Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Last Time


My girl, Zay, is sleeping by my side as I am writing this. She is sprawled out in her bed, hands clutching her favorite blanket and breathing peacefully. I am thinking how she used to sleep just as peacefully in the crook of my arm. I am thinking how she used to cry whenever she was sleepy and I had to dance around the room while carrying her in my arms just for her to fall asleep.

And now, here she is. She seemed to have grown so fast overnight. One time, she fell asleep while watching TV and I had to lift her up and carry her to her room. And I was so surprised at how heavy she was. I can still remember how light as a feather she used to be.

I am looking at her right now and I realized that the last time I will carry her to bed is at hand. She can do that and some other stuff on her own. She now sleeps in her own bed and doesnt call out for me in the middle of the night.  I can feel my heart constricting at the thought of her not needing me and her dad anymore. But I am also aware of the fact that I need to let her grow and be free and be herself.

So I will cherish each moment, each little seemingly ordinary moment. Because I might not be able to tell that it was the last time, until the time is up.

But Zay, one thing is for sure. I will still hug you and kiss you even when your all grown up, because I am your mom until the end. Because my being your mom doesnt have a last time. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How are you, baby?

Haven't seen my girl, Zay, in here lately? Wondering how she is?

She had a great summer....

...and will always be our angel.

She planted a table-top garden with Mommy...

...and danced in the rain. 

She is getting taller ...

...and prettier by the day. 

She is now in 2nd Grade and mom and dad is as proud as can be. :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Perfect I Am Not

" Is your hair naturally curly? You should have it rebonded."

An  acquaintance told me today. She was sitting behind me while we were attending a seminar-workshop. Surely, she had a close-up view of my frizzy hair. I didn't particularly had a great hair day today, or any day for that matter. She had the nerve to gingerly ran her fingers in my hair, must have felt how rough they were against her immaculately smooth fingers and was prompted to make such a remark.

I smiled at her, said that yes, my hair has always been this curly and frizzy and dry. And yes, I didn't freaking make such a big deal about me being a curly chick. I pasted a smile in my face during the whole conversation. I took it all calmly but deep inside, I was seething. I was holding unto all the calm I could possibly muster. So I am less of a person because my hair is curly? How shallow can you get!

It is so sad that I live in a country where you couldn't be yourself. Filipino girls always have this notion that every girl should look like Barbie - tall, slim and fair-skinned. Although typically Barbie has big curls, we love our hair long, flowing and straight. Anyone who doesn't fit this norm will suffer the stares and rude comments of "concern friends" . Freaking great!!!

Whitening lotions and creams fly from shelves every single day. Glutathione sells like pancakes. Brown-skinned Filipinos have always looked at Caucasians with envy in their eyes. Filipinas can be pretty obsessed about having white skin. Evidence is the overflowing shelves of whitening products. Black beauty? No sir! You are only beautiful if you are fair.

Girls have tried every freaking diet pills and other whatnots just to lose those extra poundage. How many times did I hear these words? You are pretty. If only you will lose some weight.

Have you seen a shampoo commercial model that sports curly hair? Absolutely none. Nil. Zero. Straight, Cleopatra-like hair means perfection. Curly hair is a messy affair we don't want to deal with.

Yes, I have tried to change myself. I have rebonded my hair every couple of months for the past 12 years of my life. Yes, I have gone to hell and back just to have long, straight hair. I endured hellish and painful scalp after each trip to the salon just to have those long straight tresses. Just so that I can fit in the mold the society has made.

But after all the years of being a slave of other people's opinion, I have stopped trying to fit into what people deemed as a beautiful person. I have stopped caring about other people's opinion of me. I learned to only listen to those I knew have my best interest at heart. I have stopped reading magazines and yes, I have given up Tyra Banks.

I do not have an immediate wish to change the world because society has always been this shallow ever since I could remember. I might not be able to change the world but yes, I could change my perspective of things. And I have decided that I am too tired to pretend to be the girl I am not. Its time to say goodbye to the dream girl I never was nor ever will be. I am not tall. I am not skinny. My hair is a fuzzy mess. I will always have a flabby tummy. I will never have white, creamy skin. And yet, I have made my peace with that. I have come to realize that I need to love myself first and foremost, flaws and all.

If all these traits doesn't make me a beautiful person, then so be it. I will settle being simply ME.

Me in all my fuzzy-haired glory. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Books I Love: YA Edition

Maybe because I feel nostalgic.
Maybe because I always want to feel young and carefree.
Maybe because I am a child at heart.
Or maybe because teen novels has come a long way.
I am just loving teen fiction nowadays.

You see, I am devouring YA novels nowadays like peanuts. Nonstop, that is. No matter how busy I am, I always read a book or two, sometimes three, a week. Well, I read books especially when I'm busy. It saves me from going crazy with the stresses of life and from pulling my hair out of my head.

So here are the teen novels I love, listed in no particular order. I would have loved to rank them but God help me, I just cant decide which I love most. All of these left me happy, in tears, and affected enough to rave about them for days. These YA novels will surely find its way to the young's heart and those that are not-so-young.

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She was an art.
And art arent supposed to be nice.
It was supposed to make you feel something. 
I love it because the characters arent perfect. Park was not your typical popular high school hunk. Neither is Eleanor. Both of them sound like everyday people you meet on the street corner. Not perfect but real. And my sisters and I end up discussing the ending for days.
Have you read Attachments, Fangirl and Landline by Rainbow Rowell? If not, you really should. Love all of them.
By the way, Rainbow is her real name. How cool is that?

2. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
The thing with your heart's desire is that
your heart doesn't even know what it desires until it turns up.

Two people who broke up could never be friends.
If they are, they are either still in love or never were.

Here is what I think about the book. Can I go cry with Min now?

3. The Fault in our Stars by John Green

What a slut time is, it screws everyone.
And I have rambled on and on about TFIOS in here.

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I have hated the words and I have loved them.
And I hope I have made them right. 
This story is narrated by Death, set in the World War II. It tells how not only the Jews suffer in the war, but how the Germans did, too. This is my sister J's favorite book and knowing her taste, that's saying a lot.

5. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

A lot of you cared, just not enough.

You cant go back to how things were, how you though they were.
All you really have is now. 
The story starts with Clay, who receives a package with 13 tapes inside. He soon finds out that these tapes are from Hannah, a girl who committed suicide a few days ago.
This novel is painful and sad. It will bring tears. It will make you think about how much impact your words and actions have to other people. Please bring a box of tissue when you read this and make sure you don't run out, so make it two.

6. Just One Day, by Gayle Forman

We are born in one day. We die in one day.
We can change in one day and we can fall in love in one day.
Anything can happen in just one day.
You can all find it in Just One Day. I may have cursed at the end of the book because the author of If I stay, Gayle Forman, left us a cliffhanger. Better grab Just One Year, the sequel or you will surely  be reeling from the suspense. 

7. Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

Why does everyone think a girl who prefer books to people must be in want of a life?
Looking for an escape from some dark, intense read? This book is it. Light and cute and crazy and fun. It sums up Julia's class trip to London. Pair her up with the funny and spontaneous Jason and you got yourself an easy, likeable book. So go curl up in bed in this rainy afternoon and start going gaga over your MTB.

8. The Absolute Diary of a Part-time Indian by Alexie Sherman

I found myself rooting for Arnold Spirit all the way in this story. I cried when he lost his grandmother and sister. I almost felt his pain as if I was the one on the receiving end of Rowdy's knuckles. I felt for him when he had to walk kilometers from school to his home, when he was too humiliated having no money when he went out with friends. And I rejoiced when he had some victorious moments which I will not divulge here. Read this, come on, read this book!

9. Golden by Jessi Kirby

He always told me to look strong even if I don't feel it,
because sometimes, that's all you can do.

We are all more than the person we show to everyone else. 
Parker Frost didn't expect to have a secret drop in her lap in a form of a journal. A journal that is written ten years ago by the beautiful Julianna. A journal which left her questioning what really happened between Julianna and her boyfriend Shane.
If you are in the mood for love, tragedy and mystery, this book is for you.

10. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

I know everything happens for a reason but
sometimes I wish I know what that reason is. 
Varsity jock Ezra has everything going for him, until he got in a car accident and everything -his athletic career, his social life- fell apart. This tragic novel tells about new beginnings after tragic endings.

I look at my list and I realized I still got a lot more to add. Lots of great books nowadays. Maybe I'll make another list. In the meantime, grab your favorite book and I would love to know what that is.

Happy reading!

( All images are not mine. Thanks, good old Google. As always.)

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Letter To Teen Me

Dear 16 Me,
I can see you inside your room, two knuckles prop up your chin while you look outside into the cold, dark night. Stars fill up the sky just like it always seemed to be in the countryside. The cold air is nipping its cold teeth unto your skin but you don't seem to notice.
Closer inspection revels the tears you have been trying to hold in. I can see in your eyes the sadness that lurks within, a sadness you cant tell even your closest friend about, a melancholy I knew too well. I know you are counting all the things that is wrong with your life. Teenagers tend to do that. Well, at least the teen me use to do that. You read books to escape from your reality. You dream everyday. You dream big. Sorry to pop your bubble but some of those remain just that, dreams. Uh oh, you are about to cry. I know how crybaby you used to be. Actually, you still are. Some things never change.
Turn off the waterworks, girl. Although its true that not all things you've dreamed of became a reality but I am here to tell you great things happened  in your future. Believe me, everything fell into its place.
Spoiler Alert! The next things I will tell you are quite reveling. I know, I am messing up with your timeline. If you don't want to know these revelations, you can stop reading right now. But knowing you as well as I do, you would continue, much like how you flip to the last chapter of a great book because you just cant take the suspense. I can see you smiling now. Yup, I know you too well.
First, you didn't end up a journalist. I know how you would like to write articles for newspapers just like those you read in your favorite column Young Blood. Whenever you would fill up college application forms, you would always tick off the box that says journalist as your first career choice. Your being in your school paper fuel up that dream. But, being a goody-two-shoes that you are, you will follow your parents' suggestion and will become a teacher. It might sound so overbearing of them but let me tell you that you will love it. I swear, you will. You will love the kids in your class and despite it being such a hard job,you still wake up looking forward to seeing their faces every single day. Sure, there will be days when it will be too hard to handle them, days when you felt like you justwant to hold your hands up and give up. But you never will because that feeling will never last. You will still go back to your class and smile, knowing that you have chosen the best profession in the world.
You will lose some of the important people in your life. Some, to death, others, to distance. Others still will just choose to say goodbye. It will hurt. Prepare yourself because it will hurt like hell, like your heart will be yank out from your chest and trampled upon by vengeful giants. And it will take a long time to get used to the emptiness they will leave behind. But one thing is true: time heals. It will get better. You might not forget , but you will move on.
 Another thing, you still haven't gone to that  place you've always wanted to go to. 16 years has come and gone but that place is still a picture in the postcard. Someday, I believe that we both will get there and it will be better because we have two very important people going with us. It will be something to look forward to, don't you think? Paris, here we come!
The number 1 item on our bucket list hasn't been crossed out yet. You want to write a novel. You have this pad paper filled with a story that you keep hidden in your closet. You wrote that story longhand and your closest friends read it and gushed over it. That novel got lost. Maybe mom threw it away during cleaning day. Maybe you left it somewhere. But good news, I am now in the middle of writing one. I am getting bits and pieces of your life and am writing about it. It isn't finished yet, not by a long shot. No signs of getting published anytime soon but its okay. It will not change the fact that you are a writer. You are an author. So hang on there and stop wishing for typewriters because you will soon own a computer. You will write your thoughts and feelings in a thing they call blog and people will read and appreciate your work. In the meantime, write those stories in your pad paper and please don't lose it. Future you desperately wants to read it.
And that boy you have been pining for since grade school? That boy who unwittingly broke your heart  and shattered your dreams will never be yours. I'm sorry to say he will never be. Instead, your prayers will be answered. Remember how you wished for someone to love you so much, it hurts? Well, you will meet such a man in 3 years' time. That man will endure all the pain just to be with you. He will look beyond your issues and he will love you above and beyond your insecurities.  He might not say it in so many words, no grand gestures or big elaborate surprises from him like what you see in those romantic comedies you love so much, but he has so much more to offer than expensive gifts and candlelit dinners. What he will give you will be so much more. Its for you to find out. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
You will become me someday. Much older maybe, but definitely wiser.
You will learn how to voice out your opinion. You will still be apprehensive at times but you will say what you need to say because your opinions matter.
You will learn to stop cowering in the corner and will know better than crying silently. Its a good things you stopped being a pushover. 
One day, you will try new things. You will swallow your fear and will do things you didn't do before because you were too chicken to even try. Things like getting married and having a baby. And ziplining and getting drunk senseless in the middle of the street at 3am. You do have a fun side, in case you haven't noticed. 
You will learn to make your stand and say no.
You still don't know a lot of things but you will not stop learning.
You will realize that the most important things in your life don't come with price tags.
You will learn not to accept sh*t from anyone because you know you deserve so much more.
In time, you will accept yourself and stop beating yourself up for not being perfect.
You will stop listening to people who didn't have anything better to do but to let you know that you are not good enough. I am here to tell you that you are, no matter who you turn out to be, you don't fall short. You are good enough and please don't listen to people who insist you aren't.
In time, you will value your worth and see your character instead of your looks.
So don't fret, 16 me. Someday, you will realize that not all dreams come true. But let me assure you, reality isn't so bad. Your future may not be perfect, which is overrated anyway, but it is so much better.

See you soon,
Kristine at 32
The Teen Me,circa 1998

Monday, March 17, 2014

Me and My So-called Independence

Here I am again. After a million years of hibernation, I am actually writing again. I miss this. I miss you. Its just that I was buried alive with work. The school year here in the Philippines is about to end and I am swamped with making grades and accomplishing year-end reports. I'm not complaining though. What comes after all these frantic running arounds is two months of free time. I am so looking forward to that.

Shout out to Anne of Growing up Madison. Thank you for noticing my absence, for making me feel missed. :)

Tonight, I rewarded myself with a little time and logged into my Facebook account and what I saw were graduation photos and congratulatory messages. Graduation season is here and the sentimental in me was reminded of my own. Oh, how I miss those days in school. Which eventually reminded me of a piece I wrote in my old blog. I dug up my old blog today and found this entry. This brought a smile to my face and some memories, too. I miss this time of my life when things are so uncomplicated (although during those days, I thought that my life was such a mess. I was dead wrong. More bumps are in my unseen future. If only I knew, I wouldn't have been such a whiner). I am re-posting this so that I wont forget how I was and who I was when I was younger. I don't wanna forget that I was once a fun-loving girl.  Because now, with everything going on in the world, I sometimes forget.

I miss my high school friends. I miss the bestfriends I gained at the university. Most of all, I miss the girl who used to be me. I want to remember her, because I will never be that way, ever again.

Me and my so-called Independence

High school graduation was the happiest day of my entire teenage life. Sure, I was sad because I would be separated from my friends and classmates with whom I shared the best of times. But college, for me, was a whole new world of adventure. It’s the fairy land of my dreams; my prince charming; my treasure island.
You ask: Why was going to college such a big deal to you, anyway?
The high school girls

You see, all my life, I've lived in the confines of our “little baguio” town. I have spent all my life in the same house, with the same people. The classmates I had in nursery were the same people who copied my assignments in high school. The owner of the bakery around the corner has grown old before my eyes. I hanged out with the same faces I have known since Grade 2. In short, I haven’t been anywhere farther than a ferry boat ride to a nearby resort island. I’m not really complaining. They are the best friends I could ever ask for. But please understand me. I want something new. something more exciting.I may not go to college any farther than Cagayan de Oro which is only a one-hour ride from our town. Still, it meant living my life in total independence.

Country living

Graduation signified the end of my childhood eccentricities. It meant my coming of age. I was such a slob at home. My room was a jungle, complete with all the creatures hibernating under my bed. I promised myself that when I’d be in the city; my room would be squeaky clean since no Leslie would spill her milk on my bed cover. My favorite teddy bear would smell nice since no Jean would wet it during the night. My study table would be organized since no Steph would turn it upside down to make room for her doll. College meant no overprotective parents and pesky sisters. In short, life would be a lot easier.College also meant no curfews. I would live in a boarding house where I could come home whenever I want to. I could sleep as late as I’d like and wake up with the sun high up. Free time would mean going out with friends. I’d read books until the break of dawn. Best of all, I’d go into a crash diet without my mom crying ulcer!

I’d be leaving this place full of “keen-eyed” people. In the city, nobody would comment if I throw a brandishing tongue to a jeepney driver. Nobody would condemn me for laughing out loud in the street. I’d have all the freedom I could ever ask for. God, the possibilities were endless!

Yes, graduation spelled INDEPENDENCE in big, bold highlighted letters. It’s everything I’ve longed for and I could only have that in college. Or so I thought.

The first day at my new home was a total disaster; I could have died of homesickness! I miss my mom's cooking and dad's booming voice. The silence in my new home was deafening.
My first day at school was nothing different. I was left staring at the endless sea of nameless faces, not knowing what to do or where to go. I was there in the middle of the crowd, yet feeling so alone and isolated. Believe me, the feeling was awful. I wished to be transported to my old school, surrounded by all the familiar faces I despised so much. If you say that the feeling was like being Tom Hanks in The Castaway, I’d have agreed instantly. Nothing can be truer!

The night was even worse! My room was so lonely that I longed for the pillow fights I used to have with my sisters. I missed our secret-sharing and whispers long after the lights were out. I slept in an immaculately clean room yet I wished to be back in the “jungle” with my smelly teddy bear.

As days went by, I slowly adjusted to the so-called independent living. I gained my share of friends, the best kind I could ever wish for. I went with them malling and bar-hopping whenever the time allowed. I’ve learned to eat instant noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve slept as late as 3am doing nothing but talk with my roommate. I've watched as many movies, concerts and shows as my allowance could allow.
Despite of all these freedom I’ve come to enjoy, a week wouldn’t pass without me going home to the cold, old town.
College was bearable because of these gorgeous girls

My four years in college has taught me one thing: you love most those you love first. The most valuable things are those you've grown up with. No matter how far you’ve gone, no matter how far and wide, you still go back to where your roots were sown. People, places and things that have been a part of my life, no matter how insignificant they may seem, have taken a part in molding me. Now, I realized that I could never be totally free from where I came from. No matter how long I live in the city, I would always be a country girl by heart.

I never really gained the guts to wear a tube blouse nor lose all my baby fats with endless crash diet. But what the heck, I am still an independent woman even if I’m "probinsyana".

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Love is...

Love is...
...getting a bunch of flowers...
...and those cards made by the cute, creative hands...
... of these amazingly wonderful kids.

Love is...
...the flowers from the man I have spent 10 Valentines with...
...the late dinner date with the loves of my life...

...and the few drinks we had at an alfresco bar.

But ultimately, love is ...
...this card that made my heart swell with happiness and made me realize that no matter what life may throw my way, no matter what my struggles are, I AM LOVED.
Definitely, I have received the best gift ever. 

Happy Valentine's to you! Hope you had a great and love-filled one.