The Beginning

A man called Arthur, who wrote his post-course confession, told me recently he wishes he knew about ZFT earlier. I echo his sentiments.

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It was late last year when it began. The market has a way of stripping us of our ego, and if one is an egotistical man, then he can wrongly be of the opinion that his dignity is removed with it. In a way, we seem to be under the constant need to prove ourselves worthy of our admission in such a highly-rewarding field, almost comparable to scandalous hazings of fraternities.

Somehow, we are brethren. The very few who were more courageous than the rest to pursue an unthinkable path.

Every one else hid their money, too afraid, perspective centered on every thing that could go wrong. Acting like preys, bowing their heads. They let life bully them into quiet agony but they tell you they’re fine.

Oh, but us! We have our eyes centered on what could go right. We’ve decided, one moment, that we deserve better than the 2 hours of commute we suffer to work, every day, five days out of seven. And still, if one day that thing happens, we won’t be able to look at the doctors straight in the eyes and tell them, “Do everything,  money is not a problem.

So we acted like the predators, hunting for a better life, hungry to succeed.

The statistics is overwhelming– Only about 1% of the population involve themselves in the stock market and 95% of that 1% fails.

Yet, we beat on.


 

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1 AM and I was still awake. It was halfway through October. I felt the sheets between my legs and the only noise I could hear was the quiet hum of air conditioning. Light flooded my room from the streetlight outside.

I’ve been tossing and turning for hours now. I can’t sleep.

It was another bad day at the market. My head hurt from trying to find an answer. I was homesick, hopeless, and desperate. What else do I have to lose? I’ve lost my time working hard for that money and that money I’ve lost in the market.

The stock market was supposed to be my amplifier. My time warp. My boost pad in Mario Kart.

I called myself names. No one had to do it for me. I criticized and blamed myself until I was raw and trembling from all my self-hate.

Is this what my ambition gets me? Away from my family, physically exhausted, deprived and yet— for naught!

The fight is far from over but I found myself cornered with no doors to run to.

Until– An idea.

I unlocked my phone and let the blue-white screen blind me.

One last hope.


 

I won’t deny it. I didn’t like him– maybe even hated him— in the beginning. Who is this callous person who laughed while I suffered? But I respected him, even still.

He made it look like it was possible whatever it was that I was also trying to achieve.

Zee was trolling TAP a lot, along with some more ZFT. Back then, “The Maestro” didn’t ban them yet. They were there to tease and taunt at almost every thread. And I, unfortunately, was one of the newbies who held the worst of the talked-about stocks.

I felt like he was antagonizing my happiness and that he wouldn’t give me hope. He didn’t make it feel like I’ll be okay at all. Not then or ever.

It was that way for some time. It felt that way when he laughed about TAPET and specially for his posts against FNI.

Well, funny that, he who made me feel hopeless.

Because at 1 in the morning, he was who I thought about when I was down on my knees, heart torn open, desperately searching for hope.


 

DAY 1:

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I don’t remember now the agony of writing that message. Before that moment, it had never ever occurred to me that I can message his page. Not a hint. I don’t think I spent too much time, but I must have felt so emotional. I remember writing it in a hurry, sending it, and convincing myself to forget about it.

I comforted myself that I can just pretend it didn’t happen if I do get ignored or worse, rejected. I didn’t tell anyone what I did.

A few hours later, at 4 am, he replied. I was instantly jerked awake.

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Zee went straight to the point. I didn’t know it back then but his first message was the embodiment of his trust issues. I, on the other hand, interpreted it as another one of his taunting.

We both didn’t trust each other. Him against a TAPper, Me against a troll. I told him I wasn’t there to bash TAP. I was very still very much under their illusion of guidance and camaraderie even if I was bleeding from their analysis and promises. I didn’t know the extent of how much I’ve been fooled. I wasn’t angry at anyone but myself.

I politely told him that I needed more ‘focused teaching’. That TAP was not about mentoring anyway but more of a community. I was trying hard not to offend anyone, scared he was baiting me to say something against them, and that he’d publish it.

I was the one naked with truth. He knows who I am, while he, for all its worth, remains masked.

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I was stunned. He had accepted a lot and they wasted his time? Aside from those who went through subasta, there were previous charity cases?

An image of a man started to form in my mind. Someone different from who I first thought… Someone– best believe it– someone kinder.

His question made me feel the pressure. It was 4 am, I had no sleep, and I didn’t exactly prepare to be grilled. It was like accidentally walking into JP Morgan Chase in my pajamas for a job interview.

I immediately told him, “Because I don’t like wasting my time as well. You don’t know me yet, but you’re going to love me for my ambition.”

I started to explain my reasons or my Why as succinct as I could.

My poor heart is so guarded. Built with layers and layers of protection from people who tried to take what they want from me, and then leave. I was always suspicious and defensive with so many secrets to keep. My pain, my sufferings, my hopes, my dreams. All confined within. I didn’t want to tell him, because I rarely let anyone I know in– what more someone I do not know!

Even then, at this point, I was just glad he was still listening. I wondered if he was taking me seriously. I don’t know him and he could drop me anytime. But there I was, trying. He seemed intrigued enough to prod me on when I said I’ll spare him the personal drama.

At that time, for all it’s worth, I didn’t even think he had any room for understanding or pity. I didn’t even think he still bleeds.

It was going to take me a while to realize how wrong I was, and the man may seem complicated, but only because we see what he chooses for us to see.

It’s different on the inside. I promise.

Having said that, he didn’t budge. He replied after my message and said…

try me

And who else could tell a better story…

than me?


 

“Your loss isn’t so bad,” He said coldly. “I lost 70% of mine in the beginning. But you would have known that if you’ve read my entire blog.”

Uh-oh. He got me. I did NOT read his entire blog. Only bits and pieces. At this point, he has already agreed to help. Not fully, but in a small way that he could. I didn’t know what to say except, “Are you tampo? 🙂 Sorry na. I’m not competing with your losses though.”

“No I am not. Read all of it and when you’re ready, message me.”

That was the start of a long week. In between everything I was juggling, I started reading his every entry. Not a lot made sense to me then, but I tried.

He struck me as someone who has a lingering dark humor in him. It would be later on that I’d realize it was just the newblood in me. I didn’t realize how cold trading really was, and I was being sensitive to matters like the truth. He simply paraded the fact.

I even judged him for liking the human centipede movie and constantly referencing to it.

And then, suddenly, I see a religious post. Him thanking the God and offering himself. I was caught off guard. Who is this man?

Who is the real him?


 

DAY 7

wait wait

The day he made me purge my entire port in 30 minutes.

You all know about this story 😉


Approximately 270 days before DAY 1 of meeting Zee

Day 2 of joining TAP:

I spent quite a sizeable amount of time lurking TAP. Reading comments, weighing opinions, getting culture shocked, trying to understand the language. The whole thingummy.

On that day, I remember, one of the more prominent members messaged me. I’ve decided to call him PJ. He was trying to “mentor” me, without mentoring me. ‘What are you holding?’ ‘Good. Keep holding that.’.

As early as that, I was already aware of the number of people throwing stones. It was prevalent and it bothered me. Where is this smoke all coming from?

I asked him as painfully polite as I could, “Why is there so much hate?”

He answered, “A lot do not like maestro’s style. Where you sit and wait regardless of the price movement, but these are baggers,  I tell you.”

I was too innocent to smell the lies, but ever since then I kept an eye out looking for the fire where the smoke came from.

300 days of joining TAP:

Post-purge and hurting, I was awakened. I wrote my first piece that got enough reach: He calls himself The Orchestrator.

I wonder, what if Zee or any member of the House didn’t make any noise? Would I ever have learned that I was being fooled?

The very thing that made me hate him in the beginning was actually his the first gentle nab to save me. To save us.

If he took this sitting down, how many of us would have stayed the same way? Entranced by their charisma, a puppet of their lies, a victim of their false-promises?

How much more would I have lost?

Before I wrote this piece, Zee showed me some of the confessions he received. The messages, the blood, the pleading. Those whose family is starting to get torn apart because they became victims of hype. Retirement money of 30 years as OFW gone. Oh, the pain. I felt it, all of it. The loss, the despair, the anger.

I couldn’t just let it go. I had to do something… so I wrote.

This was almost Day 30 of knowing one another, the day I finally understood. He could choose to ignore, he could easily trade without giving half a pound of care for the others who get murdered on the street. But this, this was not fair, there are things in life that you must fight back. This was one of them.

And so he did in what ever way he knows about.


DAY 21 from The Beginning:

 

carry brand

The day Celeste was born.


Day 1:

reassuring things

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Day 180:push lang

 


A hundred miracles and one. Bending towards each other, realizing we weren’t so different after all. How fascinating it is that things turned out this way. I wouldn’t even have imagined it. He turned out to be the opposite of everything I thought he was. In the beginning, we were secretly trying to prove ourselves right for the small portion of distrust we held on against each other.

Now, somewhere along the road, in between all the pictures of beautiful sunsets, delicious food, and midnight conversations, I found out that I don’t mind being wrong at all.

let that linger

I thought there was only one way of saving people’s lives. For some reason, even as a child, I wanted to serve and protect.

So I pledged my life to it.

Eventually, as I grew older, I realized life can kill you even before your body dies and that is one of the most horrifying ways to go.

I took pride in myself for being the only person in a room full of people who knew how to save a life.

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And then, there he was…

Teaching me a new way how.

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I didn’t imagine that one day I’ll be the one who needs saving but I’m glad it came when I reached out for it.


For every person who writes me a letter saying I’ve given them hope, I don’t care what you believe to be true, it is you who keeps me going.

home

Forever yours,

Celeste

P.S.

His favourite song. 🙂

Swinging $PXP

 

“What’s that?” I said while I hurriedly prepare for work. I was in cash position, avoiding the markets as I have been on emotional excess the past days. Purge ka muna, he gently urged me. But I already did before he said it.

It was only about a day of trading that I missed, however. It is no longer prescribed a need for longer cooling off period, I might be getting better at coping.

He posted another one of his teaser chart that kept ordinary people like me panicking for the best market hunt. It was likened to being given a whiff of a potential good kill, but it was up to us to find it.

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I remember the first time I’ve seen one of those from Zee and of another faceless person’s (Ichi Moku) MisterE stock posts. I would try to find it, but I have no idea where to start at all. Eventually after about 10 charts, I’d give up and start sulking.

The next few days would be phenomenal for the stock and by the time they reveal what it was, it was already too late. Every one is getting ready to leave the party, some are just ganging on the leftover food for baon. The music has stopped.

“That? Ah, that’s PXP.” He replied casually. “Poised to break 52 week high.” Oh, yes. There it was. It was actually named this time but I was in a hurry to get dressed to see.

I did a quick scan on the chart. So, should I trade or should I take a break? I leveled myself– I have work that day. I probably could not monitor but then again, I decided to go for it. I’ll deal with the aftermath later. I placed bids and let it simmer, if it gets hit then I play. If it doesn’t then I don’t.

It got hit.

It wasn’t much but there it was.

I don’t remember telling him I have PXP immediately. I was kind of anticipating a backlash for not thinking it through before jumping in. At the end of the day though, I told him still. Zee was okay with it. Maybe because it was day 1, I bought low, and the breakout was successful.

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Late at night, we talked about it and he told me to ‘Do your trade review.’ What’s the plan? I suppose it was time I take an inventory of what I have and how to play it.

For PXP, I started with the longer time frame, checking every criteria it passed on my list and crossing off those that didn’t. I was already in a trade that my mentor thinks is a good set-up. My only job is to find out why.
The monthly chart gave me nothing but an oversold RSI inching its way up and the candle nearing the 20 sma. Weekly chart, however, was clearer. It shows the candle sitting on top of the 20 and 50 sma. 100 SMA was close by, raring to get hit by Zeus’ Strike. The daily chart was the main reason we were there, aside from the beautiful possibility the long-term charts were saying; After all, ’52 week high is where the hot money is’ and it just broke that. Finally, with the range of volatility it did that day, I decided to check the minutes chart.

The minutes chart was where I’d look for a final confirmation that a big move is bound to happen very, very soon as long as it maintains an uptrend. The minutes chart can answer my question of “How soon?”. Take note though that this is a very sensitive time frame and prone to whiplash.

Meh. We must take a weapon and recognize its power as well as its limitation, then use it to our advantage.

The next day, I couldn’t monitor the market as much as I wanted to. It turned out to work towards my advantage otherwise I would have second-guessed my position. Every time I got the chance to check, I kept telling myself to decide at the end of the day. I have no idea how the minutes chart were starting to look like anyway. It went as low as 2.6 which would have shaken off the weakest holders, but eventually closed at 3.12.

Again that night, Zee asked, “What’s your plan?” I answered ‘trail stops’ and he let me be. That day’s candle ought to have given me enough space to stop-loss with at least a bit of profit.

The next day the stock shot up. I constantly wanted to add more but I wasn’t sure, I also could not monitor anyway. It was a dilemma I had to deal with. I talked to Zee. “Listen, I wanna add. I’ll swing those shares tomorrow.”

“Are you sure?,” He said. “You wouldn’t be able to monitor, right? You’re working.”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t.”

Secretly placed a bid anyway. If it got hit, then I play. If it don’t then I don’t.

 

It didn’t.


 

On March 17, 2016 it performed so well. The price action was so fast in the right direction I couldn’t even keep up. Before lunch break, people had already made monstrous gains and some had sold. I couldn’t watch. I was too busy. I couldn’t make a move. Resistance was just below 5. Do I push it?

But the plan was to use trail stops… So I’m sticking to it.

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sorry it’s tiny 🙁

Selling is so much harder than buying. At my worst, I can just buy then watch and react according to my position. Selling is an entirely new part I’m still trying to understand. I guess handling gains is still new to me, and it still makes me emotional. Zee said he was waiting for the end of day to decide even when PXP was already hitting near 5. All I got were contemplative “Hmmm…” messages.

By the time it only hovered at around 4.50s, I asked Zee if he was already selling, “Iwasan ko candle mo please :3 ” but he laughed it off! “Secret! You should know what to do by now.” He’s right, I should.

Weighing my options, I shyly asked for him to send me the minutes chart instead and there he obliged.

Again, I told myself to decide at the end of the day too. End Of Day trading is the holy grail for busy people like me. I’m glad this concept was nailed right from the very beginning. Market noise happens so much in between the market hours, so unless I’m catching a train towards ceiling capacity, I can just make decisions at the end of the day as long as the extremely awful things don’t happen (like a massive selldown).


 

Today looks like the beginning of a correction. How deep can it go? I can’t tell, I just can tell you I have stops and that’s it. I sold half of my position and I’m letting the half stay to ride out the trend. I suppose I’ve learned to hybrid swing and trend following. The past few trades I made were such huge lessons, and I’m trying to apply what I learned. It is in my best hopes that I perform according to what I’ve learned, not according to what I’m scared of.

Why do I insist on swing trading when I’m busy with my day job? Well, because one day, the day job will be gone and all I’ll have is the swing trading.

I better learn to do this now. 🙂

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I pray we all recover our losses before this bull run ends.

 

Forever yours,

Celeste

 

One of my old-time favourites. I suppose you know now why, right? For those who took the time to create something to save someone’s life, cheers to you! If you need reasons to believe that there is still some kindness in the world, start it. Smile at someone you walk past the pedestrian lane. I promise it will pass on. Sometimes all you need to do to save a life, is to acknowledge their existence. ‘You are here, I see you.’

Here’s another old-time favourite of mine: Click me for happy vibes! The world is still such a beautiful place to live in, despite everything.

God, are you there?

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Hi.

Are you there? Can you stay for a moment? I know you’re really busy, but just for a few minutes tonight I want to feel like I’m not alone.

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The stars are so pretty.

It’s nice to think that maybe they were made for me to gaze at while I lie flat on my back, broken and aching from the wild fall to rock bottom.

 

I hope you don’t mind my sobbing, I hope you still think I’m worth it and that I can do it.

I know the toughest battles are for your strongest people and I still want to be part of that elite.

But just for a moment, can I have you? Can I feel you? Because I’m really scared.


 

I try to understand myself as I go through the motions. I believe the only way I can herald on was to find out exactly what made my chest unresponsive to all my efforts to make it feel lighter. Everyday felt like the universe found its way to me, spinning inside of my ribs, sewing around my bones, resting on my heart, sitting on my lungs.

I can’t breathe but I march on. Until one morning, I think I found out. I’ve been scared for a long time now that it made itself default. When did it start? I was a hopeful trooper in the beginning with passion so fiery and dreams so high.

Now I’m always scared.

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Back then, as a kid, I was the kind of person who seemed to have every thing under her control. I made straight A’s without trying and I was on top of every org. Excellence was expected of me, I didn’t know what failure looked like.

I remember reading a comment on one article about children who sailed through the academe. One mother expressed her worries that her child was exactly that and she worries about the day when it was no longer exams that her little girl will have to take– but the cruel reality of life.

I understand what that means now. When I did something great, every one nodded in boring anticipation, oh but when I started to fail did it cause uproar.

I’m scared of almost all the possibilities in my life. I’m scared of status quo, staying in the path that I am currently on. I don’t want to and I can’t. It’s no longer even an option. There must be something more to life than this, my managers, and my bills. This dreary existence!

And then I’m scared of the future too. Scared of never recovering my losses. Scared of never growing to my full potential. Scared of giving up in the process. I’m scared of the bad days. I’m scared of constantly having to prove to myself that I made the right decision.

The successful ones must be a little crazy to do this. There is no way you would fight on with one of your shoulders dislocated and your eyes puffed black-and-blue from the punches without even a tinge of madness.


 

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“Hey, Zee, are you there?” I messaged him.

“Yes, anything?” He replied back.

 

 

I didn’t know what to ask. I don’t want to sound needy. At a perspective, and at a kinder judgment, my progress has been quite phenomenal– even if it didn’t reflect my port yet.

I think I’m starting to think like him. We spend a lot of time talking, and I’ve started to reflect his thoughts and ideas.

On a side note, have you ever wondered what part of you another person starts to reflect?

One time, we bought the same stock. I told him after market hours and he told me he did the same. I was so glad for a moment, but the general looming anxiety still stayed.

After tinkering with my thoughts, I asked if he ever felt sad this way before. “Did you feel anxiety? Did you feel depressed?” Careful not to make him think way too much about how wounded I feel.

“Yes. In 2012, after a staggering amount of losses almost every negative emotion was there.”

I suppose that was great to hear. I heard it again and again. It’s normal, that’s the process, that’s what you need to get through. After some time, all the motivational quotes and videos will start to sound the same. It won’t rub you the same way it first did, and I’m already at that point. I have to keep at it without the extra push.

It’s not fair to think that my tenacity to try and fail made me feel like I was more of a failure than anyone around me. I looked at honest assessment at my environment and realized these people didn’t even feel like the stupid, ignorant human being that I am who failed spectacularly at trying to fulfill a dream.

Why is it that way? Why do I feel more like a failure versus those who never knew what it is to actually fight?

A man spends his savings on a business with wild dreams to make it, and then his endeavor fails. It closes shop. The economy just wasn’t right. He was a ragged pitiful sight compared to another man who stayed on his lane and tried to live on his pension.

The world is crueler to visionaries because they relish on the satisfaction that anyone who tried harder and risked higher than them, don’t win. Should I have just bought blue chips?

Was it stupid that I tried?

18th

Losses are psychologically scarring. In a way, it shapes you. Victory is such a lousy, lousy teacher. You don’t learn anything in winning, specially a smooth and easy one.

One night, all alone, I felt it reach to me. The world was sitting on my chest again, I couldn’t breathe.

I started crying, bawling like a baby, so loud I hope the neighbors don’t hear me. Embarrassing and weak. I prayed and I begged, I didn’t know what for exactly, but I just didn’t want to feel the way I felt anymore. “God, please? Please? Please?” I just wanted to be okay. When will I be okay?

 

I reeked of failure and disappointment. I could almost smell it. It became so physical that I felt disgusted with the way my hair smells. After a while, I decided to stand up and shower. “At least, if I smell of vanilla, I would be better because failure rarely smells of vanilla.” I thought as I scrubbed and lathered myself on the shower almost as if I could wash it all away.

Stepping out of the curtains, I gave myself a hard look. I looked pathetic. My eyes were puffy, my lips swollen. I wonder if everyone looked like this after hours of hard crying.

I was almost scared to re-enter my room. Convinced that the devil heard me cry and he was waiting on my bed, ready to give me a deal out of my desperation in exchange for my soul.

But he wasn’t there.

All I want is to be okay again. To know that I am safe. To have all my sacrifices materialize and hey, maybe tell me that it was all worth it. I want to know that one day, for sure, I’ll tell myself “See? I told you. You’ll be okay. All those worrying was pointless!”

I confess I was starting to hate trading, even when I make progress and that floods me with guilt the most.

Every one wrote a success story book AFTER they made it. By that time, they can’t remember the blow-by-blow account of how difficult and grisly the process was. They forget the nitty-gritty. They forget the nights they lie on their bed doubting themselves for the hundredth time that week.

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No one told me it was going to be this hard. It’s difficult on the psyche. When I succeed would I still hate myself? Will I ever be happy? I forgot how that felt like, when anxiety no longer dances around me, lacing his fingers around my heart.

I have no right to feel this way. I am in such better conditions than almost every one else. I’m blessed to a point of extremity that I think I’ve stripped my right to complain. But I wonder how other people make it in here so easily, so much smoother than I do? What’s wrong with me?

 

Suddenly, I’m the person who lagged behind and someone else was topping the class with ease and grace. They’re the ones befuddled with my struggles, looking at me, wondering, “How could she find it so difficult?”

The tables have turned.

Is it wrong that I even tried? I was starting to hate it and fear it.

Anxiously, I asked him again. I didn’t want my presence to feel too heavy or his mentorship feel too much work. I always thought that my emotions are mine to handle, his only part is to teach me his ways. But I have to know, I really have to.

“Did you ever start hating it or fearing it?”

He didn’t take a long time to reply. “Yes.”

And with that, relief spread all over me. I felt better. A small fire stayed alive surviving the winter inside my chest.

Maybe one day, I’ll be okay, I just have to get through this night.


 

Months ago, late at night, I just realized what Zee did. That’s crazy. Can you believe what he did? He was in his early 20’s, quit his job, gathered investors, then traded 3rd liners and exotics with it.

He lost that money. It was not hundreds of thousands. It was millions!

He then proceeded to do it all over again.

Madness! I burst out laughing how funny it was to be tinged with that kind of insanity. I messaged him and said, “You know, you’re crazy, but I’m glad you are the way you are.”

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I think, maybe, I’m a little crazy too.

This laborious process of trying to recoup my losses and trading. Picking myself up one too many times after getting hit.

 

But one day, maybe, you would tell me, “Hey, Celeste. You must be crazy. But I’m glad you are the way you are.” because like he was to me, I want to be to you too…

Hope.

 

 

 

 

 

Forever yours,

Celeste

Sometimes all we need is someone to believe in us when we don’t.

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