Introductions, Thoughts

Self Improvement Journals

I started a Summer Self Improvement Journal while I was an undergrad. Years later, after an unprecedented period of writer’s block, I’ve decided to revive them with hopes of finding a balance in the midst of the new aesthetic erupting inside me.

gis do it.jpg
My aesthetic is still in its formation process but -from what I can see- it’s monochromatic, with industrial and natural design elements (a testament to the strength of Kinfolk’s influence on Instagram and YouTube culture which has trickled onto me, despite my never having read the magazine).

It starts with a resolution to contribute every day to:
+ Fitness
+ Art
+ Language : French

These are the basics. I’d also like to do weekly or monthly contributions to cooking, photography, literature, finance, and sewing/fashion.

This Self Improvement Series serves to document my progress, while also providing accountability-derived motivation. I’m not sure how to go about it. I feel like someone learning how to speak human for the first time, with only question marks to fill a limited vocabulary. But I figure I should at least start, and that despite my deep uncertainty I should…

gis do it.

Standard
Thoughts

Thoughts on the Pacquiao vs Mayweather Fight

After watching the Pacquiao vs Mayweather fight I couldn’t shake the feeling I would always remember their match as an important event in my personal history -even if it proved underwhelming.

It’s not just because I’m Filipino. I’ll admit that I initially started watching because for some reason it’s expected of us (Filipinos) to root for Pacquiao and hate on Mayweather. While I did root for Pacquiao, spending time hating doesn’t appeal to me -even if that person seems terrible. So when watching their match, I couldn’t see the rivalry between Money and Manny. Instead I saw two exceptional athletes, each of whom a genius in the art of fighting.

The Superfight by Richard Slone

The Superfight by Richard Slone

I was inspired by their physical strength and the way they’ve transformed themselves into human weapons. They seemed to have such an abundance of it I couldn’t help feeling as though watching them made me stronger too.  Whenever Pacquiao would punch Mayweather, I felt my body convulsing and moving with him -similar to the way Dragonball fans un/consciously lift their hands up to help Goku form a Spirit Bomb. But, while I was impressed by the physical aspect of their achievements, I was more inspired by whatever it was they had inside them that gave them the energy to succeed as they have. What was it? That special something that separated these men from the rest of humanity, forcing us to recognize how much stronger their power of will was compared to our own.

then and now

The first thing I thought of was hunger. That insatiable want to do more, be more. The kind of hunger that brings out the primal ferocity in otherwise ordinary individuals and giving them the willpower to become extra-ordinary. But anyone can feel this way -and I’m sure many do-, which shows that this feeling of ravenous wanting alone isn’t enough to achieve what Pacquiao and Mayweather have.

mayweather

In order for hunger to turn into strength there has to be an element of genius. But what is ‘genius’? Surely it isn’t just some elusive “It factor” only a lucky few are born with. Genius is everywhere. From the guests who were able to afford the exorbitant ringside seats (each being a master of his or her own art of business, showmanship, etc), to those who were able to enrich themselves by convincing high rollers that such an event was worth the price of admission. If these people can turn their art of being into masterpieces why can’t everyone else?

From the Mirror UK

As a joke, Giann told me genius was having “The Eye of the Tiger“. The phrase struck me as silly at first but it actually made a lot of sense with whatever it is “Genius” evoked in me. This is what I feel about that stimulating word: Genius is that special kind of internal energy that moves you even when you have nothing left to give. It amplifies the power of hunger and generates strength but continues to exist and flourish despite their absence. Genius is having a vision of something greater. But it’s not enough to see that “something greater”. You need courage too. Genius is having the courage to make your vision a reality, especially when it seems like you’re the only one who can see that vision. It’s daring to believe that impossible is nothing because the word itself says “I’m possible”.

From 411 Mania

Pacquiao lost and Mayweather was booed. But this strikes me as irrelevant when compared to what they’ve accomplished in their careers. All this being said, I expected more ferocity from Pacquiao. During the last round of the fight I kept hoping he’d pull out that extra bit of strength that separated him from the rest of us. He didn’t. When asked what happened to his ferocity, he answered “I thought I won”. The insight I derived from this is that there’s never room for complacency. Not if you want to achieve greatness. You have to keep pushing even when you think you’ve conquered the forces that oppose you. Even when you think you’ve done all you could possibly do to ensure your success. Even when you think you’ve won. Because genius dares you to believe that nothing is impossible, including the possibility of your defeat. Which is why you give it everything you’ve got and more to make sure your vision of greatness wins over whatever challenges it.

I suppose I was especially moved by the match because I find myself in what I imagined was Pacquiao’s position. I thought I was doing enough in my life. And although I’m still proud of my progress thus far, I know now that I can do so much more and that I shouldn’t be afraid to push harder. Because I know genius is attainable for those who aren’t afraid to do whatever it takes to make their vision of greatness a reality.

So let’s make it happen!

Standard
Kwento, Thoughts, Travel

London, England – Streets and Monuments

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions

I like traveling.  I like the way it makes me feel like myself, but more and somehow better.
The alien milieu of a strange new land displaces me and forces me to enlarge my sense of things.  However, to be displaced in an environment whose context is so different from my own would be disorienting if there was no sameness to anchor me.  I need that anchor to help me understand stimuli I might otherwise find incomprehensible.  The effect of such a combination makes the ordinary beautiful again because situating what is ordinary outside the boundaries of what is familiar causes an expansion.  This expansion adds to my perception of what is ordinary and reveals it to be extraordinary after all.

Notes and Impressions

I suppose I’m not saying anything new.  These are observations that have been shared so often they’ve become cliche.  Just like the same touristy photos people always take.  It seems so lame and unremarkable then to share these because so many others have been there, done that.  But when you’re the person doing the showing off, it’s awesome and special because it’s yours -the photograph, the moment, the new perspective.

Here’s my perspective on London’s Hop on Hop off Bus Tour told in hasty tourist snapshots.  I also did some moleskin drawings to compensate for my lack of photography skills.  In an ideal world, I would have made a bajillion more drawings.  But since my ideal world is still shaping itself, I only had the energy to sketch out St. Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben/The Elizabeth Tower.

Moleskin Sketches 1

The Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

Waiting for the right double decker bus.

London Bus StopIMG_3759IMG_5543The first stop was St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Near the cathedral is a French Bakery and Patisserie franchise called Paul (I appreciate the thought they put into their location choice).

histoire_1889IMG_3894
Moleskin Sketches - St. Paul'sIMG_5511IMG_5518I like double decker buses.  They’re a great way to see the city.  Not ideal for picture taking though because the bus is constantly moving but what can you do?
IMG_6047 IMG_5540 IMG_5573 IMG_5627IMG_5566

IMG_5668IMG_5544Stopping by Buckingham Palace.
Fun Fact:
◊ If the Queen is in, the Royal Standard flies.  If she’s out, they bring out the Union Jack.  This tradition started after the death of Princess Diana.
Royal Standard

IMG_5726IMG_5720Going over and under the London Bridge.

IMG_5584IMG_5591IMG_5640Spending time at Parliament Square; where you can find the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Big Ben/The Elizabeth Tower, Westminster Abbey, St. Margaret’s Church, etc.
Fun Facts:
◊ It’s illegal to die in the houses of Parliament because people who die there are entitled to a state funeral -which would burden British tax payers.  If you look sickly, you’ll be escorted out of the premises posthaste!
◊ It’s not uncommon to find demonstrators rallying in Parliament Square.

IMG_5689 IMG_5678IMG_5661Moleskin Drawings Big BenIMG_5687Westminster Abbey was one of my favorite landmarks.  It’s popularly known as the place where Prince William and Kate Middleton got married and where important British peeps are buried, commemorated, and/or crowned.  No picture taking allowed though, which is a bummer because it’s ballin’ in there -with all those tombs and whatnot.
IMG_5699
IMG_5682 IMG_5688IMG_5693IMG_5690 IMG_5702IMG_5718
I found the following images online. They’re of inside the abbey:

Abbey inside Alexander Creswell - Westminster Abbey
Next entry:  A more personal narrative of my experience in London.

Standard
Thoughts

Thoughts on Taking Control of My Twenties

I want to start writing again.  I stopped because I couldn’t get my thoughts to behave themselves.  I get so anal about stuff like that.  But Tommy’s right, “The important thing is to never stop. Regardless of the caliber of what you create, you should never stop“.  

I’ve also come to realize that my thoughts are supposed to misbehave:

The twenty(+) year old mind is a mess.  It’s when your brain goes on a crazy rewiring spree -optimizing synapses that are frequently used and eliminating those that aren’t.  This is the time everything about yourself gets reconfigured.  And when you become who you are.  So active steps must be taken to make sure that who you are is who you want to be.

But figuring out who you want to be is difficult -especially when you’re working with a messed up twenty(+) year old mind.  So it’s important not to lose your head.

Yuko Shimizu - Blow Up 3- The Big Bang

Use your head.

Life can be a super douche.  It’ll hand you a hundred and fifty pounds of luck only to storm in (without warning) demanding it back with interest -leaving you worse off than when you started.  Sometimes life will be kind and won’t resort to such asshattery, but use your head.  Would you really let anyone -even someone as big as life- have that kind of power over you?  No freaking way! You have to take charge and make your own good fortune.

Yuko Shimizu - Superhero Calendar

Admittedly, it’s easier to surrender to circumstance than it is to take control of it.  The greatest factor is fear.  It’s scary to know just how much power you have over life because you’ll have no one to blame but yourself if it screws you over.  Don’t let it screw you over.  Be better than that.  Be in control.

Know that you’ll always be accountable for your actions.  Because even when you feel like you don’t, you will always have a choice.  Will you choose to nourish the most beautiful aspects of your self?  Or will you surrender control and one day wake up wondering “What the hell happened to me??”

Yuko Shimizu - Beauty Belongs to the Flowers Yuko Shimizu - The Unwritten #3

The idea of happiness/success is highly individual, as is the process of attaining it.  Absolutely no one can tell you what you should want out of life or how to get it.  You have to figure these things out for yourself.

Some people take time off to find themselves before making their next move.  But I’m a shark, and sharks die when they stop moving.  I refuse to waste time trying to find myself before I take action.  I choose to find myself through action.

My twenty(+) year old mind is a mess.  My thoughts are constantly tackling each other, causing chaos in my head.

Yuko Shimizu - The War Room

I know it’s because my brain is going on a crazy rewiring spree -optimizing synapses that are frequently used and eliminating those that aren’t.  It’s preparing me to become the person I’m supposed to be.  I may not know who that person is exactly (I don’t know what empire I want to build or what kind of legacy I want to leave behind.  I can’t even decide how I want to do my blog!) but I do know that I want to be someone who is always leveling up in every aspect of being.

So I suppose I’ll do what I always do and keep moving.  No matter how many things life throws at me, I must stay disciplined and focus on maximizing my potential.

Gis do it, right?

Yuko Shimizu - Shaolin Monk

FEATURED ARTIST: Yuko Shimizu 

gis

Standard
Thoughts

Mahal Kita | What It Means to Love

Rememberings and interpretations of Dra. Evasco’s discourse on “Mahal kita”

When translated, “Mahal kita” means “I love you”.

But “mahal” also signifies worth.
When you love someone, they’re worth something to you.  They’re valuable and hard to replace (perhaps even invaluable and irreplaceable).  

Mahal kita
I love you.  I value you. 

And “kita” can mean “to see”.

Mahal kita
I love you.  I see your worth

Love isn’t instantaneous.  Falling and staying in love with someone is the process of getting to know what makes that person so special (seeing their value).
You’ll see things others won’t.  Things you may not even know you noticed.  But all those little quirks and eccentricities are a language.  And at the start, it’s a language you can’t read just yet.  Then one day you’ll find that you’ve become fluent in their tongue (and they in yours) –despite all the differences that once seemed so incomprehensible (and at times still are).

And the reason why you can understand these differences is the other half of what makes someone special.
You’ll learn to see that your love is as human as you –with the same capacity to hurt and be hurt, to be happy and to share happiness.  It’s these shared human experiences that allow us to understand/relate to one another.  It’s why we can accept flaws and appreciate differences.  It’s also why we care.

Yolanda’s aftermath serves as a perfect example.  Why do we care so much about people we don’t even know?  It’s because we feel for them.  While we can never claim to know their pain, we can still relate to it.  We all know what it feels like to be happy, sad, frustrated and mad.  Which is why we want to make others happy.  Why we want to be there for people when they’re sad and frustrated.  And why -somehow- it’s okay for us to go mad, as long as we go mad together.  

This ability to relate is what allows relationships to exist, whereas individuality is what makes someone stand out from all the rest.  It’s what makes breakups so hard.  And what makes love so worthwhile.  Because as you get to know someone, you’ll realize there’s no one else like that person.  He’s the swirly guy who slays dragons in his sleep.  And she’s the vain girl with the mirror face.  Unique first edition originals.  Impossible to replace.

We’re all the same.  And we’re all different.  That’s what makes us special.
But loving someone is more than just assessing their supposed value.  Don’t forget, “kita” also means “to earn”.

Mahal kita
I see your worth.  And because I see your worth, I want to earn your love.  

Love takes a lot out of you.  In fact, when you say “mahal kita” you remove the “I”.  Love asks for everything you are.  It’s effortful, time consuming and demanding.  It’ll make you question “Is this really flipping worth it?!”

Well…is it??

If  you’ve put everything you are and everything you’ve got into earning the love of your significant other (the person who’s significance you’ve uncovered) and you still feel as though you have so much more than what you’ve put in, then the answer is YES.  Yes it is flipping worth it!  Because the dissolution of the “I” in “Mahal kita” isn’t arbitrary.  It has purpose.  There’s no “I” in “Mahal kita” because “Mahal kita” unites the “you” and the “I”.

Mahal kita is a declaration.  An explanation.  A reminder.  And an example.

It declares that “I love you.  I value you”.  And explains why I do.  It’s because “I see your worth”.  And it reminds me that “You must be earned” (Mahal kita Giann).

And the very linguistic structure of “Mahal kita” stands as an example.  By uniting the “You” and the “I”, it shows us that love isn’t just shared by two people.  It unites them.  Makes them one.

Sometimes people celebrate this union with a wedding ceremony.  But marriage is just a legal contract -albeit a beautiful one, and does not necessarily signify the quality of a relationship.  What’s important is the mutual understanding of both you and your lover that the other is special and should therefore be valued.  Because although saying “Mahal kita” means you see another’s worth, you also have to remember that you’re worthwhile too.  And that your love must also be earned.

Standard
Thoughts

Thoughts on Halloween Squatters

I wrote this two years ago.  But I think it’s important to repost, if only to give people something to think about tomorrow:

Halloween in Alabang used to be the best.  But things are different now and everybody knows it -except for those dubbed “The Halloween Squatters”.

Most of the village kids have given up on the holiday.  There are still a few who dress up and go around, but more for novelty than actual want for candy.  The “squatters”, on the other hand, can be seen everywhere.  They easily make up the majority of trick-or-treaters.  In a sense, they’ve taken over the holiday.  And, apparently, this doesn’t bode well for certain people -whose main contentions address the street children’s rowdiness, greed (those who go back for seconds) and lack of costume.

What small minded complaints.

I’ll admit that things get out of control.  All you can do is stand there and revel in the chaos as these kids and grownups battle it out for a piece of gum.  But not all of them are like this.  And those who are can’t help it.  They’re children.  They get excited!  Those who are old enough to contain their excitement may be rowdy because they feel they have to be.  And those who are considered entirely too old to even be there (legit adults) should also be sparred from overt criticism.  Why?  Because it takes a lot of guts and humility to go around from house to house knowing that the free icy mints being given out could be accompanied with equally icy looks.

These people don’t have a lot, which is also why they shouldn’t be disdained for not having a costume.  Anyway, it’s only one day every year that they get to go around getting -what are essentially- handouts without having to beg for them (referring to those who actually beg in the streets, because many are probably not even beggars to begin with).  It’s expected within the conditions of the holiday that treats are given out for free.  But this should also encompass being free from pity, contempt and other biases.

The less fortunate shouldn’t be looked down upon with pity.  It’s degrading.  I know I’m guilty of doing this too, but I’m trying to rewire my thinking.  I want my reason for helping someone to be because they need it, not because I feel sorry for them…or rather I want to make someone happy without first attaching an imagined misery on that person’s existence.  I want to remove my biases (this judgmental instant-reflex sadness) and establish a sense of equality (I know I’m already creating a divide by separating “they” the less fortunate from “we” the privileged, but it’s a necessary distinction for this entry).  Because who am I to say that my life is better than anyone else’s?  I’d get pissed if someone looked upon me with unnecessary pity, so it would be hypocritical of me to do the same.

Being regarded with contempt for something I can’t help would upset me as well.  Being poor isn’t really a choice.  It’s hard to succeed when societal constructs set you up for failure.  I truly believe that most of my countrymen and women who live under the poverty line work their butts off.  But the reality is that it takes more than just hard work to prosper.  It takes chance.  Not just a God-given-luck kind of chance, but a chance extended by fellow humans.  A chance to be regarded as individuals rather than just a financial situation/social class. 
It takes education
.  The poor are poor because their educational capacities prevent them from getting positions that will allow them to comfortably provide for themselves.  They’re stuck doing a series of menial jobs in which they are overworked and underpaid.  The rich must also be educated to help those in need, instead of having the mindset that the needy should help themselves.  Take CWTS for example.  I hear a lot of people complaining about having to do community service.  But come on!  It’s our chance to do some good for this country!  We should be happy to have this opportunity to make the Philippines a better place.  We have to realize that we all have a responsibility to make life better.  Not just for ourselves but for everyone.  We can’t point fingers at the government or the societal structure or whatever else when we can’t do our part.

It takes a lot to change the world, a country, a neighborhood, even a person.  But it doesn’t take very much to make a difference.

Want to know a secret?  I think it’s possible to change the world.  However, this positive feeling is weighed down with doubts.  Maybe it’s just youthful idealism.  Maybe there’s no hope for humanity to change for the better.  Maybe I won’t be able to make a big enough difference.  But I can’t let the fear of insignificance stop me from trying.  I’ll do what I can and hope that one day what I give will be enough.  And if it isn’t, well…at least I tried!!  And I’d rather try and come up short than look back at my life and realize I was a good-for-nothing because I did nothing good for anyone.
I decided not to use the phrase “try and fail” since the act of trying already negates failure.

The Church’s disapproval of Halloween has also contributed to the decline of the holiday’s popularity, but instead of disparaging it why not elevate the fun, candy-giving tradition into something more functional?  Something, I suppose, Jesus would approve of.

When I wrote this entry I promised myself I’d do something amazing.  I wanted to give out care packages filled with cans of tuna and candy and maybe cookies.  Or do something of equal significance.  But I didn’t.  And I’ve never stopped feeling guilty about it.  Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying.  I realize that right now all I can really do is give out candy tomorrow.  But when I do, I won’t look down on people -even if they’re not in costume.  Even if they’re old and rowdy.  Even if they come back for seconds.

And next year, I’ll do even better.

Standard
Kwento, Thoughts

On Fashion School & Philippine Fashion Week

I like the thought of being able to do anything.  But I’m interested in being more than just a jack of all trades.  I want to be a master of every aspect of myself.  I want to shine in whatever I do, and I want to do everything.
If you find this way of thinking too idealistic then you’re in the process of limiting your own potential.  Have some imagination!  Imagine how great you can be.  How much you can accomplish!   Now take action.  Don’t let your daydreams spoil in the back of your head -the rot will reach your soul and inflict you with dis-ease.  Make a move.  Find your way to the future you want to have.  And once you have a grasp of what you want, take it!  It’s yours!

I want to be remark-able.  Someone absurdly adept at everything.  Which is why I find it absolutely impossible to resist an opportunity to acquire a new skill.  And while fashion has never been a primary interest of mine, I’ve grown obsessed with the idea of becoming self-sufficient enough to make my own clothing.  Why buy a dress when I can learn how to make a better one?

pattern making

So I enrolled in the Fashion Institute of the Philippines -which offers a whole mess of fast track courses.  I thought it would be cool to do pattern making for now -just to try it out.  And since the first day of class was flipping awesome(!) I can’t wait to take on more courses next year -especially fashion photography because I can’t capture moments and images the way I want to dammit!
Not that it mattered.  I was too shy to go crazy with the camera.

FIP oct 22ndJill looking fabulous!  Me posing awkwardly next to her.

Jill

having fun pattern makingPattern making is fun!

Kris and OJenKris and Ojen in black and white

nails
The only thing that tripped me up was that class ended 3 hours early.  Luckily Giann was able to pick me up.  He’s so sweet ❤

Coincidentally, I also scored an internship with Buensalido Public Relations for Philippine Fashion Week Spring/Summer collection (my internship starts today! Thanks Trish!)  Funny how both opportunities have fallen on the same week -given that they’re both fashiony and all.

Well, I guess I have to go get ready for Fashion Week!  Definitely taking Wonderland along so I can steal ideas get inspiration from all the designers and their works.

Standard
Thoughts

Speaking the Language of Muffins

I like messing with new recipes and working on old ones.  I feel like I’m learning a new language whenever I do.
I’m fluent in muffin, but I still have to work on the orange chocolate dialect.  I’ve also been teaching myself cinnamon roll and revel bar.

Each of these languages/recipes have their own distinct vocabulary, even though every single one of them is derived from the same mother tongue.  I explained this two years ago in my old blog, back when the television projection of Ina Garten was teaching me how to speak the language of herbed-baked eggs.

The Study of Culinary Linguistics
Circa 2011 

I felt like emulating the Barefoot Contessa this morning so I decided to make herbed-baked eggs for breakfast.  They ended up  slightly overcooked but still more than edible.

Making mistakes in the kitchen is a big deal for me, but not in the typical way.  I don’t do them on purpose -of course- and I love when a recipe turns out perfectly, but when I do mess up I get excited.  Why?  Because mistakes help me understand the context of a recipe.  When I’m cooking or baking I feel as though I’m learning another language.  The literary and the culinary arts are expressive and precise -whether the author or cook is conscious of this or not.  Ingredients are like words.  Both can stand alone or be emulsified with other words/ingredients to form mouthfuls that can be happily swallowed or spat out in disgust.  They must also be selected with care to create the best effect.  Using “fuck” to pepper your paragraphs, for example, might leave a bad taste in people’s mouths while an overindulgence in big words could make your writing difficult to digest.  Keep in mind that fresh phrases/ingredients are usually preferred.  In the case of the former, just remember: nobody wants to chew on a stale cliche.

Recipes abide by a certain structure, something almost grammatical in nature.   Diverging from this original pattern alters the entire outcome of what you’re feeding yourself or others.  Punctuations could represent the process of manipulation individual ingredients are exposed to.  The introduction of these aspects can alter the meaning you wanted to convey with your work.

An example taken from “The Big Time Rush” -a show I hate, but will quote from anyway because I thought the wordplay was clever:

“Adult Swim. No Kids Allowed” became: “Adult swim? No! Kids Allowed”

Cooking has similar “punctuations”.  Behold:

(Roast…) the beef and carrots with garlic

(Saute) the (chopped) beef and carrots with (sliced) garlic

(Stir fry!!) the (shredded!) beef and carrots with (diced!) garlic

Same ingredients.  Different manipulation processes.  Various outcomes.

The cook and the author must also be aware of their measurements and portion sizes.  They should prepare something that satisfies without being too overwhelming.  There must be balance in flavor, intensity…everything.

Next time, I won’t overcook my eggs.  They’ll be creamy and buttery and delicious!  I just hope my writing will be just as improved as my cooking.

Standard
Thoughts

This is your life, are you who you want to be?

The question and I met a few years ago.  It was an acquaintance I had known for some time, back when the song it travelled with was popular.  But the question itself hadn’t made an impression on me until I chanced upon it standing alone and semi-naked on Shane’s Wall.

It was early in the morning (around 3 maybe?) and the question was in a state of undress (would’ve been completely stripped down if it wasn’t lightly shrouded with associations to the aforementioned song).   I was caught off guard by its simplicity.  I had never seen it barefaced before.  Couldn’t help but stare.   I stood there stunned and speechless.  The question just stared back, unembarrassed.

I knew then that I would never forget it.

Overexposure often causes an idea to lose its impact.  Never happened with this one.  And, when we were first introduced, I thought about it every day.  Couldn’t get it out of my head!  It was so pretty in its plainness.  No glitz, no glamour.  Just a simple question.

All it asked for was a yes or no.  But that yes or no meant everything.

Always so profound without effort.  How could I get over it?  This innocent brain-bound bullet, bull’s eye blasting pretension and self-delusion every single time.   Never could slip anything by it.  It sees truth.  Always.  Even if the truth’s been buried under a life long shit storm of excuses.  Excuses like “Life kept getting in the way” or “No one believed in me” or “It was too hard”.  It’ll see past the bullshit you try to hide behind and ask you pointblank: This is your life, are you who you want to be?

The answer precedes the question:  This is your life.

Learn this and you’ll be significantly better off.  You see, it’s easy to get stuck on all the negative moments -even if they can’t be helped.  The secret to becoming who you want to be is learning how to work past the disappointment and the excuses.  Because you know what?  Life will get in the way.  It’ll trip you up when you least expect it.  And yes, you will feel lonely sometimes.  Like no one’s there for you.  Like no believes in you.  You’ll feel uninspired and let down.  You’ll find life unfair.  And sometimes life really isn’t fair.  But This. Is. Your. Life.

You’re in control.

It’s a scary thought -especially when you don’t even know where your life is headed.  The easy thing to do would be to disregard how much control you actually have and simply blame everyone and everything else but yourself for your less than extraordinary existence.  But it’s your fault.  You’re in control.  This is your life.  You have to hold yourself accountable for how it turns out.  How you turn out.

Are you who you want to be?

I was so impressed by the question because it could stand alone and barefaced, completely unembarrassed.  How many people can do that?  Be so absolutely happy with their existence that they can strip down to their most naked self without shame or self-consciousness?  It seems almost impossible in the Age of the Attention Whore, when everything you are is subjected to the judgment of your peers.  But I’ve seen people like this.  Who’ve put themselves out there with no fear, frills or gimmicks.  People who are free of pretension.  Who don’t need to prove anything to anyone, because they know that only they can answer the question I’ve been obsessing about for the past few paragraphs: This is your life, are you who you want to be?

I will always strive to answer that question with a yes.

Will you?

Standard
Thoughts

Thoughts on Man Sluts

I wrote this when I still had my old blog.  I want to give it a place in my new blog because I feel like it really captures my 2011 frame of mind (and I find connections like that interesting).  I’m also reposting because I think peeps might enjoy reading this entry (well, hopefully cho guyz do).

Please enjoy my circa 2011 writing…now:

The predominant topic during girly nights in: boys.  Perhaps this isn’t true for all female friendships, but it is for the ones I share.  On such a sacred session, a lady love of mine started talking about her lover.  But he isn’t important.  His friend, however, is.

Looks-wise he’s fine.  But there’s something about him.  Something special.  He’s got this sexy smirk thing going on.  It’s a look filled with all sorts of mischievous intentions.  Intentions you feel compelled to actualize, if he asked nicely enough (and you know he will).  There’s one major deal breaker though: the boy is a man slut.

Matthew Woodson

I know that most cultures praise guys who’ve got game.  Even I have to admit, I like playas.  Their cool, charismatic charm makes them more intriguing than their less flirtatious counterparts.  I mean, there must be some reason they’re getting all the girls right?  But…it’s definitely not an ideal dating situation.

Proud Mary

There exists a double standard.  However, it’s not as intense as people think.  If a girl collected men, she’d be ostracized and even despised by the conservatives in her community.  Guys may get off easier, but that doesn’t mean they don’t suffer the consequences of their actions.

matthew-woodson-glamour-magazine

There’s such a thing as being too smooth.  The narcissist in me will want to believe everything he says.  I like feeling special!  But the obvious suaveness will make me question his every word.  Are these just lines he says to every girl he meets?  Does he even mean them?  Am I really special?  I’ll be caught in the uncomfortable in-between of belief and suspicion.  By thinking I see right through him, that’s what I’ll do.  I won’t see him for who he really is.

Matthew Woodson

The important thing is trust.  As long as he backs up his words with actions, there won’t be a problem.  So what if he used to whore around?  His promiscuous past isn’t legitimate reason to suspect that he’ll cheat on me.  But I don’t know what will happen when I get old and he gets tired of seeing my saggy, cellulite dimpled, wrinkle riddled butt.  Even while my bits are still reasonably perky, I’ll worry just the same about him missing his old lifestyle -not because I’m generalizing but because I know what it’s like.

Even though maturity has transformed me into a different person from who I used to be in high school, there’ll always be a part of me who wants to be naughty and wild and free.  Why should he be any different?  I wasn’t even that liberated.  I was more of an attention whore than a real one.  So, since he’s the real deal, he’ll have more to miss.  What a bummer.  I want to captivate, not bore him.

Matthew Woodson - For Annabelle

The last thing I want is for his faithfulness to be intermingled with resentment.  The coolness of having a prisoner of love (to do my bidding bwahaha!) would be considerably lessened if he thought of me as his ball and chain -instead of his sexy dungeon Mistress or kinky co-captive.

Matthew Woodson -

Well, maybe this won’t be a problem.  I have confidence in my ability to entertain and captivate.  But I do get spasms of inhibition and I need a guy who understands that I get shy sometimes -even around him.  He also has to understand that I also get spasms of audacity, so I need a certain fix of spontaneous adventures!  I want our days to be filled with impulsive, impish escapades.  I guess that’s why I’m partial to cheeky guys.  We can be impudent together!

Allyson Haller - Crimes of Passion

…To a safe degree, of course.  It’s fun to misbehave a little but it’s important to be sensible as well.  Man sluts, it’s okay to have a party in your pants!  Just be a little more discriminate with who you invite.  Come on!  Have standards! 

Some could argue that nature intended for men to be promiscuous.   I say that Mother Nature has changed her mind!!  That’s why STDs are going around.  Our earthy mama has grown weary of the population explosion and heartache all this slutting around has caused.  For shame!

I won’t judge someone because of his or her sexual past (okay, I’ll judge a little bit.  And a lot a bit if he’s the someone I’m supposed to end up with).  Having experience doesn’t make them a better or worse person than someone who isn’t so knowledgable.  But let’s be realistic.  There are diseases going around.  The chances of acquiring them get higher with every partner.  No matter how much you love a person, it won’t change the fact that herpes are a turn off, period.  And there’s no getting rid of them.
Do you really want to take that gamble?

matthew-woodson-5

Something even harder to get rid of?  Jealousy.

It takes a lot to get me jealous.  Correction:  It takes a lot to get me to admit I’m jealous.  I’m ma-pride, so no matter how envious I am of someone I will REFUSE to show it.  Unless the guy purposely tries to make me feel insecure…(Jerk!)

But come on!  Every girl has her limit.  And say -in some farfetched, delusion drenched fantasy- I end up marrying this guy.  We would, naturally, do things married people do.  Only…I don’t think I can keep from comparing myself to his past conquests.  I don’t want them to be hideous.  I want them all to be attractive so I know that my guy has an unflinching criterion -and that I was good enough to have met those high standards.  It’s a pathetic admission but I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.  The problem is that I also want to be the prettiest/sexiest/bestest girl he’s ever had!  I find this to be an impossibility.  Especially with the sheer number of chicks this busy boy has been with.  The ghosts of these dead-relationships will haunt me the way Edna Krabappel’s past haunted Ned Flanders.

21_penthouse01

So those are some of my (more appropriate) thoughts about man sluts.  It’s a lazy way of wrapping up this entry, but I don’t really know what else to add.  How about you guys contribute?  Tell me, would you date a man slut?  Are you a man slut?  And, most importantly, are you for or against “Nedna“??

FEATURED ARTISTS: Matthew Woodson and Allyson Haller.  There’s two of them today!  Because I felt like it.  And I see similarities in their art (at least in the pieces I chose for this entry)

Standard
Thoughts

Thoughts on Leveling Up

It’s probably impossible to find absolute satisfaction in every aspect of life.  No matter what we do or how much we have, we’ll always want more.  The thought seems sad, so why can’t I help but feel that this intrinsic insatiability is the answer to attaining absolute happiness?

Who says that contentment has to be a prerequisite for happiness anyway?

Is it so absurd to suppose the opposite?

Chiara Aime - Soul and Body

I find myself in a constant state of discontent.  I’m always hungry.  Always wanting.  Sometimes this restlessness wears me out, but most of the time I really like being an insatiable young lady.

As frustrating as it is to be this way, I can’t imagine happiness without wanting.  In a weird way, I find peace in discontentment.  I like the thought of always having something to strive for.  The lack makes me feel more infinite than empty because I know I can always be more.

I like how limitless this makes me feel.

Chiara Aime - Lacrime d Arcobaleno

I suppose this attitude can be thought of as greedy and unappreciative.  Hells yeah I’m greedy!  Unappreciative?  Not necessarily.

It’s not that I don’t realize I have more than enough.  I know I’m a lucky girl.  I have an incredible and easy life.  And I’m very happy with it.  You could even say I was ‘content’ with my life.  But I know this contentment is fleeting, and that to stay content I’ll have to be discontent.

I explained this once in video game terms:

In video games, we level up in anticipation of boss battles.  We should do that in real life too.  We shouldn’t wait for hardship to make us stronger.  We should push ourselves while the creeps are still weak.  So when the big, bad things hit, we can hit back even harder.

Suppose I was a Lvl 87 Garchomp*.  At Lvl 87, my Dragon Rush attack could easily K.O. most opponents (how dare those weak minded fools challenge my owzum skillz?!?!)

garchomp

part shark, part dragon, part jet plane. Whut whut??

But why settle for being Lvl 87 when I know I can still level up?  When I know I can still become harder, better, faster, stronger than ever before!  Is it so bad that I want to annihilate my opponents, not just beat them?  That I refuse to be happy until I destroy their souls with my superiority?

Chiara Aime - Inner Peace

I need to keep moving.  Keep learning.  Keep pushing.  Especially when life’s good and the livin’s easy, because this is when others make the mistake of becoming too complacent with their greatness.  They stop trying -not realizing that others are catching up, fast.    I don’t want to stop and wait to be out leveled.  My greed and ego won’t allow it.  So, even when I don’t feel like it, I make sure to always do something good for myself.  Something that will make me greater than I already am.

I know though that there’ll always be Pokemon more powerful than I, but why should I let that stop me from becoming the very best?  Like no one ever was?

FEATURED ARTISTS: Chiara Aime & RJ Palmer

*I chose Garchomp because it’s part shark, and I love sharks.  Sharks die if they stay still for too long.  They know that movement is life.

Standard
Thoughts

Thoughts on Waking Up Smelling Like Cigarette Smoke

I do not like cigarettes.  Maybe I’m being unfair because I’ve never tried one.  But judgement isn’t always reserved for things tried and tested.

This dislike can be problematic given that my boyfriend and a lot of my friends are smokers.

And because they are, and because I love spending time with them, there are some mornings afternoons I wake up adorned with the aroma of cigarette smoke.

What’s strange is that I love having that scent cling on to me.

esraroise1

It smells like youth.
Like lazy summer afternoons soundtracked by senseless “I-can’t-breathe!” laughter. Like nights spent attending art gallery openings and drinking organic beer while rich-voiced singers freestyle about moonlight and power rangers. Like sneaking into an obscure golf course bungalow with white russians and energy drinks.  Like spontaneous road trips to the beach with the windows down and your hair piled up, piled up high.

And like still having energy to do all the things we need to do the day after the adventure -even if we don’t want to.  Because we’re young enough to be afflicted with illusions of invincibility, but old enough to suffer the consequences of this delusion.

everything

It smells like growing up.  Like secrets we keep from parents because they’ve forgotten how good it feels to stay up past the point of exhaustion and to the point where you don’t even know what the point is anymore.

esra-roise

Like being dubstep dazed and dreamy.  Wishing that feeling of drifting in and out of control would go away.
But missing it when it does.

evilface

Or like tender nights spent drinking wine from the bottle, feeling like adults because we think we’ve outgrown beer and tequila.

tender is the night

It smells like mistakes and bright ideas.   And like pristine outfits masking filthy, filthy thoughts.

roise

It smells like the abstract reasoning of ripening minds; justifying the joy of rubbing against sweaty strangers on a dimly lit dance floor.  Justifying the many ways we pollute our bodies and squander our youth -which is such a beautiful and wasted thing.

esraroise_02

It smells like death and aging -reminding you that it’s okay to die just as long as your death meant something to someone.  Because the most memorable days are the ones spent with people you love, even if doing so takes everything out of you.  So all you can do is collapse into bed in last night’s outfit, reeking of cigarette smoke and the memories that come with it.

passed out

{        }

The smell of cigarette smoke reminds me of Giann, and the dreams we have for ourselves and for each other.
When I’m old, it’ll remind me of all our hopes and fears.  And the frightening infinitesimal nature of our potential.

I hope we make it.

the good man

FEATURED ARTIST: Esra Roise

Standard