Behind the Scenes

I posted this a couple of weeks back but I quickly took it down. I just felt so…naked after putting it all out there. But last night, when I jumped on the “Ask Me a Question” bandwagon on Instagram, a friend sent me a DM, asking if I was okay. She said she worried about how sad I sound on Twitter. (Thank you for reaching out. Means a lot.)

I often joke that my Intagram is all about positivity, good vibes, pretty things, and coming back stronger. Facebook is for when I need to tap into my network (“Can anyone reco…”). And Twitter–that’s where you’ll find my saddest self.

But a few weeks ago, I posted something uncharacteristic on Instagram.

Little Wins

This #comebackstronger thing is a long-ass uphill climb. Can’t wait til I reach the peak. (Glacier Point, Yosemite. Photo by Alex England.)

Today, six and a half months after surgery to repair a full ACL tear and a complex meniscus tear, I ran 3K for the first time. I know it’s not a lot, but to me it’s a big deal.

Six months ago, I was in crutches and my leg, as expected, atrophied. It was weird trying to flex and not seeing anything happen–there was zero definition and instead super soft flesh; my quads and my calves had no hard muscle. The muscles I earned from years of dancing and running and strength training, gone. I cursed the human body and how it could be such a traitor, how it takes forever to build your strength but such a short amount of time for everything to turn into flab.

A Tale of Two Mother’s Days

A comic book entitled Destruction of Alien Robots–my five-year-old’s Mother’s Day gift to me.

My first official Mother’s Day didn’t go as I imagined it would. I remember excusing myself after lunch and, with my four-month-old in my arms, I went for a walk around Ayala Triangle. There, we were surrounded by families happily milling about, men giving the mother of their children flowers, kids showering their moms with hugs and kisses. And there I was, suddenly and unexpectedly alone with a baby, still brokenhearted after my kid’s dad and I had split up just two weeks before. I was swinging between denial and anger, fear and faith. I had no husband to give me flowers, and my kid was too young to even know where his nose was, much less that it was Mother’s Day.

“Me and you, just us two,” I told him as the reality of my situation hit me again, of having to do this alone and not knowing how, of feeling like my family was incomplete, and I cried. Again. (I did an embarrassing amount of crying that month.)

What No One Tells You About Freelancing

#TeamGH forever. Photo by Patrick Martires.

This photo came up in my Facebook memories yesterday. When it was taken a year ago, none of us knew that this was going to be our last staff shoot. Two stayed with the company, as part of the digital arm. Two moved to other companies. And three of us have embraced the freelance life.

Angel (standing, extreme left), our former managing editor, is now a legit published author! Aaahhh! I am beyond proud of her. Her first novel is called Love at First Run, and you can get a copy here. (I’m getting my own signed copy tomorrow, whee!) Elaine (seated, extreme right) is a fellow content creator who specializes in beauty. The three of us have our own little Viber group where we give each other support and sort of kind of keep each other accountable so that we won’t stay in bed much later than we care to admit.

An Ode To The Island That Helped Me Heal

Paradise lost? Boracay gave me the space to heal; now it’s our turn to do the same for the island.

The first time I went to Boracay was in 1992. (And if you’re wondering how old I was back then, keep wondering. Lol.) We had to take a boat from Club Panoly to get to White Beach, and back then there was lush foliage by the shore, a smattering of huts, and the occasional foreigner sunbathing topless. I remember sitting in the shallows, looking out at the unbelievable turquoise water (not a boat in sight) and marveling at the clearness of it. I felt the powdery white sand beneath my toes, through my fingers, and thought wow, this is everything a beach should be. I remember feeling serene as I heard nothing but the sound of the waves and saw nothing but calming aquamarine and dazzling white. I was not a fan of the beach, but after seeing this island, I was a convert.


Cherry blossoms in Osaka, Japan. Photo by Alex England.

Easter seems to be as good a day as any to be pa-deep.

One of the quotes that gave me comfort when I was going through tough times was this: “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” (Cynthia Occelli)

When Good Things Come To An End

Yosemite National Park. Photo by Alex England.

In other sections of this site, I write about how I got into writing, the jobs I’ve had over the years, and the kind of work I do now. But what I haven’t written about is how I got here-here, working as a freelancer after holding down full-time posts for 14 years.

Well, it all started with losing my job.