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The other night was unthinkable.

I could not grasp everything all at once. But I remember that feeling in my heart. That feeling that you get before you cry. I was standing very close to Explosions in the Sky and it was just too much to take in. I never even imagined that a day would come when I can finally tell myself that they are actual people. When the yellow light hit my eyes, they all looked lined with strokes of neon purple. Think Tron. For every unexpected silence in between loud guitar sounds, I felt happy I am alive. I thanked God I am alive. I believed in God. All this while holding back tears. I believe tears make me very human when I hold them back. I do not want to free them because I simply want to keep all the joy in my heart. To feel all my emotions. To let my emotions engulf this vessel I often criticize and ridicule, my body, with warmth. Like hugging myself from the inside.

I stood there in the middle of a crowd attached to their other lives, phones up. As if all the radiation caused by the electricness of musical genius was not enough.

The Temper Trap played at almost two in the morning. All the bodies were tired and aching. My body was asserting its limitations. I was hungry, exhausted, gassy, and sleepy. I could cry. But the first incomprehensible chords reeking through the sound system set me so free. It felt like the beginning of a reckoning point, the end of a learning curve that somehow went on and on.

They were in front of me. Doing their art like how they do it for themselves. Dancing to the beat of their own songs. I was so happy to be alive. I held Dougy’s hand before they finished the night.

I lost my phone. I left it in the plane and I figured someone else took it. All of my demos are there. So I guess I’ll just rely on my memory when Alvin and I finally come into terms with our laziness. I can’t wait to fuck things up. One day I would dance to the beat of my own songs. The dream is to move others to dance to the beat of their own songs, too.

Freedom is free. We should all pay it forward.

To freedom.

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Fishermen become constellations in the ocean at night. I thought to myself. I was carrying someone else’s baby since the past hour. Just walking around, trying to get some air, and waiting for everything to sink in.

My brother proposed. I felt hot tears in my eyes but they never fell down until I saw my grandmother cry.

Something can be so real. I was so moved.

I had this vague notion at the back of my head that maybe I should stop putting things aside. That maybe even the tiniest flicker of interest I should blow up into a living passion.

I’ve always wanted to sing. Maybe I should sing more. I’ve always wanted soup for dinner. Maybe I should do that. Maybe I should laugh louder. Maybe I should finally read Dostoyevsky. Maybe I should wear my hair down often. Maybe I should give white shirts a chance. Maybe I should kiss him more. Maybe I should run more miles. Maybe I should climb the fuck out of that mountain. Maybe I should stop having plan B’s and just fucking confront and overcome.

I always thought and felt that there is a big mountain that I have to climb and only then I’d be worthy of this life. That it is too painful to live in the in-between. To be stuck. Perhaps the beasts behind this madness are all the reservations that I made for myself. The safe zone I carved out for myself.

Maybe I should end all these maybes. Because things can be real. And when they do become real they make me cry. Crying puts so much meaning in my life. That burning in my heart. That lump on my throat. That tightness in the skin between my eyes and the bridge of my nose. They all mean something. And I like who I become after I concede to all of them. Cleansed and ready. After the vulnerability, embarrassment, and all the judgment in the world. I feel cleansed and ready.

Happy almost new year.

Several times, the past had beaten us up with its heavy hand. It unlocked secret doors and let out the foul smell of dead dreams. It embarrassed us in moments we thought we owned. It forced us to sleep and caused us to wake up drenched in sweat.

Ignorant of martyrdom, we chose to forgive it anyway. Even if it doesn’t want to. We made peace with it anyway not so it can own up to the sutures but so we can free ourselves from the madness and loathing. Only then the wound should heal.

In the present, we are scarred. But we wear these scars like badges. For love to oneself. Time and time again. And for love once and for all.

How brave must living be. It is rather paradoxical that something so delicate and pure can empower us to look even the wildest of beasts in the eye. To wear love as an armor to a war of blood and terror.

How incomprehensibly beautiful.

When all comes to an end and everything turns to dust, may we be the legacy that gilded angels always wanted to leave but never had the chance to. Scattered across time and space, may our stories of love lacing and engulfing hate be remembered as if words to the first of first lullabies.

I am reading the same words when Lou Reed started to sing. But this time, I am not at the shore anymore. I am in my room. Slouched but leaning back too much. Book atop my stomach. I am not alone anymore. He’s reading in my bed. Legs hanging, feet slightly touching the floor. Polite hesitance.

Sometimes I feel so heavy. Sometimes I feel so sad. It’s like the same moment but in totally different circumstance. Carlo Rovelli says:

There is no such thing as a real void, one that is completely empty. Just as the calmest sea looked at closely sways and trembles, however slightly, so the fields that form the world are subject to minute fluctuations, and it is possible to imagine its basic particles having brief and ephemeral existences, continually created and destroyed by these movements.

He was talking about quarks. But I know nothing about physics. I know serendipity, however.

Our love felt like a silent movie for all the wrong reasons. There were no words, only vague body language and clear expressions that do not reflect the anguish of the heart. The silence was unsilence. The ambivalence of our lips over the chaos in our chests. If fire was set over our bodies, it would be easier to know the truth behind our lifelessness. It’s bad but at least it’s true. And we know. Nothing hurts worse than silence when there shouldn’t be.

“I really believe that, in time, people will bloom. I believe that we really are bound to be amazing at something and we do not even have to try.”

On this day last year, I wrote those words on my journal. When I read them today, I felt a slight pinch in my heart. There were tears too but they didn’t come out.

I am writing here in a restaurant on a cliff, overlooking the sea. A bit scattered, I must say. While being away from home really makes me more centered and insightful, it really takes a while. But I do feel less all over the place now. Ironically, I’m leaving tomorrow. Nonetheless, this island has been so good to me.

For the past days, I just did things that I authentically like. I did yoga, sat in cafés to read and write, stayed in bed and just listened to music waiting for the sun to be less harmful so I can read by the beach. I wore clothes that make me feel a lot like myself, too. It’s nice. I went here with no real plans but I’m fine. Pretty well, actually. On September 30, I wrote: I wish people feel this feeling in my heart. At the right time. Everyone deserves to be loved by themselves.

Come Tuesday I will go back to work. But as the semester is reaching its end, I can say that it doesn’t feel like work at all. I teach Philosophy, if you may ask.

I’m dead sure some hippie already said this but let me say it again. Your demeanor towards the Universe will boomerang back to you.

For some weird reason, I always come across things that tell me, this is to be succinct, to just stay where I am. Do not struggle. Work with your essence. I have come across the Taoist concept of Wu Wei which means do without doing. And just yesterday, Barbara told us to stop stressing over something we cannot do and then compare ourselves to those who can. Because after all, those people went through a lot to get to that point and we have no idea about their process. I also read about this Tao notion, Uncarved Block. Ultimately, the question it seeks to ask is this: Why do we put square pegs on round holes? That is to be simple and childlike, though.

With all the changes that’s happening around and within me, I do have a vague sense of who I really am. And I can confirm this when I feel genuine happiness, contentment, and pride from doing things I chose for myself. You know, that feeling you get when you make a decision without actually thinking through it and it turned out to be such a good one. Yes. That.

“Do not think too much.” Sanchia told me while we were cruising around Chiang Mai in our bikes back in August. I liked that. There’s a level of comfort there. That after all it’s possible not to think too much and remain fine. Perfect, I must say.

I do hope that one day, we all choose to stay with who we really are. But sometimes if we get too detached, the world will forsake us because it is problematic and it needs us to solve its problems. In the process, we might get too jaded.

But you know what’s good about staying still and afloat with your core? You know your way. And you’ll be fine.

 

Note: From my journal, written on the 2nd of October.

I’m feeling good and I thought I should just write. Let’s see what comes out of this.

I woke up early today. Relatively early, I must say. Around five minutes past six. The island life feeling is still clinging onto me. Maybe that’s the reason behind this body clock change. I went on a lone trip to an island in Central Visayas, here in the Philippines. It was frightening but oddly comforting.

I had no real plans. I just packed my bag, brought my yoga mat, and hopped on a plane. Most of my time there, I spent reading, writing, and just people-watching. It’s a small beach town so everything is near to each other and the stunning beach is for everyone. I sat at cafés. There’s this one that’s ran by a French man and they serve lovely black coffee. Another was on a cliff, overlooking the sea. And my favorite was the one that’s near the shore. They have great organic breakfast food and vegan ice cream.

I also joined a few yoga classes in the island. The experience is totally different from my usual practice here in the city. The shala was in the middle of a garden. I joined one sunset class and then a morning class. Fireflies joined our practice during the sunset class. It was a very small class of only four people, that includes Barbara, our teacher. It was funny because none of them spoke my language so we communicated in English in our distinct accents. Except maybe for Jade because she’s from England. Monica came late but her energy just filled the entire space as if it was just waiting for her presence. I asked her where she’s from. She said, Peru. I asked her where she’s based. Nowhere, she answered. She was just travelling around. I like that. Apparently, she’s actually a yoga teacher and she trained in India. She told me to train in India when the time comes. I would love to.

I woke up at six in the morning, every day, while I was there. Everything was so nice. However, I could not fully let go and just roam with a free mind because I also try my best to be vigilant considering that I am alone in an island that I’ve never been to before. But I’m fine. I did great and I think I would do it again. Maybe this time, in a surf town. I’ve heard great stories about Baler.

It’s really nice to be a stranger, I realized. But being a stranger doesn’t really mean that I am detached and completely different. I feel like there is some strong connection between humans even if you do not know each other. As if there’s an invisible string that connects us all together. That there is something so universal about us. Our hearts and the sameness of the good things these hearts yearn for. And that tiny flame in my chest when I resonate with the stories of the people that I just met. It’s like hearing stories from old friends. The anticipation, the excitement, the I-was-right-all-along feeling.

I thought I’d share the playlist I made just for the trip:

One Day – Matisyahu

Baltimore – Nina Simone

Inaudible Melodies – Jack Johnson

Pale Blue Eyes – The Velvet Underground

Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers

Hit The Road Jack – Ray Charles

Unti You Come Back To Me – Aretha Franklin

Darlin’ – Houndmouth

The First Cut is the Deepest – Sheryl Crow

Belle – Jack Johnson

Michelle – The Beatles

Everywhere I Go – Lissie

 

Go have a nice day.