Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Self-awareness for shot kneecaps

At times, I sincerely dread the thought of having to write here again. As time grew to serve as a witness to my recurring lapses of judgement, it became strikingly clear that I wasn't going to walk away scot-free. I've been slacking off at work and whereas the idea of a "slacker intellectual" appeals to me, the lack of productivity doesn't. With unemployment staring me in the face, I'm coming to terms with the fact of my own accountability. It doesn't look pleasant. Despite my alleged potential, I still can't drive myself to finish half of the things I need to pass at the end of the day. Mental illness is at play here. I acknowledge that. Isn't self-awareness supposed to help me cope, though? At least something to get me through the day? It isn't supposed to be easy, but right now I feel incredibly shameful and powerless in the face of my reaction to the demands of working life.

I was desperate for work last August but I've barely churned anything out since I was hired and I honestly feel like I've worn out my welcome with the good people of the company.

It may be sooner than later, but I'm bracing and I'm scared. More so with my less than stellar brushes with the "real world."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm only alive to make you stay

It certainly feels like the days are piling on me. I barely write. More than that, I barely read. Music doesn't come easily and anything I come up with (music, art, writing) certainly feels mediocre. Cutting through swathes of faceless people everyday, I begin to feel like more of a ghost than I already am. With all the beauty the world has to offer, I would've been wholly content as an observer; unseen, unheard, and never felt.

Even in my happiest of moments, I feel a deep sense of hurt and longing that I've carried for as long as I could remember. If only for myself, the burden was bearable but I couldn't handle the feeling of being a burden to the people I love.

This is about killing myself. I've always wanted to. I believe I could've done so without any regrets. The hardest part however comes with how others' lives are an inalienable part of mine. I'm glad these shoulders continue to hold. I couldn't stand the thought of burying the people I love with the collapsing weight of my tired soul.

My father called me up earlier in the morning when I asked him for lunch money: "Why don't you just ask me for money if you need to? I'm not just anyone. We're not poor. Don't tell me you have nothing to eat and act embarrassed about getting your allowance from me. You're not a burden. If you had an only son, wouldn't you do the same?"

I'm sorry for ever thinking so but for whatever reason, I feel that burden. Years ago, I got in a conversation with him about what gives him the strength to get out of bed in the morning. "You.", he said. Seeing how tired he is from working takes its toll on me. For all his faults and insecurities, he has always been an amazing father. Being the way I am, I feel all the more undeserving.

The most I could do for now is to promise that things won't get out of hand and I won't die in his lifetime. I'm only alive because you're here.

Over a year ago, I fell in love with someone who effortlessly embodies everything I could've ever wanted in a woman. I've written about her constantly and spent countless days and nights in bed with her. Working. Dreaming. Living. Having always lived in a vacuum, it surprised me to see that for once I was thinking of having a future with someone. If anything, she gives me a reason for being.

I'm only alive to make you stay.

My love for these people, sadly, is wholly separate from whatever it is I'm facing. It scares me because these people have given so much of themselves for me. It scares me that I don't believe I'm much to believe in. Life scares me. Living scares me.

Should I choose death, I'll have my reasons. Until then, I'm trying to not take the my reasons for doing otherwise for granted.

Don't miss me when I'm gone. I promise I'll stay as long as can.

Monday, July 30, 2012

To love and act in knowing

These days couldn't have been heavier on my shoulders, if only for the burden of knowing and an ill-assumed propensity towards inaction. The past week appears to have been the last straw, and as it started, everything ended in tears. My academic performance, although so-so to good in one subject, has dipped drastically below standard and I fear that I might be forced to abort the other subject altogether.

My partner raised a very valid point sometime last week. It was something to the effect of: "You like the subject matter. This is something within your field and you absolutely adore your professor. What went wrong? I'm trying to understand but it just doesn't make sense. You're supposed to love this. If you love something, you don't just let it go that way. You do everything you can to make it work."

Like a wooden stake to a vampire's heart, my partner then burst into tears with what came next.

"Before you came along, I had no intention of ever going back to the academe. You did this, you made me want to go through all this again. If you're looking for reasons to get up when you fall, then just think of this. This might sound cheesy as hell, but love, I thought were in this together."

Everything fell apart in me. There was no way to rationalize what was happening without sounding like an excuse. To find the love of my life in tears at the thought of my recent failures was unbearable. "I'm not just doing this for myself. I'm trying so hard, and when I think of what I'm doing, I think of you." It's been on my mind for days. It rings endlessly, further accentuating how mediocre and selfish I've become or might've always been. While I'm getting by on what I could salvage from my parents' weekly budget, my partner, with a full-blown fever for days desperately tries to stay awake to study quantum mechanics. She would fall asleep in between pages and upon waking would immediately resume reading.

"Love, I'm doing this for us."

If I've spent so much of my young adult life trying to inspire action in people because of my involvement in hardcore punk, why couldn't I do this for the only person who makes me want to see value in anything?

I feel like the most undesirable person in the world for all of this. A lot of the time, it's this thought together with the idea that luck does not equate to worthiness.

What else could I do? She's already here and I'm sure as hell there's a reason why. I admire everything about this person and the life she leads and for all the good I see in her, she chose to see what good I had inside of me; regardless of whether or not I saw it in myself.

I still don't see it. I'm not sure I know how to see and act in line with the value in everything. My mother said it takes practice. I really hope so.

It might be too late to save that one subject, but I can't let this stop me from getting where I need to be for someone I love. My parents could only ever want the best for me. Alva chose to stay because she could see something worth believing in. I just found out that my grandmother gave her last breath setting aside pennies a week to send me to graduate school.

All of this, if anything, means the world to me. I might be sick but who isn't? If I kept myself from giving in to impulse control once, then what's keeping me from doing so again? No one. Nothing.

It's one thing for me to know things, it's another thing to take things to heart. It's everything to love and act in knowing.

Whatever I do, I'll do for us. If I have to get hurt to be able to stand on my own two feet, so be it. Seeing the burdens you bear, you can't do this alone.

Exit narratives

For my grandmother,

We enter the room in silence and walk away in tears. These are gestures known to every mother from the moment of your birth to the seconds leading up to her passing. In days, many unspoken, she takes to her quiet ways; leaving each room a little cleaner, always certain of your return. Like the spaces between days, months, and years, you always do. You know this because of the way the tables are set when you arrive. They are just the way they were when you left. We say little beyond greetings; interspersed between little words, strewn across little days. Things are hushed that way, but it's home to all of us. From the cacophony of traffic to the chattering of keys over the low buzzing of your office workstation, the calm and quiet of a mother's warmth is the safest place you have in life.

You may not have said you loved her, you might not have said you cared, but as long as you knew where home was, her warmth would always be there.

Not wanting to wake you as you slept, worked, or ate, she left in the same silence she lived. With the warmth that followed her, we entered the room in silence to walk away in tears.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Years of radio silence compel me to speak in ways both familiar and far away. Each time I go on these extended writing fasts, the mantra echoes back: "You don't have to. Not anymore." Regardless of where I am or what I seem (in the truly perceptive sense) to be doing, it always comes down to those little patches of comfort that line the proverbial trenches of daily living. I thought I was safe where I was but the statement about "not having to" couldn't be more false.

The mantra was a lie that I always wanted to believe in. That is of course, until such time that the truth behind IDWTMYA became self-evident. Those safe spaces only exist here, in writing. It's a sad irony having to see that the only thing rooting me to my sense of reality is a volume of past regrets and projective fiction. Only half-conscious of their implications, I'd say (and consequently reaffirm) that the two things keeping me afloat are these acts of remembering, and the aspirations that follow them.

The truth? I couldn't stop writing to save my life.

To illustrate where I am in the texts of life, a friend in esoteric circles once read my cards out in response to the question, "Will I ever find ancient knowledge?". "Well...", he said. "You will find whatever it is you're looking for. What you aspire for, you will attain but in turn you will also encounter great misery because of the choices you make along the way." Getting into specifics, the cards spoke of the bearing and greatness of aspiration, drive, and the pains one must bear in order to attain them. These are narratives that are by no means unique to my plight but what I would deem specific here would be the symbols one may draw from each card in the Tarot. There is a certain number of possible permutations for the Tarot, but each hand you draw is yours. They are literally in your hands. Being a spiritually inclined atheist, I found his next statement particularly resonant:

"The cards aren't here to tell you which numbers show up in tomorrow's lottery. We simply need symbols to help us flesh out where we are and what we're doing in life. If you don't like what the cards say, don't pass the blame. You drew them."

Life trajectories are symbolic, and in this particular construct, we plot the course of value and valuation along our relative perception of time. Linear or otherwise. When I was 20, I sought to become a person who both generated and traded in terms of value. There were three things I wanted at that point in time: First was to be in a healthy, loving relationship with a person who I believe embodies the best and most beautiful parts of human endeavor, flaws and all. Second was to continue creating art with tools that seek to inspire. The third and last in that list was to be able to study in a school with virtues I could stand by and believe in.

Two years later, I'm in a loving relationship with someone I never thought existed and I'm playing a Fender Jazzmaster in an indie rock band while doing electronic music on the side for a popular independent label. That's two things off that list of things to do in my early twenties. Two out of three. Somewhere along the way to that third and last thing, life went awry. Things were quiet for a while, but only at the expense of what kept me up and running for years. I took writing for granted, and as a result I took life for granted. Apart from the huge boost in my family's economic standing, I'd say I had a lot going for me. At least for the things I wanted. Those were the cards. My decisions however have not been for the best as of late and probably won't be for quite a while. These cards, my hands.

I fell into a slump somewhere in the middle of my time with City Hall. Either way, as laid back as things were there (or as laid back as I was while I was there), I still got some things done. I regret having left on an abrupt note under circumstances that did not allow for closure on both my part and that of the people I worked with. It was unfair for me to leave them. Having left City Hall towards the end of my contract, the promise of better opportunities in the corporate world led me to question my motives for pursuing the life I wanted. Here I was, a month or so short of a full year working, jumping ship at the slightest hint of being where I want to be in life. That's how the press release went, at least. Unmotivated and uninspired, I was critically underperforming within the first three months of being an associate for a real estate firm. I had an attitude, my boss said. I didn't care much for what he said, admittedly. At that point, I took a sharp turn downward; finding myself sifting through gear classifieds or humor pages on the internet. Looking far and wide for something to compel me to work. Wealth and status within the corporation didn't do it for me. I wanted to be elsewhere, and the longer I stayed, the more I sought for an environment of open discourse. I didn't want to move up the corporate ladder. I wanted to transcend humanity; to live in a world of ideas and ideals. Something to benefit the greater human race. I saw that in social research.

That said, I found solace in the idea of enrolling in graduate school. I was poor from refusing to ask my parents for money, but I'd gladly pay for that extra tank of gas just to get to where my heart took me. I was in a bad place financially and emotionally but I was willing to take a chance on the prospect of learning to read and write again. Soon after school started, the company decided it was in everyone's best interest to let me go. Broke, unable to claim back pay for a month, and with dismal marks in my new favorite subject, the transition to academic life was and still is long and painful.

Looking back at the things I did when I was younger, I put shows together with scraps from my allowance. I pressed and sold my band's records, helped out at every single hardcore show and community initiative from 2007 to 2010 apart from little musical projects I did from time to time. Hell, I even got to tour with my band at that time. THRICE.

That dialogical spirit got lost somewhere. It took my aspirations with it. If anything, I had only hoped to find it here and with this long-winded return, it seems that I've come to the right place. I'm in a really bad patch of land where I am now, but not for long. IDWTMYA was always about my relationship with myself and the rest of the world. As with all relationships, communication keeps things together. To be able to communicate with myself after all this time, I hope to make this work. I'll be seeking professional help along the way as well. So in hopes of preempting further discontent, I'm setting up all my contingency plans.

This has happened before. Not this bad, but I'll only come back stronger. Take this as a reminder. Never lose touch. If my offset up there isn't enough of a dead ringer for my sentiments, to quote Adam Franklin, "never lose that feeling."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

What you want

Upon asking about your personal relations with people, you made mention of how you held people close but never had any best friends. You slept over that night, much like many other nights before. Half-asleep, you pulled me closer to whisper in my ear, "Truth is, you're the closest thing I have to a best friend. I love you to bits and you mean the world to me. You mean everything to me." I lay there still. Since you came along, I slept with the comfort of your touch. To feel you in a little less than a week, a little less than a day, a little less than an hour and upon waking. That means the world to me. With all the faces that flash by me in transit, someone decided to stay. She sees me every week, every other day. She sleeps in my bed, has space in my closet and walks around the house with her own pair of slippers. This person is a part of me. She's a part of me. The fleeting afterthought of a "she" runs a far second to the thought of you, a farther third to the thought of you and I. This is us, not the mere thought but the truth of.

Even so, I find myself at a loss for words with the sound of my name on your lips. How am I supposed to respond? I can't say your name when you're around. The way I feel for you stretches further than a name ever could. My love for you is formless, boundless and as fluid as the twin rivers of sleep and waking. You are everything, all of the time. Call to me, say my name the way you do and no one ever has to speak. You know I'm always with you. Yours. Just yours. You, just you.

Dissonance, everything dissonant, you're that quiet, timeless place I always yearned for. With you, I am at peace.

The year's end calls for a bout of sleep-deprived introspection. This would be the best time if ever to sum things up. This year has been marked by some jagged transitions, moving to the capital, finding work, coming to grips with the demands of age and the constellations of my personal life. It hasn't been the easiest but somehow, I got by. I've seen some personal relationships deteriorate while others convalesce. This is a marked by yearning, inked by change and written by moving forward.

I've decided to resume work on my undergraduate thesis. At the same time, I've decided to pursue my graduate studies this year. Since moving, I've grown closer to my father and by association, his side of the family. For once, it felt like I actually belonged to something. Maybe it's the need to make up for lost time? I can't say. It's strange, but a welcome turn of events. More than most things however, I met someone. I got lucky and fell in love. Everything else remains a hazy afterthought.

Her name is Alva, the strangest luck for this space in time. A life partner, a best friend and the only lover to share this lonesome bed. Yearning for someone who gets it for once, I now have someone to turn to. A passionate lover, host to a brilliant mind, a love to spend a lifetime.

You're one of the strongest people I know and I'm hard-pressed to run out of reasons to admire you. You inspire me, hold me captive. I yearn for you when you're away from me and I adore you when you're close. Each and every inch of you, I do. A thousand times over, a thousand times yes.

...and I quote: "I love you because you get it. I love you because I don't have to explain. I love you because you're easy to love. I love you because a part of me melts whenever I glance at you sleeping. I love you more than anything. I love you."

I love you. As the year closes on us with tired yet hopeful eyes, I look to every tomorrow to see you. We grow a year older with each other, let's start adding years til we grow old together.

We only have the rest of our lives. See you soon.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


This week hasn't been too kind. Well, okay, it's been uneventful but I've been really tense. Haven't been uneasy for a while so I guess this would be healthy enough to balance things out.

First off, I feel really bad about the band. I seriously don't think they deserve any of this from me so yeah. I'm sorry guys. It's just me trying to compensate for how insecure I am as a musician. We really need to see each other from time to time, even if it's not band-related. We've been rather distant.

Work's been okay; no backlogs, no nothing. No money either. Well yeah, I do get paid at work but my savings have been shot to shit since I started managing the farm. It's a little sacrifice I have to make to be able to pull my own weight at home and I really hope it gets somewhere. I can't wait for my first harvest. Tending to the farm Saturday morning before the show.

Yeah, things are alright, just not in the highest of spirits. Regardless of how I tend to find myself in this state of mind from time to time, I do still find things to smile about, even with my incredibly flat affect. Today was great though. I have to admit. One of the best mornings I've seen so far.

Woke up at a respectable time and took a cab to work. Yes, it cost me. Yes, I'm broke but whatever. Fuck, I don't feel like panicking over being late another 15 minutes. Upon arrival, one of my officemates set a McDonalds' breakfast meal on my table. "We all had our share, here's yours." We have food in the office all the time so I wasn't too surprised. My boss walked in and said, "lucky guy, that thing's special delivery." I was all, "wait, I thought everyone had one for breakfast?" Apparently no. Just me. Shit, I had no clue.

Okay, it was really suspicious. I was starting to wonder if it had anthrax in it or something or for the most part, who sent it. A couple of officemates suspected some gay dude who keeps on bugging me to add him on Facebook. Dug into the bag and found pancakes, a Sausage pattie, extra butter and hash browns; stuff I particularly liked. Especially with the sausage/hash
browns part.

It was getting creepy. Alva texts and I casually told her we had McDonalds' in the office. "Hey, wanna share?" or something to that effect. Right at that moment, I found a little note under the bag of hash browns.

I died in my seat. My officemates aptly applauded. I was left speechless. Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't literally burst out of my seat. This has never happened before. Turns out she sent me breakfast before she left for work, a wee bit before I got to the office. She knew how I felt about the rest of the week and thought it would make me feel better if I ate something.

Lover knows me well. Stay fat please. You're the sweetest and I don't know what to say. Love you. See you soon. You'll get what's coming to you. Your boy misses you. Badly.

Anyway, I ended up discussing terms with Skarlet Jazz Kitchen (and Skarlet herself!) regarding the show on Saturday. Hopefully, I survive the weekend. Thank you, Alva. You have no idea.

Thank you so much for volunteering for the show. I'm really short-staffed and you're a lifesaver. I owe you. So much.