Coffee & Flowers: Make It Better

Nostalgic trike ride through Tropical Avenue in the village where I went to high school.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the concept of family a lot—and how everything that we do is ultimately influenced by what happens to us when we’re young. In that respect, I think that Freud was most definitely correct. While it is true that we continue to develop throughout our lives, I feel like the core of our lives are determined very early on: the way we think, our knee-jerk reactions, the way we feel about most things and about ourselves. I have a lot of friends who go lots of different ways with regard to self-esteem: some who are very confident despite not necessarily possessing “conventional” beauty attributes, some who are extremely beautiful in the most “objective” sense but have absolutely no confidence in their ability to be attractive and some who are in-between and in most instances I find that these things have a lot to do with the way that they were brought up or their experiences as young children.

Continue reading “Coffee & Flowers: Make It Better”

Head First, Fearless Day 4: Lotsa Birds, One Stone

Oh my f-ing gulay. I did so many things today. I don’t even know where to start!!! I did so many things my brain is having trouble processing this. Error, error. Almost everything I did today terrified me. If it is possible to spend a whole day scared, this was the day!

I completely take back what I said yesterday about me being a sissy.

Let’s start at the very beginning, the very best place to start (at least according to Fraulein Maria):

1. I said Hi to someone I don’t see often.

This might be usual for most people–not for me! Today, this guy that I know from college was on the shuttle with me on the way to Makati and because I’m usually afraid of a) awkwardness and b) rejection, a lot of the time I don’t say hi. Sometimes it’s also just because I’m blind. But today I said hi! And made small talk, too. 😀 Yay!

2. I crossed the street and ate out for lunch!

My street-crossing skills have dulled considerably since leaving Taft. Also, Taft is so congested that most of the cars there don’t go very fast. Either that or they’re buses and you see them coming from a mile away. In Makati, these assholes in Hondas are just all over the place, waiting to ram you down.

My friend, Rain took me out to Yamazaki, this authentic Japanese place for lunch today. SO GOOOOOD. FOOOOOOD! ❤ And also, it wasn’t that expensive for a whole ensemble of food, only P 218! Gyoza, Chahan, unlimited Iced Tea and vegetables. Heller. What. Also me and Rain were able to girlie talk–hihihihi! On the way back, I crossed all the streets by myself, made it back to the office with 10 minutes to spare and almost didn’t even mind the intense, intense heat.

3. I did something platonic but affectionate for a friend.

Before I get into this, let me say that I am very weird when it comes to friendship and affection because on one hand, I’m very affectionate but on the other hand I’m also very guarded when it comes to how I show my affections as a friend. I don’t mean this to be gloat-y or anything but I just noticed or had experiences in the past where friends have misunderstood or misinterpreted my tendencies to go the extra mile and do special or nice things for people I care about. And in those situations, other people have ended up getting hurt or friendships were broken apart and I hate it when that happens. :< This is why I usually just chicken out of situations like this or I analyze the shit out of the situation or text until there is virtually nothing left. However, I find that if you spend enough time with someone, you’ll be able to judge whether you can trust them to know what you mean and to not take what you say the wrong way.

Recently, my seatmate and friend at work has been having thoughts about a certain thing which he may or may not pursue in the near future (bear with me as this is not my info to share). He asked me about why I kept saying he shouldn’t pursue the said thing. I’m not good at explaining things like that verbally because I need time to think things through (I’m always better on paper) and also because if I get riled up about something, I might end up talking too loud or crying (uhh, yeah–not a pretty picture). So I made a list instead and sent it through e-mail! 🙂 I hope that the list was both humorous (I tried, hehe) and helpful–another qualm I have about writing things which aim to explain what I mean is that I feel like they’re biased. Either way, just having sent it was an ordeal for me. So BAM, in your face, fear of being misunderstood!

4. I didn’t go straight home.

I get really anal about a lot of things: what time I get to the shuttle, whether I’m able to beat rush hour, what time I get home, whether or not I’m able to exercise. But today I put that aside and went out with my best friends. We had pizza and dessert (ice cream for them, pretzels and coffee for me). It’s really something else being around people who are dear to you and who’ve been with you growing up. 😀 We hung out until about 9:30 PM, I got home at around 10:20. Not going to exercise. Nope. Sugar belly timez, yo.

Is this good enough for 4 days? Please say yes!

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.

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