Encore Syndrome is real.

I posted a Facebook status update on Encore Syndrome and was surprised at the interest that it generated. I first heard of it from a Psych professor back when I was still in college. I thought then that it was merely psychobabble from a new professor who wanted to impress wide-eyed freshmen still reeling from the aftermath of actually attending a class at a prestigious university. She had described it as a condition characterized by a need to follow up one success with another, which is what happens during curtain call, when actors are taking their bows, and the audience screams “Encore! Encore!” (which has now been layman-ized further into “More! More!”)


If I could only cite names–which, for ethical reasons, I choose not to do– I would’ve come up with enough material to prove that Encore Syndrome is indeed real. If you ever decide to Google it and find less than satisfactory results, one reason is that it now comes with many names. For authors, they call it “The Second Novel Syndrome,” recording artists “The Second Album Syndrome,” and so on… My own experience digging through Google has led me to similar descriptions under various names, such as Success Depression (seriously!), Success Syndrome, and Encore Anxiety.

It took some time for me to realize that I, too, have fallen victim to it. After earning a college degree and not landing my first job soon enough, I felt that I had to do something “worthwhile.” So I enrolled in a Master’s program. When I did get my first job, I had to transfer to a different graduate program that was more aligned to my profession. Before realizing it, I was job-hopping and hoarding certifications in my personal quest for success. And after attaining one goal after another, I found myself asking “What’s next?”


At a job interview, the HR recruiter asked me, “Would you consider yourself successful?” I felt that it was a trick question, which I answered anyway. I failed that interview. Years later, and hopefully much wiser, I felt that I could have answered it better. It depends actually on how you view success. If one considered success as having one’s goal met, then a person has every chance of being successful at a given point in his or her life. The problem with this, however, is that everyone would be chasing one goal after another in an endless pursuit of success. Like being the hamster on a wheel.

In one of my readings, I came across this story about a lecturer asking the crowd “What is the richest place in the world?” Responses varied. Dr. Myles Munroe, in his book, The Principles and Power of Vision wrote:

“The wealthiest places in the world are not gold mines, oil fields, diamond mines or banks. The wealthiest place is the cemetery. There lies companies that were never started, masterpieces that were never painted… In the cemetery there is buried the greatest treasure of untapped potential. There is a treasure within you that must come out. Don’t go to the grave with your treasure still within YOU.”

He said further that everyone was born with a purpose, but it takes vision to fulfill it. Purpose is when you know and understand what you were born to accomplish. Vision is when you see it in your mind and begin to imagine it.”

I took that lesson as a challenge. I began to make intentional choices. I made the decision to find out what purpose I was born with, and channeled my time and resources toward that purpose and only for that purpose. I asked myself the following questions:

  • What are my key strengths? Are there areas where people and myself are in agreement that I’m truly good at?
  • What are the things that I find joy at doing that I could do it even if I had to do it for free?

That’s where I started to overcome my encore anxiety. While I am still a work in progress, I do find myself living more peacefully now. Also, I take comfort in the scripture that says,


This is God’s Word on the subject: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (The Message)

Encore Syndrome is real. But what Dr. Munroe had said also holds true, “The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.” So no more meaningless, tiring chasing after the wind.

Have you found your personal purpose? You may share your insights by posting a comment below.


That Kind of Girl

I’m the kind of girl who carries one of those microwaveable takeout containers in her bag filled with kibbles–yep, the dry dog food variety, because I like to feed strays.


Say hello to Kawkaw, my first rescue pup

I’m the kind of girl who would actually spend half an hour prying an errant house lizard off a rat glue pad, dousing the reptile with cooking oil as a final rite of freedom.

I realize that in most of my lifetime, especially these recent years, I have been kind to animals but cruel to myself.

I have been a pushover.

While most of my family will disagree, my eldest sister especially, I am actually a pushover. Though I agree that I probably am the most opinionated of the lot, I have actually done myself a great disservice by allowing all types of obligations–corporate, family, and otherwise–to subjugate my personal dreams and aspirations.

Animals, stray dogs especially, have earned a special place in my heart, because they are desperately in need, and when you fill that need, they’re grateful. They don’t have any other agenda and power to return the favor, and for that reason, showing them kindness becomes a noble act in that you don’t get anything in return. No flattery and accolades. The work is unheralded yet rewarding.

It’s different with people. There’s always a hidden motive behind every action. They suck you dry. Somehow, it has dawned on me that while I am the kind of girl who wants to help out in whatever way she can, I also want to be that kind of girl who shows kindness to herself.

passions, psychobabble

Productively Yours

Statistics say that the average person spends 45-62 minutes of each day waiting for something. That’s about 4.2% of the average lifespan. Right now, you may be waiting for a document to download, for your turn to use the bathroom, for a ride to arrive, or for the right person to come along. According to a study on the psychology of waiting, emotions normally dominate the process. The way we feel affects our attitude about the wait. The more unpleasant the experience seems for you, the more frustrating and the longer the waiting period seems. And that’s the reason why Eldar, the Enchanted Kingdom wizard, has a job. Time filled with something else, other than the realization that you’re waiting, gives us the perception of a shorter, quicker wait. Holding your place at the amusement park queue is one thing; now, waiting for a person, a.k.a. God’s Best, to come into your life is another story.

I wonder, how would a new concept of time change our culture of waiting? After all, waiting is a function of time. At the risk of sounding too naive, I will say what I know to be true: God’s timing is always perfect. He’s never a minute too early or too late. In Ecclesiastes 3:1, it says,

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

It clearly says that there is a right time for every single thing. As for love, it is written,

Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. – Song of Songs 2:7

This means that until it is God’s appointed time, we are not to force the issue or attempt to speed up the process. In my own walk with the Lord, I have come to learn that there are FOUR MAIN REASONS WHY GOD DOES NOT GIVE US WHAT WE WANT WHEN WE WANT IT:

  1. An area of sin. It’s either there is an area of sin in our lives that He wants us to address first or what we are asking for AT THIS TIME may cause us to stumble in our own walk with God. This leads us to the issue of
  2. Unpreparedness. Sometimes, we are asking for something we’re not yet ready for. For instance, some of us single women in the church may be praying for a husband when our actions show we’re not really ready to be a wife.
  3. God is using the waiting season to mold our character. One of my favorite Scriptures tells me that “the testing of your faith develops perseverance (James 1:3).” In the same way, as we wait for God’s Best,  we gain wisdom and patience along the way, and these are essential for playing the role of a godly wife or husband.
  4. It’s not His will for us. This is the part where you leave my blog. LOL. Kidding aside, it may not be what you want to hear, er, read about, but too often, we want to be with someone who is not even God’s Second Best.

No matter how far along we are in our waiting season, we are given a model of the right attitude to keep in James 5:7-9:

See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains… Be patient and stand firm… Don’t grumble…

In the meantime, here’s HOW TO BE PRODUCTIVE AS WE WAIT:

  1. Get closer to God. The closer we get to the Author of the Greatest Love Story Ever Told, the clearer the direction will be. He is your heart’s Designer, and He certainly knows how it works best. As He knows your innermost desires, you can be sure that He will never give you someone you will want to get rid of.
  2. Rethink your motives. Why are you in a hurry to get into a relationship? Or to get married? If you’re just looking for a savior, know that you’ve already got One. If you want a way out of a lonely, dreary life, well, newsflash… There are married people who are lonely, because they ended up rushing into marriage with the wrong persons.
  3. Guard against getting “corned beef” heart. I remember the lines to the Bachelor Girl song “Buses and Trains”: So I walked under a busI got hit by a train/Keep falling in love/Which is kinda the same/I’ve sunk out at sea/Crashed my car, gone insane/And it felt so good/I wanna do it again. Enough said. Even if you survive, you bring excess baggage from the experiences that will burden your God-destined spouse someday.
  4. Prepare for the role. For single ladies, it’s time to perfect your sinigang or maybe steak and potatoes. For more info, refer to Proverbs 31: 10-31, please. This blog entry is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long. Yes, even for me.

A final Word of encouragement:

Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. – Romans 8:25

illusions, psychobabble

As if

I used to associate the phrase “as if” with snobbishness and colegiala slang (probably because  whenever I hear someone say “As if!” with the “as” prolonged, and the “if” inflected, I think “Clueless”).  Most of my last year, however, was filled with challenges and events which revealed to me a whole new meaning to the phrase.

I can’t divulge the details here–at least, not until April of this year, but I can think of one other illustration. My previous posts had mostly been about my search for a certain pair of shoes. (If you know me well, then you know that I’m not as superficial as my entries sometimes make me appear – Hahaha!) I went through all that just because I was going to a friend’s wedding.

My elder sister, who is more kikay (stylish) than I am, had booked me for hair and make-up, and when I found out, I was “What did you do that for? I can do my own hair and make-up, thank you very much. Dagdag gastos lang ‘yan! (That’s just an additional expense!)”

My sister’s reply: “Sus! You’ve gone through all that trouble na rin lang naman for the shoes… might as well do it full blast. Todo mo na!” Just between you and me, I think she just said that because she’d be too embarrassed to cancel the booking if I had asked her.

So I went along with her ingenious idea, all the while thinking “Naks! Kung makapaghanda naman, as if parte ng entourage! (I’m preparing as if I’m a member of the entourage!)”

Guess what? At exactly 10:30 A.M. (The wedding was at 4:00 P.M.), my phone rang, and the moment I saw the bride’s name on the display, I thought, “It’s her wedding day. Why is she calling ME?” As soon as I said “Hello,” my friend flooded me with what seemed to be three different combos of an apology and a request: Sorry, this is short notice but… I know this seems a little late… I hope it’s okay with you?

As it turned out, a member of the wedding entourage had encountered an emergency, and I filled in for her. When I told the story to our friends, who were as surprised to see me march down the aisle as I was when I picked up the phone that morning, here’s how they reacted: “Short notice? Try VERY short.” “Anong a little late? Sobrang late ‘ka mo! (What do you mean “a little late”? You should say “extremely late”!)

So moral of the story: it’s not so bad acting “as if” sometimes. It makes you available to step in and step out. It’s AS IF you were born ready. It’s faith in action. That funny incident gave me fresh eyes in understanding what’s written in Hebrews 11:1

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.


Faith isn’t just about believing that something is going to happen. It means ACTING AS IF it’s already there.


illusions, passions, psychobabble

Shoes, love, neurosis

So I went shoe-shopping today, and I never thought I’d say this but God, I hate shopping! I mean, I hate shopping by myself! Not that it looked like Satan decided to do a general cleaning and emptied hell out into the mall. In fact, I believe I saw my first Christmas miracle today… there weren’t any queues. It’s just that shopping brings out my neuroses.

Now this is what I call killer shoes! (Photo from

In an old post called “From near misses to Mrs.”, I once wrote that finding and keeping Mr. Right is like shopping: If you don’t know what kind of shoes you’re looking for, you’ll come home either empty-handed or worse, with the wrong pair of shoes. I couldn’t have been more right. Here’s what happened:

  • Love at first site. – I know I’m always saying “Never take the first bus that comes along…” but today, I almost didn’t practice what I preach. I didn’t feel like moving around so much that I wanted to grab the first pair of foxy shoes I could get my hands on and take the first bus, er, trike that comes along. I know God’s working on my (im)patience–and He’s decided to do overtime work–but oftentimes, I’m in so much rush to get to the next item on my to-do list, to do my own thing, that I refuse to acknowledge there may be something better in store. Um, yes, I think I’m still talking about shoes.
  • De-feet-ing the purpose. – I saw this gorgeous and comfy (I can hardly believe I’m writing both adjectives in a sentence about shoes) pair of flats at the mall, and I did what a church friend suggested I should. I lay my hand on the pair, making sure my palm completely covers the price tag for fear that I would chicken out once I see the cost, and whispered “You’re mine… in Jesus’ name.” It was my size, too, but I realized “Whoops! I’m here to buy shoes for a formal event, and my flats, no matter how attractive, will be inappropriate. Unfortunately.” So I had to return it to its rightful place–back on the display shelf, where it can be seen by the next girl who’s out there in search of flats. Gorgeous flats. “Never take the first bus that comes along, especially if it’s not going where you’re going,” I keep repeating to my gal pals. Sometimes, even if it hurts, you have to get off the bus once you realize it’s not headed to your stop.
  • Perfect shoes, wrong dress. – In the end, I found the perfect shoes… one that doesn’t make me look like a hobbit on stilts. The moment I slipped my foot into it was a very Cinderella moment. The color was right. Even the fit was perfect. And then it happened… I realized it doesn’t go well with the dress I was out to buy shoes for. So, perfect doesn’t mean “right.” You have to figure out what you’ve got, so you’ll know what will go well with it and what won’t. Nah, I’m not so sure I’m talking about shoes. I told you, shoe shopping alone brings out my neuroses.

So I guess you know I came home empty-handed, and uh, yeah, I’ll live. Don’t you just hate it when you’re left with not much choice? Maybe I should just move to another city.

illusions, passions, psychobabble

Love in The Time of Internet, Part 2

Last week, one of my students posted an announcement on Facebook that Friendster is shutting down. Although I haven’t been active on Friendster within the last couple of years–and even though Friendster is not closing down but only reformatting itself–I was saddened just a little bit. Why? I had started blogging on Friendster. On May 31st of this year, that blog, as well as all testimonials and photos, will be deleted. More nostalgic than I had expected myself to be, I logged in to access the Friendster Exporter and started downloading my blog. To my surprise, I found out that my “special friend’s” ex was still in my recent “Who’s Viewed Me?” After all these years…


It reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my closest friends. She had shared that she once had an “Internet boyfriend.” I really thought that the guy was into her. He called her on the phone, IM her any time of the day, and was already looking up flight schedules  so he could finally meet her and her family. Unfortunately, before the trip could take place, he met someone who’s nice AND living in the same city.

Although it didn’t really break my friend’s heart, she admitted that she felt a little hurt and inadequate. Since she and the guy were still Facebook friends, she told me how she would check out everything she could find on The Girlfriend. At first, she simply wanted to know how she looked. Then, she wanted to find out what she’s like and  how they communicated with each other. Later on, my friend realized that the more she knew about the girlfriend, the more miserable she became. So, she said, “Enough of this,” and kissed her fixation goodbye. I am happy to report that she is now in a fulfilling relationship with a great guy. I just don’t know whether she cyber-stalks his ex-girlfriends.


What is it with the Internet that makes instant snoops–and masochists–out of the best girls? I know someone–let’s call her S–who came across her boyfriend’s ex’s blog totally by accident. S was blog-hopping one day, and as she clicked “Next Blog” (on Blogger)–lo and behold! She found herself face-to-screen with her boyfriend’s ex’s face. There would have been nothing to it if only S didn’t do the next thing she did: browse through “Archives,” specifically those dated during the time her boyfriend and the ex were still together. Lucky for her, there were no cheesy montages. What if there were?


The Internet can be an entire network of Pandora’s boxes. One absent-minded click can open up floodgates of happy memories in your partner’s life that you were not a part of. If your relationship is not founded on something strong, it can drown. A guy friend once told me that what he hates about the Internet is that “it makes people feel entitled to probe someone else’s life” and that it serves as a venue for “social vultures” to feast on others.


These stories make me rethink blogging. If I blog about a boyfriend, and we break up, what are the chances that his future girlfriend or wife (gulp) will come across it? And if she does, what are the chances that it’s going to cause trouble in their relationship? In ancient days of snail mail, photographs and love letters–which, I must admit, are still far more special and valuable in my eyes–can easily be burned after a relationship has failed. With e-mail and digital photos and blogs, do we go over gigabytes of memories and delete files one by one? What about cached pages? Do we go to the extent of requesting Google to remove the cached version of a site just so it will not break someone’s heart in the future?

Recently, I’ve posted a survey via Facebook’s “Question”: WOULD YOU READ YOUR BOYFRIEND’S/GIRLFRIEND’S BLOG FROM THE TIME THAT THEY WERE TOGETHER? A majority of them answered YES. Would you? Why? Why not? 

passions, Pinay Ako!, psychobabble

In the “kikay” of the beholder…

It’s Sunday. For most people, Sunday is “Family Day.” For Pinoy kids, today is Jollibee Day! Yay! It’s what they look forward to after church. If you ask me, the only way to get kids off the Internet and go to church these days is if there’s a promise of Jolly Spaghetti afterwards. I know! It’s kinda sad, really. How about spaghetti AND Chickenjoy, right?

In my family, it’s also a day to indulge in our kakikayan. “Kikay” is a Filipino feminine slang for “girly,” typically used to mean someone who likes to play dress-up and is  handy with a mascara wand. As I grappled with an apt translation, the first thing that entered my mind was “vain,” but then I realized that when somebody says, “Ang kikay niya, ‘no?” the person almost always says it with an affectionate smile–not a smirk. The word seems more associated with “fun” and is devoid of the superficiality of its English counterpart.

Check out my kikay nails this Sunday! The shade is called "Romeo & Juliet."

Sundays at home are amusing. If you visit us on a Sunday, you will find Mama and Papa at the back terrace, dyeing the graying strands off each other’s hair. My sister will most likely be on her way out to her favorite neighborhood salon. As for me, I’ll be in my room, mixing and matching outfits.

A "relaxed" weekend for my older sister 🙂

Maybe it’s our way of pampering ourselves after a long week of hard work. Or maybe, it’s our coping mechanism for this psychological trauma also known as “Monday.”  I can’t explain it, really. I guess that we were simply raised in a home where going to church is the same as looking your best. No, it’s not for the benefit of people in church. It’s also not just because of the idea that we’re “presenting ourselves before God.” It’s more like… if I don’t look well put-together, wouldn’t that reflect badly on my Father?


Note to reader (if there’s any): You don’t have to agree with me, but please don’t let this blog entry be an issue of “religion.” I am highly tolerant of differences in beliefs, so please maintain an attitude of respect if you wish to comment. I would really appreciate it if you could share your Sunday family practices–from the simple to the unconventional. Or if you could respond to “How kikay are you?”