I’m leaving this site.

My life is on a roller-coaster ride right now, I couldn’t keep up with the responsibility of writing and maintaining a paid domain.

Thanks to everyone who followed/commented/subscribed. I always appreciate my readers and may even treat you for ice cream if you so desire.

This site will close down on November. Oh, and I’m moving HERE.

Au revoir!

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June is Pride Month, after all.

This is the story of how I came out — not to my family and friends, but to the most important person that should recognize this process — myself.

When I was a kid, I didn’t think much about the why’s: why I preferred toy guns and video games over dolls; why I hated wearing dresses and skirts; why I’d rather be a Bioman than a Disney Princess. In my mind, there was nothing unusual about these choices.

That is, until I learned the word “tomboy” and how my mom always seemed to say it in disgust.

I don’t remember when I first heard that word, but I certainly remember not wanting to be associated with it even as I start to realize that I might be one. I went through grade school admitting to having girl crushes, but I also had to have boy crushes to maintain the semblance of ‘normality.’ Take note, this was Philippines between 1993 and 1999. Ellen DeGeneres was already starting to be a name in America then, but in our side of the world, lesbians are still seen as weird and/or an abomination, depending on who you ask.

Come high school and I had my first boyfriend. It made me so happy because I now have stories to tell my classmates. The boyfriend would pick me up after school every Wednesday and I’d make sure they all see him from the classroom window.

You see, by senior high, I already knew that I am most certainly not straight, though I would never admit it because I was trying to change.

But what really made me unable to come out to myself for so long was not what my friends would say, nor the fact that Mom and Dad made it clear that they would never have an immoral lesbian daughter in the house. No, what kept shaking me most of all was faith. My desire for it, my lack of it, and my push-and-pull relationship with it.

I was raised in a Christian home. I grew up knowing Jesus and singing gospel songs. As a kid, it was cute; as an adult, it was the source of all my gender-related frustrations. Because I wanted that relationship with God, and I still do. I want to enjoy reading the Bible without feeling condemned. But how can I, when the very people who tell us they want everyone “saved” are the first ones to cast us stones?

Finally, I just got tired of putting up with all the damning comments and trying to adjust for the world. People, let me tell you how it feels like to have an identity:

  • You stop letting people tell you who you are.
  • You become more confident in saying what’s on your mind.
  • You discover that you are still loved, maybe not by the same people, but you still deserve it.

My coming-out process isn’t over yet. For one, I haven’t spelled it out to my parents, who are probably denying the fact as long as we don’t talk about it. But they’re the exception. Everywhere else, I’m an out-and-proud, card-carrying LGBTQIA member. I still go through some rough rides from time to time because I live in a country where homosexuality is kinda tolerated, but not really accepted. But it’s okay. I know who I am now, and that’s what matters.

Happy Pride month, everyone! ^_^

Photo credit:
Photo by Peter Hershey on Unsplash

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On learning foreign language.

If there is a skill that never goes out of trend, it’s foreign language proficiency.

However, that wasn’t my first thought when I bought a deal voucher for eight sessions of basic Japanese. In my mind, being a huge fan of ’90s anime is enough reason to learn, because watching anime without subtitles is totally badass, amirite? *wink*

Kidding aside, learning a foreign language is no piece of cake. I don’t know how Jose Rizal, who was able to master 22 languages in one lifetime, did it. But I do know that some tips, tricks and study hacks go a long way. So if you’re ever going to ask me what’s the fastest way to learn a new language, here are the best bits of advice I can give:

Given the chance, choose a classroom setting versus self-studying.

Okay, self-study advocates, please don’t kill me yet. I’m not saying that self-studying foreign language is impossible. And yes, I hear you screaming the fact that not all people have the luxury of time and/or money for a language course, and I definitely agree with you. It’s just that in my experience, self-studying requires a ton of self-discipline, which I unfortunately don’t have. (-_-) So if you’re the kind of person who gets easily distracted, by all means, take a scheduled class instead of going DIY.

Rewrite your notes. 

I currently keep two notebooks for my Japanese learning: one notebook for real-time note taking during class, and another better-looking notebook to rewrite my notes in a more organized way. I find this really helpful because it’s like doing a review of sorts. And also because I put small stickers all over the pages of my better-looking notebook. Kawaii desu!

Write in the language you’re trying to learn.

Since I don’t have anyone to practice with — the Girlfriend gets crazy annoyed when I suddenly blurt out Japanese phrases like moshi moshi when answering her calls, or sugoi ne! when I meant “wow!” — I had to come up with other ways to force myself to think in Japanese. Writing a short paragraph about my day, kind of like a diary entry, seemed like a good idea to train my brain to construct basic sentences. And so I did exactly that last night, and I’m pretty proud of the result:

今日私の彼女と一緒に SM AURA おいきました。
GENKI SUSHI でたべました,でも,すこし好きじゃない。
OOMA と TODD ENGLISH のすしは より良い です。
11:00 P.M. まで STARBUCKS の コーヒー お のみました。
12:00 に うち お 着きました。

Today, I went to SM AURA with my girlfriend.
We ate at Genki Sushi, but we kinda didn’t like it.
Ooma and Todd English sushis are better.
We had Starbucks coffee until 11:00 PM.
I arrived home at 12:00.
I’m studying Japanese right now.

These six sentences took me almost an hour, but it did show me the progress I’ve made after five sessions.

Learning a foreign language is tough. Any iOS or Android app that promises “quick and easy” method is trolling for a download. Can I just share that last Tuesday, while rewriting my notes, my head was literally throbbing in pain? I couldn’t process a single topic. In that moment of head-pounding confusion, I questioned my reasons for even trying to learn this wretched thing.

But I eventually finished rewriting my notes in between breaks, attended my fifth session last Saturday, and wrote my six-sentence milestone last Sunday. And that’s when I knew that this is all going to be worth it.

How much is the rate for multilinguals these days? *lol*

Photo credit:
Featured image from Unsplash: Free High Resolution Photos

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Begin again.

If you’re reading this, you either clicked from Facebook or have been following my blog for some time. Either way, there’s something I want to tell you.

I have a love-hate relationship with beginning again.

Beginning again is great. It is certainly way better than quiting. But on dark days, beginning again makes me feel like a failure because it means that for the nth time, I started something and then failed to keep up with it.

Take lettering, for example. I started lettering because I want to have a diversion from my 8-to-5 desk job. It wasn’t really a passion, although I did develop an affinity to it. But as months went on, I found myself slowly losing the drive to pursue the craft. I tried picking up other outlets in the hopes of keeping myself relevant to the creative community  — urban/travel sketching, graphic design, watercolor and charcoal painting — but like all things that came before them, I failed to follow through.

Or take this blog. I thought things would be different if I get my own hosting and domain, as if shelling out money would suddenly make me more productive in blogging. I’m an owner of a dot-com address for seven months already, but I only managed to write 18 entries. Pathetic.

I’m telling you all this because you followed me for a reason, and I’m not delivering. Frankly, you deserve more content. I know you do. But I created my social media presence on the back of being an “artist.” Now that I couldn’t identify with being an artist anymore, I’m no longer sure what to post about.

I hate to disappoint you, but I may have to shred the ‘artist’ label for a while. I cannot give that word justice right now. I have some friends who are already flying with well-earned artist wings and I feel both proud and envious of them, but I cannot join the flight as of yet.

This meant disaster for the social media following I’ve built, especially on Instagram. But I don’t want to give any more excuses. No more blaming artist’s block or busy work or mid-life crisis. I will, from now on, try to always speak my truth, and it is this: I began and then I failed, and as much as I hate beginning again, I know that it is the only sensible choice.

I’m restarting as Odee. Not Odee the artist or blogger or any other fancy label — just Odee.

Photo credits:
Featured image from Unsplash: Free High Resolution Photos
Second photo from How To Begin Again by Adam J. Kurtz, published at Design*Sponge


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