Finding Stillness & Courage

2014 was the year of self-doubt. The year began with the full effects of being single after nearly six years in a relationship, reeling from the transition, and finding my place when I was officially on my own. True, it was my choice to let him go, but that was a difficult decision and one that required courage, and consideration of the consequences. So I began the year figuring out what those consequences meant in the past, how I’d sort it out in the present, and where I was going into this uncertain but chosen future. (Kaya ko naiintindihan at hindi kinokontra si Basha sa sinabi niya, “I just made a choice Poy” and that it wasn’t an intentional choice to break his heart. But hey, that’s another entry. Which will never get published. Maybe when I’m 40? Haha)

I entered the year with a new job in place, which in some ways, was a return to what I wanted (at the time) while learning the ropes of a new medium and language. Midway into the year, there was another transition to take in: my editor in chief left and I entered into a new role with the sudden restructure. I learned then and there how I wasn’t the best at abrupt changes. I mean, look at how I reacted to a change I chose for myself?

Eventually, I worked my way back into the next transition. Working for a small company wasn’t easy: it takes away some of your own resources, which is both a sacrifice and a bane, depending on my then meager budget. Oh, and I forgot to mention: there was my parents’ leaving for a few months for the States. I did not have the convenience of extra help as I navigated a job where everything from writing, editing, uploading, to logistical planning was up to me.

It was the year, that I officially learned what it meant to grow up and live on my own.

So many questions ran through my mind as I lived each part of my life’s difficulties and tensions: am I going to be alone forever? Am I ever going to be financially stable? Ganito na lang ba, hanggang dito lang ba makakarating ang pagsusulat ko?

Yes, topped off with the writing I did for grad school, I started to question the kind of writing i did for my career versus how I wanted to grow as a writer. The energy I spent writing for the day job began affecting the voice I’ve been trying to develop at grad school–or simply put, the hat I put on as an online writer was also on when I was attempting to be a “smarter” and more “developed” writer. It became my crutch and I no longer challenged or questioned the type of writing writing I was doing. Gone were the approaches I’ve been taught since 2012: why are you writing this and who are you writing for?

Come December, I sat down with one of my good friends from college. I met her back in college, we grew close when we worked as officemates and while she was dating my best friend. I told her, for the most part, everything I’ve written here. She reacted as I expected: with enough wisdom yet keeping her words restrained for me to figure the answer out on my own: “I think you know what you want to do. You just have to figure out how to do it.”

I entered 2015 with a decision to be less anxious about things. A lot of things will never be in my control; I can only do what I can, so I decided to just let everything fall into place. Getting into this state of mind is still a struggle, but I am slowly but surely finding ways to hope yet calmly take in whatever life hands to me after all has been said and done.

Who would’ve thought 2015 would be the year of crazy but wonderful surprises?

I decided to move a little more coming into 2015. The jobs I applied for did not just look for what I wanted to do, but also how it would benefit my career in the long-run. It took a while for some applications to push through and others didn’t seem too promising, so I didn’t mind holding out until today, June 2015. But lo and behold, I got a call from one company and it offered me a promising position.

Unlike my other jobs, I had an idea of what I was going into. A friend who had held the same position in another department constantly complained about the stress, lack of a life outside work, and the flooding. But I’m old enough to weigh the pros and cons of things, and I wanted a position that would challenge me–something that would get me out of my comfort zone and develop new skills. For the longest time, I felt like I wasn’t moving career wise. Years ago, I wanted to make it as a writer. Then I realized, being a writer is an act and not just about the by lines. The by lines help you write in different voices, understand the publishing world, pay the bills, and be more considerate of your form and syntax. But a career goes beyond just one act.

So here I am, still figuring out what it means to be a managing editor. It’s only been three months, but it feels like a year. I’m in a whole new ball game. In some ways, I’ve returned to the process of print, yet I’m also juggling a balance with the sales side as I handle managing the content & design of client related publications. To sum up the challenges I’ve faced, the mistakes I’ve made, and the solutions that have found some success would take another year of ruminating and considering. But for now, I am grateful to always have the challenge and be blessed with a team that is both smart and strategic about our actions.

As for matters of the heart, I’ve let go off a lot of those anxieties and uncertainties. I am far ahead from the dark place that I was in (read as: no longer listening to Taylor Swift’s Red album on loop, haha), and have come to truly understand why I had to make that choice in the first place. The struggle wasn’t only in living the consequences of a break up, but also in learning to be on my own. I’m still learning to tone down the whole “OMG I’m going to be alone forever” panic, but being on my own is far better than the place I was in back in 2013. I think my MA best friend put it best: loverless but NEVER loveless.

So thank you 2015. I’m not sure what the rest of you will bring, but I’m glad I have the courage to face whatever comes at me.

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