Category Archives: Something Personal.

Change is not for wussies

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There’s a reason for my protracted absence in the last three months: I was in the midst of a job change and was in the process of adjusting, finding my footing and proving myself.

The new position, in a very challenging but very good company, also placed me in a manager position which meant being responsible for four (talented) souls under my team.

From being someone who used to do ALL the work, I am now expected to delegate and manage people efficiently. While I am very grateful for the opportunity, I am also scared shitless. I am scared that I will mess up, disappoint/annoy/embarrass my team and/or fall short on the expectations of my bosses. I am afraid that from being the “Wonder Girl” of my previous company, I will amount to nothing but a mediocre boss in this new one. I am afraid to fail and lose all the things I have painstakingly built on my own during the past six years in my old company. I am afraid to become a failure.

You say: If you are so afraid, then why make the change at all?

Because it’s time.

I’d rather take the leap of faith and start from scratch than deal with the “what if’s;” I’d rather wake up and go to work anxious about proving myself than remain complacent; I’d rather rather bust my ass off working than live each day trapped in monotomy. I figured that in my old age, I don’t want to live with any regrets.

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I started writing Daily Affirmations in my journal when stress gets to me. I always tell myself, each and every day – Be Brave!

 

I’ve always believed that being scared is always a good thing, because that meant that you are hell-bent on avoiding failure. When there’s too much at stake, you will do your best – even if the process consumes your whole being. Being afraid is a good things, because it will make you conscious of success. Being afraid usually gives way to check and balance. Being afraid pushes you to be brave. And honestly, this is what I do each and everyday of my life.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’ll be less stressed if I chose to just stay put with my old company. The allure of comfort + familiarity + routine was tempting. But I asked myself why I wanted to go in the first place, and each and every time, I am reminded of my desire to do something different, something difficult…something challenging in my life.

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Conquering my fear

So yes, embarking on a life change when you’re in your 30s can be nerve-wracking. But who says life is easy?

 

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Quo Vadis, KamikazeeGirl?

Along with the coming of the New Year is the opportunity to take stock of the past year, forgive past transgressions, learn from the failures of yesterday and move on with hopeful plans for the next. In my case, I am approaching 2017 a lot less cynical, a lot more mature and grown up.

Suffice to say, for me, 2017 is the year of growing up. 

When I was younger I wish I could be remain 25 years old forever. For a while, I clung on to that notion – my own Peter Pan complex (convinced that I will never grow old) and just went through the motions of me being young and irresponsible and rebellious and difficult. Suffice to say, it was NOT cute. Whereas to a millennial, the whole “devil-may-care-attitude” would look fly; but not when you’re a 30 something middle manager corporate peon with nary a care in the world. Sorry, but it was just being stubborn and difficult.

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During the past years, I discovered traveling, fell in love with being an amateur wanderlust; and then a while back, I rediscovered writing, blogging and reaching out to brands. At first it was fun, getting invited to events, getting SWAGs, meeting new people, discovering amazing writers and story tellers and counting them as new friends. Then, it slowly became just a matter of trying to catch up on writing, setting up your blog number, your stats, trying to be in the middle of the game. For me, it became a chore. It wasn’t as fun anymore.I began to dread writing. I began to dread opening emails. I was way over my head and I knew it.

I know I needed to step away for a bit. Re-assess my priorities and recharge. In the end, I needed to answer one pressing question, Quo Vadis? (Where are you going?)*

(* According to the apocryphal Acts of Peter (Vercelli Acts XXXV[1]), Peter is fleeing from likely crucifixion in Rome at the hands of the government, and along the road outside the city he meets the risen Jesus. In the Latin translation, Peter asks Jesus “Quo vadis?”, to which he replies, “Romam eo iterum crucifigi” (“I am going to Rome to be crucified again”) – from Wikipedia)

Where am I headed? With too much dreams and plans in my head, I know that I have started to lose sight of the things I really wanted to do. I was too preoccupied with a lot of things that I lose track of the three-year, five-year plan. More than anything, I knew that I needed to investing on myself.

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Investing on your own house is not easy

On the last month of 2016, the hubby and I took a step forward and got our own place. 

Like all things, my fixation on getting my own place stemmed from my pro-longed mid-life crisis. I was getting old, earning my dues on the kaisha but still haven’t got anything to my name. Well, I had two life insurance policies, but like any typical Filipino, my dream is to have a house of our own. One which I can share with the hubby and the cats and the many toys and collectibles we had. One, when possible, where I can raise kids.

I mulled getting a house in the province, where mortgage is cheap, but being a City Girl at heart, I was mortified with the traffic, the travel time and the fact that I am hundreds of kilometers away from Makati City. So when the chance to own a unit located on a new condominium complex came, it wasn’t difficult for me (and the hubby) to say yes. The unit came with a dirt-cheap monthly amortization and flexible payment plans. The moment I handed over the reservation fee (PHP25,000 – enough to buy a new laptop), my head was already swimming with dreams of redecorating. My online life was consumed looking through pegs and swatches from Architecture Digest and Real Living; and pinning the hell out of Pinterest.

One of the things I needed to do was get a checking account. Banks are wary of giving out checking accounts to just anyone, to lessen the probability of bouncing checks and unfunded accounts, I was told. What convinced my bank was my long-standing history with them. I have been a client for more than six years already and pretty much did all my banking with BPI. So kids, this shows that it pays to stick to one bank you can trust –  build a good financial reputation. It will help a lot when it’s time to start being a grown up and start investing into things.

After issuing 48 post-dated checks and in God’s perfect timing, we will be able to move into our new home in two years. Enough to save up for the redecoration, the furniture and the kids that would hopefully fill our little home one day.

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The big financial responsibility of trying to get your own home also meant that I needed to prioritize. That meant more focus and more responsibility with work, the comes the side hustles. Currently, I am juggling about three side gigs that brings in additional cash, money that goes straight to the checking/condo account.

This also meant that while I will still continue to blog (after all, writing is my passion), my goal is to now write about the things that I really, really love and believe in. That meant travel, my hobbies, eating, crafts, arts, books, fashion, beauty and trying to be healthy. While I am very thankful of every opportunity given to me, my goal is to write more original materials for the coming years. I owe my readers that (no matter how few they may be).

Five days into the new year, I am glad that I have come to gain my footing once again. I’ve found my compass, I’ve adjusted my sails and yes, I finally know where I am going.

 

 

 

The Birthday Manifesto

Like clockwork, as soon as my birthday week rolls around, I get antsy and I start questioning my existence. Call it the birthday blues or mid-life crisis but it’s always the same each time my birthday draws near. 

For this year, I tried to make it different. Instead of whining and complaining, I am now angling for change. 

I will tidy up my life and I will not be afraid to let go. Let go of clothes that never fit me, bags and shoes that I no longer fancy or was just way past its prime;  I will not shortchange my self and will start treating myself to finer things just because I deserved it. I will choose the one that’s better for my body and my self. I will let go of clutter – things and thoughts – that take up space in my home and in my mind. The goal is to edit, edit and edit. Until finally settling for only what’s essential and true. 

I will no longer pursue people, things and careers they never sparked joy in my heart. Between settling and letting go – I will always choose to let go. I will not be afraid to take the big leap, to step up and to leap into the void. I will take risks, calculated yes – but nonetheless risks that jolts me out of being complacent l. 

I will no longer be afraid to say No. I will always use my prerogative, my option for change. I will stop looking for mere jobs and instead focus on finding a career that best suits me. I will pursue what makes me happy and not only what fattens the bank account. I will no longer suffer in behalf of other people. I will no longer work myself to death. Not will I ever report for work when I am clearly sick or struggling. My health will always come first. 

I will find more time to write, to blog and to create art. I will work on my calligraphy and vow to lessen my time on the TV or the Internet. I will exercise more, eat healthier and always strive to keep my mind sharp. 

I will strive to be a better person and choose what is only right, just and fair. 

Wedding Anniversary Staycation at Belmont and Nichols Airport Hotel

Time flies when you’re having fun. 

I guess the Hubs and I are having the time of our lives since we failed to notice that our lifelong partnership aka marriage has reached its 7th year mark. Yes folks – I have been married that long. While I don’t look like I was past my college years (please indulge me), I have also known people who get surprised when they realized that I am somebody’s wife. 

  

This year, we have been blessed when Hubs won an overnight stay at Belmont Hotel which is part of Resort World. It was a particularly welcome blessing since Hubs entered the  contest during his birthday dinner at Mangan. 

   
  

We were  given a room on the 8th floor of the 10-floor establishment. Our accommodation, referred to as the “Tranquility Room@ was cozy and comfortable. Space is limited but we loved the coziness of the place. Our room was within the inner corridors of the newly-opened hotel and faces the fake balconies of the other rooms around us. 
 

Bathroom amenities are available in very cute packaging. 

 
I was a bit weirded out to see that one side of the bathroom was visible from the bed since it’s made of see through glass. If you don’t want to give a free peepshow to your roommates, you can pull the floor to ceiling blinds that will protect your modesty.  

There is adequate WiFi and aircon temperature is really good. Its proximity to the mall allowed us to have a really fun and relaxing celebration: 

 

We geeked out and watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens and spent minimum amount on snacks. Hubs and I are pleased that there wasn’t much of a crowd at Newport Cinemas at Resorts World. You see all the blue squares in the picture above? Those were available seats and during screening, the cinemas we were in had empty chairs. 

In the morning, we passed time chilling in the pool and jacuzzi located at the 10th floor. The water was very cold due to the rain. 

(Will post a separate review for Belmont Hotel) 

   

  

 While the Hubs enjoyed the pool, I indulged in one of my favorite hobbies – plane watching! 

   
  

After checking  out of Belmont, we headed to my new discovery and one of my favorite places for chilling out: Nichols Airport Hotel (Have you joined my contest already?) for Staycation 2: 
   
  We were very surprised when the hotel staff ushered us to the huge family suite. I mean, the bathroom alone is already equivalent to the side of the room we stayed in Wanchai District, Hong Kong. 

We ordered room service and enjoyed the day noshing on a complimentary wine from the ever-thoughtful team of Nichols Hotel and watched Friends rerun the whole day 

  
In the seven years of #TeamSuzon – this is the best celebration so far. Mainly because we were laid back and we were happy… And we get to be the dorky nerds that we are with the Star Wars screening. We love every minute of it and are already looking forward to recreating it for our 8th year together. 

The anniversary also highlighted the purpose of hotels for me – more than just a place where you stay during travel, a really holy hotel can serve as your home away from home. We got this vibe from both Belmont and Nichols. With Belmont, we loved the facilities (especially the pool) and how close it was to malls and other attractions within Resorts World. We loved lounging on the pool while a plane flies overhead so close you could read it’s body number. 

With Nichols, we are in awe of the personalized service, of the huge rooms and the yummy food. Depending on the hotel you choose, your stay can go beyond sleeping in a sanitized, glamorized box — it can be a vacation in itself. 
Disclosure: 

Our stay in BELMONT is part of a prize won from Mangan, the Filipino restaurant. 

Our stay in NICHOLS AIRPORT HOTEL was a gift from the kind management. 

I wrote this article with all my biases and opinions. KamikazeeGirl believes in being truthful to its readers. Always. 

The dress that wouldn’t fit

 

My mother-in-law bought the nicest, cutest dress in London for me to wear on my wedding anniversary. The material was good: the softest lace, nice British collars and the nicest hue of blue. Excitedly, I put it on. 
It did not fit. 

Mother-in-law and sister-one-law balked and keveched on the dress that wouldn’t fit, on the pounds I managed to gain in a year and the weight gain that seemed to latch itself on me for the past year. 

The dress that did not fit now haunts me like a spectre – a reminder of weight gain and the inability to stay fit. Of exercises not made and diets forgotten. 

In spite my foray into counted-calorie food delivery and swearing off rice and Coke and every good thing there is (limited cupcakes and sweets) I feel like that I have managed to gain the 20 pounds that I lost in the past year when I was going through a very rough patch in my life. Sometimes I wish that I was still in the midst of that rough patch  where I don’t sleep or eat if that meant that I will b able to fit in that freaking blue dress.  

I’ve been trying to use Reducin courtesy of ATC, which I blogged about on this space, and it’s helping me a bit control the weight gain. But I realized that it’s not enough. If I have to take drastic measures just to have these weight off for good then that’s what I will do. I am sick and tired of not fitting into clothes, and being teased about my curves, of people hearing my weight and then laughing. I’ve had enough. 

On Monday, I will enrol on a boxing program and hopefully start a new life for me away from my constant battle with the bulge. While this is a more personal post, I will be glad to share this journey with you. 

I am so sick of being labeled fat. One day, I will fit in that dress. 

Be a joy to others 

Let me share you a story about a young lady I met during the launch of the new Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Giving Journal. 

It’s always nice to be complemented, especially when someone appreciates your talent. Have you imagined a random stranger showing appreciation for what you can do? Or going out of your way to befriend you? 

Neither do I. Being inherently shy (!), I tend to keep to myself until someone talks to me or acknowledges me. It’s a personality quirk that I hate because it leaves me paralyzed to approach potential new friends. 

  
That is why it is both a happy coincidence and a nice surprise when one of the attendees for CBTL’s Giving Journal approached me and complimented me on my hand lettering work. After I went inside, Liz approached me and mentioned that she hoped to sit with me if I was alone. 

The  candidness and her refreshing take on approaching strangers (one that is perpetually scowling, mind you) provided me with a new outlook on life. How many opportunities for friendship have I lost just because I looked to unapproachable or because I was too much of a wuss to intiate the first hello? Liz’ refreshing honesty and her natural charm and interest in people allowed her to be open. At 22, this young lady taught me-an old hat-a valuable lesson in seeing beyond first impressions. 

 

me and my new friend, Liz with the new CBTL Giving Journal

How about you? When was the last time you showed genuine interest in others? Do you let first impressions or shyness keep you from meeting new friends? 

 

Losing Sayuri

 

Sayuri (2009-2015)

How do you even grieve when you lose a pet you love so much?  Is it even normal to feel your heart break into a hundred tiny pieces and know that somehow, a piece will always be missing no matter how many years have gone by.

Until now, I am still coming to terms that Sayuri, the domestic fur ball I picked off the streets, is gone. 

To some, they will say “pusa Lang naman yan… Andaming pusa sa Kalye…”  But for my husband and I, Sayuri is more than a pet. 
I took Sayuri off the streets when Mike and I were barely a month married. I was doing the laundry while Mike went out to buy out afternoon snack. Just as I was hanging some of the clothes to dry outside, I saw a tiny black ball of fur being pawed by a huge dog. In spite being tiny, the kitten was staging one hell of a fight. I shooed the dog away, picked up the pissed off kitten and brought it inside. When Mike came back, he saw a tiny black head peering from the box of his basketball shoes. 

 

sleep tight, princess
 
Sayuri was there when the hubs and I were still struggling. She stood by us as we count our remaining savings and tightened our belts just to get by. Whenever her “kuya” and “ate” (we tell Sayuri we’re her ate and kuya) fight, she would hide behind the bed only to come out and make cute to whoever is more upset. When Mike and I went through a lot last year, she patiently stood by me and slept by my side, pawing me to sleep even in the midst of the darkest cloud in the sky. 

When life started becoming better for Mike and myself, and we started enjoying the fruits of our hard work – Sayuri was there, of course, to revel into being the spoiled little cat.  

  

Sayuri knew how to tug at our heart strings and used it to her advantage. She enjoyed having the best cat toys and even her own blankie, straight from my mom-in-law who lives in the UK. She preferred eating cat food and would snub the human food we offer except if it’s cheese flavored or soft veggies. That cat was obsessed with cheese and would battle it out with me whenever she had the chance. We always say that our cat ate better than us and we are happy to have given her so much privilege during her six years on earth. 

 

Our gang of three

Since Mike and I is still waiting for our little one, many would tell us that Sayuri was our “baby.” To a point, yes. But we’d like to think that we were a cohesive gang of three – composed of two crazy humans and a crazier diva cat. She was the constant subject of my endless less kwento and I never hesitated to always consider her welfare in everything we do: whether it be traveling or even choosing a new place to live. She was, to put it bluntly, the center of our little unit. 

Her death came to us sudden and very swift. She has been lethargic and not eating for days but responded warmly to our hand feeding of milk and baby food. We were observing her and was able to breathe a momentary sight of relief when she started eating again and has even taken into stealing my father’s “pulutan.” She started to roam the house again until Thursday evening when she stopped walking and eating. She soiled the bed and can’t hardly stand by Friday evening. Panicking, we brought her first thing Saturday morning to the vet, but by then it was too late. The diagnosis was that she had been battling kidney failure and that her lover had deteriorated already. Her organs were also already affected and the vet had been brutally kind to let us know that at that stage, she was too far gone, was just a matter of time and best to make her comfortable. She passed away at 3:15 in the afternoon. 

We didn’t see her breathe her last but was given the chance by the vet’s assistance to privately said our goodbyes. Mike massaged her face and closed her eyes (which was partially open, like it normally would when she was sleeping) and I was able to kiss her one last time. I told her that I was sorry for not beating the disease for her and that I will miss the times she would sit on my chest while I sleep. Or the times when I woke up in the middle of the night to see her face as she slept beside me. After properly saying our goodbyes, we  gave her back to the vet. We chose to have her buried within the vet’s private burial area inside the compound where she’ll be with the other pets who passed away before her.   

  
While I am too emotionally exhausted, by evening I managed to convince myself that Sayuri is now in a better place and is now free from the many diseases that ravaged her body. I only wish I knew sooner. Her last visit to the vet earlier this year did not yield anything. In stead of entertaining the many “what ifs” still plaguing my mind, I chose to just be glad that Mike and I were blessed to have six years with an extraordinary cat like Sayuri. 

They say that having a pet is a commitment and I agree. When you choose a cat or a dog, you have to realize that it will go beyond their baby years when they are still cute balls of fur. Our pets are heavily depended on us for their needs and by taking them in, that is already akin to signing a contract that you will care for them-both in sickness and in health. 

When we took in Sayuri, she also taught us about the responsibilities of having and owning a pet. She taught us unconditional love (and that being notoriously cute and wily will get you things – but that’s another story 😺) and that a pet’s love is priceless. 

Good night my Princess Sayuri. Play now and run free.