Come to my happy place?

Let me paint you my happy place; it’s technically not one place, but it’s a fusion of tiny guilty pleasures. Living minimally has kept my bitsy heart so full, quick to saturate with a sip of coffee or a hint of a passing cloud.

 

And though my unintentional attempts at sentimentalizing the small specks on this planet always induced pity and sympathy, that hasn’t stopped me from following the clouds with two cameras wrapped around my neck.

 

Gripping my cup of cappuccino with both hands, inhaling its scent and warmth, brings me an indescribable joy. Browsing the aisles of a stationery store and scribbling on loose paper until I find the perfect black pen is a tiny victory to me.

 

Putting my book on the side and petting my kittens is just pure happiness; life doesn’t get any better than this. My God, their fluffiness and their small legs as they skip around the grass is a sight so pure and precious that my heart inadvertently shatters and gushes with empathy.

 

Happiness is jolting across my bedroom with my favorite songs on both good and bad days because dancing always heals. Dancing is my therapy and my escape.

 

Happiness is reflecting and taking time away from my day to appreciate the friendshipversaries, the birthdays, the former fall season, and how life was on this particular date two years ago. It’s wearing makeup after neglecting it for a week or switching back to an old bag and recalling the thought process behind purchasing it.

 

I find joy in laughing away life’s troubles and keeping files in archives in case a former friend decided to come back to my life because there’s room for you; there’s always room for you in my heart.

 

My guilty pleasure is buying a new journal. My guilty pleasure is running out of space for my new poetry books. My guilty pleasure is turning red because I love feelings and I love emotions and I love love.

 

My guilty pleasure is the flower crown section at Forever 21. It’s my seven-year dedication and loyalty toward Costa Coffee for all the memories and conversations that took place there.

 

I love singing, and I could spend the rest of my life just singing my heart out, in bathrooms, kitchens, even as I walk up and down the aisles of my local grocery store. It’s pausing in the middle of shopping upon realizing that the store is playing a song of your favorite underrated Youtube artist.

 

My happiness is trying on a dress for no valid reason, and setting up my camera on a tripod to take pictures for, again, no reason. It’s that swift run to make it in frame after setting the DSRL on self-timer. It’s commemorating every passing second and putting a timestamp to every moment, even when people question your strange urge to take photos of everything.

 

The weirder the shoes, the more I am intrigued. The macho the clothes, the more I am driven to purchase them. That’s me; that’s my delight. That’s my happy place.

 

Happiness is stopping to smell the flowers, people-watching on a harbor, and living life as if you’re on a never-ending honeymoon with yourself. Where’s your happy place?

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Why I’m obsessed with blogging

It’s 11:50PM (well already November by the time I post this). I am lying in bed, immersed in my pillow; one eye closed and two hands typing on the phone.

 

I was tallying my blog posts a few minutes ago, and the number somewhat disappointed me. I was expecting more from myself, and it got me thinking: why am I so obsessed with my blogs?


Given that the majority of my readers come from social media, it’s very apparent to them how obsessed I truly am, and a part of me decided to run here to explain.
This blog, along with my shared blog, is entirely created, designed, and run by me for me. And I became attached to it only recently, and I will elaborate on that soon.

 

This blog–believe it or not–was more than just a place to contain my word vomit. Within these published words, I felt liberated, heard, and understood by international readers. You can say I felt unstoppable because I got support from everyone and with every compliment, I just wanted to try harder and harder.

 

But my recent obsession stems from nothing but emptiness. It’s not views or validations that I seek. I come here–as sad as this may sound–to fill in the voids in my heart. I keep challenging myself to push 100 blog posts a year because what else can I do during my miserable unemployment? I swear it has kept me full, and sometimes even yearning for more.

 

This space is my very own product; I never hesitate to pronounce even the words I usually fear to speak. I am free here. The more I write, the more my mind is too busy to be overthinking about everything that’s wrong in my life.

 

I view this as nothing but a healthy obsession. I will never stop posting. This project is my baby. 

Mi Hermano featuring Mario Rodríguez

This blog post is a writing collaboration with fellow writer, Mario Rodríguez.

Mi hermano,

I am writing you today with a head dense with burdensome thoughts. What has the world come to, I ponder? I have noticed that kindness, unfortunately, has become a sly scheme, and shyness is sympathized. Talk is easy, music is provocative, and men are vile. Is that what you observe from your bedroom window too? It’s as if decency and courtesy are a foreign concept, but when you do come across a decent person, you can feel it in your bones that their cordiality maneuvers in a path of ulterior motives.

 

Kardeşim,

It’s a scary world we live in, isn’t it? It’s too advanced for my old soul that wishes technology only came in gradual doses. But I know, we’ve got vinyl record stores and antique boutiques in every town; however, it’s not the same tranquility. Somehow, even the beaches aren’t the same with color-matching teens posing in piers, conversing about utter nonsense, when the shore is gushing placid waves, and it urges for our silent admirations.

 

Akhi,

Even love is becoming a cheap term in this era. And God forbid you chose not to be a part of it, and suddenly you’re singled out from your group. The concept of love makes every bit of me tingle, and I bet it does for you too; except, I only want to admire it from afar. It’s not for me, it’s not the perfect timing for it either. My detestation for men only grows deeper by the day, which I heard offends your kind. You know it’s only a generalization, right? But in any case, do you get bombarded by that topic too? It’s quite the burden!

 

If I am ever hopeful, it’s God reassuring me that this is all normal and expected. But hey, at least we’re here, and we’re alive.

 

 

Algo es algo; menos es nada.

 

Yours respectfully,

Sophie.

 

 

Minha Irmã,

I question the course of this world in its near future. If the wickedness witnessed today is as bad as we both experience, there is no telling what is to come except that it will be worse. People become ridiculed for being respectful towards others and to themselves. Women too have adjusted to the foul way by knowingly using their appearance as a lure to the innocent few left on my side. I have learned to not pay attention and openly ignore good and bad gestures.

 

Meine Schwester,

It is a frightening globe we live in! I love the concept of technological inventions; although, electronics are the particular culprit to the rapid decadence of this world. The only places in which I find a remote sense of refuge are in the forests. The lack of others’ presence satisfies the sense of silence needed from the spoken atrocities of which you speak. Sitting on the rock near the pond in the middle of the night is how to get away. This is my oasis.

 

Moya Sestra,

Every day, I am the center of attention on the topic of solitude when I am with my friends. The idea of love is not understood by me. I see what people mean, but I believe myself to be incapable of love other than being at most a brother. Even then, I still wish to get away. All these relationships I witness seem to be about women taking advantage of their resources. This I find to be what barricades me behind the barbed wire that would enable me to want someone should it be taken down. I do understand that it is a generalization, but it happens so often as well. As for being bombarded by this topic, yes. And burden should be an understatement.

 

If this is what is to be expected indeed, then God may keep all his creation and leave me as I am. I am in no need of any of them.

 

Besser allein als in schlechter Gesellshaft.

 

With heartfelt sincerity,

Mario.

I like men that

I found myself on Thought Catalogue earlier, and while navigating the blog, I scrolled to the search bar and typed: chivalry. I don’t know why I had this urge to read about that topic, and to my surprise, I found manifold posts under this tag.

 

Skimming through the texts, I felt my mind reverberating and my heart fluttering, and it pulled me to write about it too.

 

 

I like gentlemen that actually prove that they deserve the adjective “gentle,” that comes before their noun. When they’re quixotic in their speech or behavior, it’s so admirable and charming.

 

I like men that are gentle with any woman they encounter, not because dealing with a lady requires gentlemanliness, but because it’s such a precious trait to have.

 

Any man that exudes any form of gallantry is instantly thought highly of, that he was raised well and probably treats his mother right.

 

I like men who use refined words with females, those who know exactly what to say without breaching boundaries or coming off as creepy. I like those that can articulate a compliment without sounding shameless or too casual.

 

I like men that are comfortable to be around, those that treat you as a sister, and who would urge to walk you home even when you’re independent and strong enough to tread those streets alone. It’s a very heart-warming gesture.

 

I appreciate men that wish you well or offer help before you even utter a word. To be noble and compassionate enough to aid someone that’s too timid to ask is what the world needs more of (regardless of gender.)

 

I like men that choose to discuss topics instead of people, and when they talk about others, it’s only to praise or lift them up. I love men that still hold on to the old traits, so please hold the door for me. I am pretty capable of doing that myself, but my heart soars to that gesture every time.

 

I like gentlemen that reply to your “men are trash,” rants with “I know, right?” knowing that this general statement stems from actual frustration, and it was not coined to hurt any man’s ego. And it’s even better when you get a “I’m sorry that that has happened to you,” as if to apologize in men’s behalf, which comes off very noble, it almost washes off your rage and calms you.

 

I like men that ends off a conversation with “take care,” or “be safe.” It’s highly unlikely that something will happen to you, and you’re almost always in a safe context but that phrase is reassuring sometimes.

 

I wouldn’t say such righteous manners are gone with the wind, but if a reminder helps rebirthing kindness and compassion in men, then I am here to remind you that these traits are beautiful and vital.

In my mother’s garden

My mother has built a soothing getaway within the perimeters of our residence: a humbleyet so heavenlygarden. The glass front door of the house always teases us into taking a stroll outside, as dusty palm trees sway to seasonal winds; so we wear our sandals and head out, never tired of that view.

In my mother’s garden, there’s a vast yard covered in patches of evergreen grass. Our stray catsthat we’ve fosteredfind their way to the frostiest spot and nap the day away. They only awake upon the sight of my little brother, who feeds them every evening. (Funny story: when they see him opening the gate door, they run to him knowing he’s paying the delivery guy in exchange for their canned food.)

 

Adorning the walls of my house are assorted plants and trees, planted purposefully to conceal every inch of the yard from its white. The desert rose plant twirls over toward the light purple basil, which has invited everyone to its aromatic presence: the bees, the cats, and the curious humans.

My favorite tree is the Sapota, which has been a beautiful feature of the house for more than 25 years. It stands two stories tall, covering up my bedroom and bathroom windows, and I’m always comforted by its shade. They say the oval, brown fruit it produces every summer, the chikoo, is quite tasteful. I never mustered the courage to try it, though.

 

We have fountains that are so calming to the ear, adding more beauteous elements to the silence. Our recently-acquired gazebo is my favorite place to lounge in; when the days are nippy, I would grab a notepad and write until I heard Maghreb prayer call, which was cue for me to go inside. (I still head out after I pray at times, regardless of the humidity).

If I’m ever caught laughing in the garden, it’s either because a pink paper-like flower falling from the Bougainvillea managed to scare me (it’s happened too often, yet still alarms me), or because the sprinklers were about to go off on me while I was sitting on the grass.

 

Summer peaking in its 40-degree weather never stopped us from enjoying the evenings there; ironically, we even take our sizzling hot tea outside. I love how busy this place has kept me, with the tiny chores my mother would give me of either watering the reedy Poinciana or fixing the placement of the chairs.

She’s given us a park within our convenience, where we get to witness the seasons change, taking point of what bloomed and what has wilted in the heat. She’s given a blissful escapade to walk around in when we need the consoling embrace of trees. She’s given us a hidden garden to bury ourselves in when the days are too treacherous to withstand.

 

In my mother’s garden, I chase the clouds in my heart-patterned pajamas. In my mother’s garden, I question my ability to recreate such a hideaway in my future house. In my mother’s garden, I am at peace.

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