RESOLUTION TO RESOLVE – Nine Lives by Mikko Mahinay

Here I am again, resuming some sort of hiatus on this personal space of mine- further skipping , but never not forgetting, gigabytes of photographs from travels and commissioned work for my take on what probably almost everyone with a personal domain or pre-teen print publication is up to. This year end post, however, is partially responsible for the recurring radio silence in recent months- saving all my best thoughts into composed writing & trying to refrain from sounding like a Thought Catalog rip-off and rather, ending the year with a bang- onerously.


I never understood in having to wait for months, weeks, or days to change or improve something about yourself or of something else when you do have the liberty of changing/improving whatever the hell is wrong with you, immediately. Running a business and managing people of various personalities, levels of maturity and contributions to stress has taught me to never let problems and weaknesses remain overnight; but to resolve them in order for everyone to proceed to the next phase. But you can’t really blame several people who need a mental portrait of a clean slate the word New Year is associated with; just as “parlorista” is what most prudent people’s reflexive immediate recall when they hear the word “bakla”, leaving several of the LGBT community forcibly pretending to be masculine to avoid the stereotype. Unfortunately. But then again, going back~ why wait until the start of a New Year?

But don’t get me wrong, 2017 has been a year of breakthroughs for me only because I (both literally & mentally) listed down all the things I wanted to improve on and actually achieve, compiled even before 2017 commenced. From something as small and simple, that most might think as just another blonde problem, which is to avoid posting these non-substantial fillers on Instagram and upload more posts that are groundbreaking & unique; to more #adulting resolutions such as to travel abroad frequently than domestic trips (ironic how it’s even cheaper to travel abroad than it is within the Philippines), to becoming more financially stable by being an actual business entity and standardizing the mechanism of the field (i.e. actually hiring an assistant on payroll and doing auditing.) Proactive improvements are laudable for those of us who can manage them, but given the lack of solving something, or eliminating some problem, “I will be more productive” is likely to become more of a burden than, say, “I will stop making excuses”. So, for the year that was 2017, I’m listing down my highlights (& subsequent low lights, if there’s a more apt term to be coined) with the associated resolution.


1.) Traveling Alone

For 2017, I have traveled both domestic and international, alone. And it was just recently that I figured out I apparently did an Elizabeth Gilbert a la Eat, Pray, Love (much to my  own dismay but perhaps only attributed by most people who misinterpret the entire context of the book) but the experience itself is liberating and rewarding. Though I have posted about my solo trip to Bohol via Cebu Pacific Air’s #JuanForFun2017 (click here) and my other trips to Hong Kong and Dubai deserve their own separate posts- a summary of the experience would be more adequate, need to say the least- content appropriate, for this post.

Contrary to quotes you find on Tumblr and sporadically visible commercialized artwork on most cafe’s in the Philippines; you don’t take a solo trip to find yourself, but rather you should already be aware of who you are and be confident in your identity in order to survive without anyone else to rely on- both for luxury or even for primary needs. Perhaps, this could also be used in the context of relationships like Kim and Kanye (as I once talked about in this post here)

I ultimately figured out one thing  about flying solo: high maintenance people are the real low maintenance folk, contrary to the popular belief of the other; we don’t need to be spoon-fed because we were already born with a silver spoon in our mouths. And if that (already) archaic metaphor is too highfalutin for today’s generation: it means we know who we are, therefore we know what we want and how to get it- on our own.

2.) Be What An Actual Influencer is

Let’s not even bring up Vogue’s fiasco & apparent cyber-bullying against digital personalities some three Milan Fashion Weeks ago (click here if you have no idea about that). But with society’s frequent obsession with the media, and media being a pool of temptation that’s quick to drown yourself in with overwhelm; it’s somewhat unfortunate that quite often, the coined term does fall short of its literal meaning. I once heard, “oh, she’s famous- she has this and that much followers.” “Why? What does she do?“”She’s just a really pretty rich girl who’s from the richest family in Pagadian” and my logical senses were just burning from that reason. Don’t get me wrong- Emily Ratajkowski felt her other deeper accomplishments were left unnoticed after being just labeled as “Instagram Star” on one of her many magazine covers.

My yoga instructor once said “life is measured by the amount of breaths you take so make each one meaningful” therefore, the value of our lives goes beyond the number of followers, likes, ex-dealing sponsors; and rather the pinnacle is met when you go beyond just accomplishing #feedgoals, being another pretty face or hot body that gets you indecent proposals from random strangers after a post, or even getting several matches on Tinder or Grinder. Being a true influencer is about being more than what is expected of you or what they see pass the selfies on social mediaHave an actual contribution to society.

It also means to live morally upright; #influencer ought to mean the relay of good influence. One time, another influencer taught my assistant to lie to me (which I eventually found out) and even though all my investors and clients were appalled and called for his immediate termination, I gave him another chance because I know firing him wouldn’t do any good for his character. Another, one influencer forcibly asks my  straight 19 year old assistant for his nudes or even at least a dick photo and he told him “it’s normal for influencers to do these.”

Ultimately, for anyone in the game, you would ask yourself? Am I being a good influence or a source of inspiration to everyone around me?


3.) Less Control, More Happiness.

One of the personal milestones I’ve managed to accomplished within the first 10 days of 2017 was to become less of a perfectionist, a control freak- perhaps to the delight (but no longer the benefit) of my former workmates whom I would occasionally intervene in their tasks because I knew I could do it better and faster than they could (blame it on experience and knowing business loopholes) But as early as January, I have mastered compartmentalization of emotions each associated between personal life and work- meaning I no longer entirely stress out, or dwell in the incompetence of others: if that’s just my assigned task, that’s just where I’m putting my line and if the other can’t do their task, I have to wait for direction or approval from higher administration to do it. Or as millennial kids eloquently put it, just give less f*cks.

In this context, I’ve also learned I can’t control how others feel or do I expect to be treated in the same mature level as I always give others. In this case, and will try to keep this brief, I met a guy around May who I was immediately cautious with, knowing several of the same profile as his, and 2 people already informed me he was in a relationship with another guy hours after we met- taking even more precautionary measures. I guess you could say we clicked, we had a common ground of interests but I didn’t expect much and it would be just wrap up into just another temporary acquaintance as what I’m accustomed to. Surprisingly, he did keep on messaging me and I was originally distant but as the days turned into weeks, and eventually into months, I figured I shouldn’t be cold and just open up because perhaps he’s just really up for friendship and I wanted to build a meaningful relationship with this person- he was a great guy with all the reasons to be likable- and having almost everything in common, it felt batshit crazy to think it was ever possible.

Then all of a sudden he disappeared. I messaged him across his various social media accounts and even thru text messages, but he never replied even once and I never knew what just happened because everything seemed like it was just doing great. He eventually unfollowed me on Instagram and I asked him to at least give me an explanation to what was going on so he could spare me the agony of guessing what was wrong. But there was just silence. It came to the point that I even tried reaching out to his boyfriend just to show his boyfriend that there was no affair ongoing, or my conscience was clean and just had the most genuine of intentions to begin with, but he intentionally ignores me as well. In the first few weeks of that fiasco, I unfortunately lost myself for a while. READ: FOR A WHILE. More like a week, or two. In situations like this, it’s not difficult to reflexively doubt and devalue yourself- I mean, don’t I at least deserve an explanation? But that phase didn’t last too long and I had difficulty in sharing it with others so to refrain any unsolicited judgement and sorted it out by myself.

I discovered the definition and value of strength. That strength doesn’t mean tough and it isn’t your ability to retaliate aggressively or broadcast your emotions during the period, to the entire world on social media so random strangers would comment, “it’s alright, you’re too good for him” or any other sort of validation; but it’s your ability to find yourself again, on your own– who that person was before someone else came in and add a glorious gospel of how life is better since you came. It’s finding and knowing yourself again, falling in love with yourself even up to the most histrionic, although justifiable sense because you are worth it. I recently divulged the whole scenario to a friend who reacted by saying how terrible the whole situation felt like an utter waste of time & energy- to which I responded, “I sometimes do feel that it was- but, I don’t think being in the constant business of seeing the good in others, even when they show otherwise, is a bad thing.

As I told a friend, I am way pass the romantic phase of the situation and would prefer it to be handled maturely (he’s even way older than me) and I’m just being the bigger person in the picture- still reaching out to a friend, because, that’s what I always taught I was positioned in his life to begin with. But he still never replies and I’ve already learned to accept the apology I never got– and in the context of giving zero fucks as in this topic is in- I still prefer to keep his identity confidential as a sign of respect.

And he was also the one who taught my assistant to lie to me.

I wrote everything down not to ask for anyone’s sympathy or earn anyone’s validation. Neither am I even bitter. I’m not also asking for anyone’s affection or guilt, but only because I didn’t want to bring in any extra luggage with me for 2018 and sharing what could be inspiring to others has always been my fuel in writing things down as content.

So perhaps the better New Year’s resolution for everyone is to recognise one’s flaws and bad habits, and fix them before we add the juice cleanses, gym memberships and Crossfit.

Happy New Year, kidlets!


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