One Night in Kowloon

Well that was a bad title for a child’s story. But then again, this is not a story for children. This is a child’s story. A story about a child, more accurately.

I recently shared with my husband about how I found out I was different from other kids. I’ve always been keenly aware how odd and off I am. Yes, I am keenly aware that my presence repels people and I find it hard to build real relationships. This realization happened at a small outlet of Kowloon House, twenty-something years ago. It’s still stands to this day, prompting me to give my husband a piece of nostalgia.

I was about eight or nine when one of our tenants celebrated her eighteenth birthday. She had Down’s Syndrome. It was both a debutante ball and a children’s party. Her parents rented a small commercial space on the ground floor of our building so me and my brothers were invited, along with other neighborhood kids.

They asked my two darling brothers to dance in the cotillion. I didn’t realise or even wonder why I wasn’t asked. I was too busy playing. Perhaps I was too tall and awkward for any boy to be my partner. I was only happy to attend, I even accompanied my brothers to watch the rehearsals. I remember the other kids also didn’t care so much for the celebrant. We all just wanted to party.

This was an entirely new experience for my eight-year-old self. I felt miles away from home. The Kowloon House outlet was a good hour away from home and looked small in front. The dance rehearsal was on the top floor. The actual party was going to be in a bigger, fancier branch specifically for events. A lady tried to choreograph a dozen pair of kids to the tune of Blue Danube. It took the entire day.

It took a while for the boys to give in to the fact that this kind of dancing involved holding their female playmates. It didn’t help that the other kids, including me, poked fun at them and made pretend camera-flashing gestures.

The other girls shrank in horror at their antics, my antics. When the day started, I was too busy playing to care about how girls treated me. This was the moment that I realised that they never played with me before, and I realised that they never would.

I looked out at the awesome view from the rooftop and saw the neon lights beyond. I spotted the neon lights of a very familiar mall. That mall assured me that I’m in my lolo’s town. I wanted to get out of Kowloon. I wanted my lolo.

So I started walking. They caught me just as I was about to cross the highway. I spent the rest of the evening looking out towards the mall.

I’ve never been able to put a finger on what exactly what was wrong with me. I wasn’t exactly a happy kid. I was a cry-baby, a fact that my cousins took delight in. Perhaps I was too serious and irritable for a kid. I wasn’t exactly smart, pretty or charming. That combination just made a boring and annoying child.

A few years after, my parents hired a child psychologist to figure me out. They never talked to me about my diagnosis. I tried to self-diagnose as I was growing up. I read books about personality disorders. The closest that I got was that I have a highly-functioning sociopathy, a frightful case of self-centeredness, an inert personality or simply that I am a misplaced introvert. Mental health is so taboo and expensive here, it’s not even worth mentioning.

I’m still struggling with building relationships. I’m far from accepting myself. I find that for me to accept something fully, I have to understand myself. I’m quite comfortable with the few strong friendships that I have but I still find it hard to connect with the people I love. I try my best but I am annoyed with the fact that I have to try. I am frequently amazed by people who find it natural to be friends with others. I am amazed by people who put up with me.

I’m still that kid on the rooftop, looking towards the neon light. Often alone.



Waisted Happiness

Norway’s tragedy make me sad.

Our President’s weak promises make me mad.

So I pray and count my blessings. Right now, happiness for Waisty is:

  1. Being healthy –  I never thought it would be so much fun. I have some kind of 1 hour exercise at least 4 times a week — either biking, swimming or boxing (see Number 2) I love eating veggies so eating healthy wasn’t much of a stretch. I feel great about making baon a priority. I feel great. I feel stronger and less sickly now.  Madali lang pala. Don’t tell my mom and my lolo kasi mga one-upper yung mga yun, aapihin lang ako. They like harping me on my weaknesses. They keep me in line that way.
  2. Boxing – I tried two sessions. Every inch of my body hurts but I’ll be back for more. I normally suck at sports but I feel good about boxing. I feel strong, fast, healthy… and beautiful. Thanks to The Goat Locker Boxing Gym in Marikina.
  3. Excellent Customer Service from this dude from SM Marikina. Sabi namin tuloy “Gusto mo bang mag-call center?”
  4. Organic Beauty Care … it’s local and it’s affordable. I know I sound like an ad but i luvluvluv humanheartnature!
  5. Buying a new house. Yessss! We’re almost there!
  6. Love. ‘Nuff said.
  7. Giving my mom a nice hair dye. (i’m kinda good at this)
  8. Experiencing all this with my awesome family.
There will be posts (and pics!) about each little piece of happiness. But right now, I need a massage so I can work tonight. Now let that be pieces #9 and #10!

Ang mga Munting Pangarap ni Bobi

Si Bobi ang Tatay ko.

Natatawa ko sa kanya. Nilibre ko siya ng almusal kahapon. Pambawi kasi di ko siya sinipot nung Fathers’ Day.

Bobi: Tinatanong ka nga pala sakin ni Jun.

Ako: Jun?

Bobi:  Si Jun Cruz Reyes. Mag workshop ka daw sa kanya.

Ako: Ahhh.

(sorry for the name-drop)

Natatawa ko sa kanya. Hanggang ngayon umaasa pa rin na makakapagsulat ako ng seryoso. Palanca daw. Sayang daw. Di naman ako karapatdapat sa pagsusulat.

Ibang-iba talaga sila ng Nanay ko. Ibang-iba ang pangarap para sakin.

Tumango na lang ako kay Bobi. Paano mo sasabihin sa sarili mong ama na nilamon na ko ng corporate world at ng pag-pangarap sa ibang bansa? Paano ko sasabihin “Tay, salamat. Pero matagal na’kong patay.” ?

Di ko masabi dahil mahal ako ni Bobi.

Happy Fathers’ Day.

My Zen: Level Up

Another thing that keeps me sane is giving: if I don’t have the means, then I’ll give my time and and my hands. Volunteering is the best! If the Universe is taking care of me, then I feel that I should also give back. Even if its just a small thing as smiling at my neighbor.

Another thing is to learn something new everyday.

And now to Level Up: I need to start thinking more positively. About myself and about the world. I am used to being a pessimist for so long. It was part of being afraid of disappointment, taking care not to feel so much for anything. I was a stoic chicken. I now realize that I don’t have to be afraid of wanting and working for…whatever. Whether or not I would get what I want, I would end up a better person.

32 No More

I lost 2 inches off my waist. Yay!

My trainees say I do look a lot thinner lately. I say “Well, its all thanks to you guys. The class wore me down!” That class was tiresome, yes, but I love them to bits. One of them was not keen on my weightloss, saying that my cheeks are a bit sunken in. I guess its just a bit to get used to.

I have a lot more energy. I rarely get sick. I take my vitamins plus more Vitamin C.

I don’t have strict exercise regimen. I just try to move around alot. I walk and use the stairs a lot at work.  Three times a week, I just do 4 sets of 30 crunches, some stretching, twisting on my little orange disk and spinning (stationary biking), while watching TV.

I love veggies so eating healthy is not a big deal for me. My family eats big, but we eat healthy. Lots of green and no processed and fatty stuff for us growing up. I drink lots of water, 2 cups of green tea a day, 2 cups (max) of coffee. I eat breakfast like a king, lunch a like a prince, snack like a hiker, and just have a cup of green tea for dinner.

Goal: Reach a waist-to-hip ratio of 7. I’m not so concerned about my weight since 130 lbs is within normal range for my height of 5’3″.  This is a bit of a challenge for me since I have an apple-shaped body. And yes, this is both for aesthetics and health.

To Level-up: Ease on the rice (which I love too much) and add one more set or crunches to my routine. I may change this plan once I lose more weight. I don’t want to get too complicated since I have never been active (no sports or dancing while I was growing up) Easy does it.

Epiphany: The less I think about it, the more effective my plan is. The less I stress about it, the better I feel.

And Last: I’ll try to have a more positive outlook in life. So I can sleep better.