Have your cake and eat it too.

Seriously, people, this is how I eat cake and practically everything else. Instead of cutting a piece of cheese I just get the whole chunk out of the fridge, take a bite and return it in the package. I know… I know… unladylike, not polite, unhygienic, not the done thing, etc. etc. etc. But that’s me. I drink water straight from the bottle also but refused to drink the last remaining bit at the bottom. Don’t ask me for a reason, I just don’t know.  I eat also food straight from the pot. Sometimes, while sitting in the middle of the table instead of a chair. I don’t mind sharing a plate either. I eat leftovers of D. and give him mine or the pieces I don’t like. There are lots of things I do differently, like most people I guess. But I will not name them here one by one or otherwise, we are in for a long haul. Perhaps I will share some of them once in a while if I’m feeling courageous or just plain crazy.

See you next time.

Why this candle? Why this cake?

Today is exactly a year since I had an accident abroad and fractured my spinal cord. I thought I will never walk again.

But I shoulder on like always and here I am still doing the things I thought I would never do again. Like hiking for example.

I still take a dose of morphine from time to time to ease the pain but I find that a small price to pay compared to being paralyzed sitting in a wheelchair whole day.

It wasn’t the first time I seriously broke a bone. When I was ten years old, a car hit me while crossing the highway and snapped my fibula. I was in a hospital for a month and spent my Christmas and New Year there. They offered me a crutch and had been strongly advised to take it easy. I limped to school after three days sans crutch.

Sometimes you got to do what you got to do in order to move on when giving up is not an option.

I’m not keen on celebrating any occasion but this one I ordered a cake for. Because I believe that if there is something worth commemorating it is this___ the fact that after a bad fall, I am still alive and kicking.

Too weird to live, too rare to die

I have people and places that I only know in my dreams. Not fantasy, just good old fashioned dream. Nightmares sometimes. Or most of the time for I never dream happy. Happy isn’t for me. In dreams or reality.

They come back in my reoccurring visions (or hallucinations if you prefer) oftentimes in the same dream which funny enough continues after I woke up and go back to sleep. I can even put them on hold or redirect the circumstances according to my wish. Some dreams feel more real than the others and more vivid than reality.

People say dreams are just memories one has long forgotten. I don’t believe them. Surely you can’t forget those that make you feel___ different for lack of a better word. And memories are from the past, not recent. Or perhaps (arguably) I mix the past with the present/recent. Because most of them are grown-ups interacting with a grown-up me.

And most of the places in my dreams are venues I have never been to. I know that for sure. How many yellow cities are there, which collapsed to reveal another layer? A city within a city. Something like that.

I know, most dreams are weird and don’t make sense, but people with faces I don’t recognize? C’mon…

They feel familiar though. As if I have known them all my life. Some I wish I really have known because they give positive vibes and make me feel safe.

The great Edgar Allan Poe once said:

You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream…

What do you think?

Ashes To Ashes

The grandmother of D. died at the beginning of the corona crisis. It’s best for her. She was 86 years old and very sociable. The lockdown would have been fatal for her if she had been still alive.

The ceremony was intimate and short. They scattered her ashes in the small corner of the cemetery and I thought: there you go. One moment you are alive and laughing and the next day you’re gone. They will mix your remains with others in the secluded little corner of the graveyard that looks suspiciously like a place where dogs are allowed to deposit their excrement and that’s it. That’s your whole life is amounted to, a handful of dust on the scraggy patches of grass littered with dried up flowers from previous occupants. Sad I thought.

I know After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box. And dead is dead but still…

I watched her husband suffered the same fate four years ago. That was the first time I was really confronted with my own mortality. My parents were both dead but that is different. I had a connection with these people. I have lived with them longer than I know my own family. She was kinder to me than my own mother had ever been. I genuinely liked her.

D. and I made a pact that if one of us died, our ashes will be planted together with a sapling of our choice (Tebitan Cherry or Prunus serrula for me, Magnolia for him) so we can grow and be a part of nature instead of disappearing into nothingness like a dried up turd.

June Again

… and still, the corona issue lingers.

I could sympathize with the sociables and extroverts out there who need human contact to properly function though I don’t share their predicaments. If truth is to be told, nothing really changes with my lifestyle since the lockdown. I have always been in self-imposed quarantine since I decided to distance myself with all the dramas of humankind. Most of the time I enjoy my solitude. Sometimes I want to be lost in anonymity among strangers who don’t know and want nothing from me. I like it that way.

Probably, the only setback I have experienced during this crisis is not being able to go on vacation and lost my booking. I got a form of a voucher claimable the next time I book a holiday and would be expired within a year. The catch is, nobody knows yet when people are allowed again to travel outside their own countries so, it’s a waiting game. I hope to be out here by October. Fingers cross.

They are predicting the hottest summer (which is becoming the norm these days) I have given up on gardening. My water bill is sky high already and it is not even summer. The driest month so far they say. If it gets even drier, there will be no plant left to water. I don’t know if it is good or bad.

Anyway, I hope June will be kind to you, and let’s pray that this crisis will be over soon.

See you around.

Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.

Gifted people are sometimes called Zebras (a term proposed by French psychologist Jeanne Siaud Fachin). This is in part because zebras are non-domesticable by humans — they are too free-spirited and unpredictable to be tamed and controlled. It sounds like many gifted people we know!

Zebras also stand out from other species because of their loud black and white stripes, much as gifted people stand from the crowd out whether they want to or not. The interesting thing about zebras’ stripes is that they each have a unique stripe pattern – as fingerprints are unique to each human. This brings to mind the popular saying, “If you’ve met one gifted person, you’ve met *one* gifted person” — we are not a homogenous group!

Stripes serve zebras to protect themselves, by blending in with each other when predators are around, as predators cannot make out individuals when all they see is a group of stripes. Siaud Fachin said that gifted people tend to blend into the “herd” when they feel threatened too, which in one way is healthy; however, this can go wrong when a gifted person feels *constantly* threatened and is unable to feel safe enough to find their unique pattern, voice, and expression. Unfortunately, that’s not an uncommon experience for many gifted people.

Zebras are highly sensitive and perceptive animals, with excellent eyesight and night vision, excellent hearing with ears that turn in almost every direction, and acute senses of smell and taste. They have very high stamina, are fast, powerful, and resourceful. Every gifted person knows what it’s like to have an exceptional perception, speed, stamina, and resourcefulness in one area or another (or in many all at once).

Today we’re featuring zebras, as it is Endangered Species Day. This is an important time for us to remember that our lives, and even our metaphors and self-concepts, are intertwined with other species. We can understand ourselves better in a context of rich biodiversity around us, and it is up to us to protect that biodiversity (and rich intellectual diversity across species). And just as human “zebras” deserve a dignified life, so do our animal counterparts – many of whom are threatened with extinction due to our high consumption lifestyles and political and economic choices and ideologies. Among zebras, the Cape Mountain Zebra and the Grévy Zebra are both at risk of extinction. It’s estimated that 50% of the earth’s species are currently at risk of extinction due to human action.

It’s equally important that we extend this dignity and responsibility to our fellow human populations which are endangered — namely many indigenous groups. Indigenous people and their cultures bring rich sources of knowledge and connectedness and contribute so much to the beautiful intellectual diversity of our interconnected whole.

Let’s do all we can to protect the animals, our fellow humans, and all other endangered beings on this planet.

(Source: InterGifted via Facebook)

Do not prepare the road for the children. Prepare the children for the road.

TO ALL PARENTS and EDUCATORS, please be reminded of the following:

There are three types of intelligence

Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
Emotional Quotient (EQ)
Social Quotient (SQ)

1. Intelligence Quotient (IQ): this is the measure of your comprehension ability”, solve maths; memorize things and recall subject matters.

2. Emotional Quotient (EQ): this is the measure of your ability to maintain or be at peace with others; keep to time; be responsible; be honest; respect boundaries; be humble, genuine and considerate.

3. Social Quotient (SQ): this is the measure of your ability to build a network of friends and maintain it over a long period of time.

People that have higher EQ and SQ tend to go farther in life than those with high IQ but low EQ and SQ. Most schools capitalize on improving IQ levels while EQ and SQ are played down.

A man of high IQ can end up being employed by a man of high EQ and SQ even though he has an average IQ.

Your EQ represents your character; your SQ represents your charisma. Give in to habits that will improve these three Qs but more especially your EQ and SQ.

EQ and SQ make one manage better than the other.

Now there is a 4th one:
A new paradigm

4. The Adversity Quotient (AQ): the measure of your ability to go through a rough patch in life and come out without losing your mind.

AQ determines who will give up in the face of troubles, who will abandon their family or who will decide to quit life’s journey.

To parents,
expose children to other areas of life more than academics. They should learn to work and share the gifts of their understanding in whatever work that they will deal with (never use work as a form of punishment), sport and art.
Develop their EQ, SQ, and AQ. They should become multifaceted human beings who are able to do things independently of the parents.

Finally, do not prepare the road for the children. Prepare the children for the road.

(Source: Facebook)

The Joneses Don’t Deserve Your Attention.⁣⁣

Success isn’t about how your life looks to others. It’s about how it feels to you. That’s what it means to be true to yourself.

I am my biggest critic. It’s me I have to please, no one else. If I am not satisfied with anything, I will continue to work towards improvement regardless of what others think or say. It is my life after all. It is me that has to live with myself till the grave, day and day out. I have to be comfortable in my own skin before I can be any use to anyone. Same with designing your own space. You are the one who is going to live there not other people. So why should you try to impress others when it’s not even their own abode. Do what you like, follow your feelings, decorate according to your taste, design according to your needs, dress up according to your personality and live the way you see fit. As long as your not harming anyone by being yourself, who cares?

Let them judge and let them talk.

It makes me think of something I’ve read somewhere. That coins make a lot of sounds while paper money is silent or something like that. And bells ring hard because they are shallow or something along those lines. What it is that Steve Jobs said:

Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice and our time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. 

Isn’t that great?

We are all born terminal. We are all going to die sooner or later. We are living on borrowed time. Don’t you think we better spend it on experience than accumulating earthy possessions? I remember what my then friend M. said to me a long time ago. She said: “With all that money you are spending on globetrotting you could have been a millionaire by now.”  I just looked at her because I didn’t understand her point of view and I didn’t bother to explain mine because she would not understand, and I mighty glad I did what I did because with my current condition and limited situation if I did not follow my heart and invested on experience, I will not have something to remember and fall back on when the going gets tough. Those cherished memories keep me sane and I’m grateful for that. I said to myself then: I don’t want to lie on my death bed wondering about ifs and what could have been. At least now I could honestly say to myself that I’ve been there done that twice over and back. No regrets.

Oh, I know, some people are hard-set to accumulate material things for the sake of legacy. To leave to their descendants, to give them a fair start in life as my aunt used to say. Granted. But I personally believe that the best foundation you can give to your own children is the gift of one thing no one can steal and they can never lose: education. Coupled it with a decent upbringing and nuggets of wisdom here and there, proper morals and values and they will be okay. Earning and finding their place in the world has to be the fruit of their own labor, not yours. They will follow their own paths anyway no matter what we told them to do. I, for one thing, don’t want my children to live up to my expectations. I rather that they live up to theirs. I will never live through my children. I don’t want them to make my dreams come true. I want them to realize their dreams no matter how disappointing it is for me because it is their lives. As long as they are happy, I’m happy. Isn’t it what love is all about, seeing someone happy?

The bottom line is:

We have just one life, why not live it the way we see fit?

Live and let live.

So forget about image and keeping up with the Joneses because:

After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.

Mirror, Mirror…

Do Not Define Me

Bohemian…
A person, as an artist, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices. A free spirit and open-minded thinker.

Hmmm… My son once described me to his friends as a MILF. To my face he said I’m a bohemian. My ex said to one of his ladies that I was magic, but to me, he said I was a short fat and ugly gold-digging flirt head hunter who was holier than thou one of a kind spirit who got nothing to offer to a man. A man-hater frigid who pretends to be intelligent but otherwise stupid who got a limited taste in music and to top it all manic-depressive. Let’s not talk about how my daughter sees me. That would be a long and complicated story. The point of all of these…

The point is_  we are a lot of things to a lot of people. Each of them has their own version of us. None of those matches the image we have of ourselves in our heads. Not even close.

I see myself as a plain Jane of average intelligence. Aloof and introvert, shy melancholic and highly sensitive.

So many people will disagree. For most, I am confident, assertive smart outgoing social.

Alpha they say.

I’m not an Alpha. I’m not even Bravo Charlie or Delta. Just kidding. I’m more of an Omega. Really.

No. Seriously, I don’t give a damn how people see me. As long as their opinions are not interfering with my existence, they can draw/paint every picture they want.

Oh.

My husband puts me on a pedestal. For him, I can do no wrong.

Easy you might say. No, it isn’t. You don’t get feedback that way. You don’t get constructive criticism which helps you to grow and improve as a person.

He was brought up in this fashion, believing he is a shining golden boy who is perfect in every way. The result? He has a problem with anything that defies that image of him, hindering him to grow to his full potential and evolve as a human being supposed to be through years of experience and making mistakes. The consequences of that upbringing he is still reaping to this day via his work, social contacts, relationships in general. Whenever troubles reach his shore, he automatically assumes that it is because of an external factor, others, not him, never him.

I don’t want to be like that. Just hand me a mirror.

I want the truth.

But what is the truth?

Everybody has their own truths.

You know… That image again we have in our heads? That doesn’t match with the ones they have in theirs? That.

Now, the circle is complete.

An Appetite No Misery Satisfies.

It’s how I fill the time when nothing’s happening. Thinking too much, flirting with Melancholy.

Is it possible to feel sad all the time?

Someone said to me (a long time ago) that it’s okay for people to feel down once in a while but not all the time (note that this person only knows me online via my blog) as is the case with me. She said that all my articles tend to lean more on the dark side rather than on the sunny side of life. Always rain, no sunshine. Too heavy to consume and digest on a daily basis, she said.

If she means I’m pessimistic and negative, I disagree. I’m always positive to the point of I tend to see bad days as ordinary days and learned not only to dance in the rain but make the most of it.

A little bit of storm will never stop me on my way. I’m used to getting wet.

So, why my blog posts are mostly not everyone’s cup of tea?

Maybe that’s why.

I don’t find happy times worth mentioning. They are few and far between and what is happiness anyway? If you don’t feel like killing yourself today, are you happy? If you smile because something touches your heart, are you happy? If nothing out of the ordinary happens and life goes on the way it was, are you happy? If you had sex after three months or longer without and feel no different than yesterday, are you happy?

Whatever happiness is, I don’t do happy. No happily ever after in my fairy tales. I detest happily ever after, that’s why I don’t read chick-lit or light-hearted fictions. If you know already that whatever might happens in between those pages prior to the ending will nothing but a diversion because, in the end, they will ride into the sunset, why bother?

I find it a waste of time.

Besides, it doesn’t mirror the reality of life.

In reality, the story only begins when happily ever after has ended.

But yeah… As someone said:

“I strongly believe that we must tie our sanity around something (or someone). May it be your dog, a future event, past regrets, or current obligations. We must keep ourselves anchored so we don’t easily drift away into nothingness.”

To each his own.

Whatever floats your boat.

But pessimistic I am not.

Melancholic perhaps.

But never negative.

I prefer to be called realistic.

How’s that?

Fair enough?

New Year’s Resolutions

Cliché? Passé?

Whatever.

I’m going to make a list this year.

What is going to be?

Let’s see…

Avoid consuming meat products.

Global warming climate change related? Absolutely! But that is not the reason why I’m doing it. Animal abuse is the propeller behind my motive. How many times I saw fragments of animal cruelty in the news and vowed not to eat meat again but time after time failed. Don’t get me wrong. I am not carnivorous by far. I preferred seafood than anything else but still… I consume meat products at least once a month. This year I will do an extra effort to ban it altogether from my menu.

Doing only the things that nourish my soul.

Done with keeping the church in the middle and duty calls. From now on, I will not be bullied/ forced/ propelled for whatever reasons to do things I don’t want to do. Yesterday I attended a Christmas brunch with people that either there because it was expected of them but clearly wanting to be somewhere else or they are there because of some obligations. A duty of commitment. That was me included. What is the point for crying out loud? I also found out that (as if I didn’t know already) whatever I do, people will never change their initial perceptions of me. Why bother then? Better stop pretending.

Concentrate on improving the quality of life and focus on personal growth and development.

My aim this year is to live the good life and practice self-care creating an environment that best suited my needs and follows the path towards not happiness but satisfaction and contentment. I want to be in touch again with my surroundings and myself, clearing the mind of unnecessary baggage and carry only those that are essentials to my being. Back to the basic is the road I wish to take which hopefully leads me to a more peaceful existence.

Listen to my body.

In an attempt to silence the chaos in my head I tend to ignore what’s my body is telling me. I go on and on till I’m so exhausted I can’t sleep nor rest. Of all the things I want to change for the better this coming new year, this is probably the hardest to do. I am used to this kind of method, torturing myself in order to feel alive, diverting myself from the chaos in my head so I can go on not living but existing. I never face my demons, I have given them free rein, carte blanché to create havoc in my thoughts forever inhabiting the corridors and rooms of my mind. To banish them is to feel empty, alone and lost. In fact, that is assuming from my part. The truth is I don’t know how it is to be without these familiar companions for they never leave. Even in my sleep, they populated my dreams or it is more appropriate to call them nightmares because that’s what they are_ miserable monsters.

But I will try anyway. Sweep away the cobwebs, open the windows and doors, let in the light and purge the air. Get rid of the skeletons, remove the clatter clean the place thoroughly disinfect the wounds and let them heal. Stop scratching go out more and smell the flowers.

That’s it I guess. I will add more if I think of some crucial changes that have to happen in order to lighten the burden of this existence most people insist to call living.

Here’s to another year!

P.S.

I decided not to sweat the small stuff so I’m adding Don’t sweat the small stuff to the list.

Let go.

…of the things that burden me, weighing me, stopping me reaching for the light. Time to fly, time to soar, time to reach my destination. Be free, be light, be enough.

Stop living in the past. 

I always did that. One foot of mine is firmly planted in what had been, always looking back, stubbornly holding on to memories. It’s time to let go,  live in the present and forget the past. Okay, forgetting is maybe a long stretch unless I suddenly get amnesia but not live there anymore. Let bygone be bygone. A very hard thing to try since it’s really a dilemma_ you can’t go back to the past but you can’t escape it either. I will give it a shot anyway. Nothing to lose everything to gain, right?

Wish me luck.

ritual burning 2e

Friday The 13th

I grew up in a very religious country full of superstitious beliefs you would not believe all the things people conjure up if you hear them. You can hardly pass an anthill without someone telling you, you ought to ask permission or excuse yourself for trespassing on a sacred place of some powerful mythical beings. Failure to do so will result in unforeseen circumstances/consequences ranging from a simple fever to_ name it, the only limit is your imagination.

I could write a book about the stories I heard when I was growing up. My mother was an expert storyteller when it comes to these sorts of tales. She told us about flying babies, goblins, centaurs abducting children, beautiful people being kidnapped by enchanted entities making them appear dead and replacing their bodies with banana trunks. She related to us how could we become invisible by simply stealing the hat of the grim reaper and how to acquire a magic purse that contains a hundred peso bill that keeps coming back after you spend it. Imagine…

People there believe in pontianak – the spirits of women who died while pregnant/ the ghosts of stillborn children among so many supernatural creatures that eat human flesh and organs and could shift shape. They believe in witchcraft and black magic and they say it is better to stay at home on your birthday or wedding day because venturing outside is equals to courting disaster. If you hear a Gekko making sound by the door it means someone is coming. Likewise, if you drop cutlery. If you drop a spoon the visitor will be female and male if it is a fork. If you smell the acrid aroma of an extinguished candle it means death. And if you let children kiss a doll before they could talk, there is a chance that they will become mute.

For all those silly notions people believe with all their hearts, what amazes me the most is the one surrounding conception. They say when a woman is conceiving she better be careful what she says, what she eats, what she likes and so on because whatever her preferences in food, in people or words might be will affect the baby in her womb. For example: If she craves for chocolates while conceiving or takes a fancy to someone with a dark complexion, the baby will surely be dark as well when s/he is born. If a pregnant woman criticizes or laughs at people with deformity, her baby will be deformed too. If she eats soft crabs then the baby will not be able to walk and if it is lobsters or shrimps, there is a strong possibility that the color and shape of the crustacean will appear on the skin of her baby as a birthmark. Things like that. I remember being in a heated discussion while on holiday back there because I asked them if I crave for plums while conceiving would that automatically means my baby will be dark when she or he comes out? They know I am married to a Caucasian. Imagine that…

I can go on and on about those superstitions my countrymen still hang onto until this very day but I will stop here. I think you get an idea already of what I want to convey.

How about you?

Is your country has similar beliefs?

How you deal with them?

Do you believe in those notions?

voodoo-spells3 (2)

Learning To Save Myself

I get so goddamn lonely and sad and filled with regrets some days. It overwhelms me as I’m sitting on the bus; watching the golden leaves from a window; a sudden burst of realization in the middle of the night. I can’t help it and I can’t stop it. I’m alone as I’ve always been and sometimes it hurts…. but I’m learning to breathe deep through it and keep walking. I’m learning to make things nice for myself. To comfort my own heart when I wake up sad. To find small bits of friendship in a crowd full of strangers. To find a small moment of joy in a blue sky, on a trip somewhere not so far away, a long walk an early morning in December or a handwritten letter to an old friend simply saying ”I thought of you. I hope you’re well.

No one will come and save you. No one will come riding on a white horse and take all your worries away. You have to save yourself, little by little, day by day. Build yourself a home. Take care of your body. Find something to work on. Something that makes you excited, something you want to learn. Get yourself some books and learn them by heart. Get to know the author, where he grew up, what books he read himself. Take yourself out for dinner. Dress up for no one but you and simply feel nice. it’s a lovely feeling, to feel pretty. You don’t need anyone to confirm it.

I get so god damn lonely and sad and filled with regrets some days, but I’m learning to breathe deep through it and keep walking. I’m learning to make things nice for myself. Slowly building myself a home with things I like. Colors that calm me down, a plan to follow when things get dark, a few people I try to treat right. I don’t sometimes, but it’s my intent to do so. I’m learning.I’m learning to make things nice for myself. I’m learning to save myself.

I’m trying, as I always will.

― Charlotte Eriksson