The Filipino’s Obsession with Social Status and the Glitz and Glamour of Show Business

This post was inspired by how appalled I am at most of my countrymen who view celebrities as if they’re god-like creatures because I am used to viewing them as equals. They’re merely humans with different priorities and principles in life, and understandably so, is in a different path in life than the rest.

Leaving the TV on is usually our family’s background noise to keep our home from being too quiet because quiet is boring and sad for my parents. They would usually put a noontime Filipino TV show on. Recently, I watched a show about people auditioning to become celebrities. I know things like this is weird for some culture but for the majority of the Filipinos, auditioning to become a celebrity is viewed as something only god-like creatures can do. In other words, most people think they are unworthy, especially if they base their worthiness on their looks. The glamour & elitism in the Filipino celebrity world is attractive and sellable because of this. This, I believe, is shaped by the centuries of discrimination and exploitation my ancestors faced in the hands of the colonizers. It created a line between paupers and the “better citizens”. I say this because one is very likable if one is good looking, smart, and is in the middle-class or are well-to-do. In other culture, individuals are viewed as better than the rest if one possesses riches – looks are just extra. In the Filipino culture, any of the aforementioned makes you better than the rest. Alright, now this is not based on research. These are merely based on my personal observation that my friends and family also share. I am open for discussion about this but if anyone knows a related research, I’d appreciate if you’ll include a link or the title of the study in the comments. I can’t find any as of the moment.

Auditioning to become a celebrity, just like applying for a job, is a process where employers (or the show business) acquire resources – in this case, humans/celebrities – to help them generate income. While auditioning to be a celebrity is personal and subjective to the auditioner by proving one’s self to be valuable than the rest, the business’s main concern is monetization. In other words, employers exploit the celebrity’s emotional vulnerability for capital. You may think, “So what? It’s a win-win situation.” Well, yes. It may be. But a clueless celebrity may be susceptible to stronger exploitation that may even cause them their mental health.  The ones who know how to play the game – pretending to get exploited to exploit the show business for monetization, is in a real win-win situation. It’s business. It’s transactional. The celebrities who are successful are because they’re either skilled at being resourceful and innovative, or they have smart and very skilled business managers which as a result, the celebrities may learn from them. It’s all about capitalism, even in the case of fame. To give you an example, let me tell you a story about a young starlet in the 80s named Pepsi Paloma. She was blinded by the entitlement, fame, and money in show business to the point her naivety was taken advantaged of. This cost her her mental health, and eventually, her life. The 80s was a very different world for the Filipinos and sexism and misogyny was strong. She was raped by veteran celebrities. She told the country about it but no one believed her, and worse, the society shamed her for it. She eventually took her own life.

I want the Filipino society to realize that good looks are just one of the many characteristics that make a human being valuable in the society. We’ve been conditioned as a child that a person with great looks is more valuable than the rest. But we also have to realize that humans are valuable for other reasons, such as, when one is an intellectual, or when one possesses creativity or if one is bodily-kinesthetically skilled. I know, I know. It’s obvious that Filipinos love the arts: especially drama or what’s commonly known to the Filipinos as acting; we love music or what’s commonly known to the Filipinos as singing at high octave vocals, something most Filipinos enjoy and put value into; we value intellectuals such as writers and journalists turned TV Anchors. We also love sports and this is very evident in our basketball fanaticism. We all value these traits but not valuable enough as the person who has great looks. To primarily put value into one’s good-looks may overlook other people’s skills and talents that may be useful in progressing the community, and the country as a whole.

We all go through the same life stress in our careers, finances, and relationships. It doesn’t seem to make sense obsessing over how someone is better than the rest and idolizing them for being better than one’s self because of their looks or fame. Sure, there is high monetary value in fame brought about by the celebrity’s good looks (and great talent manager) but happiness is not merely in monetary form. You’re happiest when you are in good company of friends and family and yep, this is backed by research. I also think humans invented the social hierarchy because of their yearning to find meaning in life and to feel unique and to make their selves feel better. Just like cakes – we’re all the same without the icing. You’re a better cake when you taste good without the icing. Fame and money is the icing in the cake, and it ain’t shit. (Figuratively) We’re all going to die anyway. Find joy in what’s already around you.

 

Thanks for reading, until next time.

 

(Published yesterday but edited today because I’ve better thoughts to add today than yesterday. Blame caffeine. Coffee is love.)

 

 

 

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Life Update II

 

I am back in my hometown. I figured, if I am going to work at home, why not go back to my hometown for a while? Also, I didn’t like the jobs offered to me back in the city. They involve sales and quotas and I don’t really enjoy doing those things. The ones that I want? I was rejected. Life, right? It’s like a game, you always have to plan for your next move, strategize and make sure you have a back up plan in case the other one doesn’t work. Ever since I left my hometown almost 5 years ago, I’ve been planning and strategizing. I like it, though. I like to believe it sharpens my mind and keeps me from minding petty and nonsensical issues.

A project

My brother and I are on a project to renovate my room before my actual work starts. I will transform it into a cozy room for retreating after socializing too much with a mini office in the corner. My room’s become very dusty and everything that’s left is reminiscent of my embarrassing 20s. I say this because 1) if I wouldn’t have decided to come back home and stay here for a while, I wouldn’t have realized how much I changed – from my personal principles to my priorities and 2) I was foolish in love and minding the tiniest annoyance people consciously or unconsciously make. Now, I just don’t care anymore and it seems like minding them is exhausting and isn’t really worth my energy and time. I’ve better things to spend my energy and time on. My life, just like my room, somehow looks sad, but life goes on. So, as a symbol of a new life and leaving uncontrollable things behind me and moving along, the room needs a makeover that is a representation of my present self.

Introspection and Retrospection

When I left this hometown, I never thought I’d come back. Now I am here, planning on new things, filled with the same hope I had 5 years ago when I left. A couple of months ago, I wasn’t this hopeful but surrounding my self with the right people brought it back. I’ve learned a couple of things in my early 30s: That what I thought is permanent may not always be the case; that I can always go back to my family to recharge, rethink and to heal; that if you’re ready to look forward and leave what didn’t work out behind, there’s always hope.

I wouldn’t stay here for good, though. I’ve always loved the big city and wish to stay there for good. There are more opportunities for career, financial and personal growth there. But I will never forget my hometown. It holds a special place in my heart. Coming back home is kind of a introspection and retrospection for me.

Great Things About My Hometown

I am happy to be back and find really fresh fish, fruits, meat, and vegetables at a very low price. Because of this, I get to make smoothies every day. I can’t find perks like these back in the big cities! Also, I bumped into a lot of people from my high school and college, yesterday. I already forgot how it felt like bumping into people I know every time I go to downtown. Most were warm, hugging me and greeting me with joy. Others are snobbish, (LOL). I can’t blame them. I used to be a snob before. I think the person was one of the victims of my snobbish phase in my 20s. I can’t really complain.  Also, it’s just great to be back home and have conversations with my folks and my brother. Am I going to lose my individual self? I used to be scared to lose it whenever I become too sociable but, no. I know better. Living with them all my life, I’ve never found my individuality but living alone created a strong foundation for my individuality and it’s unshackled. I am now more flexible but I never forget who I really am deep within. I realized that in life, I have to take different roles for different people I meet. At the end of the day, when I retreat to my inner self, only I know who I really am deep inside. Until then, I will tread on life.

 

 

Also, I am excited for my new room to be finished so I can have my privacy. I am currently sleeping on our couch and my things are left in the living room.

On Extremely Hypocritical People

They may still act like assholes but they know deep inside their minds and hearts that the reason why they shame others is that those people are a projection of themselves – they remind them of themselves and they hate it. Only these people are more accepting of their selves and this is something hypocritical people are not able to do.

Have you ever bumped into people who shame others for practicing healthy sex, but have done the act themselves? I have – from gay men, lesbian to single moms who mothered children with different fathers and women who got pregnant out of wedlock – the misogyny is strong with them. And if you think about it, the society looks at them as freaks and outcasts – the same thing they view and shame others for. Not that I look at them the same way. I am just appalled at how people who defy societal norms shame others for doing the same thing. It is just repulsive.

I have open and flexible views on people’s romantic or sexual orientation. I believe that in romantic relationships – whether you’re cis, bi or gay – love wins. I have gay friends with gay lovers, single mom, and unmarried friends with babies and I never shamed them for their choices. I always think that people have no say on what other people decide to do in their life – whether it be to pursue their “unconventional” gay or lesbian sexual or romantic relationship or decide to keep a baby without getting married or raise them on their own. People should have the right to openly choose happiness, as long as they don’t harm anyone along the way – and that includes shaming others. I think people should go forth and love and have sex with who they want without shame or guilt. It is the most natural thing in the world – from microorganisms to animals to humans – we all do it. This is why I find it repulsive when people who are viewed by the society as freaks and outcasts, shame their “co-freaks” and “co-outcasts” merely because they had sex. I mean, where’s the logic there? It’s irrational and hypocritical. Worse, these people go to their church services regularly and even have Christian playlists, believing that they will be saved despite their hypocrisy. I think Jesus would disapprove. They may be human, true, but just because they are doesn’t mean they have a free pass for being an asshole. And I don’t think their asshole-ness will be obliterated just because they go to their church services or play their Christian playlist. Jesus would’ve been facepalming a lot whenever he sees one of his hypocritical followers act these way.

jesus_facepalm.jpg

(Not my picture. Please message me if this is yours for credits.)

It’s ridiculous. Doesn’t the Bible teach them to sincerely respect people? (By the way, I mentioned in my previous post that I used to be strongly spiritual in college, but I’ve become a secular humanist in my mid-20s. I was, however, raised in a Christian household so I am aware of the teachings.)

If you’re reading this and think this seems to sound like we’re not living in 2018, and if these adult people sound like they are children, brace yourselves because… there are a lot of people in the Philippine society like this, even around the world. I’ve yet to know if this is cultural. I’ve lived in different regions in the Philippines and this type of behavior and mentality seems to be rampant in some areas.

If you happen to bump into people like this, never stoop down to their level. It pays to be diplomatic, despite how repulsive their minds and hearts seem to you. It’s okay to call them out. They may still act like assholes but they know deep inside their minds and hearts that the reason why they shame others is that those people are a projection of themselves – they remind them of themselves and they hate it. Only these people are more accepting of their selves and this is something hypocritical people are not able to do.  They don’t realize that the real shame and hatred they feel is actually against their selves – probably they still have shame having gay or lesbian romantic and sexual partners; probably they’re ashamed of having kids out of wedlock or with different men, and so on. I think that if we truly accept the part of ourselves that defy norms, we won’t go out of our way to shame others who are like us.

These people may deny that they shame you because they are ashamed of their selves but remember: their actions speak louder. It’s basic psychology. To sum it all up, I think it is very important to come into terms with what one has become, even if it means that they are being looked at differently by the society. It is also important to support each other, because, come on! – we’ve been thought values education since we are kids, even if we follow different religions or philosophies in life, we know this: judging people makes one an asshole, and an asshole is usually an asshole because he has not come into terms with his troubling inner self.

Some terms before I end this post:

Misogyny –  a hatred of women (Merriam-Webster)

Hypocrisy – a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not: behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel (Merriam-Webster)

Projection –  Projection is a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person, where they then appear as a threat from the external world. A common form of projection occurs when an individual, threatened by his own angry feelings, accuses another of harboring hostile thoughts. (Britannica)

Thanks for reading!

 

How to Conquer Feelings of Envy and Jealousy

…when these feelings occur, I often I ask myself these questions: “Why did I felt that way? What can I do about it? How do I avoid acting irrationally about it?” These three questions helped me process the feelings of self-pity, envy, and jealousy.

I’ve often felt envy and jealousy when I was a kid and my siblings were often the objects of my enviousness. When my parents buy them toys, I tend to get upset, even if those toys are gifts for their birthdays. Now that we’re grown up, we’d talk about our childhood days and laugh about how we’re envious and jealous of each other. It’s a natural part of growing up, especially when we try to make sense of our interactions with people and place in the world.

In my teen years, there’s envy and jealousy when my crushes like other girls. As a result, I’d either sour-grape or say rude things about the girls. It was around this time that I strongly felt it. Again, it’s all part of growing up. Just like anger, envy and jealousy is normal and is also a survival emotion. It gives us a nudge to fight for what we think is ours. But if taken too far, it can be toxic and harmful not only to others but also to ourselves.

When I went to college, a lot of things happened. I was exposed to a larger crowd than my high school campus. I was not known in school as I was in high school. This drastically changed the way I looked at the world and myself. I used to think I was the center of everything but I realized that I am just one of the normal people around. I was busy with the pressures of passing my subjects. My classmates and I have different schedules so I don’t get to hang out with them very often and I was alone most of the time. It was a baby step to becoming independent. My family had financial issues back then, which also kept my mind away from the feelings of envy. It was also around these times that I was at my strongest spiritual self. Also, the studies helped me understand different human emotions and behavior. My major was Psychology and I also enjoyed Sociology and Philosophy studies. I was also not the competitive type. I was very lazy when it comes to studying and I only study when the subjects interest me. And because I loved and was interested in Psychology, it was evident how most of my high grades were related to my field of study. All these helped me conquered feelings of envy and jealousy.  It was as if envy rarely occurred to me because there were more important things to worry about than other people’s success.

My feelings of envy and jealousy were replaced with feelings of self-pity. I do feel envy and jealousy once in a while but when these feelings occur, I often I ask myself these questions: “Why did I felt that way? What can I do about it? How do I avoid acting irrationally about it?” These three questions helped me process the feelings of self-pity, envy, and jealousy.  I realized these feelings stem from anger towards the unfairness of the world. However, I also realized that the world is naturally unfair to everyone, so that makes it fair to everyone as well, in a way. For example, I may not be rich but my romantic life, family, and friendships are the strengths in my life. In other words, I look at what I already have rather than what I don’t. I also try to avoid this mentality that others have it worse. I believe that to have that mentality is to rejoice in their misery. I think that if we want to practice mental and emotional cleansing, we should also try to remove the toxicity of finding pleasure from other people’s misery. What I do instead is, I empathize with other people’s misfortunes, try to help them the best way I can, and learn from them. It helps me feel grateful for this life and it’s also fulfilling to help others.

Another thing with processing the feelings of self-pity, envy, and jealousy is the ability to make people our inspiration instead of hating them because they have what we don’t. This helped me re-evaluate myself, too. I would think: If they can, why can’t I? As a result, I become thankful for them for if I haven’t felt inspired by them, I wouldn’t have done things better.

If you’re someone who still struggles with strong feelings of envy and jealousy to the point that you’re already harming yourself and others, I hope this post served as a guidance and wisdom in your life.

Thanks for reading!

(This post is inspired by my thoughts about spiteful people because of their feelings of envy and jealousy. I tried to put my self in their shoes instead of being spiteful against them, too.)

 

Dealing with PMS: Food to Eat and Avoid

I woke up after five hours of sleep to go to the toilet but couldn’t go back to sleep after. So, I got me some coffee and prepared lunch. I also slept late the night before and I know I should try to sleep early but I was up watching updates on typhoon Mangkhut. I then noticed that I was not in a good mood. I only realized after I drank the cup of coffee that I should have avoided it because it’s that time of the month again. Now I have to remember to get enough sleep and avoid coffee until after menstruation.

With that, I am inspired to write a post about easing PMS discomforts. I can’t think of a better way to help my fellow women than to share what I already know about it. Also, writing makes me feel better so it’s like hitting two birds with a stone. Without further ado, here are the lists of food that help with PMS and what to avoid. I got them from women magazines and articles, and some educational videos. Here you go.

Do

Drink more water. It flushes down the culprits of bloating.

Take more fiber-rich food to ease the bloating, especially green veggies with high-water content.

Eat complex carbs like nuts, popcorn, and other veggies to help ease your mood swings. They help increase your feel-good hormones called serotonin.

Get enough Omega-3s and fatty acids. They’re usually found in fish and also help with your mood. Go get yourself some salmon or sardines.

Eat bananas – they have melatonin that aids with your sleep. Women tend to lose sleep when they PMS and this food may help.

Eat lean meat is rich in vitamin B12 which helps when you feel fatigued or lethargic. The protein from meat also helps you stay alert.

Eat your greens – they’re rich in vitamin A and help fight hormonal acne.

Eat magnesium-rich food – it helps relax your blood vessels, thus, may help in alleviating your PMS-induced head ace. All of the food I mentioned are also rich in magnesium.

Eat eggs. They are not only rich in protein but also have healthy fats which, again, helps with your mood swings.

Substitute other carbs with whole grains. I will explain more of this in the “Avoid” list later.

Take some soy and yogurt – they are packed with calcium which is also known to help ease PMS because it helps prevent bloating and fatigue.

Eat dark chocolate – it also helps you alleviate your mood.

Avoid

Caffeine may make you feel more anxious, thus intensifying your mood swings.

Sugar may help you feel good but it a sudden drop of it from your body may make you feel very low, thus, worsening your mood. This is the reason why you should opt for whole grains rather than refined carbs such as rice and flour.

Too much salt is the culprit for bloating. It may make you feel very uncomfortable, especially if you have intense breast tenderness, which is by the way, very painful.

Alcohol can act as a depressant while you’re having your mood swings. You may want to control your consumption or avoid it until PMS is over.

We didn’t choose to be this complex of a human being but understanding how our body works and why it is the way it is is key to living a better life. Just because I am not in a good mood doesn’t mean I get the free pass for being an asshole or a drama queen. I still have to be responsible for my actions and feelings and one way to do it is to eat the right food. Just by eating right already hypes up my mental state to be healthy and inspires me to be a better person.

What other things do you do to help you ease your PMS discomfort? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

How Do You Forgive Depressed People Who Are Spiteful?

Does she hate her own self, that, whenever she sees someone who seemed similar to her, she attacks them?

Should I feel sorry for someone who suffers from depression but at the same time helped maliciously perpetuate harassment towards me? I know someone who, I already sensed was (and is still probably) having emotional and mental issues but have tried to remain strong despite it all, still harmed me. I sensed that in her when she tried to avoid a specific crowd and who, even during working hours, consumed alcohol to get her through the day. I also later found out that she was a very negative and angry person. She found pleasure in hurting other people by judging them and spitting unkind words, especially towards people who are depressed or simply sad, like her. I was trying to understand her but her rudeness towards me and others and my resentment get in the way. I didn’t know what I exactly did for her to hate me so much. She did confess that she hated me so much and even told me that I should just die and cut myself. However, I am never one to cut myself. I knew peers in high school who did and always feel sorry for them. I later found out that this very person who told me to cut my self also cuts herself. I understand people who do this to themselves because I know how it feels to be sad. Sensing sadness from others brings sadness to me, too. But if it is from someone who harms me and others, how do I understand them?

I was at a very low point in my life at the time I met her. She wasn’t a close friend but because she was unkind, rude and seem to find pleasure in harming others like her. It was as if I almost knew her inside out. I thought I had depression, just like her, but now that I realize it, it was the anxiety and dread that my body felt – it knew that it was not in a good place. When I removed my self from the situation, everything felt good. I had to sacrifice some important aspects in my adult life, though. But I’ve never regretted removing myself from that situation.

Going back to this person, I don’t know how to deal with her but I have to confess that I am resentful of her. Not that I think of it very often, but every time my mind accidentally crosses the thought about her harassing me and joining others in finding pleasure in making fun of a very personal aspect in my life, I can’t help but wonder how this human being is shameless and guilt-free. How can’t she realize that the hurt she felt is the same as the hurt people felt each time she and other others harassed them? She walks around seeking for people’s validation and support for her depression and cutting her self, while people don’t know that behind her sad facade is a maliciously evil person who finds pleasure in harassing others like herself. I also can’t help but wonder if this is a projection of her own self. Does she hate her own self, that, whenever she sees someone who seemed similar to her, she attacks them? I don’t know. These are just my attempts at trying to rationalize her ill behavior towards me and others.

In relation to this, I also can’t help but think about how unforgiving I am. I move on from the setbacks I experienced in life but again, when something reminds me of some people that hurt me in the past, I still tend to feel resentment. People might think this was bold of me to confess, considering my pictures are exposed online and such. But as I’ve often said, I am not scared to show my vulnerability. Most people feel like I do. It’s natural. There is nothing to be ashamed of. I’d like to know people who go through the same thing I do and how they successfully forgive people.

Again (because I wrote a poem about forgiveness), how does one forgive? I don’t have the answer. I am in my journey to find forgiveness especially towards people who were not sorry for inflicting harm towards me. What I know is that I should not spend most of my time dwelling on unkind people I met in life. What I also know is that I just have to move forward. Is that enough?

How about you, dear reader? How do you forgive? I’d like to know how.

What Happened When I Become Hopeful and Think of Positive Thoughts

I find that I am able to interact with people more pleasantly because of this.

In my 20s, I’ve become negative of my views on life. I have this thought that people are only acting on their own selfish interest. Some would argue that we are all selfish beings, just as Richard Dawkins argued in his book “The Selfish Gene”. But what I meant by what I said is that, some people do things to only benefit themselves, while others are concerned with not only benefiting themselves but wish to also benefit others. I used to think more of the former. Because of this, I was always suspicious of others, even resentful. I didn’t realize that it is already affecting my mental and emotional health.

Fast forward to the present and I have been full of hopes lately. As a result, I feel and think in a positive way and I find that I tend to wear a natural smile on my face. No, not that kind of a creepy smile. It’s the kind of smile that may make people wonder what went well during the day that I seem to look inspired and at peace. I remembered that this is how I used to feel when I relocated to this big city years ago. But this time is different. I am less scared and nervous, although still careful – I wouldn’t know when bad guys decide to act out.

Some may think that this realization is a no-brainer. But with someone who was blinded by the belief that people are only thinking for themselves and don’t care about what others might feel, it was hard to realize this. However, I am thankful that I had the chance to realize this sooner.

Moving forward, I find that I am able to interact with people more pleasantly because of positivity. This is new to me! I always thought that whether you’d be pleasant, neutral or rude, there are always more assholes than kind people. I was wrong! I tend to experience more positive interactions than negative ones. There seemed to be some level of humility and respect between each interaction I had with strangers  – the taxi driver, grocery or convenience store people, security people whenever I ask for information, etc. I noticed that it’s infectious – it makes people act warmly towards me. Why haven’t I believed this before? I asked my self. I was too scared to try being nice, I always thought I had to win over them. I didn’t want them to treat me unfairly.

I also felt as if I don’t care about what other people think or say about me anymore. Whenever the negative thoughts in my brain come out, I reprimand them and tell them how they are irrational. They tend to stop. Sometimes when they pop out of nowhere, I laughed at the negative thoughts. They are usually thoughts that would trigger social anxiety but I always tell them things like: “Okay, that was embarrassing but I am never going to meet those people anymore. They’re busy with other things in their life to care about that brief incident.” or “Oh, the securities are there to keep everyone safe. That’s a good thing!”

Despite the setbacks I had in my life, I have this thinking that I should just look forward and know that it is not the end. Everything is temporary. Everything is a cycle. I am equipped with the lessons I learned in my young life now. I have to always tell my self, and truly believe that there is hope. If you’re experiencing a bad time in your life, read the last sentence again. I’ve now gained wisdom, but I vow never to stop learning. I wish for others to have hope and wisdom, too. You can do it!