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 ♥

The Courage to Succeed

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When I first found out that Tony Robbins was going to have his workshop in Asia on February, I could not contain my excitement. I looked at the ticket prices and have decided, for the most part, to attend. I was mulling over how much I have to spend, considering I needed to fly to Singapore for the event and have to pay for my food and accommodations.

It was only the start of the year. At this point I had 5 other trips all chained up during that time period.

I was trying to make sure I stay within my budget. Old habits die hard, they say.

 


 

After convincing Zee to come, and booking our tickets. I hesitantly showed him the schedule.

His expression went dark and impatient. It was 5 days straight, some running up to 14 hours in a single day.

But what changed was when he saw what was waiting for us on the first day. His eyes shifted from disbelief to overwhelming concern.

Fire walk.

“Walk on fire?”, he told me. His voice sounded ludicrous.

“Yes!”, I said. I was excited. I was happy. I was determined.

“You know how sensitive your skin is right?”

My skin. I have thin skin that reacts almost immediately to any stressor. Heat, cold, a gentle pull, a tiny slap. I have painful memories of Summer where small mosquito bites can turn into welts. Skin aestheticians keep commenting on how fast my skin gets inflamed. I wish it was an overexaggeration, but it isn’t. I’ve learned to live with it anyway.

“It’s going to be okay.” I told him, dressing my tone with eagerness.

He remained unconvinced.

 


 

It was exactly midnight. The entire convention center was dark and cold. All of 13,000 seats were mostly empty. There were about 7 screens, and we sat close to one.

I can still hear the voices of people outside. They were doing their firewalk. We were done with ours.

I sat in my chair, tears running down my face. I couldn’t stop crying. The blue light from the mega screens reflecting it. Zee sat next to me, holding my hand.

He did amazing. He walked right after I did. I turned to watch him, and he became… different.

For a split second, the gentle, loving man I know shouted at the top of his lungs, gathered all his strength and where the fire was below his feet, I found the one blazing the most in his eyes.

It was almost primitive.

He walked across the fire with slow grace. His eyes focused in front of him, almost delirious. When it was done, he didn’t notice. Three people had to stop him from walking over the edge to spray water on his soles. Within that second, he snapped back from his trance.

He did so well. <3


 

I didn’t.

The crowd was screaming, “Yes, Yes, Yes” continuously, over and over again. People were hyped up. It looked like a possession of sorts, of thousands of people simultaneously. I was one of the first few people who was going to walk. I ran towards the entrance when they opened. Naturally, there was impatience from those lined up behind.

I was getting pushed.

I couldn’t psyche myself up, I could feel my heart beat faster every step I took closer to the firewalk.

I told myself everything that I should. I memorized the instructions.

There were hot coals in front of me, I could feel the heat.

fire

When it was finally my turn, I couldn’t catch my breath. A woman screamed on my left ear, trying to give me the last few minutes of instructions, and then someone pushed me forward.

Forward the coals.

My first step was excruciating.

That’s not how it was supposed to be.

What went wrong? My head spun. I tried to clear it immediately.

I did everything they told us how.

Still, the fire burned.

I took another step and I felt my heart stopped. It was painful again. I took another one, and the heat was still the same. By my next step, the heat got stronger and the pain shot up my feet. I jumped to the side, at the cool grasses, in shock.

A second later, without even thinking about it, I jumped back to the flames, each step sending a shock to my body, every second excruciating, sending me back to the sides every time I take one more.

I started this. 

I don’t know how long it took before I got to the end. It felt like such a long time.

It’s only over when I’m done.

I pathetically tried to reach the finish line.

In and out of the coal, getting burnt each time.

Some people laughed at how I danced between the coals and the grass, constantly getting hurt, my fire walk lacking grace. By then, I was disheartened… I turned around to watch Zee.


comfort 2

What’s wrong with me?“, I asked him.

My tears would not stop.

“I told myself I can do it. I silenced my fearful heart. I did what I could.”

At that point, blaming other people seemed like a foreign idea. I couldn’t accept that the reason I was not able to do it gracefully was that someone pushed me in before I was mentally ready. Excuses make me feel sick.

“What if this will become the reason for me to never reach my potential?”, I asked him.

I felt lost and desperate, I don’t even know what the reason was. One of my hand held my phone, a google page of me trying to find the reason why I could not perform as well in fire walks. Was it something subconscious? Am I doomed to never manipulate my mind against overwhelming fear and erase it?

He was quiet, holding me, and stroking my back.

It was too dark for other people to see me, the majority of which were rushing to go home anyway. It’s been a tiring day.

“What is wrong with me?” I asked again.

“Nothing,” he said. “Look at me.”

comfort-1.jpg

I met his gaze, my eyes still full of tears.

The true measure of courage is when you’re deathly afraid but you did it anyway. You were in pain but you kept jumping back to the fire. You finished it, even if you think you didn’t. Anyone else could give up the moment the coal hit their skin and they felt it, but you kept returning.”

There was a deafening silence. I could not hear any other sound in the world. I focused on what he had to say.

“It’s the character about you. When you kept jumping in… Don’t think about those who glided across it and made it sound like they’re really cool. I frankly don’t know what I’d do if the coals burned me like you did.” He smiled. “You know I’m anti-pain. This was even your idea.”

“But anyway… It’s that about you. You kept going.”


 

I remember the beat of the drums that night but my heart overpowered it all. It thumped in my chest like a small animal captive, desperately finding a way to escape.

I remember the fear growing as the heat grew.

fear

I may not have walked like the most talented firewalker in the world, but I had the heart to finish. I jumped right back in, even as it threw me out numerous times.

A lot of things in my life came to be not because I was fearless, but because I had every ordinary person’s fear, yet I pulled through.

I was afraid of being scrutinized, still, I continued being Celeste. I stood on stage, met a lot of people, started my own projects. Every time I put myself out in the world, I tame and dance with the fear that lives inside of me.

Who am I to keep going and to have the tenacity to dream? I am no one. I just know that I have a dream to rise up to and expectations to meet. I have the ability if I don’t get in my own way. There are people I can help.

There are people who need me to control my fears.

Sometimes, the only way to success is to jump even if you have to scream all the bloody way down.

That moment will push you to be at your best. 🙂

Forever yours,

Celeste

 

Part 1: Everybody is Winning (A Bull’s Euphoria)

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It was a 2 hours drive from my place to the meet-up. I was sick from all the traveling and had initially decided to remove myself from society in general for a few days.

1 hour before the meeting, I stood up anyway and scolded myself. “This is not how you show people respect for their time.”

By the time I arrived, it was late in the afternoon, and I was already tired from driving through the dusty roads of Metro Manila.

It was a Saturday.


 

I sat next to one of ZFT’s junior mentor. We joked about what he wore, and after apologizing for coming last, I settled down to eat the food the host prepared.

It was a beautiful home. Minimalist for quite a large family. There was enough greenery to satisfy the soul, and wooden furniture dominated the interiors.

“Boss,” he said. He turned his shoulder to face the guy beside me. Sitting to my left is Zeefreaks, wearing his usual nondescript clothing and sporting a new haircut. His mouth was still half-full of peanuts.

“I need your opinion on something.”

“Sure.”

The guy speaking was Tor, a junior mentor.

“I’m up 350% this year. Should I reset or should I keep trading with this big capital?”

It was only mid-February but every trader in the room knows the market has been tremendously generous to her players. Congratulatory messages reigned the social media stratosphere. It was almost every day that a stock can hit 50% up, and the next day another 50% more.

Even before Tor asked, he already had his own answer. But still, he wanted to hear what Zee would say.

“Congratulations! But I think you should reset your port. Clean it. Return to baseline”, he said hastily, as if it had to be done now.

It was the weekend.

“Trust me. Your money has grown beyond what you can manage, so before you give it back to the market, and subconsciously return to the level you’re comfortable with, withdraw it now and lock in your profits for real.”

Tor hesitated. He still has a position at a stock that he believes would go long.

“Listen,” Zee continued, this time his voice stressing on his conviction. “I’ve made that mistake a lot of times before. Namimigay yung market ngayon– which is very rare! Kaya kunin nyo na.”

Pero, Boss.”, Nina started. “Isn’t it always like this every first quarter of the year?

I was sure that wasn’t right. I haven’t been trading long, but I have not seen a market like this before. I started trading on a January a few years back, and I remember the massacre that occurred on the stock market during that time.

No,” he replied. “The last I have seen this was around 6 to 7 years ago.

There was a collective gasp around the table.

“Milk it now and make sure you lock in your profits for this season.”

Pero, boss, konti nalang… mag QYM na eh (quadruple your money)”

“Stop… See? That’s where it begins. This is Superman Syndrome. I’ve made this mistake three times before. One time, I turned my 16 million into 8.


dagger

On March 19, 2018

The sky rained daggers. The weather in the PSE has not been good for the past few days. Breakouts would not follow through. ION was a terrible example.

A lot of those who tried to catch the fall, fell down with it. Another casualty, and another casualty, and there goes another one.

dagger 2

Social Media quiets down again.

The fast risers, tumbled down twice faster. Some of them returning to what they were a month ago.

A new season has begun.

 


 

Unlike most traders, I have not seen the light of day until years after I have started trading.

I heard that the majority of stories of those who jumped into trading had their first successive wins in the beginning, and that got them hooked.

I was tested the moment I planted a foot. I was punished for every wrong turn.

With this, I forever remained suspicious and respectful of the market. Not even the most skillful warrior can survive the wrath of the hurricane.

This is not where easy money can be made because from where I came from, and getting to where I am now, did not come easily to me at all.


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Humor me for a moment and sit back in my bubble to observe.

Right in front of you is a hundred thousand of traders.

Join their group, read their discussions.

What if you can tell which part of the cycle we are in just by observing what they post about?

The night where everyone starts posting news sources from way back 2015, and no one is afraid, and everybody is winning

You gotta be ready. It’s time to sell.


 

Whew! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I hope you guys locked in those juicy profits from early this year! It’s only been 3 months into 2018 but it does feel like so much has already happened– I feel older already!

If you like this piece, do watch out for Part 2:

“Everybody’s losing (The Bear begins)”

Forever yours,

Celeste

new-yorks-fearless-girl-statue.jpg
Always ready.

 

Someday, you’ll find me…

Part 1: Everybody is Winning (A Bull’s Euphoria)

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It was a 2 hours drive from my place to the meet-up. I was sick from all the traveling and had initially decided to remove myself from society in general for a few days.

1 hour before the meeting, I stood up anyway and scolded myself. “This is not how you show people respect for their time.”

By the time I arrived, it was late in the afternoon, and I was already tired from driving through the dusty roads of Metro Manila.

It was a Saturday.


 

I sat next to one of ZFT’s junior mentor. We joked about what he wore, and after apologizing for coming last, I settled down to eat the food the host prepared.

It was a beautiful home. Minimalist for quite a large family. There was enough greenery to satisfy the soul, and wooden furniture dominated the interiors.

“Boss,” he said. He turned his shoulder to face the guy beside me. Sitting to my left is Zeefreaks, wearing his usual nondescript clothing and sporting a new haircut. His mouth was still half-full of peanuts.

“I need your opinion on something.”

“Sure.”

The guy speaking was Tor, a junior mentor.

“I’m up 350% this year. Should I reset or should I keep trading with this big capital?”

It was only mid-February but every trader in the room knows the market has been tremendously generous to her players. Congratulatory messages reigned the social media stratosphere. It was almost every day that a stock can hit 50% up, and the next day another 50% more.

Even before Tor asked, he already had his own answer. But still, he wanted to hear what Zee would say.

“Congratulations! But I think you should reset your port. Clean it. Return to baseline”, he said hastily, as if it had to be done now.

It was the weekend.

“Trust me. Your money has grown beyond what you can manage, so before you give it back to the market, and subconsciously return to the level you’re comfortable with, withdraw it now and lock in your profits for real.”

Tor hesitated. He still has a position at a stock that he believes would go long.

“Listen,” Zee continued, this time his voice stressing on his conviction. “I’ve made that mistake a lot of times before. Namimigay yung market ngayon– which is very rare! Kaya kunin nyo na.”

Pero, Boss.”, Nina started. “Isn’t it always like this every first quarter of the year?

I was sure that wasn’t right. I haven’t been trading long, but I have not seen a market like this before. I started trading on a January a few years back, and I remember the massacre that occurred on the stock market during that time.

No,” he replied. “The last I have seen this was around 6 to 7 years ago.

There was a collective gasp around the table.

“Milk it now and make sure you lock in your profits for this season.”

Pero, boss, konti nalang… mag QYM na eh (quadruple your money)”

“Stop… See? That’s where it begins. This is Superman Syndrome. I’ve made this mistake three times before. One time, I turned my 16 million into 8.


dagger

On March 19, 2018

The sky rained daggers. The weather in the PSE has not been good for the past few days. Breakouts would not follow through. ION was a terrible example.

A lot of those who tried to catch the fall, fell down with it. Another casualty, and another casualty, and there goes another one.

dagger 2

Social Media quiets down again.

The fast risers, tumbled down twice faster. Some of them returning to what they were a month ago.

A new season has begun.

 


 

Unlike most traders, I have not seen the light of day until years after I have started trading.

I heard that the majority of stories of those who jumped into trading had their first successive wins in the beginning, and that got them hooked.

I was tested the moment I planted a foot. I was punished for every wrong turn.

With this, I forever remained suspicious and respectful of the market. Not even the most skillful warrior can survive the wrath of the hurricane.

This is not where easy money can be made because from where I came from, and getting to where I am now, did not come easily to me at all.


1191c88e2355210ea079721a319db639--bw-photography-artistic-photography

Humor me for a moment and sit back in my bubble to observe.

Right in front of you is a hundred thousand of traders.

Join their group, read their discussions.

What if you can tell which part of the cycle we are in just by observing what they post about?

The night where everyone starts posting news sources from way back 2015, and no one is afraid, and everybody is winning

You gotta be ready. It’s time to sell.


 

Whew! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I hope you guys locked in those juicy profits from early this year! It’s only been 3 months into 2018 but it does feel like so much has already happened– I feel older already!

If you like this piece, do watch out for Part 2:

“Everybody’s losing (The Bear begins)”

Forever yours,

Celeste

new-yorks-fearless-girl-statue.jpg
Always ready.

 

Someday, you’ll find me…

About the Girl: 1/365, 2018, & 6 months of Full-time Trading

 

It’s the first day of the year.

I started my day with a rude awakening from the videoke a few houses down the block. I had about 4 hours of sleep and I lay there for God Knows How Long, staring at my ceiling. A white diagonal piece of block curved by the shape of our roof. In the center is a single white fluorescent bulb.

I need to change my bulb.

The past few days, people talked about having one blast of a year. I was cornered into reflecting mine. I didn’t celebrate the holidays much because I was constantly thinking. I felt the dirt marks of 2017 that I should have cleaned up, but they were already there. Stained. I felt a progressive sense of humiliation over what people saw, or what I THINK they saw, as I clumsily try to balance a new life.

I don’t think of 2017 as a big year.

I was just whisked from one path to another, out of breath from the last adventure, still consumed by the thoughts of it while I was already halfway a new one. I rolled with it instead. Trying to slay the Showing Up part, remembering that half of what I have to do is to just be there when things are ‘happening’.

Sure, I resigned and went home. But the credits didn’t roll.

After that, a myriad of traveling, some decent success in trading, bouts of meeting new people, and trying out new things.

For some reason, I didn’t feel like I was supposed to pop the champagne. Everything I decided upon in 2017 was not a feast I can sit down to eat.

All I did was set the table. I don’t feel like I lived something extraordinary, or that I had become someone “people want to become”, as I’ve been constantly told.

I’m still confused, overwhelmingly frightened, and too paralyzed to begin things.

 


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It was all a plan. My haircut was even a part of it. Planning is one thing, execution another. I might have aced the plan, but I didn’t follow through as much as I should.

I didn’t go ALL IN, when I thought I acted like I went ALL IN.

Instead, I took a moment.

It was not because I was lazy, but it was because of what it meant.

Life abroad was a perpetual storm. I felt like I was drowning all the time. When I came home, it didn’t dawn on me that this was not another vacation break until sometime. But when it did, it felt like I stood on top of the waters finally able to breathe.

I just wanted to breathe.

Being surrounded by people who had so many goals to accomplish, constantly trying to outdo one another, I was harried into directions I didn’t EVEN want to go to at a pace I didn’t want to run.

Strong personalities are like bold colors trying to seep into each other’s hue. I was losing my identity, retracting and remolding my goals, pressured to ‘arrive’ at a destination I wasn’t gunning for just because they were all wrestling their way there.

I should have known by now to run my own race. That there’s a difference between patience and procrastination, and the seeds I plant bloom at their own phase. Where I’m going isn’t where everyone else is, no matter how much I respect and adore them.

 

I’m going to create my own legacy.


 

I wish 2017 was my year.

My feed was exploding with happiness as they talked about how well theirs went. I couldn’t say the same thing, not with the standards I’ve set for myself, but that doesn’t mean it ends here. Everyone has their own time. Mine will come.

I thoroughly enjoyed it though. One of the best things about it was utterly realizing that I didn’t need that much money to be happy. I just needed a moderate amount, with lots of freedom.

I hope I can keep it that way. But how do you become contented while staying hungry?

The danger of upgrading my lifestyle to become happier was something I only used to read about, but now it was a conscious decision to keep my feet on the ground.

The blessings are here but I have to remember how to survive a drought.

I can’t say what 2018 can bring. But damn, will it not be better? Because there is no other way.

I’ve burned the ship that can take me back. If there was a mountain in front of me and the ONLY way forward is climbing it, will I not climb it?

I will.

I gave myself no choice but to dig my nails in the dirt and pull myself up. The fire that burned the ship is within me, inside my heart.

Becca+Cahan+Let+Her+Sleep+She+Will+Move+Mountains

I take my last long inhale of the crisp fresh air.

Opened my eyes. Stretched my feet. Got ready to submerge.

It’s time.

 

Still here and Forever Yours,

Celeste

 

I shared this a long time ago around the same time this year. But I need to share it again, if it helps at least just ONE person, then it’s worth it.

 

The Library

 

Welcome to the The Index of my page!

This is my Library or where I have compiled my writings in a friendlier version for those new and returning as well. I have segmented it into different parts for you:

The Journey is the writings of my story as a struggling trader. This is raw, unfiltered thoughts of what I was thinking and what I went through before I broke my glass ceiling.

The Syndicate is a series of writings regarding insider information or stock manipulation. I was once able to witness how these people do their illegal work and I documented it. In the end, I walked out feeling certain that it was not the most sustainable or profitable way to be in this business.

Ever After is an ongoing series of my life after The Journey. It certainly meant I faced different challenges at a different level. I met people, made mistakes, won some laps. The playground is different in a high-performing, high-expectations, big-money scenario. The way people treat those at this stage is surprising. For better or for worse.

Articles is a portion of my blog that serves to teach in a manner that is coherent to my taste.

Personal writings are nothing but (sometimes) cryptic babblings of the fleeting things that pass my way in my personal life.

⭐ – Recommended read


 

Rooting For Celeste is a collection of writings that focused on my struggles within, struggles with the market, and a peek on the mentorship I received from ZeeFreaks. It is about the 90% that wielded the 10%.

90% is about you, the trader, 10% is the technical analysis.

You will read about my journey, a young OFW girl in her 20s, wiping out 200,000 pesos which was everything of my initial investment. To make matters more significant, none of those figures were mine. They were all Other People’s Money or more specifically—my family.

And, heck, did I want to go home so bad. I pushed myself so hard, wanting to go home every moment I could think of, instead of living in a country that was not mine.

It all started here. ⭐ (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-qy)

This is my post talking about how Zee and I started. Right when I met him, he took me in as his bastard (a ZFT slang, more formally known as Spark).

Shortly after that, I wrote about him. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-2y)

He was known to make challenging remarks against relatively known figures in the market, and I finally understood why.

After which, I wrote about ZFT. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-2R)

You will find how different their mindset is, and how I stood in awe at the kind of community and culture they had. Back then, a bastard was not formally welcomed in the ZFT community.

We were the first ones, comprising of Akio, Di, and myself. We had to prove our worth to ‘belong’. We were also the first to break grounds. Ever since then, more bastards were made. Until finally on year 2017, the Sparks program was shut down.

If you want to have a fighting chance to get ZeeFreaks himself or any of the ZFT you considered untouchable to at least reply to your messages to guide your trades, or even accept you as mentee- Read this: (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-DN)

 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that with the name and attention that the ZFT has been getting there were people who wanted to tear him down. Some were big names, others hid in troll accounts. They all did what they can to destroy what Zee created. None of them succeeded.

In the end, ZFT continued to show why. You can read all about it here: (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-L2)

Going back, the REAL reason why I lost my entire initial investments was because I made the mistake of trusting people who had ill intentions. They made a name on their own in the industry, and this was supposedly enough reason for the naïve girl in me. To this day, they still do the same.

In the beginning, I just made him a letter. My heart bleeding from the massive betrayal I suffered. There were a lot of us, but I had the pen. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-1R) I remember this post making rounds in trading groups because everyone knew who he was.

A lot resounded the anger I felt. I promised not to write about him again, but weeks after, he decided to start attacking a person I care about—Zee.

So, I wrote again.

This time highlighting why men like him were NEVER worth looking up to anyway and why he can never teach how to become rich in the stock market. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-4B)

In between that, I wrote about why these gurus only teach you when to buy, but never when to sell. ⭐ (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-12)


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Back to my story. The journey.

This was the first post that made people demand for a blog, in which I happily obliged. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-h)

It was just after the purge, so I wrote about how it made me feel and I talked about technical analysis versus fundamental analysis.

Speaking of which, here’s a post where I related dating men and trading stocks, another technical analysis versus fundamental analysis post. Fun read. ♥ (https://wp.me/s6WRJe-1)

I have also written about purging. Purging is something every trader MUST understand and be willing to go through. It is a weapon by itself. If I could rename it, I wouldn’t even call it purging. I’d call it Healing. Purging shouldn’t just be a one-time event in the beginning. It can be used again and again whenever needed. ⭐ (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-Sw)

After a large purge, especially in the beginning, a trader may feel various emotions. It’s individualistic. After meeting another trader who had to go through purge, I wrote him a letter that you may find useful if you are ever in that situation. My post purge advice: (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-P5)

When I was starting out, the hardest part was shaking off the past challenges. They continued to haunt me.

The problem is, being beaten black and blue by trading the market, will obviously leave us with zero confidence and a hundred and ten percent of doubt. It’s like walking on a lonely street. At midnight. Double-checking your back every step of the way. You’ll get nowhere, and possibly increase your chances of a heart attack.

Trust issues. I’ve felt it in my core. And as a newbie, a fresh learner, I wrestled with it a lot. I made a post about it (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-Q) and how I have proven to myself that trusting myself was still better than trusting other people to decide for me.

I paid for that mistake dearly and I carried it with me. This one is about giving yourself a fresh start and letting yourself dream again. Because after all you’ve been through, you shouldn’t be the first person to stop yourself from winning. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-3n) For your very own sake.

As my story progressed, here is the post I made when I did my first trade while being taught by Zee. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-28) Profit: 2500 pesos. Cute. 

5 months after, this is what happened. A light in the middle of the darkness. ⭐ (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-9L)

After which, I was gone for a while, and I explained why. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-xh)

The whole ordeal was tough for me. I’m here to say now that you can’t be a trader if you didn’t go through this. I struggled with my faith a LOT. There were days where I did nothing but cry, pray, and doubt. To put it in simpler terms, I WAS NOT OKAY. Not at all. I had my wrestle with God. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-n5)

Aside from wrestling with my faith, I was also beginning to crumble from the expectations of my own mentor. I was somehow carrying his name, but he didn’t understand where he was lacking and why I couldn’t progress. I figured he could no longer understand how I felt because he was a million miles away from where I was still standing. I wrote about the side of the mentees, though we should always feel grateful. And more importantly, about the people who already ‘made it’ profitably versus to those who are still far away from reaching their own light, and how they might have forgotten how it is to be the struggling newbie trader. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-Do)

In the middle of everything that I was going through, I had a lot of What Ifs. What if I had chosen a different path? What if I didn’t become an OFW? I was given so many choices that I wondered which one could have been better, especially during the moments I was almost at the brink of regret from choosing this fight. About the time I wrote about choosing to be an OFW, a nurse, and how maybe, one day, I will live a free life too. One of my favourite posts to look back to. ⭐ (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-eB)

I made mistake after mistake, and I was beginning to think that my life was a huge amalgamation of all of it. I tried to build myself up even when I was the one tearing myself down.

In 2 parts, I wrote about why you are not your mistakes and the things you do, to help you survive is not everything that you are. And the journey isn’t over when you think you failed. It is only when you quit that you cannot change the outcome. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-Gu) and (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-I8) Part 2 focused more on how you have nothing really left to lose, except your life. And it isn’t really over until you say you’re done. In which case, should feel liberating.

I also wrote about how your pain should be your ultimate teacher and motivator. It will push you towards the best of your ability, if you understood it– Your Taroli. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-C3)

My mentorship with Zee was very peculiar. Different from the rest. He gave me attention he did not give anyone else. It was quite controversial. My task was to write about it. In essence, giving everyone else a peek into the classroom and learn from the mentee’s side. This is what it is like to have a mentor, and with my writings, you would feel as if you are also his student. The Scribe Chronicles is all about this. My lessons are yours too.
THE MOST SCANDALOUS PART OF MY BLOG and the most technical analysis-centered it will ever be.
1. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-b8)

2. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-cx)
3. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-gi)
4. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-jl
5. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-pM)
6. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-Ah)
7. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-xE) — probably my most controversial. Zee traded MY portfolio. It even caused reactions within our own community. Also inside is different levels of taking profit. Back when I couldn’t afford to make another cut loss.
8. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-E9) And when we finally met up in person. Also, the end of scribe chronicles as we know it.

 


 

a7735db7c898a5535f3ac2a9ac19413c

The Syndicate/Inside Information trading series

One of the best stories I have ever written was where I was an observer of a syndicate doing MARKET MANIPULATION. It was an amazing experience to watch it first-hand. I gained a lot of money, but in the end it only cemented my belief that the way to making money in the market is NOT here.

Read my adventure here:
Chapter 1 (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-75)

Chapter 2 (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-7y)
Chapter 3 (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-86)
Chapter 4 (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-8P)
Chapter 5 (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-w7)

 

Finally, I have reached a point where I couldn’t decide what world I should focus on. Being an OFW nurse or a trader. My schedule made it impossible for me to choose both. I wrote about how I struggled to choose between the two. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-Q7)

And in the end, I resigned. ⭐(https://wp.me/p6WRJe-QU)

Afterward, I wrote about finally being back home and being torn with my new identity, not knowing where to place myself in this society, where people constantly asked you who you are. I wondered who I am after associating myself with being a nurse for a long time, and in a snap of a finger, no longer one. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-Rf)

What’s next then? It was a new beginning. This piece is about me making my first steps outside my personal prison. (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-S5)


 

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 Ever After

6 months after I arrived in the Philippines, I lay on my bed thinking about what I did for half a year. It wasn’t true that I landed on the ground running. The hardest part was adjusting to the fact that there is no urgency left. No one to boss me around. No schedule that demands attending. And what was a short break extended to complacency, so on the first day of the year 2018. I vowed to change my ways. (https://tinyurl.com/y6abvcf4).

A month after that, I attended a seminar in Singapore that made me walk on fire. And in there, feeling dejected, I was wondering if I was a failure for having blisters on my feet. The room full of 15,000 people was dark as I cried and learned that courage does not necessarily mean a lack of fear. But acting despite of it. (https://tinyurl.com/y4mre42g)

As a trader, drawdowns are normal. But that didn’t make me immune to the emotions it entails. Our culture of sharing portsnaps in social media was enough to get me doubting my own capability especially on a trying time… but surprisingly, even as portsnaps are the perfect evidence, it is also the perfect lie. Port snapshots are nothing but a glimpse, a word in a chapter, a note in a full melody. What we do not see is much more important than what we are allowed to. Read it here. (https://tinyurl.com/yyhcy899)

Speaking of which, one Thursday evening, I had the sudden inspiration to write down about the Ratrace we all want to escape. Pleasantly became my most viral post ever, here is a short story of a wolf trying to break the circle. ⭐ (https://tinyurl.com/y2jghpll)

I’d like to say I have escaped that for myself. But what is Ever After? It is a fragile glass rose, complete with the thorns. After I left behind the place I was running away from, I have entered a new arena– One with stakes so high.

Here I meet people of high-caliber, and like the old adage goes, never be the smartest one in the room. At this point, the people surrounding me became different. There are those who would be happy to see people fall after they rise, and there are those who think their money can buy your dignity (https://tinyurl.com/y4plmvrn).

Because inevitably, betrayal happens. And betrayal is only called betrayal when it is mixed with the taste of disappointment from the people you built up and counted on. (https://tinyurl.com/y2ydl7kp)

4 years and 2 months from The Journey and I had gone through so many things, from a broke trader to a profitable one, jumping into entrepreneurship and the political and emotional space of creating a business. In the midst of all the chaos, Zee and I decided to finally face the spotlight and reveal who we really are. Celeste of RFC finally shows her face and took on a whole new world of challenges. (https://tinyurl.com/yyjnmx3l)

We even created a mentorship together where I champion trading psyschology and he teaches his craft in technical analysis. Here is a glimpse of what it is inside the most elusive mentorship community (https://tinyurl.com/y3fc454e).

And I thought I had it in the bag. But what did I know? There were more layers to peel. I wondered what the worst thing that could happen, simply because I wanted to be ready for it. I did find out what, but no I was not ready. I went through the painful birthing of more betrayals and the essential stripping of the innocence I once had, a general drop in faith for friendship when money and control got involved. (https://tinyurl.com/y5xhowrg)

Eventually, I had to be okay with it. My dreams made me lose people, but I’m glad it did. (https://tinyurl.com/y4ys6qj5)

 


 

Articles

 

Here are random stock market things. All relatable, slightly hilarious, but all in all, majorly useful. Some content featured ZFT’s inputs. My favourite one is about being an excellent student in the market.
1. Ways the stock market changed me (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-5r)

2. Dating a Stock trader (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-Kc)
3. Unlocking your maximum potential ⭐(https://wp.me/p6WRJe-Mp)

4. The cycle of stock market:  A Bull’s Euphoria (https://tinyurl.com/yxdoedwp)  and  a Bear’s Menace (https://tinyurl.com/y29gg3nk)

5. What ‘wasting my time’ with games taught me (https://tinyurl.com/yyu5bfn4)

 


 

Personal Writings

 

Lastly, a few personal writings. Honestly, mostly about a more colourful part of my life. My love life. 
1. Mermaid’s den (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-3g)

2. A break up (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-PE)

3. A friend dies (https://wp.me/p6WRJe-wG)

Forever yours,
Celeste
My pleasure as always. 🙂

My take on Trading Groups

“…As the infection settled deep in the patient’s bones, killing the flesh, necrotizing the bone. The smell overwhelmingly rotten, the air putrid with death. It is apparent that the only way to save the patient from total consumption is amputation.”

Have you ever witnessed decay? Before it becomes a uniform of black dried out flesh and shriveled dead skin. When it’s raspy as winter, hollow as wood. There’s a process it goes through. Raw, pink tissues underlying the skin, exposed and pus-filled. Some black, some beet red, some yellow and green with blisters. It never looks pretty. It is sad and disgusting and ultimately horrifying. The ordeal can be excruciatingly long, taking its bloody time to gnaw. Even with modern day science, the turn-out can be dismal, especially for those who have co-morbidities like diabetes. The antibiotics can never work fast enough, and a variety of medicine, both new and old will be tried, hoping for some recovery.

Maggots on the wound. Pig collagen on top. Dressing changed every 8 hours. Hydrogels. Iodosorb. Manuka honey of all shapes and forms. Silver bandage. Alginate. Algivon. Gauze with petroleum or cured with iodine. Each costing thousands, and it has to be re-done every single day.

In the end, in some cases, amputation is the only choice left if we were to save the rest of the limb from the spreading nightmare. Otherwise it gets worse and it gets painful.

rotten_body_by_shanyar

Imagine if human beings had the ability to regrow that limb, would it still be a question? Would we cut it as easily as hair after a heart break? All it would take is rehabilitation, rest, willpower, nutrition. What if we can leave it infected, leave it amputated, or do we grow it back?

I know what you would pick, because I’d pick it too. I’d fight like hell to get my leg back, I would regimen myself and discipline myself, and wouldn’t eat sisig because it’s BAD for my health. I’d suffer now so I can run again later. I’d do it. Anything. Tell me and I will.

So the question is, why do you leave your port with the infestation of death lurking and gnawing until you have nothing left behind? Redder and deeper and angrier it goes. Inflamed skin. Pus-filled. Market openings don’t excite you, it SCARES you. Because it can hurt again, more than you thought it can.

And it will.

So
why
don’t
you
just
cut?


 

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In one fell swoop, it was over. It was agonizing, the memory gutting on you, the consequences real and undeniable. Right in front of your eyes, the money you worked hard for, gone.

Just a few buttons, a deep breath, and it’s gone. It can take as short as a few minutes to a few hours.

But atleast it’s over. Whatever you gave permission to torment you, you have slapped its offending hand, and declared no longer. No longer.

Tomorrow, you can rest. Free at last. Rest because there’s more work to be done.

Purging does not end with clearing your port, cutting your losses, and having a good time away from the market. There is something much more important for you to do to ensure it never happens again.

GET. OFF. TRADING. GROUPS.
Get out of that facebook chat group.
Get out of that trading community hype group.
That “learning” group where everyone is “free” to share charts.

One day, you can return, be immune to all their noise but for now they ARE the enemy. This is the stock market, did you forget? It’s a zero-sum game. You don’t even know what’s right and wrong yet, you’ve already suffered the consequences for that. Or are you trying to commit the same mistakes again? For good measure?

Everyone else is trying to make a living, if you don’t know yet, it can be off off you too.


 

Not Just from Enemy Lines

two-faced.jpg

You have to know yourself and strike a balance between having an accountability group and a hype/dump group. The honest truth is, I can’t even look at anyone in the face and say another person’s opinion on my trade plan will not affect my confidence. His doubt will creep into mine. His confidence in his trade plan will too.

ZFT don’t give out stock recommendations but inside the tribe chat, there lies another ball game I have to learn to manage on my own. Quietly exiting during the days they asked the participants to be more active, I excused myself and said I couldn’t keep up with it. My work was in the way.

Months had passed since then. I went home, I had my own rhythm in the market. I missed being in touch with them.

So a few weeks ago, I was added back out of my own volition. This was during the first monster move of what we now know as series of PXP trades. I had a great base and in that day the rally amounted to almost 30% at its peak. I was flabbergasted, I made good money! Much more than I’ve done in a single day before. Suffice to say, I was excited about it.

port 1

Over the weekend, I revisited my plan. I was going to monitor the minutes for my exit. Monday morning, I did as I was supposed to do, but with the volume I was holding– something I was not used to, with the amount of profits I’m still learning to familiarize with.

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I sold too early.

The price kept rocketing. At that moment, the small wedgy sound of Skype kept playing on my screen along with the messages it contained.

“Congrats PXP holders! Woooo”


 

Still Affected by the Noise

They hinted about it getting to 10. I knew it was entirely possible, and if it does, then who’s to say what could happen? I felt the tinge of annoyance build inside of me, growing as the price escalate. I was no longer a PXP holder, and even if I did make money out of it, I could have made more.

I couldn’t sit properly. I was still half-asleep then, partly because of my messed up sleeping habits, so I tried to roll around my mattress to get the feeling off my chest.

It wouldn’t stop. The noise. The messages. The euphoria.
I tried to ignore it but it was impossible.

I couldn’t think. I know I could still re-enter but the noise, what qualifies to me as such, is there. Present. Toying with my rational thinking. Instead, I was beginning to get consumed by my own greed and fear. I didn’t want to miss out on this cash cow. I was angry at myself for selling too quick. No matter how much I tried to appease myself that it was okay, I made more than enough, that I should be happy. It wouldn’t work. I kept hearing that wedgy Skype sound and it pestered on my mistake.

The next minute, I got up and decided to exit the application.

The overwhelming silence of my room gave a wash of relief the moment I did. There I sat, watched again, bought again.

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At the end of the day, I bagged more profits.


 

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“If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone.”

Be alone until you have enough knowledge to discern what is right or wrong for you.

“If You Want To Go Far, Go Together.”

And when you are ready, you can always return.

s-l300

 


 

After I sold PXP, I turned my Skype back on. I’ve back read what the tribe members are up to, and laughed at their jokes.

Noise can be inside of your head, those losses tugging on your fear and greed every trade execution you make.

Noise can also be random people from the internet who– are strangers really– but claims to know what is best for you to do.

But not all of them are from wolves who wanted nothing but their own personal profit off your mistakes and naivete. Noise can also come from your friends, your batch mates, or even in an elite trading group who made no recommendations to one another.

s

 

It can be from feeling left out while others did well. It can be as simple as overhearing congratulations for another person while you couldn’t even make one simple winning trade the entire time. It can be from people who didn’t want to harm you, it can be anything that could make you an emotional trader. Anything. That is noise.

One day, it may no longer bother you anymore. When you’ve confidently survived periods of losses, and recovered with periods of wins. Again and again until you’ve built a sense of security in yourself and your skills.

Know yourself and trade according to who you are. At the end of the day, it is your money, your trading plan, your personal end-game.

I cheered for their wins too, but quietly on my own, in my little corner of my room.

 

 

Forever yours,

Celeste

 

H a p p y b e a t s ♥

 

What is next with Celeste

I’M HERE. NOW WHAT.

What if you were given an opportunity to re-structure your life?

Your body covered with dust, the ground fertile for seeds, it’s time to plant the fruits you’ve longed to taste.

What do I do now that I can do whatever the heck I want? Dobby has been given a sock.

 

dobby

 

What now?


 

I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have my life planned out. It’s useless. I plan things to calm down my endless worries. Even if most of it don’t happen exactly the way it should and, in general, specially when you got to work with other people, fixed outcomes turn situational. And I’m the girl who has band aids in my wallet just in case someone cuts their self in my presence. Let me fix that bleeding for you, honey.

Before I tendered my resignation, I kid you not, I have atleast 5 projects in line to make sure my income does not live or die with the stock market. Risks are unavoidable, the best we can all do is learn to manage it.

If you were going to fight, atleast mitigate your chances of death with enough armor.

I was never the kind of person who reveals what I plan to do. Nobody knew what it was, not even my parents who sleep next door. Why I have to be in Makati early tomorrow, they don’t have to know. “I’m just meeting with someone for something important.” That was the best they got.

I’d hate to be the person who talked big dreams, but executed nothing. In silence, I shall climb and accomplish. Big mouths got their ego to feed. I have nothing to be proud of until it’s already done and dusted.


 

But let’s not talk about that for now. What I bought was the freedom to live my impractical dreams. All the useless, senseless things I wanted to do that wouldn’t make me money or feed my future children. Nothing the ‘sane’ people who crave stability would dare to do, or as my mother calls it, ‘hobby ng mga mayaman yan’. Those who do not have to worry about making money to keep a roof above their head and food on the table.

For the record, I didn’t think we were poor when she said it. I was free to point at an object and with enough crying and pleading, magically obtain it. I didn’t know how much they sacrificed just to give me a life of comfort and security.

They kept their heads down and stayed at the pit of back-breaking work as second-class citizens in a foreign country because they didn’t want to risk our future.

Thanks mom, thanks dad. You couldn’t risk it before, now I’ll risk it for you.


what i'd do

I’ve fantasized for this opportunity for so long. I found a Mindly map I made way back in 2016, long before things started looking up.

It was aptly titled “What I’d do”. It helped me through nights so hard, fantasizing about the future. The ‘list’ of Why.

Here are a few of the things I’d do now that I made it here:

what i'd do2

I want to re-learn French, try crossfit and anti-gravity yoga, volunteer at PEARLS and PAWS and A-HA!, learn freediving, surf at Baler, skydive on a beautiful city.

Oh, the possibilities.

Now that I’m here.

How about you? What would you do, when you suddenly find yourself allowed and able to do them?

If you don’t know, then you should start to find out.

Dream and execute.


 

As for the practical matters, what am I up to so I could keep my net worth growing while creating an impact? I have several. What can I say, I’m a dreamer. My ambitions are rock-solid big and I have the heart and guts to make them work. I managed to narrow it down to 5 things for the rest of 2017.

goals

I typed them at Microsoft Paint and made it my laptop’s wallpaper. This way, I am reminded of it each and every time I turn my laptop on. Get to work, get it done, this is where you’re headed.

One of them is becoming a financial advisor.

Things are in the works so… Root for me? 🙂

 

Forever yours,

Celeste

P.S.

Hey, sweethearts. It was raining while I wrote this and I had beautiful music flooding the air with melody. It was wonderful. I thought I’d share it with you guys. Soothing and relaxing to the nerves. Sure I don’t understand half of the lyrics but give it a try 😉

I’m Finally Home

It was a one-way ticket home. I upgraded it to first class, because why not? I needed the extra baggage allowance anyway, and it was going to be a long flight. I ultimately wanted to feel like a winner, finally, after a long duel.

The man who did my exit interview was tall and pleasant. He must be at his early 30s. He knew how to listen, after all, he was paid to do so. He took a long look at my form and asked me to stay. Give it a half year more. I didn’t finish my contract, I wasn’t going to get my full remunerations. He’ll take care of my manager, he said. “These things… can be fixed.”

I stared down at my palms and had to make a decision. I felt my heart quaver. I was only going to take home one-third of what I was supposed to be getting because I resigned before my contract ends. I was losing 6 figures in the progress. It was almost free money.

He continued to tell me, “Get out and have your lunch. Think about it. I can deal with your manager if she’s making you leave in this hurry. Come back in a few hours. I’ll be here waiting for your answer.”

He had the softest eyes and strong jawline and a voice that purred with his accent. I knew that if I stepped out of that office with my resolve weakened, that I wouldn’t come back until another half a year. And who knows? Maybe another year more.

“I need to go.”, I told him.

“Are you sure?,” He asked back.

I didn’t feel that way, at that moment, but I had to stand by my decisions.

“Yes.” I looked at him straight in the eye. My chest was heavy, but I decided to ignore, ignore, ignore. Time turned slower.

It’s been a month now since that day and I can still vividly remember.

“No turning back now.” He said, apologetically and perhaps regretfully, as he signed with his big loopy signature the last space in my clearance form.

 


 

“Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you”

It was hard to walk away from the same money I worked for, but I had a goal, and there was already the undeniable urgency of it to be fulfilled. I got obsessed with an idea, the urgency knocks on my door like death that cannot be asked to wait any longer. It smelled of the last tick of the oven, red-hot, humidity filling the room, just before something burns. Open it now, get it out.

The harshest of winter, demanding to be felt in the thick of my bones.

I couldn’t put it aside anymore. It was a shadow that followed, even when I retired at night.

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“Why am I here? How much longer do I have to wait?”

As I tie my hair in a ponytail long before it dries. Ready for another day at work.

“How much money is enough money? Will I have enough by the end of this quarter?”

As I draw another 10 ml of medicine in my syringe, ready to give another shot, another patient, another day.

“What if it doesn’t work? Do I have all my sides covered?”

As I stare at my manager’s eyes, while she tells the entire staff recently awarded as excellent, that we weren’t doing enough.

“But how about mom and dad?”

As the words of my patient raised in his rapid cursing, while he vehemently and violently tries to throw me off when I checked his heart.

He was old, he had dementia, I’m supposed to understand.

I’m supposed to.

But I’m tired, my legs are cramping, I’ve been shoved off by the very people I try to care and save.

His son tried to slip his hand on my thigh, I wore a thick jacket and lie I’m married.

Lying. It was the only way.

Before long, it didn’t matter how much money I had.

My savings and investments grew at an average rate, slower than my aggressive hopeful plans.

But my courage and commitment grew.

 

“Once I’m committed, I’m unafraid of the outcome.”

-Helmut Lang

 

It was time.


 

I was going to turn away from everything I became but even more agitating was that being a nurse stemmed from a passion. The passion to save lives. It was what I told everyone while I went through the hell of nursing school. I aced classes out of pure motivation that one day, I was going to stand between someone’s life or death.

It felt important and selfless. I was a humanitarian. Reckless, stupid, placing others before myself. The only time I ever stood up to bullies was when they attacked someone else, not when they were attacking me.

My mother is a nurse. I grew up to hospitals. I went to where she worked. She looks so lovely in white. She was always soft, so beautiful, so delicate. She smells of cologne in the morning, and even after her shift ends. She was unafraid to raise her voice when someone could endanger her patients. So fearless and so tender at the same time.

Every single day she brought home a gift from her patients.

She was loved, much loved, by the people she cared for.

 

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I wanted to be like her.

Every single decision was pointed towards that direction. Everyone knew me as the nurse.

I was ‘the nurse’ at social settings. My friends consulted me any of their problems, even those that aren’t related to their health.

I listened, I laughed, I comforted.

I look so damn good in white too.

And now I walk away from that path.

 


 

It was mid-afternoon.

I woke up late, as usual, from nights of self-sabotage where I engaged in too much online games and idyllic internet browsing. Determined to put a shift in my undisciplined methods and crazy schedule, I decided to get up and get a wall calendar.

A visual representation to wake up my senses.

I need a system. I always do. An organized routine where I can hit all my goals, little by little, day by day. It’s been a month since I resigned and all I managed to do, without trying very hard, was sloth and gluttony.

Art by Pascal Campion

In the middle of traveling, alone in a strange city, I had no cars with me. I couldn’t speak the local dialect very well. I’d be standing and smiling, like some stupid girl with hearing impairment, asking them to repeat what they said in English.

Uber is my saviour.

It wasn’t a very special day, the mall I chose was halfway across the city, promising to have a large selection of stores. After 30 minutes of riding, I was almost there.

Until I saw it.

Across the road, opposite my direction, were motorcycles stopped and people standing. There were bodies on the floor.

I heard the driver tsk-tsking. They must have been too fast, he claimed. Everyone runs atleast a 70 here.

He continued to drive.

My eyes never left the scene. Every body was just standing, no one did a thing.

I knew what to do but I was paralyzed. I just need to be brave.

I was the only one who knew what to do, and the burden, and responsibility was all mine.

Do I leave them dying?

I don’t remember if I’m still licensed in our country. I probably am. My ID was not with me. The legal implications can be huge.

Will I even be questioned, if I was the only one who did anything to increase their chances of living?

We were in front of the mall. I asked if he could bring me back there.

He said he had other things to do.

The callousness slipped so carelessly from my heart, desperate to make the minutes count. I stood up and started running.

Oh so desperate to make the minutes count.

I was praying I wasn’t too late. I didn’t even dare look at anyone who stood there. I shifted my bag so it wouldn’t fall as I ran in.

“How long has it been?”, I asked.

“About 15 minutes, ma’am.” Someone answered.

It was a hot afternoon. I felt my sweat. I thought it was good idea to wear a white sweater, I didn’t think that way now. There were two bodies on the floor. None of them moving. The blood on the pavement came from both of their heads. The man looked like he got the worst of it all.

He wasn’t even wearing a shirt. I went down on my knees, felt his heart shake rather than beat, and shouted for help to re-position him. I tried to keep his neck still, it looked broken. He crashed down, head first and it was already at an unnatural angle.

Lying on his back now, I went to the woman, a few meters away. She was on her side bleeding. Dazed and shocked by what happened. I called for her and she responded. Her heart was slow but it was beating. I placed her on her back and saw how her left eye almost closed from the blood pooling inside her skull.

Please.

“You’ll be okay.” I said. “Untog lang.”

The only thing they want right now is some help,

and some hope.

I can be both.

I went back to the man and his heart was beating regularly again. My sweater was stained with his blood and his puke. He was starting to gasp. I was beginning to ready myself to start resuscitating when it happens.

In the distance, I hear sirens.

In a few minutes that felt like forever, the ambulance finally came.

 


 

I don’t know if they survived. I didn’t even get to buy that calendar. The entire bloody city does not sell a single freaking one. I walked away as soon as the paramedics got the man on the stretcher. I slipped off the crowds.

I realized one thing, hours later, as I ate my dinner casually.

Just like any other day.

I have never walked away from who I am, the one I pledged and took an oath to become.

If I need to save, I can still save.

I will always be a nurse. I may no longer be an OFW, but that doesn’t stop me from my capabilities or everything I’ve been trained for. The heart that bleeds to protect and save.

Just because I walked away from that life, that didn’t mean I have discarded everything in it.

Leave the bad, keep the good.

What I did, however, is give myself a choice and free myself from implications. I am no longer bounded by any institution.

I am not just a nurse.

Period.

Deafening. Deadening. Ending.

 

I am a nurse and… everything I choose to be from this moment on.

 

Ex-OFW but will always be a nurse,

Forever yours,

Celeste

 

To Chester

Thank you for staying strong for so long. Good night.

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