Thank You 2022

It’s that time of the year again. We’re winding down to the end of the year waiting to welcome in 2023. That means new year resolutions are made, you’re scrambling to clean your house, while simultaneously trying to process the last year that just happened.

I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to reflect on the last year and trying to find the lesson when the new year is approaching. It’s okay if there isn’t an “obvious lesson” to be learned. Very often, some time needs to pass for you to see the significance of a certain year, and the role it played in the bigger picture. I feel like 2022 was that kind of year – I was coasting in the sense where I wasn’t really trippin’ on what was to come, just taking life as it was. 2021 was one of those drastic years that changed a lot, and 2022 was the grace period of trying to re-evaluate life and process 2021.

If I really had to narrow it down, the overall theme of 2022 for me was slowing down and just taking it all in. My personality type is traditionally very uptight when it comes to plans. I’m either stressing out about what’s to come, or planning for the next step. I don’t know if anyone else felt this way, but I started 2022 tired as hell. Of course I had some new year’s resolutions – like writing more, start this or that project, save money, and so forth, but in terms of big life changing goals, I can’t say I had any. 2021 was such a year of change and grief that I just wanted to be a neutral “okay” for 2022. I literally wanted to be left as is and process what happened the year before. I wanted to be right in the moment, not stressing out about anything to come, and just exist without complaint. It seems like a simple task, but I find it hard to just let myself breathe. And in 2022, I did just that to the best of my ability.

I’ve always been pretty safe with the pandemic going on – wearing a mask, getting vaccinated, limiting my outings, taking takeout instead of dining in, not traveling, etc. But in doing so, I became anti-social and even more of a homebody than I already was. I went into the pandemic as a freshly turned 25 year old, and now 2 plus years in, I feel way older than 27. I was past the point of feeling like the pandemic had stolen 2 plus years of my youth and counting. I was so over the pandemic and knew it was time to start living again. We are coming up on 3 years of Covid being a thing, and even though on paper that is a relatively short period of time in the grander scheme of things, when you’re living this type of life day to day, it takes its toll.

It took a while for me to ease up on Covid protocols even after the city / state lifted many restrictions. After wearing a mask for so long, it felt illegal not to have one on. I really had to come to terms with the state of the world’s reality. Covid isn’t going anywhere, and I can’t waste my youth and great years depriving myself of living because I’m afraid. In no way am I denying the severity of the virus and the affect it can have on high risk individuals – which is why I still take precautions for myself and those around me – but it came to a point where I was aware that getting Covid was pretty much inevitable, and all I can do is try my best to keep myself and others healthy with continued precautions. It took a lot for me to go somewhere maskless, eat out at a restaurant, and get back to a semi-normal life like pre-Covid.

Since I came to the realization that Covid is something we have to adjust to and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, 2022 was a year where I decided to treat myself more than usual. I don’t know if it was me filling a void left from 2021, but I found myself more willing to do things. 2021 brought a lot of tears and frustrations, but through the grief, the one thing I took away was that time is priceless. You can always make more money, but you can’t buy back time. I felt deprived of life experiences and making fun memories with those I love for over 2.5 years, so I found myself saying yes to things I would’ve said no to in the past. I was down for the dinner, down for the road trip, down to experience life again.

I feel as though 2022 was my “rest” year. I wasn’t acting on anything, I just sat and observed, taking note of what’s going on around me. I guess my instinct to plot my next moves weren’t completely dormant after all, just remaining attentive to every aspect of my life. I wrote about it in many different ways in my blog posts, but they all point to the same message – not everything needs a reaction, sometimes you just need to observe and take mental notes on what’s happening, then you wait for the right moment to act on whatever the situation may be. And I mean that from a responsible and patient stand point, not a malicious one where you’re plotting on some antagonist shit. When I say plotting, I mean it from a place of listening to your intuition, trying to see the bigger picture, and making sure you have all the facts and information before making big decisions.

I’d be lying if I said I felt energized for 2023. However, I am ready for it. A part of my role in the preschool is teaching kids from all over the country virtually online. Before the winter break, I was demonstrating a project to the class – trying to show them how to get the shaving cream nice and smooth so we could make our own New Year’s Eve fireworks. One thing about teaching online is you never know when you’re going to mess up yourself, but you have no choice but to keep going because you’re live. I kept instructing the kids to use their cardboard piece to smooth out the shaving cream on their tray, but I kept going over the same area where the shaving cream sinkhole was. Every time I fixed it, the perfectionist in me kept trying to make the whole thing even smoother, causing me to reopen the gap maybe 5 times at that point.

“Okay, see, Teacher Marinelle keeps making that hole, but I want to have it smooth. Justtt…. likeee….. thisss…” I said trying to buy myself time being live on air.

Since I can have up to 9 kids at a time, all of their microphones are muted until I call on them, this is to avoid all the kids talking at once. But just then, a microphone turned on, I didn’t quite hear what was said, but I could tell who said it because of their voice. I’ve been working with some of these kids for over a year, so I was confident who turned on their microphone to say something quickly. I looked up from what I was doing and looked at the computer screen, “What was that, _____?” I said with a smile.

They turned on their microphone again, as they worked on their project alongside me, “It doesn’t have to be perfect, remember Teacher Marinelle? It’s okay if it’s not perfect, remember that’s what you told me,” they said sounding so wise and happy.

“….you’re right… I’m so proud of you! I’m so happy that you remembered that!” I said wanting to cry. I always try to encourage my students to make their projects uniquely theirs, and that may mean that all of our projects look different, and that’s okay. I also think it’s important to let them know that it’s okay if their projects aren’t perfect – all that matters is that they tried and made it their own. Especially for the little ones that get frustrated when they want things to look a certain way or be exactly like mine, I encourage them to be different and tailor things to their style. This is also true for getting answers wrong, I applaud them for trying. I reassure them that if they ever need help, I will always help them out. It builds their confidence in themselves and allows them to create and answer freely without worrying about getting things “wrong.”

“I’m so proud that I could cry, but you guys aren’t here to watch Teacher Marinelle cry, you came here to learn!” I laughed trying to play it off. I was so moved that my student remembered my words from past classes. It reminded me that sometimes, we need to give ourselves the same love, compassion, and understanding that we give children. I preach to my kids that there is no such thing as perfect and their unique creativity and personalities is what makes them great. And I was reminded of that same lesson from one of my students.

It reminds me of what 2022 was like for me – it wasn’t perfect, but there’s no such thing as perfect. I made the year my own with no expectations, just allowing myself to grieve, heal, and just be. And since there’s no such thing as perfect, that means that there is no right or wrong way to do things – that’s just life. And everyone is just trying to figure it out. This was definitely the rest year, the “try to figure it out” year, the year where I really thought about what I want. That’s exactly the kind of year I needed. 2022 was the calm after the storm of 2021.

Wishing all my readers a very happy new year! May 2023 beat all of your expectations and then some!

Change$

Last picture of me and Goldie 💔

I never realized how much I hate change until…

“…Stay tuned for next week, I’ll be sharing a story I’ve been wanting to share for years…” I wrote on my Instagram post last week. I reread my caption, added my hashtags, and clicked the “Share” button.

Within minutes of posting that post, my phone froze and acted like it was restarting. It stayed on the “Samsung” black background for hours until the phone ran out of juice and died. I thought I’d just charge it and I’d be fine.

“Its just a glitch,” I was trying to tell myself so I wouldn’t freak out that there’s a pretty good chance I’d be phoneless for a couple days.

I charged my phone and no luck. I tried to reboot, restart, all the above that Google suggested. Nothing.

This was the last thing I needed. Like I had shared before, I’m on a 2 week vacation break from work. It’s the preschool’s “summer break” before school starts up again. I planned to use this time to give myself a break- after the Portland trip I planned to sleep in as long as I wanted to, hangout with my boo and friends, workout if I felt like it, start my graduation scrapbook, but most importantly, write.

I’ve long anticipated this break. I couldn’t wait until the Portland trip, and then doing all the things I listed above. My phone is so crucial to my writing. When I decided I was going to be posting every week, I whipped out my laptop, covered in a thin layer of dust since it’s been tucked away in my bed stand since I used it last. And that was in April for my Women Gender Studies Conference prep. Before that, I haven’t used my laptop since I turned in that last final in the middle of December. Let’s just say once I graduated I kicked my laptop to the curb. But when I decided in July that I HAVE to make my blog a consistent thing, I took out that dusty lil thang and expected to start writing right away.

BUT. OF. FUCKING. COURSE… there’s something wrong with it. It was dead, so I plugged it in, and noticed after about 30 minutes that its plugged in but not even charging. The moment I unplugged the chord from the laptop, it died. After many tests and theories, I concluded that the only way to use my laptop is to have it be plugged into the wall the whole time and have it be on “0% not charging.” The moment I unplug the laptop, it’s dead. Given I’ve had the laptop for 6 years, I knew it was probably time to replace it. I planned on taking it somewhere to get it fixed, but didn’t really get around to it since I had the WordPress app on my phone. I figured until I save up money to get a new laptop, I’d just be writing my blog posts from my phone. Which was going well, until Goldie the Galaxy died on me.

The next day, I went with my cousin, my Ate Nina, to get my phone looked at. I told her that I’ve had the phone for basically 3.5 years, and I was so sad it was dead. She hit me with the “duh” it’s dead, it’s old as hell. But that’s the thing with me. I use my shit until it dies, literally. Same goes for my laptop, my shoes, my makeup, whatever it may be, I use that shit until I know it’s time to be retired. And even then I will fuss about how I need to replace it/ try to save it.

We went to the mall, and the guy in the stand didn’t even bother to look at good ‘ol faithful, Goldie. How rude. I explained to him that she’s not dead dead, for she stays on the “system rebooting” blue screen / galaxy black screen until she dies. So to me, there was still hope to revive my beloved. He looked at me, “Yeah. Its fried. There’s no fixing it, you just need a new phone. Sorry.” How he dare? In my head I was thinking, “Put some respect on her name, and give her a chance! At least try!”

So we went into the AT&T store in the mall, and I asked if they would take a look at her. The lady said they couldn’t do anything about it, and the only way I can maybe save it is if I call customer service, preferably “from that phone.” Me and Ate Nina looked at her like…. bruh… how?! Its fucking dead! I called customer service from the AT&T store, overwhelmed that ma baby girl of 3.5 years is probably dead dead and I had to go through the grieving process. I hung up the phone with customer service frustrated, “fuck it I’m just gonna get a new phone,” I said.

I planned to buy a new phone right then and there since I needed a phone so bad. It died on Tuesday, and here we were Wednesday trying to get a replacement. “Well if I’m gonna get a new phone, I might as well get the newest one so I can use it for over 3 years until it dies again,” I sadly joked. I usually stalk a product I want online until I decide to buy it. I need to do a thorough research, consisting of rating online, product reviews, but most importantly unboxings and comparisons on YouTube for days on end. All of which, I didn’t do. And honestly, it didn’t matter because the lady said I would need my mom to be there with me to make a purchase since she’s the main person on the account. So that meant I would have to live phoneless until Saturday. Honestly, first world problems. But the fact that I didn’t have a working phone wasn’t the only reason why I was trippin’.

It was because for months I planned out how I would use this 2 week break. Not having a phone ruined all of those plans. I could only get in contact with people through Instagram, and only if I had WiFi, because I was using my old phone before Goldie. I planned to use this 2 week break to write multiple posts to archive for later, since I would have so much free time. And I couldn’t do that laptopless and phoneless. The old phone I was using with WiFi was so old that it only let me have 3 updated apps. Hahahaha. When I tried to update Facebook Messenger it told me to delete 1 of the 3 apps I had. 🤣 Its funny now, but at the moment I was like bruh, whyyyyyyyyyyyy. And on top of that it took about 3.5 hours to fully charge, but lasted less than 4 hrs off of the charger.

“I hate change,” I told Ate Nina.

“Yeah, bitch, I could tell just from today with your phone!” She laughed. The rest of the day I just kept making phone references and how sad I was that Goldie was done for.

That opened up the topic of “change.” Ate Nina told me that she struggled with change, but quickly had to adjust because of her job. She said something along the lines of, “Bitch, I’m 35 and I’m just now getting used to change. If anything, get used to it now.”

That’s one thing I always noticed about myself. I do not do well with change. On the outside, it probably seems like I deal with change well, but internally it brings me turmoil. I like structure. I like planning things out. I like things done a certain way. I’m not saying I’m hella nitpicky and annoyingly controlling, but it’s more so just having to do with me, myself. Things that I know I can control in my life.

For example, something that just happened this morning. Me and Justine planned to workout everyday this week at 5:30 am. I mentally prepared myself for this the night before, making my preworkout so I could just grab and go the next morning. This morning I woke up at 5 am and got ready for the gym. “I’m awake.” I texted Justine. No answer. We used to gym early mornings back in the day, so I knew I had to call her until she woke up because she probably snoozed her alarm. I think I called 4 times. No answer. By 5:20 am I gave up and went back to sleep. But I was feeling antsy because I had already planned to go to the gym. And it’s all I could think about. I drifted off to sleep, and woke up around 9 am. I was so stuck on the fact that I planned to go to the gym but didn’t go. So I walked to the gym from my house, worked out for about an hour and 45 minutes, and walked back home. In this sense, I guess my stubbornness was a good thing, because I got a workout in. But a lot of the times it’s not in my favor.

In this specific instance with Goldie the Galaxy dying, changing my plans after planning it out months in advance is what got me like FML. I’ve noticed that I resist change, but once I get a hang of the change, I’m totally fine with it! I feel like it’s all mental. Like the thought of something new is scary because I don’t know what to expect. But I always end up chillin’ at the end of it all, and adjusting well. This is probably something about myself that most people don’t notice. I told Ate Nina in terms of my job, I don’t think I show that change bothers me. I wouldn’t even say “bother” is the right word for it either. More like an “ohhhh I was expecting this to happen today, but instead, change of plans, this is happening.” When it comes to work and there’s change, of course I have no choice but to go along with it and be a team player. If I have no choice but to go with the change, that’s when I accept it. But if its within my own life and my own personal changes that I have to do, that’s when I get annoying as hell and I resist.

I don’t know why I’m like this. I think I’ve always been like this to an extent, but I really started to notice it when I graduated college. The fact that there is no right or wrong path to take now, it’s like I’m at a crossroads. In terms of career, location, growth, it all scares me. I’m at the point in my life where I have to make moves, but the moves scare me and I’m so afraid to disrupt my routine that I stay stagnant. I come from a long line of worriers. But all this worrying really isn’t benefiting me in any way, its just really adding unnecessary stress to myself. I really struggle with where I should start my career.

Don’t even get me started with location! I’ve never moved before. All I know is Daly City/ San Francisco, Bay Area! But I know for a fact that my ass can’t afford it here if I were to branch out on my own and leave the nest. Yo, that’s a whole ass other thing too. In Filipino culture, we value the whole family dynamic. Usually, if you’re moving out, its because your ass got married and you’re starting your own life. And even then, you don’t stray too far from home. I’m talkin’ the same city or a few cities over from where you grew up. And in some instances, if you’re married, staying at home isn’t that frowned upon. In western culture, staying home with your parents as an adult is looked at negatively. In Filipino culture, it’s what you do, it’s not unusual. If anything, it’s preferred so someone is there to take care of the parents. We don’t put our elders in nursing homes. We stay with them and live with them, and cater to them as they get older. So thinking of a life outside of the Bay Area terrifies me more than I can even imagine. But I know for a fact I need to branch out and should experience living in different places before I have a whole ass family of my own.

It’s like I know what needs to be done to be successful, but the resistance to change is what will be my set back. I can play with the big dogs, I can speak with my chest, I can work hard for the things I want, but my fear of change is what will forever hold me back.

It’s really hard for me to think in terms of things changing. Like if I were to move away, the thought of us not living together as a family would make me super sad. Even though I know it’s going to happen eventually, it just makes me sad. Probably the fact that I know that it means we’re getting older. And that means living your own life. And that everything won’t be as family oriented as it once was. And that makes me sad as hell! I’m a very sentimental person, thinking of the future makes me excited but at the same time sad. The fact that I can’t rewind and have these moments again makes me want to cling on to what I “know” more.

But like I said, once the change happens I’m like haaaaaaa, yaaaaa, it was for the better. But of course it’s always after the fact. Change is scary as fuck. But its inevitable. Things never stay as they are. Everything is constantly changing and evolving. I resist change as if I can do something to stop it. But let’s be real, change is gonna happen with or without me. The death of Goldie the Galaxy made realize that I need to work on accepting change. Even though I knew that all along, this situation amplified the need for me to get it together.

Something as small (but not really small lol) as the death of my phone made me realize a big flaw in myself that needs workin’ on. So here’s to change, may we not resist it. Hahaha.

Omg, this whole fucking post just kept reminding me of that song by First Lady when she’s like “you say you’re not okay with chaaaaaangeeee,” and it’s so annoying because I know nobody will get that fucking reference because it was such an underground song in like 2002 🤣🤣🤣