Your Own Kind of Beautiful

When you’re out to find your One True Love, how much of a change do you have to undergo? I wonder. Ladies, do we have to be lady-like, wear tons of make up, and wear dresses to attract a man? Gentlemen, do you have to own a car and a business and maybe five condominium units to attract women?

This photo because I’m shameless.

What makes a person attractive? What makes a girl beautiful? What makes a man handsome?

I do wonder.

I grew up boyish. Completely, totally, hopelessly boyish. While the girls in my class would sit together to read Candy Mag and gush over the latest teen idol, I’d be at the other side of the room with the boys, turning armchairs into bump cars and crashing them all over the place. I inserted Stay Fresh mint balls into straws and blew them at people. (I’d make a good hitman, I can say that.) I cut classes to watch Slam Dunk and spent my lunch periods discussing the episodes with the boys. I didn’t like make up, I didn’t like dresses, and I wore my hair short. And I was find with that.

But as I grew older, I began to wear dresses and loved doing so. I began to put on make up and even got addicted to matte lip cremes and long-wearing lip liners. I wore heels and became a pro at running down the hallways in five-inch stilettos (it’s the only way I could catch my next class on time). I began to like the color pink — not as much as green — and I began to love fixing or playing with my hair (if I had the time). And I was also fine with that.

But then just recently, The Search happened. And suddenly I was more conscious of the clothes I wore. I was more conscious of what shade my lipstick would be. I was more careful of how I spoke and how I schooled my super intimidating expressions. My well-meaning friends (bless their hearts, I love my squad so much) started to coach me and started to guide and guard the way I spoke, the way I sat, the way I greeted people — boys, especially — and even what kind of case I’d use on my cellphone (no Naruto designs!). On dates, I’m not allowed to bump fists with the guys, not allowed to hit the guys, not allowed to “tropa zone” the guys. Even the books I read said so — do not be one of the guys.

For a time, I followed that. But it came to a point where I don’t feel like myself anymore. Because… what if I AM one of the guys? Can’t I like pink and still want to kick ass in Tekken at the same time? Can’t I wear make-up and bump fists with my dudes at the same time? Can’t I braid my hair and give thug hugs to my bros at the same time? Can’t I be both beautiful and boyish at the same time? What if I feel beautiful even when I’m boyish? What if I keep thug hugging my dudes and I keep fist bumping with my bros — and still feel beautiful and gorgeous and all kinds of attractive at the same time?

And why am I even bothering to think about this now? I really don’t know. Maybe it’s because I got a thug hug from one of my bros yesterday, and we both got berated over it. We all shared a good laugh even though our friends kept saying, “She’s a girl! You can’t do that to her! And you, Karren, pa-chicks ka lang!”

I love my friends so much, and I love that they’re all so hell-bent on helping me find my One True Love. I love that they panic over finding me a date, and I love that we spend hours until morning talking about what kind of man I’d end up with (someone who’d brave through my grumpy pre-coffee mornings, we deduced). I love that I have a vigorous and solid support system. I love that I have friends who’ve already been through what I’m going through now, friends who are not stingy with their love and with their wisdom and their insights. You’d want to have that too, whether you’re a girl or a boy. (The dynamics must be different with boys, I’d think.)

girl sleeping

photo (c) pixabay

But I realized this just now. Maybe being beautiful and handsome isn’t ALL about how you dress up, how you speak, what you have, how you act… though they do play a great part. Maybe it’s more about how you FEEL. Maybe it’s about feeling so good, so beautiful, and so blessed, that you can’t help but shine. And maybe it’s more about taking care of yourself than dressing up. It’s more about feeling good about yourself than looking good with the tons of make up you put on your face, or the gel you put on your hair. It’s more about having so much love in your heart, that you can’t help but overflow and share this love with others.

Maybe it’s not about LOOKING beautiful or handsome. It’s about BEING beautiful and handsome. Because when you have a beautiful heart, then no matter how you act or how you speak or what you do or what you have and do not have — you will be attractive.

Lately people keep telling me that I’m blooming. “What’s your secret?” people always ask. I don’t have a secret. OK, sure, maybe it does have something to do with the new brand of lip liner I’m wearing, or the BB cream I’ve started to use. But seriously, dude. Do you want to know my secret?

I spend Mondays at the Blessed Sacrament. I bring your prayers there, and I spend hours talking to Jesus and my Saint Squad. I spend my nights on my knees, praying to God, listening to Him, talking to Him, but most of all receiving His love. I spend my days waiting, waiting, waiting — but not on people. I wait on God. When I get impatient, I don’t take matters in my own hands. I talk to God. When I get disappointed, or frustrated, or a tiny bit heartbroken, I tell people, yes. But I also talk to God. Nowadays, I seem to be talking to God all the time. And it’s the best. Thing. Ever.

You want to know how I bloomed these past few weeks? It’s because I’ve fallen so helplessly in love with God, I cry at the very thought of it. I am so in love with God, and He’s so in love with me. It took me thirty years to realize that I am as much His daughter as I am His soldier, and that I don’t have to work so darn hard to earn His or anybody else’s love. I’m walking on water with Jesus nowadays, and I love it. I love it. I love it.

So, yeah. I don’t want to stop giving and receiving fist bumps and bro hugs. I don’t want to stop talking about Naruto. I don’t want to stop high-fiving people when I greet them. I will keep wearing Chucks with my dresses (provided I get away with it in the office), I will keep using thug language, and I will still be a dude and a chick at the same time.
Because I realized this only now: I am my own kind of beautiful. And I’m fine with that.

And you? You be your own kind of beautiful — or handsome — too.

Don’t change because others tell you so. Don’t change to make others like you. Don’t change to impress others. Change because it’s good for you. Change because it makes you feel good. Change because it makes you become a better person.

Someone out there is made to match your own kind of beautiful. God knows who they are. God will give them to you at the right time, in the right moment.

And when you find them — when they find you — it’s going to be epic.

Your Kind of Beautiful
Karren Renz Seña


Your Own Kind of Beautiful was originally published on PROJECT: BEAUTIFUL WORDS

Write That Right Now Batch 3: The Creative Writing Seminar That Transformed Dreamers into Writers





Last July 25, 2015 and January 9, 2016, two huge groups of dreamers walked into Balay Kalinaw, expecting to attend “just another creative writing workshop.” They didn’t know that their souls will be bared open, and that their hearts will be set on fire. They didn’t know that they would walk out of that venue as real writers, with the actual training and heart to finally wield words and use them as weapons that will help change this world.


We all experience bumping into the wall that separates us from our dream to writing down that book, article, story, blog post, or poem.

It may be a wall of fear, feelings of inadequacy, over busy-ness, doubts, or insecurities.

Some people bulldoze their way through that wall. Others dig beneath to get to the other side. Some others would walk its entire length to see a small space wherein which they could pass through. These people live to see their works in print or on the screen.

But sadly, others drop the pen. And the dream will forever remain a dream.

Sounds familiar? Of course it does. You’re probably nodding your head as you read this now, because if you weren’t then you wouldn’t even be reading this in the first place (because you’ll have been writing your masterpiece).

But worry no more. We can help each other break through that wall. This April, we are launching YET another set, another batch, another cycle of dreamers-turned-real-writers.


Why do it again? Because we realized that THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE who are just desperate and hungry to write something. They have messages that they want to share, wounds they want to lay bare, but they couldn’t. This workshop heals. This workshop frees. This workshop empowers. Take it from the people who already took it:

“I came here for an escape. I didn’t know I would find freedom instead.”
— Kris Torres, UST AMV College of Accountancy graduate

“I just want to thank you po for deciding to conduct this workshop! The workshop encouraged me to become aggressive in reaching my dreams as a writer. Apparently, you are an anointed writer/speaker/teacher; you’re blessing so many lives! You are a writer with a strong mind and passionate heart. Whenever you speak about writing, your passion spills over that it reaches my heart too. I’m always close to crying whenever you speak, Ate Karren. ”
— Elaine Factor, contributor, Didache Youth

“Thank you, Ms. Karen. You helped me realize that my passion for writing runs deeper than I thought. It is something that keeps getting a hold on me no matter what path I choose, and I believe God gave me this power for a reason. I can’t wait to share it to the world. Thank you. <3″
— Anngeli Ong, writer

These people are now WRITERS. They have found their words. They have found their voices. Most of all, they have found themselves.

Do you want your own moment? We will do this together, as one group, we will make sure that these dreams won’t just remain dreams.



Write That Right Now! Stop Dreaming and Start Writing used to be a 5-hour jam-packed seminar-workshop… But now, we’ve turned it into a whole-day workshop that will bring out that fermenting story from the depths of your creative soul and into the open arena of not only published, but well-loved works. (Because OF COURSE you can’t just write a book. It has to be a good one; otherwise people won’t bother with it!)

Here’s what you will get from the workshop:

  • Hold It! Basics Before Book! (Stuff You Need to Know If You Want to be the Next Bestseller)
    • Internalize the 5 Pillars of Writing and become a writer at heart
    • Utilize the basic, but most powerful tools that will help you jumpstart your writing career (The Cardinal Rules of Writing)
  • Onwards, Slave of the Word! (Getting Down to the Art of Writing)
    • The Beginning Is Always the Hardest (Beating the Myth of the Writers’ Block)
    • #DigDeep (How to Get into the Heart of Writing)
      • Cutting Scars Open
      • Beating Demons Dead
      • Picking Pieces of Broken Dreams
    • “We’ll Never Go Out of Style” (How to Find Your Style)
    • Spunk, Sass, Sarcastic, Sober, Solemn… Whatever Works (How to Find Your Voice)
    • Who Do I Write For? (How to Find and Reach Your Target Readers)
    • How Do I Get Published? (Publishing Tips from a Professional Editor / Marketing Officer)
  • Sensational Closing (Bringing Home the Fat Bacon)
    • Really, Why Are You Here? (Finding Your Emotional, Soulful “Why?”)
    • What Do You Really Want to Write? (How to Discover the Topic You Want to Write About)
  • AND MANY MORE! I promise!
  • BONUS (Usually an exclusive 3-hour seminar) — Soul Pages: Writing That Heals

Wondering who will be conducting the workshop? I will. I hold no credentials other than 10,000++ hours of practice, more than 10 years of education in Literature and Creative Writing, 3 years of experience in editing, a published book that has ranked in Wattpad and rated 5 Stars in Goodreads, the mentorship of the best and brightest names in Philippine Literature, and years in the publishing industry: 

  • Ricky Lee
  • Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo
  • Nerisa Del Carmen Guevara
  • Eros Atalia
  • J. Neil C. Garcia
  • Ralph Semino Galan
  • John Jack Wigley
  • Charlson Ong
  • and many more!

My most important credential, however, is that like you, I struggle. Like you, I troll around. Like you, I get afraid, I don’t know how to start, I don’t know how to finish, and I am scrap-scared of breaking through that wall. But I did, because look. I am here. My book is published. My articles are published. My blog is growing. My IG is full of writings. I have overcome. Sometimes I still get defeated, sometimes I still get tired, sometimes I still think of quitting. But I’m still here. I didn’t stop. I didn’t quit. And I want to share to you how I did it.

*blows nose*

NOW, are you reading to stop thinking about writing and to actually write… right now? Whatever it is that’s in your head… Write that right now! Join us and we’ll make that happen!


But wait! I bring sad news: I can only accept a limited number of participants.

I want to be able to interact with all of you, and for all of you to get chummy with each other, so a big crowd isn’t ideal. I want us to be able to create a support group so we can help each other turn that dream book/blog/article/whatchamacallit into a reality.


Date: April 9, 2016
Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM (Registration starts at 8:00. We will start EXACTLY at 9:00AM to make the most out of our time).
Location: Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman
Workshop Investment: P2,499.00   —>  P1,999.00
EARLY BIRD RATE (Until March 20, 2016): P1,4,99.00
Mode of Payment: Bank Deposit (BDO, BPI, Metrobank — details are available in the online registration form)

Important notice: Our seminar-workshop only has limited slots. To reserve yours, you must pay the workshop fee in full via bank deposits until April 8, 2016 and send the payment to with the Subject Heading: YOU ARE P*WND! I SHALL SEE YOU IN APRIL 9! Walk-in participants are welcome, but will not be guaranteed slots.


  • Check your email regularly for updates. You might want to check your spam or promotions folder to make sure you read my emails.
  • Do your pre-workshop assignments. YES, YOU HAVE THEM. Because what’s the workshop for if you’re not going to work? Again, check your email regularly to keep abreast with the happenings.
  • Reserve your slots by paying early. Remember, I can only entertain a limited number of participants. I want this to be as intimate, yet productive as possible. This is an in-demand workshop, so you better grab your spot. :)
  • More reminders will be sent to you via email.
  • For questions, clarifications, violent reactions, or plain inquiries, email me at



Write That Right Now Batch 3: The Creative Writing Seminar That Transformed Dreamers into Writers was originally published on PROJECT: BEAUTIFUL WORDS