The Irony of Pretense

 

I know some of you may have grown tired of hearing me talk about my seemingly endless tirade on misery. It’s boring. It’s insignificant knowing it would pale in comparison to all the problems the world is facing at the moment. Trust me, it is not my intention to talk about all these nonsense. It is just at this time, I can do so little to appease the situation. So I have to resort into writing, which is mainly the reason why I am keeping this blog.

This is my outlet~ where others turn into drinking, partying or doing drugs, I pound on my keyboard and scribble my thoughts.

I am not giving any promises but I will tell you this would be the last of its kind~ for now. 🙂

Today, I woke up tired, maybe exhausted after staying late last night doing some online courses. But regardless of the exhaustion, I genuinely felt a sense of peace. I hugged myself for a few minutes before yanking out of bed, thanked her for the things that she has done to not be ruined by these recent storms and told her that I was proud at how she is fighting hard to regain her old self back. Self-hugs are not new to me, so are self-talks. I do it whenever I got the chance to. There has been a research conducted on this subject that suggests the way we cross our arms as in a self-hug actually impairs our brain’s ability to localize tactile stimuli and when the brain is confused, it’s ability to listen to pain signals is reduced. And as you may all know, self-hugs promote self-compassion, so why not?

Be kind to your self whenever possible. It is always possible.

I know this gesture may sound really silly but you know what, more than anyone, we should be grateful for ourselves for the things that we do everyday to better ourselves. We need an affirmation, from ourselves, that we will be fine, that we are beautiful and kind, and that we are strong regardless of everything.

Okay, maybe I am just really weird. 🙂

Based from my personal experience, it helps that I am also good at pretense. Surely, I pretend a lot that I am strong. And when I do that, somehow, I eventually end up believing that I am indeed, strong. I guess it has something to do again with tricking the brain.

giphy

 

Those times when I was riding the ebb and flow of my own tide, I’ve made a conscious effort to keep myself in focus especially in matters concerning work. I can laud myself for being a well-functioning robot when I am in the office. It’s like I transform into a completely different person outside of time. I had to put a barrier in  between my career and personal life so I could protect my responsibilities and that I could function more than what I was required to do. Let’s talk about multitasking alright~ I can perfectly juggle fires and tsunamis on the palm of my hand without having to give any hint to the people around my circle that I was flailing on the sidelines, except those very few people who I chose to share this part of my journey.

Sometimes, I am just so good at it that I somehow forgot I am also in need of help. The paradoxical superwoman in the midst of chaos and trouble who was clinging only to herself to make it through the other side of the tunnel, well, she was very real. Will she make it through? Of course, just give her time. Even with all the bruises and wounds, she will rise above this eventually.

And when she does, the pain she was trying to drown will become the strength that fuels her to face the unknown.

I cannot affirm whether the way I deal with all the negative stimuli that are putting to risk my emotional stability is appropriate.

Immersing myself in so many activities that will keep my mind off the negatives, how I drown myself in the books and articles I read or the podcasts I listen to, even in the ways I tried to maintain my independence from people, somehow, helped me sustain my confidence that inspite of everything, I am still a capable human being. That I have all the capability to get out of this phase, alone or otherwise.

In a way, instead of using the word “escape”, I will use the word, “build” because these are things I do, not to escape from a painful experience but to build myself up to sustain another pounding.

Perhaps, I just need to continue what I’ve been doing and see if things will go back to normal~ or maybe, I should learn to embrace a new normal. And maybe then, other than becoming stronger than I was, I would discover something different and meaningful about how to live my life, go chase an old dream or dream a new one.

Life indeed, is beautiful.

Advertisements

welcome to my “every day”

I’ve lived quite a sedentary life for six years. Every day, my life would kick off before four in the morning and just to give you an overview of how routinary life has been, here are the things I do before becoming a firefighter in the office every day or becoming a couch potato every weekend.

Weekdays Be Like

3:45AM : waking time

4:00AM : done checking WordPress, IG, Whatsapp, Duolingo, then turn on Youtube.

4:20AM: finish bathing

4:40AM: finish breakfast

5:00AM: leave home

5:10AM: wait for the earliest bus to SM

Beyond these hours, as soon as I got myself on the bus, I return to Duolingo and do the exercises. I once created a club when I signed up in Duo so I check the leaderboard from time to time to see which member is vying to be the weekly winner. Or see where I am in the overall ranking among my friends.

The thing is, even if I am feeling so down, I’d always make it a point to stay ahead in the weekly ranking in my club. Why? Because it is my club~somehow I feel responsible to stick to my goals so others would perhaps emulate. We are 45 in the club and so far, the average number of persons participating in the weekly exercises is always above 50%. Comparing these with how other clubs perform, as I am also a club member in some Spanish, German and French clubs, a 50% interaction is already high. Mind you, clubs can become very active on some days and suddenly become ghost clubs where not a single member does the exercises for several weeks.

And I cannot allow that. Not even when I don’t feel like winning.

At times I feel I was being selfish as I would race over to win in the weekly leaderboard. With the available time I had, this undertaking entails sacrifice. And what do I get after? Other than some eyebags and dark circles around my eyes and a morning headache, is an affirmation that I am capable of building positive things for myself, just to get a boost, even if the other parts are failing.

Perhaps it does help that I am more into reading, listening and watching media contents that are motivational in nature like the ones Be Inspired are creating. And because I maintained some social media accounts, I choose very carefully who to follow in each platform as these people would end up either helping me make or break my day.

It is good that most of my friends are not active in many platforms besides Facebook and IG, that way, I could enjoy a sense of anonymity for some critical opinions that I choose to rant about, evading possible conflict to say the least. Is this good? Perhaps. Let’s just say that out of my 267 friends I have in Facebook, I only knew around 10 people who share the same political opinion as me. That’s not even 5% of the total.

I voiced out an opinion before and sad to say, it did not fare well within my circle. So I tried to stay away from getting too political especially that I will be raging war against, sorry to say this, purveyors of hearsays, relying on Facebook to gather information and then mark it true. If only people would dig deep into the issue instead of browsing their timelines liking fake news, I would be as proud as I was before for being a Filipino.

So to avoid conflict with my peers and for my peace of mind, I choose where to wage my battle. Do not forget that the mighty pen is as deadly as a katana. Dr. Jose Rizal taught us that a century ago.

In the evenings. my time is usually spent doing Duolingo exercises and reading. In the past, I did some workout before bed but I had to cut that off due to the physical exhaustion I felt in the morning.

 

Weekends Be Like

4:00AM: waking time

4:20AM: end of workout

4:30AM: done checking WordPress, IG, Whatsapp, Duolingo, Facebook

5:00AM (before): start doing my EDX courses,

5:00AM (now): leave home for a morning walk/jog

5:45AM (before): breakfast

6:30AM (now): breakfast

6:45AM: checks WordPress, IG, Whatsapp, Facebook, and then do some exercises in Duolingo

7:30AM: go back to EDX courses until 3:00PM (with meal breaks of course)

The late afternoons are usually spent reading, researching, writing a blog post or composing poems. Sometimes, I experiment with video editing. Sometimes I draw. Or take a typing speed test. 🙂

I go out when I deem necessary.

In between my time every weekend, I’d spend hours with the nephews and nieces~just to play, talk and cuddle with them. Everyone is growing up so fast and I am afraid the new schedule I have isn’t helping me with optimizing my family time. I am just hoping all the baby monsters would understand why the aunt is doing this though. And then, there’s my dog and my cat who might demand some more time from me as well.

So how is my time now different from the one I had before? Not much actually, except that I have to allot several hours now for my courses. And also, I am enjoying a few hours being alone every morning in the ocean.

The view and sound of the ocean, the scent of morning air and the brush of the wind on my face along with a glimpse of the sunrise, well, these are the magical things I get lost to every morning. It’s almost like an epiphany.

 

I have something in mind that I might start doing every weekend or maybe twice a month but until I am able to pull that plan off, I could not provide further details.

Please do not ask me what I would have wanted to do if circumstances would permit because I could write an entire book about my dreams.

“You may say, I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one. ”

~John Lennon

 

Tomorrow would be another morning session and I hope the sun gets to shine tomorrow.

This morning, I did not see any sun as it was raining when I left home but I went nonetheless, walked towards the baywalk, settled myself on a bench opposite the ocean and waited until the rain would stop.

I was lucky because it rained really hard instead and the park now became a ghost town.

Speaking about choosing battles? I had to retreat an hour later.

 

 

 

Faded

Several days prior, I had pre-planned what I am going to do today, the 1st day of May, while I won’t have to think about work. If this holiday was only longer, I would have preferred to go south or north to see the ocean. By myself.

I’ve talked about “Faded” in my last post and how that song has gripped me. It still is the song that I listen to from morning, during my daily commute until I went to bed at night. Why? Because I am at a point where I am searching for my old self. She is lost somewhere and I need to get her back, unfortunately. Faded is a cry to my old self. I hope she is not in Atlantis. I can’t follow her in the deep. I am scared of sharks.

Before I went to bed last night, I made sure everything was all set for today’s plan. So in the early morning as soon as I woke up, while everyone was still asleep and while it drizzled outside, I left home.

I went to get some cash just in case I would impulsively think of going somewhere other than what was planned. And while I was about to leave the ATM machine, I bumped into an old friend from high school. I could not exactly remember the last time I saw April. Although I would often see her on Facebook. We said our hellos and a few questions here and there~ her about her family life and for me, the usual, “when are you going to settle down” types. Don’t worry, these questions will no longer bother me. I’ve become used to it that I could brush it off politely. A few minutes of chitchat and then we parted ways. She also mentioned that she reads my blog which kind of surprised me because I wasn’t expecting she is one of those people who came to my blog from Facebook, as shown in my analytics. It also dawned on me that High school is sixteen years ago and I’ve already missed several of my old friends. This after I canceled my attendance on the batch and class reunion on several occasions. A couple of days back, I was also talking to a high school friend in IG who is now living in the US with her family.

Here, time is the only element that’s changing because friendship has remained even if we are several oceans apart. While I have intentionally stayed away from acquaintances, fate had put me in situations where I won’t have any other resolve but to face the old folks, one by one.

As soon as left April, I went straight towards the baywalk. There were already a few people jogging around the vicinity while some others are obviously waiting to see the sunrise. I thought I should have been earlier. Maybe when everything is still dark and I will be alone. So will the next time be.

My closest friend, Joyce has been pushing me to pursue my plan~ to rest my mind even for a week. To go somewhere far and just leave everything behind. I could do that actually but I have to do careful planning for safety purposes, especially that I will have to travel alone and most especially because the places I’ve had in mind may not be too friendly for a woman who’s traveling solo. I can’t be too careless. I still have a blog to update and a new IG account that needs to be filled with more poems. My gazillion followers would certainly miss me.

The ultimate game plan for this year is still something I am working on, along with a lot of other things I need to complete and sustain this year. I am tempted to dive and take the risk now, but honestly, I don’t see it as the best course of action. I need to plan. And then devise plan Bs, Cs, and so on and so forth in case the initial plans would not work. I can’t take planning out of my system. If you know a Virgo, an INFJ and who has a type A personality, you would understand why I am like this.

These are for the long-term goals.

The short-term ones are what needs to be done impromptu. I am building myself right now with this end in mind.

Today after the early morning walk, I realized something about myself. So I will build this thing up until I am able to say, I am no longer chained. That I could be like the bird I saw this morning.

Just stay above the water, Maricel.

I’ll see you all again over the weekend.

Legends Never Die

After dealing with the sudden loss of one of my staff and with the unexpected death of the wife of another and a lot of other unfortunate things where my team was involved, I wouldn’t be more shocked I thought at what else could happen.

The last 6 months had been very difficult, both in work and in my personal life… and this past three weeks I believe, was the hardest. Some friends may have sensed it but I decry having to let everyone know I was at wit’s end. I went off the radar just to rest my mind. I shut off from almost all of my social media. I didn’t talk to a lot of people.

Things have been quite rough but as I often said, I may bleed but I’ll come right back up again. I will never allow myself to wallow in such sadness that I may forget to live my life. Life is very beautiful in spite of all the beatings.

All of this will soon pass.

Last week, a colleague who may have felt the baggage I was carrying approached me and stared at me for a few seconds before saying, “I could never imagine being in your shoes at this moment”, with a tone that almost got me rushing to the comfort room and cry in silence. “We (my team) were just blessed”, I replied, half smiling, trying not to appear emotional.

When life throws a few lemons my way, even a simple pat on the back would mean a lot. And an ear that truly listens beacons a hope that I need to keep moving along because there are people who truly want to see me happy- the version of happiness that I dreamt for my life.

I am grateful for my best friend who knew everything about my life and the only person I know who believes I am a superwoman- that I could do anything, that I am the best. (I give her food in exchange for her beliefs, lol). I am also grateful for all of my other friends who stood with me at this moment.

Where was my family in the picture? It was my fault because I kept this away from them. I guess they only know a part of the struggle that I was going through. I don’t want them to be bothered. I will be fine.

In retrospect, I believe, all of this happened in order to make me stronger and possibly better.

During these tough times, aside from the support extended to me by a few friends, music has been a great aid for me to escape temporarily. Everytime when I’m not too happy or when I am overly stressed, I listen to songs that are fast-beating and loud, mainly EDM and house music. And that is when I feel I have escaped from the world, even for a few minutes, or hours. Sometimes, I intentionally would listen to just one song the whole day, playing it repeatedly. My closest friend knew this too well to not disturb me when my headphone is blaring.

I’ve been listening to Alan Walker and Mike Perry lately- Alone, Sing Me to Sleep and Faded for Walker and The Ocean and Inside the Lines for Perry. I don’t know but some genres of music even when it’s too upbeat, I still find it surprisingly sad like Walker’s and Perry’s music pieces.

Those who do not prefer the heavy beats, they may find the restrung version of Faded more beautiful to listen to.

So what will I do without music? Maybe escape to the ocean or retreat to the mountains and become a hermit. Kidding aside, I believe life would not be as beautiful as it is without music. We have our reasons for our preferred music. Some like it classical and mellow, others want it loud and head-banging. But whatever the reason why we listen to the type of music that we like, is upon us to decipher.

Sadly today, upon opening up Twitter, I noticed that Avicii (Tim Bergling ) was a trending topic. I thought maybe because he receives an award or recognition. But no, Avicii- a Swedish artist, DJ and producer was trending because, at 28, he passes away. Avicii is one of the biggest names in the EDM industry.

The cause of his death has not been confirmed but there might be some sad truth about this.  If there’s any truth to this whatsoever, I am just hoping that my friend (a brother from another mother) who was also suffering from the same problem would be able to survive his battle. He is of the same age and Swedish like Avicii. I am a bit worried because I haven’t heard from the Kapre, as he would call himself (Giant), for some months now.

I hope you fare well, my friend! You can’t give up or Ate will come to haunt you. 🙂

Avicii
Tim Bergling aka Avicii  (1989-2018) | Mike Pont/WireImage

I have listened to Avicii’s songs more than the cumulative times I listened to all of my other playlists. Wake Me Up,  Waiting for Love, I Could Be The One, The Nights and The Days were my few favorites.

 

 

Wake Me Up, 2013

Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can’t tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start

They tell me I’m too young to understand

They say I’m caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes
Well that’s fine by me

So wake me up when it’s all over

When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself, and I
Didn’t know I was lost

 


Waiting For Love, 2015
This lyric video is special to me for some reason.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, kind of beautiful
And every night has its day, so magical
And if there’s love in this life, there’s no obstacle
That can’t be defeated

For every tyrant a tear for the vulnerable
In every lost soul the bones of a miracle
For every dreamer a dream we’re unstoppable
With something to believe in

 

Monday left me broken
Tuesday I was through with hoping
Wednesday my empty arms were open
Thursday waiting for love, waiting for love
Thank the stars it’s Friday
I’m burning like a fire gone wild on Saturday
Guess I won’t be coming to church on Sunday
I’ll be waiting for love, waiting for love
To come around

 

 

I Could Be The One, 2012
Warning: Some scenes are NSFW (Not Safe For Work).

A lot of us are bound for whatever valid reason by some responsibilities that we could not just drop off, by the pressures of our society to conform to the norm, sometimes even, by the fear that keeps us away from going off the beaten path. Some of us live a sedentary and monotonous life that in turn makes us, with pun intended, lifeless. The freedom to let go is not as easy as it appears. Kudos to those of you who have successfully broken your shackles because not all were endowed with the same courage as you do.

Well as for the video, honestly, I was shocked and saddened of the ending when I first saw it.

When you need a way to beat the pressure down
When you need to find a way to breathe
I could be the one to make you feel that way
I could be the one to set you free

 

 

The Nights, 2014
“When I was 16, my father said, ‘You can do anything you want with your life. You just have to be willing to work hard to get it.’ That’s when I decided when I die, I want to be remembered for the life I lived—not the money I made.”

That’s talking about living life to the fullest, one frame at a time.

Hey, once upon a younger year
When all our shadows disappeared
The animals inside came out to play
Hey, when face to face with all our fears
Learned our lessons through the tears
Made memories we knew would never fade

One day my father—he told me,
“Son, don’t let it slip away”
He took me in his arms, I heard him say,

“When you get older
Your wild life will live for younger days
Think of me if ever you’re afraid.”

He said, “One day you’ll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember.”
My father told me when I was just a child
These are the nights that never die
My father told me


And my favorite of all,


The Days, 2014
I’m sorry, but I refuse to get old. 🙂

Under the tree where the grass don’t grow
We made a promise to never get old
You had a chance and you took it on me
And I made a promise that I couldn’t keep.

Heart ache, heart break
All over town
But something flipped like a switch when you came around
And I’m in pieces, pick me up and put me together

These are the days we’ve been waiting for
On days like these who could ask for more?

Leave them coming ’cause we’re not done yet
These are the days we won’t regret
These are the days we won’t forget


At this time, I am again grieving but for the loss of a great artist whom I have followed for a few years and whose music has to me became synonymous to “escaping”. The EDM industry has lost an important family member.

Fly on, young man! I will miss you but I realize, legends actually never die. Thank you for the music. And for helping me get through the tough eras of my life.

Thank you for the feels, Tim!