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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I wonder how bad I messed up to claim so much years to fix myself. To come back as the same person but with enough reason. Not a cardboard standee. I want to be real. And if real demands going back to square one to establish roots then I won’t be ashamed to start again. To start again with no words. Like a little child trying to learn language and maybe with a vague hope. A hope to be eloquent through my struggle.

You don’t just conceal ignorance, you know. You admit it and do something about it. You don’t sweep debris under the carpet. You don’t cover dust with black paint. You don’t put more knots over a miscalculated knot on your knitting project.

You fix what’s left or where you left. If nothing works, you begin again.

Six years ago, I followed someone’s hot chocolate recommendation. So off I went, ordered the hot chocolate, and sat at the shop’s veranda. From where I sat, I saw a lovely woman. I can still remember the large windows that allowed me to see her. I remember her very long hair.

Today, I sat where she sat six years ago. The hair that I grew long because of her, I now cut short.

 

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.