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Smile with your eyes

Photo by miaymarch.com

Photo by miaymarch.com

I’ve always considered New Year as a symbol of hope and renewal. I welcomed 2015 with positive anticipation. And for the first time in six years, I get to spend it with my family. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted it to be my “kick-ass awesome year” ever, some things are just out of my hands. My yet to be resolved past mingled with dramatic changes in both my present and future professional and personal life.

If there is one word that can epitomise my life in the first quarter of 2015, it will be ESTUARY.

Amidst all these lies my resolve to empower myself.

Being a photography enthusiast — as you may have noticed from most of my Facebook and Instagram posts– I wanted this transitional stage in my life captured. This became more timely with my birthday turning me to the last year of my twenties.

As fate would have it, I bumped into the blog of Mia and saw her “Love you now, love you more after” photoshoot concept. Reading about this session felt like reading my thoughts on screen. She nailed what I had in mind.

“Smile with your eyes,” Mia asked me several times. It was my first professional photoshoot so I would have felt like a star in front of her lens. But no, all I had were unwelcomed thoughts flooding on me. I felt I was not okay yet. I didn’t want to pretend to be smiling sweetly but felt like in an emotional tornado inside – yep, going to Sydney in less than 3 months from now creeps me out like anything too. Change is always scary, huh! – The worst deception is that of our own self, indeed.

I was once asked what it is to be an empowered woman. My response was simple: an empowered woman is one who is able to make informed decisions for herself and is able to maximise her full potential.

And then it hit me.

Mary Antonette Abello

An empowered woman is one who is able to celebrate her strength and vulnerability; embrace her brokenness and nurture her inner power; forgive her past and high five the future as she can’t be truly bothered by it yet because being in the present moment is paramount. Amidst any storm she will carry on. She will choose selfless love over possession and integrity over personal gains. She will not be crippled by discrimination, abandonment nor injustice. She will rise, speak and act. She will respect herself.

She will smile with her eyes.

Cheers to womanhood! And this may just be a kick-ass awesome year after all!

P.S. If you are in Bangkok and up for a photoshoot for yourself or your family, then Mia (photographer) and Erika (make-up artist) is the team for you. What makes them different from those in the studio is the personal touch. They make sure you are comfortable and they allow you to take your time. And they are sooo fun to be with too!


One step forward, two steps backward

Pokhara Nepal

Me in Pokhara, Nepal (January 2013)

I don’t understand people who complain about something without doing anything about it – not that I am an exemption, of course.

There was this person who kept ranting about how miserable his life is and that his life would have been this or that had the situation been this or that. Clearly, he has an idea of what “better life” looks like yet remains reluctant to take significant steps because his thoughts were fixated on the barriers rather than on creating opportunities.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t know the value of TIME. A Japanese colleague once said, “the only thing that is fair in this world is TIME; we all get the same amount.” This statement struck me because I myself struggle with making the most of my time. You know, like right now at 1:30AM, I am still wide awake instead of hitting the sack.

These days, the world seems to have fallen short of optimistic people. There is always something to complain about. And most often, nothing changes because we are scared to stretch our boundaries a little bit or step out of our comfort zones. The moment we set foot out of that comfort line, fear of uncertainties would penetrate every corner of our heart forcing us to sprint back. The sad thing is that, we don’t realize how often we do this and how much time we have wasted.

As the cliché says, we take one step forward and two steps backward. And we still wonder why we aren’t going anywhere.


Expectations are futile

Expectations

It hurts when our expectations go in vain. But when the table is turned around and we are the ones being subjected to a certain degree of expectation we cannot meet, it hurts just the same.

Indeed, every individual is unique and different. Some things may just be okay for us and yet others may see them as wrong. We can never fully put ourselves into another person’s shoes. We can never fully feel what the other person is feeling nor see things exactly as they see them.

It is futile to suffer because we cannot wholly understand someone the same way as it is futile to agonize over not being completely understood.

In the end, it is really just a matter of letting go… letting go of expectations including the expectation to be understood.