Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed: A Self-Confession

Yesterday, I stumbled upon this blog created by a fellow Beatlemaniac who loves to dig deeper into the lives of the Fab Four. Inevitably, I got lost in the world of the four lads once again.

While checking out that blog, I saw photos of John Lennon with this caption: “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.” As you know, this lyrics is from the classic Beatles song Strawberry Fields Forever. Wave after wave of emotions flooded over me when I reached this part. I’m sentimental like that. Poor me.

I’ve just seen the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the pain that I felt after watching it is still here. I was planning to write about my thoughts on the movie and its effect on me, but I still cannot put my emotions into writing.

This is what usually happens to me when I read or watch life-changing stories: I think about them too much for a long time and get tongue-tied whenever I’m asked to share my sentiments about it. This blog post is my attempt at putting those sentiments into words.

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“Ignorance is bliss” – a phrase coined by Thomas Gray in his Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton

This phrase always bothers me. Back in college, I envied people who were clueless about the world. And by this, I mean those people who do not give a damn about anything. Most of my classmates back then only cared about meeting the course requirements, graduating on time, finding a steady job, and building a family so they could live and die happy.

These people don’t give a fuck about the pollution, the corruption in the country, the ongoing wars abroad, the mediocrity of the education they were receiving, the sexism happening every day, etcetera, etcetera. They do not read great books. They do not care if history gets repeated. They do not care who wins the election. They do not watch meaningful documentaries and films. They are not bothered with the bigotry of people. They are ignorant of the bullshit surrounding them. They are not bothered with the senselessness and stupidity of it all. They are stupid. They are normal. They are happy.

Now that I am already working and have seen more of life, I began giving them the benefit of the doubt. I realized that maybe, just maybe, there’s more to these people than meets the eye. What if they were mindful of the bullshit surrounding them but they just choose not to think about them? What if instead of bitching about skimpy things, they just choose to be…happy? What if ignorance is bliss, but there are people who are resilient enough to still be happy despite being aware of all the bullshit in the world?

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” – Ernest Hemingway

But this quote from Ernest Hemingway suggests otherwise. Perhaps I am too young or too dumb or…well, too ignorant, but I can’t name an intelligent person who was or is happy with being intelligent. The writers that I look up to have a history of being lonely or depressed. Charles Bukowski, Mark Twain, J.K. Rowling, John Green, F. Scott Fitzgerald–you name it. Even the geniuses Albert Einstein and Ernest Hemingway weren’t happy with being…genius.

And even if you enlighten me with an intelligent person who is/was happy, there’s no use. It is, after all, a rare thing.

Tell me, how can you be happy when you are aware that the world is full of bullshit? How can you ignore sexism when there are fuckfaces who catcall you on the streets? Where is the peace of mind when you know there are wars going on? How can you be satisfied with mediocrity? How can you sleep peacefully at night knowing there are terror attacks happening in other countries?

“Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.” – The Beatles

Strawberry Fields Forever is one of my most favorite Beatles songs and it’s written by my most favorite Beatle (John). The song is, in my opinion, about a person taking you to a place of solace and safety where nothing is real. I think John simply got fed up with all the bullshit and thought about playing things safe. In the last verse, he says he disagrees. If that meant he disagreed with the phrase living is easy with eyes closed, we have no way of knowing.

Perhaps this lyrics from the classic Beatles song should be the mantra of all intelligent people. Perhaps when I get the chance and money, I should have this phrase tattooed on my body. Perhaps I need to be constantly reminded that living is indeed easy with eyes closed. Perhaps I need to be constantly reminded that whenever bullshit comes knocking on my door, the best revenge is to close my eyes and pretend that it never happened. Or is it?

“Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind made me feel lucky my life has never been easy. If a genie were to come to me and give me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to erase bad memories, I wouldn’t accept it. I’d still choose to remember those bad moments because they were the reasons why I am who I am today. Blessed are the forgetful, but enviable are the ones who remember–-they can learn from their mistakes and live a more meaningful life.

“Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

If there’s one thing I know I won’t ever regret, it’s that wisdom came to me while it can still do me good. Why would I waste this precious opportunity? Living might be easy with eyes closed, but there’s no room in my life for ignorance. We only have one life to live, so why not make the most out of it?

Sure, the best way to make the most out of life is to live happily ever after (if that’s even possible), but my idea of making the most out of life is to do whatever I can to correct the mistakes of the past and make sure these mistakes don’t get repeated in the future. I know this sounds impossible and absurd, but this is my life mission and I will stand behind it until my last breath.

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This Is How You Deal With a Smart Woman Based on Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl

After I returned the copy of the book to my workmate, I knew that I needed to put my thoughts into writing immediately. Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl has fucked my mind, perhaps not in the way that you think or the way it fucked yours, but it did. Hard. While critiques focused on the story, twist, structure, and the author’s style of writing, here’s me writing about the relationship advice I got from the book.

Here’s the thing: I believe that when we read a book, it is the book that reads us and not the other way around. Gone Girl has read my mind: I am like Amy in so many ways, sans the murderess and psychopath part.

No, I am not a killer. No, I am not a psychopath. But if having a brain with no switch, being an over-thinker, and hating on the subject of sexism, misogynistic men, cheaters, and Cool Girls mean being like Amy, then count me in.

When a Guy Falls in Love With a Smart Woman

You know the cliche, “men want her and women want to be her”? That’s the best way to describe Amazing Amy. And Nick? He’s good-looking, he’s hardworking, but he’s poor and has personal issues. He didn’t want to be like his father–the man who abused his mother, the man who calls all women a bitch. Nick was eager to prove that he was not like his misogynistic dad but things got a little out of hand after he married Amy–he lost his job, his mother died, he couldn’t give Amy the life that she wanted. Nick was a failure; he couldn’t be the hero in Amy’s life.

Amy was eager to compromise–to live in a lonely town in Missouri and leave her fabulous life in New York. Isn’t that what love should be? Unconditional? Amy was fine with all these until she was not. She found out that Nick had a mistress.

To say that Nick felt belittled when he couldn’t give Amy the life they both wanted was an understatement. Subconsciously, he wanted Amy to make him feel that he was still his hero, his man. But he refused to tell Amy this because he didn’t want her to think that he was weak. And then he met Andie, the Cool Girl who gave him everything. He chose to ran away from his problems by turning to  this girl who soon became his mistress.

Andie was the opposite of Amy: Andie was also pretty, yes, but mediocre. Andie would give everything to him. Andie did not challenge him. In short, being with Andie was easy. With no curves thrown on the road, he felt superior again. With Amy–his beautiful, smart, almost-perfect wife–everything seemed to be a challenge. Amy’s mind was always three steps ahead of him. Amy’s lifestyle was grander than his. Amy took charge of their life. All of these belittled Nick and hurt his ego as a man. Why would he settle for Amy when there’s Andie? Why would he choose the bumpy road over the empty highway?

This is the problem when a guy falls in love with a smart woman. It’s a matter of pride and ego. When a woman takes charge of your life and orders you to do this and that, of cours, you’ll feel like  shit. You think because you are the man, you should always have the last word, the final say. Gender role issues.

If your woman tells you that she loves you despite your flaws and imperfections, believe her. She wouldn’t be with you in the first place if that’s not true. You may be intimidated by her strong personality at times, but that’s just how she is, especially if her brain has no switch. If she loves you enough to accept your flaws, then you don’t have to try hard to level with her intelligence. What Bob Marley said was true after all:

“If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy. If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing. If she’s worth it, you won’t give up. If you give up, you’re not worthy. Truth is, everybody’s going to hurt you. You just gotta choose who’s worth suffering for.”

Remember that.

Here’s a letter of Amy to Nick to make you feel better:

” So we both have things we want to work on. For me, it’d be my perfectionism, my occasional (wishful thinking?) self-righteousness. For you? I know you worry that you’re sometimes too distant, too removed, unable to be tender or nurturing. Well, I want to tell you that isn’t true. You need to know that you are a good man, you are a sweet man, you are kind. I’ve punished you for not being able to read my mind sometimes, for not being able to act in exactly the way I wanted you to act right at exactly that moment. I punished you for being a real, breathing man. I ordered you around instead of trusting you to find your way. I didn’t give you the benefit of the doubt: that no matter how much you and I blunder, you always love me and want me to be happy. And that should be enough for any girl, right? I worry I’ve said things about you that aren’t actually true, and that you’ve come to believe them. So I am here to say now: You are WARM. You are my sun.”

How to Make This Kind of Relationship Work

When Nick and Amy first fell in love with each other, everything was all about hearts and flowers. They were attracted to each other; both tried their best to please the other. But then life happened and got in the way. They must now face the married life, and as it turned out, the true Amy was not a Cool Girl–the girl who laughs at your silly jokes, does silly things to please you, watches silly movies even though she hates the sexism and lightness of the story, etc.–she was a deep woman who can’t be pleased with mediocre, silly things. Still, Amy tried her best to compromise because she loved Nick so much. Nick loved her beyond words, too. But losing his job, the death of his mother, and the pressure of it all got the best of him. He cheated on his wife because that’s the only way he knew that could keep him sane.

When I reached this part of the book, I sighed and told myself this was too basic. Lack of communication, of course. I can’t stress enough the importance of communication in a relationship. Many couples take this advice for granted, seemingly oblivious to the fact that more than fifty percent of marriages fail because of lack of communication.

You see, Nick and Amy both loved each other but failed to communicate their innermost feelings and desires when they were at their most vulnerable. The inevitable happened. Nick found comfort in the arms of another woman who could give everything that his wife couldn’t. Truth is, Amy was willing to compromise further if he only told her. Nothing of this would have happened if they worked things out before their problems became too much for them to handle. Communication. Honesty is important, too. Obviously.

When you love someone, you should also be willing to compromise. Personally, I don’t believe in unconditional love. There will always be some things that you need to give up to make a relationship work unless you are a perfect couple. Remember what Amy said at the end?

“I was told love should be unconditional. That’s the rule, everyone says so. But if love has no boundaries, no limits, no conditions, why should anyone try to do the right thing ever? If I know I am loved no matter what, where is the challenge?”

True love is always challenging. If everything is about hearts and flowers, how would know if he or she is the one? How would you appreciate the sunshine if you haven’t seen the rain? True love is always hard; it’s always difficult. When you get past all these challenges, only then will you see that he or she is the person worth waiting, fighting, dying, and above all, living for.

Communicate, compromise, be honest with your partner and everything will fall into place. It might sound easy or hard–it ‘s up to you. But if you’re both determined to make your relationship last, everything is survivable. Just look at how things ended up for Nick and Amy. This might be a work of fiction, but it fucking happens in real life. And no, I’m not talking about the killing part, but the failure of a marriage? Yes, that happens. Gillian Flynn has been kind enough to destroy the lives of her characters to teach you a lesson; be modest enough to take it from her.

Eternal Struggle of the Creative Mind

I have attended various writing-related workshops and training programs and my key takeaway is always the same: the secret to becoming a good writer is reading a lot, paying attention to the world, writing a lot, and reading some more. And by read, I don’t mean read books. In fact, reading books, whether fiction or non-fiction, is only the second goal.

If you want to become a good writer, read the how-to-use directions on the back of your shampoo bottle, read the slogans of the companies and brands advertised on billboards, and pay attention to the phrases written on flyers given to you by random people at the mall or on the streets. Read anything.

Pay attention to the world.

You see, I think that’s the eternal struggle of the creative mind. I pay attention to the world too much to the point that I always find myself overthinking.

I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but all I know is that having a brain with no switch can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. It’s tiring. It always gets the best of me. Sometimes, I just want to sleep and put my mind at ease, but random thoughts keep boggling my brain as if there’s no tomorrow.

It sucks.

I started this blog last October 2016 to create an outlet for my random thoughts, take on current political issues that I don’t want to post on Facebook, and latest creative endeavors that I want to share with the world.

Now, whenever an idea hits me, I put my thoughts into writing immediately and feel a million times more at ease with myself.

I don’t know what brought you here, but let me say thank you for dropping by. This is not a collection of the creative outputs that a writer can be proud of, but it sure contains my innermost thoughts that I need to let out.

Writing for this blog helps my mind relax, and that, alone, is enough for me.

A Quick Escapade: Revisiting the Holy Grounds of Regina RICA

My boyfriend’s family lives in Tanay, Rizal and their house is situated in the heart of Sitio Aguho, just a  stone’s throw away from Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia (RICA). Regina RICA is the renowned pilgrimage of Mama Mary where devotees meditate and pray, tourists take a tour, and Cool Kids take pictures for their Instagram posts (lol).

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Regina RICA – you can actually enter the pilgrimage and pray

We’ve stepped into the confines of this sacred ground quite a few times already. Whenever we visit his family, a trip to Regina is always included in our itinerary. Even though we have set foot on this paradise many times before, we are always fascinated with the beauty and serenity of the place every time we go here.

Rey Christian is a Christian (hehe) but he doesn’t mind that the place is made especially for Catholics (like me) and the people there don’t care about him, too. The feeling is mutual. Yehey.

So, enough with the introduction and let’s focus on the photos of our quick escapade captured through his camera phone (with an emphasis on focus because some pictures were out of focus hehehe):

Welcome to Regina RICA!

We skipped this section where you need to take off your shoes and socks before you can enter. We’ve been to Regina RICA five or six times and yet we haven’t noticed this part until recently. Wiw.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step lol

The fool on the hill

Selfie with Regie

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Mah poging boyfriend taking a selfie with his ex-lover (hart hart)

Hihihihihihihi

Here are the things you can do when you reach the top:

  • Light a candle and say a prayer
  • Write a thank you note or special intention letter
  • Walk the labyrinth (wasn’t able to take a photo cos it was raining) and say a prayer
  • Enter the pilgrimage (a.k.a. sulod) and meditate
  • Take in the view. It’s liberating
  • Take a selfie
  • Take more selfies cos y not

We did numbers 2, 5, 6, and 7.

#SelfiePaMore at the hilltop cos y not

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Rey Christian reclaiming his freedom at the cross (charot)

The wishing well and the King of Wishful Thinking

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The chapel where people gather to attend mass

#SelfiePaMore

Handong sa pamilyang Pilipino

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May boyfriend so gay he posed like this in front of so many #pilgrims

Speaking of #pilgrims…

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Hehe ganda ko besh no?

Piktuyr piktyur while saying goodbye to Regina

Lastly, selfies while on the trike

Book Giveaway: What’s A Christian To Do With Harry Potter

Hello! I’m hosting a book giveaway for the first time and I can’t contain my giddiness right now.

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Item for my first book giveaway

I love  books more than people, so why am I giving away one of my prized possessions?

I have always been the type of person who likes to lend the books that inspired her or changed her perspectives in life. Unfortunately, I’ve been victimized by careless borrowers who did not baby my babies and evil people who did not understand my love and passion for books too many times. As I’ve mentioned in one my previous posts, I’ve had enough of these people.

I’m giving away this book because I want to inspire other people and I’m feeling a bit generous ‘cos it’s Christmas time (duh). I haven’t read it yet, to be honest, but I’ve read The Gospel According to Harry Potter (which was borrowed by one of my ‘friends’ and was never returned to me) and they were kind of the same. Also, I’m not in the mood for a religion-related book right now (or for the years to come).

REQUIREMENTS:

  1. You must be a Potterhead.
  2. You must be Catholic/Christian.

I’ll announce the winner on December 18. Good luck!

UPDATE!!!!!!

And the winner is… Kim Gracia! Kim is a smart seventh-grader from Tanay, Rizal who loves to read books. She is also a Potterhead and a Christian. I gave the book to her when we visited them to celebrate their father’s birthday. Kim is my boyfriend’s younger sister (hehe).

Stay tuned for more book giveaways!

The Fab Four on My Wall: A Family Project

Last September (my birthday month), my family worked together to build a hanging bookshelf inside my room. It was one of those activities that bring a family closer together and  I’m glad that my parents and siblings contributed to the project not only because they wanted to fulfill my birthday wish, but because they were into creative activities as well.

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Me and my hanging bookshelves

Recently, we brought out our creative juices once again to give my wall a makeover. This time, we added a touch of classic to my wall.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’d know that in one of my previous posts about the evolution of my bookshelves, I immediately thought of painting my wall as soon as my shelf was ready. Sadly, it took us three months before we could finally turn my vision into reality. My sister Jenniza had been busy with her studies and work and my younger brothers waited for her go signal before they embarked on this creative endeavor.

I knew that Jenniza’s workload won’t get any lighter soon, so I decided to leave the task in the hands of our bunso. Andrew was more than willing (and excited even) to take the lead, so I had no problem with him. All I did was give him the blueprint with a P200.00 as bribe (lol) and he already had the sketch ready after two days. My father helped him do the sketch and it turned out perfectly well. Jenniza gave it a final touch.

Here’s a picture of them working on the sketch and painting my wall:

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We had a great time working together even though my role was merely to judge their work, pinpoint their mistakes, praise the final output, and boast about it on my blog. That’s how creative directors should act, right? I just did my job.

The best thing about this project was that all of us contributed to make it perfect. My mother and grandmother entered my room every now and then to catch a glimpse of the WIP and help in their own little ways like bringing the washcloth near the painters. My father helped with the sketch, Joshua, my younger brother, helped paint the silhouette of George’s face, and Angelica and Adrian cheered as the project progressed (laking tulong wiw).

Here’s the final output:

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The Fab Four on My Wall

We had pizza delivered courtesy of yours truly when the project was completed. It was my simple way of expressing my gratitude because another item was crossed off my bucket list. More creative works and family projects to come!

Production Team

Creative Director: Airen Jem (Panganay)

Artists: Andrew Joseph (Bunso) and Papa

Painters: Jenniza Anne (Second), Andrew Joseph, and Joshua Aaron (Fifth)

Personal Assistants: Mama and Mommy (Grandmother)

Fans: John Adrian (Third) and Angelica Joyce (Fourth)

13 The Beatles Lyrics in Hand Lettering (a.k.a. My First Attempt at Hand Lettering After So Many Years)

Here’s a disclaimer: I am not, by any means, a pro. I used to go gaga over this craft when I was a kid–I was sort of an artistic person back then. I was into drawing, lettering, and writing, but then life happened. Oh well.

Then one day, one random person started posting artworks on social media with the hashtags #BrushLettering #HandLettering #FauxCalligraphy #Typography. And like how all things go these days, the hashtag spread all over the world and many people, millennials and cool kids especially, started jumping on the bandwagon.15320347_1300405570009834_37482069_n-2

I am one of those people. Ew.

I started practicing on the back of my mini notebook using a ballpoint pen, but my interest went a notch higher when I stumbled upon this double highlighter pen set at the supermarket. The brand name was written in Chinese, so I couldn’t exactly tell you what it was. Anyway, here’s a picture to give you an idea.

The level of15310676_1300405520009839_295271850_n-3 my interest went from 1 to 1.5, so I bought this “Light Journal: Colorful Diary Series” with the caption “There Is No More Lightness Light Planner Is Useful Design for Common People” (lol mind you’re own grammar ka (c)Kenya) and turned it into a scratchpad. The brand name was also written in Chinese.

Like any normal journal, it has lines and dates, so it’s not really the best “scratch pad” to use when practicing. But then again, I’m just practicing so I really don’t care about those lines.

To give you an idea of who I am and how I work, I am an eternally lazy person. I hate processes, memorization, reviewing, etc. I am spontaneous, but I don’t think that’s good because I am not a pro. But at the end of the day, I will always choose to be spontaneous because it’s easier that way.

What’s the catch? I don’t use pencil and drafts when it comes to most things (blogging, sketching, lettering, writing, etc.) Most of the time, when an idea hits me, I would put it into paper immediately because my short-term memory sucks and I HATE EDITING. Here are the results of my laziness (pardon the quality of photos #PoorBloggerProblems):

Strawberry Fields Forever

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Blackbird

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All You Need Is Love

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Till There Was You

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Golden Slumbers

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Let It Be

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The End

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Last Thursday, my college friends and I went to Robinson’s Place Manila. I came a bit early, so I had extra time to spare. I went to National Bookstore and found this book called The ABCs of Hand Lettering by Abbey Sy. I instantly got an idea.

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I went to the pens section and saw this Artline Stix Brush Marker. Since I am into Legos and mini figures, I knew this was the perfect set for me. I didn’t care about the quality of the pens–all I cared about was the idea of attaching Legos on the pens.

Once I got home, I immediately tried the pens. There was nothing good about the quality because I think they were meant to be used by kids, but since I wasn’t going for the professional outcome, I didn’t give a damn. Really. I also almost regretted buying the book because I wasn’t able to use it. Yes, I browsed it for inspiration, but I didn’t even look at the samples when I did the lettering. Wiw.

And I Love Her

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Revolution

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Help

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Across the Universe

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Here, There and Everywhere

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As of writing, the level of my interest for this craft is 2/10. Perhaps I’ll use pencil and rulers for the drafts next time, or buy quality pens and a sketch pad for a more pro look. Until then, I’ll continue hand lettering to help my mind #relakksss.