Do you cringe when…

…you read your old blog articles? I do. I cringe so bad that I don’t even finish reading them. A few paragraphs are enough to make me close my Chrome tab.

I used to think of myself as an okay writer. I think I’m still riding high from my writing wins from high school – Jesus, that was more than a decade ago. At fifteen, I managed our school paper and I won a few writing awards. All that achievement got to my head! It made me confident that I was a natural, and that I needn’t write so much because my talent was innate.

Well, clearly that isn’t the case. The sobering truth is that talent should be nourished through constant practice. The part of my brain assigned to writing has shrunken to a nut. I’m back to level one in terms of skill.

I feel like this is a thing that happens to a lot of people. The older we get, the less we practice, and the less we do the stuff we used to love doing. There are too many reasons it’s commonplace (e.g. our education system, Pavlovian conditioning, ever-increasing responsibilities, consumerism, the system beating us to a pulp…), but it’s prevalent enough that the idea of passion has become a Holywood-esque dream. The world hammers us to becoming cogs in the system – uniform and utilitarian.

Is there a skill or a hobby that you love doing, but haven’t engaged in for a long time? What are your reasons for not engaging in it? I’m keen to know.

Brazenly criminal

Nowadays, reading news about my motherland always comes with unbearable pain. The Filipino people are experiencing utmost suffering without any means of support. The government’s ineptitude over serving the people has become borderline criminal.

When reading the news, it’s clear to see that politicians hate Filipinos with the passion of a thousand suns. They abuse the resilience of the masses by politicking their way to the country’s coffers. Presently, our President has given up on efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak, reopening the economy despite cases increasing by the thousands. No mass testing has been done – not even the shadow of one. This, despite the government’s coronavirus loans amounting to PHP 386B. WHERE DID THE MONEY GO? We have not seen a sliver of it, despite having to pay for it for three generations onward. By the time our grandchildren are born and today’s politicians are dead, we will still be paying off this debt.

Sometimes, I wonder what made many of our politicians brazenly criminal. Filipinos are suffering hunger, disease, unemployment, and the lack of government support, yet politicians can turn a blind eye to it all. Many of them are too blinded by the wealth of their people, too busy scheming to stay in power, and too occupied licking our president’s ashen ass. Too many of them have corrupted morals and want nothing else but to stay in their position, even if it no longer serves the Filipino people. Is it not time for a revolution, to throw these people out of power?

It is time for change in the hands of the people. And yet Filipinos are already too weary. Many of us are looking for jobs and for our next meal. Many of us cannot act when our families are hungry and our security is on the line. This suffering may not be a deliberate move from our dear politicians – but boy, does it serve them.

I sometimes wish I could give up on my country. It’s too painful to be a Filipino; it has always been, but it especially is now. But it would serve no purpose to the Philippines if I, or anybody else, give up on it. What could we do, though? How could we serve the motherland best?

Quiet mornings are the best

I woke up alone in my bed today. It’s a first since the lockdown began. My partner has begun working again, and left early in the morning to help clean up his workplace.

I rose from bed earlier than I usually do. It was exciting, this alone time and the silence it offered. I made my coffee, washed my face, and sat on the couch of our living space.

As I sipped my coffee, I took my time enjoying the view outside my window. It was a grey day, with wet grass and sleek pavements. There was no person in sight, but occasionally, I would see the birds perching on the trees nearby. It was a peaceful sight.

Yesterday, I listened to a short clip about what one could do every day to spark their creativity. Among the suggestions was to give yourself at least 15 minutes every day of quiet time. It, they said, helps you connect dissonant ideas, and allows you to see new things and find novel solutions. I don’t know at what level these epiphanies are supposed to come to, but today, I did think of roundabout solutions to my dilemmas. Also, I got the brilliant idea of making beef noodle soup. We have leftover bean sprouts and beef stock in the fridge, and I didn’t want to throw them away.

My last post talked about wanting quiet time. Now, I have it – and my, it is so exquisite. Quiet time is great, but quiet mornings? They’re the best.

Quarantine Day X: Feeling guilty about everything

Since the quarantine, my feelings of guilt over everything I do has increased ten-fold. I feel guilty about so many things: my productivity; my meager contribution to society; my lack of effort to check up on my friends. All of these weigh heavily on me. They make the burden I carry on my back.

My social media usage, I think, is partly to blame for this guilt. Because of the “empowering” messages I read about “making the most of the quarantine,” I’ve come to feel horrible about my lack of effort. Sure, I spend my free time writing. I’ve even gone back to painting. I regularly call my family, less so my friends, and I’ve donated to a charity back home. But it never feels like it’s enough. I feel like I should be doing something bigger and of more substance. It feels like the only way to make the most of this period is to help the disadvantaged through direct – heck, even manual – means.

I plan on making the most of my day today: write (as I am now), paint, read a good book, and scout for remote volunteering opportunities. I also plan on making cinnamon buns and looking for courses I could take in edX. Despite all these, I still feel hollow and guilty. Do you, reader, feel this sort of guilt every now and then? The guilt of not doing enough?

I wonder if this is just a spell of anxiety. It certainly is incorrect to feel this way (J.K. Rowling recently condemned life gurus who preach productivity during this period), but how does one quiet feelings of guilt? Guilt goes away through action, yes. But if the action you’ve done has proven ineffective, what is the healthiest alternative?

Today’s trivial thoughts

Alliteration – I didn’t mean to alliterate the title of this piece. It was originally supposed to be “Shallow thoughts,” but I wanted a less negative word to shallow. ‘Trivial’ came to mind.

Then I thought: what if I make this a regular series? There should be a word that differentiates one day’s thoughts from another. So “today” was included. It resulted in a cringe-y alliteration.

Eh, whatever. It’s too early in the morning to get hung up over it.

Video games – I’m annoyed. Partner and I bought Animal Crossing, expecting to have our own islands. But I found out last night that the game only allows for one island per Switch! And since he has started his game way ahead of me, it means I’m stuck in his island. Isn’t that just GREAT! 🙄

Since opening my account we’ve given each other death stares. Don’t mess with my island, his eyes say. If I could get off your island, I would, man!!

Making dessert -Partner has begun making delicious desserts since quarantine started. The other day he made financiers. Last night, he made strawberry tart from scratch.

Everything he makes is delicious, which is a problem for my paltry self-control. I’m stuffing my face with more sugar than I need! Our pantry has a generous share of chocolate and chips, too, which makes it worse. I have to master my self-control, even if just during the quarantine period!