As usual, I am typing things through a stream of consciousness. I would have wanted to be more structured with how my points are presented on this ‘radical’ move, but most of my entries trying to make a strong point are done as an internal monologue anyway, thus the name ‘bryologue‘. What prompted me to totally quit Facebook? A more direct answer might have been exasperation with the general public, but I have this perfect opportunity to elaborate more on the motivation.

First of all, I did not have an Instagram account, not until four weeks ago. I am still using a BlackBerry phone, and as we know, it does not have a native Instagram application. I got really curious with all the brouhaha on the likes and hashtags, and it seems that it is a prerequisite for people my age to have one. Now, I have a no-name Android tablet my father gave me a year ago when he went home, which I primarily use for reading Ebooks. The 4 gigabyte memory card capacity was rife with PDFs and Epubs I have illegally downloaded online. I am ashamed to say this, but I finally gave in and created and Instagram account just to get over the curiosity of why people are crazy about it.

Albert Camus's L'Etranger realized on Lego pieces

Albert Camus’s “L’Etranger” realized on Lego pieces

I might have posted around five photos and put carefully selected hashtags because the hashtag inundation from people on my Facebook feed was killing me. I even cringe at the idea of using hashtags, but it might have been a prerequisite if I were to be an acolyte of such an application. I followed a couple of friends, and a couple of friends followed me too. Some people did not follow me back and I was completely cool with. In the course of a week, I open the application and looked at the feed of things posted by my peers. I knew beforehand that the level of narcissism in Instagram is tenfold compared to Facebook, but I still grew weary of seeing the same trivial things posted over and over again with the same hashtags. Social media has afforded us to be celebrities, documenting every move and acting like directors of our own documentary films. Do not also get me started with this loathsome word ‘selfie’.

I also have a Twitter, but in its four years of existence, I only open it about a maximum of three times a year on certain events such as imminent flooding during the rainy season when I fear for my family in Marikina. The most that I have used it in a single day was during the UAAP Cheerdance Competition when, again, I found myself using it and tweeting stuff more than the usual. Again, I shuddered.

Back on Facebook, I have realized that it is no longer for me. Again, ‘weary’ and ‘exasperated’ are two words that best describe how I feel over my social media presence. First, there was a rant by a world-renowned Filipino theater actress regarding a label that she hates. It really put me off and made me question why I follow celebrities and famous people in the first place. I immediately purged my account of these people. Before that and against my better judgment, I even had the audacity to reply/comment on posts by a couple of fashion models I look up to. As expected, did not receive any reply, but it did not prevent me from feeling off and personally affronted. So as a result, I stopped following them as well. I had to remind myself I were meant to have a distance to these people, and the best way to approach them was to look at their work, appreciate it and take it at face value. They were literally stars, and Icarus coming closer to the sun did not also bring him any good. Any ‘personal’ interaction is forbidden or even non-existent because they are just there to be at the receiving end of people’s adulation. They exist to receive adulation, and I would no longer take part into that. This kind of modern life, is it for me? (Madonna, 2003).

It’s funny how social media has been touted to bring us together, but in reality, it is also simultaneously keeping us apart. In my immediate circle, I have grown to ignore the people around me. I’m not being snob or what, but I am just preventing myself from getting hurt. I do not feel entitled at all, but I just feel a little affronted when I do not get the same excitement and enthusiasm whenever I interact with people I have not personally seen for a long time. Same thing can be said on the intent to exclude you and make you intentionally invisible albeit your presence. I have also come into terms over the limited number of people I should allow in my life, whom I genuinely feel to have my best interest at heart. I am not being anti-social, but I revel at the idea of solitude. Being away with people who I do not share/no longer share any interest with, and be at the company of an extremely limited group allows me to be a better observer. It also puts me in a position where I gain a better understanding of what and what I do not like, what and what do not keep me happy, or what or what do not drain me of the tiny ounce of sanity I have for myself.

It has been almost two weeks since I have deactivated my Facebook page. It was admittedly difficult in the first two to three days, given that my fingertips had a muscle memory of constantly scrolling down and refreshing a page to see the same things over and over again. But quite surprisingly, I eventually felt that I have removed a vestigial component of my life. I have left my Twitter page as it is because it was, by default, a useless application that I normally forget not until it is raining hard. I have removed all posts from my Instagram page and left but two photos. It was not much, given that I only had a maximum of six posts, but I felt that the Lego photo I had captured as an interpretation of Albert Camus’s L’Etranger sums up what I have been feeling until now. I grew exhausted of taking part into people’s affairs, making an effort to care, or seeing them soak up each others’ awesomeness (Ian, Janis: 2004). It is already a popularity contest from which I no longer wish to be a part of. It is a contest of the haves and have nots.

I may not be the one to talk about all of these as this personal page was also used for self-promotion. I do not consider this as a style blog, although for the most part, the earlier posts contain a lot of the hedonistic things I used to ogle at. But then again, this is my personal space where I dump everything I cannot post in my social media accounts. I brag within the confines of my own little world with a necessary caveat in a prominent section (i.e. ‘About me’). Over time, however, I grew tired of the same exploits. I am not to totally attribute this change to the life-changing moment I had earlier this year; but I have to give it some credit because it was obviously a game-changer and a driving force to this change in outlook.

I was just mulling over these things nine days ago as it was a very poignant subject. I suddenly thought of the song “The Sound(s) of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel from out of the blue, and I was astounded of how much the song’s lyrics spoke so loudly, but mysteriously, to me. I had to Google its lyrics, and look for Paul Simon’s inspiration for writing it. Succinctly put, it was about ” the inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly internationally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other” (Eliot. Marc: 2010). It was a very lugubrious tune that obviously comes from a dark place. A big part of the attraction was the metaphorical weaving of symbolism that describes the superficial culture we currently live in. Well, it has been always like this since capitalism has ‘triumphed’ over other economic systems. But I won’t thoroughly go over that because there are times when I feel that I’m beginning to sound a bit like a communist given that I just cannot turn a blind eye over the ill effects of the capitalist system. Maybe because knowing that my current company just dropped all of the security personnel within a week like a hot potato, without any just compensation or leeway to give them alternatives made me loathe the system more. A business is still a business, and business decisions usually comes at the expense of people regardless of their loyalty and dedication. I am furious, but at the end of the day, I am still a slave to it. Back to the song, the lines “people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening”, describe perfectly how the process of communication exists in social media nowadays. We may be seemingly close with each other with all the trappings that this modern life had afforded us, but we also grew more isolated and detached from each other.

Camus's book L'Etranger

Camus’s book “L’Etranger”

Looking at the length of this post, it was obvious that I have a lot of things in mind. Having not posted for several weeks because I was too stunned to know where to start , it was no surprise that this one-time dump will be this long. A lot of things had happened, and I should be documenting every detail of my life because it is the purpose of this blog anyway. The point is, I surprisingly had a better understanding of myself being away from all the empty exchanges and stroking of egos in my social media accounts. I also started reading materials I have hoarded over the years. I had time to literally clean up my mess and saw this book, which I thought to be lost for more than five years. I always have a soft spot for Albert Camus’s “L’Etranger‘ (see Lego homage above), not only because it was almost the topic for my undergraduate thesis, but it was the first ever French book I bought from BookSale at the AS Walk in UP Diliman. I had to abandon it, though, because the material was too heavy to digest with my then start-up French knowledge. Now, I am surprised that I have a better appreciation of the text. Perhaps I am at the point of my life where the search for meaning was very laborious, that the theme of absurdity resonates really well with my current psyche. I have more sympathy with Meursault who I used to abhor due to his seemingly apathetic nature. Anyway, hopefully I get to have the same appreciation of social media over time, but I hazard a guess that it would take a very compelling reason to finally revive my presence there.

Last Friday, I asked my sister to drop by this leather supplies store in Marikina Public Market to buy a leather dye. I had a DIY project in mind, but it was so simple that it would probably not take more than ten minutes of my life to finish it. Since receiving a Bayswater from more than two years, I have only used it less than five times. As much as I love Mulberry and this Bayswater, I just can’t bring myself to lug it around each time by the handles. I wanted a nice leather strap to convert it to a messenger bag and breathe new life to it and end its eternal damnation inside the storage bin.

I was previously using a strap from another bag, but the “canvasness” of it just felt so wrong. Mulberry does not sell separate straps unlike other brands (i.e. Louis Vuitton). And even if they do, we no longer have any Mulberrys here. Rustan’s used to carry it before and I remember looking at two Elkingtons and a nylon clipper. But look at me blabbering about all of these — if there were Mulberry stores here and even if they sell straps separately, I don’t even have enough money to spare to buy one. My point was completely moot to start with. >_< LOL

Bye bye brown - Mulberry strap

Bye bye brown

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I mentioned two years ago that I have already abandoned a DIY project. I still wasn’t able to find any acid dye here in Metro Manila to refurbish a tessuto robot tote from 2009. However, this unexpectedly turned up and it was whole again! That is exactly what I hate the most with these bags because they are made with separate components and you risk the chance of losing any parts when it gets snagged onto clothing or other things.

Two Prada Tessuto Robot 6 tote bags

Two Tessuto Robot 6 tote bags

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… that was the first thing I thought of when I stepped inside this enclosed and highly-guarded area in Manila. It was so — clean. So clean that it was impossible to believe that such an oasis exists in the heart of this bustling city. The walkway leading to the main office building was lined with flagpoles and flanked with two Japanese koi ponds. I had been into this area last year, when we were to renew our clearance from NBI. I always wondered how the place looked inside, knowing what it was. You won’t be able to see anything from the streets, and I don’t remember having a peek while the LRT traverses Taft avenue (or is it even visible from the railway?). One has to leave an identification by the gate, subject any bags for inspection, and get frisked by the guard before entering. There were barely any people walking by the excellently manicured lawn, and I was half-expecting children doing cartwheels on the grass. LOL

I had a couple of “appointments” (you very well know what I am talking about) in the Philippine office of this international organization. But as much as I want to put its name in writing, I fear that doing so might either jinx my chances or bring the panel into my website. Not that I have anything to hide, but I just don’t want the contents of my blog to influence the selection process. I am still hoping for the best and, of course, preparing for the worst. What’s the worst thing that can happen now, anyway?

The visitor's badge

The visitor’s badge

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I was perusing over things in my room at home, specifically looking for a children’s book I got from my grade school library. However, it took me more than four hours to find it and in the process, I was able these. I had amassed a substantial amount of French and Italian books, as well as some of previous Vogue magazines I did not bring to the apartment with me. I also saw these two neckties and a catalog, and this damaged silk scarf also resurfaced. I completely forgot about the catalog and I can’t even remember why I had one. It was either given as a free gift by one of the sellers from Ebay when I was still buying more than selling, or I got it dirt cheap so I bought it anyway.

 

Language books and Vogue magazines

Language books and Vogue magazines

Look what I found - Hermes silk neckties, Hermes silk scarf and a Louis Vuitton catalog

Look what I found

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Last night, I have already conditioned myself that it would basically be a normal day. I woke up and ate breakfast the same time as I usually do every morning. But instead of sitting in front of the laptop having our usual SATC or movie marathon, I had to prepare for my first ever French class today. About a month ago, I decided to finally consider teaching French for beginners. I have honestly written off this prospect years ago, as I thought I was not teacher material. I could not go for a full-time work, though, as I do not wish to push my health that hard again. Last year’s two full-time work faux pas was literally a very costly lesson. Still, I did not lose that constant yearning to expand my horizons and seek opportunities other than what I am currently doing. I was just naturally a restless soul.

My first French lesson

My first French lesson

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I’ve read several DIY projects online on lampshades. From the simplest to the most complicated, my mind was racing and my hands were itching to finally create one (or two). It was much better to create something from scratch, as I’m a big proponent of imbibing one’s energy onto a newly-made product. Wouldn’t it be nice to look at an object and remember how you painstakingly created it and made it your own?

Out of the many inspirations online, the bottom-line was the usage of embroidery hoops. For the body, I initially bought popsicle sticks to hold the two circles together, but I had a change of heart and ended up with chicken wires instead as I’ve seen some projects using the same material to a wondrous effect. I just used regular scissors on the chicken wire because the wire cutter was not just cutting it (no pun intended). Our paper scissors got a bit dull, though, with all the work. I had no clips to secure the wire on the embroidery hoops so I used duct tape. It was a bad call. The mesh kept on slipping off, leaving sticky residue on wood. Then, the most tedious portion: sewing in the crochet thread on the mesh and the hoops. I know I could have used pretty tapes or anything nice, but aside from the lack of such material, I just loved the idea of using the dark brown thread because it would contrast nicely and the color matches with our furniture.

The lamp slowly taking its shape

The lamp slowly taking its shape

Patiently sewing-in the crochet thread on the hoops

Patiently sewing-in the crochet thread on the hoops

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