Dear mom,

It’s been crazy out here, I’ve been making choices you wouldn’t be particularly proud of. I went partying two nights in a row, I wasn’t drunk or anything, but I know my choices and actions aren’t something you would approve of.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned Island Boy, the boy who broke my heart – just kidding, he kinda stepped on my ego. But then I realized it’s really not me, it’s him, it’s not about what I did or didn’t do, it’s just who he is. Other than the shitshow we had, he’s taught me how to be carefree and just to enjoy life. Our short-lived non-existent relationship reminded me who I was before being in a long term relationship, it’s actually nice.
I also spent quite some time with this guy, he has a long hair and lots of tattoos. He’s been very nice to me, listening to me rambling on and on with my existential crisis. He made a move on me two nights ago, and for whatever reason, I let it happen. And I let it happen again the following evening. Ma, he’s not the kind of guy you’d want to see me with, but he’s a really kind person. I’m trying to avoid him cause I just don’t want to be sucked in the same drama I know how it will end.
I met up with a boy I met on Tinder. We had a couple of beers, and ended up going back at my place, he fixed my sliding door and we watched  a really good French movie. We didn’t do anything else, Ma. He’s genuinely a nice guy. He’s been visiting me at home, but is very respectful. He’s been making me laugh a lot, too. Ma, he’s really young, but I can say he’s more mature than I am. It’s easy to talk to him about the past and the present. He’s a really good listener and I’ve been learning a lot from him, too. Ahh, ma, he’s so beautiful. And I don’t mean just physically (but you should see him, ma, he’s very good looking), he has this beautiful soul you can’t help but be attracted to. He sees goodness in things.
I’m coming home to you Mom in a few days, and I feel like it’s really time to come home. I don’t know what’ll happen to me in Manila, maybe all of this is just a dream, and going back home is me waking up. I’m feeling uncertain if I grew from this experience, or if I learned anything more that what I already know.
I don’t know how much I’ll take home from all of this, if I get to keep the beautiful connections I made and that scares me. I don’t know, ma. What do I do?
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Beauty in Being Lost

I told a good friend of mine how I’m feeling lost and she said I’ve been lost ever since I left the corporate world. I honestly don’t know if I agree with her or not, but then again, I guess there’s beauty in being lost.
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My three weeks here in the island is almost coming  to an end, a whirlwind of happenings and emotions. So far, I lost a boyfriend, got a tattoo, lost a friend, gotten to realize the people who truly love and care for me, met new people along the way and I lost myself, oh, I also found out I last longer in hard drinks vs beer.
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I’m very much tempted to ditch my flight back to Manila as I’m too scared to fly back. I’ve always complained how much Manila makes me miserable, and I’ll be honest, I’m not having the time of my life here in the island, and I’m feeling lonelier as ever. Yet, the idea of going back to Manila dreads me so much. I’ve thought of escape routes, like Cebu, Davao, and even Palawan, just anywhere except Manila. My family has yet to find out what happened to me and I’m really just tempted to send them a Viber message, just because.
I’m looking for opportunities and so far, the universe has given me an unconfirmed one. And I’m taking this as a sign from the universe that maybe, and just maybe, I need this. Maybe it’s for my sanity. Or something else. Or maybe, just maybe, this is just the beginning of something more beautiful, scarier, and a fulfilled life.

Don’t let your Filipino mother stop you

… from emancipating. From living your life how YOU feel like you should live it. From traveling. Or even having a travel life. Okay, before I begin. Let me just explain first. I am not in anyway encouraging you to be rebellious towards your own mother or anything.

I’ll introduce you to my mother and I’ll explain my living set up so you have an idea how I live and why I’m saying this. People have been telling me how lucky I am that my parents are supportive, and I’m not gonna deny of that fact. I will say how truly blessed I am.

My mother, Elsie, was born in a strict family. Her mother, my grandmother, almost entered a convent, “escaped” (that story was told very vaguely to us), married young and became a housewife. A traditional Filipina housewife, back in the day when their role was to take care of the family and isn’t allowed to meddle in her husband’s business. Elsie, born in 1938 (please do the math), was the eldest of 12 (?) children. My mother would tell me stories as to when she’d be invited in the party, her father would have one of her sisters, ask her to go home after 30 minutes. Elsie grew up in a strict household.

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Elsie moved to Manila and was a working student in college. She had her fair share of suitors, being the beautiful that she was (and still is). My mother met my father when she was 30+. They were in a relationship for 3 months (this version varies, sometimes they’d say 5 months), and married after. She had five children, two of which were miscarriages. And I am the youngest and the only girl.

My mother raised me as if it was in the 1930’s. I wasn’t allowed to go out, my curfew was before the sun sets. As I grew older, my mother and I would fight – mostly she’d get mad at me, I never answer back. When I was 18, I stopped schooling and took a part time job in a call center, I worked in the mornings and I get off work at 1PM. If I am not home by 2 or 3PM, she’d send me an angry message asking where I was. Even at the age of 20, I am not allowed to sleep over elsewhere, I had a curfew of 10PM. If I get home later, I’ll never hear the end of it. I’d still be grounded at the age of 23. I’d push my limits sometimes. She’d allow me to travel, but I have to ask permission two weeks in advance, and a constant reminder to her a week until the day of my travel. She’d always say, “I can’t sleep well knowing that not all my children are home”, and yes, that includes my brother who’s 13 years older than I am and has his own family. I really believe that if my mom CAN keep us all under her roof, she WOULD.

Only a few months ago, she was so pissed off at me for wanting to go out at 8:30 in the evening. Yes, only a few months ago, I’m 26. I talked to my dad about it (crying and complaining) and he told my mom to stand down.

Over the years, I’ve learned that I truly had to gain her trust. She’d be less mad if I text her every hour or so, or if I actually ask permission (sometimes, this doesn’t really work). At some point, I had an opportunity to work far from home, she put some thought in to it, let me took the job, but at the last minute, she told me – using her loving, motherly tone not to take it.

Now, I still have to have a few days notice when I’m leaving Manila. And when I’m away, she’d text me everyday when I’m coming back. I have come in to terms that it’s who she is, and how she expresses her love to me. She’s not out to make my life miserable. She’s just concerned.

At the end of the day, I had to understand where my mom’s coming from. Why she’s always so strict with me. She’s worried, she doesn’t trust this world. She’s concerned for my future and she only wants the best for me and my life. But, I have to make her understand how I want to live my life. And with that, we met halfway. She lets me go out now. She lets me travel a few weeks at time. And every time I come home to her, I would tell her stories and I see how she appreciates them and I feel she’s happy when I’m happy. Any mother would be, any mother would. Your mother only wants your happiness, and when they see it, they’ll trust your decision.

Now, I know you’ll tell me. “You don’t know my mom, she won’t listen to me”, I’ll ask you, have you talked to her and have you listened to her side?

mari_fotor

 

I once was a corporate slave

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Let me talk about something I’ve always been open talking about, my “career choice”.  A brief history, I started working at the age of 18, I initially worked as part time in a (huge) BPO. At that time, I skipped college wanting to earn money and the company wasn’t hiring undergraduates, a year and a half in to it, I worked full time. Stayed for three years before leaving. Took a six month break, moved to a different company, stayed there for eight months – I didn’t like the commute, the “stress” of the work and being drunk everyday wasn’t helping me either. Then I moved to another call center – not a BPO but the job was the same, job security and the pay was great. A year or two in to the company, I felt that it was becoming repetitive and it made me unhappy. It was only on my third year when I actually had the guts to leave.

You read an article, you follow a blogger and you see them living their lives. You get envious. It makes you wonder, how there’s so much more to life than taking in calls and resolving other people’s problems. How what you’re doing shouldn’t define your life. And that the work-life balance they’re claiming at work is all bullshit.

I get questions here and there as to why I left the corporate world and why I left such opportunity to be working in a company that pays well with great benefits. My generic answer would be, cause it made me unhappy. It’s the truth. No amount of money can actually compensate my happiness, plus working at night really took its toll on my health. Some people would raise their eyebrows when they read that. How impractical it is. And how idealistic I can be. Imagine this, if you’re earning xxx amount of money, but you’re always buying medicine for xxx amount cause your body is failing you, does that sound practical?

I am earning much less, I have a part time job and a few on the side (which is seasonal), but for the past 8 months, I’ve only had a few fever and colds, nothing that seawater can cure. I feel better. My wellness, my body, my mind, all feel well. I may have moments of sadness – only because Manila makes me so sad, but I get a good night sleep – and actually sleep at night. I can schedule beach trips at any time without having to worry about filing for leaves and having them approved. I can stay in the province for days or even weeks at a time.

People would ask, when are you applying again to xxx (previous company). Or where do I plan to apply next. My answer for now is not anytime or any company soon. I don’t intend to work at a huge corporation anymore. I work for a startup company now. I work directly under the CEO. And it makes me feel important. Working for a smaller company made me feel valued. I am not someone indispensable (at least that’s how I feel). My tasks and my projects are my own. My opinions and inputs are taken with so much consideration. There’s this sense of responsibility and accountability working for a smaller company. (Okay, enough gushing – my boss may read this. LOL)

We all have decisions to make, we all have responsibilities, we all have mouths to feed or others that rely on us. We’re all fighting a different battle. I am not in the position to dictate you to leave your job. I am not encouraging you to do it. But I am gonna say, leave something that makes you unhappy. If you can’t do it yet, then wait it out. You know when the time is right. You’ll know. You’ll feel it. Don’t do it cause others did. If you’re the kind of person who has to have a plan, then have one. Set a timeline, have a goal. Cause everything will fall in its proper place at the right time.

mari_fotor

When insecurity hits you, it hits you hard.

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When insecurity hits you, it hits you hard. Sometimes I wonder why do I even write. Then I remind myself how again I’m blogging for all the wrong reasons when my mindset is like that. In five or ten years, I’d like to look back on where I am right now to see how far I’ve gone. But if I keep thinking, why do I even bother writing, I’ll never be famous, I’ll never get something out of this.

When insecurity hits you, it hits you hard. How you’re not financially stable. How you need to land another job that could sustain you. How your six or seven years worth of experience do not mean shit cause you’re moving to another industry. How you’re already in your late twenties yet you don’t have your shit together.

When insecurity hits you, it hits you hard. Everyone’s settling down, and here you are, just starting to figure out what you really want. Everyone’s getting married and starting a family, and here you are, still yet to know what your short term goals are.

When insecurity hits you, let it. Learn something from it. Know yourself more. When insecurity hits you, don’t let it eat you.

mari_fotor