Oct 28, 2014

Single And Relatively 30

Oct 28, 2014
Photo by Howard Kingsnorth
Ding” pops the Facebook chat box.

Hi Ma’am Best!” Sab narrates. It was from our dear friend, Shey, who’s currently in Dubai.

How’s your love life?” Shey went to ask without so much as a slight prelude.

Next question please!” Sab jokingly replied, feeling rather nonplussed.

At my Ma's birthday dinner, while having a mouth-watering meal that includes grilled tilapia, kimchi fried rice and ensaladang talong, Sab and I found ourselves deep in conversation about our singleness and how we feel like we’ve reached the point where our lack of a relationship was less of a blessing and more of a concern to others, specially to our sweet and dear friends who seemingly look forward to the day a guy would finally sweep us off our freakin’ feet {big shout out to Shey who we crazily love & miss every single darn day!}

For some reasons, 2014 was marked by several conversations like that one. As singles, Sab and I had been constantly asked why we’re single, mostly by someone who isn’t and more often than not, our single status is usually met with shock. Never mind that you’re rocking a non-teaching post this year or that you’re actually co-writing a book because these days, relationship status seems like the quintessential thing that can happen to you once you roll in your 30’s. We may be wrong but we sure as hell get that a lot from other people. These stereotypes, misconceptions and pressures attached to being single and relatively 30 leave us feeling quite frankly, meh. A teenage girl, who thinks of me as someone creative, fierce and eloquent also think I’m missing out on life because I’m single. Imagine that. Surely, someone creative, fierce and eloquent, not to mention funny, could inevitably find someone to settle with, right? Until then, not to sound like a conceited being, I know I am my own best company… for now. I mean, I have four older sisters in their mid 30’s who are all singles for Pete’s sake! There's really no point of panicking. As to why we’re single? Perhaps because we never forwarded those chain messages in 2008, that or, we take marriage seriously, or maybe we're used to being on our own? Ha!

Of course, I am a woman after all and like most women, I pondered about romance and that someone who would make my heart goes giddy up. I also thought about marriage and have fantasies of who would be in my own wedding party and picket-fenced house overlooking narrow brick paved streets. Heck, I already picked out names for my future kids, Peri and Wayne, haha! I'm all for Destiny’s Child’s song ‘Cater 2 U’ and I totally believe there’s nothing anti-feminist about wanting to cater to the person you love. But, you see, I am at the season of my life where I fully embrace being single. It’s neither lonely nor isolated. It’s not a kind of revolutionary concept but a SEASON. At times, a bad bout of PMS would tell me otherwise but of all the crazy things I would never allow myself to do when the ‘feels’ overwhelm me, is to find a boyfriend just because. I strongly believe that I can’t and won’t settle until it’s RIGHT and that, when I get there, it'll be for a life time. I just want to be able to bring home a bearded young man with amazing skills on a Mac computer that will be able to firmly shake my parents hands, look them in the eye and say “Nice to Meet you Mr. and Mrs. Ordillo,” without wetting himself. If that makes me sound I'm picky, well, there you go. 

Just like my dear Mameh used to tell me, 'EVERYTHING IN TIME'.

Jul 21, 2014

In Defense of My Pixie Cut

Jul 21, 2014
Drawing powers from the crimson color I swiped over my pout
After having had hair that ranged from long to super long, I kissed my usual floppy ponytail {that swings behind my head} goodbye in 2010. The one thing that USED to make me feel quite ultimately a girl… my long, straight, might I add, silky, darn hair. This led to four years of various pixie cut inspirations, pliable molding clay/hair styling wax experiments and at one point, tears whilst learning to let go of the cloak of hair that once protect me. These days, it’s just my cheekbones against the world and I’m perfectly okay with it. For someone who has had short hair for a while, I think I’ve heard almost every awkward, sometimes crazy notions/comments there are in regards to this pixie do. Among which:

Silly Notion #5: People mistake you for a boy 
Yup. That one evening I took the jeepney with my co-teachers on the way to the mall. I was wearing a casual denim capris, collared white tee and a pair of sneakers when I saw this woman seated in front of us staring straight at me in utter bewilderment like 'is she or is she not'. Then I started talking to one of my co-teachers to assure her I'm a girl and that, I think, settled everything. I Think. This happened once or twice and couldn't be more grateful for breasts and dresses and hoop earrings and make-up and my source of utter sassiness; RED LIPSTICK.

Silly Notion #4: Pixie cut doesn’t look feminine 
Because we all grew up surrounded by images that equate long hair with femininity but it only takes the right cut and styling to prove this notion wrong. Some days, I’d throw in a short dress/black tights combo and I’m good to go. Most days though, I just wear confidence like an invisible crown and work it like I'm supposed to. I guess I'm in the habit of challenging the idea of traditional femininity every now and then.

Silly Notion #3: ‘But men like long hair
You don’t say? {Insert sarcasm here}. Because, I don’t know, anything that I do with my looks should always please men? HECK. NO. If long hair is what you’re into, move along, dude. Move. Along.

Silly Notion #2: Chopping off your hair as an expression of a significant life change
Overtime, I grew tired of telling people it wasn’t so. When people say this to me, I just smile at them politely because I lack the energy to explain myself. But for the record, I chopped off my hair because I just wanted to. It can’t get any simpler than that. No, I didn’t go through a rough break up, nor did I ever want to liberate myself from something and I seriously didn’t go through a life phase of some sort. I cut my hair short because I just wanted to, the same way you want a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and cocoa powder on a rainy morning.

Silly Notion #1: Some assumes you’re a lesbian
Perhaps the silliest of all. There's this unfortunate stereotype about women with short hair and their sexual orientation in our culture today. I honestly didn't know that not having a boyfriend and sporting a pixie cut is all it takes to make the team. Let me tell you this one thing though, just because you’re short hair doesn’t mean you’re attracted to women already. Some are, and well, that’s really their choice but I truly know myself. I admit that there are some people who have the itch to ask me this, in spite of me being a pastor's kid and a devout Christian. So, allow me to clear the air once and for all, I'M STRAIGHT. I’m very much attracted to men... with scruffy beards in particular, preferably with Napoleon’s brain, who finds time to read a sensible book {but really, any guy who can leave his handprint on my heart is fine by me too}. I’m tragically heterosexual like that even though you think my pixie cut says otherwise.

Jun 30, 2014

For When You Are An Introvert

Jun 30, 2014
Me in real life
You don’t talk much, do you?” asked one of the three girls I’m bunking in with for the night.

I was seventeen, just three months in college and already out on a mandatory study trip in Manila and Cavite respectively, for a class I wasn’t even too keen about.

I flashed an awkward smile. Inside my head, I thought of home and how I yearned to be in a comfortable space to myself or with the heartening presence of either my small circle of close friends or family. Instead, I was in a company of people I barely know, in an environment with an excess of stimulation. A deep sense of frustration in me followed.

She doesn’t talk much” said the girl once more, this time turning to the other 2 in our quad-sharing hotel room.

That, coming from someone who only had been with me in the same room for not less than 3 minutes, I thought it was a rather one-dimensional remark. Without having the impulse to defend myself, I sat on my side of the bed, fiddling with my cell phone {a Siemens A36!}, pre-Facebook/Twitter era.

You know, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for...” she said matter-of-factly.

If we were on some sort of suspense film, I was the most likely person inside the room that might come flying out of left field with a dark sneaky plot, violent even, and get everyone without warning. After all, it’s always the quiet ones, isn’t it?

… we have no slightest clue what’s going on inside that head” the assuming girl continued.

Great, now she thinks I’m some kind of a psycho or something?” I thought to myself, still fiddling with my phone as I held back a chuckle. Inside, I knew that was my cue. So, onto my feet I stood, put my phone inside the patch pocket of my jeans, quite set to give this girl a piece of my mind, when a knock on the door stopped me even before I had the chance to speak. One of the girls rushed to open it and outside, my friend, Mina stood, all bright and breezy.

NATHANIE!” she called excitedly.

I already talked to Mrs. Yanga. You’re bunking in with me!” delight was in her voice.

In that moment, relief washed over me. In haste, I gathered all my things, went with Mina and didn’t look back.

I always knew right from the beginning that I’m an introvert, what I didn’t know was, there’s nothing wrong with being one. I used to tell my teenage self that maybe if I look people in the eye, then maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t think I’m an anti-social or snobby. I mean, I can’t expect people to reach out to me if I won’t reach out to them, right? But, what if interaction, for the sake of interaction, is a lot less appealing for me and that genuine connection matters than mere social pleasantries? This made college a very challenging undertaking for me. I felt like I was being forced out of the turtle shell of my mind in to an extrovert-infested pool of a new social scene and being frowned upon when I can’t seem to keep up with all those ‘ice breaker games’ and ‘getting to know you’ activities.

Fast-forward to present and I still get those kinds of notions from other people, to be labeled as someone who isn’t nice or isn’t friendly is just that easy. It takes a little while for me to befriend someone but it doesn’t mean I’m socially inept or that I hate people. I do like people and I like socializing but in different ways extroverts do and when I come to a point where I’ve stretch my social stamina, I look forward to restoring my energy by basking in solitude: at home, on my bed with either a book on my hand or my trusty MacBook on my lap, reading blogs and articles that appeal to me. On the surface, I may appear reserved and seemingly indifferent with those around me, but that’s just my natural instinct telling me to focus, listen and process things internally, making mental notes as to what stirs people’s mind. In my soul, I can be fun to be around too, easily amused and a bit crazy as anybody else. I think it's silly for someone to tell me to overcome introversion. Like, how do you even do that? All I could ever do is to be as transparent as I can be about my introversion, in hope that some people could be more understanding towards my, as I was told, seemingly peculiar traits and at the same time, connect with my fellow introverts {and pursue world domination! Kidding!}. Over the course of time, I managed to cope in situations that entail extroverted behavior while still remaining true to myself. I'm confident in my introvertness and I feel fine for being one.

May 27, 2014

Obligatory Blog Birthday Post

May 27, 2014
Aniemazing turns 2!
Today, my little niche on the world wide web is another year older. Two years. Two darn years of writing what I like and liking what I wrote {so far} under appropriate Internet guidelines I personally intend to go by as I would in real life. Writing these nonsensical musings, of course, makes me feel self-conscious in all honesty but its therapeutic effects outweighs that and in that moment while I write, I feel at peace. Blogging/journaling is an outlet and it works for me, if that is not therapeutic for you, I don't know what is.

May 1, 2014

That Other Thing I Do

May 1, 2014

Easter Sunday at KA, April 2014
"Miss Anie!" a voice from a vacant lot with thickly overgrown weeds and bushes across the street echoed.

Immediately, I stopped on my tracks, somewhat puzzled. I turned around and glanced at the area and saw 9-year old John Paul in his over worn half-white sando and tattered denim shorts hanging upside down from a tree branch, beaming with glee as he gave me an enthusiastic two-hand wave from across the street.

John Paul” I bellowed and motioned him to climb down, scared stiff he might fall.

Easily, he climbed down the tree in a wink and ran towards me, initiating an animated, dance-like greeting as he took my fingers in his hand and raised them to his forehead {mano po gesture}.

Bless you”, I said smiling and sent him on his way.

This has always been the case whenever my Sunday school teachers and I stroll the streets of our little community. Kids who regularly attend our children’s church service every week would come up to us and say hi in crazily heart-warming ways whenever we randomly see them around Plaridel II or Amsic areas, something I just can’t get behind every single time.

It’s been a year since I took the leadership at King’s Ambassadors, the kids’ ministry of the church where I currently attend. Here, we encourage kids to build up a close and intimate relationship with Jesus that will keep them confident as they grow up and be an Ambassador of Christ through words and actions. One solid year of learning, trusting, discipline and a life wholly changed in so many different levels. Truth be told, I still cringe at the idea of leading the kidmin. I didn’t set out for this but once you see a pressing need, you simply cannot walk away from it without doing anything. What with this out-of-this-world burden and love for the KA kids, it was clear that God was calling me. I was challenge to dive right in and with a rolled up sleeve, I did and never regret doing so. In spite of being the classic INTP, who’s not exactly fond of responsibilities and dreads the social demands of leadership, I can sincerely say that right here and doing this feels so much like I’m in my total element. When I contemplate on my past experiences, self-doubts that never seem to disappear and how I ultimately landed this position, I know it was God who ordered my steps and in my heart of hearts I’m certain… kids ministry here in Humphrey Center is where it’s at.

At present, we minister to nearly a hundred kids in our weekly service, having only 8 volunteers on my team and with very limited resources. It’s almost crazy how we manage to keep afloat but God has been faithful and it is His grace that sustains us. With this confidence He put in our hearts, we see brighter days ahead and greater things are about to unfold before our very eyes because God is truly, extremely, awesomely good. I mean like, seriously good.

Apr 22, 2014

On the Verge of 30

Apr 22, 2014

Mr. Park's Cake from Miss Sab
I turned 29 last Easter. In the world of Mathematics, 29 might as well be 30, if that is the case, why not? I honestly don’t see the need to run for the nearest closet to hide away in darkness and pretend this isn’t happening, so, ya, I’m really down with getting older. Sure, it feels a little strange to say “Hello, my name is Anie and I’m 29 years old” out loud only to realize that you are about to complete 1/3 of your life but life gets better with age they say, so, what the heck! Essentially, I feel better now than I did years ago. My early 20’s is made up of mistakes, heartaches, bliss, ups, as well as downs, a prime time of self-awareness and growth from experiences that served as stepping stones leading me to where I needed to be at this age. I look back at those years, half delighted, half mortified yet wholly content of who I have become and more importantly, of who I am becoming. Statistical nightmares aside {that include a biological clock that starts ticking like an earthquake and ovaries that seems to wilt away}, I can truly say that I’ve cheerfully rolled into this number with ease and a self-secured confidence. As I reflect on my time as a twenty-something, allow me to share 10 things I know to be true:

    1. Planning for the future is a must {set it in stone, if you please, written in the blood of little rams if you're into that} but understand that life isn’t as simple as making a plan and making it happened magically. As much as I want everything to go my way, I’m confronted with the reality that {some} things will not always be as how I picture it to be and that’s fine. Learning to adjust your expectations will spare you from further drama and frustrations.
    2. Regret is futile. It is best to learn from them and move on.
    3. Investing more time in developing new interests and understanding my personality have helped me know who I REALLY am and in turn made me aware of what I TRULY want in life: Purpose. Passion. Love.
    4. My late 20’s isn’t just about slow metabolism, it’s also about maturity, preferring wisdom over looks, sensibility over vanity and being responsible over being overly care-free, living off outdated habits and self-limiting beliefs to finally face adulthood head on.
    5. Growing older means you find yourself grounded in who you are and what you can accomplish. Making decisions based on my own ideals and not the need for outside validation is sort of liberating, pleasant even.
    6. Doing things that are scary is essential for growth. At some point, I have to take a huge leap of faith towards new beginnings, take risks and step beyond the horizon of my comfort zone. It took a lot of nerves and renewed mindsets to finally be able to say I’M {gulps} READY.
    7. Maintaining a teachable attitude is important. What better way to expand your talents to its full potential than to keep expecting and striving to learn, unlearn and re-learn. I’d like to think I have a good head on my shoulders but I still haven’t figured everything out and so, the learning goes!
    8. Never forget the importance of humility. John Maxwell said it best, “Humility allows us to regain perspective and see the big picture… Humility allows us to let go of perfection and keep trying.
    9. Despite of my commitment to what others see as a patriarchal religion, I still consider myself a feminist, not because I hate wearing bra but mainly because I believe in the total equality, dignity and value of women. I believe Jesus and his teachings are pro-women too, so yes, I’m a feminist and feminists can be Christian too.
    10. As I recall every single things that have happened, the good, the worst, it makes me more excited to see what the future holds because one thing I’m positively sure, the best is yet to come.
The ride has been exhilarating, daunting at some point but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me lovely name day messages. I feel so fortunate to spent a wonderful time with wonderful people. I just hope you know how much I appreciate all of you beyond words! Thank you, thank you, thank you! xo

P.S. I’d like to sunbathe in Bermuda someday :)
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