It’s different when all things are new to you

I’ve been living abroad for almost a year and a half now. My initial fear before I even got here was what if I don’t get to meet new people who’ll be there for me like my old friends do? I was freaked out by the idea of being alone in a new place.

 

What is it about being alone that scares most people so much anyway?

 

Last night was a nightmare for me. I won’t go into details, but I was in my most vulnerable state then. Not having made a lot of deep connections here in Dubai, having conflicts with some friends and troubles with ex-colleagues (yes, you can say my personal relationships are going haywire—I’d like to see it as testing our bonds, but whatever), I only had a few people up my sleeve whom I can call at 1 am on a Monday. I tried a couple, some answered and were in the middle of something but still offered a sympathetic ear, and some didn’t pick up until later on. At that point in time, it hit me, I was with no one but myself, in a country I’m still getting used to, with a culture I wasn’t 100% aware of until I “migrated.”

 

As I was crying my heart out right by some manmade body of water, I was in utter awe when I came to a realization: why am I so scared of not being able to reach out to anyone at said time when I have ME?

 

Was it a call for attention? Was it a cry for help? Was it because I was on the verge of giving up on my dreams that were once so bright in my vision until I encountered numerous obstacles?

 

What was it?

 

And so I just sat there, eyes bulging with overflowing tears without a tissue in hand. It was just myself, that manmade body of water, decent bench, my big bottle of H2o and cigarettes. Out of the busy Dubai life, there I was, at 1am, alone in my own thoughts in the peace and quiet of the morning.

 

Reflections came streaming through my mind that time; some made sense, some were random, some were emotional and *&^%$# irrational, some were breakthroughs, some were encouragements, some even came in the form of acceptance and forgiveness—they all just rushed in and out as if I was a freakin’ fast food chain that just opened in a prime area, and I got drained.

 

Moments do come to one’s life that seems like rock bottom. Last night felt that way. It was terrible. I was needy. I was hungry for affirmations. I was yearning for a hug, you know, some body contact assuring me that things will be okay without having to say a single word. My thoughts were everywhere that I literally did not know which one I should pay attention to.

 

So finally I told my brain to shut the F up and listen to ME for once.

 

Recalling the lessons I learned as I braved through this so-called independence, I hugged myself—with feet on the bench, legs folded—whilst crying the hell out of my morning. I asked for clarity, I prayed and asked for forgiveness and strength; I took control of my thoughts that were playing in my head, confusing me profusely a few seconds ago.

 

I took control. It’s MY brain anyway so who else will control it but me, right?

 

At that moment, I acknowledged the fact that I’ve hit rock bottom—which was once hearsay to me, I am now encountering it with zero to turn to (at least for a few hours). And I’ve done what’s bizarre to some (if not most)… I spoke to myself with so much love and affection.

 

If I am in deep shit, if I am encountering this then I must have brought this to my life myself. So why put blame on anyone else? Sure, let’s consider the additional factors, but for the most part, there’s no one else responsible for this but me. Instilling those, I slowly regained my power.

 

But the question remains: what was it? What was the reason for being so scared of being alone?

 

To those who know me well, they can attest that I’ve always been the clingy one—in friendships, in romantic relationships, in almost anything. Could it be because I was an only child for fourteen years then suddenly the attention was diverted to my younger brother when he was born, or maybe because I was a rejected child by my dad; or maybe perhaps I was just wired that way? I beg to differ with my latter statement, though. No one is wired and screwed for the rest of their lives for being “something” because we all know change is always an option.

 

So without the busyness of Dubai life to blame, I guess the answer is that apparently, I am lost. I lack clarity. I lack love. I lack compassion. I lack acceptance.

 

Despite my endless declarations of self-love, the adjustments entailed living in a different country I did wind up neglecting, well… me. And although it’s nice to put people, career, and goals first, these things will be null and void if I am incomplete, if I am broken and shooting in the dark.

 

I’m scared of being alone because I never really knew who I was when I began journeying towards independence. Back home it was relatively easy, I had my amazing set of support system, my family can be easily contacted, I was practically untouchable in terms of shaky expectations and obstacles.

 

But having to live by yourself is different. It’s different when all things are new to you. It’s different when you’re establishing a new life in a new place with new culture, to you (or me) at least. It’s different when during the first few stages, there’s no one to remind you of how brilliant you are especially when you are at your lowest.

 

For a time, I must admit, I felt disconnected.

 

Yes, I was busy. Yes, 80% of my days here were eaten by so many professional responsibilities. Yes, I have so many excuses.

 

I realized along the process that I did not pause to take time for myself anymore. I put other things first before my personal needs. I was in total sacrifice not realizing I was ruining the most important relationship everyone should nurture—the ones we have with ourselves.

 

I stumbled upon a quote that said: “Relationships are like birds–if you hold tightly they die if you hold loosely, they fly, but if you hold with care, they remain with you forever.”

 

I guess it’s fitting to say that I’ve held on too tightly on some, held loosely on most, and hardly ever kept me with care. Maybe that is also the reason my energy is funky lately resulting to nasty circumstances that can, in fact, be avoided early on. What’s done is done, though. The only way to go is forward.

 

It’s okay not to be okay.

 

It happens. We’re human. We go through dreadful encounters. But that doesn’t stop there. We always have a choice to turn our lives around.

 

In this case, however, I know I must turn my life around with the recovering incomplete me in tow. And towards this journey to total independence, I am pretty sure I will be whole again in no time. Post-its do help, so I’m finally making use of that damn pen and them pink sticky notes to remind my fabulous self every single day that I am important, that I am loved, that I have a purpose, that I am courageous, and that I deserve.

 

That is the lesson: never to desert my own needs for others every single time. If I can’t provide for me, how else do I expect myself to deliver excellent results in my personal and professional life? And that I have to be at peace with myself before anyone else, right?

 

Ditto.

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On Media, Awareness, and All that Jazz

Philippines: On January 22, 2014, actor-comedian, Vhong Navarro, assaulted and blackmailed by businessman, Cedric Lee, due to accusations of raping Deniece Cornejo, model/actress.

Photos of Vhong’s unrecognizable face due to bruises and swelling spread across the internet as well as circulation of interviews of Lee and Cornejo rebutting the actor’s statement.

The incident happened exactly a week ago, and until now, Philippine media has made this issue a daily top story, making Filipino fans (and haters) relentlessly express their concerns on social media and blogs alike.

What has the media gotten into?

The Philippines is facing far more relevant and serious issues. The pork barrel scam is not yet over, peace talks with MILF was successful, Yolanda victims and survivors still haven’t gotten ample aid to start over, and a lot more. But still, the media instead chose to make a big deal out of a dancer turned actor turned comedian who is in fact well-known for being a womanizer. Move on already. Let them deal with their cases themselves and delve on it again when it’s already in court if the media wants it that way.

Yesterday, I made a new Filipina friend here and we talked about current issues in the Philippines. One thing she told me (that was seriously in my head too for quite some time now) was along the lines of Philippine media getting so used to publicizing negative and depressing news. It then results to almost all the population having a mind frame of negativity and depression. It is no wonder Philippines is having a hard time rising to the top. Add to that the network rivalry rebutting every detail of their news.

Think about it.

Psychology is also applicable to this. Raising higher awareness is the least our media can do. Exaggerated drama telenovelas every damn night? How do we expect to have an optimistic nation that thinks objectively? Local television, instead of educating the people, only aggravates the psyche of each and every one, creating “monsters” of thinkers. How do these people vote for instance? By popularity, by charm, by whatever other shallow reasons. Feeding the masses with cynicism, BS news, and all that jazz does not help at all. We are only proving to the whole world that we truly are fools, when in reality we’re not. Filipinos are smart, talented, and skillful. I believe so. I see so.

However, what we lack now is values. Given it is a Catholic country, at our very core we know the values which most just can’t seem to apply to their daily lives. All the pettifogging details of Vhong and other banal stories then became a hobby of Pinoys. I am not surprised why gossip is so rampant in the Philippines… The clash of networks should just take their issues behind cam. It’s so improper to keep on narrating unintelligent news. So. Plaguing.

And a lot of people say this is a hopeless case. It isn’t.

If the media only chooses to be proactive, report authentic and honest stories, let go of their biases just because in one network the sister of the president has a contract or that the other network is pro-somebody else, stop accepting bribes and all, then we will have a more striving country. Media is a very powerful tool, use it wisely; Being part of it is a huge responsibility, and when used inappropriately, everybody gets affected.

This. Has. Got. To. End.

Deniece could be a rape victim. Vhong is a womanizer and may have raped that model. Cedric has criminal records. WE GET IT. Let it go. Focus on what’s more important, on things that will help the country rise again that will eventually inspire people.

Let’s get back to focusing on things that really matter shall we?

Mélange

To see more of what I’m about to discuss, click and like the blue text below:
Mélange

Ah, the French word that literally translates to mixture or medley.

So why Mélange? By the time we started in 2010, we knew for certain that the business will not focus on women’s accessories alone. Given the fact that I have two other partners, most definitely all our passions will not focus on one type of merchandise only. Hence the name, a brand that will offer various items, catering to every consumer’s need (or want!).

Therefore we can only assure that in the coming months, people can expect more products that will cater not only to women, but to men as well.

For the moment, all we have on-hand are purely accessories. Here are few of the stuff of Mélange.

A Short Background
Our products are from all around the world. My partner is the one in charge of supplier canvassing and all the heavy lifting. She then picks the nicest, most affordable finds so that it will be more convenient for both our new and forever loyal customers (thank you!) to just order and wait for our delivery. My other business partner designed our logo and banner and hopefully soon we’ll be able to launch our own website designed by him too (I’m looking too far ahead already, I know).

Mélange had to stop selling early 2011 for a few personal reasons. This year, however, we decided to bring it back. We relaunched our brand last May and I am so glad to see it progress day by day. Taking over a business taught me a lot of things and refreshed me with numerous values I’ve forgotten along the way. Really can’t help but feel grateful everyday.

To view our products, our Facebook page is always available for your browsing pleasure (https://www.facebook.com/themelange).

You can also follow us on Instagram, username @themelange 🙂

We have Twitter as well @the__melange (two underscores).

Show us some love dear readers. Like and follow away! 🙂

PS
We have an ongoing giveaway hosted by the fabulous Sarah Tirona. To join click: http://www.fashioneggplant.com/2013/06/giveaway-melange-accessories.html?m=1

Good luck! 🙂

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

Those Days When Lyrics Meant So Much

As I was reaching puberty, I was exposed to music by the likes of Michael Jackson, Sting, Mariah Carey, Everything But The Girl, Swing Out Sisters, George Michael, Wilson Phillips, Madonna, Kenny G, and Whitney Houston.

It was during those days when every lyrical piece meant every word to me when I sing along to the songs. I also search for people to dedicate certain personal favorites to even if I was limited to about ten playmates back then. This one in particular, I would always sing and dedicate to lady friends I hold close to my heart who are going through a tough time in their lives. I recall attempting to compose lyrics similar to this one. And when I’m down, I secretly wish that someone would sing it to me too.

All right, enough with the melodrama. But seriously, bring to mind the types of friendships we had before the internet age and all the clubbing and “sexing” music went out. Wasn’t it much sweeter, much more… from the heart? But I give credit to some of our artists now who write pretty well. Pardon my memory I just can’t recall one.

Let me just share my favorite part from this song. It goes:

“There’s a place inside of all of us
Where our faith in love begins
You should reach to find the truth in love
The answers there within, oh
I know that life can make you feel
It’s much harder than it really is
But we’ll get through it, just don’t give in”

I found out about this music when Waiting To Exhale showed in theaters here. Although I have blurred memory of the movie, this song just stung the sentimental in me the first time I heard it.

I just wish that artists these days make more music with meaningful lyrics and not repeated intro and chorus. Or better yet, since I write, I can compose lyrics that I like. Hmmmm…

The Missing Piece Meets The Big O

Here’s a quite accurate picture book by Shel Silverstein about self-completion. The Missing Piece Meets The Big O is a succession to Silverstein’s first book entitled “The Missing Piece.” I remember a number of friends who narrated this to me; some in details, some preferred to give a bird’s-eye view. Either way, I am fascinated by how metaphorically apt this piece is considering it is literature for children.

Personally, I love this story because no matter how short it is, it tackled most of the grown-up issues many are oblivious about or possibly choose to ignore. I was told once that suppose I’m feeling lonely or unconsummated (or both), it is mainly because I don’t pay so much attention to my own needs. Case in point, I am going to grow old in this body and psyche, so why neglect it?

I love how Shel Silverstein chose to depict this story the simplest way possible. It is simple, yes, yet direct nonetheless. Areas of concern such as being too flashy, looking way too close than necessary, ignoring the pieces on the side and just rolling away with life. Plus the idea that the missing piece was left by the one that fitted the first time they met. Through it, I imagine outgrown relationships in my past be it intimate or platonic.

And then we all meet the one who’ll teach us about what we ought to learn, trust that we can do it on our own (at our own pace), and support our big change, which was well, the Big O’s role.

The rest is history.

So to those who haven’t read it yet, here’s the video version of the book (just don’t get carried away with the background music):

I love looking back to this story especially in times when I feel like I am missing a piece.

Thoughts? 🙂