ended up as a mindset that helped me a lot in Manila. I learned that wherever I go, I should have a space to breathe, to laugh and to be weird.
  3. Always go home to people. – I loved Lipa more this year, not because it’s familiar and safe, but because most of the people I truly care for are here. 2016 helped me appreciate that.
  4. At the end of the day, the day always ends. – This was a statement my dad told me and it’s gotten me through really tough days. // I’m a worrier and I obsessively worry about stuff to the point that my body can feel the negative impact of my worries. But gosh, if I did that for every little obstacle, I believe I wouldn’t stay sane. I just have to let go sometimes and focus on one thing at a time so that I can power through it. It will end too.
  5. Family is important. – Damn. This is the main thing this year. 2016 showed me that family will always be there no matter what. I admit, I haven’t been really open to them before and I used to turn to friends first before them, but this year allowed me to anchor my everything in them.
  6. There’s no use dwelling in the past. – There are moments I can relive in my head but not in real life, I know that. Rather than wishing I was where I was, I learned to use the feelings they gave me to move forward. (I still cringe occasionally at my regrets tho.)
  7. Don’t make money decisions using feelings (at least not all the time). – Refer to Christmas 2016. Haha. For real though, I know I decide using feelings most of the time but when it comes to money, I learned to get my head in the game.
  8. Find a way to let go of your negativity. – An outlet is helpful, but having even just one person to depend on to listen to your shit is amazing. 2016 showed me that apparently, I have a ton of those. I just need to open up.
  9. The fear of not knowing can be conquered by admitting ignorance and asking. – This is my ultimate fear. I just have to keep learning.
  10. Getting lost is an experience. – Direction-wise, this is self-explanatory. 🙂 But in life, getting lost can be taxing. It’s up to me though to change my mindset and enjoy the journey (which is harder than I’m making it sound).
  11. Never let people tell you who you are. – It took a lot before I grew into the Pauline I am now. It took forever getting to know me and deciding who I wanted to be and what are the values I can’t be without. So excuse me if I won’t let people define me and belittle the woman I’ve become. (I’m not going down without a fight. Not anymore.)
  12. Find/keep people you can be weird with. – Amidst all the pretentiousness of this world, you have to stay true once in a while. Haha. Do that with people. // Also, potate-ing isn’t shameful. There are people out there who’d be more willing to potate with you.
  13. Work on relationships.– I’m lazy with staying touch but 2016 challenged me. It taught me that if I wanted to keep people, I have to communicate. (And hey, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.) I sort of forgot how it felt to live off stories of other people’s days and how kilig it is to have inside jokes, because I was busy denying that I needed anyone. But yeah, now that I’m adulting, I learned to put extra effort on this.
  14. Love yourself to be your own person. – Be a potato or a solider if you want to. Once you forget who you are, that’s when your world will crumble. Hold on to your person. // This also goes with not having to force yourself into a relationship just so you could feel wanted. Want yourself. You don’t need anyone to make you feel special. You are special. Independence is empowering. (Ayyy. This is for you, Pollen.)
  15. Anchor everything on the Lord. He’s listening. – Wow, it’s humbling to realize that God does take the time of the day to pay attention to your prayers. Maybe it’s because I’m finally paying attention but it’s 2016 when I truly saw His hands working in my life. God’s just been so present and been so forgiving of me this year.
  16. Hang onto your dreams and work on them. – I’m a writer, not because I professionally practice the craft but because it’s a part of who I am. That means, no matter what life throws at me, I will continue to write. 2016 tested me, teased me for not writing enough, but if there’s one thing it made me sure of, it’s that my soul will not rest if it’s not finished my story. Come what may, I’ll get it done and the world will know of it. // Dreams are not lists you make or stuff you stick on boards for display. Dreams are things you accomplish. (Go 2017 Pollen!)

This is a love letter.

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Photo credits: az616578.vo.msecnd.net

Self,

There are parts of ourselves we have broken by trying too hard. Our tendons are hanging from our wrists, exposed like guts we painted on our chest. Our nails, half-bitten, have turned a dirty shade of yellow for having been kept too long under the bed. Our feet, calloused and soggy, no longer smell like feet should.

We trudge on. But as we go, we prove to be collateral damage to the people closest to us. The sharp edges of our bones slash through the void, allowing darkness to seep in. And as the night closes in, we feel them shaking. Everyone chokes on the cold and on the mistakes we’ve made when our eyes were too sullen to stay open.

Truth is, we have lost ourselves and the space where we can be honest. Air has become too salty to share with people crowding our bed so we rock ourselves to sleep on the floor instead. Do you still recognize our fingers?

Younger, we used to climb walls to reach the stars on the ceiling. Mama would reprimand us for making so much noise, but a broken nose was better than everything that came crashing down years later. We used to be so beautiful.

Perhaps, it is time for us to retreat. This is not the time to prove ourselves wrong about ourselves.

There are places that take pieces of us until we have none of ourselves left. To resist can be troublesome. We are tired, rightfully so, and we need to take a break from this emptiness too.

Sometimes, the quiet allows healing. And we need to remember what it means to be whole before we venture out again.

Self

(Me, overthinking out loud)

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Photo credit: quotespics.net

It’s been difficult for me to say things, even if I knew that saying them would prevent a massive problem in the future. If it makes me uncomfortable, I’d fold. I’d just keep the thoughts in my head and drag them on until they finally explode in my face.

Now, I’ve already recognized that this is not a good practice, at least during critical times, and I know that I should do something about this. The first step, of course, would be trying to figure out why I’m like this.

I’m not entirely sure if it’s because of my MBTI because I’m no expert on that and I’ve tried my best not to research too much about it. (I mean, it also creeps me out to discover so much about myself on the internet.) But, I just had this Eureka moment earlier today that being an ISFJ might be related to it since, in one article I read, it said that not saying what they want to say is an ISFJ’s biggest regret.

Okay. I’m going out on a limb here but this is my analysis of the situation.

As a Sensor (I’m making up terms now), I am grounded in the present. I take everything in and everything makes such an impact to me. I’m sensitive to the now, the moments because I can concretize and capture them. This is often why I’m easily overwhelmed by whatever is happening around me and I feel lopsided when things are just too much.

As a Feeler, I am in touch with my emotions. I am easily affected by events and I can easily recognize how the people around me will be affected too.

As a Judger, I have preconceived notions about things which means I’m quick to evaluate people or things around me even before I really get to know them.

Combining all three factors, I realized that my functions make it easy for me to collect so much information about the world and to have opinions about them. I’m a sponge, absorbing everything, letting it overcome me and forming ideas out of them.

But I’m a fairly quiet sponge. I’d like to keep to myself. I will not openly blurt my thoughts. I’m conscious about the discomfort opening up will bring me. (Introvert potato is me. Introvert potato is life.)

Do you see the struggle here? So much input but little output!

(Hence, I write. Writing is my creative outlet.)

Again, I’m not entirely sure about how MBTI-accurate this is. It’s just all subjective, really. (I’m not even considering the SiFe and other functions thingymajeebeez yet.) But it kinda makes sense to me.

Well, that’s all for step one. If you’ve read this, thank you. I have no idea why you did. (In case it isn’t obvious, I just wrote this to overthink. So I really don’t care if I’m listened to. Okayyyyy. Bye.)

Living in Makati

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What Makati feels to me

A friend PM-ed me earlier, asking me about the pros and cons of living in Makati. I thought I’d list it down for her and for anyone wanting to give this place a try.

Just a backgrounder: I’m a fresh grad from Batangas. I had to move here because of my job. It’s just been four months+ since I’ve been here on my own (so I’m not really sure if my opinions are valid or anything). I did intern at companies here November last year till March but I stayed in Pasay with my cousin. I’m not sure if that counts as something.

Anyway, here’s my list. It’s from a adulting millennial struggling to build a career in the city’s perspective:

Pros:

  1. You’d meet really intelligent, career-driven, determined and well-connected people. They can teach you a lot and can even challenge you to better yourself.
  2. Shopping and grocery-wise, there are a lot of options. If you can afford it, you can experiment on the food want to eat and the stuff you want to buy.
  3. There are many ways to treat yourself. Museums, coffee shops, malls and leisure spots are very accessible and abound.
  4. You’d learn to walk faster.
  5. You’d learn to be fashion-forward and break out of the box. People here, even those in business sectors, are far from looking uptight and they’d inspire you to step up your wardrobe game.
  6. I’d say Makati is cleaner, than other places in Metro Manila.
  7. You’ll have politics for lunch (which I realize, is a good thing.) Being at the capital, business capital to be more precise, forces you to be in the know and empowers you to be involved. You’ll feel like you have a say in things.
  8. Possibilities are everywhere. Here, you’ll realize that you have so many options and you can dream.
  9. Makati has a way of making you feel important, like you’re actually doing something with your life.

Cons:

  1. Makati is not immune to Manila stench, filth, heat and traffic in general.
  2. It’s really hard to find low-cost decent places to stay in (at least in my case, it was).
  3. The prices of goods can be more expensive than those in the province.
  4. The commute can be confusing, especially being familliar with all the names of the streets, avenues… etc.
  5. You’d be tempted to buy everything, all the time. The same goes for travelling to places.
  6. It floods real bad.
  7. If you’re not a native, it’s hard to find a spot or safe place for you. It comes with homesickness and the adjustment period. Everywhere can feel too cramped or too busy.
  8. If you’re moving here alone, well, you’d have no one unless you make friends. (But of course, new friends won’t satisfy your need to be understood deeply.)
  9. You can never really fully relax.
  10. You have to be tough, especially when it comes to holding onto your principles or else, Imperial Makati can swallow you.
  11. Makati isn’t home.

At the end of the day, I think the bottomline will be dictated by how you feel. Whenever you move to some place, you need to be prepared that you will not really be prepared for it. It’s like having to set your universals on shaky ground. It’s being uprooted.

But if you’re really decided, just find one good reason to stay (and your job doesn’t count; it has to be something that really matters to you). If you are able to do that, living here will become easier.

All it takes is permission.

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Photo credits: templatesnext.org

‘I am allowing you to linger’ means:

I have accepted your existence. You are a part of my life now.

I will try to wrap my head around the idea of you.

I will think of you when you are not there.

I will miss you, often and in general.

I will mean it when I tell you to text me when you get home.

I will make plans including you.

I will think of you when I get to somewhere wonderful and promise to bring you there next time.

I will dream of you because I wouldn’t be able to control it.

And you will be part of my routine. You will be my permanent person.

‘I am choosing you’ means:

I prefer to be alone but I’ll stay by your side.

I will reply to your messages.

I’ll consider you.

I will not space out as much.

I will invite you to places I want to visit.

I will stay up if you want me to.

Innovation Conference 2016

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One of the very few photos I have of me during the conference

During one of our staff meetings, my boss asked me to say a few words about my experience as the Project Manager of Innovation Conference 2016. For a second, I was shell-shocked because I didn’t know how to put all my thoughts and emotions into words. There were so many moments and lessons playing around in my head, and it was almost impossible to say anything that gave it justice. It meant a lot to me.

Just a backgrounder: Ever since last July, I began working for Fiera de Manila, Inc. as a Marketing Assistant/Project Manager. Innovation Conference was a project turned over to me and was essentially, the first project I handled.

Innovation Conference 2016 was a prestigious learning event attended by C-level professionals. It was a big deal, to say the least, and I was a newbie to the industry, a potato. (Half of the time I was working on it, I tried not to dwell on the gravity of my responsibility so I could continue functioning.)

I learned a lot from this experience. Here are some of the lessons I got for almost three months of working on this project:

  1. Make mistakes but never the same mistake twice. Though I had experiences with organizing stuff in school, I didn’t really have an industry benchmark to guide me. I basically had little to no knowledge of what to do, so naturally, I did some things wrong. It took bravery to swallow reprimands, honestly, but once I got over that, I was able to focus on the task at hand and was able to learn.
  2. Have a team you can trust. I’m glad that I had the FMI team to back me up. They are veterans at what they do and they’re willing to help whenever I need it. I can also always ask questions about things I don’t know how to do yet and they won’t judge or laugh at my innocence.
  3. Nothing goes perfectly in events. Shit happens. Be flexible enough to accommodate the changes. (You will be driven insane otherwise.)
  4. At the end of the day, whatever happens, the event will always end. (Words of wisdom from my dad; mah mantra.)

I’m glad I was trusted with this project. It exhausted me but the stress was worth it.

Here’s to more good experiences!