How to stop stopping yourself

You have to stop holding yourself back from the amazing you who’s still hiding in that shell. You just need to be a little bit braver. You got this.


“But what will other people say?”

Let me guess, you have been plagued by this repetitive question for a long time, am I right? We ask this to ourselves when we’re deciding what to wear, how to speak, making career moves, or starting a business. This question gives you a disease with a bad prognosis which is, “soul paralysis.” This will make sure that you will live a boring existence. People won’t have anything to talk about in your funeral because you lived such a safe and sheltered life. Let’s be real here, do you really want that? I bet you don’t. The mere fact that you are reading this blog means that you are someone who has a message to spread in this world.

So how do we open our hard shell and start exploring the world and expressing who we really are? The first thing that I will prescribe to you is, you must let go. Here are three things that you should let go of, if you want to bring the amazing you on the table.

1. Your toxic environment.
I am speaking from a place of truth and experience. We, as humans have to learn how to adapt to any situation. We cannot control the initial environment that we were born into. You are lucky if you were born into a family who genuinely love and support each other. But what if that’s not the case? What if turbulence was the norm in your childhood? What if you grew up in chaos, or in a place swarmed by backward thoughts? You can’t just go with the flow. If you recognize that your environment is taking a toll on your soul, do your best to get away. You can control your reactions and how you perceive things, though that’s challenging when you’re still on your formative years, but as long as you’re staying in a place that doesn’t serve you or contribute in your evolution into becoming a better person, then get out as soon as possible. You can only know your true self and be at your best by detaching from the world that you used to know. You will discover your likes and your passions. You can do your hobbies and express your art without thinking about what the neighbors will say. You can make your own mistakes without people giving comments about how you have to live your life. You can be you. Will detaching be easy? It won’t. Getting out of your comfort zone will not be a walk in the park, but it’s going to be worth it.

2. Your “friends” who are not into goals.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I forgot who said this but, in a way I do believe that this is true. If you keep on spending a lot of time gosipping, partying and drinking, do you think it will propel your soul forward? You don’t have to be all judgmental with your friends. Most people have this stage in their lives, including me. What I’m trying to say is you have to be more conscious of how you spend your time and who you spend it with. Why? Because any amount of time you waste, can never be taken back. You know that life is short, anyone could die at any moment, so choose people who will help you take one more step towards living an authentic and passionate life. Choose to be with people who inspire you to be better. I’m not advising you to abandon your friends, but rather, I’m encouraging you to spend more time with creative, genuine, and goal-driven people. This is initially hard, but it is necessary. This doesn’t mean that you hate your friends who drink a lot, this just means that you love yourself enough. Look for people who are changing the world, if there are none around, watch videos on youtube of people who inspire and motivate you. Curate your newsfeed by unfollowing people and pages that don’t stir your soul.


3. Your old self.
We all have phases. You probably are an entirely different person from who you were ten years ago. If you want to evolve or be successful in whatever aspect of your life, then you have to get rid of your own clutter. It is difficult to admit that we have our own unhealthy behaviors. We may get defensive about certain beliefs and values that we hold on to. I used to be an extremely emotionally numb person. I built my own fortress and stopped myself fom getting too close to anyone. It helped me cope in the past, but right now, it’s not helping me anymore. I used to be a neurotic perfectionist which has made me achieve a couple of things but did I feel good along the journey? To be honest I didn’t. When I became crystal clear about how I want to feel, that’s when I took on the task of cleaning my mental and emotional space. I grieved every phase that I had to let go of. But on the other side of that humility and constantly working on myself, was the true me, that I am genuinely proud of. So please, let go of the little you. Every stage of your life will require you to change, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

You have to stop holding yourself back from the amazing you who’s still hiding in that shell. You just need to be a little bit braver. You got this.

Of big dreams and the boxes they put us in

You have every right to soar as high as you want, so don’t let anyone take away that fire because that has a reason for existing.

Have you ever been criticized because of how crazy big your dreams are? To be honest, us dreamers are often called insane. For a little bit of back story, I grew up as a small town girl surrounded by poverty. I often heard comments from older people, often relatives, saying “Masyadong mataas pangarap nyan (her dreams are too high).” I didn’t understand what was wrong with dreaming of a more comfortable life, one wherein you don’t have to worry whether there will be enough money to buy dinner or whether you will have allowance for the next few weeks. I just simply wanted a better life for me and my family. I clearly saw how opportunities are more available for those who have the resources.

I also wanted to help people so bad. I’d get really sad when I see kids who are begging for money on the streets and I don’t have even a penny to give them. I see farmers who work so hard but still it’s not enough to provide for their children. I even had insomnia as early as fourth grade because I couldn’t fathom how hard life is for us, and worse, for the people who don’t have jobs and education and money to afford food. I am often heartbroken when I think of how to help when I don’t even have enough for myself.

I figured out that the only way to end the cycle of poverty is to break free from the boxes that I was put in from the moment I was born, if I were to elevate the lives of others who are in need. Here are the ten boxes that I was put in and how I constantly worked and still am working to break free from them. If you can resonate, feel free to comment below.

1. I will end up like my parents who married early and so they became poor.
First off, I do not judge my parents for marrying early. If not for their eloping, I wouldn’t even exist (lol). Do I support those decisions? No. But, change it? I can’t because it’s in the past. Even as a young kid, since all of my siblings are girls, we have always been given the golden advice, “Do not be like your parents who married early.” “Do not get pregnant early.” Okay, that’s fine, I appreciate the concern, but when you’ve been told these unsolicited advice from the same people ever since you started thinking, it gets really old. It gets too repetitive and it annoys you. My parents tried their best. They made a mistake, but then went on with their lives, and so people should move on from that. Just because their marriage failed, it doesn’t mean that those things will happen to us. So if you’re kids of teenage parents, who have been constantly bombarded with this kind of advice, just keep studying and learning and don’t mind them. You have the power to live the way you want to and actively chase a future that you desire. And besides, even if you make mistakes, you’re the one who will deal with it, not them. Just because these stories are repeatedly said to you, that doesn’t mean that the same thing will happen to you.

2. Girls aren’t supposed to be too smart.
It’s good when you are smart, but when you are too smart, you will be bashed. I have an uncle who consistently smart-shamed me and my siblings. For instance, he told me that just because my siblings and I studied in a top university that doesn’t mean that we are good people. It’s so toxic, right? I was even surprised that this patriarchal uncle of ours would even bring that up just because I was defending myself when he was about to physically hurt me. He gets so annoyed whenever any of us kids speak up because children, especially girls, are not supposed to say anything when the oldies are talking. I never heard them be proud of our achievements. Actually, I never even cared, but of course when they do things that would harm us, we have to speak up, and tell them a resounding, “No, you don’t get to treat us this way.” When girls start speaking up when they’re uncomfortable in any situation, or when they achieve a lot and have a mind of their own, why do they get smart-shamed? Why don’t we honor the hardwork and persistence of girls? Why do some men get threatened when a woman slays? You can be smart, badass, confident, compassionate, and kind at the same time. You can be relentless in your passion. You can and must speak up when someone threatens your peace or shames you for being a smart and hardworking human being. You have every right to soar as high as you want, so don’t let anyone take away that fire because that has a reason for existing, okay?


3. I should wear conservative clothes if I don’t want to be raped.
There’s a reason why we evolved as humans. We have the power to control our carnal desires. Sadly, I haven’t met a woman who hasn’t been harrassed ever in her life. We start getting objectified the moment we were born. I couldn’t wear what I want because someone would always say I’m too fat, or my clothes are too fit or too sexy. I’m constantly told that I will be harassed if I wear clothes that flatter my plus size curvy body. Why is it our fault that some humans are just pure evil? I will not stop wearing clothes that express myself and makes me feel powerful and confident whether it’s a sweater or sexy shorts. We tell the world that we are stopping this whole story of women adjusting to the preferences of men. We get to choose our clothes. We dress for ourselves and not for men. Fashion is our creative expression.

4. I should downplay my achievements.
As women we work extra hard because we already have to prove ourselves based on the biological sex we were born with. I didn’t understand why when I was dating, everything would be magical until they learned about my achievements and deep passion for tons of things. I have been ghosted and cheated on just because I was “too much.” And for a while, I believed these men. I thought I should be shy and quiet because I’m a woman. Somehow, having achieved a couple of things worked against my romantic relationships. It took a while for me to understand that there was nothing wrong with me, it was just that society has set a standard that men should be dominant over women. Wives must submit to their husbands and so women aren’t allowed to achieve more than their partners, because their ego will be crushed. We were told to please men and adjust to their desires even if it goes against our values. It stops now. Honor your hardwork and be proud of your accomplishments. The right partner will be proud of you and won’t shame you for your intellect and power. The right partner will support you to reach for the stars. Never play small, my love. Take space.

5. I am not allowed to have opinions because I am young.
Wisdom doesn’t always come with age. Just watch the news and look at the political circus. These are old people who clearly are allergic to wisdom or feedback. You will see five-year olds throwing tantrums and worse, these people are leading countries. So the moment that I realized that there are amazing adults and there are just terrible ones, I knew that age does not equate to wisdom. So even if I was young in my workplace, I suggested ideas, and expressed my opinions with utmost respect. It was not up to me if they will listen or not, but I have to share my perspective, because who knows who might need it? Practice your freedom of speech, but in a kind and respectful way. You are allowed to think and have opinions and express them. Just note that whatever you say would have consequences and you have to deal with them. Be extra brave. The world needs more of that.

6. I should tolerate being abused.
This box has haunted me for so many years and until now, I am still healing from the wounds of childhood trauma. When people, especially kids, experience abuse, it distorts their soul. For a long time, I didn’t know that I was abused until I stepped back and totally disconnected myself from this person. Always remember that love is supposed to make you feel free and safe. No one deserves to be shouted at, thrown objects at, and get physically abused. If you are in such environment, please be brave and have courage to ask for help because there are people who will help you. If you find yourself walking on thin ice, and rationalizing abusive acts, that is your sign to walk away and do everything to make your heart feel at ease. There are safe places for you.

7. I should dream small.
Success means different things for everyone. To some, it would mean, tons of money or a thriving career. Others would define success as having peace and being with the people they love. Bottomline is, we have different definitions of success. However, one message that I heard as I was growing up was not to dream too much because you’ll end up disappointed when you don’t get them. I totally understand these sentiments. But please hear me out before you decide on not pursuing your dreams. You only have one life. Who knows what will happen to our consciousness once we’re gone. So, isn’t it exciting to spend that short life, chasing and living your passion? Would you be happy on your deathbed with a long list of what-ifs? So no matter how big or small your dreams are, that’s not the point. The question that we must ask ourselves is are we willing to be brave enough to work hard for that thing that makes you come alive? Always remember that you don’t need to have it all figured out to move forward, you just have to take one step and then another and then another. It’s also not about the end goal my love, it’s about the journey, and how you are evolving along the process. Spend your short life, wisely.

8. Medschool is expensive, a poor girl can’t do that.
This is a story that I have repeatedly told myself. If you have been following my blog, you would know that I gave up way before I knew what God’s plans for me were. Everybody said that it will cost a lot, and I realized that it’s true because our family’s drowning in debt, and I couldn’t just let them starve so that I can pursue my passion. I lived in a lack mentality back then. However, the moment that I surrendered control and just let things flow, blessings just kept on coming. I wrote a pact with the universe and it goes like this, “Hey universe, I have these big dreams deeply planted in my heart and for some unknown voodoo reason, I just can’t shake it off. But the thing is, there are bills to pay and siblings who are in highschool and college. I did my best already and I will keep on trying, so please, if you can’t stop this inner voice that wants me to be a doctor, then I’ll just trust that wherever you are taking me, is where I’m supposed to be. I’m okay with whatever the outcome is.” I prioritized our needs and just surrendered everything to a power that is way bigger than my circumstances. And just like that, the right people came. A person approached and volunteered to pay for my tuition fee and my siblings got in good jobs which is enough for our famiily’s basic needs. When people learned about my story, help just kept on coming, and that started more than two years ago. Again, I used to be a cynical person who didn’t believe in genuine kindness, and who grew up in a situation of lack. But my inner child just kept on whispering, and I now can finally say, “I do believe in magic.” There are stars which are seemingly to high to reach, they burn so bright and it will scare you. But good people exist, even in this unfair and confusing world, kindness and humanity exists. Medschool is expensive but a poor girl can do that as long as she keeps on working hard and trusting the process.

9. When dating, choose men with money.
Again, this belief is an effect of being in a patriarchal society. Money is a tool. It can buy you a house, some nice shoes, and a beautiful car. I was a big fan of working hard in order to get rich. Again, please, don’t get me wrong, I love money. However, I guess many of us women, have been taught that we should look at a man’s wallet when entertaining a potential partner. I think this is such a messed up belief. I think we should be a financially thriving woman on our own and if a man pursues you, look at his values. Does he respect you? Does he have goals? Is he lazy? Is he kind? Does he believe and support you not just in words but in action? Does he add more fulfillment in your life? Is he open-minded? Does he inspire you to be the best that you can be? And the one big question, “If I run into an accident and I become quadriplegic, will this guy take care of me?” Look at the end game. Choose someone that can weather the storms with you, someone who will not be disgusted to change your diapers when you’re old. Choose a person with a genuine soul because you can earn money through hardwork but you don’t just bump into good men. Treat men as icing on a cake. You are the cake, you’re sweet and yummy on its own, the icing and cherry on top just makes it better.


10. I am not enough.
Have you ever been to a family gathering and suddenly you hear an aunt say, “Hey, you got fat.” Maybe someone commented on your physical appearance, or how you dress. I know some women who are pressured to look good even though they are tired because of academics or child care. Maybe you’ve even counted calories to the point of insanity or tried fad diets that ended up making you sick. Why do we even do that? It seems like there’s a looming voice that tells us that we are not enough, that we need to buy this to look pretty or take this pill to lose weight. Where is this even coming from? It’s high time that we break free from the impossible standards of being a woman with a thriving career, a perfect body, a beautiful family, and all that bullshit of balance. We are enough just by being who we are and we are allowed to be a work in progress. We are allowed to look unpretty. We can admit that we aren’t the perfect daughters or mothers, or that we have it all together all the time. We are enough. You are enough. I try my best to be more self-aware in instances wherein I start retelling the story that I should be good at this by now, I should have done this. I should be prettier, smarter, or more balanced. I try my best to unlearn the stories that I have absorbed from the environment that I was born in. So, it’s okay. Being flawed is okay. You are amazing, exacly as you are.

Let’s break free from the boxes that we initially had no control over. Let’s trust that our heart is leading us to the right place because maybe when we are free,  that’s when we can move from a place of authenticity. I know that you probably have different boxes. But together, we can break free from them, or even better, forget that they exist in the first place.

Musings of abused kids

I didn’t know genuine happiness until I lived a life without you.

We know that our abusers have at least, tried. We know that that they probably have legitimate mental health issues and a terrible past. But that doesn’t give them license to hurt the people that God entrusted them to take care of, repeatedly.

We don’t understand why sometimes you were so good and loving, but whenever there’s a minor setback, you flinch and resort to hurting the people that you were supposed to love. We grew up constantly asking if we are good enough. Did our feelings even matter? Did we do something wrong again? All this time, we learned the art of perfectly walking on eggshells because if we didn’t, we were doomed.

We would get a beating or receive verbal abuse from you the moment that you get upset. Does it feel good to throw broken glass to an already shattered heart? Did hitting us serve you well? Do you know that sleeping still doesn’t feel safe, because nightmares of you still linger?

As trautamized children we have so many questions for you abuser, but we are okay with not knowing the answer. We even second-guess if the choice that we made was right. Now that we’re grown-ups, finally away from the terrors of you, we feel warmth.

When we grew up, that’s when we realized that cutting you off was the most difficult and yet the best decision we have ever made. We didn’t know genuine happiness until we lived a life away from you. You don’t get to take credit for anything anymore because we are where we are not because of you but inspite of you. You don’t get to manipulate us anymore. We will never give you that power, ever again.

It feels good to not to live on thin ice. It feels warm to be with people who truly love and support you. This is the last letter that abused kids will ever write to you. We don’t expect any apologies, or even remorse. We are still on the process of healing, and for every brave step we take, we are proud.

This is us, children of traumatized past, finally letting go.

How to stay on track when everything sucks

We all have roles in this world and sometimes we feel like what we’re doing is not changing anything. But trust me when I say, every good deed has a ripple effect. Every single thought you have and action you take, adds up.

Sometimes shit after shit after shit happens. It’s like the cycle never ends. There are just those days when you feel like a joke is intentionally being played on you. And of course our natural response is to get upset. Even as adults we throw tantrums and lash out on people who have nothing to do with what’s happening to us. I am so guilty when this happens. Oftentimes, the people around me are the casualty. For us, personal development maniacs, we don’t want this happening. We always aspire to be balanced, focused, and on track. But life just isn’t like that. Nothing is and will ever be perfect. There are days when we can master our emotions but there will be times when it will just suck. How do we still stay focused and how do we get going even when the universe is seemingly against us?

I have two not-so-secret ingredients for that. These are gratitude and perspective management.

I know what you’re thinking reader. How on earth could I still be grateful when the bills are piling up, when there are deadlines to meet, kids to take care of, debts to pay, and a freaking pandemic? Just, how?


STEP 1. BREATHE AND SAY THANK YOU.
I want you to grab a notebook, and write. Write a list of things that you are grateful for. Seriously, if you want to stay true to your mission, do it now. I’m telling you, it’s impossible to not have anything on that list. Do you have a family or a friend who supports you? Are you eating at least three meals a day? Do you have the privilege of getting quality education? Maybe you have a pet who brings you immense joy or a plant that you are taking care of. If you have time to think about everything that’s going wrong, then you definitely have time to think about what’s going right. I want you to have as much as possible an objective and fair amount of positive and negative thoughts. So there’s a pandemic, it is a reality. The government is a circus, that is undeniably true. But please, even if so many bad things are happening, don’t fall into the trap of negative bias.


STEP 2. MANAGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
Now that you have listed the things that you are genuinely grateful for, do the work. Where are you right now and how can you make a difference in your own space? We all have roles in this world and sometimes we feel like what we’re doing is not changing anything. But trust me when I say, every good deed has a ripple effect. Every single thought you have and action you take, adds up.



STEP 3. CREATE THE THINGS YOU WISH EXISTED.
So you want a better world? Then start off with being a better you. You want transparent leadership? Then be that leader that you wish to be. Sometimes we get overwhelmed because we think only big things can make the world change. But the truth is, big wins are built by small triumphs. Start where you are. If you want to help the impoverished, then focus on making yourself financially full, little by little. Start a profitable business so that you can finance others who are in need, slowly but surely. If you are drowned in debt, start listing all those payables, and prioritize paying them. Do what you have to do to raise money to pay them. Cut back on your expenses. If you are a trauma survivor then maybe you can be that person who listens to someone who’s in a lot of pain. If you’re having trouble with academics, then be creative and specific and work on your weak points. Be your own hero. Be your own role model. You never know how much influence you are making.


You have to stay connected to your purpose and know that your mission in this world trumps every setback and every heartache. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Acknowledge what you’re feeling. Always remember the things which are working out. Create the things you wish to have existed and follow through. This is how you change the world, by first and foremost, changing “you.”

Cure your stage fright in five steps.

Brave means having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty. Confidence on the other hand is the quality or state of being certain. So if you mix these two definitions up, brave plus confident equals being certain of the uncertain. You cannot predict what will happen onstage but you can prepare like an olympic athlete, kick some ass and let it go.

So you have an upcoming presentation. It’s big and your worried to your guts that you will definitely screw this up. Knees are shaking, palms are sweaty, and the shortness of breath starts. Then, you go blank and beat yourself up for being a coward on stage. But what if I tell you that there’s a way to kick those nerves to the curb and thrive instead? Reality check, majority of humans aren’t born as instantly confident babies. Just like any skill, public speaking is learned and practiced through time. Here are my tried and tested approach to being confident during big presentations.

1. Prepare like a madman.
Seriously, whenever you see someone talk confidently onstage, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It takes years of practice to be that good. Making any skill look easy is in fact the hardest part of the job. So don’t worry if you have an epic fail once or twice, because a big chunk of excellence comes with so many failures. Research like crazy. Organize your thoughts. Make an outline and practice, practice, practice. When you give your all, there won’t be any regrets, whatever the outcome may be.

2. Study your confidence heroes.
We are in an almost limitless era when it comes to digital resources. Youtube is the new Pandora’s box. Whenever you see someone who’s so good at speaking and you heard the voice that says, “I want to be like that.” Then study that person. Watch how they move onstage and take notes. This doesn’t mean that you’re a copy cat. You just have to make your own spin on things. Use your unique personality in your talk.

3. Get a tribe.
Have a support system on call. This can be your family, friends or your partner. Let them push you to greatness. Call them when you’re scared. You have to surround yourself with people who fiercely believe in your capabilities. Have friends who can give you constructive criticism and practice in front of them. Maybe they can offer great advice and tips on how you can make your presentation better.

4. Focus on your message.
Before you make your manner of presentation perfect, you must keep in mind that conveying the message is the most important part of public speaking. Let the ideas come through. You have to really know what you are talking about and focus on that more than your appearance or gestures. People will only listen if you can connect effectively. So make sure that you know and truly believe in the message of your talk.

5. Screw confidence. Just be brave.
Even when you have read a gazillion of information about your talk, you can still end up being far from confident. Here’s my challenge for you, why don’t you throw confidence in the bin and develop a different approach? What if instead of being confident, consciously choose to be brave? Start with the small things like raising your hand during meetings or graded recitations even if you know that you might mess up. Repeat this mantra, “I don’t need to be confident, I just have to be brave.” As Merriam says, brave means having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty. Confidence on the other hand is the quality or state of being certain. If you mix these two definitions up, brave plus confident equals being certain of the uncertain. You cannot predict what will happen onstage but you can prepare like an olympic athlete, kick some ass and let it go.


How about you my lovely reader? Have you experienced extreme stage fright? Tell me how you have overcome it. I believe public speaking is an essential skill for us women so we can effectively communicate our million dollar ideas. Put it down on the comments section and let’s brainstorm. Together, we thrive.

Dear ladies, it’s okay.

In a patriarchal world, it is possible to carve your own path. You are not here to please people, you are here to fully express who you are and be successful in your own right.

Women are just amazing creatures, period. We are basically a bunch of superhumans who are expected to be multitaskers by default. We see burnout moms, who try to be everything to everyone. We see young girls who try so hard to fit in a box just to feel seen and accepted. We see career driven women who get shamed for being too much. If you have ever felt like this, then read on woman because this is for you.

It’s okay to wear or not wear make-up.
Growing up, it seems like beauty has been a big deal everywhere you go. There’s an expectation for women to always look pretty. You’ve had a ton of exams, so it’s okay to look like a mess. You just lost someone, so it’s fine to not put your make up on when you go out. If make up makes you feel uncomfortable, you don’t have to wear one. Just get out and be in your most comfortable state. Whether that means wearing a red lipstick or not, it’s fine. As long as you are comfortable in your skin, then you’re good.

It’s okay to speak up and be heard.
You probably have been in situations wherein you are expected to just submit to men. From uncles who scold their wives to workmates who cut you off because you’re a girl, I’m quite sure you can name a lot more. Who else hasn’t experienced being with a man-splaining douchebag? So woman, remember this, your opinion matters and if there’s no seat for you on the table, then make your own table. If anyone is trying to silence you because you’re wearing pink or because you’re too “hormonal”, tell them to screw off, because this woman has a brain and what she’s saying matters.

It’s okay to be smart.
We are so afraid of saying the wrong thing so we choose to be silent. We downgrade our intelligence because we don’t want to shake a man’s ego. This is such a disservice to yourself and your god-given talents. Never play dumb or silent just to keep the peace. Say what you want to say. Slay. You’re smart so just show it off. Do you think they care about not sounding smart enough? They don’t. Roll up your sleeves and show them how badass you are. Show the men how it is when the woman does the job.

It’s okay to wear a bikini.
Stop waiting for that day when you don’t have rolls or stretchmarks before you start enjoying life. Every flaw and scar is a part of your pure awesomeness. There’s the beach and you have your body, so that’s a beach body. If you really want to wear a bikini, wear one. Enjoy the sun. Life is too short to care about what people are going to say.

It’s okay to call someone out on their BS.
So someone is disrespecting you, call them out. Whether it’s family, a colleague, a friend, tell them when they are crossing your boundaries. You should never let anyone treat you like crap because you know what? You are a child of God, so does a child of God deserve to be sweared and shouted at? No. It just takes five seconds of bravery to call out a bully.

It’s okay to not love cooking.
They say women are meant to stay in the kitchen. But let’s be honest, some women, never enjoy that and they don’t get why they’re expected to. If you love to cook, then hurray, good for you because you found something you love to do. But if you don’t then it’s fine too. As long as you can cook basic dishes when you’re hungry and as long as your kids are fed, then you don’t have to be passionate about cooking just because you’re a woman. Do it because you love it, not because you are expected to be good at it.

It’s okay to not be skinny.
Humans have unique bodies. You are not supposed to fit in this box that says only skinny girls are pretty. You are beautiful whatever your size is. Stop forcing yourself to be skinny to the expense of your mental well-being. Love the body you’re in and keep it healthy, by having enough sleep, regular exercise, and eating nutritious food. That body is your vessel to do all the amazing things that you are set to do. Stop criticizing it, start loving it.

It’s okay to be emotional.
If you just study a woman’s menstrual cycle, you’ll understand why you will feel crazy sometimes. Just imagine a cauldron filled with spices that don’t get along, That’s what happens. Estrogen and progesterone rises. Luteinizing hormone peaks, then it drops suddenly and slowly rises. This happens to us on a monthly basis and every change has its own chemical reaction. So yeah, it’s true, we can get crazy because of our hormones. So forgive yourself for being emotional because that is how prefectly imperfect we are. Radical self love is a must.


It’s okay to be bossy.
Just because we are used to seeing men as leaders, that doesn’t mean we can’t be bosses too. You might have been called a bossy girl as a kid. You might have been hated for that and you don’t understand why. But now think about it deeply. We had very few role models of women leaders that’s why people get intimidated when they see such a strong and feisty woman taking charge. Some people will tell you to tone it down, but ironically when guys are bossy they are perceived as good leaders. But you know what, instead of being bossy, rephrase it into being a woman with leadership skills. If they are intimidated then so be it, as long as you are doing your job in the most authentic and humane way, insecure comments will be ignored.

It’s okay to leave when you’re not being respected.
Leave the room when someone threatens your peace. You should not endure a boss that degrades women or a relationship with someone who threatens you or physically abuses you. Draw clear boundaries and zero tolerance non-negotiables. In a patriarchal world, it is possible to carve your own path. You are not here to please people, you are here to fully express who you are and be successful in your own right. If someone shows you who they are as Maya Angelou says, believe them the first time. Never settle for relationships with disrespectful people.

So can you add more? I would really love your inputs on this. I hope you are taking them in and if you are already a strong and empowered woman, then spread the word and teach other girls to do the same. This may still be a man’s world but the tides are changing. Go out and shine.

Guide to getting unstuck

Hi reader, so far in the Philippines I do believe that we are stuck in a shit pickle, and a really deep one for that matter. You know that I am not a fan of toxic positivity. I am more of a girl who likes to know the real score and deal with it to the best of my abilities. Just like you, everyday I still wonder when is this ever going to end? When are we going to stroll on parks, beaches, or schools without the fear of getting COVID-19?

If you have been following my posts for the past years, I have an idea that you are someone who’s chasing your dreams too. And for us who find satisfaction in slaying goals and reaching for the stars, being this limited is the worst situation that we could find ourselves in. We like movement, we love the momentum, and the chase. We find an adrenaline rush in getting closer to our goals. But then here we are, stuck, literally and figuratively.

Let me try to make sense of it all through my favorite form of expression, writing. I think this is the opportunity to be our most creative and unlimited self. What we have now is the best resource out there, TIME. Here are my tried and tested list of things that you can do when you’re in a hell of a negative situation. Feel free to add up yours in the comments section.

1. Be realistic and be informed.
We need to educate ourselves. We need true information in order to move forward. Education has brought me to places that has created such an adventure in my life. I like to know the reality. I appreciate brutal honesty rather than sugar coating things. I might not like what someone is going to say but, it’s okay as long as it’s the truth. You can only assess objectively if you are well informed.

2. Acceptance of the present.
I think the secret in life is knowing when to let go of the steering wheel and when to take control. There are things that you can do to make sure that your plans will fall into place. And I very much believe that you have to take control of your physical, mental, financial, professional, and emotional well-being. You cannot let anything or anyone take your power. But, you have to accept that no matter how perfectly crafted your plans are and how you flawlessly executed your moves, there will be times when shit will just hit the fan. When that happens, as much as it sucks, you have to recognize that this is the reality, and accept. Because if you keep on ruminating for a long time, you might miss the growth opportunities that the current situation presents.

3. Acknowledge your feelings.
As I’ve mentioned, you have to accept the present. I know what probably runs in your mind, that it’s easily said than done. Please understand that you must accept the present but you also have to acknowledge your feelings. Give yourself time to grieve the situation. Fully express your sadness, anger, or disappointment through calling a friend or by talking to your family or your partner. You can express your rage through art or writing. You can run or shout on top of a hill. But you have to feel and express your emotions. Don’t bottle it up or it will be your life’s poison. Feelings are meant to be expressed and not repressed. Okay?

4. Do something that brings you joy.
Once you have let all the feels bleed out, you now have space for joy. Think about the activities that make your heart feel a little bit lighter. For me, it’s writing or listening to Cardi B. I also love singing, dancing and coloring. Keep a running list of things that make your heart sing. Open your heart to joy. Tuck it in and keep it close. Have a list of these sanity pills and take them. They will heal you and open your mind to creative solutions to your challenges.

5. Access your body’s intelligence.
You know what causes too much thinking and mental exhaustion? It’s when you’re not channeling mental energy through your body. Do some workout, my friend. Stop being a couch potato. The poison loves it when you don’t move. Your blood and energy has to flow. Let it reach every corner of your organs. I do nike training club during not so busy days in the morning and when I am really stuck in the deepest puddle of shit, yoga is my saving grace. It fixes your breathing and keeps you present.

6. Sleep.
Recovery is an important part of the healing process. Give your brain the rest that it needs. Let your subconscious handle the complexities of the situation. Some of the best ideas and solutions pop up early in the morning. It’s because your brain is well rested and fully oxygenated. Remember that you can only be truly empowered if your machine is well-oiled. So love yourself and let your thoughts rest. Let it go.

7. Have a morning routine.
By sticking to a morning practice, you will have a foundation that you can always go back to. No matter how crappy the previous day has been, your morning routine will serve as your refresh button. I do encourage you to make it a habit. Whether it’s drinking coffee in the morning, declaring affirmations, or prayer, just do it. Make your mind a healthy garden for trees of positivity and creativity to grow.

8. Be decisive.
Stop thinking. Just engage and co-create the life that you want with the universe. Stop spending so much time in your mind because it’s so easy to drown in the negativity sinkhole. As Nike says, just do it.

9.Practice self-forgiveness.
I do believe that you should talk to yourself the way that you will talk to your little sister or your daughter. We are humans who are just imperfect. We make mistakes and do stupid things. Be that as it may, it is our job to be kind and forgiving to ourselves especially when we fall short of being the person we expect ourselves to be. When negative thoughts swarm in my head, my tendency is to be really hard on myself, and I admit that I am still a work in progress when it comes to this area of life. But I know that I have to try practicing radical self-love and self-forgiveness so that I can be truly free.

10. Be patient.
Great things take time. Sometimes we’re too anxious to get to the finish line, so much so that we don’t even notice how beautiful the journey is. Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes it’s easier to say I give up. But if you can find the beauty in crashing and then rising, I think you’re good to go. Be willing to wait and be patient with your process. Everybody has their unique path. You just have to focus on yours because no one can ever do the great job of being you. Respect how sacred your journey is. Love it wih every fiber of your being. Ready, set, go.

Permission to be


I have been ambitious for as long as I can remember. Heck, I wanted to be the Mayor of our town when I was like three. I even remembered saying that I want to be the President of the Philippines in gradeschool. I wanted to soar as high as I can and be the best in what I do. That is how full blown ambitious I was.

But of course that was just the little girl in me talking. I just want to emphasize how being ambitious was ingrained in my DNA. I have been its epitome way before I understood what that word means. I just laugh when I remember all those things I’ve said. And then I grew up.

I started to get scared of the world. I began watching the news and became anxious to death about almost everything. I became afraid even in walking alone, being embarassed, and making a mistake. I became fearful even of the good things ever since I got exposed to the dark side. The fire died. It was like someone poured a huge bucket of water to the blazing fire in my heart. Sometimes it still flickered, but most of the time it died.

Thankfully, this world has angels. They gave me the space, the extra nudge, to be who I was meant to be. They pushed and inspired me to be the game changer that I truly believe I am. Now, I can say that it’s back, and although I’m not as fierce as I used to, I am now more stable and calm. The fire knows when to burn so high, when to slow down, and most importantly how to get the fire back up.

Let me just dedicate this blog post to the people who gave me the permission to be unapologetically myself, to grow, heal, survive, and thrive.

1. My second grade teacher: You are smart.

Thank you ma’am, for opening the door to learning. You are beyond amazing. Because of you, I discovered and believed that I am smart. You opened me to the world of short stories, cultural music, public speaking, and dance. You made me feel seen and heard. You were the first one to ask me to host a school event. Because of you I just felt so seen. I believed that I was special because you had your way of making kids feel like that. Until now, I’m still ever curious and inquisitive. I still love music. I still love learning. For the doors you opened, I’ll forever be grateful.


2. My bestfriend C: Be creative and bold.

Oh wow, the road we travelled C. I can’t imagine life without you as my partner in crime. You influenced me to be creative and bold. You were my playmate, the person I told hilarious stories to, the one who influenced me to be so imaginative, my mentor and inspiration. We dreamed of a lot of things together. We’ve been through so much together. Because you are so brave, I felt and still am feeling that I can give birth to the great things that I am dreaming of because you inspire me to be bold and relentless in my passion. Thank you for being my sister from another mother. Thank you for the listening ear, for teaching me Buddhist principles, for treating me as family. I am so excited about what we are going to accomplish in this life.


3. My siblings: Love

Thank you for being the fuel of my engine, the wind beneath my wings, and the reason that I am still living. You are my army and my foundation. You teach me love, patience, and bravery. Because of you, I want to do so much good in this world. I want to be a good example to you my younger siblings. I want to be in a good financial standing so that I can provide your needs. I want to take you to Disneyland. Know that I am forever grateful for you five. I love you so much.


4. Mommy Oprah: Heal and live with a purpose

Ever since I watched your Harvard graduation speech, everything has changed. I was blown out by how amazing you are. You have gone through a traumatic childhood but you never let that experience beat you. Thank you for telling your story. You made us feel that even if there are so many challenges in your life, you can still heal and thrive. Because of your teachings, I managed to find my way to healing and be in alignment with who I am. You are the mother that I never had but thankfully there’s youtube and social media. I now can say that I am living my life on purpose and you played a big role on that.

5. My partner: Kindness, patience and unconditional love

Hi boyfriend. Although we see each other almost everyday I just want to flex you in this blog. You were a big part of my healing. Your presence consistently taught me that being kind and loving is not just something you feel and say, it’s something you work on every single day. I learned to be more kind and gentle even in really challenging situations. I also am learning about this partnership thing that we have. With you, I realIzed that love is a choice, and that we are teammates even if sometimes we are so pissed with each other. Thank you for reminding me that having patience is a must, and that it takes time for good things to come into fruition. I truly believe that you are God’s gift for every good that I did in my life.

6. Beyonce, Ashley Graham and all the curvy girls out there: Beauty

If I could have dime for every instance that I said, “You are fat and ugly,” to myself, I’d probably be a millionaire. Like, seriously, I hated looking at myself in the mirror because of society’s flawed beauty standards. I grew up thinking that I need to be skinny to be loved and called beautiful. You can even check my 2015 blog posts about that. But when I saw Beyonce and Ashley Graham slaying, I knew that my body is just not being represented a lot more in media. Thank you queens for representing us curvy girls. Now, I feel more free and confident to wear what I want to. I am proud of every curves and edges and I am now being kind to my body. I take care of it and speak kind words to it. We are all beautiful. We don’t have to be tall, skinny, and white to radiate that beauty. It starts with our heart.

7. Papa: Passion and Bravery

Hi Papa. You and basketball are two peas in a pod. I knew what passion looks like through seeing you play and teach basketball. I knew what genuine love looks like because you consistently showed that to us when you were alive. I know that every step needs bravery, even when you have to make unpopular choices. I understood being passionate and brave at a young age, so thanks for that Papa. I am who I am because you were such a good example to us. Now, I am so dedicated to my goal because it’s very clear to me that service is my passion.


I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am without these people who gave me permission. How about you? Who are your heroes and how did they influence you?

Dear Mediocre Med Student

Do you ever think that you are not enough? The feeling of inadequacy is something that crosses your mind on a constant basis. Will you ever be a doctor who’s good enough?  Maybe you asked yourself, “Why can’t I be just like my classmates? They are doing better, adjusting way better.” You don’t know why you feel paralyzed.

This is for you, the medical student with low self esteem. I know you are always outside of your comfort zone and it sucks. You don’t adjust quickly. That is just who you are.  But remember what you are training for. You are learning how to save lives. You are trying to be your future patient’s best hope and chance to live.

I hope you remember now more than ever how important this dream of yours is. Remember how organized you were as a kid? It was just like yesterday when you opened a biology book with a penguin cover and started reading, and loving it.

Always remember the joy in learning. You are here because of your curiosity. Let it be bigger than your worries. I know you always doubt yourself but isn’t learning all these things amazing?

I know you  wish to be like your past self. Where did all the motivation go? Maybe you should just keep on moving even if you are feeling shitty. Maybe that is just all the burnout talking. I know you don’t have a clue when the spark will come back but what I know is that you should still feel grateful that each morning you wake up, you still get the fighting chance to live, express yourself, and be free.

Be free sweet child. Live the life you dedicated yourself to. Bad days? Suck it up. It’s just the yin and yang of life. Have fun along the way. I know it’s all too much. But you know that you’re the type of girl who can handle ANYTHING. Go amazing girl, shine.

 

Prepare and Dare

Do you remember how 2018 was? It was so good to you but it was also heartbreaking in some ways. You won and you lost. So many things happened right? There were a lot of surprises, some where good and some were bad but what matters is you learned.

You learned that gratitude is essential.

Every day there is still something to be grateful for. You might be in too much pain, but the sun still rose, your dad cooked breakfast for you, you have family who unconditionally looks out for you. Isn’t it amazing how everything seems orchestrated? There are people who truly care for you. You can make a list of those amazing humans and also the circumstances which brought you to where you are right now.

Love is found in the mundane.

Our princess mentality taught us that love should be in a form of a knight in shining armor or grand romantic expressions. But in 2018, maybe you saw and realized that it’s actually carved in the simple, repetitive actions. It’s when your bestfriend checks up on you, or when your friend tags you in a meme. It’s when someone listens to your rants or eats lunch with you. Love is when your little brother hugs you or when your cousin plays with you. It is actually everywhere, sometimes we’re just too clouded with pain and anger to notice it. I hope you learn to look for it, even in in the most difficult situations.

Accept. Accept. Accept.

Whatever it is, accept. Whether it’s good or bad accept. This Earth is not a paradise. Maybe you got lucky and got a fair share of wealth or maybe it’s the opposite. You may be slaying your goals or not getting the results you want. Nevertheless, you must still learn to accept what is. Because only with a heart that acknowledges what the present moment offers, can you operate from a genuine place. Learn how to be okay with what you have.

Try your best to see with compassion.

This is really hard to do especially when someone is just rude to you for some reason, and you don’t understand what you did wrong for that person to hate you. Even if the other person is just too mean, you have to do your best to look at the person and situation with compassion. Their behavior is not about you, it’s about their pain. They are just projecting that to you. Probably because you are a reflection of who they can’t be or unresolved childhood issues that has nothing to do with you.

At the end of the day, only yourself can save you.

You should be your own best friend and cheer leader. Stop relying on others. You are allowed to ask for help but you must not put your life on someone else’s hands. Be the captain of your own ship. Discover who you are, your dreams and passions and relentlessly follow it. More importantly, take responsibility for everything that happens in your life. You have no one to blame but yourself. Be mature enough. Respect other people’s time. Save yourself, don’t wait for others to do it for you.

Fake it till you make it.

No one has everything figured out, even the so called geniuses still has knowledge gaps. Sometimes you just have to pretend that you know what you’re doing even if you really don’t. Prepare and dare. Claim success like it’s your birthright. Who knows, you might just wake up living the dreams you never thought you could have.

We still have a lot to learn. This thought makes this new year even more exciting. I hope you do better this year, but if you don’t, know that it’s okay to fall short, what matters is you did the best that you could with what you have. 💕