The Friday Currently

The Friday Currently 013: Slow Down

There’s a LONG (as in, tl;dr) ramble at the end of this, so I’ll make it quick.  It’s Friday, and I am C U R R E N T L Y . . .

R E A D I N G  Anna Karenina as part of my 2015 Book Challenge.  Everyone else read it in uni, but my ModLit professor had us read Crime and Punishment instead so consider this my “Book I should have read in school.”

So far, Anna annoys me, but the book’s not bad so I keep going.

W R I T I N G  songs! I sent in my Elements Music Camp submission yesterday.  Fingers crossed that I make it to the live audition rounds at least!

L I S T E N I N G 
to the Inside Out official movie soundtrack…but more on that later.

W A T C H I N G nothing much? Been too busy with the whole 2015 Book Challenge thing.

F E E L I N G  slightly worried. Traffic’s bad and I have to head home and pack for my Pampanga trip…plus get up early enough to make it to Makati by 8am.  What is #TeamNoSleep?

S M E L L I N G  canned air.  Still at the office due to traffic.  Mum’s probably not even close.

W E A R I N G  Muji chambray shirt, Banana Republic pleated cotton summer skirt, Call It Spring nude pumps (that i had to buy on lunch break because my actual shoes gave out), and a Uniqlo belt–basically casual Friday.

L O V I N G  The Berry Company juices!

W A N T I N G this weekend to officially start. Payday Friday + rain = terror highways.  Oh Metro Manila.

W I S H I N G I was in bed, reading, with any device where I can get messages FAR FAR AWAY FROM ME because sometimes I need to be alone.

T H I N K I N G  about feelings.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a spoiler-free ramble.  If you haven’t caught Pixar’s latest offering, or read a summary of it on some Wiki somewhere, do not proceed further.  Watch the movie, then come back and read this.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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If you can’t already tell from the GIF, I watched Inside Out last Sunday with Maman. The film was amazing, both in terms of compelling, complex story (in fact, I’m still wrapping my head around it) and (of course) Kleenex rating.

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“Who’s your friend who likes to play…” 

What I liked most about Inside Out was how it treated the subject of “always being happy.”  As someone who, for a long time, struggled with the idea that “Nobody likes you when you cry,” I needed that message, especially since, for the past few weeks, I’ve been on the verge of what I can only call crazy.

Like a lot of other people, I’ve internalized the idea that Sadness–with all its outward signs of crying, breaking down, and feeling blue–is irrational, and immature.  When it comes to maturity, I’m admittedly worse than most, so I’ve tried to project as many outward signs of being a “grown-up” as possible, to compensate. 

Unfortunately, wanting to curl into a ball and clap my hands over my ears is not one of these signs, which has led me to spending most of the past month waging war against myself: fighting back the urge to break down and cry while at the same time trying to understand why I wanted to do so.

It all came to a head when I ended up walking out of Hideaway (of course not when I was due to host) and breaking down because of some nasty Facebook comments on how the event was being organized.  I’d managed to bottle things in at first, but when one commenter suggested I should be shot (and people were liking the comment)…I lost it.

mature person would be able to take stuff like this in stride, but in that moment I felt anything but mature–alone, terrified, lonely, lost, doomed to failure, yes, but not grown-up or professional or any of those big words I’ve treated like armor.  I was not the Ball of Sunshine, Miss Perpetual Energy, the Energizer Bunny, The Trooper, Make-it-Happen Frankie.

In short, I was none of the things people seemed to expect and/or demand I should be…and in that moment I could no longer explain why.

I figured it out, though, when I watched Riley play out onscreen the “shut down” I’d experienced.  Her brain (run by frantic emotions scattered across a twisted mindscape) was in chaos, and it managing everything had become all too much.  Suddenly, Sadness’ quote at the beginning of the movie made sense to me: “Crying helps me slow down.”

(Maybe not so much the ‘obsess over life’s problems’ part, though?)

Like Riley’s big move, in the past month or so my life’s been more than a little shaken up.  The pressure to grow up, step up, and accomplish all that I felt was expected of me (as employee, as band frontwoman, as artist, as organizer of Hideaway), had finally caught up, but I was so afraid of losing momentum or being an emotional wreck/immature kid that I’d stuck to keeping it in until it all went away.

Once again, I’d refused to be brave enough to open my mouth sooner and speak up about the fact that I was in over my head, so my body did it for me.

I understand that emotional control is a big part of growing up, but what I like about Inside Out’s version of it is that it’s less about holding emotions back (or, in Joy’s case, confining them to chalk circles at the back of the control center) and more about allowing them to coexist, blend together, merge and converge.  I’m trying to grasp that all my feelings are valid, even the more primal, “negative” ones.  After all, as “Inside Out” helpfully pointed out, a healthy amount of Fear helps ensure safety, a touch of Anger can fuel passion and drive, small doses of Disgust factor into discernment, and being at peace with Sadness breeds empathy.

(It also pointed out that an overdose of Joy can result in acting like a controlling, narrow-minded, high-strung ninny…but I won’t get into that.)

So that’s it for this week’s edition of The Friday Currently.  If you read to the end, I salute you.  Hopefully next week, I would have eased back into homeostasis…and shorter blogs.  Until then, though, I remain,

~aRoamingTsinay~

The Sunday Currently was created by Siddathornton. I’ve added/subtracted categories for the sake of the narrative, and also because I’m copying the format of NothingSpaces.com.

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The Friday, Currently 012: Every Ending is a New Beginning

I’ve used this title once before, at the close of my own internship career with Virus, Inc.  Back then, I was beginning my transition to full-fledged employee, having campaigned wildly to be placed in the Strategy team as the junior of a woman I referred to as HRH Rashmi Daswani.

Today was Rashmi’s last day in Virus, and the beginning of a new chapter for all of us who have come to know and love her deeply throughout her stay.  I won’t pretend to say I loved her the most, but I will say this: Rashmi was the big sister I never really had, and the work-parent I didn’t know I needed.  She pushed me to open up when I would have internalized my struggle through what was arguably one of the most difficult times in my life so far.  She’s been there through my worst, and called me out so I could become, if not yet my best, than at least someone on the journey to getting there.

So much of the advice I’ve dispensed in this blog over the past two years has, to some extent, been me echoing advice I’ve picked up from my Virus “senior,” and the team she’s taught me to trust.  From here on out, though, I will have to learn to pick up my own pieces, no longer relying on a second opinion.  Rashmi’s last lesson, it seems, is that I must needs learn to trust myself.

(I realize that this must sound like my friend’s dead or something.  She’s not.  She’s alive and is planning to travel the world and write things and work on music and other cool stuff.)

So I am learning.  Or going to learn.  Or some odd third-space in between where I am grasping at straws even as I learn to let go.  Today, something “ended,” and now from that ending we all–Rashmi and I and the team she’s built from the ground up–must begin anew, charting our own adventures.

So tonight, as I digest this end of an era, I would like to say that I am C U R R E N T L Y . . . grateful.  And I will always be.  Thank you for being a part of my life, Rashmi.  And thank you for promising to be a part of all of our lives even after your story with Virus has ended.  It’s been quite an adventure…now go make a new one.

And, as for me…I shall begin.

~aRoamingTsinay~

The Friday, Currently 011: Our Weakness Shall Be Our Secret Weapon

hkxe7rTold you not to panic.

Last week was a bit of a rollercoaster.  A positive one, for the most of it–Stories Told released its first single on Spotify, which has me incandescently happy on the days I can bear to be incandescently happy (it’s a lot of work, guys)–but a rollercoaster nonetheless.  By the time Friday rolled around, I was D-E-A-D.  I spent most of the weekend in a coma, and the moments I was awake were spent pondering the significance of my existence.

No, seriously.  Last weekend was my quarterly existential crisis, made worse due to my usual PMS deciding to manifest as inexplicable sadness akin to my bout, last year, with something-like-depression-so-maybe-let’s-call-it-that-but-maybe-it’s-not.  So, as you can imagine, I was not well rested and ready for the week ahead.  But I managed.  Sort of.  Maybe.  You’ll see.  For now, it is Friday, and I am C U R R E N T L Y . . .

R E A D I N G  The Drowning Treeanother Carol Goodman thriller and one I haven’t actually read before.  It’s been sitting on my TBR pile for the longest time, and I only managed to take a crack at it after giving up on The Lake of Dead Languages (probably not the best thing to read when PMSing and questioning the strength of your most valuable relationships, as you do).  Not that The Drowning Tree is that much better a choice, mind: dealing with the thin line between artistic genius and madness, it’s maybe a little too self-aware for a girl who generally wobbles her way across that borderland on her best days.

Best read while consuming copious amount of Pik Nik and listening to podcasts.

W R I T I N G  …quotes, I guess?  Little snippets I hope lead to bigger ideas.  I’m in a Thought Catalog kind of mood lately, which may mean I actually submit something to them (probably not) but most likely will result in a blog or a song.  Or a letter.  I’m still big on letters, to be honest: when I was in sophomore year I kept a notebook of them, all written to boys that I’d “loved” (varying definitions of “love,” from eros to philia).  It was sort of a diary, and even now I tend to frame my own inner workings around perceptions of people, in case you haven’t noticed.

I might write about again.  Maybe.  Or, well C‘s coming back from his trip to the States and he’s brought me home a TARDIS scarf as pasalubong, so I might just write about him instead and inflate that ego a little.  Because TARDIS.

L I S T E N I N G 
over and over to Say You Love Me by Jessie Ware.  It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to imagine myself in any sort of relationship, so I’ve been listening to love songs in an attempt to gain back some of the optimism.  Unfortunately, it’s been the sad ones that sound the best to my ears, so I’m not sure how my music’s been helping…

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W A T C H I N G or rather listening to an old TED Talk that I’ve honestly not paid enough attention to: Brene Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability.”

F E E L I N G  irritated that my laptop’s slowing down again.  Our company president likes to joke that Macs can smell fear.  I’m beginning to think he might be on to something.

S M E L L I N G  the scent of my Avon cosmetics.

W E A R I N G  my PJs, as you do.

L O V I N G  Studio Fix by Alex Carbonell.  I don’t give enough love to the amazing people who work with my pin-straight hair and shape it into something that I can be proud to #selfie.  Sir Billy and the lovely individuals who work at the Greenbelt 5 branch of the salon are absolutely wonderful, and it boggled my mind when I walked in today and saw a sign on the reception desk asking customers not to yell at, lambast, or publically humiliate the staff.

Why would a person, let alone enough people to justify having a sign, actually do that?!  I’m as mean as the next judgmental, insecure, arrogant prat on the street (if not meaner), but even I don’t get how anyone could be on a warpath bad enough to justify not one, but two signs.

W A N T I N G  my Mac to stop lagging!  It’s making typing up these blogs annoyingly difficult.

W I S H I N G that I had a higher emotional quotient. Not that I won’t eventually get to a normal point, of course–that’s what maturing is about, after all–but it would have helped to start on a more “normal” level.  At least I wouldn’t keep inadvertently offending people.

Ah well.  You play the cards you’re dealt.  If it’ll take me a little extra elbow grease to get the hang of this “growing up” thing, then I’m sure there must be a good enough reason for it.

T H I N K I N G about just how vulnerable I should let myself be.

Up until recently, I’d always seen myself as an open book, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get sort of person.  In fact, I’d used to be proud of that fact.  But lately I’ve begun to question just how true that image of myself actually is.  See, I’ve been getting quite a few comments lately that I’m not quite “real,” not quite “there.”  There’s a disconnect, they say, between my declared image and how I actually appear.  Some of it I’ve chalked up to the aforementioned emotional ineptitude–I can come off as a prat sometimes because I don’t realize (until too late) the shades of meaning my statements might seem to hold for others–which is something I’m working on, in the same way that Scorpion‘s Walter O’Brien frequently consults Cabe and Paige on how to navigate the “normal” (read: socially acceptable) world.

(Not that I’m a super-genius like the aforementioned Mr. O’Brien.  I do, however, empathize with his interpersonal ineptitude and the scrapes he gets into because of it.)

But even that EQ-deficiency doesn’t explain everything, and so I’ve been forced to take a good long look at myself, as is the overthinker’s custom, and figure out why this divide might exist.

The answer, in the end, was as simple as it was surprising: I am not an open book at all.  What I always thought was spontaneous, unfiltered “me” was, in truth and in fact, largely a calculated act that had become so routine as to be subconscious.  I’d become so good at “performing” that I’d managed to fool myself…but not so good as to be able to fool everyone else.  Examining my own motivations for behaving a certain way, I found a common thread: “They want me to be like this.” “I need to be this way so they can respect/befriend/accept me.”

“I need them to like me.”

So I became my persona: this high-powered, hyperactive, exaggeratedly expressive, indestructible supergirl.  I became the drama queen who could also conquer boardrooms, the resilient martyr who saved the day.  Reliable Frankie.  The Energizer Bunny.  The consummate entertainer who could always be called upon to take a fact, blow it out of proportion, and dramatize it for the amusement (or irritation) of others.  These multiple layers became my armor, my way of exercising control over others by filtering how they would be able to perceive me.

I suppose (because I no longer remember when I wasn’t carrying on in this way; possibly before kindergarten) this must have started as a way to protect my real self, my softer, more breakable parts with the flaws that I feared would turn people away.  But over time, as the layers of artifice accumulated, I began to lose sight of whatever I was protecting.  Now, being invulnerable is all I know…and now I’m at a loss as to how to resolve the aching alienation that said invulnerability is beginning to cause.

As an ex-theater kid (who still dreams of going back, truth be told), I’m extremely familiar with the Brene Brown talk on “The Power of Vulenrability.”  I know it exists, and I have an idea of what it says.  In fact, I actually have watched it a few times.  But until I was faced with the consequences of my own “invulnerability,” I never truly understood Brown’s point.  Being “vulnerable” isn’t about being an emotional maelstrom or wearing your heart on your sleeve.  It isn’t about being expressive, or out there, or overshare-friendly.

It’s about the admission that I have those soft, fragile, breakable parts: flaws I haven’t yet been able to fix, questions I can’t answer, feelings I’m not 100% able to explain.  It’s about admitting that I have been hurt, that I will be hurt again…but accepting that fact as a given instead of trying my hardest to hold the world at bay.

I always thought that maturity was about learning how to look like I had it together.  That instead of crying or thorwing fits or wallowing, if I could somehow convince everyone that I was fine, then I was doing something right.  But while part of maturity does mean that I don’t start crying at random and do exhibit some degree of impulse/emotion control, the realization has hit that I am not fooling anyone with this disguise.  The only person I’m deluding, really, is myself.  And it hasn’t protected me at all, this armor.  If anything else, it’s made the hurt much worse, made me more afraid of the big bad world.

I’m still too gun-shy to subscribe completely to the idea that my weakness should be out there for all there world to see.  And, I think, I’m right in that resistance–after all, there is still such a thing as discretion.  But while I do still abide by the principle that not everything has to be shared, I’m realizing that I do have to share my life with people in order to live it, and that means occasionally admitting that yes, I’m upset or sad or scared or out of answers.  That I’m not okay.  That I don’t have it together right now.  That admitting I am not okay does not discount the fact that I eventually will be.

Weakness is not a disadvantage.  It is a strength.  It is was makes me, not an act, but a human.  And that, I realize, was Brene Brown’s point.  In weakness, there is strength. With the admission that I will get hurt, and that I am not perfect, comes an ability to survive those inevitable moments.  Best of all, it gets people to understand.  Maybe not enough to prevent some from deciding to hurt me…but enough perhaps to connect with the people who won’t.

It’s a risky world out there.  I guess getting hurt is unavoidable.  But that tendency to get hurt can be my secret weapon, because it makes me human.  Makes me real.  And, maybe, will make it easier for me to survive a world full of real humans.

Maybe.

N E E D I N G  Coherence.  Or, at the very least, a discernable point.  But, since I haven’t yet managed to master having a “thesis” to prove in any of these posts, I’m guessing it might be a while until I find one.  Until then, this has been the eleventh edition of  The Friday, Currently, and I remain, yours ever…

~ARoamingTsinay~

(P.S. The abrupt ending is frankly because I suddenly have to cram recording vocals at home for the Yellow Room Battle of The Bands so…yeah.  Will find time to revisit this.)

The Sunday Currently was created by Siddathornton. I’ve added/subtracted categories for the sake of the narrative, and also because I’m copying the format of NothingSpaces.com.