Monday, January 23, 2017

On Letting Go of Exes

Do you remember my ex Vincent, the short INC guy who cheated on me? Well, after we broke up, the rage monster that I was changed all of the captions of our Instagram photos together, and the whole thing blew up. And, since everyone knew what an asshole he had been to me, there is one part of the story that I never divulged before writing this post: we still got back together after all of that drama.

Yes. He had treated me like shit. I had humiliated him online (he deserved it, though, come on, let's be honest lol). And yet, we still got back together. Why? I cannot give you a good reason for that right now, but back then, past-Anj stupidly felt like that was the thing she had to do.

Was I happy getting back together with him? Definitely not. I couldn't tell my friends we were back together because I had already made him out to be the devil (which he was); so whenever I went out with them, I had to pretend that I was single and free while at the same time lie to Vincent and say I was home. I couldn't tell my family because they knew the story, too; so, when Vincent came over, I had to sneak him in to avoid being judged. We had to meet at weird places to avoid being seen, as well... until one time, he saw his friends nearby and so we decided we had to move our dates to Makati where he worked.

It was a whole lot of effort. It was tiring keeping us a secret. And so not worth it. We also still fought every single day - and about stupid things, too: like about how I had taken up pole dancing without his consent or about how he felt like some random dude was staring at him because he had probably read my Instagram captions.

I don't remember why I put up with it; but at some point, past-Anj finally got fed up and decided to date other guys to see if there were indeed other fish in the sea worth catching. However, while there were some fish nibbling now and then, none of them were remotely interesting enough for me to give up Vincent completely.

And then one day, a wild Julian Carag appeared. And for the first time in a long time, I was smiling. I was laughing. Me! Laughing! My friends noticed the change - welcomed it. I was singing again. I was chuckling to myself a lot. I was ignoring Vincent's texts and calls, and it became surprisingly easy to reply with one-liners and make up excuses not to see him. It also became surprisingly easy to block him on social media and on messaging apps when he wouldn't stop pestering me.

About a month had gone by when Julian surprised me with this Darkseid figure:

It was pretty early on, actually. Although Julian and I had been talking a lot, I think we had only met 3 times in person by the time he got me this, but it made my heart sing. I hadn't gotten a geeky gift from a boyfriend, like, ever. And Julian wasn't even my boyfriend. I wasn't even sure what he was at the time, but I knew that Darkseid had made me happy. Julian had made me happy. 

That same night, when I got home, my maid said I had a gift waiting in my room. It was this:

In it was a Pandora ring from Vincent and a "letter" written on a piece of Starbucks tissue. In it, he said he had bought me the ring for Valentine's Day, which was a week away. Although we hadn't spoken in a long time, he said he still wanted me to have it. The ring was two sizes too big and it had a floral design.

It was such a Vincent thing to give. "Here, have something that I deem appropriate for girls to have and wear." I thought back to all of the things Vincent had ever gotten me: a girly charm bracelet type watch that I never wore coz I'm not girly, perfume that he liked, more perfume that he liked, and more perfume that he liked.

So as I sat there with a Pandora ring in one hand and a Darkseid figure in the other, I realized that I would really much rather spend my Valentine's Day with a stranger I was just getting to know instead of with him.

I chose that stranger because he actually accepted that I'm a non-girly geeky type of girl. I chose that stranger because he didn't care if I was wearing makeup or not when we met up. I chose that stranger because he didn't require me to wear dresses on dates or to comb my hair and powder my face every hour. I chose that stranger because I could just be me around him. I could be geeky. I could be corny. I could be weird. And he would actually laugh at and with me instead of make me feel uncomfortable. 

That's probably the best decision I made in 2016 because now, that stranger is now my boyfriend. But I'll tell you about how he asked me to be his girlfriend another time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

On La La Land and Following Your Dreams

While I may have been obsessed with going to the movies in the past, you will very rarely find me in the cinemas nowadays unless it's for work. I had been waiting for La La Land to come out since I watched the first trailer, though, and I actually got to see it in the cinemas last night.

Yes. After a spontaneous decision to watch it ASAP (coz I knew that if I put it off, it would never happen), I put on a pretty dress, met up with my handsome date, and hit the cinemas to make my musical-loving heart happy. But I had no idea what I was in for.

blue dress from Zalora / beige lace-up bootie heels from Girls Haven / Death Star pouch from Singapore

Now, I was pretty sure I would like film, judging by how many times I had watched the trailers; but I didn't think I would like it THIS much. I found myself crying because of how much I could relate to it and how much it spoke to me. I even cried because of the sheer beauty of it at times: when a song would play, when a scene was shot unbelievably well, when certain emotions came into play... ERGH. So. Beautifully. Made.

And that last song and scene. My goodness. It was probably the most heart-wrenching scene I had seen since the first scene in 'Up'. My heart broke, plain and simple; and for a second, I didn't want the moviehouse lights to come on because I was a blubbering mess. It was absolutely brilliant!!!

La La Land touches on the topic of following one's dreams and shows us that there are two people in this world: those who follow their dreams, no matter how hard it is; and those who eventually give up on their dreams in order to live a more stable life.

I am the former. How many times have you heard a friend ask if they should follow their head or their heart when it comes to work? Well, I am one of those people who always tries to convince other people to follow their heart, no matter what - mostly because that's what I did and because I have proven that it is possible to make your dreams come true (I'll save my story on how I pursued writing for another time); but also because I believe that you'll always wonder what life could have been like otherwise. And nobody deserves to live in a world of what ifs.

This is why I ask my friends and boyfriend on a regular basis whether they are happy with their jobs or not. Because if they ever reach a point where they aren't, I want to be there to remind them that they can make their dreams come true if they'll just take the plunge and see where pursuing those dreams will take them.

Life's too short to be working a shitty job just for the money. Yes, it might be a struggle to get started on pursuing you dreams at first, but as so many successful people will attest: it will be totally worth it in the end.

And if you don't believe me, go watch La La Land and see how their decisions worked out for them. It'll make you rethink your own life and wonder a LOT about how much more different your life could've been if you had chosen a different path. It will also break your heart, though (so bring tissue!). And you might end up searching for "tap dance classes in Manila" afterwards.

But it's worth every penny - I promise you that. Let me know what you think of the movie. Would love to talk about it with you. :)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

On Hipon and Trolls

So someone called me 'hipon' last night after I posted this video:

And call me crazy, but I actually grinned. Having worked hard to lose weight last year, it is an absolute MIRACLE for me to read someone call me 'hipon'. (For those who don't speak Filipino, 'hipon' is used as an insult for people who have a sexy body, but an ugly face.) But rather than focus on him insulting my ugly face, I'd rather focus on... ME? SEXY? TANGINA. FINALLY.

Coz of that, here's another 'hipon' shot for you, mister:

I understand that that guy was just a troll, but I couldn't help but imagine how other women would feel if some stranger would call them names like that. Heck, I remember myself last year when I was walking down the street after a workout and a random stranger on the road said, "Ate, ang taba niyo po." ("Girl, you're so fat.")

And that comment came outta nowhere! I remember trying to call Julian and him not picking up and then me just crying all the way home and crying some more on my bed and refusing to talk to any of my friends. I was fat! And some stranger thought I was so fat, they actually felt the need to voice it out.

By then, I had lost almost 30 pounds and yet, some stranger still felt the need to call me fat. And WHY? They didn't even know me. Did it make them feel better to insult me? What do people get out of saying shit like that?

Cha Ocampo did it right. After HUNDREDS of people ganged up on her on the Internet, she said: "Stay positive." Or, as Lloyd Dobler asked: "How hard is it just to decide to be in a good mood, and then be in a good mood?"


I used to roll my eyes at that scene, but lately, I have come to find that it really isn't that hard. Clearly, assholes won't be going anyway anytime soon. The least we can do is stay unaffected and look at the bright side of things.

As Cha said: there is ALWAYS an upside to everything; you just need to choose to see it. I think that that is a very important thing to remember - not just this year, but all throughout your life. 

I lost a baby two years ago, for example. And while that was gut-wrenching, heart-shattering and downright deadly painful, it showed me how much of a strong support system I have in my family and friends. It also helped me focus more on work, my daughter and my life. It basically helped me put everything I go through into perspective and it has made me the strongest version of me I have ever been.

In a nutshell, don't let nega people blow out your light. Keep a smile on your face. And always, always wear makeup and look pretty when you work out to please the trolls. Haha. Kidding! Block, block, block away nalang! The world will be a brighter place that way. :D

Love from a proud hipon

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

On Friends and Godparents

Last year, a lot of my friendships fell apart - some due to busy-ness ("I have to work"), others due to new flames ("my boyfriend won't let me go") and others due to sheer laziness ("urgh, it's so faaaaar"). Sound familiar?

Well, this 2017, I decided to stop being 'that person' and actually spend more time with my friends (the ones that I think are worth it, anyway).

As such, I am proud to say that I started the year having brunch with Emerald, Syrena's godmother and my oldest friend in Bangkok.


Em had come fresh from Chrome (fun fact: she introduced me to the joys of pole dancing) and we just spent some time sipping on coffee and catching up on life, work, morals and the future (surprisingly, not so much on love - I should really bring that up next time).

Cute Iced Catppuccino and Spicy Chicken Panini at Carpe Diem

The best part about it for me, though, was that I wasn't thinking about the slew of things that I would have to do after brunch. I just took it for what it was and lived in the moment.

Okay, that sounds lame and OA for something as mundane as brunch, but I'm the type of person whose mind doesn't really rest. I'm always thinking about work and my plans for the rest of the day and all of the other things I need to do - so it was surprising that I just let myself be. That's probably something that I should do more often. I really enjoyed that.


I also enjoyed the fact that Syrena got to spend some time with Em. This is a big deal to me because, while I know that I chose Syrena's godparents well, she never actually gets to see any of them. She doesn't really get greeted on holidays or her birthday, either (except by my Kuya, of course).

Since I never see my godparents, either, that isn't really surprising; but I always hoped she would be surrounded by the kind of godparental love I never had.

And maybe that's why it's such a big deal to me that I'm finally becoming someone's godmother this year - so I can be the kind of godparents I always envisioned godparents to be. :p (No pressure on the godparents out there; this is probably just a weird Anj thing. Haha.)

Generally speaking, 2017 looks like it will be a good year. I just need to keep my priorities in check.

What are your New Year's resolutions for 2017 and how are you making them happen? :)