Explore, Thoughts, travel

Cruising to Alaska

The day of our long-awaited trip to the land of white-peaked mountains and snowy treasures finally came! Beforehand, we booked the Princess Cruise’s Itinerary to Alaska (Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Anchorage), so we flew to the port of call in Vancouver, Canada.


VANCOUVER, CANADA

Feeling woozy and jet-lagged after a long 13-hour flight, we decided to sleep in (and stay in the warm hotel room). We stayed at the Robson Hotel at Robson street. Oh by the way, along this street just a stone’s throw away is THE BEST Japanese Restaurant in Canada. If you happen to crave authentic sushi and Japanese dishes, that’s the place to go. Quite unfortunate though that I was too hungry to remember the name of the restaurant (of all the things, right?)

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Cozy hotel breakfast takeout

The most convenient and economical means to make the most out of the Vancouver trip was the Hop on Hop off bus. They have dozens and dozens of stops around the city where we jumped right on or off at our own time and convenience.

Our bus went through Stanley Park, one of the biggest and well-maintained parks I’ve ever been to! I could almost imagine the appeal of an intimate wedding there.

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Stanley Park Blooms

Beyond the lush greenery of Stanley Park, was a spectacular view of the Vancouver Skyline. It’s just breathtaking how modern architecture touches the cloudless blue sky.

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A wonderful welcome to Canada’s beautiful views

A quick snap during one of our stop overs, the laughing statues of Canada. Created by an artist from his own image.

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The artist who made a bunch of hilarious laughing sculptures

Oh here’s a thing I (unusually) do during my trips, a “from where I stand” photo collage. These are quite lucky shots as they don’t come around very often. I’ve read from a tourist magazine that the little floor mosaics are actually thirteen different artworks by various artists, scattered around Vancouver.

 


KETCHIKAN, ALASKA

En route to Alaska, we enjoyed a relaxing cruise at sea with Princess Cruises. On our first stop we docked at the commonly-foggy Ketchikan Alaska.

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A foggy morning.

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…but a colorful town.

IMG_20170522_081507We stayed a few hours in the city, half a day is already more than enough to get around the sleepy, little city of Ketchikan, Alaska.

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JUNEAU, ALASKA

We were welcomed the next day with a bright and beautiful morning at the port of Juneau. We wasted no time to start exploring the capital city of Alaska.

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The Juneau Rainforest Reserve was run by a lovely couple, to preserve and to educate tourists and locals alike of the native plants found in Alaska. Views like these are certainly well-worth the long journey at sea.

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and into the forest we go!

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Just a little side note: Alaska is known for its Black Bears and Mooses to name a few. That’s why most sculptures are based on these wildlife. Mooses aren’t as friendly as they are often thought to be. Contrary to popular belief that they are gentle creatures, they have killed more people especially in small towns like these, especially when they feel threatened.

The narrow paths led to a simple yet lovely little rest-stop. With wildflowers and forget-me-nots (the Alaskan Flower) in full bloom.

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The most beautiful rest stop

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Menden Hall Glacier

A little of an hour away was the renowned Menden Hall Glacier. I could hardly believe hundreds of years ago, this entire body of water used to be one whole Glacier. Imagine how little would be left once the ice pushes further in.

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SKAGWAY, ALASKA

Getting off the boat was easy, trying to keep my fear of heights in check wasn’t so easy. The White Pass & Yukon Railroad was an hour’s ride through the steep mountains of Skagway. Oh I forgot to mention – on (EXTREMELY) narrow trails constructed on the side of the mountain. (Two of the builders died by getting crushed under a huge boulder, to name a few incidents. EEP!)

IMG_20170524_093335A trip to on the Tram was much easier. The highlight of the entire Alaskan adventure, the view 1,800 feet on Mount Roberts. Captured this majestic bald eagle at just the right moment. One of my favorite photos!

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I never thought that I’d ever see glaciers beyond movies and photographs. But this moment, this exact moment is when it hit me how truly beautiful reality finally becomes beyond our dreams and imaginations.

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From sky to land, we headed down to the musher training camp. As opposed to our common knowledge it seems, sled dogs (Mushers) AREN’T purebred Huskies as we always thought them to be. (No thanks to movie myths!) Alaskan Sled Dogs happen to be Husky mixes that come in all speeds, traits, appearances and colors.

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Those gorgeous Alaskan Mushers.

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On our one-day cruise to Anchorage, we witnessed the rare breaking of the glaciers. We almost slept right through the main event! Thank goodness we’ve made it to that once second of pure power. Hearing the crack and boom of the glacier as it fell apart was one life-altering experience!

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ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

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Ahhh, Anchorage! Think about a mid-western, Texas style county. Anchorage boasts of its fantastic views and delicious (sinfully good) fudge. If you can try the Alaskan King Crab, Home-Made Ice Creams and Popcorn, do so!

We made it in good time as it was a Saturday when we arrived. The town was bustling with people making their way to the outdoor weekend market.

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Stopping by an eye-catching coffee shop – KOBUK CAFE

A couple of unique finds at the Anchorage market, colorful shells and vintage glassware.

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CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE, CANADA

A few days after our brief stay in Anchorage, we flew back to Canada. There was plenty of time left to explore, so we took our pick and headed on to their famous tourist spots.

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The Capilano Suspension Bridge is 140 meters long and hangs 70 meters above the river, held together by sturdy metal cables.

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GROUSE MOUNTAIN, CANADA

Okay, it was an unplanned, spontaneous trip up this snowy mountain. I wasn’t able to wear clothes that were thick enough, that’s why there aren’t many photos here. (Ugh).

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If you do happen to go up to Grouse Mountain, (even in summer) don’t ever, ever forget to wear enough clothes to keep yourself from freezing. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Oh, and do go up further to see the bird show. And I thought training a dog was hard, watch how well-behaved the birds are! (Featuring: Owls, Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles)

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I often tell myself there’s no way I could be happy. However, on my recent adventure, I’ve realized many things along the way from Ketchikan, to Juneau, to Skagway to Anchorage. That maybe happiness is relative, maybe it’s not so hard to find once you learn to see how truly blessed you are.

Thank you Alaska for showing me that there is a kind of happiness in finding oneself. Just as every snowflake on the mountain is unique, so are we. Wild, Beautiful, and Free to be. Happiness begins with self-acceptance, personal growth is possible with one’s willingness to embrace change.

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Until our next adventure.

X,

PEARL

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Explore, Sushi Travels

Sushi’s Day Out! – Green Canyon Resort

I’ve been in dire need of a midweek breather, someplace peaceful and wide enough for my mind and body to wander freely. We took a trip to one of the most art-inspired resorts here in the Philippines, Green Canyon Eco Art Resort, Clark. Why? They got me at “Pet-Friendly”!

 

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My Travel Essentials

(1) My Anello Bag fits EVERYTHING I need!

(2) Nope. Can’t leave home without my Moleskine art journal.

(3) What’s a travel journal without fine liners on the ready?

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It wasn’t a long drive to Pampanga as we chose to leave on a weekday. Upon arriving we wasted no time and couldn’t wait to explore the place with our little furball, Sushi. We found a nice spot near the hanging bridge to take our first mommy and baby photo (P.S Dadddy did a great job with this photo!)

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The resort was a wide stretch of grass, trees and lush greenery, coupled seamlessly with a man’s beautiful artisan wood works. The pieces are hand-made by a talented Filipino craftsman.

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There is a mini garden bursting with fresh produce, streams and modern log cabins, which houses the art gallery.

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The Art Gallery lies beyond this cabin.

My favorite part, where the beautiful blue sky meets the lush, green mountains.

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The poolside was definitely a pet-friendly place, Sushi didn’t fancy swimming though, but it was cool, she decided to lounge around with me as I doodled the morning away.

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The food was presentable, but not the best we’ve tried with the meat being tougher than it should be. I recommend a weekend stay to enjoy the buffet breakfast instead of a weekday plated menu. The staff and crew were friendly and very accommodating, their smiles made the experience a one to remember.

It was a lovely day out with the loves of my life, I’m sure Sushi had great fun too. I’m really hoping for more places to be open to pets, they’re becoming more than just pets, they’re now family we all wish to make new memories with.

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I’ll be posting more pet friendly travel destinations im my blog, too! Stay tuned for more posts with #SushiTravels! Until next time.

Travel far, experience life to its fullest!

XO,

Pearl

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Motivational

16 Signs You’re Not Actually An Introvert, You’re A Highly Sensitive Extrovert

By : Brianna Wiest


As everyone is both introverted and extroverted (we identify with the one we prefer more) it can be hard to weed through the nuances of what each of them mean. This is never as true as with someone who is a HSP, or a Highly Sensitive Person. HSPs are identified as being more emotionally intelligent, intuitive, creative and sensitive to stimuli than the average person. When these traits are combined with extroversion, they can create the illusion of introversion. It’s a tricky but important distinction to make, because the better you know yourself, the more you can build your life to fit who you really are.

1. You don’t actually mind being around other people, you just prefer to be around some more than others. Being around the wrong people exhausts you; being around the right ones makes you laugh a lot and feel understood.

2. You have one or two close friends who you see or speak to regularly. If you have one best friend you see every day, or a significant other who you love to be around as much as possible, the sheer quantity of time you spend around others might make you more extroverted than you think.

3. You want to be liked by everyone. This sounds unflattering, but is a common human desire. A deep longing to be loved or admired by many people often correlates to social anxiety or a fear of being unloved or disliked, especially in people who prefer to feel connected to others.

4. You love being in love. HSPs are true romantics (and are usually pretty sexual). This is because they are so attuned to their emotions; being in love is a true high for them. Of course, introverts can also love being in love, but extroverts tend to be more outwardly expressive of it.

5. If you take an honest look at your emotional patterns when you’re alone vs. when you’re with a community of friends or loved ones, you see that you thrive more in the latter. You think you are happier on your own, but you’re not really.

6. Your daydreams revolve around other people: impressing them, being loved by them and so on, rather than the high you would get by seeing and experiencing the world on your own.

7. You were an extroverted kid. If you think back to an average day in your childhood, you were always calling friends to come over or playing outside with other kids on your street. Then, at some point, you had some traumatic event(s) that lead you to prefer to be on your own. Being isolated is a coping mechanism for you, not something you are naturally inclined toward.

8. Your intuitive ability to pick up on what people are actually thinking and feeling can be uncomfortable, because you have a hard time just letting things go. On the other hand, it’s the same quality that makes you such a “people person” when you are being social.

9. You get really stressed when you feel like someone is self-sabotaging and you can’t help or fix them. This is what makes you want to isolate yourself – the fact that you are hyper-sensitive to other people’s problems, and often take them on as your own.

10. You actually connect with people rather easily. When you go out, you’re the life of the party, or the person all the baristas know at the coffee shops you regularly visit. The sheer ability to relate to or at least get along with most people well is more commonly a trait of extroversion.

11. You are a very loyal person, but only with someone you love a lot, or friends you are super close with. When you love, you love completely, and that person becomes a part of you. However, getting to that point is a longer-than-average process of opening up and building trust.

12. You love to go out and have fun, but in limited doses. When you’re out, you’re the life of the party. However, being around so much energy (and exerting so much energy) exhausts you, and you need a stealthy recovery period afterwards.

13. You “ghost” on people a lot, even friends. It’s sometimes hard to articulate that you need more time to yourself than other people do, and when people don’t respect that need (even if their intentions are good and they just want to see you) it’s sometimes easier just to make yourself inaccessible.

14. You’re more at ease around a large group of strangers than a smaller group of acquaintances. This is because there is no social obligation for you to impress, connect with or bond with a stranger. This is an equal display of your extroversion (not caring about being around others) as well as your HSP qualities (being drained by having to connect with people too much).

15. You prefer to work alone, but do something that other people have to relate to. For example, you’re a writer who works on their own, but who then shares that work to many people who consume and respond to it.

16. If you were to draw a picture of your dream life, you’d ideally have some combination of a loving partnership, a few great friends, or a close family. Your objective in life is not to stay away from people, but to choose the right ones, and keep them close to you no matter what.

LINK TO ARTICLE: THOUGHT CATALOG

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Explore, Motivational, My Life Story, travel

Albay Adventure

 

This month’s TRAVEL has been quite the experience for me. Unlike many others, this is the first time I’ve booked a ticket less than a week before our scheduled flight. Oh, little did I know this is just the beginning of all the spontaneity I’d be facing this week!

BICOL has long since been my second home, where I spent countless summers shopping at the local mall, cooking for my relatives and yes of course, eating. But I wanted this time around to be different.

Spending too much time in the metropolis just, kills. I wasn’t a shriveled prune yet from all the hustle and bustle of the city, but my soul just wanted to feel alive again. Free of routines, free of rules and free of all the rushing. I sought to find peace, to find – something.

All set and packed with a last minute plane ticket, a pair of rubber shoes, a hand-drawn map of our itinerary and a head full of hopes, we boarded the plane and on to Legazpi we go!

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A sketch of our itinerary (not drawn to scale)

 


Quitinday Hills, Camalig Albay

Upon reaching the hills, there was quite a drizzle causing the soil to be quite a challenge to walk on, especially this being an uphill climb. The weather wasn’t ideal (of course, this was expected travelling during low-season), but the view was spectacular nonetheless. The view was most beautiful upon reaching the first hill.

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For the brief moments spent atop Quitinday Hills, I breathed more than just fresh air. Within me came an overwhelming sense of awe for all the beauty I didn’t know I’ve been missing out on for so long. Looking at the 360 degree embrace of nature, there was no better feeling but to know that there’s so much more just waiting to be seen.


Sumlang Lake, Camalig, Albay

After a quick lunch at one of the best places for PINANGAT (A native dish made from Gabi Leaves and Coconut Milk), we headed on to Sumlang Lake. Pleased that the rain stopped and Mt. Mayon finally came out to say hello.

I believe it’s just beautiful how the land and the sky meet to form such a sight.

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Sumlang Lake


Cagsawa Ruins, Albay

We headed on towards the ever-so famous tourist destination in Bicol, the Cagsawa Ruins. Just imagine how much history this site holds!

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From where I stand : CAGSAWA GROUNDS

Okay I guess I have to explain why the photo below was one of my favorites (aside from Mayon photobombing quite nicely).

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Mayon ATV Experience

I am an introvert, shy, reserved and I often keep my opinions to myself (whether or not I believe it will win the argument). I was brought up that way, and I guess it came to mold the person I am now. I believe time is gold, and would never spare a second to be idle. I work from 7:30am to 8pm these days. Thus, I can be quite the control freak when it comes to planning, wanting everything ironed out, neat, tidy and on-the-dot. Sometimes I can shift from happy to angry in a snap, yes, the little things can unsettle me in ways. I am uptight, never bending my own rules and being an INFJ – I’m a downright walking contradiction. (Read more about personality traits here: INFJ PERSONALITY)

I started out scared as hell as I’ve never been lucky when it comes to vehicles (I crashed a car once, and it’s traumatizing). But ten minutes later, I revved up the engine wanting to go faster! (P.S. I was trying so hard not to overtake our guide).

Kidding aside, this short trip made me find myself. By “finding oneself” I mean to say: to know oneself better, to find one’s strengths and weaknesses and to love oneself a little more. This was the first time in a long time when I actually let loose and go wild.

I knew this trip was definitely unlike any other. With no final schedules of our own, driving on unknown roads, battling the moody weather and facing full uncertainty, it added to the thrill of what the journey brings.


Vera Falls, Malinao, Albay

The journey to Vera Falls was quite an adventure! The road reached a dead end, where the bridges were destroyed by the recent floods in Malinao. The locals were so kind to volunteer to get us to Vera Falls. I felt a rush of excitement as we hitched a ride with them on their motorbike up the lofty hills and through the quiet town.

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The rapids.

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It took less than thirty minutes to reach the falls, and behold the roar of the water came to welcome us to one of the hidden gems in Bicol.

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You know when you’re happy, when it’s not your lips that do the smiling, but your heart. Being happy is rare for me, but that’s what I felt as I sat there. Enjoying a dip in the cool water, smelling the freshness of nature, listening to the joyful chirping of the birds, and watching the violent cascade of the water.

Nature truly holds a cure for the city-living, it heals all the senses and revitalizes the mind. It shows us how simple life should be, and how difficult we all choose to make it.

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In this Bicol adventure, I found a piece of myself. One where I learned to embrace the uncertain, let loose and live one day at a time.

 

 

XO,

Pearl


 


I’ve been reading through “Steal Like an Artist” (Austin Kleon) this February, and came across an enlightening tip for creatives. Here’s an excerpt that inspired me to get up and go.

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RULE # 8 : GEOGRAPHY IS NO LONGER OUR MASTER

LEAVE HOME.

“At some point when you can do it, you have too leave home… Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings.”

“You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend time in another land, among people that do things different than you.Travel makes the world look new, and when the world look new, our brains work harder.”

“It helps to live around interesting people, and not necessarily people who do what you do. You have to find a place that feeds you – creatively, socially, spiritually and literally.”

“Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” -Jonah Lehrer

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Motivational

A Writer’s Growth

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As writers, we express ourselves most freely through every word, paragraph and punctuation. Where we render ourselves raw, vulnerable and exposed.

“…language will reveal what is inside of you if you know how to read between the lines. The words you choose will expose you.”

I, personally, write and draw with the hope of becoming an inspiration. I wanted to change the world, to make it a little less daunting. Life shouldn’t be all bleak and depressing.  It has always been my desire to let my words flow to my readers as a source of warmth, to give solace and assurance that they aren’t the only ones going through the same situation. We are all just human beings after all. At one point we go through the same process, challenges and adversities; and in the end, we all have the strength to rise above it.

Looking back, I’ve witnessed how much I’ve grown through the years. My writings have become mirrors that reflect how much stronger I’ve become. My words have evolved, to reflect myself better, to hide nothing and to learn how to be genuinely – ME. The journey has been rough, it has left me battered and bruised. But after all, no warrior comes out of the war unscathed.

“…language is a tricky thing. You think you’re telling stories that will change people and the world but instead you are just rewriting your own history so that the past hurts are transformed into reference points to mark how much you’ve grown and how resilient you are in the face of disappointment.”

As writers, our words become our biographies and our memoirs, record of our strengths.

“You tell stories of how much you’ve lived and how much you’ve learned but all you do is reveal how you are the kind of person who mistakes a chance encounter during the Blue Moon as something more than what it was.”

We write to tell a story, little do we know that it’s about our own journey.

“I wanted to be a writer to change the world but it seems that as I write, I’m changing myself.”

 


Credits to PANORAMA contributing writer, Wanggo Gallaga. Your words have exposed a reality we, writers all encounter: As we write, we find ourselves along the way.

 

XO,

Pearl

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Motivational, Thoughts

Loser.

I remember being called “a loser of our batch” back then in High School. I don’t know why that distant memory resurfaced again after ten long years.

All I knew was the pain I felt when I realized that other people saw me that way. To say that I laughed and brushed it off would be a lie.

In high school, I was the typical, short-haired, rosy-cheeked, chubby kid in glasses. Often the wallflower who finds companionship in books and the truest friendship in silence. I knew everyone, but not everyone knew me. If you asked me ten years ago, “to be invisible” would be my tip to get through high school.

I was the one who got stood up during Junior-Senior prom. I was the one who hung out with the younger kids in our school. I’ve never received a bouquet of flowers until college. I guess I’m a normal person just like everyone else, except I was considered “a loser” back then.

Here I am, staring out the car window ten years after, wondering if what had been said about me was true.

What defines a loser? Who defines you? No. Certainly not them.

Back then in high school, the campus was our world. But beyond that, is something much greater than ourselves. Beyond the school walls, and the cracked classroom windows, is the world just waiting to sift out the real “losers” from the real “winners”.

High school does so little to determine who you are, much less, who you will be. People have the power to tell you who you are today, but only we have control over who we become. We may choose to prove them right, or use it as a stepping stone to prove them wrong.

Until today, I have no inkling of who said such a thing about me (as it was posted anonymously on Ask.fm). But if you wrote that, and you’re reading this, I want to thank you, sincerely.

Thank you for showing me that it is possible to rise beyond one’s labels. That by pulling me down, I realized that it was simply a catapult to lift me up to greater heights. I was once a loser, but am now a winner in the game called life.

Because a real loser is someone who fails, gives up and lives according to what the world dictates.

That’s not us, that’s not me, not today, never will be.

Winners are those who don’t allow stereotypes, labels and put-downs to define their existence. Life is not a game of winners and losers. Life is the time we have to BECOME who we are meant to be. Sure, maybe we’re all a bit different; but in our own way we shine, each in our own spectacular kind of beauty.

If they don’t see that beauty , then tell me who are the real “losers”.

 

 

“What am I in the eyes of most people – a nonentity, an eccentric or an unpleasant person – somebody who has no position in society and will never have. In short, the lowest of the low. All right then, if that were absolutely true, then I should like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart” – Vincent Van Gogh

 

 

XO,

Pearl

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