Category Archives: iRead

Once and Always

My friend gave me back one of the books I loaned her probably about a year ago – something that personally, I haven’t even read. So I’m taking the time to finally start reading it now.

There are books that have successfully changed my life – this still remains true after all these years… after I first wrote it here. There is one book in particular, that found me at a time when I had truly lost all sense of self… So much that I turned myself into a completely different person, all to ensure that the one who was supposedly so in love with me wouldn’t leave.

But he tried to, anyway. Every single year of the four that we were together. Until one day, he tried to leave… and I let him. And when he tried coming back, I realized I would survive without him… and so I refused to let him back in. I realized that losing him was a lesser evil than losing sight of who I was.

But, admittedly, that left me broken. I had given so much of myself and he had taken so much of me that  I couldn’t wrap my head around how I was supposed to piece everything together. Looking back at it now, I still haven’t quite mapped out the journey that I took… just that it was a path that I had to walk on my own.

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I am not ashamed of having been broken. It made me strong and independent, but it also made me afraid and untrusting. And I think the path of broken-ness is still something that I walk – and something that I have been walking on for more than a decade now. And today, I’ve decided that it is okay. That I’m alright with still being on that road… and I am alright with still not having been able to completely put myself together.

Perhaps it will take another decade… maybe it will take longer than that, but the act of picking up the pieces of my life is something that cannot be rushed. And I refuse to pretend that I have everything fixed and everything planned when, in truth, sometimes I find myself living one day at a time.

But I am living… not just surviving. And I’ll take the joy with the sorrow, the peace with the pain. I refuse to exist in limbo and so I will ask the difficult questions and I’ll take the answers that come my way. I will not settle. I will not be an option – not when I deserve to be a choice that someone makes everyday.

I deserve to be a choice that I make for myself every single day.

It was Joe E. Lewis who said “You only live once – but if you work it right, once is enough.” I will make sure that once is enough.

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Mine

Silence has always been a friend. But never more so than when I’ve stepped into a world only a woven tale could create.

* * *

“He had come for her. She held her gaze as she grabbed her own dagger and cut her palm, right over the scar she had given herself at Nehemia’s grave. And though she knew he could read the words on her face, she said, “To whatever end?”

 

He nodded, and she joined hands with him, blood to blood and soul to soul, his other arm coming up to grip her tightly. Their hands clasped between them, he whispered into her ear, “I claim you, too, Aelin Galathynius.”

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Strong Enough

Saw this article and although it ends in a weird, rather abrupt way, it does have a grain of truth to it.

I don’t love you because I need you. I don’t need you because I love you.

I need you. Period.

I love you. Period.

Those are two completely independent statements for me. They just happen to both be true.

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2015: Top 5

I recently took an online assessment which eventually told me what my top 5 strengths were. Upon reading the results, I came to the conclusion that I was unbearably honest while responding to the 177 questions.

Here were my Top 5:

1. Deliberative

Shared Theme Description:
People who are especially talented in the Deliberative theme are best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate the obstacles.

What Makes Me Stand Out?
Instinctively, you sometimes take time to reflect on what people say, reaching conclusions only after thoughtfully weighing the information, rather than reacting to the moment. Your practicality might have a sobering effect on certain types of discussions. Now and then, you intensify your own or other people’s capacity to consider “the bigger picture.” Because of your strengths, you select your friends with great care. You are comfortable nurturing up-close and personal relationships with these chosen individuals. The quality of your relationships is much more important to you than the number of people who say you are their friend. Driven by your talents, you might approach some days with a matter-of- fact or practical attitude. Sometimes you expect to do your work flawlessly. You may strive to reach the high standards you establish for yourself. Perhaps these are a bit more stringent or detailed than those set for you by others. By nature, you offer verbal feedback and positive reinforcement that is equal in measure to people’s accomplishments. Even though you praise sparingly, your words echo in the minds and hearts of recipients. When you compliment individuals, they have no doubt they are truly worthy of recognition. Chances are good that you choose not to reveal to others too much about yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings. You exercise great care and weigh all possible risks when you interact with people. You prefer to give sincere and well-deserved compliments. You are likely to refrain from acknowledging the talents, contributions, and accomplishments of individuals and groups until you have clear evidence they merit special acclaim.

My Own Conclusions (Did you really think I wasn’t going to put this in?):
Yes, I am not given to whims of fancy. It’s very unlikely that I will start screaming my head off in times of crises. I will very seldom have emotional outbursts (but when I do, expect a barrage of text messages or a phone call describing the incident complete with details). It’s not that I have no emotions – I just have them buried deep, deep, deep, deep down inside.

It’s true that I refuse to affirm for the sake of affirming. I don’t give recognition often, but when I do, I mean it. So if you’re just looking for affirmation, I am so not the person to go to. Unless you want to be bitterly disappointed.

My personal bubble is extremely big. I’m choosy – I don’t have a lot of friends, but the ones I have are the ones I intent to keep for life (until they wrong me, at which point I will hunt them down). I have requirements for friendships. Seriously.

I am intensely private and slightly obsessive-compulsive. You are not allowed to touch my things just because we’re friends. My friends are divided into “levels”. Just because we’ve known each other for a lifetime doesn’t mean you’re in my inner circle. So, following this line of logic, going out of town with me for four days… You know how this statement ends.

2. Competition

Shared Theme Description:
People who are especially talented in the Competition theme measure their progress against the performance of others. They strive to win first place and revel in contests.

What Makes Me Stand Out?
Because of your strengths, you are eager to broaden your knowledge and expand your skills when comparisons are made between you and your opponents. Sometimes your rivalries are public. Sometimes they are known only to you. Either way, you are determined to be victorious by capturing the top prize, finishing in first place, or being declared the very best. Driven by your talents, you consistently aim to turn in the prize-winning performance. A second- or third-place finish can send you into an emotional tailspin. Your ability to pull out of it depends on your other talents. Instinctively, you refuse to be content with your performance until you have been declared the most capable, successful, or accomplished person in the group. Just knowing you are being compared to others gives you the extra energy and determination you need to surpass everyone else’s performance. Chances are good that you are enthused about being declared the very best. The experience of winning likely means much more to you than any monetary reward. It’s very likely that you act like a rival when you are pitted against others and only one person can be declared the very best at something. Your deep-seated desire to finish in first place probably drives many of your choices and explains much of your behavior.

My Own Conclusions:
I am literally the most competitive person I know (well, except Lady J). I cannot stand being second best. I have to be the best. I guess that’s why I do the things I do. I revel in bragging rights – the money is nice but it’s really not the end all, be all for me. The thing about me, however, is that whenever I don’t come out on top, I immediately think it’s my fault. I’m not the type to blame it on… others. We also know where this is going.

3. Achiever

Shared Theme Description:
People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

What Makes Me Stand Out?
It’s very likely that you ordinarily take time and exert extra effort to comprehend what you are reading. You probably refuse to rush through written material. Why? You likely intend to commit to memory as many facts and concepts as possible. Instinctively, you tend to be a very good adviser to many individuals. When offering suggestions or asking questions, you probably are much more engaged, intense, and involved than usual. Driven by your talents, you possess the physical and mental endurance to withstand hardships as well as stress. Characteristically you work harder and longer than most people are capable of doing. By nature, you tend to be quite selective about the company you keep. You prefer to spend time with individuals who are trustworthy. You consciously avoid people whose words and deeds indicate they value honesty less than you do. Chances are good that you labor tirelessly when you know your performance and results are being compared to those of other people. You probably find it hard to recall a time when you failed for lack of effort. You are naturally motivated to be the very best — not merely one of the top finishers. Your satisfaction comes from being “number one.”

My Own Conclusions:
This strengths apparently compliments “Competition” very well. I see a trend in my strengths. Seriously.

I do react to stress fairly well. When I say “I work well under pressure”, I’m actually not lying. I think it’s my ability to compartmentalize and “shelf” things that allow me to do this. There are times when the stress does get to me, but that takes a long while (but when it does I end up getting sick. I’m psychosomatic.)

I told you I have requirements for friends. With the trustworthy thing – let’s put it in perspective. My moral compass does not exactly point north, so I can’t be with someone who’s straight as an arrow (because eventually I will have to kill him). However, the people I deal with must be people I can trust – those who I know will not leave me hanging in the air or say something about me behind my back (seriously – if it’s true, say it to my face).

4. Intellection

Shared Theme Description:
People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

What Makes Me Stand Out?
It’s very likely that you are willing to spend time sharing your ideas with intelligent individuals. Of course, you want them to tell you their latest thinking. Conversations that involve a lot of questions and answers stimulate your mind. You know you have spent your time wisely when you have a number of new ideas, theories, or concepts to somehow file away or remember for future use. Because of your strengths, you are a well-read individual. People whom you have befriended turn to you for guidance. Often you help them see a situation or problem from a different perspective because of something you discovered while surveying a book, article, letter, or Internet site. For you, reading is the key that opens the door to a world of fresh ideas. You collect them, never knowing when something you read will benefit someone else. Instinctively, you sometimes enliven or stop conversations with your thought-provoking statements, unusual viewpoints, jarring questions, pointed demands, or candid opinions. Sometimes you deftly play the devil’s advocate — that is, take the opposing view. Once in a while, you force people to think philosophically about the meaning of good, evil, truth, justice, or happiness. Driven by your talents, you are the ideal example of a person with an open and agile mind. Thinking consumes a great portion of your time. You like to exchange ideas with individuals who are as well-read as you are. Your passion for the written word fuels your thought processes and lays the groundwork for sophisticated conversations. When you are alone, you probably reflect upon the thoughts of brilliant writers or the findings of notable researchers. Chances are good that you probably need a place where you can be alone to reflect on your experiences or conversations with people. You often draw conclusions about a person’s knowledge, skills, talents, likes, dislikes, or moods. These insights naturally influence how you interact with that individual in the coming days, weeks, or months.

My Own Conclusions:
I told you I had requirements!!! My people need to be smart. The don’t need to be brilliant, but they do need to be able to carry a decently, intellectually-stimulating conversation whenever they’re five feet away from me.

In senior year, while we were collecting all those things we wanted to show in our yearbooks, I had a friend who wrote “A thinker” on my “What Can You Say About Me?” sheet. That always stuck with me. Maybe I’ve always been like this or maybe he just knew me really well. More than two decades later, I guess things haven’t really changed that much.

I love to read!!! Reading is an escape, a chance to travel without ever having to leave my bed. A chance to become someone else, or live vicariously through a genuinely-written character. It was Nancy Drew that started it all for me in third grade. I haven’t stopped since then.

And, because I’m mean and I have to say this, reading does help me with my vocabulary. I mean, at least I know how to pronounce “siphon”.

5. Significance

Shared Theme Description:
People who are especially talented in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.

What Makes Me Stand Out?
By nature, you can prod people to accomplish more than they thought possible. You purposely make an effort to know each one as an individual. You probably discover and appreciate the qualities that make every human being unique. Driven by your talents, you urge, coax, and even demand that individuals do whatever it takes to reach their goals. When you step forward and exercise your authority, most people let you push and prod them toward excellence. Instinctively, you seek jobs and assignments that allow you to influence people to do whatever needs to be done. You are eager to be in a position of authority. Chances are good that you look for people who share your strong work ethic and your desire for excellence. Apparently, it is easier for you to partner with individuals who are highly productive and industrious. You tend to define your worth and value in terms of what you do, how much you do, and how well you do it. You feel most successful when important people notice your accomplishments. Their opinions probably motivate you to work even harder and longer the next time. It’s very likely that you yearn to get ahead. You strive to acquire many of the status symbols and special privileges that come with rank, title, or position.

My Own Conclusions:
I can’t work with people who don’t have the same work ethic as I do. I seriously cannot take it. I’ve been known to be a slave driver (it’s true), a really, really harsh critic (it’s also true), and a bitch to work with (very, very true) – but this is because my standards are incredibly high. I have difficulty working with people who are less than competent – this speaks more of me, I know. But I am impatient when talking to someone who just cannot get it after a million explanations.

*          *          *

When I went through my Top 5 Strengths, I realized that I have no relational strengths. Seriously. I dislike humans. It’s very seldom that I find an automatic, effortless connection with one (and when I do, it’s usually with a person who dislikes humans as well). It’s not that I don’t want friends, it’s just that I’m not going to go out of my way to collect more than the ones I already have.

So these are my strengths in a nutshell. Pretty accurate, won’t you say?

Dark & Twisty…

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20.13: Career Milestones

I found this interesting article that talks about certain “milestones” that we should have reached by the time we hit the big three-oh. Since I have successfully survived my twenties and am now in a different chapter in my life, I decided to compare this list to what actually happened to me.

And here’s what I came up with…

*          *          *

By the time we say goodbye to our twenties, what should we have experienced in our careers?

1. At least one intern has addressed you as “Mr.” or “Ms.”

TRUE. Not taking into consideration my current profession (wherein you are automatically called “Ms.”), I first experienced this while I was riding an unbelievable packed bus somewhere in Ayala Avenue. There was a man who was kind enough to give up his seat so I could sit down. And then he said, “Ikaw na po dito, Ma’am.” Good God, he called me “Ma’am”. I used to be a “Miss”. That was the day I realized I really was getting old.

2. Seven words: moved from your parents’ house for good.

TRUE. I finally bought my own place (check out my LifeList here) September of the previous year and moved in last April. It’s very empowering to have your own place. And after more than three decades of being shipped around, living with different people to whom you have to adjust, I finally have a sanctuary where I can just be myself. The one most important rule in my house is: If you don’t like the way I live, you can always leave.

3. Handled every schedule imaginable — days, nights, weekends, weekend nights, holidays, holiday nights… you get the idea.

TRUE. I have worked days, nights, and all hours in between. I have worked during Philippine, American and British holidays. Been there, done that. I’m very thankful that my schedule lets me keep a relatively normal life.

4. Written so many cover letters that you could pen an autobiography of failed job applications.

FALSE. I have only ever written one cover letter. In fact, when I was told that I had to write a cover letter to accompany my CV, I had to look it up online so I could get “samples”. Incidentally, that one and only cover letter I’ve ever written landed me the same job I’m still working in right now.

5. Had such a terrible boss that you questioned the very idea of working to earn a living.

TRUE. Her name was Meow and it seemed like she was meant for me. As punishment for every wrong thing I’ve done in my life. Then there was Mother B. Now that was a colorful character, if I do say so myself. And “colorful” is a euphemism for certain words I am unwilling to write here.

6. Realized that your college major — once a pivotal career decision — really didn’t matter all that much.

TRUE. Dude. Seriously. I have a degree in non-clinical Psychology with a minor in Communications. There aren’t ready-made jobs for courses like mine. I do, however, admit that my background comes in really handy.

7. Slaved away in your office on a picture-perfect Sunday because, well, the work’s just gotta get done.

TRUE. It was not in my office. It was in some office in South Superhighway. Or Antipolo. So many Sundays of my life I shall never get again. *sigh*

8. After several years in the professional ranks, your résumé no longer has traces of college clubs and achievements.

N/A. I never put college clubs and achievements on my CV. And the fact that I didn’t have college clubs and achievements is besides the point.

9. Battle tested, you don’t even flinch when the client says, “This isn’t what I wanted. You’ll need to do it again.”

TRUE. I sit in during Management Committee meetings of one of my clients. I dealt with that girl who had ginger for toes. Believe me, I’ve done this.

10. Maintained a 401k and contributed funds to the point that you can actually see it working.

N/A. I don’t understand what this means. :p

11. Defused a stressful office situation by saying, “In my experience, here’s what we should do.”

TRUE. I’m a consultant. This is normal. I’m actually pretty handy in crises since I’m not prone to emotional outbursts (Unless, of course, the crisis happens to be the carpenters making a mess out of my house. Then I’m a bundle of nerves and I get really nasty.)

12. Landed a nice raise and proceeded to buy something you would never get otherwise.

TRUE. The Macbook. The DSLR. The Macbook Pro. The condo. And all these were possible because of a promotion and being kuripot since I was, like, 10.

13. Elected to take an advanced education course (or pick up a new skill) because of the value it added to your career.

TRUE. About the picking up a new skill part. And the newest skills that I’ve developed (after learning how to put on make-up) was selling.

14. After bouncing from job to job, you finally see the value of a stable situation with long-term potential.

FALSE. I’ve never been the type to hop from one job to another. I was with my first company for seven years. I was with my second company for five months (admittedly, that was a bad example).

15. Been there and done that long enough to understand who you are and the type of work that gets you out of bed in the morning. If your twenties were the decade to get knocked around, then may you spend the next ten years cashing in on the education.

TRUE. Although I have been very, very fortunate with the jobs that I landed (stable company, relatively good compensation, extremely few but fantastic friends), one thing that I did learn was that every time you apply for a job, it’s not only them who’s making a choice regarding choosing you. You also have to make a choice to choose them.

Coincidentally, I did choose to join the company from where I learned that. And I’m still here until now 🙂

 

 

Ciao Bella!

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15.13: Tell Me What You Read and I’ll Tell You Who You Are

“Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”

I didn’t say this, Stephen King did. I nearly fell off my chair from laughing when I did because I agreed with him SO MUCH. Don’t get me wrong. I read all four books of twilight, just like I did all seven Harry Potter books. I think the biggest difference for me what that I found so much significance in Harry’s life while I just kept praying for Bella to die.

Die, Bella. DIE!!! Sorry, I’ve been dying to say that for the longest time (yes, pun intended).

 

 

Dark & Twisted…

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10.13: #4 Privet Drive

I remember reading Harry Potter and feeling so bad that he had to go home to his Aunt and Uncle until he reached 17 because it would keep him safe. I, however, felt it was something he had to go through – that it was character-building.

Freakin’ Funny.

Funny how after so many years I find myself in exactly the same predicament.

But it something I have to go through. It’s character-building.

And it sucks. Especially when, every night, you always wish you were somewhere else.

 

 

Dark & Twisted…

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