Paper Tigers

Amelia Earhart said:

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.

I agree with the first step/plunge is the hardest to take. Once you are airborne/on the move, there is no turning back unless of course you are a bonafide coward. With the plunge, you have no other choice but to swim or sink. There you go.

However, I don’t agree with fears being paper tigers. Some fears are grounded and born out of survival instinct. You know… gut feelings which are in most cases accurate. We know when we are in mortal danger; we somehow sense it. So, if you are afraid, better check that before you run, you know what it is you are running from. But never, ever ignore your fears. Most of the time it will save your skin and keep you out of trouble. Feeling afraid is healthy. It means your senses are working. There are irrational fears of course (perhaps that was Amelia was talking about) I know a lot about it being born paranoid from a dysfunctional family having more baggage than I could carry and being served since day one with traumas; yes sir! I know a lot about irrational fears.

But those are real too for the sufferers. Crippling and suffocating as well. But mind you, it takes courage to live with those. Not so many could function with them as companions. Only the brave survived.

I don’t know about the procedure, the process being its own reward. The process are more difficult, more challenging, more deadly than the outcome. It is not the same as the journey is better than the destination.

The doing is often more important than the outcome. The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.

Lessons yes, reward no. When it comes to irrational fears, coming to the light after journeying through deepest darkest tunnels of your mind is more rewarding than the process getting out of there. Believe you me.

How about you?

Any fears? (Of course we all have) Irrational or otherwise?

Brave enough to talk about it?

Agree To Disagree(?)

This past year, I lost several really close friends for speaking up. A true friend is not afraid to let you know their opinion. Their opinion of you or the things that happens around you. Their boldness and frankness relies heavily on the fact that they have faith in your relationship enough to be authentic. Comfortable enough to speak the truth. Respectful enough to be honest. Cares enough to be frank.

A fake friend, however, will feed your mind and ears whatever you need and want to hear and see. These people are so eager to please most especially when they want something in return or when the relationship has “benefits”. I am not that. I am very outspoken, bold, frank, highly opinionated, obstinate, rational, and logical. Hand in hand, I must say, I am compassionate. However harsh words may come out of me it is said with integrity and with pure intentions. I pride myself for *trying* to follow the 4 Way Test. Is it the truth? Is it beneficial?

How one receives other people’s thoughts and opinions is a reflection of their inner world. How reactive one is defines who they are. Do you edit yourself in accordance to other people’s inner world? Is their inner dialogue, their thought process, your responsibility? You cannot do much with people who are trapped in victim mentality. They usually receive opinions/pieces of advice that don’t suit them as “personal attacks”. Whatever it is, their thought process is never your responsibility. Just put it simply. Always be honest. Be kind. Be gentle if you may. But be truthful, no matter how “harsh”. Be bold. Be frank. Do not be afraid. Last but not the least, always have positive intentions. How they receive it is never your responsibility.

Pika Yonzon said this on her FB page. I don’t know her personally and she doesn’t know I exist. I visit her space once in a while because it interest me. I may not agree with everything she says but I admire her honesty and the courage to travel the path less taken regardless of the circumstances. Like they say; it takes one to know one.

About the above quote: I cannot emphasize enough the vast difference between being honest and being tactless. There are lots of politically correct manner to air one’s opinion without offending others. I am all for honesty. But on the other hand, if one’s purpose for speaking their minds is to humiliate, hurt and offend then I can’t agree.

I agree with you cannot and should not edit your thoughts to please others. But I don’t agree with giving unsolicited advice. I am a front runner for live and let live. If others words and actions don’t concern you personally and not harming you or anyone, let it go. pick your battle and don’t go into it with an unarmed person. Learn to walk away sometimes.

Whenever you questioned others motives and choices, it is automatically a personal attack. What else it could be? If you bring in doubt one’s own decisions and criticize them, it is difficult not to take it personally. However, if they ask for your opinion, you can give yours honestly without hurting their ego. There are so many ways you can voice your thoughts without offending. Unless of course if someone has onion skin. You can share your view on things by asking questions, by weighing the pro and con, by comparing or presenting the big picture as whole if this decision or that decision is taken and so forth and so on. Avoid using demeaning/derogatory words and don’t ever, ever be on your high horse. Keep it brief to avoid discussion and confusion and always stick to the point.

If How one receives other people’s thoughts and opinions is a reflection of their inner world, then that much can say also about you. Your words are reflection of you too and your actions speak volumes as well. So, it cuts both ways.

Another thing I’ve learned navigating this planet for more than 5 decades now is: you can’t expect others to see/think/understand/experience the way you do. Most likely, two people who shared the same event experience it differently. Everyone has their own version of the same thing.

Pika understands this because she said:

Not everyone aspires the same things. Not everyone enjoys the same things. Not everyone dreams the same things.We all react differently. Our opinions vary greatly. Our faith is always personal, our struggles are always personal, our desires always personal.

We are all unique not only in physical sense but our genetic and psychological makeup as well. We laugh at different things, we cry at different things. We have our own unique set of triggers. We have our own unique set of fetishes. And in these differences we realize we are all the same.

It’s unity in diversity.

It’s knowing we are different from everyone thus understanding and respecting the differences of each. Conflicts and wars occur when we begin to assert that what and how we are is what and how the rest of the world should be. It is when you believe your version of the world should be the only version. Your version of the Truth is the only truth. When you stop respecting the uniqueness of one is when you start disrespecting the diversity of God’s creation.

For me, if you keep in mind the Golden Rule and put Respect on the top of your list, everything will fall into place.

Well, mostly.

Till next time.

And thank You Pika for inspiring me to write my own opinion regarding your thoughts.

Micro-Cheating: the 10 Brutally Honest Reasons Why we do It.

By Billy Manas

what is it that causes people to micro-cheat in the first place?

I did a little research (shout out to Esther Perel’s Mating In Captivity), coupled it with my personal experiences, and came up with 10 reasons people find themselves in marital sh*t storms.

Not all of them are as obvious as you might think:

1. Poor Communication 

In many long-term relationships, the day to day, “business as usual” aspect can be deadly—especially concerning communication.

From personal experience, I know that when opening up has led directly to uncomfortable feelings and arguing, I’m less apt to bring that thing up again. Over time, this led me to seek someone safe to confide in. When it inevitably became less safe and more intimate, micro-cheating started to ensue. 

2. Fear of Abandonment

This seems counter intuitive at first glance, but it is quite a bit more obvious than it sounds. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of an intimate relationship with a lover who is stricken with abandonment issues, you know that self-sabotage is usually the most common way this malady will manifest. One such act of self-destruction can result in cheating or micro-cheating. 

3. Neglect

One of my favorite Bob Dylan lines has always been, “He not busy being born is busy dying.” This idea is universal—it applies everywhere in life. Especially in monogamous relationships.

It’s practically cliché, but if you are not doing the necessary things to cultivate and nurture your relationship, it won’t simply stop growing—it will start dying. And Facebook is the most common place a marriage goes to die.

4. Getting outside of oneself

As someone who has made a lifelong study of addiction—with too much fieldwork for my own good—the need many people have to escape their own thoughts can lead to a multitude of ugly results. Overeating, alcohol, porn—and, yes, cyber infidelity. Needless to say, it never works.

The emptiness we can never seem to escape is generally a spiritual malady and can’t be quelled by sensory pleasures. As the saying goes, it’s an inside job. 

5. Boredom

This doesn’t necessarily have to reflect the quality of the relationship. I knew a woman whose husband was devoted, thoughtful, and passionate, yet she still found herself texting—and eventually sexting—the guy in her office. Familiarity doesn’t simply breed contempt. Sometimes it breeds bad decisions. 

6. Thrill-Seeking 

Sometimes known as the seductive third cousin of boredom, a thrill-seeker is usually in search of what is commonly referred to as the “cheater’s high.” This is that rush of adrenaline that most people get when they get away with something nefarious or hurtful.

This is oftentimes exasperating to the victimized partner because it is not the end result—the sex—that the thrill-seeker is looking for. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel any less hurtful. 

7. Opportunity

There are times when things in a marriage are chugging along, smooth as glass, and the one who got away (let’s call her Melinda), didn’t get far enough away not to know where the “add friend “button is.

In a case like this, the man is confused about why a romanticized memory with an overly filtered photograph seems so much more appealing than the living person in the next room who is PMSing and has a headache. For those of us not impaired by hormones, it’s fairly obvious. 

8. Disconnection

In marriage, rough patches are to be expected. Unfortunately, if the bickering and resentments are allowed to take on a life of their own, disconnection will begin to happen. This creates a kind of domino effect because, regardless if you are a male or a female, connection is a human need. And when it’s not happening in the house, it’ll start to happen online. 

9. Self-Esteem

When two people in a marriage stop putting in the effort to make each other feel special, the person who came into the union with low self-esteem baggage will likely be the first to look elsewhere for validation.

The ubiquitous quality of social media makes it the obvious choice. Facebook can be like a singles’ bar with no cover charge—open 24 hours a day—if that’s how you use it. 

10. Familiarity Breeds…a Friendzone

This is a paradox that can be difficult to reconcile. Still, when we are single and alone, we tend to long for the certainty and coziness that can only be found in a loving, caring, monogamous, long-term relationship.

Over time, what started as cozy can decelerate into a close friendship that lacks, well, uncertainty. Uncertainty, more often than not, is the hidden ingredient in passion. It is when we are not totally comfortable with another person that we generally find them sexually exciting.

If this goes unchecked, one partner (or even both) will find themselves on the lookout for something less familiar to excite them. This invariably can lead to the phone in their pocket. 

And then there are some who might even say they are, “Truly falling in love.” I saved this for last because, from personal experience, even though this is the factor that everyone would like to believe is at the root of all cyber infidelity, it is the rarest.

Let’s be serious: is it truly possible to find this most sacred human need through well-curated photographs and highlight reels that people spend far too much time strategically posting? Most likely not.

I wouldn’t rule it out entirely, but I will conclude by advising anyone who thinks this is the motive to, perhaps, seek the advice of a counselor or, at least, a brutally honest friend.

Something Has To Happen Before Something Happened

When I don’t feel good (for whatever reasons) I like to lie in bed under the sheets doused in white flower concoction; a Chinese wonder medicine in a small fortified bottle. You can smear it on almost anything. You can even drink it although it is clearly indicated on the prescription that that thing is for external use only. But if your parents say swallow, you better do it or else… Confused what I’m talking about? If you know tiger balm then white flower is a liquid equivalent of it. Capisce?

While lying under the sheets, I am thinking of a lot of things mixed up together. No category. Sometimes I think how lucky I am to be able to lie there without somebody bothering me. No grand/children, no nosy neighbors and needy cousins, no noisy crew or a controlling paranoid ex. Not even a husband, for my current knows and accept my weird ways of doing things as I accept his. Live ad let live. We understood that cliché too well.

There was a time that I had a pseudo-best friend who understands that if the phone is off the hook when she called it means I didn’t want to be bothered. So, she would drive straight to my house and would do everything in her power to coax me out. My ex called us Thelma and Louise.

I had and still have a real best friend who deals with the problem with a more direct approach. She would come to my place, barged in my room and pulled me literally out of bed.

I had also an Iranian neighbor who used to take whatever she needs from my pantry without asking for permission. She always replaced them though. A beautiful woman she is. Used to watch me while showering and criticizing every move I make in a caring way. Like she didn’t understand why I want to walk in the rain even though I told her rain is a natural moisturizer.

They are gone now. I changed life and I moved on. And I prize my solitude.

But other times I question my choice. Like today. I was lying under the sheets again ( oh, I forgot to mention that my ex had an aunt who saw my “lying under the sheets” as a sign of “it’s time I go back to my native land.” She is dead now.) and I thought: I could be lying here dead and no one would know let alone care. Is that good or bad? Do I still like my loneliness too much? Am I still happy being on my own? Probably not when I start questioning it, no?

What is the point of all of these, me telling you nonsensical things… Nothing really. I am sharing you my thoughts, that’s all.

A Good Lesson In Life

I will never be someone’s last choice, second option, narcissistic supply, doormat, ego booster, sidekick, secret, last time or after thought. I stand for truth. I know my beauty, my talents, my accomplishments, what I have to offer. But, most of all I know my value and I will never let any man define my worth. ― Shannon L. Alder

So Near Yet So Far

The reason why I don’t put my real name on Facebook and never post a single image of myself on Instagram ( heck, I don’t even have an account) is because I am scared for the crazies to find me. I burned the bridges a long time ago and removed any means of transportation that will lead to me and I’m sure none of them is a good swimmer enough to cover the distance. So, as long as I’m invisible I am safe.

But I must admit I am a bonafide stalker. I stalk some people online. Part out of curiosity, part out of __ I forgot the word. I’m curious what become of them, how’s their lives now and who they are with. Most of the times I was amazed with the answers to my inquiries. Their choices surprised me. Never expected most of them. It only shows that I never really know them. Or people do really evolved. Maybe they are not the people they once were or they are not the people I thought they were.

Anyway, I am always careful not to leave footprints. Based on my experience the moment they learned that I still exist they will swoop like vultures on a carcass. I don’t want that to happen. Again. I remember the time I planned to attend an overseas class reunion and let them know, oh, boy… the lies came pouring in.

“You didn’t change since grade school. Still the beauty.” Someone said.

What??? They didn’t know I exist back then.

Okay, that maybe a lie since I was a class president multiple times during our academic years. I starred in school productions, captained a debate team, did quiz bee, wrote in the school paper and did things they never dreamed of doing. But beauty I was not. I was bullied because I was an outcast and in their provincial minds, ugly. I was not a girly-girl (according to my father I was) and never care about my appearance so, they made my life a living hell.

Another thing is: people have long memories. They will remember things you don’t recall anymore. Or things you rather not remember. They are good at that. And those who formed a misplaced admiration and attachment to you still harbor some hope to rekindle whatever they think you had with them that time without regards to whoever is involved. And one thing I don’t do is to deliberately hurt someone or break a union and divide a family. Of all the unconventional things I had done in the past, I can proudly say that I didn’t break up any marriage or any relationship. Like I said I don’t do such things.

So, I’m content with spying on them and once in a while wishing I was there, missing a certain atmosphere and imagining how it will be if I show myself in person. All hell will break loose for sure. I say this not because of self-importance but out of personal experience. I tend to form an all consuming kind of relationships with certain people that usually end up in__ chaos? misery? disaster? name it. They are often so intense that forgetting seems out of the question. On my part because I possessed Eidetic memory and on their part__ I have no idea. It just happened that way.

The funny thing is: Those who matters to me I don’t stalk. I am scared to see that life goes on without me. That I am not a part of their existence and will never be. That they don’t even think about me at all. That they are happy I am not there. So, I stay away. Even though it hurts. I can handle it. What I can’t handle is rejection. The knowledge that I don’t matter at all.

But it is what it is and I long accepted the fact that life could be lonely sometimes and alone we were born, alone we shall die.

Never Wrestle With A Pig

Don’t go into battle with an unarmed person.

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

Never wrestle with a pig. You will only get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

These are the words I keep reminding myself whenever I encounter downright nasty people with downright nasty comments. It saves me from wasting my time fighting a battle not worth fighting for.

I pity those sorts of beings.

Only those who have serious issues with self-confidence and self-worth and are not happy with themselves have an urge to belittle others and stand on someone else’s back to look tall.

Because if one is satisfied with who they are, they will never seek validation from other people and they will never feel the need to put down others to feel good about themselves.

Not so easy at times. Some people have a knack in provoking but recognize a hopeless situation when you see one. You can never argue with someone who has a limited cranial capacity. You will lose every time.

So next time you find yourself in this situation, say to yourself: I don’t wrestle with a pig… and simply walk away.

 

A Beautiful Mind No More

A long time ago I forced myself to write about something that hurts me the most. You can read it here.

Yesterday, I found via Facebook that the person is dead. Too young! Too soon! But then again, under the circumstances, perhaps it is for the best.

When she died, I have no idea. I will not ask. I stop talking to them millions of years ago. I’m not going to start now.

How she died, I don’t want to know. Living on the streets says enough. I could imagine hundreds of different scenarios. None of them good. She had been beaten up, raped, wounded and God knows what in the past. It hurts to remember. It hurts to think. It hurts to imagine.

Now, she’s gone. End of her sufferings. She lived a hard life. Never known love.

If I have a place in heaven and if there is truly a God, please, give mine to her. She deserves it more than anyone I know.

Rest in peace sister. May you find love and happiness wherever you are.

Prison Without Bars

I am running out of ideas on how to entertain myself during Corona Lockdown.

I am used to self- imposed quarantine. I could go on for years without talking to anyone. That’s not the problem. The trouble is my world suddenly becomes smaller.

How long you could run around the neighborhood and be still in awe of what you see?

I love nature. But believe you me, no matter how great that love is, if I see another river, another poor excuse for waterfalls, another forest, another mountain tops,  I would scream till I have no voice anymore left out of sheer frustration.

How many versions of those one could take without being bored to death?

Trees are just trees and water is just water no matter from which angle you view them.

I could understand that the same rules apply if you go further abroad but that is not the point. Ever heard of the journey being more important than the destination? That is not the problem either. The problem is the journey on a familiar road going to an even more familiar destination is becoming tedious it drives me crazy.

I want to explore new horizons, do new things, see unknown whatever. Anywhere but here for crying out loud.

I want to see trees and water and rocks on foreign soil. Observe unfamiliar cultures. I want to taste and try new dishes, I want to experience life again!

But life would never be the same again. I see it now. By all means, as long as I can run around out there without restrictions, free as before then I’m okay. I don’t even have to talk to people. I just want to go places that’s all.

Happiness Is Boring

There are lots of real reasons to decide to leave something or someone, but there are lots of other reasons that are less valid and less real and less about a relationship than our own minds: Fear (of screwing up, of being left, of not being good enough), restlessness, resistance to growing up, PMS, not knowing how to live without drama, fearing that you’re getting happy, and happiness is boring.

The thing that scared me the most was the knowledge that if I stayed, something was going to change and that something was probably me. I didn’t know what changed me would look like, or if I would like him more or less than I already did. Would I still recognize myself? Would I still be myself? ― Anna White

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.