There’s this video going around the Internet today, showing how Photoshop is used to manipulate the images of the models we see in magazines.
It’s kind of creepy but pretty fascinating — so if you haven’t seen it yet, here you go…
Anyhoo, as expected, there’s a lot of commentary surrounding it, much of it negative (like “ROAR! Manipulation is bad! Be real! Natural beauty is better!” and so on) but to be perfectly honest my first reaction was this…
Because HEY. Those are some pretty cool Photoshop tricks, man. I personally think it would be fun to play around with my pictures like that sometime.
Incidentally, I would also love it if someone could do some sort of magic Photoshoppy or filter thing with the cameras in government offices so I no longer look like an ex-convict in my passport and driver’s license. Because I’m not kidding… I’ve received snickers.
Sigh. I’m just really not a particularly photogenic person. Out of maybe every 10 pictures I’ll probably look bad in 9. This is why this quote bummed me out a bit.
Eeek. The horror. Anyway, whatever the case, I’ve accepted it as my lot in life, and I’m okay with the fact that I am never going to win Miss Photogenic or whatever. The good news is that the older I get, the less it seems to matter.
Susan Sarandon was totally right.
While I’m all for things that can help me take a better pic, like kind lighting and well-planned poses and angles, and yes, even filters and Photoshop… I’ve come to realize that the things people are going to love you for — the things that really matter — are the things you can’t manipulate to look better… because they have nothing at all to do with the way you look.
'Tis true. The earlier in life you realize this, the happier you'll be. :)
Hey, what do you know, it’s Halloween! Woohoo!! Fun!! Yay!!!
Yeah right, okay… I’m lying. NO excitement on my part whatsoever. I’m actually not the biggest Halloween fan, as I’ve already confessed in a previous post.
Because really.. wth? Among other things, it’s quite confusing for kids…
So umm yeah… not a lot of Halloweening going on here. In fact, in totally holiday-Scroogey form, I’ve spent most of the day composing breakup letters.
Okay relax. No juicy scandals going on here either. I’m breaking up with activities, not people. In particular, I’m breaking up with all activities that I now classify as EGO CANDY.
I actually got the idea from that Bucket List post by Martha Beck that I mentioned last week. In it, she said:
Ego candy… encompasses anything we do purely for approval, admiration, or status. The ego’s appetite for adulation is endless, its capacity to create genuine happiness nil. It’s far too late to spend another minute starving your soul to feed your need for praise.
Yeah, that’s right. LISTEN TO MARTHA.
You see, I only realized when I got sick and had to take a long break (from pretty much everything) exactly how many things I was doing that were causing me unnecessary stress and pressure… but giving me nothing in return but a brief boost to the ego.
Seriously. I was doing hours of what was pretty hard work, on weekends or after regular work hours, for free or practically free, simply because I liked the feedback, admiration and recognition I received.
Umm… ABSOLUTELY RIDONKULOUS!!!
EGO CANDY is the worst! It’s a trick, not a treat!
I think we all snack on ego candy to some extent, more so now than in the past, because ego boosts are so easy to find on social media these days. And man, they’re addictive.
The problem is that ego candy - like other things that are addictive and not particularly good for you - only ever gives you a temporary fix. You’re satisfied for a while, but when the high fades, you find yourself doing all sorts of stuff to experience it again. And again, and again.
It’s a never-ending cycle. And it’s one that’s doomed to disappoint, because it looks for happiness and a sense of self-worth from outside sources instead of from within.
So no more. I’m done with the ego candy. I’d like to focus on the things that really nourish my soul and my relationships and my life in general. Because as Martha said, ”it’s far too late to spend another minute starving your soul to feed your need for praise.”
That is all. Happy Halloween, my friends! :)
Yeah, right. Who am I kidding. Like I ever stopped.
Anyway, if you need a reminder today that being yourself — whether people like it or not — is the best thing you can do for the world, then here you go. :)
The Price We Pay When We Want to Be Liked by Everyone
Some people will not like what you say.
Some people will judge you.
Some people will disapprove.
Some people will lie to you.
Some people will misuse your trust.
Some people will ignore you.
Some people will say harsh words.
Some people will blame you.
Some people will gossip about you.
And then there’s you.
Amidst it all.
And you might tune down what you say.
(Hoping to get their approval.)
And lose your voice along the way.
And you might adapt your style.
(Hoping to win them over.)
And lose your sparkle along the way.
And you might change what you do.
(Hoping to avoid the judgment.)
And lose your dreams along the way.
But know that losing yourself
is a high price to pay
in a futile attempt to quiet their harsh voices,
gain their respect and stop the judgment.
It’s a high price for you.
And a high price for us.
Because you and us,
we both need your voice, your ideas, your sparkle,
your views, your creativity, your work
to make this world a better place.
- An Bourmanne, Own Your Life
Awww. This is so true! BELIEVE IT, baby. There’s a place and purpose for you in this world, just as you are. And it is far, far better to be liked by a few for exactly who you are, than to be universally loved for being a people-pleasing, sanitized shadow of yourself. (Or a clone of someone else. That’s just sad.)
That is all. Go forth and be your awesome self. :)
I stumbled upon this story about fitness blogger Maria Kang today, and I’m still not quite sure if it annoyed or amused me. Maybe both. Anyhoo, Maria apparently became like a million overweight moms’ worst enemy last week when she posted this rather smug and gloaty picture of herself on her Facebook page.
Now I actually thought the pic was kind of cool and inspiring, even if I did want to hurl a cupcake at her or something. In fact, to be honest, my first reaction was “Wow!” and then “Cute outfit!” and then, rather belatedly…
But hey, I meant “Bitch” in that grudging but admiring way we do when say, Kate Middleton looks gorgeous in every single freaking photo, no matter what angle. It was a good Bitch, seasoned with a healthy combination of envy and “You go, girl.”
So I really don’t get why it made THOUSANDS of women so mad. Maria Kang was accused of bullying and fat-shaming and all sorts of nasty shiz, and it was kind of a big deal.
Now I can kind of see why they’d think she was fat-shaming — because if you’re fat and you see the picture, you really do feel ashamed (trust me, I know this from experience) — but BULLYING?? Come on.
Seriously. EXAGG. At worst, she’s just annoyingly smug. But then she obviously worked hard on that body and so she has reason to be, so I guess that’s okay with me.
So what was the big deal???
My guess is that the people who got all riled up reacted that way because they were already feeling bad enough about their weight and bodies to begin with, and didn’t need some smug skinny chick making them feel even worse.
We live in a totally fat-shaming society. Check any magazine (online or print), and you’ll see this to be true. Maria’s Smugsy Malone poster was just a drop in an already overflowing bucket. Add to that the fact that women always tend to think they’re bigger than they actually are…
…and what we have is a whole lotta women who feel inadequate and less attractive simply because of some extra poundage.
This is tragic, and it must stop. And while sadly, we can’t make the whole world stop fat-shaming — we can certainly stop fat-shaming ourselves. Because really? We’re our own worst fat-shamers. What other people thought or said wouldn’t matter if we weren’t hating on ourselves to begin with.
I recently read this excellent article by Martha Beck about 5 Things to Cross Off Your Bucket List, which is really good. You must read it. It gave me so many feelings.
The first feeling was dismay - with a side order of HORROR - because the first thing Martha Beck said was “It’s too late to get a completely different body." This was pretty similar to something my friend Chary had also told me a while back:
And yes, I was just as dismayed when I heard it then. Because regardless of the ridiculousness of the notion and my pathetic history of failed dieting and exercise plans, I still secretly harbor hopes that I will someday have the body of Miranda Kerr.
Now I’m sure all you avid dieters and fitness gurus are all “LIES!!! VICIOUS LIES!!! You CAN transform your body!!” but umm…CHILLAX a little bit, okay? What Martha and Chary meant was that although we may be able to make alterations to our body (by losing or gaining weight, or muscle tone, or boobs or whatever) at the end of the day the body we were born with is the only body we’re ever going to have.
Ultimately, you’ll still have to face the fact that we each get one body per lifetime. The one I’m in now is mine—its puffy little fingers; its strangely shaped skull; its inexorable mortality—and the one you’re in is yours.
No return, no exchange. So instead of hating on it, and constantly and desperately trying to change it, why not try accepting and appreciating your body once in a while?
Instead of focusing on all the parts of yourself you can’t stand, why not focus on the parts that are awesome?
It’s certainly worth a shot, right? Because if you really look at and think about your body well, and not just in comparison to other bodies that will never be yours, you’ll find that there’s so much more to be amazed at than there is to be ashamed of.
Trust me. ;)
I need to do more stuff! But hey…not work stuff — because HELL NO! (WTH man, that’s just cray.) I mean like leisurely, Real Housewives of Southern Manila-type activities. Lunches, and spa days and cooking lessons and gossip over afternoon tea or whatever. Partly because I still tire pretty easily, but mostly because I’m not likely to have the chance to do that sort of stuff again once my break is up.
Ever since I graduated from college, I’ve always had a full-time job. Well okay, except for that time when my friend Troy and I tried to make it on our own as freelance copywriters…
But umm, that didn’t last very long.
And jeez, even when on vacation, I usually still manage to find some sort of work or project to keep busy with. That’s just the way I’m made. I hate feeling purposeless or unproductive.
So I’ve never really done the leisurely housewife (or what I call “matrona”) thing. And to be honest, when I was forehead deep in work-related stress, ladies of leisure (you know the type - the ones who seem to do nothing but shop and eat and have fun all day and then go to events at night?) actually ticked me off on a pretty regular basis.
Part of it was envy, of course. I can totally admit that. But a good part of it was a genuine bafflement which asked “Why aren’t you more productive? Don’t you WANT to do something useful?”
TOTALLY UNFAIR, I know. (Relax, don’t have a cow.) I realized I was being a horrifically insufferable Judgey McJudgester when I read this article entitled “You’re a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?”
I’ll admit, when I first read it and saw the link posted by a few friends on Facebook who were all “YEAH!! TOTALLY AGREE!” I was still like ”Oh please. You have maids and yayas. You can’t claim the same difficulties and workload as moms who don’t.”
But then I read it again — and more significantly, the gazillion comments underneath it, and I realized a few things.
First and most important: I don’t have any kids and I have no clue what moms (whether stay-at-home or working) have to go through — so I should really STFU.
Different people have their own definitions of “hard work” and productivity, based on their particular priorities. No one’s definition is more correct than the other, because everyone’s priorities and values and situations are different.
Secondly, we only ever see bits and pieces of other people’s lives. Never the whole picture. And more often than not, the bits we do see - especially on Facebook or Instagram or whatever - are the good, super fun, “Hey look how awesome my life is!” bits. As I once said in an old Rappler post, it’s not as if people really post photos of miserable moments, right?
Even in real life, you never get to see the whole picture. So it’s pretty ridiculous to assume you know enough about a person’s life to be able to say that they have it easier or harder than you do.
Every life is difficult and challenging in its own way. And while we may never agree on “who works harder” or “who sacrifices more” or “which job is more important”, I think we can all agree that it really isn’t a competition. So instead of pointing fingers, feeling envious or superior, and/or passing judgment, maybe we should just try and cheer each other on and help each other out as best we can.
Cheers, wonderful women! We all rock. :)
A couple of friends on Facebook posted this link to a "How well can you guess what people are feeling by just looking at their eyes" test in the NY Times, and HA! I totally aced it!
Okay, FINE… I didn’t in fact get a perfect score — but I did get 33/36, which is pretty good. You know what’s weird and kind of embarrassing though? The 3 eye expressions I got wrong were INTERESTED, DESIRE, and FLIRTATIOUS.
OMG. What does that even mean?? Have I totally forgotten what flirting, interest and desire look like?? Did I EVER know???
Okay, wow. Way to over-react to a few test mistakes. But honestly, when it comes to flirtation and desire, I honestly never just look at the eyes for cues. It’s kind of easy to get it wrong if you leave it to just that, I think.
The tells of attraction are found in so many other things. The way women unconsciously fix their hair when a hot guy comes into the room. The way people lean towards each other. Mirroring movements. Body language — it’s a fascinating thing, really. And it involves so much more than just the eyes. At least, that’s what I think. (Or maybe I’m just bitter about not getting a perfect score. LOL!)
How can YOU tell if someone’s attracted to you (or to someone else?) I’d love to hear your input - and I’m sure others would too - so please share in the comments!
In the meantime, go take the test. It’s fun! :)
So yesterday was kind of a bummer, because out of the blue I suddenly got attacked by these weird, electric-feeling twinges around my surgery incision site.
Totally weird, man. It was kind of like some evil ghost had gotten hold of a low voltage stun gun and decided to trip on my tummy.
It was more uncomfortable than painful, but it still bummed me out because I thought I was fine already and was feeling pretty proud of my recovery progress. Rather insufferably proud, to be honest.
It’s just the way I’m made, I guess. I really have this thing about always wanting to be at the top of the class.
It doesn’t even matter that I have no idea who my classmates are… or umm, that in this particular case, they are (or were) cancer patients. O_O
OMG. Who does that?? Who actually gets competitive about healing from a radical hysterectomy??? Well… ME, apparently. I’m the worst.
Insufferable, I tell you.
So yeah because of that, this weird “OMG! What is this sudden symphony of electric twinges all over mah belly??” thang did bring me down a bit. I consulted with my pal and unofficial oncologist JayJay (not to be confused with my ACTUAL oncologist, who is male and also named Jay. Confusing, I know, but also kind of cool and coincidental.) — and she said that the twinges are caused by my nerves and muscles reconnecting or something.
It’s apparently normal for this stage of recovery, so nothing to worry about, but not exactly fun either. And in similarly not fun news, it turns out - as every single person who’s ever had surgery has informed me - that I will always feel twinges and a little pain in my scar when the weather is chilly or whatever. BAH.
Oh well. I guess it was too much to expect that I would ever totally get back to normal — as in pre-surgery Chinie. Because that exact person just doesn’t exist anymore, does she? That’s the thing about losing something — whether it’s a body part like a uterus, or something else, like a person in your life. I don’t think you ever fully heal, at least not in the way you think you will. You do eventually get over the pain, but for the rest of your life, you will always feel twinges.
The other day I spent some time with my friend and her dad, and I swear I was all “LOL! Omg I’m having a ton of fun!! — when all of a sudden, totally out of the blue, THIS happened.
SO embarrassing. Good thing I didn’t end up bawling. I just blinked really fast and tried to swallow the enormous lump in my throat.
You see what I mean, though? Twinges. They’ll always be there. Sometimes you’ll know to expect them. Sometimes they’ll just hit you without warning. But you know what? Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe sometimes you need a twinge or a little bit of pain to remember what you’ve lost, and to see how far you’ve come in terms of recovery.
What I’m coming to realize is that HEALING isn’t actually about getting back to “normal” or reverting to the person you were before whatever trauma happened, happened. I think it’s about accepting and finally adjusting to the person you’ve become because of it. And when you find that you feel whole again - despite occasional twinges, and even knowing that you will never be the same - then you can say you’re healed.
What do YOU think? Feel free to discuss in the comments.
Cheers, and happy healing to all!
Anyone who sees my posts on the Fabstagram or Facebook will know that I’m a big fan of inspirational quotes, but I have to admit that there are some that annoy me — like this one about dancing in the rain…
…which - as I explained ages ago - is a pretty stupid idea, as far as I’m concerned.
Another quote that annoys me - for no good reason at all - is this one:
I mean, it’s actually a great quote, and it makes sense, so I have no idea why it bugs me. It could be just because I see it too often, but I think it’s also because I happen to think that re-reading the previous chapters of your life is actually a good idea.
Feel free to disagree, but here’s a pretty recent case in point.
As far as I’m concerned, the cancer chapter of my life is over (forever, I hope). And while it’s certainly time to mosey on over to the next chapter, I don’t think I should ever close the previous one completely — because there’s so much in there that need to remember.
I’d been due for a trip to the hospital for a while, to get some medical records that my office needs — so when a friend of mine who’s here from the States had a couple of appointments there the other day, I was happy to tag along… or rather, lead the way.
Yup. LIKE A KNOW-IT-ALL. Because I kind of feel like Makati Med’s my ‘hood after all the time I’ve spent there in the past couple of months. Also, let me be honest here. I wasn’t doing all this purely out of the goodness of my heart. I was actually just dying to go eat at Floating Island.
I really am a TERRIBLE VEGAN. In fact, I need to quit calling myself any sort of vegan before REAL vegans decide to spit on me in disgust or something. Turns out there’s a word for failure vegans/vegetarians like myself. I’m actually a flexitarian.
Anyway, moving on… I got my medical records and It was pretty cool because one showed the pathology results of my procedure in August - the one that showed that I had cancer - and the other showed the path results of my surgery in September - which showed I no longer had it.
The papers themselves looked pretty dry and boring, and to be honest, I didn’t understand half of what they said (hence the “for idiots” versions in the illustration above) — but reading them filled me with such a sense of awe and gratitude that I actually had to sit down for a bit.
As crazy and emotionally chaotic as that month was, I really was extremely lucky and blessed. And I NEVER want to forget that. Because that realization - and everything else I learned during that time - will (and SHOULD!) affect the way I look at and live my life from here on out.
It’s never a good idea to live in the past. (I think we all know enough people who do that to know this is true. Honestly. Geez. Come join us in the 21st century already.) But I think it’s a GREAT idea to revisit it every so often — with a view towards using its lessons to make sense of the present and make plans for the future.
Experience really is the greatest teacher. As I mentioned in a previous post, if you take the effort to look back and analyze the events of your life so far, you’ll find that everything that’s ever happened to you - good AND bad - actually serves as very specific preparation for whatever it is you’re facing now. So look back every so often, and LEARN.
That is all. Cheers, people! :)
So I’ve kind of been deluding myself the past week, trying to convince myself (and others) that I can suddenly go vegan.
Yes, yes, I’ve failed every single day so far, but I’m still trying — despite mockery and laughter from amused non-believers, and my doctor-cousin Martin snicker-warning me not to expect too much in terms of weight loss.
Well, WHATEVS, MARTIN! I’m not doing it to lose weight anyway, I’m actually doing it to clean up my act and try and avoid getting cancer again. Because honestly, a lot of cancer shiz really has to do with having a lousy meat-heavy diet.
So I attended this Cook to Fight Cancer Workshop the other day with my mom, and was totally inspired! Yes, I still claim that, even if for the life of me I could not stop dreaming of burgers all throughout.
And my mom was even worse.
Crazy meat cravings notwithstanding, we did learn quite a bit. Here’s some of the stuff we learned to make.
My mom’s holding a glass of green juice (basically fruit and vegetable juice), the main dish was turmeric brown rice, sauteed greens and a chickpea patty with red bell pepper sauce, and dessert was this awesome trifle made of fresh fruits, oats, walnuts and cashew cream. YUM.
It really was a good workshop, but of course this in no way stopped us from seeking out juicy steaks for dinner later that night. Because we’re terrible.
And that’s pretty much been my pathetic vegan-conversion process for the past 3 days — super successful during the day… then MAJOR FAIL at night.
I hate to put the blame on my husband but OMG IT’S TOTALLY HIS FAULT!!! The man is pure evil, as I’ve mentioned before.
Oh well. Baby steps, right? I’m trying to do all these things to motivate myself — including researching recipes, buying a shizload of healthy stuff from The Superfood Grocer, and playing around with my new juicer…
Sidebar: OMG. Juicing. Just started today. SO much fun. I’m quite sure my maids would like to stick my head in the juicer at this point though.
But in spite of all the motivation I figure it’ll take quite a bit of time before my diet’s totally plant-based — if I ever get to that point at all. It’s so HARD!!!
I guess what matters is that I’m aware of the need to make a change, and that I’m trying, and not giving up on the goal even when I fail. Even if I do mess up from time to time, I like to think that my diet now and in the future will still be so much better than it was before.
And that’s the lesson for today, I guess. Whether you’re trying to form a new habit, or break an old one — whatever it is your goal might be… don’t let failure faze you. Just pick yourself up and try again.
As Neil deGrasse Tyson once said, ”Whether or not you can never become great at something, you can always become better at it. Don’t ever forget that. And don’t say, ‘I’ll never be good.’ You can become better… and one day you’ll wake up and find out how good you actually became."
Good luck to us all. Cheers! :)
Hey, how awesome is this? Paper by 53 (my favorite drawing app) now lets you create a lovely Moleskine BOOK out of your iPad doodles!
Ok, in all honesty, maybe not THAT awesome because for one, it’s a little pricey ($40 per 15-page book, not including shipping and customs fees)…
…and it will take a while to get to you since each book is hand-made by MILK in the U.K. — which means a turnaround time (from order to delivery) of about 7-15 days.
So maybe not the best thing to order in bulk and give away to friends, but sigh… it’s just soooo pretty.
I think I’ll make and order a couple of books just for me. Whee! Post-op recovery project!
Go check it out! :)