Posted in Minimalism

Shopping Substitutes II

It’s the second month of my Project 333 slash Shopping Ban.

I can’t say that shopping didn’t cross my mind. That would be lying. Of course I thought about breaking my self-imposed ban. But I’m glad I didn’t.

Instead, I did the following:

  • Played hooky on Friday afternoon – skipped work and took a nap. I skipped the guilt too.
  • Accessorized. Wore the fabulous earrings my best friend/cousin gave me a few Christmases ago; wore my dainty rings too.
  • Played dress up in the weekends in the secrecy of my bedroom
  • Purged old payslips and work certificates (that are no longer useful because I intend to transition into another career path)
  • Listened to Greg McKeown’s Essentialism (audiobook)
  • Journaled like crazy (venting all my mental and emotional clutter on helpless paper)
  • minimized tote bag contents
  • Soulful conversation with friends (Kisha, Kent and Josie)
  • Video messaging with my sister and her son


Can I hold on to this endeavor for one month more? I know I said that thoughts of shopping crossed my mind but I also noticed that these thoughts were not anxiety-driven nor were they thoughts of scarcity and insecurity.

These thoughts seem clear and non-attached.

I’ve survived a month.

It’s okay. I’m okay. No. I’m more than okay.

I feel calm.


*Photo from Free Photo Library (

Posted in Inspirational, Minimalism

The Wisdom of the Heart

The wisdom of the heart is not an exact science.

It might tell you to let go of the stuff you have been hankering on in stores (but never have the money to purchase)

It could be reminding you to let go of a crippling depression or extra work that take away your time for your family and friends (and self! Don’t forget the self!)

It could be pushing you to simply take good care of yourself.

For me (at least for this week), it’s intentionally choosing what goes inside my tote bag (which I carry every single day to work)

  • Laptop, make up ( setting powder, lipstick, eye brow kit, blush and eye palette) wallet, hairbrush (big) ,Ethyl alcohol, Feminine/hygiene products (liners, wipes, extra underwear) Plastic bag, chargers (laptop and phone chargers) tiger balm, tissue (either roll or pack)

Now reduced to:

  • Setting powder, lipstick, wallet, Feminine/hygiene products (liners, wipes, extra underwear) Plastic bag phone, charger.

See the visual difference?

I know it’s a very simple, ordinary thing to do. But how many of us would actually do the tedious effort of emptying the work bag, sorting a mountain of stuff we carry almost everyday (and realize that not all of them are essential). I only weigh 46 kilos, for crying out loud. I have no business carrying a quarter of my own weight.

Perhaps the wisdom of the heart is paring down that to do list which normally contains:

  • making a difference in the world
  • landing on a book deal by the age of…
  • be recognized for self-less acts/sacrifices
  • being a bad ass parent
  • walk on water (really?!)

And writing down a more realistic and achievable list:

√ be kind to loved ones

√just write for the pleasure of it

√be grateful

√be kind to the kids

√just drink water


What is your wise heart telling you?

What simple sacred act can you do to adhere to her (yes, your heart is a woman) wisdom?

*Photo from Free Photo Library (

Posted in Memoir

Ice Queen Duties

I wasn’t exactly little miss sunshine when I was growing up. For sure, I only remember being suppressed most of the time. But when I was unsupervised, I remember I was quite playful and imaginative.

Then I learned to contain myself. I am not proud of this but it’s the truth. Being a Creative, I should be living a hell of a life, right? I should be doing it all, experiencing it all. Instead, I hide in the shadows of my self-made confinement. My only comfort is that I somehow know that most people are like me – they too, are putting up a good show.

  1. An Ice Queen isn’t bothered with the cold.
  • I have learned a long time ago that being treated indifferently will not actually hurt me unless I allow it.
  1. An Ice Queen hides her tears.
  • They’ll only turn into prickly icicles on my cheeks anyway.
  1. An Ice Queen focuses on work she is best at.
  •  This one I need to figure out. For sure it’s not refrigeration or air-conditioning repair.
  1. An Ice Queen seem glazed over, but inside her is a clash of thoughts and feelings she refuses to reveal.
  • I pretend not to care, not to be tortured by trivial things. This, I learned from my father – the ultimate Ice King.


Again, I am not proud of it. But it’s the only way I can think of to protect my fragile emotional self.

I know I am not the only Ice Queen in the world.

If you know anyone, please let me know,

*Photo from Free Photo Library (

Posted in Memoir, Minimalism

Beyond Clarity (A De-cluttering Aftermath)

Six-inches deep in mud (made of self-depreciation), with an outdated map to nowhere, I stagger towards the weekend.

Zero soda. These must be withdrawal syndromes – fatigue, sleeplessness, binge, procrastination. Or it’s just me being at my worst. Without anything to de clutter, I feel lost. Ah, this must be an addiction. I am a de-cluttering addict.

And now I face my demons. I have not much stuff to rain down my wrath on, and now I am forced to deal with myself.

I dreamed of spiderwebs last night. I swept them with a soft broom soaked in water. Could it mean that I am now ready to clean up house – purge the spiderwebs in my psyche. Can I do that? Or it could just be a normal dream. Plain and simple.

Stuck wasn’t the exact word, really. It was more of unmotivated, uninspired.

And while being unmotivated and uninspired, I did the following:

  • For lack of any inspired action, I just went on with the motions of living my life. Ordinary stuff. Daily routines. And all the while thinking that other people can’t be that perfect, can they?
  • Slept through the weekend. Listened to my body and asked it what it really needs. Water and sleep. But not sleeping in the water of course (that would be too demented; ambitious, even!)
  • Bought cleaning supplies (for obvious reasons)
  • Took care of my feminine self – Ironed my underwear; took my probiotics; drank plenty of water; went to the comfort room and freshen up every few hours
  • Sneak my writing somewhere just so I can vent out my emotions
  • Replenished my personal care products – Cetaphil lotion, bath essentials and cleansing wipes.
  • Recorded scores and returned output
  • Made a short list of what I need to accomplish within 3 days (which I am not so enthusiastic to do but I know I can do mechanically)
  • Tried to accomplish the said list in the afternoon after my class (status of said list as of today: 4/11)


Sometimes, it’s dealing with the self that’s very difficult.

Although I felt such a drag the entire week, I’m grateful I survived myself.

Minimalism has taught me:

  • to deal with my mental and emotional clutter because I can no longer hide behind a mountain of physical stuff
  • to pare down my thoughts ruthlessly, every day if possible, and simply surrender to what’s truly essential in my life
  • that although I need the world and the people in it, I am still enough on my own
  • that being introverted is a gift; and my being different is not something spectacular (a cure to my narcissism)
  • that beyond clarity in terms of physical space, a sense of lightness CAN touch the mind and a sense of surrender CAN unload a psyche quivering under emotional pressure.


*Photo taken at Treasure Mountain, Tanay, Rizal, Philippines (May 2018)

Posted in Short Story Attempt

Accidents and Other Excuses for Romance (Continuation)

Patient number two has left the building. Well, not right away. And so did patients three, four and five. All my wanderings had paid off. My silent genius has intimidated five people!

Speaking of wanderings, a pretty little thought crossed my mind. Clutching the end of the t-shirt (that’s not mine) my thoughts meander to the endless possibilities of the day, of my life, of the life of one clumsy crazy beautiful young man who perhaps intentionally poured food on me.

*Seeing through glazed eyes, I spotted him at the vendo machine. Perhaps he’s the lemonade type – laidback, approachable, endlessly charming. Or he could be the soda type – fun, adventurous, sugar addict who can’t sit still.

Oh god I’m mechanically scrapping the bottom of my tote bag for coins! I’m going to buy myself a soda. You go self! Go get that guy!

As I approached the vendo machine, he looks up, smiles divinely at me…and hands me a soda.

“I’m sorry about lunch today. I’m Franco by the way.”

“Thanks for the shirt. And the soda.” (Hmmm soda type.)

Franco: So, you’re here often?

Me: No. I just came in today.

Franco: Me too.

Me: Any results?

Franco: I’m still waiting for them.

Me: Them?

Franco: Yes. There are many of them.

Me to self: Oh god. He must be really sick. How many medical results is he waiting for? Perhaps he is dying.

Franco: Where will you be later?

Me: Well, if you want your shirt back…

Franco: No, that’s not it. I mean, what will you do later?

Me to self: Oh yes! He’s going to ask me on a date!

Me: Home, I guess.

Me to self: Idiota!

Franco: Oh, so I guess that means no then.

Me to self: Idiota! Idiota! Idiota! There are no other words!

Me: I should be heading back. Goodbye, Franco.

* I don’t have people skills. If there was a report card for getting along with people, keeping people entertained and interested, making people do my every bidding, I would fail. The school would bust my sorry ass, my teachers would disown me, and the school guard would have happily escorted me out.

And for that, I am sure it would never work with Franco.

How do I know for sure? Well, (1) I’m not familiar with dating rules; I blew it when I gave him an uncanny answer to coffee. (Yes, what an idiota!) and (2) my conversational skills are that of an amoeba.

Serves me right! Apart from the fact that I am plain-looking, I would not have much to offer to Franco. I mean, he’s dying. I’m hopeless. He’s perfect. I’m perfectly hopeless.

*Could it be that he just simply saw me for me? Desperate? Could it be that he was just being kind? Perhaps he thought I was a charitable cause. Let’s date the poor ugly girl and die!

*Morbid. Truly morbid. But then, it’s not too late. I could comb the corridors and the vendos and the ICU in search for my geek god. I’ve never truly seen him until now, in my mind’s eye.

Tall and timid. Tense around the jaw area (he must cringe at the sight of me). Surprisingly clear eyes that look very alive (even more alive than mine).

And who would not want all that? I wonder what kind of boyfriend he would be – kind and gentle; when he gets angry it might pass for sexy; no mind games would go unnoticed by those eyes that look mocking and surprised at the same time.

I wish this might turn out to be some kind of twisted yet uneventful erotica but alas, I haven’t got any balls for that.


*To be continued…

**Photo from Free Photo Library from WordPress.Com


Posted in Minimalism

Shopping Substitutes

A month has passed since the last pay day when I last bought a piece of clothing. Although this is a minuscule accomplishment, I am still proud of it.

While it is fortunate that I wear a uniform to work, I still make a mental note of swapping my already worn clothes for clothes I have on standby – I have 11 tops on standby (I use all my pairs of jeans, I don’t rotate them.) and I have 5 tops that I’ll be using for when I go out. Last night, as I folded fresh laundry, I paired up three sets of outfits that I’ll be using for this particular week.

Question: Why do we women do this anyway – this whole complicated business of dressing up? It’s a global female phenomenon. And while I do not wish to delve deep into the possible answers to this question, I would like to just put it out there that it’s okay not to get all dolled up when you don’t feel like it. And if should we decide to dress up, it should be for ourselves (yada yada).

But then again, as a matter of normality:

  • we dress up appropriately for an event (a job interview, a gala, brunch with friends)
  • we dress to impress (the boyfriend, the crush, strangers to be more exact)
  • we dress up to make a statement (Ice Queen Extraordinaire, Don’t Mess with the Dress, I’m Sexy and I Know It, Powerful, Toxic- Five Meter Distance Required)

Hence, the complicated business of dressing up.

I don’t ever want to be living my life that way. Not anymore. Having searched my heart for a solution (yes, my heart), I decided to do a personal shopping ban and consequently, a wardrobe utilization commitment which essentially just forces me to rotate, re-wear and re-think my already curated wardrobe.

For the past four weeks, I substituted personal shopping (and shopping for others- I always have the tendency to want to buy clothes for others and 80% of the time, I do gravitate towards that tendency) with:

  • free thought writing in my mother tongue – instead of going out and scrounging the racks at the mall and thrift stores (my personal weakness), I scrounged my thoughts for bits of anger (bit is an understatement), resentment and fear
  • made notes for my weekend blogs – instead of having that expensive after-work coffee, I try to spend my after-dinner time listing down ideas and rants
  • cleaned and tidied – instead of complaining about my mother and father or about the house being not so pristine as it used to (and going out just to escape something that I normally come home to, yeah, I’m stupid like that)

Side note: I know that my substitutes are ordinary. Anyone can do it. That’s exactly the point. 🙂


I think I can do this. Really do this. I don’t feel bored with my Project 333 (perhaps because I have an unusual gift of justifying the beauty of the ordinary – hence, The Little Things) and at the same time though, I feel freed from the obligation to dress up just because I’m a woman and society demands it (well, relatively) – freed from the fear of being judged by how I dress (and let’s face it we are judged no matter what); freed from decision fatigue; freed from my narcissistic tendencies.

*Photo from Free Photo Library (

**Photo of clothes from my curated wardrobe

Posted in Memoir

The Morning After

I woke up before my alarm went berserk. I slept with the lights on, as usual. I began my day by rehashing yesterday’s events – a montage of food, people, the skating rink, the mall (as usual).



I didn’t buy clothes! As a side note to that, I remember being pretty conscious about every mental move to purchase. Every move I made felt like something I was witnessing from another person’s point of view – as if an out of body experience but not quite.

Here’s what I learned yesterday:

  • The day ends. Don’t sweat it.
  • I can survive the mall; and emerge purchase-less
  • The little things always ground me – laundry, journaling, instant coffee.
  • The little ones are always there. (Despite their hectic SHS schedule. They made time for dear old mother)


  • I am remembered always by people who truly know and value me.
  • Everything is a state of mind – and yes, that includes age too.
  • I can always choose to not give a #*ck.
  • The auntie, no matter how busy she is, always makes time (even through text because she’s working).
  • Ice Queen duties rock! (Perhaps another blog!)

Having dreary lunch now. I’m thinking about high sugar levels. I want to extend my minimalism to food. I rarely crave food. I think it is safe to say that I have a fairly healthy human appetite (that would mean I eat appreciatively and non-appreciatively, all things considered.)

I’m having rice and hard-boiled egg. Not a very typical diet of savory viands and dessert and soft drinks (although not all of us indulge, of course.). Often, I would think that it’s too simplistic- no effort, no trace of my usual idiosyncrasies, no inspiration.

But now, I think otherwise. As I packed my lunch, I only see the whiteness of the rice and the off-white of the eggshell. I felt calm.

Or perhaps this is just another elaborate excuse to justify my lack of imagination and laziness.

  • I am grateful that the pressures of turning 36 is behind me now.
  • I got to spend the day with the ones I love.
  • I am no longer active on Facebook for about three years now so that was 60% pressure off my shoulders. As far as being remembered, it felt really great to be texted a simple happy birthday!
  • I got to spend the day however I want to spend it.

** It’s already afternoon. So, I’m going to stop writing.

***Photos from July 25’s photo diary.