This is the end (A journey update)

I have a confession.

I am an addict.

And my choice of poison comes in monthly, in large sum, and with just enough possibilities to last me until my next hit.

This opium’s value is strangely imperceptible and mysteriously subjective. Highly personal. Illogically indifferent to your state. What may be a small amount for the tuxedo man can be exhilaratingly filling for the tattered.

But one thing is for sure, there can never be enough.

Want a little more, and you’ll want a lot more.

Even the voracious appetite for this narcotic seems to be cultural. Damn this crazy society. We even revere those who are most addicted, and feed our children dreams to become like one of them.

It’s hallucinogenic. It tastes and feels like success. It smells like the beach trips in summer and the exotic street food of a faraway place full of people speaking with their non-English native tongue. Comprenez vous? ¿me comprendes? Yes, yes. Social media attests.

For most, there can never be enough. Elusively lasting only a few days, even a few moments, then suffering, suffering, suffering until the next.

I am addicted to my paycheck.


 

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I have promised to go home this year and trade fulltime. With the market at a sedated state, I was heavily burdened by the possibilities of the future trying to eat me alive in the next seasons that I will be without the comforting sound of ‘kaching!’ and the heavy bass undertones of BDO’s ATM machine when it tries to politely hand me out my money from its ‘mouth’ like an obedient puppy. Yes, I am your master, hand me that stick.

Ah, music to my ears.

No bling-bling. It doesn’t help that I don’t digest Lucky Me noodles very well. Half a day later, I’d still be uncomfortably excusing myself for burping. What poor soul. Atleast a burger machine’s buy 1 take 1 is stationed just around our corner. There’s that.

Late at night I found myself googling how much health insurance costs. No more velvet -cushion of paid hospitalization and MRI- for you know, just in case. However rare we even need them, but you never know do you? I’m a wee bit of a hypochondriac myself.

How bad was my port performance this month? Is that enough for, say, a little giggle and some black ramen, and more importantly a health insurance? I tried to do the most discouraging thing to do, and that is to do the math of my OFW retirement.

Damn was it a bitter pill to swallow. The more I look at it, in such an accusing eye, hastily scanning the paper sheet back and forth for anything missing, the smaller and smaller my courage gets.

I guess I need to scroll through instagram for some #motivation now or watch some Gary Vaynerchuk. I’ve saved enough lion with caption photos on my phone, it almost complemented my Nat Geo addiction.


 

I fought with the idea back and forth. The date to pass my resignation fast approaching. I have a list of things I need to get myself before I leave– funny things but nevertheless I deem as must-have- like discounted gym clothes and cheap gadgets. Preparing myself for a long winter but trying to make sure I don’t look deprived.

There shines my lick of Milennial. It’s my adorable character flaw. Give it a chance to grow into you.

I’m already missing the food and I haven’t even left the place. For an insane second, I can almost say I’m going to miss my job which started out as my naive passion. I was steered towards this direction by my well-meaning parents, thinking it would package me as the perfect definition of success in an era they understand– the 70’s. Living in America, driving a BMW, secretly knee deep in debt and paying off a large loan.

I had other things in my mind though, I had the corniest and cheesiest reason. I wanted to make a difference. ‘Touch lives’. One week after my first job and I was already disillusioned, confused, and wailing at the betrayal. This was not the dream I was sold! I’ve wanted to quit ever since then.

Now even as I know that this was what I have always wanted to do, I am paralyzed in front of Microsoft Word’s blank sheet. The cursor blinking, taunting me. Haunting little devil. I wonder why I couldn’t even begin the formalities of the letter. Why is the raging bull inside of me suddenly a quiet cow grazing in the fields? So contented and meek.


 

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Every day I had to coax, plead, convince myself that I can keep going. I NEED to keep going. I have to keep going. Learn to love this, learn to be happy. Be grateful instead, you insolent silly young girl. Oh, how other people had it so much worse. What are you whining about? Pull those socks on and go.

If that didn’t work, I learned to be numb. There is no need to feel anything about this. Don’t think too much. Be a little nihilist and a lot more stoic.

Every day for 5 years.

All of a sudden it had to end, and I am feeling surprised with the new kind of freedom. I was experiencing what could be Stockholm syndrome’s ugly step sister. Denied of a door out for so many years, one day, an opening presented itself.

Like a barn animal restricted from the world, seeing those closed doors open for the first time, I began wonder, is it fine? Does it not offend the Gods? Do I deserve this?

More importantly, Am I being selfish?


 

My father smiled coyly in a nervous manner. My mother was at the other end of the room, pretending not to be interested at the conversation. I was hyper aware of how they both felt.

“How about our house, dear?”, he asked me.

I had not explored this situation in my mind, I have never prepared for an answer and I never gave myself the time to. I was bluntly refusing to think of something so sensitive to me.

“What about it?”, I said, pretending not to be weighed by the question.

“Didn’t you say we’re going to move to a better one?” He smiled and maintained his eye contact.

“Did I say that?”

My brows furrowed. I am normally quiet around our home. A few times irritable when something bothered me and the storm has yet to pass. I have stopped telling them anything that gripped me ever since I started trading the stock market. I’ve decided some burdens are never to be shared by those who will want to carry it for me, because all I wanted to do is to relieve them of it in the first place.

“Didn’t you say that?”, he said again, maintaining his nervous smile.

They didn’t prepare enough for their retirement, they have not even decided on where to spend it.

“I didn’t remembering saying that, dad. Besides, what are you going to do with your other houses?”

“I suppose we have to sell them…”

“Yes, Daddy. You know, you can’t think of spending money again on large ticket items at this point.”

My parents are assets-rich but cash-poor and those assets have been painstakingly illiquid. I didn’t know what to say, my father and mother are reaching their retirement faster than they could anticipate.

Faster than I could anticipate.

I stood up and walked back to my room. I wonder if I could have handled that better. I wish I didn’t sound angry, I hope I didn’t sound irritated. What do I tell them?

What do they expect? What should I do?


 

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“To Whom It May Concern,”

Okay, maybe not, maybe not that.

“Dear Ma’am/Sir,”

This sounds weird but let’s see where this goes.

“I’d like to extend my graciousness for the kindness of your institution…”

Kindness of your institution… I rolled my head back and laughed a bit. What a lie. Do I do this or tell them honestly that my boss was reminiscent of the Dilbert comics?

What would I do that wouldn’t make me wish for a do-over while I stand on a hot shower, thinking about my life choices?

“… for employing me for the last few years. I am grateful for an opportunity that only a few were offered to enjoy…”

I guess I am. Why would I not be? We are the highest paid in our profession at the region I was assigned in. It built a substantial amount of cash, funded for investments, and paid for some vacations I’ve care-freely indulged in.

It gave me the necessary boost. I was trying to solve the problem of having no cash to begin with, and now it’s been solved.

“I am tendering my resignation and will gladly serve the necessary time to help with the transition. Thank you for the support throughout my employment. I had been provided with an excellent experience and training  that will undoubtedly help my career growth.”

I guess I’m lying again. My job has absolutely no connection to the new world I am about to enter. However, it had built me into who I am, and discontentment was a major part of the push necessary to propel me to make a change that otherwise would have left me petrified.

I tried to keep my resignation letter sweet. I have never told anyone, not a single soul, about my plan. I exhibited no signs. Nothing. Nada. Nil. Zilch. Even pretended to be interested in participating on the October out of country trip some of my workmates were planning to take. Heh.

 


 

Bet on Yourself

(a passage from the 50th Law of Power by Robert Greene)

“It is always easy to rationalize your own doubts and conservative instincts, particularly when times are tough. You will convince yourself that it is foolhardy to take any risks, that it is better to wait for when circumstances are more propitious.

But this is a dangerous mentality. It signifies an overall lack of confidence in yourself that will carry over to better times. You will find it hard to rouse yourself out of your defensive posture. The truth is that the greatest inventions and advances in technology or business generally come in negative periods because there is greater necessity for creative thinking and radical solutions that break with the past. These are moments that are ripe for opportunity. While others retrench and retreat, you must think of taking risks, trying new things, and looking at the future that will come out of the present crisis.

You must always be prepared to place a bet on yourself, on your future, by heading in a direction that others seem to fear. This means you believe that if you fail, you have the inner resources to recover. This belief acts as a kind of mental safety net. When you move ahead on some new venture or direction, your mind will snap to attention; your energy will be focused and intense. By making yourself feel the necessity to be creative, your mind will rise to the occasion.”


 

A passage from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

“Be like the rocky headland on which the waves constantly break. It stands firm, and round it the seething waters are laid to rest. ‘It is my bad luck that this has happened to me.’ No, you should rather say: ‘It is my good luck that, although this has happened to me, I can bear it without pain, neither crushed by the present nor fearful of the future.’ Because such a thing could have happened to any man, but not any man could have borne it without pain. So why see more misfortune in the event than good fortune in your ability to bear it? So in all future events which might induce sadness remember to call on this principle: ‘this is no misfortune, but to bear it true to yourself is good fortune’.”


 

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I don’t really know what I’m doing, there is an endless  abyss of pitch black darkness below the gap I’m jumping. I don’t know what’s on the other side- if there’s another side- I’m not sure when my feet are going to touch the ground again.

All I know is I’m jumping, and what I have in me is all I have, all I’ll ever need.

Fortune favors the bold.

The universe loves a seeker of stories,

a writer of its secrets,

a player of its games.

 

My chips are all in, on me, and not on the venomous changing circumstances. It is in my wings I believe in, not in the traitorous headwinds.

 

The deep rumble of earth is quiet and brewing.

One day, all of a sudden, change will erupt and shake the core.

 

Dear Universe, are you not entertained?

 

Please be kind to me as I rarely am with myself.

 

Forever yours,

Celeste


I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

-Nelson Mandela

x

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.

– Ambrose Redmoon

Enjoy the show.

Where is Celeste? El Niño (A Journey Update)

Healing is NOT linear.

Nor is it localized to one area, and then the entire system miraculously pulls through.


 

“You have been awfully quiet.”

The stock market has been anemic lately, if any stock flew I was either too late or completely missing it. Now, I’m not saying it’s always like that, but to give you a comparable evidence of how bored traders are, take one look at stock market groups and you’ll see what they’ve decided to talk about. Stock market personalities.

A certain bored number of the pitifully small populace of traders are more excited to check  the latest gossip boards than the day’s top gainers. I have to admit in the beginning, I was pulled in. After all, what do I write about when I have no idea where my audience has been? Eventually, I had to stop. It was a feverish sort of commitment to continually update myself with that toxic culture. I already have enough bad habits to even consider beginning a new one. I  felt my language skills deteriorating and my IQ points at a threat.


 

I went through a break-up. Actually, I still am going through it but at least I can now openly admit it. There’s something utterly embarrassing about failed relationships.

Despite my previous experience of long-term relationships ending, I seem to never have transformed into a graceful swan gliding effortlessly in this ugly situation. I still annoy the very few people I talk to with questions that no longer matter anyway.

You see the problem with break-ups is sometimes you forget your limbs work.

There are days where channeling Billboard top pop stars were a piece of cake and I can make a Beyonce MTV just fine, jamming to Single Ladies at the treadmill, thinking revenge is best served with abs.

But there are days, I’d spend unbelievable hours between my sheets accusing myself of everything, nitpicking my personality and his personality, and embarrassingly— googling for help.

Yes. Googling for help.

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Just in case you’re curious, reddit got an entire subthread on this matter, and misery definitely loves company. For what its worth, whenever I read difficult break-up scenarios from other people across the globe, i’d still like to think that hey, I didn’t have it that bad.

Technically, we never really became a couple (it’s a long story), but to make things simpler, and because I’d rather not explain it, I call him an ex.


 

The first sign of trouble and the major part of why it happened is very shortly summarized into this: I pursued my ambition intensely.

We celebrated when Zee took me as his bastard and I had happily shared what little I knew of the TA I was learning. We both enjoyed the benefits of it. What scanty time I had between work shifts, I was spending on reading charts and writing pieces; However, I made sure that I focused on him when he was there.

The situation began to snowball along with other issues. Somewhere along the long months after the beginning, he was desperately upset over my involvement in ZFT. It was taking too much of my time, he explained, and the pressure to re-gain losses was affecting my mental state. I couldn’t forget what he said, “You lost the spark in your eyes.”

I tried to explain as hard as I could that I was doing my best for our future.

I was constantly being asked to choose between cementing myself as a trader and a writer or relaxing from the responsibilities and  settling. It wasn’t so bad what path we were in– being an OFW and working as employees. Thinking back now, in dark quiet moments of vulnerability or when the wicked sisters of fate lash their whip on me, I succumb to this and think maybe my dreams are just so silly.

Though there was another major mover, I respect him enough not to write about it. Despite everything, I couldn’t think of him as a terrible person.

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In the end,

we had to end.

 

Forever yours,

Celeste

Letter to Cosmos: A POST-PURGE ADVICE

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Dear Cosmos,

How have you been? It’s been three weeks since you did the Purge. I remember the first time  you tried to contact me. You were shy and unsure, almost apologetic for having the gall to reach out. I find that funny now that I remember it, also quite endearing. In truth you weren’t asking for anything, you just needed to feel understood.

For some reason, I jumped at the idea of welcoming you all too hasty, I trusted my instincts on this and strongly declared after a few lines of reading your writings that ‘we are from the same star!’

Zee didn’t want to take in any more bastards, and I am ill-equipped to be anybody’s mentor but I decided to find a way to make things work.

 


 

You were purging.

“Are you there? Please. I need help.”

Your message popped on my screen.

It was a bad time. My phone was running low on battery and it was 5 am from where I am. I wasn’t on my bed and I was about to be forced to lose my internet connection in three hours.

“I’m here.”

I chewed on my lip, anxious at my dwindling battery life.

“I can’t do it.” You typed tersely.

I could feel your overwhelming despair a thousand miles away.

“I can’t do it! How did you do it?”

Earlier, I wondered what I would say because Zee asked me the same thing. “What if he asks you how you managed to purge your positions?” I laughed and answered, “How? You click! You press the bloody button that’s how.”

He chuckled and said he didn’t expect I’d say that. I’m too sympathetic.

And he was right, because while you asked me in misery, I found myself feeling some of your

pain. “How? Pretend this isn’t you. Get out of your skin. You’re possessing another body, and this is what you’re supposed to do for this person. For his own good. I’m sorry, I really am. I know it hurts, but you will be free.”

By the time my phone died, you still couldn’t. I prayed for you then.


 

Few days later we finally got a hold on each other. You did it. And now, I write with honest joy in my heart in best hopes and consideration telling you the things I would wish you’d do.

Because I really, honestly, absolutely want you to win.


 

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  1. Get physical.

 

I know you like long walks, but I really mean more than that. Get yourself signed up for some serious gym time. I wish my first advice didn’t sound so pedestrian but I can almost bet my name on this. It is so sacrosanct that the risk of sounding corny was worth taking.

Getting physically stronger builds a confidence in you that can not be easily destroyed.  You will learn discipline. You will understand patience. You will come to enjoy the pain as battle scars of struggle you’ve overcome.

The ironic part about being physically fit is that the biggest factor in achieving it is your mental state. No one ever succeeded in being fit without training their mind first. One precedes the other. You will come to love what you can currently do and what you will eventually be able to do. The motivation and willpower of those we engage themselves in exercise and the ruthless  acceptance that there is no excuse for your failure but the lack of your own hustle, will translate to who you are as a trader. Trust me on this.

Besides, after a bad day in the market, you have to be reminded that you aren’t such a waste of space. Being fit delivers that. If I need to be scientific about this, I kid you not, I can cite sources after sources saying that this will flood your body with endorphins, the happy hormone.

On a side note, the only adverse effect is ending up looking like a hotshot athlete or possessing the body of a Grecian God. I guess that’s not too bad. 😉


 

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  1. Take your time.

 

One day you can double your money in a week. Double ceilings can happen and I’ve seen a rare triple ceiling too. I hate to reiterate this but, there will always be another play coming.

For now, we bump fists for that 5% gain.

Trade small so you can get the habit of actual execution but without the painful losses. There is no honor or decency in blind courage to come charging at a beast that have  repeatedly slaughtered you.

What you can do for yourself right now is to improve whatever can help you stay in the game.

 

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  1. Be bored.

I think the universe set its way to make sure that only those who deserve it can get what they want. It had placed devices to trap, ensnare, and discourage the half-committed. If trading was all action right from the beginning, then more people would have succeeded.

Instead, for the most number of times, it represents itself as tedious and boring.  Repetitive until you can’t take it anymore. As painful as the first note of I Think I Wanna Marry You on the radio last quarter of 2015. I couldn’t stand anymore of it. I was going to lose my mind hearing it again and again.

The secret of those with superhuman physique is their ability to tolerate the same chicken breast day in and day out and doing the same rep for the same set. It was tedious, but it gave results.

Apparently, mastery did not look as exciting without the musical director’s background music playing. The student must have swung the wooden sword a ten thousand times that month and it wasn’t appealing, so they cut that scene to 5 seconds. Pity because that is where transformation came from. That is where the branches stemmed.

The boring, repetitive, tedious process of repeating  day in and day out. Just when you can’t digest another chart and another fibonacci and OHPLEASENOTANOTHER DARVAS, just when most of the normal people have decided they had enough, that’s when you push through to separate yourself from the pack.

 

It’s going to be a long road from here, but that’s okay because eventually you will get there. I know it.


 

I don’t claim to know much. I don’t think I’m any better than you, but if this helps in whatever way it does, then I’m glad.

I’m rooting for you.

 

Forever yours,

Celeste

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