The Usuals

– Same uniform. Black shirt and ankle-grazers. However, there is the Farmer’s market outfit. Flowy and nice. Bare-faced in all occasions.

– Wash and wear hair. Sometimes yoga bun. Sometimes low chignon. I’m just lazy.

– There is the Chanel powder and Guerlain lipstick for when I have to be presentable. But I do like my face without it.

– Three by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

– Speedboat by Renata Adler.

The Highlights

– We moved to a new house.

– Biked around Chiang Mai for a day.

– Finally met Nicole Curato.

– Alvin passed the boards.

– Tequila shots with Champ Lui-Pio.

– My kuya proposed to his girlfriend.

– Yoga in the island.

– High street weekend with my friend Vicky.

– Vicky.

The Breaks 

– A friend went ahead to be one with the angels.

 

A lot of happy mundane things happened and I do feel alright about them. Although I did have to say goodbye to a good friend. Here’s to peace even when life is in the mouth of death.


 

The year that has been had nothing remarkable for me. But it had a lot of good things for my loved ones. I can easily remember 2016 because of the happiness that I genuinely felt for them. I realized that it is possible to have a full heart even if you have empty hands. This thought I will carry with me to the new year. And the good realization, I hope I’d make others realize. It is a great thing that could positively influence one’s demeanor towards life. Words to get you through. Right? Music and writing does not really fill us up materially but it does fill us up. So I’ll try to make music and write some more. For an audience of one? I don’t care. Let’s just get things done. For each heart that hopes. Cheers, babe.

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.

It is five-thirty in the afternoon. From where I sit, I would think that it’s five AM had I crossed different time zones and day met day. Everyone had their eyes closed. I am the exception. And all I see is a small, illuminated exit sign.

I had a good weekend with my friend. Talking soft in speakeasy bars and laughing hard in many strangers’ backseats. We had this all planned out. The coming year would be a year of big decisions. The weekend was our season finale.

We set our gaze on larger than life ambitions. Unsure ones. Scary. But what else is life for? Be ambitious. Even if everything is stupid vague. Even if for every step that your heart wants to make your mind pulls you back. The apprehension is part of the process. The failure because of half-heartedness is part of the process. And learning from it is part of the process, too. Everything is important. No matter how marginal. No matter how crushing. Everything is important. At least I would like to think of it that way.

So carry on, I tell myself. I confront life’s mystery with this life that I rented from who put me where I am. Most days are just shit. Fucking shit. Ridiculous. Dreams not happening. Not having dreams at all. Some say all you have to do is stay focused on your dream and you’ll get there someday. What fucking dream? I don’t have one. But carry on, I tell myself. Because this life is mine. And if life is being a foggy, zigzag road, I’ll still hit the road and drive away. It’s the only way to justify.

I’m too fickle that my fickleness makes me laugh sometimes. The sad humor of a human in trance. I bet I am not alone in this. My friend, I’m telling you, let’s just go. Don’t forget to dress for the occasion. I heard mascara and red lipstick is like coffee for the face. Stay awake.

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.