Cheese · Gratitude · Jodythinks · Love/Life · Thanks

Can I keep you?

Lately I’ve been thinking about loss. With my sister and a friend going to wakes one day after the other, another terrible number up on this year’s wake count, I cannot help but think of who we can keep.

Honestly, I am quite lucky, my parents are both here and generally healthy (I say generally because they are not perfectly there but that’s another conversation entirely). I got time with both grandmothers and one grandfather. My mom’s siblings are all thriving. Cousins are intact and can be direct messaged or sent embarassing videos at any time. Friends who’ve stayed are those who are amazing (and even saw me through my worst when I just wasn’t there for anyone and was just surviving).

But what happens when the loss is unavoidable? A death. A choice. A fight so big it breaks the whole thing. Waking up one day realizing you had nothing in common. It’s inevitable, unavoidable.

Clearly I cling. Some of my closest friends are one that I’ve loved since I was 5 years old. Decades of weirdness, thousands of miles apart, misunderstandings, horribly embarrassing formative years.

And it’s not just them. Some people I’ve met I just want to keep forever. A month ago, a friend I made a year ago basically asked me if she could keep me and I didn’t hesitate. Good women, good men, amazing friends. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded with people that love and support me through something as big as a cancelled wedding to something as small as terribly applied makeup right before we went out in public in her hometown.

So when I ask to keep you, know that I mean it, and I will do my best to deserve to keep my place in your life. Also know you can tell me if I’m doing it the wrong way and you want to run in the other direction. My heart is patched up and perhaps defensive but it has the best intentions. And I intend to keep those who are in it to stay.

Gratitude · Love/Life

Hug your fathers

Yesterday, two more people in my circle lost their dads. TWO MORE. 2018 has been such a rollercoaster of emotions but I think seeing people I love lose their fathers has been the most heart wrenching of them all. Too many funerals, too many tears shed, too many Christmases that will be forever changed now that they’re gone.

I had a draft penned, a letter about a fat shaming person in my circle but it all seems so trivial now. Today, and for the rest of the week, I will mourn with my friends of their loss.

So if you still have a dad, hug them today. I never hug my dad and we never say I love you but I might just do that today. Before it’s too late. And I will record his voice. Will take more photos.

Gratitude · Jodythinks · Love/Life

How we deal with privilege (or lack of it)

Lately I’ve been thinking about privilege. Privilege, from my understanding, is an advantage you’ve been given, one that is not afforded by a lot of the population. There are a lot out there, mostly given through birth and/or timing. A friend jokes about this a lot with another, when there is talk of politics, especially in the US. Race is a privilege we can only be birthed into, the rest, I do think we can acquire.

Wealth and beauty are privileges that some people come into naturally, and the ones that can be most fleeting. Age can wreak havoc on one’s appearance, and wealth can easily be spent away if the person who gets it doesn’t know how to keep it or does nothing to grow it. But what happens when because of your privilege, you don’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with the problems for when these go away?

I’m not saying we should feel bad about the rich, beautiful people who might lose their privilege someday, but maybe we should be happy about what we acquire when we don’t have it. Being average looking will force you to develop a personality (whether a good or bad one is up to you). Not having wealth will make you work harder, or do more things to acquire the wealth, and make you all the more determined to sustain it.

So let’s think about this a bit. Not having privilege still gives you an advantage of developing more than what you were born with, and it will probably make you more conscious about what it takes to get there, and have to develop skills and mechanisms to make sure it doesn’t go away. And I think that’s still a good thing to have.

Sure it’ll be easier and albeit so fun to be beautiful, or be born wealthy, and the like, but the cards we’ve been dealt are different, and what we learn to make up for not being evolutionary advantaged may be much more in the end.

What do you think of privilege?

Jodythinks · Love/Life

Lessons in patience and control

Being in physical therapy for having a bum knee has been teaching me a lot in patience. In as much as I am a fan of just getting the quick fix, this knee thing isn’t going away soon and I have to have a lot of patience and self control in order to get it done.

First off, it takes at least an hour and a half of my day just getting there, and since I don’t want to drive and park for myself to somewhere that takes (supposedly) two short jeepney rides, it takes some self control in being patient with the irresponsible driving and over waiting that taking public transportation needs.

Second is dealing with the red tape. Each time I go, I need to be there at least thirty minutes beforehand so that they can request each session be approved by my HMO. I really don’t understand why it just doesn’t get approved per round of treatment since it seems very much the same process each time and I actually got this done myself in the past for the MRI that preceded all of the sessions.

Third are these:

I am a very impatient person, and these sessions take around 40 minutes to an hour. I know it’s supposed to be slow and steady progress, and without losing the weight (which is another lesson in patience and self control with food that I don’t quite have) the whole point is moot, but I am slowly enjoying the sessions as they force me to sit in a quiet space and just focus on the healing and strengthening that my knee needs to get rid of the cyst and tear that I inadvertently did to it.

Being an adult is exhausting sometimes and this knee thing is really taking a whole lot of energy and time, but as I’ve come to learn, rushing something won’t help things, sometimes it actually may make it worse. It’s how I injured the knee in the first place, and from my experience, even if you put in the work, if your body isn’t ready or you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll be spending years and hundreds of thousands of pesos paying for looking good for half a year in pictures.

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up though. I’ll get back to shape even if it kills me. And for now, it will kill the cookie loving, ice cream hog in me for now.

What’s taught you patience lately?

Gratitude · Jodythinks · Love/Life

We miss you AB

As I am still reeling in the news of Anthony Bourdain’s passing, I am again rereading his books. While we the fans mourn and try to find answers, I think we should just be happy of what he was able to share with the world, the happiness he gave us and how we were all able to experience just a bit of him with his writing, hosting, cooking, and all the other things he’s given to the world.

A Cook’s Tour excerpt

I guess what I’m trying to say is not to focus on how his life ended but how his life touched others. His works will not fade if we continue to explore, love, travel, and be kinder to others different from us. Already something good is coming about, from prominent personalities being more open about their struggles and giving it less of a stigma. Just being able to have that conversation and reminding ourselves that there’s always hope. That this permanent solution to a temporary problem isn’t really a solution.

So even if we may never find the answers we want because we are not privy to the inside, let’s be comforted in his words, his legacy, and live life a little kinder, not just to others but ourselves. I know I will try to be.

Gratitude · Love/Life

The beauty of doing (almost) nothing 400 kilometers from home

This was actually a less rainy time

(Don’t tell my mom) this weekend was probably the most nerve wracking road trip I’ve ever been on. The furthest for sure (Ilocos Sur), and certainly the most rain. At the heaviest point, with our wiper blades already quite out, we could only see the car in front of us. The drive was more than 400 kilometers and I could feel every single one as the rain pounded down. And it didn’t stop. It was raining the whole time we were in Vigan and Sinait, and it was a relief to be dry indoors so we spent a lot of it just staying in our hotel room the first day in.

It is a testament to how laid back/we actually like each other that we didn’t kill each other on this trip. We had our share of being lost, sick and hung over. There was trash talk over the card game we kept playing. We couldn’t find decent coffee. It was, a lot of time spent in a small space with not a lot to distract us, because even the internet was difficult to come by.

However I am grateful to have spent this time with friends, even through all this dampness. We had really good, inexpensive, local street food (I am currently obsessed with Chicken Pipian, this congee style dish w

ith toasted rice, epazote, chicken, squash and kamias). We got a little stir crazy. We went body surfing in the storm. We got pelted with storm level rain in weirdly lukewarm ocean water. It was great to see what we could of the city through the eyes of my friend whose mom grew up there, and meeting her relatives that were nothing but helpful and always smiling at us, even if they were a little weirded out that we went to the city in this much rain.

Getting rained on

It was wonderful. When I wasn’t tearing up about Anthony Bourdain or eating extra pork in his memory, my warm and fuzzy heart was full. (And my heart isn’t usually warm and fuzzy, just ask my friends) The simple joy of spending time with people I loved, not necessarily doing anything in the same space. I know of very few people that can say this about the people around them, and I count myself lucky to have these folks in my life. Not to say I’m going to stop beating them at Organ Attack or trash talking them for the fun of it, because I’m still me you know.

 

 

Do you have people in your life you can just be with? Hug them today.

Jodythinks · Love/Life

Anthony Bourdain 1956-2018

I can’t believe I’m writing this. The world lost Anthony Bourdain today. I say the world because his travels and work brought him to so many places and touched so much lives in the process. While this feels surreal and devastating for fans like myself, I cannot even imagine how it is for the people in his life.

Not this way. Not like this.

If you’re having difficulties, or having thoughts on ending it, please reach out to a loved one, a friend, anyone.

There is also Hopeline, the Philippines’ crisis intervention hotline:

(02) 804-HOPE (4673)
0917 558 HOPE (4673)
2919 (toll-free number for all GLOBE and TM subscribers)

You are not alone.

 

 

Jodythinks · Love/Life

On inner demons

Kate Spade, designer of bags and apparel that I’ve loved for years died by suicide yesterday. She was a multimillionaire, had a husband of 24 years, and a daughter, and she had inner struggles. I am very sad to know this, as her talent, her ability to share the beauty in the world is now lost, and now her family and friends also have to deal with her loss.

It only goes to show that no matter how shiny a life looks on the outside, the inside can be quite different. I am not blaming her for her struggles, only feeling sad that she had to go through them. Many people are struggling with their inner demons, and sometimes even getting up is difficult, and sometimes it’s hard just asking for help. The strongest people on the outside can be the most to struggle on the inside, this I am uncomfortably familiar with.

I’d like to come clean that I struggle too sometimes. When that inner voice is screaming. When you just want to crawl into bed and not deal with the day. However hard it is, I do my best to get up and get going. Some days it’s harder, some days it’s easier. You can be in a room full of people who love you and still be broken, and sometimes you just need to squeeze someone’s hand and you’re okay. Sometimes you’re overwhelmingly happy too. It’s okay to be broken and to feel it. It’s okay to want to strive to get through it. It’s okay.

If you’re struggling yourself and want to get help, there are people who can get you through it. If you feel like you need professional assistance, there’s the Philippine Mental Health Association or if you’re feeling at the end of your rope, the Philippine Suicide Hotline. There is no shame in asking for outside help, and if anything, emotional well being is something we need to recognize as a real concern for people at all walks of life. Conversations are more open now to the struggle, and we’re dealing with it as less of an abnormality but more of a reality. But we’ll always, always find a way through it.

If you feel like you can’t, let someone, anyone know. Don’t go through it alone. Your inner voice isn’t the most forgiving and you need to be able to forgive yourself when it feels like it’s too much to deal with. Don’t let the bad win.

 

funny · Love/Life

On awkwardness: Ballet fails and learning to sing

For those of us who were kids in the early 90s in Metro Manila, one of the few things you could do during the summer was either 1. take ballet lessons at SM for girls, or 2. take taekwondo lessons at SM for boys. I was a hyperactive child, and my mother really wanted to burn that energy out in the summer, so she enrolled me in the ballet lessons girls were supposed to take at the time.

It was a mistake. She recalls that every time she picked me up, she would see the whole class all lined up in the front of the class while I was in the back playing by myself. She was even told by the teacher after a while that I may have been better suited to enroll into taekwondo, and my mom felt so bad for the teacher, she didn’t enroll me in ballet the next summer. She didn’t enroll me in taekwondo however, maybe because that involves a lot of discipline too, and sitting around being quiet.

Growing up, I was never a great dancer. My hips never popped, my moves stiff, and I have always been self conscious on the dance floor. I never auditioned for the Dance Club even when it was the coolest club around, choosing instead to join the Book Lovers Club (I was so cool, even back then) where we could sit and read books while earning credit. I hated field demos, when the whole grade, or the whole school had to perform by level dance numbers for our parents. There’s even video of me during a presentation hitting the guy behind me at our third grade field demo instead of dancing. (To defend myself, I remember him giving me a hard time and whispering “Wow, great dancing!” very sarcastically the whole time) Any kind of movement in public I don’t much enjoy, as I’ve never grown into the movement or rhythm required for it to look any kind of normal.

But singing was different. I have loved to sing in as long as I can remember. My nursery school gave me the award “Best in Song and Rhyme”. I memorized all the princess songs from the Disney movies from tapes our mom bought, and we played over and over. I actually volunteered to take singing lessons in the summers between school. Singing was where I found meaning and until now, a way to express myself. A few times here and there I’ve even sang in public, and when I’m particularly stressed and/or happy, I sing.

So I consider myself very lucky to have found an outlet for my energy and stress, even now, and working from home, I get to indulge in the de-stressing as long as I’m not too busy or in an actual meeting. Even if my rabbits hate it, I have conditioned them to associate it with a good thing, as I bribe them with treats when I want to turn on the speakers they actually run to the bowl expecting the bribe.

So maybe I will never be a graceful ballerina, and the closest I’ll get are the cute flat shoes that I keep buying. But I have my singing and now my bunnies have it too.

So what were your awkward lessons you attempted growing up? Did you end up going the opposite way like me?

Gratitude · Love/Life

And now, for a moment of zen

Clear water, blue skies

 

Whatever you’re dealing with today, wherever you are, take the time to be thankful that our world still has views like this in it. Even in this sweltering heat, or if you’re somewhere in the pouring rain or unbearable cold, there is beauty still out there.

I’ve always loved the sea, and it holds a special place in my heart, being a gal from a country of 7107 islands does that to you. I am still in awe of what our country has in natural resources and I hope the next generation can still get to enjoy it, without filters, without cameras, just enjoy the cool feeling of water with fine sand between their toes.

What views do you have today?