Singing and Other Feelings

I love to sing but… I wasn’t great, even good, at it. I learned the hard truth when I was a freshman in high school. The day that made me stop singing. Actually no, I still did sing but it was the day I believed I couldn’t sing and could not be better at it ever.

Ever since I could remember, I have always loved to sing. I would sing every song during mass. Or belt out “Anak ng Pasig” playing on our old karaoke radio. My first public performance was during a family reunion where I sang Jose Mari Chan’s “Christmas in Our Hearts”. Discovering videoke channels on cable TV, I would sing when I was alone on lazy summer afternoons. I even asked my parents to buy me a Walkman with a recorder (for the youths reading: it’s a portable music player; like an iPhone but without all of the features save for listening to music).

I love to sing but… I wasn’t great, even good, at it. I learned the hard truth when I was a freshman in high school. The day that made me stop singing. Actually no, I still did sing but it was the day I believed I couldn’t sing and could not be better at it ever.

The day I believed my voice shouldn’t be heard.

I was a freshman finding my place in the not-a-child-not-yet-an-adult (hey Britney!) world. High school was a new start for me, and I thought it was time for me to break out of my shell. I wanted to stop being shy and timid and start joining clubs. Many of my friends joined the Math club. I first thought of joining a Filipino writing club. I changed my mind: wanting to take a risk, I joined my high school choir club. Something I had always wanted to do.

Together with a classmate, we were just two club members, not yet officially part of the choir. The rest of the members from the upper batches were singing in the choir already. Naturally, we were expected to audition in order to join in that exclusive group. Long story short, my audition sucked. My classmate got in. I did not. No formal announcement. No Glee moment of the disappointment of not seeing your name posted on the bulletin board. Those who got in knew they were in. But I, and the rest of those who failed, just assumed we were cut.

Not passing the audition wasn’t a problem for the others; they weren’t part of the high school choir club. But not for me: I was part of the choir, the club that is, but I couldn’t sing with the choir. Being shy and quiet then, I didn’t even bother to ask what my status was in the club or what the point of my sitting their every week was. The club moderator didn’t teach us to sing. We just wrote essays about music the whole effin‘ school year.

Found love in a hopeless place

Fast forward to 2014, I was already in my twenties and I just got a second-hand iPad. One of the popular apps then was this singing app. I forgot what it’s called. Anyway, the more frequently and the better you sing, the more coins you collect to unlock songs. You needed to record your voice to get the coins BTW. And so, I did.

One day, I let a friend borrow it. When he returned it to me, he started teasing me. Mockingly singing Rihanna’s “We Found Love”. I immediately realized that he listened to my private recordings. Of all people. I was so embarrassed and angry at the same time. I was vulnerable at that time for so many reasons reserved for another post. And so he pushed my buttons and really hurt my feelings. Little things like this. Unsolicited comments coming especially from people you care for hurt the most.

Wandering around SM Megamall, I’ve always seen The Academy of Rock. Many times I would pass by it and pause for a second to think if I should enroll for voice lessons or not. But the following weekend, I really felt that the Academy was calling to me. So I heeded its call: I took one big breath and went inside to inquire. Knowing voice lessons were expensive, I didn’t want to be hasty with my decision. I stepped out of the shop. But it only took five minutes for me to return and finally enroll.

Slowly but surely, note by note

My lessons started immediately that week. I was initially nervous but what the heck. It’s the voice teacher’s job not to judge me, right? I dove right in knowing that voice lessons, however expensive it was, would make me happy. Slowly but surely, I was improving. My family even acknowledged my improvement after the first four sessions during one family gathering. I was so not used to getting papuri that didn’t know how to react. Regardless, I did feel and hear I was getting better.

Yes, there were times when I would get frustrated and feel inadequate when I couldn’t get the timing or pitch right. Or when my voice got tired pretty easily. Or when I would record my voice, cringe and hit delete. There were times when I felt that I had plateaued. That my improvement could only get me so far. That was when my motivation was to impress other people. Family and relatives during reunions, officemates during Christmas parties and friends during videoke sessions. The turning point was my very first recital.

After my recital, my mom said to me “Ang galing ng kasama mo.

My first recital was a bit of a disaster but it went way better than expected. Even if I was thinking twice to invite my parents (because I was shy and all that shiz), I still did (kasi walang magpipicture and video). They were in the audience with my baby niece. After the recital, my mom remarked “Ang galing ng kasama mo.” Again, this hit me like a truck. I shouldn’t have invited them, I thought. It’s like I created this whole other happy place for just me, invite people in and have them destroy it. This happens all the time. My niece on the other hand was elated. I almost cried when she congratulated me and said “Ang galing-galing mo.

I was learning for myself.

Right there, I remembered that I wasn’t taking voice lessons for my parents, my friends or my high school choir moderator. I was learning for myself. Not because I wanted to be a recording artist or a member of a rock band. Singing just makes me happy. It was one of the few decisions I made in my life where I didn’t consult anyone. It wasn’t an easy decision but I chose to be happy.

Now, I don’t mind unsolicited comments. They just go in to one ear and out in the other. Some people would say I got better at singing. I appreciate them but their opinions don’t really matter. I learned to focus on myself and be aware of my mind and body. As my teacher always says, as long as it feels good, I must be doing something right.

I Finally Got Promoted.

You see I’ve waited all my life… for this moment to arrive. Yes friends, I finally got promoted. *cries* Since most of you already know the story and I really don’t want to get into the details (some are already blurry anyway), I will keep this short.

I always dreaded the end of July, when promotions are released at work. I would cry and drown myself in self-pity every year since 2013 or 2014 (not sure). My heart broke each time I saw the “list” without my name on it. Eventually, I had to stop looking. I stopped congratulating others and pretended it was just an ordinary day. I learned to plug my ears and fake my smiles. Rude, but it hurt that much.

Year after year, friends and colleagues went up the corporate ladder. Some resigned and got better offers elsewhere. On the other hand, I was stuck, on the same level that I’ve been in since I first got this job.

The first couple of years were especially hard. I literally sobbed all day: after waking up, while taking a shower, during my commute (yes, even in public transport), and before going to sleep. Maybe I was immature or I might have overreacted, or my hormones were all over the place. I don’t know. Ang alam ko lang masakit.

The sadness inevitably turned into bitterness and anger. I felt the never-ending need to prove myself. To prove that I was better. That I deserved that spot.


Even though I was spiraling, I was willing to do everything to stop feeling that way:

I started with my hair. Different color: I dyed it light brown. Different hairstyle: crewcut, semi-kalbo, and even a perm, a.k.a. Cedie hair.

I joined company events. Became an organizer of sports and charity events. I met other employees (some with the same promotion stories as mine) and became friends with them.

I joined acting and theater workshops to have an outlet for my emotions. I even gained more friends and widened my circle outside work, which was a nice bonus.

I enrolled in drawing lessons to feed my damaged ego. To feel the validation of at least being good, or better, at something.

I shopped a lot. Duh.

I took voice lessons. It was way out of my comfort zone but something I have always wanted to do.

I traveled. I broadened my perspective by seeing and experiencing different places. Cliche, I know, but it made me realize that I’m just a speck of dust (or even littler) in this vast universe.

Name it, I said yes to it, I did it. Zumba, yoga, dancing lessons, networking, everything.

I also prayed a lot. I’ve memorized the Serenity Prayer and all other prayers that granted wishes. I cried each night asking God to make everything stop; I almost quit my job. I just wanted to escape everything: the insecurity, disappointment, and all of these other negative emotions. I thought of joining the others who have left company and, regardless of the risks, start over in a new environment.

I just wanted to stop feeling sad and bitter.

I just wanted to be happy.


Anyway, I didn’t resign but I transferred to a slightly different post. Little by little, I was able to move on. I focused on what my purpose was: to help people in the organization. I wanted to be of value and not just someone who aims promotions.

My various activities helped. Theater and voice lessons thought me how to recover. One bad performance won’t define me forever. I just had to do my best the next time and the next after that.

Occasionally, I still felt sad and insecure about not being promoted. Like times when people would assume that I was already holding a higher position. Or when younger and newer employees would get promoted before me. Or when people I help get promoted again and again.

I’m not gonna lie. My wounds are still healing but for the time being, I am happy and content.

My career came to a full circle in the last two years. The people I dealt with were the same people I met in either my early years in the company or in my many “extra-curricular” activities in the office. It made it easier for me to interact with them and accomplish what we were supposed to do. My job was also familiar as it was similar to my first job. The knowledge and wisdom I gained through the years helped me become what I am now. I get teary eyed when I think about it.

I guess my stars aligned this time.


Thank you to everyone who was part of this journey. Thank you.


Then vs Now #OPPOF5 #CaptureTheRealYou

Our generation is both lucky and unlucky to have social media aid us in documenting our Then vs Now moments. Each photo we post becomes a memory that we’d remember forever. When it pops on Timehop that is. HAHA! Each post tells a story that captures the moment as you remember it. Or at least the emotion you felt at that time and why.

Change
OHEM.

I am what I am now because of how I was then. So with all my courage, I’m sharing my Then vs Now photos for your satisfaction as I look back on my journey as well. As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards…” Ready?

Continue reading “Then vs Now #OPPOF5 #CaptureTheRealYou”

That Time I Overpaid My Phone Bill _ _ _ _ Times More

It was one of those slow Tuesday mornings. It was a Tuesday. I know ’cause I don’t pay any bill on a Monday. Kasi lalabas ang pera buong linggo. Just being careful, that’s all. Little did I know that I would make the biggest and major major financial mistake of my life.

Venus Raj
Yes Venus, it’s major major.

So like the title states: I overpaid my phone bill. “Overpaid” is an understatement because I paid _ _ _ _ more than what’s required. To add a little mystery, I’ll let you fill in the blanks.

I was paying through my online bank account. I didn’t have the actual bill so I just referred to a text message my dad sent me. I logged in and went to the bills payment module. The system sent me an one-time-password (OTP) and I input it in the site. I entered the payment details and clicked “Submit.” “Are you sure you want to proceed?” the pop-up window said. I clicked “OK” ’cause I was so sure.

My phone beeped. A text message. Hmm… I wonder who it was. Nobody had been texting me (since forever!) so it was either my telco, my bank or a mayor planning to run as senator greeting me Merry Christmas.

Continue reading “That Time I Overpaid My Phone Bill _ _ _ _ Times More”

One-way Friendships That I Refuse to Let Go

Maintaining friendships is as hard as maintaining any other relationship. May it be romantic, platonic or professional. It’s ironic, since we live in the age of 24/7 connectivity. I’ve been battling whether I should “unfriend” friends that seemed to have changed for some reason or another through the years. Some people would normally let go but I refuse to. I love ’em and I want to keep being friends. That is despite their shortcomings (and my own too).

Disclaimer: I know this post might seem too “immature”, “childish” for the extremists. Then again, I’ve been hurt too many times to fully dismiss this as my own fault. I always look at things critically. This is just a way to vent things out. Consider this as an open-letter a la Yaya Dub. Some bullet points are not finished yet, though. 😅

Here’s a list of the “one-way” friendships I refuse to let go.

Continue reading “One-way Friendships That I Refuse to Let Go”

Quick Art Tips for A More Creative You

I have been doing art ever since I could remember. My brother and I used to make still-life drawings and paintings instead of sleeping at siesta time (to our grandmother’s dismay 😂). As we grew older, we really got into anime so after doing homework, we would sketch our favorite Ghost Fighter and Dragon Ball Z characters on our own sketchbooks. Looking back, I was lucky to have been introduced, though self-taught, (I was an eager child! 😅) to art at an early age. Life was simpler then. No internet, no need for likes and validation, just mere expression through art. ✍

Googly Gooeys
Tippy Go shares how she started her career in art and blogging with an anonymous Tumblr account that starred Tipsy and Pongo.

Fast forward to today, as a young professional trying to strive in the working and blogging world, I tend to overthink whatever I create. 😱 May it be a blog post, an art piece or a mere Instagram post. I know what you’re thinking, it should all be simple. In reality or at least in my mind, it was not. Continue reading “Quick Art Tips for A More Creative You”

My Day as Pennywise The Clown

I spent one whole day as Pennywise the Clown for work (technically) and, of course, for Halloween. I’ve always been a sucker for dressing up. I didn’t get to experience this when I was a child so I guess, I’m making up for lost time. And yeah, I’ve always wanted to be an actor so it’s nice to get into different roles every once in a while.

Pennywise Costume
“You’ll float too.”

Two years ago, I was one of the Ghostbusters. Last year, I was Fred from Scooby Doo. Early this year, Gintoki Sakata. This year, we got “It” as our theme so naturally, I had to fill in the role as Pennywise the clown. The killer clown. I mean, who else would be willing do it?

Gintama
Roles over the years.

Continue reading “My Day as Pennywise The Clown”

Amiciness Goes on a VL: Cebu + A1 Fangirling Experience

Last year, I impulsively booked tickets to Cebu just because I saw an A1 concert poster on Twitter. I also got my VIP concert ticket that same night. I used my GetGo points! Work got me really depressed that day so… don’t judge. This also happened way, way before I booked my Kim Bok Joo Korea trip, which I also happened because I was depressed so really, don’t judge.😝

Mark Read, Ben Adams, and Christian Ingebrigtsen are A1
Formerly a quartet, A1 is now a trio composed of Mark Read, Ben Adams and Christian Ingebrigtsen (Via AsiaOne News)

The next day, the Manila leg poster popped up on my timeline. I should have waited but that would just be another concert in Araneta. When life hands me lemons, I make lemonade so I turned this impulsive decision into a one of a kind A1 Fangirling experience turned to an Amiciness Goes on a VL episode.

2 VLs were filed for this trip #NoRegrets. (Via Tenor)

Watch the latest episode of Amiciness Goes on a VL at the bottom of this post (so you will be forced to read the whole post, silly)! Enjoy! Continue reading “Amiciness Goes on a VL: Cebu + A1 Fangirling Experience”

Likes and Other Forms of Validation

Have you ever counted the number of likes your Facebook and Instagram posts get? I do but I count only those that matter.

Call it petty and shallow, or a non-existent first world millennial problem. Whatever. The number of likes matters to me. Likes of people that matter to me that is.

As a blogger, getting likes is important but whether I get ’em or not, I still need to do what I need to do. It’s good to have likers that aren’t people I know. I feel that they’re more objective and aren’t just liking because they know me or I told them so.

I may not get more than 10 likes in all the posts in my newsfeed combined but when certain friends do take literally a second give me a thumbs up, I am at peace. I get the energy to blog again. It makes me feel I have an army of supporters rallying behind. Then again, these likes come rarely.

I’m not gonna lie. I do feel sad when I don’t find their likes in my posts especially those that seemed to have “trended”. A part of me expects but I only find myself…well, disappointed. But yeah, I do what I gotta do.

In a world where interaction can be done with just a click or tap of a finger, friends don’t necessarily see each other physically anymore. And with the traffic, need I say more. The only means of letting your friends know that “yeah, I’m still your friend and I hear you.” (without messaging) is liking their posts.

Giving likes is the same as giving small compliments. Nice dress! Got a new haircut? I can’t wait for your next work.

Always be generous ’cause you’ll never know who needs ’em.

My Greatest Achievement

I remember when I told my mom that I was accelerated from grade 6 to first year high school. I whispered the news as we are about to shut our garage gates. I saw her face and how it lit up. I knew she was proud and happy. Everybody was. And I also was. Genuinely happy. Secretly, of course. We didn’t have Facebook then.

I miss feeling proud of what my hard work can actually achieve. I miss the feeling of making people proud without the need to try too hard.  When I didn’t need to calculate and validate my every move. I miss crying tears of joy, being overwhelmed by happiness that you need to express it in the most ironic way possible.

My greatest achievement was when I was accelerated from grade 6 to first year high school, and it all went downhill from there. After that, everything became a competition.

My greatest achievement happened in grade 6 and it’s okay. It’s okay to hold on to that. That place in my heart and memories where I was proud and genuinely happy.