Coffee & Flowers: Open Letters & Instax Photos

This year I made the resolution not to keep a journal because I’d kept a journal for every year of my life since 1998 and it just seemed like too much: too many memories stacking themselves higher, growing more voluminous than yourself. It’s weird. But at the same time, I can’t quite accept the non-existence of some sort of documentation of what’s going on. It is important to remember, I think: it’s important to keep track—to know where you’re going, when you’re going, how.

As a result, I’ve decided that I’m going to begin taking photos and maybe writing things down again: writing open letters, maybe. Some of it will be kept here, other things will be kept on a notebook. With this month’s pay, I’m going to buy Instax film because for the past few months my camera has just been sitting at home, hanging out with my piggy bank (which is actually a jar). I can’t help but feel bad about these past few months which I’ve missed out on documenting through something concrete, something offline, something I can keep—although the point of not journal keeping was that exactly: to lessen the boxes I go through when I am feeling sentimental.

In high school, when YM and LiveJournal were the best ways to go (none of that fancy Facebook shiznit, harhar) I used to write a lot of open letters. This had to do with the fact that ye ole internet life was way more private in those days (seriously, back then the thought of sharing your blog was preposterous—like why would you upload your own scandal?) in as much as it had to do with my angst-filled 19-year-old brain. (2009 was 5 years ago—again, dafuqqq!). At the same time, though I feel like they were a really good way to be able to deal with stuff, regardless of whether or not they are seen by the person who sees them.

So. Here are some open letters:

Continue reading “Coffee & Flowers: Open Letters & Instax Photos”

Head First, Fearless Day 3: Top of Your List

I feel like the things I’ve addressed through these entries so far are “baby fears”—tiny things. And reading my friend’s entries for this is extremely daunting. I feel like I haven’t taken this exercise in fearlessness seriously enough—or not concretely enough. She resigned from her job, I wore a black tank top to work. Nowhere near the same thing but you know, whatevs—I swear I am going to do better.

Let me assure you, this isn’t for a lack of things that I am afraid of: it’s just that mostly the things I fear are out of my control. I am afraid of people dying, of people leaving, of being embarrassed, of dying in a plane crash, of being murdered. I don’t have a lot of fears that have to do with things I can do something about.

Furthermore, I guess one thing that I didn’t factor into this entire challenge was the fact that I think there are definitely certain fears that are in place for a reason. There are some fears that hold you back and there are others which protect you or keep you from doing dumb things. I suppose I needed to make that distinction.

I was initially going to write about being tattooed and why wearing a tank top or any kind of sleeveless anything is always an ordeal for me but instead of doing that, I decided to instead share the list of things to do that I’m afraid of.

This is not for 97 days and I am going to be adding to this list as I go along—I’ll make a separate page for it, eventually and put it up on the sidebar for easy access. Also, these will be done in no set order because I’m not that much of a control freak. I figured sharing this on here would be the scariest thing to do because that would create even more pressure on me to complete this challenge and it would invite opinions or suggestions from the people who read this—not that I’m averse to that (I’m not!).

Ze list:

  1. Be completely honest about something without explaining that I am resisting the urge to cut corners because of a blog challenge.
  2. Talk to someone I haven’t talked to in years.
  3. Have a burning ceremony for those letters.
  4. Do something thoughtful for someone in a platonic way without explaining my fear of being misunderstood and all those other stupid anxieties. (In a nutshell: trust someone not to misunderstand me, I guess.)
  5. Go swimming by myself and make a day of it, too.
  6. Say sorry to someone with whom I would like to make amends.
  7. Finally get my “graduation tattoo”
  8. Break from my usual routine
  9. Cross the street between Adelentado and Makati Cinema Square
  10. Be vulnerable

Head First, Fearless Day 2: Sharing

This is odd, especially given the fact that I’m addicted to social media—I’m a share-r in that respect but hardly in all others. I find that sharing opens you up to all kinds of possibilities for misunderstandings, especially when it’s not through paper (and even then, actually). I feel like you could mean one thing but inevitably sharing becomes a kind of photocopy of what you want to say: the outline remains but the details are blurred and so the picture painted a couple of “shares” later is something completely different than what you meant.

Today I was actually able to put in my two cents about a lot of things, even if it scared me—and even if there is always a reason to fear that the things we say or do will be misconstrued, I figured: is the possibility of being shamed or embarrassed so terrible as to not speak up?

Sometimes, but not in this case.

In a funny and spontaneous parking lot conversation with my friend Rain I was able to talk about perfume, boys and how everything is fair in love and war (charot). This conversation took place while Rain smoked and I drank my daily cup of coffee. Her day had just ended, mine had barely begun. Now I understand what my friend Nico used to tell me about enjoying watching people smoke even if you yourself don’t smoke—there is a kind of comfort that comes with seeing people exhale: a vicarious calmness.

This is especially weird for me because I used to be the chain-smoking, always-reaching-for-it person. It used to be the oddest thing for me to imagine—getting satisfaction from not smoking. It’s still odd to me that I don’t smoke anymore but I know it’s for the best. It’s one of those things that you would do all your life if your body would let you. Looking back at my adolescent life I feel like for a good chunk of it, I really expected to grow old a fabulous chain smoker (much like Ms. Dinsmoor in Cuaron’s 1998 rendition of Great Expectations).

Anyway, I digress. It’s really nice talking to my friend Rain. You know how sometimes you just get along with someone even if you’ve only just met them? It’s rare and when it happens, you grab it by the seaweed-colored-hair (hehe). Arthur C. Clarke said that friendships begin when you’re able to trade vulnerabilities and I suppose sometimes that means going the extra mile to participate, even if it’s scary and you run the risk of being wrong.  Today I felt like Amy March, giggling with all the seriousness in the world.

Head First, Fearless Day 1: Vulnerability & An Introduction

Last night, my friend Raine messaged me asking for a favor—she said that she was going to embark on a quest to get out of her comfort zone: that is, for a hundred days she was going to do at least one thing a day that frightened her in an attempt to grow as a person. She asked if I would be there to remind her to do these things, once a day—and I said yes, of course. I also said yes to joining her on this quest to be fearless. Just because I love the T. Swift song, I am going to name this Head First, Fearless to go with the whole shiz-named-after-songs-thang e.g. Coffee & Flowers.

While I can’t and shan’t speak for Raine, who is an infinitely more private person than myself, I suppose I can tell you what she told me that made me agree to this whole lotta cray in the first place. She said that there was that whole 100 Happy Days thing floating around but that the problem with that is happiness is so fleeting—we shouldn’t base our growth around happiness. We should base it around fear—and conquering it because that way, we get stronger and really, truly progress as human beings (whatever that means). And I agree. So, as I vowed not to keep a journal this year in an attempt to avoid my tendency to live wayyy out of the moment, I will instead post it up here so that a) people who are maybe a lot like me and scared of everything can find some semblance of good juju here and b) I am able to process my thoughts and introspect without completely cutting myself off from the rest of the world.

So, onto today’s entry: vulnerability.

Continue reading “Head First, Fearless Day 1: Vulnerability & An Introduction”

Coffee & Flowers: Let’s Make It Up

My relationship with make up is definitely a complicated, love-hate one. One of my most traumatic experiences as a kid (aged 12?) had to do with going into PCX, having the lady accost me with all kindsa powders and going like “Ayan, nakakaputi yan!” Not that there’s anything wrong with anyone wanting to be fair just as it’s okay for people to want to be dark (it’s all preference, yes?) but I think a big part of loving yourself is trying to enhance what you hae and not alter it beyond recognition. When I was younger I really did feel butt-ugly and like make up was supposed to be the one way to remedy that but I couldn’t even do that. 

But turns out, make up isn’t all bad. 🙂 I think it was watching these girls on YouTube that really helped me come to terms with beauty and spending some time on how I look. There are so many gems on there who didn’t used to feel pretty or weren’t very kindly taken to at school or who were bullied all their lives and they were able to find their self-love by talking to strangers on the internet: girls of all shapes, colors and sizes were talking about how they liked to make themselves up for fun and moreso, how it was something you could make up–experiment with, play with. And that gave me the courage to try again.

I realized a big part of the shame I felt was also coming from myself: that to a certain extent, I was also ashamed to be branded “morena” and I was afraid to call people out on the things that bothered me. It had to be a two-way thing, this beauty transaction. Sometimes, you have to say what you want to get it.

I thought this post might be able to help people out there who are struggling with themselves and how they look and how to find a beauty routine that works for them. Listed below are some of the beauty products that I use (mostly) for everyday (photographed above) and how I found them/why I like them/why you might like them:

1. The Body Shop All-in-One BB Cream (Shade 02)

I got this last last week; The Body Shop was on SALE so I got this for around P700 as opposed to P1,200. That’s pretty pricey but I think this product is worth it especially given the heat. I usually use a different foundation (Maybelline Aqua Gel) but the heat has really been making it impossible to wear moisturizer and foundation, so I got this. The cool thing about this is the shade-adjusting property–I swear, it does mimic your skin tone. I watched some reviews online and lotsa people didn’t like this product because it gave really light coverage but I think it’s cause those people were from England, where the air isn’t made out of lotion. Also, there is a smell to this but I kinda like it. Reminds me of olive oil? Hrrrm. You decide.

2. E.L.F. Eyebrow Kit

Uhhh, okay. Best fucking beauty bargain ever: P250 for something that does wonders for your face. I like eyebrows especially as done up by eyebrow wax/powder because the effect is so subtle but it really helps frame your face. You can buy the Ever Bilena clear mascara for P100 (or less) and put it over the top so that everything stays in place–although this has never run on me, even without the clear shiz.

3. Maxfactor lippie (Rosewood)

My friend gave this to me as a gift last Christmas. 🙂 Before this, I really hated nude lipsticks but this one is nice for my skintone because it’s kinda brown-based. So, yeah. This is nice and subtle (although I also am a fan of the bold lip).

4. Avon Ultra Glazewear Lip Gloss (Pink Watermelon)

I really like this and I don’t usually like lip gloss (cause it’s sticky and icky and weird). These are nice and pretty and perfect for wearing both by themselves or over a lipstick (which is what I usually do with the Maxfactor one). 😀 Pweeeettyyyyy shoiiiiiiine.

5. Maybelline The Falsies + The Face Shop Volumizing Fashion Mascara

Best combo ever! I wear the Face Shop one first and then put the Maybelline on top because I like the finish of the former but it isn’t waterproof. 😀 So, yeah. The beeeest of both worldsss.

6. Maybelline 36 Hour Wear Gel Eyeliner (Brown)

Super easy and really subtle. 😀 Plus not a hassle to apply (heller, liquid liner I’m talking to you). I use a cheap-ass brush from landmark (P49).

And there! I hope that this was able to help anyone who was maybe having difficulty with kikay shit like this. 🙂 Also, below is a phot of me wearing said products, for reference. (Please excuse ze non-shaped browses.)

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