Happiness Project

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Before I went to work yesterday, mom said she couldn’t pick me up on time and it was okay with me, of course, and it prompted me to being the book I’ve been trying to read and finish with me. So right after I clocked out, I headed to Target, which was just 5 minutes away from the store where I work, with yogurt-shopping and a Starbucks‘ Iced Caramel Macchiato in mind. I did what I had to and then proceeded to their cafe. Instead of getting myself a fix of my favorite coffee, I ordered myself a tiny pizza that came with 3 breadsticks and a large, refillable drink. I picked my spot in the small array of tables and chairs, put the book out of my bag, and started to pore over the page where I’ve left off weeks ago.

I have started reading this book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben early last month when we got home from our weekend getaway at Capitola, CA, same place where I found this very beautiful bookstore and purchased this book and two more, plus a shirt. I never really had the will and motivation to actually finish reading it, although I know it must be really inspiring, because for one, it’s a bestseller, and second, my fellow blogger Brittany got her inspiration from this book.

Going back to where I have left off, I felt a jolt of inspiration kick in and it felt good! I don’t think I’ve had this inspiring feeling ever since I got here in California, and I believe this is a good time to shake things up a bit, considering that I can pretty much do more stuff on my own now compared to my first few weeks here.

My idea is to make my own happiness project.

As ashamed as I am about this confession, I am unhappy. That means this project will definitely make me feel better! I am not lonely, like heartbroken-kind-of-lonely, just so you guys know. I just don’t feel that genuine happiness in me. There are times when I would, it’s like some electric cables’ spark when their fibers touch each other, but of course it could only last a moment. And I want to be really happy. So why not do this? I’ve nothing to lose.

So to give myself a little something little to start with, here’s an open-ended list of things that I want to start doing:

  • Do the “One-Minute Rule”
  • “Evening Tidy-Up”
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat right. Eat less.
  • Sleep early, wake up early.
  • Water over tea over coffee over soda.
  • Read more. Write more.
  • Spend less time on the internet.
  • Challenge yourself.

Tonight after work, I shall tweak once again this blog of mine and create a page for the purpose of this project. 🙂

PS I don’t own that pretty cat in the picture

x

Don’t eat, be skinny.

Tonight, I scrolled through a blog of a teenager‘s quest to be skinny. I was not able to read a lot from her page as it consists more of reblogged pictures of skinny women that I suppose are her “inspirations”. Aside from those, and her very short text posts about how insecure she feels about her body, she also posted a picture of her almost naked body (her head out of picture) to show her followers her “progress”.

Coming from someone who’s not in shape, she is not doing herself a favor. I know when it comes to being healthy, I’m not the one you’re supposed to be hearing advice from. But I know for a fact that starving yourself does not make you any better. I am not sure if her parents, or older siblings (if ever she has any), are aware of what she is going through, because she obviously doesn’t care about what she is really doing to herself. All she cares about is fitting in to a crowd full of skin-bone models who believe they are at their best. I assume she already knows the consequences of her actions, and that she doesn’t care because of what’s set in her head: she’s determined to have that 110 lbs. body.

I am a concerned netizen, yes, but I am usually not the type of person who would bother writing a blog about you not unless you’re a very important part of my life and that I have all the words to describe our relationship. However, her case really does worry me. I even sent her a message:

jessicafuentes asked: Hi. I don’t mean anything insulting or offending, but being skinny is not the definition of being beautiful. It doesn’t make you perfect. Sure it makes you look good on the outside, makes you more confident, lets you wear all kinds of clothes, etc. But that doesn’t make you beautiful. At all. Being healthy and having a kind heart does. What I said is conflicting with what you’re blogging about, but I guess we are all entitled to our opinions.. Guess that’s it. Just my two cents.

I am not sure if I sounded off friendly (I don’t think so either) but I just wanted to get those words out off my chest, while in hopes of her replying to me and actually proving me wrong…that she’s not wanting to be as skinny as those girls are in her photos, and that she wants to be healthy. But man, she didn’t. And I quote her:

“being skinny will make me feel beautiful. That’s all there is to it.”

And all I was able to say to myself was, “she’s crazy”. I figured that with that kind of mindset, sending her another message was not a good idea. I mean, she doesn’t care so why should she listen? And who am I for her to listen to?

Pfft.

What concerns me  more, aside from the fact that she wants to be pin-thin, is that she is just 15 years old. Yes. Very young, indeed. At that age, what she should mind is just doing good in school so she’d have a chance of going to a good university. Unfortunately, that kid was exposed too much to all sorts of media. There goes the television showing her commercials of how being thin is lovelier and sexier, TV programs that only have pretty and skinny girls as their lead characters that end up having the best of endings. Glossy magazines that have very inviting pictures of models that can never be beyond 100 lbs. Then there’s music, with bunches of pretty-faced dudes, telling her how much sexy girls attract them. And of course, we have the mighty Internet that is working 24/7 just to tell her that with a body full of fat, she can never fit into the society full of girls with thick make-ups, clothes too small and tattered that they don’t look like normal clothes at all, heels too high they’re considered as weapons of mass destruction, and boys with buff bodies telling her they’d only date girls who “fit in”. So basically, she’s left with no choice but do what the media is telling her. Because if she wouldn’t, she’d never live a happy life.

A preview of her blog.

But you know what? Bullshit. That’s it totally, undeniably, I-swear-to-my-dead-dogs-graves-and-to-my-brother’s-bacon-underwear, complete bullshit.

Again, this is coming from someone unhealthy. I would  already be extremely happy if we had the same body because I’m 30 pounds heavier than her. But because of what her mind believes is beautiful, she sees herself as someone who’s as large as a cow, when in fact, she has the ideal body most teenage girls would die for. Unluckily, she’s not seeing that. I feel sad for her. I really do.

My third point here is, her blog can influence a lot more girls. Just imagine how much more girls will be victimized by this epidemic anorexia that she is rooting for. Right now, reaching the age of 80 makes you very lucky. But if their generation will continue this very dangerous lifestyle to the point of passing it down to the next ones, age 50 will be a miracle. Personally, I’d like to live long enough to see my future grandchildren; so if I’m going to make a move, it’s going to be towards having a healthy life and being “skinny” will never be the center of my movement. I don’t want to be remembered by my future grandkids as a female meatball, as much as I don’t want to be remembered by them as a female pretzel stick.

There.

So whoever is reading this, please, for the sake of my dead dogs’ grave and my brother’s bacon underwear, do not succumb to what the media is telling you. Being skinny just covers a mere 1% of being beautiful. What matters is who you are entirely. What matters is the remaining 99%: your kind heart, your lively spirit, your Faith, and your healthy lifestyle. If the person next to you says otherwise, I am telling you s/he’s not a good influence for you. I am not saying that I am, but I just know this in my heart for a fact.

This Too Shall Pass

Hey guys. It’s me again, Jess, now in California. Holla!

That is basically how I was like last Friday night (Manila time) before we headed to the immigration of Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Well of course, I wasn’t as pretty as this baby girl, and I will never be, but I was literally crying my heart out. That moment right there was just too heartbreaking. John and I hugged our family for the last time that night and bid farewell. The airport was flooded with tears, pieces of broken hearts, and hopes and promises of coming back…  I basically did not want to let go of my sister when I hugged her but I knew I had to. I knew I had to be the bigger person so it was me who told my brother that we should go and get inside.

The flight, in general, was fine. The temperature ran from really warm, to warm, to cold, to really cold, to really really really cold, and it really did bother me. But meeeeep, whatevs. The flight was 12-hours long and it got my abdomen hurt as if I was having my period. Perhaps because I wasn’t able to go to the lavatory as often as I wanted to because the older man sitting n our row by the aisle slept for a long time! Good thing Philippine Airlines was packed with loads of good music, movies and more, hence I was able to contain my boredom.

Ever since I got here, everything seems to be like…temporary and painful. Not painful but temporary (because that, I think, is easier) and not painfully temporary (because I absolutely don’t know how could that be relevant to my current state of emotion).

Temporary and painful because I have realized, although I have always known, that nothing lasts forever. Yes, it is a universal fact, but you’re never going to realize it unless someone points it out to you, or worse, when you go through that certain process yourself. And I have been there before when I was too young to ever feel so many emotions. My father passed away when I was 6 years old, and I only cried at his wake once, when all the people were gone and I was the only one left sitting on the first pew, staring at his casket. I know I told him a lot of stuff that night while I was crying, but it took a long while (we’re probably talking about years here, ladies and gents) before I felt the hardship of not having a father figure in your life. But in this case, I figured, not even those people who are still living on this planet can be with you forever, or at least however long you want them to be with you. It’s not just Death who ends your relationships. They can always come and go into your life during the times you least expect them to, even if it wasn’t your decision, even if it wasn’t theirs. Sometimes, Fate likes to play the game as well.

I guess the last months I had back in Manila were not spent to its full potential. It  was not maximized but I don’t blame no one. We were all probably just hopeful that the move wasn’t going to happen, or if it would, it wouldn’t bring so much pain to everybody else. We probably underestimated Fate.

So basically, I’ve been living here for four days and the experience has already been challenging, to say the least. And no, darling. I am not going to stay here for a week, because I am going to have to live here for more than that before I could go back to the Philippines. Say, 2 years. In 2 years, with all work done and still some more in process, we can probably go back to Manila for a vacation. Or who knows? If we’re all set and ready, we could even stay there for a bit longer. But for now, the best thing I can do is wait. Wait for the right moment, and the right time. Wait until I stop counting the days that I am spending here and actually start living for today and tomorrow, since that is basically what I am NOT doing.

30th of 30

The last day of the countdown has come, and my heart is still wishing for some magic to happen. Which is weird. See, I checked out the countdown on my blog and I saw the number 4. In my mind I was like, “my blog seems to tell me otherwise. Oh well, at least there’s someTHING out there who doesn’t want me to go just yet.”

I seriously thought it said 4 days.

Then I realized, I put the wrong time on the countdown widget. So I decided to edit it and here’s the updated screencap of it:

Now I have 15 hours left until 5pm here, the time we’re going to the airport.

I feel so stupid about that 4 hours thing. Haha!

So this is it. The final hours of my life here and it’s just sad. Everyone here feels sad, I can see that. Even my dog is unusually quiet. She doesn’t even want to be near me. Marco has been unusually silent too. He rarely talks to us anymore. I don’t know. Maybe it’s their way of coping up since we’re going to have to be away from them for a long time. And I don’t blame them. I, myself, don’t want to go. I’d rather be here with them. For always.

But of course, some decisions don’t always have to come from us. Sometimes, some people have to make them for you because they see something brighter on the other end for you.

My readers all know my feelings about the move, so I won’t bore you guys with that.

Anyway, we had a farewell party last Wednesday. It was basically the first time I’ve almost reached the point of drunkenness. And it was bad. Also, I had a lot of friends (although some really disappointed me…) who came and spent time with me on my last (?) party here in Manila and they all made me so happy! But… When we took pictures, I forgot that the memory card’s not inserted! So the pictures were definitely saved in the internal memory of the camera and I don’t have a USB cable for it. Great job.

Then after a few hours, all these rashes started to come out and my whole body felt so itchy! It was mad, so I took one celestamine. The itching went away but the red rashes remained until the following day.

Yesterday, Mark brought John, Marco, and I to this eatery that was located beside our old home. They sell rice congee and pork and tofu (rice congee’s best partner), and they have the best recipe in town. 😀 Well I honestly requested that one. Because the last time I ate there was…say 10 or 11 years ago. With my Dad. So I wanted to create another memory in that place, this time with my boys. 🙂 And the experience was really good! I have definitely forgotten how great tasting their congee and their special mix of soy sauce, vinegar and other stuff. In my head I was like, “I should have asked them to bring me here long ago!”

After that, we went home and started packing. Panic packing was really hard and heart breaking. I was clueless because I didn’t know which ones to bring and which ones to leave! I wanted to bring all my clothes, and all my bags, and all my perfumes, but since we have a limit, I can’t. So I turned my blind eye on and left most of my perfumes, most of my clothes, AND 3/4 OF MY BAG COLLECTION.

They were all like, “You can always buy another this, another that in the States!”. But guys, I collected those things for years and most of them really have sentimental value.

*sob…sob*

But of course, nothing is more heart breaking than having to leave the life you love for the life that’s waiting for you on the other side of the world. I just hope that things will get better and that we’ll get through all the pain this distance will bring us.

Right now, all I have to focus on is how could I grow up a bit more faster. John needs a person bigger than him that he could look up to. And if that bigger person can’t be me, I don’t know who else he could turn to. He’s my responsibility now and I am not sure if I am ready to let this new chapter of our lives materialize already.