Toughest canopies have the deepest roots.

In a world of Photoshop and airbrushing, pretense and masquerades, leave a mark for being marred, scarred but wearing it like a badge of honor.
Beauty is skin-deep; sure they inch closer at that porcelain skin or the bosomy figure, but it’s charm and social grace that makes them stay.
Being calm, rational and poised is a gem in a world of trash talk.
Strength does not rely on how loud you complain, but how you intimidate by a steady gaze or a firm resolve.
Singular endurance is more admirable than tackling all and leaving them half-baked.
You are the main actor of this life, yet not all is entitled to know your whole story.

So be still.
Be a mystery.
Hide secrets.
Breathe in.
Be simple,
jagged, ragged
But getting deeper.
Stand tallest.
Yet be softest.

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From this day on, I liberate myself.

(Props to those who can state the source of my title.)

2018 is the year I will be exiting my twenties, and it is most certainly a perfect time to bring things into focus.

“Just where did my life disappear to?” A question that always pops in my head every time I sink my head in my pillow. Well, here I am in a barren land away from my family, striving a lot to provide for them financially at the expense of my freedom. Here I am, supporting my precious people, albeit carefully curated, through the internet, as if I am some online support working for them from the other side of the globe in hopes of helping them solve their qualms or guide them as they walk deeper into the unknown. Here I am, uncertain if I am growing, but certain I can feel its pains… #adulting, as the millennials fancifully quote. Hey, I also don’t know where I am going, so don’t follow me!

Of course there are too many possibilities of where I am headed, all of which are contradicting: Gain more solo adventures versus nurture a new unit of the society, turn my back from this career I have practiced unceasingly versus aim for a promotion and a position to mentor future healthcare providers, a desire to take care of my aging parents and guide my younger siblings versus an openness to embrace more fully this country blatantly biased of their natives. However, if six years ago I loathed being pulled from all sides, today it sounded so exciting looking ahead where each arrow might lead me and stabbing my neck with a blunt fork at the same time (kidding!)

Some said a person will have a further sense of clarity of what they want once they reach thirty, while others also stated thirty is the new twenty. All I can say is, the ones who uphold the former are those who have established their life paths early on and they seem to succeed in it, while those who believe the second statement are those atoning for the second decade of their lives wasted on poor financial, health and career decisions. If you will ask me which of those statements I believe, age is just a frigging number! If I want to change drastically, being thirty is not an excuse not to do it. In fact, I am in the process of breaking down my established beliefs down to its core, so there will be a rebuilding. After all, life is all about transformation, and a transformation will not be feasible without unlearning. Steps I have taken so far are as follows:

  1. I recently picked up the habit of readings books, not fiction, but self-help, simplicity guides, and surprise, surprise… financial guides.
  2. Writing a novel, not fandom based as I used to, but the original plot I have been DYING to write for almost 5 years.
  3. Inasmuch as I hate exercising, I bought a quite-expensive machine and currently in a struggle to cope up with the daily plyometrics. Heheh.
  4. Being fearless in the kitchen, despite having  almost cubed my fingers several times over the past six months in practice of how to fillet fish and the simplest proper way of cutting veggies.
  5. Treasuring the Bible not as knowledge but as life and God’s word. (I have always thought I will become an atheist when I grow up after all my misconduct in high school. A major transformation lies here.)
  6. Relearning two musical instruments I know: the piano and the guitar. I am looking at you with intent, note reading.
  7. Rekindling the art of waking early, meditating and using a physical journal. This is the only time I can draw, as I see that anime art is a talent I have (gasp) softly let go. Alas, watercolors hate me no matter how hard I try.
  8. Acknowledging the fact that seeing them boybands is now a distant possibility. But with this loss comes a new pair of eyes of seeing what is in front of me clearer. I am not farsighted in the first place, so forgive me for trying too hard.
  9. Gathering the courage to be hated for saying no, making myself heard and understood, rejecting politely (Yes, it can be.), and letting go. The toughest yet most rewarding lessons come from sticking to your core principles and ethics.
  10. At the same time, gathering the courage to be vulnerable and putting my heart out on my sleeve (at selected times in front of selected people). Letting down one’s pride has never been so liberating.
  11.  Unlearning multitasking. Embracing simplicity and freedom from clutter.
  12. Being poised is a rarity, as one of the books I read said. I choose to be rare.
  13. Having a renewed sense of community. I’ve been living in myself for too long.
  14. Treasuring those who love me unconditionally for they are rare. At the same time, valuing each life as a rare treasure with each its purpose of being in my life.

I have always compared a new year/decade/season as a blank canvas to paint on. Years of experience told me it will never be clean or blank. I can never deny and hide my past mistakes, instead I should choose to wear it proudly as it is already a part of my identity, a thing that makes me unique. The new year is a piece of art whose paint you can chip off to put fresher colors, add more vibrancy, and instead of the canvas staying always on an easel, it should be framed proudly for everyone to see, no matter how abstract the outcome is. So, let’s paint more this year! (I will most likely use oil pastels or charcoal pencils, though. Thank you.)

Spurt

So much for not having my own laptop to update this blog for almost a year. (sigh)

How do I start emptying the thoughts deeply embedded in my always preoccupied mind? For one, I have returned to the land I once despised not because of my own desire, but because God led me here after a series of soul-searching and failed plans to escape this predestination. Perhaps I can call it an aborted mission due to my uncooperative and haughty self, but now I am here, starting from (not-so) scratch, but this time, with a clearer focus and a goal in sight. Again, I am here for God and the building up of His Body; I am here for my Atypical Aim.

Separation anxiety bared its teeth on me as I spent my last days taking care of my nephew (who, by now, has become familiar with the family routine of going out for a late afternoon stroll, has three huge rabbit teeth already… but still, no hair. Come on man, I want to see how handsome he will be sooner!). It dawned to me how isolated I have been spending my life overseas, and concluded that I will not bear living the rest of my life away from my loved ones like this. It really is useless to earn money in exchange for quality time with family. Time is of essence, they always say; I am learning to value the time ahead and somehow regret how I wasted the time that had passed.

Issues in love also occurred wherein a long-distance relationship had sprung. The limited communication immensely challenged my patience and endurance. There are times I am battling with my desire to again abort this mission, but there is something that pushes me along to persevere, humble myself, swallow my pride and be the first to approach. Indeed, it is not an easy task to be a servant of God; His way of polishing of character tested me to wit’s end. Further assessment of the situation made me doubt of His arrangements. Seemingly he is not tailored for me, with the possibility of us ending together getting vague by the minute, and for certain our ways are directly opposed, hence why is this so? My cutting and matching is really at works here. The exercise of the mind is really of no use as well; I am having further headache imagining how things will be.

Let go and let God, for I am not and HE IS.
A tremendous statement that I am still having difficulty believing in. I still write in my organizer future annual plans which I believe are doomed to fail. If only for remembrance and ridicule, I should keep them within reach. This blog, too, shall be a memento, as it always have been, of how I am growing up as an individual. Right now I can see this benefit. Given more time than I have now, as I am updating from a hospital computer unit (and while on duty at that! Psst, don’t expose me to my seniors!), I shall update backlog entries exposing what I have been up to these past few months. Too much to handle, should I say.

Updated Editions

Up on this bridge, I stared at the the direction of your house.
Even if there was nothing there, it made me happy and hurt and regretful
The future we imagined is changing just like the scenery of this town.

– KAT-TUN – Hodoukyou

Many fans revolted when Maakiii, the former female vocalist of HIGH AND MIGHTY COLOR, went to the other side of the music spectrum and returned solo to release an electro- single. I myself was aghast to hear her voice severely autotuned and see her awkwardly strut toward the camera in a poppish vibe. However, upon seeing her post that she attended the SUN OF A STARVE live (the new band of her co-vocalist Yusuke), seeing they even posed for a picture, and they had a short exchange expressing recollections of their band, it made me think change is important but amidst the drastic transformations, an element in each of them never left.

KAT-TUN became a four-member band, losing an element of rap in their core. Shigeaki Kato carried on releasing his fourth book of short stories; ARASHI’s Satoshi Ohno had his second art exhibit, Freestyle 2, in Shanghai. Subaru Shibutani of Kanjani 8 delved into acting and from what I have heard, he was awarded Best Actor for “Misono Universe”. His band steadily developed as musicians through associations with other bands on their collaborative TV show. Subaru continuously became adept on harmonica, Yoko on trumpet, and Hina even expressed interest on the accordion. My favorite people were indeed growing up, but they never lost their childish and fancy sides. Take for example Kanjani 8, who are still a bunch of crazy thirty-somethings for dressing up as high school girls and performing as Canjani 8 (Which definitely made me insecure of my femininity). Last but not the least, they made me really happy when I heard their “more matured, rock version” of Zukkoke Otokomichi. (My all-time fave!!) They changed at one point, but they just accepted updates on another.

Come to think of it, How did I update myself?

A Response Two Years Later

How will you know if an important person has come into your life? – June 12, 2012

Making someone important is a decision you will let your heart choose. Sounds unusual for someone so rational but I can attest that the heart always emerges victorious no matter how many times you attempt to oppose and reason out. Perhaps it is the gut feeling that leads you to do the unexpected, or it’s that thing called fate that led you at that moment. It indeed is amazing how a stranger worms his way into your consciousness until everything that occurs to you traces back to a faint recollection of his tiniest details.

Remember that night how you searched a friend’s friend (of friends of friends) thoroughly just for his name? How you let him borrow your review book for board exams? Or the mere fact that you first saw each other when he accidentally sat on your right knee during a pictorial session at lunchtime after the Table Meeting, and that he admitted you have left him an indelible impression at that instant? Or how, on your next couple of chats, you managed to tell him the deadly secret that only two of your friends know? And how you managed to talk to him for eight straight hours and still felt it wasn’t enough for you sincerely enjoyed his company?

Congratulations, I believe you finally found him.

Present State of Mind

Of great importance to you now is…

…alert self-protection.

You carefully scrutinize everything that crosses your path, and you don’t say yes to it until it has passed your acid test. You decidedly and resolutely fend off everything that could hinder your personal development, and you keep your distance from unpleasant people who try to manipulate, define or influence you. The thing you have consciously planned is…

You can ask yourself:
Do I really need to turn away from certain people and close myself off from them in order to live in peace? Won’t I be more likely to find my peace by openly clarifying disagreements and searching for a satisfactory solution together with the person in question

…a thorough solution to your problem.

You can see it is now time to get up on your hind legs. You want to carry out your plans carefully and thoroughly and not be diverted from them. You take your tasks seriously and are not satisfied with half-hearted solutions or superficial answers. On the contrary, you try to get to the bottom of things, and you seek a radical solution to your problems. In the face of your personal problems you also concentrate on…

You can ask yourself:
Is my dream of a better life nothing more than a form of “waiting for Santa Claus” and ultimately just an escape from the unpleasant facts that are weighing on me?

…joyful fulfillment of your desires.

It is very important to you to achieve what you are striving for and to experience the joyful fulfillment of your wishes. The thing that actually often compels you into action is your deep yearning for unadulterated, lasting happiness and inner peace. If you seek these things in the realm of material possessions, relationships and experiences, you will suffer disappointment over and over again. You believe you have the “magic formula” for achieving unadulterated happiness, namely…

…crisis-proof existential survival.

You need the comforting certainty of having a solid base in your life. Stable living conditions, adequate income and sensual pleasure and a certain measure of comfort are among your life goals. You want to be secure against the whims of fate and to be able to devote yourself without distraction to the things that give you satisfaction. For this reason, you resolutely apply yourself to the task of creating a crisis-proof existence, despite any obstacles which might appear. The thing you consider very important for your sense of wellbeing is…

…loving attention.

You attempt to use your kindness to gain the affection of other people, and thanks to your charming ways, you usually succeed. You are happy when you can be with someone who shows you warm-heartedness, sympathy and understanding and with whom you can share the enjoyable things of life: delicious food, beautiful music, a comfortable home and, last but not least, the pleasurable exchange of physical affection. You hope your life will become more agreeable through…

…purposeful improvement in the situation.

You need an activity, contacts or experiences which fulfill and enrich you. You can find inspiration in anything that makes your life colorful, intense and exciting. You demand optimum quality of life, and you work purposefully towards improving your living situation. If you wish to do this for other people as well, your efforts will be even more meaningful. Your optimism and ambition will spur you on to do so.

At the moment you feel most anxious due to your…

 …distressing want for affection.

You are disappointed because, in your opinion, you don’t receive enough physical affection and aren’t able to experience enough erotic pleasure. This could lead you to seek consolation in other sensual pleasures or to distract yourself from this feeling of want through activities you find absorbing. At best, both of these will provide you with only temporary satisfaction. Psychological complaints could result from your…

Your unconscious advises you to:

Don’t immediately become impatient when your needs and wishes are not fulfilled as you expect them to be. Limitations can also have their good side: they could be an invitation to you to take a breather and a pause for thought or provide you with an opportunity to concentrate on the essentials. They could also spur you on to make a shift to other possible sources of satisfaction. 

…internal anxiety.

Tasks not yet accomplished, difficulties or a painful situation keep you constantly on the move and in a state of inner tension. You often study your problems, going round in circles, and have difficulty shutting off this mental merry-go-round. This situation will only change when you screw up the courage to work through your internal emotional problems. You are unclear what to do regarding your…

Your unconscious advises you to:

It would be better if you didn’t try to hide your fear and anger behind an inscrutable poker face. In doing so, you make it harder for other people to treat you appropriately because they cannot see what is going on inside you and don’t know what you are really thinking. Furthermore, as time goes on, the repressed emotions can have an unpleasant way of making their presence felt in the form of physical complaints.

 …aggressive irritability.

You often feel hindered by someone, either because your lovely plans get crossed or because someone puts bothersome obstacles in your path, criticizes you, offends you or otherwise annoys you. For this reason, you have accumulated a great deal of resentment inside which can discharge in the form of unexpected aggressive reactions. As long as you have not yet forgiven someone who has angered or injured you, you will not get rid of your explosive irritability. You are happy to give someone close to you the blame for your…

…inner restlessness.

You have a very sensitive nature, and for this reason, you try as quickly as possible to forget unpleasant experiences by distracting yourself through all means of activity. Naturally, your restlessness can’t bring you the inner peace you yearn for. On the contrary, the repressed negative emotions can manifest themselves through sudden shifts in mood or fits of bad temper. You are unable to find inner peace due to your…

…fainthearted fear of failure.

At the present time, you are seriously challenged by stressful conditions. It may be job-related or interpersonal difficulties or emotional problems which threaten to rob you of strength. You force yourself to face the challenge nonetheless. Behind your unswerving attitude, hides the immobilizing fear that you might not make it, and as a result, could be exposed as incompetent or even as a failure, and would lose the respect of others. Since you find it embarrassing you don’t let on anything about your…

 …worrisome apprehension.

You are conscientious and take your tasks seriously. You often spend time pondering what you should do and how you should do it, so that everything turns out well. Even when something is going just fine, you can still be suddenly afflicted with the fear that something could go wrong or something bad could happen that would ruin everything. At the same time, though, you certainly would never admit that often you become worried far too easily and paint a very pessimistic picture.