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.

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - You, You, You -

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

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