New Year Old Me

Hey Beng.

It’s mama.

I can’t believe I haven’t written anything since last August, jeez. I’m not sure how old you’ll be when you’re finally able to read this blog, but I give you permission to get on my case about being lazy. BUT, I did start a bullet journal which is this thing some people in my generation are using to get organized, so hopefully I can get myself to write more than like what, twice a year?

The thing is that honestly I am CONSTANTLY thinking of things to write about, things I want to tell you, but I wonder how relevant it will be by the time you’re of age?

God you’re so smart. You’re a genuine genius in my book, but I think all parents think that of their children. And the thing is that, I hope by the time you’re in high school I feel like a dumbass next to you.

Trying to imagine you as a functioning human being is so wild to me. Me and dad are always talking, and like, every time you do literally ANYTHING we are just blown away.

For example, when you were:

0 m/o: “Wow, one day she’ll be able to look at us.”

3 m/o: “WOW she can sit, one day she’ll be walking can you believe that?”



1.5 y/o: “She can hold her own bottle and eat snacks all by herself this kid is self-sufficient.”

2 y/o: “She can walk, talk, sing, dance, she’s half potty-trained this kid can do ANYTHING.”


Literally. Everything. You do. Just amazes us.

And you’re only 3!

I’m currently trying to teach you how to write.

Just thinking about you as a high schooler makes me want to cry. That’s really the time when you’ll likely start to solidify a personality and start making stronger relationships and connections with others.

Who knows where technology will be at that point in time?

What made me think to write this is that the other day, my laptop broke down and I was thinking about how I’ll need to save to get another one. Your dad told me to get a brand I’ve never used before, and I thought, “Ugh I’m not used to that interface I’d rather not.”

But then I laughed at myself, ’cause that sounds like something an old person would say.

I’m not afraid of progress, but I am definitely lazy.

By the time you’re a teenager, you’ll be exposed to so much technology and knowledge I won’t even be able to wrap my head around it.

And I hope you’ll teach your ol’ ma.

The thing is that, humans have survived on this planet for thousands and thousands of years, and NOT because things have stayed the same. We thrive as a species because we constantly grow and learn, and we spread that information and we advance. Every generation knows more than the last, each generation teaches as much as it can and then they pass the baton of advancement to their children.

That’s just good ol’ fashioned natural selection.

I know for a fact that you’ll surpass me in every way before I can blink. And I look forward to it. I have so many hopes and dreams for you, and I’ll support you with everything I have and everything I am.

I ask you to live your life open-minded. To always be curious, and to never think you know everything about anything. Be able to admit you’re wrong when you are, and learn what is true. Don’t let your emotions cloud facts. Live logically but not coldly. Have faith in your heart but keep your eyes open. Be smart.

Watching you grow makes me feel old. I’m a pretty young mom, but you’ve got me feeling old as hell. You’re the shiny new gadget and I’m just the outdated model. When you finally read this, feel free to tell me how old I am.

Just know that I love you, and no matter how far ahead of me you run, I’ll always have your back.


No Sick Days

I had a HORRIBLE fever for the longest time. It started about 11 days ago, and it was the worst I’ve felt since I had mono like 4 years ago. High fever that didn’t break for almost 7 days, a migraine that absolutely would not go away, muscle aches that left me bed-ridden, and a cough that made me feel like my ribs were going to crack.


I kept a medical mask on like literally 24/7.

Shortness of breath. High fever. You name it, I had it. I was so sure it was the flu, but no, just pneumonia.

As a kid, I know I would have loved being that dreadfully ill if it meant not going to school. But of course, adults have it much harder.

I was not only freaking out about all the school work I would be missing out on, but it was stressful just thinking of how I would take care of Ember when I could barely take care of myself. I could barely carry my water bottle without my arm wanting to fall off, so how could I carry a 30 pound squirmy baby?

Thankfully I had the help of my family and of course my baby daddy, but it wasn’t enough. And by that, I mean a mother’s work is never satisfied.

Wearing the surgical mask 24/7 made me realize how much time I spend with her. I couldn’t give her kisses, couldn’t blow on her belly to make her laugh. I couldn’t eat the pretend food she made me, or share my food with her. I couldn’t bite her toes or let her feed me her leftovers, and I’d wear it in my sleep in case she might try to wake me up with good-morning-kisses.

Even though the mere act of standing up made me want to pass out, I kept finding myself automatically getting up and peeking into the other room just to see how Ember was doing. All I wanted to do was sleep, but when she wasn’t near me I felt anxious. I really had to go almost an entire week spending virtually no time with her out of fear of her getting sick too, and I really missed her even though most of the time she was just downstairs.

The thing is that it’s one thing to have help watching your kid. Everyone needs a sitter from time to time. But, just not all the time. I barely got to see Ember all week and it made me so depressed. It just wasn’t noticeable because I was dying of lung infection.

Going on Day 11 and I just finished my round of antibiotics. My cough is virtually gone and I haven’t had a fever in 4 days. I’m hoping I’ll be back at full strength by the end of the week, so I can say goodbye to the mask and play with my sweet baby again.

The Importance of Faking It

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought for a while on what I wanted to write about today. I considered writing about your dad and I’s romantic history — a full telling of the Z & B  story. But thought, nah. Then I started drafting out something on the difference between what happens when passionate love turns into companionate love. But thought, nah, you could just google that. Maybe the difference between family and friends and romantic affection? The definition of love and what it means to me?

I’m rambling now. Anyways, I finally decided to make this post on probably one of the most important kinds of love: self-love. This is something you should develop strongly and fiercely at a young age — we can discuss those other loves another time.

So as I believe I’ve mentioned before, I grew up with an unmentionable amount of self-esteem issues. People told me I was ugly, and I believed them. I let those words consume me. I’d stay up late nights crying. I hated myself. I wore clothes to hide my skin and always kept hair in front of my face to hide myself.

With my full-body eczema, I felt hideous. Being a lil chubby, I had a horrible body image. I thought nothing about myself looked good, and it tortured me. There is so much pressure on young girls to look good, and I felt the entirety of that weight constantly pushing down on me.

When I was finally old enough, those thoughts of self-hate turned very, very destructive. I think from middle school to freshman year of college, suicide would cross my mind almost daily. Some days would be worse than others, and I’ve made my share of threats and attempts. I saw nothing good in myself. The negativity I felt towards myself was not just about looks, it spread to doubt in my abilities and everything. I felt like a wholly useless being better left for dead.

It wasn’t until I was pregnant with you that something in me clicked. It wasn’t until I found out I was having a daughter that I summoned all the emotional strength I had to think positively and work to be a better role model. I was not about to let you grow up with a mother who would teach you self-hate.

Kids learn from their parents. That’s just a fact of life. There’s some weird trend where people take turns pointing out their insecurities and it’s just… awful. Why can’t a group of friends get together and sit around talking about how gorgeous everyone is? Why do we sit around and talk about our weight issues? Our skin problems? Our jealousy over what other people have? Why don’t we relish in our own beauty?

Now, depression does not just go away with positive thinking. There are still moments where I sink to scary, dark levels and those bad thoughts come back. But I’m trying to fight them. I’m trying. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not, but I’m trying.

Now for the name of this post. I did a lot of faking it.

I walk around talking big. I talk about how gorgeous I am. I talk about how my makeup is perfect, my cute chubby belly is perfect, my thick legs are perfect, my short green hair is perfect. At first it was sarcasm, but it turned into something else. I talk about how I’m beautiful, I talk about how smart and creative and funny and overall good I am. And soon, somewhere in all that talk, it stopped being sarcasm. I believed it. I do believe it.


That certainly doesn’t apply to every aspect in life, but in this case it does.

I want to fill you with so much confidence that no one can ever knock you down. If you believe in yourself, everyone else will. If you believe in yourself, there’s nothing you can’t do. If you believe in yourself, you’ll never pine for anyone else because when you’re alone you won’t feel lonely. That might not make a lot of sense now but it will.


Ember’s second Valentine’s Day!

Ember, you are only 1 but you are already so smart and kind and funny and friendly and beautiful and strong. All and none of those words define you. It’s up to you to decide who you’re going to be in this world, but you’ll never reach that potential if you don’t have confidence in yourself.

A lot of people say not to make your child cocky because they’ll be obnoxious in school. Well, to those people I say, worry about your own kid.

There’s a difference between a kid saying “I’m so smart” versus saying “I’m the smartest one here”. There’s self-love and there’s arrogance.

The thing is that I would much rather teach Ember modesty than teach her to stop hating herself. Because self-hate is something very difficult to unlearn. I’ll show Ember through example how to love yourself, and I hope that fierceness will transfer over and she’ll instill unbridled confidence and power in her friends too. Self-love is a movement that needs to catch fire and my baby will be the first of many flames.

My parting words are this:

Love yourself. If you don’t, fake it till it’s true.

Mother(‘s) Land

Ember, we may live in America, and you may have your daddy’s white skin and curly brown hair, but never forget that Filipino blood is coursing through your veins.



So, I guess to start, I’ll explain what brought me to write this. I’ve just started my second semester at my new school, and I’m taking a class called Black Protest In the Atlantic. First off, this class is honestly so amazing like I could listen to this professor preach for hours and not get tired of hearing it.

Anyways, today we discussed how people culturally identify themselves. Because of the slave trade, Africans were brought to America. This whole identity mess begins with generations not knowing their roots. They don’t know where in Africa they come from, they have a Master’s last name, so for all intents and purposes they are just American. Some young black individuals prefer to just refer to themselves as Black Americans instead of African-Americans because they feel they have no roots to Africa.

I could go on about that specific topic, but I’m not trying to give you a history lesson or anything like that right now.

Here’s what I’m trying to get at.

I am pure Filipino. I love my tan skin, my dark hair, my small nose. I love my Filipino family, I eat Filipino food, I watch Filipino game shows with my cousins and grandma. I love meeting other Filipinos and talking about the things that connect us.

But at the same time, I have never felt Filipino enough.

I lived there when I was a baby, and have only visited twice since coming to America. I understand enough of the language, but can’t speak it. My tongue wasn’t trained to pronounce the words the way they were meant to be spoken, and I get embarrassed trying sometimes. I don’t know how to cook anything (except maybe turon). I don’t know much about what the culture is like over there besides what I’ve picked up from friends and family.

Even though my family moved here, we don’t call it home. When someone goes back to visit the Philippines, they don’t say, “I’m going on vacation”. They say, “I’m going home.”

The Philippines is my motherland. It’s where I came from. And I’ve always felt this sense of disconnect about who I am and where I came from. Most of my family lives there, but we’re not close. We don’t talk. One day when my parents are no longer around, I fear I’ll lose touch with who my family is and the Philippines will turn into a vacation spot instead of the place where I was born.

I’m always full of a deep sadness when I think about how to raise you to be more Filipino. In this society, especially since you are mixed, I feel like your Filipino identity could be easily washed away. Since I’m not the most pinoy person around, I have this strange sense of not being qualified to teach you how to embrace this culture. But I’ll definitely do my best.

If you have questions about your heritage, ask. If I don’t know the answer, we’ll learn together.

New Year New Me??

Apparently I haven’t written a blog post in 2 months, which is awful. I have ideas constantly running through my head, but I find myself lacking the time and/or energy to write them out.

Anyways, I’m 20 now! Yay me!

I came out to have a good time and I'm honestly feeling so attacked right now.

I came out to have a good time and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now.

The title of my post is usually something said during New Year, but I’m applying it to my birthday. New year, and technically new me?

If I went back in time and told little weeb 14 year old me that in the future I would chop my hair off and walk around wearing green lipstick, I would not believe it. If I told myself I could give a presentation without shaking or crying, I would not believe it. If I told myself I could go shopping and talk to employees and ask questions without first pacing around the store for an hour filled with anticipation, I would not believe it.

But shit, I never would’ve believed I’d have a baby at 20, so everything else seems so…

Ember, since the moment I found out I was pregnant, you have changed me. For the better, sweet baby.

Every moment before I had you was full of horrible paranoia. I talked about my depression and anxiety, but I cannot stress enough how utterly miserable I was.

Every minute of my life was Where am I going to school? What if I don’t like this major? Will I have to start over? Can I switch schools? How much does living in an apartment cost? What if I fail these classes? What if I can’t make any friends? What if I’m the first person to show up at that meeting and I have to stand there awkward and alone? What am I going to do after college? Will I ever defeat the patriarchy? What if I fall into crippling debt? Do I kill myself? How should I kill myself, so that it will be fast and painless and not too inconvenient to clean up? Where do I kill myself? Will tomorrow be better? Will next year be better? What am I waiting for? What do I have to look forward to?

When I say my heart was devoid of hope, I meant it.

But you. You, Ember. You’ve changed me more than I can ever say.

You’ve taken that hot mess and transformed it into When will Ember walk? What will her first words be? I hope it’s Mom, I didn’t carry her in my tummy for 9 months to let Zach have the satisfaction of getting called first. Okay, I’ll take this one semester at a time and graduate as soon as I can, and I’ll get a good job so I can buy Ember whatever she wants. Anything. I wonder if she’ll like school. I wonder what her favorite subject will be, or what her hobbies or interests will be. I will be the most loving and involved parent; I’ll look up everything she likes so I can talk to her about it. I have the rest of my life to love her.

Not only have you changed the way I think about my future, but you’ve changed the way I think about myself.

I talked about how I was picked on because of my skin. My eczema, my discoloration. People called me ugly, and I believed them. My lowest point was in high school. My skin was acting up, it was bleeding and oozing and I was in so much pain. I felt so disgusting, so horribly ugly, that during lunch that day I looked down at my food and thought, “I don’t deserve to eat. I don’t deserve this food. Eating is for beautiful people.”

I always remember that day. And I wish I could go back in time and hug myself and tell myself that I deserve so much more.

I read an article one day that really changed how I looked at myself. (I can’t seem to find it, but if I do I’ll link it here.) It was a woman talking about how women always put themselves down and criticize their bodies (because hell, everyone else is) but in doing so they’re setting the example. Their daughters will look to them, see their mothers hating on themselves, and think, “Oh, well I need to start hating my body too.”

I will not be that mother. I will not plant the seeds of insecurity in your beautiful little heart. I will fill you with nothing but confidence and self esteem, because you deserve nothing less.

Now when I look in the mirror, I think

  • Eyebrows on fleek
  • Lipstick cute af
  • Highlight / contour game strong
  • Eyeshadow perfect as always
  • Eyeliner sharp enough to kill
  • Hair on point
  • Clothes on point
  • Pretty eyes pretty nose pretty lips
  • Cute tummy cute thighs cute hips
An example of my looking 200% cute.

An example of me looking 200% cute.

What took me so, so, so many painful years to see, is that I am beautiful. With or without makeup, I walk around with my head held high like I run this shit, because I do.

I’m sitting on my bed typing this and you are sleeping in your crib next to me, and I can see in your not-yet-developed facial features that you are beautiful and you are a goddess and you are perfect, and you must never let ANYONE convince you otherwise.

There are people in this world that cannot tell the difference between confidence and cockiness, between self-love and immodesty, but their ignorance is not your problem. Love yourself shamelessly, love yourself before anyone else. Because you are so wonderful and magical and beautiful and worthy of love. You already have all the love in my heart.

Ember, you’ve given me the gift of confidence. You’ve given me the ability to love myself. Because if I was able to create something as beautiful as you, then how bad can I be?

I still have a long way to go, but seeing how far I’ve come lately, I know I can do it.

I’m not going to be a mother that can’t make a phone call. I’m not going to be a mother that can’t talk to people in public, or cry whenever I do. I’m not going to let social anxiety take over when I have so much to do.

Ember, I’m going to make you proud of me.

What We Learn

High school was a wild ride for me to say the least.

Here is visual proof:

Me in 2011. I look so dorky omg, I was in hardcore weeb mode and I wouldn't be saved for another 2 years at that point.

Me in 2011. I look so dorky omg, I was in hardcore weeb mode and I wouldn’t be saved for another 2 years at that point.

Here is how my average senior year daily schedule would look like:

  • 6:15 AM – Wake up and get ready for school
  • 6:45 AM – Drive to school and do nothing until class starts
  • 7:30 AM – 2:10 PM – Stumble through the day, pretend to be fully conscious, mingle, take notes, learn
  • 2:10 PM – 3:30 PM – After-school clubs
  • 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM – Get home, have a snack, take a nap and relax for a brief moment so I don’t go insane
  • 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM – Homework and study, with approximately 2 hours some time in there to eat and shower
  • 1:00 AM – 6:15 AM – Sleep

Let me tell you now why the education system is messed up.

Of the approximate 16 out of 24 hours I would spend every day doing school work, I retained nearly nothing. Pump-and-dump isn’t just an expression used to describe what nursing mothers do to their milk after a night of drinks, it’s what I had to do with all the information I learned just to keep up. It’s no wonder why America is ranked 14th in education, 2nd in ignorance, and 24th in literacy.

The funny thing is, the stuff I do remember from high school had nothing to do with the lessons, but everything to do with the teachers.

I can’t remember how to find the slope of a line, and I can’t tell you what a derivative is. I don’t remember the plot of Heart of Darkness or how to do a citation in MLA format. I don’t think I can name more than 10 elements on a periodic table, and I remember the formula d = m/v only because the “m/v” part looks like a heart when I write it out. The main thing I retained from history is that FDR was the man and the New Deal was a big deal.

What I do remember are my math teachers staying after school with me for countless hours and helping me until I understood something. I remember my English teachers praising my work and giving me confidence, and editing the crap out of my papers so that I would get even better (it was the only subject I was good at). My computer design teacher Mr. B becoming a good friend to me, staying after with me for hours letting me do work I was really passionate about, and helping me grow in my skills and as a person.

One moment I can never forget took place in my AP US History class when I was a junior in high school. Lord knows I’ll never remember what the actual lesson was about, but my teacher Mr. O started talking about babies. He asked the class if we need doctors and professionals to help us every step of the way when it comes to raising our kids. The 16 year old me sitting in that classroom thought about it, and was the only one to raise my hand and dissent with the group. “Yes, I think we need professionals.” He politely rejected my statement, and said something to the effect of:

“When you’re a parent, you know how to do things. Evolution prepared us for this. When you’re a parent, you know what your kids need. Believe it or not, their cries all sound different, so after a while you know what they need. Oh, there’s a hungry cry. Then that’s a poop cry. That’s an attention cry. You just know.”

At the time, 16 year old baby-less me couldn’t fathom how that would be possible. A cry is just a cry, right?

Nope. Of course, Mr. O was right.

When my baby cries, I just know. Oh, she’s hungry. Whoops, someone needs a new diaper. Oh no she’s scared. That’s a sleepy sob.

In my opinion, the best teachers don’t give you the facts and just the facts. They give you a real talk, with things you take outside the classroom and carry with you forever. I never thought I’d learn something about parenting in my high school history class, but here I am.

Every day should be “Teacher Appreciation Day”, because these people are not only over-worked and under-paid, they give us the #real and mentor us not only about school but about life. I’ll never be able to thank all of my teachers enough (or apologize enough for the times I dozed off during lessons).

To all the educators doing their best, thank you.

The Talk

You know. The talk. The talk.

The birds and the bees up in them trees. Making babies. P in V. Eggplants and peaches. Doing the do. Getting down and dirty. The motion in the ocean. Haha and then what? 😉

However you phrase it, it’s the talk that all parents dread.

The sex talk.

From my maternity shoot! I had an outie by the end of my pregnancy, it was weird af.

From my maternity shoot! I had an outie by the end of my pregnancy, it was weird af.

**WARNING: NSFW text ahead**

My boyfriend and I agree that a sex-positive style of parenting is important. Because not only will our daughter learn these things regardless of whether we talk to her about it or not, but she will do things. And we want her to be able to come to us with absolutely anything.

When I say my family made this topic taboo, I really, really, REALLY mean that. Not once in my life — and understand, I have a baby already — have my parents ever talked to me about sex. When I was in the 5th grade and FLE (family life education) started, I was the only one who’s parents opted them out. Of all the kids in my school, I was the only one sitting in the hallway drawing, wondering what was going on in there. I had no idea where babies came from until my older cousin finally told me when I was 12, which is ridiculous when you think about it. He literally pulled up a diagram of genitals on our desktop (ha, desktops) and gave me the basics.

I have no intention of letting that happen to Ember.

Every time I asked my parents where babies came from, they’d just tell me things like “They come out of the mommy’s tummy” or “You’ll have a baby when you’re married” and vague stuff like that.

When Ember asks me where babies come from, the first thing I will tell her is they come from eggs inside the mommy. Simple enough.

When she gets older and inquires again, I’ll give her the basics.

When she hits high school, I’ll not only give her the real talk, I’ll give her the #realtalk, which I implore all parents with daughters to do.

And now, here are 3 things about sex I highly insist all parents teach their daughters at some point:

1) Your first time is not supposed to hurt.

You heard me. Everything you know is a lie. The cherry does NOT pop. The hymen does NOT break. While your first time may be uncomfortable because of the new sensation, it should by no means be painful.

If it’s actually painful, it’s because the guy did not do his job and he did not arouse you. If it is actually painful and you do bleed, it is because of a tear inside of you due to a lack of sexual arousal and a lack of natural lubrication.

Christina Aguilera can summarize my thoughts towards this here.

2) Sex does not end with the male orgasm.

Let me start this off with a quote from Elizabeth Olson:

“Women’s sexuality is something that I’m obsessed with. I think it’s weird that teenage girls know more about giving blow jobs than they do about masturbation. It makes me sick to my stomach that so many young girls think sex is just about a guy finishing.”

Can I get a resounding #preach from the audience?

Unfortunately, 71% of women cannot / do not orgasm with just penetration. So fellas, if you think you’re Hercules in bed, lemme give you some #realtalk too: she is straight up fakin’ it.

Just because the guy finishes does not mean sex is done. God gave men hands and mouths for a reason, and if they don’t use them, we’ve got a problem. If he doesn’t value your orgasm, he probably doesn’t value you as a person either.

3) Sex does not make you impure.

This may be the most important thing I can teach my daughter about sex. It is my duty as a mother to let her know that sex is a natural thing and that it doesn’t make her bad or dirty in any way whatsoever.

If a man thinks sex makes a woman dirty, he should take a look at his hands.

I’m also under no impression that you should wait for marriage to get jiggy with it. If you want to and you feel that you’re ready, go for it. It’s all about communication and trust with your partner, and if you both think you’re up for it, then by all means. Have a blast. In no way does it make you less worthy of respect as a human being, and it in no way decreases your value as a person.

There are many many many more things I want to add to this list, but this will suffice for now. I was compelled to make this post after I saw this online.

I am surprised and disappointed by how many of my female friends I have had to teach about their own bodies. In high school, I had to sit back and watch boys draw dicks all over the school, but no one ever draws labias or vaginas or ovaries anywhere. We live in a society where everyone knows about how guys pound their meat before anyone tells a girl about her clitoris.

When the time comes, I’m going to talk to Ember about everything. She’ll be the most informed person in her school regarding sexuality, and I’ll be so proud. When she comes to me to talk about these kinds of things, I’ll sit there and listen to her and respect her as a woman and a sexual human being. I’ll buy her condoms, I’ll talk to her about being safe and being respected.

It’s a talk no parent wants to have because it’s awkward and society has made the topic taboo, but when that time comes I’ll be hype and I’ll be enthusiastic and I’ll tell her anything she wants to know.