Category Archives: Musings

Cleaning out my life

Some things (and people) just need taking down a peg or four

Two weeks ago, I officially moved back into my own house. By ‘officially’ I mean I went back to living in my house full-time, as opposed to living in Dani’s apartment while still maintaining my own residence. And after three and a half years of shuttling back and forth between two houses, it was quite the task consolidating my entire life back under just one roof.

One problem was the matter of stuff. I hadn’t realized just how many things, especially clothes, I had acquired in three and a half years, and just kept in my closet in Dani’s apartment because that was where I was most of the time. So when it came time to move all of it back to my own house, I realized I was going to have to do some serious spring-cleaning in order to fit all of it in.

So in my first week of living in my house again, I finally found it in myself to get rid of the clothes I wore when I held a corporate job, clothes I’ve had since I was 18, clothes that I had been holding onto for no other reason I can think of than that I was thinking I might one day have to wear them again. Everything went into the big blue Ikea bags, to be given away to my maid and to my mother’s nurses, and the more I cleared out, the more I wanted to get rid of.

One week later, I had given away everything I knew I would never wear again. I then moved on to putting in storage the clothes I knew I wouldn’t need anytime soon: all my evening gowns and heavy winter coats went into vacuum-seal bags. And by the end of it, I had my whole life back in one place.

Today, I put all my handbags back into their respective dustbags, set aside the ones I would give away, as well as the ‘serious adult’ bags that will go to my mother because I will probably not need them in the near future. When I was finished, the feeling of seeing my closet emptier and more organized now was one of liberation. I had literally removed my baggage.

It’s something I’ve been struggling with ever since the year began. In the last quarter of 2016, I had come to terms with the drastic, but inevitable, shift in my life that would lead to my isolation. I knew, perhaps all along, that there would always be one part of my life that was not meant to last, mainly because I had entered it much too late in life, and it was not something that I had ever really gotten used to. I had spent the formative years of my adolescence moving from one country to another, staying in each one long enough to make friends, but not long enough to learn how to keep them. So it was that I entered adulthood never having learnt to form any kind of emotional attachment to people, hence the one hand-full of people whom I can still call my friends today.

This change has become easier to deal with over the past three or four months, especially with the impending prospect of finally leaving this country. It may have something to do with my growing intolerance for so many things that are wrong with this country and its society, or it may just be that I realized that life — the life filled with events and parties and fashion shows and group photos taken for the sake of showing off on Instagram — may not really be for me. Whatever the reason, I’ve retreated back into my shell ever since Dani left to begin building our new life, and I’ve never been more content to sit in my own bubble until it comes time for me to join him.

Tomorrow I will start on the shoes. For someone who’s always loved her shoes, that’s just one more step towards my freedom.

Days in the sun

Beauty and the Beast

I could sing of the pain these dark days bring
The spell we’re under
Still it’s the wonder of us I sing of tonight

Days in the sun will return
We must believe, as lovers do
That days in the sun will come shining through

Like most people my age, I watched the live-action Beauty and the Beast during its opening weekend in my country. Even though it premiered here a good two weeks after the worldwide release, for reasons so insignificant you wouldn’t know it until they had passed, Eza and I caught it on the second day of screenings (mainly because I couldn’t make it on the first day).

Going by the assumption that most of my readers would either have seen it or not be interested in seeing it, I won’t attempt to review the film here (not that it needs it). Suffice to say, I’ve watched it twice in the theaters, many times online — because I’m Asian and I know that there is nothing that can’t be bootlegged these days — and listened to the (legally downloaded) soundtrack every single moment that I’ve been alone, and all in just the last 10 days.

Also like most people my age, I’ve watched the animated Beauty and the Beast more times than I can remember since its release back in 1991, and as recently as this February, after learning of the live-action remake’s release date. The animated film has always stuck with me because it came out when I was old enough to have read the original Villeneuve fairy tale, understand the story and appreciate the music. But watching the live-action film has struck a new chord in my being, and almost obliterated every feeling I’ve ever had for the 1991 cartoon.

I think what made this new version resonate in me is one of the new songs written for the film, Days In The Sun. Its lyrics on keeping the faith and staying hopeful amidst all the sadness and despair have stayed with me ever since I heard it the first time, and it is this song alone that epitomizes the spirit of the entire film. It also makes me think of the times we live in now, and how important, no matter how difficult, it is to remain hopeful that one day, we will find our way out of these dark times, and stand in the sun again.

The first step

In looking back at my previous posts, I realized that my annual New Year’s Eve post came up very short. Although I’m not sure why at the time of that writing, I think now that I was probably not in the right frame of mind to write it, as I was distracted by everything that I had been doing in the U.S. But as always, in keeping up with my obsessive-compulsive need for consistency, I wanted to do, at least, a brief review of the year that had been.

Now that I’ve been back from New York for nearly three weeks and more or less settled back into life at home, I’ve had time to really process everything that transpired in 2016, and in fact, having lived through the first month of this new year, I can look back even more clearly than I did in the previous years. That makes this my continued — and hopefully a little more in-depth — stock-take of 2016.

More than just my relationship issues, 2016 was also the year that I decided to shift my work priorities, at least for now. I put my writing and public relations consulting jobs on hold, because I wanted to channel my energies in that towards the restaurant and jewelry businesses, and also because I realized that the value and credibility of what I was doing was becoming greatly diminished by a new breed of sycophants who, though grossly unqualified and inexperienced, were adding my profession to their portfolios.

The upshot of this change in my work is that I rediscovered the satisfaction and gratification that come with working purely for yourself or the people you care about. And in an odd, roundabout way, it also helped me rediscover the real meaning of friendship and what I wanted out of it, because nothing helps you weed out your true friends more effectively than business and crises. To this end, I resolved to only surround myself with people who lift me higher, and make an effort for those who are willing to do the same for me. I have no use for people with whom my conversations will only ever be about who attended what events and what they wore, who has more Instagram followers than whom, and how to raise social media profiles and monetize them.

Now that we’re a month into this year, I know without a doubt that I made the right decision with said choices. My social circle has been whittled down to a handful — literally one hand-full — of people, and I’ve never been more content with it. My insecurities and trust issues remain as unresolved as ever, but I’ve learned that, for the time being at least, I just have to maneuver around them as opposed to actually overcoming them.

Having hit rock-bottom in 2015 and begun taking the road of recovery in 2016, I can only hope that 2017 will allow me to continue on that road. As I wrote in my previous post, I had to do without a lot of things and let go of many people in the past year, which only served to make my bubble smaller, but if in exchange for that, the world can open up to us again this year, then all that downsizing would have been worth it.