Life pottery » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle



By Isabelle Laureta

Hi Isabelle,

I’ve been collecting all your articles in Lifestyle. Going to read it first then put it into the album. Hehe. I’m so amazed by how you do it. Where is it all coming from? How do you cope with stress? Is there a ritual?



Hi Chelle!

There are lots of things that stress me out at this point in my life—my anxiety, the current political climate, all these stupid bombings happening all over the world, ISIS, Mondays, EDSA traffic, the Internet when it doesn’t cooperate when I need it to, delayed client payments, my cat when she pees on my bed, my workload, the intense and crippling thought, and pressure of not being good enough, I could go on and on. And I’m the type of person who tends to overthink everything. My ritual to make this all go away is to curl up in a fetal position in bed, bury myself in my blanket and pillows, and hope that I’d wake up to a better world the next day.

Now if you’re going to ask me if it works, it does. For like eight hours. But the next day, I’m going to have to deal with it all over again, nothing’s really changed except now I’ve got more energy to face all these triggers. And I may be exaggerating, but this certain energy changes everything—from the way you handle yourself when you’re under pressure, to the way you look at what causes you a potential mental breakdown.

When we hear the word stress, our first instinct is to back the hell up as far as we can from it, but the thing is, it’s never going to go away. You can try and run away from it, only to find yourself stumbling on another. I remember back in college when I was writing my thesis—which is probably one of the most stressful times in my life—I was running on zero hours of sleep and bottles of energy drink, or coffee, or mixtures of both—whatever works, and I remembered thinking how I wish it would all just go away. Like, I was so unbelievably tired and vulnerable and so close to burning out already that if someone even joked that I wouldn’t make it on time, I’d disintegrate into a pool of tears. I wished to just wake up to my thesis magically finished, put on my graduation dress, and just freaking get the hell out of college. Or not finish it at all because who needs a college diploma anyway, right? I thought of everything, anything, just to get out of that dark pit of a headspace. The turning point? A whole eight or so hours of sleep that I managed to squeeze in, in the middle of it all. And then I woke up, felt better, and tackled the heck out of my last requirement in college.

There’s no magic ritual, Chelle. It’s not like sugar you can dissolve in loads of beer, or a stick of cigarette that vanishes when you smoke it. Stress is like clay—it’ll make your hands dirty, make you feel iffy when you hold it, get into the tiniest crevices of your fingers and nails, and generally just make you feel uncomfortable. But if you pay no mind to all these ugly factors, you can actually make something beautiful out of it—like a vase, or a pot, or whatever the hell you put your mind into. It’s not going to be an easy process, your hands may become dirty and get cramped after, and yes, you might make mistakes here and there, but if you’d rest your hands for one bit, you can try again later on with a fresher perspective. If stress tries to destroy you, then do the exact opposite—create. Create meaningful and beautiful things out of all the stress you’re being put under.

Stress wouldn’t go away. But so should you. And when I say that, I don’t mean burn yourself out. Go ahead, take a nap like you deserve it, watch some cat videos, eat your favorite dangerously calorie-packed snack, listen to some weirdly relaxing music, take a hot shower, watch a few episodes of a stupid sitcom, and when you come back, whatever’s been stressing you out better be ready, because you’re going to finish the living soul out of it. In the end, it not really about the stress, it’s about your attitude towards it and what beautiful things you can come up with under it. It’s not about the clay. It all about what you choose to do with it.

Always stressed, sometimes well-dressed,



Ask me your deepest, weirdest, darkest questions! I’m no expert at anything and I don’t have it all figured out either (because, honestly, who does?), but let me at least try. Send them over to and let’s make sense of this crazy Millennial life together! <3

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