Continue Doing Things Even If You Aren’t Good At It

three–rings on Tumblr shared about her conversation with archeologists when she was 15 years old. They asked her “getting to know you” questions. She answered, “No, I don’t play any sports. I do theater, I’m in choir, I play the violin and piano, I used to take art classes.” Amazed by the range of her experiences, the archeologists said, “Wow!” But she said, “Oh no, but I’m not any good at any of them.

One of the archeologists replied, “I don’t think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you’ve got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that all teaches you things and makes you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them.

three–rings then wrote, “And that honestly changed my life. Because I went from a failure, someone who hadn’t been talented enough at anything to excel, to someone who did things because I enjoyed them. I had been raised in such an achievement-oriented environment, so inundated with the myth of Talent, that I though it was only worth doing things if you could “Win” at them.

“What is the point of doing it today if you will not even pursue it in the future?” That is something I have been hearing these months. We’ve become so future-centered that we forget to live today. It’s like we are so sure of what would happen in the future but the fact is, we don’t know.

It’s not about doing things that will make your resume look appealing in the future but more of doing things to become. Author Kurt Vonnegut wrote about this on a letter addressed to students,

Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives.

…write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody…

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals. You will find that you have been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside of you, and you have made your soul grow.

It’s all about being human, because being human is to do, not for any tangible gains, but to make your soul grow.

What you do and what you love shapes who you are

Goethe said, “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” And that is so true.

On the book, On Looking, author Alexandra Horowitz, walked around with experts. Throughout the book, readers discover that things that interest you are the ones that you notice the most. I am interested in design and architecture so, my eyes always goes to how houses, public spaces, and roads are designed, but maybe to you, you are interested in typography, hence, you look at typefaces when you are on the street.

There are various people who have other interests, mostly somehow, at first look, unrelated to their professions but over the course of their lifetime, their previous experiences from pursuing their interests have led them to make great contributions on their field.

On an article entitled, “You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are.” I wrote about various people and how their interests had influenced them. Here are some:

“Former mayor Edi Rama of Tirana in Albania organized a crew of painters to paint the whole city in an attempt to save the then, “dead city”. Tirana in Albania was once voted as one of the worst cities in Europe but that changed when buildings in the city were painted in vibrant colors that Edi Rama chose himself. Edi Rama was an artist by training. This is maybe why he had the idea of painting the city. Even though there were no police patrolling even before the painting initiative, residents reported that they felt safe out in the streets. People stopped throwing trash on the streets. Business owners took off metal grates from their shop windows. Five years after the initiative, businesses in Tirana tripled. This would not happen if Edi Rama did not apply his art skills in his work.”

Ted Geisel aka Dr. Seuss had spent his entire childhood at Fairfield Street. When he was a kid, he frequented the local library, zoo (where his dad works), and the local park. Parades are also frequent at Fairfield street which he usually anticipated. Dr. Seuss credited his experiences in Fairfield street for everything that he had wrote.”

Simply put, their experiences had shaped who they are. They don’t bother knowing how they will apply this experiences in the future, they just do it because they enjoy them.

Author and artist Austin Kleon wrote about life-long learning and following your interests, “The lives of great thinkers teach us that learning is the verb of life. The trick to lifelong learning is to exercise your curiousity as much as you can and to let it guide you where it wants to go. To pay attention to what you pay attention to. To not worry too much about where things are going to lead. To learn for learning’s sake, not because it’s going to get you something, necessarily, but because you have faith that the things that interest you will help you become who you need to be. Your interest and your desire and your instincts are your compass. They show you the way.

Let people enjoy things

A pastor from our church shared that while he is walking with a friend, his friend suddenly pointed up to the sky and enthusiastically called out a name of a bird. Though he is not interested in birds before, the fact that his friend is so enthusiastic and enjoys seeing birds, he do not want to blow up the visible joy in his friend’s face and soon, they found themselves spending a great deal of time looking for birds and calling out its name. Our pastor shared that he never knew that birdwatching is that fun.

Look around you, and you will find people who have a range of interests that varies from yours. And that’s okay. Support them and further cultivate their interests by showing up and make comments from time to time. Having people who support your craft can largely affect you as it is considered as a small success, “Doubts in one’s creative ability can be cured by guiding people through a series of small successes. And the experience can have a powerful effect on the rest of their lives.” wrote Tom and David Kelley on their book, Creative Confidence.

Doing because you enjoy them

wyattwesleywriting (tumblr username) wrote about her experience on reading as a hobby,

“When I was in fourth grade, I wanted to read Harry Potter. Someone in my class told me I couldn’t because it wasn’t in my level and I wouldn’t understand it. I read Harry Potter just to spite him. I’ve reread it a million times, it’s one of my favourites. I realised after reread and reread that I didn’t understand it in fourth grade.

When I was in sixth grade, I wanted to read the classics. I read the Bell Jar, Red Badge of Courage, Shakespeare, and as many as I could find. I couldn’t tell you what they said. But I looked like I could read at a higher level than I could. I read the same books and plays in high school. They made sense, I enjoyed them, I read them not to prove something but because I wanted to.

When I was in eighth grade, I only read murder mysteries and criminal books. That’s what more advanced readers read. I wanted to prove that I could read as well as someone twice, three times my age. I enjoyed them, but it was because I was proving something.

When I was in college I reread the series of unfortunate events. I loved every single book, every single line. I’d forgotten what it was like to read a book because I wanted to. I read young adult novels more than anything because I like them. I don’t care that they’re below my level, that they’re ‘too’ young for me. I don’t care that people see me reading them.

I realised something. I was taught to read because I needed to. Intelligent people read, that’s how people become smart. Reading isn’t a waste of time like television. I wasn’t taught to love to read. No one is. I found a love of reading by giving up the idea that people gave a shit if I read or not. I enjoy it more than I should. I realised that instead of instilling the idea of doing something because it’s expected or because someone should do something, instill the idea of doing something because you want to. Instill the idea that happiness comes from what we choose, not what others have chosen for us.

I realised that when I’m happiest, when I have the most joy, it’s when I do something for me. It’s when there are no expectations, no drive to prove someone wrong. I realised that my happiest when all inhibitions and perceptions are gone. Maybe that’s how we should enjoy our hobbies.

I quoted her whole post because every single thing is spot-on. There is nothing wrong if you read because you want to be smart or do things to become ‘something’ but that leads you to not do the OTHER things that brings you joy because you perceive that they do not give you anything. But like I wrote, what you do contributes to make your soul grow. Hence, doing the things you enjoy is important, not for the sake of achievement and praise, but for you.

And most importantly, you haven’t rejected yourself. The fact that you continue to do things that you enjoy means you did not constrained yourself inside the castle of excuses, but instead you chose to venture and immerse yourself outside the treacherous land of uncertainty and unpredictability. What we choose to do, we become. The act of doing things, regardless whether we perceive ourselves as good at it or not, have already contributed to what we can become.

Yellow-Orange Lining

A literal yellow-orange lining. Photo is from me ofc

Pain is neither unbearable nor unending, as long as you keep in mind its limits and don’t magnify them in your imagination.” – Marcus Aurelius

Today, I am in pain for a mistake. While I recognize that my mistake is not something that will kill me but rather it is more of an embarrassment, I found my palms cold because of nervousness.

I found myself overthinking and panicking as soon as I learned of my mistake. I became aware of it quickly and retreated into a quiet room in our home. There, I stayed for an hour and listened to music. At the same time, I opened the window and watched the sky. That is when I saw the yellow-orange lining.

I found some clarity. First, looking at the sky reminded me that I am just a small speck of dust here on Earth. It made smile because it means that I should not dwell so much on embarrassments and failures- on unnecessary things. I should focus more on what I can learn, what more can I do, and doing things I enjoy.

Second, embarrasment and pain means that I am doing something new. It means that I am doing something out of my comfort zone and that thought alone gave me joy. I am walking towards growth.

Lastly, at the end of the day, you decided whether that single moment will determine your whole day or not. Then, I remember that earlier in the morning, I completed a short story about war on drugs– something that is bugging my mind for days now. I finally wrote it and accomplished it after focusing on it for almost 4 hours! My embarrassment dissipated and instead, the joy of having created something filled me up. The embarrassment I felt seemed so small. Because I did the work. I did something that I love.

In your everyday, I hope you find your yellow-orange lining too. Your feelings are valid and you are allowed to feel it. However, be careful and make sure the pain do not blew out of proportion.

Written: Oct 2

Posted: Oct 5

Check Your Privilege

I read a post from a man named Asim Qureshi, CEO of Jibble (an employee time clock app):

“Several years ago, I encourage a friend to take more risks in his career. He responded, “I’m supporting my parents, sibling, my wife and kids. I mess up, we’re out in the street.” I didn’t encourage him again. Now, over the years, many have told me that they really respect as I gave up a fantastic career to pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. The reality is that it was nothing more than privilege at playunlike many, including my friend, I had the luxury of being able to fail. I also had a wife that encourage me to go for it. Risks aren’t as risky for those that can afford to take them—heroism is often nothing more than the omission of details.”

I would like to add a comment from a man named John David Co on Facebook:

This is just like all those posts saying that the rich work smart while the poor work hard. Most people who cannot take chances and experiment with something new. They are too busy making ends meet to devote time or effort to anything else. For example, who is saying that, for example, Jeff Bezos used to be broke, he wasn’t really broke. He got his parents to invest $250,000 in Amazon when it was starting out. That’s a heck of a safety net, so I’m pretty sure he wasn’t really scared of failing. Those who are blessed or privileged need to stop making it seem like it is other’s people’s choice of fault that they are poor. For some that might be true. But for the vast majority, it is just fortunate that the deck is stacked against them from the very start.”

Honestly, I just strongly agree with everything that they say. My mom is an agent of a popular life investment company. And I just cringe whenever they say things such as “it’s the poor’s fault that they are poort (in literal sense) and it our job to change their minds!!” like some hero complex of the rich. They romanticize their current members “rag to riches” story wherein they did not actually start from “rag”. They have the privilege to save a lot of money just by cutting down to buying their wants and that’s how they got to investing. But a lot of people do not have that kind of privilege. The money that they earn is literally enough for them to make ends meet. Oftentimes, they do not even have the money to buy any of their wants. Hence, they can’t risk putting their money o investing because they literally don’t have any safety net like Jeff Bezos had for Amazon.

Also, there are existing systems that continue to exploit workers. They work hard for eight hours, sometimes dealing with another job, and still, they only make barely enough money to cover the rent, food, and utilities.

I consider myself a privileged one. I would not have the luxury to understand, talk, and be able to write in English if it weren’t for my privilege. I studied in an English-speaking private school in elementary and when I was younger, my dad would buy books for me and my siblings to read. Furthermore, we had the money to install an internet connection in our house and that’s when I had larger resources. I read so much up until now because of that. I moved to a public high school after graduating and that is where I noticed that my classmates cannot easily comprehend instructions written in English (most of our textbooks were in English). Like I previously mentioned, I had the privilege of reading English books when I was younger.

By being aware of my privilege, I became empathetic about their situation and whenever they have problems in understanding, I kindly explain it to them (but honestly, I still have a hard time comprehending a lot of things too so I still need to learn more). My point here is I got a head start because of my privilege. If we understand and became aware that a lot of us are just privileged that is why we got to where we are right now, we would find that the problem is not in the person but in the existing social and political systems that continue to oppress the poor. We would be having more empathetic conversations and continue to improve the world. A reminder that if you do not even think about it then it means you are privileged enough to not even worry about it.

What Kids Can Teach Us

[I am aware that I write about kids like most of the time but, honestly, there is just so much to read and learn from them (or who we once were) that we should not forget as adults as we grow older.]

Austin Kleon (author of Steal Like An Artist) brings his kid to a museum because, ” [kids] will make you rethink what’s interesting and what’s art. (After all, what are cars but fast, colorful, kinetic sculptures?) This, of course, should be the point of museums: to make us look closer at our everyday life as a source of art and wonder.” Also, if you don’t have a kid, he advises you to borrow one. “Borrow a kid. Spend some time trying to see through their eyes. You will discover new things.

Corita Kent and Jan Steward wrote in the book, Learning By Heart, “For so many years we have been learning to judge and dismiss — I know what that thing is — I’ve seen it a hundred times — and we’ve lost the complex realities, laws, and details that surround us. Try looking the way the child looks—as if always for the first time—and you will, I promise, feel wider awake.”

John Baldessari noted, “I learned so much about art from watching a kid draw. I taught at the grade-school level. Kids don’t call it art when they’re throwing things around, drawing—they’re just doing stuff.”

I interviewed a schoolmate about her art teaching experience and she mentioned that the best students she had are kids. Because, she noticed, kids do not complain. They just simply do the work.

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about the musician Tom Waits in her book, Big Magic, “Waits had once been the opposite of that as a creator. He told me that he’d struggled deeply with his creativity in his youth because—like many serious young men—he wanted to be regarded as important, meaningful, heavy. He wanted his work to be better than other people’s work. He wanted to be complex and intense. There was anguish, there was torment, there was drinking, there were dark nights of the soul…

But through watching his children create so freely, Waits had an epiphany: It wasn’t actually that big a deal. He told me, “I realized that, as a songwriter, the only thing I really do is make jewelry for the inside of other people’s minds.” Music is nothing more than decoration for the imagination. That’s all it is. That realization, Waits said, seemed to open things up for him. Songwriting became less painful after that.”

Earlier in the book, Gilbert wrote, “Over the years, Tom Waits finally found his sense of permission to deal with his creativity more lightly—without so much drama, without so much fear. A lot of this lightness, Waits said, came from watching his children grow up and seeing their total freedom of creative expression. He noticed that his children felt fully entitled to make up songs all the time, and when they were done with them, they would toss them out “like little origami things, or paper airplanes.” Then they would sing the next song that came through the channel. They never seemed to worry that the flow of ideas would dry up. They never stressed about their creativity, and they never competed against themselves; they merely lived within their inspiration, comfortably and unquestioningly.

And my main point here is to relax. I meant this for myself and to anyone struggling and stressing about creating. There is this belief going on that “You have to suffer greatly in order to create something great.” (A lot of people concluded this after observing that a lot of whom we consider great artists suffered a lot while creating their masterpieces.) But like the epiphany of Tom Waits, creating doesn’t have to be so serious and dramatic that you have to compromise your physical, spiritual, and mental health.

When I was around 14, I wanted to write a novel. However, I get stressed a lot that I can’t find the perfect idea, the perfect plot, that it would not be popular anyways, and that I’m not experienced enough. But if I could talk it out to my younger self, I would say, just write. Yes, at first, it would not be easy. But the perfect plot will not come, just write what you can write. (Somehow, I am just grateful that I went through this kind of experience because of that, I am able to grow, learn, and improve myself or better yet, learned to re-connect with the kid inside me.)

Similar to when we were kids, we just draw and we just write. Want to write? We just write. Want to draw? We just draw. And writing or drawing something, we just set it aside and eventually, our parents are gonna throw it. Then, off we go to another thing that we want to write or draw. We just create so easily when we were young and somewhere along the way, we restrict ourselves. I made it hard for myself to just create something by rejecting the idea as soon as it was born and telling myself, “Its not worth it anyway.”

But that is not the point. The point is to create. The point is to do what keeps you alive and not rejecting yourself of an adventure. Just creating for the sake of doing just like when we were a kid. Just like in the book The Little Prince, we must not forget how we were as kids or else we might be very, very odd grownups.

Work is Play

After writing a series of articles for my school publication, I came to the realization that the whole time I was writing those articles, I felt like I was playing. The word ‘play’ came first in my mind to describe how I felt but afterwards, I did not think that work can become play or I just thought its weird. So I just let that thought go.

Eventually, I remembered something from Austin Kleon (author of Steal Like An Artist) about work is play. “Play is the work of the child and it is also the work of the artist. I was once taking a walk in the Mission in San Francisco and stopped to chat with a street painter. When I thanked him for his time and apologized for interrupting his work, he said, “Doesn’t feel like work to me. Feels more like play”” write Austin Kleon in Keep Going. “The great artists are able to retain this sense of playfulness throughout their careers. Art and the artist both suffer most when the artist gets too heavy, too focused on results.”

Why adults need to play

The reason the word ‘play’ came to my mind to describe how I felt is mostly because I know what play feels like (I frequently play board games with my community) and I am interested in the study of play and I read a lot about it. So first, what is play?

Kristin Wong wrote in an article entitled How To Add More Play to Your Grown-Up Life about play, “Play is something that’s imaginative, self-directed, intrinsically motivated and guided by rules that leave room for creativity.”

Wong asked Jeff Harry, according to her, is “a positive play coach who works with organizations to use applied positive psychology, why play is important especially for adults. “Adults spent a lot of time ruminating, whether it’s thinking about the dumb thing you said at a party or worrying just for the sake of worrying.” He continues, “Think about how kids are excited all the time. That is basically what we’re all trying to get back to.” Wong noted that play is great for our overall well-being. “There are number of benefits to play for adults including improved stress management and an improvement in our overall well-being—benefits that we could certainly use right now.”

So what I’m getting here is, isn’t it amazing if work can be play too? And also, the fact that I enjoy writing so much just for the sake of doing it and not for external outcomes made me feel similar to how I feel when I play. Something that will not get me all worked up and stressed but rather transcending and just pure bliss while doing it. Tony Fitzpatrick said it best, “Writing is hard fucking work, but it’s not labor.” It gets me all excited having to understand why am I feeling that way because I am knowing myself more. I will spend much more time doing it (but, ofcourse, not to the point of extreme exhaustion) for the sake of my mental health and my sanity.

Going back to the article, Jeff Harry advises to adults, “… take a small break from worrying and do something that channels your inner kid and just beings you a little bit of happiness.” In addition, Austin Kleon advises, “If you’ve lost your playfulness, practice for practice’s sake. You don’t have to go to such dramatic lengths as combustion. Musicians can jam without making a recording. Writers and artists can type or draw out a page and throw it away. Photographers can take photos and immediately delete them.”

Such play can be frivolous but, honestly, looking back at the past years, I’m so glad that I spent a lot of time playing board games with my family and my community. In retrospect, I can say that I live a happy life these past few years. I got anxious a lot and such thoughts are set aside whenever I play. While playing, I stayed in the present, made platonic relationships, and shared joy with others. I think only in retrospect can we actually see the benefits of play.

[For some, work or their job is not play but it is their means to afford their needs or to provide for their family. And that’s okay. There a lot of opportunities where one can play outside of their job. Just do it every now and then. I promise, it’s worth it.]

Gap Year Stories: September—Fourth Month

Wow. I’m in fourth month already?? Time seems incredibly fast. But if I looked back in what I did the past few months through my logbook, it seemed like it was not. The days are awfully long.

This month was rough but today, on its last day, I am just this happy gal looking back on how hard I worked the past few weeks. One thing that this month has taught me is do what I love. I mean it. This month, I literally just did what I wanted without following any specific path or what was expected of me. I followed my guts and intuition for the whole month and I had never felt so happy.

I wrote short stories and honestly this is a HUGE achievement for me. Few years ago, I started writing a novel but I discontinued it partly because I just can’t finish it. But right now, I just wanted to write. Hence, I started writing short stories. I did not feel any pressure at all whether its supposed to be loved or fit in a certain standard. The fact that I had completed something that I love to do is the reward for me.

I went on to write the article that I am afraid of the most. I have a one-month internship from June-July (then you can choose to extend for a month if you’d like) at MakeSense, an international organization that focuses on putting together individuals, organizations, and companies for projects related to social good. The first month of internship was stressful for me. It was the very first time I will be writing in such a big platform– this scared me ths most.

Considering how it brought so much stress into my life, I opted to not extend my internship for another month. But then came, this idea of writing an article that focuses on human-centered prisons and why the Philippines should built it.

Since one of my mantras is to not self-reject and feeling this need of sharing what I know and I am fascinated about, I extended again for another month. Honestly, it stressed me out a lot. I kept thinking that I do not have a lot of experience, I’m not qualified, I may even be called out because I know too little of the subject but even with all of those thoughts, I am grateful that I trusted myself. Also, I did not reject myself.

The idea actually started out as a seed. Around April 2020, I got curious on how human-centered prisons are different from the “regular” prisons and that is where I started researching about it. Fast forward to September, I interviewed Ar. Dominique Cruz, an architect, and Mr. Marco Toral, former consultant of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, about their thoughts on how can we create a friendlier and humane prison environment for inmates. Honestly, writing about the whole article about human-centered prisons made me decide to advocate for building more humane environments for people deprived of liberty. I had gotten so many perspectives and that all would not happen if I decided to reject myself in the first place. So… do what you love to do even if it feels scary. Run to the roar. Trust your curiousity, instincts, and desires.

Since I became a feature editor for our school paper, I wrote more than ten feature articles this month. I learned so much from interviewing various students in our College as well as from proofreading the articles of other feature writers.

I remembered how I stuttered so much during an interview with the one I will feature during the first week of September. I cringed so much while listening to the recording. However, from that experience, I became aware of the areas where I need to improve. That interview improved me so much. Although it was an awful experience, it is the very thing that I am grateful for. After that interview, I interviewed eight more students in the following days. Guess what? The seventh one actually told me that she felt comfortable talking with me throughout the interview. She expected herself that she will be nervous but she claimed, I did not make her feel that way. To more learnings hehe.

Also, I just am grateful to everyone who is reading my posts. This month, I had more than a hundred views and I just want to say that I am grateful for each and everyone of you. I hope you are doing what you love ❤.

Lastly, since next month, October, is the start of my classes. I want to bring back something that I wrote during June—first month of gap year:

Having this idea that I’m on ‘gap year’ even though I take classes online for uni makes me feel that I could learn and initiate passion projects as much as I want to without caring about uni at all. Hence, I started gap year last June 2020. My classes will start by August but it does not matter to me at all. I’m just thinking of it as a responsibility that I should do but not that significant at all.

My main priority for this gap year is to grow so much– to learn more about myself, learn more about the world, and leaving things better than when I found them.

I went back to this because I want to remember why I started and, hopefully, I would not get carried away by university requirements.

With all of these adventures from following my inner soul, may I always continue and remember to be human. To be human is to be alive. (Oscar Wilde: To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.)

I have no expectations for October. But what I have and what I armed myself with are stories. The stories that inspire me, that made me grow, that made me realize things, and most importantly, that made me see the beauty in life.

I may not have expectations but what I do have is anticipation. I am truly excited on what October holds. I am excited on how will I spend the 24 hours given to me tomorrow and the next day, and day after that, until the end. Also, I find it easier to move and do something if I think about what can I do for this 24 hours, instead of worrying about the future. Worrying about the future made me feel stuck like I should not even do anything at all because it would not matter anyway, you are late, and you cannot do anything. Whereas if I thunk about what the most beautiful thing that I can do in this 24 hours, I could think of a thing, if I would be very happy just doing that and accomplishing it throughout the day. And this is where I will leave, what is the most beautiful thing that I can do in this 24 hours?

Do it. Accomplish it. And congratulations, you just created something that will improve all your tomorrows.

Eckhart Tolle: Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make now the primary focus of your life.


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(If you are new to my blog, hi! yes, I’m taking a gap year while still enrolled in a university. I just want to instill the idea to myself so that I can focus on doing what I love and following my curiousities. Though it is not really what gap year means, but given that I have so much time because during normal uni setting I have to spend four hours in commuting, and a lot of hours waiting for professors in classrooms, I have a lot of time to spend. Hence, I instilled the idea to myself that I am on a gap year and I’ll focus less on my university and instead, follow my instincts. Watch out for more adventures and stories!)

Words Do Hurt. Literally.

What if words do hurt, not only emotionally, but physically? What if verbal abuse turns into physical abuse? Will people be careful with their words knowing that their words cause pain literally?

These are my questions while I was writing Words Do Hurt, a short story of mine that is now published on Wattpad (you can read it for free here). This idea came to my mind while I was listening to The Greatest Showman’s “This Is Me” specifically, the line “When the sharpest words wanna cut me down…” (By the way, the story is in English so you can check it out.)

Story behind:

This short story is largely based on my own experiences. My author’s note at the end best explained the whole short story and reasons why I wrote it. Note: Iris is the main character in the short story.

This is a short story but I did as much as possible to show what Iris is experiencing and to get my message across. The whole time I was writing this, I can’t count how many times my eyes got filled up with liquid. Ever since I was young and up until now, I continue to experience verbal abuses from my parents. But I got better at handling it because of the community I am part of. But still, this pandemic I struggled with verbal abuses a lot because I’m always at home.

At the end of this short story, I imagined that the young woman would help Iris in her journey similar to how my community played a pivotal role in teaching me how to respect and love myself while at the same time, respecting other people around me. I also noted that the young woman herself had scars of her own meaning she experienced verbal abuses too but she still got up and chose to be kind. And I know that Iris can too. She just needs someone who can support her throughout her journey.

And this short story is not to induce hate to my parents or your own parents if you are experiencing this as well but rather to understand. Also, I wanted to inform. A lot of people think that verbal abuse only includes curse words but, no. There are others like gaslighting. Iris parents are parents that are hurt but still think that cursing on their child is not good, hence they try to rephrase their words as much as they could. A detail that I want to discuss is that Iris’ parents like to repeat themselves. They continue to say the same thing but in different arrangements of words. Such actions neither contribute anything to the conversation nor does it move the conversation forward. The only thing it does is continue to cause emotional damage to the other person by constantly reprimanding them for the same thing.

To people experiencing verbal abuse, your feelings are valid. You can get mad. You can get sad. That’s okay. What’s not okay is hurting other people either physically or emotionally. Just this morning, while listening to The Greatest Showman’s “This Is Me”, from the line, “When the sharpest words gonna cut me down…” I caught the idea of what if words really cut someone? What if verbal abuses became visible? Will we be more careful with other words? Or will we continue to hurt each other because we are hurting too?

Published My First Short Story!

I published a short story in Wattpad, an online platform where anyone can write and read stories. It is a short story about an inmate name Waldo who spent fifteen years in prison and decided to take his own life. My target audience for the story is Filipinos that’s why it is in Filipino-English language. You can access the story here for free (if you understand Filipino language).

Story behind:

Since a few weeks ago, I kept notes of ideas that flew over me. But this particular idea for this short story is the catalyst. It’s the one that made me do it. To just start writing a short story. Aside from my sole reason of just writing for the sake of creating, I also decided to write this because of a larger goal: making people aware of what PDLs (person deprived of liberty) are experiencing every day. They live in a hostile and inhumane environment. And I don’t understand why authorities, or even the greater population, are just okay with it. Also, we cannot just ignore this growing problem because what affect one directly affects one indirectly. You can’t blame PDLs to be angry or continue their misbehavior after spending prison time because how can they rehabilitate in an inhumane environment? Our prisons are breeding grounds for further disorder and misbehaviors.

I believe that if most of us speak up, they will notice the need and must to care for every single Filipino citizen there is.

Why I Write

I just started publishing short stories on Wattpad (there are currently two!) and in my bio I wrote,

I’m Claire.

I write short stories because I like doing so. They may be in purpose of informing or anything (which is true, yes). However, my main purpose is I love doing it just for the sake of doing it. Similar to Zadie Smith (author of Intimations), writing, for me, is something to do. It keeps me sane, makes me alive and what the world needs are people who have come alive.

I, sincerely, hope that you do what makes you alive too.

Back when I read novels on Wattpad around six years ago, I had this urge to write. But that did not continue. Now, I am not rejecting myself any longer. Hence, I just write in any form I wanted. I’m now venturing to short stories and I’m excited for what lies ahead. All while remembering why I decided to do this in the first place. It is because I want to do it and I love doing it. Creating itself is the reward for me.

Author and artist Austin Kleon wrote in a blog post, “What if you stopped thinking about your ideas as things you need to let out of you, but things you need to let in to you? Things you need to be ready to receive? If you start to think about creative work this way, Gilbert says, “it starts to change everything.” You can stop being afraid and daunted and just “do your job. Continue to show up.””

Like what I wrote in my bio, I hope you do what makes you alive. For me, it is writing. And regardless of the external outcome, author Elizabeth Gilbert says, “do your job. Continue to show up.

Week of novelty

So I just played some features of Instagram story and I had fun creating short “blogs” in each picture. What an amazing morning that was. Also, what I did not mention in the photos is how I am absolutely just grateful that I get to control what I do in my life like I can choose what books I read, I can choose what to spend time on, etc. And I love that. I love that, okay, God has a plans for me, but I know that I still am the one who’s gonna do the work and trust Him that He will lead the way.

Last week, I had neither planned on writing a short story nor learning how to cook. But its okay. I mean… spontaneous things? Why would I not want that? That is a quìck reminder for me that life will not worked out in anyway I planned it to be (but I never really plan out that much anyway), but it will still turn out in my favor.

Life works in your favor.