Weightlifting Fairy Art

Korean dramas (aka Kdrama) have made my life colorful since 2008 (Hello, BOF!) Hence, you’ll see some posts and reviews on old & currently-airing dramas here.

Anyway, I’m too happy for words today because one of my main Kdrama ships are sailing! Nam Joo Hyuk and Lee Sung Kyung of ‘Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo’ are reportedly dating. *heart eyes emoji* Behold, my quick art for this couple!!! ❤

KIM BOK JOO 1

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Dear, please check your privilege

Dear,

Your social media posts about Kadamay’s situation have revealed how much you haven’t been checking your privilege. I smell the irritation between your words and the insecurity behind your statements. Let’s check our facts first before I continue this short letter of reminder:

  • Kadamay did take over the idle housing units in Pandi, Bulacan. These housing units were intended for the police and military men’s families. (Reyes-Estrope, 2017)
  • The said group has stated that the idle housing units were left vacant because the offices of the police and the military are too far from them. (Reyes-Estrope, 2017)
  • Kadamay has declared since August 30, 2016 (read original post here), these pleas to the government. I did the liberty of translating them to English in case your Filipino sucks (which you should improve!):
    • Free housing distribution. Stop the monthly amortization and the service housing business.
    • Create an industry that will make the contractual Kadamay employees regular, with a minimum wage of  P750 per day,
    • Working water and electricity lines to the said housing units. Make sure that the water supply is potable and people will pay a minimum monthly fee for it. Remove the reconnection fee of electricity lines.
    • Presence of a nearby 24 hour hospital that has complete facilities, a health center, ample amount of ambulances, a drainage system, and a garbage collection system.
    • Give to the relocatees the financial assistance they never received with the amount of 18K for houses that were demolished in the danger areas.
    • Give housing units to those that are living with the relocatees e.g. the extended families.
    • Uphold the benefits of the senior citizens, PWDs, and single parents living in the relocation area.
    • Presence of a working livelihood program for those whose living is affected during typhoon/monsoon season.

I don’t know about you but these “demands” are basic – the ones that every individual should have in order to live a quality life. These are NEEDS. We have these in our little, privileged world everyday that we overlook how these are so inaccessible to them, the poor. See how they are stating the need for an INDUSTRY FULL OF OPPORTUNITIES and not, as what some news reports say, for jobs? Read how they are stating the need for reliable water and electricity lines, and NOT FREE water and electricity supplies?

Are you surprised how these people can form a group and do something about their situation even exhibiting as what our colleagues call, “lawlessness”? Put yourself in their shoes. What are you willing to do when your former house has been demolished for months (or even years!), your workplace, where you are a contractual worker, is now so far from your supposed relocation, your family has no steady access to safe drinking water and electricity, your 65 year-old mother is not receiving her benefits, your partner’s livelihood perishes every time a typhoon comes, and the government has yet to help you, despite waiting patiently and ardently?

They are not the lazy ones. Guess who truly is/are.

Sincerely,

Image result for gif sighing


Source:

Reyes-Estrope, C. (2017, March 18). Group Kadamay shifts campaign to take over idle units to housing project in Bocaue town. Retrieved April 22, 2017, from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/881695/group-kadamay-shifts-campaign-to-take-over-idle-units-to-housing-project-in-bocaue-town

Quinatadcan 25th Wedding Anniversary

It was a pleasure and an honor witnessing Mr. and Mrs. Quinatadcan’s 25th Anniversary Wedding Ceremony last January. When Patjoy, my close friend and their daughter, invited me to take some photos, I readily agreed. I made it my goal to capture moments that will show just how lovely the celebration is. After all, 25 years of marriage was a feat that not every couple can achieve.

DSC_0437 - Cover

DSC_0336-Edited

DSC_0419 - Edited

DSC_0409 - Edited

DSC_0396 -Edited

Dog x OTP Series

To lower the anxiety level I had back in March, I worked on a mini art project depicting my favorite fictional pairings as dogs. I did this with Adobe Photoshop as I am still a noob at Illustrator. I once thought of printing these works as postcards but I was not able to check if there is a market for something like this.

Anyway, here are my favorite OTPs and how I figured out which dog represented them:

1.  Dmitri & Anastasia from Anastasia (1997)

Dmitri-Anastasia - Type

For this pairing, I chose Russian dogs to represent both characters. Dmitri is a Siberian Husky because both are easy going, funny, friendly, and mischievous. Anastasia is a Royal Spaniel to pay tribute to the royal dog of the Romanovs, Joy.

2. Draco & Hermione from the Harry Potter series

Hermione - Draco w type

Dramione has always been my main ship since time immemorial. There’s a spark between the two characters that was unexplored by the books.  (Thank you, fanfics!) Anyway, Hermione is a Border Collie because this English dog is the smartest and one of the most hardworking out there. Plus, look at that fluffy but tamed fur! Draco is a Papillon primarily to pay tribute to his French heritage and distinct hair. Papillons are among the smartest and is known to be a slow-to-warm up dog.

3. Belle & Prince Adam from Beauty and the Beast (1991, 2017)

Beauty and The Beast Type

Belle and Prince Adam are French dog breeds, Poodle and Briard. I choose a Poodle to represent Belle because both are mislabelled as only beautiful not knowing that they are also smart, sophisticated, and loyal. Beast is a Briard because both can be aloof with strangers. Once you get to know them, they will show you their friendly and fiercely loyal nature hidden under all that fur.

Thinking of continuing this art series in the future. Which pairing would you like to see next? 🙂

My Anxiety Self-Care Practices (Part 2)

Thank you for the lovely messages, everyone. I deeply appreciate the concerns and your sharing of your stories. I am glad that my experiences and coping strategies are helping. Your comments aid me too in deciding which topics I can write about in the near future. 🙂

Anyway, here is part two of my self-care practices on anxiety.  (Read part one here) If you have any clarifications or you want to share some of your own, you are more than welcome to drop a comment or an email. Wahuuuu!

During and after panic attack

  • Before I reach full escalation, I muster the strength to call one of my primary care. As soon as I am in contact/ I am with him/her, I release my emotions.
  • My primary care helps me gain focus on the reality by:
    • doing breathing techniques with them
    • letting me hold their hands / hug them
    • soothing me by NOT saying “Calm down.” ; she/he knows the command just does the opposite
    • listening to my concerns and responding gently, always aiming to ground me back to the present moment
    • by my request, assisting in taking my attack medication
  • “This too shall pass.” I repeat these words in my head until the attack dissipates.
  • After the attack, I acknowledge and process the experience by not blaming anyone especially myself. I rest.

General Self-Care Practices

  • Practicing mindfulness. This therapy has helped me cope with a lot of stressful situations by meditation, walking, and journaling. I’m perusing Dr. Bob Stahl and Dr. Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook.
  • Exercise! In my case, my exercises are carefully reviewed and prescribed by my physiatrist due to my Fibromyalgia. Doing my sets (especially cycling!) everyday helps me manage my mood and keep myself in touch.
  • Overcoming triggers one by one. HA! This is a work-in-progress since I have a LOT of anxiety triggers. I’ll write a separate post for this.
  • Listening to soft, classical music. Cliche as this sounds, Yo-Yo Ma’s playing of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major relaxes me when I write or review for my academics.
  • Painting. I just started this two years ago and I found it as one of my effective outlets.

Recommended Resources:

  • If you are curious about mindfulness, click this free, online MBSR site that offers an eight-week course! Swearing by this because I get some of my meditation recordings here.
  • If you find yourself having the urge/are experimenting with drugs as a way to cope with anxiety, please visit DrugRehab.com. I found the site insightful and reassuring.
  • AnxietyBC has a lot of downloadable resources on anxiety disorders. It also has a self-help section that you may find useful.
  • If you are dating someone with anxiety disorder, check out this list of advice.
  • If you want to help someone cope with anxiety, this site explains the do’s and dont’s.

I will constantly write about self-care practices and experiences on anxiety here. 🙂 If you are experiencing anxiety, please please please remember:

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Suffering and Faith

(Full disclosure: I am a liberal Roman Catholic who believes that science and faith complement each other. I love Jesuits. My God does not discriminate.)

“How can you still believe in Him when you’re in pain all the time? After all that you’ve been through? Did you ever question God?”

I did. In fact, I had a period when I almost believed He abandoned me. Why did He let me be as sick as this? Why wasn’t He “healing” me? Why wasn’t He here when I am most in pain?

Subscribing to the principle of a faith seeking justice, I asked three priests on why God allows people to suffer. First was my confessor from sixth grade to senior year of high school, who knew a lot of my troubles including my first heartbreak. He replied that God is not a God of bad things.

Second was my college sophomore year confessor. I asked Him if God makes people suffer. He reminded me of what I learned from my Theology 103 class. God is not a God of vengeance. God is a God of mercy and compassion.

Lastly, I asked my recent confessor who I saw was slightly taken aback when I posted my question. He told me that God does not favor pain nor does He leave people who are in pain.

For awhile, I was lost. No book nor explanation comforted me.  It made me rethink of the reasons why I believed in a higher being and why I chose to believe in my God.

Then I remembered that in order to have faith, one needs to leap from reason. Scrambling my reasons for leaping, I remembered the picture showing the interaction between a beggar and a well-clothed man along a pedestrian bridge. In the beggar’s eyes, He saw Jesus approaching him. In the man’s point of view, he saw Jesus sitting and staring at him.

It was this memory of the picture that resurfaced my realization years ago: I leapt because I see Him in every person I meet and in every beauty. Whenever I see people choosing their humanity in every situation, I see Him.

Thus, when I looked back and reflected, I saw that I failed to recognize Him in my nurses, my doctors, my loved ones, my learners, my colleagues, and strangers who had been with me since the beginning. He never left me alone, not for a second. He healed me through the nights my boyfriend answered my midnight calls of anguish, every moment my parents held me as I battle an attack, and everytime someone makes an effort to be with me and make me happy. He had loved me in ways I needed to be loved.

I still don’t know why sufferings exist. I hope I’ll have an answer someday. But now, my conclusion is this: my God loves perfectly and the love that I know is nowhere near close.

On Bullying and Depression

Note: I wrote this weeks ago and planned to publish this on my site at the end of the month. But I’m having terrible nightmares and post-traumatic flashbacks since last week. I have a feeling I’ve been triggered by the posts about Thirteen Reasons Why. Thus, I’ll be detoxifying from any social media save for FB messenger, email, and my blog for…I don’t know. My health is my priority. Have a safe holy week and vacation, guys.


 

Bullying was the one topic I actively avoided. If I were to refer to it, I would use euphemisms and just brush past it. However, I learned in my history classes that dark periods must be acknowledged so they may never be repeated. (#NeverForget!) Plus, I got questions on how I discovered I have bipolar disorder, general anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.

Before you read my story, understand that my bullying experience was a HUGE RISK factor, and NOT the DIRECT CAUSE of my disorders. I do not blame anyone for what happened to me. I accept the fact that I am physiologically vulnerable to having them in the first place. My illnesses have biological causes.

Trigger warning as well. This may not be easy to swallow. Here we go:

I was bullied from fifth grade to second year high school. There were no words that can explain how I hated being called smart, intelligent, or a nerd. I hated that I love learning and studying. I hated that I like anime and books. I hated that my tastes in music are not mainstream. I hated that I am curvy. I hated a lot of things that I used to love.

I hated myself and no one knew. At age 11, I had my first attempt. I remember being a walking emotional wreck who hid inside the comfort room cubicles during lunch.

At age 12, I cried every after school dismissal. I remember congratulating myself for surviving another day. No one knew.

At age 13, I stayed in the corners of the class with my three close friends. Social outcasts stayed together. I had my second attempt; no one knew.

At age 14, I almost had my third attempt. My sister, bless her heart, stopped me.

At age 15 and 16, I filled my schedule with lots of extra curricular activities and advance classes. The busier, the better. The more I did, the more I was not forced to admit that I was having panic attacks and recurring nightmares. I thought they were normal. I thought I moved on.

Invalidating my pain for a long time, I realized, had difficult consequences. 2015, the tenth anniversary of my first attempt, saw me attempting three more times. Coupled with the stress from work and meeting a person I allowed to bully me, I…just drowned.

I felt hollow. I was empty. I thought there was nothing to look forward to. I didn’t move from my bed most days. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat right. I cried a lot. I cancelled plans with my friends. I isolated myself from my co-workers. I was disconnected with the world. I had no energy to keep up with life anymore.

My mom and my sister urged me to seek help before it was too late. Two days after my 21st birthday, I was confined for severe depression and severe suicidal tendencies/ideations. Months later, my psychiatrist formally diagnosed me with bipolar type 2 disorder and two anxiety disorders.

But I want to end this post in a positive note so these I can tell you:

It’s been seven months since my last suicide ideation.

It’s been eight months since deep depression hit me.

It’s been nine months since my last attempt.

There is no hatred or anger in me that is directed towards anyone anymore. I understand that there must be something they were going through too at that time. Bullying is a cycle and I want our cycle to end it with me. No more hurting.

I wish my school supported me more throughout my stay because I can’t seem to go back and visit. No matter how wonderful my senior year was, every bathroom stall and space under the stairs remind me of the girl who wished to die. I hope the system has changed and now have the capacity to help students who are facing bullying, depression, and suicidal thoughts among other mental illnesses.

Suffice to say, I am in a better place. I came to accept that I will always carry my experiences with me. It has taken me more than a decade and I am proud to be a work-in-progress. I am not a victim; I am surviving and thriving.