Word of the Year: Reclaim

This year I am changing the narrative I have on my life. Upon entering the third decade of my life, I realized that the narrative I have been operating on in my life is colored by others’ truths. My good friend (and life coach) pointed out that I have a tendency to be more accepting of how others are but fail to realize that their truths and my truths both exist and the presence of one does not invalidate the other. Both can be true. This conversation sprouted a lot of questions and insights to why I view the world that way. One of the easiest explanations is that I tend to fawn. The easiest way to protect my peace is to just give in to what other people want. It is one way to cope short term. But in constantly using the same coping mechanism, I lost my voice. I failed to listen to the nudges that Gabby was making. I felt so small.

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Closing 2021: 3 Lessons I’m Taking in 2022

I officially closed 2020 and 2021 last January 31, 2022, when I turned in the last item on my burnout backlog. Now, I write these realizations in retrospect. To say that the past two years were bad is an understatement. If in 2016-2018 I experienced the good side of growth, 2019-2021 were the ugly side of growth (exacerbated by the pandemic). These were the years I came face to face with my shadow, the parts which I thought I have healed from, the parts I thought did not exist or the parts that existed but I unconsciously buried in my subconscious. Confronting these shadows broke me. Confronting these shadows also made me. That’s why as I leave 2021 behind, here are three lessons I’m taking with me:

1. Listen to yourself.

One of the things I realized this year was that with everything that’s thrown at us at such a rapid pace, we fail to listen to what truly matters – ourselves. In the past two years, I noticed how my voice became so soft that I don’t even know what I am saying – or if I’m still talking at all. This led me to second guess myself, to say char or chz after things I really want to say but end up retracting for fear of judgement or stepping on other people’s egos. I need to listen to myself more. I need to honor myself more.

To a situation, two opinions, two feelings, two thoughts can be true. It’s how we manage to handle both truths and especially holding space for what it was like for you is what matters. Listen to yourself. Listen to what you are feeling. Listen to what you are saying. Hold space for it.

2. Draw boundaries.

Drawing boundaries come intuitively once you start listening to yourself – your feelings, your needs. However, drawing boundaries involve identifying them and setting them. It is the setting the boundaries part which is most difficult. If you are like me, whose trauma response is to fawn or please others, it would take practice to be able to healthily communicate these boundaries.

Some days it is torture because I still give more importance to the other person’s point of view. But again, I have to remind myself that as much as their reality is true, what you feel, what you need is also true. The goal is to find that sweet spot of what will work for both parties. That’s not easy. It takes practice. But it is possible.

3. Live like we’re golden.

I’ve always known for a fact that life is finite. But it wasn’t until I was confronted with my Lola’s death did I realize how minute our time on earth is. We live in seasons. We can never really tell what the future holds for us. But we can always choose to be present in whatever season we are in. We can choose to savor good moments and learn lessons in the hard ones. And in each season, we can also choose to live in it with love. It’s hard. But I hope we always choose love.

These realizations led me to my word for 2022 – Reclaim. More on that in my next entry. For now, all I can say that design thinking is something I hope all of us encounter at least once in our lives.

Growing up, I’ve always thought that there is only one way toward a goal you want to reach. It is either you are good enough or not good enough. There is no in between.

This is in contrast with what I am learning now. In design thinking, you are allowed to prototype – to make a system and try it out. To see what works and what doesn’t. After that prototype, do an iteration. What needs to improve? What can be done better? What did you learn from the prototype? The best part is, in life, we’re allowed as many iterations as possible. Just as God gives us grace to start over from our mistakes. This opens up so much possibilities and allows us to live a little bit lighter.

Adieu, 2020-2021!

On Working on Your Passion

Sunday Sessions: For five Sundays, I will be giving nuggets of lessons I learned during the 3rd decade of my life on earth. For this Sunday, I will be talking about my favorite topic of all – my passion. This topic scares me but also hypes me up and puts me into flow every time I talk about it.

My 20s were the years where social media was starting to catch fire. Bloggers here and there paraded their lives online, showing the best highlight reels on their platform of choice – and a person growing up and figuring out her identity, browsing through those feeds, can easily get lost in that sea. Passion. This word was thrown around a lot during that era. Passion for photography, passion for fashion, passion for you name it. Naive as I was, I thought passion was just about doing what you love and seemingly all that you do around it is effortless. Everything just falls into place – as if it were meant to be. I wanted that. I wanted the ease, the fame, the inspiration that those working for their passion possessed. But I didn’t know what I was good at or what I was passionate about. For a time, I was simply copying what the trend was but later on, through experience and exploration, I figured out what I wanted to do.

Passion, I’ve come to learn, comes from the Latin word passio which means to suffer. I read this in one of the books of Dan Brown. When I read that, I began to wonder why there was a disconnect between what I thought passion was and what the meaning of passion is. It was also in my 20s when I dispelled the mystery behind the disconnect. Apparently, passion is something that you willingly do despite the suffering that comes with it. It is about having meaningful goals and acting on them day in and day out. And later on, I also learned that meaningful goals impact not only your life but others’ lives as well. With this new insight, I then set out on a journey to discover what my passion was and work on it despite anything and everything.

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Gabsydoodles • 07 (sans the doodles pt. 5 x Q2 Round Up)

This is sort of a proof of life post. Since my last post in April, life has been busy. At work, at home – among other things. So here’s a recap of the past 2-3 months.


For those who know me, I’m sure they will all go “TALAGA BA?” I’m really not a KPop fan. But hearing some of the suggestions from family and friends made me listen to their music and eventually create a playlist of some of my faves. Heehee. I love how the songs are upbeat and can lift you up while working from home.

P.S. Bet ko yung Cajun and Sweet & Spicy Sauce ng BTS meal 😉

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On Relationships

Sunday Sessions: For five Sundays, I will be giving nuggets of lessons I learned during the 3rd decade of my life on earth. For this Sunday (Saturday, a week after!), I will be talking about one of the hardest things yet remains to be the most important thing in human life – relationships. Growing up, I’ve always enjoyed being alone and enjoying solitary activities. It wasn’t until I left for La Union that I realized how much I love being around people. On this post, let me share with you what I’ve learned about relationships so far.

One of my struggles growing up is relationships. I can easily say that the instability caused by my parent’s separation greatly influenced my view of and how I respond to relationships. It also doesn’t help that as a child, I trusted the best in people -I thought that everyone was a friend, that they thought of the best of you. Apparently not. I’ve encountered numerous negative experiences with others, ironically with those I’ve least interacted with. It also hurts when sometimes, the people you turn to for support impose on what they think is best for you just because they are closer to home. Given these, I really didn’t give relationships that much thought. I did my best to be independent and to keep to myself. It made me cautious of interacting with others. I played by their rules to please them and avoid the struggle in dealing with them. This, I have come to realize, is not how relationships work. Don’t wait for you to reach the end of your wick. I did. It ended up with frustrations pouring out, words I did not mean coming at all directions. It got really bad. But despite this struggle, over the years, I came to realize that despite these experiences relationships matter.

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On Finding Your Place on Earth

Sunday Sessions: For five Sundays, I will be giving nuggets of lessons I learned during the 3rd decade of my life on earth. For this Sunday, I will be talking about my journey in finding my place on earth. It still amazes me that some of the best realizations I have in life comes to me while I am in the bathroom. Sticking with this title and crafting this post came to me while I was in the loo.

I wish I could say that finding your place on earth is linear like drawing a line with two points from end to end and just following the line will lead you to your destination. But it is not. Finding your place on earth has many twists and turns. It is not as simple as setting a goal and if I do this, this and this, I will be able to reach it. I remember that when I was in high school, I set out to be a doctor. The goal was to get in UP Nursing as pre-Med and then take Medicine after. But while I was there, I realized that this is not what I was called to do, this is not what I wanted to do. Apart from that there were external circumstances that led to my decision of finally leaving Nursing, leaving UP and leaving Manila. It was a journey of learning how to say no to things that do not work for me and to leave spaces that do not contribute to my growth, more so my mental health and well-being. That was when I found myself on another road on the map where I least expected to end up on but helped me toward discovering parts of me that I thought did not exist.

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On My Relationship with God

Sunday Sessions: For five Sundays, I will be giving nuggets of lessons I learned during the 3rd decade of my life on earth. For this Sunday, I will be talking about my relationship with God as we are starting my birth month on Easter Sunday. He is Risen! That’s the post.

I am who I am today because of the truths I encountered and truths that were revealed to me in 2016, the year I knew God in a new light. In my early twenties, my faith can be characterized as how Robert Langdon put it – “Faith is a gift I have yet to receive.” I grew up as a Catholic because this was my family’s religion. I received the sacraments, I went to Catholic schools, I know God from a Catholic’s point of view. However, I saw these rituals as very legalistic in that if I fail to do any of them, I will commit sin and be punished by God. When I ask the question “why,” I was often met with the verse “Blessed are those who believe yet do not see.” The motive behind my religious behavior was to avoid punishment which I learned was not the whole point of spiritual growth. But as I advanced in age, there was this clear yearning for a higher being that can put the chaos of the world I am living in in order. I began to read the Bible and I began to attend Sunday services in a different church where my “why”questions were answered. I then understood why we there is a need for worship and why we raise our hands and dance, a need for Jesus to die on the cross and why grace is a word thrown often in sermons. I encountered God again through the verse Ephesians 1:5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. It was the day I accepted forgiveness, His gift for us on the cross and what it means to have a new life because of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. I lived on grace and life has never been the same since.

My relationship with God is far from perfect. I backslide occasionally as expected of humans (which explains the need for the new covenant because we just can’t do it on our own. But because God loves us so much that He brought it on Himself to be the sacrifice so that we can be in right-standing with Him again). It is a work in progress. But in the years that I’ve known Him, this is what I do know..

God constantly pursues me (even in days that I don’t). When I encountered God again, I had a spiritual high. I was living my new life – carrying God’s grace and confidence in every aspect of my life. I served, I humbled myself and worked for His Kingdom. After riding that high, I also experienced a downhill slope where I went to the valley and wilderness. I thought that God was punishing me because of some mistakes I made along the way but then I realized that it is in the valley and wilderness that He draws near. But we have to be still. We have to dig in to understand His plans for us when it seems like He is doing nothing. He is still in constant pursuit even if I stop when I get overwhelmed by my feelings and my circumstances. It is a never-ending story of pursuit.

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Gabsydoodles • 06 (sans the doodles pt. 4 x back to square one)


We are on ECQ again as we ended March 2021. No surprise there honestly. Here we are again, worse than where we were a year ago. It’s sad but you just gotta roll with the tides. My heart goes out to all of those who lost jobs and are working double time to make ends meet just to put food on the table one meal at a time. Grabe. In my life I never imagined thinking of working and living overseas but looking at how things are going I might as well just grab the opportunity if it presents itself. These things aside, here are some things that kept me sane in March.

  • reading

I just finished reading Hannah Brencher’s If You Find This Letter. This is the third book I finished this year (are you on Goodreads? Drop your account on the comment box! I’m /gabsydoodle as always) and it took me roughly about a year to finish it. Not because it’s a boring read but it’s a very hopeful read in these trying times. I don’t know if it’s just me but hope seems bleak at the moment. Despite this, I know God is with us and is using these circumstances to help move forward with His good plans with us. This is a different take on an autobiography and I highly recommend it for people who are looking for their place in the grand scheme of things.

  • writing

I am writing about uncertainty. I had a very uncomfortable conversation with the wife last night and I just wanted to capture the exchange and put into words my own thoughts about the matter. I am the looking forward kind of person and because of our circumstances right now, I don’t know. It’s just so hard to plan and look forward to something I am not even if it exists. So yep. Let’s label them so I don’t get caught up with how I feel. My anxious self is very thankful for the gift of writing.

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La Confiance – A Playlist

I’ve been meaning to make a playlist of the songs I play when I feel the need to remind myself that I am amazing the way I am. I mean, admit it, we all have those moments of self-loathing due to a variety of reasons. For me, it’s normal. We’re humans after all. We are entitled to bawl over and contemplate that not everybody will approve of what we do and will criticize every move that we make. There are also things that take time for us to be in terms with. There are also times that we just seem to hate everything about ourselves and all we need are reminders or words of encouragement that will help us see the beauty in us again. So I hope that this playlist will help you go through those moments. Enjoy! 

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