I began the year with the word BRAVE as my battle cry. Brave is my word for 2014 and how apt it has been. I will end the year with the best Christmas gift to myself: a commitment to living simply brave. I have several goals I wish to achieve like hitting One Million steps in 100 days, or losing ten pounds, but there are goals which I wish to privately keep to myself. One of the gifts of this year the call to live with less. Moving from spacious three bedroom flat to a studio, I realized I lived with so many things I don't need. I am called to purge. So for the next 100 days, I am committed to live with less, to live simply, to collect experiences not things, and to one thing everyday that scares me.
|saw this shared by a friend on Facebook and it captures who I want to be in the next 100 days|
While I had been a professional writer for over 16 years now, I don't have an opportunity to bare my raw self everyday in my food and travel articles. So here's the scary thing I will start doing for the next 100 days, I'll bravely share intimate thoughts and feelings on this blog. Many times, I write for myself and keep them in my laptop for no one else. But I'd like to freely share my thoughts and feelings this next 100 days. I do hope you journey with me as I try my best to be simply brave.
Let me start by sharing this piece I wrote in late July called, "Do You Like You?"
Colbie Caillat’s song, “Try,” has been playing in my ear on repeat for about an hour now. I’ve played been playing it earlier today too, several times yesterday, and a couple of time more the day before. “You don’t have to try so hard, you don’t have to give it all away, you don’t have to try so hard, you don’t have to bend until you break, you just have get up, get up, get up, you don’t have to change a single thing, you don’t have to try, try, try, try, try…. You don’t have to try, try, try…” The refrain sings over and over again. “Take your make up off, Let your hair down, take a breath, look at the mirror at yourself, do you like you?”
We live in a world of likes. Our days are spent going through newsfeeds on Facebook and Instagram, where the currency is measured in LIKES. We count friends, or followers, or fans. The preoccupation with being liked is so immense. I am calloused freelance writer, who has gone through numerous rejections from editors. Yes, it takes many No’s before I get a published article out to magazines. How I wish my editors not only like me, but love me! How I wish they not only like every single idea I pitch, but love it.
We all want to be liked. Many of us are guilty of checking if people liked our posts and our photos on Facebook. I am guilty of it. While it is human nature want to be liked and belong. I recall being in Prep. I wanted to be friends with two girls Patricia and Angelica, but they didn’t want to be my friend because I did not have Little Twin Stars Pencil box or Sanrio stuff. My little five-old-self walked away feeling rejected. Since then, I had always preferred down-to-earth, grounded friends not preoccupied with brands. It has worked well for me thank you.
But unfortunately, the opposite of LIKED is not rejection. One wise quote I said, “One of the most freeing thing we learn in life is that we don’t like everyone, everyone doesn’t like us, and that’s ok….” –David Bohl. You don’t have to try so hard to be liked by others. News flash, not everyone likes caviar, or foie gras, or even chocolate. The same way not everyone likes McDonald’s, Coke, or even loom bands. No matter how popular or expensive something is, it doesn’t mean we should like it.
This is what I love about the message of Colbie Caillat’s song. We don’t really have to try so hard to be liked. She asks do they like you, but the more important question resonating with me is “When you are all alone, by yourself, do you like you?”
It is a tough question to answer. We fill our lives with noise. We are at a loss if we don’t have TV, or music to numb out our feelings. I lived in Singapore, with an American teacher, who refused to have a TV. When I moved in with her, it was a new experience to be without a TV, but a liberating one. I turned to books more. While I like music, I am quite happy to be without any music playing. A Filipino chef was alarmed my flat was so quiet when he visited. But minus the hum of the TV, radio, music, and the internet, without other people’s thoughts, when we are all alone with ourselves do we like ourselves?
The real you is who you are when you are all alone. Three years ago when I moved back to Manila, I was living by myself. Unhappy with many things in my life then, I would ease my sorrow with popcorn, pancakes, cake, and other guilty pleasures I could whip up all alone in my flat. I was alone after all, no one could see me doing it. But the sad answer to the question was, “NO!” I didn’t like me. Since last year, I had become committed to actively learning to like myself. I took active steps to live the body I had been given, to enjoy my own company, and to better myself.
I recently learned if you liked your own company, you can never be lonely. Ours is a society of belonging, of social acceptance, of groups, but seldom of being alone. We seek social approval. We want to be liked. But how will we even press that like button, if we don’t know who we are.
July 25, 2014. 8:19pm