Love Notes to Bella

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

No comments


My dear Bella,

 

Today you turn two years old. Well that happened so fast didn’t it? With that said, I’m not gonna go about the usual cheesy narration parents do on Facebook like “So many years ago, a baby came to our lives, etc. etc. and our life was never the same again *hashtagheart, *hashtag crying face emoji” and all the other shenanigans that come with it.

 

No, my dear Bella. You know who you are, and you know who you are to us on a deep spiritual level. In fact, I believe you chose me. You chose me and your dad to be your parents. You wonderful little ball of delight full of knowing and personality actually chose me (broken, unsure, unmedicated and insecure me) to be your mom and your ever goofy clumsy dad to be of course, your dad. And you never, ever, ever fail to turn our gray skies blue.

 

For all of that, I am breathtakingly grateful. Who would’ve known that a positive pee test in my darkest, anxiety-inspired days would’ve saved me from my own damn self? You were such a blessing then, as you are to us now and continue to be. Your angry, grumpy mornings waking up with no pacifier in your mouth and sippy cup on hand makes my mornings super happy. Your OCD at bedtime cuz you gotta have your blanket, your ipad (that you fall right asleep to), your pacifier and of course, sippy cup makes for another gratitude-filled night.



 

I am looking forward to  many more years getting to know that little girl with the deepest look in her eyes who unbeknownst to her, sends everyone into a sort of  trance with just one look. Right from the start I knew you were something else and just like your older brother Marcus, I love it when you surprise the hell outta everybody with your wits. Because my dear, one thing I know for sure is that people will attempt to underestimate you. Put you down like they own you. Like they did with me, your dad, your brother, your family. But you are stronger and more capable than you think, NOT WHAT THEY THINK. And you are going to own it plus the world that is your playground.

 

And you got places to go I just know it. When the time is right, you will build your own path that is completely you. Not a replica of my path, nor your dad’s,  your brothers’, sister’s friends’ or whoever the hell expect shit from you to happen.

 

No  my dear beautiful  Bella Alessandra Smith. It will be your own signature path, not a watered down version of yourself.  




 

Happy Second!

 

XOXO,

 

Momma




 

Read More

The One Thing that will Make a Difference in Your Writing

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

No comments





Early this morning while trying to write my research paper and failing miserably due to the art of procrastination that I ever so perfected, I came across one of the little notes I wrote for myself when I would have those short, fleeting aha moments throughout the day. When I was in the middle of a blogging crisis and felt stuck wth no readers, no voice, and no reverberating message.


You see, my mind for some reason is an energizer bunny machine constantly churning out new ideas all day everyday even in my sleep before I can even catch up to them. For a year now I've used Google Keep and Penzu to write down my ideas- things I would love to write about, learn, explore or simply dream about. And then I go from there (or the next shiny new object).


So anyways, gong back to the original topic, this post is going to be short since I just wanna share with you this one lesson I’ve learned in my years of writing and it’s that you must write for yourself before anybody else.


Focus on yourself, your inner thoughts before you focus on others. Before you help others.


Why?


Because I believe you need that clarity and focus, to get to know yourself on a deeper level so you truly know the people you wanna serve.



By becoming self-aware, you can figure out who you truly wanna write to, and trust me you don't wanna write to everybody. You don't even wanna try.



And so it’s not selfish to make your writing about you.



It’s not selfish to write about how you truly feel even though the gurus tell you nobody gives a shit about your problems, people only care about theirs and so you should be speaking to them. But if you don't know who you truly are, and you're simply copying someone else's writing style, then how would you resonate to those readers? How would you set yourself apart from everyone else if not for that weird, quirky or sometimes annoying personality of yours?


(Trust me, it's ok to be annoying. In fact, I've followed people on social media and subscribed to their emails just because I find them annoying- whether it's their voice, message or just the way they look and they never fail to grow in me)


The truth is, if you are truly writing from the heart, then the people who would resonate will and the rest...oh well they will move on and prolly block you on social media. And that is exactly what you want.


I’m not talking about writing and transforming yourself into a content mill. That shit’s exhausting. I’m talking about writing as a personal journey towards self discovery. Writing that will move you to your deepest chasms.



That’s the kind of writing that will create possibilities and make changes in your life. The kind you’d want to reflect the person you are and represent you in all your form and glory. The kind you want to grow from. The kind that will make everyone around you a believer. The kind I want for you.


So go right ahead and start writing, and if you are a writer/blogger, take time to hone your voice and message. It's ok to not jump on share threads for the sake of over inflating your blog traffic and social media followers. Although kudos to you, if you actually can make time for that. I honestly felt like a hamster on wheel reciprocating shares and likes and comments. That in and of itself is a full time job.


Good luck to you and if you ever need advise on how to start a blog, you can always contact me. My advise is free but I may have some recommendations that I'm an affiliate for :-)


XOXO,

Wella










Read More

Lessons from my Homeschooler

Monday, July 27, 2020

36 comments


Last week my son Marcus celebrated his 7th birthday. 7th. It all happened in a blink of an eye I think. One Thursday morning I was surprised to find out Id be having him since he wasn't due for another month. The next thing I know here he is, a super lively boy with lots of things to say.


He did have an interesting first-grade, including the fact that he had to be homeschooled because I didn't feel that he was being supported at all in traditional school and of course, the first thing the staff wanted to do when one of their students are having problems was to blame the parents. 


Blame us for the long drive we put him through daily to go to school without understanding the whole family situation and why we opted to send him to school close to where we work- not close to where we live.


But lemme just get one thing straight. Marcus is an awesome and smart kid. Yes he is. All his life he had to fight all these silly diagnoses: e.g. at age 2 he was diagnosed with Severe Cognitive Delay because he didn't know 200 words and he didn't respond to the speech therapist when she called his name. First off lady, he didn't know you and you put these toys in front of him. Who do you think will he pay attention to? Who or what would be more interesting to him: a bunch of nice, brightly colored toys or a boring old lady attempting a conversation?

 

So they offered speech therapy (why not, it's free and covered by insurance) and he did  just for the hell of it (even though I know as a mom, that there’s nothing wrong with my son)and guess what? After 5 months he met his milestones and HAS NOT STOPPED TALKING SINCE. 


Another example: school staff assumed he had ADD because he'd rather play than sit on his chair and stay put, but they won't spend the money on getting him tested or the resources that he needed and instead, wanted me to take him to get tested myself. These are presumed experts we're talking about (school psychologists, teachers, the principal, and staff of whom I have to fight with) who already treated him differently and somehow just gave me the feeling that they wanted him out because he refused to act and behave the way they wanted him to or expected him to. 


Ok honestly, I'm proud of him for that, as we've always been taught to stay in our line and in this imaginary box called “category”.


Marcus started homeschooling  last year after a couple of months in traditional public school since he wasn't getting what he needed at the time from traditional public school. It just wasn't his thing. He was not interested and nothing they do or say can make him. 


What a blessing in disguise especially when Covid 19 hit. While others struggle to make peace with their new routine and online classes, he was already ahead in his program and kept going with his curriculum. He kept working and studying on his own. His homeschool teacher even told me he knows more than the other first grader who had just started homeschooling because of Covid. But I'm not one to compare. Only thing I can say is, results speak for itself.


Marcus recently completed first grade and his 360 assessments. His math level: that of a third grader after 6 months of school. His reading level: that of a second grader after 4 months of school.


Lesson learned 1: Believe in your child. Allow them to decide how they wanna learn.


Am I sending him back to public school? Damn right I am. Because he is looking forward to going back to school and he does love it there as evidenced by his favorite subject: recess. And he did get accepted to another elementary school but we will see how this fall semester goes. 


If I was to decide (and I thought about it deeply), I would enroll him in a charter school where they go to class in small groups, and do some days online, some days in-person. But then  he talked about how he's looking forward to going back to school again and meeting new friends. He wanted to go back to traditional school. So I decided why not give him a chance since this is what he wanted and he's giving himself another chance. Maybe this time things will be different especially since we know better. Of course, things are in a limbo right now. 


Lesson learned 2: Let your child show you how he wants to learn.


Marcus loves computers. He thrives in it. I think that's why he thrived in online learning. Not to mention the fact that he loves to play games in his tablet. So I downloaded Homer and Elephant Learning App for his reading and math and it helped him tremendously. Our rule is that: if you want to play games, you gotta do your learning first. 


Lesson learned 3: There are more than one options on how to "school" your child. Embrace it.

This is a huge lesson for myself. Since I grew up in traditional school, I thought that that's the only way to go. But then I realized that just because I learned a certain way and grew up doing certain things doesn't mean my child will do the same. 


There is no right or wrong when choosing how you want your child to be educated- it all depends on what works for your child and your family lifestyle. Be open to options and again, let your child show you how he wants to learn.


Lesson learned 4: Last but not least: your child is unique. 


He won't be like everybody else. And it's a good thing. Accept it, so that in turn he learns acceptance- of both himself and others.


And here is the little man of the hour:


XOXO,


Wella :-)


P.S. From now until July 31st Friday, my friends at Ultimate Bundles are having a sale. It's called the Ultimate Homeschooling Bundle-a collection of 50+ resources plus bonuses (from K-12) to help your child learn- no matter where you and your child decide to go to school. Learning resources are always good. It's what helped me become a "better-awared" parent. And being involved in your child's learning whether they're homeschooled or not, is always a good thing. 


P.P.S. I am an affiliate of the Ultimate Bundles, which means at no cost I get paid a small commission when you use my link Thank you in advance. Check out the Ultimate Bundles here :-)

Read More

Brown is Beautiful

Monday, May 25, 2020

12 comments


I never used to believe that.

 

When I was young, I wanted so much to be light-skinned. I was born dark and I never understood why because my mom was super pale light, my sister takes after her and my brother is kinda light. In fact I asked myself quite a few times, Whatever happened to genetics? How the hell did it miss me?

 

My dad, on the other hand, was the brown skin carrier of the family. My dad’s side of the family is primarily dark-skinned except for a few anomalies, and yes I look more like them. I can blend in well with them.

 

My mom’s side however is a different story as most of the time they don’t even know about me or my existence (except for my Grandma, of course who always seemed to find me amusing). Often, I would be mistaken for the help’s daughter if not the help.

 

So no, I never liked myself because of the fact that I was dark. I grew up in a country where the standard of beauty is a mestiza looking girl with pointy nose, thin lips, pale face, big eyes, and super light, oh-so- flawless skin..

But…

I was brown.

I was short.

I had small eyes.

I had buck teeth.

I had pimples.

I had thick, straight,  boring, lifeless hair.

 

And all I had going for me was my super excellent grades in school (Where else was I. Supposed to devote my attention too?) and a few good friends. Who wants that?

I thought if I was lighter, I won’t be picked on much by stupid boys.

Instead, I would get noticed more…especially by boys I liked. I thought I would have a better future ahead of me if I was lighter.

 

If my skin was lighter…I thought I would finally be happy.

 

 

All my childhood years, that’s all I prayed about. Lord, please. Make me pretty one of these days. You can start with my skin.

When we became teenagers, all my friends (and my sister) started to get noticed. But me? I was just there.

Watching as they get their daily supply of Toblerone chocolate (a big deal if you are a broke high schooler in the Philippines)

A few dozens of roses on Valentine’s Day.

Then there’s the love letters.

And getting hit on.

Yes, little plain old me can’t help but feel slightly depressed (and jealous!).

My world revolved around the belief that I was less than who I was because I wasn’t the embodiment of true Filipina beauty.

But then… something happened.

I grew up.

”Woman-ed” up.

Woken up from this wild dream.

 

Suddenly, I refuse to spend my last few change on some skin cream whitener promising  to make me look like a typical Filipino celebrity.

I decided not to starve myself anymore (in an effort to buy these whitening products) and instead,  I used  the extra change I have to buy me some fattening food.

I simply stopped giving a shit about being liked (or not) anymore. Nor would I even try. I wanted people to like me for who I was and not how much melanin is swimming in my skin.

 

 

I asked myself: Why do I have to be influenced by this 300 yr old concept that was somehow forced upon us- The lighter you are, the better you look, and the better your life will be in all ways?

 

Why do women subject themselves in this madness- going as far as getting  glutathione injection an d pills in an attempt to look White?

 

I remember back then when I used to complain to our help that no one will ever marry me.  Instead,  I’ll be a nun instead Bound to spend the rest of my life in celibacy not because I have a calling, but because I prolly had no choice. Nobody wanted a dark skinned girl back then, at least back in my time.

 

Gently she’d tell me…”Maghintay ka lang, dadating din yan” (Just wait, he will come).

 

So I waited…

And waited…

And waited…

 

And showed up he did…years later. And yes, he loves me for who I am, regardless of the difference in our skin tone.

 

Sometimes you get caught up in a cultural belief that honestly serves you no purpose as it does sticking your tongue out in pictures.

 

Question is, do you really have to jump at the bandwagon like everybody else?

 

So you ask..What about those people who absolutely still feel the same way? Who don’t think they are beautiful unless they are light-skinned? You cant really blame or force them to think otherwise. You can never change people’s thoughts and beliefs. Nor can you control their behaviors and actions.

 

But you can change your thoughts. No one has the power to control you unless you let them. True beauty is in the inside. Intelligence is sexy. Humor is attractive. A kind heart lasts for a while- a lifetime, so to speak.

 

 

So to all my Filipino sisters out there, don’t be discouraged if  you don’t look like Anne Curtis, Marian Rivera or any other commercialized-type looking Filipina model. The media wants you to believe that they are the only standard but that’s not true.

You might think yeah, easy for me to say because I’m not in the Philippines, and in the US people are more accepting  of the color of my skin.

Believe me, it’s a whole different story (I learned) for another day.

Stop wasting your money on these products that yes, might change the way you look, but for what cause?

So that you can look better? And for whose eyes?

For people who could care less about you since they don’t pay your bills?

And so what if your beautiful caramel mocha latte brown skin is a little too dark for your liking  it makes the white of your eyes pop out?

So effing what?

Are you going to die of shame because of this?

Point is, life is too short  to care about what people think about you- beauty and all. Life is too short for you to be wasting your energy on things and people that no longer serves you or your life purpose (is that deep or what?).

The truth is that you are beautiful in your own unique way my dear…quirks and all. Embrace it like there’s no tomorrow.

Own it like you mean it.

 

Flaunt it cause you got it.

 

Read More

Some late night thoughts...

Thursday, April 30, 2020

No comments
It's 12:34 am as I write this and yes, I'm well awake.

Idk why, I'm just not tired. So I decided to do what I most love to do when everybody's off to their dreamland...and that's writing.

I've been in love with this quiet activity for a long time now.

In my mind I must've romanticized writing so much and pictured myself many times sitting in the balcony,  with a laptop, a cup of coffee and a cigarette on my table. I might have been half naked or not.

Remember Allie of The Notebook wrapped in a blanket and painting one morning after a night of some heavy, passionate smashing?  Yep...that scene right there except it's the 2020's and no, there’s no heavy, out of this world smashing at the moment.

So, thought for the night.

20 years ago, somebody killed my dream when I was told that there's no money in writing. Back then I was thinking about majoring in Literature I think because it intrigued me and I thought I would do good. But then my dream died that early morning when a well-meaning person gave me a super painful reality check: "The only way you can make money off of writing is if you already know somebody. And we don't know anybody".

 So I moved on with a sort of viable major in college but I never stopped writing on the side. I knew someday I would bring my writing back to life.

The truth is, it never died.

I wrote, entertained, confused and pissed the hell outta lot of people all these years.

Trust me, I've been in odds with  a handful of them- from a high school English teacher who tries too damn hard to be cool and please the "elite clique" in my class  to my now ex-husband. My writing never singled out anybody.

But why am I so at peace  with all these?

It's simple. I'm not a popular person. I have 0 followers in this blog. Chances are the people that would be affected in one way or another with my heartfelt content would NEVER read my stuff.

 I had my own personal blog for years with few visitors and I was content with that. From time to time, a fiend would come across it, give a couple of nice complements and move on. Other times, I’m being told I can’t write for shit.

And what I learned from all those years of personal blogging is that it’s not about them. I write to not please other people (struggled with that). I write for myself. So I can get what’s on my mind out either on paper, journal or blog. I call it free writing.

If I always have to worry about what other people would think about me or the kind of person I am through my writing, then I guess I’m not truly being real and freeing my soul.

So there. My late night thoughts. I’m curious to know, have you ever struggled with being true to your craft- whether it’s writing, singing, pole dancing, gardening or whatever it is you love to do? I’d love to know your thoughts.
Read More