by the blood of the gods!

For a few weeks, I have occasionally witnessed my boyfriend’s journey through the game Hades. It was interesting to see how this game reimagined Greek gods and goddesses and how they were integrated to a game. While I crocheted, working on a scarf I was making for my mom, I would blurt out random useless Greek mythology trivia at him. Trivia that I started learning as early as second grade because I learned of the origins of my own name.

Coupled with a bias towards Disney’s Hercules, my obsession with mythology began. After exhausting the well-known Greek myths, I tried learning about the Roman myths. After all, Aurora was my Greek goddess’ Roman equivalent, and Aurora was also the name of Disney’ Sleeping Beauty. Useless info for someone who isn’t me, sure, but 8-year-old me thought that connection was cool as hell.

But I got bored of the Roman stories and gods. The Greek gods were like Marvel and the Romans were DC. *shrug*

Anyway, back to the show. Hades (the game) put me on a Greek myth mood and Netflix released Blood of Zeus just in time. (spoilers ahead, btw)

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the (side) hustle

There have been a few people I’ve met who promote having a side hustle while also having a 9-5. Whether that side hustle is some MLM or a legitimate hustle where they sell something they’ve made, doesn’t make it any less of a hustle.

A real good baker I know makes beautiful sweets and cakes on the side for birthdays and weddings. She makes fancy fondant cakes for money every now and then. An old coworker has some sports fashion line going. They charge a reasonable price for their products. Those who are in “direct sales” though… well, they’re a whole other thing. Respect for the people doing the hustle, but it sucks that they prey on vulnerable people (and sometimes even desperate people who are struggling) to make profits. Whatever. MLMs, look them up. There are a list of all of them somewhere on the internet if you’re curious.

But – my question is – why supplement your income with a side hustle? Why can’t we just get paid a liveable wage. For four years, I was serving burgers and fries in the McMillions. Then I was getting paid below-minimum server wage, depending on tips that range between 0% to 25% depending on the guest. I left the food service life after getting my first office job, which I was super thankful for because it was a permanent job with employer-paid benefits and vacation. Yeah, I was able get my dental expenses covered and I was able to finally remove my problematic wisdom teeth for an affordable fee, but soon after, I realized that it still wasn’t enough to survive on.

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shame on you, smart person!

There’s been something weighing on me for the past few weeks since I spoke with an old friend. It’s something I couldn’t pinpoint right away and I didn’t even know it had a name until she said it.

Smart shaming.

It has always bugged me as a part of the culture I came from. I grew up with examples of it around me. As children, we were taught the importance of intelligence. That’s how you’ll get in the best schools. That’s how you’ll get in the best programs. That’s how you’ll get a scholarship. You’ve got to study and work hard – that’s how you’ll get ahead.

There’s a list of schools… almost like the Ivy League in the Philippines. There’s the top three or four universities, and there is a prestige if you get in.

But the moment you mention you’re a part of any of these top universities, you get some side-eye. “Galing mo naman, iskolar ng bayan.” “Ikaw na, taga-UP.” “Aba, ang talino mo naman.” These statements are literal compliments, but it is 99% always said in the same sarcastic tone I’ve heard.

We’ve been told to strive for great things, but once we hit the standard, once we “make it”, we’re shamed for getting there.

It’s not only restricted to education though. I’ve seen and heard people being mocked for beautiful artwork. “Naks, ikaw na ang painter!” In speaking a foreign language. “Nosebleed ka naman, pa-English-English ka pa.” Hell, even being mocked for their looks. “Siya na ang maganda!”

So we put our heads down. So we don’t tell anyone unless asked, and if we are, we say it in the softest voice possible so that no one thinks we’re bragging. Why isn’t it normal to celebrate our wins without someone else feeling offended?

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hooked on a new hobby.

After a couple of months into the whole self-isolation / quarantine / social distancing reality, I decided to try and pick up a new hobby that could potentially benefit more than myself. Out of almost an impulse – perhaps a quick Google search one evening – I’ve decided crochet will be the new thing.

I bought a couple balls of cheap yarn and a set of hooks from Michaels, and tried to follow some videos. Practiced for a few hours a night to get my tension and my movement right, learned a few basic stitches, and made it a goal to create some small things for the home to save on some money.

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WFH and cabin fever.

It has been almost nine months since I last attempted to make something on this site. Three seasons have gone. A lot has happened, but also feels like nothing has happened.

The obvious changes because of the pandemic has been ever present in my life. Since March, I have been working within the four walls of my home. I’ve been into the office maybe two or three times in the past six months just to pick up stuff that I needed for working in my little home workspace.

Going back, I felt nostalgic of a life that felt long ago. The building was quiet and almost empty apart from security quietly patrolling the lobby. There were signs of wearing masks and keeping away from others at a safe distance. I didn’t have to wait for an elevator. My office was empty.

When we were told we’re moving to WFH, we were told to bring home items we need from the office. Some desks were missing one monitor, others had both gone. Few keyboards, someone also took their mouse home. It was like the office was robbed.

Last March, I was thinking I’d only work from home for a few weeks, maybe a month tops. I left some things I know I will need when I get back – like my favourite mug. Coffee just hits different when it’s in my work mug.

After two months of WFH, I began to realize that all the craze about WFH before 2020 was not all we thought it was. Yes, I only have to wear “work clothes” that are visible on camera and I have been rotating through my sweatpants and yoga pants. Yes, I haven’t spent money on lunches since I eat leftovers for lunch and it’s conveniently a few steps away from my desk. Although I get an extra hour of sleep and still make it to work on time, there’s one big thing I forgot to take into account:

The stress followed me home and it hasn’t left since.

The days of leaving work and decompressing on the trip home were gone. Or even de-stressing over a drink with a coworker after a rough day isn’t really the same. Same thing with hitting the gym after a hard day’s work. Gone.

I couldn’t really do any of those anymore. I just quietly turn my laptop off when work is “done”. Sometimes it’s at 5, sometimes at 5:30, sometimes 6:30. Then I would need an extra hour or so to just get out of that “work mindset” or rub off that “busy with work” feeling.

Some days, this is how I feel:

Continue reading “WFH and cabin fever.”

#32

One day, you’ll get that message you’ve been waiting for. One day you’ll see your phone light up with their name, followed by the words “I’m sorry”. One day you’ll get that phone call and you’ll hear their voice on the other end of the line. One day you’ll open your door, and see them waiting outside for you.

And one day, none of these things would matter. You’ll get that declaration of love, that apology, that gesture you’ve been hoping and praying for… and none of it would move you like you once thought it would.

Perhaps this is what happens when you’ve waited long enough – too long – for someone to finally show up.

#55

I remember standing at the edge of that cliff with you, my fingers interlaced with yours. With the breeze blowing against us and messing up your hair, I giggled as you struggled to fix it, until you gave up. You looked at me with those eyes, blue as the clear sky above and deep as the ocean below us, smiling at me silly. You kissed my forehead, then I moved to rest my head on your chest for a moment. I could hear your heart racing as fast as mine.

‘I love you,’ you told me, and that was more than enough. As terrified we both were of heights, and as horrified we were of making the jump… it felt a lot less daunting with you by my side. We were going to jump together, at the count of three.

One.

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Keeping track with bullets

Toward my last year of uni, I kept track of all my work with a proper planner. For some reason, it was better to have it written down than just in my phone’s calendar. Even if it was essentially the same thing, something about actually writing it down and being able to open up to a page and see everything that needed to be done was easier.

It also made me feel a lot more productive. When I had to write daily goals that helped me build 8-, 10- or 12-page essays, it kept my procrastination to a minimum. It also allowed some room for slacking. I didn’t feel guilty about watching a couple episodes of Jane the Virgin since I finished a 7-page draft

I don’t have any big deadlines anymore, but I still wanted to have a planner in my life. But what should I even keep track of?

Then I saw someone’s story with the caption: “bullet journals are life”. So I asked Google what in the world is a bullet journal, and I sat here mildly dumbfounded that I didn’t know about this before. This could have been more useful in my last semester instead of the multiple mini-weekly planners I had that was a mess.

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Too many Aurelios and Jose Arcadios

This novel has been in my book(graveyard)shelf for at least three years. It was a month when I felt I needed to start building my future library with a mix of classics and other books that interest me. The only other text I’ve read by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” back in my undergrad days, and I’m sure the whole thing went over my head.

I’ve attempted reading One Hundred Years of Solitude two times in the last couple years, but I couldn’t get past the confusion that is the identical names of the father and the eldest son.

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May I clock out for a bit?

After the ball drops and glasses stop clinking, when the hangover fades and the wave of the new year inspires for better goals, the dread of another birthday looms over me like a dark cloud in a shape of a clock quietly ticking as it creeps closer.

“Oh my God, I’ll be 28 this year!” I texted my sister one morning in January, as if it’s news to both of us. Of course I’d be 28, that’s how math works. That’s how age works. Even Benjamin Button had to be subject to it, although his body did math backwards.

Growing up, I’ve been led to believe that 30 is (one of) the big number(s). Older women would make jokes about “not being in the calendar anymore” when they hit 32 – since a month has 31 days at the most. It’s when things start to go downhill…

Most of my friends talked about goals. I want to have this when I’m 25. Be that when I’m 27. Then finish all of these when I’m 30. Travel. Weddings. Kids. Businesses. Degrees. Licenses. The goals are different but the timeline is always the same, and most lists end at 30. Or 35 at the most.

I’m no different. I have a “travel bucket list before 30” listed above my desk. I keep a running list of “things to do before 30” in my private journal. I think of the goals I want to reach by the time I hit 30.

That’s in two years.

Continue reading “May I clock out for a bit?”