Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sticking to it

"Once you learn how to quit, it becomes a habit."-Lombardi, Vince

I saw a guy walk down the corridor on Friday wearing a shirt with these words on it. I was sat on the side of the corridor waiting for the people still inside the classroom at about 11:15 to get out so I can get in for my 11:30 French class. My gaze lingered long after I've managed to actually read the words (he was walking after all) absorbing what that moment, seeing those words, just meant to me. And it did mean something to me. I usually scoff at anyone wearing any shirt with some unfunny/non-awe-inspiring/tacky quote on it but I've actually never read that quote before (I had to Google to find out who said it) and although it's not actually the most insightful thing I've ever read (there are far too many quotes in that nature, a lot of stuff out there far more striking) it actually did apply to me. I felt a light pang of guilt as I stopped looking at the guy's shirt and back to the floor.

(I WILL try to work on my parenthesis addiction do not worry)

Since my main vision for this blog is me sharing my .."story" from inaction to action and whatever comes after (I'm trying to make this sound as less narcissistic as possible, bear with me) I think it's only fit to introduce the antagonist of the story. But for the sake of avoiding the blame game, and knowing ultimately that we are all our own worst enemies in the fight of becoming -and the resistance to it-, let's call it the conflict of this story instead:

My inability to commit to anything.

And it's not so much looking at something I'm currently in the middle of and deciding "this is boring I don't want to do this anymore", but more of unconsciously swerving off the road and enjoying drawing donuts on the grass with my bicycle wheels, totally forgetting about what I'm supposed to be doing.

Same principle with entering a room and forgetting what you were meaning to retrieve by going there the second you walk in the door. The feeling of purpose stays there, bugging you: "THERE IS SOMETHING I TOTALLY NEED TO DO RIGHT NOW!!" but the object of that feeling somehow gets flushed by Jorge (little janitor guy in my head that keeps sweeps my immediate memory clean) down the toilet.

It wasn't always this way, I spent quite a few years trying to relax. I freaked out a lot when I was younger. I would dare say I was a bit of an over-achiever. Kind of. And I guess I've successfully relaxed myself during my college years. But with a price. Not much, if at all, achievements. But because of the chillax thing that wasn't much of a problem or cause for anxiety. I felt solid. One with the universe, Enlightened and all of that new-age crap. Until I started comparing myself to people that have "changed" so muuch. Then a dear friend made me realize that it only looks that way from the outside. I changed SO MUCH on the inside. And if we put two and two together maybe I grew up just as much as they did. But I started with internal battles instead of the outside. And boy was there a lot to change in my perceptions and motivations. I actually feel like I see the world now. And that I've gained a better understanding of things. Everything is so simple, and that's nice.

But see, when it comes to REAL ACTION (that yield tangible results), I've conditioned myself so much to let go that it keeps happening by default. I rationalize, put off, procrastinate, all in the subconscious impulse to feel okay. But recent events, a certain person in particular, had made me realize how boring that is and how much I'd rather take the bad with the really good rather than investing everything on being stable and safe in the middle.

My paradigm changed on that, but putting those words into actions is a different story. I'm still crossing that bridge right now as we speak.

I've read a lot of productivity and self-improvement tips, advice, and techniques in my long path of finding myself in my college years (has yielded a lot of eye-rolling, mostly on my part which can be disturbing), and I've learned that there is no way around consistency. There is a way around focus, there is a way around efficiency, there is a way around calmness, inspiration, motivation, creativity. But when it comes to sticking to things, there are no shortcuts. There may be techniques that will remind you to do stuff when you intended to, but in the end,  you just have to actually DO the stuff. I find this very hard because of my "out of mind, out of responsibility" default setting, which is great for peace of mind, but in life we have to keep improving, people. I feel ready to take on more than just my emotional well-being and calmness.

So yeah. There's me coming clean with my creativity's arch-enemy. Working my way through it, folks.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Five Favorite Things Friday!! V.2 (University Life Edition)

Look, look, I know it's a Sunday but it was the first week of classes and the pressure and exhaustion has gotten to me and I just had to hit the sack "early" friday night and have been making miniature sets with my crew today. And I wrote this list down while I was in the library friday morning, so it counts!

This week it's all about uni life because I just survived my first school week of my last semester in uni :)

1) Snacking
I am a heavy girly. This isn't a complaint or self-depreciation but simply a fact. I'm 5'4 and 130-140 pounds. I've got a wide frame, and I have a considerable amount of pooch at my belly. Therefore I benefit from anything that makes me stop stuffing my tummy too much. Snacking helps in this regard, especially for someone like me who has a schedule that is continuous. I didn't opt to have a lunch break this semester. I eat little amounts every three hours or so of anything at all. I eat like a hotdog and a bite of egg, or a banana and water before I leave my aunt's house where I stay during school days. Then around 11 o'clock I eat a single serving of Hello Panda or something. I eat mentos when I get sleepy in class, and then I eat a full dinner. Now of course my choices still need improvement, I don't really eat very healthy things but portion control is also an accomplishment!

Snacking > Eating three meals because: if I wait till I'm free to eat a full meal I usually feel hungry by then and tend to eat more.

Snacking = more yummyness, less calories, less stomach stretching, more munching! All goood.

2) Socks

This may sound like a weird one, and maybe it is, but let me explain: I walk a lot around campus, and my feet are annoyingly sensitive! Luckily I've invested (well my mom has I guess) on lots of pairs of new socks recently. And well I guess I've also worn my chucks in finally :) So now they're comfier.

Thanks to socks I was able to wear my shoes all four days instead of alternating with flip flops (:c) like before.

3) My foldable water anti-bottle.

It's very handy and I love how I can just chuck it in my bag when I'm done with it and it barely occupies any space. And I like having water around me at all times. I don't feel like I always have to buy refreshments. Saves money and lets me avoid unhealthier options.

4)My iPod
Walking just isn't the same without my background music. I love listening to stuff I just downloaded :)

5)Facial Moisturizer with sunscreen

I use this one.

It lets me feel good about what I'm doing to my body by walking in the sun without feeling bad about what I'm doing to my skin by walking in the sun.

In other news, last 11/11/11, the boyfriend has announced that he has already bought the tickets to come visit me next summer! Yup. Mother has been less than enthusiastic about the idea of having my boyfriend come live with us for two whole months, but I trust that my good boy will win her over.

In other other news, today my crew and I have started making sets for my film together. They are staying over the whole weekend. I hope we finish a huge chunk of the work this weekend.

I'm exhausted, but I feel that things are happening, and that feels nice. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An Open Letter to MRT Commuters

(inspired by the post made by Miss Cat Triviño, which you can view here)

I'll make this short and sweet and simple, which is actually the point I will get to at the end of the day:

Let the passengers in the train alight first before you squeeze yourself in.

That's it! Amazingly simple right? But I've used the MRT quite a lot of times, and after all of the agitation and furiousness had melted away, I slowly just found myself highly (and sometimes quite sadly) amused by how completely LUDICROUS this behaviour is.

REALLY? You really believe the train is going to close right after it opens that you feel the need to push everyone inside BACK IN before they even get the chance to *gasp* HEAVEN FORBID, CLEAR A SPACE FOR YOU!!! OH NO!

Are you so set in getting a seat that it somehow suddenly makes sense to outrun the people inside the train wanting to come out? You do realize that you're not competing with them right? I mean they are facing the other way. Do you also force new trash into your waste bin and pull out the old trash one by one? Cos it's the same logic kind of.

It's SO BLEEPIN' SIMPLE. We were all born to discern this! While I'm at it, let me add:

  1. When someone goes to the platform right in front of the landing, you FOLLOW BEHIND THEM. You don't go beside them in football-defense mode inching your way to the door to get ahead of them. You're both getting in, and if not, that person reserves more of a right than you since they were there first! COMMON SENSE.
  2. Full things need to be emptied to carry more stuff.
  3. Friction decreases speed. The less space there is inside to move about, THE LONGER IT WILL TAKE FOR EVERYONE TO GET OUT/GET IN and therefore, the longer it will take you to get to your destination.

Let the passengers in the train alight first before you squeeze yourself in.

Note to Self V.1 (the PLASM troubleshooting technique)

Dear B,

You are such a scatterbrain. I understand though that when you feel drained, you find it easier to go on autopilot. For example, whenever you've just come home from school and are looking for something, you often open every zipper and look everywhere "instinctively" instead of just taking a moment to think about where it is and taking it. This is bad because you lose more time and energy by doing this. Your brain doesn't necessarily wear your body out if you think a little bit more about things, in fact your brain will thank you for the much needed exercise. Face it, you're past 20 and it's not getting any younger. Remember that episode on Discovery or Nat Geo about brain plasticity? You're not a kid anymore. Your child prodigy days are over and you slacked off towards the end. It's high bleepin' time you made up for that, which you already know, but have a hard time doing something about.

You need something that's easy to absorb and digest to keep you on track. I know how you've been reading lots of books and articles to help yourself, but you have NO WILLPOWER WHATSOEVER and when you're in that autopilot vegetable state, there's little hope for comprehension of any long-winded statement or wisdom nugget to put you back on track. You just do what you do when you do what you do. (QED, you use that statement a lot. More than you should.)

Well, we (you and me, which is.. really just me :c) deviced a five-step, single-word "mantra" for you to remember. A whole method condensed into bite-sized words, aimed to make functionality more accessible to you. Or us. Or me. (:c)

Oh, and look! I just wrote them down right now and realized that the five initials of the words actually form the word "Plasm". (kind of nothing short of perfect I guess for brain-exercising and retention of plasticity cos according to this, "plasm", coming from the word "plasma", means "to mold" in latin.) I actually thought of this a while ago, just the main germ of it, though. You already know this, cos you were there too, but well in case your/our/my(that sounds crazy) memory needs refreshing:

I was in the middle of an autopilot fit, and much worse, I was already aware of it and panicking. When this happens I usually end up talking to myself. And I did. I heard myself say "OKAY, SHUSH. Stop. Aim. Fire." as if I was talking about shooting targets. First I thought: "Bea get a grip wtf are you talking about you sound crazy etc etc etc." Then I realized that in a way, it wasn't so crazy. I was shooting items off of to-do lists. I suddenly realized the hidden wisdom behind the word Troubleshooting (okay, it was probably not hidden at all, but well, as life has taught me many times, to learn on the think-level is different from learning on the do-level). 

Now B, here are the complete steps of your new mantra(I HOPE YOU USE IT):

  1. Pause. Stop yourself dead on your tracks the second you observe yourself going on autopilot. It's hard to take action right away when you're at it, so your first step is achieving non-action. Be still. When you realise you're going the wrong way you have to stop before you turn back. Stop, relax, recollect yourself. But only for a second. Once you're there,
  2. Look. Observe the problem or situation ahead. What are you doing exactly? Where are you in the process? What is its significance? What's the problem? What needs solving? What is your goal? Imagine it clearly and
  3. Aim. What should you be doing to get there? Where do you need to go? Begin with the end in mind. Plan the steps. For a big project, plot your save points. Build a map of action. This is where "work smart, not hard" comes in. It doesn't matter how many bullets you get off if they're all aimless. Don't waste your ammo. Be precise. Try to make every action count.
  4. Shoot. Put your plans and ideas into action. Always the step you miss, but your chances are higher when you combine it with the rest of this method. Just DO THE WORK.
  5. Maintain. Do it again. Make it a habit. This is your biggest problem area so far. You do it right the first few times, but you don't keep at it. Don't stop shooting until the zombie is dead. Then start shooting the next upcoming zombie. This step makes this whole method come full circle. This step reminds you that you can, and must keep going. This tells you, after you become productive, to stay productive. This is the clasp that keeps the bracelet from falling off. This is th-you probably get it by now. 
Again: Pause, Look, Aim, Shoot, Maintain. I hate to be so anal about it, but to change stubborn people like you takes a lot of creativity.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Five Favorite Things Friday!

I guess it's time that I make a weekly theme post? I also want to eventually do the fitness friday thing, but maybe I can just do both bi-monthly cos I'm a greedy b-turd. But for now Fridays will be for Five Favorite things! Because I loved the Sound of Music and thinking of my favorite things works really well for me in terms of improving my mood.

1. Mentos!

Doodoodoodoodoodoo, doo waaaaaaah~It doesn't matter what comes, fresh goes better in life.. With Mentos fresh and full of life! Nothing gets to you, staying fresh staying cool, WITH MENTOS FRESH AND FULL OF LIFE! Fresh goes better, Mentos freshness, fresh goes better with Mentos fresh and full of life! Mentos: The Freshmaker.

My earliest memory of mentos was staying in some lovely hotel (shangri-la is my best guess) and my mom handing me TWO TUBES of Mentos, telling me that I shouldn't eat them too fast. One spearmint and one peppermint. And I loved them all my life.

It's not a very constant love affair, I sometimes forget about them, but when I remember them and eat them again after a long hiatus, they make me feel really tingly inside! Just yesterday I bought a bag of mini mentos because I just wanted some laying around in case I felt like having them. The smaller tubes help me take control of the situation more, the other time my mom bought four big (regular) tubes of Mentos, I pringled the shit out of two whole tubes in one day. (Popped and didn't stop)

2. Scott Pilgrim
I just find the whole thing really cute, I watched the movie again, which is saved in my "U R MY FAVE" folder, and I felt the urge to download ALL THE COMICS and ran with it.

Now, I know how painfully typical it is to identify with Ramona Flowers, but I'm owning it because:

  1. She is so cute, and M.E. Winstead's broad shoulders (at least next to Michael Cera) make me feel confident about my manly ones. Also I remember my friend Pia comparing me to her in her Sky High days, I guess because of her huge eyes and stuff. Now, I don't have any illusions about that being true at all, but it was still flattering.
  2. The name Ramona. I'm kind of a daddy's girl and my dad's name was Ramon. So Ramona is like.. A girl Ramon? And she's like, a "ninja courier" and I'm so asian and ..Courier is my favorite font and stuff? Yeah. It totally makes sense.
  3. Her clothes are so my thing. I love that whole look. And that exact shade of nailpolish she was wearing in this scene? I've had it since last christmas B-) Way before I even saw the movie, not to mention I've always loved blue hair. So yeah. I'm not fighting my Ramona fangirlism.

    My clothes, still on the floor from when i tore them all of in once piece, cartoon-style.

3.This video! Precious family.

To any of you who haven't heard, Jimmy Kimmel, on his show, challenged parents to trick their kids into thinking that they ate all of their Halloween candy. This video is a crowd favorite, and also my personal favorite among all of the entries!! This twosome is just the sweetest two little boys I've ever seen! The older brother CJ is so calm, collected, smart, and mature for his age. Jake is super cute and sounds like Huey, Dewey or Louie Duck!

But the cutest thing about this video, and I'm sure that a lot of people share this opinion with me, is how this family treats each other. It's very clear that the mom raised the kids well with how they talk to her and to each other. CJ is more worried about mom having a bellyache than losing the actual candy, explaining that he enjoys the act of Trick or Treating more than the candy itself. They respect her when she says something (follows instantly when she asks them to do something, like stop jumping on the couch), but also feel confident enough to express their disapproval and to reason with her. My favorite moment is at 2:18 where little jake tries to add two and two and his hand puts up four fingers but he can't say the number. CJ comes to his rescue and whispers "four" but he mimics too early and thought he said five, so he says five. CJ charmingly smiles, apologizes and reassures his brother saying "It's actually four, but Jake you were so close."

4.Murdering Fruits in the Blender
Great alternative to softdrinks, not that I'll ever go cold turkey on Coke. luhh dat isht.

When my mom called me one day, telling me that she'd be going to the grocery on her way home, she asked me if I needed anything, and I requested if she could buy some mixed greens and/or frozen berries for smoothies. She brought home 2 kilograms of frozen strawberries and two bags of other assorted berries. Ever since then we have been putting the blender to regular use, just making ourselves fruity smoothies and juices. And it's actually very filling to be honest. :) And healthy obviously.

5. Childhood snacks!

You know, the sort that we used to always bring to school for snack time. Juices in Tetra Packs, Japanese sticks with dipping cream, wafers... Today I had some blissful moments eating my strawberry Yan Yan and some tetra pack blueberry yoghurt drink!

What are your Five Favorite Things of the week? List them down, let them make you feel all tingly inside!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Be good to yourself, everyone else will follow.

this post is text-heavy so i'm making up for it with a screenshot of the hottest cop ever (and i dont even like cops)

Rhodes: We're not all bad.
Annie: (starts engine, doesn't hear) What?
Rhodes: (tries to talk louder)I just sa--.. We're not all bad.
Annie: Oh, yeah.
Rhodes: Actually the rest of them are, but not me. I'm the best of them.
Annie: Kay, thank you.
Rhodes: Anyway.. (waves)
Annie: (driving away) Thank you!

Isn't Nathan Rhodes just a dreamboat? Vulnerable, genuine, caring, sweet, funny, but can also be at-your-face when you need a good slappin on the butt. ....A good ol' G-RATED slapping on the butt.

Bridesmaids Poster

My best friend Carmen visited me two days ago after a long dry season in our friendship and we ended up watching Bridesmaids, laughing our lungs out, and having squeal fits over Officer Rhodes, played by "the Irish Seth Rogen": Chris O'dowd (tell me i'm not the only one that noticed this). I'd already seen and enjoyed it (IMMENSELY) before and thought of C instantly since it was about girls and best-friendships and changes and all.

I'll be honest here, I have been feeling very hopeless about my friendships lately, or well, the days preceding that day I finally got to see C again.  I thought it was already at the point of no return with my old friends, her included. And it wasn't an issue of replacement with new friends. I simply just felt that I had NO real friends anymore. We consider each other best friendssesses, and we are, but in reality we don't get to see each other much. With graduating students, when it comes down to juggling school that can possibly ruin your life (or at least your confidence in it) if you don't do it right, and friends that will love you no matter what you do, maintaining your relationship with the latter just gets pushed and pushed for later.

In the end, all of the bad stuff I felt seemed very silly when we hung out again. I know she sort of feels a bit silly too, I know that the idea of our relationship's ultimate eventual demise has crossed and bothered her mind, like it did mine (we talked about it). In the end, I realized that if everyone saw through each other's eyes and grew relationships that somehow seem to dissolve egos in a magical way, a safe "place" where you know that you are loved and accepted and understood, (and if not, acknowledged and sincerely welcomed to explain yourself) then nobody will ultimately feel abandoned. They will understand what causes people's shortcomings towards them and will eventually play on their loved one's side against the problem, instead of on their own side against their loved ones and whatever is "wrong" with them. It's impossible to hold a grudge in relationships that are so open and sincere and open to vulnerability, and I'm so lucky to have people in my life, a lover and a best friend that I can be like that with.

It's easy to generalize a bunch of things when you come across ONE EXAMPLE of it that affects you in a big way, especially negatively. This doesn't only apply to situations and things as described above, but also to people. One man who's abandoned your mother and siblings becomes another man that abandons you and your kids, therefore all men are a ticking time bomb, waiting for the first chance to explode into coldness, disinterest, confusion, boredom, and to start something with "someone new". And well, always being the "someone old" can be pretty sickening, that the easiest route to feeling okay again is to just console yourself with the thought that all of men are like that. Or worse, that something is wrong with you and you're just not lovable in "that way". Exactly in the way we judge one person's symptom as representative of their whole being, even though we haven't given them a real chance to show us what that is, we also generalize certain groups of people in the way they deal with things.

To be honest, I don't think the similarities are intrinsic to them. If you'll allow me, I'd like to go out on a limb and infer that it's our uncalled-for defenses that make the symptoms repeat themselves over and over. We protect ourselves from feeling a certain horrible feeling again, and this is only natural. But as we do these weather-proofing things (example: giving too much so that someone would keep loving you, trying to "catch" someone before they do something bad) we generally just give off a vibe of detachment from each other.

Another thing we might consider is the idea that when we get treated the same way over and over again, maybe it's because the previous devaluing has made us devalue ourselves, and as a result we act as if we're not worth what we're worth, and most importantly, we associate and surround ourselves with the same kind of relationships. And sometimes the wrong kind of people. (I don't mean "wrong kind" as if there's actually a wrong kind of person, because like I said everyone just has their own struggles that only they can see, but in this life we only have so little time and it's not our job to fix everybody we meet or wait for everybody to change. The right kind of person is somebody who compliments you wherever you are in your life's journey. All I'm saying is: Cover your own ass before you try covering anyone else's.)

This whole post (which has gotten very long I apologize) is for the good ones, and the ones that can't find them. We should never make ourselves believe that the good ones don't exist, lest they actually come along and we won't be able to notice them. You'll never know who might pull up in a cop car being all Irish and cute and creampuff-loving and offering you baby carrots. (I'm talking to you, Annie. You lucky baker.)

But even more important than finding good ones out there to fulfill holes in ourselves, we should look inwards and find the good one inside of us. We should look at ourselves with the same mercy and empathy that we'd offer for anyone that we have that certain unconditional love for. Stop waiting for your wholeness to come from somebody else and grow it within you. Raise your self-value until you get to that place wherein you feel rightfully entitled to claim what you feel you deserve. And I'm partly, if not mostly talking to myself here. Stop acting as if everything is trying to get away from you and just BE someone so happy that it makes people happy to be around you.

PS: I hope everyone who's reading this has seen Bridesmaids already, and if not, well I hope this makes you check it out. As a film critic, I'd say it was ok, but as a Bea, I say it's really hilarious and combo-punches all that gut-busting Kristen Wiig humor with the fact that the film actually makes you think.