Advice and RETREAT!!!

Here where I am, the Holy week has started. For Christians, it’s time to reflect on the life of Jesus. And, more importantly, on our own lives. How are we today? When we look in the mirror, do we like what we see? What have we become? Is change necessary?

I wanted to post today because I remembered two letters I created years ago. Some readers/friends know this already. Those were letters given to a then-very young man, as requested by his mom, as required by his school. He was going on a retreat on both occasions and I was one of those asked to write pieces of advice for him. So, I did my best to conjure wisdom (ha!).

Every time I read them (because I have them saved, okay?), they remind me to strive to be better myself. In times when no one is there to pull me up or to scold me when I need it, it’s nice to be reminded by a younger me to get my act together. I guess those letters were for me as much as they were for him.

Though posted separately and on different dates, both get constant traffic on this blog, particularly the first. And I believe that the nearer the Holy Week gets, the more traffic they also get every time. I don’t have the statistics but I’m pretty sure many people have read them and probably shared them, probably even plagiarized them. Chances are, they’ve been looking for samples so they can give similar messages to kids going on peace retreats. On regular days, the pieces still get traffic, and sometimes, I don’t even know why. I don’t really mind if the letters are copied as long as people don’t post and claim them as their own.

Here are Advice to a Young Lad 1 and Advice to a Young Lad 2, in one post, respectively.

advice-to-young-lad-letter 1advice-to-young-lad-letter 2

The Hunchback of Rural High #MondayMemoirs #KwentongUPRural

I was never popular in high school. If I ever was, that could be because I was considered weird, which never offended me. I welcomed being voted as Weirdest Girl in Class two years in a row. For me, that meant I was not one to conform just to be called cool. Besides, when you’re a writer, people just tag you as weird. Hollywood fed us that idea.

Most probably, though, if I ever was popular, it was because I was the Hunchback of Rural High. I was the short girl looking like Quasimodo.

I didn’t use to be like that. I did not have a humped back prior to high school. I was a shy kid in grade school who only started coming out of her shell in fourth grade. By sixth grade, I was jumping from tables, singing the oldie La Bamba shamelessly…Then a teacher sent me back into my shell, accusing me in front of the other kids because she supposedly didn’t like something I said about her favorite student.

I was dumbfounded and confused. I did not even understand what she meant until days later! Worse was, she thought wrong as I was not referring to him. Unfortunately, my self-esteem already suffered because of it. Why a teacher should even get offended by a student practicing the right to choose who to like or not is beyond me. By the time I reached high school, I was starting to develop the humped back.

Well, that was my backstory, no pun intended. High school started and soon, boys from my batch would sing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) theme song whenever I passed by. But I never hid or ran away; I just passed by poker-faced. I knew they’d get tired of it one day. Thankfully, the bullying didn’t go further than that. But of course, I resented what they did; I had feelings, too. Some years ago, an old teacher reminded me of the time I had the guts to tell him to tell those boys, whom he was friends with, to get off my back (again, no pun intended).

The funny thing was, to be honest, I resented them because I thought they were referring to the “mutant” part, which, for me, translated to “uber-ugly girl”.  It was months after that I realized they didn’t exactly mean it that way. They meant something else. Surprisingly, that lifted my self-esteem a bit. I was glad they were referring to something else that I could do something about.

So, I did do something about it. I started trying to fix my Quasimodo posture. If you think it was easy, it wasn’t.

It took a lot of effort and self-awareness to prevent the slumping whenever I walked. I could actually feel the physical pressure every time I tried to keep my back straight. If you were near me enough, you’d probably hear me groaning a bit. It worked, though. I may not walk straight as a model, but I got my intended result. I didn’t know the reason for the humped back until Home Economics in the fourth year: a book explained that slumping was a sign of insecurity. I thought, Well, that figures.

The teasing stopped. A boy in senior year attempted to revive it by singing the TMNT song as I walked nearer. It was the classic case of someone bullying somebody else to compensate for his own low self-esteem. Instead of feeling hurt or getting mad, I was amused and tempted to say, “What, you’re still not over that?“ He never tried again.


My whole high school life was like everyone else’s. I had to struggle with different issues (body changes, grades, crushes, friendships, lack of confidence). However, if there’s one thing that made me different, it was this early experience.  It hurt emotionally and physically, but that was part of what made me, me.

I don’t resent those boys anymore. I forgave them a long time ago. I’m thankful they somehow taught me to stand up straight. Take it figuratively, take it literally, it’s up to you. Besides, I kind of liked the ninja turtles 😊



Usually, I don’t follow the Philippine time when I post stuff. But I wanted this posted already before I forget or lose interest again. While it’s still Sunday in most readers’ part of the world, it’s already Monday here, so this counts as a #MondayMemoirs post.

I’ve already mentioned about my turtle “background” before, but this is a bit more revealing and personal. I wrote about it because our high school reunion is coming and I’ve been asked to write my HS experience for our unique souvenir programme. I was able to submit three write-ups (Rattling Cages and two trivia pieces). Unfortunately, this one did not meet the deadline. I was supposed to share this after the reunion, but since it’s not going to be part of the programme anyway, I went ahead and shared it. (By the way, my school was the U.P. Rural High School, ergo, the use of the “Rural” word.)

I do have a DISCLAIMER: I don’t, in anyway, hate my old school. This is not to speak ill of it. I shared this because (1) my growth was important to me, and (2) to show that things like this happen anywhere. Ultimately, it is up to us to choose which life lessons we’re going to keep and how we will use them to our advantage.

Any comments or thoughts? I won’t mind. Let me know below! Or maybe share your own experiences? 😉

Advice to a Young Lad [Part 2]

*NOTE: After two years, I wrote and posted this one. (The first one was posted previously)




It was almost 11pm last night. I just said my goodnight to my Multiply bud with whom I had a very interesting “chat” about WICKED and Idina Menzel. I said I had to go home early. Then, I remembered a text message from my friend/ex-boss BOSSING Tuesday: “____ will be going on his peace retreat from Friday to Sunday this week. He is supposed to receive a package of love letters from family and friends during the retreat. Please take time to write him a letter. You can e-mail it to me by Thursday evening. I am delivering the letters to the retreat on Friday morning…”

So I tried to write with much sense. I don’t really know if I did. I just didn’t want not to write the letter. First of all, I felt happy that she would think of asking me, not once, but twice! Some years ago, I wrote my first letter to her son. This time, this was what I wrote:

advice to a young lad 2


Advice to a Young Lad [Part 1]

*NOTE: Sometimes, the best person to give you advice is yourself, if you’ll just listen to that little voice inside. I have been re-posting this piece not only to share my thoughts but just to keep reminding myself that I do know these and must apply what I know…If he happens to see this, the young man I gave this to will remember as well.


For many weeks now, I have been communicating with my new friends. I must admit, I didn’t expect such deep conversations at first that would force me to evaluate myself, as I’m evaluating myself now.

Where do I stand? What are my views? Am I different? Do I belong? Do I make sense? Do people make sense to me? Am I naive or stupid or innocent? Am I intelligent enough, positive enough, practical enough, secure enough?

Thinking about these today, I suddenly remembered an actual letter I wrote years ago for a 12-year-old boy who went to a retreat that year:

advice to young lad part 1

The young boy, in truth, is the son of my former Boss who had/has been a friend to me. I was chummy with this kid, whose not quite the kid now. He was going to a retreat with his whole batch in grade school and part of the requirements was for parents, relatives and/or friends to write letters addressed to them. These letters were supposed to be given to the teachers who would hand the letters to the students on the last day of the retreat. To my surprise, my Boss asked me to write one for him. I was surprised because she thought of me that much. And I was surprised because she trusted me enough to give her son some words of wisdom.

You’d think it would be easy. The words of wisdom were required to help the children. So I thought long and hard until finally, I came up with this. What surprised me more, it gave me the chance to do a lot of thinking.

So now, I am again doing a lot of thinking. But now, I realize, here they are, the stuff that I, myself, said a person actually needs…Fortunately, I still believe. I am still growing. And will still keep these words in mind. 🙂

Copyright © J.Gi Federizo


UPDATE: I wrote a second letter for him a few years after — Advice to a Young Lad [Part 2]


Real Que Horrors!!! (and some more growing up to do)

Kafka on Growing Old

An apt image I found, by Suzi Crafter, from

November just ended. We left the scary month that seems to always give life to the dead because it got designated as the Halloween month. But how many times have we heard it, that’s it’s not the dead we should be scared of but the living? Other than that, I think we should also be warned about HOW we live. Too many horrors in this world…


Finally finished reading two weeks ago a 220-paged ’50s book now-considered a classic. Normally, I find books I decide to read either “just okay” or “very good”. Rarely do I find books I don’t like or I hate. Seems like I’m deciding between these last two with this book. I’m disappointed. It’s such a hype. I waited for it to surprise me in the end, that was the main reason I stuck to it. But I felt the same way I felt when I was at the start.

We were talking about this book a few weeks back. I agreed with one that’s it’s full of angsts and I said that’s exactly why I can’t seem to like it — too angsty even for my own taste. Another said that that’s what makes it beautiful. I don’t think too angsty is beautiful. It’s a book about someone who always finds something to complain about. He hardly sees good in anything. The book ends like he hasn’t even learned his lesson. I found nothing of the said beautiful part in the angsts I read.

The thing is we already have our own angsts to take care of. We do not need to read more of it. At least I don’t. It’s really a waste of energy — physical, mental, emotional. I know ’cause I get periods of it. So do most people.


When depression hits, I still complain about:

A who made me look bad to the boss before

B who made me get the flak for her incompetence as a leader (better me than her, right?)

C who said my idea wasn’t working but look what they are doing now with MY idea (that was actually the BEST thing that was happening online in 2010)

D and E who made total lies to cover their sorry butts from F who had always hated my guts and took the opportunity to accuse me based on aforementioned lies and CC’ing the Bigger Boss in an attempt to make me cower (and he thought I would back down…No. Effin’. Way.)

Etcetera, etcetera. Blah.

But that’s just it. They’re “etcetera’s”.  They’re things/people we really shouldn’t even need to give the time of day to mention or even think about, because they DON’T MATTER. Once upon a time, they did, and we had our reasons to gripe. But we have to move on. Time to leave the etcetera’s behind.

Yes, like I said, I still gripe once in a while about them. Our memories are wired to our hearts after all. At least I am learning to let go and have gotten tired of the angsts, actually, that I don’t talk much about them anymore. Can you get tired of yourself? Yes.

Depression, complaints, ANGSTS. Who needs them? It’s not the end of the world.



If you wanna know how big the world was when you were born, check this page out: The Guardian. I did.

Mine said 3,988,880,570. United Arab Emirates was Fastest Growth Country with 18.37% (grew to 453,530 that year) and Equatorial Guinea was Slowest Growth Country with -4.88% (shrank to 249,569 that year). Wow. And now we just welcomed the 7-billionth babies.

Interesting, yeah. Did this make me happy? Not really. Just goes to show how much we screwed up the planet. Imagine, 7 billion, and counting, and what do we have to show the kids? It’s like handing down an old, beaten-up, malfunctioning car. It could just die on you anytime. You’ll never really know.

And that’s what we’ve been doing, beating up the planet, doing all the worst things imaginable to it. You’ve got brains enough to know what I mean.

Our procreation could be the death of us all.


Speaking of procreation, it is something some people should be disallowed to do. They have no business making babies at all!

I can still remember those videos I saw recently.

— the toddler in China that got hit and ran over by a vehicle, twice, then again by the next vehicle, and people didn’t do anything to help her

— the little girl (in Japan, if I’m not mistaken) who was sitting alone and unprotected on the window sill and then  falling many floors from the building

— another video in China that I found showing a vehicle running over another toddler that, at least from what I could gather from the video, miraculously survived well enough to stand (if s/he was crying, I could not see)

— the baby her mom killed in the US and she’s getting off lightly

…and so many etceteras that DO deserve our attention.

What kind of parents and adult relatives do these kids have??? I want to know.

Why, just the other night, I was on my way home and there was this little boy playing dangerously on the street. Good thing the drivers could see him and were honking their horns. On a busy street, not one adult cared enough to do something. Maybe they didn’t know because they were so busy. But it was not an excuse for those who knew.

I approached him to tell him to stay away from the street. He wriggled from my light hold and to my shock, quickly — and thank goodness,  safely — crossed the street. I noticed a man sitting and just watching, grinning like an amused effin’  hyena. Then the woman-vendor near me yelled at him to say, “Hey! Are you stupid? Why wouldn’t you even take care of your nephew?”

I think they were both stupid.


Time Flies by tiddlyinks

Time Flies by tiddlyinks, from

December just started. Time does fly. Unfortunately, maturity is left in the dust. It’s easy to get old. No matter where you are, you get old. It’s the growing-old part that has a lot of catching up to do.