#MentalHealthBlogathon2018: Voices for Change

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Before I start this post, here are some of the mental health services I discovered through the event:

• University of Santo Tomas Psycho-Trauma Clinic (free for all)

• Bahay Aruga

• Mental Health PH Database for services available nationwide

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On the Internet, especially on social media, mental health is becoming more commonly discussed. News of celebrity deaths through suicide are on our timelines and feed, it seems, month after month. Suicide hotlines and threads regarding depression and other mental health disorders are shared throughout every social media platform.

I don’t believe that discussion is enough to address the stigma and the issues around mental health. But I believe that discussion elevates awareness, and the more we realize how alarming it is that many Filipinos go undiagnosed, without help, unaware of their own illness or unaware that help is possible, the closer we get to a more sustainable solution for each and every one of them.

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And for that reason, I participated in Mental Health Philippine’ first Blogathon on April 28, 2018. I have had this blog for three years, posting prose, poetry, and the rare personal blog post of an event. This year, I was committed to extending my reach as a writer, and I think having meaningful content to share with my audience, no matter how small, is part of it.

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LIFE UPDATE [S1, EP3]: Diving into the murky waters of self-publishing 

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Welcome to an overdue blogpost! Daily posting is the number one cause of creativity’s death.

Yeah, I know it’s a New Year’s resolution, but damn if I don’t feel burned out already. I think it’s better to follow the rule of three to four posts a week, so behold a new schedule: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays! 

Part of the reason why daily posting is hard for me this week is because I’ve been trying to produce content for a self-published book and this blog at the same time. Some of my posts on here are actually early drafts of content that will be there. 

Above is the cover of my self-published book to be sold at the 2018 Komiket, from February 25 – 26 in Quezon City. I’ll be selling with Joaquin, whose web serial will be sold in print! 

I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but I published two versions of The City twice – because it’s one of the poems that’s going to be in Paper Trails and I keep making changes to it. I edited it further, and will use a part of it as the blurb on the back cover. As a preview – and if any of you are living in the Philippines, please consider going to Komiket! – here’s the final version:

Look out the city; look up the skies. See
a thousand lights above; a thousand lights
spread around – pulsing, in the mystery
of space; pulsing, in the darkest of nights.
See: a man; a cloth over a shoulder,
hunched like Atlas, in carrying the world;
a girl, feet clad in cotton and leather,
walking, plaid skirt wrinkled with hair unfurled;
a shadow, fingers like a ghost haunting
the strings of his guitar; a woman, out
in an ungodly hour, feet dragging
across the pavement, without fear nor doubt
among the people underneath the glow
of neon lights; all on a walk to home,
(all in search of home). Look, see and know:
of how odd it is to feel forsaken
when surrounded by a myriad of lives;
to know of dark alleys; hours; streets, awakened
to the cognizance of stories that thrive

untold, unfolding; inevitable
that we never know of our role in it all.

I’ve read it over so many times it sounds off to me, but it does sound way better than the earlier versions I published here. Another reason why daily posting is not good: hot off the press posts are usually in dire need of editing before being posted.

Paper Trails, though a suite of poems and prose, is centered around a police operation that happened on January 14, 2017, in Metro Manila. One is killed. Three have seen. 

I also explore themes of death and loss to get rid of the teenage angst inside me.

I actually did self-publishing once last year – and actually, just a month ago! It was our book fair and I produced Rhapsody, a book filled once again with my poems. It had all the rookie mistakes: along with Joaquin, we both didn’t know how to bookbind, we were confused over the setting of pages, my cover looked like a wedding invitation, there were no blurbs or excerpts at the back, no acknowledgment, and finally my stupidest mistake: I didn’t put my name on the book at all. Cool, right? One day I’ll have a post called How Not To Self-Publish. 

Also, I’ve updated my blog: there are now Poetry (under Writing) and Review categories since I’ve figured I’ll be making them a lot this year, and of course to make it easier for my readers.

Have a .gif of me in the sunlight, which is notable because it’s becoming harder to get up and function normally. But I’m picking myself up now, before it gets any worse, and acting like this comic of Beth Evans: 

Let’s hope I stick to schedule this time! And that I continue on producing content for this blog and for my book without burning out. 

Weekly-round up of cool slash useful information:

That’s it for this week! Ciao. 

73 Days of Summer

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It’s the time of the year wherein we simultaneously become ingredients in God’s stew and enjoy doing so. It is also the time of the year in which we are gifted with a rare amount of freedom, and unless you’re part of the unlucky ones who have school and work during the months of summer, said days of freedom (I counted 73 until I am once again imprisoned in my education) are usually filled with adventure and leisure. And here, in all glory of documentation, are my own.

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