Becoming a Fame Whore—Not Entirely a Bad Thing

With over 2.8 billion people on the internet and over 300 active social networking sites(excluding dating sites), fame has become easier to achieve. Whether its Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or YouTube, everyone has a piece of their own little fame on the web. It’s so hard to not love the attention when someone Liked/Favorited/Thumbs Upped/Plus 1’d that post about whatever it was you were doing just a few minutes ago. This is the era of the “Me Me Me” Generation, with so many of us posting selfies and paps, and tweets and opinions, we get lost in a sea of words on scroll-down screens, our short-lived happiness depending on the number of likes we get or the comments from the opposite sex confirming how attractive we are.

I am a fame whore—not on Facebook probably (because my family is there), but on every other site I have an account on—and that’s a lot of sites. I am not embarrassed to admit that. After school, it’s Facebook, then Twitter, then WordPress, then Tumblr, then SoundCloud, then YouTube, THEN study. Yeah, but I’m not necessarily a bad student, though. Most days, I stay away from my laptop so I can study. I am like every other teenage girl on the internet; I am probably a single bubble in a tide of personality. Every now and then, though, I feel the need to express my individuality. And the only way to do that nowadays is to stop reblogging and to make interesting and original work. And obviously, in the beginning of all this, I didn’t know how to use any other site other than Facebook, I didn’t know how to use Photoshop, or do photography, or videography, or how to edit audio or a lot of other skills. I learned that if I wanted to achieve my piece of fame, I needed to learn how to be original.

I don’t mind being part of the whole Me Generation thing. So yes, we are a self-interested, very ambitious generation but that only pushes us to want the best for ourselves. I’ve learned too many skills—that I can actually put on my résumé—to be part of the hate group.

Taking It Down a Notch

I have a very strong personality. What that means is, I do what I want, say what I want, when I want. And since my friends and I basically have the same opinions, we accept whatever it is another might be.

Today, though, I was reminded that there aren’t too many people used to the things I’m used to. And I forget that time and time again. A few months ago, someone told me to grow up because they thought I was acting like a child. I was shocked, because the people I usually hang out with all act the same way—or at least to some degree. We all think it’s socially acceptable to be this or that, that I forget what it’s like outside my circle of friends.

Some people don’t like the way I act, I get it. And I really do appreciate when someone tells me straight up—I really do. But I can’t help feeling sad about it. We tell ourselves to stop caring about what other people think, but now I think Screw that! because we are living in a world full of other people. Learning to live for yourself is learning how to deal with other people—I’m not saying we should be what other people want us to be, I just want to say that we have to remember where we are and that we affect other people.

I don’t want to change who I am, because that’d be suicide. But if I keep acting like this around other people, I become a social nuisance. What I’ve learned to do, instead, is to put people into categories in my head. There are my friends who belong in the “Be Yourself” category, people in my school go into the “Take It Down a Notch” category, the formal acquaintances in the “Business” category and the rest of the world who go into the “Hide Yourself” category.

Thing is, though, when I’m at school, surrounded by too many friends, I forget that I am also surrounded by people who don’t understand me, or like what I do. I don’t remember who’s in what category anymore, I forget I have categories in the first place, then I just go all-out crazy. I need an attitude adjustment program that doesn’t kill the fun, I just need to lose being crazy.

I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore, this was just an emotional vent-out. Okay, I’m going to class in a while. Catch up again soon.


To the girl in my class who might be getting a little too sick of me, I’m sorry. I am genuinely sorry for offending you, and thank you for telling me what I did wrong. I won’t change myself, though, I guess I’ll just have to remember to take it down a notch in class.

Lunch Break

It’s a hot school day again and after my first period is a looong lunch break. I usually hang out in the school library where there’s air conditioning and wifi (that you have to hunt for), but today I went home because I wanted to get out of my clothes and take a cold shower. Right now, I’m lying around the house in my underwear (not meant to be sexual, it is just so humid).

I’m posting this because I wanted to talk about how much I hate hot, humid and sticky school days. First of all, if it isn’t summer, it means there’s a storm coming (I hate typhoons). Second, any amount of clothing is ‘too much’ clothing but you can’t really go to school naked (UGH). Third, too many people are sweating and sweaty-elbow-bumping in class is so not cool (I am not in the mood to share pheromones).

I’m also home because the food is better here. So yeah, catch you after lunch! :)

ZZZfinal
Let’s Eat!

I also just finished designing another logo for a friend and it’s kinda relevant to the lunch break situation so bear with me. :)

It’s Taking Too Long

Every day I tell myself to save money, so every day I save whatever little is left from my allowance. But after a week or so, I buy something new and my finances are back to zero again in the blink of an eye. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have a big allowance and save up a lot, to tell you the truth, my allowance everyday is 50 pesos (I’m from the Philippines, convert the currency so you better understand what 50 pesos means). It’s an okay enough deal for me because I go home after every day so I basically only need to spend on transportation and small fees like handouts and the like.

The thing is, though, that after I started going to college my mom would always tell me to save up and use my own money when I asked for basic needs like shampoo or tampons. Yeah, okay, a lot of parents do that but I don’t get a lot to start with. After a day at school, I am left with 10 pesos or less—and you can’t buy much with 10 pesos. When I ask for extra the answer is always, why can’t you save money like a responsible person.

So, right now, what I’m doing is saving up money—this money goes into a glass piggybank that everyday I am tempted to break open—so I can start a new bank account. One that only I control and one that my mom can’t get into. I’m waiting until I’m finally 18 so I can get a part time job tutoring younger kids lessons I learned ages ago and getting paid through a bank so there’s never any cash on me. Some of you might tell me to get part time now, but, let me remind you again, I’m in the Philippines. There aren’t a lot of part time jobs for underage students. It’s like a requirement or something.

Then there’s the subject of med school. Remember every Christmas when relatives send you envelopes full of cash, well that’s a serious thing here. My parents told me that all the money I get from aunts, and uncles, and godmothers, and godfathers will all go into an account my mom set up for me when I was a kid. She said ten years down the road, this will be for your college tuition. It’s been twelve years and I haven’t even had a wiff of that account again. I asked about it, she asked what I was talking about. Knowing my mother, it probably got used to pay off some debt from god-knows-when. I’m waiting until I can get a part time job to actually save money so I can go to med school then I can finally make bigger money so I can get out of this life. WOW, that was a long-winded sentence.

I want my freedom—financial and otherwise. I won’t mind if a lot of hardships come with it, I just want to call something my own. When am I finally going to be legal 18?

A Day in a Life

I wake up very morning to the sound of my mother shouting at me to wake the fuck up.

As I pull off whatever I slept in to reveal my cold skin I can hear my mother’s morning speech from across the house. Through the bathroom door she tells me to hurry to school, to get good grades, to not fuck up, to not get pregnant, that I am worthless without her, usual stuff.

So I leave for school and I listen to my teachers, laugh with my friends, drown out the anger inside with smiles and hellos and fleeting moments of serenity. But that can never last and I make my way back home to where the only people I ever really talk to are my dad and my aunt.

The times when my mother and I do actually speak to each other is when she’s reminding me that I’m too fat, that I’m not pretty enough, that the clothes I choose are shit, my hair is shit, my skin is shit, basically whatever small detail that can possibly be shit is shit about me.

I was happiest in Diliman probably because I was far enough from her. So I go to school again, to learn from other people what it is to be a normal person. I go to school so I can get a job, so I can leave here, so I can be free. And that freedom is not an overly-exaggerated concept to me. For me, freedom is where I can let myself be myself. I am least myself here.

In grade school, my teachers always said to bring the etiquette we had at home into public life. They said that we put up no walls around ourselves when we were home—this was a time when kids were taught to be au naturel. If I did that I would have been the quiet kid in the corner no one would talk to.

Because when I am home, I turn into a little ball of space. I don’t want my mother looking my way because whatever it is I’m doing is probably wrong for her again. And I succeed most days, especially when she doesn’t come home for a week or so.

So I sit in this space which I supposedly call home and yet I feel like I never belong. When I close my eyes at three in the morning to get three hours of sleep I realize it’s days like this, when I have too much shit to do and don’t know yet how to deal with it, that I think of all the reasons why I should finish studying get out of this mediocrity.And this is a day in my life.

What it is to be a friend

I used to think that friends were there so you had someone to hang with, to laugh with, to do crazy stuff with—they were there so you wouldn’t feel lonely.

After years of, what I believe to be, personal growth, I realize friends are there because you have a level of connection. Maybe it’s an inside joke only the two of you get or an experience you’ve shared, whatever it is, there has to be some kind of glue that holds you together. The more shit you’ve gone through the gluey stuff keeps getting stronger.

So why is it that friendships can still fall out?

Honestly, I always thought that we had each others’ backs but I guess we were too young to know what it meant. Sometimes I remember the days we’d laugh at the most random thing we could think of but I don’t feel pain or sadness. All I feel was that I wasted too much of my time being there for you even if you could hardly do the same.

So yes, I never asked for anything and maybe you thought I didn’t need you to be there, but that was just because you never made me feel like I could ask. It never even felt like you would be able to help me.

I don’t see those years with hatred, like I said, all I see is wasted time.

I do know why it was we were growing away from each other, and it was that first time I said no. It must have been so shocking for you, hearing me say ‘No’ to you for the first time in years. You never said so, but I knew you were angry the next few days.

We’d met other friends, made other connections, I guess I wanted you to help yourself so I stopped doing everything you asked—and you asked for so much and always so sweetly. I wanted you to learn that you wouldn’t always have someone that would do your homework for you.

And I grew up.

You said I’d changed, that I didn’t seem like the same person, that I liked different things. I saw that too—I didn’t like studying just a day before the exam anymore, I didn’t like too much gossip anymore, long nights of staying up watching anime when I could have been studying seemed a bad idea. I grew up and I wanted you to as well. But you wouldn’t let me help you that way.

I wanted to teach you how to work things out yourself, you wanted me to just do the work. And then I wouldn’t help because I wanted you to learn. It was a vicious loop.

I understood nothing was working and I snapped one day. It was so sudden, years of friendship ended in one moment. There was nothing after, we’d gone from calling each other best friends to acting like we never met in a day. The next day we saw each other and looked away.

To tell you the truth, I don’t remember what your eyes looked like. I feel like I’ve never really looked at you. And yes I still hang out with my friends, laugh with them and do the craziest shit together but I don’t miss them when I feel lonely—I miss them in the middle of the day when the world is going through my mind, I’m surrounded by too many people and I am having the greatest time, they pierce into my thoughts and I say to myself, “This would be even greater if they were here.”

My Diliman Story

Since typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, I’d like to believe I’ve grown up and matured at least somehow. Sad truth is, though, that I haven’t; I am still the same indecisive, easily-swayed, misinformed teenager I was before the storm. I thought that after over six months in Diliman of decisions, grinds and experiences away from my family, I would at least learn something—saving money, acting around people, when to study-when not to study—that my parents always reminded me about on a daily basis. But no, here I am, seven months later, rethinking my stay in Diliman and regretting why I didn’t make the best of it.
Why?

Before the typhoon I already had plans of transfering, simply because I felt that I didn’t deserve ‘just UP Tacloban’. I thought that, “Hey, the courses I applied for in Diliman were really cut-throat, I guess if I applied for the course I have in Tacloban now, I would have totally gotten in.” And so all of the first semester was an effort to get great grades.

But then the storm happened.

Funny thing is, I wasn’t even scared of the storm on November 7. I was on the internet laughing about farting goats and not even giving the slightest shit about Haiyan. But God, when the water was coming in, all I could think about was my education. The first thing I tried to save were my school records. After swimming to safety, my family was crying about the house, our relatives, our lives; I was crying about not going to be able to go to school on Monday, not going to be able to transfer to Diliman, not graduating, not getting a job. I was so scared, I just sat on the concrete and cried. I cried the kind of tears that just keep streaming down the sides of your face—no noise, just tears. The type of crying people do when everything just seems hopeless.

The next day, I went to Robinsons Tacloban alone; I took what food and necessities I could. Then again to Robinsons with my cousins to take more food, more necessities, some clothes, some luxuries. Another day passed, I slept with a knife in my hand, scared at any noise the fence would make.

A day passed, I brought home a sack of rice from a warehouse in San Jose. I cried when I got home; there were too many dead people.

A day passed, I couldn’t sleep, I was staring at the fence.

A day passed, I refused to eat so my parents could eat more.

A day passed, my cousins and I looted a pharmacy. We took a lot of antibiotics.

A day passed, I slipped and a piece of torn roof cut my skin.

A day passed, I coudn’t bear to look at my room.  Everything was covered in mud.

A day passed, I thought I heard something outside. My father brought out his gun. It was just a stray cat.

A day passed, I bought a loot phone from a stranger. God, there were so many messages from unknown numbers.

Ten days after the storm, my brother called, he said they were arriving in four hours. He told me to pack so we could leave for Manila.

Twenty four hours later, I was in a van cutting across Bicol. The trip took two days. We didn’t stop the whole way except for gas thrice. I was in Manila by the 20th.

The internet told me that the entire university system was open for cross-registrants from UP Tacloban. That moment I thought, “Here was my chance. I’m going to Diliman!” I did everything I needed to do to get in with a smile. Even if I didn’t bring a lot of clothes, money, or valuables, I was happy because I was where I wanted to be.

AS was bigger than I thought it’d be, freshie walk was a pretty as the pictures, Melchor was as intimidating as I imagined. The amount of elation I was going through that first week was probably enough to power a Happy Factory for depressed people for the next year—I was over myself with ecstasy. This would have been a perfect story, but then there would be no point in writing this if that were the case.

I’ve made too many mistakes in Diliman.

I didn’t work hard enough for my grades, I was too caught up in useless thrills. I didn’t get to experience a university life because, when I wasn’t caught up in useless thrills, I was wasting away on the internet. I spent too much of the charity money on things that made it obvious that I didn’t deserve a charity. In three minutes, I made a decision that would demand my life’s time.

I fell in love with someone from Diliman. :)I hurt myself and this person. I fell out and in and out and in of love for this person. But it wouldn’t work.

Long story short, I wasn’t able to live out the Diliman life I truly wanted. I can’t transfer because of something I did and wasn’t able to do. Despite all that, I loved  every moment of the experience. And even if I’m probably never going to be able to repeat it I can’t bring myself to not be happy. It feels as though I’m leaving a huge part of my soul in Diliman and yet I’m smiling through the pain because at least a part of me can be here.

I’m leaving for home on June 25th. This is my message to everyone—whether we met or not, whether or not we’ve crossed glances in Casaa, whether or not our hands touched and we felt that spark that everyone looks for—whoever you are, I want to tell you that you were instrumental to the rollercoaster ride of emotions, to the experience that was my Diliman story.

Thank you.

Veils

From the moment we are borne into the light we develop a sense of our surroundings, and through this we form a personal knowledge. As a child, with an innocent but truthful eye, we thought nothing of worry, of insecurity, and of fear; there was only beauty and no reason to suspect.

Yet as we age, there emerges a reality we did not believe yet existed. So frightfully clear it startles us. All around you witness lies and hypocrisy, finding an inability to separate truth from illusion. Then doubt, suspicion, and trepidation arise. To grow is to lose the rose-tinted spectacles, the lace veil, the hand that guides us.

It is in this belief I have lived my teenage years; in this state of mind that I have carried myself and my obligations accordingly. For in our generation of pretense there is need not of innocence and sweetness, only of rigidity and the will to continue on in this never-ending race.

But what use was all this self-discipline to me when all I ever really sought was excellence. I had forgotten that to be truly excellent one must put honor first; was blinded by the pretense I had hid within and myself veiled from the true end of my goals — I had become a machine, a yes-woman, an object with a power-button that could be dispensed with at will. I had become the best play-actor on the stage that is cruel society.

I had my great days, days when never was I wrong and to all the audience I was the biggest star; I have had the lowest days — times when shadowed were my eyes and I so forcefully brought back down to reality to witness the wrong I have put in motion. These are my memories, and yet these are not the moments which define me, for that which defines us is the middle-line — the gray lining so to speak. For it is in this line where we spend most of our time, idly passing, hardly ever seeing.

So where am I?

I am at this middle. I have tasted enough of ecstasy that gray tastes of ground.

At this moment, I am mediocre.

Summer

Summer has begun.

I would have been home and finished with my finals—reading a good book or two softly reclining on an easy chair. Instead, I am alone in my dorm room as the the other residents are slowly leaving one by one. Yet, here I am and still unable to decide whether I’ll be going home or staying here. As much as I want to keep avoiding the question, necessity requires an answer. “What happens now?”

What exactly is going to happen now? After the storm, I and several students from UP Tacloban have gone to the university’s flagship campus in Diliman looking for refuge and hopefully find a would-be lost semester.

That semester is now over and the other students are on their individual ways back to their hometowns. I am still here though, what happens to me? I didn’t take any majors because there weren’t any to take. I wasted a semester.

What do you do when you waste something? You make up for it.

And so I will, this summer.

Which is why I ask, “What happens now?”

There is nowhere to go at the moment but another UP campus in Cebu—and so to Cebu I shall point my lens and efforts.