Category Archives: Personals

I’m Insecure

When I was in third grade, I got into a fight with a boy named Johnathan. He was a total dick. He’d always pick fights with me. Tell me I was ugly. Hog the swing forever and I’d tell the teacher and get him in trouble. And don’t “snitches get stitches” me cause in the end, I got the swing set and he got timeout, so who really won? 

Anyways, one day we were really going at it and he called me dumb. It hit my fragile third grade ego and I responded by telling him that his mother, who died when he was a lot younger, was “probably looking down on him disappointed.” And you know what he said? 

He said, “I know.”

I know. 

Not a condescending I know or an I don’t care I know. It was an ‘I’m sad’ I know.

I don’t remember much about elementary. I remember little snapshots of sharing Hi-Chews, trading chocolate gold coins for dollars, red fists from playing tetherball too long, and coloring only with pink. Vignettes of childhood. Yet, that memory always stays with me. Maybe every detail in my mind may not be absolutely accurate, but the feeling that I felt in that moment–– I will never forget it. I felt like the worst person in the world. 

I got home that day and cried. 

I felt like I disappointed my parents who always taught me to be kind to others; that I disappointed my teachers who often took my side, even if I was wrong, even if I lied, because I was a teacher’s pet; that I disappointed myself who wanted to be the best I could be; and that I even disappointed my ancestors for no other reason than I’m dramatic. 

I wasn’t cognizant of it then, but this year, facing my insecurities, really forced me to look at how insecurity is often derived from our innermost, irrational feelings of inadequacies but can metastasis in ugly and subtle ways, ways that hurt others. That day, I hurt someone because he made me feel less than I was but who likely only acted that way because he also felt less than he actually was. 

I was 8 then. I’m 24 now. And I wish I could say I have no more insecurities or that I’ve learned to be better at hiding or dealing with them. But I still suck my stomach in when I wear tight dresses. I’m still careful with what I share on social media because I haven’t learned to live without other’s validations yet. I still hide my thumbs because when I get anxious, I pick at the skin there. I still cry at night when I feel ugly, or stupid, or unskilled. I still think my cheeks are too “fat,” my eyes too small, my fingers too stubby. And when someone hurts me, I still want to hurt them back. Like 16 years ago. Like that day on the swing set.

I’ll probably never see Johnathan again and I don’t know if any of the thousands of heartfelt apologies I’ve came up with over the years would mean anything to him. He might have even completely forgotten about that moment.

But if I could go back in time, I would hope to myself in that same memory. I would let him have the shaded swing and content myself with the metal slide that literally burned my ass because it was always under the sun. 

And if I could go forward in time, I would simply hope to have found myself.

Things I’ve Learned About Love at 22

We all know love requires trust and love is patient and love is kind blah blah blah. You guys can read all in another article or just watch A Walk to Remember. Below is my unfiltered and candid opinion of my own experiences.

I have to admit, I’ve been working on this piece for a while. And if you want full disclosure here, I’ll probably be revising this as I grow older and (hopefully) wiser. I’m not going to provide background on my love life in order to convince you I’m a credible source because let’s face it. I’m not. Hello!! I’m only 22!! I am not a love guru, nor do I wish to ever be one, and this post is most definitely not a “How To” guide for a successful relationship. But while I’ll be the first to admit there’s still a lot I need to learn, I also know that I’m not an idiot, so I have to have learned something. Here are some of my experiences and lessons learned and because I appreciate you all so much, I’ve compiled them in a list for easier reading.

  1. Love not a linear path– it goes up and down.
    It’s a lot of work to love someone and, admittedly, a lot of heartache.
    You often hear countless iterations of “love isn’t complicated. It’s people who make it complicated,” which I think is dumb. Granted, the sentiment is completely valid and has merit BUT you can’t remove an integral part of the equation– people! Without people, there is no love. So if love is an action, it requires someone to act on it; and unless you’re perfect and always make the right choices, love is going to be hard, dude.We’re going to mess up. Life might get in the way. Your partner is probably going to hurt you and you’re not always going to be the same starry-eyed lovers throughout the relationship. Yet, that’s also the best part of it all because the good times become great knowing you’ve both made it through the fire.
  2. Don’t idolize your partner
    When we first meet someone, it’s easy to cast an illusion over them. Infatuation blinds us to flaws. What happens when that illusion fades and we realize that the person we were so obsessed over is, in fact, human? Shocking! I’ve learned that we shouldn’t idolize our partners. The more we put them on a pedestal, the more strain they’ll be under to meet our expectations, which doesn’t leave room for mistakes in the relationship–– or growth. Just let them be human. The rest will work itself out with proper communication and understanding.On the flip side, it’s pointless to try an portray yourself as a “ideal” version of yourself because you’re afraid they’ll leave if they see the ‘real you.’ I’m not saying you should be a bum. But love requires us to be honest with who we are. We weren’t designed to be perfect. We were designed to be better. How can we improve if there’s nothing to work towards?
  3. If you’re not going to be vulnerable, there’s no point
    No one wants to be the first to open up. We never know how the other person is going to react to our flaws and insecurities, but that’s intimacy. That’s love. That’s what makes your person different from all the others– the trust and openness you build with them. Without being vulnerable, they might as well just be another person you pass by on the sidewalk.
  4. Love is the little things 
    My first love baked me a cake for my birthday, likely because he didn’t drive and didn’t have a job to buy me anything fancy, but it’s one of my favorite gifts to this day. In my last relationship, my partner dropped me dinner at midnight because she knew I’d been at school all day and hadn’t eaten and likely wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve always felt most loved when my partners reminded me to get off Twitter and finish my paper or when we’d go out to eat and they’d give me the lemon in their water without asking because I love lemons. Such small things but every tiny action was a substantial reminder that they were listening to me. The little things were the reassurances that they loved me.I think social media and viral videos of couples decorating their significant others’ bedrooms with a million balloons and obscene amounts of red roses and lavish gifts has misconstrued the purpose of grand gestures. It’s almost become a competition of “Look what MY partner did and what yours didn’t,” “My relationship is perfect,” or “Get you a man like mine!” Don’t get me wrong– it’s great to have someone go above and beyond for you. But that’s not love. That’s a performance. You can definitely have both, but you shouldn’t confuse the two.
  5. Love is scary, bro
    If you’re anything like me, you’ve subconsciously sabotaged one of your relationships at one point or another for no other reason than you’re afraid. You’ll pull away or push your partner away because you’re scared to fall in love. After all, it’s easier to move on when you didn’t invest any substantial part of yourself. But do it anyways.The worst heartbreak I experienced devastated me. I cried every night for almost a week. Worst of all, I couldn’t listen to music and I live for music. It’s the one thing I start and end my days with. But I’d physically want to throw up when I tried to listen to anything– even sad songs!! Imagine!! But that’s how I knew I had loved him because it hurt that much. Even now, I never want to feel that way again, but I also know that’s probably not going to be the case. Love is a risk. So take it. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll learn more about who you are, what you want, and what you need and perhaps fall in love with yourself instead in the process. Isn’t that nice?
  6. Testing your partner’s love for you gets you nowhere. 
    Don’t test someone’s love. It’s dishonest and if you have test them to prove they love you, then your relationship is lacking. If you have to push them away to see if they’ll come back and fight for you, that’s a lack of trust. It’s not love. If they love you, they’ll show you. They’ll listen to you. They’ll communicate. In the end, we all do what we want to do anyways.
  7. Love should never feel like it’s at the expense of your own happiness
    (My friend actually gave me this one. Thanks, D.)
    We romanticize the idea of someone taking care of us first–– of doing everything in the service of those we love most. Which, while noble, without any balance can be extremely burdensome and detrimental down the road. Love requires some sacrifice but love, itself, shouldn’t be one. If it hurts you more than it heals you, is it really worth it?
  8. Your partner shouldn’t be your everything.
    I understand that life is an endless obstacle course with breaks being few and far between and we need people to help us overcome our latest hurdles. We aren’t built to be solitary. We need people to live a life worth living, but we shouldn’t exclusively need one person. No one should be the end all, be all of your entire existence.Yes, spend time with who you love. Give them the best parts of yourself. But love requires space every now and then. Love yourself and your partner enough to recognize that you both need a life outside of each other. Be individuals.
  9. Soulmates aren’t real/ Love is a choice
    Look. I’m not jaded. I don’t think unconditional love is unachievable. I think there are a select few people who’ll fit you better than most, but I definitely don’t think there’s only one person out there for you. If love is a consistent choice you have to make everyday, then you choose a soulmate. You’re not given one by the universe.Here’s a quote that sums up my believe perfectly. A poetry book by Criss Jami once read, “To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.”
  10. Finally, Love is a mystery and no one has all the answers.
    Even having typed all this out, I know there’s still so much more I don’t know and so much more I need to learn, but life is for the learning inclined and dull without any mysteries. So I’m perfectly okay knowing I don’t have it all figured out.

I realize that a lot of this might come off preachy to some and someone is bound to disagree with me, so let’s have a conversation. What have you guys learned about love so far? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

just another dumb poem

pt. 1

I refuse to romanticize myself. I am unstable and indecisive.
Impatient and overly impassioned by the smallest things.
I think too much over minute details. So much so that it paralyzes me.
I hate apologizing and I’m too proud to be vulnerable.
Get bored easily and compensate by being impulsive
My hips often bump into tables and I can’t control my facial expressions to save my life.
I hate the beach and pizza is gross. I take days to reply back and often forget what people tell me.
I spill my water on myself at restaurants, pull doors that are meant to be pushed,
and say “you too” when someone wishes me
Happy Birthday.
I am not a handful. I’m not even two
I would fill 5 hands and still overflow
I’m an incomplete puzzle with missing pieces
And waiting for me to open up
Is like standing in line at the DMV
I am an endless winter
That’s constantly on fire
And I am
a hopeless mess
But if you want me
like I want you
Then I would be your mess

pt. 2

I am imperfect and constantly under construction
But I’ll tell you when your hair looks terrible
And kiss the stray strands that won’t stay down.
I’ll cut the crust off your sandwiches
And buy great gifts I know you’ll love
Open all the links you send me through text
trace circles across your arms, run circles around your mind
bury my fingers through your hair
and laugh at every joke you tell.
Even if they suck.
I’ll follow you to new places, run errands with you, get excited when you get excited
split the tab or buy you lunch when you’re sad.
I’m honest and loyal, and know all the best lookouts
You don’t have to tell me to be there for you, I already know.
I’ll find your best angles
Frame them in every corner of my mind
Amidst the chaos and mayhem.
I would be your perpetual autumn,
In a snow-capped summit
and if you deserve it
And if you’re patient enough
I will show you
All the best sunsets

(wo)menstruation: Trying a Menstrual Cup for the First Time

Word Count
Vagina: 8
Blood: 7
Insertion: 10

In an effort to be more cost efficient and environmentally conscious, I purchased a menstrual cup (MC) back in October. It had arrived at the perfect time as my period started the day after it came in the mail and, as any millennial would do, I documented my experience on my Instagram (which has been shamelessly plugged here).

Before giving my thoughts, I was curious to know how much my followers knew about the cup. The results weren’t all that shocking to me. Only 16 out of 108 voters had tried/used an MC and 3 out of the 16 were guy friends trying to screw up my data (Calling you out Russell, Francis, and Devonte).

As a preface, I want to first mention that my goal here isn’t to provide a thorough, informational guide on what cup to use and how to use it, although I will touch upon some details here. I’m in no way an expert, and I wouldn’t want to lead anyone astray! Nor is my aim to convince you to buy a one, but if you did that’d be great. My goal is simply to share my own experience. And should any questions arise from that, feel free to leave it in the comments down below. I’d be glad to share more!

What is a menstrual cup?
Simply put, it’s a cup you insert into the vagina during menstruation. When the cup reaches capacity or after 8-12 hours, you empty the cup into the toilet, sink, etc., clean it, and reinsert it.

Product Details?
After a lot of research I finally settled on an MC that I felt would fit me best. You can find this brand here on Amazon.
IMG_4096Brand: Intimina
Model: Lily Cup A
Capacity: 18ml
Dimensions: Size A: 3.07 x 1.57 x 1.57 in.

IMG_4100

Unlike popular cups like the Diva Cup, Lunette, or the Lena Cup, the opening of the Lily cup is slightly slanted. It also comes with a nice pouch to carry it around in. There are many different brands, so make sure to research which one would make your vagina most happy.

The stem is also quite long, so I trimmed off maybe half an inch of it. Many sites recommend you do this. The MC shouldn’t extend past your opening and if it does, you’re likely to experience chaffing.

Inserting?
I tried different folds to make insertion easier. My two favorites are the taco fold and the punch down fold. The former is basically rolling the cup like it were a burrito and the latter is pushing down on one end of the rim as shown in the picture down below.

Did it hurt? No. But the first time using it was uncomfortable. With practice, however, that feeling went away.

Did I feel it inside me? No. When inserted correctly, I sometimes forget it was even there.

USING AN MC IN A PUBLIC BATHROOM???
Let’s get to the question everyone has on their mind: okay but using an MC in a public restroom is gross?

My first time cleaning out my MC in a public restroom was definitely nerve-wracking, BUT this is mainly because I was worrying about it so much. It’s not as weird once you get accustomed to it.

Was it messy? No. If you’re concerned about blood splashing everywhere, that did not occur at all for me.

Did I get blood on my hands? YES. But only the tips of my fingers. I should also mention that I do bring wipes inside the stall. To prevent this, bear down on the cup using your vaginal muscles and the cup should lower enough for you to get in and get out with little to no damage done. This also depends on how low/high your cervix is. You could also cover your hands with toilet paper when pulling it out.

As for cleaning, since I couldn’t always mosey off to the sink and rinse out my cup, I used toilet paper/baby wipes to wipe the inside after I dumped the blood into the toilet. This should work fine and most users will tell you this as well. IT’S NOT AS GROSS AS YOU MAY THINK.

Pros:

  1. Durability and Security:
    MCs  supposedly lasts hella long–– 10 years. And because I am not the plan ahead/track your cycle typa girl having the security of an MC always on hand was golden.
  2. Safety:
    It’s more hygienic than pads and it’s a lot safer than tampons (as it lowers the risk for TSS*).

    *note: While Toxic Shock Syndrome is most commonly connected to tampons, it can be acquired from a variety of (non-period related) things. So using a menstrual cup does not mean you will never get TSS, though the risk is very rare.

  3. Eco-Friendly and Cost Efficient
    If you’re aware of our environmental crisis, you might have heard that pads and tampons are not necessarily recyclable, although there are efforts to combat this (Check out LOLA  for more details!). Because MCs last longer, the need to purchase non-recyclable menstrual products is hardly ever a factor.
  4. Less Time in Between Changes
    Because the MC hold your period blood instead of absorbing it, I didn’t need as many stops to the bathroom as I used it. An MC can be left inside for a longer amount of time as it holds anywhere between 18 ml to 30 ml of blood. To put that into perspective, the average period is between 10 ml – 35 ml of blood. If it’s inserted correctly, it shouldn’t leak, which is something that always occurred when I used a tampon for more than half an hour. BUT MAYBE I’M JUST INCOMPETENT.

    On lighter days, I’d go to the bathroom maybe twice every 10 hours and that’s just to check if I leaked–– which wasn’t usually the case.On my heavier day (usually the second day), it’s a different story. Using a pad/tampon I’d go to the bathroom maybe 5 times every 10 hours. Using an MC I’d go around 3-4, which really isn’t that big difference. Again, I’d like to share that I’m still relatively new to using one so this might lessen with time.

  5. Suited for active lifestyles
    I had no problems using it while I went for a run or for the one time I went swimming. I didn’t have to worry about hygiene (as much as I usually do) and changing it out right after a run as I would with a pad and I didn’t worry about leaking as I would with a tampon.

Cons:
I’m going to be real with you. As great as I believe MCs to be, there were a few cons I want to address here. It is also important to note that practice and consistent usage will definitely help or solve many of these issues.

  1. Hard to Open??
    Anyone who says an MC is easy to use IS A DAMN LIAR. While the benefits outweigh the cons, you really have to become intimate with your vagina and the cup when first using it.

    The Lily Cup material is extremely soft and very malleable. For some women, this might be ideal, but this made it difficult for me to open it up once inside my vagina because my pelvic floor muscles are relatively strong (weird flex, but ok?). And in order to prevent leakage, the cup literally has to suction onto your vaginal walls and the rim has to open up from the fold you used to insert it. That being said, it was especially challenging for me as I had been a first time user and was still learning the tips and tricks of using an MC.

    The second month was a lot easier. I spent a lot less time trying to get it to open as I had a better idea of what my vagina needed. I’d say the first month I’d spend 10 minutes on average in the bathroom trying to insert the damn thing correctly. The second month, I spent 3-5 minutes. Pretty good improvement, I’d say. I am still planning to buy a brand with firmer resistance to see if it really is just the cup or if I’M JUST INCOMPETENT.

  2. Leakage???
    One of the pros of a menstrual cup is that it does not leak. Caveat: it does not leak if it’s inserted correctly. Because learning to use the cup is the upward battle, I did experience leakage my first time using it. I will say, however, that when I did leak, it was not nearly as much as when I would use a tampon–– often times, it was just some minor spotting. I’d also like to note that I only leaked on my heavier days. The second month I used it I hardly leaked at all. Because of this, I do suggest wearing a liner on your heaviest day or the first time you try one–– at least until you get used to it.
  3. Cleaning
    Using a cup requires maintenance. You can’t just use it and throw it away like you would a tampon or pad. Before and after each cycle, you have to boil the cup in water for a good 5-8 minutes. So you will have to reserve 5-8 minutes of preparation after you discover you got your period. I could have avoided this wait time if I had some foresight and prepped my MC as I got nearer to my due date rather than waiting for the day my period actually came.

I’d like to conclude this section of my MC journey by letting y’all know I will have a part 2 to this post where I answer the questions others had sent to me and share some of the tips and tricks that helped me best. Before then, feel free to leave any questions you may have or share your experiences and insights down below.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Superstitions and Ghost (?) Stories

Remember the piece I refer to in this blog post? In the spirit of October and Halloween, I decided to post it after all. 

In 5th grade, my teacher asked us if our families had any superstitions. One of my classmates responded that, according to his mom, when his bed isn’t made, his guardian angel is still sleeping. From that moment in my life, I have become vigilant in fixing my bed every morning. Now, I fix my bed out of habit, but back then I can’t deny the impact that simple statement had on me.

But superstitions weren’t anything new to me at that age. When I was younger, I would follow my dad to the field where he would excavate and dig up ancient artifacts and burials (he’s an archaeologist). One day, when he and his crew had been hunched over a skeleton, I sneezed. I didn’t think much of it. Wind and dust tend to have that effect. My mom had a different thought. Without a moment’s hesitation, she pinch my ear hard. A moment after, she explained to me that sneezing in front of a dead body meant that their spirit wanted you to accompany them in the afterlife. During that time, my mom’s word was law. I found myself pinching my ear every. time. I sneezed for fear that there would be a dead body nearby.

When my aunt and my oldest sister became pregnant, I remember seeing them wrap a scarf over their head or wear a hat out at night so the moon wouldn’t steal their baby.

In middle school, my classmate told me never to place my bed across the door because that invites strangers in.

On the less morbid side, every New Year the house had to be impeccable, not an item out of place because a clean house on New Year’s Day meant a clean house the whole year (of course this was proven false time and time again). I also had to wear polkadots and have fruit on the table for good luck.

When I was younger, I not only believed these superstitions, I enjoyed them. They were fun. My friends and I would sit at the lunch table and exchange these traditions and ghost stories that– at least on my end– weren’t true but entertaining. Now that I’m older and relatively wiser and now that I’ve explored more of the world and science, I’ve let go of nearly all those superstitions and learned how to rationalize seemingly “paranormal” occurrences. I could care less if a black cat walks in my path. In fact, my favorite number is 13. Just yesterday, my speakers flew (literally) off my table twice, but I thought nothing of it. I see these events as more curious than scary.

Regardless, while I do believe that everything has some sort of explanation, I thought it would be fun to share some of the weird shit that has happened to me and cannot be explained by science… yet!

  1. Pennies

Earlier last year, I started noticing pennies. Some of you might not think this is weird. In fact, I didn’t think anything of it until it became so frequent that I couldn’t ignore it. I know. I know. “Everyone finds loose change. Who cares?” While this is true, what everyone doesn’t find is a single penny, every morning without failin the same exact place– right beside my car before I drive to school every day. Each morning, I’d pick up the penny and place it in my pocket just to make sure I wasn’t seeing the same one. I can rule out my parents for playing prank on me because they wouldn’t waste their time and I doubt my neighbors would do that because we go through large lengths to ignore each other.

Anyways, as weird as it sounds, whenever I found a penny, I would have a really good day. But one the few days there wouldn’t be one, something bad would happen. Placebo? Maybe. Who knows? I didn’t think anything more of it and since then, I haven’t come across any wayward pennies.

But just recently, I clicked a YouTube video uploaded by a girl I was subscribed to who was talking about a haunted house she lived in. She provided a snippet of an article of “supernatural” signs. I skimmed over the blurb and the word “penny” caught my attention. This caused me to search up on this penny phenomenon which, until that moment, I thought was completely unique to me. Upon some shallow research, I found that pennies are supposedly conduits for spirits to communicate or connect with the living. It has something to do with copper being an accessible metal to them and what not. Finding pennies is also said to be a good omen– often a sign that the one finding them is being watched over by a spirit or guardian. Can’t say I’m 100% sold on the idea, but hey! I need all the good luck and watching over I can get.

  1. Moving Objects – Is my house haunted?

Occasionally, random items in my house will fall off or move from their original positions. Mind you, these are items that have been stationary for a while. Objects would be in one part of the house one day and a different part the next.

I remember one specific moment when my dad and I were relaxing downstairs watching TV in the living room. Connected to the living room is our study, which has sliding doors. While my dad and I were watching, one of the doors decided to slide close. My dad and I looked at each other knowing full well that neither of us had moved an inch and no one was in the study. His eyes got wide for a moment before he shrugged and continued watching TV. That was it! And because I was at an impressionable age and because my dad was my hero, I did exactly what he did and ignored it. This, more or less, sums up my attitude towards the “supernatural.”

  1. Ghost Bell

In grade school, my mom bought me a generic doorbell for my birthday– which really didn’t matter in the end because my parents always walked in my room without knocking anyways. This doorbell was awesome! It was cheap and played an annoying tune, but I loved it. It had two parts: the speaker and the bell. The speaker was taped to my wall and the bell was placed outside bedroom door. Overtime, I outgrew it. It had been years when I last used it and the button eventually broke. I threw it away, but the speaker was still pasted on my wall.

Years and years later, however, probably when I was an upperclassman in high school, the speaker went off while I was in my living room. I went up to my room and saw the flashing lights of the doorbell and pulled it off my wall. It wouldn’t stop ringing so I opened the back to remove the batteries, but only two of the four required double AA batteries were there. Weirded out, I pulled out the rest of the batteries and it grew silent once more. I went back downstairs but moments later, I hear the familiar tune once more and go up to find the doorbell in my trash can, singing away. It was at this moment that I slammed my foot on the speaker and silenced the bell forever. I continued cleaning.

  1. Weird Sightings

While I have seen humanoid figures around my house, I’ve never seen a figure substantial enough to ever assume it was more than my imagination. However, my mom shared a story with me earlier this year of seeing an apparition. Let me just begin by explaining that my mom does laundry at night and that our washer and dryer are in an outside area of our house. One night, she told me that she had been washing clothes late at night when she heard a little girl’s laugh. She turns around and sees a flash of what she thinks is a little girl running past her. Keep in mind that this is probably around 10 at night. What would a little girl be doing running around late at night by herself?

  1. Dreams of my Grandparents

In high school, my lola passed away. Though I didn’t see her more than once a year (considering she lived in the Philippines), she had been the one who accompanied me to Guam when I was adopted. I love(d) her! She was kind, she was intelligent, and she would give the best hugs. One night, I went to sleep and dreamed that my lola had visited me in my room. This was odd because I occasionally have dreams of my house, but it’s never my house. It’s always a different setting but my dream self recognizes it as my home. This time, though, the layout was exactly that of my actual house. In the dream, I walk my lola downstairs and accompany her outside where she hugs me goodbye. Then she gets on a carriage (hella symbolic) with another old lady sitting on the other end of the seat and it flies away.

I woke up with question marks in my head, but didn’t think about it until my mom came to me that day and told me that my lola had passed away in her sleep. I can’t say I wish to be haunted, but I won’t deny that– if that had been her visiting me in my dreams– I was incredibly touched.

Let’s go back a year before to when my lolo had passed away. I flew back to the Philippines to attend his funeral and one night I woke up and saw a vague shadow of  a man at the edge of the bed. As someone who had an active imagination growing up, I told myself it was nothing. I forced myself to go to sleep and act as if it was the items in the room arranging themselves into humanoid shadows. The next day, I got extremely sick. I should mention that a few days prior my cousin had dreamt of our lolo and got sick as well. We were the only ones with fevers that came out of nowhere. My aunt called a witch doctor who chanted a few things, massaged my arms and pinned ginger on me and within a few hours, I felt completely healed. According to my family, my cousin and I had been visited by my lolo. Why us? Who knows? But we’ve both been told that we’re sensitive to those kind of things.

There are a few more stories I have that I find bizarre, but I won’t bore you guys with an influx of stories that require more context than they’re worth.  While I find stories like these fun and extremely entertaining, I can’t say that I’m quite a believer. But I can’t say that I’m a complete disbeliever either.

So what do you guys make of all this? Are you convinced? On the fence? Still denying anything to do with the supernatural? What are your superstitions or experiences? Do you have any explanations? I’d love to hear them!

2017 Was Dramatic AF: A watered down reflection of my year and maybe some insight (but probably not)

Hey! It’s me. Coming at ya with another grossly overdone post about making the new year one of dramatic transformation that’ll probably only last a month. I’ve always despised these types of posts because I usually found them to be overly pretentious. Self-improvement shouldn’t come at the beginning of a new year. We don’t have to wait for January 1st to start going to the gym. We don’t need to wait till Monday to start drinking 2L of water everyday. Becoming a better version of ourselves should be a continual process. But whatever. We’re already here, so just pile me in with all those other unoriginal posts. 

2017 has been a year full of growth and revelations. Which really doesn’t make it all that special because my dramatic ass has been “coming to realizations” every other month. My life is really just one existential crises after the other.

I’ve never been one to follow a routine. Most of my life, even up till now, has been me winging it and just making it to the deadline. Although that hasn’t done anything overly damaging to my social circles, my work life, or my academic career, this way of living isn’t all that fulfilling.

I noticed that by me procrastinating all the damn time, that I got so used to the stress and headache of deadlines that I didn’t feel normal without it. I convinced myself that that’s just how I am and that’s how I work best. But after years and years and years of living with this mentality, I finally just admitted to myself that I was only making excuses.

I felt lost and stuck because I didn’t know where to go or if I was even going anywhere. I didn’t challenge myself enough to actually work towards something. I simply followed my syllabi, centered my life around my work schedule and the agendas my professors created for me and realized other people were creating the ins and outs of my daily life.

One of my favorite authors once claimed: 

“The interpretation of our reality through patterns not our own, serves only to make us ever more unknown, ever less free, ever more solitary.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

That’s what my life had come to. I followed the patterns others had set out for me because I was too lazy, too undisciplined, and too unbothered to come up with one my own. I became a passive participant in my own world.

To overcompensate for this, I began doing the things I wanted to do when I wanted to do them and did the things I needed to do only when I had no other option. Almost all of my time was me playing catch-up with papers and readings and somehow still doing pretty well in the end. But the means to getting there was filled with stress and depression and an overall lack of satisfaction. I prioritized “fun” over work because I convinced myself that my “mental well-being” was just as important when in actuality, I was just using it as an excuse to mess around. In hindsight, if I had just prioritized what needed to be accomplished, I would’ve had a much better time doing the things I wanted to do because I wouldn’t have had anything in the back of my mind causing me to worry.

I’m graduating in 5months (fingers crossed) and I’ve been clouded by the shadow of impending adulthood and afraid of what’s to come. I ask myself constantly, “Well, what do you want to do and how are you going to achieve it?” This lead to me overanalyzing my process to success. I started to see that my stress and lack of happiness with school, work, and, ultimately, myself was due to my lack of discipline.

But that just so happens to be one of the hardest things to master.

Why would I want to write a critical analysis paper when I can just go on Twitter and laugh at things infinitely more enjoyable?

Why do I want to save money when I can buy a movie ticket instead?

Why would I wake up at 6 am if my class doesn’t start until 11?

If I cut out breakfast, I could have more time to sleep in.

I lacked discipline. And discipline, in my belief, is at the core of all achievements.

I know this.

But one of the oddest facets of my mentality, and perhaps many others, is that I know and understand certain truths but still fail to change my behavior and my ways. I inhibit myself. This begs the question: even if I know the truth, even if I understand what it takes to feel fulfilled and satisfied and successful (whatever my definition of that term may be) what does it really take to achieve these things I want in life?

The truth as I have come to learn is that I just have to do it. Because in the end, only I am responsible for what my life has come to. Someone can sabotage me or all my work could burn down in a fire and set me back, but if I choose to stay there, that is my own conscious decision. And I’ll be damned if I let anyone, most of all myself, screw me over.

All that to say that 2018– and the years following it– will be a time of just fucking doing it. Whatever it may be.

So carry me forwards, 2018. I’m (somewhat) ready.

Stillness

People often speak of the quiet before the storm– before gray clouds flood the streets with downpour over the cascade of rolling thunder, before oceans reign high past our expectations and travel through the cobbled pavements we walk with solemn steps, before rain falls from melting clouds and create a cacophony of hurried bullets on tin roofs, before the tempest.

Yet what of the distant stillness after the chaos? When order has given way to destruction and all stand in silence to wonder, is it over?

We take in the world, one scene at a time, wondering will it ever really be?
Though I’m but a budding sprout in a garden of sunflowers, ever-seeking to turn my face towards the warmth, I know that the dismal clouds are inevitable and hurricanes will crash over us just as often as they will not. There is no escape from the nature of an eternal cycle– of the bad followed by the good, of destruction followed by peace followed by chaos once more and so on, of that turning wheel of life.

But the beautiful part of such is that we are struck by the force of acceptance of the unknown, of realizing that the answers to every question in our souls will either come at a time that the universe finds most optimal to the progression of our being or will go unanswered, taken to the grave and perhaps resurrected in the next life, rising from the forgotten corners of our minds.

It is in this quiet that I welcome this revelation. I grasp on to the feeling of acceptance with the unwavering faith that, come what may, I will be okay; That my world lies in absolute stillness, assured that when those imminent waves, unhinged from the ties of my strength, come crashing from the banks where they eagerly laid in wait, I will be ready.

I often wish I can pocket these moments for when I feel weakest, when I feel lost. But I am currently in a hurricane, surrounded by cyclones and blizzards, patiently waiting for the moment I can walk out, unafraid and eager, not when the downpour is over or when the thick skies find their silence, but when the storm is at its peak. Where I no longer have to wait for the end, but instead, meet the storm headlong and find that stillness in the ongoing wake of chaos.

Excerpts From My Middle School Diaries (And My 20 y/o Responses to Them)

Recently, I cleaned out my room and I came across a box of letters and journal entries I wrote between the latter part of my elementary years through middle and high school. As you will soon see, I was a highly dramatic kid. I decided to take few excerpts and share them.

                                                                          Warning:
The following are untampered and authentic excerpts from my past journals. They will make you cringe and there are many, many, many grammatical errors. All of which I’ve left, and for some I’ve bracketed the correct term to help in understanding the text.

I hate Ryene. one time. I threw a claydo [play dough] and he threw it away and he kicked me.
May 28, 2005 (9 years old)

Dear 9 Year Old Me,
You’ll get over it. Trust me. Actually, you’re so over it you don’t even remember who Ryene is.

And after all of this, I wonder: is this truth, or confusion? Is it anger, or ignorance? Is it a phase, or just….. reality?
Dec. 22, 2008 (12 years old)

Dear 12 Year Old Me,
You are far too introspective for your own good.

O.M.G Dear Journal, we watched Step up 2!!! Their [there] was this one guy O.M.G. He is the Hotttest Guy I have everrrrr seeeeennn. I love him He is like the greates Dancer I have ever seen. His name is Robert Hoffman. I Feb 16, 2008 (11 years old)

Dear 11 Year Old Me,
Wait till you see Henry Cavill in Man of Steel.

O.M.G! I think I like J____ still. I feel so bad! I like D_____, but not as much as J____.  I’m afraid someone might tell.
April 6, 2008 ( 11 years old)

Dear 11 Year Old Me,
Neither of these guys are relevant to your life anymore. In fact, the first one is in a long-term relationship and the other seemed to have dropped off the face of the planet.

I’m terrified from being locked away from being lonely. To be a crazy cat lady.
Probably 8th grade

Dear Probably 8th Grade Me,
You will never be a cat lady.
Because cats hate you.

Mean People I Dont Like:
C_______ because she lies and picked on me and picks her nose. One time we played a game its her idea. And when I ask her to play she says hold on I’m playing. So one time I was watching and she said lets play. I said Im watching. Man Via lets play. No. Via comeon. and I said, “well C_______ you don’t always play. She said, “Fin. [Fine]” The next day. I said lets play. She said forget it. Then next day, she said. lets play. then I said You now [know] what C_______ forget the game Im not playing. and I think you know why.
– May 28, 2005 (8 years old)

Dear 8 Year Old Me,
Everyone picks their nose. Also, you spelled C_____’s name differently each time. I don’t think we’ll ever spell it correctly actually.
C_____’s a really nice person and you’ll come to find out that almost everyone was a dick when they were 8. Even you at times.

My worse fear! Losing a friend over a simple attempt of compromise, or try to make things better.
– Dec. 2008 (12 years old)

Dear 12 Year Old Me,
Unfortunately, you will lose a lot of friends. And regretfully, some of them will end badly. But that’s just a part of life. Some people are just a chapter in your book, all essential to the overall picture in some way or form. Don’t worry though, you will meet new people.

Boys make my life so complex!
Sep. 19, 2008 (11 years old)

Dear 11 Year Old Me,
That will never change.

It is said that the love we give away is the love we keep. But why is it that sometimes, during some days we feel “unloved”?

You’ll go all over the globe to look for love, but never realize that it was always right there with you. it never leaves. Its like a shadow you can’t see
– Feb 11, 2009  (12 years old)

Dear 12 Year Old Me,
Damn. That hit me in the feels.

Everyone says that there’s no such thing as the perfect guy
but the moment I saw you I knew that was a lie
I love the way you laugh over my lame jokes
Even though yours are so funny they can give me a stroke
Hold my hand and never let me go
Babe believe me this ain’t no show
– probably 7th grade

Dear 7th Grade Me,
Ew, I am literally cringing. This boy is 21 now, probably jobless, and I heard he cheated on his last two girlfriends. Don’t waste (bad) poetry over him.

It scares me! I’ve never felt this B4! What am I to do?!? You’re comming on too strong! Its only been a week, or less, and you’re telling me you love me? Whoa! Take it down a knotch or 2. I can’t…. I can’t love you… at the moment. Do you know what will happen to me if people find out? I’d die!!! I’m too young for that. Im not ready!
Sept. 24, 2009 ( 12 years old)

Dear 12 Year Old Me,
Calm down. People did find out, but as I can now attest to, you did not die. Also, you are too young to know love. Good for you for knowing that. I’m proud of us.

Dreams are just a waste of time. You get your hopes up for something that might never happen! Why love, when no one appreciates it. What if you gave all your hope, love, and trust to one person, and he just left [it] somewhere to be forgotten? What do you do then???
Dec. 10, 2008 (12 years old)

Dear 12 Year Old Me,
When someone hurts you, you learn from it and move one– that’s what you do and will continue to do. And it is what has made you who you are.
In the great words of Lily from How I Met Your Mother, “There are certain things in life where you know it’s a mistake but you don’t really know it’s a mistake because the only way to really know it’s a mistake is to make the mistake, and look back, and say, “Yep. That was a mistake.”
So, really, the bigger mistake would be to not make the mistake, because then you go your whole life not really knowing if something is a mistake or not.”

Okay, so that’s all I’m willing to disclose for now. I have a vast arsenal of cringe-worthy diary entries to sift through and perhaps I’ll do a part two of this. But hopefully you were able to laugh at most, if not all, of the ones I provided.

Happy reading, everyone!