Gratitude

Grateful for another week with much accomplished.. for being good at what I do and loving the work I do.. for weekends with my little guy at home when I can do what I do best: being a mom.. grateful for the things and people I have in my life right now that assures me I am in a very good place.. I am more than okay.

#gothamchicksays #empirestatebuilding #mynewyork #mynyc #manhattan #nycsunset

#onmywayhome #weekend #weekendishere

Daily prompt: Gratitude

I am Important, too

The Daily Prompt: Value

I am trying to keep up with the daily prompts from The Daily Post to be more consistent with posting here.  There are just times when my head is so full of other things that it is difficult to sit down and write something coherent.  I try not to work too hard at it.  If it comes, it comes.. and while there are days when a silent spell takes my space over, there are times when the words just flow freely and I am just always here.  The prompts are supposed to help make that happen.  I try.

One of my favorite hashtags in my Instagram account is #YouAreImportantToo.  We go about our lives prioritizing things according to their importance to us — and oftentimes, we end up putting ourselves at the bottom of the list.  I guess it doesn’t help that we are basically raised on the concept of being selfless, or at least trying to be.  So we put everyone else ahead of us on the list, until the whole town is up above us.  If we were all on a totem pole, you find yourself at the base, with everyone else sitting on top of you.  And there you are carrying that load.

And yet, common sense tells us that you have to be strong enough to carry all that weight.  To be able to prop someone up, you have to have the strength help carry that load.  To help others, you must have the capacity to do just that which means you have to be in a good place yourself.

How often do we hear ourselves saying that we can wait our turn?  Or that they can go ahead,  and we can be last?

We all have our hierarchy of what is important to us, and that denominates our value system.  Where do you figure in that heirarchy?

I used to do just that — putting everyone else ahead of me, until I came to the realization that not only did that impede my helping the ones I wanted to help, but it greatly diminished my self worth.  Everyone was more important — I was supposed to put myself last, and for the longest time, I did.  Until I witnessed how someone showed me how wrong that was by thinking the same way.  It took me a painful experience watching someone put his happiness last, and knowing I was tied to that happiness, find myself the last priority.  And that was my wake up call.

I shed the martyr complex and told myself I was more important than last place.  That while I cannot be priority all the time, I deserved some importance, because I mattered. I had to start with me.

It was important for me to acknowledge that I was part of the equation and that I had to take care of myself in order to be strong enough and be able to do what I wanted for the other important people in my life.  It wasn’t a matter of who was more important, but more of valuing one’s self just as much if not more than others.  You cannot stand strong for others if you do not believe in yourself.  You cannot be there for others if you do not take care of yourself.

We put such importance on the other people who matter in our lives, and we often fail to give ourselves the priority we deserve in the pecking order of things.  Being selfless is a good trait, but not to the point of sacrificing our self worth.

I learned the hard way how important it is to give myself my due.  I’ve gone long enough thinking everything and everyone was more important than me and I could put myself last all the time.  When everything else was said and done, I felt like I lost, having deprived myself to make way or give way to others.  So others could have their fun, have their cake, their piece of the pie — I stood aside.

I have come to realize that I have to be in step with my efforts to take care of others by taking care of me.  That I have to leave some for myself, even if I just take a bite and give them the rest of the cake.  It helps me to help others better.  And to paraphrase the Golden Rule, it helps me to keep things in perspective where it comes to doing unto others what I would want them to do to me.  When what you feel and when your happiness and well-being is important to you, then you are better able to help others with theirs.

So it pays and helps to always be reminded that YOU ARE IMPORTANT, TOO.

 

In Photos: Looking Up

Photo Challenge: Looking up

Way before I arrived here in New York City, someone told me that there was that running joke in these tourists walking around Manhattan.  Barring the obvious about only tourists wearing shorts in the summer, they’re the ones who keep looking up.  They are always awed by the concrete jungle that this part of NYC is, whether they are from another state or another country.

When I started on Instagram not too long ago, I found upward looking shots as a creative way of showcasing the obvious.  It was a different way of making the ordinary stand out.  More than that, it literally showed my world from a different perspective.  Much like stopping to smell the flowers, many of us here tend to forget how there is much to be awed by if we stop looking at what’s street level and looked up instead.  There is a totally different world many levels above us.

Below is a compilation of some of my #LookingUp posts in answer to this photo challenge.

The view from my bus stop this cold, cold early evening in NYC. #lookingup #ny #mynewyork #myny #manhattan #42ndstreet #midtown #ilovenewyork #onmywayhome #thebigapple
May 19, 2014: The view from my bus stop this cold, cold early evening in NYC. #lookingup #ny #mynewyork #myny #manhattan #42ndstreet #midtown #ilovenewyork #onmywayhome #thebigapple
#LookingUp #SomewhereInTheFlatIrobDiatrict last week while waiting to go to #dinner. It's always good to look at a different view every once in a while. It refreshes your #perspective and gives you a new way to appreciate things.. And appreciate the peop
#LookingUp #SomewhereInTheFlatIrobDiatrict last week while waiting to go to #dinner. It’s always good to look at a different view every once in a while. It refreshes your #perspective and gives you a new way to appreciate things..
Looking up: once in a while you have to look up to put things in its proper perspective. #mynyc #mynewyork #lookingup #perspectjve #ilovenewyork #midtown
Looking up: once in a while you have to look up to put things in its proper perspective. #mynyc #mynewyork #lookingup #perspectjve #ilovenewyork #midtown
#Lookingup: running late for brunch but almost there .. Of course, had to stop and snap a pic of the #EmpireStateBuilding. #sunny day today so grab your piece of #sunshine, #nyc ! #Manhattan #mynewyork #mynyc #ilovetheempirestatebuilding
#Lookingup: running late for brunch but almost there .. Of course, had to stop and snap a pic of the #EmpireStateBuilding. #sunny day today so grab your piece of #sunshine, #nyc ! #Manhattan #mynewyork #mynyc #ilovetheempirestatebuilding
#GlassCanvas: #perfect #sunnyDay in #Manhattan. Such a #gloriousfriday it is! #weekend #Friday #NewYork #newyorkcity #skyscraper #glass #glassfacade #lookingUp
#GlassCanvas: #perfect #sunnyDay in #Manhattan. Such a #gloriousfriday it is! #weekend #Friday #NewYork #newyorkcity #skyscraper #glass #glassfacade #lookingUp
#LookingUp from #lutrellstowncastle on a #sunnydayInDublin. We'll be back here #Wednesday for #funandgames and #dinner with the team. #ireland #Dublin #workcanbefun #loveWhatYouDo #GothamChickInDublin #sightseeingInDublin #castle #castleindublin #beckha
#LookingUp from #lutrellstowncastle on a #sunnydayInDublin. We’ll be back here #Wednesday for #funandgames and #dinner with the team. #ireland #Dublin #workcanbefun #loveWhatYouDo #GothamChickInDublin #sightseeingInDublin #castle #castleindublin #beckha
The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC: Looking Up - We always have a grand time visiting here #Washingtondc #smithsoniannationalairandspacemuseum #lookingup #space #nasa #museum
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC: Looking Up – We always have a grand time visiting here #Washingtondc #smithsoniannationalairandspacemuseum #lookingup #space #nasa #museum

Giggle, giggle

Daily Prompt: Giggle

We have a term for the giggly in Tagalog: bungisngis.  It’s that penchant to giggle at the slightest provocation, usually denoting a cheerful countenance.  Someone who is easy to smile or laugh, lighthearted and cheery.  That comes to mind when I think about “giggle”.

We giggle when we are amused, thrilled or nervous.  I believe it’s a natural tendency for laughter to find its way out of the deep core where we usually keep it hidden.  Like one of my former law professors used to say, “in the deepest of our hearts.”  It comes out during that one moment when we actually let ourselves go and allow the imp or the child or the easy going part of us out.

Amused.  Remember those times when you just can’t let a guffaw out or when it isn’t quite that funny but more amusing?  We stifle the laughter and instead let out a giggle.  Like a child.

I cherish the moments when my now almost 12 year old giggles like the child I wish he would always be.  When I hear that deep and hearty sound of delight and laughter that literally racks his body with a deep and sincere laugh if there was ever such a thing.

It’s almost laughter but not quite.. Yet it resonates from within.

Thrilled.  Girls gush and giggle.  There was a time when just hearing our crush say hello or call us by name would lead to a giggle when he was out of earshot.  Or those times when we shared our secrets with our bestfriends and we would feel so over the moon that we let out a bit of the warm and fuzzy in our tummys by letting out one.

Nervous.  I have a tendency to be giggly when I’m nervous — but nervous in a good kind of way.   The giggles come out between sentences, awkwardly punctuating those pauses in the conversation or as one tries to mask the unease.  A lifetime ago when I was younger, someone kissed me and it felt weird and awkward and in my immaturity and girlish impishness, I giggled.  And I guess he found it weird that I did and that didn’t get followed by another one of those.  Nerves.  Why does giggling make it easier?

Finding my voice again

Daily prompt: Voice

I believe that we all have our own individual voice, and that each one is uniquely and distinctly our own.  We are born with it but are not always in touch with it.  Some even don’t know that it’s there.

It’s that part of us that speaks to the world about who and what we are.  Sadly, sometimes this voice is muted or suppressed and drowned out by other voices around us.

I have always been loud.  As in booming.  While I may seem to be shy at the start, it’s only because I don’t go in announcing myself to the world.  I’m the one you see making her way around the room introducing herself to you and the rest, one at a time.  I can speak to you or the group — and you will hear me very distinctly.  Even in the midst of the collective noise of individual conversations going on in a disjointed chorus, I can raise my voice and halt that chatter to silence.

I was raised to defer to authority, and I would be the one raising her hand to be heard– not the one who just shouts from the back of the room.  When I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to have been encouraged  to find my voice and speak with confidence.  I was taught to not be afraid and to have my voice heard when necessary.

So I learned how to say no when I wasn’t up to agreeing to something.  If I had a contrary opinion, I would not be one to be intimidated for holding an unpopular view and I would make my point heard.  I sold myself as a candidate to crowds of people.  I won speaking competitions and college student council elections.  I confidently made business pitches to sell ideas.  I found my voice both in the audible and physical sense.  You “heard” me even just by “seeing” me.  I wasn’t the flamboyant one, but I stood out as an individual in a crowd.  It wasn’t so much about colors or hairstyles– it was because I walked with a confidence that made people listen when I needed them to.

That voice helped me to make my way through law school.  It helped me to move around the corporate world after.  And it helped me to make the move to this side of the world because that was what I wanted.  

Yet somewhere along the way, my voice started to fade.  At first, little by little.  Even I didn’t notice it. I didn’t speak up as often, I would just follow other voices.  And then one day my voice just wasn’t me anymore.  I told myself it was me adjusting to my new life.  I didn’t realize, though, that I allowed my voice to be silenced, and I mimicked the voice of another whose approval meant the world to me.

But there is something about suppressing the voice within that eventually sees it struggling to be heard again. Events unfolded and I found myself clearing my throat and searching for that booming sound within.  I never really lost it– I had just let it be buried in the din of others shouting above mine.  I screamed to break free and silence fell, and the collective noise ceased.  When all ears were on me, I declared, “I am back.”

I stopped listening to the voice that tried to mold me into something I wasn’t.  The only voice I listened to was mine, and I had missed that.  I had missed being who I am because I was too busy being someone else.  Lesson learned.  

And everyday, I smile as I hear my inner voice telling me, “I am back.”

Black and White

Daily Prompt: Contrast

I have always thought of CONTRAST as a “black vs. white” kind of thing.  To me, it’s about night and day.  Two distinctly opposite sides or ends of the spectrum.  Clearly delineated.  No blurred lines.  No grey.
Contrast daily prompt

In my every day, I look to that as a way to focus or get me “centered” when I feel like I’m losing my footing.  I think about the happy and focus on that being present in my life, and I tell myself it still outweighs the sad.  

I have always believed that everything  has a good and a bad side and one reinforces the need for another.. And it makes the bad necessary or we would never really get to appreciate the good.

Daily Prompt: Secret

Blog graphicI haven’t participated in the Daily Prompt in a bit, but I’ve had some pingbacks due to some recycled prompts that have appeared in the previous weeks.  I thought I’d give this a stab and then hit publish.

There are times when I feel the urge to write but then I am lost between feelings and questions and ideas racing through my head.  It doesn’t help me to come up with a coherent post, so it’s during those times when I try to calm all that activity in my head by doing something deliberate.  Like writing a post based on the daily prompt.

Today we have a one-word prompt: Secret.

For some reason, the word resonated with me and here I am typing away.  As spontaneous as can be.  Just writing.  For the sake of writing.

We all have parts of us that we want to keep secret from the rest of the world.  I’m not talking about those things that some people who are in our circle of trust know but which the others don’t.  It’s that part of us that only we know about ourselves.

That’s a little difficult for me because I’m basically an open book.  I don’t hide my emotions very well and I tend to be transparent.  What you see is what you get. After everything I’ve been through, any former attempts at civility or propriety have been forgotten when it comes to being brutally honest with how I feel and what I am thinking.  But I have learned to temper that with a more pragmatic approach to things that tend to prick at my persona — I no longer pounce like I used to. I now tend to sit back, let it sink in, maybe let it pass, or slowly formulate a response.  I am not quite as spontaneous like I used to be.

So I no longer get mad or angry as quickly as before.  But I no longer edit myself as much as I used to once I allow myself to react.

And yet I wish that I wasn’t so easy to read or that I wasn’t so forthcoming about things.  There is this part of me that I want to tell the world about, but which I cannot because I have chosen to do that anonymously.  There is a part of my story that I want the world to know, but I cannot write it under my byline nor have it link back to me — at least not for now.  I feel that anonymity will serve me well if I am to write as openly and honestly as I want to.

There I was thinking of the appropriate pseudonym.  Something “me” — yet not easily connected to me.  When I finally found one, I felt like it was a stroke of genius.  It wasn’t obvious on the outset, but then a connection could be made when you saw the name.  I am dying to blurt it out here but I cannot.

That is a part of me that will remain secret for until the time when I feel it is time for it not to be.  I have been struggling to write that secret out, but I have it all structured in my head. It’s like a half finished canvas that I want to unveil but cannot.  At least for now.

It’s that artwork that you wish you can lay claim to, but out of deference to people who matter to me, I cannot.  So if people rave, I will just listen in silence.  Until it’s time to let the secret out.

Sometimes a name can embody more than just an identity.  This one does.  This one will.  And that’s a name that will remain secret until such time that I think I can reveal it.

 

Repost: Daily Prompt: “Sorry, I can only help one person at a time”

I don’t usually rehash posts and repost but this prompt reappeared on The Daily Post, and although it’s two years old, I think it’s worth sharing again.

Daily Prompt: Sorry, I’m Busy..Tell us about a time when you should have helped someone… but didn’t.

I know the prompt is about not having helped someone at a time when that other person needed help..but this prompt appealed to me for a totally different reason.   It’s not that I have always been ever ready to extend help when requested or when there is an opportunity to do so.  I have had my own failings in this department.

However, when I read the prompt this morning, it hit me from a different angle.  There was a time when I was the one on the other end — the one that got the cold shoulder, the one who was brushed off.

It feels like that was a lifetime ago, twice over.  I find it ironic that the most painful brush offs were from people I least expected it from.  Two people who had become a very big part of my life.  One who, for many years, shared everything I had — and when it was my turn to ask, I was told there was a difference in wanting to help and being able to help.  There I was the one in need, and this person made out to be the victim.  So that was that.

The second most painful was when someone told me that very line — “I’m sorry but I can only help one person at a time.”  It rings hollow now when I try to bring myself back to that point in time when I heard that first.  Perhaps my heart has been steeled by the realizations that followed.

I have long since realized that people can make you feel important and make themselves believe you matter to them, but when the rug is pulled from under you, they scurry away because to be there would take too much of an effort from them — and there are other things that are far more important than you.

Imagine if  the higher power we look to for our faith told us the same thing — then we would be a miserable sea of broken people.  But that is exactly what sets Him apart from us who are frail of spirit and weak of heart.

“I’m sorry but I can only help one person at a time.”  Cowardice shielded by dramatic words.  That it sounds good doesn’t make it right.  Neither does it make it true.  In truth, we help many people, half of them by choice, half of them by chance.  The ones we turn our backs on, however, are always a deliberate choice.  We choose NOT to help them.

Whatever faith we hold in our hearts, we are all taught to be kind to others.  When we choose not to be kind, even when we convince ourselves it’s for the good of the majority — we go against that very grain of kindness.  It does not justify turning our backs on those who need us.  More so when we turn our backs on those we promised never to shun or set aside.

At the start, remembering being turned away was painful.  For a time, there was hope that I misheard it, or that perhaps there would be a realization along the way.  But I was the one who eventually came to realize that when others choose not to help, there will always be those who will.  Kindness can come from the most unexpected place — from the last person you would expect would understand and just hold your hand.

I hope that I will have the werewithal to never utter those words.  “I’m sorry but I can only help one person at a time.”  I wouldn’t want to say that to someone already downtrodden and carrying a load on their shoulders — because it would be like saying “I can’t help you because I’d rather help someone else.”  I hope I’ll remember to say “I want to help but I can’t.. not now.. not in the way you need me to.. but let’s see how I can in another way.”

I wish them well.  I know they know I made it through the storm — and with the help of others, I’m still here.  There is a lot of good out there — even if we don’t find them in the people we expect to find it in — kindness will find its own way.

I blog because..

I have tried to stay regularly involved with The Daily Post  which is really helpful to bloggers like me who are trying to improve on their skills on the web — be it photography, writing, web design or networking.  I haven’t been able to post as regularly based on their prompts of late, but I definitely recommend that you pay them a visit if you are not familiar.

I am subscribed to the daily prompts and the idea is to write a post and tag yourself in a comment following the post, so that you and other like-minded bloggers can give their two cents’ worth on the subject matter.  There are times when the prompts are very easy to write about like today. The question is, Why do you blog?

.. it helps me to chronicle not just my every day, but the thoughts and feelings that visit my mind and heart, and doing so enables me to see the world around me more clearly.  I have been blogging for 11 years now and it is always a journey to go back to older posts or even last week’s.  Be it to remember or look back or relive something that had come to pass, my life in words has been a way for me to reflect on what I have and what I once had.  Those times I look forward and instead dwell on what I want to do or plan to do, writing about how those plans are going or have changed keep me on the path I want to take.

.. I like to remember the things that made an impact on my life — people, places, things and feelings.  It can be something as simple as a beautiful sunset that just had me mesmerized at the end of the day.  Or the imposing Manhattan skyline that I say goodnight to as I head home.   They remind me of where I am and of how precious it is to take the moment to stop and look and just breathe.  I write about them or use that snapshot as a reminder of that moment, and even if I don’t go back to that post until years later, when I do, the feelings come back and I get to relive that happy thought or awesome point in time I just said wow.

.. I believe that we all learn from one another, and my experiences and thoughts can help someone as other people’s words have helped me.  I get many inquiries about law school and dreams about being a lawyer — proof of which is that my most read posts are those relating to this topic.  That was one big part of my life that I had lived through and had left behind, but whose lessons have enriched me in ways beyond learning about the law.  I am happy to have helped others who had questions that needed answering — perhaps a simple prod to go after one’s dream like I did.  I have met people in real life who have stumbled upon my little corner of the blogsphere, and I have been enriched with those interactions in ways I cannot count.

.. it helps me think out loud, and listen to my inner voice better.  That’s the reason why one of my most robust categories in this blog is “Just Me Thinking Online”, which, as of this writing has 365 posts under it.  It really is as random as it sounds — it’s not about anything in particular — just me speaking my mind out.  And I think we often forget there’s that inner voice inside us.  We often fail to listen to the one authority on us that we should really pay mind to: ourselves.  We get caught up with listening to everyone else but the heart that matters — because we think we should be last.  One of the most impactful lessons I’ve learned in the recent years is that that is one of the biggest mistakes we can make: to forget that we should take care of ourselves, too.  We have to trust that we have the inner wisdom to know what is best for us, even when it’s not that easy a thing to do.

I have always said that I blog for very selfish reasons — I blog for me, myself and I.  That others find my words worth reading is a nice pat on the back, but it won’t stop me from writing as I write now, or prod me to go in another direction.  There is writing just to write– and that’s why I’m here.  That’s the reason this blog has existed and will continue to exist for as long as I can spew out the words that find themselves online.

Daily Prompt: Ready, Set, Done!

Daily Prompt: Our ten-minute free-write is back for another round! Tap away on whatever comes to mind, no filters attached. (Feel free to edit later, or just publish as-is).

A note from Pinay New Yorker: For the past couple of months, my posts here have been very spontaneous and I have not been participating in any of the things going on at The Daily Post, a community of bloggers on this platform.  A quick search shows that my last attempt at being a part of their Daily Prompts was in April yet with this post.  It can only mean that either I have been so prolific and not wanting for any blog prompts, or I have been too lazy to try and write with a set standard or parameters.  (That’s the rebel in me.)  In any case, I have been trying to “get back” to writing with the community, and looks like this will get me somewhere — this time.  So the clock has been set — 10 minutes… let’s see what we come up with.

I just downed two tablets of pain relievers because I have a nasty headache rearing its ugly head somewhere at the back of my brain.  It isn’t quite there yet, but I know it’s coming.  Give me my meds!

It’s been a rather quiet morning — although not for want of anything to do, but more because the boss is away.  There is a lot I need to catch up on, and I’m trying to tick things off my list.  The end of the year is always busy for us, until we all go on holiday.

This year is different because I know I’m not going home, “Home” being 10,000 miles away where Christmas begins in September and ends with the Feast of the Three Kings second week of January.  (Yes, we have the longest Christmas season ever.)  I have started thinking of my Christmas card which I have made every year — well, except for last year.

Pause.  There are times when I get stumped and this is one of those times. 

Looking back to last year, except for the fact that I surrounded myself with the love of family and friends back in Manila, it wasn’t much of a Christmas for me.  Part of me was being torn by anger and hate, and part of me was being crushed by a life-changing disappointment.  Yet at that time, I found the greatest strength in the people who have always been there for me.  The same people who have rejoiced with me when I found myself in a good place held my hand and saw me through the worst of times.  My annual holiday card was the last thing I was thinking of.

This year, my holiday card will be one of the things I want to bring back.  Yes, I will make it again.  I don’t know yet what design or which way I will go.. what colors or what symbols I will put in.  Do I do mixed media or a plain photo card?  And it hits me that I have Thanksgiving to worry about first. 

And again, I go back to last year’s.  There wasn’t much to be thankful for… and I didn’t even bother to cook.  We had a good thanksgiving lunch, though, at a fancy place up in Long Island.  I think I’m going to go that route again.  (Makes my life easier.. and easy is always better.)

I don’t like that I don’t have Manila to look forward to this Christmas, but I’m fine with that.  Part of my “journey back” in the last year has been to try and regain my footing, which, I think I’ve had some success with.  I am more upbeat about the holidays this year than I was in 2013, and that, in itself is a good thing. 

Life goes on, they say.. and I’ve gone through the last 12 months with a better understanding of that phrase.  I’m here, am I not?  And here is where I am staying.