More Daring at 31

Authenticity, Life path, The Self

upI turn 31 today.

So what?

“What’s different about me this year in comparison to who I was last year?”, I ask myself.

Well, I think I’m pretty much the same. I just think I’m more daring now. Daring in ways I wasn’t before. Daring and more comfy in my own skin. Daring and more at peace with uncertainty. Daring and more at ease with owning my mistakes. Daring and more confident with my personal standards and desires. Daring and more trusting in life. Daring and more tender in my relationships.

Stepping onto this phase of my life feels like a warm, thick familiar coffee. You look forward to it. It’s homey in its own special way. It also feels like a prize you know you so well deserved.

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Some are meant to be a Key, but not our Company

Life path, People & Relationships, The Self

key

pinkpatternssmall

I feel like sobbing every time I remember that my cousins are gonna fly back to Australia very soon. You know that feeling, right, when you can’t help but think about the impending goodbyes even when you’re supposed to simply enjoy the present moment.

During one of these reveries, as I was dissecting my feelings, a truth bubble popped out. I have realized that one of the biggest reasons I’ve been feeling this way was because I haven’t been in any real female friendship for the past couple of years. My cousin, Shai, now 18, suddenly brought back all the things I loved about women which get amplified in female friendships.

I’ve been undergoing major changes during my mid-twenties until recently, therefore letting go of some relationships have become imperative. I’ve felt burnt out for quite some time, highly dissatisfied with my old friendships and I started feeling the need to be alone more – so I could get to know myself more.

I believe Shai just opened my heart to female friendships again. Hers must be the right kind of presence that rips apart my disillusionment in these relationships. Her kindness, confidence, creativity, wisdom, humor, sensitivity and girliness reminded me of aspects within myself and my previous female friendships I have put on the backseat.

Without her knowing she’s doing it, she actually taught me how to be girly again and how to be a girl friend again. I deeply enjoy our talks about things we have in common – and it’s a bunch! – like the arts, travel, books OMG, fashion and makeup, pop culture, friendships, the intuitive arts and so much more. We shopped together, went to visit my favorite bookstore together, held my hand when I was scared riding the giant swing in the amusement park, took selfies together, talked about embarrassing and funny experiences. We talked about female friendships, listening to one’s intuition, honoring one’s values, setting boundaries and being in charge of one’s own well-being.

It’s not only her natural positive energy, but probably her age as well, that lights up my vibe. I am 12 years older than her, and I’ve been through very different circumstances, too. I’ve been jaded for a few times in the past decade, and I felt like crawling with all my strength and dignity on my way to my 30’s. I’ve had to reinvent myself many times. I’ve lost so much. Building female friendships at my age is so different from when I was still in my teens and even in my twenties. I have a more solid self-concept now and I know better about the life I want for myself now. In a way this makes me more rigid when it comes to making connections with potential friends.

I think her light presence brought back freshness to my attitude. I’ve come to associate female friendships with only the baggage they brought into my life so I went out and dumped all the goodies, too. She reminded me how female friendships soothed my soul. How despite my great need for solitude I actually thrived more with supportive female energy in my life.

Since she came to visit, I noticed that new potential girl friends started showing up in my experience, I’ve begun making an effort to forge female connections, too, with those I jibed with, I started gravitating towards female influencers who previously turned me off, and I’ve been rethinking about my attitude towards women I find “annoying”, maybe I should be more compassionate instead?

She also made me realize that it’s actually a no-brainer to build female relationships. I just have to make sure I’m in a good place first, energetically, so only those I naturally jibe with will find their way to me. Also, I must put my well-being first and foremost, always. ūüôā

Maybe it’s not the length of time we spend together that matters, nor the amount of moments we share, maybe it’s the depth of our bond that matters, only on that level where touching each other’s soul and leaving a lasting impact are both possible.

Maybe if our time spent together gets longer than what’s possible now, maybe it won’t have the impact it’s meant to have. Maybe…maybe this thought will soothe my impending nostalgia.

Dear Diary

The Self, Women's Room

lizmayvThere’s nothing in particular I want to write about. It’s a weird feeling. Not aching to write.

My mind is pinked. It’s all about pink. I’m preoccupied with bedroom decor ideas. I want to keep organizing my stuff. I’m thinking of new ways I can use my existing organization boxes and such.

Why am I in this phase? Maybe it’s a part of regrouping, creating my reality. It’s calming, actually. I’m not thinking of anything else. This is my full time job for now.

The events that have happened recently feel so long ago now. I’ve been ruminating them a lot before, and they all felt so near and real. Now they’ve faded out as if they’ve happened a decade ago.

I guess time naturally blurs out what’s unnecessary once we fully let ourselves go with the flow, which means to stay present.

All that remains is my crazy mind. I still create the same crazy monsters in neon colors. I’m glad they haven’t left me.

I have a weird collection of plushies, which I’ve only started collecting about a year ago – I’m 30. My room is pink. I have an impulse of drawing eyes with stiff, separate lashes and veiny eyeballs on anything. I call it originality. I read tarot cards, all three decks to myself. I only stare at my phone when it rings, then, wait for a follow-up text if the person is persistent. But I don’t text back. I prefer emails. People should know that. When I go out I look normal, nobody knows all the weirdo that I really am. I leave them at home, well, most of them, but not all.

I prefer to keep my personal style minimalist, normal, average. ‘Cause I prefer that much space for my crazy inside my mind alone, which only bleeds to my art and writing. I can’t be crazy in all aspects of my life. I need some stability and refuge, too.

I have no thoughts. Which means I am not currently anxious about anything in particular. This is a weird thing but a good kind of weird. This must be how dumb people feel all the time, lol. I’m evil. Still evil. That’s a good thing. Given that I’ve lost so much these recent weeks. I’ve lost about 3 kilos since I got sick, much emphasis on my muscles. It makes me feel sad. I love my muscles, especially those in my arms. I’m back to my longest-standing weight of 45 kilos. Where did all my weight go? Probably those were all just made of energy that I no longer needed. So I had to shed them off.

That’s funny. Maybe half of who we are is just energy, then water. So even though we work out and keep our calories low we can’t still trim down or lose weight. We’re weird. Maybe we need to lose excess energy baggage instead.

I actually believe I’ve lost about 1/4 of my shadow. Nobody else can understand that. But that’s an accurate description for me. That 1/4 looked like Mr. No Face from Spirited Away. I imagine it’s something cool. Floating in the ether, looking for a new prey.

I think I’m starting to like myself. I think I like myself now. My army of pimples don’t bother me anymore. I’ve gotten used to being betrayed by my own face. I no longer take it personally. I’m starting to accept the natural thickness and roughness of my hair. I recently discovered that I have, in fact, nicely-shaped lips, they kinda make me look more bratty than I really am (or maybe I am more bratty for real). I wear the same outfits, in the same colors, and cuts. I prefer to be invisible most of the time, like a fly on the wall. I wanna look good when I see myself in the mirror or on my phone. But I feel conscious when others look at me, especially when I feel it’s because they think I’m pretty. I get a lot of favors when it happens. But I also feel that many women want to murder me. With an ax or something, or maybe they wanna scrape my scalp off. Why do I have such morbid thoughts. What would Freud say.

Why do I feel weird when I’m having a smokey eye on. I love it on other women, but when I have it on I just think I look wasted and 10 years older, which screams I have a sad life and dead, practically non-existent sex life. I’m judgmental.

But really, I’m doing my best to step up my personal style game. But I still like the old me, how I naturally look like. Maybe because it’s familiar with me.

The truth is I’m lazy. I can never be like those women who put on their full body suit as women. I just want to remain low maintenance like I’ve been all my life, let my leg hair grow, sip ginger-lemon tea and take naps.

I want a female cat inside my room. A non-presence but a presence, still. Like a plant, but just curious and can blurt out epic punchlines (cats can do that, right?). I imagine we will communicate telepathically, cursing each other and calling each other bitch. But we’ll paint each other’s fingernails and every night we’ll cuddle in bed like codependent sorority girls. We’ll pray the rosary when the world ends.

I wanna go back to Europe. Only those introverted parts of Europe. Where I’d be left alone and safe walking in the streets, tunnels, forests and mountain tops. I’d go to a cafe and order a caramel-ish coffee in the local language. I don’t like caramel-ish coffee. I’d look at the slender and tall women as if they’re peacocks. I’d pretend I don’t speak English. I’d be grateful for my temporary invisibility.

I’m craving for some Jack n Jill Knick Knacks, those tiny biscuits wrapped in something sweet and artificial. I want mine in milk choco or strawberry. I’ve been living off junk lately. No guilt.

I never get bored when I’m on my own and my mind is busy and creative. It’s, in fact, my default happy state. Only adulting drives me mad. I don’t wanna think about those things.

I wanna sniff on something fresh and powdery.

We’re Equals in Love

Meditation/Visions, People & Relationships, The Self, Women's Room

coupleI’ve had a particularly healing dream last night. I was my old self, in my early 20’s clinging to a guy who was not fully into the relationship as I was. Like some of us, women, I, too, have been in a series of toxic relationships with unavailable men (rather, boys), who were on the surface in varying types and degrees of unavailability but who were all just the same emotionally unavailable on the inside.

In my dream I initiated a conversation with my guy (who was faceless and nameless, more of an archetype than an actual person), “Won’t you be more present with me and more interested with me and our life together?”

He simply gave me this pained look, followed by a shrug that was all too familiar to me. He didn’t have the will to dump me ’cause having me was still convenient for him. But he was not with me either. You know how it usually goes with these guys and the situations us, ladies go through with them.

What happened next was something I wasn’t able to do in most of my relationships during those years, for I didn’t have the guts to draw the line then most of the time (therefore the same kind of relationship kept manifesting in my life), I said,

“If you don’t know what you really want, but it’s not me or not with me, if you can’t commit completely into this relationship like I can, then I don’t need you. I deserve someone who knows what he wants and who will stand for it the way I do.”

I walked out, leaving him having the same pained, teenage-boy-confused look. I didn’t look back.

I’ve long been able to transform myself and my relationships, including the one with my significant other of almost four years. But before the relationship materialized, I actually had to draw the line first, and tell him what I wanted out of our relationship. I told him he could either take it or leave it, but I wouldn’t compromise. I knew what I wanted with him, I knew what I wanted out of a relationship and if he turned out not to be up for it then he’s not the one for me.

I think The Universe and my Higher Self wanted me to share this story with others. It has come full circle for me now, I guess. That part of my life was completely over. The wound has been healed.

If you’ve been having a similar struggle in the relationship department, I am 100% sure you’ll find healing and resolution in your own empowerment, too. You deserve someone who knows and appreciates your light. We are all rooting for you.

I’ve survived my worst Acne Breakout – my Self-Esteem can survive anything

The Self, Women's Room

IMG_20170829_143032_793It all started in Hong Kong – after a week of stay, upon hiking one of its peaks. It must be the extreme July heat, the fabric of the cap I was wearing all day, everyday and the waterfall of sweat irritating my pores. It started with one, then two – then after a couple or more days I had a load shit of cystic acne creepin’ on my forehead. They were itchy, painful and angry red. Unfortunately my forehead was not enough, they’ve decided to climb down my nose, my cheeks and chin as well. The next thing I knew my face felt and looked like a jack fruit had fallen on it while I was mindlessly staring at the sky.

At the same time, I mysteriously had insect bites on my legs, which were itchy as fuck and left me with ugly, dark marks (and it didn’t help the fact that I had sunburn). My mom was traumatized when I got back home and she saw me again – she swore to my face she’s never gonna go to HK if it meant she’s gonna be ugly like me, too.

I thought things were gonna get normal again as soon as I got home and my skin problems would disappear on their own.

They. Didn’t.

My face kept on breakin’ out even after two weeks of being at home and for the first time in a long time I had to gather all my bag of acne treatment tricks. I mean, I’m used to having pimples – I’ve had them since I had my period at 11. But cystic acne’s all new to me. They’re monstrous, itchy and painful.

I was wondering what could have possibly caused it. I’ve read articles saying that acne breakout due to traveling was quite usual. Some say it’s the water, it’s the food, it’s the air, it’s the stress, it’s the humidity, yada yada yada. I was thinking it could possibly because I started eating meat again after 3 weeks of eating only plant-based food. Maybe it’s also because I started taking contraceptive pills again.

It was hell for quite some time – until it wasn’t anymore. I just let go of my worries. I said fuck it, I was having acne for some reasons which will never be clear to me. My face wanted to break out and throw a tantrum. She’s having her moment. Let her be. I still went on with my acne treatment routine (which consisted of the gang – salicylic acid, apple cider vinegar, exfoliating soap and all kinds of Korean facial masks) but threw my worries out the window. The same thing applied to my sunburn and the nasty marks on my legs.

But whatever – at least I was fit enough to travel and to do the outdoor activities that I liked even if it meant I would have girly problems eventually.

It’s been six weeks now since the breakout began – and I still keep on having new cystic pimples coming out. It’s not so bad anymore, though. My skin is finally responding to the treatment. I’m working out everyday as well and I’m back to my healthy diet. I have survived the worst of it, to hell and back again. I joke myself about it ’cause I know it may sound petty but it’s true and I know some people can relate – I’ve survived my worst acne breakout, my self-esteem can survive anything.

I can be at my ugliest and still chill and strut my stuff like business as usual. I think that’s a reason to celebrate.

Little milestones. *winks

My Mom has a Heart that sings

People & Relationships, Women's Room

I like this metaphor of a heart that sings.¬†I haven’t always known its meaning.¬†Perhaps, it has a totally different meaning to others.¬†I came up with my own understanding of it because of my mom.

My mom has a heart that sings. No one would imagine the heartaches and struggles she’s been through because she’s just always so loving and happy. People flock towards her. She has this warm and abundant energy like a real empress.

While other people become bitter and evil once they go through hardships and betrayals, my mother belongs to the other group Рthose who only become more compassionate and humble because of them.

The heartaches she’s been through have only taught her about her own worth and the importance of loving herself. These experiences were a catalyst to her own realizations as well of what truly mattered to ¬†her.

My mom has taught me the importance of being present in the Now. She has taught me how to choose to appreciate every chance that we are given to live again. She knows that these chances are opportunities for us to love, be loved and have fun. We can either choose to get stuck in the bitterness of what was or embrace the chance to start again.

This is why she has a heart that sings. She lives in the Now. When we are present in each and every moment, it just becomes inevitable for the bitterness of the past to fade away. When things have been resolved and we have finally reached the calm shore, the Universe only asks us of one thing – to open our hearts for a new beginning.

Musings on embracing the Creative Life

Creative Living, People & Relationships, The Self, Women's Room

To be an artist is to create and recreate. To create and recreate is to be vulnerable. To be an artist is to be exposed, criticized, broken down, blown up in unimaginable proportions, taken out of context, diluted, wrapped in cheap plastic bags, vandalized or simply ignored and erased from memory.

As an artist, you would continuously find yourself caught up in same type of crossroads РBe authentic and please yourself OR bend over backwards just to please others.

Your feelings can range from a simple existential discomfort to soul-tearing agony. It basically depends on how daring you are in stepping up your game. The more you choose to embrace authenticity, the more you’ll get better at it, the less difficult feelings you’ll harbor in return.

To be an artist and a woman is another thing. Combining the two suddenly makes it more complex and intense. Suddenly, others (including fellow ladies) become more critical, too. Layers of standards and prejudices pile up all.

It’s not easy for the people around the artist and the woman as well. Sometimes, things disclosed and exposed can get way beyond their reality and understanding.

To love an artist and a woman needs a certain amount of self esteem, unconditional strength and love.You have to be adventurous enough to not only tolerate, but to enjoy and appreciate all the honesty, contractions, contradictions and ecstasy of living a life of sensitivity and self scrutiny.

Creation, exhibition, humiliation, resurrection – these are all important parts of the journey to self, universal knowing and unconditional love. Embrace the life of your own creation, suck in your temporary fears and march out in the open. It’s all meaningful. Believe that it’s all worth it. It is.

To the Shell I have cracked

Authenticity, People & Relationships, The Self, Women's Room

Authenticity breaks even the most stubborn defenses. It’s like the light piercing through the hardest of shells.

I knew you cracked. I cracked first before the light in me was able to crack the shit out of you. I knew you didn’t expect it. It was all too uncomfortable. It beat the hell out of me first. I was willing to put up a life-and-death fight. But I chose to surrender and liberate myself instead. I didn’t like it because it’s simply not a thing to like. But it’s one of those things we just have to go through if we want to move a step closer to freedom.

You’ve mentioned that it was obvious how you didn’t open up that much. But maybe if we become closer, you would open up, too. On the other hand, you have done a lot of introspection. We all have our own processes. Your time will come. Let’s just say that my introspective phase came a bit earlier (though it would come back again in time, of course) and now is my time to let it all out. All the things I have shared were not really that difficult to share for me because I never saw them as sensitive or taboo. But by going through the process of sharing, I’ve realized that it makes a whole lot of difference when you make something private public.

It’s not about being validated, actually but more about taking that leap of faith.

It’s an affirmation that you’ll be okay not because a safety net will catch you but because you’ll grow your wings and discover you can fly.

Authenticity makes us feel vulnerable but it actually makes us stronger.

You told me I was cool and that you liked the person you saw in me when I chose to “bare it all”. I’ve been known by my friends and those I have worked with as someone who¬†has always been daring. I don’t really see myself that way, though.

All I know is that if we are not being authentic then what are we sharing with the world? The world needs our uniqueness.

I don’t intend to be cool. I just couldn’t help but be blunt and candid and random and awkwardly, painfully and gloriously myself.

It warms my heart to know I have influenced someone. I have made someone think and love themselves a little more. It warms my heart to know my courage has made someone braver, too.

Your time will come. Know yourself and trust the process. *flying kisses

To all those who I thought would Save me

People & Relationships, The Self, Women's Room

Sorry for putting you in an impossible situation. I was not able to see and appreciate all that you were and all that you tried to be for me. You wouldn’t have done it any better because you’ve already done what you could. After all, it was never your obligation to make me happy.

Now I understand. I was projecting into you the hurting parts of me.

I thought I was doing you a favor. I was taking care of you. I was loving you. Now I know I have unconsciously chosen you to be a part of my life in lieu of putting myself in the center. Instead of confronting my pain, instead of taking care of myself, of loving and forgiving myself, I got busy with each of you. The Spirit had to pull me out of my cocoon and let me witness in horror how the world of illusions I have built for years came crashing down. At that moment I couldn’t breathe. It was then when I realized that death was not really an end but a bridge to a beginning.

Death is a transformation, it is a becoming.

I am still in that ongoing process of becoming. I am completely naked, squeezing all my courage to be authentic in all my affairs. I am staring at my bruises, touching my scabs, picking at my holes. I am mapping out my herstory as I create new stories. The light is intimidating.

I feel a strong resistance. I am still repulsed by what I see. But I am growing new bones and new fangs and new energy. My eyes are learning to see new colors and shapes.

This is painful, too. This is sad. But I have learned to trust and respect the natural process of things. I am working on it. I am ready to get down and dirty.

Thank you for being a part of my learning and liberation. I always say this to myself,

“I have to become the person I am meant to be. I owe it to all the people who believed in me.”

Thank you for all the love and understanding. I am trying to be useful while I am here in this world. I hope I could influence your lives for the better along the way.

I am letting you all go now.¬†I don’t need saving. I don’t need attachments. I am taking responsibility for¬†my life now.

Please receive my abundant love. May the grace of the Spirit be with you always.

To mama – my mother, comrade and queen

People & Relationships, Women's Room

I know you are enjoying one of your most aspired trips right now.

Since I started traveling solo, I’ve encouraged you to go on a trip by yourself. You needed and deserved it.

Solo travel is one of the best ways to learn and empower oneself, especially if you’re a woman. It has changed my life and I know it will change yours, too.

I’ve always wanted for you to discover again your freedom and all the other aspects of yourself. Life has given you another chance to know yourself and to do the things that you want to do without thinking if it would please your husband or your kids.

Being a wife and a mother has enriched your life but it also took so much from you. Women usually, if not always, sacrifice more of themselves¬†than men do. You’ve lived your entire life for us. Now, it’s time to live your life for yourself.

I know there are still issues you are not fully resolved with. But you’ve come a long, long way. You’ve always been strong, yes. But you are stronger and wiser now. You’ve shown me how not to commit the same mistakes that you did. You’ve shown me how it’s never too late to redeem oneself.

I’ve seen how you’ve been both miserable and happy in the life you have chosen for yourself. It’s your life. I may not have the same preferences and dreams like the ones you’ve had but I’m proud of you for being able to take responsibility for them.

I’m so proud of you, mama. All your struggles and pain only made you more loving. You have a huge, deep, well of a heart and an understanding so vast. You are The Empress. You are a wealth of the world. The world will be dimmer without you.

I place honesty and freedom on the top of my list of values. I believe those things will always, always, give us peace of spirit and deep joy. I want you to live honest and free, mama. You are at your most beautiful when you do.