Légomai Eleuthérios

It was the day before Poppy Day when the son, brother, and friend known as Aldrin, author of this lazy arse blog, fucked up big time. Sinking into a pool of shame, guilt, and sadness, he descended into the abyss of his own making, and perished.

Just kidding. He isn’t dead–not literally, at least–but he is trying to resurrect himself from a figurative death as we speak.

Half a month after shutting people out from his then-dismal existence–on Lebanon’s independence day, no less–Aldrin decided to reconnect, taking the name of Eleutherios (ancient or modern pronunciation, doesn’t matter).

I am now Eleutherios.

Born again, through the fires of freedom and truth, though not in any evangelical or new-agey way. Halleloo.

Now, you can still call me by my old name, no problem, but it wouldn’t hurt if you called me Eleutherios, too.

The reason I decided to change my name is because it’s symbolic of what I’m going through right now. Nothing overly dramatic, but still signifies a death and rebirth of some sort. It’s a powerful act, taking back control.

I’m turning 30 next year and I feel like I need a radical change in my life. One that has just been waiting to happen, apparently.

It won’t be easy and it will be painful, but I’m willing to go through it if that’s what it takes. Truly, this year has been transformative. Painfully transformative. This is what you get when you delay the necessary.

I’m not a major mess. Heck, I’m relatively lucky in terms of the support that I’ve got and the lot I’ve been given. That being said, I still fucked some things up, hurt important people in my life, and I’m just taking ownership.

I’ve broken some hearts, but I broke mine, too. So help me me, I will fix this shit and un-horcrux my soul.

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Image via sunsetinn.com

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Happy Irish Dancing Day!

Five years ago, I was supposed to go to Hong Kong to watch my most favourite show in the world: Riverdance. I was 11 or 12 when I first promised to see them live, but never got the chance. Five years ago, they were in Hong Kong for the first time, the nearest they could ever get to Manila, and I missed it. Life happened, dad passed away, and I was broke.

Fortunately, exactly 3 months ago today, I finally made my way to Hong Kong to see them on their second trip to the city. Best bloody plane ticket I had ever bought. Seeing the guys live for the very first time was amazing beyond my wildest dreams. I cried at the beginning, I cried at the middle, and I sure cried at the end. Three months later, I can still picture everything in my head and it still brings tears to my eyes. One life goal accomplished and I will remember it for ever.

As if the Fates had not already blessed me enough that day (and thank you ever so much, ladies, for doing so), I also got to meet John McColgan by chance right after the show. Wow. Of all places to be in that night, he was there in the same one I was in. BLEW MY MIND TO BITS. We had a chat, he signed my ticket, and he forgot to give back my pen. I was screaming for hours after; I just couldn’t believe it. He also shook my hand so tight that I had to take a picture for posterity:

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I also got to talk to one of the dancers, Tom Brosnan — a handsome, talented chap — who was ever so kind to entertain my wide-eyed geekery:

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Coincidentally — and I just realised this now — it also happens to be Riverdance’s 21st anniversary today:

Riverdance was first performed during the 7-minute interval of the Eurovision Song Contest 1994 at the Point Theatre, Dublin on 30 April 1994. It received a standing ovation. Later that year, the BBC commissioned a repeat performance of the act for the 1994 Royal Variety Show, when it was introduced on stage by Sir Terry Wogan. At Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest and Eurovision Song Contest’s Greatest Hits events, it was named as one of the most popular interval acts in the history of the contest.

Here’s to twenty more years, Riverdance! Do wait until I get my hands on actual hard shoes, so I can audition! (Why was I ever born in a country where Irish dancing shoes aren’t available?!)

Notes on anger, reason, and drama

I wrote this about a year (or two?) ago when I was really frustrated over something. Fortunately, I no longer remember the reason why I was so angry, but I still remember how I repeatedly tried to hurt myself to calm myself down.

I don’t know if I’ve ever told you folks before, but I used to be so much worse when dealing with anger. I’ve always considered myself to be a mostly rational person, but when I get angry, I get really angry; growling, scratching, and all. And whilst I’ve never hurt a fly–much more a person I cared for–in my inglorious fits of wolf-rage, I had always found it strangely helpful to hurt myself. Perhaps the outer pain distracted me from the inner pain?

Below are a few notes I shared (and deleted) on Facebook after I had calmed the fuck down from my unfortunate breakdown:

Do not get in the way of someone who’s angry. (The irony? Avoiding them could be just as bad, too. Sometimes, there’s nowhere else to go. Deal with it.)

Do not argue when a person is taking a crap. Makes things shittier. Remember: shitting is stressful as it is. Do not make things worse by banging your head on the door. That’s going to hurt.

Don’t compare; it isn’t fair. Each person, each moment is different. When you’re older, don’t go, “Well, I never did that to my father”. Obviously, you’re not your child and you’re not your father. Be fair.

Life is not a contest of who’s been more patient with who. For all we know, we’ve each been fighting the same battle at just about the same rate. Know when to call it quits.

Never, ever attempt emotional blackmail on someone you love. It’s cruel.

We each have a right to be angry–and perhaps, also a good reason to be!–but, we have a responsibility to keep our reactions as rational as possible.

You don’t have to be perfect to give advice, but make sure to take your own advice.

As tempting as it sounds, don’t get angry at people who have nothing to do with why you got angry in the first place. They don’t deserve it.

Life is too short for drama. Just because you feel it, no matter how intense, doesn’t make it true. You sometimes feel unwanted, ugly, and useless, but that doesn’t make it true. You sometimes feel people are jerks, doesn’t mean they really are. Again, function as rationally as you can.

Forgiveness isn’t an easy thing and it shouldn’t be forced on anyone. But, trust me when I say forgiving pushes us forward. Forgive, forget, and move on a better person.

Fortunately, I’ve reduced the instances where I go hit-myself-for-being-a-jerk kind of crazy. I guess I figured that it probably wasn’t healthy, so I eventually stopped. Forgiveness is key; starting with oneself.

Peaceful image of the Buddha courtesy of Google Image Search, bless googling.

Peaceful image of the Buddha courtesy of Google Image Search, bless googling.

Turning three decades

Thanks, Google!

Thanks, Google!

It’s my last year in my 20’s, and for some strange reason, I feel really excited. I’m literally at the edge of a new era.

The past year up to now has been truly transformative for me, and I mean that in a good way. I feel so different from who I was a year ago and it feels strangely liberating.

I’d like to personally(?) thank those around me — and even you, my two or three readers — for staying with me as I moulted and transformed. If you remember, 2013 was a little rough on me, but 2014 made up for it real good. I’m only hoping 2015 finishes it right before I finally turn 30.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to get back on some resolutions I made last year.

#1: Plan. Plans don’t always work, but planning gets your head straight for the important stuff. Also, don’t just have one; have several of them. Life is rarely linear, and following a single path can sometimes lead to a dead-end.

Plans have been a little slow, but they’re still there, and, at least, they’re moving. I’ve still got my eyes on Canada, despite some distractions and the financial challenges involved. Alternatives are also in place.

#2: Never lose sight of your goals. If and when you do, pause to realign. Even if it takes you half a year’s time; you need to realign.

There are days when I doubt what I’m doing or where I’m going, but generally, my goals have become more solid.

My linguistic goals have certainly moved forward and my other scholastic oaths to Athênê have been kept. I’ve been keeping a diary of things I’ve learnt, brushed up on my Korean and Spanish, and even started learning Irish. I did pretty well on my DELF and IELTS, too.

#3: Question and examine your goals as you go along. They change as you change, too.

Yessir, I have. I’m pretty sure I still want to emigrate, but it’s very important to know (and remember) why I’m doing it and what for.

#4: Each day, be more “you” and who you want to be. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you’ll ever have. Don’t let yourself down for anyone else.

Oh, man. I cannot stress how important this is to me now and how I’ve learnt how to love myself more these past few months.

I am reminded of Eartha Kitt’s words on love and compromise:

I fall in love with myself, and I want someone to share it with me. I want someone to share me, with me.

Damned straight, Eartha.

#5: Let your hair down more often. Let it go. Even if you have to tell this to yourself in 25 languages.

When I said that I’d let it go, some people thought I’d become more of free-spirited Anna (or perhaps be more like who they think I should be). What I actually meant was, speak my mind more often and more openly.

And I have. I’ve never been prouder of the things I’ve said to people’s faces. I still think cunning diplomacy is the way to go for me, but I realise that there will be days when I’ll have to tell people to just fuck off.

#6: Smile more. You might feel just as happy whether you smile or not (because you’re Ti like that), but smiling changes the people around you, too. I’m sure you’d be happier to know that they’re happy.

Following up on acting more ‘me’, I have decided to smile when I feel like it. A good friend of mine told me that, “the closer you get to Dionysos, the harder a time you’ll have trying to hide your authentic self”. See #5.

#7: Do not be discouraged by failure. I know you’re an incredibly brutal perfectionist, but you need to learn to let these feelings go. Advance through trial and error. Mistakes are best avoided by precaution, but if it’s the fear of making them that’s preventing you from exploring and expanding your comfort zone, to hell with that! Just do it.

Well, I’m still an incredibly brutal perfectionist, but I think I’m a lot more forgiving now? At least, I’d like to think so. I don’t need to convince myself that “everything happens for a reason” to forgive myself and move forward. Shit happens all the time, so just keep on walking.

#8: Talk to people. Please. You need to get out there and meet new people. You can keep your small circle of trusted souls, but expand your network. Expand your horizon.

I’m quite proud to say that I’ve done a pretty good job in this aspect. In addition to building a more solid network of friends, allies, and kindred spirits, I’ve also talked to several strangers randomly. Twice in French, and in a particular instance, with no less than the French ambassador!

Keep ’em coming, Hermês.

#9: Love yourself a little more. Self-pity isn’t going to get you anywhere good or far. A lot of people probably love you more than you know. Do them and yourself a favour by loving yourself more.

I’ve still got some old issues hanging about, but I’d like to think that I’m loving myself a lot more. See #4. It’s truly important to know your self-worth.

I’m really, really excited for this year.

Unexpected turns

[For my 299th post, I’m going to pretend that it hasn’t been 4 months since I last updated. I never claimed to be a persistent writer, anyway.]

So, last time I talked about how thankful I was for the job I had been offered after a long, bitter winter of unemployment.

Well … that didn’t really work out; didn’t even last 2 months. I actually have no clue why. It seemed perfect: I was doing what I did best (teaching language), I had intelligent people for both learners and colleagues, and it was less than an hour away from my place. But, I was still sad; I still felt lonely, and I still don’t bloody know why.

I don’t regret anything, of course. All of what I said here still rings true: it wasn’t a very long stay, but I was able to reflect on my life a little bit more. Maybe I left my winter wonderland too soon? Who knows.

What’s important is where I am now, which is a relatively happier place. I took an unexpected turn, and I’m back at my old job from last year. Who would’ve thought they’d invite me back? Indeed, the mantra/hashtag still holds: #StillQuiteLucky.

Google hosted image from gods-know-where

Google hosted image from gods-know-where

In 2015, I hope to finally cross over to the ‘new era’, but for now, I wait; for now, I prepare.

On self-worth

Today, I was reminded by my seerapist of one of the most important things I’ve learnt in my 7 years working: self-worth.

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This whole time that’s what you’ve learned: self-worth; the ability to detect what a good deal is from a bad deal. If you’re earning 20 grand for the effort you’re putting in now, why not earn 20 grand with less effort in a different job?

There’s no point in working hard or sucking it up if it doesn’t lead anywhere. You have nothing to prove to anyone. You can endure a job for a full year, but if you get out of it empty-handed, other than the satisfaction that you were able to endure a year in a shitty job–that makes you strong, sure, but it also makes you kind of stupid. Life’s too short for that. Remember, the only real money you have while you are alive is time. It’s like beating with a fork vs beating with an eggbeater. You’ll get the same result but one is more efficient than the other. The quicker you’re able to reach your desires in your lifetime the richer you are. Wealth is speed; speed is wealth. These are things you’ve internalized over the past few years, and now you have the internal compass to help guide you, something that should’ve tingled your intuition a long time ago.

Remember, remember, the Kalends of January

Obviously, this was intended to be posted on the Kalends of January. Then, we had another New Year, but I forgot about that, too. We supposedly had another one in March, but I let that slip again

Luckily, the Mestizo calendar gods have given me a fourth chance to do this today, the 2nd of April, not too far from another ancient New Year.

 


Dear me:

I know you don’t normally do resolutions–and this is certainly not one of those mushy, unrealistic resolutions to start a year–but words of advice from someone who’s always been there for you can never be a bad thing. Here they are in no particular order:

  • Plan. Plans don’t always work, but planning gets your head straight for the important stuff. Also, don’t just have one; have several of them. Life is rarely linear, and following a single path can sometimes lead to a dead-end.
  • Never lose sight of your goals. If and when you do, pause to realign. Even if it takes you half a year’s time; you need to realign.
  • Question and examine your goals as go along. They change as you change, too.
  • Each day, be more “you” and who you want to be. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you’ll ever have. Don’t let yourself down for anyone else.
  • Let your hair down more often. Let it go. Even if you have to tell this to yourself in 25 languages.
  • Smile more. You might feel just as happy whether you smile or not (because you’re Ti like that), but smiling changes the people around you, too. I’m sure you’d be happier to know that they’re happy.
  • Do not be discouraged by failure. I know you’re an incredibly brutal perfectionist, but you need to learn to let these feelings go. Advance through trial and error. Mistakes are best avoided by precaution, but if it’s the fear of making them that’s preventing you from exploring and expanding your comfort zone, to hell with that! Just do it.
  • Talk to people. Please. You need to get out there and meet new people. You can keep your small circle of trusted souls, but expand your network. Expand your horizon.
  • Love yourself a little more. Self-pity isn’t going to get you anywhere good or far. A lot of people probably love you more than you know. Do them and yourself a favour by loving yourself more.

I’m sure there’s more, but these should do it for now.

Warm regards,

Me/You

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