Tag Archives: musings

The future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades! 


As what one of my favorite poets, Brandon Boyd, used to say: 

“Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there – with open arms and open eyes…” 


I have been mulling a career change for the last few months, brought by some happenings in the professional front and a few realizations after I have begun to bring this blog public a year ago. 

On the professional side: I have come to be at peace that right now, a career back in journalism or publishing is still not yet in the cards for me. The security and the stability of the corporate world remains uncontested. With three cats to feed at home, I am really not in a position to turn my back from the same thing that shaped me for who I am and gave me a stable and comfortable life. Maybe I will be able to go back to writing – full time- in two years, but not now when I still need to fortify and strengthen my nest egg. 

For blogging, some of you may have noticed that I have quite a stash of back log for my blogging duties and I do need to write often. However, these past months – I have taken stock of the contents of these page and have become convinced that I owe my (three) readers more than what I usually put out. 

First, I’d like to curate the brands featured on this space more strategically and more stringently. More than anything, I’d like to focus more on brands I believe in. 

Second, I know it’s every bloggers dream to be noticed and get selected to events and launches. But the past year has been really dizzying and overwhelming for me. Man, blogging is a whole different ball game. I’ve seen and heard some things that overwhelmed me, considering my training is more of traditional media than online. I am lucky to have met really passionate people and hard working individuals, and was blessed to be able to turn some of them to life-long friends. However, like in any environment, there are still incidents that opened my eyes on “how things are.” The past year have been a learning experience – yet, i also made a conscious decision to be more selective of events to feature. Again, it’s a decision to come up with a more carefully curated content that will benefit the readers more. 

Lastly, I wanted to bring back my personality and my voice to this page. If it’s always all about products and events; but without my daily drivel and aimless discourse on things, places and people I care about – then how can this page represent me? 
#MeToday 

Distressed sweater – Forever 21 

Textured A Line Skirt – Forever 21 

Lace up Mary Janes with heels – H&M 

Silver socks – Bench 

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Dispatch from the Bottomless Pit.

Stand-Up-Eight

Hello.

Yes, I am still alive. But barely.

I’ve been out of circulation for six months. Too many things have happened and this day, I can’t believe that I am still going strong, struggling–yes; but amazingly, surviving.

The past months I have been gone, I was both swallowed by the responsibilities of daily life, and recently — some sad developments in my personal life. It is funny when I think about it, and to think that it would never happen to someone like me. After all, if there’s someone convinced there is FOREVER, then that would be me. I don’t know how I managed to survive. Maybe sheer tenacity, sheer stubbornness?

At my lowest moment, I contemplated about killing myself (but only fleetingly), my background as a publicist and my inflated (albeit, badly bruised) ego saved me from entertaining any further thoughts of just ending my misery. Why? I know this might not be funny for some, but — do excuse my morbid sense of humor — but at my lowest moment, when nothing but dark thoughts, filled my head, I suddenly thought of garish headlines printed in some of the sleaziest tabloids available and immediately shook any dark thoughts away from my head.

I don’t want to get into details but I was at a pretty dark place these past two months. I refused to eat (in spite the pleas of my parents and worried siblings) and I had trouble sleeping, often lying in bed awake trying to cry myself to sleep.

It was excruciatingly painful, to think that I had to go to work everyday and pretend I am okay — attend high-level meetings, manage projects, unveil and manage events and act like I was not hurting inside. I had to talk to my friends, my colleagues and everybody like my normal self, when deep inside, all I wanna do is just crawl into a hole, cry my brains out, and just stop breathing. It’s like two different personalities — the carefree, happy-go-lucky one which I immediately switch off once I enter my room and finally alone. There are times, when I feel like all I needed was the red and black tights and costume and the heavy wooden mallet and I can be Harley Quinn — happily dark and crazy.

harley

But you know what, I am still here. I managed to stand up — and now I am working hard on making myself whole again.

I guess one of the things that pulled me out of the dark place is the love of my family, especially my mom who was, surprisingly, there each time I am at my lowest moment. I don’t know how moms do it — but each time I am crying or sinking further and further into depression, my mom would suddenly appear at the door, checking if I was okay. (In my head, I knew that she might be checking if I was still breathing — knowing how fragile I was during the last two months).

Work, no matter how miserable and tedious it was, also kept me busy and preoccupied. I guess when you are too tired that you can’t barely even move your body, you no longer have time to cry or grieve.

I also stayed away from all forms of social media, well, except Instagram where I amused myself by filtering the shit out of photos and regraming emo quotes. I stayed the hell away from Facebook, knowing that I will only be more depressed when I see my timeline. I stopped communicating with people and I stayed away from What’sApp, Viber and even Twitter.

I started working on my relationship with God. I have been pretty wishy-washy when it comes to my faith but when I was at my lowest, all I ever did was read the Scriptures and talk to him. In my mind, my faith was my only anchor of sanity. Praying and just shutting my mind helped me push the evil thoughts at bay and helped me climb out of the dark hole where I was for two month. I kept thinking that God will not give me something I can’t deal with and that there’s a reason why things happen. His Words gave me comfort and I tried drawing strength from my Faith. This allowed me to survive and to believe that I am above any form of trials. That no matter how clumsy and puny I maybe, I am strong.

I started taking care of myself again. I run regularly, I colored my hair back to black and started planning for my future outside the corporate world. I am now seriously going back to writing. This is something that I have been thinking about for a very long time, though it scares me a bit because I am not sure if I can manage to land a writing job again, ten years after my last writing assignment. What I am sure though, is that I am already done with corporate and my remaining months as part of the walking wounded will be devoted to growing my savings account.

I am okay now. Still not at my best, still grieving and yes, still depressed. But I am also convinced that the fact that I am still breathing highlights the fact that I am a strong woman and I can rise again, no matter how hard, how deep I fall.

This is my dispatch from the bottomless pit. Yes, I might still be here but I am getting better and in time, I know I will be able to climb out and be new again.

…being a good boss

Hey, are you the big cheese in your company? Or, are you the manager — with people reporting to you on a daily basis, usually at your beck and call. Do you juggle project after project, potently laced with various individuals’ Performance Appraisals and futures thrown in between?

When I was still way, way down low in the office hierarchy, I used to dread authority and the kind of people that wield them. In my mind, authority is a good thing–when wielded by a person who is not in danger of abusing it. But give it to a pyscho or a person with low EQ, then we are doomed to fail.

I have been working for almost 14 years now, and within those years–either had the pleasure or the misfortune of working for a long line of bosses. Some had terrorized me no end, some I have managed to curse to high heavens while there are also others whose lessons and reminders I have treasured greatly. Writing this piece, I am inspired to list them one-by-one and try to remember if I have been unfair to them during my tenure.

Due to my long and historical (as in, there’s just too much story in between) employment record, I will only list those who I worked with for more than a year:

The society doyenne – My first boss was recognized as the “Dean of Philippine Lifestyle Editors” — she is a small woman but very imposing and authoritative, her presence was enough to reduce me to a blubbering idiot. One word from her and we, her Lifestyle staff would cower in fear. I was a young writer then, fresh out of Journ school and prone to lapses in grammar and writing. After I have submitted my article, she would then call me to sit beside her — checking my grammar and writing style as she edit, alternately scolding me and joking in the process. I have always feared her presence and hated her for always singling me out. In her mind, I needed growing up. Now more than 10 years after, I realized that everything I have learned about writing a good story, I learned it from observing her and being part of her team. There are days when I still wonder what would have happened to me if I just stopped being childish then and did not quit the publication?

The Japanese Editor who is a stickler for details – I have always been fascinated with Japanese culture but working for my Japanese editor made me appreciate their discipline and dedication for work. This is the guy who asked me to cover the police detachment and ask gory details about a reported murder. My second editor was a big guy who resembled a polar bear more than a hard-hitting journalist.

The office heart throb had much of the female population in thrall for his almond-shaped eyes and bedimpled cheek, except for dear, old me who was both his right-wing (wo)man and constant frenemy. Worked for this guy for two and a half years and in those two years, was a witness to his revolving door of women. Now happily married, this boss of mind taught me confidence and how to charm your way to some of my most direst situations. It is under his wing that I realized how much I love marketing and public relations and that being a Corporate Communications professional can be a life-long career for me.

The Psycho Slave Driver from Hell – The less I say about this person, the better. Let’s just say working for her led me to my first nervous breakdown, total loss of confidence in my self and I had to leave a really good company with outstanding benefits plus amazing relationships I managed to cultivate during my tenure. In the end, I chose to pick my sanity and health over any potential regional career.

The A-Type Management-pleaser, in spite her obsessive, anal way of dealing into things, have always been a good person and a joy to work with. This boss taught me all the things that one needs to know if one wants to succeed in the corporate world, no thanks to her “take-all-prisoners” approach in all things. She diligently (and sometimes annoyingly) badger me into addressing emails according to recipient’s position, reminded me to always and diligently respond to messages and phone calls and basically given me the insight to think more like an office drone rather than a rock star wannabe. While she and I had our bad days, she will always have my respect and gratitude for shaping me to be the person that I am today.

I had other bosses aside from those mentioned above but my stay with them has either been too short (less than 6 months or a year) or uneventful that I can’t think of anything to say about them. I currently work for someone who shall be referred to as “The Legend” and I wish to think that I have already found my mentor. The Legend knows our industry inside and out, and her international training and experience had rid her of the usual emotional baggage present among local bosses. She encourages her team to be bold, to take intelligent risks and aim for the best. This person inspires me to do better and to build a career out of what I currently do.

The reason for this lengthy post is this: as I go forward my new role as a manager of a whole department, I have developed an obsession to be a good boss and mentor to my team. After all, just a few short years ago, I was one of them.

Last Friday, I had the misfortune of having to present my team member, who is doing an amazing job, her first ever memo for tardiness incurred. Half of me wanted to be authoritative and explain the process, but the other half just wanted to be there for her during, what probably is, the worst day of her life. For one, I didn’t agree with the memo — I find it stupid that she gets docked for showing up 5 minutes late to work when she is usually working for more than three hours after work lets out. But this was one simple instance where I have to wear the hat of a management representative and the manager corp and do what is expected of me.

I hope that when time passes by and my team grow bigger and bigger, I will be blessed with the fortitude and wisdom to do things according to what is right and not what is popular. I don’t want t be the kind of manager that ends up getting burned behind their back.

Going through the wringer (Day 10/ 10 January 2012/ Project 365)

sharpening both ends until there's nothing left

I was sharpening my stash of pencils when I suddenly had the brilliant idea to capture one of them as my entry for the day for my Project 365.

I am one of those OC people who can’t bear to use an unsharpened pencil. Call me crazy but I can’t function if the pencil I am using is not thin-sharp. I find that they don’t look as neat and nice when used on a very nice paper. Hence, I always bring a sharpener with me anywhere I go. During meetings you’ll see me sharpening my usual two pieces of Mongol while nodding and listening to the discussion. I will delivery choose a seat nearest to the trash cans just so I can sharpened my pencil in all its pointed tip glory. To make sure that my notebook or planner won’t look dirty, I also bringing my rubber eraser. My weapon of choice is Mongol Number 2 pencil sharpened to perfection.

I chose this picture because this photo reminds me of my current state of mind at work. I am currently tired and drained due to a lot of concerns about work and my financial state in general. There are days when I feel like I am burning both ends of the stick. Like I may be sharpened, ready for the work and professional challenges ahead yet inside, I am losing whatever strength I have inside of me.

Raising my glass to Life

Things have been very hectic for me lately–work wise. I won’t even go to my finances current state right now cos this post is not really meant to be a pity party. Well. I am almost tempted to throw myself one–glossing over the fact that I am still a complete idiot at an age when I should be acting more like a functioning adult. But then again I realized that the fact that my current bank account resembles the Philippine coffers is really my own doing — I have been quite careless with spending lately, and with another upcoming travel looming in the horizon, it’s really time for me to save-up.

I used to worry also about what people at the office think about me — the blond-haired chick wearing weird office clothes who usually don’t speak to anyone. Anyone pretty much has their own interpretation, but at my age I learned not to care what other effing thing. I think it’s funny when we put assumptions on other people and we keep on waiting for them to validate our judgment. I learned to go with my instinct and do what I want to do. Eff conforming to anyone. My reasoning was, as long as I don’t break the rules or harming anyone, then — I am all good.

Such coincidence when I saw this picture when trawling the world wide web:

pic not mine

The words above summarized what I feel about life. I’ve been bothered these past few days about what I’ve been doing professionally–only to realize that this actually is an answered prayer. I made it a point to walk away from any job that made me miserable. This time, I am sticking around. However, I also realized that there’s tons to learn. That I am also an immature bitch who needed to be more professional commensurate to my position as a manager. I may not have the job of my dreams (i.e. a travel writer) but I have a job that I know well and which makes me very happy. I should be contented.

I should learn to take care of myself, and of my health. More than the “procreate” issue that’s been haunting me for as long as I am married, I don’t want to be someone who battled illnesses left and right. Earlier during a budget deliberation meeting which I attended (and which nearly gave me nose bleed — more on this later), I had the misfortune of sitting in front of my office mate who is a bit obese. While I was trying to fight sleep and retain snippets of the meeting which sounded to me like it was explained in Tamil (cos it involved numbers), I can hear him gasping for breath, wheezing, whining and producing weird sounds coming from his throat and nose. Maybe he couldn’t breathe or something? I was worried that he might be gasping or that he simply couldn’t expel air well. I was worried that he was choking! A really talented writer, my office mate obviously needed a bit of losing the extra poundage the same way that I needed to lose my paunch. Hearing him gasp for breath made me bow to watch my health more closely.

In two weeks time, I will accompany mum and dad to Foreign Affairs to get their passports. Step 2 in my quest to bring them out of the country, especially my dad who is 61 years old already. Raised to a life of poverty, my dad is amused that he is about to experience travel abroad. With my meager salary, I shall pay for their tickets (as my Christmas gift) and I know that this trip to HK will deplete my already-depleted resources. I have faith that I will be able to pull this off, as I will do everything just to make my parents experience life’s little pleasures. I vowed that dad has to get on that plane THIS YEAR while he still can and while he can still enjoy the sights and sounds of a foreign country. I know God will help me make this possible.

Life leaves me wanting more — and sometimes bereft of any kind of emotion. Sometimes, I am like a twig tossed from wave to wave– while at times, I am like that angry salmon pushing and pulling against the current just to reach the next destination.

I have lots of hang-ups, agitations, could have been’s….

Sometimes, I pray that I win the lottery and lift my parents out of this working-class-hell.

In spite of this, I am alive and raising my glass to one hell of a life.

Kampai!

Stupid things that smart people do

I always pride myself of having a good head on top of my miserably-sloping shoulders, but sometimes I do stupid things that even amaze me.

Just how stupid? Imagine throwing caution to the wind to commute in a “hold upper” infested area of the Metro, right on the fringes of the city where you can lose your life just by owning a nifty cellphone. And for what? To get two freaking gadgets which I don’t even own, and won’t even get to use, which was loaned to members of the high and mighty Philippine media. The story of my life, ladies and gentlemen.

Here’s how stupid I got last Tuesday: fed up with one of my client going on and on and on about how the gadgets they loaned for media relations use was waaaaay overdue, I decided to get them myself. I was determined to send them back to client’s storage so that I don’t have to hear the numerous rantings and whining from my client whose voice is probably one decibel higher to that of a cockroach. Dwindling on funds but determined to get the gadget, I decided to go there by commute. I took the metro, got off the second to the last station, followed the crowd who was spilling on the other side of the highway. Note that the area was across the high speed highway. Walk, walk, walk — until I finally saw myself alone, standing under the bridge which reeked of urine and surrounded by kanto boys who noticed my “lost in space” demeanor, the map I stupidly held in my hand, the look of worry on my face and my out of place look which signaled I was not from the area.

After mustering enough courage, I crossed the street and took a foot pedaled trike which then promptly took me inside the small narrow passages filled with kids full of snot, and of men naked from the waist up, and having small talk while downing bottles of beer. Clutching my bag tightly, the only thing running through my mind was, “If I get mugged, and die today because my bag doesn’t contain anything of value — it’s my freaking fault”.

Obviously, I lived to tell this tale. Of course, I may just be paranoid, and judgmental (which is shameful actually). Or maybe, due to the things I read on the papers and the morbid happenings I hear in the news (kid gets killed cos of laptop! old lady gets mugged then killed!) — I can’t help but be wary of my surroundings. But what I did last Tuesday, to throw caution to the wind and disregard my own personal safety just for the sake of two freaking gadgets which I don’t even own, is waaaay up there on the list of stupid things that I get to do.

The gravity of my stupidity and carelessness stuck me hard while I was on my way home, safely inside a cab when he kind elderly driver suddenly quipped, “what were you doing ma’am standing alone on that corner? do you know that there are many incidents of mugging in that area?” . I was carrying two expensive gadgets that is yet to be released in this country, and there is no way I am going to risk my life for something that I don’t even own.

I may claim to be some wise-ass chick most of the times, but that is definitely one time where my brain is not where it’s supposed to be.

Gaining something and giving back

Last week, during my birthday, I told God that if He will give me a direct path, a concrete map to where I should be going, career-wise, I will give-up one of my biggest vices. Today, He answered my prayer.

I am currently holding my end of the bargain–no Coke or any kind of soda, and I intend to keep this for as long as I am enjoying the fruits of my bargain with God. I guess it is true that for whatever big thing that we ask from him, we should be prepared to give up something of value.

Until now, I can’t believe that I got what I was hoping and wishing for. The road to this wasn’t easy–I went through hell and high water, just to keep my head afloat. Just to be alive from the everyday misery that I experience as the kaisha whipping girl. Now that I am given the opportunity to be someone who I wish that I will be, not necessarily 3 years from now (like what I originally hoped)…but NOW. Right now.

I know the road will not be easy, I have to prove my mettle. I am looking forward to the time that I will start my new life, it’s just three weeks from now. I am happy.