Open Conversations

After a night out with friends I haven’t seen in more than a year, I rediscovered how vital it is to have conversations about topics you do not necessarily like with open-minded people. Office politics and precarious relationships always leave me on the defensive, trying to find the right words to say so that my mouth won’t backfire on me. But with an open atmosphere where there is little to no judgment, it is refreshing to talk about such topics as religion and politics without fear of repercussion.

Up Too Late

Know that feeling when you’re up too late and then you find yourself scrolling through photos of your ex and his new girl? Like you know you’re putting yourself through shit, but at the same time, you want to do it. Or you can’t stop yourself from doing it. Maybe subconsciously you feel like you deserve to be treated like shit and to feel pain. Maybe your fault the relationship didn’t work out. Your fault it didn’t even start in the first place.

I found myself typing his name in the Facebook search bar again, knowing that nothing good was going to come out of this. I’ve talked myself out of doing this dozens of times but it’s different when it’s 4 am, you can’t sleep, and you’ve exhausted all the TV shit your brain can absorb. What can I say, it’s got a limit.

But at least the pain’s gone. Might come back, but lesser this time than it was before. I guess this means I’m moving on.

Pain and Drive

Last week, I attended a talk by a Christian speaker who shared his experiences on mediocrity. One of the more memorable points in his speech was that he believed a person’s drive stemmed from pain, either vicarious or personal. People who experienced immense pain had more to hold on to, a bigger motivation to propel them in the achievement of their goals.

I’m also reading Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning” – which, incidentally, if you haven’t read yet, you ought to. In it, Dr. Frankl says that man is by nature a future-facing person. If a man loses his purpose, loses sight of a goal, he loses the will to live. This was based on his observation of his fellow inmates in concentration camps who got depressed by the unending state of miserable living and decided to give up instead.

I wonder if it is pain or hope that is a greater driver of people. I would like to believe that it is hope – hope that there is a meaning, a deeper purpose to everything that happens in life, rather than a fear that something painful in the past would happen again. Or perhaps it is a mixture of both? What do you think?

Dancing is My Thing

I definitely miss dancing. I just spent the past couple of hours watching dance videos and I feel the mix of intense nostalgia and inner happiness while replaying these clips over again. I had several times in my life where I sacrificed academics on a regular basis just to be able to dance in cheerdance competitions. I tried joining a dance crew. I danced for presentations and random awareness gimmicks. I even taught Gangnam Style to random people during its heyday. Training and dancing wherever – in the gym, in someone’s house, in a narrow garage – makes me feel alive and totally in the moment. I guess that’s something that you call “passion” – something that makes you feel so happy while doing it.

I need to exercise regularly and I was thinking of joining a frisbee club over at a nearby company. But what if I join a dance class instead? Hm..

Commitment Issues

Last night, I had dinner with a few colleagues and we got to talking about each other’s love stories. Being me, I had nothing to share. All my forays into that field are tentative at best and self-destructive at worst. All of those were hopeless. Thinking about my most recent try at “love”, I realized that I’m not ready for any sort of romantic relationship right now. I just want the benefits, and none of the consequences. I’m not sure I ever will be or if I want to be, really.

I read a Facebook post that mentioned something about commitment issues stemming from the way someone is raised. I thought my parents were strict, and that it was kind of common. This is a predominantly Catholic country after all, and one where cultural norms are still very much traditional in nature. However, talking to more people about their upbringing makes me realize how strict my parents have really been, especially early in my childhood years.

I was proud of the fact that I had never been grounded by my parents, but I realized this was because day-to-day was a grounding experience. No TV. No phones. Computer usage of 30 minutes on weekends. No going out. No wonder as early as third grade I was already having issues, which continue to manifest themselves in some way until now.

I have issues with authority, yes. I went into a rebel phase where I would do things just to hurt or spite certain people who had power over me. Sometimes I still do. I can’t come to terms with bosses and authority figures. I am deathly afraid of failure by others’ terms – meaning, that I disappoint people who I actually like, to a point that it’s not very healthy anymore. It’s this inner clash of values with the child who grew up in that kind of way, and the teenager who realized that it was not an environment she liked.

But the commitment issues only came up to the light very recently – indeed, after I had graduated from college. Whenever I meet up with friends, they ask updates about my love life and I can’t give them anything substantial. Because there’s nothing there.

As with anything else, the state of your love life depends on how determined you are in going about it. If you want a boyfriend, and work hard towards that end, it’s going to be easy for you. I’m not sure of what I want, so I’m not working towards anything in that regard. I thought it was because I hated the idea of getting locked down, which makes a part of it. But I realized it was also because I had commitment issues. I have a fear that being close to someone will lead me to getting tied down, hurt, and denied of what I want in life.

Writing this now made me think of my penchant to have different circles of friends. At all points in my life, I was seeing different kinds of people. I’m not one of those people who have one solid circle of friends. I had many circles of friends, some of them solid, some of them fleeting. My sister often called me a social butterfly. I had one failed experience with the best friend concept, so I don’t have best friends either. I can go out with anyone. I can have a good time with nerds or with party animals. Maybe that was also an aftereffect of my fear of being close to people.

My boss, who loves to look at your personal life and psychologize you, said that in order to succeed, I had to quit being guarded. I was so guarded, even during my interview, that she gave up on me. I was this close to not being hired. I keep everything hidden. She couldn’t figure me out, and told me so a few months working for her team. I had to make myself vulnerable, put myself out there.

I love taking risks but emotional risks are not one of them. I tried this out once, in an attempt to stop being so guarded, and I was left with a broken friendship. “This is it,” I thought to myself. “This is why it’s better to keep it under wraps. It doesn’t help anyone. It’s not worth it.”

I don’t know how to fix this. Now that I’m thinking about it, I realize that a lot of parts of my life are affected by this. Any suggestions on what to do next?

Patrick Stump and Libraries

Last week has been a deep dive back into the world of Fall Out Boy, one of my favorite bands growing up. I had a big obsession with music which started with me listening to Green Day’s seminal “American Idiot” record. The rest of that is history. Fall Out Boy was one of the up and coming punk bands of that era, with the single Sugar, We’re Going Down gaining endless replays on MTV back then.

I didn’t have a favorite member from FOB unlike the other bands I was into, but I recently have taken a liking to Patrick Stump. He’s so extremely good-looking, especially during his Soul Punk phase (he’s gained back a bit of the weight he lost, but is still looking fly) and he can belt out a verse like nobody’s business. He’s also not a dick and seems like a nice person overall. I watched the Young Blood Chronicles for the first time last weekend and he seems like a pretty decent actor as well. Still planning to listen to Soul Punk soon, this long weekend probably.

Last week, I just discovered that we had a library in our HR section in the office. Hell yeah! I mean, I knew there were books there, but I thought they were just for display or for some light reading whenever applicants were made to wait for the HR employees. But it turns out you can borrow stuff, have a borrower card, and keep on reading books for free. As I’m having a bit of trouble with my budgeting skills at the moment, this is perfect! A ton of good books lies in wait for me. I borrowed my first book, Antifragile, just to get a grasp of the kind of people I’m working for and because the summaries I found on the Internet seem interesting. Will tell you about it once I’m done!

Lastly, I had my hair cut (again. Ugh when will this stop) at Franck Provost in Shangri-la last week. It’s their newest branch I think. I wanted a hair cut that would make me seem professional and would stop all the flyaways, so the hair stylist Elmer gave me a short pixie cut type. It’s pretty good I would say! He was able to hit the goals I gave him. However, I’m not sure if it’s worth the price. I think their primary products are the hair coloring, which I can’t really get into right now haha. Go check them out on Facebook!

The War of Art

I’ve spent the whole of March trying to find my purpose in life. I’m telling you, this is difficult. I’m going through my art books bought on an Amazon shopping spree, and I also splurged a bit on “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero and the new version of “Purpose-Driven Life” by Rick Warren. Right now, I just finished reading “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. They’re all good books. If you are experiencing confusion and extreme resistance, pick them up and give them a go.

Resistance is one of the core concepts of the War of Art. It explains that we need to recognize how resistance moves in our lives and prevents us from reaching our potential and fulfilling the mission we were set on earth to do. My resistance often reveals itself in self-destructive impulses, which I have been experiencing sporadically for over ten years now. Whenever I think about taking a leap to do something that’s closer to my heart than the job I’ve signed up for, I feel real resistance and fear and inadequacy at facing that fear.

The fear manifests itself in one question: Is this worth the risk?

I can’t even answer that right now, because I can’t decide what “this” is. I’ve narrowed it down to four fields: music, writing, travel, and sports. My territory. The things that I would do if I was alone on this world. The things that I can run to when I’m feeling low. The things that bring my energy when I do them, that gives back what I give, Joule for Joule. Even minutes away from taking my life, these are the things I run to, especially the first two.

And that’s why I’m on this path of introspection. I know I’m extremely unhappy but day to day, I deny it. I keep it hidden inside. I don’t want to seem ungrateful for what the Lord has given me. I take what I can and make the best of it.

But what if more is out there? Am I doing a disservice to Him or to the world by sticking to this path? How do I determine what’s next?

I guess I can only find out by doing. And that brings me here, writing to you.

Here’s hoping I have better news to bring you next time.

Have you found out what your calling is? Are you working on it?