Wide Awake

One morning, I woke up and decided I wanted to pursue women’s studies. On that same morning, I browsed through the university’s website and grabbed the phone for inquiry. I was not expecting the college would still welcome my application for graduate studies. It was already on the mid of April, the deadline for application and evaluation of most colleges. Coincidentally UP changed its academic calendar which led to postponing the department’s deadline.I took it as a sign from heaven that it was meant for me.

Yes, it was impulsive. It did not take me days to decide whether I should spend four years of my life in grad school. A conversation with my cousin last Christmas just popped on my head. He gave me the idea: “Why not study about women?”

I don’t know how it began. I grew up in a loving household. My childhood was not memorable but it wasn’t traumatic as well. I have had a pretty normal life but I have always been interested on women issues. I bleed everytime I hear stories of women who are undervalued and mistreated in their social context. I  get inspired when I hear powerful message for women.  Sometimes my blog talks lightly about women empowerment. I have written essays online about women. I am much pleased that I echo sentiments of other women.IMG_20131008_191427 Even before I knew the word feminism, I have always had feminist inclination. When I was a young girl, I asked men why they did not allow their wives to work or continue their studies . I felt uncomfortable when people around me discussed how a woman’s clothing could invite disrespect and rape. I had been gender-sensitive. I could not enjoy my lunch while having a conversation filled with sexist remarks and victim-blaming mentality. IMG_20140430_182418 When I started studying women and development, I was able to validate my feelings and convictions towards the stereotype given to women. Sadly, at this day of age, gender ideology to be exact, breeds oppression. My professor said: ” There’s nothing wrong with gender ideology. It is our reality. But if you are going to use it to alienate, to discriminate,to eliminate, it becomes a problem.” Gender inequality is not a small problem but it is a global problem. It affects labor force, economy, commerce, health, and personal relationships. It affects the entire human race. We are losing a lot of human potential by excluding women in the marketplace, in policymaking, and in services.

As I continue with the course, I have read a lot of negative impressions about feminism. It seems that the western world has painted an unfavorable image of feminism. But closely examining theoretical frameworks and development approaches, feminism works best not only for women but also for men; not only for individuals but for the society as whole. It posts questions that our government, our society should have answered ages ago. There is discomfort in finding answers to these questions. People who are pessimistic about feminism fail to see that those who need this movement most are the marginalized women from the lower class and from the third world countries. Watch Emma Watson’s speech I am now on my second semester. I am not sure where my studies will take me but I must say, I am enjoying the process. I study primarily to feed my brain which my routinary lifestyle cannot provide. And I study to find a place where my ideals are met or challenged. I just want an egalitarian world where we can all use our talents and make choices for ourselves. Free~2

Unforgettable Quotes of my 2014

My 2014 is a roller-coaster of emotions, from sleeping to awakening, from enlightenment to confusion, from breaking to forming pieces, from giving up to giving in. But this is probably the time I seek advice from others. I do not rely on my own judgment as I used to. I seek, listen, contemplate, read, and study to find answers. I take note when people share some words of wisdom and I brag that I have people in my life who have wise words. Here are memorable quotes from my 2014 experience.

“Don’t wear the shoes that don’t fit you” –  Lina Bernardo

Photo Source: Disney

My aunt shared these words of comfort after I gave up on what I thought was perfect. I used to buy shoes that did not fit me. Even if I knew they were too small or too big, I bought them because they were pretty. My officemate, Karen, and I have a word for that. We called it ‘beauty endurance’. I could wear 4 inch stiletto maybe for 30 minutes but I could not wear them all night. For sure, high heels will make me look good on the camera but behind the lens, they hurt.

“There is no fear in love”-  Telly Belo

In a phone conversation, my mom said, “There is no fear in love.” She got it from 1 John 4: 18. From this principle, I come up my own statement of love: “If love is governed by terms and agreement, rules and regulations, it is not ‘love’. It is called business transaction. There is no politics in love, only liberty.”

“What’s the purpose of our being if we are not open for changes?” – Ronn Angeles

I was having dinner with my friend, Ronn. I told him there was something I was contemplating on. He replied, “What’s new? You are always contemplating.” I asked one of the most stupid questions, “”Are you open for change?” And he gave me this answer.

“Knowledge is not permanent” – Dean Inday

These were some of the last words my teacher said  during the last day of our MA classes. We can never be sure of what we know. Hence, we should never stop learning. Always be open-minded.

“Everything we do with the wrong intention is sinful” – Brod. Ed Larrobis

I spend a lot of time talking with our preacher. Even if I can think on my own and have some sense of what it is right and proper, I rethink of the choices and actions I make. I’d just like to stress that good deeds with the wrong motives are invalid

“Players gonna play. Haters gonna hate. Heart-breakers gonna break. Fakers gonna fake. I’m just gonna shake”- Taylor Swift

I’ve been addictive to Taylor’s Swift 1989 album, primarily because I find her songs relevant in the phases of my life. What Taylor’s Swift‘s song is saying: You can’t please everyone. I wrote this last year: “ Prioritize your happiness.”

“Candles have their own logic”  – 16 Wishes

I was watching a teen movie with my nieces, 16 Wishes. In the movie, the girl had a wish list for her birthday. It turned out that her wishes came true but not in the way she wanted. Morale of the story: “Be careful what you wish for”

“No amount of human reason can make you numb.” – Jacklyn

I will not end my blog post without my facebook-status quote. Here’s what I realize from my experiences, from others’ experiences, from reading problems of society, from understanding social justice: “No amount of human reason can make you numb” The Script wrote in their popular song Breakeven: “No wise words can stop the bleeding.” Maroon 5 wrote in Beautiful Goodbye: “Clever words can’t help me now” No one is exempted from suffering. We can blame structures, government, organizations, people for how we feel. We can over analyze life’s little injustices in scientific, logical, or biblical way but that does not stop you from feeling what you are supposed to feel. You cannot intellectualize pain nor can’t you intellectualize simple joy.

jacklyn pic

Happy New Year!
I want to make my new year’s resolutions simple. One of them is to update my blog as much as possible.

To my 14-year-old Self

muni muni

To my 14-year-old self:

One day you will realize the things you believe important and attractive are trivial and superficial. Hence, take it easy. Forgive yourself when you can’t rewind, replace, redo. We are all unfinished products.

Find your own happiness. Your happiness should be independent from what your parents, your friends, or others think. It should be free from what society expects. Our capitalist culture has a way of reshaping our beliefs on happiness. Listen to your inner voice. It may not give you the best answers but it will give you the honest answers.

Fulfilling a childhood dream or a bucket list is more of an ego fulfillment than a calling. Ego fulfillment is all about yourself. It is a personal sense of accomplishment or sense of worth. Calling is not all about yourself. Calling is not unrequited love. It shouldn’t be I-love-music-but-music-hates-me. It means you want something that wants you back.

You will like to hear a lot of inspiring quotes about life like these: “If you work hard, you will succeed. If you are persistent, you will get it. If you can conceive it, you can achieve it. If you are very passionate, you will excel. If you are nice to people, they will not do harm to you.” Sorry to burst your bubble, life has no formula. We keep on finding ways to make it perfect but no one writes his own life like an equation. It is a result of many drafts. We can only plan life to a certain extent but there will always be a hand of God pointing you to where you should be.

Here are four top life events you have to go through.

From the lyrics of  Fix You- Coldplay

  1. When you try your best but don’t succeed
  2. When you get what you want but not what you need
  3. When you lose something you can’t replace
  4. When you love someone but goes to waste

Thus, when things don’t work out in favor of you, you learn to reinvent yourself.

If you make a mistake, do it with dignity. Be a professional actor. Don’t let other people know your weakness unless you can no longer keep it to yourself. Hide the things that haunt you. Be a swan, struggling underneath but graceful on the surface. It takes time to master this craft.

Savor every feeling whether it’s good or bad. If someone cuts you, let it bleed. Laugh if it tickles. Be amused even if you are the only one who can appreciate it. If someone tricks you, good for you. You just witness magic. If you hate something, punch the wind.

Fight for what you love, even if you are not sure it is worth fighting for. The only time you know it’s not worth fighting for when you lose the battle. Hence, you don’t know if you don’t try. We call this 1st level bravery. The second level of bravery is when you give up the things you used to dream and love after fighting a hard battle. Warriors do not mention the word “surrender”. But there is victory in surrender. It is something both heroes and losers shared.

Lastly, don’t be in a hurry to grow up.

Yours truly,

The Aging Self

Don’t Go Crying to Your Mama

Ain’t it fun livin’ in the real world
Ain’t it good bein’ all alone

Ain’t it good to be on your own?
Ain’t it fun you can’t count on no one?
Ain’t it good to be on your own?
Ain’t it fun you can’t count on no one?

-Paramore, Ain’t It Fun

 

Idea note_20140705_151947_01-1
I felt like I was listening to the soundtrack of my life as I played Paramore’s latest song, Ain’t It Fun. I’ve been living all alone for a long time. I have had room mates, board mates, dorm mates but basically I take charge in everything I do, spend, and buy.

When I first told my office mates that I was on my own, they were surprised and curious how I managed to survive. I did not find my life unique or challenging as it appeared to them. When I was in college, I lived in a dormitory where most of us came from different provinces. The surprised look I got from my office mates reflects how much we Filipinos like to cling to our families.  Hence, we have a lot of extended families. Unlike other countries where young professionals would want to have a house or rent a space away from their parents, we, Filipinos, most of the time prefer to be with our families. I do miss the comfort of home and if I have a choice, I want to live with my family but there is such fulfillment on being able to have independence. It opens opportunity for growth and strengthens character (chos! :D). Hence, if you are twenty-something, you might try to spread your wings and fly.

You learn to meet your needs and wants.
When you want something so bad, you will find a way to achieve it.

You learn to solve your own problems.

So what are you gonna do when the world don’t orbit around you? (Paramore)
This is the kind of questions you try to answer
No one will think for you.

You learn to nurse yourself
I used to cry a lot over a lot of things when I was a kid. As I grow old, I cry less or choose the things I cry for. I have gone through many heartaches and the only thing I had is a phone. It’s hard to have problems when you’re on your own. For one reason, you have more time for yourself. Hence, you have more room to entertain depression. As what Paramore said in their song: “It’s so easy to ignore trouble when you are living in a bubble.”

You appreciate solitude
You have a lot of personal space for you to reflect and evaluate the choices and events that take place in your life.

You learn to carry your things
If I am living with my family, I will let my brother carry my water jug, or laundry. Because most of the time I am all by myself and I don’t want to be a burden to anybody, I have no choice to carry my stuff which are too heavy for my size. One of the most tiresome things I did in college was transferring my stuff from dormitory to boarding house. I did not know how I managed to transfer balikbayan boxes on my own. I am no longer using it as excuse that I’m small and I’m a girl. Morale of the story for lazy girls like me: You are stronger than you think.

You value health
My brother told me the advantage of living with relatives is that someone takes care of you when you’re sick. This is true. The reason why I am healthy so far and why I want to be healthy is because I am on my own. Nobody is going to take care of me when I am sick. Hence, you should try living by yourself because it will improve you immune system. #truestory

You learn to take care of yourself
When you value health, you are obligated to take care of yourself. I buy my own medicine and food when I am sick. I bring a whistle and a pepper spray when I’m all alone.

You learn to reach out
When you don’t have a support group such as family, you find the need to have friends. I do feel homesick when I see families going to church on Sunday. Hence I make it a point to spend time with friends for comfort and sanity.

You learn to ask help 
I love my mom. When I am having a hard time to figure out how to get this and that, my mom helps me with everything. Our parents are our first Wikipedia. Now that I am on my own, I am forced to seek help from people who know better than me. I learn to be less shy. I learn to ask and make short chats. Don’t rely on yourself too much. You can’t survive without others.

You spend money wisely
You don’t really have much freedom when you are living by yourself in the sense that no one shoulders expenses for you. You learn to budget and save.

You learn to make decisions
Decision making is harder for people who are living on their own than those who are living with their families. Again, you don’t really have much freedom as you think you should. You can’t change careers or change address, change life plans as easy as a person who is still financially dependent.

Just how the song ends..

(Note to Self:)
Don’t go crying to your mama, coz you’re on your own in the real world.

Soul Pancake

Other than Button Poetry, and Tedx, I’ve been watching a lot of videos of Soul Pancake. They make videos that talk about philosophy, culture and  art. Soul Pancake tries to answer deep life questions but the videos are light-hearted.  Here are some of my favorites so far in Soul Pancake.

The Single Life

I was smiling the entire time I was watching this video. For the people who don’t know why they are single, watch this.

 Have a Little Faith – Reunion

During this episode,  Soul Pancake invited two Mormons, two Baha’is, one Jewish person, a Quaker, a Muslim and one Baptist on the show. The group discussion is very pleasant.   Listening to these different religions in one room will strengthen whatever you believe in.

 Holding  a Human Heart

Whether you are thinking of heart as a real heart or as a metaphor, this interview with the heart surgeon gives so many insights.

 

There is such a thing as ‘Soul Mates’

I believe in soul mates though not in the context that there is only one person out there right for you. I believe in souls. The definition of  “soul” varies a lot from a cheesy pop song to theological principles.  Like hearts, stars, and diamonds, “ people find the concept of soul poetic. We want to romanticize it or use it in reference of emotion, intellect, and behavior.  Setting aside etymology, we commonly believe soul as something incorporeal, immortal, and separated from the body.

I love the idea we are souls contained in bodies, instead of the idea that we are bodies containing souls. It changes how we see ourselves and how we see other people. Our bodies are just a fraction of who we are but it largely defines who we are in our society. This leads to white sovereignty, cosmetic surgery, and supplements promising youth and height. But why do we let our bodies set limits when the body is just a mere vessel? Our bodies alone carry history and culture that we have no control. But if we remove these, we are souls, naked and equal. Hence, when we are equal, we can consider one another as soul mate.

Hindu Philosophy has the belief of universal soul which implies we share the same soul. Ralph Waldo Emerson also believes in over-soul.

We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul.

                                                                                                      Over-soul, from Essays: First Series, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Though I don’t subscribe to the belief we literally have an individual deity in us or there might not be a universal soul, I like the idea of collective soul and that we are all one. I’d like to use universal soul figuratively as implying connectedness, unity, and equality. It is a beautiful idea that whoever we are and whatever we are, we affect and infect the world.

As I think about depression, what people go through  life, I ponder how can there be so much selfish pain in this world? One way to minimize self-inflicted pain is to forget yourself. The self is not a separate entity. It is one with the universe. We cannot escape depression. We have different kinds of crisis but there is no problem that has not been solved ages ago. Sorrow has no taste. It picks anyone regardless of class, wealth, appearance. We are more alike than we think. We defy uniqueness. We are soul mates.


Hence

If you need to crash, then crash and burn you are not alone.

-Savage Garden

Stop

This is my rant to many rants. How ironic!

There is so much wickedness, bitterness in this world. Do your part to save the world by  not adding another problem. We do not need a  lot of rants, bad words, or trivial complaints. Of course, we need  to practice critical thought and discernment but there is a proper place and time for everything.

I hate ‘hate.’  Being pessimistic over a lot of things is not making the world a better place to live. Before you rant and before you critique, ask yourself: What will I gain and what will people gain out of it? Am I making the world  a better place to live?

I’m still pessimistic especially when my bratty self wants to come out.  We are a work in progress.

Here are some of my bad habits I want to unlearn.

Stop questioning people’s kindness
We always read news on corruption and crime. We have our personal stories of betrayal and trust issues.  It is hard to identify who are genuinely good. Sometimes, I ask: Is this person good to me because s/he wants something from me? Is this person nice only on the surface? Is this person building a charity to help or to improve his/her image? But who are we to judge a person’s intentions or motives? We can’t surely say what they want to get in return.  If we haven’t proved such judgement or claim is right, it is wise to give people an opportunity to do good before we shut our doors.

maleficent

Stop stealing people’s happiness
In other words, don’t be such a killjoy.  If someone is so happy over a chocolate bar, comics, soap opera, TV series, Justin Bieber, One Direction, chick flick, zombie movies, let that person be. People have different tastes and interests. We don’t have to like what others like to live peacefully. In fact, we can like one another without sharing the same interests or backgrounds . Let and let live.

Stop finding answers
You don’t have to know everything. It’s human nature that we want to make sense of the world but you do not need to have an answer for every life question. It is physically and emotionally draining to answer why does this have to happen to me? No explanation will ever be enough for life’s uncertainties. On what life does not entitle you to know, you let it go.

what happened

Stop glorifying busy
I’ve posted this twice but I think  this should be a constant reminder. We define productivity by the number of tasks we have in a day or by the number of roles we play but we should always put premium on quality or quantity. Being busy is not worth bragging and a lame excuse for not having time for yourself, and loved ones and time to rest. If you put your heart and soul into one activity in a day, consider yourself productive. And if you can’t comply all your to-do list, forgive yourself.

busy

Stop looking for things you don’t have
While ambitions and aspiration give motivation and meaning in life, too much thinking of what you do not have is a mental torture.

Stop looking at other people’s flaws
People have good and bad side. We always have a choice to magnify which side we want to see in people. I try not to judge someone’s value based on their shortcomings or their mistakes. It does not mean he is not a good student, he is not a good son. It does not mean he does not have a good temper, he is not generous. Ideally, we want people to be consistently good but reality tells us that people have different shades of goodness.

Stop talking negatively about yourself
Venting out your frustration about yourself is cathartic. It’s true that sometimes we just want to fish compliments. Every human being according to Maslow has this need for acceptance and affirmation. And sometimes we want a cheerleader or someone who can empathize. But too much negative talk about yourself can be damaging. I realize the more I talk negatively about myself, the more I remember the negative feelings I have for myself.  Hence, it prolongs agony and self-loathing. We can be very self-absorbed that we fail to notice that some people have more needs and failures but they choose not to see themselves as worthless.

Stop using What-if phrases
The what-if phrases are poisoning our minds. But then again, let go of what you cannot change.

Stop spreading the idea that men are polygamous by nature
We’ve heard a lot of real life stories of men having many women. It is happening but I will never buy the idea that it’s natural for men to have two women or more. It is not a call of nature. It is deviance. And spreading this idea that it’s so normal for men encourages more men to be like one. I simply don’t like it because it’s gender biased.

polygamy

Stop complaining
I am very guilty of this. I love to complain. When I’m bored, I want to argue. We like to complain because it’s also cathartic. Ranting may help us unload our stress and anxiety but you’ll never know you might be passing stress to your listeners. Be sensitive to others. As painful as this may sound but not everybody likes to listen to your problems or even world problems.

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

Philippians 2:14-16

 

I know complete abstinence from these bad habits is easier said than done but we can change our mindset gradually. Maybe we can have a quota for bad words, negative words, criticisms, gossips in a day or make sure pleasant words outnumber negative vibes.

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