Life in Progress

Let me begin by saying that I finally got a break in life. For a long time, I have hoped for a job opportunity that would make my college degree useful at least. And in God’s perfect time, it has come.

I got a new job in the school as an Admissions Counselor and I get to have my own cubicle and own business card (Please!!) It is a step up from my job as a cashier in a restaurant. And I just want to share how proud I am that I started from the bottom. When I came here in the US, I was so entitled. As a recent graduate of an exceptional university in my country, I couldn’t fathom the idea that the first job I would have was as cashier/waitress. I kept on thinking, “I didn’t graduate college for this! What was my college degree for?” But you know what I had to realize? That I am not entitled to anything. I don’t deserve anything but a chance to prove myself. No job is beneath me because I am only a beginner in the real world. Actually, I felt happy that someone gave me a chance to work. I was humbled by the experience and I was propelled by my new motto which was to ‘Be the best in whatever you do’ (LESSON NO. 1!). If you think you are better than you think you are, then prove it. If you think you deserve more than what you are given, then prove it by being the best person who can do the job. I swept floors, I cleaned tables, I brought people extra glasses of diet soda, I packed people’s lunches, I settled credit card machines. I came to work when I was asked — Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. I worked hard, I worked good, and I earned everybody’s respect. It felt good and only after that did I feel I deserved something. (*sings STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM NOW WE HERE!!)

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When I was informed I’d be getting this job that I have right now, it came as a shock. There was no preamble, just an e-mail from my boss telling me to come to her office in the morning to discuss the position that she was offering me and that if I accept it I start that next Monday. After reading her message, I think I stared in space for a few minutes. Tulaley lang! Nganga! I couldn’t believe it was finally happening. Just to let you in on my feelings days before that night, I was in total surrender to my fate. I just had a letdown from the other job I applied for and so I spoke to God, “You know what, I give up. I’m done forcing my control over things. I’m not stressing myself out over something which I will never know when I will have. So fine, I give up everything to you. I will live in the present and let you unravel everything to me.” Fast forward to THAT night, He left me dumbfounded. He saved me once again. So LESSON NO. 2, believe and trust in the Higher Power. He will surprise you!

And one more thing, I know it’s so cliche but it still needs to be reiterated because of its truth, live and enjoy the present and let the future worry about itself (LESSON NO. 3). The future is just an idea. What’s real is HERE AND NOW!

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I couldn’t be more independent and adult as of right this moment. Because of my new job, I needed to move from Maryland (Washington Metro Area) to Jersey City. For those of you who aren’t familiar with US Geography, the distance takes me about 5 hours via Greyhound bus and 2 extra hours for my metro trips. Yes, I finally moved out of my parents’ house! Technically, I’m still renting a room in a family’s house, but I pay my rent, I do my own laundry, and I buy my own food (And I pay for my transportation! God, my trips back home cost me a fortune). WHAT IS MORE REAL ADULT THAN THIS, PLEASE?! Okay, so I told my parents that I will buy my own furniture when I can afford it, but my dad insisted that as a gift, he will buy me my first bed, dresser, and mirror. I picked it, but he paid for it. (Thanks, dad!) It came last night and I had such a good sleep, it took me three hits on the snooze button before I got up.

Well anyway, aside from my new furniture, I have been self-sufficient in all other aspects of my life for the past year. I can’t remember the last time I asked my parents for money and it’s so fulfilling to provide for myself and live on my own means. Budgeting is a nightmare, though. And that is still something I have to master. (CUE: TREAT IMPULSIVE BUYING AND ONLINE SHOPPING SICKNESS)

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So far, things are great! I am adjusting well to my new job and my reclaimed independence. I have gained new family and friends. I am also gaining a routine. All I’m missing is a love life (Ang harot!!!) But I am truly excited to learn new lessons with this new adventure in my life. Life is sweet, as of the moment. 🙂

Writing without pause

When people tell me I should write for a living, they don’t really know how hard it is they’re asking. Yes, I do write, but I can’t call it professional writing. I can’t really call myself a writer — because what exactly have I written that has been of great use to mankind? Nothing.

What I am is an emotional individual who tends to feel more than the average person. And what I have are occasional urges to throw them out to the world through the written word. But for the sake of this post, okay, let me call myself a writer.

The best compliment I get is when I am told that I write naturally. When people tell me I have a talent to move thoughts into paper fluidly, or that I have a creative way of explaining things. That I can grab attention with my delivery. Thank you very much, I say. Tell me that and I would smile for you from ear to ear all day, because the truth is writing, to me, is a struggle and it will always be.

First of all, my command of the English language still needs improvement. I am hard on myself when it comes to grammar and vocabulary and use of punctuation. You can say that I have an obsession for perfecting my English. I know it’s not attainable, because language constantly evolves and I am sure I would always commit mistakes, even with the use of preposition (the struggle with in, on, and at! my goodness!) or with finding precise words to describe a feeling, but I really wish that someday I will be the best editor out there. I work constantly at it. I read a lot (and that means poring at the writer’s style and sentence structure), learn new words daily, and etc. I have high respect for the written word and mistakes are inexcusable.

Writing is a struggle because I have a serious case of doubting myself a lot. Some days, a good idea comes to mind and they are followed with these intricate details I think would make it interesting. I would get excited, but then doubt hits like an angry child throwing fits. “Maybe this isn’t a good idea after all…” it begins, until I lose the energy and slowly walk away from the one good idea I had all week. Case in point, count the days from my last post to this one you’re currently reading. Doubt is one helluva mortal enemy.

One more thing is when indolence strikes, I turn into the laziest person ever existed. When I reach the point of writer’s block, I ruminate in it and let its ice-cold arms wrap itself around me as I fall into a slumber, which shouldn’t be. Remember, kids, when you want to master an art, a sport, or a discipline, never be lazy. I remember what this famous writer said about writing: You can’t just wait for a good idea all the time. You have to find the idea. Go inside. Go deep. Get experience. Live more. Write, then edit. Then edit. Then edit. Then edit.

So they say write for a living, huh? It would take guts. It would take the rest of my life to practice and be good at it. It would take constant fights with self-doubt. It would take a lot of energy, meditation, and self-determination.

But isn’t the point of life to dedicate yourself to working hard and passionately to achieve something that would lead you to true happiness? If writing is my path, then I should really start walking now.

Free Yourself

You ask yourself what the problem is until one day you realize what it is. You are enslaved by your past and your high hopes and dreams that you ignore the present. You ignore what’s in front of you. You focus too much on cross-your-fingers possibilities and you neglect the reality of today. So, free yourself.

Free yourself from your high hopes and dreams for the moment and put your head above the water. It’s not a form of surrender. You’re not giving up. You just have to face the truth that in order for you to achieve something, you have to step down from the clouds. You have to work with the present, work with what you have.

Free yourself from your past, from your mistakes, from your old good life that’s holding you back. Get over it or lose yourself to it and be crippled forever. The past, no matter how good or bad, should remain a distant memory. You know why you can’t move on. It’s because that chapter of your life is still open and you reread them every single day. You have to stop, because it’s unhealthy. Pay attention to the current episode of your life. Live now.

Lastly, free yourself from your expectations of yourself. Take it easy, will you? Take a breather and give yourself some lovin’. After all, you are still alive, resisting, and taking a chance. Give yourself a break. You have had enough of everyone trying to tell you what to do, of everyone acting like they know what’s best for you, that you don’t want to kill yourself with the pressure you inflict on yourself. You don’t have to act like everyday is a beauty pageant where you have to be all smiles and on your best all the time. Truth is, a lot of times, it sucks so it’s okay to be really mad and pissed. It’s okay to be ugly. It’s okay to eat whatever you want. Dance in your undies and jump around, because today you are free and you accept yourself in whatever form and mindset you are in. You are done being a slave of the universe, of things you can’t control. Today is time for you to be free. So free yourself.

Defeat the Blerch!

Last night, I had a mature and eye-opening conversation with my dear old friend, distant wingman, and true bro, Ramon. Just like the old times in the Philippines, we had this late night talk about our debaucheries, embarrassing moments, the sexes, and philosophies in life. I am happy that I have a friend like that. Someone who can just get on my level in the conversation — be random, be serious, be black (whutt), and be plain straight and real. It helps that his body clock is in shambles and mine too that the different time zones is not even an issue.

Last night we were talking about how we were changing… in terms of alcohol consumption. He was three weeks sober (quite shocking!) and I on the other hand haven’t had alcohol in two months. My dad bought a pack of non-alcoholic Beck’s last week and tried to shove a bottle down my throat. Believe me, it was a travesty! Hell no am I drinking that. Give me real beer or give me nothing at all. I can’t believe this, but I am actually yearning for the taste of alcohol in my mouth. After my trip to Europe, I just can’t get enough of it. I miss it. My body even seeks the comfort of my old confidante, Jose Cuervo. I told Rum that I couldn’t believe everything changed so fast. After all the RAM parties, chill beer sessions, and Halloween drunkathons, what could possibly lead to this moment? We used to be better when we’re half-drunk. More fun and more free. I don’t mean the crawling-to-bed pissed drunk, but the still-conscious-but-fearless half-drunk. What happened to us?

He started running the past month, a really big change in his passive lifestyle. He decided to cut down on his carbs, something the man finds hard to give up, and I asked him Why? Why do it now? Why all this change? He just gave me a short and simple answer. “To defeat my past self”.

Sometimes, when we begin to gain this consciousness of who we are, we forget that who we are is not permanent. That we can change. That we can change who we are and how we think about ourselves.  All my life I was fat. All my life I was weak and a pushover. I was born stupid. I can never be athletic. Oh, I can never be good at anything. Just look at the past eighteen years of my life, I am a failure. We think we completely know ourselves and we think we cannot do anything about it, when all we actually need is a new pair of lenses. A different way to look at things. A chance to see ourselves in a different light. We all have potential to do better or to be more than what we think we are. We just need the big push, the inspiration, the slither of hope.

My friend’s motivation inspired me to defeat my past self. I don’t want to sulk anymore. I’m tired of feeling pathetic and as if there is no way out to my misery. I want to stop being that girl who is always worried about the future, always worried about what could and what could not happen. I want to defeat my past self.

I decided to run again. It was my slither of hope back in December and it will be again now. Aside from clearing my head, running taught me how to push myself, to take that extra breath to reach another mile, and to take charge. I want that empowering feeling again.

The link to the six-part comics below was Rum’s motivation when he started running. It is the reason that I am back on my feet, too. Check it out, it’s quite incredible. It’s called the terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances by The Oatmeal.

Start reading Part II: The Feeding here. >>>

Rise and Shine: Destiny waits for no man.

How can something as simple as two words give so much motivation? Rise and Shine. Whenever I feel lazy to do something I am supposed to do, it rings in my head: Rise and Shine. While on the treadmill, when I feel like running faster but my heart and lungs says no, I shout to myself ‘Rise and Shine”. No to that Nutella sandwich, Rise and Shine! No to that double choco-chip cookie, Rise and Shine! I never imagined it would be effective.

This ad by Nike has been my alarm clock for the past 5 days and so far I have been conquering the enemy within. It’s the voice, it’s the message. This pushes me off the bed everyday, pushing me to do things I have always believed I can’t. It tells me that I am ready for school, for work, for pushing boundaries, for finding greatness. It tells me that I am ready for life. Prove the life demons wrong, because you can win your fight.

Allow and enable

I was so happy that I came across this message written by Ralph Marston from greatday.com yesterday. It’s only what I wanted to hear.

Allow and enable

If it seems that you’re stuck where you are, no matter what you do, then you’re almost certainly trying too hard. Stop trying and start allowing.

When you’re striving and fighting and pushing, you’re working against yourself. Take a breath, calm down, and be.

Be you, in the moment, honestly, authentically, needing nothing and appreciating everything. Allow, accept, enjoy, and you cannot possibly remain stuck.

Where there is genuine love, appreciation and enjoyment, there can be no resentment or frustration. When you fully allow life to flow to you and through you, then you enable creativity and value to naturally and easily flow out from you.

Life is beautiful to a degree that goes far beyond anything that you can imagine. Stop trying to imagine that beauty and start allowing yourself to experience it.

Let go of the need to strive and to judge. And embrace the profound opportunity to be, now.

Project G.Y.L.T

I have had enough. I have had enough of relatives visiting the house, telling me how big of a couch potato I already am. I have had enough with my mom and dad talk in front of me of how much I’ve horizontally grown in a month and how I am growing still. Clearly, I have had enough passivity for a summer that has just begun.

With that, I am beginning Project Get Your Life Together a.k.a Project G.Y.L.T tomorrow. It’s my supreme attempt to, obviously, getting my life together. It focuses on physical health (jogging+cardio routines), cooking abilities (must go beyond sandwiches, anything fried and instant ramen), mental/emotional stability (self-esteem and self-confidence check, must get over wallowing in self-doubt!), and time management (to me is the biggest challenge because I love stalling, stopping and staring, and procrastinating). I will be monitoring my hopeful progress in a month by writing in my journal everyday. I really think I can do this.

OK, enough talk. It’s time for real business. Who wants to join me? Project G.Y.L.T, let’s get it on!