Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Get Real, Folks

The Reproductive Health (RH) Bill seeks to offer all Filipino parents several alternatives for them to plan their family. The Bill does not mandate any one alternative; in fact, the family has the freedom to not even plan their family. The Bill also mandates that sex education be offered to all Filipinos, but gives the parents the right to choose whether to allow their children to take these classes or not. I feel that is the beauty of the RH Bill; that it is all-inclusive, and it offers Filipinos information/knowledge and the freedom of choice.

So I really cannot understand why the Church and their ilk are adamant on blocking the passage of the Bill. The Church is opposed to the use of certain family planning methods that are not acceptable as per their teachings; these include the use of condoms, pills, IUD and everything else aside from the natural method. The Church is also against the government spending for sex education; they feel that only Catholic parents have the right to give the proper sex education to their Catholic children.

Just because Catholics make up the majority of Filipinos, it does not mean that the Church has the right to impose their standards on other Filipinos who are not Catholic or Christian. So why do they insist on bending the Bill so that it fits only their world-view?

Dear bishops, why do you insist that we view sex the way you view it? You guys are not even supposed to engage in sex. But despite that, a number of you still do. Oh c’mon fathers, don’t be shy, you know that a lot of you play around, whether straight or gay. Just because you guys can’t enjoy sex (unless it’s on the sly) doesn’t mean you should punish the rest of your flock by coating sex with so much guilt. What’s so scary about sex anyway?

Besides, dear bishops, you guys should know that your so-called faithful have not exactly been behaving the way you’ve taught them. You know how much your faithful stray; hey, they confess their sins to you, right? (And I bet you’ve only heard half of it.) And maybe that’s why you want to be strict with the law, so that your faithful are forced to obey. But dear bishops, despite your commandments and your homilies and your threats of Hell and eternal damnation, we still hear of straying husbands and unfaithful wives and--more and more--pedophile priests who prey on helpless boys. If you guys cannot discipline your faithful or yourselves, then how dare you force to tweak the RH Bill as a way to make up for your failures?

The RH Bill is a concrete response to real problems. Your arguments are based on morals and loft ideals that honestly are broken time and again by your so-called faithful. Get your heads off that cloud and plant your feet firmly on the ground, fathers. It’s time to wake up and smell reality.

(Then again, religion has always promised a “pie in the sky, by and by.” Sigh. Then may I request that you guys just stand back and get out of the f**king way.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beyonce Just Shrugged Her Shoulders

So after marveling Beyonce’s live performance of “Run The World (Girls)” at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards (watch it here), the twitterverse was suddenly up in arms when the following video hit YouTube a day or two after Beyonce’s performance was posted online:

Typical comments were:
“Oops, Beyonce’s epic Billboard Awards performance wasn’t so original.”
“I was really disheartened. that was the BMAs, fer cryin’ out loud. oh well.”
“I was in total awe of ur Run The World perf, Beyonce. But this is totally not cool.”

I won’t begrudge those who were disappointed with the side-by-side comparison. But what’s curious is that when I showed the comparison video to my colleagues (who are in the broadcast industry), their reactions were mostly shrugging and quips like, “Oh, I suppose Beyonce hired the same supplier!” What gives?

In the realm of the performing arts, it’s acknowledged that artists get inspiration from other artists and the works that came before them. Of course, copying is frowned upon especially if it’s an exact lift, whether word for word, note for note, or move for move. It’s as if the copying artist didn’t need to think; he just used someone else’s hard work. But it is all right if one uses someone else’s work, builds on it and creates something new. That’s not mere copying; there’s an additional amount of creativity and work put into it when they add and build on the original.

Then there’s the case of being the first artist to bring a work to a mainstream audience versus being the first to “invent” the original work. Take the case of two dance moves, the moonwalk and vogueing. Michael Jackson did not invent the moonwalk; but he was the first who, on a Motown special, debuted it on US national television. Vogueing had been an underground dance move, seen mostly in fringe gay dance clubs; Madonna heard of it and appropriated the moves on a song and music video. The rest, as they say, is history.

Maybe someone from Beyonce’s camp saw the staging of Lorella Cuccarini and thought that it would be great if she can pull the same thing off for the Billboard Music Awards. Maybe they contacted the same team which produced the original staging. Maybe they thought, heck, not too many people know about Lorella Cuccarini’s staging. And maybe they thought that since the Billboard Music Awards has a bigger audience, then the “dancing with the video” technique would have its worldwide debut with Beyonce.

But the problem these days is YouTube. Thanks to a single side-by-side post, people found out at download speeds the similarities of both numbers. During Michael and Madonna’s time, it took months, even years, before people found out that it wasn’t Michael who created the moonwalk, nor was it Madonna who invented vogueing; but by that time Michael was already The Moonwalker, and vogueing was attached to Madonna.

I supposed years from now no one’s going to associate Beyonce with “dancing with the video” technique. But who cares cuz she owns the power shoulder shrugs. Take that, Lorella!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Just A Case Of Possession Obsession

Whenever I hear people refer to their partners as, “He’s mine,” I make a mental scratching of my head. Since when did loving someone meant “owning” that person? Maybe he has given himself to you, but that was of his own free will. And it would be folly on your part to assume that he’ll always be at your side. Love is not possession, if you love somebody set them free; see, even pop music is in on it.

So if you want your relationship to last, work on it. If you want a love that lasts, your part is to commit to it; whether your partner chooses it as well or not, that’s his decision. You’re blessed if he does.

And after all that, only Time--and your collective decisions--will tell.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The RH Debate

Watched the RH Bill debate last night. And I was reminded of why I distanced myself from the Catholic Church in the first place.

I understand why every religion would want to institutionalize their belief systems as well as their recruitment policies. Hey, it’s survival of the fittest even in spiritual matters. But the way the anti-RH “faithful” have been acting lately, one would think that we’re back in the era of the Inquisition. Whatever happened to Vatican II and ecumenism?

Worse, some of the anti-RH-ers act so arrogant and so closed-minded, one is convinced that no amount of reasonable debate will make them change their minds. Not only that, they do not seem open to agree to disagree; it’s either their way or no way. What gets my goat is that they seem hell-bent on ramming their beliefs down other people’s throats. Whatever happened to democracy?

Of all the things that the anti-RH people said during the debate, the one point that struck me was the one raised by one of the panelists: As a Catholic, she didn’t want part of her taxes to fund something which she believed is immoral (condoms and their use). I thought it was an interesting point, though Fr. Joaquin Bernas, in his sober opinion article, has an answer to that: Public money is neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Muslim or what have you and may be appropriated by Congress for the public good without violating the Constitution.

After watching the debate last night, I felt that the time for healthy debate and discussion is long past. People on both sides have made up their minds, and it’s just a matter of getting the numbers to have the bill passed--or delayed for as long as possible.

From where I stand, it looks like the Church, through the anti-RH movement, just wants to flex its power and bully the people into towing their own line. Well excuse me, but I hate being bullied.

As a friend of mine tweeted, the anti-RH people should act less Church-like and more Christ-like.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Jake Fabcast, Part 2

Here is the second and last part of our chat with Jake, the Fil-Creole who was purposely infected by his HIV-positive friend.

In this part, you’ll hear about how Jake copes after knowing that he tested positive. He has taken it upon himself to help PLUs who want to have themselves tested. For those who want to get in touch with Jake, here’s his email address:

As a postscript, Jake wrote to Migs again. Click HERE to read his post-Fabcast email.

But meanwhile, listen to the second part.

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music credits:
[1] “Sun Of A Gun” by Oh Land
[2] “The Mission” (from “The Mission” soundtrack) by Ennio Morricone
[3] “Gabriel’s Oboe” (from “The Mission” soundtrack) by Ennio Morricone
[4] “In My Place” by Coldplay
[5] “Childhood And Manhood” (from “Cinema Paradiso”) soundtrack by Ennio Morricone
[6] “Love Theme” (from “Cinema Paradiso” soundtrack) by Ennio Morricone
[7] “Remorse” (from “The Mission” soundtrack) by Ennio Morricone
[8] “The Show Must Go On” (from “Moulin Rouge” soundtrack) by Jim Broadbent, Nicole Kidman & Cast

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Put Your Dead Up In The Air, Put Your Dead Up In The Air!

May 21, the alleged end of the world. The second coming of the Lord. The day of Rapture.

Errr, so what is Rapture? According to research, it is the taking up into heaven of God’s elect people. Shet, may elections din pala sa Mayo si Lord?! In Thessalonians, it is said, “...and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air....” Wow, high-tech!

Meanwhile, we’re nearly midway through May 21 and I have yet to see levitating zombies. So I decided to have fun on Twitter. Here are my tweets this morning:

Kapag kumurap ka’t gumuho ang mundo... kurapture.

Kapag irapan mo ang may crush sa iyo’t gumuho ang mundo niya... irapture.

Pag bonggang bongga ang orgasm na feeling mo ay end-of-the-world na... sarapture!

Pag ikaw ang nag-predict twice ng rapture, at twice nang fail... crapture.

Pag kinuha ni Lord si Joseph Estrada... Erapture. Pag kinuha si Jinggoy... yehey.

And my fave reply came from Nelicom: @mcvie pag inabutan ka sa McDo... pap pa rap rapture yun

Friday, May 20, 2011

She Put The “Fear” In “Fierce”

I hereby declare that Beyonce has successfully figured out a way to dislocate her joints at will. I swear, she does hair flipping, leg kicking, shoulder shaking and hips relocating so fierce, she can provide all the energy needs of a small African country. She sings, “My persuasion can build a nation.” Well, I’m convinced; somebody give this woman a country to rule!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Free To Love

I really would have liked this TV commercial a whole lot more, if it weren’t for just that one line. The one wherein the priest says: “If only gay people could stop feeling guilty for being different.”

Excuse me, Father. No wait, that’s just an actor playing a priest. Excuse me, Mister Copywriter and Mister Creative Director and whoever else is responsible for approving that line. But we gay people are not different. And we shouldn’t even feel that we’re different (even if others want us to), much less feel guilty. If I had my way, I’d re-write the line.

If only people would stop making gays feel guilty for being themselves.”


I saw them as I entered the restaurant to have breakfast. They were the only ones there on a slow, quiet Wednesday morning. They both wore the prerequisite blue pants that was the uniform of the trainers at the gym. I was more familiar with the one on the right; he was the shy, quiet type, dark-skinned and sporting a crew cut. Let’s call him Crew Cut. The one on the left was fairly new; I think this was just the second time I saw him. Let’s call him Newbie. They’re the kind of trainers who are not the uber-popular or noisier ones, but are still skilled enough so that they get their fair share of clients.

They were seated beside one another, not across each other. D and I also do that occasionally whenever we go out, but maybe I was too hungry that time that I didn’t make a big thing out of it. The restaurant’s layout forced me to take a table alongside them. This turned out to be a good thing; I can surreptitiously glance sideways at them without them noticing me. And while waiting for my order to arrive, I did just that.

OMG. Is that Crew Cut’s right hand resting on Newbie’s left thigh?! They were talking in normal tones, but their distance made it difficult for me to eavesdrop on their conversation; something about flight arrangements, it seems. I realized that with me seated near them, they may decide to lower their voices, so I plugged my iPod earphones in my ears and pretended I was listening to music when in fact my iPod was off.

Once in a while I’d steal a glance at them. Yup, I was very sure Crew Cut’s hand was moving up and down Newbie’s thigh, with an occasional pat and squeeze. I noticed Crew Cut had a ring on his finger, so I looked at Newbie’s right hand. Ooh, he’s wearing a matching ring! I had to look away again and concentrate on my food because I didn’t want them to get suspicious.

After a few minutes, I noticed there was movement in their direction. I couldn’t resist and glanced again.

Oh. Em. Gee! Newbie had reached over and was offering Crew Cut a spoonful of his food.

I nearly did a backflip with a twist.

A few minutes later, they were playing with each other’s rings. Awww. Hongswit-swit nomon!

The next time I bump into Crew Cut in the sauna I’ll wink knowingly at him, hihihi.

The Jake Fabcast, Part 1

“McVie, I have a guest with me. It’s Jake,” Migs whispered to me.

I looked blankly at him. “Who’s Jake?”

“Remember the positive letter sender?”

Migs and I were in a restaurant in Marikina when I first met Jake. Jake is one of Migs’ more “popular” letter senders, and it’s no mystery why. The story of how he contacted HIV is quite jaw-dropping.

When I first read his letter, I imagined Jake to be a regular Pinoy, someone whom you may barely glance at while riding the MRT. As it turns out, Jake is a Caucasian looking half-Pinoy, half Creole (let him explain what Creole is in the Fabcast). Initial impression is that he looks very put-together; then again, most of the HIV-poz peeps I know are the ones who are coping well with the virus.

If you’ve read Jake’s letter and you thought that his story was powerful already, wait ‘til you hear it straight from Jake himself.

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music Credits:
[1] "Love The Way You Lie (Part II) (piano version)" by Rihanna
[2] "Maturity" (from the soundtrack of "Cinema Paradiso") by Ennio Morricone
[3] "Visit To The Cinema" (from the soundtrack of "Cinema Paradiso") by Ennio Morricone
[4] "After The Destruction" (from the soundtrack of "Cinema Paradiso") by Ennio Morricone
[5] "Cinema On Fire" (from the soundtrack of "Cinema Paradiso") by Ennio Morricone

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Testing, Testing... Take Two

Six months ago, D and I went to the Social Hygiene Clinic at the 7th floor of the Makati City Hall to have ourselves tested for HIV. We were with two other college friends of D. For them, it was their first time; I, on the other hand, was going for the first time voluntarily. (I was unceremoniously “dragged” to the testing booth along Orosa Street during my first time. At first I was unsure, but eventually I let myself be led to be tested; I thought, “Oh might was well, what the hell.”) After we tested non-reactive, we vowed we’ll have ourselves tested every six months.

Last Thursday we went again for the same test at the same Social Hygiene Clinic; the head of the clinic even remembered D. But this time we were with two new companions, a couple (let’s call them B1 & B2) who are also college friends of D. We arrived way past 2:30pm; my biggest concern was a long line of people having themselves tested too. You see, for now the tests at the social clinics are for free. That, plus the fact that I’m leery of government offices with their long lines and their 48 years of waiting time. But surprise! We were the only guests of the clinic when we went in.

We quickly filled up the required forms and one by one we had our blood extracted. The results were to be released after 45 minutes, so we were advised to go to the canteen one floor above. There we chatted and snacked while waiting. Well, D and I did the snacking; B1 & B2 begged off, saying they were full. I’m not sure if they really were, or they just didn’t have an appetite in the face of uncertainty. D was still worried, but seemed less nervous compared to his first time. We ended up pondering out loud, “What would we do if we find out one of us is positive?” I also got to know a bit more D’s friends. B1 is the film major and the chattier of the two; to do well in film, one needs to be personable. B2 is in fine arts; fitting that he’s the more quiet one (though I suspect he’s very talkative and engaging one-on-one).

After 45 minutes we went down. Without much ceremony the head of the clinic gave us the results, folding the slips of paper before handing them out to us one by one. She did it so casually, I knew all four of us were negative. But since this was B1 & B2’s first time, she also gave them a brief talk on safe safe and playing responsibly. I liked how she was careful to keep her talk nonjudgemental and inclusive; anybody from any religion or creed would not be slighted by anything she mentioned. “We’re human,” she said, “and sex happens.” But the numbers are rising fast, she said, enough to be alarming.

Before we went our separate ways, I invited B1 & B2 to join D and I when we have ourselves tested again. I hope they still join us six months from now.

* * * * *

The reason why I’m blogging about this is not to gloat about the results. (And if anyone of us--especially me--tested positive, I might not even blog about it. At first.) Rather, I’d like to encourage those who have never had themselves tested to do so. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s relatively discreet. Those who have been sexually active with different partners for several years now and have engaged in unsafe sex practices, like barebacking, should have themselves tested at least twice, six months apart. (And after the first test, he must be careful to stick to safe sex before the second test.)

The earlier you know your status, the better. If you’re positive, then the more information and help you can get, the better your chances of staying healthy, and the more responsible you are of your body and of your sexual conduct to your future sex partners.

And if you want me to accompany you, I’m willing. (A caveat: I’d have to take time off from work, so it should be at a day that I’m not too busy.)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Semana Santa Fabcast, Part 3

Presenting the third and last part of the Semana Santa Fabcast. Here our special guest Prod turns the tables on Migs, Gibbs and McVie, and asks the questions that he has been asking himself.

So listen in as we tackle the ideas of heaven and hell, praying to the Lord regarding anything related to our homosexuality, and the need for gay men to support each other and to help those who are struggling with their identities and self-image.

Sounds serious? You know that we never let things stay too serious. There’s still a lot of laughter and baklaan despite, or perhaps especially because of, the earnest topic.

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

(Because of the nature of the topic, I was inspired in coming up with a soundtrack. Di naman ako nawili sa paglagay ng music, di ba?)

Music credits:
[1] "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" by Belinda Carlise
[2] "Dance Tonight" by Paul McCartney
[3] "One Of Us" by Joan Osborne
[4] "Across The Universe" by The Beatles
[5] "Think" by Aretha Franklin
[6] "The Prayer" by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church
[7] "Dios Lamang Ang Nakakaalam" by Basil Valdez with The San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra
[8] "Shadowlands" by George Fenton
[9] "Mahiwaga" by Basil Valdez with The San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Our Semana Santa Fabcast (the third and last part will be posted very soon) made me reminisce about my own spiritual journey.

When I was young, everything I believed about God, the Church, religion, and anything spiritual (including the concept of hell, ghosts and the Devil) came from the teachings of my parents, teachers (including priests) and from the homilies during Sunday mass. It never occurred to me to go against the teachings of the Church because they successfully brainwashed us that going against the Church meant going straight to Hell. My faith then was based on fear.

My awareness of my homosexuality, and my struggle to accept that part of myself (and eventually of myself) was what also triggered my crisis of faith. I had to figure out a way to reconcile my faith with my sexuality. At the start, I already had trouble with the “Being gay is not a sin, but acting on it is; love the sinner, hate the sin” way of thinking; it didn’t make sense.

What pushed me over was actually a Jesuit priest who heard our confessions during a high school retreat. He was a fairly young priest (I think he was in his mid-to-late 30s). Our confessions were done at the garden of the retreat place, so we had to address the priest face to face; there were no confessional boxes to shield ourselves. I felt naked in front of him; maybe that’s why I didn’t try to hide anything from him. And out came my worries and fears and confusion and insecurities about being gay. I felt unwanted by society, by my church and by my God. The last part was what puzzled me the most; it didn’t fit my image of an all-loving God who created me in His image.

The priest quietly listened to my outpouring; at the end of it, he gave my my prayers of penance and admonished me to not sin again. But before I could stand up to go, he held me back. “That’s what I’d say to you because I am duty-bound by my vow to tell you what the Church believes,” he said. “But this is what I believe. I believe that God loves you unconditionally, no matter what. He made you that way, so rejoice and embrace yourself. Love yourself because God loves you. There is nothing wrong with you.”

That was the very first time I heard a man of the cloth actually tell me that there was nothing wrong with me. That was life-changing; it altered the way I thought of the Church. It made me fearless in questioning the teachings imposed upon me as a child; I learned how to think for myself. It changed the way I looked at the Church; far from a monolith, it had cracks all over. And it can be wrong--they were wrong about Copernicus and Galileo before.

From there, there was no turning back.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Semana Santa Fabcast, Part 2

Here is the second part of our Semana Santa Fabcast. Here we hear the rest of our guests tell us where they are with their faith.

Click, listen and enjoy!


Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music Credits:
[1] "Church of the Poison Mind" by Culture Club
[2] "Honesty" by Billy Joel
[3] "Dadada" by Trio

Thursday, May 05, 2011

My Self And I

When I was a young lad, it was all about finding yourself. It was as if the essence of who you are was buried under layers of insecurities, uncertainties, right or wrong, and what your parents, teachers and other adults tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, and your task was to find out who you are amongst all that.

As I grew older, it was about knowing yourself. It was me realizing that I was not the son/student that adults told me I should be. I started thinking for myself, choosing for myself. My mantra became, “To thine own self be true.” I even had the chutzpah to insist that asking me to change meant asking me to not be true to myself.

At first it was easy to trumpet my own strengths. But the older I got, the more mistakes I made, the more I had to recognize and embrace my weaknesses. Life taught me valuable lessons in humility. I realized I had to accept my flaws as well as strive to better myself. So knowing yourself lead to improving yourself.

But as you improve yourself you will also realize that, no matter what you do, you will never be perfect. At any given point, you will fail. You will disappoint. You will come up short. You will be imperfect, and you will continue to strive and fail. That’s when you start to accept who you are at that given moment. I think that’s when you begin the life-long lesson on how to be at peace with yourself.

In the journey though Life, your longest, closest, most personal relationship will be with yourself. Now is the perfect time to start being good to yourself.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Don’t Be So Forward

I understand if once in a while someone forwards me an SMS of a famous quote, a wise saying, or even a prayer. Sometimes we stumble upon a particular saying that captures perfectly or succinctly an idea that’s been brewing in our minds for some time, but for some reason or another we’ve not been successful in articulating it. I get that.

But when someone constantly sends forwarded text messages, I see it as a form of mental laziness. I’m so tempted to ask, “Honey, don’t you have a mind of your own? Can’t compose an original thought a personal sentiment?” Forwarded messages sound more impersonal because they are not in your own words.

So when someone sends me forwarded SMS’s almost every single day, I don’t even bother to scroll down. It’s an unwanted subscription that I didn’t avail of. I just reach for the delete button.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Semana Santa Fabcast, Part 1

It was in the evening of Black Saturday when the Fabcasters got together for a recording; well, just three of us really (Migs, Gibbs and I) because the others were out of town or in full Holy Week mode.

Migs had a friend in town, and he invited him (along with several friends) to discuss about homosexuality and spirituality. We had a Fabcast way back about dealing with spirituality, but I think this is a topic worth taking up again--and again, if need be.

I was thinking of calling it Homospirituality, but Gibbs came up with a better one: Bathala at Baklaan.

Click on the link, listen and enjoy!

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music Credits:
“Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi: O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana by Orff
“Blasphemous Rumors” by Depeche Mode
“Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Another Letter From, And To, Jack

Hi Joel,

Sometimes I really do lose hope in life itself with what currently is happening to me. Add to that friends who have shut me out of their lives and refused my friendship. But you see, even though I want to hate everything else in this world and smash my fist to anything I can see, I just can't. Somehow there's that something in me that keeps hope alive even though I'm already pretty much screwed up. You know what I'm saying? Well, I don't even know myself.

And here I am staying home at a Friday night. Pathetic me. :/


* * * * *

Dear Jack,

It seems to me that you’re blowing your insecurities and fears out of proportions, which is quite understandable, given that they are insecurities and fears. It’s very difficult to put them in perspective, because they reside in the irrational, not the rational. 

Trust me, Jack, it gets better. (Uhm, apologies for appropriating the anti-bullying campaign line.)

It’s good that you still have hope. And I really think you need to snap out of that “I'm screwed up” image of yourself; it’s your choice whether to be screwed up or not. We cannot be perfect, but we can always strive to improve ourselves.

Jack, you need to distinguish the important difference between “being yourself” and “improving yourself.” You need to know yourself more, choose what you value and what you stand for, and learn to be comfortable with your choices. But at the same time, you must be humble enough to recognize that: [1] You can and will make mistakes; [2] Other people (often they’re the ones who really care about you) usually are the ones who can point out certain flaws of yours that you may not see yourself; [3] If you will improve yourself, it’s because you owe to to yourself, as well as to your loved ones.

So relax. Life is already hard as it is, and people will make things harder on you; don’t join them by being so hard on yourself.

So stop with the “pathetic me” lines, too. (Unless it’s just a “paawa” line; in which case, there's nothing more off-putting than “pretend-pathetic.”) =)