“We can’t always control the waves of emotion that crash into us. But we can learn to ride them more gracefully. Emotional intelligence starts with choosing not to be victims of our moods. By noticing what causes them, we find clues on how to manage them – or at least manage them”
― Adam Grant

November 3 – Starbucks PLQ

What is hope? Hope gets thrown a lot especially when shit happens. It has of course positive valence. According to Kathryn Goetzke “Hope is a positive feeling and inspired action. It is not a wish.” And C.R Synder defines three key components of hope: goal, agency and pathway. It is when there is hope, we feel motivated to develop and pursue our goals.

The past few days were trying to get my shit together and surprisingly I wasn’t drinking beer. haha I have had too much coffee and sugar to be honest – that’s why I was also thinking of doing a 3 day fast.

November 2017

One of my saddest moments in Singapore was when my brother L decided to move back to Philippines to pursue his teaching dreams because that meant I was alone now. It was also one of the biggest decisions of his life too. He was with me from the very start of my SG journey way back 2015. From getting held in the immigrations, my pass getting rejected and to a lot more roller coaster rides in SG. I could never do it without him.

I wanted to leave too to be with him but I decided to stay because I told myself I was going to find the right guy for me. Yes, that was my ultimate goal. It kept me going after my brother left.


Fast forward to 2018 where I began to open up myself in dating. I started dating every other day, every other guy. I got really good at it that even though some people would tell me to lose weight first before going on a date, I didn’t believe them – which was good. I have always been challenged by status quo. Dating helped me grow, meeting more people encouraged rejection which promoted growth.

Of course in this journey there were critics – I was even called cheap, nasty, weird, bitch (I have to say I like this one the most). I always tell myself that if they were not in my arena I would not really care about their feedback.

The problem that I have encountered was not the people who criticize but the goal I had in my mind. I only met men for the sake of meeting the right guy. And if it’s not right, I let go and I got so frustrated that nothing happened. I was so burn out that I stopped dating in the same year.


I started meeting new people and getting better in being rejected. It was scary out there. Talking to a lot of people, having too many awkward conversations, funny flirting dates, some of those blossomed to friendships. But I moved forward without putting so much pressure in myself that I need to meet the right guy. It’s not about dating, I see it as life now.

When I put that in my mind to just enjoying life, I have met a lot of people who have different views. I have more interesting stories to share. I did a lot of networking and self-improvement. I even got a chance to work in a tech company which I never thought would be feasible. A very different career path than what I previously did. I will be forever grateful for my then boss T for believing in me – without meeting her and asking her for opportunity this would not be possible.


I was traveling a lot when pandemic hits. The pandemic was tough for everyone. I have a blog about that here. I started a lot of experiments – diet, blogging, organizing etc. I always believe that amazing results come out of things from doing hard things.

I have done a lot of decluttering especially people. I started to get to know myself better. People began calling me difficult – they will laugh and gaslight you. It is hard standing alone in the journey of self-improvement, self-acceptance and self-awareness. But I’d continue that path even if it means standing alone.

I also began to date again after a year hiatus. So, I have met a guy – he’s cute, charming, smart, sexy and exciting plus he is really good in bed – damn great. :)) Do I need to say more? This is my song for him. haha Anyway, I will blog about dating and relationship in my next blog.

October 2020

I received a call from my boss. It looked like something very urgent because it was scheduled on the same day and that never happened before. I sensed that this was not really good. So, we began the conversation. As I was hearing him – I was like fuuuuck this.

So, I found out that they were no longer renewing my contract. It is due to the economic uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic they are reducing head count. I was shocked. I thought well fuck (yes too many fucks were in my head)- that’s how I have felt when I heard the news. It was a difficult news to hear.

After the conversation, I was thinking these questions: Should I tell my family about this? I don’t want them to worry. I also thought what the hell am I going to tell the guy I’m seeing about this. We are just starting off and I could leave soon. It was sudden but I have to put my shit together to think what my next steps would be like.

I called my family. I told my brother L that “Dude, I’m coming home for Christmas. Get ready the beer! haha :)” I was glad that they were very supportive during this difficult time. I have to say my 2 brothers were really supportive. When the present is stressful and the future is uncertain I can always go back and think to the past. We have gone through shit together and remembering those hardships have built gratitude. It can always fosters hope. I think I was overly dramatic because I was not with them right now but all I can say is I have never seen them as supportive this way – emotionally mature individuals especially Y. I love them and I’m looking forward to having our blog soon. When your brothers are strong for you, I don’t have the right to be weak for them.

My team was also very supportive and the friends I get to know a long the way. My work had been an amazing experience, I have met a lot of great people who have helped me grow. It was one hell of a ride. It might be over but it’s not over for people whom I have met along the way. I was having so much fun doing what I love. Meeting new people and valuing them. I will never forget this and the people I came across with that helped me become who I am today.

This crises can break us down but they can also build us up. It is an opportunity for growth. I don’t want to envelop myself to pain that as if I were the only one feeling this right now. It’s very hard to reduce uncertainty from all the things that’s going on. I can only manage my reaction to it. I am going to take ownership for this. I came to the understanding that the only thing that matters is to move forward, what to focus on and perceive.

Right now, all I can do is manage myself. I need a lot of mental agility, greater than what’s already been necessary. I want to cultivate hope – to focus on what I can change, focusing on gratitude, journaling, learning from role models or positive people, serving a large cause. I am only in control of focusing the tolerance for it. It will be super boring if my life was predictable. 😉

I just watched The Iron Man 3 recently and what struck me the most was the last scene. He said after much losses “My armor it was never a distraction or a hobby, it was a cocoon and now I’m a changed man. You can take away my house, all my tricks and toys but one thing you can’t take away – I am Iron Man”

I am not sure whatever the future holds, but one thing I am pretty sure of – I am Maria, sometimes Niskie and I refuse to be anyone else. My ultimate goal in 2018 was to find the right guy for me but I slowly found myself in the pursuit of him. And everything that happened could not take away the fact that this is one of the best years of my life. This year changed me so much. I can’t wait to write more of my adventures and diving more deeply in getting to know more of myself and creating a space and network of people who won’t stop growing. Sometimes, we must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if we wish to be acquainted with butterflies.


Maria, sometimes Niskie