Saturday, March 28, 2015

Relish the Highs, Respect the Lows

I've stopped trying to fool myself.

I mean that in many ways, but let's just stick to this one thing for now:

Planning a day to the hour rarely works for me, and if anything, that type of planning just ends up being another procrastination medium. The worst kind: a kind that both gives the illusion of productivity and puts more things onto future-me's plate, which, as you probably guessed.. happens to be just me when I wake up in the morning.

So I'm trying another approach. One that doesn't neglect an idea that has been gaining momentum lately, and one I've known to be true: managing one's energy is more efficient than just managing one's time. One that takes into account the natural ebb and flow of energy that is unique to how a person is as an individual, and is therefore easier to follow, and as a result, less discouraging.

To relish the highs, and to respect the lows.

Relish the Highs

This first part is a bit hard for me to do because I've been used to a really slow-paced lifestyle. It basically means: Make the most out of times where you feel like doing something, when you feel inspired, motivated, and energetic. I'm the type of person who tends to over-think everything, so instead of taking advantage of energy jolts, I tend to use it to micromanage every single detail, and it ends up depleting me before I even get to the meat of the activity! Relishing the highs, for me, means to just GET TO IT, don't think too much, make the most out of the limited resources if they are available right now. You can always keep things as a draft, and edit later.

It also means to schedule creating during times where the particular type of energy or focus needed for the task is available. A few months ago, I tried to evaluate my different kinds of energy and focus levels at different times of the day. When am I likely to find it easy to focus on creative tasks like writing or drawing? On repetitive, passive tasks like games, chores, and coloring? I figured it out, but what I failed to do was to "show up", sit myself down, and actually make something during those times. It's partly due to my schedule, but it's mostly because I tend to work in circles and keep saving things for later because I have this character flaw where I can't start if I don't have all the things-to-know down! (And even when I do, I usually become too tired to start right then after planning so much, then I save it for tomorrow, then tomorrow I'm not in the mood anymore! Woohoo!) I'm sure there's wiggle-room there that I neglected. So I'm going to have to start really going at that now.

Respect the Lows

At the same time, there are times of the day, or even unpredictable, random moments where I just can't be bothered to do much. Or I can't do a particular kind of task well. They're not impossible, but they will take a lot more effort and need more time-consuming revising because they were done with a hazy mental state.

During these times where forcing myself would just be inefficient, I try to take care of myself, or to do other kinds of things more compatible to my current disposition. This part is getting easier for me to do. That seems like it is to be expected since I'm a lazy potato and all, but actually, even while I am being very relaxed and slow-paced, I'm mentally not really at rest. I usually am ridden with guilt and anxiety (just ask my boyfriend!). But I've started to learn to forgive myself. And when I tell myself "It's okay, just try again later." I'm more likely to get back up and try again, rather than when I get really mean and annoyingly insistent towards myself.

Sometimes I just have to give myself space. And before you write that off as me just having an undiagnosed Multiple Personality Disorder, think about how much time you spend alone. Do you stop thinking about anything at all when there's no one to talk to? Of course you don't. And every thought you have inside is a conversation with yourself. The way you think about things, and the way you think about yourself has the power to encourage you to keep going, or to make you feel so bad that you give up. That last one still happens to me a lot, so I'm not here to say I've got it all figured out. Rather, I just want to remind myself, and in turn whoever reads this, that we have to be kinder to ourselves! We shouldn't talk so much shit about ourselves to ourselves that we start to believe it!

These kinds of slow times (or even days) are a good time to do the things that people forget about when they're too busy. People tend to forget to do the simple things that are quite important, like rest, drinking water, managing anxiety, or sleep. It's nice to be able to be in tune with yourself, and try to use the naturally slow and steady moods you have to do slow and steady (but still important) tasks like these.

I know these things might not apply the same way to most people, because most people don't really have their own time in their hands. But even in a rigorous scheduled setting, one can find pockets of time that they can control. If you're feeling low during a busy day, it's good to take a breather every now and then, and to see if there are other tasks that are better suited to your current state that you'd otherwise just neglect but would make your life healthier or make your work easier.

In the end, it's all about staying connected and in tune with ourselves as much as we can. Change must come from a place of self-awareness. Nobody ever got anywhere coming from somewhere they've never even been. (Let that sink in for a bit. I needed a moment when I wrote it down, too, haha.) You have to meet yourself where you are right now and work your way to where you want to be from there.

How can you say you really love someone when you don't even take the time to know them? Don't worry, I didn't get derailed there. I just want to point out that this is how self-love works, too.

You have to know yourself to be able to say you love yourself.

You have to know when you're up, and when you're down to know what you can put yourself through. We do it for our loved ones all the time. We won't nag someone we love for putting a wet towel on the bed when we know they've had a bad day. At least, not if we really want things to be okay. Why shouldn't we be that graceful to ourselves too?

Take care of yourself. Relish your highs, and respect your lows.

Friday, March 13, 2015

It's Hard to Write When I'm Happy

This is a brilliant piece by Sarah Kay that freakin' spoke to me. Or rather, more accurately, felt like I ...spoke it. I found it unbelievable how true it was for me. Mostly because it was literally the first thing I clicked on random when I decided to check more of her stuff out.

Lately, especially since the recent literary trend of "hugot" became popular (which is a filipino word for pulling something out from somewhere) in the local scene, I've been feeling out of place as a writer. It is where you basically express bitterness and hurt from your own life (usually lovelife) through innocuous posts that look like general advice or insight at first glance. Kind of like subtweeting, but you're subtweeting your own life.

When I was younger, all of my work came from a place of hugot. Seems that the more hurt I was, the easier it was to squeeze out some songs and poems and whatnot. Out of necessity, if you will. They made me feel saner and gave a sense of purpose for the mental turmoil.

I watched this performance and it came together in my head. For better and for worse, I've grown into a state of mind that this form of art no longer is a necessity that my mental peace depends upon.

Writing has been a way for me to pick my own head and emotions apart, to process reality and also the less-real monsters that only exist in my head. I used to have to do all that on my own, but now it's as if Beardy has become a constant sounding board and confidant. I definitely don't believe that I feel less things and therefore write less things. In fact, I feel more things now. It's easier for me to cry now, and easier to laugh. It's like that age-old adage that says that the more room you make in your heart for sadness, the more room it also has for happiness and love. Or something like that anyway.

In fact it was with Beardy that I first shared this realisation. I showed him the video and told him it's what's been going on with me. At first he was like, wow that was really nice and well-written. Then after a beat.. Wait, how do you relate to it?

And I said (and please excuse the nauseating cheesiness of language, because I'm pretty straightforward with him with my feelons):

"like hurt and anger and dejection fueled my writing
but i found peace and comfort in you
and often feel glazed [i meant like drunken-like smiling here, im now aware that it's not what glazed eyes signify, haha] and writing has stopped being a primal need
there's no emotional scab to pick at anymore"

And that last line felt insightful to me in a way that I used to feel about my writings and I realised that I still use my words in that kind of heart-baring, fizzy-head causing way. But I don't write it in blogs and notebooks much, going around and around in circles replaying things in my head, burning holes through memories until all that's left are the blackened and incomplete ugly parts and burnt fingers. Instead I do it with him, and my friends, and alone, in my own head. But unlike before, I don't overthink my emotions as much and it's lead me to become a more stable person.

Instead, I've been more likely to stay silent and think about things as they are, or better yet, to just... try and experience and know life as it is right now. Where am I right now? Who am I? What's the next step? What should I do? How much am I enjoying this? How can I express my love more? It's still imperfect, and still involves too much time in my head as opposed to just being, which is the ultimate goal, but it's a step closer.

In thinking about this I also got reminded of a poem I wrote about Beardy a few years back, upon observing that even though my usual "move" when I get infatuated with someone was to write them songs, I actually just end up drawing him. (I've written maybe a couple songs for him, but nothing that stuck and I honestly can't remember them! I think I'm really aging, or just not as impressed by my own work anymore as to remember every single thing I make.)

i sketched this while watching him sleep on Skype. i called it Chasing You While You Sleep. STAP JUDGING MEEEEEEE~

I loved all of them with words
I sang to their shapes in my memory foam head
I wrote stories around the ghosts they left
But you, I like to draw you instead.
Loving you is silent.
Tracing your forehead, your chin and your nose
No need for composing melodic weeping
True love doesn’t dream, it knows. 
I can feel you cringing all the way from here. Are you done? Good.

Moving on. even though it's mostly been a positive experience ending up this way, I would still like to eventually find a way to not need to have writing be a thing that I absolutely must do to not be sad. That would make sadness a prerequisite. I would like to write to write, because I think it's the core practice that brings my interests together, and it's the thing that can express the meaning behind all the other things that I do that don't have writing as an element. I feel that I've lived too long using it as a way to just be okay because I wasn't, and I'd like to elevate my experience in a way that I strive for more than that in a more automatic way. I want working harder and creative more frequently to be part of my nature again, even though it's not needed in an urgent, grasping way. I don't want to live mostly on autopilot anymore. And I have been trying lately, and yet the results seem very small.

But that's the thing that makes being present really helpful to me right now. Instead of focusing on that fact, I am able to let myself experience the journey itself and accept it when it is slow and difficult and frustrating, and keep at it anyway.

After all, it's not like I have anything better to do!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Le Garçon et Son Macaron

Last Sunday, my family went to Socrates' Secret again for some fun fun food food time. My uncle and his son Fheebo have been staying in our house since January so they also come along on weekend adventures. I've been to S.S. four other times beforehand and was excited to return with a kid in the group to put their adorable kiddie corner to use. 

The first time, it was just me, Mama, and my brothers, then me and just one brother, then Emmy and me, then my best Brofriends. All kids at heart, but I don't think psycho-emotional kid-ness will grant us a pass to the kiddie corner. Even the shoe rack is really small. 

My little cousin was very excited when the children from the other tables left because he was too shy to join them. Can you spot him?:

Fheebo is a picky eater, so he preferred to just play as we ate our food, and just taking a bite from this and that once in a while. He was more interested in the toy food than the actual food. And the toy train which transported toy food.

Afterwards, we went to Tristian's to have Coffee and dessert. The colorful macarons were displayed low... Perfect for catching little children's eyes hmm?

Well intended or not, it worked as such with Fheebo. (Also the extra O would probably not be noticed by liddol childron.)

It didn't even take him a second after seeing them to declare, "I'm going to eat the blue one!"

I'd have chosen that one too, but personally, I have this personal strike that involves not eating macarons until I get my butt to France, so I don't know what blew his mind (I kind of just imagine them to be... sweet.) and I wouldn't know for a while; actually I probably will never relate because even if it did just taste like sugar, that stuff's like cocaine to children. ...Not that I know what that's like either.

[I chose macarons because the visual payoff is great to use as a symbol for an achievement and yet taste-wise they won't cause me anguish and turmoil if I had to lay off for an undetermined amount of time. How would I say no to a warm buttery flaky croissant or a pain du chocolat? Especially since I already know what those taste like. *imagines the horror*]

So anyway, Fheebo was running around in full-energy mode when our orders arrived, and had to kind of gather and contain his own little force field to sit on the chair, still shaking in that little dancey way he does all the while.

Then he starts chewing... 

*shaking intensifies*
and his face just kind of...

becomes Whack Poo Brain Horse:

Which, funnily enough, he just saw today while watching AT, and when this face came on he totes tried to copy it.

And I was laughing really hard the whole time I was taking these pictures. He usually laughs along when people laugh around him, but I guess he knew I was laughing because of the current face he's doing and so he persevered with it for a really long time before smiling and laughing along! That's what you call dedication to a performance!

He very gleefully ate most of it, except for the blueberry jam in the middle which was, according to him, maasim!!! (meaning sour, bec berries are tart)

I removed it and tried some, and nope. It was totally very sweet blueberry jam but well.

We informed him that his whole mouth was made blue because of the macaron and I asked him to show the camera:

But he was so hyper that the pictures are blurry

And when I told him "try to stay still so it doesn't blur" he concentrated SO HARD that he got whack poo brain face again:


Anyway, I'd been trying to push myself to post a lot more often, but it's been hard to get back on the groove of just sitting down and writing, so I decided that when I get writer's block when trying to write more substantial things, I'll just look into photographs that I've taken and just... tell a story! Like this one. It's still aligned with what I want to do here anyway. Which is a real broad scope anyway.

See ya lader dewds!