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Day 1 of the 30-Day Writing Challenge 2019

I said I would write, so despite being out at work almost the entire day, I am cramming Day 1 of this 30-day challenge I’m taking on. I’ll be following the calendar below, which I downloaded 4 years ago. As you can see, the author of this graphic created this in 2015 ? and it’s been sitting on my desktop since, ignored. I haven’t read all the topics, and I vaguely remember thinking I wanted each day to have an element of surprise. It’ll be a good exercise on writing the 1st idea that comes to mind and just rolling with it.

Raven Brave

A 30-day writing challenge from 2015 – click to go to the original owner’s blog

Day 1 seems simple enough: the story behind your profile picture. Immediately I ask, “Which one?” Signs of the times ? So to cover all bases, I’ll do the top 3 social media sites I access on a daily basis.


A friend from CrossFit asked me to model for her new line of active wear and swim suits. Initially, I thought, me? MODEL?! Not by any traditional definition of the word did I feel like I fit into that mold, but when she explained that she wanted “regular girls” with everyday bodies, I shrugged and said why not. I’m glad I did it, not only because it was fun, but it was a step toward self-acceptance and a renewed confidence.

I had struggled with my body image since childhood, having been obese for many years. When I entered college, it was a combination of outgrowing my baby fat, walking around campus, and undergoing a strenuous training program for The UP Concert Chorus that effortlessly made me shed the excessive inches off my body. I did not diet, nor did I work out. It  just magically went away.

Through the years, I had maintained a pretty fit physique, but with increasing effort. I occasionally yoyo-ed, tried fad diets, and had to start incorporating more exercises into my daily routines. Luckily, I discovered that I love exerting myself in sport and outdoor activities. I actually enjoy working out.

The struggle I had to face last year was having to stop high impact activities, when I was diagnosed with a recurrent slipped disc, and the discovery of another directly above the previous. Suddenly, I was no longer allowed to do jump ropes, burpees, running, weightlifting – anything that can compress my spine further. I gained 20 pounds throughout 2018. I haven’t lost it yet, but the truly amazing takeaway from all of it is that I’m no longer despairing over it. Sure it’s frustrating, but now I’m not so worried about how I look. I do want to keep working on how I feel, and alleviating the pains from my pinched nerves. I’ve discovered that yoga helps me dramatically, and I want to keep doing that more regularly.


This photo was taken by an acquaintance-turned-friend. When the RCS was relatively new, we had a show at a mall, and naturally the audience was a mix of tired shoppers and passers by. Later on, I received a message on defunct-social media site Multiply. It was a guy who claims to have glimpsed the show while out with his family. He only said that he enjoyed it very much, and would like possibly work on something in the future. I gave a courteous reply and thought that was it, but after subsequent post-show messages, and seeing how many common friends we had, I had a gut feel that this was a friend I could keep.

True enough, we are still in touch. I’ve come to know some of his family, hung out a couple of times. He has taken my group’s photos in a studio (where this photo came from) and in numerous live concerts. He’s even taken my family’s portraits one holiday season when my sisters were home. So what this photo represents is taking a chance on people, because I can’t always anticipate what it could bring to my life.


Now this is an odd one. I was at a beach house somewhere south of Manila. It was a trip with colleagues from my 1st and only corporate job. It was a magnificently beautiful day, sunny but windy. The garden leading up to shore was choked with bright bougainvilleas. I was on the verge of dating someone, and he was being extra attentive the entire afternoon. My hilarious companions were keeping me in stitches with their crazy impersonations and so-corny-they’re-good jokes. We took plenty of photos of ourselves, of each other, and with everybody. “Let’s do laughing.” “Let’s do serious.” We took some in the water, in the cabanas, on the trampoline. It used to be the funnest thing to do back in the day.

Little did I know that our “private beach” only extended to the neighbor’s dock. They had the same idea we did. I don’t remember when my friend sent me my photos, but I was shocked to find that they had been posted online by some of her friends, who were divers from next door. I felt violated and stunned. She tried to assure me that the perpetrators had been reprimanded and chastised, and my face taken down. Of course I wasn’t assured, but it did teach me several lessons. Photos are powerful things: to appear in them is a responsibility to self and others. Also, always be clothed. ?

Whew! I made it before midnight. Good night, that was fun!

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