2013 Challenge: How I want to be remembered


Honestly, I just want to be remembered. That’s all.

I have this fear that someday no one would even remember me. As if my existence would be a dust-encrusted furniture elbowed out of the attic that is every one’s memories. But if ever a handful, or even at least one, would remember me, let it be for being able to look at anxiety’s face then punching it. Really, really hard. I want to be remembered as that someone who was able to rise above self-doubt and was rewarded with a life lived on her own terms.

In a previous challenge where a prompt was to write our own obituary, this is what I have accomplished:

Nerissa capped a long fruitful life lived on her own terms by dying peacefully in her sleep last night. She was 89.

As an accomplished researcher, she traveled the world to further advance the field and to share her expertise with others in the profession. She pioneered the development of tools that empowered stakeholders to better understand their market. Together with friends, she has established one of the most respected consulting firms in Asia.

She has also pursued her passion for writing to great acclaim. Two of her essays won the prestigious Palanca Awards. Her first full-length novel was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction before finally winning it for the final book in her critically acclaimed saga. And in 2027, she became the first non-American to win the Newberry Medal for her first foray into children’s literature.

Nerissa is survived by her two daughters, one son and her pet panda.

I wrote that 5 months ago. I’ve had a better understanding of living life on one’s own terms since then. I view it now as more of the pursuit of one’s passion irregardless of the conclusion. It’s not about achievement as dictated by others, rather it’s about having the courage to actually go for it. Living life on one’s own terms is about making a choice and standing by that choice.

Perhaps someday, someone would pass by my tombstone and say, “Oh her. I remember her. She lived her life like she was meant for great things. She was so passionate about it that she made me believe that she was. She made me believe that maybe I was meant for great things too.”  Wherever I may be at that time, for sure I would be smiling.

“Spring arrives every year without fail”

Art by Yuko Shimizu for the Kyoto International Manga Museum.

I love how vibrant and whimsical this illustration is. So full of meaning. But what really drew me to it was the artist’s caption:

“No matter how long or severe the winter can be, Spring always arrives, every year without fail.”

I just find it so exhilarating that everything in my life seems to point to a new beginning.  Here’s to sustaining the momentum!

credits to Yuko Shimizu

Check out Yuko Shimizu’s other Spring themed works here.


Holy moly, it’s already the last week of March and I’m not even halfway the 2013 Challenge prompts for the month!

Sculptures by the Sea (Sydney), 2009

A throwback post here. As the title suggests, these photos were taken in 2009 but I never did have the chance to put them up.

While staying in Sydney for a while, I took a liking for coastal walks. The activity took a special significance when I experienced Sculptures by the Sea, an annual outdoor exhibit featuring the works of Australian and international artists. Stunning works of art plus breathtaking views is a winning combination for me and I thoroughly enjoyed gawking at everything. The whole walk spanned Tamarama to Bondi and involved climbing stairs and steep cliffs but it was all worth it.

My only wish was that I had a better camera with me. All I had was my Nokia N73 which unfortunately had a busted battery. Nevertheless, I plan to hit Sydney again so maybe it can be timed to November when Sculptures by the Sea bless the coasts with its beauty once more.


2013 Challenge: What people love about me


I have been told that I am wickedly funny and surprisingly caring. But most of the time, these compliments were followed by the admission that their initial impression of me does not even suggest, even in the barest sense, that I could be either of those. Snob, stuck up, intimidating, SCARY, bitch…these are just some of the words that have been used to describe me. Sometimes I mind being labeled as such immediately. But more often that not, I embrace it. I can be intimidating. I can be scary. Yes, I can be a bitch. And believe it or not, there are people who do appreciate me for being exactly those.

I even have one friend who, to my utter amazement and perplexity, declared that my personality belongs to the top 5 that he admires. I couldn’t believe it because in the first place, I find it strange that he has a list like that (Sorry Fred 🙂 ). In addition, I have sensed that I am not exactly the most approachable and easiest to get along type of person. I am a bully. There’s really no point denying it given the word might as well been tattooed to my forehead since grade school. But friends and colleagues had been frank in stating that it’s one of those things that endeared me to them. Office mates who transfer to other companies message me to say they will miss being “bullied” by me. (Whatever happened to being lovable and generous?!). I guess I add spice to their lives.

To be honest, I find the whole thing amusing.  And yes, very touching. The fact that they find my erm, playfulness endearing means they really did take the time to get to know me. The not so good impression did not deter them from reaching out and for that I am truly thankful.

(note: My being a “bully” is not the “I shove you to the wall then give me your lunch money” variant, ok? I just like to tease people a lot and play HARMLESS pranks.)

Twenty Nine

I now begin the last chapter of an adventure called “being twenty-something”.

As expressed by some birthday greetings I’ve received, I am truly getting old. I cannot hide under the cloak of youthful impulsiveness anymore. It’s high time I clean up my act and wholeheartedly embrace being an adult. But first, was I the twenty-something I expected to be when I was much, much younger? Hell, no.

Nevertheless, I’m still glad. It may have been due to a different scenario but I’m proud to say that I am made of sterner stuff now. I made it this far with my wits still intact. Well, sort of. But I am here and that is all that matters.

I also realized I have been shackled so long by my own undoing. As I get closer to another turning point in my life, I resolve to be no longer held back by the weight of the past. Enlightened dawned at me when yesterday, I gave myself a good cry. As in I literally bawled my eyes out. It was….. liberating. Every teardrop washed away some of the pain and the anger I have been cradling inside. I felt drained afterwards but also, strangely enough, empowered. I then rubbed away the streaks on my face, stood up and did something I should done before: move on.

In a few weeks, I shall be transferring to a new country. I’ve never been there before and I don’t know anyone. All I would be bringing is a big suitcase, my trusty backpack and the determination to get a new lease on life. It is a huge change but perhaps is exactly what I need right now.

A clean slate. That is my gift to myself this year. And I am determined to fill it up with happy and loving memories of friendship and of family, memories I wouldn’t mind carrying off to my next adventure. I would also stock it with achievements and milestones, with dreams fulfilled and items crossed off the bucket list.

This is my last year as a twenty-something. This is my BEST year as a twenty-something.

“Without the doing, dreaming is useless”


I came across this video two days ago yet it in my mind, it still lingers.

What an engaging presentation by artist Rilla Alexander. She spoke with passion and in a very engaging manner. Furthermore, the visuals she used were fascinating. But the thing that drew me the most was her message.

She spoke gospel truth to me.

Her talk reminded me of all those times when I failed to translate ideas to action, of dreams that stayed dreams because I never took the first step in making them a reality. Sometimes, I do manage to take a shot at something but end up prioritizing another. Distractions abound and excuses are aplenty. And so the dream slinks deeper and deeper into the backseat until it becomes a loving memory, if not a faint wisp.

Then there is also this debilitating affliction called “self-doubt”. Rilla was right in describing it as ‘crippling’. Self-doubt shatters our ability to move forward via the extreme weight of our insecurities. But as Rilla also stressed, the key is to never give up and to keep on believing in one’s self.

“But I don’t give up.  I don’t abandon this one, I don’t cripple it with self-doubt.  I just keep working.  I work so hard that I’m prepared to defend it.  But I still do listen to the feedback that other people give me, and I make changes depending on the critique.  Actually sharing is part of the process, and I don’t even need to get feedback from people, because it’s how I feel.  If I know that I’m not 100% proud, it means that there’s something I can still fix.”

I will have a book published in time. And who knows, if I worked hard enough, perhaps the Rilla Alexander would even illustrate it. All in due time.

I am not a graphic design student but…

Take things away until you cry. Accept most things, and reject most of your initial ideas. Print it out, chop it up, put it back together. When you’re aimlessly pushing things around on a computer screen, print it out and push it around in real space. Change contexts when you’re stuck. Draw wrong-handed and upside down and backwards. Find a good seat outside.

– from What Advice Would You Give a Graphic Design Student by Frank Chimero