On How I Became A Popster

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Since Sarah Geronimo has occupied most of my mind and my time this weekend, I might as well write something about her and why I am a fan.

It was 2003 when I first heard of her. I went back to the Philippines for the first time after three years of living abroad. On our way home from the airport, my cousin played a song in the car and asked me to guess the singer. It was one of my favourite karaoke songs (although I sounded like a cockroach being strangled whenever I sang it)- To Love You More by Celine Dion. And because Celine Dion was my favourite at that time, I confidently said it was her. My cousin was quick to correct me and said it was Sarah Geronimo. I was like, "who"? Apparently, she won a singing contest the year before. I listened to the whole song and I couldn't believe that I was listening to a 14-year old. I fell in love with her voice instantly, and that's how I became a Popster.
Photo grabbed from www.lionhearttv.net

For me, it wasn't hard to love Sarah Geronimo because she is different from other female Filipino celebrities of her generation. She is innately talented. She always sings from the heart, and makes "birit" with a class. I used to love watching ASAP because of her. Unfortunately, I don't watch it anymore because I don't have TFC. Luckily, Popsters are everywhere on Instagram so I am very much updated with what's going on with the Popstar Royalty.

In fact, whilst I am writing this, I am watching snippets of her concert last night at the same time and I am in awe. She is incredible. How can she do all that? She is the most versatile female performer in the Philippines as far as I am concerned. She seems to never get tired. She consistently sings and dances with so much energy and still manages to maintain her vocals. I think she is getting better with age. 

Anwyay, I love Sarah G because of how she is off-cam. Based on what I have read about her, she is very humble, shy and kind. She is apparently very different on stage- almost like she is possessed whenever she performs. 

I mean,  Sarah is everything that I am looking for in an artist- a total performer with a heart! I am still hoping that one day, I will be able to watch her concert. :)

TIN x

Five Lessons March Taught Me

Sunday, 8 April 2018

The beginning of March was rather uplifting. There were some positive feedback from work, and some quality time well spent with people who really matter to us. It was an overdue catch up with one of our favourite couples in London, so what was the better way to spend the day than good food, good laugh and some karaoke with a 3-year old girl? I live for days like that and I am glad that I have amazing people to share it with.

However, just like anything in this world, some good things never last. Towards the end of March, my effectivity as a ward manager was put to test. I reflected long and hard as to why would this happen just over two months into my role. I asked myself multiple times, "is it me?". When I was at a point where I was going to start doubting myself yet again, I heard a voice inside me confidently telling me that it is not my fault and it will never be my fault. It felt like waking up from a bad dream. Since that day, I was fully convinced that whatever happens, it is not my fault because I know I am trying my very best. To be completely honest and not to brag, I am doing a good job despite not having a direct management background. This, I say with strong conviction because it is true.:)

This is why everything that is happening at work right now is a learning curve. I believe that every success and every failure is an opportunity for us to be one step closer to where we want to be. Hence, these lessons:

1. Let your work speak for you
- In the workplace where there are people who are in constant pursuit of recognition, if I may say, in every little thing that they do, you want to be different and be that person who works quietly and let your work do the talking.  At the end of the day, it is not how much you have done, but it is how the work was done that matters. Your motivation to work harder and be the best among the rest should be the difference that you make to yourself, your craft and to other people, and not the constant affirmation you get from others every time you do a great job. Those things do not last forever. Instead, let your actions define you as a person and not the words  you hear from other people. 

2. Be proud, not of what you have achieved, but of what you have become because of what you have achieved
- I get it. People work very hard to be successful and that's okay. What isn't okay is when people let their success get to their heads. I have worked with people who "power-trip" because they think they are better than others. They start picking on other people, making them feel incompetent of their jobs. And this is simply because they know they are in a higher position than them. People become too focused on their achievements that they often forget the person they once were. In this world where everything is temporary- even success, people should always go back to where they've come from and view success as nothing but an instrument in finding the person that they truly are. Only then they can truly be proud of themselves and call themselves successful. 

3. The right people will stay
- And this applies to all aspects in life. Whilst I almost blamed myself for losing a good member of my team, I realised immediately that perhaps she wasn't meant to stay. I've always believed that the right people will stay no matter what the circumstances are. Where there are many challenges, the right people will stand by you and will walk through the journey with you. This is why I remain positive that things will get better in time, when I finally have all the right people around me.

4. People leave not because of the job, but because of people
- I know this very well because I left my previous job for the same reason. It is a disheartening fact, but no one can blame anyone for leaving work because of their colleagues. The truth is, we spend eight hours a day, five days a week of our precious time with people at work. That is more than what we actually spend with our loved-ones. Personally, I would like to spend my valuable eight hours with people that I get a long with. People I can share a laugh with. People who are kind and compassionate towards each other. People I can call my family outside my family. Life is too short to be spending it with people who judge you, undermine you and constantly try to make you feel bad about yourself. So, why stay?

5. Focus on what's important
- Sometimes it is very hard to determine what truly is important in our lives. It has been a constant battle for me in the last three months to resist sacrifising my life outside work in order to fulfil professional demands. I had to constantly remind myself of how I rose above those who made me feel less of the person than I am at my previous job- and that is the fact that I have a good life outside work. I used that as a weapon to defy all the negativity back then, and I will use that again so that I don't lose focus on what truly is important in my life.

Ha, this entry perhaps sums up the challenges I am facing at work currently.  But as I always say, this too shall pass.

TIN x


On Acceptance, Forgiveness and Death

Saturday, 31 March 2018

I was expecting to see Kuya in bed- looking gaunt, weak and in pain. Instead, he was sat on the couch, chatting away-looking strong and far from that person I was told only has a few days (or a month at most) to live. He was sort of surprised to see me, whilst I was happy to see him healthier than I expected. We hugged like old friends. And as I closed my eyes, I emptied my mind and my heart for a second to allow all the emotions through, silently and wholeheartedly. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes as I let go of his tight embrace, but I knew he didn't need tears at the time. He then said,"O, paupuin niyo si Cristine". Ate asked him very politely to go back to his bed so I could sit on the sofa. That simple gesture evoked some good memories of when I used to regularly hang out in their flat in Bristol. Suffice to say that I remain grateful for this couple's generosity towards me back then.

After an hour of catching up and sharing our positively stressful life in London with his other visitors, our conversation somewhat turned deeper. Kuya spoke in an almost melancholy voice. As I listened to him though, I saw the same person I met over five years ago- eloquent, sharp and passionate. Whilst he used to consistently speak with strong conviction, that day, there was this sense of humility in his voice. That hour of honest conversation with him reminded me of three of the most important lessons that I have learned through the years:

1. Acceptance
- Sometime in 2014, I wrote that "acceptance is the key" in one of my blogs about letting go and moving on. This was validated by Kuya when he said that he needed to accept things the way they were before he could finally let go. His words still echo in my head, "acceptance talaga". He said it took him a long time to be able to do this which really surprised me. I have always known him to be feisty and I assumed that he could easily let things go. 

What I have learned (and still learning) from this life is that there are things that you cannot change no matter how hard you try. Stopping when you know you have done your best doesn't mean you are giving up. It only means that you have accepted the situation for what it is. Once you have done this, find it in your heart to let go, and believe that you can and will move on. Only then that you can truly be happy and free.

2. Forgiveness
- Kuya and I parted ways in a rather disheartening circumstance. What once was a very strong alliance became somewhat a painful separation. To be honest, all that has happened in the past no longer matter to me, but my visit to Kuya made me reflect on what happened then. Perhaps during that time, we cared too much for other people that we were both unsure what and who was really worth fighting for. I can only assume that on his part, he fought for the right reasons and for the right people.  Whilst on my part, well, I may have fought solely for the person who ended up hurting me, but then again, if it were not for that reason, I wouldn't be where I am now- in a place where every single battle is worth fighting for.

I don't know about you, but a person doesn't even have to ask for my forgiveness for me to forgive them. That's why when Kuya asked for forgiveness that afternoon, I knew in my heart and in my mind that there was nothing to forgive, only bridges to rebuild. 

3. Death
- As morbid as it is to talk about, death is a reality we all have to accept. I can't remember witnessing anyone I personally know openly talk about death, but Kuya did exactly that that afternoon. He bravely said that he is not afraid to die. This left me speechless, but I admired his strength. It seemed like he has accepted his fate and is ready to be with his Creator (from the words he confidently uttered). But not yet. I would like to believe that four weeks can be many more weeks, as examining him, he looked physically and mentally able to make it a little bit further. And I am claiming it.

Looking back on that afternoon, I am really glad I made an effort to visit Kuya no matter how busy my life has been. I am grateful that I was able to listen to him once again and make proper conversation with him, just like the old times really. I am praying that God will allow us to see each other again soon, hopefully not for the last time.

That afternoon was a poignant reminder that life is indeed too short. I am guilty of not reaching out earlier, but all that matters now is our renewed friendship. It honestly feels great to let Kuya and Ate back in my life again. I know not everyone deserves a second chance, but I believe we do. It certainly is never too late to start over again.

TIN x

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