Port Snapshots and Lies

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I can’t sleep.

The sound of the clock ticking flooded my room. The lights outside playing with the shadows on my wall.

I was alone.

It should have been a quiet night.

But I lie awake on my bed, wrapped in my comforter, hearing the construction one street away. They were hammering it down and drilling at 2 in the morning.

It’s summer and between you and me– I’m not a fan of this season. I never understood the appeal. The hot sun, sweaty thighs, and skin damage? I’ll pass.

I was both angry at the workers for keeping me up late at night, but I understood well enough that this was the more humane working hours for them.

I don’t feel like anything ever happens in Summer. It’s too hot to even breathe outside.


There were only bears in the market. The heat is in PSE too.

I could almost swear I can sometimes hear the collective sigh of despair of those who make a living in the market just right after the lunch break starts.

Fund managers are taking the hits by the stomach… but they were made for this.

I don’t understand why I had to bother looking at the ticker sometimes, out of habit maybe, but the market was drier than the Sahara.

From the abundance of merry-making and feast of the first quarter, here we are. It wasn’t even the end of April when traders confessed how much of the initial quarter they have lost. 200-300% gain down to measly numbers.

A few have wiped them all out.

I was not on the market then. As a bear baby, I knew exactly how falling knives could hurt. I have been humbled and the lesson stays.

By May, a few plays were available but I let them go. I was still pretty much willing to keep myself clear from the bears. I made more than enough money in the first quarter– enough to cover for the whole year! I thought I would be insane to give that all back just for the SAKE of trading.

Bold statement.

By the middle of June, I was back at the old stomping ground. I found myself holding positions at one of the worst market downturns of PSE’s history.

I guess it doesn’t feel good, for some reason, to spend money the past few months and not do anything to make some back.

I ended up cutting losses on all three, purging right after my short comeback stint, and harshly reminded to keep my hands to where it belongs when it doesn’t need to be elsewhere.


manInBlackSuitIII

I’ve seen trader Ram a few times before in Facebook. He was a trader longer than I have, and between his rusty sense of humor revolving around lewd content and stock market doom-and-gloom, he does make sense on some of his convictions.

On this particular afternoon, one that had both the rain and the summer sun together, I was scrolling my feed when I saw his post.

A 6 digit gain.

Huh, I told myself. That’s pretty good. I missed that one.

I pulled myself away from my keyboard. Do I take too much time purging that I miss opportunities that could have been easy for me to catch?

It’s only been less than a year of fulltime trading. I am knee-deep in a chapter of plateau. I still feel regret. I still feel incompetent. I feel like a little girl playing make-believe. 3 months of bear market can exhaust the best trader, even if they aren’t in the game most of the time.

I debated between charting the stock, berating myself that knowing more about an incident that made me feel ‘not good enough’ wouldn’t do me any good. It’s nothing different from finding out details of your ex’s new love interest. Even if it didn’t matter before you knew about it, now that you do, you suddenly have to know more than what is necessary.

I gave in and opened my charting program.

It was clear as day, I could have taken that same trade.

I was right– it didn’t help me at all.


 

The next day was a Saturday and one of the few days I read my Inbox at my page. Saturdays are often started with chores, so by 10 am when my place was spic and span I sat down and got ready to read a month’s worth of messages.

I answered a few of the recent ones before I decided to jump down the bottom. I lazily clicked one message after another, typing a response, when my heart jumped.

Trader Ram was there.

It was his first message to me ever. What advice could he ever want from me? I gingerly remembered yesterday’s incident.

 

After hesitating for a second, I opened the message.

It was three paragraphs full of emotions. He poured his heart out. His story from when he began, the slow beginnings, plateaus, the usual Funnymental/Tsismis analysis phase, and then now.

His latest message was a few weeks back.

“Hello, Celeste. It’s me again.”

He was trading all throughout the bear season. He couldn’t help it, he said. He needed the money. But he got hit hard last May. “I should have known better”

He confessed how he lost millions of his portfolio and joked that confessing to me felt like therapy.

I was beyond shocked.

What I saw yesterday was just what he allowed me to see. Over the long run, he was trying to recoup a much bigger loss than I did.

I sat in my chair, heavy in thought, before I replied.

____________________________________________________________

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Ports can lie.

It talks about one trade, not the entire career.

One day you can be looking at someone making a killing but you don’t know anything else.

You don’t know how many they lost beforehand or how much they will after. Benchmarking yourself on another trader’s highlight reel sets you up for a mindset destined for failure. That isn’t even fair– you weren’t even a part of that trade, you aren’t going to benefit from that money, but here you are feeling the emotional hollowness from it.

Remember, when dealing with people, the details that matter the most are the ones that you don’t see.

 

Forever yours,

Celeste

What would you do for the one chance you’ve been praying for?

Trapped in a Circle

You wake up to the sound of rain. It’s 5 am and you negotiated that just 5 minutes more shouldn’t be that bad.

You have barely closed your eyes when your alarm goes off again. Hay! Iba talaga oras sa umaga!

Cursing, you stood up and started your way towards the bathroom.

The water is cold. You jumped when it touched your skin. The breakfast is a bang-up job of something you could easily create.

5:30 AM. You were beginning to rush.

Umuulan,
matraffic,
mahaba ang pila.

After lining up behind atleast 20 people, praying you don’t get to work late, you settled down your seat, squeezed between two other tired commuters.

Just another day, another week, another year.


 

I realized this was not the life I wanted the FIRST day of my job. In my field, we had no space or time to pretend to be the dream. They didn’t care if you didn’t like the reality– no one pretended to be happy for the “poor” new-hired employees. Just about everyone made sure we saw how miserable they were.

I started looking for a way out immediately.
It took a while to find it– 2 years after that was when I started trading.

And I worked for 5 years before I got out.

 


 

The corporate world has this crazy cycle. I’m not sure what it’s called but I’m sure everyone knows it.

It has ups and downs that keep you in it.
You’re unhappy enough to long to leave but happy enough to stay.

Today, your boss walked in the room with a bad mood and you were the first he saw. Your hair was a little dishevelled, na-late ka ng konti kaninang umaga, mainit ang ulo nya.

Sinigawan ka nya, and he started power tripping.

By lunch time, you browsed LinkedIn for job openings on your phone’s browser.

The next day though, absent sya, and there was not much work. Himala! You joked with your co-workers. May nanglibre ng pancit. Merong may birthday. You realize… Hey, ok naman.

Next week, it was crazy, the workload just rained. You couldn’t even leave the office on time. Some even decided to sleep there just to get this time-sensitive critical work done.

“Resign na!”, you told yourself.

But a week after that, sweldo na.

You bought yourself that new shoes you always wanted (Limited edition), and you even had some Haagen Dazs ice cream.

Life’s good.

Before you know it, it’s been 8 years.

 


 

I remember back then, when I was still working, there are people who would get a loan “para ma-motivate” and “hindi mag-resign”.

They forced themselves to like the prison they’re in and have even written the extension of their serving time.

But whenever you ask them, “Masaya ka ba?”
The answer is returned with a whisper and the look of embarrassed introspection.


If you’re working at a job that you really like, then this may not apply to you.

But if this is not where you want to be,
You are a wolf trapped in a rat race.

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Let me remind you,
Remember who you are.

 


Forever yours,
Celeste

For your rainy and traffic commute nights ♥

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