A Message of Gratitude


Good morning!

It is an honor and privilege to be in the presence of esteemed personalities – well-known School Administrators, Reputable Mentors and Professors, fellow colleagues (and board passers), and brilliant and engaging Ateneans today. When told to prepare a message for this event, a familiar sense of anxiety crept up my throat. [The kind that I experienced during the period of reviewing for the boards and waiting for the results to come out.] Think Little Albert in John Watson’s experiments. [cue the crickets]

Engineering a message is much harder than plotting a career path. You could still make some adjustments along the way.  So, for a moment, allow me to be overwhelmed by the reality of being here in front of all of you. Overwhelmed by stage-fright, by nerves, and most of all – with extreme gratitude.

The #RoadtoRGC has been a long and arduous one with lots of bumps over the course of the journey. I took up psychology with the intention of landing a counseling job in school. But luck struck out on me when working as an HR personnel was more viable at that time. Nevertheless, I am truly grateful of those experiences which somehow prepared me in seeing the world outside my comfort zone.

I have a lot to be grateful for. My officemates for one, who made returning to studying again worth its while especially to Lesley (We did it girl!); Professors who were always so encouraging – seeing potential in you even if you don’t; Doc Gail and Doc Nelly for always pushing me (us) on when I was in the point of crawling in the final stretch of my graduate studies; to the Ateneo community, for providing a lot of experiences both in and out of school, equipping me in being more that I can be; the Rugby Girls Team for their presence, understanding their generosity in their compliments in the belief that I can do it; friends both long-time [like Toffee] and unexpected one who were always there to lend a helping hand and cheer me on, always on the prowl to give their support, and to my late parents – especially my mom – who has been my inspiration all throughout this journey. I offer this milestone to them. And to the Lord God for being a source of strength and peace. AMDG.

Some years back I questioned myself if I dreamed so low, aspiring to be a guidance counselor while seeing most of my batchmates travelling the world. But looking back at how far I have come, and how much more I can do. It’s all worth it. So for those of you who are fearing their possible future outside the four corners of the school, don’t sweat the small stuff! Go out and explore and make the world your own.

Thank you and good day!

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On a side note, (which I forgot to mention!) I want to thank Howard Rosenthal, whom I have never met but has made a great help and impact in surviving my review with his Encyclopedia of Counseling. I feel I have understood more my lessons in my undergraduate and Masters’ degree with his book.

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The Return of the Ateneolympics


[I was going for a more nostalgic route but couldn’t incorporate all details in a congruent thought.  I was going to write about how my mom shared her Ateneolympics days through  her bowling days when I was growing up… And how much I enjoyed watching my High School teachers showing their passion and competitiveness on the court… And how badly I longed to be part of it that when I was finally hired, the initial disappointment of finding out it wasn’t a regular thing in school anymore was such a sad blow.  Add to that the lack of opportunity to be more active and hone my “skills” in games.  Oh well… Anyway, I opted to take on a different voice in sharing my thoughts instead.]

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As early as June 2016, talks about the possible return of the Ateneolympics in school started circulating around the Unit.  Sports enthusiasts from various members of the Faculty and offices have been abuzz with excitement on events to sign up for and to begin preparations as representatives for their respective units.  A wide array of sporting events was open to all who were interested to sign up.

 The Ateneolympics was participated by the Grade School Unit, Junior High School Unit, Senior High School Unit, College Unit, and the Non-Teaching Personnel.  The games kicked off last October 1, 2016 with ball games for both men and women into Basketball and Volleyball.  Other events such as Badminton, Bowling, Swimming, Darts, Table Tennis, Scrabble, and Chess were scattered throughout the months of October and November leading up to its culmination last November 12, 2016.  The closing ceremony started with the track meet followed by a mass for all units after which a series of parlor games in between the championship games of both Basketball and Volleyball.  It was capped off by the Cheering competition and the awarding ceremony for all individual, dual, and team sports wherein the College unit emerged as the overall champion.

It was refreshing to see teachers exhibit their skills and expertise in their favorite sport.  It came as a great surprise and delight for spectators and fellow athletes alike to discover a kindred spirit in their love for a particular sport and flexing long-unused muscles to battle it out during each game.  Teachers are well-known for their passion – their love for their profession, the endless desire to learn and impart knowledge, and their drive to always make a difference.  But seeing it in a whole new environment and outside the classroom is all the more exciting and inspiring knowing that their thirst for excellence and fairness goes beyond the classrooms and the pupils but extends to the people that surround them – their teammates, and their colleagues.

So?  What keeps you active these days? 

Last Night


Last night I dreamt of you.
It felt so real and seemed so true.
I thought I had the chance to get answers from you.
But reality crept in and woke me up as the earth shook too.

Oh Mom… what am I gonna do?

Broadway Bound (Again)


Less than a week to go before our “Off to Broadway” production in Grade 1 and I’m at my wits end here.  Compared to last year, I seem to have started much earlier for this year’s preparations.  But still – somehow – I’m barely hanging.

I guess it’s the rehearsals that are getting to me.  Less than two weeks to teach new songs to two groups of pupils (ranging from 6 to 7 yr olds) for their performances is like going on a specops mission… you’re not sure how it’ll turn out but definitely hoping for the best possible outcome amidst forces you can’t control.

Anyway, November 25, 2016 is D Day.  So I’ll just have to wing it and keep my fingers crossed.

Just to keep me inspired, I’m sharing some photos of last year’s “Broadway Bound” Production.

Opening Salvo – Dance Club

MAGIC TO DO from PIPPIN

First Performance: BE OUR GUEST from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Second Performance: GETTING TO KNOW YOU from THE KING AND I

Intermission with…

Our very own Fantine with her rendition of ON MY OWN from LES MISERABLES

Broadway Medley of Pippin’s CORNER IN THE SKY, Mamma Mia’s I HAVE A DREAM, The Little Mermaid’s PART OF YOUR WORLD, Hercules’ GO THE DISTANCE, and Annie’s I THINK I’M GONNA LIKE IT HERE.

Third Performance: WHEN I GROW UP from MATILDA

Fourth Performance: ONE SHORT DAY from WICKED


Special Performance: FOR GOOD from WICKED

Closing Performance: Glee Club

SEASONS OF LOVE from RENT

I take off my hat and salute all who made it possible… these wonderful people!!!

Sometimes too…


And there are times that you wish you’d be able to turn for comfort and encouragement -even just a simple return gesture – from the most unexpected places.  With the same conviction and passion to help you push forward and get past the nightmare of a mistake.

No judgments.  No comments.  No criticisms.

To be enveloped in the arms of understanding and be led back to normalcy.

I guess that’s how trauma is managed.  Be processed.  Then reenter the society.

Traumatized.  Lost.

Sometimes


Sometimes, the thing you’ve feared to become in the eyes of others infects you.  You end up being labeled as the thing you feared the most… without meaning to… without intending to.

A lapse of judgement… a totally unrelated huddle… misinterpreted by others.

#insensitive

Self-fulfilling prophecies that Mr. Subconscious takes over of.

Insignificant and worthless.

Then the inner turmoil sets in.  Rearing a beast of doubt and insecurity hell-bent in wreaking havoc to an otherwise glorious moment.  All too consuming… engulfing every ounce of joy and excitement for the fun of the game, leaving only emptiness, errors, and self-doubt.

Drowning.  Trying to reach out… clumsily failing.

No More of Them


During my senior year in High School, a classmate of mine wrote an essay weeks before graduation entitled as above.  It chronicled her thoughts about the overall make up of the class – different personalities, cliques, and the first and lasting impressions it elicits – during the first few days and the last few weeks, memorable class experiences (the almost always 4th place wins during batch competitions in singing, dancing, choral speeches), the dramas that unfold due to the chemical combo of puberty, friendship,hormones, and schoolwork (aka growing pains that somehow made each one in class become their own person), and disbelief that senior year went by too soon and would no longer endure and enjoy spending days together.

How I wished we were able to keep a copy of that simple write-up which she posted on our bulletin board.  And how I wished I could have written something that well.

Although I may never see my former classmates as often as during my high school years, reunions are usually just around the corner for meet ups (or when necessity dictates. lol).  Especially now that it’s already November.

“No more… of them…”

But November brings other memories in mind.  It’s a time to reminisce people that you see no more… of them… no matter how many reunions or homecomings I may decide to attend.

As I lay quietly in the comforts of my bed and listen to the familiar noise in my neighborhood, I am reminded of how long I’ve lived here that each residence has its own familiar “natural” sound.  Even though most homeowners are just tenants, every house has its own voice.  The quiet slam of the car doors from two doors away, the noisy chatter from visiting transients across the street, and the thundering footsteps on the second floor of the house next door are just some sounds that I have come to be familiar with in my lifetime.  But the most deafening noise I’ve heard so far is from the silence of the gates from three doors across our house – the home of one of one of my mom’s oldest friend, and my honorary aunty ever since I can remember.

The sound of her gates opening and closing could be heard even inside our own house and would usually signal to me that she’s home at night or leaving for work in the morning.  Day in and day out, it has been a part of my life.  When mom and dad would have to  be away, I’d get to stay at her house.  I learned how to play Word Factory with her and experienced my first overnights.  When her nieces and nephews would visit, I’d be invited over to play.  During parties at her house or even in her hometowns, we’d be asked to attend.  She never got married so she was like a second mom to me too while growing up.  When my mom passed away, she was also in remission due cancer of the stomach (or was it the colon).  I’d occasionally visit her at home just to keep her company while she waits for her niece, and for me to not feel lonely too during my mom’s first year in passing.  Then life progressed.  I kept myself busy but would still listen it to the rusty sound of her gates shrieking open.  Then suddenly… no more… for a really long time.  When I would call out on her… no answer.  At first, I thought she was back at the hospital or stayed for a while at their family house. Then during October last year, I called for her again (knowing October was her birthday month).  But still nothing.  It was then that my godmother from two doors away informed me that aunty Frosy passed away on September.

I never got to visit.  Not even to pay my respects or hug her and thank her.  I never even got to write about it last year when I should have.  But the words would just escape me.  I could only think of then was “No more of them.”

Home front

I am constantly reminded that I live alone.  More so lately now that I seem to be surrounded by a new set of people I’ve had the priviledged to meet.  They wonder if I’m just okay by myself and ask if don’t I ever get scared.  Honestly, for now, yes I’m fine and no I’m not scared.

Last week I had a chance to meet a Jesuit priest who was part of the school community my mom worked for during my basic education years.  Fr. was surprised to have heard that Mom and Dad passed away that the 2nd time we met up again, he kept on asking what happened and how I’m getting by.  Naturally, one day at a time.  I may not see more of them, but being where I work, seeing the people who knew them occassionally, doing the things we’ve been used to doing, and being here at home makes it easier to get things back to normal.

But nevertheless, Novembers are the toughest.  November 6, 2010 was when my dad passed away.  And since Mommy has also gone to eternal rest, visiting the cemetery during All Souls Day gets tough… especially going there alone, cleaning up, placing flowers, praying, and talking.  Nobody to share with.  And sometimes, going home to an empty house after visiting… physically reminds me… no more of them.

Work

Just this afternoon (November 7), we laid to rest one of our co-teachers.  This one hits a bit closer to home since she was in the same grade level I’m currently assigned, and she has been one of my supporters for my Broadway Productions in Grade 1.  Seeing the events of her fall and hospitalization through other peoples eyes and mine, breaks my heart most especially witnessing the loss, the uncertainty, and the fear the family members are left with.  Stories and sorrows from friends and colleagues who, upon returning to work would definitely feel the void… the freshness of seeing no more of Tr. Jess.

Nobody said that it was easy.  Sometimes we’re only prepared to say goodbye since we know we’ll meet again soon enough… but for the long haul, it’s a scary prospect and we’re never fully ready.  Just have to take it one day at a time.

In saying goodbye, reunions, grieving, and in healing, I guess we just have to make the most of it.  The beginning may be rocky at first, and we encounter a lot of bumps in the road.  But it’s never the destination that makes it worthwhile… it’s the journey.  No more of them maybe, but it’ll be okay eventually.  Especially when they will always be in our hearts.

To Always Understand


I don’t know where to begin.

I should really be sleeping… but my mind… my thoughts are keeping me up.  It’s all just a bunch of statements, piling up one on top of the other.  Revolving around: understanding.

“I always have to understand.”

That sentence slowly crept up on me earlier like a vine making its way around a fence.  Maybe it’s a thought that has been inching its way through my psyche… or perhaps it’s brought about many random things.

I’d like to think that I am an understanding person (well… up to a certain extent) but I think it was different years ago.  Growing up as an only child, I had a nasty temper.  I’d get easily mad if someone annoyed me, cry if someone hurt me, and withdraw when I felt left out.  Without saying anything, I think i wanted everyone to conform o my preferences.  That got me a lot of scolding, a couple of physical admonitions, and a few friends.

But nature flows on its own course.  Maturity set in.  And although, I still stretch the limits in getting what I want, I somehow knew what to risk in taking the chance.  My parents were the (un)lucky ones to experience my hotheadedness (and my ex-boyfriend).  As for some of my friends, they’ve witnessed and have taken a peek on that.  Not the full onslaught (thankfully!).

Anyway, as I’ve broadened my horizon and had the privilege of exposing myself in different environments (work, organizations) and people, flairing tempers started to be kept in check, control developed, triggers were acknowledged and let go, and the importance of understanding (maybe even empathy) was learned and appreciated.  I grew up.

I guess it helped that my field of work in my different employment focused on human interaction.  That, and having loads of responsibilities as well as living independently.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

I first heard of this from my mom.  It’s Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit of Highly Effective People.  And it truly is.  It practices the Golden Rule: “Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.”  So if you want to be understood, you have to give your understanding too.

But what happens… when in seeking to understand others, you can’t get your own message across because you understood their predicament as well that the issue you may have towards that person becomes negated since they may be going through a more difficult patch in their lives?

Emergencies: “Sorry, I can’t make it… I’m not feeling well.. please understand…”

Trying times: “Please understand… now’s not a good time for me…” or “You know I’m still not over you-know-who, so please don’t ask me”

Apologies: “You have to understand, I was in a meeting and had matters to attend to….” or “I already said sorry.”

So many triggers. Emergencies, Emotional Turmoil, Uncontrolled Circumstances.  Things you can’t control but understand too well that these are indeed difficult moments.  How would you be able to have the heart to share your own?  Or say that these things bother you too and affect you?  Can’t complain about these predicaments.  I just hope it’ll eventually get better soon and bounce back to normalcy.

I guess it’s not just being understood.  After all, that’s where good communication comes in and extending the same courtesy… eventually.  Maybe it’s more of being appreciated too.

If ever I may reach my breaking point and cannot put the lid on it, I’m imperfect too.

Please understand.

My Super Late Birthdate Post


[Somehow the post I made last November 11 got erased… or my final output wasn’t saved properly… so I’m editing this one…]

I promised myself to – at least – post during my birthdays.  So I’m fulfilling that promise.

It’s been 3 months to this date since my birthday.  I had every intention of writing a post last August 11 (but I missed out that time.  Blame the lackluster drive to write) … the 11th of September… then I didn’t even try anymore last October.

You’d probably say “How pathetic!”  And I’d… somehow agree.  So instead of making excuses and justify with lame reasons, I’m going to simply jump in and share what’s been going on (to you my dear readers who’ve been patiently waiting).

Can you think of a time that you needed to accomplish something but just couldn’t get to really doing it?

This post would be one example for me.  I’ve been writing and rewriting it in my brain as if it were my birthday yesterday.  And yet I still could not make myself open my app.  Maybe the idea of turning an age older and not have accomplished much since last year was not even worth celebrating.  Even my boss has already encouraged me to take the time off then to finish my research paper revisions in time for my birthday to really have something to celebrate (the second example of something I needed to accomplish… you get the drift).  And I ended up coming down with the flu and fever during my birthday week.  Maybe celebrating for myself is just so passé. I haven’t been really feeling celebratory about my own self. Celebrating for others… well that’s another matter.

I guess it’s easier to celebrate for others than for myself. Glad to discover my “creative juices” have been free-flowing. I’ve been juggling from sketching, diys, and just about any stuff that catches my fancy. So I’m posting some photos of the ones I’ve done so far.

Office Stuff

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DIY Projects
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Sketches and Artwork

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That’s all for now. If you want to ask about the DIYs I’ve made, feel free to post a comment and I’ll try to get back to you. I’m currently helping out the English Department of my grade level in preparing for a production. So i’m quite busy with that. I hope to write about it once it’s done. So keep posted! 🙂

In the meantime, if you want to be updated on some of my arts and crafts, check out my Instagram account at the right side of this site. 🙂


I took up Psychology in college.

But until now I still feel awkward spouting out technical psych terms.  I feel inadequate or too labelly if I do…

Counsel as a friend or a counselor?

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