SHAIRA: Shaira Marquez, Circa 2009

Tumblr. Volleyball. Angels with Horns. omg these three brought back a whole lot of memories.

On this post for Friends on Channel Maddie, Shaira briefly talks about being tested for the coronavirus, how she felt like she was “just getting by” with her life, how hitting the pause button allowed her to “breathe, take a step back, see her life through brand new lenses,” and finding the silver lining. She also talks about the things that came with moving away from home again, moving away from her comfort zone. Have a great read, friends. ❤️

PS. This time last year was the beginning of the lockdown and quarantine in the Philippines, and Shaira briefly talks about the pandemic in this post, so it’s pretty timely, right? Hehe

Socials: Shaira’s Instagram, Hoka Brew’s Instagram, Blog

I’ve known Madeleine since the 6th grade. She was a batch older but since our school population was so small and her cousin and sister were my classmates, we ended up becoming really good friends growing up. We participated in all sorts of extracurricular activities together like basketball, volleyball and band (ANGELS WITH HORNS, LOL).  We’ve also been “blogging friends” since as far back as Tumblr days and for that, I admire her grit for continuously evolving her platforms and her blogging style over the years.

Blogging has always been therapeutic for me. I danced with the thought that my words and my experiences were read by strangers or none at all — point is, it never mattered. I just felt free to express my teenage thoughts without a care what other people thought of me. I felt safe in my tiny internet bubble. 

And so I wrote even up to the tiniest feeling or spark of thought I had that day (shoutout to TUMBLR). It was an outlet for me to look back to – a public diary of some sort. 

Fast forward to today, I feel myself almost intentionally becoming more and more scarce in any platform, but thank you Mad, for allowing me to feel this kind of freedom and safe space again. Here’s a little throwback entry to how I would’ve blogged circa 2009: 

Shairabites

Just a couple of days ago, I was more than excited to go back to work after almost a year of “WFH.” I bought a new lunchbox because this new normal office situation means no lunch outs. That same day I bought a lunch box, I got a call from my HR telling me I’m positive. 

You guessed it, I was positive for the infamous COVID-19 virus. Immediately, I had to cancel plans I had that same day. I was heart broken and disappointed and I couldn’t help but blame myself. Was I not being careful? Guilt ate me up more than anything. (If you hadn’t already assumed, I was clearly asymptomatic). 

Without having any symptoms, you’d be worried about the “domino” effect it would have on the people surrounding you. You’d be worried about the hassle and their loss in economic opportunities. But anyway, I was more than convinced to take the test again. After all the self beating, tears, and rolling on the floor, the 2nd test came out negative (what a relief). But how uncanny for things to come full circle in 365 days.

Around this time last year, when the word “pandemic” and “quarantine” were really just movie titles and never used in almost every conversation we have daily, my mind was set to take charge of my life. I was in transition from my former job to a brand new job with an International Company. Little did I know, life had its own plan for me and no matter how hard I tried to take control of things, everything else just seemed to be out of my control.

There’s nothing better than sleeping in your old room, and in your old bed.

Right after college, I felt like I was just getting by with life and going with the flow of things. Somehow, life always fell rightfully into place, simply satisfactory, neither bad nor good. First of all and most importantly at that time, I had a job that opened more doors for me and piqued interests I never imagined I had. But frankly, I never had a goal in mind, which is why I never really felt like I was making clear cut actions I can tick off in my personal checklist. Again, I was just getting by.

Then I had that freak accident in 2019 – the way I look at it now, that accident seems like a mockery of how I was taking control of my life: Taking it easy, Taking it for granted, Just getting by. After that, I knew I had set out to make 2020 MY YEAR. But hello, Covid-19. 

I started and found new hobbies, worked out, and found more time for myself.

With the pandemic in the background, things change for you and you’re forced to let go of that “wheel,” for at least the first few months of the quarantine. I came back home for the first time in 7 years without a clue when I’ll be coming back to Manila. But I guess my life has this habit of falling right in the way it’s supposed to because there was definitely a silver lining to it all. After 6 months total, home was exactly what I needed. 

Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely brutal at some point. Fights broke out, tears were shed, a sprinkle of self-doubt was definitely added to the mix too. But the daily sweater weather, quality time with my family, and simply being home allowed me to finally breathe, take a step back and see my life through brand new lenses. 

I started this new venture we came up with over breakfast. A cold brew business: Hoka Brew Bottled Cafe

I know, I could have stayed. 

So why did I still choose to go back? 

1. Take on that wheel again. With a somehow clearer outlook in life and of course optimistic prospects about the months and years to come, it’s time to put myself out there again, step out of my comfort zones and make rational decisions that are set towards my personal goals.

2. To be empowered. Sometimes you realize, you’re far long from being a kid. It’s time to start acknowledging independence completely and taking it head on even if it won’t be exactly as comfortable as home. 

3. Gain a different perspective. When you’re living alone, you see things differently, and worry about things you really should start worrying about anyway (e.g. investments, savings, etc.).

4. Be humbled. When you see things through clearer lenses, you’re able to pick out the little things you’ve been taking for granted and turn it around. You learn to add value to some of the most important things in life – like home. 

By Maddie

Hi! I don't know what to say -- I'm not a big fan of introductions and the whole "tell people a little about yourself" thing sort of keeps me on edge so.

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