Alone

“You’re never alone but you’re always on your own.”

Have you ever had days when you go out, have fun with people you like going out with, or perhaps just spending the entire day binge watching some eccentric show with a significant other and as the day ends; as you lay down and try to close your eyes, adjust your position, and keep your phone away from bugging you every 2 minutes, you suddenly feel something. You look back at how fun your day has been, you feel your boyfriend or girlfriend take deeper breaths as he / she starts to fall asleep, you think how a good day it was, great even, and yet you feel it. Suddenly, despite all the fun, the people, the company, the laughter, the warmth; you feel lonely. You suddenly feel alone. And it doesn’t really make you sad; it’s a different feeling. It’s a feeling of emptiness; it’s a realization, an epiphany, a revelation, a moment of silence and absence.

Maybe it doesn’t make sense; I mean, you’ve just had a fun day, right? Surrounded by people who you genuinely like, enjoy, connect with, love? No, you’re not making it up. This isn’t like one of those hook ups where intimacy and affection do not mean the same thing. And yes, you’re not lying to yourself. So why then? Why do you feel it? Where does it come from? And why am I feeling alone? In a city of at least 10 million people, no one in this city can honestly say they’ve ever been alone (maybe?).

Until I figure this out, I guess I’ll keep musing to myself, thinking, feeling. An odd sense of alienation parallel to my feelings of connection. An unusual paradox, or perhaps something mundanely common. I wonder, if people who feel alone get together to feel alone, will that make them feel less alone?

Getting Things Done

I haven’t written a blog in such a long time and it wasn’t that I didn’t have the time to write silly things in this page of mine, I simply chose not to. I personally believe that being “busy” is just an excuse for so many people not to do other things they may want to do like pursuing a hobby, checking that new place out, or simply catching up with an old friend. Really, it’s not that we don’t have the time, it’s that we don’t MAKE the time.

Some of you may already be rolling your eyes and I know, I’m not exactly the poster child for making things happen. I’ve felt my life has come stagnant for the past 2 years and I only have myself to blame: I let myself become this drifting, soul-searching, clueless girl I swear I wasn’t going to be but here I am now, 24 (turning 25) and I still haven’t figured out stuff yet. Maybe it’s cause of the messy relationship stuff that has happened to me over the past 2 years, maybe because the cause / advocacy I stood for for years turned out to be such a joke or maybe it’s that lingering resentment I have that started 5 years ago when I graduated and discovered the “real world” is much more different than life at college. There are lots of maybes, and a lot of possibilities.

I’ve always been the person who has to get motivated by something, and working towards that something makes me feel like my life has purpose; that I’m not just some slab of meat stealing oxygen away from everyone else. What I’ve come to realize though, and ironically what I’ve advised people but I never seem to follow, is that you’ve gotta be your own motivation, not something or someone else. Things don’t come “when they’re supposed to come”, they do when you work your ass off and drag that sh*t and make it come to you. Opportunities don’t spring out of thin air, we build them ourselves with either hard work or if you’re lucky, something else (whatever that may be) but I’m sure as hell they don’t just spring out if you do nothing. And if you’re just looking or waiting for some “spark” to ignite you and get yourself going towards that next big thing, go and light yourself on fire. In the end, we’re the ones responsible for our own lives, and we’re the ones responsible for moving ourselves forward.

Stop making excuses that you’re “busy” or your life’s so difficult cause really, whose isn’t? It’s time to get your ass off and actually start doing things; and yes, this very much applies for me too.

SRS: 365 Days After

Today marks the 1st anniversary of my vagina.

You read that right. Exactly one year ago today (at around 3 pm), I was lying in a hospital bed in Bangkok, counting backwards from 10 as a nurse sedated me til I passed out. Six hours later, waking up groggy and heavily medicated, it’s done. My sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) was done. I haven’t even thought much about it these past few days til I just remembered it out of nowhere when I woke up earlier. One year. One very fun, interesting, and challenging year.

One year of having to adjust to that new “part” down there

One year of dilating (or not :p)

One year of pads and pantyliners

One year of people asking if they can see it (SERIOUSLY)

It was my first time traveling out of the country and with not much preparation at that. I only got my passport within a week before we had to leave, I was late in submitting my necessary documents and most of all, it was only a day before I had to leave that I told my mom of my real reason of going to Bangkok. I was sure she had her suspicions, and it was funny. I never confirmed nor denied it, partly because I was afraid of what she had to say about it; how she might react. The moment I did tell her though, suitcases already in tow, all she had to say was for me to take care; to make sure I call if anything ever happens. And with that “blessing” from my mom, I got ready to leave for Bangkok more confident than ever.

We landed on Bangkok at May 29, 2012. Of course it wouldn’t be til a few days before I was gonna have my surgery; I still had a few more tests to do, questions to be asked and answers that I needed to know, and the dreadful liquid diet which I had to endure for almost a week (People might jokingly tell me I’m anorexic but I never subjected myself to any extreme diets).

To anyone who might be reading this, it might be odd to see that not once have I mentioned that I was excited, nervous, or feeling anything in particular regarding my surgery. Not once during the days leading to it, the minutes leading to it, even shortly after the procedure. I was even worried that I’m not feeling any excitement, fear, or any emotion regarding it at all. It took quite a while before it eventually all sunk in that “Hey, you have a vagina now!” Heck, I’m not even sure if it has sunk in til now but at least I didn’t end up crazy or anything, right?

Drugged and filthy, with only a stuffed bear for company... For 4 days.

Drugged and filthy, with only a stuffed bear for company… For 4 days.

One year has passed and though I don’t really see SRS as that big of a deal (to which people think isn’t the supposed-to-be normal reaction), I’m very glad and grateful to the people who made it happen for me.  I was such a slob, even in getting all the things I needed to make it happen and for that, I’m grateful to my ex; who made sure that I did what tests needed to be done and process all documents that needed to be processed. I’m grateful to my mom, who despite her occasional misgivings, remained supportive of my transition and even if she didn’t make it easy all the time, that doesn’t mean she made it difficult. To my friends and the countless people who gave me advice, support, and simple inspirational messages, both virtually and in person, I’m grateful to have such great people in my life. And of course to Gabbie! The person who I really owe my SRS to. Without her, all of this wouldn’t have happened and I’m grateful for the trust and opportunity she has given me. You will forever be a big part of my life even if we haven’t even met yet, though I’m hoping that could change soon.

My first meal of solid food after one week

My first meal of solid food after one week

It has been one year and now, I’m better, more at peace with myself, and one step closer to feeling complete. Transition isn’t just a journey with SRS as the destination; it’s a lifelong struggle/challenge/road trip/high, whichever you make it to be. You’ll be successful or fail, fall in love or fall out of it, be better or worse. The beauty with transition though is things are never permanent, that’s why it’s a transition. No matter how good or how bad the current situation is, we are always reminded that all things shall pass. So carpe diem you beautiful people. You never know when it might be your last.

The ever so reliable donut pillow..

The ever so reliable donut pillow..

PS: If anyone was expecting to get details of my surgery from this post, I apologize because it wasn’t intended to be an SRS guide. Feel free to get in touch with me though should  you be interested to know of the nitty gritty of my experience 😉

Raison d’etre

Thinking about life and shiz. What are we here for? What am I here for? Someone told me, “Cause the world needs you. Cause you have a chance to make things better for everyone.” And I said, “I’m just one of a billion people pushing a car that’s already running.” The world will evolve with or without you or me. People are far too conceited into thinking that their existence matters so much. So I come back to what I was pondering on.. It’s just so hard, and so tiring to live. Every day, hour, and minute; we make a conscious decision to live on, and for what? What’s so bad about the alternative? Especially when things are so so bad..

I know I sound like I’m whining. Especially when I’m in a better position than probably billions of other people living on the planet right now. Actually, what usually keeps me sane on moments when I ponder on things like this is the fact that I know a LOT more people are suffering far worse than I am: child prostitutes, war prisoners, terminally ill patients; there are a lot of people who experience worse but continue on living, continuing on making that conscious choice to live and go on. I’m sure they have their own reasons and I’m glad they have such strong ones; to make them continue on despite all the stuff they’re faced with. In my case though, I’m not so sure. Why do I live? Why do I continue on with this life? Why do I exist? What’s my raison d’etre? My reason for being? Apparently, it’s not something I know of just yet.

Cornstarch, water, and pleasure

It was just earlier when I had the unfortunate event of running out of lube. The solution seems easy–go out and buy one from 7-11, other convenience stores, or the pharmacy of course! But for someone who’s broke and doesn’t wanna go out in today’s grey and wet weather, a girl’s gotta improvise! Besides, Mercury Drug ran out of the Bliss Classic lube I normally use (you don’t say..) and all they had left was the “Fire” variant. Let’s just say the reviews I have read about it are less than stellar.

So off I go to this day and age’s source of not always accurate, but at the very least entertaining information: the Internet. After looking far and wide for homemade lube recipes (which included a suggestion on using egg whites), I happened to see these pages suggesting a cornstarch+water mix. After the boyfriend’s further “research” on people’s testimonies regarding the concoction, I set off to make my own cornstarch lube; an interesting way to spend an otherwise dull Thursday afternoon.

Here are the steps:

a.) In a bowl (or maybe in the cup itself), mix 2 heaping teaspoons of cornstarch with one cup of water. You can change this mixture accordingly. The pages I went to indicated 4 teaspoons but after my 1st batch turned out to be a gooey paste that looked like spoiled porridge, I opted to put in less cornstarch. It’s all in your discretion though, the basic rule is: more cornstarch=thicker lube, and less cornstarch=slicker lube (tip from the boyfriend).

Batch 1: FAIL. This is how the lube looked like even after straining. And I even put lavender oil on it.

b.) Transfer the mixture to a pan/pot (I used a glass one, I’m not sure if metal really wouldn’t be ok) and bring to a boil while constantly stirring. Yes, the instructions I read didn’t mention that you need to stir the thing like there’s no tomorrow or otherwise, lumps will form and you will have to filter it out later. Check the consistency while stirring and once you already achieve the desired slickness/thickness, remove from the stove while continuing to stir. I didn’t take chances, after all, the residual heat might still be able to form lumps.

Batch 2 turned out to be so much better. It’s either the reduced cornstarch or the fact that it was Ate Sanie who stirred and boiled it.

c.) Set it aside to cool down. Read: In room temperature, do not refrigerate! I was still stirring mine at this point from time to time, just to check on any changes in consistency and to make sure it’s all clean. After all, it is lube and will be used on (ehem) intimate areas.

There you have it! I added a few drops of mango scent oil into mine for that zesty twist though I don’t know if I can recommend the same for everyone (Ate Sanie, our helper, was warning me on putting stuff into something I’ll use down there). The mixture itself is odorless so if you’re already fine with that, it should be good to go. Put in an airtight container or a tube dispenser if you have one. Just make sure it’ll stay clean and keep it at room temperature. I’ll try it in a couple of hours and let you know how it is. This is gonna be one interesting experiment!

Update: It was indeed an interesting experiment! I tried using the lube I made for dilation just a few minutes ago and it did work out how lubes should. However, when I opened the container I put it in, it seemed like the mixture eventually still formed lumps; it turned more into a jelly-like substance than the viscuous liquid it looked like hours ago. It does pass for lube but think of it this way; it’s like comparing browsing the Internet through your phone with browsing through your laptop. It sure does the job but lubes well made for the purpose are way ahead of it. If anything, what I liked the most with my lube was the mango scent it had. It really gives that kick and leaves the yummy scent well in “those areas.” I highly suggest scented lubes now.

Random Thoughts Note #1

I really don’t have much to write about these days. I actually don’t do much of anything, really. And this has been going on for… Maybe 2 years now? I’m not sure how it happened. Or what caused it. All I know is I feel like my life is in suspended animation. I’m growing older but not getting older. Or maybe it’s not that. Who knows? I’m definitely not an expert. Leave it to someone complaining how nothing has been happening in their lives and blogging rather doing anything about it.

How funny. Or is it? I’m basically just putting random thoughts into digitized text right now. I’m not really thinking of anything. Just the seemingly trivial situation of how I am right now. Though I could be doing something more productive. Of course if you’re reading this, you know for sure that’s definitely NOT what I did.

Lots of things have happened. Lots. Or I would at least like to think so. It’s just that, people can be so.. Ahead? Better? Superior? Whatever it is, there are just people who make you feel so little of yourself, people who make you think you haven’t achieved anything, or worse, people who make you doubt if you even matter at all. I really don’t know if there’s a “golden rule” to this. “This” being how people are assessed. Through achievements? Perfections/imperfections? Personality? That actually makes me remember something I read back then, or heard. I can’t remember. Those who say “it’s not the looks that count but it’s what’s inside” are ugly. Those who say the same thing about money are poor. Now that’s funny.

I guess in the end what I really just wanted to do when I wrote this was to look at myself. And know for sure if I have achieved something. Anything. Have I? It’s just, I feel so small. So insignificant. And looking at all the amazing people I know doesn’t help. I know I’m still just 22 and there are still a lot of things ahead of me. But everyone is so caught up in being overachievers that I can’t help but be tangled within it. Or are they? Am I the only one thinking like this? I would hope not. I really just want to know. If I ever did something that mattered. Or achieved something, anything. While I’m simply looking at myself at a standstill, I hope somewhere I can find it in me to go on again too. Even if I do end up as less than others.

My own Dirty Thirty List

I got inspired after reading this girl’s blog post on things she would like to do before she turned 30 and I decided to make my own list. It’ll be interesting to see this post again 8 years from now when I actually am 30…

1

I have until Friday to know if this will actually be possible or not. I need to get in here. Even at least try to. I’ll die if I don’t.. (well, not really but something close to that)

2

lawschool-dreamI decided I wanted to be a lawyer when I was around 8 or 9, and I told everyone about it (my parents, classmates, all of my relatives, maybe even total strangers). I may have had a bit of a detour taking something else but I am still sure as hell it’s something I really want to be.

3

ngo-dreamI’ve always wanted to have a job where all my hard work won’t just go to some executive or stockholder’s pocket. I’ve had the experience of working with a great NGO before but this time, I’m way more serious.

4

philtravel-dreamAs much as I would love to see the rest of the world and pack my bags ASAP, it would be a shame to miss out on the many beautiful things my own country has to offer; things that are often overlooked and yet they’re in front of our very eyes! So yes, I must see ALL of the Philippines first. After that..

5

sea-dreamI’d love to travel and backpack all over Southeast Asia!!! Who wouldn’t!?

6

apt-dreamI need to have my very own, very cool, and very oh-so adorable place. SOON. Because 3 girls with raging estrogen levels can only stay in the same place for so long..

7

closet-dreamOf course every girl dreams of a closet no other person would want to come out of. Must I elaborate? And there’s one more thing in that picture I would want before I turn 30..

8

baby-dreamI’m sure I would never have to worry about accidentally having a kid but hopefully, I’ll be prepared by the time I already want to take on the responsibility of raising one (or two?). Only as long as they can bathe themselves like this cute guy here..

I wonder how all of this would play out. It’ll be great if I can manage to accomplish all of it by the time I’m 30 (heck, maybe even way before that!) and who knows, I might even be able to do more. Life isn’t what you always plan it out to be, as I very well know but ultimately, it’s what makes a life worth living. Don’t you think?

Entry #03312012: Climax of my 21.xx year life

I was a participant to this Public Speaking and Writing Seminar last Mar. 30-Apr. 1, 2012. It was fun; I learned a lot and met lots of new friends. Many months after that fun long weekend, I barely remember what we exactly did during the seminar until I stumbled into this:

 That one point after which, I was never the same person.

I was cleaning my room when I found the old notebook we were given at the seminar. One of the exercises we had was to write, in 5 minutes or so, the “climax of our life.” And so I went to write:

It was the summer of 2009, I was reading randomly on the Internet when all of a sudden, I came about the subject of transsexualism. I researched and read more about this and soon enough, I realized that I was in fact, a transsexual woman and not a gay man. A few more months have passed and I was still learning a lot about the topic. (I even came to a transsexual dating chat site where I would meet my boyfriend of almost 2 years). By October, I attended my first STRAP support group meeting. I felt inferior, ugly, and totally like a guy. With these thoughts running through my mind, at exactly Nov. 1, 2009, right after my 2nd STRAP SGM, I started my journey to transition.

I will never forget this moment. It was at this time in my life when I took what will most probably be the sharpest curve of my life, and steered myself into a totally different direction; one where I am myself. I’ve never really shared this out loud or in public with anyone. That time at the seminar made me think of pushing my boundaries and opening myself up to people, to possibilities. Life has never been the same. And when you come to think of it, it really shouldn’t be.

My Flies are Undone. Lily Donaldson.

I would so undo anyone's fly for this shirt

If you know Lily Donaldson, chances are you’re either a fashion fanatic, or your “most popular models list” is already 3 years old. I belong to the latter but who cares? LILY DONALDSON IS THE BEST, FIERCEST, AND DAMN RIGHT MOST BEAUTIFUL MODEL EVER! Dayuuuuummmm! She’s soooooo finneeee!!!! Anyway.

I first caught on with Lily when I saw a photo of her circa 2007, back when I used to read fashion blogs every single day. It was the “alien model” era, when models like Gemma Ward, Lily Donaldson, and Jessica Stam ruled the covers of Vogue simply by looking like they’re from another universe (this was followed by the short-lived “feline model” era which was basically the same look but with a bit more meow). I remember it was a snapshot of her with her back ribs showing and I thought, “Omygod she’s so cool!” That’s when it started.

And all my friends thought I was weird when I loved this...

Over the years, many models have come and go that have made it to my “favorites” list; Iekeliene Stange, Snejana Onopka, Coco Rocha, Freja Baha Erichsen, Coco Rocha, Chanel Iman… There were a lot of them but none have ever managed to topple Lily off of my “ultimate” supermodel ranking. I still follow her stuff from time to time (the latest from a “popular” brand is Calvin Klein) and it makes me a bit sad. Sure, I am well aware of the realities of a modelling career’s longevity but I miss all of them alien girls. I miss seeing all those photos from a few years back that made me look forward to reading my next fashion blog for the day.

Nowadays, with people clamoring for “diversity” and “unhealthy body images,” all I see are the same boring faces and bodies day after day. Where’s the beauty in that? Fashion is all about fantasy; a world where everyone’s ethereally beautiful and skinny, wearing clothes that make angels cry. It is not for everyone. And why would everyone even want to meddle with fashion? As Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach said, “So soon as a fashion is universal, it is out of date.” Some people just don’t get it.

I better look like this when I do my laundry this weekend

With a parting quote from Kaiser Karl himself when skinny models were being criticized all over, “These are fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly. The fashion industry supports dreams and illusions, and no one wants to see round women.” I can’t say it any better. I therefore close my post with more pics of the gorgeous Lily D. I can’t pick enough photos to post in here, by that, I mean there’s just so much. Note: Google is our best friend. Enjoy!

Lily Donaldson (L) Caroline Trentini (R)

Hello Summer!!!

Aaaahhh summer. The sun, the heat, the clothes, the sand, the sweat, the annoying jeep rides… Anyway.

Love it or hate it, summer is on its way and what better way to welcome it than with your new Ray-Ban Wayfarers? With their cool retro-funky designs, Ray-Ban’s new S/S 2012 Rare Prints Collection is a must-have for every summer-loving beachgoer, or for someone who simply has an eyewear fetish (are there any of you out there?). Available in a variety of shades and colours to choose from, be sure to grab these babies real quick; you never know how many eyewear fetishists already have this on their wish list (I know I do!). Personally, I love the super multi-colored version (shown below) but for the more conservative types, the shades also come in more subtle tones. Happy shopping!

Eeenie meenie miney moh..