Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Two Cents Worth from Chick Lit Books

*Note: This is the first among my long overdue posts. :-D

Despite being a bookworm, chick lit is a genre that is actually the least on my list of "to reads". My first try with this kind of literature was in 2009. While the normal demographics for these types of books are people in their teenage years, I, at that time was already 24.

You read that right. 24.

It was because of the books published by Summit Media (the company responsible for your favorites, Cosmopolitan and FHM) that I got hooked on reading such books. Every once in a while, when I have the chance, I tend to get a title or two that's an absolute feel good read. And who would have thought, when you least expect it, in a certain page, one can find words of advice that are indeed two cents worth of sensible pieces of  advice. in the four years that I've been a reader, I've found a few from the following titles that I've devoured on:


"No matter who the girl is, no matter what the girl says she wants, she wants flowers."


“When you think about it, everything is fleeting. Every second of every minute of every hour. The race and the rush and the choices and the chances. The love that grazed your fingertips, possibilities that brushed past you on your way to work or play or save the world, a happy ending you may have believed in with a faith beyond anything you could have imagined you were capable of.”

"How many people find each other everyday? there are a thousand possibilities, a thousand ways that could've led her to someone. A thousand chances for her to meet a good guy, and to clear up some space for him in her life, and maybe fall in love with him."


"What’s love? It’s like Fireworks. You know how fireworks are always a surprise? It was like that. Everything was magical, and just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it always did get better until I thought I would explode from joy. And then it was over.”

But if you think, those books are just all about the mushy things involving boys, puppy love and crushes, when I tried flipping back the pages of the first chick lit book I have read, Marla Miano's Every Girl's Guide to Boys, These lines caught my eyes when i reached the last page:
"People hurt you, and lie to you, and take you for granted, and treat you badly, but eventually you learn to forgive. You learn to forgive because you have your own shortcomings and imperfections. you learn to forgive because life is too short to be bitter and angry.
You learn to forgive because it is the only way you can move forward."
It is now I realized, I never thought how powerful such lines could be, it would eventually make sense in my life four years later.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What We Are Entitled To: Emotional Vulnerability

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues."

When I first learned about this viral photo of the policeman, PO1 Joselito Sevilla crying as caught by the lens of photojournalist Rem Zamora, the first thing that came in my head was the probability that he was hurt in the recent SONA rally. But upon reading the story behind the photo, I cannot help but give out words of admiration to this policeman. This situation broke the usual Pinoy notion, "Ang tunay na lalaki ay hindi umiiyak."

More than just praise for being courageous in publicly showing his emotion, he deserves commendation for being an epitome of what "maximum tolerance" should be. Subjecting himself to what policemen go through for the sake of responding to the call of duty is no easy task. If he happened to be another individual in blue uniform, that person might have just blown his top off and lose it. But PO1 Sevilla chose to show his frustration in a rather humane manner minus the need to physically  hurt anyone. While it is uncommon for a man in uniform to be emotional, he just proved the fact that regardless of occupation, one fact remains: that we are all humans and we do have our vulnerable side.

It is true that boys don't cry. But a real man is someone who is not afraid to show his real emotion  much more revealing it at a time of chaos and in front of a lot of ill-tempered people.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

(Photo) Blogging Away on a Weekend

I was on a rather earlier schedule in the office the past week. Indeed traveling to the office at 4:30 am and having my lunch at 10 (while others are just having breakfast) is an alien concept for me. Good thing though is that it's only for a week and I'll be back to the usual schedule on Monday.

But for now, here are the things I discovered and what I am loving at the moment:

I discovered that my office webmail has been upgraded. I have been using the old version for more than a year while my other colleagues had been on the new one and I did not hardly notice the change until Tuesday.


A few shades of pink to pop up some color  one to break the usual outfit, the other to add bright hue when I doll up for work :-). Though I find it funny sometimes at how my office friends react when they see me on collared shirts instead of the usual T-shirt, jeans and sneakers; it's as if i got converted to someone else hahaha!

I now get the hag of this kitchen gadget. For a year I stayed away from the pantry microwave for the fear that it might explode after seeing what a fellow office mate did -- placing an aluminum-lined paper plate in it and we had instant fireworks during lunch break.

And after three years, I finally found the time to sit and change my profile photo on this blog. But aside from my hair getting longer now, I don't think any other thing had changed. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Forgiveness is the Virtue of the Brave

"You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well."

Yesterday, when I went on my routine Facebook check, I received a message from someone I have ceased talking to for a almost half a decade.

It was a somewhat lengthy message from my ex-boyfriend.

His letter contained the generic stuff; questions about me, about how am I at present and what's up with him nowadays. But there was a part in the letter where he asked one thing: If I am still angry at him about what he did in the past, and if I have forgiven him.
Reading between those lines, more than just him asking for forgiveness, I knew right then where it is leading: CLOSURE.

I will not go into details about what and how the whole thing came about or what the letter contained. All I knew is that it was something I have let go of years before. To hear from him say sorry was something I no longer thought will happen.

And I never expected to receive this letter hours before July 18 – today is exactly four and a half years since we broke up. I've always thought closure was just a word one reads in books. While it was the longest email I have ever written for him, I'd say it was also the best possible. It was an amicably peaceful exchange of words. There was no trace of hatred, no harsh words used and no discussion nor blaming about who committed what.

I just gave him what he asked for – FORGIVENESS. Just like what I have told him then, my life is short and people nowadays die young unexpectedly. It would be useless to waste that in anger and hatred. At least, if it happened that I were to die that night, I was able to do something right for someone for the last time. I simply knew what I had to do. I ended my reply by thanking him for the five years that we have been together, wished him well and advised him just two things: for him to love his wife and be a good father to his kids.

As I click"reply", I only knew of one two things: I am now free and I am absolutely happy. In time, my heart will welcome someone who deserves to have the space in it – for good.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On Remembering

Today, I found myself listening to this song while I try to unwind away from a busy afternoon. This one just brought back a lot of things -- both happy and sad memories and things in between. It might seem to be a sad melody, but then its words, say a lot.

I'm so afraid to love you
But more afraid to lose
Clinging to a past that doesn't let me choose
Once there was a darkness
Deep and endless night
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me life

It simply makes some things meaningful just my listening and contemplating on the words. Yes it's true that there are things you just simply cannot, and maybe, should not forget, but then even the darkest memories would eventually be a thing of the past -- . because something far more significant will come. And listening to this is enough to offer me some minutes of solace in the middle of a swamped crowd.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Disbelief that is Way Beyond Words

Just before hitting the sheets last night, this shocking news caught my attention:

Photo taken from CBS News website. Read the story here.
At first, I was caught up in disbelief thinking that the death of Cory Monteith (or as everyone knew to be Finn Hudson from Glee) was probably just a hoax. But this morning, this, just like a wildfire is all over the news.

Sadly, it's not a joke, but a painful, surprising truth. And I am at a loss for words. He's only 31; he might have achieved a lot more than what he has on his plate today. His career and life shows promise if not for the unexpected arrival of the inevitable, and the cause of which is yet to be identified.

It just makes me think and I couldn't help but ask: I'm 28 now. Does time really drift away this fast? Sometimes, I wish I just knew the answer.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Looking Better in White

If you have been reading my blog, you probably know about what I do for a living too; and while working in a law firm meant wearing suits, blazers, pencil skirts and stilettos, mine's the opposite. Given that I am in Manila and almost everyone's overseas, my boss isn't that strict with dress codes.

If not for telling people my line of work, no one would believe me because I dress like a PA (personal assistant). If you will raid my closet, you will find that it contained nothing but shirts. Yes. I always go to work everyday in T-shirt, denim jeans and sneakers. And while a little black dress (or an LBD as they call it) should be among the staple find in every girl's wardrobe, unfortunately, it's something that you could not find in mine. For one, given that I am skinny, the color black will simply emphasize being payat even if it could be neutralized by the fair color of my skin.

But if the color black does not work, the good thing is white outfits do. It's a good one that social functions aren't occupying my calendar so I don't see dressing up to be a problem. I only wear whites whenever necessary as the color itself is a bit high maintenance (read: being stain friendly is a not an apt description) I have two favorite white outfits which I wear if the event (or in some cases the whether) permits me to. 

While I have had this dress for almost three years, I only got to wear this three times; during my 26th birthday, when I went to Mass last June 30 (pictured above with my friend) and during dinner with some office mates from the firm three weeks back. Maybe that's the good thing about being payat too. I get to be thrifty with clothes -- which works to my advantage, I guess. 

This one was my recent purchase from Bench. I was at a hunt for another white outfit and after scouting stores in SM Megamall (all of which were of futile attempt), the style I wanted happened to be in the department store itself. I got this from Bench at PhP 699. The blouse could be worn either long-sleeved or style to appear as a three-fourth sleeved. I'd say I got my money's worth. 

I realized I looked good in white so I am thinking of investing in a few pieces of it to my wardrobe; just for a change. After all I've been donning the same shirt-jeans ensemble to work daily for years, it's about time I experiment.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Behind that Blooming Aura

*This entry can also be found on my Facebook page.

A few days ago, as I arrived home from work, I was greeted by an uncommon compliment from one of my neighbors.

“Uy, alam mo, blooming ka lately. Sino’ng reason nyan?”

It caused me to feel both a bit uneasy and frankly, surprised. I find it too common that when people see you with that “blooming look” they always tend follow it with “who” (of all the 4W’s or just the 1H). And before I get fully lost in translation and give an incorrect answer, I was quick to pick up the word to say and simply responded that it was all because of work. But seriously, when I think of it, work is only among them. I actually have a few reasons (or should I say advice) on how I reached this wonderful, unnoticed change:

  1. JOIN A COMPANY THAT YOU WANT TO GROW WITH AND HELP BUILD. I found this advice years ago while I was reading the book Confessions of an Impatient Bride. Being employed in a law firm was something I never imagined I would try in my lifetime. But when the opportunity presented itself, I gave it a try. Just to find out that it was not luck but rather a huge blessing. And it was worth a shot. Bloom where you’re planted, as the Bible puts it and while it’s hard to figure out how to answer the question why, the thing is that God puts you where He wants you to be.
  2. ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIPS. And this does not only limit to the romantic kind. Since that is currently absent in my agenda, I take delight in the company of colleagues and friends inside and outside of the workplace. Doing so enables me to find some sense of belonging compared to just being on my own all the time.
  3. LEARN TO OBSERVE WORK-LIFE BALANCE. If there’s one thing (among other things) that I love about my job, it’s being able to put an equal measure between work, family and myself. In my past jobs, this balancing act is a failed science. I tend to bring home the stress of my career; it left the beneficial aspects to suffer (health, sleep, social life etc.) which is actually a big NO-NO. One of my friends (who happen to be a doctor) once summoned me with a funny but absolutely sound advice:"You only use the bedroom for two things: sleep and sex. Work is not included in the options." My job at present only consumes 9 hours of my day. Since my boss is from a foreign country, I follow their business hours (more of a day schedule just two hours ahead of the PST) so overtime work is not always necessary. I get the evenings free to spend time for (friendly) dates and weekends at home with my family.
  4. HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE YOUR JOB. Work does not always mean doing it solely for profit and money. It’s also about giving back to others. In my case, because the company I work for have corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives every month; I get to openly participate to it whenever time permits.
  5. LAUGHTER (AND MUSIC) IS DEFINITELY THE BEST MEDICINE. Whether you like it or not, sh*t happens. And in our case, it’s good that we’re a goofy bunch of minions at work so we’re able to neutralize the situation when sh*t hits the fan. Or in case I could not leave my desk for a breather, I just pop in and play music and I’m good to go.
  6. START AND END EACH DAY WITH ONE THING – PRAYER. If there’s one habit I see to be meaningful, it would be this. Regardless of someone telling me to do it or not, I do it on my own means and decision. I always see it to spend at least 30 minutes of my day in church not only to pray for guidance as I start the day but to thank God for the outcome of the 9 hours that I performed my duties.
So there. To answer the question, in my case, the blooming aura does not always need to be from "who". For me, it has a lot of sources and not just confined to the concept of that “one particular person”. As there are many factors aside from that mystery guy.