I need your advice…


I am the kind of person who ignores Messenger requests (I receive mostly spam) so I noticed this just now. I know it is quite irresponsible of me not to notice this almost a year ago (was it because I was too busy adjusting to work life?) but I am thinking of responding. What do you think? Should I reply?

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Shadow Syllabus


“Secret: I have to plan first and THEN abandon the plan while still remembering its outline.”

One of the skills I developed during my first year of teaching is flexibility. I find that when I strictly stick to my lesson plan, the students are not interested as much as when I let them direct the learning process on their own while I listen and comment, prodding them to figure things out on their own. So yeah, totally relate. ❤

Sonya Huber

  1. IMG_3738I’ll tell you exactly how to get an A, but you’ll have a hard time hearing me.
  2. I could hardly hear my own professors when I was in college over the din and roar of my own fear.
  3. Those who aim for A’s don’t get as many A’s as those who abandon the quest for A’s and seek knowledge or at least curiosity.
  4. I had bookmarked a citation for that fact, and now I can’t find it anywhere.
  5. The only way to seek knowledge is to open your hands and let your opinions drop, but that requires even more fear.
  6. The goals and outcomes I am required to put on my syllabus make me depressed; they are the illusion of controlling what cannot be controlled.
  7. I end up changing everything halfway through the semester anyway because the plan on paper is never what the living class ends up being about.

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Never Call Yourself a Writer, and Other Rules for Writing


Having read innumerable writing rules, I first thought the article is just another one about writing. However, I found one truth that I never realized, until now:

“Deep down, we all want to be poets.”

In the literati ladder, the poet occupies one of the highest rungs with his enigmatic way of making music with the pen as her instrument. Thus, which lover of words would not love a poet? Which aspiring penman would not look up to a poet and aspire to be one himself?

But alas! Not all of us can be poets. We can all write but not all of us can make verses sing because that is a gift poets are born with. Because poets are born, not made like the rest of us.

Still, we keep writing verses, hoping that with each poem we take one step up that ladder. A long way to go, yes, but still a little bit closer to that coveted spot because no matter what they say and what we know, deep down, we all want to be poets.

Sometimes, not even genetic endowment can restrain the desires of the heart.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

shawna kenneyBy Shawna Kenney

First thought, best thought; revise, revise, revise. Write first thing in the morning when the mind is alert; write at night and never while sober. Do it alone, in an office with the door closed, surrounded by books; write in coffee shops, surrounded by stimulating characters and conversation. Use traditional quotation marks and capitalization Unless You Are a ‘Genius.’ Journal in longhand; always type fast. Sentences longer than three or four lines are unacceptable and tedious, unless you are William Faulkner, William Beckett, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jamaica Kincaid, Virginia Woolf, John Updike, Charles Dickens, Gabriel García Márquez, David Foster Wallace or one of those other people who can get away with it. Short is good.

Write with an ideal reader in mind; fuck the audience. Never show anyone an early draft; find a workshop for feedback. Write to please everyone; quit workshop and hire an editor. Take classes…

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Should I stay?


For the past weeks I have been itching to write but I pushed away my notebook, afraid of polluting it with my melancholic musings (just as I did years ago when I was sad teenager). It was my New Year’s Resolution for 2017 to avoid negative thoughts and feelings and I have no intention of breaking it. After all, I deserve to be happy, right?

But I just can’t feel happy right now.

I knew that at some point, the honeymoon stage will end and doubt will come but I never expected it to come this early. I never thought that my students will ever break my heart.

Recently, several students claimed that they have learned nothing from me. It hurt. I am hurting so much that the all the maybes have resurfaced and have now made a monster who nibbles on this passion that I have held on to all my life.

Maybe I really suck at teaching.

Maybe I am not what they need.

Maybe I have been wrong all this time.

Maybe I screwed it all up again.

Maybe mom’s right — maybe, a medical school is where I truly belong.

Or maybe, I should pursue a career in science, just as I was trained to do.

I thought passion and determination was enough. I thought I was enough. But as it turns out, I am not. That hurts when you think you have given all that you can.

Lately, I have been thinking: Should I stay? Do I love them enough to stay? 

It’s December the 1st!


It’s December the 1st and I can’t believe how time can fly so fast! It seems like it was just yesterday that I was just moping, trying to figure out how I was going to graduate on time and now, I am doing the very thing that I had only wished for in the past. Still, there are quite a lot of 2016 goals that I failed to achieve (I really suck at New Year’s resolutions). For example:

  1. Avoid processed foods and soda. (But McDo float…)
  2. Read 50 books. (Current count is 39. There is no way I can finish 11 books in a month.)
  3. Blog at least once a week. (Got to explain this in a separate blog post.)

Recently, I have read several articles about bullet journals and I am thinking of jumping on the bandwagon. Do you think it might work? Your suggestions are very much welcome. 🙂

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Things I Like (in haikus)


Usually, I decide not to participate in Discover challenges because:

  1. I don’t think I am good enough to come up with a piece worthy of reading;
  2. I don’t have the luxury of time;
  3. and blogger’s block.

But this recent challenge, One, Two, Three!, mentioned one of the blogs that I absolutely love: Things We Like. In fact, I have my own list of things I like that was published more than a year ago. So in honor of this, I decided to make a series of haikus inspired by the entries in my list (which, by the way, still holds true even after more than a year has passed).

       1. The smell of rain

What is this strange scent,

Rain mingling with foliage?

Smells and feels like home.

2. Slow dances

We could have been more.

Your melody, I have loved

But you just don’t dance.

3. Having my hair combed

I nap as I feel

Mother’s fingers through my hair.

Life’s warm and lovely.

4. Handwritten letters and notes

Then, we wrote daily.

Now, we text and chat instead.

Really miss your script.

5. Books that keep me up all night

One last page became

One last chapter until it’s…

Oh, I’ve finished it.

6. Shopping in malls when it’s just a few hours from closing time

Go ahead and stand

On escalator’s left side.

No one’s seeing you.

7. Eating with bare hands

Rice is always best

With fish and Bicol express.

Now licking fingers.

8. Peanut butter cups and cupcakes

Bored but saved by some

Peanut butter fairy cakes.

Hello, calories!

9. Dresses with poofy skirts

It has been long since

I’ve been pretty and silly,

Twirling in a skirt.

10. Studying in the library when very few people are around

Empty library,

Says my short attention span,

Is heaven on earth.

Unsent Letter: To L., the friend I have lost


Dear L.,

Hi! It’s a tad weird, isn’t it, that I’m writing you this rambling letter when we haven’t seen each other for almost five years and haven’t talked for almost seven years. Even weirder, I just realized that in a way, I miss you.

Today had been a rough day for me. Two of my kids (two of my students, I mean) got into a quite messy relationship squabble and dealing with each, sobbing but unapologetic, drained me so much. Trying to reason with 16-year-olds that some of the things they do now may become their future regrets is a pointless case. They are so in love with love just like almost every teenager out there. Just like I was. Just like you were (probably).

As I was scrolling down my feed earlier this night, trying to distract myself from the issue, I saw you instead. The heartbreak of losing a friend and the gnawing feeling that I did something stupid came back. Then I realized, you are one of my regrets.

Do you remember how I would sneak in your room just so I can talk with you? Do you remember when you calmly tried to teach a panicking me how to twirl the baton only a few days before the demo? Do you remember when you used to teach me physics because I was not ashamed to admit to you that I understood zilch in class? Do you remember that I had my first cup of coffee with you and I pretended that I like it strong because I was too lazy to go back and get sugar and cream?

I look back on these memories with a bittersweet smile. If that thing (you know what I mean) did not happen, who do you think we are today? Maybe we could still be the same as we were when we were fourteen — the inseparable twinsies. Or maybe, not inseparable but still good friends, always catching up on each other with a cup of coffee. I truly regret the friends we could have been.

Maybe someday, when we are women enough to actually face each other, we can meet up for coffee. I miss you, L. I really do. And yes, I have forgiven you.

With love,

Wencey ❤

On Flashbacks and Accepting My Teenage Self


Most people would cringe upon seeing their Facebook memories from six years ago for it seems that we all dread who we were as younger men and women. I, for example, was cheesy and oftentimes irrelevant. I used to flirt online and posted the most random things about myself, making my present self ask in disgust, Do people really have to know that? I was such a KSP*. Eww.

But one memory from six years ago made me rethink about the judgment I so proudly formed against my fifteen-year-old self. Here it is:

facebook-colt-memory
There is no such word as “boldlessly.” Who would have thought my former grammar Nazi self could ever make such an unforgivable mistake?

A friend has once joked that the past is past; hence, Facebook has no right to bring back the memories of our embarrassing younger selves. Facebook must let us move on, he said. How I laughed when he told me that. Back then, I shared the same sentiments — I have moved on and my embarrassing past has no space in my life now.  Except, not quite, as I realize now after remembering this particular moment.

I cannot say that I recall moment vividly but I do remember the paralyzing fear that gripped me. It was a weekend and I was preparing my school things — five  sets of school uniform, underwear and nighties, and some extra clothes. But on this particular night, there are some few extra things in my luggage that I would be bringing with me every week for the rest of the year — dark denim trousers, a military belt, and an intimidating pair of combat boots. Yeahp, against everyone’s better judgment, I enlisted for the Cadet/Cadette Officer Leadership Training (COLT), the training program for aspirant CAT officers.

That night, as I pack my things, I kept asking myself, What were you thinking? The training was rumored to be excruciatingly difficult and it seems to all, including myself, that my physical strength is not enough for what the training calls for. Everybody knows that I was not cut out for it. Hence, just as I said in my six-year-old post, I was scared to death. Now, I look back both amused and proud of myself (that seldom happens). Truthfully, the training was as harsh as it can be and was way beyond what I thought I could handle. But I survived it and lived on to serve as a company commander for the next year. Most importantly, the experience developed in me the emotional strength that got me through college. Indeed, the most wonderful experiences we ever have are the difficult ones.

Usually, such memories brought back by Facebook make me criticize my teenage self. I would often say I was stupid and again, irrelevant. Usually, I am ashamed of my younger self. Now I realize that I have no right to do so for that person that I so openly mock now is the one responsible for the person that I am now. The reason that I now have a relatively happier life is the fact that this foolish and cheesy teenager chose to take risks, made mistakes and learned from them, got up, and moved on.  Yes, she did a lot of crazy things that would make this twenty-one-year-old me cringe but I have no right to be ashamed of her because she was brave and strong enough to make this current me possible.

So here is a reminder for everyone: Let us accept our younger selves, no matter how embarrassing they were because whoever we are today, we have them to thank.

* Kulang sa pansin. It literally means, “lacks attention”. It is used to refer to a person who actively seeks attention.

Update: Busy living the dream


Looks like my college memoir project has to wait. I am so sorry (is anyone even interested in finishing it, except for me?). But I have some good news though — I recently joined the work force! Finally. And it gets better — I am living the dream (insert silent kilig scream here).

Yes, the dream (nope, not writing). The one I have been imagining since I was ten years old. I am really now a teacher.

No one has any idea how happy I am now. I still do have a lot to learn and I always end the day feeling really tired but still, I am always excited to get up the next morning. It just feels too good to be true that sometimes, I wonder if the giddiness will ever wear off. I hope not for this is the best feeling I have ever been blessed with (yes, it is even more than love).

There are times though when I get frustrated by my relative inexperience whenever I see my students struggling to understand me. Each time a student raises a hand to tell me that I am using too complicated words or whenever they would look at me blankly as if I am talking alienese, I want to cry. But at the end of the meeting, when they say, “See you tomorrow, teacher!” or when I see them somewhere else and they run towards me just to say hello, I feel grateful to be given the chance to be their teacher. But sometimes, I still think, I am good enough for these kids? With their smiles, it feels like they are telling me, You’re not perfect but yes, you are.

It has only been more than a week since I started and I am already feeling overwhelmed. But it is a good feeling, like when you are working out and your muscles are burning yet you feel like you have more energy than you did before starting. Isn’t life wonderful? 🙂

Strictly Mine?


Last month, I started a six-part series telling the story of my uneventful college life and how I managed to survive it. I intended to end the series on my graduation day. Now, it has been more than a month since I posted the third part and the fourth is still a shabby first draft.

I can give a handful excuses as to why I could not write it:

  1. reading
  2. getting as much shut-eye as I could to make up for the sleepless nights
  3. watching T.V. because I have not in months
  4. job applications
  5. some more reading

But to be honest, there is just one reason why I cannot proceed to writing it:

Some stories are painful to tell because they are built by memories that we would rather forget.

My junior year in college was the toughest year of my school life that I used to worry so much for my mental health. I got past through it, alive and whole, but thinking about it now opens up a hodgepodge of distasteful emotions that I fought so hard to keep bottled deeply inside all these years. They are just too intimate that I could just not find the right equations to show you how I came to here. It feels like I should not be sharing it because it is strictly mine. But still, a part of me wants to tell it — to unleash the monster that I managed to tame. A part of me wants to say that it is possible to fix your own brokenness, to make yourself whole again — not necessarily the same but whole and new.

Right now, apart from typing this rambling post, I am trying to write it for the nth time — not exactly writing sentences but rather gathering the courage to share a story that I believe is strictly mine. Wish me luck.