Back to Zero: Cafe Hunting and Mental Health, 181DOMJ (and More)

Content warning: Before you start reading my blog, sasabihin ko na that there are mentions of mental health issues ko here na kinubli ko for the entire June. If you’re okay with that and you’re willing to listen/read on what’s on my mind, you may continue. ‘Yung content under the first two headlines lang naman. The content under the last two headings are writing related.

Kape Tayo, Rizal on a Hiatus

Ang daming natigil kasabay ng pagtaas ng bilihin, and that includes me going to cafes. Ang mahal ng pamasahe, and nagsitaasan din ng rates for some goods. I’ve decided to put my cafe hopping on a hiatus kaysa naman ipilit ko at maghikahos ako in the end.

Grabe, ‘no? Well, passion ko lang naman kasi ito aside from writing, pero unlike writing, this consumes a lot of my energy. I have 40 hours a week to work, so that’s 8 hours a day dapat. Pero ang ginagawa ko kasi dati, I work 10 hours a day para 4 days lang ako magwo-work, and either Thursday or Friday e gagawin kong day for cafe and writing. Weekends will be for chores and for alone time sana. For a while, this worked. Pero at some point, I realized na ginagawa ko na to give others content . . . not to give myself a time to relax and enjoy. E, hello, hindi naman ako kumikita rito.

Kailangan ko mag-step back, in short. I’ll still post the cafes I’ve been to before I paused cafe-hopping.

But there’s another reason why I stopped, which I’ll tackle next.

Unhealthy Habits

Again, please check the content warning above, lalo na kung may eating disorders at body dysmorphia kayo tulad ko. Reader discretion is advised.

I know overworking isn’t healthy, but sometimes work—along with writing—becomes my coping mechanism. I deflect my issues that I know I should address immediately, else I get worse.

Felt down for the past two (or three) months. My BDD may have returned. I gained weight because I had to stop exercising for a time. There were a lot of factors: ‘yung sakit ko sa tiyan, ‘yung boil ko, ‘yung ilang linggo kong ubo’t lagnat, not COVID though. And I slowly gained weight.

Whatever happened to body positivity? I just feel so . . . bad about myself.

Pero pinakamalala na nangyari ‘to last June when I was supposed to work in a cafe. But after seeing myself in front of my mirror, I collapsed onto my bed and sobbed. I felt like I couldn’t share this to anyone—too afraid to be called petty, too afraid to be told “it’s all in your mind, too afraid to hear “some have worse days than you.”

The last two days, I was so eager to work, but today I slept and wept the whole morning while I try to get my shit together. I attempted to open online documents, but I was only able to start during lunchtime after dragging myself out of my bed, thinking how I could not disappoint not only the people who relied on me but also myself.

Note entry last June 20, 2022

So whenever I look at the mirror, I just . . . I just want to break it, alam n’yo ‘yon? Hirap na ako mag-selfie, na-realize ko, kasi naiiyak ako kapag nakikita ko sarili ko. Natigil ako mag-cafe dahil dito. I don’t want to meet people anymore. However I look at myself interferes with how I interact. Maski video cam nga, ayoko na rin. Someone told me I wasn’t what I perceived myself to be, and that I was beautiful, pero ewan. Even compliments don’t work. It seemed to me that they’re saying these stuff to try to make me feel better.

Anyway, ginagawan ko ng paraan. I go back to the diet that worked before (medyo mahal lang talaga), intermittent fasting, pills, derma . . . lahat na. I’ll go back to exercising this week since um-okay na ang ubo ko. Kaya rin tinigil ko muna ang cafe hopping dahil ayoko namang pupunta ako sa ibang lugar only to be anxious about people looking at me tapos feeling ko nadiya-judge ako kahit hindi naman at ako lang talaga nag-iisip n’on.

Ending this negative part of my blog here. Proceed tayo sa mas okay na parts of my life.

181 Days of Madeline Jesty

Part ng Back to Zero blog kasi it’s my first time writing a story na maraming conflicts. The last time I did that was for Siya, pero this is more complex. Ang progress ng conflict ay Person vs. Destiny, Person vs. Person, Person vs. Society, Person vs. Supernatural, and Person vs. Self. Two types of conflicts may happen at the same time, and I’ll be doing this within 80 chapters—o baka puwede pa madagdagan—and in the 181 remaining days of the character, as per the title.

Na-e-excite ako, pero at the same time walang audience. Hahaha. Iniisip ko, Filipino kasi ang readers ko, and they’re quite comfortable with Filipino siguro. And fluff. E, this one’s a bit dramatic. Pero kababasa ko ng English sa Wattpad, pati language ko rito ay naiba. Hahaha. Pero okay lang. It’s a challenge for me. Kung walang Filipino audience, siguro I’ll make a way para magkaro’n. Maybe submitting to a publisher? Ewan. Basta ang goal ay matapos at makarating sa gusto kong wakas. And then revise. And then submit it somewhere na pahahalagahan ‘yung kuwento at ako as an author.

Content Warnings in Writing

That being said, 181 Days of Madeline Jesty is the second work I placed content warnings early on. Dati kasi, hindi ko ‘yon ginagawa. Pero sabi ko nga, we grow as writers. May nakita pa nga akong tweet na ganito:

authors purposefully write fucked up characters, you are supposed to HATE them. that’s like the whole point of having unreliable characters

And then in one of the comments, I found:

redemption arc dopamine

I agree with that, but a content warning would be good at the back of the book where the blurb is written. Some readers prefer stories with an “all is good, all will be good” ending to escape reality. Readers have different preferences just as characters have different goals. I’m talking about published books, ha.

If a warning was written and the way the book was marketed was honest, then readers should stand for their choice. It’s true that one can judge a book by their cover and what’s written in the cover. I mean . . . it’s what they prefer, e.

In my case, I like positive character changes in romance, sci-fi, detective, coming-of-age, and fantasy stories. And again, I’d like to know because I read and watch these genres to escape, to ignite the little hope and faith in humanity I have, which is why I always look at reviews before I read or watch. I only accept negative character changes in horror and psychological thrillers, na to be honest, itong mga ‘to ang nagiging favorite movies ko (e.g., Gone Girl, Midsommar, Ready or Not).

On Wattpad naman, I believe some writers just go with the flow and do not have a specific ending until they feel that the story should end. Kaya may mga readers na pinipiling basahin kapag tapos na kasi they can check if it’s a happy ending. If it is, saka nila babasahin. There are, of course, adventurous and spontaneous readers and movie goers. I salute them for their courage, but to each their own.

When I was only beginning as a writer, I thought that putting such warnings would spoil the fun, but I’ve come to realize that not everyone has the same tolerance. One scene you thought was “just part of a story” could actually reopen one’s Pandora’s box. I learned this the hard way. (I know it’s inexcusable that I haven’t updated the description of my old stories, but I promise, I’ll fix them when I have time. Isa-isa lang huhu.) I mean, kung ako rin siguro reader ng Gakuwesaribig, matutulala na lang ako habambuhay. Sorry na powhz.

Anyway . . . the tweet is an opinion about another opinion, and this blog is an opinion about that tweet, and things must have ended with the tweet only if I didn’t choose to write this. Ha, it’s difficult to shrug off a topic that is related to what I do.

🍑

Ayun lang. I only allotted an hour for this blog dahil ang dami ko pang gagawin today, which includes writing two other blogs. Listen to Wildside by Red Velvet and ingat kayo lagi.

Mother’s Day at Carpentry and Coffee, 548 Heartbeats Self-Pub Official Announcement, and . . . More Health Issues

The bulk of this blog will actually about my mental and physical health kasi I can’t believe that all of that happened in a month. So weird.

Mother’s Day at Carpentry and Coffee

I decided not to allot a solo blog entry post for my cafe day at Carpentry and Coffee since I already had one last 2020 where I celebrated my birthday. Ang difference lang, wala namang occasion, so I was able to see what the cafe looks like without the decorations.

Unfortunately, after I took the picture below, nasira ang memory card ko. I had to buy another one. Anyway, ang sarap-sarap talaga ng food dito. This is one of the cafes in Cainta na hindi ako magsasawang mag-order ng comfort food.

Here’s my Kape Tayo, Rizal post for more information about the cafe:

548 Heartbeats Self-Pub

Nasabi ko naman na lahat sa posts ko kahapon, which is the 14th anniversary of my first completed online novel, ang nag-umpisa mag-pave ng way sa akin—548 Heartbeats! Sabi ko nga sa Facebook post ko

548 Heartbeats, as I may have repeatedly said, is not my favorite work of mine. In fact, whenever I read it, I cringe at the scenes. But it’s a reminder of where I started; a reminder that once upon a time, being a published author was a dream I could never reach. . . .

Now, here I am, with a few published books, a lot of stories online, and many ideas waiting to be written. 548 Heartbeats din ang nagpakilala sa akin sa karamihan sa inyo pati sa mga kapwa ko authors sa Wattpad, which created a path so I could work with Wattpad mismo.

Today, I can’t say that I will still choose the same roads if I could go back in time. But I am now an adult; I realized that the decisions I had made during my teens might not be the best ones, but these decisions led to who I am now, to my better self. So para sa mga teenager diyan, try your best to make wise decisions, but when you make mistakes, learn from them and allow yourself to grow.

P. X. V.

So ang tamad ko na gumawa ng bagong words for this blog kasi nauna na sa Facebook hahaha. Pero also, I’ve seen people criticizing the characters in the story, which is okay lang naman. Opinion nila ‘yon. Haha. As an adult, I do agree na red flag sila. But here’s a note, na na-post ko rin sa Facebook.

Just a little reminder that the characters in 548 Heartbeats are teenagers, and I wrote it during my teen years. ‘Yung mga attitude nila diyan—Xei’s “emoness,” Kyle’s indecisiveness and pride, Marj’s low blows against Rai (and tbh, all characters hahaha), pagmamaldita ni Rai, and even that one chapter where Chris became selfish—these reflected what I noticed and went through during my time. . . .

[N]gayong adult na ako, although I cringe at my characters’ actions, I preferred to not rewrite some parts kasi I don’t want to rush their growth. As an educator, I don’t expect kids and teenagers to make the right decisions all the time. Kaya nga may character growth.

P. X. V.

Ayun lang. Excited na ako, pero May na at slight nagpapa-panic na. Haha. Slight lang naman. Tada, here’s a part of the pinup. Salamat, Canva.

More Health Issues

Grabe pa nga itong buwan na ‘to sa ‘kin. I think ang dami kong pa-ospital for the first five months (digestion issues). I am not even sure why. Kulang ba ako sa pagmamahal? Chz.

The results of the elections took a toll on my mental health. There were a lot of triggers, including the term “dakip.” Weird how people can easily joke about that. Kaya ini-story ko na kasi I see people in my feed doing it. As in that whole week, I had no motivation to work. I still did though, but I felt that what I was doing was mediocre lang. Already at the point that I muted several names of politicians for self-care.

Aside from my declining mental health, naging factor din that I was infected with a boil kaya hindi ako makagalaw nang maayos. Y’ know, pinagtatawanan kasi ang “pigsa,” and I rarely have that. I can’t even remember the last time I had it (or did I even have it?). Anyway, so, di ba, pumunta ako sa miting de avance last May 5. Dahil sa lack of space, ayun, kung sa’n-sa’n ako umupo, not knowing the infection that awaits me. Haha. I thought it was just a small pantal na mawawala na lang the next day. Nakapag-cafe pa nga ako sa Carpentry and Coffee.

Pero ayun. The next day, boom! It grew larger and more painful. Una, hinayaan ko lang kasi it might go away. Aba, biglang sumama ang pakiramdam ko nang malala. So I went to my dermatologist, who is also VP Leni’s supporter. I am so relieved kasi nakapagkuwentuhan kami about the election while she’s trying to squeeze the pus. She gave me medication, and ayun, pawala na.

And guess what . . . after the boil . . . I am now suffering from skin allergies! Di ko talaga alam kung pa’no ko nakuha. ‘Yung first time kong na-intake is ‘yung peach tea cooler, but I remember I also had peaches before, e. Ang ironic, ano? Ako si Peach na mukhang allergic sa peach. Why naman gano’n? Hahaha.

But I was also thinking na baka ‘yung taxi na nasakyan ko e ‘yung previous passenger niya ay may dalang something that I’m allergic to tapos nag-stuck sa balat ko. Tinitingnan ko kasi pics ko sa cafe, and wala pa ‘yung red marks. It was only when I made clips for Tiktok and then about an hour of working when I realized that my face itched.

Hahayaan ko lang sana pero sumama ang pakiramdam ko. I’m just glad na hindi naman ito ‘yung instance na bumibilis ang heartbeat ko at hindi ako makahinga (katulad sa crab and shrimp). Buti na lang ang bilis mag-respond ng derma ko. Nag-viber call pa. Binigyan n’ya ako ng reseta and pina-Lalamove na agad para mabilis.

If you’re all looking for an effective dermatologist, try n’yo si Dra. Asuncion from Skin Icon Clinic sa Antipolo. She’s so kind and super maasikaso niya.

Pero ayun nga. Ang saklap kasi drained ang wallet ko. Nagtitipid kasi ako for something—aside do’n sa concert for children with special needs na kasama ang Red Velvet—pero mukhang hindi talaga kaya. Hay. Bawi na lang ako next life.

At dahil diyan, manifesting isang masuwerteng second half of the year. And I’m really gonna make it a lucky one. Fighting!

April to May Ganaps: Mangrove Boardwalk in Quezon, Stomach Issues, Complete Angela Skins and Floral Elf Cosplay, Yesterday’s MDA, and Mission Accomplished for Kape Tayo, Rizal

Dami ko lang gustong i-share na natambak kasi ang dami ganap during and after Holy Week. Pero nauna ‘yung isa kong post dahil nag-bottle up na talaga, as in hindi ko na kaya. Pero ito, kahit papaano, kaya ko pang tiisin.

Observing Holy Week in Quezon

Share ko lang that I included Quezon as the hometown of Ardi in Laro Tayo. Here in Quezon, I experienced a person borrowing a tric and really saw bahay-kubos in the middle of fields. Pero siyempre, may mga “bayan” kung tawagin. Doon sa mga bayan, maraming tindahan and bahay. Malakas pati ang internet. Compare ko lang sa may amin sa Ilocos, layo-layo ang mga bahay tapos hindi talaga mahagilap ang signal.

Last Holy Week, I was able to visit Mangrove Boardwalk. Hindi sa hindi ko gusto mag-beach sa Quezon; gusto ko. Pero this time, I just wanted to be in peace and appreciate nature. Libre ito. Walang ticket. Sobrang nice, and I really appreciate their local government’s efforts.

Actually, doon sa napuntahan ko, mas marami ang mga ilog. ‘Yung beach nina Ardi, malayo. Hehe.

Nakakatuwa kasi ang daming isda. May nakita akong black and white jellyfish! Ang ganda rin ng lugar. Sana ma-maintain ito kasi I’ve heard how mangroves are able to reduce the impact ng mga storms, lalo na’t ang lugar na iyon ay super lapit sa dagat.

Dreading My Stomach Issues

I just don’t know kailan ‘to nangyari, pero grabe. Parang quota na ‘tong 2022 na sa akin with regard to health issues. As in iyak. ‘Yung feeling na nanlalamig pawis and pinipiga ‘yung tiyan na parang gusto mo na lang madedz kaysa maramdaman ‘yung sakit.

Anyway, fiber is good, but too much fiber isn’t. I mean, lahat naman ng “too much.” At iyon ang nangyari sa akin. Sa sobrang gusto kong mag-detoxify because I was gaining weight because of stress and election anxiety, ayun.

I just hope that it won’t happen again. Mas malala ‘yung sakit ng sobrang gas kaysa sa acid, based on my experience.

Cosplaying Angela’s Skin for the Second Time

Gusto ko lang i-flex na nakumpleto ko skins ni Angela sa Mobile Legends. Huwag ninyo ako gayahin kasi feeling ko wrong decision ito. Hahaha. As in gumastos ako sa savings ko for this. I mean, siyempre masaya ako. Pero may times na iniisip ko na ang daming puwedeng mapuntahan ng perang iyon.

At dahil diyan, na-realize ko na ang hobbies talaga na ganito e pang-mayaman lang hahaha. Para sa mga tulad kong maraming responsibilidad sa buhay, mahirap talaga magpakasaya haha. Parang 50% masaya, 50% “gusto ko pang mas yumaman para hindi ako nagi-guilty maging masaya.” Gets?

Anyway, share ko lang na I have finally completed and cosplayed Angela’s floral elf skin! Yehey! ‘Yung una kasi, hindi ko trip ‘yung wig. Hindi masyadong kita ‘yung buns. Parang alam ko na-post ko na last time, pero check these:

As you can see, para akong si He-man na nagsuot ng costume ni Angela na, by the way, made by Acxajarai’s costume maker. Compare naman sa new wig ko made by FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION OMO. Sobrang laki ng difference, and I felt na mas maganda rin makeup ko sa sarili ko here. Hehehe.

Hehe. Would really love to wear this during cosplay pero ang hirap mag-commute. Buti sana kung may jowa akong may sasakyan na supportive sa pag-cosplay ko, kasi wala hahaha. Anyway, maybe next-time.

Attending Leni Robredo’s Miting de Avance

For the last time, nanindigan kami ng kapatid ko. Ako, ang tinuturing na black sheep sa pamilya, ang pinaka-vocal sa magkakapatid. Alam naman nila ‘yan. Kaya rin siguro favorite ko si Tricia Robredo haha. Mga middle child talaga, maraming emosyon.

Unlike sa Pasig, wala akong nakuhang pics dito. Ewan, sobrang daming tao! Parang na-overwhelm ako at grabe ‘yung pagod. Pero grabe the support of different groups and celebrities. Uhaw na uhaw na ako sa good governance. Sira ‘yung LED sa may Paseo Center, so naghanap na lang kami ng may signal para manood ng live. Quite weird ano kasi nga pumunta sana kami para makita live kahit through LED, pero sige na lang ako. Anyway, di ko talaga mapigilang umiyak when I saw her delivering her speech. She was a symbol of hope for me . . . hope na kaya pa nating i-uplift ang Pilipinas by electing officials na walang bahid ng corruption.

Please, universe, ibigay ninyo na sa amin ito.

Share ko lang din na 1:00 a.m. na ako nakauwi. Naghintay kami ng masasakyan until 12 a.m. pero wala talagang ma-book. Nag-decide kaming maglakad hanggang Taguig (hahaha, oo na lang ako kasi wala naman akong choice), pero buti na lang may nakita kaming FX.

Umuwi akong pagod . . . ngunit may dalang pag-asa. Sana, sana.

Completing the First Round of Cafes in Rizal for Kape Tayo, Rizal’s Content

Gusto ko lang sabihin na sobrang proud ko sa sarili ko dahil nakabisita ako ng kapihan sa bawat lugar sa Rizal. Bale, may 13 municipalities at 1 city sa province of Rizal. Parang ang weird kasi sabihin na “Kape Tayo, Rizal,” tapos puro Cainta, Taytay, at Antipolo lang ang nabibisita, di ba? Ito talaga ang goal ko. Yay! And I’m super happy! I actually doubted myself kasi, hala, paano ako pupunta sa places na never ko pa naabot through commuting? Sobrang dali sana kung may motor ako, kaso waley. Kaya thankful din ako sa cafes na napuntahan ko kasi most of them ay responsive. May iba rin sa kanila na nagbigay pa ng freebies.

Maraming salamat po!

Daming ganap this April to May! At dahil wala naman ng rallies and I don’t think kaya ko maging part of other activities, focus muna ako sa work, writing, and Kape Tayo, Rizal.

Ay, meron pala akong announcement sa May 21 kahit medyo alam na ng lahat. Hahahaha. Pero lez g. Sana maging successful.

Fighting tayo!