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.

img_7759
Your Kind of Beautiful
Karren Renz Seña
projectbeautifulwords.com

#projectbeautifulwords

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

On Courage

I was sorting through the files and folders of my laptop when I came across this question I asked the kids a few years ago. I remember saying and asking this out of the blue while we were discussing courage, then I typed down the lecture/question after class so I wouldn’t forget.

“When we were kids, we’d be the bravest people on the planet. We’d jump from the highest step in the staircase, climb the highest bars, swing from one branch to another; we were never afraid to get our hands dirty and discover. We were never afraid to tell what we feel. We were never afraid to believe– in Peter Pan, in Neverneverland, in Narnia, in magic. When we were kids, it was always so very easy to say the truth, and so very easy to say ‘I love you’, and ‘I hate you’. Then we grew up, and suddenly we start being scared. We develop all these phobias that were never really there when we were children: heights, darkness, water, elevators, enclosed spaces, bugs, and cockroaches… truth and love and commitment and honesty. We start to doubt, and question, and second-guess. We lose hope and faith. Why is it that when we grow older, instead of being braver, we become more afraid?”

And then a few months ago, I came across a(n) (e)book and saw this. I never got to share this with my kids:

“He’d never laid claim to being a brave man and he’d only got more cowardly with age. Strange thing, that — the fewer years you have to lose the more you fear the losing of ’em. Maybe a man just gets a stock of courage when he’s born, and wears it down with each scrape he gets into.”

The Heroes, Joe Abercrombie

I stopped reading after I saw that passage.

But only because I had other work to finish.

Featured image credit: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/qjd_Els_mSo/hqdefault.jpg

On Courage was originally published on PROJECT: BEAUTIFUL WORDS

First Book, First Blood

When I decided to finally write a book, The Lost Chronicles of Eden: Champions wasn’t what I had in mind. At the time, I knew the kinds of books that sell like pancakes, and I’ve had my share of writing and editing those stories. After all, I have edited a number of bestsellers for Summit Pop Fiction before. More than that, the writings of my youth all gear towards the same genre.

Still, when the pen began to move over the paper and the words began to spill on blank Word documents, the book took a different form. Before I could help it, memories of childhood heroes, games, books, and films began to resurface on my mind. It was then that I pulled out a storyline that has been brewing in my heart and soul since college. 

Myths and magic. Epic battles. Demons and Warriors of the Light. Wings. Powers. War. Love. Peace. Victories. Defeats. Monsters and men. Heroes who don’t act like heroes and villains who had reasons to become villains.

After many sleepless nights, five versions of the first chapter, the story took on a life of its own, and Champions was born.

This is my first book, but this is our story. Because I believe everyone is called to be a hero—no matter what you did, what you are, or where you’re from. So, come as you are and find out what it means to be a true Champion.

This book is now a fast-selling book here in the Philippines. And our adventure has only just begun.

“Champions” digital edition is on SALE at 20% OFF. If you wish to have a copy of it, simply visit http://ebook.shepherdsvoice.com.ph/product/champions/ now to get your digital copies.

If you wish to buy the PAPERBACK, you can simply go to www.KerygmaBooks.com, choose “Champions”, check out your order, and wait for it (and other titles) to be delivered right to your doorstep*.
*Free delivery within Metro Manila for orders Php 300.00 and up!

You can also look for “Champions” at your favorite bookstores (National Bookstore, Pandayan Bookshop, FullyBooked, St. Paul’s, etc) nationwide.

Champions is also a Featured Story in Wattpad, and is ranked #162 in Fantasy. Your reads and votes are much appreciated! (http://www.wattpad.com/user/KarrenRenzSena)

‪#‎champions‬ ‪#‎books‬ ‪#‎fiction‬ ‪#‎SVPOfficial‬ ‪#‎KerygmaAt25‬

First Book, First Blood was originally published on BECOMING CHAMPIONS

The Sorrows and Triumphs of Writing

The Sorrows and Triumphs of Writing

Writing a book is never easy. It’s probably the hardest thing you will ever do in your life. You will lose much and you will suffer greatly.

There would be days you’d want to just throw your laptop away and scream, “To hell with it!”. There would be days you’d want to eat your own arm out of frustration. There would be days your friends and family would tell you that they’ve forgotten how you look because they haven’t seen you in a long time, because you spend every waking moment writing your book. And even when you are asleep, you dream of it.

In the dark of the night, you would hear faint, fearful whispers: “What if I’m not good enough?” or “What if no one would buy my book?”, or “What if I’m writing the wrong metaphors?” And then, because you are afraid of not being enough, you would turn on the lights and then you would turn back to writing your book. In fear, instead of love.

There a thousand different sorrows you will experience when you decide to write your book, yes, but there is that ONE powerful reason why you will continue, anyway.

Continue reading

The Sorrows and Triumphs of Writing

Writing a book is never easy. It’s probably the hardest thing you will ever do in your life. You will lose much and you will suffer greatly.

There would be days you’d want to just throw your laptop away and scream, “To hell with it!”. There would be days you’d want to eat your own arm out of frustration. There would be days your friends and family would tell you that they’ve forgotten how you look because they haven’t seen you in a long time, because you spend every waking moment writing your book. And even when you are asleep, you dream of it.

In the dark of the night, you would hear faint, fearful whispers: “What if I’m not good enough?” or “What if no one would buy my book?”, or “What if I’m writing the wrong metaphors?” And then, because you are afraid of not being enough, you would turn on the lights and then you would turn back to writing your book. In fear, instead of love.

There a thousand different sorrows you will experience when you decide to write your book, yes, but there is that ONE powerful reason why you will continue, anyway.

Find that reason. Hold on to it. Grab on to it for dear life.

Because though there may be a thousand reasons to stop writing, that one reason you have to go on is more than enough.

Writing a book is never easy. But it’s so worth it when you finally hold your book in your hands.

So write. Write it in the best possible way. Write it in a way only you can.

I have had a thousand different reasons to stop writing Champions, but I held on if for no other reason than this:

I am a writer. Writers write. We read. We study how to write. We practice writing. We perfect our craft. Our writing is our gift to the world.

My name is Karren, and I have written Champions. My sorrow. My joy. My pain. My comfort. My defeat. My victory.

www.karrenrenzsena.com
www.kerygmabooks.com/ebooks

Photo credit: http://www.thewrittenwarrior.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/artwork_inspirational_typewriters_writing_art_write_writer_1920x1080_65921.jpg

The Sorrows and Triumphs of Writing was originally published on BECOMING CHAMPIONS