Silent sobs

Today is just about going with the flow. No particular theme or leitmotif. Merely, my brain is just itching to write something or anything. My fingertips are restless to snick the keyboard. My heart is thumping, and I can’t say no to her beat. 

Oh, where do I start?

The past months have been, let’s say, crazy and expectedly unexpected. I came to England 6 months ago to fulfil my dreams of getting a Master’s Degree in Business. Can you believe that? It finally happened after years and years of painstakingly working my way. All those sombre juggles, ruffling applications, deranged exams and reviews, and stingy pulses to prepare myself for the big leap. 

Yes, coming to England with literally no relative or no one to cling on to really put me into tests. Probably even harder than GMAT, GRE and IELTS. You start navigating your ways but at the same time you don’t know which way you are going to sweep into – highway, freeway, expressway, or no way! It could probably be any way as what really matters is reaching the point of assembly. Innit?

I had also many retrogresses which steered me to apathy. It’s one of those moments when you bet your entire life on something veritably germane, yet you end up taking an abominable result. Like why! Next thing you know, you just want to tuck yourself in bed for days and days until you slowly pick up those positive chis again to move forward, or will you? Perhaps, this is the reason why I couldn’t start any article relative to my MBA studies. It scares me. I thought that sharing content would be premature as I have not reached the crest where I could say, “Yey, I have conquered the boulders and crossed the alps.” Tell me, how could I be of great influence when I am even hanging my very self on the precipice! Hang on. I can’t yet, and I’m sorry, I too need those reinforcements.

Soberly, I am still righto (pinky), as the brits’d always say, but I cannot help to worry at times. I am doing well in my studies, and I am dedicating my complete psyche to be successful. I also have a strong support system back in my home country – beautiful people showing TLC in every way, yes, from miles away! However, you just can’t help it, do you? When your brain starts to open too many tabs, it makes you off balance. It makes you think how you will shut some, keep the good tabs, so you can at least have a good night sleep. Overthinking ushers nowhere and I defo discourage you to make this a habit. Nah! Nah!

I guess, the question really is – will I survive until the end? I don’t know yet, but I know His Almighty will never take me for granted. It’s getting better. I have both adapted and adopted well. Met great people. Kept some. Wed out few. Reconnected with old folks. Disassociated from some. Found my future? Gag, I don’t want to talk about the latter yet as it seems very distant! Let’s just say, I would have to dedicate an entire page for that chapter, if ever. Anyway, enough with the phooey – what I basically want to bequeath is that, when you’re lost and you seem to think like there’s no way, there is always the God’s way. When you’re totally weak and you think that you can no longer carry on, God sends people to enable you. He will provide a good ride so you can continue the travel and reach the journey’s end. 

I say its better yeah but why am I cleping it as crazy and unexpectedly expected? It’s what I feel as of this writing. Too many memoirs resonating different levels of lessons. I am still halfway through my studies and about to commence my dissertation. Apart from that, I also have 3 modules to claw. I’m quite excited and nervous for what the next days will bring. One thing is for sure, I am fastening my seatbelt well as the ride could be bumpy, fast, or curvy. Collision can also be reckoned knowing the traffic and the reckless’, but at least, I have already checked the wheel’s airbag and I think I’ll be safe. Again, will I survive if it crashes? Well, I will. I must. I can. Only then I could advance to the next step if I trounce this stage.

What’s next then?

I don’t know. Family. Work. Advanced Courses. God will lead the way, though I know my heart seems so happy these days. That thump thump parapapampam sound motivates me to just keep on moving conscientiously. Yikes! kkk.

What now! What’s next?

This pestilence undeniably has brought so much malaise to all of us. Things are never the same and perhaps it would take years to fully adopt such new normalcy. They say that culling is God’s natural order, but is it? Or are there some conspiracy theories behind this daunting Covid-19. Will leave that to you so you too can rack your brain.

One zillion bull-headed throngs. Half trillion comatose bleats. Ten million compassionate sobs. Seven million overwhelming cases. Four hundred thousand horrifying deaths. Tons of obscured anomalies and ad hoceries. 

Yes, the numbers are jolting but let us not forget that there is still that one thing. Ask yourself what had happened after the Black Death. We all know the answers since history books and some online platforms have made it get-at-able.

So for the :

Bull-headed throngs.  Tell me, why are you being so stubborn? Why is it that a simple stay- at-home-pleas cannot be easily shadowed? Which part of the language you do not understand? Are you bored or you just literally want to test the patience of our bureaucrats, front-liners and all those chaps who are risking their lives? Why would you go out with groupies for a gala? Why do you have to hustle in the crowd for some seasonal eatables? Haven’t you heard of social distancing? Perhaps, you haven’t just realised yet the impact of the pandemic until it’ll hit you and your loved ones hard.

Comatose bleats. Except for those well-grounded expressions, some bleats are just really kaput and imbecile. Hence, the word comatose. I am just dumbstruck by the many people acting like virtuosos in many fields. Tell me, why do you want to oust Officials in this trying times? Why are you harassing our front-liners? Why are you discriminating our folks? Why are you making dummy social media accounts just to spread fake news? Do we really need this attitude now or we need more synergy and ministrations?

Compassionate sobs. Overwhelming cases. Horrifying deaths. Sending my love and prayers from the corners of my room to wherever you are right now – heaven or earth. My heart bleeds every time I hear additional casualties or a new individual contracting the virus. I probably couldn’t plumb the depths of your pain but may your affliction serves as our groundwork to behave.

Tons of obscured anomalies and ad hoceries.  Let’s face it. Several people during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) took advantage of the amelioration program of the Philippine Government. The kind of listing-their-relatives-cats-and-dogs-like. Political rivalries were also noticed as closing borders of one city from other political groups for commodity distributions. In effect, it took away people’s chance of receiving more goods as an additional aid for their daily needs. Some groups who are wholeheartedly helping are being ostracised and those doing it for publicity are greatly revered.  Treachery, exploit, inequality, among others, were also observed. Salute to our honest public servants and volunteers, and to our brave front-liners. In both conscience and kernel, you know you’re worth.

We are in a situation to which unity, awareness, empathy and nobility must be exercised and utilised. Kindly reserve all your enigmatic urges, pointless protests, unsolicited opinions and non-sensical biases for later. It will never bring any good. In PH alone, we already have 20 thousand ++ cases, yet as denizens, some of us are still lackadaisical with our very own safety and protection.

What happened after the Black Death? What is that one thing? To put it simply, it is…

THE RENAISSANCE. THE REBIRTH.

THE RESURGENCE.

A reverberating reminder that this will pass if we all care and provide support to each other. This will pass if we all act as humans realising that the virus cannot be seen by our human eyes. This will pass if we keep a proactive and scrupulous attitude. I don’t know when but it will end, and we’ll all be sieved individuals after this. May we all remain cautious and conscious as we journey to the end of this fray.

Great things will happen. People who survived will live much longer, smarter and healthier. Economy will bloom. Global network will revolutionise. Employment rate will increase. Crime rate will plummet. Religions will thrive. The Black Death was even worse, yet the world was able to resuscitate. I am looking forward to the world’s rebirth after this. Hope you look forward with me too, lovies.

Work From Home aides-memoire

A reminder to all chaps who WFH or with colleagues who WFH at the puff of this unprecedented COVID situation:

(1) Keep your values intact, quid pro quo. I am blessed to work in a company to which employees come first. My colleagues are not laid off, our benefits are not severed and our bimonthly salaries always come on time; and so, let’s reciprocate that altruism and do our part. Any company who adopted this Work From Home (WFH) arrangement (I believe), has only 3 unsung sine qua nons for its people: Honesty, Productivity and Commitment. Work as schedule dictates you. Are you being checked if you are before your PC or Laptop screen on time and is hollered every 10 minutes just to confirm if you are really working? I bet you don’t experience this kind of mental strain and physical torture but my brother-in-law, who is an Engineer/IT Specialist working remotely, does.

(2) Have a straitlaced schedule and exercise respect. Be sensitive to your colleagues’ personal ticks. When this WFH arrangement started about 2 months back, I made a schedule on how my typical M-S would look like. I strictly work from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm M-F ONLY. S-S are devoted to my rest and recreational toots (online Francais & Creative Writing classes and some random light workout). I don’t take meetings beyond 6PM, holidays or weekends. I don’t answer any calls and SMS outside the prescribed work schedule unless (1) a message is coming from the “royal family” or (2) a matter of life-and-death situation that has to be addressed immediately ie at the wee hour today, I received a call from one of our merchants with concerns on its store’s fire suppression and gas leaks.

WFH doesn’t mean you have to be overdemanding to yourself or with your colleagues. If you have truly rendered your effort, time and productivity during that required period, then your decency should be respected at all times BY ANYONE. Courtesy breeds respect. Respect breeds trust. You owe that courtesy to ANYONE you’re working and dealing with, even if the rank is lower than yours.

Another thing is when setting up e-meetings. (1) if you are the host, kindly please alarm the bell for notices first. Don’t just call people and insist to meet them in 10-15 minutes. You can peer in asking this question first: “Hey are you available to meet?” If the answer is yes, then your whims are granted. If it’s a no, then please understand that the person might be caught up with something or have other important matters to deal with. (2) If you are the host and you suddenly have other important meetings on the same schedule, please alarm the bell of notices (again) beforehand that the meeting has been postponed or cancelled. We all have a pre-planned calendar and that dissipated time waiting for you in Zoom, Viber, Hangout or whatever platform it was(is) could have been used for other things needing overriding attention. Again, at least be sensitive. Be courteous. (3) If you are one of the attendees and suddenly you cannot make it, then, kindly send a representative to take notes on your behalf. Brief your sub so he/she may not be flabbergasted during the e-meeting.

(3) Speak to your boss for any hint of nonplus feelings. Try to open supple discussions with your boss. Early April 2020, I told my boss about my disquietude. Although, I was religiously working from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm plait with deliberate ironclad commitment, I didn’t feel gratified at all. I work in Leasing and Retail Operations and as a Department Head, I tried exploring all department initiatives even those beyond-the-box-edges just to keep my calendar in rainbows. I filled it with meetings and the pre-meeting invites from other departments. I also reviewed plans and drawings relentlessly, set schedule with all my merchants and that quintessential checking and sending out of emails. Looked a lot at the hindsight but I missed the action at the forthsight – the beautiful noise and the graceful chaos (OPERATIONS) and the scouting of potential merchants (LEASING IN ACTION).  No matter how much I deputised each day (that time), I still ended up having a lot of trance and reverie click-clacks.

As we spoke over the phone, my boss was somewhat painting on my panache how her typical day looked like and how much work she pinned each day during the quarantine. It was very inspiring and I God-willingly told her if she could accord the Department some additional works to at least assuage my discontent of feeling half-full-days. Uh-uh! It is never about self-flagellation nor self-deprecation but more of self-actualisation.

***B: Are you sure of what you are asking and are you sure that you wouldn’t be stressed out with let’s say, irate buyers?

***Me: (Cajoling in my language). I’m good at that. Resilient as ever.

***B: Alright, this Department needs help, I will tell the head.

Wherefore, my Department was given the additional tasks and up to this time, we’re riveted performing at nonpareil.This is never a show-off, nor seeking pardon for all the department/interdeparment decision mishaps I’ve made in the past, nor a promotion agenda (I think being an executive at 28 is already a milestone for now). I just really wanted to feel useful and satisfied in all aspect. The company has been doing a lot for its people, some of my colleagues (front-liners) still reports to work despite the risks, some lends a hand for commodity distribution, while I am just at home doing less. I wanted to help in my own little way. I am also jovial that my team members have the same frame of mind and enthusiasm as I do. They were both receptive to the idea and both thought it’s an opportunity to show that #LeasingCares. To Ivan and Irish, you have proven the posit of the life-advice guru Kevin Kelly, that, being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points. Apart from helping, I am sure that you also coup d’œil company’s values and precedence.

BTW, salute to my CSR friends across the globe.“)

(4) Take leaves for personal errands or ask for letup consent from your boss.  I’d really feel guilty if my work-time is being eaten up by my personal errands. Treachery is the more appropriate word, I guess. We are being paid for our service and effort, we should yield what’s expected and rightful then. The company deserves that! Kindly try to do your thing – groceries, going to banks, visiting relatives, taking online classes, working out, etc – outside the prescribed work schedule. Better yet, ask a consent that you’ll be in a recess for a while for so-and-so reasons.

(5) Limit your social media prominence while working. Leisurely, start to detach yourself from cosmopolitan pleasures and your life will be even more meaningful. Multitasking is okay but I don’t think this is the most sensible paradigm. I keep my messenger open since some salient communications and updates are sent through but I only browse my FB scarcely, weekends the most. I even rarely pin a thumb (I am in IG every day but check by night time or early morning though).

(6) Be thankful. Working from home is indeed challenging due to myriad of reasons-  intermittent internet connections, sporadic phone signals, the howls of your domestic breeds, the spur-of-the-moment teases-and-piques of your kin and next of kin, the constant battle against distraction and the relentless note-to-self to keep sane. But hey, you are reading this, so it means you are staying safe in the warmth of your crib.  That, my friend, matters most in this unprecedented situation.

(7) Yay, you’ve reached the end and here’s the most important note of all: Please, at all times, regularly and timely pump cerebral spinal fluid through your brain cells and remove all metabolic by-products of the day’s thoughts. SLEEP! That, my friend, is a borrowed line from my favourite sitcom BIG BANG THEORY and was reverberated by Sheldon Cooper. I normally wield this virgule among my friends to sound cool. You can borrow this too to remind yourself that you need sleep to recharge. And by recharging, means, enough hours of sleep should be wangled according to the number of hours recommended for your age.  

We all have different strategies and level of comfort on how to do things. We also have recalcitrant limitations. This is not a judgment or a juxtaposition on how you manoeuvre or re-manoeuvre both your smart and stretch goals daily vs mine. If you found this helpful – THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS because you are about to embark the journey to self- actualisation . If it offended you – well, perhaps it kicked you through and through. BUT, at the end of the day, you only have to answer to yourself and to that still-small-voice:

  • Have I been productive?
  • Have I been lackadaisical?
  • Have I been honest?
  • Have I been helpful?
  • Have I done enough?
  • Have I shown the right blend of courtesy and respect towards others?
  • Have I sent the right tone of email?
  • Have I exercised my initiative?
  • Have I been both efficient and effective?
  • Have I been too torpid to my colleagues just because someone has also been pressuring me?

Be the judge and purr your answers to that still-small-voice. Au revoir!

I will now pump cerebral spinal fluid through my brain cells and remove all metabolic by-products of the day’s thoughts. Though, this is an old photo I actually just want to add that at times, it’s good to dress up while WFH. Just for a change.

Accepting a chronic illness and finding your purpose

This recent headline news about a 16-year old girl from Cebu, Philippines who was raped, murdered, and skinned by 3 ruthless men brought me back to those moments when I had so many whys for God and the universe. It breaks my heart to hear such news and I cannot help but ask again, why can’t those rapists or murderers be the one to contract cancer, lupus or other terminal diseases instead? That beautiful innocent girl deserved to live and fulfill all her dreams.

Like most of the warriors out there, I’ve also been to a stage of consequential denial. Growing up, I was thought by my dad to always see things with silver lining, however accepting a chronic disease can feel like the opposite, especially at the inception. Why me, when all I wanted is to do good to the society? Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Why can’t it be the ill-willed, the menace or the suicidal chaps? Why can’t it be the bad guys? Questions were endless appearing from every nooks and crannies. I asked these questions to family and friends and they would always tell me that I am special… but I just didn’t see it that way. To my mind I was cursed or punished for something I must have done in the past.

I thought it was unfair. Are we just randomly chosen? Is it by choice, status or circumstance? I desperately wanted answers but my questions lead me to nowhere. Disappointed, I became sullen and morose at some point. Incandescent, [once] I decided to just let my body withers without succoring to any medications. That lasted for months consorted with these resentful yeses. Yes, I used to loathe healthy people and felt envious on their successes. Yes, I used to wish criminals assume my disease. Yes, I used to bleat against the Father and the universe on why perpetual suffering is inflicted to selected few. I cannot help it then. Perhaps, it’s human nature to feel deep sympathy for oneself.

Until I got tired asking questions. I gave myself a breathing space from the hustle and bustle of self-pressure and anxiety. It’s like giving myself a consent to stop fighting against reality and just deal with it head on. It was never easy, but I knew it was necessary to move forward. Surprisingly as I went along, I have slowly learned to accept my fate with a light heart. At times, some rhetorical questions would bud out randomly but I no longer compel any answer… just because I already unboxed the gift that comes with my Lupus – a chronic disease with a purpose…

  1. to give hope and courage to those who are troubled
  2. to be more compassionate and sensitive to those who are also suffering
  3. to never judge and condemn anyone from lapses or mistakes
  4. to forgive any transgressions
  5. to love… just love and keep on loving no matter what

They are right. I am a very special chic – scarred, pained and broken but is still fighting exquisitely going after her dreams. As what my best friend Mo would always tell me, “we have to be like a nail which has to be driven hard into a wall to support weight, and that resistance to which the nail experiences while being driven gives its strength to carry a big load”. Lupus hit me too hard. However, the act of hammering formed my character to become a better person, a better version of my very self.

Below are some insights that might help you while coping up with any disease, malaise or uncertainty.

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Accepting a disease is not a birthday present you’ll happily unboxed. Feel free to cry, shout, ask questions, disturb a friend or write a letter to God or the universe. Vent it all out. The journey will slowly help you cope up and discover your purpose.
  2. Be patient. Suicide is never an option. This whole thing is a process and it takes time. Allow yourself to be hammered first. It’s normal to overdo some of our actions at some point but inflicting harm to oneself is never a solution. That’s called being selfish. Instead, deal with the situation head on.
  3. Allow yourself to get help. Go for that routine visit with your physician. Take your medications religiously. Exercise regularly. Talk with your circles.
  4. Don’t feel envious if someone is healthier or better than you. That person may not have challenges on his health but is struggling on other things – debts, broken family, fiasco marriage, sudden death of family members or etc.
  5. Share your struggle and how you found your purpose because who knows you could save someone out there. Real stories are a source of inspiration.

We all have our struggles but I hope you won’t give up even if everything seems to fall apart. Life is boring without echoes of cries and aches. If you feel like giving up, just remember that 16-year old who was not even given a chance to live her adventure.

You are a very special fellow as well. Take your chances. Live your adventure. Live it well.

A confession of an ex-con: “I met Jesus in Prison”

As I’m writing this entry, a little fete in the house still continues in honour of our Patron Saint. Kin and fellows come by round the clock to share sumptuous meal with everyone. Hankering for fresh air, I decided to stay in the vestibule earlier – not knowing a metamorphic conversation would take place there. Julius Perez, a distant kindred and an ex-con, as how he introduced himself, took my faith to the next level.

03 December 2005, Julius, together with a minor, has killed an allegedly male AKRHO Gang member. According to him it was a crime of self-defense since he was pointed with a gun first. Financially crippled to obtain a private lawyer fighting for his case, he ended up spending 12 years in prison with a tag– MURDERER.

It was difficult. At times I think of his family. At times I think of my future. I was struggling the first few months in jail but I have had high hopes one day I can be free”, he reverberated when asked about the challenges he went through.

Determined to get out from prison with head held high, he behaved accordingly abiding all cell rules. From an ordinary inmate, he was chosen to become a commander (jail lead) for he portrayed a commendable behaviour. He created fair rules and camaraderie among fellows. He also learned as much as he can, in fact, he was the very first detainee to graduate from ALS (Alternative Learning System).

Notwithstanding , the rumination that startled me most was when he shared HOW HE MET JESUS IN PRISON. Inside bars and in the midst of distress and anxieties, he found Jesus. He felt like a little voice was comforting him with powerful sweet words of fortification. By then, he never let go of the connection and worked so hard to grow his relationship with God. He started the art of silent prayers. He read all chapters in the Bible from Old to New Testament. He attended every Holy Masses celebrated inside the prison, and he led the recital of Holy Rosary – a life completely antithetical before his conviction- when all he knew was to have a good time (barkada, barrio disco and booze).

“God exists and so does blessings. I thought being in prison is the end of everything, yet, it became the beginning of all great things. God showed me his ways and I accepted it with open heart, and now I am trying to continue my very intimate relationship with HIM.”

Julius, is one of those stories that truly touched my inner being. His story is a testament that God reaches to us wherever we are under any circumstance. He never abandons His children specially the lowly ones.

Today, being a freeman, Julius relentlessly sustains his reverence to Jesus and even compound this to others. He is now teaching his girlfriend how to read the bible and to pray the Holy Rosary. He is also never embarrassed being called an ex-con for he’s aware that God has pardoned him.

Editor’s Note: Although, Julius is an ALS graduate (HS Level), he still finds hard to get a decent job due to his history of being an ex-con. However, from our conversation earlier, I can vouch that he is a man with pure heart. Definitely, full of gratitude. May all my blog readers be able to help him in his journey towards starting a new life outside the prison cell.

Julius, may you be blessed even more and may God’s name be glorified because of your humility!