Clarity

Have you ever felt like your life was like a repetitive cycle of failures? Or maybe you were so anxious because nothing exciting was happening or maybe the same problems kept on slamming you again and again. Let me guess, you even thought that you were a problem magnet.

I longed for an answer for the curse that I seemingly had. How can other people be happy, while I cannot. Or at least for me, happiness was fleeting. I felt like I had to savor the happy moments because if I don’t, I’ll miss out on that happy bubble and then it’ll pop and it would probably take a long time before that same bubble reappears.

If you’re at that place, please read on.

The moment you accept that you are not what happens to you, that is the start of your wonderful journey in this world. The reason why many people are miserable, getting addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, and TV is because we keep on looking for the solution outside of ourselves. We think that if we possess all these material stuff, happiness is automatic and it’ll be there to stay. But, look at all these celebrities, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Elvis Presley, they can have anything they want in this world. People love them. But why did they die of drug overdose? It’s because they kept on finding love outside of themselves.

The way to a fulfilled life is to know who you are. You must first have a sense of clarity of who you are in the first place. Who are you? You want to know the answer?

You are love.

Yep, you were born out of love. From your first breath, everything about you is love. That is your original design. You are a physical manifestation of love. But why are there so many depressed people? It’s because things that were happening outside of them shaped them to be a survival machine, and along the road, they forgot who they were. I’m writing this to tell you that no matter what mistakes you made, failures, or traumatic experience you’ve had, from the beginning, you are love.

When it’s clear to you, life is gonna be like a fairy tale. It’s a magical experience. There will be ups and downs but still, you have this stillness inside. At the core, you know that no matter how chaotic your outside is, you will be okay. You know that your mission in this world is to radiate whatever it is that is already inside you. This jaded world cannot ever steal your sunshine.  You will be part of this universe’s flow. You are one with the universe, and not against its natural rhythm.

If only more people realize this simple but powerful truth, believe me a massive change will happen. We will stop hating  and fighting each other. We will lift humanity and truly make this world a wonderful place to live. Start with yourself. Every time a heated situation or a challenge comes, speak these words, “I am love.”

 

How do I become perfect?

Let me tell you a story about a girl who hates seeing herself in the mirror.

What I saw In the Mirror

I wasn’t always a fat kid. It was just when I turned second grade that I started getting fat. I was getting bigger and bigger until I hated looking at myself in the mirror. I looked at the mirror and at a young age I felt like there was always something wrong with my face and with how I look.

I would often play with Barbie dolls and would just be in an imaginary world where I am as beautiful as Barbie. But Barbie doesn’t have a huge mole on her face and she was skinny and she has a Ken. I will never look like Barbie so I thought I’d just collect them and imagine myself being them.

I was also very fond of television. Almost all lead actresses were skinny girls. Whenever there was a fat girl, she gets told that she was a pig or that her parents left her all alone in the kitchen that’s why she got so fat. And in the end, she’ll transform into a gorgeus skinny woman.

If you grew up in the Philippines, you’d just be surprised by how so many people just see you  for the way you look. My extended relatives often tell me that my nose was flat or I was fat. Nobody told me that I was beautiful. I never felt beautiful. I never felt enough. The media, my aunts and uncles, and almost everyone around me has this standard of a beautiful girl and if you don’t fit in that standard, you’re ugly or ordinary.

I did not continue to hone my passion in dancing because I thought nobody can lift me because I was so heavy. Clothes don’t look good on me. No one would want to be my partner. I was ugly. Every time I look at the mirror I call the girl in the reflection: fat, ugly, fat, ugly. I hated pictures because I didn’t like what I saw. I stopped smiling at any camera because I thought even if I smile, it won’t change a thing, I would still be fat and ugly.

These insecurities crippled me in terms of my self-confidence. I was looking for acceptance and validation. I was waiting for someone to tell me that I am beautiful. But that day didn’t come until I was 21 years old. So, for 21 years, I saw myself as an ugly person.

How I dealt with it

Since I couldn’t be noticed for the way I look, I tried anything that would make people notice me. It was in second grade when my teachers started to notice that I was a smart kid. My English teacher would let us read short stories and then she had a graded recitation after. The questions were basic, what, where, when, I can easily answer those. But for the why questions, no one in the class could think or articulate the answer. But, I can! So I bravely raised my hand and answered her why question in straight English. My teacher saw something in me that day. After that, I was motivated to go to school. My second grade teacher saw my potential. She included me in the “damath” practice. She made me practice declamation pieces. It was just a blast. She would hug me and I think I was her favorite student that time. Finally, there’s a place that accepts me, school. As long as I do great, people would love me. This included my parents and my teachers.

School became an escape, a way to cover the imperfections. I finally was shining because I was good at something. I excelled to be noticed and loved.

Excellence and Perfection

Growing up as an achiever is like a double-edged sword. Yes, I get the attention. But, little did everyone know that I was being hard on myself. I started seeing being ‘the best’ as my identity. If I join a math competition and I don’t win, I’d be so depressed. I just wanted to win, I wanted to be the best. I kept on comparing myself with my classmates. It was hard for me to accept that no matter how much I work hard, there will be people who will be better than me in all aspects. Sometimes I don’t sleep just to prepare for an exam, but still another person would beat my score and I’d still be disappointed with myself.

To put it bluntly, I mistook excellence for perfection. It thought they were the same thing. For every result that I get, there’s no joy when I realize that I wasn’t perfect. I remember being obsessed with my study table. It has to be clean or I won’t study. Everything should be perfect or else things would turn out bad. I was beating myself up so bad. I got obsessed with being perfect to the point of depression. I would hide in my apartment for a couple of days just because I failed an exam in chemistry. I got in the top university in the Philippines so I thought I could be the best there too.

All that mentality was wrong. It took a lot of failures and disappointments for me to realize that I cannot ever be perfect. As long as I was doing my best, that was enough. Trying to be perfect stole the joy in learning. I really was hard on myself all this time. Instead of trying to be the best, I focused on having the best time in university, being happy.

Acceptance

I cannot be perfect. I will never be a beautiful girl based on media standards. It’s always the skinny girl with perfect skin and pointed nose who gets to be called beautiful. That’s not me and that will never be me. I am Kate, a 5’2″, pear-shaped woman, with a flat nose, a wide forehead, and a mole on the right side of her nose. My hips are wider than most girls and I weigh more than the girls you see in magazines and TV.

But, I began to love how I look. I would often take selfies and would even get to be in photo shoots of my organization and direct their poses. Take it from the girl who used to hate the camera. I became quite good in enhancing other women’s beauty by giving them a makeover. I love fashion and clothes and reflecting my personality through what I’m wearing. I eat good food and I feel so healthy even if I am a plus-size girl.

I graduated in my dream University and I’m now living abroad and exploring the world. I accepted who I am. Sometimes I look in the mirror and see a fat girl, but, there’s this new woman inside me that tells that old Kate to stop. Destructive thoughts are now being blocked by the new me.

This is for You

This is the meaning of perfection in a dictionary.

  • Perfection is the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.
  • Perfection is something that cannot be improved.

Oops. Do you want that? Do you want to be a person that doesn’t improve?

Now that I’ve shared my perfection obsession story, I want you to do these things whenever you feel like you have the dire need to be perfect or when you’re disappointed with yourself.

  1. Look for role models.

Even if the media is portraying all these beautiful women (skinny, tall, and has a perfect skin) should be how we look like, let me tell you something: how you look is totally fine.

Stop trying to look like a  Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid. Start trying to be the true you. The perfectly imperfect amazing heck of a woman you. For me, I look up at admirable women such as Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou. I am more concerned with what women do than how they look like. I think beauty without depth is useless. Look up to women who are doing something great in this world.

2. Be a role model.

Inspire other girls to accept who they are. As John Legend says, “Love your curves and all your edges. All your perfect imperfections.”  Spread the body acceptance movement and tell other people that it’s okay, to make mistakes, to lose, and to fail. Be that person who embraces all your imperfections and tell the world, hey it’s me. If you don’t like how I look or who I am then screw you. You are here to inspire, to spread positivity and acceptance. You are not meant to criticize, you are meant to be the cheer leader of others who are fighting their own battles.

3. You are enough.

Whatever you are right now, that is enough. Wherever you are in your career, right at this moment, that is enough. Take baby steps but please, do the world a favor, stop being hard on yourself. Celebrate your victories. Cry for a while when you lose and then get back up. Whatever you did, that was enough. You are enough.

4. Stop expecting perfection.

When you finally accept how flawed you are and be okay with it, you will also be okay with other people’s imperfections. You will see them for who they are and not for who you expect them to be. You will also learn to love them.

5. You are not meant to be perfect. You are meant to be whole – Jane Fonda

You are meant to be a whole person. How do you do that? By accepting what is, and not focusing on what it’s supposed to be.

Accepting imperfection takes a lot of practice. But, when you master it, oh what a breath of fresh air comes. It’s like a big rock is lifted off your chest. It’s like having a new pair of eyeglasses, finally seeing the world the way it is and being okay with it. I hope you’re happy with who you are, but if you’re not, continue working on it. Remember that each one of us is a work in progress.

To the person reading this, to me, you are enough. You may not be perfect, but your imperfections make this world more interesting. Thank you for being you.

A Prose for the Hurting

Sometimes you wake up less grateful than you should be

Seeing more of the disappointments that this life has struck you

Sometimes you get tired of being who you are

Strength is inconsistent though you try you still fall down

You may shed a tear or two or utter curse words

You may go back to your cave and shut everybody out

But please let yourself be because sometimes this is what you need

To lock yourself in your world and not give a damn

Sweet girl embrace yourself and be okay with what you’re feeling

You are not bad, it’s okay, being weak is part of living

Pain urges to be felt and feel it you must

Crying makes you human, always remember that

Sleep dear child and let it wear off

There’s another day, another chance, a promise for pain to fade out

I know that you’re tired of living like this

But hey, there’s the sun, the moon, and stars how much more does it take?

The beauty of this world is enough to face the day

Cheer up, maybe stars will align someday

And when that moment comes you will smile and say

Thank God I stood up, thank God I lived up to this day.

10 things to do when you’re freaking out

There are days when we feel like we’re on cloud 9. We approach the day headstrong and just believe that anything is possible. Those are what we call the oh-so-good days, the awesome, conquer the universe days. Well, just imagine if everything goes the way it should be, the world will indeed be our oyster. But, let’s talk real.

That is a dream. Those days definitely happen, but, not all the time. It comes to a point sometimes that you feel like your world is crumbling, as if wherever you go, there’s mess. You feel so out of control. You freak out. What do you do then?

My dear, anxiety is normal. Freaking out for things that’s out of your control can cause you a meltdown. However, no need to worry because everyone has it, even that girl with thousands of likes on social media. Nobody’s life is perfect. Some people can handle it better, some just shove it in, while others collapse under too much pressure.

For me, these are the techniques that work when shit happens

  1. BREATHE

Focus on your breathing first. Inhale and exhale slowly. You’re alright, you’re still breathing. That’s what matters first, you are still breathing.

2. RELAX YOUR BODY.

Is your teeth clenched? Relax it. Pay attention to your facial muscles, are they tense? Relax them. Notice your shoulders and relax. To have a clear head, our body needs to be in a relaxed state. Yes, things  are chaotic, but, calming yourself first will help your brain think logically.

3. SAY THESE WORDS: EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE OKAY.

This may sound too cliché for you but eventually, there will be a way for any situation to work out. Even if you cannot see that now, believing that it will be okay will give you the sanity that you need to handle any situation. Whenever you start thinking that you’re gonna be doomed, push that thought away and replace it with one sentence: “Everything’s going to be okay.” Our actions change when we reprogram how we think. You have to believe that it’ll work out if you really want it to work out.

4. PLAN

Now that you have a calm mind and body, and a proper mindset, you can now start thinking of the solution. You can list the problem on a paper, and just brainstorm the possible solutions you can come up with. After a while, evaluate which solution is the best.

5. EXECUTE

Do the necessary actions for the solution to be executed. My favorite blogger gives this perfect advice for her followers  who ask her how to handle anxiety, (http://ladykaymd.tumblr.com/ ) “Action always fights anxiety.”

6. IF IT IS TOTALLY OUT OF YOUR CONTROL, LET GO.

There are battles that we fight and battles that we choose not to. It takes maturity and a lot of wisdom to choose the best thing to do in a situation. Sometimes, no matter how much we want things to end up well, it’s just out of our power. We all have limitations. If you really cannot do anything, or the situation will just get worse if you meddle, have the courage to accept the circumstance, no matter how crappy it is, and let go.  Acceptance is not cowardice. It is a brave act of trust.

7. FEEL YOUR EMOTIONS

Despite people saying, “Bottle your feelings and move on,” just feel what you are feeling. If crying makes you more okay, then cry. If you are sad, be sad. Honor what you feel. People who hide everything will certainly crack at some point. But, if you acknowledge your emotions, it will help. Numbing will take the anxiety for a while but nothing beats being true to yourself.

8. EXERCISE

I know, this is the last thing that you want to do. However, this is scientifically proven. When you’re having a bad day, all those frustrations are replaced by the  feeling of triumph when you complete a workout. Physically releasing negative vibes helps. If you want to help yourself, get out of that bed and MOVE.

9. DRINK A HOT BEVERAGE (or your favorite beverage)

This works so much for me. When I start overthinking and negative thoughts ramble in my brain, lemon or lime infused water does the trick. Maybe it’s the quiet time of drinking that helps.  Sometimes, when my friend is upset or when I am anxious or mad about something, drinking milk tea and talking just calms us.

10. CALL A FRIEND

Maybe you’ve heard somewhere that your biggest enemy is that voice inside your head. If you start noticing that the voice is not helping because it’s saying too much negative stuff, go and call your closest friend. It’s amazing how a different perspective can change the way that we approach a situation, plus, girlfriends are the best.

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You are human. You are not supposed to be perfect. There will be bad days but there are good days too. Being flawed, failing, and making mistakes is part of your journey. Feeling anxious is okay, but, you don’t have to feed your anxiety. You have to feel it, and use those nerves for something good. Channel it somewhere. It can be through a hobby, or whatever creative activity that you love.

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” – Soren Kierkegaard

Of fallen dreams

Tunnel vision.
Clear goal.

I had all of that. I thought that if I want something bad enough, even if the world screams impossible, that goal would still materialize.

Was I wrong? Apparently.

As soon as I left my job I had the time to think about where I am in my life. Am I the person that I thought I was going to be at 22?

Poof. I’m not.

If I were asked where I am, I’d say, I’m in a path that I have never imagined for myself. The life I’m living is not the life I’ve dreamed. But still, I find solace, I find peace. Maybe this is what they call ‘happiness’. I chose it.

Life has thrown rocks on me. And, I just realized that, its just the way it is. No matter how much I question God, the universe, or any deity, nothing will change. These are the circumstances that I was born with, and I got a choice. Am I gonna fight? Or am I gonna die?

I choose to fight. I will always do.

This week, I talked to a friend and she reminded me of a couple of things that I forgot. I told her everything, about my struggles and plans. Suddenly she told me, “if you will go back and face the same problems you’ve had, the reasons why you left in the first place, you might just regret that you didn’t give it one more shot’.

And then she told me, “You are K, you are the smart, talented, ambitious, girl that I met. You are inspiring a lot of people, including me. So please don’t give up. Maybe life is unfair to us, but aren’t we lucky enough because we were born achievers? At least in our case, our brain is capable of thinking about ways to solve our family problems. We have a shot.”

With those things she said, I was awakened. I realized that I was too preoccupied with my problems that I forgot to see the big picture.

When we start to look so hard in our circumstances we forget about the important things. Worse, we forget who we are.

I have come to accept everything. I have decided to relinquish control. I choose happiness. I choose to revel in uncertainty.