2015 in review

My favorite teacher, Rica Bolipata-Santos, posted this writing assignment on her FB account:

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Ma’am Rica said that it wasn’t really important to follow the number but that we should “Write [our] year, in honor and in supplication.”

So I choose to write my year in months, with these highlights and disappointments and game changers and things I focused on and forgot remembered in the order they happened.

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I don’t know

Today’s blog post is supposed to be all about the letter I, and I initially thought of doing a blog post on Instagram (check mine out, yeah? work and personal). There was a time I swore I would never join instagram because I had this thing about going against the popular.

BUT

being the social media hound that I am, I caved late last year and signed up. (And now I have two accounts).

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So while that up there’s an entry already for the A to Z challenge (WordPress tag reader here), I also want to talk about what I don’t know. As a teacher, I’ve struggled the past two years because I was teaching material I had not taught before. These were things I had not known about or known how to teach before, so researching and asking senior teachers and my bosses for help became half my whole teaching life. The other half was the actual teaching and then the checking, of course.

This coming school year, I’m going to be faced with some new responsibilities as well, and I feel terrified that I won’t be able to do enough, which, in turn, is already more horrible than you’d think because in our school, everybody (admin, students, parents) expect nothing short of excellence. It’s not enough to do the bare minimum.

So there.

I admit I don’t know much, but that’s not going to stop me from doing well excellently.

Whoa Intense

I spent the better part of the night at a friend’s house with a bunch other people for a night of destressing. We ordered in, popped in an imaginary DVD, and watched John Lloyd woo Toni Gonzaga in My Amnesia Girl. After the movie, the rants started. One of the rants hit close to home.

A friend ranted that she had been labeled as “intense,” and that she didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. I was saddened by her declaration. I, too, had been called intense before, but I had heard a different word for it–PASSIONATE–at some times. To me these words were synonymous with each other, and therefore I took them as compliments, but here was a person saying that she rejects her label of “intense person.”

The discouragement I felt when she said, “Ayoko na!” (literally, “I don’t want anymore!“) went straight to the heart, and I felt horrible for her. Here was a person who was doing amazing things, but she was being shut down because people brush off her comments and suggestions and observations as just part of her intensity. They’ve stopped taking her seriously, and at one point said flat out that she was going to cause World War 3. While it DID occur to me that this latter statement could have been made jokingly, it doesn’t change the fact that people hadn’t been responsive to her concerns, which, I believe, are legitimately valid points.

I don’t understand how people can just brush aside these kinds of people. These INTENSE people are the ones who make things happen, but when you’re surrounded by people who seemingly don’t care, what hope do we have of affecting positive changes?

I’m too tired and too angry on her behalf to spill any more details, but suffice it to say that… I can’t even find the words to express how infuriating this is.

If my friend–the intense and passionate one–gets brushed off, what are the chances that we can see positive change happen immediately if the people who notice all the bad things and are willing to do something about it are just ignored?

NaBloPoMo: Back Pain

I am rendered, at best, uncomfortable and, at worst, immobile by this upper back pain that seems to have gotten worse when I got home. It’s the first time in years I got pain in my upper back. The last time this happened… Actually, I don’t remember this happening before. It’s always been my lower back that hurts at least once a month.

I need to put this out here because I need to remind myself of what I have to do. By putting this out there I’m making a promise not just to myself but to everybody who reads this. (Gujab pressuring meself. Keel me nao.)

Sleep now (9pm) then wake up at 3am to finish checking what I can.

Wish me luck.

Gratitude List

Today I woke up annoyed because there were people in the house so early in the morning, and their voices woke me up. Sort of.

Also. They kind of imposed themselves into OUR Sunday breakfast tradition.

But now that I’m reflecting on what to be grateful for today, I find that their presence means that my mom is loved and respected and that they recognize how awesome the food that Mama and my cousin cook for us here at home.

Another thing I am thankful for is coffee. It’s gotten me pretty wired up and high since that first sip of lightly sweetened barako Americano. I’ve pummeled my way through one set of rubrics, one and a half set of papers, and I’ve dreamed up various evil things that could happen to my family (my brain is weird that way, and yes, I hate it when it goes that dark route).

And because my brain went dark today, I am thankful that in reality, my family is safe and healthy.

I am thankful that I have money to spend so that I can work outside in a cafe that served not so great food (food’s good, but not the best) but had excellent service. Also, the tables are PERFECT for working.

I am thankful for my “new” Kenneth Cole watch. I get to wear fancy shmancy arm candy for a while. 😀 hashtag-dream-come-true hahaha

I am thankful for friends who know just when to interrupt work to crack a joke and when to remind me it’s time to get back to business.

I am thankful for free rides home.

I am thankful for Spotify.

I am thankful for Pope Francis I. Seriously. I’m at this point in my life where I have begun to distrust and question my religion (well, actually, it’s the PEOPLE I dislike and disagree with, not the religion per se). I don’t know what I’m saying, but I like that Pope Francis I is somebody who makes everybody–no matter what their religion is or who they are or where they come from–feel accepted and respected and safe. He recognizes the wrong, the evil, but from what I observe and read about him and hear about him, he chooses to see the good in the person and/or the potential and possibility to be good. He gives me hope. 🙂

I am thankful for papers to check because it means I have a job. The papers give me insight about my students, where they come from, how they feel, and what they want in life. I am a voyeur, but I am allowed this peek into their lives.

I am grateful for my pink pens.

I am grateful for my youngest sister who’s helping me out now.

I am grateful for today.

I am grateful for this feeling of happiness and contentment, which totally trumps the way I woke up this morning. 🙂

Rewind

The other thing I hate about today is that all of a sudden all these embarrassing moments I’ve had–even those where I think I shouldn’t have said or done something–came crashing down WHILE I WAS WORKING. So all of these things I’ve done that I believe now I SHOULDN’T have done came back to haunt me. Believe me, these are just small things like using high heels instead of flats for class or biting someone’s head off because you had a bad day. But these came by the droves, so it took all my willpower to not bang my head on my desk.

Can you imagine? I had a wonderful work rhythm and routine already and I was NEARLY DONE then ALL OF A SUDDEN this brain decided to screw with me. Or itself. Whatever.

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Someone tell me: what is the point of blogging if there isn’t even anybody who will read your work?

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Today was actually pretty okay.

I had free lunch, free afternoon snacks, I got rid of things I needed to get rid of, was able to finish half of what I need to finish, and basically had a decent day.

It was just all the thinking that kind of ruined things for me.

Hugot Monday

Hugot in English means “to pull out.”

We have this saying here, “May pinanghuhugutan,” which means that the person is making some comment (usually bitter) because s/he is “pulling” the emotion from previous experience.

Local teens have taken to shortening that phrase to a hashtag: #hugot.

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Today, a close family friend called this day as Hugot Monday on Twitter, and my first reaction was, “LISTEN TO INDAK (UP DHARMA DOWN) WHEN YOU’RE DONE WATCHING (SANA DATI)!!! OKAY? OKAY? OKAY?!” and my second reaction was, “Good lord, he was right. Today IS #hugotmonday.”

I’m sure he had his own reasons for considering today as such, but in my case, my conversation with my best buds (among them this WAHM) has left me evaluating my personal choices. The WORST thing about this introspection was the timing. I was right in the middle of finishing some very important documents when my phone lights up, the LED indicator flashing green, which meant I had a message in either Line or FB Messenger. Since I swore off the latter for the week, I knew it had to be my college buds. My hands automatically reached for my phone and opened the app.

I had expected conversation to be about the daily grind, which I can usually skip till the end of the workday, but lo and behold one of their first questions was about ME.

Truth be told I got excited and nervous. The spotlight was both something I craved and feared. I loved the spotlight if I were in charge of my audience, but I feared it if it put me either in a negative situation or an unknown one. In this case, I had no control over my audience–my friends, because, let’s face it, your friends control YOU–and though I knew what they were asking me about (marginally work-related, if you must know), it wasn’t exactly a situation I particularly liked.

They prodded and teased and gave advice and nagged and prodded and teased some more and then just basically told me to let go and just go with the flow. I see the sense and the wisdom in what they said, but…

Why is advice so much easier to dish out than take?

My head (both sides with each other) and my heart are warring, my teacher and writer sides are warring, the angel and the devil on my shoulders whispering encouragement and temptations, my hands and feet cold from the anxiety over this.

I am disturbed. This is all new to me, and I guess this is why I’m bothered so much.

So…………

I’ll just go back to finishing my work.