I am a Strong and an Independent Woman in Constant Need of Hugs

Last Monday I woke up with a fever. I knew it but I had to work around it, if it meant avoiding my parents so they won’t notice how hot I was, then I stayed as far away from them as possible. I worked so hard on my presentation for that afternoon and in my head, I was thinking, ‘nothing can stop me’.

That night my fever was gone. 

I woke up with chills at midnight. I can’t be sick, it was just the long weekend. I got my hoodie on, some pajamas, and wrapped myself in blankets enough to keep me warm. I tried to sleep through it.

It was a struggle to get out of bed the next morning. I knew I had to get to work, I had to drive to Makati, and the longer I stay in bed the longer it will take me to prepare. I finally mustered the strength to go to the bathroom, I greeted my dad, he hugged me and he said I was burning up. He called my mom and they made me go back to bed. They weren’t mad, but I was upset. I had to go to work, there’s so much stuff to do. 

I slept the whole day.

My parents and I agreed to go to the ER that night. It was just allergies, mom. They gave me allergy cocktails and stuck an IV in me. They managed to rip one of my veins. They took some samples.

I felt better.

The next morning I woke up with confidence: Today, I’m better. I had my shots and it was fine. I got hurt last night so it’s time for me to go back to work.

I thought I was fine. My results showed otherwise.

My fever relapsed the following morning. My parents had to cover me under several Fleece Blankets just to keep me warm. My mom wiped me with a wet towel to keep my temperature down. I was a mess. I couldn’t eat, drink, or sleep, and I was tired.

My dad brought me back to the hospital that afternoon where I was admitted until this morning. The tests show that I had a Viral Infection which caused my WBC (White Blood Cell) count, among others, to go down. This means that I have a weakened immune system.

I was weak… And I had to accept it.

The last time I was admitted to the hospital was when I was in Fifth Grade when I had a High Fever. I tried so hard for that to not happen ever again. I always thought of myself as a strong and an independent woman. But this week, I realized, that I was still a strong and an independent woman, in constant need of hugs now.

I was too focused on work, on getting things done, that I have overlooked myself, and my health. My priority was to finish, to do more, to achieve more. At some point, I got frustrated that I can’t do anything cause I was sick. I was ashamed to be in the hospital. I was upset with myself for being sick. I hated to be taken care of but being in the hospital, I had no choice. I was resisting the entire thing in my head, in my body, in my veins.

My mom reminded me to just accept the love, the support and the care from my friends and especially from my family. That it was okay, and it was their choice to look after me and my needs in the hospital.

I let go. I cried, and cried, as I was tired. It was a week of prodding, of feeling numb and helpless. I surrendered to God, to the higher power who was reminding me that I should stop once in a while before I overwork myself again.

This week all my learnings in the past two months had gone full circle. I completely understand what vulnerability means. I am the sum of all of my parts, and some parts of me are not just in me, but in other people as well, and they complete me. It was still a struggle but I was able to fully understand the great deal it has not just on me, but also to other people.

It is now time for me to go home, time for me to heal and to bring back the life that was lost in the process of being me.

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On Being Number 1

Photo by Nik Perlas

I always wanted to be number 1, but most of the time I find myself aiming to be number 2. In my head being on top means, you cannot make mistakes, or that you have to be perfect cause people look up to you. I didn’t want the responsibility ‘I associated’ with the idea of being the best.

But these past few weeks, I learned that all things I mentioned above are not entirely true. People on top still make mistakes, they are continuously learning to enhance their craft, and themselves.

I realized I was enough. I realized that holding back won’t do me any good. I realized that I have placed these constraints on myself. That it has always been me, in my head. All these fears, letting people plan for me, the willingness to just follow, when there was a part of me screaming, telling me to stand up and to walk up front and hold the reins. I was so scared of crossing the line, but I can see it clearly, my greatness, and there were signs saying no, but my heart said yes.

TRUST and SURRENDER. That is my declaration. I should trust and surrender to my greatness.

I am beyond grateful to everyone who inspired me to lead, to everyone who gave their trust to me, to everyone who made me realize that I should be more to do more.

 

A Letter to the Person Who is Deeply Scared of Failing

My coach, Dappy San Juan, taught me an important lesson on values. She made me realize how important it is to remind myself that the things that I do each day are not tasks that I tick off to get to 100%, it should be about purpose. I should not just be doing things, but I should be experiencing myself differently every moment and every day.

So here’s a letter to the person who is deeply scared of failing

Dearest You,

I hope you remember that THIS IS YOUR JOURNEY and that you always have a choice. A choice for excellence and a choice to accept when you can’t handle things anymore. It is yours to move through, and it is yours to explore. There will be times that you won’t feel like yourself like you’re releasing your clutch from the world but always remember that you are entitled to failure, and to learn from these mistakes. They are all yours to keep, either to make you feel empowered or to make you feel weak.

Second, understand that your flaws or imperfections won’t stop you from rising up. You are very critical of yourself and your progress in life, STOP PUNISHING YOURSELF FOR THIS. Remember that you are a hardworking and intelligent person who does not deserve to be relentlessly analyzed for the tiniest possible flaw every time. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Third, I understand how you feel and I empathize with you. I hope, pray and feel that these words will resonate now and during the future times you feel down.

You want to make a difference, to contribute to something meaningful, and you are, just by thinking about it. I know that you desire to have your own track, to gain new skills, views and insights or awareness through your own experiences, but don’t force yourself to do everything on your own, ask for support.

Perfection is not devoid of scars, challenges, and struggles. Your bruises now will serve as your battle scars for when you look back to the time you were fighting for yourself.

Before doing anything, pause and think about it. Will it add true, meaningful value to the people around you, the world and most especially to you? Will you be leaving a positive and a beautiful impact? You have a choice not to be tired. You have a choice to love – yourself and your work.

Stop thinking that you are tired, broken and disappointed, but YOU should start believing in yourself again. You can do better. You have to do better! Let your light shine!

Move through this moment, I’ll be here.

Embracing my constraints

This past week, as an act of vulnerability, I tried to open myself up to the thing I try to avoid as much as I can, confrontation. One of the many breakthroughs I had in the past several weeks was to talk about my experiences, the things that I buried so deep I tried to mask them with strength.

One of the reasons why I hated to open up and to trust people is my fear of being betrayed. The idea of them using my weakness to strong arm me is unsettling. Support is something I offer, not what I need. But then I realized that I can’t do everything on my own. AHHHH!  In fact, I was resisting this too much that my stress manifests physically — allergies and greater anxiety levels. It was crazy!!

I learned to accept my flaws, my weaknesses and the fact that I will fail at some point because all of this won’t really matter in the end. And although I still have this tendency to clam up and to stay quiet whenever I feel pressured or tensed, I try to address my issues now by talking about my emotions to help me overcome adversity. It will be hard to come to terms with my defeat, cause I’m competitive, but in the end, this will make me rise up and do better.

And at the end of the day, no man is really an island. We all need support, even if it is just a person who will listen to your stories. I am so glad I got these out of my chest. It was a humbling yet a very liberating experience.

Making Sense of Complications

Turning 24 in less than 24 hours: Moving On (my take on the Art of Letting Go) Challenge by Arra Abella of Style Reader. These are snippets of my 23 yo life.

1. On Adulting

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Three days before my birthday, I had to rush myself to the ER cause I was having an allergic reaction to dust. Hives took over my body, I was feeling hot, and my throat started to constrict. I got a shot of Steroids and several antihistamine shots on IV. Now as I type this, I am stuck in the lobby of the place I moved in cause I left my keys inside, waiting for my roommates to come back and save me. My antihistamine meds are starting to take effect, so take a good look because this will probably end in a public fail.

2. Going out and getting 21st-birthday-style drunk

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I am so #blessed to have friends who are like me who make sure

  1. That everyone is having fun;
  2. That no one is being taken advantage of, and;
  3. That everyone gets home safely

Let’s be honest, we have real-world responsibilities now that come with real-world stress. This will always be a good excuse to drink.

BTW A drunk friend is a responsibility, not an opportunity

3. On that ‘Quarter-life Crisis’ Issue

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One of my pet peeves has to be the fact that people blame everything on something else. We tend to make external attributions just so we can get away with shit. WHY? Because this is a lot easier than accepting the fact that you are wrong and blaming it for something that will and can fix us. But what it actually does is shield us from the reality that we are supposed to be facing.

My actions would usually be a reaction to something. WE ARE ALLOWED TO FEEL LOST, but we should be responsible for our actions and what happens after that. We can’t always blame someone or something for the things that we do. We are actually lucky to have the satisfaction of not knowing what the heck we are doing.

Okay, so my issue here is that I’m looking for a challenge. Something that will stimulate my brain, my senses, and my life!! There is nothing wrong with liking to be busy. I like feeling purposeful.

4. My Unread Notifs

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K Fine, there’s more than one.

The number of ways a person can reach and communicate nowadays is overwhelming. I am known among friends to be someone who is particularly hard to get a hold of, until recently. More than a hundred unread notifications on my phone, 10 plans I missed, 4 birthday parties I’ve never been to, and around 3 angry friends. YEPP.

5. On Being the Most Reliable Person Ever

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Being kind goes a long way, but don’t let people treat you like shit.

Having a big heart and believing in big love. Where do I draw the line? Sometimes we try so hard to be good that we are not actually happy.

5. Why I’m Terrified to Let People In

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  • A part of me stays guarded, even in relationships.
  • People grow apart.
  • I try to find reasons why something won’t work instead of how it will work
  • Or maybe I’m in a rush to fall in love
  • I might even tell myself that I don’t actually deserve to be happy
  • To show you a weakness is to let you in on where I’m vulnerable
  • I’m not 19 anymore!!
  • Cool, cool

I’m afraid of losing before I’ve even lost anything at all. But nobody’s really afraid of losing anything. We’re actually scared to death of never having it in the first place. But as I see it, the closest way to feel connected to another person is to be open about your greatest fears and insecurities. He is going to smell differently from the one before. Embrace it! That scent will become home eventually and this scares me. But I’ll hold on to it.

“But you see, I didn’t want to be alone anymore, not because I was lonely, but because this incredible alternative miraculously materialized out of thin air.

If it feels too good to be true, it is – unless it isn’t.” – Ted Pillow

6. On Being Hypersensitive and Whatnot

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I took a scratch test earlier which suggests that I have an allergy to House Dust, more importantly, to DUST MITES. YUPP! So the doctor gave me three things: a list of House Dust Control Measures, my meds for the next month, and his card with emergency anti-allergy meds attached to the back. This is the first time I went to the ER without my parents, and it made me feel proud and horrified at the same time.

I moved out of the house recently and as much as I’m enjoying myself, the freedom is overwhelmingly scary. So here’s the question: What do you do when you have more time?

You get the idea. This article is for crazy me trying to quantify and qualify my life so far. 

Other than having to sweep and mop the floor, to buy my own food and to take out the trash, I’m stricken with terror that one day I’ll wake up and maybe ruin everything.

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What I’m trying to say is 23 has to be the most liberating age that has ever happened to me (yet) and I can’t wait to seize this opportunity to be a better me next year.

But if there’s one thing I learned while writing this, it would have to be:

“You are not the sum of what you aspire to, you are the sum of what you do each day.”

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10 THINGS I’VE LEARNED (SO FAR) THIS 2016 ​

Thanks for actually making me think, Arra Abella of Style Reader. It took me a while to sort through my experiences, and then my emotions, and then myself, to come up with this list. I think one of the main realizations I had this year (so far) is that you always have a choice. ALWAYS. And it’s yours.

Life is too short for a long story, but there’s a lot to do in this life, and it can be pretty exhausting, so take a step back, relax and chill. 🙂

  1. Pace yourself, life is not a contest

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I have always lived by the idea of actually doing things than waiting for them to happen. A nagging feeling that I needed to do everything at once, such as planning my life, experiencing everything, getting to the top, figuring life out, and finding my purpose. I got so fixated that I ended up burning myself up, forgetting that I still have my life ahead of me.

I am 23 years old and I definitely do not need to rush things. I am young and I could actually afford failures. Plan. Execute. Enjoy.

2. You can’t please everyone

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Social Media has proven to empower people with the throng of voices continually shouting about their unverified facts and reckless, aggressive and abusive comments. Simply commenting your stand on a certain issue can guarantee you one of two things, a flock of support, or death threats from random strangers. I have learned to actually use the Unfollow and Unfriend feature on Facebook BECAUSE one less friend is one less person encouraging their attention-seeking ways.

While it is normal to seek that feeling of belongingness, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your integrity, happiness, and values. One day, all will be forgotten, and that’s good news because there’s absolutely no reason to not be the person you want to be.

3. … and you can’t force friendships

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but that’s okay. Not everyone is your friend, and not everyone will do good by you. Oftentimes, people are present in your life just because it is convenient.

‘True friendship isn’t about being inseparable, it’s about being separated and nothing changes’

Paulo Coelho once said, “Close some doors. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they no longer lead anywhere.

4. Stop making excuses for failure!!

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One thing that pisses me off these days would be to hear the excuse, ‘I’m a millennial, so it’s okay for me to make stupid shit’. NO. We are adults, and we need to take responsibility for our actions. Our generation makes too many excuses and it has to stop.

Burnouts are so common in our industry, but that doesn’t entitle us to fuck up and to forget about your priorities. Let’s not forget that we are actually working with other people, who have their own lives to think about.

5. ..and saying sorry is not always enough
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Sometimes, you actually have to change. ‘nuff said!

6. Working out is good for you!

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It helps you sleep better, compels you to eat healthy (or I at least try to), and builds and maintains your muscles, bones, and joints! HAHAHA. Going to the gym actually gave me more confidence, losing a lot of weight, and gaining toned muscles, strength, and stamina! This also helped in relieving my  stress and anxiety!

Thank God we now have a gym in the office! ❤

7. You don’t have to win everything

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Never despise yourself for your losses, because you needed them to learn! Winning is challenging you to be better. I read a quote somewhere that goes like this, ‘Mistakes can turn you into something better than you were before.’ It’s okay! Again, we have our lives ahead of us.

8. Overthinking leads to negative thoughts

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And more often than not, it leads to self-destruction and unwanted actions. So STAHP EET!!

9. Polite boys are so much more attractive!

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Stop going for the broken-selfish-douchefaces, they will just take you down with them.

10. And finally…

I think I like who I’m becoming. 🙂 HIHI.

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The best time for new beginnings is now. So go!

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