It’s 1:45 AM and here’s something:

I am currently in my third year college, taking up BS Biology in the University of the Philippines. Every semester seems a lot tougher than the former. It drives us wild. In fact, merely remembering everything I did to surpass the hell semesters pulls me into a state of anxiety. Every after semesters, I usually end up celebrating, going out in the streets partying; after, I would come home to my parents, leave everything behind to Los Baños until I come back. It’s different this time, however.

This semester gave me a gift.

What this semester taught me is to prioritize my academics over anything else. Family could possibly outrank school, but as I recall that everything I put into work is for them, I realize sacrifices have to be made, no matter how terrible it feels. I have always been close to my ideals. I have always lived in a routine that fuels me throughout the process, making sure I never burn out. They, more often than not, actualize as extremes. A lot from my social life and hobbies end up getting offered in exchange for work, but it is a given that these ideals make me feel more satisfied than drinking and partying ever did and ever can. For a while I had been drawn apart from it. The reason why this semester has been full of breakdowns is because I failed to deem sacrifices necessary like I did. I had departed from my very understanding of sticking to my routines. I had taken a path that led me closer to mediocrity when I am trying to get my way through it.

The reason why I did not celebrate it out is because this semester, I lost more of myself than I ever have my whole life. For the past four months, it feels as though I lost myself a little each day. Moreover, the reason why this semester has been a constant dose of giving up is because I placed little value in hard work. Easy never kept me going; I believe, without a doubt, in perseverance. There is glory in that. What I have now, I had to work hard for. And I have to realize that I need to keeping working. I have to keep making sacrifices. I have to offer the best of me so that I may grow. I have to get defeated din the process. I have to get hurt. I need to fail. So that I may rise and try again. It is in these moments that I find myself swim in strength, and I hope I do not stop feeling this way. I still have a long way to go, but I am getting there.

I will get there.

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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.

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

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.