2013 Challenge: Things that make me happy

Pictures of pandas and plateful of bacon

Rich dark choc’late, a rainbow and some coffee

Brown paper packages straight from Japan

There are just a few of my happiness cues

Ketchup fries in bright red canisters

Bishonen and the girls that adore them

A new album, a live and some posters

These are just a few of my happiness cues

Silly banter full of innuendos

Conversations with friends that goes on and on

A smile from my niece and a pile of prawns

These are just a few of my happiness cues

When my days sucks

When the job stinks

When I’m feeling sad

I simply indulge in my happiness cues

And then I don’t feel so bad

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2013 Challenge: My negative aspect that I want to change

I write this not only to fulfill the challenge but also as a reminder for myself. I know for a fact that even though I say I have learned my lesson already, sooner or later I would regress. Should that moment comes, I will go back to this post to remind myself that I am stronger, that no matter how hopeless the situation may be, there is ALWAYS a way out and it is up to me whether to take it or not.

So what is this negative aspect that I want to change” Not even sure if it would qualify as an “aspect” but if there is one thing that I really want to get out of my system or at least improve on is how I deal with stress. Alright, make that super stress. The small fry I can handle, as for the major ones…well, let’s just say I revel in them. And there’s the rub exactly.

First off, some context. I had been in a very stressful job for 5 years. And when I say stressful I mean endless overtimes, working on weekends and dealing with all kinds of shit all the time. I experienced working for 40+ hours with hardly any sleep and staying in the office for 4 days straight more than once. When beloved peace icon Cory Aquino took her last breath in the wee hours of the morning, I was in the office finishing a report. During her funeral procession that gathered thousands in the street for hours, I was also in the street, although mostly trying desperately to get home because I have a presentation the next day and it had been days since I last took a proper shower. I arrived home shortly before midnight. By 3AM, I was back at my desk in the office with my nose buried yet again at my tasks. This went on and on. Whenever people asked me to take a break, I told them I’m fine and really meant it. Sure, there are times when I complain but in overall, I was having a ball. There’s nothing like the thrill of accomplishment and the adrenalin brought about by crossing out yet another item in an infinite to-do list.

But then as years passed, my enthusiasm began to wane. Suddenly it was hard for me to say that I’m fine. I did not know if it’s just physical exhaustion finally catching up with me but I began questioning why I was subjecting myself to all of these hardships. Sometimes I would find myself just staring at my beloved computer and wishing I was somewhere else. I pined for the time when I still had a life outside of my cubicle. And so I found myself trapped in a deep dark hole. Waking up was extra hard and coming to the office was starting to lose its charm. I tried to shake it off by pushing myself even harder. But the harder I pushed, the tighter the darkness embraced me. I became a wreck. I drove people away. I got caught in one of the most tragic things that could ever happen to anyone: loathing what was once beloved.

That experience brings me now to this list – an enumeration of life’s lessons that I have learned the hard way. May you find comfort in it too.

HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS WITH YOUR HEAD STILL INTACT:

1. Love what you do but don’t get into a relationship with it. 

My tragedy was that I became too enamored with work to the point that it superseded every other aspect of my life. Working had literally become my life. All the rest had to be patterned against it. And considering all the bullshit I had to go through, I knew no other way of living but dealing with stress every single minute of the day. In time, I became comfortable it. That began my downfall. Pushing myself harder and harder became an addiction.

There were times when I could have gotten out of the office earlier, moments when I could have set out this task for another day but I chose not to. I wasn’t in a hurry to get home because I was already home. My cubicle became my sanctuary. In it I was invincible.

But my strong facade eventually crumbled. I thought of all the times I took a rain check instead of meeting with friends, of those moments with family in which I was only physically present because in my mind I was worrying about my deadline. I thought burying myself into even more work would shake off the negative feeling. But work was a demanding bitch who gave so little in return. I got lonelier. My keyboard never felt so cold.

So now, I pledge to continue giving my best in what I do but leaving room for me to pursue other interests. I will love my work still but I will love myself even more.

2.  Acknowledge that you have an issue. Just don’t dwell on it.

I was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted but still sane enough to notice the signs. I was close to burning out. What aggravated the situation further was that I chose dug myself deeper into the dark hole.

Whenever a very stressful situation came up, I became even more negative. Indeed, why bother to search for the silver lining when the dark cloud was just looming in front of me?

There were times when I would be edgy and a war freak. Other times, I would be such a Debbie Downer. Whenever I was on this mode, I often found myself wanting to do something self-destructive. As if being a stress-a-holic wasn’t self-destructive enough. Either way, it was unhealthy and of no help at all. I turned people away and I ended up feeling more alone.

I’ve since learned that in times of negativity, the more I should crawl myself towards things that could make me happy or would make a positive difference not only to me but to others as well.   This leads me now to the next lesson..

3. Stop complaining. It’s self-indulgent and not to mention annoying.

In retrospect, I’ve come to a better understanding of the fine line between trying to come to terms with what one is going through and launching your very own pity party.

I realized that I could have saved myself a lot of time and frustration if only I skipped all the pseudo-rationalizing I did back then. Instead of finding ways to get myself out of the rut, I opted to hating myself and worrying about a ton of things that were not really crucial.

And then there were the negative posts on social media. I’d tweet about how messed up my life had become and how I’m barely hanging by a thread to my sanity. And when someone would inquire how I am faring and if I need a shoulder to lean on, I would just shoo them all away because fuck you world, I was an emotional wreck so I have all the right to be moody and unpredictable. Sometimes, I would just let it all out, even when the other person did not even ask for it. I literally shudder every time I remember how I poured all my frustrations to anyone who would listen back then.

But by being a gloomy ball of negativity, not only was I dragging myself further down, I was also lassoing all those around me into despair. I had no right to do that to them. Also, if only I channeled all that energy into getting the job done, I could have gotten myself more time for sleeping and other more enjoyable activities. Delving into the hole analogy further, contemplating on how dark the hole was won’t really get me out of it. I could curse at the darkness all I want but until I get the courage to light a candle, I won’t be going anywhere.

4. Just because you are not close to passing out doesn’t mean you are not giving your best. 

I know that I am good at what I do. There was even a time when I was considered the very best. I just need to accept that I don’t have to kill myself in order to live up to expectations, even if they are my own. I am much better than that.

I’ve also learned to listen to my body more. There will always be a time when I need to go the extra mile but not to the extent that my health would suffer. I’ve known how it was to work despite being sick. So now whenever I have a junior that is not feeling well, I tell them to rest. And if they refuse, I flat out say to them that I have better use of them when they’re healthy.

And sleep is not just for the weak. It is also for those wise enough to know that resting would give them more time to do so much more while being in optimum condition.

5. Lastly, the best way to conquer stress is by helping others beat theirs

Or just by helping out others. Period.

I’ve done this a number of times and I always get the same results. Not only do I get the pleasure of being actually able to do good, I am also empowered to consider myself within the grand scheme of things. Even by just listening to the concerns of others, I’ve come to understand how petty my issues actually are. It’s also a good reminder that it’s not just all about me.

So those are my lessons learned. I would have closed this more dramatically but my body is telling me now that I should get to sleep. Therefore I end with this…

GOOD NIGHT!

Liebster Award or bust!

credits to Madel dela Cruz

credits to Madel dela Cruz for the original picture

Me!

Thank you very much to Arlene for dragging me into this. Haha!

Apparently, this “award” has being going around for quite some time. The rules have become varied but the aim is the same: introduce up and coming bloggers.

So without further ado…

The Liebster Awards Rules: 

Share 11 facts about yourself.
Answer the awarder’s 11 questions.
Ask 11 questions of your own.
Nominate 11 bloggers.

ELEVEN FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I collect pencils, not purposely though. One day, I just realized that I have amassed dozens of pencils of all origins. I also have a tendency to buy them in twos and threes even when I have no need for them at all. Then I sharpen them all to fatalistic perfection. Now I have moved on to colored pencils and pens. 
  2. I love listening to Japanese music, particularly rock and alternative, even though I can only understand very little of the lyrics. There are those who complain about people like me who listen to music that “we don’t even understand”. Well, up yours complainers! To quote a witty Cracked article (yes, that comedy site), “Disconnect the language center and the voice becomes another instrument.” I just happen to very much appreciate how jrock (that’s Japanese rock for you) singers pour out their emotions through  the ebb and flow of their vocals and how it blends well with the other instruments to complete a sublime thought. Finding out the poetic brilliance of their lyrics afterwards is just the cherry on top.
  3. In connection to fact no.2, I do love music very much but I rarely watch PVs or music videos. That includes recordings of live performances too. Not my thing, I guess.
  4. I’m obsessive-compulsive when it comes to design. In my profession, doing proposals and presentations are crucial parts of the job and I can literally spend hours deciding on the perfect shade of blue to complement the green that I would most likely change again in a little while. From the font to the graphics to the positioning of the darn page number, everything has to come together flawlessly.
  5. I read magazines and newspapers starting from the back. I don’t know why but I get uneasy when I start from the front. How about books you ask? Well sometimes, I decide if a book is worth my time if it has a good ending.
  6. According to my college professor, I was imprisoned in a dungeon in my previous life. She even added that she had sensed a dark aura surrounding me the moment I stepped into her classroom.
  7. I don’t like having my pictures taken. As in really. The only times I relent are moments of weakness or when I absolutely must. I do love taking pictures though of scenery.
  8. I adore kids and toddlers. Then again, whoever with a heart doesn’t?
  9. I’m a full-blooded couch potato. Give me the remote and a comfy position and I would be in heaven already.
  10. Instruction manuals and how to’s are for wusses. I would rather engage in trial and error than read through boring product literature. I seem to have a better grasp of procedures when I’m hands-on.
  11. I’m a Prank Sinatra! Prone to mischief, troll instigator and jokester… at your service.

ARLENE’S ELEVEN QUESTIONS

  1. What’s the best thing that happened to you today? As I write this, the day is just breaking so it’s only proper to say that the best has yet to come.
  2. If you could have one super power, what would it be and why? Psychokinesis. “Remote and platter of bacon, come to me!”
  3. What’s the most adventurous thing you have ever done? Quit my job without even having a backup plan. So far, so good.
  4. What are you most thankful for? Right now, my niece.
  5. If money isn’t a problem, where do you want to go for a vacation and who are you going to bring with you? Scotland. I won’t be bringing anyone though. I’ll explore those castles by myself and then eventually bump into my very own prince charming (cue: laugh track)
  6. How do you like your eggs in the morning? Sunny side up with a runny center!
  7. What is your favorite movie? Kill Bill volume 1
  8. If you could trade lives for 24 hours, who would you trade with? Angelina Jolie.
  9. What do you get from writing/blogging? Catharsis.
  10. Name one famous person you want to meet. Hideto Takarai also known as HYDE
  11. List 5 things you are most likely to purchase in the next 72 hours. Ah lemme see..top up for my EZ Link, a pair of formal pants, a dress or two, and a top that can go from work to casual.

MY ELEVEN QUESTIONS

  1. Brief or boxers? (and you have to choose even if you’re a girl)
  2. Paste here the link, word, sentence, etc that you last copied, please?
  3. If an entity can be named after you, what would it be?
  4. What is that one thing you can never do without?
  5. When was the last time you cried?
  6. What’s the biggest prank you’ve played on someone?
  7. Which part of your body are you most insecure about?
  8. Name an output (be it an idea, a movie, a song, a story, etc) that you wish you could have done first
  9. Can you fit your fist in your mouth?
  10. At the end of Inception, was Cobb only dreaming or did he escape to reality?
  11. What gives you pleasure but you’re not entirely proud of?

AND LASTLY, THE SELECT FEW I’M BESTOWING THIS SNAZZY AWARD TO

  1. Get Out From The Shell
  2. Written in Long Hand
  3. Complete with Fears
  4. The Sketchbook Journal
  5. The Dots Project
  6. Memories Ghost
  7. Jenny Speaks
  8. talking with my own mind

May the sauce be with you!

Challenge accepted!

Greetings from gray and gloomy Singapore!

It has been nothing but strong sunshine ever since we arrived 6 days ago but now the Merlion had decided to give us a taste of overcast skies and puddled pathways.

photo (3)

the silver shining

We were supposed to go shopping today but since the condition outside practically screams “BED WEATHER!”, we just stayed at home. ‘Tis fine by me because it gave me time to tinker with this blog some more and catch up with my emails.

Lo and behold, I got 2 blogging challenges from my friends. The first of which was from my college buddy Arlene who has bestowed upon the so-called Liebster Award (more on this come next post). The second was from Sketchy, my cohort from the “doomed” Sketching Dots: 30 Day Blogging Challenge. She proposed a more practical and schedule-friendly approach: one entry per week. The only catch is that the challenge will run until December. Hmn.

Let's get it on!

Let’s get it on!

Well as the title of this post suggests, I have decided to take on both challenges. I say, bring it bitches! (not you friends).

So to all of my co-challengers, good luck our way!