Contemplations While Waiting

3 days off sertraline and im having thoughts of dying again at the age of 30. The difference: last year i thought i would die by work burn out. This time, im thinking of dying after ive YOLOed myself out.

To be honest, i dont think if it is a good thing or a bad thing.

What I want my death to be like: i want to leave a funny life behind. I want my writer friends to make a funny novel/comic about my story— something that readers can find connection and comfort with. Of course, all comedies are tinged with sadness, but i dont want people to be hung up anymore at my passing. I just want them to feel that i have burnt so bright, that i had to go away quickly. Something like that.

Of course, my mother tells that when i die, i would end up in hell. And it is still not a comforting thought. If there’s something i would like to be after death, it is to be a fairy godmother. Or just a wandering spirit that grants wishes to the less fortunate. There are so many things that i think i could do without the worries of everyday living and physical decay.

Before i die, i want (at the very least) to experience what *romantic love* is like. I want to wake up at dawn and just gaze at my lover sleeping beside me. I want to make poems as he quietly snores. After writing, i would get up and make breakfast for the two of us. I want to spend lazy weekends with him— doing nothing in particular. Or doing separate things but also being comfortable at the presence of one another. There would be lots of fucks given to one another. Goddamit, i want lots of sex.

If the sex is good, i would probably consider extending for five more years.

I also want to have a daughter, but i think it would be selfish of me to leave her behind at such a very young age. So I dont know if I would have one. If my partner and I would accidentally have one (or should we both decide to give parenting a shot), I would prolly extend ten or twenty more years for her. It is such a responsibility to raise a kid— and I want mine to grow up as a happy and functional member of society. She can do whatever she wants with her life as long as it would not hurt others.

Other than that, i don’t think i have much to live for. Graduate school doesnt interest me as it did before, and Im still contemplating whether to continue pursuing it or to shift to creative writing. Right now, i find teaching fun IF the student-teacher ratio is smaller— so i’ll prolly switch to tutoring in a few years time. Or being a reading consultant— whatever is available or more lucrative. For now, my “long-term” goal is to have my parents’ retirement plan ironed out. So i still need to hustle for that house+lot+business in Davao.

I may not be able to travel around the world, but I want to see the northern lights in Iceland and to experience the weeabo life in Japan. Kek. I want to see a lot of stage plays / dances performed in different spaces and feel. I would probably cry a lot, but I want to cry rivers of tears out of catharsis and not out of loneliness or rejection.

I am in the period of waiting— and while waiting for death to arrive, I would not be passive. I would put myself out there, remain raw, and live the life the way I envision it to be. Prolly not as picture-perfect as I write it here, but nonetheless happy. And when I am at the height of contentment, when there is nothing else to worry about, I will slip away and cast this shell of my body behind.

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Fatty Heart

When my grandfather joked
to all of my relatives
that i do not have the makings
of a dancer
because of my belly rolls,
i felt my body go stiff.
Possibly from comatose.
I could still remember how
his laughter blared to my ears,
muting my world into white noise,
unplugging me from the show girls
-my virtual playmates who pirouette
at the melody of heartache.
i was only seven.

When i was ten, my parents lamented
about my size.
Twice big for my age,
Twice young for aunt’s hand-me-downs.
She’s just large-bonedtita assured my mother,
so i was dressed like large-boned women:
office ladies in slacks and starched blazers,
nevermind if i rip or sweat through the garment.
i was the most behave in Sunday school
for sucking the tummy in,
in fear that a button might pop out,
and i have to bleed my fingers
just to sew it back again.

At twelve, i was asked countless times
what course was i taking in college,
and would i ever be interested
in applying for a car loan?
i would laugh at their faces and tell
that i was just in grade school
before scurrying home to take off
these grownup clothes
that fit my body just right.

At thirteen, a miracle happened:
my mother discovered
the surplus section of the department store.
Here, I bought my first pair of jogging pants
They were quite long, and very much blue
like the sky when swans fly.
It’s stretchable so it would fit you,’ the saleslady piped,
and the material felt velvet on my thighs,
clinging to my skin as I flit from one errand to another.

In my extensive knowledge of cartoons, I finally understood
how fairies shimmy gold dust
in their wake.
But i did not blind anyone.
Not when a number of drunk workers
traced my footsteps home,
calling me ‘juicy’-
a word printed at the rear pocket of my pants.
For a week, i drained myself
in the bathroom,
bleaching my sky blue pants
into the color of crushed cherries.

The subsequent years were lost
in the layers of mass I wrap around myself.
For every man who would follow me at the mall,
or for boys who would attempt
to write on my uniform,
I would swallow my inaudible prayers with a tall glass
of double chocolate milkshake
Thick enough to stifle
the many names i was accused at.
Sweet enough to coat
sensitive regions of my fatty heart.
I could not feel anything
I only need to be safe.

At seventeen, my security measures backfired.
i began to realize
that the fortress i built around myself
was too cold from the inside.
Slowly, I started to dress less,
trading my elephant jeans into shorts,
my scratchy shirts into sundresses.
Not for the attention of anybody,
but to the girl gazing at the mirror.
For the first time, I fell in love with my thighs,
the curve of my body outlined by a thin blazer,
the swell of my breasts,
the way my hair falls at mid-length—
framing not covering.
Surprised at the wonder staring before me-
how her body grew without any care or apology,
how she was hidden and bubble-wrapped
for the past years of her life,
told not to play with fire
because she has grown a forest out of herself,
and now she’s discovering
parts and parcels of her
that make her feel happy.

Alas, the apparition was only brief,
disturbed by the voices outside the fitting room.
my friend moaning to herself
that she has grown
from size two to four,
my mother complaining
about how could i ever afford to grow larger
when i couldnt even feed myself.
I wrapped a jacket around my heart
who suddenly got a chill from wearing less.
Half-convinced that she would appear
in my dresser the next day,
i probably drowned her when i dumped my sweatshirts to the laundry.

For years, i tried to search
for the ghost of my seventeen year old self
in every funhouse mirror
of friends, lovers, and crashed diets.
She was nowhere.

At twenty four, i gave up.
Resigned myself to a lifetime of recluse
after failed attempts of losing weight
or losing my body to strangers or to accidents.
I decided to strip and lay bare
this flesh of a heart
just for the last time,
prolly let it breathe a little
before it immures itself for decades.
I watched myself undress.

She was there, waiting.
Tucked inside the folds i subconsciously swathe myself with
for every rejection or predatory invite.
Aged, yes. A bit overweight.
But still has the same zest for life in her eyes.
She took me by the hand, wrapped it in hers,
I could hear my heart thunder in my ears.
I could feel my pulse fire in my fingertips
She smiles and welcomes me inside
to this home
to this heart
to this body.

Bodies

You told me that this house is too small for us to live in. So I built us
a mansion: this funhouse of mirrors.
Now we live on opposite ends of this vast space, comfortable at the edges of our own loneliness,
merely acknowledging the presence of the other
as a next door neighbour
when there are thousands of uninhabited rooms between us,
waiting to be opened,
broken down and passed through.

I long to breach the distance that traps us in an endless hallway of what-ifs–
possibilities that could have materialised
should one of us break this truce
and step on the shards of existences we have shed behind.

I have left a number of broken beer bottles
at my passing. They carelessly scar on
the thin carpet of my skin, warning you
of every landmine I have set up at my defense.
I don’t know how to undo them
so I just pretend they never happened
but from here, I can still hear the sound of the ocean in your room,
the rattle of prayer beads that barbed your front door–
your lifesaver
from the continuous cry of the phone receiver
you left hanging in god knows where.
I know you are still there- breathing
sometimes floating, sometimes drowning
like I do here at the other side-

Oh how we have baptized ourselves over and under
in salt or in liquor
waiting for the sweetness to come
maybe in some guise of an intruder
who’s insane enough to ignore
all the caution tape we have weaved on our fences.
-I guess we are both insane to still believe onto each other
so we wait for one of us to come willing
to lose her place in the process of finding.
It has become quite a game
we are both patient enough to play.

Maybe on particularly good days
when we are almost sober to feel
the dust on our fingertips, we would be able
to grasp the door handles and turn open
each other’s knobs.
Discovering that we are just in adjacent rooms
with a secret door in between.

When that time comes, I will greet you
with a kiss of thousand words unsaid.
Years of longing and loneliness
cleansed away by this very second.
Tears on our cheeks,
hands in your hair, lips on my ear,
flesh pressing on flesh,
nails scraping skin,
mouth drinking from the wells of another–
We will make mad love to each other
tearing these rooms, screaming
through these swelling walls that made us apart.

Until then, this house becomes intact.
A shell for the winter that brews from within.
A body of fragmented personas

Notes to a Younger Self

Forgive your parents for never giving you an older sister. They had a hard time making you possible, on the first place. Besides, you’ll have tens of sisters looking after you by the time you reach my age. And if you are still not contented, know that you have a built-in sister system:

That’s the two other personas living inside you.

Do not freak out. Everything will turn out to be alright. You’ve probably noticed that something is strange about you ever since you were a kid. But not all strange things are bad. Let them grow. They are just like you. They eat, they sleep, they also fart. And because you all share a space of a body, you’ll be assured that there’s someone who is going to carry your shell home when you are already lost in your world of daydreams and emotions.

Befriend your other selves. Talk to them. Hang out with them. You’ll find out that they have their own ticks and they respond to different names, but they are still you in every sense. In time, your friends will learn and accept the difference. And even though they have a favorite persona to hang out with, they would still love you all the same.

You are one of a kind. Never shortchange yourself for a person others want you to be.

But even though as I speak this, I know that you’ll still go through that process (I wouldn’t blame you ‘cause I wouldn’t be here if you didn’t). You’d play it down and repress your other selves because you probably think that you suck, and you dress terribly. Yes, you did dress terribly when you were in high school. But be consoled that at least, the people who befriended you aren’t fazed by the way you look or the way you smell. They like you for who you are, hormones and all. Treasure them because they saw you when you weren’t even seeing yourself.  Yet.

Know that things will get better when you reach college.

But you’ll still carry that angst that you had by the time you meet new people in your university. It’s never easy to let go of something just by changing the way you look or the place you live in. You’ll grow your hair long. Dress in fancy outfits. Do things that the cool people in your high school think you’d never do. You’ll drink shots and shots of angst laced with curiosity, chased by regret. It’s a potent cocktail, after all. It makes you feel giddy and down at the same time. But please drink moderately. You need to get sober so that you’ll remember the names of the people who you meet in mixers. You won’t be able to do so when you are drunk; you tend to confuse their faces with those of the people who have hurt you in the past. You’d end up sitting alone at the bar because you think you are just in the same club no matter what you do. Again, do not shortchange the night for drinks. This is your time to dance. Revel in the beat and changing of lights.

At the end of the day, go home with the people you know you can have coffee and brunch with when you wake up the next morning. They are the ones who aren’t afraid nor intimidated when you start drunk-stripping in front of them. They are the ones who wouldn’t take advantage of you when you let your nakedness be exposed in full light. They’d probably lend you their underwear when yours lay forgotten in someone else’s bedroom. Stick with them. Do not return the things that they’ve given. Rather, pass it to someone else – to the next partygoer who’s wasting away like you did last time.

Do not break this chain of kindness. Someday, it will return to you but in a different form. When it comes back, do not keep it in your closet. Give it again to the next person in need. That’s the way life goes.

When lonely, do not wait in empty train stations. Do not chase after buses that have gone already. Never wait for someone to pick you up. That boy you’d texted would never come (back). He never promised to come, anyway. Learn to walk when public transportation fails. You’ll appreciate the landscape more.

When society tells you that actions speak louder than words, reply that actions should also be backed by words. When someone acts nice to you but doesn’t tell the reason why, it’s either because (1) he’s afraid, or (2) he’s a jerk. Have nothing to do with him. You need a man who has the balls to say that he likes you and can stand by it.

Instead, listen to people who love poetry. They have a keen eye for beauty. Observe how their words disambiguate defenses. Thus, they also make sense of your tedious and flawed way of thinking. Look at the world through their lenses. Befriend their muses. You’ll learn more about yourself when you do.

Not all things could be learned from adults. Sometimes, they are the very ones who would twist the ironies in you. Look not at the teachers but at the lessons. Take down notes. Pass it to your juniors who wouldn’t believe it anyway. When your theories get shot down or discouraged, understand that hostility is a mask of fear. You are probably treading on something that has yet to be discovered or tested. Continue. Not only for your own benefit, but also for those who would come after you. They’d probably believe when things get written in books.

But do not get complacent

Because change is constant. The things I’m probably writing right now might probably be not the same tomorrow. Likewise, I know that you’ll end up kind of different from the person that you know you are right now. Cheer up. You’ll see better days. You’ll also see worse days. But know that as long as you are willing to evolve, the future will save a space for you.

All the best,

Your (young) self.