Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Extracting the Thorns

I think, after simply deciding that I wanted to be happy, one of the most practical things I learned in life when it comes to joy is just simply to pull out the thorns in your life that make you unhappy. I realized that sometimes you don’t have to put up with some of them, and the next step to find joy is simply to pluck out the things that stress you out. (Surprise! Surprise!) It sounds so simple and obvious now, but mind you, I had put up with some hardships for a long time. The reasons were usually because:
  • I felt that to keep going through the hardship meant I was strong
  • My pride prevented me from letting go
  • It had become my reality, and to let go, even if you know it’ll free you, felt very uncomfortable
  • I was punishing myself


But there is one part about extracting thorns that I’d like to expound on. I’d like to talk about relationships a bit more. It’s a topic that pulls at my heart because I’ve seen several friends of mine separate with their spouses, and it’s devastating. Of course, I’ll never know the full extent of what really happened between them, but I’ve seen how my own parents struggled, too. Let’s just say I know a lot of people who would have left their spouses for less. But my parents pushed on. I’ve seen both of them learn each other’s languages of forgiveness and love (My Dad washes my Mom’s car whenever he’s sorry. My proud Chinese father has difficulty verbalizing, “I’m sorry.”), and really find ways to mend and strengthen the relationship. The reason I’m talking about this is because you might think that when I say, pluck out the things that stress you out, and your spouse stresses you out, you’d think to leave him or her. One thing I believe that takes higher precedence than joy is love. And to pluck out the thorns in relationship is not necessarily to leave one’s partner (unless there’s physical abuse going on), but to sit down together, truly talk and seriously address the things that trigger the negative reactions in each other, and really love each other.


Of course, that entails certain compromises and decisions, but ultimately, humans react to certain stimuli, and instead of just addressing the reaction, it would be a good idea to talk it out and see what the trigger causing the reaction is. The trigger is the thorn you pull out. Not the spouse. I’ve seen how those things go in my parents’ relationship. The feelings are really seasonal. You may think you can no longer live with him or her at the moment, but a year after, you’re lovey-dovey again. Not the sweet young butterflies kind of lovey-dovey, but the mature I-worked-hard-for-this-to-work kind of love, which isn’t a bad thing. It feels a lot different. It’s a kind of love where you know the other party isn’t perfect, but you choose him or her anyway. And at the same time, you don’t take abuse, but work things with him or her to make the relationship work. It’s an I-love-you-with-my-eyes-open kind of love where you’re both in control (which, ironically, is achieved by relinquishing control). Things eventually quiet down as long as both parties decide to work things out, let go of what they think they deserve, and not give up.


Going back to stressors, one of the things that really stressed me out are the debts I needed to pay. If you have debts, what do you do? I’m sure the answer is pretty obvious, right? But for the longest time I refused to take that route, giving countless excuses to not do it. But take off the excuses, what is the simplest answer to the lack of money? Get a job.


Here were my excuses:
  • I’ve never worked in corporate before. Nobody will take me.
  • No job will be able to give me enough salary to pay what I need to in a month.
  • Everyone thinks I’m so expensive. No one is giving me a chance.


But when I had decided to get a job to get my finances in order, and called myself out on my whining, here were the truths that I knew that toppled off my very flimsy excuses:
  • I’ve never worked in corporate before. Nobody will take me. - Nobody wanted to work with your company when you started out, either. What did you do? You did cold calls. You emailed. You set meetings. You knew it would take a hundred inquiries to bag one deal. And you did it. You’ve never worked in corporate? Send out a hundred resumes then. One is bound to say yes.
  • No job will be able to give me enough salary to pay what I need to in a month. - Aim for the larger corporations, then. And one thing I learned in life is if you ask for it, someone will give it.
  • Everyone thinks I’m so expensive. No one is giving me a chance. - You are expensive. Find a company that can afford you then. And why are you waiting for a chance? Did you wait for a chance with your game company? Of course not, you broke down doors. What’s happened to you?


And so, yes. Sometimes it’s as simple as sending out those hundred resumes. One company replied. They needed a Japanese-Speaking Operations Manager. I got the salary I wanted. And my debts are slowly getting paid off with each passing month. The thorn has been plucked.


Another stressor in Manila, which I know a lot of people can relate to, is traffic. It took me two hours each morning to get to work, and another two hours in the evening to get home. What’s the solution?


I now walk ten minutes to the office from my new place.


Summary

After deciding that you’ll do what you can to find joy, the next thing to do is address the problems that stress you out or make you unhappy. More often than not, the thing that prevents us from acting on those stressors are our pride or our being comfortable in our current situation, even when we know we need to get out of it.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

I Don't Believe in Destiny

I don't believe in destiny. Or soul mates. Or twin flames. Or having someone out there that's especially for you. After my first break up, I realized that we feel that way when we're attracted to someone, but in truth, it's just really a matter of finding someone out there you're willing to spend the rest of your life with. Oh, I still feel attraction. I still long for people I like. But you're not destined to be together. It is a conscious decision of whether or not you want to bind yourselves in the sacrament of matrimony and do life together from then on. That is all. No magic to it.

But of course, a little voice inside of me wishes that someone would come along and prove me wrong.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Flu Ramblings

I want to watch Heneral Luna before it leaves the theaters! But this sickness still persists! This malady that has attempted to keep me in bed for the past five days is slowly getting worse. I have tried sleeping it off. But my brain would not shut off. And the few hours that it did, it gave me nightmares of me losing my company because an investor who bought majority share wanted to infuse more money in it, and since I couldn't match what he put in, I got diluted and lost Komikasi. I am medicating, but the medicines seem to have lost their effectivity. I need to rest, but my body refuses to relax. All I've been doing the last two days was stay home and lie awake in bed. I'm not particularly worried about anything (consciously. Komikasi has no investors) but I can't seem to find something I could play in my mind.

The sickness has its uses, though. It has forced me to lie in bed with my phone and laptop away from me. I am using only my iPad to get my thoughts out and, hopefully, tire my eyes out enough to warrant a visit from  the sandman. It has also made me think. If my nightmares consist of losing companies, then maybe there's something wrong with the way I think. Where are the people in my mind? My sister asked me what my term of endearment was for the guy of my dreams the other night. I said I didn't fantasize about guys (or girls, for that matter) anymore. Not even just a general ideal man? I had been so disappointed in the past, that I stopped thinking. I try again every now and then. But work was safer. You could measure work. Ah, maybe there lies the problem, my sister said. You attract what you think. But if you don't even think about it, how would life think you wanted it?

I had an image in my head when I was younger that I wanted to portray. And Megan Turner's book, The King of Attolia, which I have been rereading to make me feel better, sums it up quite nicely.

He looked at the king and deliberately spat out the precious water. He struggled to lift his head, so that he could look the king in the eye. "If I were here for fifty years," he said, gasping, "and she released me, I would crawl, if that was all I could do, to her feet to serve her."
The king shook his head in amusement and disbelief. "That is impossible. After what she has done to you?"
"It is what I taught her to do."
"So you would serve her still?"
"Yes."
His amusement and his disbelief wiped away, the king leaned closer. "So would I."

That loyalty was beautiful. And I wanted to be that queen. And I guess I had met people along the way with that kind of loyalty, albeit discontinued. But hey, I guess it was still good to have experienced it. But rereading that book, I realized something.

"Do you think the Thief wanted to be king?"
"Of course," said Aris.
Costis, taking this as a straight answer, was unprepared when Aris added, "Who wouldn't want to be married to the woman who cut off his right hand?"
Costis looked up, startled.
"Everyone talks as if it's a brilliant revenge," said Aris, "but I'd rather cut my own throat than marry her, and she hasn't chopped any pieces off me."
"I thought-"
"I was her loyal guard? I am. I would march into the mouth of hell for her... Miras guide us, I worship her. But I am not blind, Costis. I feel about her the same way every member of the Guard feels. She is ruthless... And it is a good thing she is, because she wouldn't be queen if she weren't. She is brilliant and beautiful and terrifying. It's a fine way to feel about your queen, not your wife."

Also,

"If she pardons people because she loves them, someday someone that she loves will betray her and all of Attolia with her. A queen must make sacrifices for the common good," Relius said.
"And if what she sacrifices is her heart? Giving it up a piece at a time until there is nothing left? What do you have then, Relius, but a heartless ruler? And what becomes of the common good then?"
"The queen could never be heartless."
"No," said the king. "She would die herself, Relius, or lose her mind first and then her heart. Could you not see it happening? Or is your faith in her strength really so blind? Everyone has a breaking point. Yet you never stop demanding more of her."

I want to keep my heart and my head. And I'd like to marry a man like the king. What was my ideal guy anyway? Forgive me my ramblings. My excuse is that I am sick, I am physically and emotionally tired, and my sisters have deserted me for the afternoon. But I like someone capable, just like the king in this story. Someone I can look up to. Ah, I love the character of Eugenides. 

"Ninety-eight days," said the queen, folding her hands in her lap. "You said it would take six months."
Eugenides picked at a nub in the coverlet. "I like to give myself a margin. When I can."
"I didn't believe you," the queen admitted with a delicate smile.
"Now you know better." The king smiled back. They might as well have been alone.
...
The queen rose and stepped behind the embroidered screen in front of the fireplace. Her attendants withdrew. The king's attendants remained, digesting the fact that their helpless, inept king had promised his wife to destroy the house of Erondites in six months and had done it in ninety-eight days.

He's not devoid of his struggles or internal turmoils. But he is brilliant. Would it be too much to ask for a brilliant man? Someone I can look at and exclaim, "Grabe! Ang galing!" And yet would care about me enough physically, emotionally, and in a bunch of other ways? Hmm. That is a nice thought.

My eyes are beginning to droop now. Thank you for keeping me company. I shall attempt to sleep now.

Friday, September 4, 2015

An Offense to our Men

Why is this a thing? There are so many kabit movies and TV series popping up these days. And I think people fail to realize that it's not just degrading to women, but also an offense to our men. I mean, think about it. We are basically implying that men are selfish indecisive creatures driven only by their libido. That men are unfair creatures, thinking only of themselves. That as long as they can afford it, and they can hide it, they will keep two women. And it's not unfair on both women because it's "love." We all know it isn't. It's nothing more than pride. An insecurity manifesting itself in the need to prove to one's self that he is in control of people's lives, and that he is attractive enough to have two women. We are implying that men are like that. When the truth is majority of the men we have around us are not like that. They are good people. Fair people. Decent people. I have a lot of guy friends. Most of my friends are guys because of my industry. And while they're not perfect, none of them are that backward.

Guy friends, defend yourselves. I know we, women, can be a bit loud with our sentiments. But in this case, I don't think it'll be appropriate for us to defend you. So please, for the sake of the next generation and those who might believe the shows, defend yourself. Tell the world that you're better than that. Show the world you look down on unfaithfulness. Use a hashtag and start a movement if you need to. But disagree with the image they are giving of you. Do not remain quiet. Do not let it be and hope it just goes away. For the sake of the next generation and for the sake of mankind, pick up your sword and fight this image.

And for us, creators, we need to start making shows that are more responsible. Because whether we like it or not, people will believe what we show.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 2015 Lessons and Plans

I'm in the wilderness. I'm at a point in my life where I'm questioning my direction. While it's so very confusing and frustrating, I think it's a good thing. It prompts recalibration. And while I still find myself downcast on some gloomy days, I have resolved to decide to choose cheer each day. It's time to recalibrate. And here are the things I need to consider.

I find myself questioning what I do. Business hasn't been good lately. And while I know it's just a season and I just need to wait it out, I still find myself questioning if I should be doing what I'm doing. What significance does it have on the world? Why does it feel like merely a thing I do in the now to survive? Why does it feel like a band aid on a fracture? If I die today and find myself before my Creator, what have I got to show for myself? I don't think He'll be pleased with my accolades and accomplishments. If He asked me if I loved the people around me, all I could say is "I didn't hurt them."  Sometimes, I even did. I believe I have the capacity to love. But most of the time I don't exercise it. At the end of the ages, can I actually say I did the work prepared for me? And if I know that God tests your heart and your obedience to love, why do I still insist on making work my priority?

I guess because it's comfortable. Because work can be impersonal and measurable. Relationships are complicated. Denying one's self is hard. It's easier to run away and keep away from your sister when she starts putting you down instead of letting the offense slide and realizing that her putting you down indicates that she's not feeling very loved at the moment. And instead of running away, what she needs is for you to just be accessible and tell her there will be better days, and here, have a photo of panda macarons to cheer you up! But it's hard when her words imply that you're fat and old, single and desperate. And half of the time, you believe her.

I prayed to God. I asked Him what He wanted me to do, where He wanted me to go. I valued work, but every time I asked, He didn't usually reply with anything work-related. Be still, He said, and know that I am God. Praise the Lord, He said, and rejoice evermore! Be grateful. Be faithful in the little things. And love. Love. Love.

Should I continue my business, Lord, or should I consider working? Rejoice! Lord, You're not listening. What do I do with my work? Praise the Lord! And I bidded for projects, and I got very few. I applied for work, and nobody called me back. I'm in a drought, and all I got was, "Love. Love. Love." So I have a feeling I need to stop panicking and be still at the moment, and wait for the Lord to show me His power, to show me how He is God. To let go of the worry. To be faithful in the little things I find I need to do, but to stop fretting about money. Instead, I think it's a season to focus on Him, to properly do my quiet time in the morning, to sing Him praises, to write Him love letters. To stop and consider the gravity of His sacrifice to save us. To really just look upon His face and know that all these pursuits are meaningless without love, without God.

And love. Love the people around me. Be cheerful regardless of the amount of money in my wallet. Smile. Laugh. Be joyful. Be happy. Praise. And love some more.