1st January. First day of the year. The day started out right and warm and full of sunshine, only to be shadowed by fear and unease after sunset. I did not want to end this day in such low spirits so I decided to confront why I was so afraid of being afraid. I listened to Joel Osteen’s talk about treating every person like a gatekeeper and I saw another way to look at this certain person I am afraid of.

I am afraid of him because he makes me feel uncertain about myself and my capabilities. He certainly has the authority to upset my career and I am so afraid that all the hard work and reputation I have made for myself so far in my short 5 years in the hospitality industry will turn to dust. I am afraid that I will not measure up to standards and be a complete disappointment even for myself.

And then I realized something: I left my previous job because I was no longer afraid. I was no longer challenged. I felt there was no longer any growth to be reaped. So I jumped way outside my comfort zone to challenge myself again. And now I am afraid. But being afraid now is keeping me on my toes. Being afraid now is making me see things in a new perspective, making me think differently, making me learn new things. I am making mistakes, yes. But I am learning anew. Learning new things I would never have learned if I stayed within my comfy circle. I am afraid because my stable ground is being shaken up and I am afraid that the grounds will open up and swallow me whole. But this is making me feel alive again. I am learning that I can be brave at instances when my purpose is being questioned and denied.

I can only be brave now that I am feeling afraid.

He is a gatekeeper towards a higher goal. A level I need to finish and win and surpass in order to get to a higher level. A big problem, yes, but nothing against my bigger God. I don’t want to get preachy even to myself but I keep thinking now that He did not open this door for me just to leaving me hanging helpless on a cliff. I need to do my best and keep an open and thankful and prayerful mind and everything will turn out according to His plan. And His plans are never wrong.

I just remembered now that I had a theme for 2015: it was #PUSH2015. And indeed I did push for a lot of things to happen. It was quite an apt hashtag. For this year, I first thought it should be #Fearless2016. But then I thought, it would be even better if, whether I was afraid or not, I will be brave and courageous. So, remembering my favorite lines from INVICTUS* and DESIDERATA**, I look forward to a stronger, feistier self with a mind that thinks more, a heart that loves more and a spirit that cannot be broken. A #BRAVE2016. 


*…I thank whatever gods may be / for my unconquerable soul … I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul. (Invictus, )
**You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars / you have a right to be here / And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should … Strive to be happy. (Desiderata, Max Ehrmann)
Disclaimer: Credits to the owner of the shark meme. Not mine!



Continue reading


YoGuitar #LateNightBites

That is a lame title. I know. But it sums up what I have been recently up to. Plus learning Photoshop. But then again YoGuitarShop is pushing it. Anyway —

In my previous post about 2 months ago, I was yapping about how unkind I am to myself and how my thoughts really affect my actions and emotions. So I have been looking for activities that would promote inner peace or something like that. Or at least distract me from my self.

So I started doing yoga about 2 weeks ago and I must say, it is not what I thought it would be. Not all omms and zzz’s but about inner strength and balance and the power of the breath and trying not to faceplant while doing downward dog.

I didn’t take a formal class. No time or money for that. There’s this 30 day yoga challenge by Adriene and it’s amazing. I have been practising listening to and moving with my breath. It helps me clear my thoughts and make me internalize everything that is happening outside and within me. Believe me, it helps at work too when it gets too stressful and you just want to grrrrr. But it’s not a magic pill. I still let unkind words swirl around my head and sometimes they escape my mouth too which makes me mentally give myself a stink eye. But hey, we are all a work in progress.

And there’s my guitar I have lovingly called Grey. I’m not a good player, but I swoon whenever I can play a song I really like and make it my own. It’s amazing! It’s not like this song is playing and you sing along with it. No, you are making those badass tunes. Okay maybe not so badass, but still. I smirk.

I swear I get so fckn loquacious past midnight. This was just supposed to be a three-liner with a drop-mic punchline, or a 2 inch wide paragraph at most. I’m just giddy with glee realizing I have been making progress to a better me. Omg that’s cheesy. But there it is. 😊

Some things I tell myself before going to sleep

I have always told myself that happiness is and will always be a personal choice. I have this as my WhatsApp status. I have tweeted several versions of this line on separate occasions. Of course, this also found itself as a much-liked status on my Facebook page. “What’s on your mind?”

I also tell myself how words are so powerful. I believe words become your realities. And so recently, I have been feeling down. My patience for the last few weeks as thin as my favorite loose T-shirt worn way past its glory. And then I realize how I have been constantly thinking out loud, saying out loud, that I have no patience for this and that. I have no patience for people who cannot seem to remember instructions told ten times over. No patience for people’s bullshit and fake smiles and plastic countenance. No patience for slow Internet connection. I mean, these are all valid reasons to lose your patience, right? But as I keep telling myself and other people about how impatient I am, I also become impatient with other unintended things…like myself. How stupid I have been not to pursue other job offers last year because I was banking on my promotion (which was given, yes, but short-changed). How until now, even only after a few months of inconsistently playing the guitar, I am not yet a pro. How I stopped reading books, and I used to devour books!

I am so unkind to myself.

This afternoon, a colleague of mine bid me “goodbye I’m leaving see you tomorrow” and I just grunted a noncommittal “mm”, didn’t even look at him to greet him back. And at back of my head, I was calling myself such a bitch for doing that. Why? Another colleague of mine, a close friend too, came back from great vacation and for some reason I dreaded seeing her. I did not know how to show happiness for her. I did not know if I could muster a big smile and just be honestly delighted for her. I mean, why? And then I told myself how I’m such a bad friend.

See what I mean? I am most unkind to myself and my thoughts. And thinking like this about myself makes it even worse. I become less of a good friend, more of a grumpy bitch. (At this point, I am typing on my keyboard so forcefully that I am afraid I might break my laptop).

Sometimes, I pretend that I am in a group of people. We gather once or twice a month and we share thoughts about a particular topic that we draw from a fishbowl. While I was washing dishes this evening, an hour before midnight, the slip of paper that came from my imaginary fishbowl had HAPPINESS written on it. So my imaginary circle of like-minded friends started talking about this topic. And then suddenly, an imaginary word fight begins. I stop the quarreling with a “Hey guys!” and a “Calm down!” So everyone sort of sits back down on our imaginary sofa with their arms crossed protectively across their chests, angry pouts pointing at me. Then I begin to remind them of why we gathered there in the first place. My imaginary inspiring speech goes like this:

“Guys, we must remember why we gathered here in the first place. We are here because we want to learn from each other. We are curious about what other people think about a certain topic. And we are not afraid to voice out our opinions because this is not a place of judgment. This is a place where we throw ideas and we will definitely disagree with each other at one point or another. That is bound to happen. We cannot escape that. But at the end of the day, we are not here to prove that we are better than everyone or anyone else. We are here to prove that we are better, can be better, than ourselves yesterday. We strive to be better versions of ourselves. (insert meaningful pause) That’s why we are here.”

At this point, I was rinsing the pan with a self-satisfied smirk on my face. And when I came back inside my room, washed dishes in tow, arms still cold and slightly wet, I realized I will not be able to sleep until I had all this written down. Otherwise I would just say all these things again to myself and end up not sleeping at all.



It was a few minutes before midnight. You can see smoke rising up and some crackle of light coming from a small store here, a two-storey house there. The excitement is so heavy in the air. So heavy that I can feel it weighing down on my cranium. Outside, all lights are lit in anticipation of the final countdown. The old year is almost walking past behind everyone, forgotten and maybe forgiven for all its troubles, maybe thanked with joyful hearts or pursed lips.

I used to love the New Year. But not that evening. Not when the fireworks feel like they are all simultaneously bursting in my head, I can see them like electricity behind my eyelids. Not when the heat of so many busy calderos and stoves are inside my body cooking me up to a weak, sweaty mush of a human being. It physically broke my heart to know my family is a 3-hr flight and drive away while I was there hating every passing second as I hear the neighbors counting down to the New Year. I tried to count myself down to sleep amidst the all-too-familiar noise and confusion outside.

In the darkness, behind closed doors, I promised myself that never will I feel so alone as I did that night.

3…2…1. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Cut Off.”


She passes by without her knowing that i am following her with a peripheral stare. And as she walked away, while my eyes catch the last billowing folds of her gentle skirt flowing in the wind, I know things have changed. I do not recognize her anymore. And she probably does not recognize me. All we have are snatches of our past life together. They are only months ago. But now they seem like an entire lifetime away. We have grown apart. That is sad. I would have liked to be her friend more. To talk to her about life at school, life at home, life with ourselves. There would have been many things to talk about and rant about and laugh about while waiting for class, on the way to the comfort room, or while standing in line at the canteen. But I guess things are too awkward now. I could have followed her. Run to her, even. But I didn’t. Because I didn’t know what to say after the first hi-hello is said. So all I did was fold my arms on the table and bury my face in them as the world around me detaches and the sound of everything is distorted by my memories of the day we first met.

I know this is a photo challenge. But when I read “Gone, But Not Forgotten“, I remembered my past friendships and this image formed in my mind. There was no way to show it but through words.

Second star to the right

At 12 noon today, while lazily scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw this article and chanced upon two new sobriquets for millennials such as myself: ADULTESCENTS and PETER PAN GENERATION.

Although I am still in my early twenties, I find myself nodding to the 34-year-old writer who, like myself, still do not have a house or family to call my own. Although, I am happy to say that I do have a job which I can call a “career”, I cringe every time I hear “10 Years Service Award”. At the back of my mind and under the soles of my feet, I still feel this need to be elsewhere. Do you know that mixed feeling of content and discontent? Contented at what I have here and now, but equally discontented about my overall state of life. There is this nagging, gnawing restlessness that I am not living up to my potential, or there should be something else “more fulfilling” that I should be doing, or that in general I should just throw caution to the wind, quit my job, and travel. Who the fuck cares about being broke? There is nothing quite like the lessons of travel. Money can be earned again, so be broke and explore. Yes, I read those inspirational quotes between IG posts of gourmet pastas and dressed up dogs.

A decade back, I have been invited to birthday parties and debutante balls and sleepovers. Now at my quarterlife, I have close friends who are already married. One of whom is already an expectant mother. And I still don’t know how to make up my own bed and pick up after myself! Geez, I know we’d get to this point, but wow that was fast. Where did all the years whiz by?

I have been hugely independent ever since I left home to go work in places where you need to buy a plane ticket first. I have taken steps into securing the future with a mutual funds/insurance account and a small condo unit investment I share with my dad. But in terms of settling down and having a family, can we talk about that next year?

So there. I planned this weekend to be a perfectly silent one beside my book and movies. But here I am, brows furrowed, seriously thinking about the future. And to be honest, it’s so easy to put off. Like my laundry that I promised to do last weekend. But I decided to write this instead so I can have an official post that I can look back and slap myself with after 10 years and I haven’t done anything for myself. HEY, now that’s long-term planning for you!

So for all my millennial peers and kindred spirits, for now it’s the second star to the right. Keep partying straight on ’til morning.