Do It “Like A Girl”

I was your typical sexist’s definition of a girl: weak and a cry baby. I was told that I dressed “like a girl”, ran “like a girl”, played “like a girl”, and spoke “like a girl”. It came to a point where I thought hearing the words ‘like a girl’ was an insult, a label that I couldn’t run from but wished that I could. Up until high school, I was criticized for dressing a certain way, acting a certain way, or speaking a certain way, ways that didn’t fit in with what the limitations of how ladies ought to be. I have to admit that it was very constricting and confusing. It was as if ever since I was little, the society that was there to build be up failed me.

It was also an acceptable excuse for people. “Oh, she’s emotional because she’s a girl”, “She’s dressed that way because she’s trying to impress someone”, “Don’t mind her, she’s just hormonal”, “That’s just how girls are”. It has always boiled down to the point where being a girl was something definable and limited.

Luckily for me, I got to escape the toxicity of it all. Despite having been stamped “GIRL” like part of a herd of cattle, I chose to leave my safety bubble. Sheltered that I was, I chose to study in a university miles away from home. That decision changed it all for me. Albeit there being doubts on my part with countless tears at night, I realized that I wasn’t that weak girl everyone made me out to be. I was weak because I listened to them. I grew stronger the moment that I didn’t.

Twenty-three years of hearing the same words over and over again, sometimes directed at me, most of the time I hear it around me, I’ve understood and come to terms with one of the key ingredients in life: You shouldn’t let others define you, let words constrict you, and most of all, lose yourself in all that mess.

I’ve transitioned immensely from being that little girl who thought that being like a girl meant something derogatory to the woman that I am right now who has experience so much from the world. I’ve had the opportunity to explore the places far beyond where the waters meet our lands to realize how strong we were built, how creative we were made to think, and how beautiful being a woman truly is.

So, let me tell you what it really is to be “like a girl” (a woman):

“You dress like a girl” means I wear with me my dignity and confidence. I express myself in the humblest yet intrinsic way. You will look at me in and awe and see not what brand I’m wearing, what color, nor the cut, but you will see the allure of regality.

“You speak like a girl” means I speak with eloquence and brilliance, with validity in my speech. I impart with the subtle parting of my lips meaningfulness, not hate. With every letter that rolls out of my tongue, I enunciate my thoughts that they may educate others, not tear them down.

“You move like a girl” means I let grace drip from my fingertips. With every step, I show my strength with how I carry my body, my soul. With my poise, I bewitch you, and with my elegance, I enchant you.

“You cry too much because you’re a girl” means with every tear, whether out of joy or melancholy, I care. I have every right to feel what I feel, to let out every drop to heal myself and those around me. I express my innermost thoughts and desires and rage in the meekest way by being quietly enveloped in my thoughts as I wash my face of yesterday’s despair. I cry because I am human too.

“You think too much like a girl” means I am critical and creative. I analyze at the same time I let my ideas flow. I am a master of thinking of one thing to hundreds of things all at once without breaking a sweat. I am the maker of my path, the architect of my future.

“You are a girl”, a woman, means there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. So, please, continue to do it “like a girl”.

 

Random Acts Of Kindness

I’ve recently gone back to my endless Tumblr scrolling nights, and I saw a post that I didn’t want to forget and thought to pass it along to you guys as well. Here’s what the post said:

Have you ever come across a homeless individual and felt totally uncomfortable?

You see them and you know they are in need, but you are not sure what to do. You know that handing them money is not the best thing. But, you also see that they clearly have some needs. Their lips are chapped. They are hungry. They are thirsty. They are asking for help.

How can you help?

Here is a simple idea – blessing bags.

There are so many beggars and homeless people in Manila, from toddlers to really old people. They usually go up to your car while you’re stuck in traffic or at a stop light, knock on your window, and hope that someone rolls it down to give them food, money, or whatever else. Some even approach you while you’re just walking on the street. There are people who are a bit skeptical about the beggars because some believe that they just pretend to beg to get extra money or they, specifically the kids, work for a group who tells the kids to beg for money and give it to whoever’s in charge. Both instances have been proven, but that’s not always the case.

Whenever I see beggars approach my car or me while I’m walking, as much as possible I don’t give them money. Rather, I give them food instead. They’re very thankful after, so it really makes me feel happy to see them happy over a simple granola bar or fries from Mcdonald’s . I really have a soft spot for them!

The blessing bag (if you’ve clicked the link to the post and saw the picture hihi) is just a simple zip lock bag filled with a few crackers, toiletries, socks, and coins that you could keep a few (or a lot!) in your car and just give it to the homeless if you come across one. You can add whatever you want too – whatever you feel that they’d appreciate or really need : )

This is such a brilliant and simple way to just go out of your way to do something for someone else. And it doesn’t even have to be just for the homeless. You can do something nice for a friend, a family member, a co-worker, someone you met on the bus, whoever! Random acts of kindness can totally brighten up your day and everyone else’s!

So, that’s that! Here’s hoping that you, wherever you are, have a fantastic day ahead, and always remember to smile and just let all the positivity flow through you : )

How We Almost Became Strangers Again

“I don’t feel the same way anymore.” I told him that last Friday while we were having dinner with my college friends. We told them we were going for a walk, but truth is, we were just outside the restaurant trying our best to patch things up. He kept telling me he loved me, and I kept telling him “I don’t know”. (Actually, I did know. I was just being stubborn and didn’t want to get hurt again.) I was crying, and he teared up as well.

Before all this happened, we were definitely so in love and happy. He thinks its the happiest we’ve ever been. We were even daydreaming about going to Palawan on one of anniversaries when we were old enough and had saved up enough money. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? But just like on any roller coaster, when you first muster up the courage to take your seat, pull down the safety bar, and wait anxiously and painfully (with maybe tears streaming down your face) for the coaster to climb for what feels like an eternity, before you are swept away into a high and a mixture of happiness and vulnerability…  – we were there. We were in that struggle again. The only difference this time is, the tracks on this coaster we rode on seemed to be at a dead end before it reached the top.

He hurt me greatly, and I told him that I’ve had enough. Typical. I automatically built my wall again, which he was successfully able to tear down before. We took a break for a week. The first two days were terrible. I kept checking his twitter or facebook for updates, but on the third day, I got over it. I got scared that it was that easy for me to almost give up on this almost 2 year relationship, but I was frustrated and all my guards were up that I didn’t care.

He texted me on the fourth day at 5am. He texted so many messages simultaneously that the text tones created like a continuous alarm tone that eventually woke me up for work. His messages were heart felt and I finally knew what I was searching for on his twitter and facebook accounts, that he was hurting too. He texted a lot about how sorry he was, how he would change, and treat and love me the way that I deserve to be treated and loved. I kept replying that I wasn’t sure if we were going to be okay again or that I didn’t trust him anymore. I was scared. He kept telling me he loved me, but I couldn’t say it back just yet. I cried some more, and I think that he did too. He was all talk, so I really couldn’t completely see how sincere he was until he would deliver it with actions. I invited him to have dinner with my college friends and I on Friday to hopefully make things better.

I didn’t know what to expect or do when Friday came. I was 60% sure of forgiving him and 40% sure of just hiding behind my wall, trying to play all tough and out of love. My friends and I picked him up at St. Francis Square. At that time, my friends didn’t know that we were having problems. I didn’t want them to worry. He had yellow roses with him and wore a yellow polo top. He has never given me flowers just because in the whole time we’ve been dating. You knew he would do everything he could to win me back. My friends got all giddy, and I have to admit I did too, but again, I was stubborn and still behind my wall to show any emotion.

And now, we’re back to the beginning of this story. We talked, and I told him I didn’t feel the same way anymore. That wasn’t completely true. It was a constant dance between me holding his hand, and 5 minutes later, I would let go or me giving him a hug and 10 seconds later, I would look the other way with a complete blank stare on my face. One thing you should know about me, if I wanted to break up with someone already, I would’ve done it by the beginning of this story. I would’ve done it cold heartedly without caring for what the other person thinks or feels. But, this was different. In the words of Rachel Berry, “He was my person.”

After crying some what uncontrollably in the mall (luckily there weren’t many people around), I finally said what  we both needed to hear out loud, “We’re going to be okay, right? ” “Yes, we are.” We were like Hazel and Augustus from The Fault In Our Stars. “Okay” was our safe word. At the end, I listened to the 60%. 

We finally reached the top of the coaster, and dropped, holding each other’s hands. Excitement, thrill, adrenaline, and happiness were rushing through our veins as if that struggle to climb was nothing but a dream. We looked each other in the eye and smiled because we knew we were always going to be okay.  

First Love Never Dies

“It is a truth universally acknowledged…”

And, I found the statement to be correct. After months of longing to one day be able to be reunited again, I finally got to dance again. Words cannot express how good it felt, even though, physically, my body was telling me to stop.

I’ve missed stretching, in what some people think are, the most uncomfortable positions. To me, it is so relaxing and tension freeing that it is one of the things that I love to do! I was surprised, though, that I was still able to do the splits and stuff. I thought I’d lost those abilities completely. haha.

I’ve missed wearing those painful high heels. Although, I don’t think it’s mutual thing.

I’ve missed the blisters on my toes. I’ve actually missed how ugly my feet look. LOL. I know what you’re thinking, “Uuuhm, ew” Yes, EW, but, they’re like my trophies to remind me of all the hard work I’ve been doing.

I’ve missed teaching. Jan, the club’s current president, asked me to sub for him because he and a number of the more advanced dancers were to perform at an org’s GA. I was more than happy to oblige.

I’ve missed the muscle soreness that I feel after every dance session.

I’ve missed the chicahan sessions before & after dance starts.

I’ve missed my dance friends! Even if they think that I don’t. I do, you guys!

I’ve missed dancing. I’ve missed the feeling of just moving to the beat of the music, and just let everything go. I’ve missed moving every inch of my body. I can honestly say it is one of the best feelings in the world. I’m sure other dancers will agree.

I’m glad that after months of no dance at all, I can finally do it frequently now.

Live. Love. Dance. Those are the only things I need to do in life.

Love is love, man

A couple of days ago, I shared this on Facebook. I think I shared it the day after DOMA and Prop 8 were struck down (YEEEEEEY!). My newsfeed was filled with love, happiness and everything else in between, and naturally, I wanted to share that feeling too to my friends.

However, a couple seconds after I shared the buzzfeed article, my old high school classmate (let’s call him Ted) messaged me and said, “Hey, I don’t like this post. Please remove it” I was in shock because for one thing, I didn’t think that I actually knew anyone who was so closed minded and would say that about something so beautiful, something so real and something not different from, let’s say, heterosexual marriage pictures.

Ted was never that person who would speak his mind. He would normally keep things to himself. So, when he sent that message,
all I could say at first was, “Ted?” I couldn’t believe it was him.
He replied, “Yes?” a couple of minutes later.
Then I asked him, “Are you really serious about what you said?”
After waiting another couple of minutes, he said, “Yes”. I was furious.
I asked him, “Why?” and at the same time posted a status (Now, I rarely post statuses) on Facebook saying, “I shared a buzzfeed article or heart warming pics of gay weddings. A couple of seconds later, a friend of mine here said “Hey, I don’t like this post. Please remove it.” Uhm, maybe I should remove you as my friend. (which I did) Soooome people” 

After waiting for what felt like forever, Ted finally replied and he said this, “Just kidding! Sorry” Ted is a very religious person. He has the star of David as his profile picture and he continually posts praise and worship songs on facebook and even on our high school facebook group. So when he said, “Just kidding”, that just pissed me off even more. I told him that this (homosexuality) was a very sensitive topic and that he chose the wrong person to mess with.

After saying that, he just sent me all these praise and worship links on FB which I didn’t understand why. So, I just really had to tell him off. I told him that if he didn’t like what I was posting, he shouldn’t have opened it and looked at it in the first place. I told him that he should respect my beliefs as I do respect his. And after that, I just didn’t really want to talk to him anymore so, I said I was done. He tried to add me again on Facebook, but I just didn’t really want to be associated with anyone like that.

A couple of minutes later, he sent me another message. He tried to apologize, but I felt like it wasn’t even sincere. All he said was “I do respect your beliefs. I’m sorry for what I did. I do understand. I get what you mean” blah blah blah But the thing is, I don’t think that he does or will ever will. I later on said that I couldn’t accept that kind of apology (I don’t think that even my LGBT friends would).

I then tried to tell him that the world is so much bigger than what he perceives it to be. The world is always changing and always growing, and his simple “please remove that” comment is still pulling everyone down because there are still people, like himself, who refuse to understand that love is love. period.

I’d like to think that this is not about religion – about what we are told in the Bible or any other religious book – not about beliefs – about what we are told what is good or what is bad –  but simply about equality…about giving everyone the right to love whoever they want to love. Love is love, man. Our LGBT brothers and sisters deserve the same right to marry, to express who they are, because they are not gays or lesbians, but people.

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Chica!

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Happy happy birthday to one of the strongest, most independent, wildest person I know! You’re 22 years old now, but it doesn’t seem that way. It’s like you’re 14, 16, 25, 30, 2, and sometimes 40. I’m not talking about how you look, because Mother, you look daaaamn fine. I’m talking about how you think and act. You can be the most sabaw person in the room or you could be the most intellectual, mature person too.

I will never forget how we bonded over Harry Potter and most especially, the Potter Musicals on Youtube. I will never forget how we would always click ‘next page’ on Tumblr until we feel like zombies. I will never forget how we YOLOed Betos’ class because it was the most boring class we ever took. ever. in our lives. period. I will never forget how you’d always live tweet everything that you do. I’ll never forget about that night when our Austrian friends came over. (never again. NEVER AGAIN.)

Thank you for always offering your car when we go out on our block dates. HAHA. Thank you for always feeding us with Mama D’s baked goodies. Thank you for always being so supportive if at least one of us does something amazing or achieves something great. Even if we did something stupid, you’d still stand by us. Thank you so much for that.

You’ve taught me so much…From how to pack lightly, to IR stuff for school, to love life and relationships. We don’t call you Mother Mima for nothing. We go to you for advice because we know that you’ll never fail us! I’m so happy you’re permanently (YES YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE) in my life.

I wish you all the best and good luck in your final year as a college student. I cannot wait until I get to see you again and laugh about the most random things on the internet! I miss you so much, Mother! I hope you’re having the time of your life right now. How’s the kangaroo? ; )

!Feliz cumpleaños, Chica! Te amo : )

5 Signs That Tell You You’re Grown Up

  1. You can pay for stuff now on your own. Gone are the days when you have to ask your parents for money if you something eye catching in the mall. You no longer have to walk into a store with your mom or dad right behind you. You no longer have to ask permission if you can buy the same bag in a different color or 5 pairs of bikinis or a dress that you most probably will never wear because you get to buy whatever you want now. There’s something fulfilling when you reach this stage in life. It’s even more fulfilling if you get to buy your mom the Hermes bag she always wanted but never could buy it because she’s paying for your and sibling’s tuition. (Someday, Ma!)
  2. Grandparent Mode ON. When you were in high school, you’d sleep at 4am and wake up at 7am, and you’d still have all the energy in the world. When you were in college, you were the life of the party. You’d hop from one club to the next and still make it in time for your exam 5 hours later. Now, you can’t even  stay up to watch the Late Show with David Letterman (or maybe you can. Good for you.) You think that 10pm is too late and you have to get up at 8am just because.
  3. Your problems evolved. Remember when your problems revolved about not submitting a paper on time or not being able to find something to wear to your friends birthday party? Those were the days, huh? Speaking as a newly grad, my problems evolved into not being able to find a decent job, not being able to know what to do with my life from now on. Yeeaaah this part of growing up isn’t too fun.
  4. You start putting up a mini gym in your house. You’d look at old pictures of you and ask yourself “What the hell happened?!” You start doing anything you can to get your old swim team body back. You start wishing that you should’ve done it sooner.
  5. You start thinking about moving in. If you’re in a long-ish relationship, the next thing to do so that you guys don’t miss each other every second of the day is to finally decide to live together. You start scouting the possible places where you two could buy a condo and start thinking about how you two would live together. “If only it were normal to move out after grad and, we could live together.” If only it were, Love.

(Belated) Happy Birthday to you, Sweetie :)

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To the sweetest person I know, Belated Happy Birthday!

First of all, thank you for all the memories that we’ve created these past four years. I’ll forever remember our Sci10 days with Zeh. I’ll never forget how much we hated that class and that we would have to walk unwillingly to Sec A and wait impatiently for the hour to pass. I will never forget how much the sophomores annoyed us! haha. I’ll also never forget how we became closer after our Study Tour adventure. I think we were practically always together. I will never forget our couple picture that we took at Place de la Republique where you carried me on your back. haha.

We’ve come a looooong way, bud! During our freshman year, we were never really close, but I’m glad we eventually did become inseparable  I wouldn’t know how I would survive college without you! Thank you for always being there for me whenever I had problems with school, org work or family life. Actually, I almost always go to you first before anyone else.

I’m so grateful that I got to experience first hand your generosity and love. Aside from that, you’re such a huge inspiration to me. I admire your determination, and I try to aspire that I could be that determined too! I’m so proud of you and what you have accomplished. I’m sure that you’re going to be a huge success in the future! As I’ve said, you’re the sweetest person I know! I admire how much you care about the block and how you try in the simplest ways to cheer us all up!

Thank you for the four years of friendship, Soph! I’m looking forward to more years with you and the girls. I wish you all the happiness and that your life be forever filled with rainbows and big dreams. I love you forever and a day, Soph! 🙂

 

17 Reasons why Larrisa Ann is Amazing

1. She’s a dreamer. Now I know a lot of people are dreamers, but Larrisa’s different. She comes up with ideas and dreams one after the other. If she isn’t able to reach one, she doesn’t give up. She finds a way around it. Nothing can pull her down. She lives her life well.
2. She laughs at the simplest things. and I mean the SIMPLEST things. “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful…Hover Squirrel” Yup, that makes her laugh.
3. She’s an only child. Some only child people are stereotyped as snobby, spoiled and introverted. This girl is the total opposite. I think the fact that she’s an only child made her more sociable and loud. She doesn’t brag about the stuff she owns.
4. She loves  dogs and doesn’t like cats. High five!
5. She’s a basketball freak! She knows all the terms, rules, fouls, players’ names, coaches’ names, team names, team colors, EVERYTHING. She can be a coach or something. She can’t play to save her life though.
6. She eats anything and everything in her path and still manages to keep a fiiiiine figure. People hate her for that, myself included.
7. She’s a student at the School of Fashion and Arts here in the Philippines. She has that hipster creative thing going on. (HAHA. I don’t know what I just said.)
8. She drinks like that one uncle we all have who gets drunk during family reunions. But, the main difference is, she’s fabulous and your uncle isn’t.
9. She knows how to actually use an SLR. She knows what aperture, ISO, and shutter speed mean. She’s not some random rich kid who bought an overpriced camera just for kicks. She knows how to use the damn thing!
10. She likes horror movies. Yup, that’s right… She’s no wuss like you.
11. She’s doesn’t let the haters get to her. She just finds a way to make them feel that their lives are more pathetic than ever.
12. She’s a California girl. Play Katy Perry’s song now.
13. She’s 5 foot tall, and yet, she fights like a bouncer in a club. If you’re her friend, she’s got your back.
14. She has an inner gangsta thing going on. She knows all the rap singers, rap songs, ghetto language and the like.
15. She loves to read. Everyone loves a girl who reads.
16. Although she’s a girly girl now, she can get down and dirty too!
17. You can have a conversation with her that’ll last for hours!! You can talk about anything under the sun, literally. There’s never a dull moment with this one.

This is for you, homie. Belated happy happy birthday! I hope that your life will forever be filled with color and adventure. Thank you for always listening to what I have to say, for always cheering me, for feeding me, for understanding my laziness…thank you literally for everything. I’m so glad I got to know you and got to be close to you, even though up until to this day, we don’t know how that happened. HAHA. I miss you! I can’t wait to see you next week! I love you to the moon and back!

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