“Patricia, you’re not good enough”

Patricia, you’re just not good enough”

Back in 2015, I was so frustrated with my writing ability.

When I was 18, Journalism was a breeze. It’s like words come out of my head as if I was an article churning machine.

When I was 11, I wanted Summit Media. I dreamed about Kzone. I craved for Candy. Fast forward to my 25-year-old self, I was too far from my childhood dream.

My favorite quote says “you can be whatever you want to be, if you set your mind to it, it will happen.”

Have I set my mind hard enough? Was I pushing myself good enough? I was not. I had to stop lying to myself. I got so comfortable with “I am a natural born writer” that I halted on improving my skill. I grew tired of it. I grew tired of myself.

How old was I? And where am I now?
Nowhere. I promised myself that I would be a writer when I grow up but did nothing in alignment to that dream. The bad thing was, I did not translate that “dream” into a goal, that even if it was in my head and in my heart, my hands did not do anything at all. I thought “I have time”. But time is treacherous. Yesterday you are a kid; today, you are where you are.

Then I mused, if I want this, why don’t I start on what I have? I have¬† myself, a tablet, and an Internet connection. So, I read a lot of articles on writing and blogging, I trained online and then I set up my WordPress and started writing short news.

I found it hard. I struggled. I couldn’t stop smiling in disappointment that someone who was editor-in-chief of three papers would be terrible again. Then I hated myself. But then I realized maybe I was just getting “rusty”. So, I continued writing until I get the hang of it again. And when I found my motivation, I.just.couldn’t.stop.

After a few weeks of “marketing myself”, doing projects for free, finally, I got a real paying gig.

My first client loved what I did that high ratings and a lot of projects started pouring in for me! I was back on track! I believed that if it continued to be that way, I could eventually penetrate the industry!

And then there were two instances when I was doubted by two persons. People I barely knew. They asked me to write for them and they ill-reviewed the pieces.

They said that I cannot write because my English is broken, my verbiage is wrong, I misspell a lot of words, and that I was not “good enough”. Ultimately, they said that “I cannot work with this quality, I won’t refer you to anyone.”

I was like, “If you don’t like my articles, fine.”

I felt like I wanted to faint at that moment but then I said, if others commended me, there would still be more out there that would need me.

But I started training online again. I felt bad that I needed to do something about it. I needed to fix things.

I told one of my friends about it as I couldn’t even sleep. She laughed and said that “Adik, it’s normal.” Then I smiled and laughed with her as I remembered our professors in college. “It’s a dog eats dog society” they said. They were right.

Few days after, I wrote four long articles for different websites.

These articles were at least 2000 words and entailed long research.  Guess what? I got commended each time that I was even given a raise! After a series of projects, I was recruited to two separate teams of writers whose head offices are based overseas.

I learned a lot on a lot of things like not focusing on two bad words when I have 15 good others. I became accepting and happy of my failures because that proved to me that I was trying to improve myself. And life is not about what you are now, life is about what you could still become.

I thought, if I stopped when I got hurt, I wouldn’t have been given a bigger opportunity.

I was criticized.
I was told that my talent was of low quality.
“I was not good enough.”

That was then. Now, I am Associate Editor of a legit online news site based in Canada. And still dabbles on a lot of freelance writing on the side.

Start with what you have and keep going. It is indeed hard in the beginning. It is never gonna be easy but it’s so worth it.

Christmas in a cup: Starbucks Peppermint Mocha

I am not a Starbucks fan—I had like two to three Venti cups way back some three years ago and that was all about me trying coffee the shop way.
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I went with a friend to the nearest Starbucks just across the building I work at and landed my hands on one of their infamous Holiday Drinks. Yes, the Starbucks Holiday Drinks that will get you stickers to collect for your 2017 planners. For my midday coffee trip, I opted for the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha.

I am no expert, but as a first time drinker who can actually give recommendations based on what I think is good, here’s the verdict: for a non-SB fan, I’d give it a 7/10.

It’s Mocha

If you’re looking for a stronger kick of caffeine that will wake you up, I say this drink is not the one for you. It tastes more like it’s chocolate mint than it is coffee.

However, the blend is quite perfect that first time drinkers won’t find it weird. It’s actually something that will give you a feel of the holidays: sweet, relaxing, and crisp.

The way they present it… total eye candy!

It’s strong

I loved how it tastes but the back lash is I got quite acidic for the rest of the day after drinking it. And it also has a real strong sweet aftertaste. Something that will encourage you to get a glass of water afterwards.

Nonetheless, the real treat here, that might work for younger coffee drinkers, was with the whipped cream and the sprinkles. When you get to the bottom part, you would be tasting a combination of chocolate, vanilla, and mint that would feel like you’re sipping a mouthful of melted chocolate bar.

Would I recommend it? Yes, I would. But again, if you prefer coffee, this Starbucks Holiday Drink won’t give you a taste nor aroma of one.

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Languaging Valentines’ Day: The Prince Charming, The Knight in Shining Armour, and the Damsel in Distress

Why did Samson die and not Delilah? Why did Romeo die but so did Juliet, right?  Why did Jack die when he could fit on the door with Rose? Why was Edgar Allan Poe able to write poems for a dear Annabel Lee? What happened to Annabel? Did she write back?

These questions bugged me as a kid and since I was able to realise that an iceberg is actually a giant ice that makes oceans really cold.

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The picture above gave me an idea of what to write about. While this piece is funny it is well, also somehow flawed.

So why do Princes battle dragons? Why do Princesses end up in a tower? Is Annabel Lee real? Is she an imaginary girlfriend? Is Annabel Lee even a girl? Because you know, I used to name my diary Edmund and the snoopers thought I was writing letters to a long distant guy and the search went on about who Edmund is and haha! You know what happened after that.

Growing up, I was exposed to superheroes being males and then there was Wonder Woman and then The Powerpuff girls and some others from Disney Channel or Cartoon Network. But when it comes to classic and traditional literature, it is always the guys: Prince Charming, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. And the girls aside from being pricked and sleeping for hundreds of years and being stuck in a tower, are also the evil queen who puts everyone’s life in peril.

The guys are the heroes, and us women, are represented as the evil queen, or the queen who died after giving birth or the damsel in distress. Nothing more significant. But how did this come about?

Our classic literature reflects how our society was: patriarchal and phallic centred. It was believed that a woman’s role is determined to be domestic only hence, exclusive. This means that if women would write,  they could only write about their experiences which included giving birth, menstrual periods, and housekeeping which cannot be understood by the general reader that of course, refers to men.

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While men are more exposed to business, travel, and adventure, and women are confined within the homes, and while economic literatures are more interesting to counterparts that have not experienced anything related to that of the writer, a woman’s experience cannot be more relevant.

Imagine a man drinking coffee and reading this:

I crumple to contraction rotations for thirteen hours before the doctor finally gave the good news: that I am ready to deliver my baby while experiencing the feels of what seems like a hundred bones breaking at once for another hour or more.

What good would knowing about giving birth do to my business or excitement to travel?

Yes, that is more likely the reaction you would get.

Putting all this into equation, we can say that most writers in the classic era, if not all, are men. And in a society where more prolific characters are male, women don’t stand a chance especially when they don’t have more qualifications in terms of education and training. And since writers are men, our literatures are more biased to a man’s perspective. Given that, a woman superhero could  rarely exist. Because who can better write about women but women themselves, correct?

However, one interesting idea in the feminist discourse is that women are actually the driving force behind every man’s heroic adventure that includes  saving a screaming and ever distressed damsel. In most literature, the protagonist women do nothing but just exist.

Word per word that is a woman doing nothing to seduce or to lure a man. Her mere presence charmed him into liking her while she was just fetching  water from a well or singing while cleaning the garden. Everything starts with love at first sight.  Suddenly, he is Romeo, he is Jack, he is The Knight, The Protector. He is also the story teller thus, able to express his struggles, adventures, and how he came about but none represents her voice, her emotions, her perspectives.

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While men are louder when it comes to their pursuits about love, women quietly have struggles too. You could read a man write I dashed to the castle, battled the dragons so I can save her but no olden literature would expose her world when she says, I made myself loyal to him, I patiently waited  by the castle window for when he would return and for me, no other man can equate to him.

Back in the day, men were more privileged to contribute and to allow literature to prosper and only after about a century that women were allowed to enter the picture. If circumstances had been different, I could be sure that Annabel Lee could have written back to Edgar Allan Poe and Anne Hathaway wouldn’t  just be Shakespeare’s wife but she could have been The Sonnet Queen.

And when Rose of Titanic died an old woman warm in her bed, she did die for love. Why? Because that was Jack’s dream for her not to die that night and she lived long enough to fulfill it.

You will die an old woman, Rose. Warm in her bed.

So, no women died for love? Nah, we just knew other ways of sacrifices. The kinds you don’t read from books nor see from the movies.

(Note: a more detailed piece under the same title is currently being written by myself. Alternate title: Languaging Olden Literature: The Prince Charming, The Knight in Shining Armour, and the Damsel in Distress)

Valentines: On Bludgeoned Sheep and Commercialization

Valentines is probably one of the times when some girls become uh, sad (?) for being single. And especially when most couples tend to flare up becoming all excited to profess their love for each other. And where does that leave the single people out there? In one corner being sad that they are alone

But for the religious romantics out there, you should know that while Valentines maybe a big deal to some, it used to be a pagan festival that involves bludgeoned sheep and women coated in blood.

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Valentine Who?

If you would do research on Valentines, you would end up reading about three Catholic Bishops honoured on this day. While determining which story is the legit source, what is known is that back in the times of Emperor Claudius of Rome, he forbid marriage of young men because he found that single men made better soldiers than married ones. Deeming this unfair, a certain Valentine continued marrying couples in secret. Considering this a defiance, The Emperor ordered for his death.

Pagan What?

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During the ancient times, a pagan festival called Lupercalia was being celebrated. As a belief, women used sheep blood to coat their body in order to elevate fertility. And believe me when I say that this festival is way too creepy! Go ahead, research this on your own but I already gave you a warning!

But if we have Tinder today, this festival could be the great grandfather of online dating sites! Eventually, single women put their names in a bowl where guys tend to pick the names of women they would meet. These meetings usually end up in marriage.

When Christians wanted to convert pagans to Christianity, the Church translated Lupercallia to a festivity in honour of Valentine. Aside that Valentine was known to defy the Emperor for love, February is also believed to be the mating season for birds.

One thing led to the other and tadah! Valentines Day as it is known today: flowers, teddy bears, and expensive dates. Aside that it is an illegitimate holiday, it is also a multi million commodity. Flowers, hotels, tours, dates, teddy bears and everyone’s favourite… Chocolates. And oh, don’t forget the cards too. That we can blame to a very loving husband that was Charles, Duke of Orleans who sent a love letter to his wife in 1415. This was during the Battle of Agincourt which happened sometime around February. So, this letter was not intended for Valentines per se but was just a thing of consequence.

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During this day or month, businessmen profit on a very unique selling point: express love through lavish showcases or you just don’t love enough. Second from Christmas, Valentines records the highest rate for exchanging cards. We don’t need to go on details but today, as February comes, that is the time we tend to be bombarded with movies and gifts and everything else.

So being single or being a couple more so, shouldn’t be of a big deal at this time of the month. Other than that you can express love everyday, the whole Valentines shebang resulted in years and years of good marketing and advertising techniques. And should you know, naturally, animals have mating season, humans don’t and it is originally a pagan festival. That is a festival in honour of a fake god that who-knows-does-what. Again, images pertaining to this are scary.

Yeah, it could have evolved already and is no longer that, but please for legit intimacy, stay off Facebook. Because if your Valentines Date is all prepped for online consumption, then the intentions should be questioned, right?

Increase Your Followers with Spokal

Spokal. If you are wondering how you can gain more followers on your pages, well, fret no more! I introduce to you, Spokal.

Spokal is a marketing tool available in the internet for your WordPress or twitter accounts. It allows you to gain more followers by using certain campaigns or keywords.

Why do I recommend Spokal?

I do because since I have used it, my Twitter followers keep on coming. And I was just on free trial,what more if you get the premium package?

Benefits of Spokal

Since I have used it, I have been connected to tons and tons of pages and writers within my niche and out, which helped me a lot when it comes to my freelance writing jobs and my content services business. I have also met people who are into marketing thus, enabled me to learn more on how to develop my writing business.

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If you want to try and know more about it, try visiting their website and increase your followers by 100% in as fast as 3 days!

Post Graduate Scholarship (MEXT)

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Do you want to study abroad but you have financial issues?
Well, that is something you no longer have to worry about.

Just last month, I was introduced by my friend to the MEXT Scholarship. What is MEXT? It is a scholarship given to any individuals by the Japanese Embassy. And the good thing is, here in the Philippines, the MEXT Scholarship has been available.

Yes, for a couple of decades now, The Japanese Embassy here in the Philippines, together with some local government agencies, has been granting scholarships to people who would wish to pursue graduate studies in Japan. My friend who is also a MEXT Scholar and has been in Japan for some time shares how he was able to pass the screening in his website.

What’s for sure is that the MEXT Scholarship grant covers your monthly expenses, tuition fee and allowances. The Embassy will also pay for your plane tickets. All you have to do is to pass the screenings here which is comprised of document submissions, interviews and exams and then apply to the University of your choice in Japan. It grants scholarships under five programs (which I cannot discuss here) and one of which is Research.

In Japan it is recommended by Universities to become a Research Student first before you can pursue either Masters or Doctoral. This program is called a non-degree program. If you wish to know more you may visit your own Japanese Embassy website. The application forms are readily available for download but the application forms for Research will only be available about March.

In an overview, here is what you need to prepare in order to be granted the MEXT Scholarship (Research):

1. Diploma, Recommendation Letters (2-3), TOR and any other abstracts that will give you advantage, say a copy of your thesis
2. Completed application forms downloaded from the Japanese Embassy Website
3. An acceptance letter from a Research Supervisor
4. Acceptance letter from the University of your choice

What is a Research Supervisor?

This is someone from the University who is willing to be your advisor while you’re on campus. You need to visit a University website where a list of Research Faculties is available. Communicate with them regarding your intent to be under their supervision.

Acceptance Letter?

You need to communicate with the Admissions Office of the University of your choice. Based on my experience, they are very accommodating. They will even send you a list of what you need to do.

If you want to search for a University, you may want to visit this website.

What I also noticed is this: some course you prefer to take may not be offered in one University only. Say, there are some Universities that are more into Sciences or Engineering therefore, may not offer graduate courses on Mass Media. But if you wish to pursue Post Graduate Degrees on International Communication, Media or Journalism Studies, you may want to consider these:

Hokkaido University
Waseda University
Sophia University

These are the three Universities I found that offer courses on Mass Media/Mass Communication and so far, Hokkaido was the first to respond.

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If you wish to know more about the MEXT scholarship, you may contact me or my friend and we’ll see what we can do in order to assist you.