Aug 17, 2014

Of Settlements, Settling the Score and Not Settling for Less: Know You Deserve Better

Traditionally, red is a very vibrant color and is ideally used to celebrate something (well in the Chinese and Asian culture anyway...) Personally, I never regarded red in a negative way and do not associate it with anger, war or danger. Instead, I always thought red was a very intense color that I associate with strength, power, passion and desire. I usually do not use the color solely on an outfit... I use it as an accent instead. That is obviously not the case with this outfit since as you can see, I wore a vibrant red silk satin dress and Lanvin pumps in the same hue (it was so matchy-matchy that both items even had bow details). It is all so very monochromatic and all so very red but I ended up taking a risk and loved it. I kept everything else simple and fuss-free and to avoid overkill, I decided not to accessorize anymore. I reckon I am feeling a bit more empowered these days and I decided to spice things up - as I always do when it comes to fashion choices and wore red on red. It's funny how I went full-on committed to the color but then again, that is just me... I never do half-baked and when I do something, it's all about going all in. 

Having said this, I must admit that I am a person who only knows extremes. You see, the purpose of having middle ground never made sense to me nor did it ever appeal to me. Everyone who knows me well knows this trait of mine. I draw a red line on things that people should not cross and once they do, I am not forgiving. Dominique says it's all about saturation points and I find that mine is clearly marked. A deal breaker is a deal breaker and there is no repairing things for me once they are broken. Personally, I do not know if having this characteristic is a good thing or a bad thing. The silver lining to having this trait is that I personally know that I never settle for anything less than what I know I deserve. I am very hard-headed and stubborn so I don't usually compromise and sometimes, I think that it's a good thing that I know what I want and clearly won't take anything sub-par. Looking back, that also probably explains why I am very cut-throat and unforgiving. That's just me...all or nothing...and you can take it or leave it.


I always had a warm and fiery undertone to my skin and hopefully that was not influenced by my equally feisty personality. This explains why cool and calming colors of minerals and accessories like aquamarine, turquoise, quartz, topaz never looked good on me. (I swear, I tried so many times to make turquoise work for me because I loved it so much and failed monumentally. It was never nice on me and you can ask anyone about it. It only worked unless there was a hint of amber or red in it!) What can I say? I guess cool and calming isn't just my thing. I prefer to cause sparks.

Red Strapless Silk Satin Dress with Bow Detail: Zara
Patent Red Pumps with Tie-Up Detail and Crystal Heel: Lanvin (Also worn HERE)
Red Lipstick: Laura Mercier in Tamara Red

Having said all that, allow me to reiterate: there is no middle ground for me and this is why I especially find it very difficult to have today  happen since I have to go to "Mediation Court" and try to have someone, appointed by the law, mediate the dispute I have with a very severely disturbed girl who physically attacked me not just once (and don't get me started on her other relatives) but many times. The most significant one resulting to trauma all over my leg and bruises on my arm. I personally do not know how a group of people can try to resolve this dispute and try to bring about an agreement or settlement although I am predicting they will be having quite the most difficult experience in their lives. I have to give them snaps as early as now for trying though. The word mediate never made sense to me because it is a nicer way of saying, "Here, save yourself the inconvenience, the time and the effort and settle for less than the justice you deserve." I hate euphemisms and would prefer if people just called it out for what it was. I would have to keep on pinching myself tomorrow so I don't blurt out that the defendant needs to find God and meditate or go to a hospital and medicate because the last thing we should be doing here is mediate.  (See what I did there?) I expect that the court will be acting less like mediators and more like umpires and referees, granted that the defendant and her kin are very hot-headed and to be frank, play very dirty (as if they have the right to do so.) The day is especially very dreadful as being in the same room with a supposed former unstable close friend basically sucks the life out of me. Yes, her presence is so very dreadful that being in the same room makes me want to break out in hives instead...(after all, if I did break out in hives, I will have to again give myself points for matching this very red outfit.) The bottom line, non compos mentis = reducto ad absurdum aka. conserva me ab inferno. I needed to say that in Latin as it sounds so much more intense and smart... not that saying it in the English language would appeal to the said person's mental capacity as it operates on stick figures of speech... but then again, I just had to show sue me...Oh, wait, I already did that to someone else...

So how do I relate this whole dreadful experience to everyone else? (Already I am apologizing for the very lengthy entry...) But I have a point and allow me to make it. This is basically it: People settle for mediocrity in many aspects of their lives on a daily basis. We accept jobs we hate, we deal with friends who let us down and we let significant others get away with treating us like crap. I can't help but wonder, why do people choose to be complacent instead of moving where there are better opportunities? I was reflecting on this question the entire morning and then it hit me that it is easier to be stuck in a familiar rut or habit, albeit a depressing one, than to look outside the habit and have a life that is more desirable. Unfortunately, playing it safe means not living the life we deserve to live. We are all terrified of change, failure and taking risks and I guess this is one of the main reasons people settle in life. It is not so much about unrealistic goals or perfection... it is about changing the things you can to be happy and not simply drift along life and complain. This is why people get stuck in a toxic friendship or relationship all too many times. We find ourselves stuck, no longer moving forward and perhaps moving backwards. What now? I mean, when is toxic, toxic enough for us to walk away? When does the survival instinct kick in? I have to say it is best to leave early and jump over the rubble and pieces that used to be memories. As I have experienced on that first few days of November in the place where I was attacked, there are some relationships that will destroy us. We have to admit that to ourselves. I guess it is easier to settle than it is to leave our comfort zone so we create endless excuses to justify our complacency. All that of course will result in looking back with regret and a bruised ego (well in my case, it included a number of bruises all over my body), wishing we had not settled.

My advice: leave that part of your life and accept that everything has changed. Sure it is painful. But it is also very normal. Most of the time, if you are lucky, you can't blame anyone for anything as it is no one's's just how it is. Don't be like me and wait too long wherein I can definitely blame someone, it is definitely this juvenile (or should I say... infantile) girl's fault and that's just how it is. As I have learned, we have to learn to accept that there are times when it is no longer healthy to hang on to some people for so long because it will not help us but rather hinder us from the person we want to be- it won't help us learn and it won't help us grow. I mean, sure, it's nice how some friendships last but we have to wake up to the reality that not every friendship (or relationship) does. As much as we want to, holding on to people and memories are a no-no. I learned that the very hard way and to make up for that catastrophic misstep I have to spend a majority of my time in at least one of the nicest cities in country's Regional Trial Court. I find it very scary how because of what I experienced, I find it so easy and simple to disconnect myself from someone's life. I just remove the plug. Bye bye. You don't have to be like me because as I said I only operate on extremes. But when I think of how this former friend once meant so much to me and now means absolutely nothing (her own doing, trust me)... I get a little sick in my stomach. I realized this a long time ago that I had a habit of reading people quite well and sort of becoming what they wanted me to be...which was myself, in a way, but not completely. I become loyal and magnanimous because I don't really know any other way to be when I've invested in someone (perhaps I missed the part when everyone learned this) so I always put other people's wants and needs on a pedestal. That's fine... if you are giving these to the right people and not all the wrong ones. 

As a result, I have managed to become one of those girls who are fine with walking away not just from situations that are bad for them but are also fine with walking away from those that are not good enough. The silver lining to all of this waste of my time, effort, energy and money is that I now realize what I have to offer and what I deserve in return (and being hit so hardly to the point I fall in public by a person who claimed to be my "friend" is definitely something I don't deserve... I don't think anyone does... I mean right?) So do not settle for less than that. I am not encourage everyone to be a bitch because I am one, but please give yourself a mental high-five and then claim what you want because the minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than what you settled for. Life is way too short to settle for anything less than what we truly want. The only way to accept your potential is to stop settling and stop limiting ourselves and wasting our precious time on people who do not deserve it. If you are at a stage where you are feeling melancholy because you've wasted years on someone who doesn't deserve it remember that it's the pain of going through friendships and relationships that translates to growing up and more importantly, learning what you really want to be happy in life. Don't be afraid to tell people. "You're great but I can do better than this." People who consciously or subconsciously cause you pain are not your friends. And personally, that is not something I want in my life. And I doubt that is not something you want in yours. You deserve things that are "better than this..."- you deserve the best. The best may happen soon enough or it may take time but more important than when it comes is that you get that feeling of self-respect that you were able to be brave enough to walk away. In the mean time, never settle. Life is too beautiful for you to settle.

Photos by: Celyn Jaravata

xx, JL

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