Thanks for asking.

Thanks for asking.

 

December 26, 2017. I was home. For the last two weeks, I have stayed in my bed watching sitcoms and waiting for the performances of my favorite group in year-end award shows. I get up when it’s time to eat or to wash up, occasionally chatting with my mother in front of the television. I do not sleep until the wee hours of the morning and wake up in the afternoon. No one questioned me. No one asked about anything. They figured I was resting. And it is true. I was resting. I am resting my brain from thinking negative thoughts. I was stopping my heart from feeling too much pain from a past that is not only gone, but is also done. This day was the very first time I turned down my high school best friends’ invitation for our yearly hangout. For the first time, I had no reason or alibi. I just said I cannot make it because I just think that I cannot. Something was clearly wrong with me.

It is strange, to think that half a year ago, half of my world is crumbling and yet, half of me is still figuring out what was happening to me. It was also December of that year when I experienced my first ‘anxiety attack’ (I do not know exactly what is was). I was out with my closest colleagues. I walked home and craved for beer. Suddenly, there, at the side of the street, I cried. I cried and cried… messy thoughts in my head. I thought I was going to die. I thought no one cared and I could easily haul myself in the middle of the road and get hit by the rushing cars and buses and I would be left there to die. I just had one of the best and happiest nights of my life, after a semester of stress and conflict, and there I was, barely breathing on a roadside that I walk through every day on my way to work, slowly disintegrating and self-destructing. I slowly walked to my dorm, wiping my tears, unfocused eyes looking out for people in my compound who may be watching this ugly scene. Upon reaching my room, I saw myself in the mirror and saw someone I do not recognize anymore. For the first time in my life, I broke down. The tears kept falling and I barely stopped myself from screaming. It was the worst feeling—the feeling of emptiness, the feeling of numbness that could not make sense to you since you feel every bit of your soul and body aching, the insatiable want to just disappear into thin air.

I reached out to someone. I told them I was afraid. I was scared because I do not know what was happening to me. Was I overreacting? Was I being irrational? I tried to explain but they too, did not understand. I cannot sleep that night. Wanting to forget how horrible I felt, I went out and got that beer that I craved for. I drowned myself in bottles of unhealthy alcohol and felt my consciousness slowly drifting away. I am finally getting the rest that I need. But it was not the rest that I wanted.

I still had to administer an exam the week after that incident. Thinking about it now, it is somehow amazing how one person can put a mask in front of other people, when literally they felt dead inside. I admire how they keep it all in without crumbling in front of their friends and family. I know for sure that my students hated me, yet I still wanted to look okay in front of them. Back then, I refused to think about it but the feeling of wanting to just stop lingered for days. Hence, the reason for my hibernation for weeks. I wanted to escape, to rest, maybe permanently. It did not help that I heard of a person committing suicide that year. I spent several sleepless nights just thinking about his courage to just end things and be free from the world that had done nothing but to wound and tear him, piece by piece.

It was hard to start over from that point on. There was clearly something wrong with me. People did not understand. No one asked me how I was. I avoided people because I felt that I was a burden to them whose problems were bigger than mine. My only problem was myself. No one asked, yet as I asked myself every single day, “Are you okay? Can you go through today?” There was no answer. I just assumed that one day, everything will fall right back in place and I don’t have to ask myself anymore.

June 30, 2018. It has been six months since that incident (and others that I cannot bring myself to talk about) and I feel as though everything happened yesterday. I do not know how many friends have I told this story to, but somehow I felt the need to write this down so that I won’t forget. I wanted to write these so I can officially start over again.

As a scholar, of course, I wanted to know what was wrong with me is, but at the same time, I was scared to even consult a professional, or even a close friend. I was afraid that my feelings and emotions would be invalidated, reduced to mere heart break, or a “midlife crisis,” or something to that effect. At the same time, I was afraid I was right. I did not even want pity. I just want understanding. Most of all, I wanted to understand myself.

I started a new job and applied to another job at the beginning of 2018. I was otherwise preoccupied. I was excited about the future ahead. In a way, I was in rehabilitation. My friend adopted me and I live a good and peaceful life with her family, without any worries. They sincerely care whether I eat or not, or overwork myself, or get an overly dark tan (haha). I looked okay. I looked tired and stressed all the time but it was the good kind of tiredness and stress. But of course, everything was not perfect. I still felt that from time to time.

Self-healing, self-medication—these are hard. I do not even know what works and what does not. I am not talking about medicine, but things that could possibly make me feel happy, contented, and loved. It was hard to expect love from other people that you have no choice but to put yourself first at all time. As cliché as it may sound, I slowly learned to “love myself” more than anything. I distanced myself from people who clearly do not care anymore. I treat myself most of the time, reward myself for a job well done, and sustained healthier relationships with my family and friends. I simply lived and simply cheered for myself for every little win and forgave myself for every defeat, small or big.

I ask myself now, “Are you okay?” and the answer is no. I constantly feel that I am a waste of space in the world. That I do not deserve anything good in life because I do not work hard yet I play hard. That I still want that rest. Yet, the prospect of having a better job in the future… of having the things that I dreamed of, or the people that I want in my life, keeps me going. “No, I am not okay, but that’s okay. I can try again tomorrow.” I also figured that the day where I do not ask myself this question would not come. Things were better but I still have to check if I can survive despite just being me every day.

It is a bit dramatic, having demons in your head (and heart). They make you not want to get up in the bed in the morning (or afternoon) after one sleepless night. They make you regret being alive in the first place. They make you inhuman. But on the brighter side of things, these demons taught me that in the end, all you have is yourself. If no one asks, they answer for you, and you have to do, even the bare minimum, in order to reverse their answer. They do not go away, ever. You have to live with them, but you have to make them live with angels in order for you to survive. And angels? They are hard to find. Thankfully, I found mine. No it is not a lover. Somehow, they are something more than that.

So, thanks for asking. Six months after every human emotion imaginable overwhelmed and broke me, I can finally say that I am better. It somehow feels surreal, to have the ability to love yourself more and more each day. No matter how hard it is, despite everyday pressures and failures. Thanks for asking. I may not know the exact answer yet, but thanks for having the slightest concern about whether I live or not.

Thanks for asking, self.

 

06302018 / 6:12PM

Session Road, Baguio City

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Undead Writer

January 30, 2018

03:30AM / Poblacion, Tuba, Benguet

UNDEAD WRITER

You should not start your sentences with ‘I’. It makes you less sophisticated a writer. The ‘I’ signifies that you do not have any interesting story to tell save what happened to ‘you’ and your pathetic life. No one will ever be fascinated by your daily misadventures and misfortunes. You do not even write that well anymore. You are not as good as you were before. Your existence is conditional and directly related to your ability to convey your thoughts and emotions. Most importantly, there is no point to all of these, because technically, YOU ARE DEAD TO ME.

I do not exactly remember the first time I jotted down random words as representations of my thoughts, feelings, and observations of the world. What comes to mind are essay contests that past me would easily win because of the simple fact that I can express myself really well and really fast. Past me could speed-write a school newspaper article in a few minutes. My own valedictory address was written overnight. The writer-me would just need a one-sentence or a one-word prompt and she’s good to go. A good command to the language I was using was key to that, of course.

Almost every week, I will grab my small notebook and write a journal entry. It was my escape. That was a time when I sincerely believed in keeping my memories intact through writing about them (present me would thank past me very much, seeing that I am struggling to remember things about the past. How ironic). The dilemma was always how to balance the kind of experiences that I write. There were too many of the best and the worst and too scarce of the ‘normal’. Thus, present me would not remember how past me would ‘normally’ perceive, feel, and experience things. That’s a shame because right now, that is what I desperately need—the normal and everyday me.

Over time, the entries would not be written as often as before. Months would pass before past me realized that there is so much that she wants to write. She hastily looks for the notebook. In instances when the notebook was nowhere to be found, she’d grab anything, any piece of paper, to write on. The ink of her pen will continuously flow to the paper in the same way her blood would have (if it is humanly possible). She would have poured her blood, not just her heart, out to the paper just to release her unorganized thoughts and unsorted feelings. It was like returning to a lover after nights of being apart. She devoured the paper whole. She loved the feeling of emptying herself. She bled and bled until her heart stops—and restarts again.

For years, she lived this way. She bled for one night and lived for months at a time without sparing the notebook a glance. She (wrongly) thought that she could exist this way. She found new friends and lovers. Walking away from everything that she thought she knew about the world, she fell. That naïve girl fell in love too many times and by fell, I mean, got bruised and wounded so deep that no process of bleeding could help her. As dumb as she is, she refused to write and in the few times that she did, her writing was always half-meant, half-cooked, and therefore, half-written. She left her future self hanging—if there was a time that she wrote without end, now, she wrote without endings.

It is of no surprise that one day, she will forget not only her memories (how cliché and ironic), but also her unwritten endings. Most significantly, she will lose the ability to connect to herself. She would go from: “Other people will love me. They understand;” “He will love me for who I am. He’s a good person despite everything; to “They do not understand;” “Why does he do this to me?”

Everything was not about herself anymore. Almost always, it is always for a ‘he’ or for ‘them’. She bled, still, but this time, not for herself. She bled for others who would not, in any universe or world, bleed for her.

She abandoned the only thing that makes her live. Years passed before she realized that she’s dead. Yes, she’s dead.

‘She’ is you. YOU ARE DEAD TO ME.

But alive for everyone else. There are things that the naked eye could not see. This is one of them—the fact of your death.

You are dead and I am sorry. I cannot even look you in the eye and tell you that this is my fault. I am responsible for your death. I dreaded the blank pages of a notebook. I spilled tears and smeared blood on almost everything that I touch. I tried so hard not to show you the weakness that you have been trying to cure all these years. All of my waking hours had been about thinking, speaking, and feeling, that I forgot you. I forgot to write for you. The key is how—not what or when to write—or bleed. I forgot how.

I lacked the courage to bleed because I thought that I’d immediately die. My half-written works just pain me more than expected. I write to bleed but there was a point that I thought that I would actually die writing. He was too much. They were too much. I forgot how to bleed in order to die and be reborn again. I kept it in. the bad blood clotted and covered my heart, my brain—my hands that wrote so diligently for my sanity. I was afraid to die that I never thought—and noticed—that you were already gone. Already dead.

Maybe starting my sentences with ‘I‘ is unsophisticated. Maybe writing about me is too narcissistic and too much for this world. But how would I live again if I do not write about me? How would I exist peacefully if I am not at peace with my own mind and soul? What is the point of everything if ‘I’ am not important to me?

To you, I am sorry. Today, I bled for the first time in years. Years. I thought that I would not be able to breathe ever again. I was afraid of nothing, you see. I bled and bled through the pages of this notebook and believe it or not, I feel more alive that I have ever been.

Now, I have the life… and courage, to declare, you – past, present, and future me

UNDEAD.

Welcome to the world again, my soul.

4:21AM

3:46 AM

I pushed you away. I pushed you away with my indifference. You got sick of it. You just did. Tomorrow, you’ll be gone.

I never meant to absorb all the negativity in this world and blame it all on you. I never meant to love so deep that you cannot reach me and pull me back to your arms. I never meant to be such a crybaby, crying over words I said… over words I did not say back.

I know that tomorrow, you’ll be gone. You will blame me for one sleepless night. I will thank you for one.

I know that tomorrow, you’ll be gone. And I’ll stay forever this way.

I never meant to be this girl, war.
You always tell me what kind of girl I should be. You did not know that all I wanted was to be the woman you dream of. I will always be this girl to you.

Later, when we wake up, let’s also wake up from this dream that we have. Let us realize that this is not a fairytale… that we would not look at each other with eyes full of love all the time. We would look at each other sometimes and see the demons that we kept to ourselves for so long. We would look at each other and see exhaustion hidden behind false smiles.

I will always love you. But let us wake up now. Let us sleep no more. Because there is no better feeling than the feeling of your warmth before everything else stops being cold as the sun comes up every morning.

I will always remember. I will always be here.

11/28/15

You loved a sensitive flower. Deal with it. I choose to feel and to think at the same time. Sometimes words hurt my soul the same way knives hurt flesh. Sometimes words are not enough to patch up holes made by your insensitive tongue and heart. I know what words can do. I know that words heal. I know that words profess love. And I know that words lie. Words hurt.
I am all for the abstract dimension of this relationship. I am one who choose to feel. And when I do not, I choose to push people away. Please choose to bear with that.

Don’t make me think.

Don’t make me think.
Because it makes me feel more.
Don’t make me think.
Because it hurts me more.
Don’t make me think.
Because I just want to feel.
No more.
No less.

Don’t make me think.

Because I’m not myself when I think.

I cry.

I stare into blank walls.

And cry again.

Because thinking takes me back to reality.

To the reality where there is no me and you.

Where there’s really just me.

Don’t make me think, you fool.

Don’t make me unlove you because of my thoughts.

Perverted thoughts?

Unreal thoughts?

Real true-to-life memory thoughts?

Any thought.

Don’t make me think of such thoughts.

Don’t make me think.

Because I may just think that you do not care anymore.

I may just think that you are not coming back.

Don’t make me think, please.

Because it is the only thing that I do.

I hate feeling.

But I hate thinking more.

Because feeling is always real.

Thinking can go beyond or below.

Thinking can make you human.

Thinking can make you less.

Don’t make me think, I beg you.

Come back and make me feel.

Interrupt my wayward thoughts.

Like you always do.

Interrupt my tears.

Like you always do.

Interrupt

and

make me stop.

Because I thought you loved me.

I thought.

I was thinking.

I am thinking.

I thought.

Stories.

The stories that I tell people, they’re endless. Just imagine the stories that I tell to myself, how infinite they are.

There’s this story of us meeting for the first time. You told me your name. I laughed… silently, wondering why you were named after that. Ten years later and I’m still wondering why you were named after the worst invention of mankind.  I understand why you hate it. I do not understand why, after all that we’ve been through, your name is still alien to my lips. I do not comprehend why I cannot pronounce your one-syllable name naturally.  Why, of all people, do I feel that your name is not mine to call? Not mine to say?

Yet your name represents all of the incomprehensible amalgamation of feelings, emotions and sensations that I am experiencing right now.  There is a war brewing inside of me for the last four months.  A war…with skirmishes and intense confrontations that I tend to avoid, at all times and at all costs, because I know that I will lose. A war that requires intervention. A war that requires the shedding of blood and tears. A war that could not be halted by a momentarily truce between myself and myself. A war that cannot be solved by a ceasefire of emotions. I am fighting in this war without you knowing. I am losing this war without you caring. I am surrendering, without you fighting.

There’s this story of me waiting. This story has not ended yet because I still am waiting. Waiting for what? To this question I have not, yet, the answer.

See, these stories are not all about you.

There’s this story of me screaming. I was lying in bed and my whole body got paralyzed. I thought of no one. I thought of nothing. Yet I screamed with no sound coming out of my mouth. I thought of dying and maybe living again through reincarnation to do the things that I haven’t yet done. I thought of just being in hell or in heaven for an eternity. I thought of watching people in their sleep when I turn into a lifeless soul roaming around the places I used to love. Yet, these thoughts made me sad. I was screaming and no one could not hear me. How pathetic is that? I was screaming for no one in particular. I was screaming into a spaceless and timeless void. At the thought of death, I thought of no one. No one.

There’s this story of me dying. I have died a thousand painful deaths that was not painful at all. For I dreamed them.  They were real.  They were in my mind.  They happened.  Yet I feel no pain. But I died. I perished. I succumbed to my mortality.

There’s this story of me crying.  I was so fed up with the world. With friends whom I don’t feel connected to anymore. With people around the city bumping at me, staring at me and ignoring me. With relationships that are not meaningful as I expected them to be. With school, for shaping me to think like a free agent with the capability of changing the world and yet training me to understand it first…. but what comes with understanding the world is the pessimism that there isn’t anything that can be done to change it. With myself, for feeling every variation of feeling humanly possible. With myself, for remembering every horrible thing. With myself, for searching the meaning in life when there’s obviously not one meaning, but meanings. With myself, for asking too much. With myself, for being me. I cried. In my mind. I cried.

There’s this story of me telling you more stories.  But my stories became boring, irrational, immature, that you decided to not listen anymore.

There’s this story of me telling you more stories. But you said sorry, I cannot listen to these anymore, because I have my own stories to tell…my own demons to fight…my own self to preserve.

There’s this story of me telling you more stories. But it is just in my head. Along with the many stories that I have kept and never told anyone but I plan to tell you.  Along with the useful and useless knowledge that I acquired and kept in my attic for the last 20 years of my existence. Along with the memories of you and me. Along with the stories that the two of us wrote. Along with the stories that the most important people in my life wrote for me. Along with the stories that I tell myself everyday for me to survive and see another day.

See, there’s this story that I haven’t told you yet…. how my head ached this morning… how I wore high heels today and fell… how I remember eating that big-ass crab in Rasa Pura… how I aced my exam in my favorite subject.

See, they’re not all about you. But I wanted you to listen.

Because I have more stories to tell you.

I have tons.

I have millions.

I have miles.

And I know that you have, too.

Just imagine.

This is just a fraction of my over-thinking, over-remembering, over-crying, over-feeling etc. self. Just imagine the stories that I haven’t told you, or anyone yet.

Just imagine.

And yet, these days, there’s just one story in my head. And it goes this way…

There’s this story of you and me. You love me, and I love you. No other words need be spoken. No stories need be told.

But see. I do not like this story. And just like any other story that I do not like, I remember it, embrace it like my life depended on it. I remember it, just like I do any other horrible story that affects me. And I cry. Like an idiot.

I do not like it, because I like to tell you more stories.

But like I fool, I force myself to like it, every single day… so I can tell to myself:

There’s this story of him and I.

When in fact there’s now none.