Day 21: Something you know you do differently from other people

It is not an uncommon condition, but I have a bit of an OCD, and I probably belong to the counting or number group.

I count when I brush my teeth, the pattern is the usual 16 count used in exercise, the 1-8, 8-1 count. If I failed to count, I repeat it. I make sure all of my teeth get the equal amount of brushing per side. It relaxes me to know that they’re all cleaned up well.

There are the little things, too like counting the steps, the tile squares I walk on, counting while vigorously washing my hands…

It’s a kind of subconscious thing, the counting.

Should this counting be raised to an expert now? :O


It Is Not A Little Thing!

This feeling has been with us ever since, but expressing it is harder than anything else. It is a great, abstract mystery that captures us, and when it does, it captures us good. We yearn for it, we live for it.

So vast is it that since the Creation we humans have different ways of manifesting it through actions and words. When it exists, ideally, all evil must be forgotten. But we are humans, festered with limitations, that what we associate with great things, we associate with terrible ones too, like jealousy, envy, lust and greed.

So complex it is that we let go and risk it all for it, all human tendencies for pain abandoned. Ideally again, it should not feel pain. But as we are humans, imperfect, we hurt when it is not reciprocated in the way we think it ought to be. For who wants to be ignored?

So mysterious it is that it has been a topic for discussion since forever. Who knows when it started? Who knows how it was created? Was it even created? Was it there suspended in the universe just waiting for us to finally experience it? How did it begin? All we know is that, we are directed to it by an invisible force – and what force it is, we do not even know where it comes from. We could ask a thousand questions about it, and double the number without arriving at a concrete answer.

So powerful it is that it conquers boundaries. It makes us work to our capacity; actually it makes us expand ourselves to stellar proportions that we are not aware we are capable of, if not for it.

I am of course, talking about love.

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Imperfect though we humans are, we are given with faculties, to equip and express ourselves when the time comes that we experience it. There is no way to describe and say love than the word LOVE itself.

We share, talk, laugh, cry, scream, shout, dance, sing, and write. Or we stay silent sometimes, when we feel love in the quiet, and when our hearts and souls do the talking. It is a most beautiful union of souls and hearts. Our bodies cannot contain a force that much unless we share it. We cry at the sheer thought of loving and being loved in return.

That’s why when it is destroyed, a violation so severe is done – to destroy something so sacred is a sin. Not a mortal sin perhaps, no. But a sin against yourself and your nature – for who is truly happy when he or she realizes that love has been in some way, destroyed, especially between two people, or among ourselves? That’s why betrayal is a word as poisonous as it sounds. Destroying love, without us realizing it sometimes, is self-destruction.
When we love we live and let love. We let go wholeheartedly. We understand, we unite but not possess.

We do our best to keep it, but it is never really lost. We just have to realize that we will always have it, and knowing that, it will flow out of us naturally, and it won’t seem like tedious work – it will be as natural as breathing.

Hurting, is it really a part of loving? To this I can only give my opinion, but hurt and pain can be overcome. Love. It is the answer. It heals.

It makes us strong, beautiful, and unique people. We should remember that love always works toward the greater good. The choices we make, the sacrifices along the way, we do it with a smile on our faces and while holding hands.

So let’s love. It cannot be contained, categorized maybe, we have done that already. Love for family, friends, spouse, children, and lover. But love in its purest sense, is just love.

(For my loved ones. Especially for my Justin – in between all of the ways and words I have expressed my love for you, the simple truth resides in me, that I love you.)

Handling a Black Swan

A black swan. Have you ever seen one?

First of all, I am not here to discuss anything about fowls ladies and gentleman, but I am here to share with you a theory which I hope you will find informative and useful.

The Black Swan Theory was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a Lebanese American essayist and scholar whose work focuses on problems of randomness, probability and uncertainty. The theory explains the occurrence of rare, hard to predict and high impact events – ranging from history, big scientific discoveries, world wars, artistic accomplishments, and economics, hence “black swans” – undirected and unpredicted.

If you’re wondering why it is called a black swan, well, it was reported centuries ago that swans have white feathers, so the existence of a black swan is impossible. It was only when an expedition in Western Australia was made in 1697 that a black swan was seen and recorded. In that context then, there is a possibility that conceived impossibilities do exist. Hence, black swan events.

Now, how do we spot a Black Swan? Coming straight from Mr. Taleb himself in a news article in The New York Times,

What we call here a Black Swan (and capitalize it) is an event with the following three attributes.

First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

I stop and summarize the triplet: rarity, extreme impact, and retrospective (though not prospective) predictability. A small number of Black Swans explain almost everything in our world, from the success of ideas and religions, to the dynamics of historical events, to elements of our own personal lives.

Well, it is safe to say then that black swan events are those occurrences that catch us off-guard. To relate this to our lives, these black swans are events that shake and break us, leaving us shattered. This maybe a heartbreak, separation from a loved one, an unexpected death, or winning the half a billion lottery prize only to find out that one number was incorrectly declared therefore, forfeiting your win! You get the picture.

Ah sweet life, how to cope? Well, Mr. Taleb said that we should build robustness against an event’s negative side and exploit the positives of it. Let’s be prepared and optimistic. Everything in this world changes, it’s the only constant thing. We cannot stop these things from happening but we can be prepared for the blow. After the blow, what do we do? Be optimistic. We should look into the bright side, for it is the side that is worth looking at, and the only side that will work against misery. It’s so weird for me to be speaking about this coping thing, because truth be told, I am on the pessimist shade. But that is what we have to do, cope and exploit the positives. There always is a positive side. Negative and positive work together, like in a battery. It will work if you know how to make them work.

(If you want to know more about Mr. Taleb’s theory and work, here are some pages you may want to check out. 🙂

Time Magazine interview by Tim Morrison

Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Homepage


(The beautiful black swan photo is from Mr. Peter Riley, available in his website, Vida Luminosa.

Midnight Love

I was yours and you were mine.

That’s a song, in case you are wondering, and that sentence is the lyrics. That’s it. It’s being repeated all throughout and somehow, it never gets old. I get different kinds of feelings from it.

And then I remember this Portuguese word, saudade. 

Saudade (European Portuguese: [sɐwˈðaðɨ], Brazilian Portuguese: [sawˈdadi] or [sawˈdadʒi],Galician: [sawˈðaðe]; plural saudades) is a unique Galician-Portuguese word that has no immediate translation in English. Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return. It’s related to the feelings of longing, yearning.

Saudade has been described as a “…vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist … a turning towards the past or towards the future.” A stronger form of saudade may be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing. It may also be translated as a deep longing or yearning for something that does not exist or is unattainable.

Saudade was once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone (e.g., one’s children, parents, sibling, grandparents, friends, pets) or something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. In Portuguese, ‘tenho saudades tuas’, translates as ‘I have saudades of you’ meaning ‘I miss you’, but carries a much stronger tone. In fact, one can have ‘saudades’ of someone whom one is with, but have some feeling of loss towards the past or the future.

In Brazil, the day of saudade is officially celebrated on January 30.

More on Wiki.

So that word is best associated with the song Midnight Love. That longing, the remains, the nostalgia, that deep yearning.

I’d like to post something Brazil related. Oh indulge me. It is related to this right here.

Remember saudade: “…It may also be translated as a deep longing or yearning for something that does not exist or is unattainable.”

So if you tell me this: Why do you love that celebrity so much? They’re never gonna love you back.

I’ll answer you with this: Why do you breathe if you know you’re eventually going to die.

ACTUALLY, I shouldn’t have included him in this post but because I remembered Saudade. OK. Whatever let us end this. Or I will totally be in fan girl mode. BUT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. OK. Your argument is invalid!

(By the way, the song is Midnight Love by Tennishero)

To end up alone

Well, how bad would it be? To end up in life alone, with perhaps, a cat or a dog, and the occasional visit from nephews and nieces?

How bad would it be, really? To just enjoy your freedom, your books, your house, your little garden, or the solitary walks on the beach? How bad would it be, really, to make yourself coffee, tea, toast, lunch and dinner? How bad would it be to enjoy and savour a glass or two of wine on a rainy night? How bad would it be to just write and write and write while it’s storming outside without the useless interruptions?

I’ll probably do more than okay alone.

But I’ll thrive with love, trust, friendship – and somebody to share it with.

The (Al)lure of Fashion

People have all kinds of thoughts and opinions on fashion. Others revere fashion icons (I do!) and others diss them. Some people say fashion is a trivial thing; others say it is a way of life. Whatever you think about fashion, admit it – it is everywhere. It’s in the very clothes you are wearing right now.

I was quite young when I started looking at fashion as a very creative and fast-paced field. I remember cutting out newspaper clippings featuring fashion collections, memorizing the names of designers, brands, logos, supermodels and I studied the fashion vocabulary. I loved watching Fashion TV, and imitating the ‘walk’ of various runway models while wearing my sister’s heels. I loved looking at high-fashion editorial photos, imagining what’s it like behind-the-scenes.  I admired the hard work and the very hectic backstage shenanigans during Fashion Week. Every collection is a work of art. Yes, fashion is art – can you imagine the thought process involved in every collection? The idea, the sketching, the colour matching, the fabric, the textures, the layers, the pairing, the beading, the sewing, everything! Every model in the runway wears a brainchild of the designer. I try to explain the mood and the feel of each collection, it’s fun and seriously thought-provoking. The people in fashion do not just wear the hottest trends, they create them – and it stirs the world up in a craze.

People in fashion celebrate beauty – and is beauty not the celebratory theme in art? It is their way of expression. You will be amazed by the amount of knowledge you will gain in fashion. I am.

Until now, I follow fashion. The fashion weeks, the collections, the models, the designers. It is an awesome industry, really. The fashion industry has all the right layers, pairings and textures. I hunger for it. It is an industry I feel strongly about. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll make the move from editorial publishing to the fashion industry. Never too late for it, eh?