It’s All About The Big C

I just received a notification from WordPress congratulating me on my “blog’s” first year since I registered this account. Man how time flies. Because of that, I am choosing to delve into this C that’s been a struggle for the artist in me.

I’m definitely not pertaining to my second name, but rather the big C that’s been one of the greatest challenges in my life: Courage.

Don’t we all have this huge fear over something that stunts our personal growth? The fear of heights, of public speaking, of narrow places, of spiders, of failure, of success, of the unknown, of vulnerability and of a whole lot more? We all have at least one thing to fear about and we are all forced to go through it everyday, if not defeat it entirely.

The bad news is, there is no overnight remedy for overcoming fear. The thought stays in our mind as long as it can until we finally get over it… which is until when? The day we die? Let’s hope not.

Last year this is what I focused on–slaying this major demon that’s been getting in the way of my personal growth.

Courage is a big word, and admit it or not, not everyone can surpass their greatest fears in a blink of an eye. But is it solely about outshining it?

My answer is no.

A very good friend of mine, my angel in disguise, constantly reminded me one thing every time I came in contact with fear. She’d always tell me to “feel the fear and face it anyway.” Took me sometime to fully absorb those words, and the moment I embraced fear and made it my friend, I cannot fathom myself going back to that scared little girl I once was.

It wasn’t an easy ride though.

Before I took the leap, when I imagine myself going beyond my comfort zone I get more than terrified. The thought really scared the shit out of me (mind you, I was just picturing it then). So the terror of finally taking one baby step forward made me want to just quit and retract to who I was.

“But that’s not what life is all about,” I incessantly told myself. Every moment that I had to adjust, to stretch my capabilities, to question my own negative beliefs, at the back of my head, I knew for certain that I had to do it no matter how uncomfortable it made me feel.

So screw fear!

It’s just a thought and thoughts can be changed.

Reframing and reprogramming my beliefs were a challenge at first, but the moment I decided to take the plunge, it was all but a breeze. Besides, first step is always the hardest, isn’t it?

It all started December last year.

I did things I never imagined I’d do. Prior to it, I was too caught up, too confined in my self-limitations, that when I completely gave in and did what I had to do, I was rattled with bouts of gulping and gasping and panicking. But as soon as I got it over and done with, I found it so much easier to breathe, to truly live.

First, I dealt with my disempowerment that manifested through authority. What was once impossible to my eye became so palpable after I faced it head on. The initial apprehension existed, but the want to cut ties and stand my ground was more dominant than anything else. So I did it and my power gradually ricocheted back.

Second was overcoming my fear of vulnerability. You see, I’m not one of those women who cry easily, not unless the emotion is so hard to express that I get frustrated and there’s no other option but to cry. Either that or heartbreak. In this case, however, it didn’t really involve any bawling. It was a happy kind of vulnerability; verbalizing my deep-seated emotions without holding back. Being the first to admit my feelings toward a guy I admired for quite a while also unnerved me. But it had to be done.

The first two took a few hours and weeks (consecutively) for me to muster up the courage to follow through, but I eventually did.

Little did I think it was in preparation for something so much greater.

Before the year ended I came face to face with my biggest fear: the unknown. The moment this episode presented itself to me, I knew I had to seize it. Even if it’s nerve-racking due to unfamiliar course and extensive transition, I jumped right in.

It’s been a week and three days since I did, and I must say, I am not regretting it. Sure, I had to sacrifice a lot to get to this point, and for the past 10 days, I have nothing but so much gratitude for the freedom and foreseeable success I yearn to attain before I turn 30.

What brought me to this? The big C.

The intimidating word that’s imperative to one’s personal growth. Courage brought me to where I am now. I may not be as successful as I planned YET, but I know I’m one giant step away from it.

Hence the most important thing I’ve learned that pretty much sums up my 2013: C It’s so cosmic because I always check that app on Facebook, and today when I did, that’s the message given to me. I am a believer of signs and this one I take as one big fat sign that I truly am on the right track.

So, that being said, 2014 is all about POWER, OPENNESS, and COURAGE; to go beyond my limits no matter how distressing and perplexing it is at first. To hold on to my power, express myself openly, and have immeasurable courage to do things I’ve never done despite sacrifices and hurt because in the end it will all be worth it.

The fear will always be there and more things to be afraid of will come, but the will to choose to do things and the courage to really dive in, that’s when amazing things and feelings take place.

Like what I always say: Fear is temporary; regret is permanent. So, no regrets this year, just immense courage to overcome all fears. 945678_614440051909034_42122692_n

The Fine Line Between Getting What You Want And What You Deserve

I’m writing this entry as per request.

When faced with a dilemma, have you ever wondered if that’s what you wanted or what you deserved? How and when do you draw the line between the two?

It is easy to split hairs if you’re coming from a third person’s perspective, but being the one tangled in a shady predicament feels like nothing’s ever easy and it’s best to just breakdown.

The question is tricky though. It is to me because I always believed that if you allow something to happen, you deserve it. Hence, you wanted it since you allowed it. However, the word deserve does not belong in that context. It is not deserving in a sense that a person is sentenced or comforted in exchange for choosing to do either a good thing or a bad thing. It is, per contra, intertwined with one’s worth.

Our wants depend on our current needs. And needs come from this imaginary haze we call ego. When we need something so bad that we can’t operate without it, be aware that’s it’s the ego screaming. Also reflect on how people present themselves to others  to get what they want. Women, for example, oftentimes perpetrate the common blunder of using sex as a bait to catch that one big fish. Of course the sexual male sea creature will succumb to the game. But in the end, it’s those types of women who suffer from immense distress and suffering. Then they announce to all mankind that men are jerks. Really?

Sure we achieve a certain level of satisfaction when wants and needs are met, but once the ecstasy fades, we’re like hungry vampires craving for more blood to suck. And it sucks to be in that state. It sucks that we try to compensate for things that we feel are deficient in our lives when in reality, we unmistakably obsess on the outside rather than what’s on the inside.

It’s what’s on the inside that matters anyway. The rest are just spectators. If anything goes wrong in the future, as long as you take very good care of yourself, you won’t feel even a bit of shortchange. You’ll then stop blaming others for problems that were in fact caused by you. Try to shift that perspective as well.

Remember: those who put blame on others are the people who are so good at deflecting responsibility in their own lives.

Needy people are repugnant, don’t you agree? Exactly. So why be one?

That being said, in order to extricate one’s self from a terrible entanglement, one has to perform a mental check-up on how he/she grades himself/herself according to worthiness instead of drowning in melancholy.

Let’s do an exercise: rate yourself from 1-10; ten being the highest. If you think you’re a five, I suggest you work a little more on self-love. If you think you’re a seven, not bad, but still needs a little more work. Try spoiling yourself with your personal needs and make sure to not overdo it. If you see yourself as an eight or a nine, good for you! As long as you’re not saying that just to win the discussion to get this over and done with. And to those who rated themselves as a ten, congratulations! You all are ready to face the world with much less hesitation!

Here’s the thing, like what the English teacher, Bill said to Charlie in Perks of Being a Wallflower, “we accept the love we think we deserve.”

Therefore, if you’re a ten, you are always open to receive love from a fellow ten and so on. It’s common sense that isn’t used commonly. I, too, am guilty of drenching my pillow in tears when I am faced with a difficult situation. But tell you what, I don’t stay in agony for so long. I allow myself to release whatever type of resentment and bitterness inside of me then I rise up to the problem. Because really, what is there to sulk about? And for a long time that is. Besides, hating and blaming only contaminates my whole being. It sure does the same thing to you.

Finally, do yourself a favor. Stop selling yourself short. Refrain from settling for anything less than what you deserve just because it’s what you wanted in that certain moment. Keep in mind that ecstasy fades; it’s temporary. The one thing that’s continual and can or may leave a legacy is no one else but YOU. You are beautiful, amazing and worthy. Never ever forget that.

“I am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me. And it has nothing to do with what I look like really, it is just that I gave myself the power to say that I am beautiful, and if I could do that, maybe there is hope for them too. And the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be. Because we are all what we choose.” ― Margaret Cho

Why Move On When You Can Just…

I’m not proud to say that it’s breakup season on my side of town. And that doesn’t even include me. Nope. I’m single and I was surprisingly greeted by my ex a happy anniversary the other day. It wasn’t even for the time we hooked up. It was the quite opposite actually. He greeted me because September is the month we’ve broken up… Two years ago. I know right? (I promise to post a more sympathetic entry next time)

Anyway, yes, it’s breakup season and I’ve heard a considerable amount of cries and disgust that I can actually build a house from them (if it’s even possible converting feelings into estates). Unfortunately that’s not the case. In fact, like I said in my previous post, best thing a third perspective can do is listen.

Because the reality here is it’s over and there’s nothing people can do about it. We can’t force ourselves into someone else’s life if we’re not welcome there anymore. Reality bites, I know. And it can sure damn suck my balls.

In situations like this, friends would always end up saying the overused advice, “stop crying and move on–for yourself.” Easy to say when you’re not in the position. Like, “yeah I can be all bipolar with this case and you know, cry one minute, then move on the next. And voilà! I’m better. Let’s paint the freakin’ town red.”

Then again, it doesn’t work that way.

So what is it about breakups that make it so hard to endure?

Is it the huge amount of effort you exert in adjusting to new ways? Or probably the feeling of getting dumped even if the two of you were the ones who did the dumping? Could it be the self-pity that follows it? You want to seek revenge because you’re hurt sore? Or maybe the hopelessness because you felt the person was “The One” – that got away perhaps?

Whatever the reason may be, one thing holds true: this is another chapter of one’s life wherein he/she is actually entitled to improve and redo one’s self. Yes, it definitely is the perfect excuse to be conceited. Now you can tell your cliché-talking friend to get lost because it’s your time to shine.

But, before change happens, acceptance must take place. So prior to cutting your hair short (or shaving it, whatever rocks your boat), take a moment to breathe and embrace the endless possibilities that are about to come your way. ACCEPTANCE is key. Accept that it’s over and fixing it is beyond your capacity. Accept together with forgiveness. Just like what Aunt May said to Spiderman in Spiderman 3, ” Well, you start by doing the hardest thing: You forgive yourself.” Indeed. And you never thought you’d pick up values from a superhero movie huh?

Once you’re done accepting and forgiving (even the ones who aren’t even involved) then the transformation begins. Go out. Meet new people. Experience new things. Do stuff that you didn’t get to do when you were still tied up. Learn a new language. Cook a gazillion dishes in a month. Play with your dog. Chat with your long-lost friend. Spend more time with your family. Get a makeover. Go shopping. Hit the clubs. Finish that book you’ve ignored. Or better yet, go to the movies by yourself. Do everything you’ve been meaning to do in your own sweet time.

People are normally scared of change. It’s natural. So break the record, and accept that another major life change is taking place. I won’t be one of those friends who’d tell you to move on. Instead, I want you to accept, surrender to the process, and live the life you’ve always dreamed of. It’s not going to be easy, cliché as it may sound, but trust me, everything’s going to be worth it.

“Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.” ~William James

So why move on when you can just accept?

Oh and when you’re done, hit me up, maybe we can grab a coffee and talk about… Love. How does that sound?

My Take On Listening

One of the greatest things I’ve learned in life is to listen. Given that I am deaf in one ear (the right one, but thank God my left ear works perfectly), I’ve practiced the art of listening to people whom I consider important and unimportant. It exudes practicing several values too such as respect, openness, compassion and understanding.

I’m still young, but at the age of 27 I can already say that I have met various people from different walks of life and listening to them has been one of the few talents that made a HUGE difference. As a result, whether I agreed or disagreed with their joyous stories and repetitive qualms, it made them feel important just by being listened to.

I can also attest to that because definitely not everyone has the same talent and I’ve experienced firsthand. There are those who can’t seem to fixate themselves on my words probably because of preëmpted judgment or dismay. Oftentimes when they catch me ranting it sends off a negative impression or my optimism comes off as repulsive. But no matter what their reason may be, each and every one of us (this I know for a fact without survey or studies) that bottom line of listening to others is to silently show that they matter too, that they have a voice, and are worthy to be heard.

We are all undeniably self-centered in our own ways, but we can’t expect others to treat us differently with the way we treat them. You get what you give, maybe not from the same person you’ve given it to, but you get the similar, if not the same, treatment from people who matter as much to you.

So, a little piece of unsolicited advice, instead of preëmpted judgments to either the negativity and enthusiasm of others or both, LISTEN WITHOUT ANY INTERRUPTION. You’re not three anymore to be excused from being rude by interrupting someone from speaking. So just listen with full attention, ground yourself, and be one with the world. Because each of us have our own stories to tell. It may not be that important to you, but to the person speaking, each word they say may mean the world to them.

Start making a difference by extending your time and patience. But! If it’s going in circles, getting below the belt and not making any sense, then by all means speak up; for sure they’ll listen too because they value you.

“You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” — M. Scott Peck

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

Writing Exerise ’08

As I was reviewing my old notes on writing, I came across this piece that I worked on four years ago. It was actually an assignment in college wherein students were asked to write their own obituaries. I, however, decided to write a story on how I pictured myself dying. I don’t quite recall the grade I got for doing this and not following directions, but anyway, point is it’s fun to look back on old writings that are hardly remembered.

Here goes…

MY DREAM EXIT

Talking about your own personal death seems morose to many, but facing the reality of one’s own demise takes courage and a little overcast of imagination. Planning your own death, much more having the foresight on how you will pass this world, is something that may seem illogical. In this piece, I will try to do the unthinkable and convey to you my thoughts on how I would like to go.

I’ve always dreamt of being a successful publisher one day, having my own firm and doing it my own way. I am happily married with twins, a boy and a girl. I personally handpick my employees and see to it that they are trained the way I want them to be. My husband is an international businessman that’s why he is out of the country most of the time. My daughter is a rising model and has just recently been chosen as one of the most beautiful faces in the country today. And my son is a private lawyer who is about to get married to a woman that I feel is not right for him. This is where my tale starts.

I just came from my son’s wedding night when it all happened. My husband is out on a business trip so I had to do the driving myself. Call it premonition, but something was uniquely special that day. Earlier, I was extra-attentive to my people. Hearing out their concerns and sharing a few laughs – things that I don’t normally do in the office. I have always maintained my focus and this has been the backbone of my formula for success. For the first time since my company started, that night, I actually made my employees happy.

In fact I never quite pictured my life to be perfect. I had a lot of conflicts during my childhood which I never made any effort to resolve. Maybe because I felt that I never had the time to fix things, much more waste my time in analyzing stuff that are not even connected to the pursuit of my goals. During the reception of my son’s wedding, I found myself in the midst of old friends; the same ones that I felt would hamper my growth. I found myself exchanging pleasantries and started reminiscing about the past. Later during that night, the air cleared, the stars shone brightly and my tears just rolled away in perfect ecstasy. I am whole again; I am happy.

After giving my son a big hug, I turned to his bride and welcomed her to the family with all sincerity. My son looked at me, puzzled but happy. I later realized that I have given my son the best gift of all, my solemn blessing.

I have bid my adieu, waved my goodbyes and decided to go home. Driving down the long highway usually bores me but this night was absolutely different. I couldn’t wipe away the smile on my face, the tears in my eyes and the joy in my heart. I finally found my inner peace. Then…

BAM!!!

A truck from the opposite way suddenly lost its control, swerved to my lane, and hit my vehicle head on – crushing the entire chassis like it was nothing. Sirens, lights, noises, silence, light…

This is how I want to go, QUICK, FAST, AND PAINLESS.

Music of Spain Mashup

Since I’ve always been a jazz loyalist, I never really  got acquainted with Spanish music until today. The tables have turned when I stumbled upon this YouTube video that is almost an hour-long which features various Spanish artists in one go.

I am surprised by how romantic Spanish music is no matter the beat. Although my favorite musical instrument is saxophone, this particular mashup provided several amazing sounds coming out from the classical guitar, which originated from Andalusia, Northern Spain. In my country, the classical guitar is usually used for acoustic performances, strummed according to renditions of our local artists, often used to serenade women back in the day. The music of Spain, however, opened my eyes to the versatility of the instrument.

Today marks the beginning of a new musical journey for me. Listen to the mashup that changed it all.

Cuore Giallo: Yellow Heart

Why “yellow heart” in Italian?

For the longest time I’ve meant to speak Italian. I find the language rather romantic and sexy to the point that when spoken it’s eargasmic. Cuore giallo is a start for me other than the few basic Italian words/phrases I know such as “ciao” and “bon appetit.” Plus the fact that Giallo has my first name in it–there is no giallo without GIA.

I have always been fascinated by the moxie of yellow. Picture the glittering sun and the comely hue of daffodils when they blossom in spring. It is a symbol of power, intellect and joy. Sunday is coded in yellow-gold too. The energy that yellow exudes and the happiness it brings excites me every time.

My all-time favorite shape–heart–which represents love. When I was little I always doodle hearts in different sizes, in any place I can put my pencil on–papers, walls, tissues, bags, what have you. And by the time I got older, I was told that drawing hearts meant how overflowing I am with love. Heart is also believed to symbolize the soul and is the seat of emotions.

This is me and how I live life–with a burning yellow heart; a balance between the intellect and emotion, the energy and the soul. I am always eager to learn new things, explore greater heights, and even self-study on different languages that catch my fancy.

Welcome to my page! Here you’ll see future posts of life as I know it, how it helped and inspired me, guided by my own cuore giallo. Enjoy! Ciao!