Exams are over, yay!!! I’m so glad I can FINALLY move on with my life. I didn’t realize how much headspace the exams were taking up until I crashed and slept for the rest of the day, right after I submitted my last exam. It felt soooo luxurious to do that, especially since I’ve been waking up at odd hours over the past few weeks due to anxiety.
In other news, MY READING MOJO IS BACK!!! Just this weekend, I finished two of the books I’ve been struggling to get through for the entire July, plus I picked up Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica on a whim (which I first learned about through Callum’s review) and finished that, too. For some reason, I’ve been in a dystopian mood—fitting given my country’s political climate, lol.
Books Read This Week
Books I’m Currently Reading
Today, I’ll be starting the second book in Butler’s Earthseed series, Parable of the Talents. Melanie @ Grab the Lapels is saying this is much darker than the first book, so I can’t wait to see what Butler has in store.
Books Added to My TBR
So I added a bunch of books to my TBR this weekend, inspired by Fatma’s post on Books Translated from the Japanese, Callum’s post on Women in Translation, and Emily’s post on the Booker Prize 2020 Longlist. Check out their posts for more recs!
Other Life Updates
I’ve mentioned in a previous post that our country’s political situation has been extremely depressing, and it’s getting even worse. Not only do we not have plans for the pandemic (aside from begging China to give us the vaccine 🙃), but it looks like the President is also taking steps to turn the country into an oligarchy at best, or a dictatorship at worst. The Anti-Terror Bill has been signed into law; a major news network that criticized his regime has been shut down; and COVID-19 cases have also been on the rise again, so much so that our frontliners had to beg the President to declare another lockdown for Manila.
Whenever I think about all this, I feel trapped and helpless. BUT, in the midst of all this, I’ve found that I had to be more proactive in finding ways to cope. For one, I’ve started keeping a mood diary with the Daylio app (this is not sponsored in any way—I just genuinely find it helpful), which helps me keep track of what activities make me happy and which stress me out, and I cannot even begin to describe how much more mindful this app has made me. It’s helped me realize that feeling both pleasant and unpleasant emotions are both okay, and that no matter how much I want to avoid my negative feelings and cling to my positive feelings, they both inevitably come and go. I know this advice has been reiterated ad nauseum, but I feel there’s a moment for everyone when something like this FINALLY sinks in, and for me it finally sunk in this month.
Second, this week, a friend reached out to me about an initiative to help provide material and psychosocial support to activists in various sectors, and I volunteered to help facilitate a mental health check for the activists. That session was eye-opening. It made me feel less alone in my feelings of anger and helplessness, and seeing how the activists held on fiercely to the belief that collectively we can do something about our political situation made me feel hopeful, as well. While I have supported causes before through mostly material ways, this was the first time I’d truly tried to join and engage with a community, and I’m so glad I did.
On a more personal note, my stomach has finally begun to settle—I haven’t had an attack in a week! YAY! So apparently I have something called Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which means my stomach is extra sensitive to what I’m eating and could overreact even when the food is harmless. To manage the symptoms, I’ve been following something called a low-FODMAP diet. I’m deeply allergic to the phrase ‘go on a diet’, even if it’s for legitimate medical reasons, and on top of that I have to cut out dairy, coffee, and processed foods, and even things like garlic and onions (which I have at practically every other meal), so you can imagine how miserable this is making me. But the one good thing that came out of this was that I’ve become more mindful of including more whole foods and fruits and vegetables in my meals now, so my breakfasts and snacks look something like this:
I even find myself looking forward to meals because I’m excited for the fruits, and this never used to happen. I used to be content with SkyFlakes, coffee, and cup noodles when I got hungry and was lazy. Now I’m never going back to that (at least, not as often, lol).
And finally, a Cat update: Cat has been rather clingy lately. It worried me at first because I thought he might be sick—he was sneezing a lot for a week—but now the sneezing has stopped and he’s still clingy. I’m hoping now that he’s just genuinely being affectionate.
Anyway, that’s all for now—this update has been rather rambly and I have to force myself to stop or I could just go on and on. Thanks for dropping by, and hope you all have a great week ahead! ✨