Musings, Life

Bygones

bygones-katieladrido

I have trouble giving up on people. I had a conversation with my aunt the other day, and she told me that this was simply a reflection of my values as a human being. I found comfort in knowing that my family raised me with this tenacity, and persistence to never give up on those we care about without a fight, but there are some fights that can't be won.

As a child, I was very sociable. I made friends with everyone - classmates, my mom's girlfriends, my siblings' younger buddies. I never made trouble with friendships and stayed away from drama, and that was enough back then. I had a solid group of friends in high school and networked efficiently in college, both in Manila and DC.

As I grew older and wiser, having had more experiences, I became more selective about with whom I spent my time. I filtered. I found really good friends. I drifted from others. Naturally, as I became more selective, I became more stubborn and my grip grew a little tighter. I handpicked those whom I kept close.

I’ve finally learned that we can’t corral people into a pen and lock them away forever. They won’t stay put and we shouldn’t have to convince them otherwise. It seems obvious enough that relationships, like all other things, change, grow or dissipate. That doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing to accept.

Time has turned close friends into distant acquaintances, lovers into strangers with memories. Our lives are in constant motion. We change each day. Sometimes, we forget that the people who surround us also change every day. Some relationships may grow together, shift and bend in ways that make them fit comfortably. Some relationships are more forgiving and hang on for the sake of the love that was once binding and now hangs around as a memory of for the sake of shared history. But some don’t last. Some get destroyed, some disappear slowly, and some cease to exist abruptly.

Quite frankly, I viewed this reality as something negative for a long time. It really pissed me off to know that the people to whom I was so invested in could quite easily abandon our friendship. It always felt really sad, like deceit, like abandonment. The kind of feeling that makes tears well up in the back of your throat; the kind of sad that lingers and lingers.

Granted, it’s not always so emotional, because I have also learned to compartmentalize, and feel this is the healthiest emotional undertaking one should master. But sometimes, it does reach that point and poof, that person with whom you shared so much is no longer part of your life.

The last time I went through this, I tried to separate myself from the experience and understand things a little differently. I realized that people come into your life for a reason and spend the time they’re meant to spend with you that they’re meant to spend. When they’re no longer in your life, it’s because they’re no longer supposed to be there. To go completely Coelho, perhaps they're not meant to be a part of our Personal Legend, because it seems "the universe is no longer conspiring" to help you stay in each other's lives.

Upon choosing to think about things in this way, it’s incredibly easy to be positive and forgiving. Instead of focusing on the loss, you can start to focus on the beautiful things each person brought into your life. Knowing that your relationship had a purpose and convincing yourself that ultimately, the purpose was achieved is a great way to gain closure.

We are all moving and changing. We need different things from the world at different times in our lives. We want different things. We view the world in different lights. We are all essentially just bumping into each other, stuck together until another crack in the road sends us free falling into something or someone else.

You don’t have to feel loss. You don’t have to feel sad. You can view your individual relationships as meaningful for what they were. You can send them on their way with blessings when they’re through, while you can look ahead and move forward.

It's alright to keep your friends close. Nurture your friendships and do right by the people you love. Let people know that you love them. Surround yourself with friends who make you better. You can’t save all friendships and the ones that can’t be saved are sometimes the ones that don’t need to be. You can never know the direction in which people will go and grow and change.

Try your best to keep the people you really appreciate in your field of vision at all times and make the effort to make them feel wanted in your space, but understand that life has its own way of throwing us around. Understand that these are just realities. 

Trying to preserve what was may be the most detrimental thing you can do for your evolution as a person. Prolonging the end of a friendship or relationship may very well be what's stopping them from flourishing, what's hindering you from experiencing. It doesn’t feel good to give up on people or relationships, trust me, I know, but sometimes, holding on is worse. Wear the smile they gave you, be forever changed by what they meant to you, then gracefully make room for the new.


An excerpt from a previous journal entry: 

Choose to enjoy your ability to live in the present in a way that others only dare to dream. Be able to live in the moment and then let go. Don’t get caught up with worrying about what will happen next or trying so hard to keep memories alive that you prohibit yourself from fully experiencing it. Instead, allow the moment to consume you. The fact is that all moments come and go. Some are beautiful and others are horrible, but nevertheless, I stress once again that they all come and they all go. Our life is but one quick fleeting moment that we are blessed to live out in slow motion. In the end all we are left with is memories; the shadows of those magnificent moments that give our lives meaning.

Everything is lost sooner or later, and you can either accept this as fact or as my erroneous notion about life. But instead of always constantly trying to overthink every situation and every card life hands to us, and hanging onto every tiny detail and pressuring ourselves to weather each and every storm, would it not be better to allow life itself and all the circumstances surrounding it to dictate its longevity? Would we not be better off spending our focus on what we are experiencing in the moment rather than contemplating whether it will turn into something grander or whether it will fizzle and fade?

All the ties we form with people and all our endeavors have a finite start and end date. It may only last for a few months or years, or it could last until your dying breath, but the reality is, it will end. The only options that you have are to either spend that finite time contemplating and rationalizing the moment or you could spend that time living it. I urge you to choose the latter. In my experience, it has always been the better path.
— From my journal entry circa 2012, which is most certainly echoes the tone of this post. Eerie yet pretty awesome to see it's been a part of my values for a while now.


Musings, Life

Unfiltered: Real You versus Online You

unfilteredkl

 

I have always been fascinated with social media, even ever since the time of Myspace and Friendster. Perhaps it is just me, but I’ve never been truly conscious of my online identity or the need for a separate e-persona until a friend of mine recently questioned why I had so many followers and likes on Instagram and other social networks. I was really surprised to find out that a lot of people are actually very conscious of the attention and interaction they receive from their posts. Is it just me or have people actually stopped sharing for the sake of sharing? Has our online identity really boiled down to an accumulation of likes, comments, photos, and quirky statuses?

I have come to the conclusion that we live in a time that pressures you to think that you cannot exist in this world without both a real life and an online version of yourself, and more often than not, these identities do not align. In real life, we are all about finding ourselves. In social media, we are all about finding the version of ourselves that gets the most positive feedback. You may share articles or posts that you genuinely find compelling, but you also can’t deny that you feel a weird pang of insecurity if nobody likes your post. That little weird pang truly is detrimental to how one views one’s self. If someone likes our post, we feel validated. I truly think that we should be concerned that on social media, we simply don’t trust our own judgment when it comes to our humor, our aesthetic standards, and our very selves unless someone else affirms it first.

Once something is posted, you await judgment - the retweet, the like button, the star button, the heart button, as though these buttons were capable of encapsulating your individuality. Why does the response to the post define the post? I understand that making a decision to post something on social media means making a decision to be seen. Even more so, it means making a decision to be reacted to, or not. With social media, you have time to meticulously craft the kind of person you want to be, with specific kinds of posts, photos, and likes that are constantly updated in all your news feeds. The truth, however, is you don’t have nearly as much time to piece together a staggeringly brilliant thought when you’re having a conversation in real life, and you certainly can’t Xpro or Vscocam your way to beauty at a social gathering.

I truly hope that those of us beholden to the idea of online self-worth and the necessity of a social media self will fade away very soon. I hope people stop feeling like we have to qualify how awesome we are by whether we’re trending or have gone viral, or not. Constantly performing for an audience is exhausting. I’ve said this before, and I will say it again – self-preservation is more important than e-etiquette. All this need to pacify your online identity at the expense your real identity, all this time wasted on evaluating your digital practices at the expense of your happiness and fulfillment, and this drastic need to control your relationship with social media at the expense of actual living – it isn’t worth it.

I suppose I have not really contemplated this in the past because I am surrounded by individuals who really aren’t affected by these made-up pressures of social media. My sister posts (in bulk!) the wackiest videos of her singing to pop songs and keeping up with the rap verses of circa 90s Warren G; a good friend’s Facebook timeline consists of what I call a mini-story book of her everyday adventures with her two dynamic sons; my trainer shares the most empowering fitness tips, but also the most endearing stories of her family life; another dear friend utilizes her Instagram account to perfect and tastefully filter her work as a makeup artist; my mom shares anything and everything on various social networks. The point is these people don’t restrict or overthink how they operate on the internet, and there is no separation between the real and online self. They don’t feel anxious about sharing too much or being inactive at certain prolonged periods of time. And this liberation is what I wish for all of us.

We owe it to ourselves to remain open and organic, and we can’t do that if we’re beholden to the demands of social media to determine how significant our real-life experiences are or how momentous our uniqueness is. We have to be confident with our choices, comfortable with our nature, and resilient with our core values. We all have our own reasons for being a part of social media platforms but we have to protect our individuality by accepting our unfiltered identity. We have to trust that the people who truly matter to us will not judge us for being ourselves. And even more importantly, we have to empower ourselves to stay authentic.

Musings

A Vow to Unravel

katieladrido-autumn

I am making a vow to myself, as I take on the last eight weeks of 2014, to unravel completely the listless and rigid parts of my soul. Life is passing rapidly, and this year filled with loss and learning is a testament to that. All I want is for beauty to shatter me; I want to fiercely commit to every beautiful moment I encounter and wholeheartedly inhibit it. I want the scars and sorrows of the past to threaten my sanity but not to the point that I have to get sick or halt domesticity and good habits. I simply want it to be a reminder that I am very much alive and wildly extraordinary. 

Half of me is filled with bursting energy and the other half is painfully introverted. I crave solitude yet I also crave people. I want to pour life and love into everything that I endeavor but not at the expense of my self-care and gentleness. I want to live within the rush of primal and gut-feel decision-making yet also reflect and contemplate. I've come to accept this duality of my nature and that within me, I carry multitudes of character, and I must abide by their shifts gracefully. 

I am complicated, and life is messy, but ultimately, I find balance through self-awareness and acceptance. I know I need to go with the flow; be flexible and soft, subtly powerful and open, wild and serene at the same time. I've come to accept that it is enough that I am able to accept all changes yet still be led by the steady pull of life's tides. I want to collide with souls and hearts and minds, and be in love with the whole damn world. I want the tiny pangs of fear, the twinges of longing, and the internal conflicts to bring me to the heart and thick of who I am. My understanding is unique to me, and I am grateful for this moment of synchronicity. I vow to make all this count. 

Musings, OOTD, Life

Warrior > Worrier

Katie Ladrido| Miyagi Japanese Restaurant | McLean, Virginia | September 2014

Katie Ladrido| Miyagi Japanese Restaurant | McLean, Virginia | September 2014

This weekend, I meditated on a core value in my life. I know in my heart that overthinking is a dangerous emotional and intellectual cancer, yet life's impetuous nature often sucks us into this need to control and perfect what we can. Although my dad is one of the most successful businessmen and flawless human beings I know, one of the most valuable lessons I've learned from him is that perfection, at the expense of experience, is annihilation. Overthinking paralyzes us from living from our soul. Cut the bullshxt.

"Fxck it." My final thought before making most decisions.  

"Fxck it." My final thought before making most decisions.  

We must, instead, choose to enjoy our ability to live in the present in a way that others only dare to dream. Be able to live in the moment, and then let go. Don't get caught up with worrying about what will happen next or trying so hard to keep memories alive that we prohibit ourselves from fully experiencing it. Allow the moment to consume you. The fact is that all moments come and go. Some are beautiful and others are horrible, but everything eventually makes sense. Our life is but one quick fleeting moment that we are blessed to live out in slow motion. In the end, all we are left with is memories; the shadows of those magnificent moments that give our lives meaning.

Everything is lost sooner or later, and you can either accept this as fact or some jaded blogger's misguided notion about her existence. But perhaps instead of focusing on what is or what could go wrong, think genuinely about what it is you want to do instead of the politics of your situation. Instead of always constantly trying to overthink everything that happens and every card life deals us with, hanging onto every tiny detail, and pressuring ourselves to weather each and every storm, would it not be better to allow life itself and all the circumstances surrounding it to dictate its longevity? Would we not be better off spending our focus on what we are currently experiencing rather than contemplating whether it will turn into something grander or whether it will fizzle and fade?
 
All the ties we form with people and all our endeavors have a finite start and end date. It may only last for a few months or years, or it could last until your dying breath, but the reality is, it will end. The only options you have are to either spend that finite time contemplating and rationalizing your experience or you could spend that time living it. I urge you to choose the latter; in my experience, it has always been the better path. Don't miss out on fighting for your moments because you're too busy balancing out your fears and measuring your actions. Be a warrior, not a worrier. 

 

 

Love Your Bad Ass

badasslove

1) People aren't against you; they are for themselves. Stop taking everything so personally.
2) Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.
3) You learn more from failure and unpleasant situations. Don't let it stop you. Failure builds character when you can move past it.
4) The most dangerous risk of all is the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on a gamble that you can buy yourself the time and freedom to do it later.
5) Go where you are celebrated, not where you are tolerated.
6) The person you spend the most time with is yourself so make yourself interesting and fun to be with. If you're doing something that you love, there is a guarantee that at least one person is having a good time.
7) The sooner you realize and accept your limitations, the sooner you can work hard to eradicate them.
8) The energy isn't in the idea; it's in the execution.
9) Be your own brand of bad-ass.
10) When you do things from your soul, not that it should matter, but other people really dig that shit.