Archives for the month of: March, 2013

In lieu of a daily journal, I blog daily. I think writing a daily diary is a very therapeutic process and I won’t take it out of the options in self-expression and daily reflection. It just so happens that as of late, I’m more drawn to blogging daily rather than scribbling into a diary though there are other times when I enjoy the unedited thoughts which flow when we scribble into our journals.

My blog is in a sense a more disciplined form of daily reflection since I would usually choose a topic to blog about and focus on it when I write. It is a pleasant process to be able to write about random topics, and it requires discipline to be able to focus on the discussion at hand.

In the course of blogging, I’ve learned to express myself more and share my thoughts on a variety of topics and explore and share one’s musings and experiences. It happens that my articles lean towards psychology and it is something of a pleasant surprise to me because as I continue the process of writing and blogging, I discover the topics which I am drawn to just as the topics discover me and it is a very interesting and organic process.

I had wanted to be a writer for a long time and I’ve been seeking to write fantasy fiction in the children and young adult genre and I thought that during the course of my blogging I would be able to practice and reveal my fiction writing however in the course of blogging, my choice of topics seem to have chosen me just as I seem to have chosen them and I find that I seem to enjoy writing non-fiction articles which tend towards psychology and spirituality.

It is an enjoyable experience to be able to write non-fiction as well and be able to delve into the quirks and nuances of human behavior and experience. It is also comforting to be able to reflect on different subjects daily and share my thoughts and feelings on them.

Being able to write daily is a wonderful pairing with my penchant for copious amounts of reading and this creates a discourse and organic interaction among what I experience, what I read, and what I write. As such, this blog witnesses the result of my inner discourses, constant learning, and ongoing experiences. I’m looking forward to see where it goes.

Thank you for reading my blog entries and sharing the experience with me.

(c) Niconica 2013

There are certain situations when we find ourselves seemingly mutually attracted with a romantic interest and yet despite some ambiguous indications of affection or interest, we do not receive any solid declaration of feelings and when the situation is drawn out long enough, the lines become blurred and we wonder whether our senses are playing tricks on us and whether we are investing time and emotion on an affectionate but ambiguous friendship or setting the foundation for something more.

When the thrill of receiving vague but sweet romantic overtures wear off, we are left confused and disoriented whether we imagined the interest we received and we are spurred to ask the hard questions and finally come out in the open and risk rejection by expressing how we feel and asking the other where we stand.

Many of us get stuck in the ambiguous stage of mutual attraction because we are afraid to be the first one to show our cards and be in a position of vulnerability and this is why romantic mindgames ensue. However, sooner or later, one person starts to develop deeper and more intense feelings for the other and staying in the gray area does not suffice anymore.

Despite the temptation to overlook the issue and take a more passive stance and hope that the situation would resolve itself and dissolve or that the object of our affections might finally leave ambiguous overtures behind and confess their feelings, it takes real courage to value oneself enough to realize that precious time is being wasted on what could be an imaginary romantic interaction and that answers were called for.

We don’t like to be in the position where we initiate admitting our feelings because it feels like we are putting ourself in a weaker position–the position where we risk hurt and rejection and this is why we find all sorts of excuses to allow the other to take the lead and we become responders to the stimuli which they may deign to provide in their own time without realizing that in doing so, it can’t get much lower than that because this is the weakest emotional position already.

In asking the hard questions and clarifying where we stand, we might risk losing the other person but at least we would not be in the position of having our emotional well-being continuously disrespected by someone who just views us as an amusing pastime while we take them seriously. In asking them to make a de soon, we make them think twice about continuing to send the mixed signals which lead us on and cause us much grief when they don’t follow through with their false promises.

In asking the hard questions, we draw the line and refuse to continue to be the victim of a person who is selfish and cavalier with other people’s feelings. And even without a response, we would realize that if they were sincerely interested, it wouldn’t reach the point where we would be placed in a position where we have to initiate asking the hard questions in the first place. And if this is the case, good riddance.

(c) Niconica 2013

We reach a certain life stage where we have experienced enough upheavals in our life in both personal and romantic relationships that we have learned a certain amount of caution when dealing with this facet of our lives because we have undergone the disruptions which a broken heart causes to our daily functioning.

Only a few brave and/or well-adjusted, and might I add, lucky souls are equanimous with allowing oneself to risk the pain by vulnerable and open to love. For the rest of us who think we know better, we proceed to view romance as a transactional reciprocity, watching and measuring how much the other does for us to assess whether it is safe for us to invest more time and emotion into the relationship.

This mechanistic view of relationships may keep us feeling safe and sane but we actually stop using our emotions properly and we artificially block it with logic and reason thinking it might keep us safe but ultimately it just further boxes us in the prison we have created where we might not get too hurt since we don’t allow ourselves to feel too much.

We also think that logic may prevail in assessing whether a romantic situation can be feasible and when logic is applied, we may see all the reasons not to proceed because the person, the situation, and the circumstances would be far from ideal and we would talk ourselves out of standing on an emotional ledge and this is wonderful if we are then able to walk away and not allow ourselves to be affected by the object of our affections by virtue of good sense.

However, in such cases when involuntary emotional reactions prevail we find ourselves back on the emotional ledge unable to walk away or stay away and we can stay there frozen or we can take the leap into the unknown and risk getting hurt and all the other consequences of openly acknowledging our feelings for someone and at the mercy of their decision to reciprocate the feelings or reject us.

No one welcomes or enjoys reaction and we will naturally employ all the means to delay knowing whether it’s a no or it’s a go and we may allow the situation to drag on up to a certain point when we either give up and let go or just decide to find out what the real score is so that we may be able to reach a resolution one way or another.

When we have wrestled with our better judgement and decided to openly express our interest, fully knowing that it places is in the vulnerable position of getting hurt, we might reluctantly realize that for all the benefits logic confers it does not hold up to love and does not protect us from having deep emotional attachments for someone.

We might further realize that when it comes to love, there’s a certain potency and incorrigibility which logic, judgement and reason cannot reach or rectify. We realize that without knowing how or why, we are in the deep end… and boy are we in trouble.

(c) Niconica 2013

My reading list is getting longer and longer as I discover more books during my visits to bookshops. No matter how many books I have read, there is infinitely more books which I haven’t read, and I feel the desire to have the time, resources, and access to these books which I have not had the good fortune to encounter yet.

It is a pity that there is no public library system to speak of here in Manila which contains all the plethora of books which public libraries ought to have from the classics to the latest releases, as well as journals, periodicals, and other reference materials such as magazines, audio and video recordings, and music.

There might be a National Library here somewhere but it has old dusty books which might not even be allowed to be lent out due to the rampant tendency for borrowers to “forget” to return the books which would lead to the current predicament the library might be in, with less books or records that it stares with in the first place.

Local libraries are gems, at their best, they are little Meccas of knowledge where people may go to partake nuggets of wisdom, inspiration or entertainment however the structure of Philippine culture and society does not seem to allow for local public libraries similar to the ones found in Western countries therefore book lovers have to purchase their book fixes from bookshops, websites, or via Kindle.

One can only wonder how many more books one would have access to of there were a functioning public library as well as the pleasure of minimizing one’s book habit expenses.

Many non-readers are puzzled why bookworms such as myself often have the compulsion to buy new books even when we have not finished reading the ones we currently have. This is because if we forego the chance of purchasing an interesting book, we have no guarantees that we may come across it again locally, unless it is on Kindle, then it would always be accessible but deprive us of enjoyinh contact with the book itself and the pleasure of physically leading through it.

Almost two decades ago, there were a few places around the metro which rented out books and I thought that was a great idea and would often visit it and rent out books I was interested in. The selection of the books were limited to fiction paperbacks but it was a lovely feeling to rent a book out and already have the next book in mind to borrow upon the return of the previous book. It is a pity that such places closed up already because they were the closest thing to a local library which we had here.

I suspect that the dawn of the Internet era compounded by the rampant non-returns of the rented books contributed to the non-sustainability of such businesses. And now, a few decades later these changes have not deterred determined bookworms from going around the metro and hunting for books to consume with their minds and introduce them to various worlds and different ways of thinking.

It is both fortunate and unfortunate that there are seemingly endless books to choose from because there is always something to look forward to read while at the same time realizing that given the demands of daily life that one may hardly get the time to read all the books one would ideally wish to enjoy.

(c) Niconica 2013

Sometimes when we aren’t quite sure about how we feel about someone, we are fine when we find ourselves in a gray area and the ambiguity might even appear to be safe. It can be the standard mode when friendship might possibly turn into romance and the initial stages can be understandably confusing and fraught with mixed signals and tentative steps to test the waters.

However, when this tentative stage lasts longer than a few months, it begins to lose functionality and starts to become a waste of time and effort, filled with second-guessing and an on-again off-again pattern that may be thrilling and excruciating and it is this emotional rollercoaster that eventually leaves us nauseous and disoriented.

Eventually the person who cares more in this interaction gets tired of the endless push and pull and instead of withdrawing into a depressive funk, should decide where one stands and summon the courage to call a spade a spade. If one person were more open than the other and is transparent about their feelings and intentions, this emotional rollercoaster would not exist in the first place.

This unhealthy situation is caused by both people unwilling to step up and who may be waiting for the other to show their cards first so as not to risk vulnerability and therefore participating in a mindgame that may be indefinite and cause a lot more unnecessary misunderstanding.

Eventually one person has to be brave enough to risk rejection and be vulnerable in order to end this vicious cycle because it consumes the previous commodity called time. This ambiguous pursuing and distancing and playing it safe may be amusing or entertaining during high school years when there was more time and emotion to spare, but during adulthood, there are plenty of other concerns and responsibilities which have to be balanced with romance and one simply should not be able to spare time for someone who may be leading us on or playing with our feelings.

We may be tempted to let the situation continue and hoping for it to end naturally but it may risk a lot of heartache and guessing games as well as precious time when we may be moving forward either by dealing with the rejection and moving towards healing or knowing where the other stands and being able to reach a further understanding of how to proceed.

Things can only be at a standstill for a limited period of time before it becomes idiotic for the person who cares more because one becomes at the mercy of the other party’s whims and timing and it’s not a way to live, it would increase resentment and contempt which might lead to not even having any friendship to speak of at the end of the debacle.

There is no perfect time to be vulnerable so one might as well get it over and done with as soon as the notion that enough is enough fortunately crosses one’s mind. Without giving an ultimatum or unfairly demanding commitment or naught. One can share the position one is in and request a clarification of the situation so that the whole interaction may be viewed in an accurate perspective and proceed accordingly.

Jumping off the emotional rollercoaster isn’t easy however the longer you are stuck in it, the more you risk to lose–your sanity, your self-respect, and precious moments of your life when you can be engaged in other more worthwhile pursuit.

(c) Niconica 2013

As we gain in both years and experience, we eventually learn that romance is not and should not be a game. For whatever reason, some people might never outgrow the tendency to view people’s hearts as their personal playgrounds but people who have reached a certain age of maturity should and would realise that taking romance too lightly is not a prudent decision and is a waste of time–a precious commodity people cease to have when they enter the workforce and are focused on their careers.

At this point, romance becomes an afterthought and perhaps some may even take it for granted as an assumed eventuality and focus on their current goals. Any skill deteriorates with lack if practice and this also applies with negotiating precarious emotional waters. Yet sometimes we inadvertently find ourselves in a situation where our emotions have overtaken our better judgement and we find ourselves quite taken with a certain person and if it happens to be a friend, it becomes painfully clear when our interesr is unrequited but even more complicated and unpleasant when mixed signals are being sent and we are caught between elation at the hope of a mutual interest in each other and the fear of finding the truth and being rejected because we know that past a certain point, the friendship will not be sustainable or possible if the other party gives us the dreaded ‘I see you as only a friend” speech.

And so at this point when we are unable to squelch our attraction for the person and each of their gestures may be interpreted in the most positive and hopeful light which might not be accurate, there is no easy way to go back to the platonic state it was before the whole ambiguous interaction started because the person seemed to give signals which may indicate a certain degree of interest but which are vague enough to be able to disclaim as said or done in the spirit of friendship.

Beyond this point, we are aware that the truth will cut us loose from this excruciating and thrilling experience of hope, love, and fear intermingling; yet, we are unable to face the truth and ask straight out because we would rather prolong the confusing experience rather than find out the answer because we know that our feelings for the person has propelled us past the point of no return where if they do not return the affections, the hurt and the pain from the rejection would be too great that any semblance of friendship would be impossible to muster.

Yet, what are we to do? We cannot turn back time to remedy the situation so we stay here frozen and afraid of the answer which will come in due time and determine the fate of the friendship.

(c) Niconica 2013

They say timing is everything and I would say it’s not literally everything but it is an undeniably important factor when it comes to romance and seeing a romantic connection’s fruition into something more meaningful than mutual attraction.

It need not be said that one-sided attractions would not fall into this category because a romantic connection requires two parties participating in it on their own volition. Yet even at this stage, it may or may not make it to the next stage simply because of timing issues.

A significant age gap between the two individuals involved will fall under tricky timing simply because of the age difference but it would be more because of the relevant discrepancy between their life stages. Yet life stage discrepancies don’t only apply to people with an age gap, it could simply be that they are not in the same frame of mind where they can allow for the attraction to grow because this requires time and attention and when one’s attention is drawn to something else be it a personal or a career-related or even another romantic loose end then one cannot invest the requisite focus to respond and encourage the other.

It then happens that the person who has been making all the effort will be dissuaded and after a period of time it would be the previously pursued who would make the effort and sometimes to no avail, depending on where the other person is at emotionally. After being rejected or perceiving rejection, it would not be so easy for the previously eager party to resume the initial eager advances because they have been hurt by the non-response or the ambiguous or even outright distancing behaviour of the object of their affections.

They would eventually cease their efforts, lick their wounds, and get on with their lives. And if it were a real rejection from the person they desired, the story would end there. However, sometimes, it’s not the case because sometimes, life isn’t that simple.

It may only be that their advances have come during an inopportune moment when the person they fancy is in a strange mind space or too preoccupied with other pressing life events to really process what was going on. It may be that during another time, when the situation allowed for it, the interaction may have gone a more encouraging and favorable way had it not been for the obstacles and the timing.

It takes a lot of luck (and maybe even fate) to get the timing right. It would be good if the people who are fortunate enough to have the right timing to appreciate what they have because sometimes, it’s not for a lack of wanting, but there just happened to be other things going on at the time which prevented the furthering of a romantic connection because timing can be trickier than we might suppose.

(c) Niconica 2013

Without a doubt, many of us have had our fair share of hurt and disappointment ranging from trivial to grave, and these experiences would have caused us to wish to revenge upon the perpetrators and even seriously consider retaliation.

While it is fair to have justice served, we know that life is not fair and more often than not, these culprits seem to escape the grasp of justice and it causes us so much grief that the thought of revenge once again crosses our minds, and we may even think that revenge is a form of justice and therefore it is warranted by the situation. Think again.

Revenge and justice are two completely different concepts and we get into murky moral waters once we muddle up the distinction. The current evils in the world are compounded by the blurring of the lines between revenge and justice and to the people involved, these two words are used interchangeably in the heat of anger or in cold and calculated manipulation to bring about a means to achieve one’s personal goals.

Let’s not further aggravate the moral cesspool by throwing in our souls in the stew. Revenge in whatever way it is served or dressed up costs us portions of our soul and if you view the price of your soul as more than spite and hate, you will not wager it for a person who is not worth even a drop of your focus, time, and attention, much less your soul.

Unpleasant and negative events have occurred and even if the facts cannot be disputed, it does not mean we have to keep on replaying it in our minds and causing ourselves more mental duress than is needed. We must focus on solutions and moving forward because we should value ourselves and not allow evil people the benefit and pleasure of taking up space in our minds and hearts.

This is not to say that justice should not be served whenever possible. Of course, justice should ideally be served but when it is not the case as it often is, revenge should not be an option because it would further pull you into the world of the unpleasant person instead of setting you free–and at the cost of your soul because each vengeful hateful thought corrupts until we become vestiges of who we once were and have become the monsters whom we were seeking to slay.

If they have given themselves over to the darkness, we should not seek to make sure we become “neighbours” with them wherever they will be headed nor should we bind our lives with theirs in any way, shape, or form. Purge the negativity and do not allow contamination. Yes, you are worth it.

(c) Niconica 2013

With any interpersonal relationship, be it of a personal, romantic, or business nature, compatibility plays a big part in the long term endurance and harmony of the connection. Compatibility is a very general term which can mean a lot of things and include a lot of personal criteria which is specific to the person involved; however, one of the factors of compatibility is the interpersonal rhythm and flow which takes time to decipher and figure out or confirm because it is intangible yet it is relevant enough to be intuitively assessed during the initial stages.

The initial assessment allows for a margin of error since during the beginning there are many factors which cause interference with interpreting what we perceive and experience with the other person. Gradually this assessment is either confirmed or refuted as the daily rhythm of interaction occurs through a sustained period of time, all the nuances with come into play and would cause either the continuance or cessation of the interaction.

One factor is the biological clock. Not that having a friendship with people who have different biological clocks is impossible, but being similarly early risers or late sleepers would result in more possible time for quality interactions during the waking hours as well as a similar perspective peculiar to the sleep-wake cycles preferred.

Even the rhythm of keeping in touch and giving each other space figures in what I’m referring to as interpersonal rhythm and flow. There are people who prefer to be constantly SMSing with each other and leaving the communication open in a continuous communication style with intervals which serve as commas between the next expected interaction and this can flow naturally when there is good chemistry between two people without too much misunderstanding occurring. Some people prefer succinct and finite interactions with a clear beginning and end to every communication occurring and this may also work when both parties feel comfortable with this set-up.

Even the habit of being punctual or tardy would fall into this rhythm as well as the eating frequency and preferences which would also be affected by the preferred sleep-wake cycle. The amount of activities preferred would fall into this flow as well, very outgoing fast-paced characters would have to work harder to adjust to a sedentary home buddy and vice versa and more compromises have to be struck than if the preferences were similar.

There is a myriad of seemingly trivial factors add up in a longstanding relationship and dictates whether it can endure in a closer capacity or it would continue at a distance or dissolve altogether. Even the degree of sensitivity to a partner or friend’s preferences for food, restaurant, or leisure activities would determine whether you spend more time together or apart and this also affects the strength of emotional intimacy.

There are people whom we feel are “less work” to get along with and the interpersonal rhythm and flow factors in it as well as nuances of personality. To explore all the details included in interpersonal rhythm and flow, it might be a book length blog post so I’m just keeping it succinct and mentioning a few examples to illustrate the point.

None of us would be big fans of having to work so hard to keep a friendship or relationship alive and we naturally gravitate towards and interact with people who have more similarity to us in interpersonal rhythm and flow as well as personality and interests. This is not to say that having a connection with someone who is our opposite in temperament is impossible, it would take more effort, more patience, and more compromise as well as improvement of one’s communication style to get one’s point of view across.

Attraction and chemistry are all well and good–at the beginning. The rhythm and flow constantly underscores all interaction and would color the connection.

Is it worth it or not? It depends on your unique situation, perspective, and personality.

(c) Niconica 2013

There are situations when merely implying something is inapplicable, ineffective, and sometimes even completely counterproductive. As much as I am a fan of the written word and all the nuances and grace figures of speech bring, there are dimensions of personal face to face conversation which written communication falls short on and therefore written correspondence have a different format to spoken and personal communication.

There are people whom we may have an instant rapport with and a lot of the unsaid are not misinterpreted and the said are understood in the manner which they were intended most of the time. However, there are people whom we have to take a lot of effort to communicate with and sometimes it requires being literal with communicating which can feel awkward for people who are not used to being direct.

Having a literal conversation may feel like one is having a conversation with Seven of Nine of Star Trek Voyager. While Seven is undoubtedly one of my favourite characters, having the experience of conversing with someone who answers and reacts to interactions literally and don’t compute implications well can feel a bit strenuous when we are not our best.

Communicating in a direct and literal manner is positive in the sense to we learn to say exactly what we mean but it may also feel like we are taking an exam where we are composing an essay which we have to put so much thought into in order to convey the message clearly and concisely. When this conversation is held with a friend online without facial expression or nuances of speech, humor is harder to convey and it may feel like the fun in interacting is taken out of the equation.

Implications, hints, and being able to understand each other intuitively without having to precisely state and qualify oneself and relaying one’s implications are part of a natural and easygoing interaction and friendship with a person and without this, there feels like something is lacking and additionally, that the connection requires too much work and effort for the upkeep.

Misunderstandings and clarifications occur every once in awhile between friends and learning about each other’s nuances and adjusting to them are all part of the package. However, when implications are completely inapplicable, one may have to consider whether continued interaction is feasible for the long run.

(c) Niconica 201