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.

 

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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.

A Shiftee Confesses

Days and days without end. Words were my capital: sewing them together brought me closer to the finish line, which meant the clock has gravitated back to the start. It has always been the same thing, but I enjoyed it. Speeches, here and there. We had to produce. We had to create. I had to use my imagination to the extent, push it even further, make it bleed, and still, despite all the pouring out and provocative illusions, I had to learn more. Get to experience more. Understand more. The human psyche is one to disappoint. We were made to swallow our past beliefs and recreate them into a new purpose, because every revelation is a revelation! Every spoken statement our professor makes is a surprise. A shock. An addition to our big, big bubble that has yet fit the criteria of enough. However, more than writing, more than speaking, we were made to read. And that, I think, is where we gather our pride. Where our conscience lie. We read. And read. And read more. Then we ask questions.

I took up BA Communication Arts in the University of the Philippines Los Baños. This wasn’t my first choice. But I had no choice, after all; when I entered my dream university, I was placed under “degree program with available slot.” It didn’t matter to me, as long as I got into the state university. But I must admit: it did hurt a little- not getting into the degree program I wanted.  That is why, after a year, I shifted to BS Biology. It was a long process, but I managed. I wanted to pursue medicine.

From the arts to the sciences.

It’s not that different. But it is different.

Days and days without end. Data and inferences were my capital: sewing them together brought me closer to the finish line, which meant the clock has gravitated back to the start. It has always been the same thing, but I enjoyed it. Experiments, here and there. We had to produce. We had to create. I had to use my imagination to the extent, push it even further, make it bleed, and still, despite all the pouring out and provocative observations, I had to learn more. Get to experience more. Understand more. The human reasoning is one to disappoint. We were made to swallow our prejudices and recreate them into a new purpose, because every revelation is a revelation! Every spoken statement our professor makes is a surprise. A shock. An addition to our big, big bubble that has yet fit the criteria of enough. However, more than the mastery of the scientific method, we were made to read. And that, I think, is where we gather our pride. Where our conscience lie. We read. And read. And read more. Then we ask questions.

See, it’s not at all different.

But it is. 

I have to deal with microbes as tiny as an alternate universe would have had me think. I have to stain them, count fifteen seconds to thirty, so the dye would stick. I have to kill them. After observing using the hanging drop technique, I have to let them go. Perform sterilization. Hold the wire loop with a calibration of less than a centimeter. I have to disinfect. Before and after doing required procedures.

I have to wear lab gowns now. Find where the copper went. Mix sodium carbonate with some other salt to know which element is soluble. Which is insoluble. I have to wear jeans, every time I perform experiments. Never mind the heat. Never mind the humidity. I had to stay in the laboratory three hours a day. Sometimes six. And it wouldn’t matter, I wouldn’t notice time. Because I enjoyed it.

I remember being inside my dormitory, drinking my tea, looking at the time. I remember feeling incomplete as I write my essay due in about four hours. I remember begging for that something to fill in the empty. I remember asking what if.

And now, I have it. I’ve got the best of both worlds, although they did feel the worst, at some point. I regret none of my choices.

I am on to my track. The road that leads to that MD acquisition. I carry with me, nevertheless, the fruits and downhills of my battles with the arts. It will always be engrossed dearly within me. I have grown fonder of the things I have lost, but now I come to realize, I have not lost it at all.

What I Believe In

I like to believe that I’m off to med school in two years’ time. If not for my irrationality, I would have not landed in a course I won’t be pursuing in the first place.

I like to believe in the hideous idea that the four kings and queens of old will make it back to Narnia and save the god forsaken land. I like to believe that fiction, if I think of it hard enough, dream about it almost every night, then it would actually come true.

I like to believe in truth.

Yesterday, when I was looking at all the vintage finds I have snuggled at every garage sale in the city, I thought about how much shit I took out when you left.

You gave me so much that I had to pull out everything in my room that day.

I was on the floor, crying, my mom knocking on the door.

I was on the floor, grasping for air, or not anymore, I cannot possibly remember- surprisingly- like how I could no longer remember you; I could only remember you in multiple proportions. Maybe I’ve had too much chemistry to start thinking about Dalton and the Laws of Matter. I wish I would have; that way, I wouldn’t think too much about you.

I remember you though, “hey, if ever we broke up, and you throw away all the things I gave you, I’m going to get real mad.” What a foolish thing for me to believe that you would. You see, I was still scared. I was still scared of you getting mad at me. I wish you would; instead of not caring at all. That hurt me. With the same gravity of pain. With the same weight as heavy as the whole world could ever make me carry.

I look at all my vinyls piled up on the corner of my room, thinking that if our story were placed on one of those tracks, the needle on my turntable would have probably cracked because it’s always on repeat. I think about my room, how many ancient things I love I placed in here. I’ve always been in love with the past, even wishing that the amount of stale would replace the past I had with you. This was history, and I loved it, except when I still had you.

When I still had you, I was in love with the future. I prayed to God three times a day. One in the morning, when I hear you whisper “wake up, you’re going to be late.” One at noon, hoping God hears me more than all the people praying that instant, only for you to pass your anatomy exam. And finally, one at night, when after a long, tiring fight, you still have your head rested upon my chest. So innocent; so sure about what our tomorrow will be.

Now, I pray to God every single moment of every day, “please, Lord, let me think about something else.”

Yesterday, when I was looking at all the things I have summoned into my room to cover up the scent of your perfume, I thought about not thinking about you. That finally, it’s been a while since I last thought about you. That at last, I was too busy to think about how I missed you, and how you don’t. How happy you are in the arms of your new home. But thinking about not thinking about you makes me cringe even more, because I just did. I just thought about you. Again.

I like to believe in the now. I like to believe in something real. That I am my own person, that I am not living a lie. But it can never be more difficult than now. I would have given up anything for you to be nothing but an eye contact; a chapter skipped; a plan A that could never be. I would have given up anything, because in the now that I am in, you are taking so much of my time. You are taking so much of my space, that even as I took all of you out of me, you still left me with every day.

I still have every day with you.

I like to believe I have let you go. Problem is, every day.


This is a piece that is very close to me. I wrote this leaving very few edits. This is as raw as can be. Hopefully, this will be the last of its kind.

Good luck to all of us.

Give Me A Script to Write

I am not soft bass beats.
I am not your dark, silent screen.
I am not fire dying with ignition.
I am not your indie movie.
I am not quiet conversations, bodies sunken halfway underwater. I am not moon meeting sea- fingerbeds burnt, rotten open by the unceasing lifeline of a cigarette. I am not the folk song playing softly on the background, much more the waves of the tsunami waiting to disrupt your eyes from staring into mine.
I am not your indie movie.
I am not your Celestina; I am not the mother of 9 children, the hooker who made love to her husband, her happily ever after, her dungeon for thirteen years, only to get half her face in dissection from broken vodka bottles.
I am not your indie movie.
I am not the one you seek, mountains and mountains over; I am not the plane ticket you strongly hold on to after years of saving up, I am not the motor boat that flew your hair to the sky and made you feel alive, the skiing trip that made you offer yourself to the cold, freezing wind.
I am not your indie movie.
In our little, short episode, there is no director. There are no cast. No volunteers. No creatives. No scenic views. No dialogues. 
I am not quality. I am not little money for integrity. I am not your principle. I am not your belief. I am not skins and bones, hair tangled, pressed unto my face, screaming in passion, chest in rise and in fall, in collision with the soft smile you make from the sheets and pillows of our dreams and reality. I am not inception.
In our little, short episode, there is no director. No cast. No volunteers. No creatives. No scenic views. No dialogues. Because I am not your indie movie.
I am not soft bass beats.
I am not your silent, dark screen.
I am not fire dying with ignition.
I am not your indie movie.
But God, how I wish to be.

17 Years

We convince ourselves; the moment we discern the soft tugging inside our chests and crumble into our blankets, we convince ourselves. We seek to induce our bloodstream with the in-betweens of clarity and obscurity: 1) “get up!” 2) “5 more minutes.” We immerse and alleviate our needing by the satisfaction of the opposite. We are walking paradoxes and sleeping truths. These, let’s talk about as I rumble upon being at the almost-end of the bridge and at the almost-verge of the slope. Seventeen is waiting for its replacement.

This is quite something, I believe. The thought reverberates and I think more profoundly. I deem humans mostly as those choosing the opposite. Most of us are worn out from last night’s battle but we decide on going further. The providers. The earners. The passionate. The need for a better life. The need for shelter. The need to answer prayers. The need to shoulder the needs of others. Humans, most of them, ignore the sounds of cracking bones and wheezing lungs because they believe in something bigger than pain. They do not hear the applause- but they do it anyway. Even in the persistent, inhibiting selections between clarity and obscurity, they open their eyes once they are conscious of their heart beating. Some are even unsure if they are alive, but they head on nevertheless.

Clarity. The ones who see things from a wider perspective. I believe they are souls brave enough to feel what kind of blue the sky is. If they reach that kind of height, I do trust that they did not journey their way up to see how little skyscrapers and humans and automobiles are to reckon themselves as superior. They have sketched their voyage the night before their flee; they keep their visions locked in their chests. They heed likelihood of specters that they take in a good dose of spontaneity. At times too, I suppose they camouflage their setbacks and sadness and doubts into smiling and kindness and hope to stay aligned with their  idea of a destination. In addition, they are most true to themselves; they know when to to take a rest and when to start again. These weary yet visionary eyes know exactly what their plea is to the mystic. They have sent them already— their little, buoyant letter for the universe to grant.

Obscurity. The ones who look from a tiny lens but whose minds are rather bulking with so much thoughts. Sometimes, the lack thereof. These are the ones who fail to recognize their need for adrenaline and exhaustion. They crumble into their clouds of musing thinking, “this is how I could be” but simply choose to end it at that thought. They may feel as though they are neglected— but really, to me, they are on the process of finding their spot in this allotted space in our universe. They choose the delay for reasons they consider but mostly because they cannot see distinctly. They have baggage they choose to unpack and unload first before they could curate their route to embracing the light of day. Eventually, they will know which plane to board while knowing it could crash any second. They will choose it anyway because they are certain that what comes with relief comes with torment. A little push would do for them to get up, but let them take that 5 more minutes. Believe them. Believe in them.

And then there are people who rove the in-between. The mortals who could do it—who could have done it. The ones who are about to send their letters off for the mailman to deliver. The unsure. I presume this is where most humans lie. This is where I have lived all my life. Lastly, this is how it feels like to be propelling myself forward.

While having gone through 17 years, I have predominantly observed humankind. The struggles, the successes, the yearning for tomorrow and even for different kinds of pain. But I have only known so little—that I am certain of. I think for a second I know better, but taking into account the contradictory and incongruous nature of things, I know I have yet to know more. It took me a long time to understand the state that I am in; it even took me a disturbingly protracted time to assure myself: this is real—I am real.

It is odd though, because I have never felt so alive. I am in complete control of my expedition. I am capable of loving and of loving enough. I am capable of growing and growing more. Every two seconds or so, I blink; I blink the melancholy away and open my eyes to a brand new feeling I am always so eager to feel. I know now; I am done roaming the in-between of clarity and obscurity. I have got to choose. And I choose clarity. I have sent my letter for the mailman to deliver. I hope the universe accepts.

There is always a choice. If there are no options, make options. Choose. Choose where you belong now and where you belong best. Clarity or obscurity or the in-between. If you find yourself satisfied with choosing the same option every day, then you are right where you should be.

Good luck to all of us.

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