MOVED TO WORDPRESS

After five long years of blogging under www.storiesandtheories.blogspot.com, I have finally packed up and moved on. I literally packed up all my blogs from this site and moved them to Wordpress.

Why am I moving after my beautiful five-year relationship with Blogspot? Well, it's pretty shallow, really. There isn't a good app on my phone for Blogger. Sure I have BlogAway app but the interface isn't very nice. I just want to make blogging easier so that I can keep blogging the moment inspiration hits. With BlogAway, it's just such a hassle that I end up not wanting to blog at all.

Actually, I eventually really made the decision to transfer after I read different posts on comparing Blogger and Wordpress. I read somewhere that Google owns my posts vs Wordpress where I own all my content and that somehow brought back the trauma of my Multiply blog. From the posts I read, Google can choose to shut down blogspot and all my blogs would be gone - which is exactly what happened to my Multiply account! I had years of everyday blogs on there and now they are all gone!!! I seriously blogged every single day! I queued posts when I knew I couldn't blog a certain day... I'm that committed to having a post every day! And now that's all gone and I'm never going to let that happen again!

Unfortunately, there are a lot of downsides to my Wordpress account, too. First, my beautiful blog name was already taken so I had to settle with "storiesntheories.wordpress.com" Second, I can't customize the themes and I can't add all my buttons and GIFs. And third, I'd have to pay to be able to do all the customization I can do on Blogger for free! And since my site has an audience of one, I don't think it would be a wise investment.

Anyway, so far so good. The Wordpress app is really nice and I've been blogging almost every day since the move. Here's hoping I finally settle down for good on Wordpress.

Bye, blogger! I really did love you!


STORY: Grocery Check Out

Disclaimer: I typed and finished this blog post via the Blogaway app but the stupid app stopped responding and now my long post is gone!!!! I was so inspired to type everything in and now even that inspiration is gone. I am so frustrated now but I'm trying my best to fight it enough to get through retyping the entire thing.

There are some things that can't be captured with words, pictures, or even videos. The emotions and back story built into the people involved in certain moments get lost along the way. Actually, it could just be because I am not as skilled in writing, photography or videography as I need to be to capture said moments. But whatever the case, I still want to try and create a remembrance for certain events. Just like the one tonight.

Before I share what happened, know that the years between Jose and I change what certain things mean, to me at least, versus what a third party would pick up from watching the same situation unfold. The events below seem completely ordinary or unimportant but knowing what I know about Jose and knowing how we are together will change how you imagine everything.

Jose and I were at the grocery, falling in line at the check out counter. We just had a basket of cookies, bath soap, dog food and razors (such a random group of items) so we headed for the 12-or-less-items counter. While I flipped through the magazines on the rack by the counter, the cashier was already scanning the last two to three items of the lady ahead of us. From my peripheral vision, I saw that Jose let the guy behind us cut in line. It was not like Jose at all (If you knew how impatient Jose is, this would be your first thought, too). Jose was the guy who had nightmares of getting stuck in traffic or long lines so I was quite surprised that he just let someone get ahead of us. I asked Jose if the guy was a companion of the lady in front of us, thinking this was why he would let the guy go ahead. Jose then said that it was because the guy had only two items - a bottle of facial wash and a bottle of mouth wash. I found it so nice that Jose did that so I let out an "awwww" like I always do (much to his annoyance). As I did, his resting mad face turned into intentional mad face (Jose always looks mad. I just learned to tell the difference between the resting one and the intentional one).

As we placed our items on the counter, Jose kept trying to conspicuously stop me from expressing my affection (he wasn't very conspicuous, by the way) but I just kept making my "awwwws" more obvious because (1) I find it so adorable how he tries to secretly shut me up and get more annoyed in the process and (2) I'm just really happy when he does random nice things for strangers that I can't help but "awwww" some more (Jose is a nice person ha, just his own kind of nice). A third unofficial reason (it's unofficial because I already know the answer) is actually to see how long he could stay pissed at me when I'm being all cutesy (answer: for as long as I try to be cute. He will never budge, I swear!).

After all the items were placed in paper bags, we walked out towards the parking lot. The rain was pouring hard so we had to wait the rain out in the covered area near the entrance. While waiting, I continued to show my "adoration" over his little act of kindness. I kept nudging his shoulder, squeezing his arm and letting out more "awwws" the entire time. I got so annoying that his intentional mad face turned into serious mad face. It was then I stopped bugging him. I walked to the other side of the covered area and waited for the rain to stop there. A few minutes later, Jose was already standing beside me and asking if I was mad. I wasn't mad but I was too lazy to exert any effort explaining that I wasn't mad so I just went along with it. So he thought I was mad and then he was about to get mad about me being mad... but he noticed the rain. He said that the rain has slowed down a bit and that we could already make a run for the car. So we ran.

The rain was actually still pretty hard so we got soaked. When we got inside the car, we checked the brown bags we were holding and they were also wet. Jose asked if I got my feet wet so I looked down to check. As I did, Jose ran his hand from my face up to my head wiping all the rain water. He then squeezed my cheeks and turned my head to face him then kissed me. I was looking at him (because he was still holding my face towards him) when he said, "Bakit ba ang kulit mo?" then laughed. Before I could answer, he followed his question up with, "Ang kulit mo talaga!" He laughed again so I laughed, too. We laughed for a little while more then we headed out of the parking lot. Next thing I know, we were talking about how foggy the tiny parking lot tollbooth was from the air conditioning. Then that was it.

It's sad that I can't remember all the little moments that happen between Jose and I like the one tonight. I know this moment has no real significance in our lives. It won't affect any of the bigger pieces of the puzzle down the road. But I'd really like to be able to give specific examples when I tell people that I find Jose kind, or adorable, or funny. Not just Jose actually, any person in my life!

I figured that we don't usually remember the specific events that lead us to our overall impression of people. We just remember that someone is funny or smart without remembering the day that person said the joke or that person shared some cool trivia. I know the brain has to free up space to store more important things but still, I'd like to find a way to be able to look back at these passing moments. It's a good thing my blog is here to help me with just that.

WHAT THE HELL

I JUST SPENT THE LAST 15 TO 20 MINUTES TYPING A LENGTHY BLOG ON MY PHONE AND IT'S ALL EFFING GONE. I HAD TO SPELL CHECK AND EDIT AND WHATEVER AND IT IS ALL EFFING GONE. I WAS FILLED WITH SO MUCH EMOTION AND POETIC AND ALL AND NOW IT IS ALL GONE. EMOTION IS GONE. EFFING INSPIRATION IS GONE. SCREW APPS! I AM SO MAD RIGHT NOW ALL THE CAPS IN THE WORLD WILL NOT HELP.


STORY: Andy The Island


I think I was just made fun of. I'm not entirely sure. I know that sounds really sad as it is but it gets worse. I was laughing along with them the entire time. It was only after the laughing stopped did I have time to realize what was happening. They were laughing about me not having friends. They were joking about it but if you read between the lines, it was like they were saying I was such a sucky person that's why I had no friends.

Ever since, no one ever really wanted to be my friend. I know a lot of people who everyone wants to be friends with. They're the ones people flock to when it's time to pick buddies for the school trip or partners at a game. The ones you want to sit with at a party or chat with during breaks. The only time people would flock to me was when the activity involved grades or deadlines. People go to me when something needs to be done, never just because.

I can't blame them, though. I didn't make liking me easy. In fact, I think I made it so difficult no one dared to try and like me. I didn't do any of that consciously, if that even matters. Then again, I also didn't do much to make myself likeable when I was made aware of how people perceived me. I just continued to be me. And unfortunately, "being me" is only positive when the "me" being referred to is a nice person. And today, I've finally accepted that I'm not nice and I'm never going to be nice. But even more unfortunately, I realized that that acceptance doesn't mean I'm going to be okay about everything... because I'm not.

So that leaves me here, sitting alone on the concrete seat at the park during high noon (I am literally typing this as my butt overcooks!). I just analyzed everything that I could from the 5-minute laughing spree from 10 minutes ago yet my analysis has left me right where I was before - alone. I've never hated being alone. I love it, even, on most days. But maybe that was just me trying to fight emotions with mind power. Maybe that was how I coped with being alone that I couldn't tell what I think and what I feel. Or maybe that was me taking my dad's words too seriously, "Mind over matter." But what gives, mind? Why can't you help me get over this matter? I can't wait to believe I love being an island again. Hurry now.

Please.

THEORY: Dream real, not big.

Finally being in-charge of your life is fun and liberating until one day it isn't. How and when the drastic shift happens is unclear but I just know that one day I woke up thinking "I make my decisions! Help!" from "I make my decisions! Yay!"

When I finally finished school, I had this entire five-year plan scribbled in some imaginary note pad as guide for what my next step in life is. I didn't have to actually write it down because I've been reworking the plan in my head for years that I've got it memorized. I was going to be living on my own, driving a car (doesn't even need to be brand new), working at a nice advertising agency, and going on cool trips time to time.

If you look at where I am now, I've actually achieved all of those things except for the living on my own bit. So I should be happy, right? Wrong. What my five-year plan didn't include was what would happen in the next five years and the five years after that. It also didn't account for taxes and insurance and food and phone bills and all the details that make the five-year plan a reality. I own a car but I struggle to pay for it every month. I don't even bring it all the time because the cost of gas and parking will just eat from what I would use to pay the monthly fee. I go on trips, yes, but I end up poor for the next two months. I get by by packing lunch and stocking on cookies and noodles in the office. I work at an advertising agency and it is fun and exciting and fulfilling but it isn't as fancy as I expected it to be. I don't make as much as I appear to be making. And the work demands more time and energy than I thought it would.

All the decisions I've made so far actually made my five-year plan a reality but it has also left me too poor and frustrated about what to do after the five years are over. I'm a little less than two years away from the end of my plan and I don't know how to move forward. I am afraid to make any more decisions for my own life. Look at where my decisions have taken me? I am even more afraid to make any moves as I can't correct them as easily because I'm running out of time.

What I do at this point in my life will dictate how the next phase will be. I can't dream too big and too short term. I have to dream real and plan for it.I find myself thinking of buying property for a future family, just to be sure I'm covered. I don't want to end up wanting to settle down and panic that we have nowhere to live. I find myself calculating the bills I will have to pay ten years down the line and figuring out how much I need to be making to account for all of it. Because of that, I'm thinking of ways to ensure my pay reaches X amount in X years. I don't want to be struggling month to month with an entire family having to live by noodles and cookies just to make it to the next pay day!

This is all too much and too scary for me. It's also very disappointing that I'm actually in this situation. I thought I had a game plan. I thought I was in control. I thought I was going to do better than the 20-year olds I observed when I was 12 (when I started the first drafts of the five-year plan). I am actually no better. I'm the same broke and struggling and lost person that some 12 year old is observing now. And the unfortunate truth is that in the eyes of the 12 year old, I'm living the dream. No, child. Be better than me. Any fool can dream big but it takes a better person to dream real.

STORY: What do I want?

I was listening to Alphaville's Forever Young on Spotify on the way home and it was one of those moments when a song you've heard so many times before suddenly becomes a trigger for some self reflection. When the chorus came up, I couldn't help but try and answer the question, "Do you really want live forever? Forever young?"

For the past months, I've been finding myself reflecting about mortality and what the purpose of everything is more often. It's not my birthday nor is anyone dying or dead for me to suddenly be aware of how everyone ages and eventually dies so this sudden obsession with figuring out how I feel about dying someday is weird, even for me.

But since I'm me, I entertain the thoughts anyway. I keep thinking about how it would feel to be old. What would my concerns be? What would my motivations be? What would my purpose in my family, in society, in life be? When you're 23, you don't worry about these things. You know you're needed somewhere somehow no matter how unskilled or uneducated you are. Your youth is all that matters. Your opinion is even constantly sought after. But what happens when one day you wake up a sixty year old person with no one concerned about what you thought about the latest movie, song or artist? What happens when you have nothing else to save up for? What if you work for the sake of work but no one really needs you to do it? Or what if you're sixty and you're still doing something you hate? What then? If there is still time to correct mistakes or achieve some dreams, will it still matter? Or what if you've accomplished all your dreams, can you still dream up new ones?

All these questions unanswered. And that's just the first part! Part of me wants to grow old and get life over with. I feel like I'm in one big race and sometimes when I'm tired I want to cut to the finish line already. Then all the questions above come in then I start to question what is so special about the finish line anyway. I mean, what would it feel like to suddenly not be doing what you've been doing forever to get to some place to not do what you've been doing anymore? Does that even make sense?
It's a weird and seemingly unending reflection process. But out of all of it, I actually realized one thing... you can actually fear something you want. I want to find peace after all these steps and phases and paths at the end of my life. But I'm also afraid of peace. When there's peace, there's nothing else to do! And being purposeless is scary!

I wonder if sixty year olds are feeling or have felt the same things I am feeling now. I wonder if I would feel the same when I do reach 60. I wonder if this will even matter to me when I'm 60. Whatever the case, I'm still trying to figure out if I want to reach 60. But that's going to start a whole other set of questions and I have yet a song to inspire that discussion. 'Til then.

THEORY: Choose Your Battles

It absolutely frustrates me that some people use and abuse people around them without care at all! It's like they can't even recognize the evil that they are doing!

It frustrates me more that this situation proves kindness does not always win. That being good and understanding and patient do not guarantee fair treatment or deserved respect.

The worst part is that the abuse does not end with me but extends to the people I love and care for. And since these people I love do not have the heart to say no to someone knocking at their door for help, I just helplessly watch the abuse continue.

But more than frustration for my sucky situation, I feel pity for these abusive people. I pity that they have become so absorbed in their evil ways that they fail to recognize it. Or that they have become so absorbed that they don't even care.

I want to fight them so much but I know better than to fight people I pity.

STORY: Teacher, teacher

I'm in the middle of creating Amanda's math reviewer when I decided to take a look at the large photo album I was using as a lap desk. What started as a one album break turned into a 5-album trip down memory lane. Before I go into the mushy stuff, I need to remind myself (1) to thank mommy for documenting everyone's childhood and (2) to start documenting Jose and I's photos.

Okay, back to memory lane. I saw a lot of photos of my grade school years and I could still fondly  remember a lot of details about them... except my teachers' names. I remembered what they did for me and what they taught me but I just can't remember their names. Part of me felt ashamed that I easily forgot the people who taught me so much and really helped transform me into the person I am today. I know those teachers don't remember me, too and maybe back when I was their student, they didn't really took me as anyone special, but still. I felt I owe it to them, all my teachers, to at least know their names so I can give them due credit when I get praised for my algebra knowledge or my ability to spot a dangling modifier.

I stared at the group of photo of my 6th grade class. I was president that time and my adviser was smiling to the camera. She has long forgotten me now but when I was her student I remembered she was very proud of me when I was the only student not part of the special star section for girls to get picked as a student teacher. Maybe it's all the movies about teachers/mentors speaking, but I imagined she had a hand in making that happen. That she saw potential in me and wanted to help me hone whatever talents or skills I had. Whether thay was true or not, she still told me how proud she was of me. I didn't realize it then but that was one of the moments I unconsciously decided to be more outgoing and more active in school. I never truly thanked her enough for that.

Suddenly, my brain went it to flashback mode and all the teachers who ever made me feel that they saw something special in me came flashing in my head. And I didn't know their names. Well, most of them. To top it all of, the taste of guilt became all the more bitter when I recalled my favorite The Wonder Years quote (which I printed in my college yearbook, btw) --

"Teachers never die. They live in your memory forever. They were there when you arrived, they were there when you left. Like fixtures. Once in a while they taught you something. But not that often. And, you never really knew them, any more than they knew you. Still, for a while, you believed in them. And, if you were lucky, maybe there was one who believed in you" - Kevin Arnold

To all my teachers, thank you. I never really knew you, nor did you know me. But for that one school year, I believed in you and I still can't be thankful enough that you believed in me. 

STORY: Loose Screw

I don't know if "confused" is the correct word to describe what I'm feeling now but it's the closest I can think of at the moment. If I postpone this until I've found the right word, I may not write this thing at all. So, let's just imagine what "confused" feels like and add in a little controlled excitement and feeling displaced and being in the dark with little bursts of light coming in now and then. 

Anyway, whatever word captures that feeling, I've been feeling it for the past three weeks. I'm still trying to find how I fit in this new world I entered, without making it obvious to everyone else how hard it is for me. The last thing I want is for people to see me as the person who couldn't adapt to a little (well, a little big actually) change. 

Well, time has not made anything easy for me so far, if that's what you're thinking. That in time, I will just find my place and everything will be like it was before (although the last time I felt like this, it took a little less than two years to finally feel at home!). Then again, it has only been three weeks and in one of those, I basically did nothing but rearrange my files and curate wedding decor pegs (not for my wedding, okay!) So I guess I'm just panicking and feeling a little agitated that things aren't progressing as fast as I imagined it. I thought by this time I'd already be a fully functioning part of a well-oiled machine. But I'm still a loose screw finding how she fits and desperately wants to help. 

I've never really acknowledged this unnamed feeling until now, so why I'm so upset about the next part of my story is only making sense to me now. So what's the story already??? Well, there's this person who since the first meeting, already felt a little off to me. Not that there was anything wrong with the person but I kind of felt that we were not pieces meant to fit. I would observe how this person talks and carries h**self and I couldn't really pinpoint what it was. There was just something I didn't quite like. Was it the person's lack of humility (if only I kept tally of how many times I heard this person say "I" and "me," I'd have solid proof... but I'm not that crazy... yet.) or his surplus of confidence? I'm not sure. But I ignored that. I blamed it on my unnamed feeling. Maybe I was just agitated and was just overthinking everything. 

But what happened today - how this person talked to me and how this person made me feel that I did not know anything, how this person not only reminded me but emphasized that I was just a loose screw trying to find purpose in an already functioning machine - that validated it. It wasn't my unnamed feeling. It was really h**. Sure my unnamed feeling has made me exaggerate how I view things but this instance was just really as bad as I felt it was. I mean, I could have just let it slide. But there was just something about being at the receiving end of those demeaning words that tells me I shouldn't! I couldn't fire back right there and then because I didn't have all the facts. When I fight my battles, I only do it with confidence. And since confidence was lacking at that moment, I had to retreat (oh, my pride!)

But... I don't really believe in revenge. I believe that things will happen to people when they should happen. So, I'll let whatever force take care of h**. As for me, that incident only motivated me to speed things up (as much as I can! I've been trying to, really!) so that I can be part of the machine and let h** know, with confidence, that you don't talk to people like that no matter how new or old they are!  

STORY: Social Media Detox

Last week, I decided to flush out unnecessary activities from my life. Activities that just eat up my time and energy but do not produce anything useful. Number one on the list is Facebook with Instagram as a close second.

For minutes, even hours when combined, I mindlessly scroll through my feed as if searching for something I'm not sure I want to find. It's such a stupid activity made especially obvious when I tried to recall all the posts I've read on one particular day - from make up hacks I don't even care about (I dont use make up other than brow pencil anyway) to what Kris Aquino drank before bedtime.

It sounds so simple and easy to just quit. I mean, I've had a life before FB and IG, so I must know how to live without it. But after 3 proud days of being out of the social media loop, I caved. It started as little peeks on my notifications until eventually I just threw my hands up and gave up. I know there is a deeper reason why I (along with so many) find it so hard to break our chains with social media. Maybe its the insecurity? The need to prove one's happiness or better state of life to others? The need to be noticed? The need to know what's new? I don't know and frankly I don't want to know. I already am aware I have many personality issues, I don't want to validate it by analyzing my weakness for FB.

Fast forward to today, I find myself disappointed with how I am enslaved by FB and IG. I just caught myself reading an article about Taylor Swift's belly button and I found myself right where I was a week or so ago - wanting to flush out this unnecessary time eater.

Maybe it's easier the second time. You know what they say, if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. So goodbye FB and IG! I hope I last for more than three days this time.

STORY: Run away and read

I don't know why I'm yearning to get away from everything when I'm just on my first day back to work from a 5-day holiday. It doesn't make sense. I guess my body has a mind of its own and just can't wrap itself around the idea that vacations are vacations because they have to end.

Anyway, I've been fantasizing all morning about
my next escape. Unlike my usual daydreams filled with adventurous escapades, I find myself wanting to find a spot in a quiet, forgotten and peaceful place where I can be left alone to read my book. It's not that I'm eager to finish the book because I know how it ends already (I'm rereading Catching Fire). I just want to fully immerse myself in the book and enjoy every detail. Be able to stop and stare blankly for as long as I want when a chapter just hits me and be able to speed through the pages without anyone calling me to do something else.

But I'm here at the escalator on the way to my desk. Guess no running away is happening today.

THEORY: Eager Beaver

I have a love/hate relationship with new years. 

I hate that I have to scramble to remember where I left things off last year. I hate that I have to relearn the rhythm of my everyday life. I hate that I have to leave holiday mode. I hate the heavy feeling of waking up before 10am on the first day back to work. 

But even with all those things I hate, I can't help but love it still. 

I love how it gives me the feeling of second chances, even if I don't need it. I love how it flushes out everything from last year, the good and the bad. I love that it gives me a fresh start. By the middle or end of the year, it's too late to make any drastic changes to your routine. It's too complicated, with so many strings attached to every part of your life. But come the new year, you can make as many changes as you want without worrying as much. You can change your diet, your fashion choices, your circle of friends, all because everyone else is, too! I love how it gives me hope that the bad things will be good and the good things will be even better. I love how it gives me the feeling of courage and renewal. I love how it makes me reflect on where I am now and makes me think of the future. Come mid-year, everyone is so into their everyday lives that the most that they can plan for is the next day. But with the new year, everyone is well-rested, and with more time than they can allot for sleeping and eating that they are actually forced to reflect. I love it!

STORY: Awesome 2014

I don't want to start the new year forcing myself to find inspiration to do what I actually really love. That's no way to start the year. But I guess I can't always get what I want, huh? 

Right now, I'm struggling to find enough gusto to write this "year-ender" (even if it is no longer year end) post to keep up with my now 2-year tradition. I used to love blogging. I actually still do but finding the energy and will power to actually do it has become increasingly difficult through the years. I feel that all the extra time and strength I get are automatically allotted to mindless, relaxing stuff like sleeping or watching movies. So anything other than that takes so much effort to even start doing. But I need to change that. I want to be more productive. I want to constantly work on the things I know I'm good at. I don't want to lose the "fire" inside of me. So, I will fan whatever is left of the flame in me and get through this post. Hopefully, this will set the tone for the rest of the year.

As usual in my year-end posts, I list down all the things I've experienced and learned, even the people I've met and said goodbye to. I'll try to be as organized as I can but since this post really is just for my own self-reflection, it wouldn't really matter. Here we go.