CJ DE SILVA-ONG
This Promil Kid is definitely gifted—she juggles freelance illustration projects with her day job as associate creative director at a top ad agency. Here, the 28-year-old talks about the joys of being independent.
Happiness is… HAVING ENOUGH ALONE TIME
Lately I’ve been looking for alone time. It allows me to recharge and not feel guilty about being unproductive. I like to watch movies or listen to music with my cat. Having a drink at Curator, shopping, or watching a movie by myself count as well. When I’m alone, I can do silly stuff like dance, lip sync, experiment with makeup, or try new outfits.
CHANNELING YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTERS
I came of age at 21. I used to be shy and sort of sheltered. Then I had this film professor named Cesar Hernando. Every week he’d lend me a Dvd—films by Mike De Leon, Ishmael Bernal, Lino Brocka, and François Truffaut—and I learned to appreciate movies more. When I had my first heartbreak, I didn’t want to depend too much on my parents or friends. I wanted to figure things out on my own, so I channeled the movie characters I admired. I’d think, what would Penny Lane from Almostfamous or Lelaina from Realitybites do?
READING STORIES WITH STRONG FEMALE PROTAGONISTS
I love the Batgirl series by Cameron Stewart and Babs Starr. Stewart made Batgirl more relevant, especially for girls. Batgirl uses social media, she’s a coder/developer, and her new costume is very practical pero edgy. No more big boobs and Spandex, which I think are for the male gaze. Now, almost all the elements of the series are very feminist. Ang saya rin that comic book publishers actually try to market new comic series to girls, not just to boys.
APPRECIATING DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW
Participating in the OTWOL Twitter discourse every night sort of became research for me. I’ve observed that there are Filipinas who are very modern and Filipinas who are still very conservative. I liked how Leah wasn’t all about being in a relationship—she wanted to find her mom and have a career. You should develop yourself and your career, and boys are a bonus. When I said that online, people asked me, “How can you say that when you have a husband? How does he feel about your saying this?” But when I told my husband, he said he wouldn’t have fallen in love with me if I weren’t so independent. At first I thought, “Ano ba ’yan, pagiging wife lang ba ang gusto ng ibang girls? This has to change.” Pero I realized for some girls, love is more important than career. We find love in many things— our career, BF, friends, or hobbies. What’s more important is that we don’t impose our values on others.
BEING ABLE TO MANAGE OTHERS’ EXPECTATIONS
I’ve realized that even if I’m an individual, I’m not insular. I have relationships with everyone I meet, be it my boss, my team, the Uber driver, baristas, etc. In every relationship, we have expectations. Before, it was so easy to get defensive na parang, “Fuck it, why do you have such high expectations?!” But I realized expectations are also about communication and empathy. We all have our needs, and we just need to be clear and direct about them. My boss once said, “What we deliver will just be as good as your briefing.” This also applies to relationships— we’re just as good as our knowledge of what is expected of us. I see it as palitan lang ng expectations and fulfillment. Like Bernard M. Baruch says, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
Researchers discovered that identifying with fictional characters changes the way readers view themselves and others in the real world. According to study co-author Lisa Libby, this “opens up their horizons” and allows them to “relate to social groups they wouldn’t have otherwise.”
may 2016 COSMOPOLITAN
With director/ writer/musician hubby Wincy Ong CJ’S cat Andres, named after her fave hero, Andres Bonifacio Cj’sfavelocal comic Why Channeling Your Favorite Characters Makes You Happy