Divine Comedies

Photo by Tita Jenny Ortuoste

Photo by Tita Jenny Ortuoste


The universe gave me a break today. One of my stories, Inferno, got published in the Philippines Graphic. Of course, it would be blasphemous not to write about it.

I remember spending hours inside Manila Standard’s library in high school while waiting for mommy to finish with work and reaching for Graphic, among many others, upon arrival. I always ran my fingers through the email address printed neatly below every feature, as if a touch would commit things to memory. I always forgot about it, anyway, not just the address but the whole idea of perhaps sending something — anything — in, to test the waters.

This whole thing just leads me to the fact that I haven’t been writing as much as I should recently. I just wasn’t able to. I held the words, clenched them in my fist, but it seems like I have forgotten how to use them. I haven’t been feeling — no, I wasn’t myself anymore. I am not myself without writing. And so, as of late, I have been quiet. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent, wrote Wittgenstein.

It just amazes me how timing dressed everything up really well. Without its blessing, we would have to do with the events of everyday life stark naked. Lately, I have been feeling low and insignificant, like nothing I do would ever amount to anything. Everything I believe in, everything I think /thought I wanted — just, well, futile.

This morning, on top of everything else that has happened (and not happened), I actually came to the conclusion that I may not ever succeed in writing and as a professor, and that perhaps I have been lionizing what I think I am capable of for years. Not that this particular break (which is more of a nudge, really, in the grand scale of things, a nudge I am grateful for nevertheless) completely annihilates that view, it just gave me enough willpower to question it, and maybe even prove myself wrong. Someday, somehow.

I am just eighteen after all, I have to keep reminding myself of that fact. It’s not an excuse to kick back and nod off, yes, but it does diminish the pressure I have unwittingly lashed internally. I spend most of my days alone, so the rent space in my head’s usually filled with thoughts about what to do with myelf. In a week, it will be a year since someone I loved just upped and left without so much as a second of hesitation, and over the past few days I have been belittling myself. I thought of how much time has passed in juxtaposition with how little I have done for my life to redeem all its color, all its vivacity. I imposed new goals, of course, a whole mirage of aspirations, but I have yet to truly do something about them.

The irony is this: I have done nothing but wallow in emptiness, and yet I feel nothing but sheer exhaustion gripping every bone — flesh pressed upon a glass, stuck.

But now, bit by bit, things are looking up. Sweet relief.


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