sometimes you’re just stumped

This is gonna be a useless blog post that will add no value to your life whatsoever.

I am spending the long weekend doing absolutely nothing. For the past three days, it’s been nothing but Aly and I just doing whatever, lounging in bed, ignoring each other and occasionally cuddling, because that’s what tired, responsible adults do.

I’ve got nothing to say today, but in keeping tradition of one post a day, I’ll put this up.

Sometimes, nothing is good. So do nothing today!

an addiction to validation

I just started this blog a week ago, but I’ve been tracking its stats daily, looking at how many people have been reading it. It’s a little pathetic to be honest, but the validation of seeing how many people took the time to read my posts gives me a little rush inside, it’s as if every single one who read the blogs I post is someone who gave me a hug. It’s comforting to know I’m being heard.

The same way we all strive to get as much likes and reactions as we can on our social media networks. We think long and hard over what our next status will be, we take 20-70 shots for a single selfie, selecting just the right one, and attaching a well-thought out caption (or, at times, an inspirational quote pulled from the recesses of the web) then pressing send, hoping to the internet gods that it’s enough to get at least a hundred likes. That’s the benchmark, you know you’ve made it when you have at least a hundred.

Many studies have been made over this addiction to internet validation, so much that I’m not even gonna bother to link to it (jk, I’m just lazy. Fuck SEO.) In most of them, our generation has been painted as needy, insecure, narcissistic, and vain. (Are the last two the same thing?) We strive for this validation, wanting our social media pages to show our best selves. We invest in the latest smartphone with the phattest front cams for our selfies and the rear cams with the sexiest sensors so our vacation shots will look like it was taken by a pro (wag kang mag-ambisyon tbh, matuto ka muna mag-frame ng maayos ‘teh.) 

This addiction is understandable. Haven’t we always, as a race, for millennia, sought out the approval of our peers? We always strive to look our best for others because we are after their envy, their approving looks, we need the validation to feel good about ourselves. And don’t sell us this bullshit about needing only the approval of ourselves. That’s bullshit, everyone has to like what we do because other peoples’ approvals matter. And is that so wrong?

Not really, at least I don’t think so. People might call each other out as fame whores for the sole fact that their social media networks are incredibly curated, or maybe they’re actively trying to make a scene just so they get noticed. But that’s what people do, they do things to get noticed, they want to get noticed because it just feels good to be looked at and admired. It feels good that people respond to what you do. We cook up a meal for our loved ones not because we want to feed them good food, but because we want their approval. We take hours of our lives just putting on makeup, making sure that kilay is on fuckin’ point. We pick out the nicest clothes and the coolest accessories to go with them because shit, people gotta see us at our best.

That’s essentially social media. Who would post a sad photo of their pancit canton and runny egg breakfast? Who would post a picture of their daily commute (I did tho)? That shit is boring. What normal person (the distinction is important) would post a just-woke-up, muta-ridden selfie? No one would look at that shit. No one would want to click like on that. That’s not the approval anyone in their right mind would look for.

Now why am I saying all this? No reason, I just wanted to point out that every single one of us is guilty of this addiction to validation. My family does this. Jesus, all of my friends do this. I do it. And that’s the way the world works now. Social media has brought us all distantly closer together, and the world has turned into a jockey fest for likes, reactions, shares, and comments, perpetuating the millennia-old desire for validation from their peers. That dude Aristotle did say that humans are social animals, and an animal needs its sustenance. It just so happened that in the 21st century, we thrive most on a diet of clicks on that like button.

To cap this off, I would like to say one thing…

Please keep reading my blogs. It makes me feel nice.

 

Also I’m gonna start tagging my posts so more people would read it.

 

Fuck you I’m a fame whore

a retrospective letter to myself

Note: I wrote this article (lol, listicle) during the time I was unemployed for half-a-year. It was supposed to go up on unread.ph, but however, that domain has closed. In this piece, I ruminate on the difficulties I faced during unemployment and how I should be damn grateful, dammit.

Enjoy.

Unemployment is a funny thing to me. I felt better after leaving a job that I hated; it’s a break from the grind, a chance to recollect and recreate, refresh myself to face new challenges ahead. We’ve all been there. The satisfaction of ~*finally*~ being out of that hell is beyond comparable. It’s a sigh of relief that most of us who’ve worked shitty jobs felt.

I’ve also been kicked out of a job for…erm, more personal reasons. So far, it’s been a whole different level. It’s a scramble up a limestone cliff of the whole DABDA process, and I’m expecting to come out of it either unscathed on top of the summit, or fall face down towards the ground below. Pretty sight, eh?

Which leaves us here, in a crowded coffee shop, earphones on high, writing a list of things I could totally tell my past self about not landing in this situation I’m on right now.

  1.     Don’t be impulsive

“Be more meticulous about your job choices. Learn everything you can about the company you’re getting into; some insider help would be awesome, as well. Remember, you’ll be working here for an extended amount of time, so make sure you do it right.”

Right after college graduation, as in the day after, I went to work in my first office, a marketing agency in Makati. Now, that might seem weird, as I live in SoCal (South Caloocan.) If you ask me why I made such an inconvenient decision, I’d tell you that a dear friend asked if I needed a job. Being fresh out of college and with not much in the way of prospects, I happily accepted my first-ever initiation into the corporate whore life. A big reason why I’m in this situation was because I wasn’t as discerning about a job as I am right now. I took the first thing that answered back, or proved favorable.  Impulsivity takes us to interesting places, sometimes not for the better.

  1.     Life will suck, so watch your back

“You’ve heard people with careers say that high school never ends, and they’re right. Life will suck for you, but it does for anyone with a career. There will be days when you will be forced to do what you don’t want to, times when you will be forced to work with people you barely even acknowledge (because they’re ASSHATS).  People will also talk behind your back, just like high school! It really never does end. So watch your back, because you need to keep your job.”

Though it’s been a hard life at my last job, I honestly enjoyed it. I had a great team, work got boring but it had its ups. I befriended most people in the company as it was small; a great experience overall, were it not for um, yeah, the boss. I won’t go into any details, but let’s leave it as an issue of personalan on the boss’ part. Long story short, I was booted out. So make sure to respect boundaries as well, draw a clear line between yourself and your superiors – you never know if you’ll ever be friendly with them.

  1.     Job hunting is hard

“Looking for a job is easy enough, but finding one isn’t exactly a walk in the park. You want the proper compensation and the right benefits, of course, but those change from job to job, and are never a catch-all. Sometimes, the compensation and benefit is way too good to be true, and it usually is. Look for all the catches you can find, and here, insider info will help as well. Look up reviews of the companies you’re applying for (try Glassdoor or JobStreet!) and see if it’s a fit for you. Knowledge is your only bartering coin here, so make sure you gamble with it effectively.”

One of the things I didn’t learn well enough in my last job was: don’t trust anyone. A big factor on why I was kicked out was because some words went awry, and went to ears that weren’t supposed to hear it. Learn all you can, and I mean ALL you can — who’s working what, who to avoid and who to trust, who to give a wide breadth to, that kind of thing. Otherwise, your ship will sink.

  1.     Location, location

“I cannot stress the importance of working close to where you live enough. If you’re a novice to Manila (which you aren’t, you fuck, you’ve been here your whole life), getting around it during the weekdays is a fucking gauntlet. Choose a job that doesn’t let you commute or drive too far, because it will suck. Your comfort, safety, and convenience are luxuries, and you should make sure to have as much of these luxuries as possible because otherwise, it simply isn’t worth it.”

Pretty soon, I had to get out of this job, as my daily commute was synonymous to a 10-foot barbed dildo wrapped in the scratchy part of the velcro being thrust hard into your butt without lube. My next job, though, was a lot closer: a marketing agency in Quezon City, where I worked accounts.  It was a lot more convenient, as I had people I could split Ubers or hitch rides home with!

  1.     You’re paying your dues

“A friend once told me, that when you think your job sucks now, don’t worry because it gets better as you pay your dues. All we’re doing at the start of our careers are to be the bitches to people higher than us, because that’s where they started as well. Another friend told me that as you pay your dues, you work your way up to a position where you can command and demand; the holy duo of living life.  So don’t fret when you don’t find your dream job – you’ll find it in time.”

Even if I’m only well under two years working, I find that I’ve grown a lot during that short amount of time. Nothing is a catch-all, though, and my experiences might be different from yours; but take what I say, even if it is with a grain of salt. It’s gonna help you out in the long run. Okay, now I gotta go, there’s another interview at 3pm. Wish me luck.

i was in a seminary once

My misguided high school self went to the seminary. No shit.

It started out when the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) visited my high school once. My batch’s dudes, I think we were around 50 then, were herded into the school’s AVR to listen to a priest and a novice talk about the wonders of joining the clergy. They talked about themselves as missionaries, which to be fair, was a standard they upheld well. The OMI are sent to some of the poorest or most conflict-ridden areas of the Philippines, bringing the word of God with them. Hearing them talk about it filled my young mind with stories of roughing it, immersing myself in other people’s lives, bringing guidance. It sounded cool.

The talk ended with them asking us if we’d like to try and stay overnight at one of their seminaries in Katipunan. Five guys and I signed up. There, we spent a night hanging out with the novices and the priests, talking about how it is to live a life devoted to God. We ate, played table tennis, watched a movie, and talked until the night grew old about life, our futures, God, missionary work, and how hot wearing a priest’s garb really is. After breakfast the following morning, they asked if we were ready to take the next step: join their two-month summer program to get a real feel of seminary life. Basically, your first step to denouncing pussy for the rest of your life. I signed up for that shit.

Me and a four other boys that I didn’t know were shipped off to Cotabato City a week later, to the OMI’s seminary in Notre Dame University. When I got there, after a flurry of travel, I cried, really hard. It was the first time I was so far away from my family, and I was a bit… well, needy back in those days. Imagine that, 4th year high school and still a wuss. (Still am, actually.) I brought along my laptop to the seminary, and pre-loaded it with a ton of anime and movies (and some porn, cause you know, teenagers need their porn.)

The summer program consisted of over 40 boys, all fresh out of high school, most hailing from Mindanao. There were just 5 of us “Manila boys” and I found it hard to keep up with their conversations, which were mostly held in Ilonggo / Cebuano. They did, however, consider us poor city folk, and soon enough a lot more people have started using Tagalog as the vernacular. Which was cool. I met a lot of interesting people – a scout for the MILF, a farmer, a freediver (I WAS SO JEALOUS OF HIM), a mama’s boy, a village pugilist, and an honor student. Everyone was very interesting, and we all came together, misguided as we were, to try and figure out if this was the life for us. We shall see.

It was an experience, all right. Our mornings would start really early. There was a daily mass, every morning at 5 am. We would wake up to the sound of a bell being rung, and we would shuffle ourselves, more than a little sleep-deprived, to the chapel. Our rector, let’s call him Father John, would preside over the ceremony. After that, it’s breakfast, consisting mostly of fish, a vegetable side, and rice. I was a very picky eater and I didn’t like fish, so what I would do is ask for some oil and soy sauce from the kitchen and I would mix it with my rice, and boom. That’s my food for the day.

After breakfast, we were herded to our classes, summer classes if you will. Our subjects, if I remember right, were basic theology, Maguindanaon, and a computer class (which of course, I would finish up really early and spend the rest of the class playing vidya.) Basic theology was fun. It was less Catholic cathechism and more of a general Philosophy class. We were introduced to those Greeks: Plato, Socrates, Anaximander and more, discussing what it means to be and all that bullshit. We all went through college I presume so I’m gonna skip the particulars. Maguindanaon class was fun, it was a study not just in their language but in their culture as well. Our teacher was a tough-looking man of about 50 years, and he exposed us to the ways and customs of the Maguindanaon, taught us the necessary cusswords, and their beliefs on kulam. He told us not to haggle with them when purchasing a product, lest a hex be cast upon you. I believed that shit.

Usually, after lunch was siesta time. You could choose to take a nap, or you could do your laundry. Enterprising me used to pay a dormmate to wash my clothes for me – it was really cheap as well. Two kilos for 40 pesos + soap? Fuck yeah for a few hours of sleep. Come the afternoon when the sun isn’t too hot, we would be sent out to do our chores, which included maintenance of the grounds, feeding the pigs (we had pigs and we gave them names too,) cleaning our dorms, kitchen duty. Every other day, we did sports. Participation was mandatory, and unathletic me found that I liked volleyball. We played basketball, of course (rest in piece my first pair of Chuck Taylors) and football (which my Chuck Taylors also experienced) oh and softball (in which I was so scared of the ball and the intensity in which a fellow seminarian threw at me with so much force and seriousness.)

Sundays were our only days out. We were allowed three hours out in the town, one of which we would spend attending mass at the local cathedral. The rest we spent in a mall, or the market, picking up essentials and extras. I relished these as these were the only times I could explore Cotabato City. There wasn’t much to see, to be honest, and I spent a lot of time in a computer shop close to the school. I would look voraciously for a snack I fell for, which they called pastel. It was nothing more than rice topped with adobo (chicken or pork, because halal) and wrapped in banana leaves. But I loved that shit, slathered it in soy sauce and garlic and ate it like a burger.

Life there was simple, routinary, and, at times, fun. Most of the time, I would be spending idle hours contemplating about my choices, and my faith. I tried to find internally a desire to stay on this course, and see what happens. But my faith back then was falling behind, to be honest. I started realizing what I didn’t like about Catholicism, and the idea of being a part of a system that I didn’t believe in put me off. Eventually, the two months were over and we were interviewed one-by-one by Father John.

He asked me if I enjoyed my time there, and I honestly said yes. My friends were fun, I liked the routines we had. The college was interesting as well, and it opened communication between Muslims and Catholics, and I was finding their culture very interesting. He asked if I wanted to stay and… well, I just said no. I didn’t know if I wanted to, but I wanted to go home and mull it over. He knew it wasn’t for me, though. He said, plainly: “You won’t be coming back.” Little old me was so afraid to disappoint anyone that I said, “No, I will, I just need to think about it!” Father John just smiled, and dismissed me. And that was that.

That night, it was the last night for the summer program. Apparently, I was the only one in the group who chose to opt out of the actual seminary program. To celebrate, we were allowed by the priests to stay up late and do pretty much all we wanted to. And of course, that meant roughhousing for the boys. Armed with pillows, our dorm invaded other dorms and started whacking the God-loving shit out of our fellow seminarians, which resulted in an all-out pillow fight accross five dorms. It was, and still is, one of the best experiences of my life. I miss those assholes.
I guess I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to work for something I didn’t believe in, but sometimes, I really do miss those days. I had a schedule to follow, and the pressure to do it. I had friends there who didn’t judge me, and we all got along famously. But it just wasn’t for me. However, I’m still very much thankful for the experience, even if I did end up unsubscribing from the religion in the long run. If you asked me if I could go back and do it again, my answer would be yas, many times yas.

But we grow old and move on, and all we have are fond memories of what we used to do.

depression feels like a sad excuse

There are days when I wake up and the will to participate in life is just not there. Last night might have been awesome. I could have gone on a great date with my girlfriend, or I could have seen a great show, or my day could’ve been generally okay, but that shit will fall apart as soon as the next day begins.

You wake up, and in your head, all good things have come to an end. You wake up feeling that the apocalypse has begun, and you are thrust into a desolate world filled with dread. You wake up, and the sun is shining brightly, the birds are singing, the breeze is light and constant: and you hate it. You hate waking up. You wish you were dead, for no particular reason. You pick up your phone, scroll through your social media, and end up feeling shittier. You see people’s happy faces posted all over the internet and you wish, sincerely, that you were just as happy as they are.

There are days like this for me. Some people, sadly, experience this same shit every day. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the trigger is, sometimes there just isn’t one. Some days, your brain just decides to fuck with its supply of chemicals and decides to go easy on the serotonin or dopamine today, and you, my good man, will feel shitty with no reason why.

I feel compelled to pick up the phone and call in sick. Honestly, that’s what depression is, it’s a sickness. But how do you explain that?

 

“Hey, good morning. I feel sick and won’t be coming in today.”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m depressed.”

“…”

There are people who will understand, of course.  But very few do. They think that depression is something trivial. Oftentimes, you’d be viewed as lazy. There’s nothing physically wrong with you now, is there? Your feelings are fleeting, and it can all be solved by:

“Perk up! Come on over to work today and let’s just do our job, ok?”

But it’s not that easy. How can you even muster the strength to get up from your bed, take a shower, have breakfast, brush your teeth, brave a deadly commute, sit down on your desk and watch hours of your life pass you by as you keep on working on the same things you do every day when you can’t even tell yourself that it’ll be okay? To other people, these feelings are absurd. To the depressed, getting up while feeling like this is absurd. We’d rather stay here the whole day and keep to ourselves, perhaps the feeling will pass.

Sadly, most times you get up. Most times, you power through it. You start believing that your “depression” is trivial. It’ll pass, it’ll pass. Just get to work. And you do. You sit down on your desk and try to start today’s tasks. But because you’re not feeling so hot, you make mistakes. A lot of them. A lot of things fall through the cracks because you’re distracted and you can’t think very well. Your work falls behind because you’d rather block off the negativity by procrastinating. You may have ten things to tick off your to-do today, but you barely finish three and soon enough, the day has ended. People call you out on your mistakes, wondering why you’re doing so badly. This makes the feeling worse. “You could’ve done a better job, you know.”

The sad part is, I believe them. When this happens, I blame myself. Why can’t I just perk up and push all these feelings away? Why can’t I just be strong enough to just do it? I feel like I’m making a very weak and unsubstantiated excuse for why I am what I am. I feel weak. Saying I’m depressed feels like I’m making the worst, most unbelievable excuse ever. I can just as easy call in to say, “My bowels are revolting against me. I have the flu. I have a migraine. I broke my leg.” But no, I don’t want to lie. But I don’t want to say I’m depressed either because I’d be viewed as lazy. Depression is such an easy card to play because no one can ever see what’s going on in your head. You can say you’re sick without actually being sick! Hooray!

In the end, I just do it. I make mistakes, a lot of them. I forget a lot of things because I’m busy thinking about how NOT to fall into my suicidal thoughts. I’m busy worrying about what I might do to myself. I’m busy mulling over what might be causing this. I’m too busy to work.

The mind is a wonderful and terrible thing. It controls every facet of our sentience, and we are total slaves to it. We are dependent on these electrical and chemical impulses on how we conduct ourselves through life. But what if your brain goes haywire? What then? No one will see. You don’t have a sign around your neck that says, “This person is depressed.” You don’t want special treatment, even though you feel like you should. You just want to live a “normal” life (whatever that means) but sadly, your brain won’t let you.

Depression is tricky. Depression is hard to manage. Depression saps the life out of you without actually killing you… but in time, for some, it does, eventually.

My only wish, really, is for people to take this more seriously. The depressed are not lazy. The depressed are not making excuses for their laziness. The depressed are brave, driven, and productive; it’s just that their brains aren’t working right now, and they need a break. They’ll feel better eventually. The best anyone can do is to try and understand even if they can’t, and give them the support they need: be it space, a simple conversation where you just listen, or just letting them be. The depressed will try hard to sort themselves out, but it will take some time.

Depression is not an excuse.

being a pedestrian is a health hazard

As most of you probably already know, living in Metro Manila is a death sentence. I’ve lived my whole life in this sprawling, confusing, chaotic, messy excuse of a city. Public transportation is a daily gauntlet that pushes commuters to their physical and mental extremes, and being a pedestrian is akin to being a soldier in the front lines of a very confusing civil war. Ladies and gentlemen, being a pedestrian in Metro Manila is a health hazard.

Take my morning commute, for example. You get up in the wee hours of the morning to get ready for work. But more importantly, you get ready for the ride TO work first. I take a tricycle from my home to EDSA, and from there, try to catch a bus. There are no bus stops, so you have to wait on the avenue itself. Sidewalks don’t exist either because businesses use them as parking spaces. So you raise your hand like a hitchhiker and hope that a bus deems you worthy enough to pick up. When a bus spots you, it swerves immediately, god help whoever’s to his right, and stops, kind of in the middle of everyone else who’s using the road. It sucks, but there’s not much choice in the matter; you just gotta get to work.I board the bus and cram myself into a throng of people.

City buses in Metro Manila are pretty much normal provincial buses – three and two seats on either side, with a narrow corridor where hapless commuters are packed in, standing. Sardines don’t have to deal with this much compression. And more often than not, there are no handrails, and the air conditioning really fucking sucks. So, you’re cramped, sweating in an “air conditioned” bus, nothing to hold on to but your balls and the seats you’re leaning against, while a maniacal driver, oblivious to road rules, fellow drivers, and his passengers, swerves and speeds his way to the next throng of commuters waiting to cram themselves into the deathtrap. I haven’t even mentioned “ordinary buses” which are aptly called “suicide buses” by some. These are the really old buses, with wooden chairs and open doors. Think of a wagon with a diesel engine and that’s pretty much what it is. I admire the balls of people who cram themselves into these rolling engines of death, holding on to handrails by the open doors, dangling fearlessly, a few inches from certain death. Anything to get to work, you know?

I disembark at North Avenue MRT station, considered by many to be a true Manileño’s baptism by fire. If you think the buses were bad, shit, you ain’t seen nothing yet. You line up a kilometer away from the steps leading up to the platform, under the sun that hates you and everything you love. At times, it’s the rain that hates you and everything you love, instead. The line takes, at most, around 30 minutes to get through, and then you reach the stairs, which is another 15 minutes because there’s just so many damn people. (For context, the MRT has a capacity of 350,000 people per day, but serves around 550,000 or more each weekday.) You reach the top of the platform, and god help you if you don’t have a Beep™ card because fuck you, you’ll take at least 20 minutes lining up at the booth for a single-use card (or around 10 if you use the self-serve terminals.)

And then, more lines, because again, so many damn people. It’s lucky that I get to ride in the first station because it usually fills up by North Avenue pa lang. (Yan na, napa-taglish na ko. Tangina.) And then you get squished again! You do this for 30-60 minutes, standing precariously, sometimes without even a handrail to hold on. By the way, the handrails look like they were made for Europeans because they’re just SO high up, many people can’t even reach them. That’s what you get for buying discounted Czech light rail systems, I guess?

People in the MRT are the worst people. This train brings out the monsters that reside within every Manileño. People shove, argue, pick fights, and generally have the shittiest time in the MRT. Worse still is the first car – oh man, you will NOT believe how shitty women are to other women. I’ve seen many cat fights in my time riding the first car (PWD benefits, yo). I remember distinctly the day where I crammed myself into a throng of seniors and PWDs crowding around the open doors. There was this old woman, irate, who was in the middle of the crowd, being pushed in, as is normal. She screamed, “MGA PUTANGINA NINYONG LAHAT” in the angriest voice I’ve ever heard. It was funny, but horrible at the same time. I digress, though.

Anyway, you get off at the station and finally, there’s only a 5-10 minute walk to the office. But that’s if you get to successfully dodge the cars that seem to actively want to murder you. There are very little pedestrian crossings, and people risk life and limb crossing streets (even though there are overpasses, because who has the time to climb up and down one when you can just sprint across?) and what little PedXings there are, cars stop in the middle of it, effectively blocking your path. This creates more congestion. Should you be lucky enough that there is no traffic currently crossing your pedestrian crossing, don’t get complacent. Soon enough, a car will come barrelling through, hoping to beat you to crossing because he has to be first, goddamn it.

I arrive in the office, just in the nick of time. At most, that was two hours of my life thrown away to commuting and trying not to die. I sit on my chair, shaken, shellshocked, sweaty, and exhausted, barely ready to start the rest of this fucking day.

Commuting is an art form in Metro Manila, and I salute those who practice their craft every day. May we always just barely get to work on time, may we be protected from the wiles of our fellow commuters, may our lungs always be fueled by 95 octane, and may we all die and be happy about it because we don’t ever have to take the MRT again.

today kinda sucked and i couldn’t help it for some reason

So I got into work today pretty late, around 30-45 minutes too late. I didn’t mean to, I set an alarm at 5:30am and it just didn’t wake me up for some reason. I even took my sweet time getting ready, even throwing down a massive shit that took upwards to 45 minutes before I showered. Regular, run-of-the-mill day for me, working for a digital agency somewhere in the bowels of Metro Manila.

I’m bored at my job. I don’t get to do exciting things anymore. For context, I write social media posts and, on rare days, conceptualize new things to write about to give brands I work for a sense of humanity, which I think is bullshit, anyway. The way social media for brands works, at least how my clients and bosses see it, is that you give the audience / consumers a face to talk to, basically a relatable, fun, approachable persona that the average joe talks to. Gone are the days where brands were faceless save for the products they sell. It’s now all about humanity, brands are your buddies, hey sit down let’s talk and I’ll sell you some of my redacted due to NDAs.

To be honest, I feel pretty sad about my job right now. I don’t find it fun, like I used to. Coming in, I thought, hey, shit, this could be fun! I could be a brand’s mouthpiece, reaching out to an audience that will feel like the brand is human enough for them to patronize it! I’d spit if I could. It’s all a big joke.

The fact is, people don’t believe a brand’s “humanity” any more, save for a very select few. For example, Denny’s has a pretty kickass presence on Tumblr. If you look at it, it looks like someone just made a Denny’s tumblr for fun, poking fun at its pancakes. But no, it’s the official Denny’s tumblr blog. As in, the company sanctions that shit. Candidness, memes, bullshit: that’s what the average social media user lives for. Another example: Wendy’s. Take a look at the #NuggsForCarter hashtag on Twitter and you’ll see Carter, a guy who asked Wendy’s for a year’s supply of chicken nuggets, to which Wendy’s answered, “give us 18 million retweets and you have a deal.” People lapped that shit up, and today, Carter’s original tweet has gone up to more than 3 million retweets. And Wendy’s is lapping that shit up, building brand awareness and loyalty at the same time.

But my brands don’t do that. My brands are too boring, too scared, too averse to risks. They don’t want this. They don’t want to go the sabaw route, which is working pretty well for other, more adventurous brands. They still think that virality is forced, like, hey, just craft your post really well and people will share it all over!

Bullshit.

Today, I managed to write just one content plan for one of the brands I managed that I even kinda liked. I was even on Ritalin today, in the hope that I might find myself working double time and manage to fix up at least one more thing. But I didn’t. Today, I wrote a blog post, made the content plan, and spent the rest of my hours either napping or looking up pointless shit on Facebook and Twitter. Procrastination is normal, yes. People do it a lot. But today was especially hard. I tried forcing myself to stop doing it but I keep losing interest in my work for some reason, and, on autopilot, I pull up another tab on my browser and just go on browsing people’s posts, memes, pretty girls on a Facebook page… nothing gained.

This is wrong, I know. Procrastination is my enemy. If I was gonna procrastinate, I could’ve used that time instead to look up articles related to my industry. But today was especially shitty for some reason and I just couldn’t concentrate. Maybe it’s because I’m not happy with how things are run when it comes to my brands. Maybe I think my brands are boring now, and it’s literally just shit now.

I don’t know. I really hope this gets better tomorrow. I have a lot of shit to do before this week abruptly ends due to state-sponsored holidays.

Meh. At least I got two posts in today.

npcs are people too

I like video games. I play them a lot, talk to people about them, discuss its lore, etc., etc. Generally, when I play a video game and I really like it, I spend an ungodly amount of time immersing myself in its universe, totally assuming the form of a character inside the game, at least for a few hours.

The games I play sometimes involve shooting people in the face. Take Call of Duty, for example. It’s an entire franchise built around the concept of shooting people in the face. You spend hours upon hours aiming your pretend gun at pretend people, shooting pretend rockets at pretend helicopters, completing pretend objectives towards beating pretend enemies (usually Russians or Germans) to achieve pretend world peace.

It’s good fun, and a lot of people seem to think so because it’s a $10 billion franchise, apparently. I think it’s fun. Shooting pretend people in the face is pretty fun. And like I previously said, if I like a game, I immerse myself in it, assuming the personality of the character I control. It doesn’t help that Call of Duty puts you in the shoes of a footsoldier in the front lines, and it makes the story even more gripping and relatable – you don’t even want to be here, you were just told to shoot people in the face. Hell. So you pick up the gun and start shooting.

Let’s digress for a bit: I fancy myself as a very empathic person. I’m very sensitive to what others might feel (even if it doesn’t show all that much) and I try as much as I can to be a pacifist. I feel for people and I don’t like ’em getting hurt. This shows even when I play video games, especially ones that tell me to shoot people in the face. My badass, grizzled, and rugged super-soldier, who could take on a full clip from an automatic rifle and still be standing, turns into a reluctant soldier who feels his conscience nagging at him as the fools drop when he pops dat cap.

For example. In Call of Duty (the first one), there was a mission in the Russian campaign where you take a city square in Stalingrad. For those who didn’t know, Stalingrad was horrible. I played the part of a Russian conscript, fresh off the Volga, running towards a curtain of machine gun fire from the Germans while holding nothing but a clip for a rifle I didn’t have. Yes, you start the campaign off without even a weapon. You pick one up along the way, and after seeing your (still pretend) friends die all around you without so much as a fighting chance, you feel a certain bloodlust churning out from inside you. You load your clip, aim at the machine gun throwing a hail of bullets at your remaining friends, and lock the operator in your sights.

And then these stupid thoughts come in. I see the guy in my sights, he’s nothing but a simple footsoldier, like me! He’s human, shits, eats, talks, laughs, has dreams, gets angry, just like me. He’s probably only following orders, probably doesn’t even want to be here. My conscience keeps nagging me constantly that this (yep, still pretend) dude doesn’t have to be killed, his wife and kids are waiting for him to come home. He probably owns a farm up in the rural part of Germany, with a cow he calls Hannah and a dog he calls Klaus, where his children Hansel and Gretel help him brew vats of homemade beer, and his wife Emma welcomes him every night with her signature sauerkraut… This man doesn’t need to die, he–

The machinegunner’s head explodes as I am shaken awake by my own finger tapping at the left mouse button, sending a pretend bullet through the pretend barrel hurtling towards the pretend soldier at a pretend speed, spraying his pretend brain all over the pretend walls. The machine gun falls silent, and my pretend friends rush up towards its position, shooting other pretend Germans along the way.

And it’s like that with another game. I imagine lives for the people I hack down and/or shoot down like dogs, for no apparent reason. It adds to the depth, I suppose. And maybe it’s just me as a person, maybe I’m just really, really conscientious, that it even translates into how I play video games. It’s amazing how the human mind works to fool itself into thinking video games are real, at least on the subconscious level.

I’m well aware of this trait of mine, but I don’t mind that I feel guiltier and guiltier with every bullet I fire into these pretend enemies, how many pretend children I’ve orphaned and how many pretend women became widows because of me. It’s fun. Shooting people in the face is fun.

a first post just because i need one

Hello!

I’m DD, a 20-something social media specialist residing in the Philippines. Let’s talk a little about me since this is my blog and all.

So yeah, I’m in my mid-twenties, working in a small digital marketing agency in the Philippines. I’m a pretty normal person, as far as people my age in this generation go. I play a bit of DnD, spend way too much time watching gaming videos on YouTube, procrastinate too much during the work day, and am too lazy to work out.

I’m also very much in love with the sea, and do what little I can to preserve it whenever I’m there (yes, I pick up trash from the beach and, when I can, from under the sea.) I like to eat, yes, and my belly shows it. I write occasionally, and have managed to produce at least two articles that a lot of people saw and have been well-received; hopefully, I get to write more of those. I’m a stickler for grammar, yet I find myself making rookie errors every now and then, which prevents me from being a fully-fledged grammar Nazi, sadly. Punctuations are difficult for me and I sometimes see myself using colons, semicolons, and em-dashes incorrectly (so if you see any during the life of this blog [and I really hope I get to keep it alive this time] please do not hesitate to call my pretentious ass out.) What else? I like being outdoors, and I hate the city I live in.

I’m bipolar, type 2. Surprise, surprise. I always find it funny whenever people say that, “hey, you don’t look bipolar at all!” Shit, man, that’s not how it works. We’ll talk more about mental health in the future, I imagine. Living in the Philippines–what I see as the most ignorant country in the world with regards to mental health and its horrors–opens up a thousand and one opportunities for good (lol, no, not good) stories. There’s always gonna be room for that in this blog, and I hope that I get to at least put a few words out for the mentally ill, mah peeple, as we will call them here. (I’ll totally forget that I made that previous statement. You’ll see.)

What else? A lot of things catch my interest, yet many times, there’s no follow-through on it. I don’t know if it’s because of my shortened attention span as a bipolar, or maybe I’m just a shitty person. I’m taking this blog as a challenge to myself, actually, to see if I can at least commit to something as simple as 750 words a day. I mean, it’s not that hard to come up with something like that everyday. There will be no restrictions on this blog, it’s not gonna have a theme nor will it have a specific topic to talk about. It’s going to be a… hm, a publicly personal online repository for my ideas. And yes, my balls are big enough to use my actual surname in the blog because we’re not trying to censor anything, dammit. Just like how I am in real life.

I’m also a bit of a privileged fuck, as some people have pointed out to me. In the future, I will probably link out to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, so you may see for yourself just how big of a dick I am in my online life, and then form your opinions about me there.

If you’re reading this far, you might also have noticed that I flit from one idea to the next in the matter of… well, three words at least. Yes, and that’s because my style of writing is mostly free-writing. If you ever see some of my drafts from the articles I’ve published in other domains, you’ll see that it took a lot of editing to get those things to a kinda-coherent level. You might find my writing style a little bit dragging, to be honest, but in the interest of time and brevity, I’ll try to be brief in my future posts. Like I just said, we’ll shoot for 750 words per day at least.

I like being untethered. I’m an ENFP, and rules just confuse me. Why let yourself be restricted by a set of things someone told you you should do, when your own free will makes a lot more sense? Fuck that shit, the untethered mind is the best mind. Let’s talk about my ~*political leanings*~ and the -isms I subscribe to in a future post. Yes, we are gonna have so much to talk about, ladies and gentlemen.

But that’s it for my first post. Basically I just wanted to shit out a few words just so the blog can have content. At most, I will try to churn out at least one post per day at 750 words, as a personal exercise for myself. I’m not really looking for people to read this shit, but I’ll promote the blog in my social media accounts anyway, because that’s what kids like me do these days.

See ya, stay safe.