I do not owe myself rest.

This whole month has left me in a floating bubble, wondering what a real, pounding heart must feel like across bare skin. I refused alcohol for weeks now. I haven’t had a single stick of Marlboro black in between my lips. It may look as if I’ve depended lifeline on drugs, but for a while they’ve been keeping me sane. And I know this blog post may look as if I’m about to tell a huge devastating story of my life, but no. Definitely, this is something else.

I woke up to an empty house on a cold Saturday morning. It did felt lonely, but it also felt good. It felt like I had no one, but it sure felt like I had myself. I’m not on a journey to self- discovery (or maybe I am) but man, have I always been so interested in living inside. So as I stretched my body and faced the window, I made myself promise.

I do not need to wait. I do not need temporary.

I have known the taste of nighttime for far too long that I have forgotten how the sun kissed my cheek and how the wind embraced my being. I have come into terms with my scour for solitude. I understand now. This is why I loved being alone. So long have I wandered around my city without tagging anyone along. Magical things happen when I’ve got no one to depend on but my own two feet and my enthusiasm. What bedazzles me as always is how often I get lost traveling around and how brave I am not to stop and ask for directions unless I am completely in a state of anxiety. I just look to my left and right and choose. And my choices have always been the right ones. I get to entrust myself to myself. I get to protect myself. I get to offer myself the kindness it deserves. I get to give her time. I get to give her the world. I get to give her vision. I do not regret my decisions.

But I do regret not giving myself the best of everything. More often than not have I fallen into the traps of sloth, mediocrity, ignorance, and passiveness for I simply do not do. This, by far, is my biggest regret. This led me to a lifelong mantra: time is deemed not a social construct; time is time and it is cruel for seeming as if it is absent.

I waste time trying to rest, believing I owe myself one. I waste time in the fraud pleasures of it. Hence, this is I, discouraging any belief that involves my being in dire need of waiting and taking sips of temporary. I need to constantly walk, take glances and experience the world in every angle. This is how I will become.

 Productivity. I have not been consistent with such. I always take in huge dosages of whatever will do to get by. I have not taken into consideration what has been provided for me to make use of to become an avatar of excellence. I like to believe I’ve only been myself when I have complete jurisdiction over my body, my thoughts, and my actions. But what I fail to recognize is I am also myself when I choose to back down and settle for alright. This is not who I am; I have always fought against temptations that will only tarnish the very innocence of my struggles and my pleas. I have always fought against myself and it seems as though I have surrendered. This is the only way I know how. It gets bloody sometimes, but having a raging battle between me and myself is better than becoming the enemy of the universe.

This is why I have always treasured my time alone. Why I always spent money for myself. Why I always think it’s worth it. Because I am always thirsty to get myself broken, to get myself dirty and to get myself to rise up and try again.

This is the kind of permanent I am aiming for.

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Why I left

I was at home when I thought about it. It was a pang of realization and a puncture of pain. It was inevitable, but I had to act against inertia.

I am going nowhere. I am nowhere. I am in my hometown, a city where I grew up, and I should be happy here, but I am not. I was dying to be someplace else but that is a surprise, because I know how it feels like to be far from home. Suddenly, I am starting to feel like I’m back in 10th grade, deciding which university campus to choose. It feels horrible being away from family. And that horrible fact of being away from them makes me a monster for choosing to do something for myself; it makes me feel like I left them, sacrificed the people who made a home out of me, for becoming far greater. I should be walking towards greatness by now, except I feel way worse.

I was eaten up by a choice I willfully made which had an exemplary purpose. For a while, I thought I was a murderer for killing my spot in the family: a plate, a set of spoon and fork, a glass of water had to be put away because Rea has gone away. That, for the longest time, was who I am. I was identified to be the woman who exchanged family for education and I was done being the monster I thought I was. Because in reality, they are okay; they understand. They are rooting for the lady they believed in so much. They keep away my spot in the dining table when I’m away, but place it back right where it should be when I arrive home.

It’s been two years in college cities away from mine and this is all I came to be. This is all I had become. What a complete waste, those two years was. I refuse the guilt. I refuse to feed myself to the fangs of those voices behind my back whispering me to stay because I have long taken my flight to make myself something more, and this has been keeping me from reaching my destination. I have been on my plane for a long while- it is time to touch down.

So here I am. I will continue to work for Z Plus the same way I am willing to work for learning photography, enhancing my writing which I suppose is very much mediocre, read, and read more- be it political, be it local and international news, be it fiction. I am willing to go beyond my craft the same way I am willing to divulge and drown myself in science: biology to be specific, a field I chose to traverse and succeed. With all my heart, biology, I offer my life to you. And to my country, my Philippines, you’ve got me. Everything I do, I do for your healing.

To Mom and Dad, to my family, you are home, you will always be, but I know places that await me; I have places to be. See you back home, and I love you.

Time Check: 2:28 AM

These have been, by far, two of the worst nights of my life.

I am currently taking mid year classes under General Chemistry II (Chem 17 and Chem 17.1) to at least compensate for my delay. I shifted into BS Biology from BA Communication Arts so there is really much I have to catch up on, considering I have lived through GE* courses the first year and a half of college. Taking two months from my vacation, this decision did not really give me a hard time. I really had to do it. I enlisted and enrolled myself then, without any idea that it might be hard for me.

The dormitory I stay in transferred me to my old room and building, where some unwanted memories took place. In addition, the room is smaller and it looks awful (my latter room is bright, clean, spacious, cozy). Dormers are fighting over seats in the lobby for internet connection. But the worst of all is, my roommate, whom I have completely no idea of, does not sleep in at night and comes in the morning when I’m taking naps to boost energy for my four hour laboratory class! She coughs loudly so bad, goes in and out of our comfort room (which makes stupid noises), and leaves her food (without any cover) on her desk. I’d prefer to sleep knowing there’s a person on the bed across mine. I miss Krizia, the only roommate I ever had in Los Baños*. We both know each other enough to know how to adjust.

When I’m at class with my friends, I don’t get sad at all. Unless there’s a quiz which I studied for and yet still get a low score. At night, when I come home, the loneliness and the emptiness and every other disgusting feeling there is come creeping in and embrace every ounce of my being. I try to focus on my academics but it’s hard when I’m sad.

I have no other way to say what I’m feeling but sad. I miss my family back home. I miss my friends back home. I miss the liveliness of this place. I miss the regular semester when I could breathe from time to time. As of now, there is always something to submit the day after, a quiz the day after, for four whole months of chemistry are packed into two. I miss regular school days when I could watch American and Asian TV series on end and still attend my 8 AM class and sleep after that, as permitted by my schedule. I miss not having to think about what I could possibly do alone. I miss not having to think about the silence and how rudely loud it is. It’s deafening. I have been out of the house, living everywhere for quite some time now, that I have forgotten how to live by myself.

I could cry. Release all this. But I can’t. There is no explaining that. Instead, I seek refuge in the soothing words of my mother as I always see to it to talk to her before she goes to bed.

I wish I could find a way to make this feeling stop.

I wish I could find a way to stop being so disappointed with myself with my low performance at school. I wish I could stop comparing myself to others and just do me at my own pace. But it’s hard getting my mind straight when there is no other voice to hear but the cruelty of mine.

Good night.


*GE: General Education

*Los Baños: An urban municipality in Laguna, CALABARZON, Philippines

The Hundredth

I believe in the good. When I talk about good, I mean enough. A century would have passed, and like the unfamiliar scent of a deserted island, the Filipino would have enough. What they have enough of is food, shelter, and transportation. A family- with truth- stricken variety- will have food that would cater its members for three times a day or more, shelter sturdy enough to not let monsoons behead homes- a house made of concrete walls and cement, with suitable ventilation, and virtuous government- subsidized technology- and transportation where the rich ride with the poor. This is not too much for a century to have transpired- war attacks by foreign lands here and there, reigning victorious yet a little broken, our Philippines is. This is not too big of a change, but it is good. It is enough.

The Filipino Farmer- once in desperate of rice to eat, once in dire need of lands to plant on, money to garner more seeds, once handed over to a hurricane of bullets- at present, lives in the good. When I mention good, I mean enough. They have their own respective hectares of lands to plant as many root crops as they desire, to bring the whole nation meal on their plates, to cultivate long rooted dreams as they receive ample education to experiment with new planting techniques, to research more on organic matter upheld as fertilizers. The Filipino Farmer, by this time, is a scientist.

Cardboard justice serves victims no good. Drug users, under the law, shall recover under the custody of rehabilitators and not under the hands of those with guns and falsified power. The Filipino Victim deserves good. When I discuss of good, I mean enough. The Filipino Victim receives medicine, at only the right amounts, and daily consultation with recognized physicians and psychologists. The Filipino Victim is endowed with respect by his caretakers, such as a mother loves her child. The Filipino Victim is not dead.

I believe in better. When I disclose what better stands for, I mean the government is replaced by the grandsons of the millennials, those who fought for and opposed the murderer buried among those whose blood relentlessly poured for the flag with three stars and a sun and is raised every morning to welcome the light of dawn. When I state my belief in better, I mean that the arts is duly conceded as a body of knowledge necessary to supplement humankind with guts and bravery and a horizon extending outwardly, enticing the Filipino, regardless of where they stand and sector they represent, to aspire of something greater than the sunrise before them. I also imply that the Filipino receives his very right to health care, to marry, to save a broken family, to get into a job fit for the demands of his responsibilities including kin, identity, and country, to speak up for himself when subjected to criminal screening, to vote and receive the truth about his vote, to acquire honesty from those in command, and most importantly, to education. The Filipino deserves better. The Filipino now holds, a century later, what those that came before them never had, but sincerely, with the dignity they refuse to let loose, begged for.

I believe in the best. What best cradles for me is the Filipino Youth. A century later, the Filipino would have stopped counting for the day the children Dr. Jose Rizal claims as the hope of our country arrived. They have long came, generations over, only in few chosen souls, not permitting a change earlier than now, where the best of youth has gathered in outraging number, excelling in the fields of engineering and mathematics, medicine and law, arts and theatre. These outstanding youth, however, are not the best solely because they have embarked on the journey of the Renaissance man; but because they embody a light that sets them apart from the rest. They know what to fight for and how to fight for it; the Filipino Youth fights the hardest.

The Filipino Youth is raised by a century of outpouring revolutions from the pain and triumphs of their forefathers. It has been a long process. Good is enough. But more than that, we deserve better, and now, after all these years, we have the best.


I wrote this essay for my PI 10 class. It is my version of Dr. Jose Rizal’s Philippines: A Century Hence. I thought I might share it, even if my Professor probably did not find it interesting enough, nor if it is any good.

The independence we have today is a fraud; we can all do better than this. Nevertheless, although far from sufficient, much has changed since the colonial period.

Happy Independence Day, my Philippines. We will work hard for your freedom.

Cheap Cigarettes & Heavy Mornings

I might as well seep through the clouds.

At 3 AM, I found myself staring from a couple of feet off reality. I have lost contact with black and white. The concrete that swallowed my feet into a glacial abyss has endowed me with frequency fast enough to lead me into breakage. Into sedition.

Tiny, fading lights could sure make the world a little less dark.

No, I’m not relentless about the idea of jumping- of falling, maybe.

People would hurt less, knowing they couldn’t have done anything. I want them to come to think of it that way.

The world, from up here, is a world of shapes. Rectangles. Squares. Multiply length times height. Get the area. Count the windows. Count their edges. Follow the curtains dance from every balcony. Make the most out of this, close your eyes and feel the wind. The stinking, polluted breeze of Manila. This is nowhere, not even close, to dying.

I want a do- over. I do not want to feel as if I’m still holding you in between my arms, whispering I have to let go. I do not want to keep you anymore. I want to jump off the railings, inhale all the nicotine I could possibly drown myself into, break loose, make a different version of heavy. I want my own. I want my own kind of heavy, not the heavy you keep pinning down on me.

I want to stop remembering. You were everything I have and more. Were. I want to be so engrossed in my reality, in a reality that is far from having to peek down and check if I’m part of this massive chunk of universe. I want to come home sweating, too tired from studying the parts of the human body to even deal with the pain of your leaving. I want to jump. Let me.

I do not love you enough anymore. In fact, I think I no longer do. I do not long for your hands holding mine. So why, why do I still feel like I’m in the same room as you are in? Why do I feel as though I’m still coming home at an empty bed?

All of me, I gave up to welcome yours.

 

I am 18. I am sorry.

I still have not figured it out.

You can say I am a product of the new era. A spirit molded by the worries of this generation which to some may refer to as whining and tremendous complaining. People place labels across my forehead, as if claiming they can fill my journey of self- fulfillment, only putting me in restriction from what they believe I am merely made of. Most humans deem their possession of such audacity to take my very humanity away from my becoming like they know better.

I do not get disgusted at all by blood oozing off women’s genitals. It’s natural; menstruation comes ticking off my mouth naturally- simply because there is nothing wrong about it. I support lovely mothers feeding their infants through their breasts which God made so beautifully to connect the product from the origin. It is a direct embodiment of life and the primary tangles of human dependence. I have absolutely no problem when people work differently as I do. Moreover, I do not hate people when they prefer a different set of clothes, or when they choose to watch movies far from what interests me.

I do converse, however, when it involves my country, the Philippines. I do communicate what I regard as just when the poor is stripped off form their rights. I never let indifference slip. I do not let my country fall under the hands of the oppressor, may it be foreign or within; in this era where the Filipino is no longer under the jurisdiction of those who claimed their conquest on the Pearl of the Orient, why would I let my country suffer more when it has suffered enough? I fight. I fight for the low- wage earners. I fight for those who have yet seen the comforts of a home. I fight for life, but I also fight for the life of the life giver. I believe in contraception, in education, in pills, in dignity, in discipline. When I say I fight for life, I mean I fight for every race Earth cradles because every person from every ethnicity breathe; they are humans: we are made of the same skin, of the same cells- we take in the same element. Moreover, I fight for life and its sanctity; the animals and the planet are of essence to protect. I fight for involvement. I fight for the accused who have gone naked from their very right to receive a spot in court. I fight for the people; I fight to serve the people; I am still fighting because the people who should be serving their countrymen are serving themselves. Skilled, extraordinary, proficient, men and women deserve a seat in office; instead, sexist, fascist, and incompetent people hold these positions. I fight for girls who are boys, for boys who are girls, and for those who refuse to encase their expression in a universe that have made something so wide into something so minimal. I fight for an emancipation that the former recognize as odd and unnecessary.

Yes, you’re probably correct. I have not met grounds for becoming the successful one the past era makes me persevere to meet; I still have not found the secret behind being Mark Zuckerberg and earning on my own at age 18. I work hard, nevertheless, to be less of a burden for my parents. But I have explored alone, read alone, chose to be alone, so I could see the world from a clearer lens, making a spot for myself to traverse this universe, my universe, without disregarding the credibility of the identity of the living and the place I call home. I chose to travel with my own two feet, so I could immerse myself in the simplicity of time and complexity of human race. I have known struggle but I have not known enough of it. I have tasted ease and comfort but others have not. That is why I strive to walk further, making use of all that I have so I can live a life for others, so that they, too, may get a hold of the life they deserve. I carry this responsibility with pride and honor.

I apologize, for not meeting the standards of those who came before me. But I will not apologize for how ravishingly I came to be. I will not apologize for being so different that it disgusts them, for being so unusual that they start calling me as rude and sensitive and a waste of time and money and space.

I still haven’t figured it out- the path that leads to becoming a machine that those who assert they have power can simply manipulate.

I probably never will.

Time Check: 6:36 AM

I haven’t slept. This is not caffeine- induced.

I am in so much anxiety! The sole purpose of this blog post is to vent. Really. I don’t know what I’m doing. My head is throbbing, my heart is pounding.

Can I tell you guys a secret?

When I launched Z+ Manila,  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was all caught up in the idea of finally delving into something new. My first collection was a trial. To see how far I can go. Seeing how far it went (lol), I knew I had to step up my game.

I was planning to launch this second collection last January, but school happened and I acquired a different set of priorities then. This is long overdue when in fact, this collection comprises most of me.  Taking that into consideration, I should have worked in such little time with very high interest and generated products in an instant. But I knew I had to plan it out well and thoroughly. I’ve been studying different fashion trends and immersing myself with a whole new street wear culture and old school aesthetic, which I am dearly engrossed in as of now, and I teach myself every day. I had to study the taste of millennials I want to associate myself with. In addition, I had to write myself a letter every now and then to remind myself to get up and create, knowing I’m a complete dumb ass in this field, knowing immensely how I am not even close to a rookie. I am going in blind.

Tonight, I mean- today, I felt like giving this up completely. My being insecure and incompetent seem to outweigh my being adventurous and brave. I used to give everything a try, no matter how dangerous, no matter how embarrassing it would probably be. Now, I feel like I’m a wholly different person. This overwhelming rage of emotions is taking over me; moreover, I’m not sure if it’s for the best or worst. I lost all my savings from spontaneous meet ups with friends. I am seldom home (as I study in a different province) so I see to it that I spend time with my family and my buddies from high school. So currently, I am facing issues with my capital. Of course, I have savings from what I have earned in the first collection, but I do not feel like using them up. My ideas seem completely idiotic. What’s worse is, I’m running out of concepts! My rituals don’t seem to work; all my scribbles and mantras and self- encouragement aren’t getting into my system!

Damn, I feel like collapsing. I am about to explode.

One thing is for sure nevertheless, Z+ is very close to my heart. I have so much more to give; I am willing to sacrifice anything for it. I am willing to learn. And teach myself in this painful process. This second collection is more than another trial. This is a statement, a belief, a piece of Rea that I get to share with people. I always believed I am for deviation; I am always siding with justice, trying to understand the odd and confusing spectrum between right and wrong. God, I am trying so hard. This huge fragment of my being is what I want my products to embody. I wish this is a success. I pray this is a success. I have taken so little steps, I think, I wasted so much time, so being courageous enough to open this to the public will sum up those little steps into a gigantic one. Hopefully, with grace and blessing from up above, this collection will meet its purpose.