Saturday, January 30, 2021

Looking back on 2020

 I've been wanting to write this post for weeks now. You know those beautiful essays that people write to end their year? I wanted to do that. I really did. However, towards the end of 2020, some of my "friends" had "shamed" me for my productivity and accomplishments of the crazy year that was; and for a while, I no longer felt proud of everything that I had done during the pandemic.

I am in a different mindset today. I've gone through heartbreak after heartbreak and through failure after failure this month that I really just need to write about something positive for a change.

For all I care, those "friends" can go rot in their hate. I am here to announce - loud and proud - that 2020, the year that everyone has come to hate for many reasons, was the year that I got my shit together and did everything I had once only dreamed and talked about doing. This is my blog post on what some people might call yabang. Deal with it.

To start, I need to say that I started 2020 with a bang. I got a new side job as a writer for two websites in Singapore. I was dating someone I really liked at the time. I squeezed in three beach trips in two months. I made a ton of amazing new friends. We had a WIM party to thank all of our supporters. And I was over the moon.

I told myself it would be my "year of travel" - that I would go to all of the places I had always said I would go to but never did: Japan so I could see sakura on my birthday, Bangkok so I could see all of my friends there after a decade of staying away, Korea to search for my favorite KDrama locations, the US to see my sisters, and Davao to see my brother and new nephew. None of that happened.

Being someone who relied on trips, sexual escapades, gym sessions, and nights drinking and playing beer pong for sanity; you can imagine how much of a lifestyle change I went through during the beginning of quarantine. It was terrible. I found myself going through a downward spiral of binge-eating and felt my obese college self coming back to the forefront. I also felt my social skills deteriorating week by week. And I found myself staring at the ceiling at night wondering if I would survive being stuck in this toxic household day in and day out.

And then one day, the guy who I was (very proudly, I might add) dating at the time told me it was up to me to make a change. Although things didn't work out between us, I am still thankful to him for sitting me down and giving me that much-needed conversation at the time. Because of him, I got up off my sad ass and stopped feeling sorry for myself. And thus started my productive 2020.

I joined a voice acting workshop.

Although I had done a few voice-related projects in the past, 2020 was the year I decided to take things a little more seriously. I joined a voice acting workshop and became a certified voice artist. I started auditioning more aggressively. And I ended up doing a bunch of fun projects that helped me grow as a voice artist.

I stopped drinking (and having casual sex).

Are you giggling or laughing? Lol. I don't blame you. But trust me: these were two of my worst "vices" pre-pandemic. And once the pandemic set in, I realized I don't actually need alcohol (or even sex) to function as a normal human being. I also learned that I don't actually enjoy beer. I really just drank it for beer pong. Go figure.

I learned who my true friends are.

Being stuck at home without going out, I really learned who my true friends are. When things went to shit, I realized who was actually willing to be there for me and I cut my friends' circle by about 90% this way. Don't get me wrong. I'm still friends with most of the people I was friends with pre-pandemic, but I learned who I can really trust and who was just there for fun and games.

I started learning a new language.

Okay. I'm not entirely sure if I should be proud of this, but I started learning Korean. The reason why I'm not proud is the reason behind it. See, I started learning Japanese first... but failed miserably that I decided to try another language in its stead. I'm proud to say that I am progressing in learning Korean, though. And I can't wait for the day when I can finally watch KDramas while working because I no longer have to read subtitles. Maybe I'll find an oppa in the process, too. Char.

I got a job at Newsweek.

You all know how much I love my job at When in Manila. However, having so much free time in my hands, I figured I'd try my hand at applying for another job since the opportunity was there. Imagine my surprise when I got hired almost instantly and now, I am in love with my job at Newsweek, too. I'm so blessed to be able to do what I love to do for work, as stressful as it might be sometimes.

I became a certified tarot reader.

Voice acting aside, I also tried my hand at tarot reading. After all, I spent the past six years talking about it and relying on it for advice. (Check out my tarot card reader, Robert Rubin, by the way. He is THE BEST!) I also made some great friends at the workshop and by reading for people. Hands down the best workshop I took last year! Unfortunately, my tarot account has been hacked for the second time this month so I can't promote it here. Lelz. Not sure why that has been happening, to be honest.

I joined a bunch of other workshops.

The aforementioned workshops aside, I also took a bunch of other workshops for personal development, including but not limited to crystal healing and social media management. I have also read more books in 2020 than I had in the past five years combined.

I am currently at my strongest.

I also started working out more aggressively to release all of my pent-up stress, anger, and frustration. (Trust me: it helps!) Although I am probably at my fattest and heaviest than I have been in the past five years, I am also at my strongest. And that has really been my goal since the pandemic started, really. With no men in the household, there's no one to do the heavy lifting but me. I figured I can at least contribute that at the very least. Some may not agree that this is the best physique, but it is the proudest I have been of my body in my life.

None of my loved ones died from COVID-19.

Naturally, this is the most important part of 2020. Although I have had a handful of loved ones who got infected by the coronavirus, they have all survived it - and I shall forever be thankful for that.

2021 hasn't been off to a good start for me, but I'd like to think that January is just a mad blip in my year that will be. I am trying to stay as positive as the cynical me can possibly be; but with the supportive people at my side, I am hopeful to make it through as I always have.

How has your 2021 been so far?

Friday, January 29, 2021

Mommy Breakdowns

I hadn't had a major mommy breakdown in years now. I have been blessed to have a daughter who is sweet and malambing and caring and who keeps me sane more than anyone else in the world (in short: a daughter who isn't anything like I was as a child). But I had one today anyway. A major mommy breakdown.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was 21 years old - practically a baby myself when I look back on it. And the first thing I told myself was that I would never be like my own mother. I would never make my daughter feel like less than she was. I would never belittle her. I would never say harsh words to her. I would be there for her through every heartbreak and every tear, and I would be a friend to her. I would be the mother I had always dreamed of having: someone who understands, someone who always has her back, and someone who never makes sumbat or makes her feel bad.

It has been hard to be that kind of mother. Because no matter how much I feel like I am raising her right - to be independent, strong, and above all things, loving and kind - the fact of the matter is that I had to move back in with my parents many years ago: into the toxic environment that I had left when I was in college because I wanted to save myself.

There are moments when I look at Syrena and feel a sense of pride, but then my mother says something that immediately makes me feel like I'm an awful parent. According to my mother, I don't give my daughter enough attention. I don't feed her enough. I don't care about her. The list goes on. Almost every day, there is something to be said about what a failure of a parent I am mixed with complaints about having to take care of her granddaughter because I'm too busy working. And take note that my mother very well knows that I have a mental health issue. That doesn't seem to have any bearing in anything at all. LOL.

I lived with this kind of mentality and heard these kinds of words for decades but I am still not used to it. My dad repeatedly tells me to just shut out her noise; but even if I shut it out, I still hear it, you know? And so I am still stuck here in a toxic household, unhappy and dying inside.

Why don't I just leave? That's another story, but trust me when I say that there are things in play that prevent me from doing so. Back to the matter at hand: as mentioned, Syrena is amazing. A lot of people ask me whether I regret becoming a mother - whether I ever wish that I had taken the other route. And I always say no in a heartbeat. Always.

I don't regret having Syrena. I really don't. I don't regret becoming a mother earlier than I was prepared for it. But today, Syrena did something that was so like her father, I couldn't take it.

I have to admit that this isn't the first time Syrena has reminded me of her father. In fact, she looks exactly like him and I am reminded of him every day because of that. She even has his mannerisms and his brain, which surprises me to no end because he literally hasn't been in her life for almost a decade... but she lied about something today. Something that Henry had lied to me about in the past. And she did it so casually - in the exact same manner that her dad used to. And I just lost it.

I found myself saying things that I had said to Henry so many years ago. I found myself feeling the exact kind of anger and frustration I had felt towards him - a feeling I had promised myself never to feel towards my daughter. And once again, I had felt like I had failed as a mother.

I don't think people truly understand how hard it is to live with a mental condition. How you literally have to force yourself not to feel things because you're unsure whether the feelings stem from your mental condition or because you're actually rightfully feeling them. 

I broke down out of frustration and anger and resentment and all of these feelings that I've been bottling up day in and day out while pretending I am okay. If you're a mom - especially a single mom - you should understand. You want to be perfect. You want to put up a happy facade. You want the world to think you've got it together.

But I don't have it together. I've reached my breaking point. And I am oh-so-tired.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Can I keep you?

And just like that, another week is over.

And I'm left with another uncertain span of time of loneliness and nothingness.

Whenever I see you, I feel like nothing has changed. We still share the same cynicism, bond over the same interests, reflect on the world we've been thrown into, and marvel over how well we work together.

And yet, everything has changed. We're six years older now. The pressure is building in my head. The loneliness is becoming harder for me to bear. And I find myself longing for consistency and loyalty and love.

If we're being honest, though, I know this is as far as we can go: stolen nights riddled with alcohol, silliness, and pure chemistry.

Because at the end of the day, our hearts are too guarded. Our lives are too far apart. And our trust has been torn into pieces by past loves and past pains. There is no space in your heart for me to sneak into, and no space in my life for real commitment.

They say "maybe it's not the right time" but we've already had so much time pass us by. Maybe "the right time" is intentionally avoiding us because this is all we were ever meant to be: a whirlwind of unforgettable memories inserted randomly into time, filled with passion and fleeting happiness.

Maybe one day, I'll regret not doing anything about us. Maybe one day, I'll regret not speaking up and asking for more. Maybe one day, I'll wake up and find out that you finally found someone who was worthy enough to be let into your heart and into your life. Or maybe one day, I'll wake up and decide once again to just settle for mediocrity over this stage of emptiness and loneliness like I have been doing for years.

But what I do know right now, in this particular moment in time, is that I would be willing to make changes. For you, I would be willing to try. I would be willing to shove things aside to make more space for you in my life. If that means talking to you more, seeing you more often, and ensuring I never see you in anyone else's arms; I would definitely be willing to do that.

I've been thinking about this more than I should. And I know it's selfish and it's stupid and it's unwarranted. But through the years, no one has even come close to what I desire and need and long for.

I've been resting easy telling myself that this is for the better - that when you learn all of the deep recesses of my mind, when you discover me crying in front of my laptop in the middle of the night, when you witness me beating myself up over the littlest things, when you hear me rage at my Switch screen or shout at a stupid character in a book, and when you discover how self-destructive I can become when faced with booze and parties; you'd probably be put off and I'd lose you forever.

I would rather take all of the mini moments that we share and stuff them in a little treasure box in my heart - never to be forgotten and never to be lost - than tell you this in person and scare you away.

I don't know if you still visit this little virtual space of mine like you used to, but the title of this post is where my heart stands and the content is where my mind is at.

A part of me wants to jump off of the edge of this cliff on which I stand, but crippling fear is holding my legs in place. And as I blindly search for a saw to chop my legs off to free myself from my myself - yes, that is the metaphor I am going for - I just hope against hope that no one dives in to stealthily steal that saw away or take that place in your heart that I've been dreaming of squeezing into.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Take the leap.

It's strange how the simplest things can trigger so many emotions in a person. To people who aren't well-versed in Korean dramas, this showbiz news will mean absolutely nothing, but the stars of 'Crash Landing on You', Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin, announced today that they are in a relationship. And this, of course, brought back all of my CLOY feelings once again.

When I started watching CLOY, I really didn't understand the hype. Hyun Bin isn't my kind of oppa and the story was super farfetched. I found myself rolling my eyes a lot of the time, too. But if I'm being completely honest, I also cried. A lot. To the point where my pillow was you-can-wring-the-tears-out-of-it wet. I even wrote a blog post about Captain Ri after watching it.

See, while I'd like people to believe that I'm a heartless, emotionless, careless bitch; the truth is that I'm a softie and a hopeless romantic at heart. I pretend to be Little Miss Strong and Independent, but the truth is I dream of having an "oppa" of my own. Someone who will be there for me, no matter what. Someone who accepts that I have a strong facade but who will let me melt into his arms and cry on his shoulder on bad days. Someone who knows that I spend 80% of my time working and doing things for myself but who will spend the other 20% being silly and being lazy with me. Someone I can drink on a beach with as we watch the sunset and talk about the most random things. Someone who doesn't need me to constantly post stuff about him, but whose existence is known. Someone who accepts that I'm a geek, a nerd, a workaholic, and above all things, a mother - and who won't judge me or make me feel bad for being all of those things.

The thing is: I know who this person is. I have a clear vision of him in my head. I know who I want this to be. He just doesn't see me in the same way. Which brings me to why CLOY had such an impact on me. There were so many quotes in it that resonated with my pretend-ice-cold heart: from Se-ri wondering if Captain Ri is pining for her the way she is pining for him to Se-ri realizing that even if she had to go back a hundred times, she would still choose to meet Captain Ri despite everything.

The characters' emotions in the show were real and relatable even though the storyline as a whole wasn't (lol), and I think I repeatedly said I hated the show because they were able to do things that I couldn't: take risks in love and jump headfirst into situations - screw the consequences.

There's one line in particular that haunts me to this day. (Naks. "Haunts" talaga?!??) In Episode 14, Captain Ri says, "Even if I have to worry about losing you every day, I want to have you in my life. Even if it breaks my heart because it's a dream that can't come true, I'd like to sincerely dream of the future." Despite knowing that there was no chance for them to be together, he still put his heart on the line. And I feel like this is something I need to learn to do in order to be happy. I constantly find myself holding back from saying things I want to because I don't want to "ruin the friendship" or "lose someone important in my life", but I am also realizing that this mentality isn't getting me anywhere.

This 2021, I hope for the courage not to be afraid to take a leap and for the strength to tell you how I feel. After all, life's too short to worry about things not going as planned. In other words... mahalin mo na ako, please. :p