A letter to all ambitious women out there

 Hi ambitious woman, I am so proud of you. I want to start this letter by patting you on the back for owning your ambition, for the courage to go against the grain, and declaring that you are a trailblazing woman. You have been called “too much” far too many times, too bossy, too know-it-all, too competitive, and maybe you’ve been told, “Who does this girl thinks she is?” I am so damn proud of you for standing up for yourself and following your own path.

1. You will go through a lot of challenges.
      Life will test you a lot of times. Sometimes it will hit you repeatedly on the face, on your gut, and you will fall down. Those who are so brave will get trampled upon, but you know what the difference is? Women like you do not know how to give up. It’s just not in your DNA. Challenges even energize you to be so relentless. You are not afraid to be vulnerable and fall flat on your face. Your mission is clear to you, hence no matter what hurdles come along, you will face it headstrong. 

2. You will meet amazing people.
      There are people who have come before you and will guide you as you walk your path. Learn from them and carve your own way. Every person that you meet has a lesson to teach whether that interaction is good or bad. I guarantee that you will not be alone in your ambition because there are lots of women who didn’t listen to the patriarchy, who decided that even if this world still doesn’t see men and women as equals, we are not bowing down to that belief. They will inspire you to proceed with whatever your heart wants and that women are here to take space and be awesome. 

3. You will ignore the haters.
      Those who decide to carve a unique path will be faced with so much hate. I think you know a thing or two about crab mentality. Some people can’t just process their insecurities hence they project it on you. When a tree is bearing fruit, that’s the time that a random person throws stones on those shiny and juicy apples. Productive people just don’t have the time and energy to hate because they are busy being so fucking amazing, slaying their goals and doing good for humanity. Ignore gossip and just do your shit. Haters are gonna hate because they are just so frustrated and insecure and they are not even brave enough to admit that to themselves. It is easier to badmouth people than to wake up every single day and do the hard work. 

4. You will learn so much along the way.
      All experiences in your life will teach you wisdom that you can’t have just by reading or watching motivational videos. You have to ask yourself, “What am I learning from this?” Every positive or negative experience has something to teach us, and our job is to listen to what the Universe is teaching. If you want to be a better person than you were yesterday, you have to be receptive to what life is teaching you. If you will be stubborn and keep on doing practices that aren’t good and working for you, then I hate to break it to you but you are not getting anywhere. You will be stuck because success requires growth and every season of our lives requires us to evolve. Who do you have to become to be the person you aspire to be? Do you need to be disciplined? Do you have to let go of limiting beliefs. Be a student of life. 

5. You will realize who are the people on your team. 
      There will be people who are good for you and of course there are those whose energy is just not good for your soul. Your job in this planet is to take of your soul because when you do, that love overflows and people can get the best of you. But if you keep on spending time with those who drain you, then how can you transform to your awesome self? Evaluate the energy that your friends emanate. Do you feel good after talking to them or do you feel insecure? Are your friends empowering you or are they discouraging you? Are they cheering you on? Can you rely on them during though times? Have a strong satellite for these kinds of people, and when you find them keep them close. 

6. You will fail.
      Surprise! Since you are brave, I would like to inform you that you will fail. Failure is a part of an ambitious woman’s life. You will not get that job. You will flunk that exam that you spent weeks studying.Your boss will not be satisfied with your work and the list goes on. But then again, every failure has a corresponding lesson, and that lesson will be the fuel to your success. If you do not fail then that means you are not trying. What matters is you get back up every single day, and as Brene Brown says, you go back to that arena, start again and fight. 

7. You will fall in love.
      Even if you are so focused on your goals, remember that love will be the reason why everything still makes sense. If you just keep on chasing money, fame, or success, but then your personal life is on the rocks, then will success still matter? At the end of the day, love is all that matters. So fall in love with life, with your journey, and generate the moments that will keep your heart on fire. Take care of your relationships and give it time. An ambitious woman allows herself to fall so deeply in love. 

8. You will realize what matters. 
      When you are too caught up with problems, we tend to forget the bigger picture. We get trapped in our “mini-me.” An ambitious woman takes the time to reflect and ask herself if this problem is worth the stress. At the end of the day we have to focus on our priorities, and on how we belong to the bigger scheme of things. This is a vast universe and our life as humans is just a tiny speck to its existence. Life is so short, so we have to be wise with how we spend this limited amount that has been given to us. 

9. You will have fun.
      Chasing your dreams is fun. The journey is what matters. You will realize that even if we live in this complicated world, we need to have fun. Enjoy the ride and actively search for things that make you smile. As I’ve said, the trip is short so it makes sense that we must have fun. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. 

10. You will thrive. 
      You will succeed, that is for sure. Maybe not in the timeline that you’ve set or in the field that you chose. Ambitious women succeed because they just keep on putting one foot over another. Eventually, you will experience flow and thrive. Inaction guarantees a stagnant life but a hardworking, driven, and purposeful person has a high chance of achieving their goals than lazy people. As Newton’s third law of motion states, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Whatever step you take will eventually bear fruit. You just have to be patient and headstrong. When trials come your way you can take a rest and then continue hustling again. 

Antidote to frustration

When the pandemic started I plummeted on a spiral of negativity. I got disappointed, more than I usually am, with almost everyone who’s handling this pandemic. I understand that COVID is a monster virus but I also know that this could have been handled better. More than a year after the first lockdown, and yet, here we are, experiencing a pandemic in a third world country, which could possibly be the worst place for a human being to be in. I was depressed and demotivated to study because the system is just too broken, but luckily, I was able to crawl out of that tunnel. How do we make peace with a shitty situation that is mostly out of our control?

1. Acceptance
      I discovered that the more we resist the situation that we are in, the harder it is to take the steps to solve problems. Accept that in this moment, these are the cards which we have been dealt with. You are in the Philippines, a country that has been colonized by three big countries for hundreds of years. This is where we are and we have to make peace with this fact. Maybe in another life I’m from Canada or Australia, but in this one, you are born in the Philippines. Accept that monsters exist, that the culture of corruption is a staple here in our nation. There are so many starving kids and sick people who are dying due to the poor healthcare system. Accept at the moment, that we live in a very flawed government, that not all leaders take their job “public servant” by heart. Recognize that not everyone has the same heart as you and your environment is pathological. Right now, this is your life situation. 

2. Gratitude
      Even though these are the realities that we must face on a daily basis, I still believe that we have to acknowledge what we have been given. It is unfair to just focus on the negatives. You are lucky that you are alive, especially since COVID lurks around the corner, and yet, here we are, still surviving. If you are reading this, it means that you have the privilege of being able to access gadgets and the internet. Having food on the table, getting an education, having a safe home to live in, and being with your family in these difficult times, are all things that we have to be thankful for. Being grateful doesn’t disregard the numerous flaws which are still present, but don’t we owe it to the Universe to be happy about what we have? For the past five years, keeping a gratitude journal has kept me aligned with what is important. Even though heavy and difficult things arise, I know that the fact that I am still breathing means that there still is a fighting chance for whatever that we are waking up for.

3. Decide that you can do something.
      Maybe you think that I am so naive for even imagining that I can make a difference. But come on, if everyone accepts that mediocrity and injustice is the norm, then aren’t we helping perpetuate these crimes to humanity? I refuse to give up. I refuse to say that this is all there is, that dying people will be the new norm. I know that even if I am just one insignificant human, I can make a difference. Know that you can do that too. We are intelligent species filled with thousands of neurons with connections that has allowed people to fly to the moon and discover the other galaxies in the sky. How come we think that we are so limited? We are not. You are not limited. You can make a difference wherever you are as long as you are brave and aren’t afraid of the legwork that living purposefully entails. Your existence matters. Make a decision that you will stop playing small. 

4. Stay in the moment and offer it the best you that you can give. 
      A lesson that I have learned from Oprah and Eckhart Tolle is to be present. This might seem a little woo-woo to others but, our present moment creates our future. We have to be fully present with the task at hand, the conversations we are in and the relationships in our lives, because when we are, that’s when the magic happens. People feel it when you genuinely care. There are people who will see how authentic you are. So if you are reading a book, give it your full attention. If you are bonding with family, stop using your phone. When you are talking with clients, don’t multitask, focus on them. Even in activities such as doing the laundry or washing dishes, stay present. That’s when you deliver quality work, and when that accumulates, someone will always notice. You owe it to what has been handed to you.

5. Be the role model you wish you had.
      Some people are lucky to be born with parents who are conscious enough in raising children, but most of us I guess didn’t have that. I think we have to take in to consideration that our parents didn’t also know better. I kept on looking for role models as I was growing up, but I found it difficult to find one, so I decided that if I can’t find one, then I’ll be one. I am frustrated with our leaders, so I decide that I will start by leading myself. Try it too. Be the mother, father, sister, best friend, mentor, leader, that you wish you had. Work hard on becoming the best version of yourself. Align your actions with the solutions to your frustrations. Stop waiting for things to change and start with you. Make a difference in the space that you are in and try to expand that culture of authenticity and humanity in the biggest scale that you possibly can, at your own pace. 

6. Be kind.
      We are not perfect. I am guilty of being impatient and cranky especially since I am in the medical field. But I try my best to be as kind as I can be. When I fall off the wagon, I also forgive myself. I learned this lesson the hard way. I used to be the person who cannot forgive slacking off. When there’s a group project in college, I expect all my groupmates to perform at the level that I do, not meeting deadlines is non-negotiable. I get mad at my groupmates who aren’t sending their parts for our lab reports on time, up to the point that I was becoming a very toxic person. I became unkind. It is their  responsiblity after all. But when difficult things happened to me, that’s when I realized that, I don’t have an idea about what is happening to another person. I don’t have a clue about their situation at home, their finances, or if they are eating at all. So I can’t be unkind, because as the quote goes, “Be kind. Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about.” I’m not yet as kind as I want to be but everyday, I try my best to be as mindful. 

7. Live a life of service.
     I am not sure when what I want to do has become crystal clear to me. I like leading, managing projects, and learning ever since. I also like seeing that what I do has a contribution to even a single creature. I’m not saying that I am aiming to be Mother Teresa, but seeing others win and do great and humane things for others makes me smile before I sleep. Isn’t that beautiful? When I learned that service and a hunger for learning keeps my soul alive, I knew that I wanted to be or at least try to reach for that MD. Here I am, about to start fourth year, I still have a long way to go but I have come far. Even though there are hard and painful parts, I would still choose this. My service is my offering to the universe. I hope and pray that you reader, are living a life filled with purpose.

8. Create a solution for people’s problems.
     One of my dreams is to create a business that will allow people from my hometown to live comfortably without leaving their families to work abroad. Writing in this blog is not just for creative expression. At the back of my mind, I want to offer clarity to my readers and in a way, help them maneuver challenges in their own lives. My efforts may seem futile, but even if only one person reads an entry, and somehow learns something or thinks differently after reading, then I would be most thrilled. That one person has friends, family or colleagues that they can influence. I want to make more good in this world. That is how I make peace with my disappointments. Find your art or an avenue  for your activism.

9. Educate, don’t hate.
     Since the advent of social media, I noticed that opinions are getting more polarized. Friendships die because of different political beliefs. There are more facebook comments filled with attacks just because of opposing views. Offensive words are like a staple. You just need to look at the comments section and you’ll see so much lack of respect. What if instead of trying to win arguments, we focus on understanding the other party and offer education instead of shaming them? What if we choose respect? We can’t control other people’s thoughts but we can manage how we respond to them. We can engage in a healthy discussion and if the other person attacks, leave. Making a point is never the point. Enlighten instead of winning.

10. Live each day as if it were your last. 
     When I get caught up in the craziness of this world I try my best to remember that today could be my last day. Will I choose to live with anger and negative thoughts? How do you want your last day to be? Draw a picture of your last day on earth. Live that. Focus on what matters. We only have one shot in this life after all. Live fully. 

Unlock your fullest potential

There are epiphanies that we suddenly realize as we grow old. If we are to compare ourselves from who we were a year ago, five years ago, and ten years ago, we’d notice that we changed a lot because of our experiences. I find this constant process of discovery as an interesting journey. You have these expectations about who you are and who you will be and yet you surprise yourself that you have turned out different. As we tread these changes, I think the consistent theme in these different phases of our lives is, we can be at peace with where we are when we are making sure that we fully unlock every version of ourselves, and hopefully before our last breath, we can say that “I have exhausted everything, I did everything that I possibly could.” There will be no regrets nor what ifs.

The next question is, “How do you unlock your fullest potential?” I can only speak based on how I approach life and what I have learned overall, and that is by breaking it in to tiny, actionable steps. 

1. Make an irrevocable decision about the life that you want.
       When you know where you are going, there will be less mental burden about the decisions you’ll be making. Decide what kind of life you want, without any sort of guilt. Do you want to be a millionaire? Do you want to travel all over the world? Do you want to live a simple life on a hill or in the middle of a forest? Ask yourself this question everyday, “What do I really want?” and listen to your gut’s honest answer. Write it down. To be honest, I feel sad whenever I meet someone who is just wasting precious Earth time wandering aimlessly. We all have moments of uncertainties, but at some point, you have to choose your path. Ten years from now, what does a beautiful life look like to you. Make it as detailed as possible and then that’s it, that’s the life you want.


2. Schedule it. 
      If it’s not scheduled, it’s not getting done. This is just honest advice. If you keep on saying that I want to be financially successful, or have a family, or a car, and you’re just sitting there on the couch and praying to be abundant, I hate to break it to you, but it’s not happening. You have to put it in your calendar and make time for each step that will take you closer to the kind of life that you truly want. Start small. Take those baby steps which might seem insignificant at the moment. You’ll see that those tiny actions will accumulate and result to something great, something that only sheer hard work could ever do.


3. Eliminate anything that brings you down. 
      Are you spending so much time on social media? Do you have thought patterns or belief systems that aren’t helping you rise? Well then it’s time to let go of them. Turn your phone off when you have to focus and just concentrate on whatever task is at hand. Stay in the moment you are in. If it’s not making you a happier and better person, then let go of it. It could be a bad habit, or a dragging relationship, or even people who disguise themselves as friends. Choose your energy. Make sure that even if you plummet in to negativity a few times, you still take steps to keep yourself on a higher energy vibe.


4. Ask for help. 
      You are not an island. You belong to a species of organisms who need socializing. The news, COVID, financial setbacks, illnesses, they all are heavy to carry alone. The thing is, you don’t have to face every single one of them on your own. Ask for help. Be brave to humbly seek assistance whenever you need it. I can’t tell you how this simple step changed everything for me. I used to be the person who wants to prove that she doesn’t need any help from anyone. It’s pathological. This attitude has allowed me to be strong, independent, brave and extremely self-reliant, but it also made me a loner and somehow it closed my doors to opportunities and relationships that could have been good for me. Be self-reliant, but when you need help, please ask for it. 


5. Surround yourself with people who want to see you win. 
      Be careful who you spend most of your time with. If you just gossip, drink, or watch TV with your friends, I hate to break it to you, but you are not with the right people. If you want to become successful, you have to make sure that you are in an environment that will allow you to grow at the level that you want to. Talk about goals and how you are achieving them. Discuss ideas, passion, and creativity. Generate that energy of relentlessness. Assess if the people you are with want to see you win. Filipino culture taught us to value family, but sometimes extended family members can cause too much toxicity. You will get opinions you didn’t ask for or unwanted visits and demands. If that’s the case, stop complaining, save up, and move out. If they are not helping you, just get out of that negative space. You can’t possibly grow in a soil that isn’t capable of providing the nutrients that you need to achieve your highest potential.


6. Expect setbacks. 
      This is not a world of unicorns and rainbows. But I guess you already know that. Following your passion or chasing a dream can be equated to going through loopholes with fire on its outlines. It’s like running on a track with lanes with shards of glass or burning coal. It’s kind of morbid but there will be times when you will want to give up because it’s hard and painful. Circumstances will get out of control just when you think everything is okay. Expect setbacks, my love. There will be highs and lows but just hold on to hope. Keep the faith and know that nothing is permanent, even trials.


7. Have a go-to person. 
      To say that we have that one best friend is false in my opinion. I have a friend that I confide in depending on what I am going through. I hope you have these people. They will give you honest advice and a listening and non-judgmental ear. Having real friends is very comforting. They get you back to your senses when you are getting off track. They will patiently hold your hand when you are still healing. How do you have these people? Be a friend. Be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on for others, and when it’s your turn to be punched by the world, someone will always be there for you.


8. Come back stronger. 
      When setbacks happen and you feel like you can’t take another blow anymore, rest. Allow your body and your mind the time and space for recovery. Stop pushing when you know within yourself that you are mentally and physically exhausted. This time frame varies for every person. When you are already rested, roll up your sleeves and with courage, start again. You have learned the lessons, and now it’s time to use that wisdom in getting back up. Know that you are strong because you have gotten through the unthinkable. Nothing is impossible for someone who doesn’t have the phrase “give up” in their vocabulary. 


9. Give. 
      Having a generous heart will allow abundance to flow in your life. I have proven this repeatedly. Whenever I feel like there isn’t enough money or when I am scared, I give. It may be my time, or any form of help that I could give. Surprisingly, abundance follows when your heart is not guarded by the scarcity wall. Volunteer for an advocacy you believe in. Serve. Just give not because you want something in return but do it because it feels good to make others feel better.


10. Surrender. 

For me, life is 50% what happens to you and 50% of it will come from your actions. We can do so much with our precious 50%. When I wake up every morning, I do my best to keep things in order and accomplish the tasks that I need to do so that my dreams will come into fruition. But I also know that there will be circumstances and forces which are out of my control, and so when I pray I surrender that 50%. “No matter how this day goes, I will do my best and the Universe will do the rest for me.” It was hard for a control freak like me to utter the word “surrender.” However, I sleep better ever since I accepted that things will get out of control, schedules will get ruined, annoying people will pop up, but how I perceive these circumstances and my legwork is all that matters. Surrender your dream and each moment and eventually you’ll get there. 

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.

Dear ladies, please read this before dating.

Before diving in a relationship, you need to have something that keeps that fire in your heart burning. Work on your personal and professional goals. Keep on living the best life possible by following your bliss.

You are a strong and independent woman. I bet you got a lot of dreams and you’re probably successful or on your way to shake the world. I am so proud of you woman so just keep on slaying. However, maybe in the relationship department, things are not quite falling into place. You’ve probably dated and for some reason, it just doesn’t work out. Maybe you’ve been single since forever, which is totally awesome, but you want to experience being in a conscious and fulfilling relationship. If these scenarios ring a bell, then please read on.

1. First, be honest with yourself.
How do you get the partner of your dreams? Does that entity even exist? Well, I want you to free yourself from all your previous beliefs and be totally honest. Do you want a partner or not? Either way is okay because it’s your life so you do you. Do not get into a relationship because of society’s pressures or worries of getting old and alone in your deathbed. You have to ask yourself if being in a relationship is something that you want. If it’s not yet clear for you, then I highly suggest dating. My favorite life coach, Marie Forleo always says, “Clarity comes from engagement not thought.” Go on dating apps, parties, and events and just test the waters. This will improve your social skills, and the more you get into it, you’ll have more data to analyze. You’ll know what are your likes and dislikes, then you can make an objective decision if being partnered up is for you or not.

2. Work on your own issues.
I hear many girls who want to have a boyfriend who will be a knight in shining armor and save them from distress. They think having “the one” will cure their insecurities. As early as now, please stop this toxic mindset. Take responsibility for your self-esteem. You have to fully love and appreciate yourself because it’s not your partner’s job to make you feel good all the time. Make a list of things you’re insecure about. What brings you down? Lay your emotional baggage and consciously work on them. You can do journalling, workouts, attend seminars or make art. Heal yourself so that you won’t project your issues to your future partner. Remember that your partner will not be your savior, you are your own savior. He’s going to be there to hold your hand while you both face this chaotic world, but he’s under no obligation to do everything and be everything for you.

3. Be willing to openly communicate.
There’s probably a lot of us who are guilty of stonewalling or being passive aggressive whenever conflict arises whether it’s with friends or family. If you are this type of person, I suggest that you get out of your comfort zone and work on your communication skills. Unless your partner’s a mind reader, then you don’t have to do this. But as far as I know, no one can read another person’s mind. Practice the art of open communication to your friends and family, so that when you’re in a relationship, there will be less friction. You can work on challenges with less turbulence because conscious partners will reciprocate what energy you’re putting on the table. Your significant other will feel safe with you when you are willing to be honest and vulnerable to them.

4. Have your own source of fulfillment.
This is very important because if you’re not careful, you might just make your partner the center of your universe. You might depend your happiness in his feelings or the way he treats you. Before diving in a relationship, you need to have something that keeps that fire in your heart burning. Work on your personal and professional goals. Keep on living the best life possible by following your bliss. Your partner is like the frosting on a cake. He is someone who makes the cake taste good, although the cake can be eaten on its own. You have to be happy as an individual so that you won’t fall into the trap of codependency.

5. Know your non-negotiables and core values.
Think about the future for a second. Are there kids? Is religion a big part of your life? Is it okay if your partner drinks or smokes? Is cheating forgivable? Draw crystal clear boundaries because it will prevent major heartbreaks. Do not expect that your partner’s beliefs will change or that you can sway how your partner thinks or behaves just because you’re together. Have a filtering system so that you won’t end up fighting constantly. Remember that this person is a possible spouse, at least for me that’s my purpose when I date, so you need to accept the person’s flaws as well. Lay it on the table early on because even if you love the person so much, if your core values are different, it won’t work or it might, but the relationship will end up draining you.

How about you, do you have any advice that you can share to women who are looking for a significant other? I am very interested in knowing your take on this. I dream of a world where women are helping each other out and being in this together because you are special and you deserve happiness in any form.

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.

Admitting Addictions

Do you have an addiction?

An addiction can be anything. It could be drugs, alcohol, sex, binge watching, social media, or food. It can even be as mundane as nail biting or as weird as eating your hair.

As for me I have recently learned that I had addictive patterns. I was addicted to scrolling through social media, binge watching, worst case scenario thinking, beating myself up (mentally), and eating. Believe me, these addictive patterns has caused me a lot of missed opportunities and major life mistakes.

Any addiction is bad. Period.

It doesn’t do any good to your physical and mental well-being. But first you must understand that an addictive pattern has a source. People who are addicted to drugs, smoking, and alcohol has that same feeling when we get addicted to something. They can’t get off it until they had awareness, and a one on one talk with the discomfort that they are trying to avoid.

Sometimes we even wonder if we are the problem. Maybe you think it’s impossible. You’ve probably asked why can’t you stop yourself from grabbing that next bar of chocolate? Or why are you so hooked to a TV drama that you totally forget about your deadlines?

Every addiction has a source. As my spirituality mentor Gabby Bernstein says, there is a feeling underneath any addiction. We get addicted to something for a lot of reasons and usually it is to escape from a feeling.

You are not alone in this addictive behavior. So far, I have dealt with my social media, binge watching, overthinking, and self-beating  addictions. Currently, I am in the process of healing my food addiction. I still am praying and researching about how I can overcome my love and hate relationship with food.

To the few who are reading this blog, know that you are not alone. Everybody deals with an addiction, whatever that addiction is.

I will be writing about how I overcame my  unhealthy addictive patterns and I hope that you will be here with me. Let us support each other to be our most authentic selves.

I’m here. I’ll listen.

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.

To the sweet girl reading this

Know that you are strong.

Know that you are bigger than all the shit that is happening in your life.

Know that your existence has a purpose.

Know that you are not being punished, you’re just being molded into a braver you.

 Hey, it’s okay.

Let those tears fall.

You’ve gone through worse.

Surely, it cannot be worse than before or maybe it will, but c’mon since when did you let circumstances defeat you?

Remember who you are.

You’re a warrior.

You’re a descendant of Athena.

You are fucking awesome.

So why the hell are you going to mope?

 Do something.

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.