‘Half the Battle is with ourselves’

“Winning the battles within you, is an even greater feat than winning the battles around you.”

I haven’t been the best version of myself the past few weeks. In the past 10 months, while in quarantine and navigating the blurry lines between work and home, I have tried meditation,pilates,aromatherapy,grounding techniques,breathworks to find my center and keep my peace. And I thought I had gotten the hang of things. After the holiday high and with the promise of a brand new year, I got slapped back to harsh reality. I had so successfully convinced myself to see the good in most things…that I kind of completely forgot that not all people live by the same premise. We meet people we don’t share the same values with, who don’t have similar personal and professional ethos that we do. And as coccooned as we’ve become during this pandemic, there are people who will shake us and try to break us and make us question our Why.

In the past 2 weeks that I slid between anger,disappointment,apathy,disbelief,etc. I lost sense of who I really was and why I do what I do. I forgot I was a mom, wife, mentor, friend… I forgot about the good things because I was so consumed by the bad ones… all because some people insist on twisting the truth to fit their own narrative. I forgot that it’s not the circumstance that matters, it’s how we react to it. I forgot that I was me and I had a right to be me. And the me that I had tried so hard to be was just generally a happy, peaceful, non-violent, kumbaya ray of sunshine.😉

Half the battle is with ourselves. So yes, here’s end-of-January 2021 me, trying to bring back the Me that i had worked so hard for in 2020. Cheers to better tomorrows.❤

End of January 2021 Me.😉

Daddy’s 16th.

Daddy Ben.❤

This is my Dad. His name is Ben. Thus the Ben Lucas Miguel and Ben Markus Mikhael names of my boys. 😆

He used to work as an aeronautical engineer for PAL and Lufthansa. I have many happy memories of free flights and personal tours of airports and airplanes.🤣 One time, when I was 13, he smuggled my sister and I into the airport and into the Mabuhay lounge so I could meet @boyzoneofficial and my pubescent crush @rokeating (pics to follow😂) My dad wasn’t around much because his job took him to many places overseas. Everytime he would come home, my sister and I would always have the latest Archie comics or Walkman or digital diary (I know, stop it) that unpacking his suitcase was an adventure in itself.

In 1998, my Dad was one of the few thousands who lost their jobs because of the recession and I remember him spending days and nights reading through classified ads for a new job. He said in passing and this has always stuck with me: your principles will not put food on the table. Which at that time, struck me as odd.
Aren’t you supposed to make your principles the basis of everything that you do? Aahh. What a sheltered, privileged life I lived. As I grew older (and wiser, I pray), the meaning of that sentence evolved too. Just by example, this particular moment in time defined who I will eventually become. Not a a housewife (still a dream though) but an honest, hardworking mama:

Lessons from Dad:
1.) Humility – position and title don’t matter. It’s what you can literally bring to the table that does, at work or at home.
2.) Gratitude – that there are still opportunities instead of none.
3.) Hardwork – will pay off. Perseverance, dedication, an honest job and a whole lot of heart will make you a good provider for your family.

They hired him back but he got a better offer. 😊 He got sick in 2002 and was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away in 2005. It’s been 16 years but I can remember January 12, 2005 like it was yesterday.

For those who still have dads, how lucky you are, so hug them tight.
For those whose dads are no longer here, how lucky we are to have them watch over us from heaven.
Happy 16th up there, Daddy.❤ i hope I make you proud.

‘LY’tters to my boys: on Friendship.

Mama got a little bit sad today. The news about the girl found in the bathtub after a night of partying with friends is the kind of news that no mama should ever get to hear. It made me think about how little time we have left in having you as little boys who we can keep under our watch. Soon enough, you will go out on your own, choose friends of your own, have a life on your own that in many ways do not include us. And it makes me think if we can ever do enough to mold you and shape you and most of all to protect you from all things bad out there in the real world.

Mama’s prayer ever since both of you were in my tummy was always: Mama Mary, please guide, bless and protect my boys and keep an eye on them and keep them away from sickness and harm. You see, way before you were even born, I was already preparing myself for moments that I will have to watch you from afar, watch you walk away and lead a life completely separate from us. I don’t think I can ever prepare enough yet I know those days will soon come. As much as I want to keep you under my watch and under the same roof all the time, I know that would be too selfish of me. I am bringing you up to be independent, adventurous, street-smart men. As the second half of my daily prayers go: I pray that someday my boys grow up to be happy, healthy, extraordinary people who will someday make a positive difference in this world. And I know that in order to bring that prayer into life, I must let you go and let you be. Did you know Mama cried in the car when we first dropped you off in big school? Yes, Mama is a massive (bad word that starts with B) but this massive (bad word that starts with a B and ends with an H) cried watching the video when you first walked (Mama was at work), cried when you said your first words (Mama was at work again), cried when you drew me your first ‘love letter'(Mama was at work but came home to this), cry silently when you give me a hug out of nowhere and just because. So you can imagine how you growing up makes me feel. Mamas can be tough but we’re big piles of fluff and tears when it comes to our babies. I know you will tell me again I am OA but dude, it’s the truth.

My dear boys, Mama won’t always be around to pray for you, to watch over you and to protect you. And while we are still here and we still have the finite (a.k.a limited) time to dictate (a.k.a. tell) you what to do, how to do it, where to go, who to be with, I wish to share with you one of the most magical ‘gifts’ you can forever give yourself: FRIENDS. Friends are family that you get to choose.

You see, friends are the people who will get to share your amazing journey in discovering what you want and who you want to become. You will go on adventures with them, share the same likes and hobbies and things with them (like gaming and music and sports and some other stuff Mama doesn’t understand), they will be the ones you will find so easy to talk to because they will understand you (and know what you’re talking about – like what flexin’ and rage quitting means (!?!?) and who Elias of WWE is (?!?!) and who Lany is (!!!). Sometimes, you meet people you have nothing in common with but they end up making your world so much more colorful and you become friends. From now until a long time from now, you will meet many different kinds of people and many of them will become your ‘friends’. Please take into heart when I say: Friends are family that you get to choose. I pray with all of my heart that you choose people who will love you for who you are and not for what you have or what you can do for them. I pray that you choose people who will in somehow, someway take our place when we are not around: to guide you to choose what is right, to care for you when you are sick and to make you laugh after you cry, to pray for you and with you, to remind you to keep on keeping on and to tell you when you’ve had more than enough, to keep you safe and protect you when your defenses are down, to learn with you and grow with you and most of all, I hope you choose people who will make you feel like you are home at anytime of the day, anywhere in the world. You see, my dear sons, home is not only a house. It’s not the place where we live. Home is where we should feel most comfortable to be our true selves, to not feel afraid, to be safe and to feel at peace. And Mama’s prayers will always be about those: praying you will always find home, and that you will always have guidance and protection and peace of mind surrounded by family and friends you get to call family.

I’ve always believed that in my heyday (like, ew, this makes me sound ancient) wherever I went, whoever I was with and whatever I decided to do, my Mommy has sent her angels ahead to sprinkle my places of travel with her prayers of love and protection and I believe the same. Not all angels come flying in white dresses with wings and shiny bright halos. Sometimes angels are the people you play with during recess, the people who share with you half of their snacks (pre-Covid this was), the people you happen to share a nice song with (like Lil Nas or Dua Lipa who did not turn out to be a boyband – my bad.) Basically ‘angels’ can also be your friends – the people you choose to become part of your life and who choose you to become a part of theirs. My prayers can only do so much, boys, that’s why when you read this, take into heart: Friends are family that you get to choose. Mama and Daddy will not always be around, but we pray that angels keep you safe everyday and always.

Love you so much. So very much. – Mama Ly

Friends are family that we get to choose.