A Strategic Retreat

Look at me still referencing Blair Waldorf at the worst of times. A moment of silence for my lingering obsession with Gossip Girl, my only desire that has yet to be trampled by the inconvenient realities of time and space.

That said, I figured I have enough willpower left tonight to attempt to articulate what feels like the daily inevitable imploding. What remains intact at the very least is the certainty that writing remains my catharsis, ergo this note, whose overarching theme of sophomoric nostalgia already pains me. But still — the whole being good to yourself enterprise, I realized just this morning, includes cherishing and making the most out of the little things, and with that comes the complete disregard for the unattainable standards and timetable you have long set for yourself in an attempt to pack into a moment all worth you could extract from experiences mundane to profound. These days, I am learning to pat myself in the back for what feels like the simplest acts of kindness to myself, be it finishing a chapter of a Marquez novel, managing to sit through an entire film and actually staying in the mise-en-scene long enough to identify with a character, getting through and even learning to prefer the numbing allure of domestic tasks, or picking up writing again, albeit in short bursts.

I’ve always thought getting points for mere effort was such a ridiculous concept, thought reassurance of potential as some ridiculous bourgeois logic of upper middle class reward invented to further a consumer-capitalist agenda, and felt a disproportionate amount of anger for those who received insane credit for trying, which I believed should be a given, never mind which pursuit. While I never knew disproportionate anger and outbursts were already symptoms of this probable condition I am trying so hard to make sense out of, it makes me laugh now stumbling upon the irony that I’ve spent most of my life directing much of this anger at myself. I kept up a laid-back vibe of course, but my darkest hours were spent berating myself for having yet to be the multi-hyphenate I wanted to and still want to be, deemed the reaches for greatness insufficient; futile.

Being classified as intense has always felt like the worst insult. Actually clenching the certainty that you are, indeed, intense, is draining. Imagine gravitating back and forth between ridiculous brilliant moments of inspiration and paralyzing episodes of self-loathing because of the inconsistency and unsustainability of aforementioned moments, and worse, having nothing in between between these two. Imagine blaming yourself for feeling too much, wanting too much, or nothing at all. Imagine your condition, which make everything feel like life and death situations, being dismissed as just a flair for the dramatics, a childhood quirk just being resilient, or your generation’s tendency to label every unwanted emotion as a disorder. Imagine comparing yourself to level-headed, highly-achieving creatures who can keep their cool and rely on human intuition, which in their case, doesn’t tell them contradicting stances in a span of several hours. Just writing this down for the first time in my life makes me want to take a breather.

A few months back, someone shared how my tendency to succumb to gravity without hesitation and fall completely for things, people, despite the trauma of the past is utterly admirable. I joked how this just means I unfortunately know nothing about self-preservation. I’m thinking now is the best time to start learning.

I suppose what I am trying to say is, in light of my whole commitment to make the best out of these rare, small moments of calm and clarity, I came to the decision of just making the days a wee bit more bearable by pulling back from social media and the like. God knows I am so close to losing everything if i don’t stop and rest now. In the meantime, the world just seems a bit more manageable when I am not constantly exposed to anything that overwhelms me to the point of exhaustion. I am all for anything that renders me speechless still, I don’t think having this fascination will ever dwindle.

So hi, dear reader. In case you’re wondering, I am still alive. But as of today, I just need some time to be still.

 

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These Days

(cue Bamboo)

In the middle of March this year, I became single again, after more than three years of interacting with the male species on a daily basis. Not that I have much dating experience to speak of, even if it sounds like that. Two weeks before I hit the big legal age, my history isn’t really all that impressive. I’ve had two serious relationships – the first was a HS romance that had more sinister twists than the latest season of Gossip Girl, the second one lasted for almost six months until we decided we weren’t really heading anywhere — and a couple of run-ins with people along the way, nothing worth psychoanalyzing, at least not so much anymore.

The fact is, for the first time since high school, I had all the time in the world to spend on and for myself.

The concept was so foreign to me that the first few weeks felt incredibly uneasy. You don’t just break-up with someone one night and feel like you’ve always flown solo the morning after.

Just like everything else, it takes time. Before you know it, a romantic future with another carbon-based life form will now become the exception to the rule, a possibility that now seems more improbable than converting back to Catholicism, at least for the time being. You’ll almost swear you have always operated out of whim, without factoring in another’s feelings or class/work sched, if only you aren’t teased by friends when a name comes up or if old Facebook albums did not retain out of town photos.

This summer was my not-so-rude awakening to that. While I would always have a flair for the dramatics, not even my exaggeration tendencies could make up for the fact that both of my break-ups left me in good terms with the assholes the two men I will always love.I have moved on faster than anyone could say Derek Ramsey – thus having no need for making it seem like the past two months served as my time to heal from the horrors of my past. If anything, I’m actually grateful that at a young age, two idiots people have allowed me to share my days with them and loved me so much, even if it took every ounce of resistance not to swat my head and tell me to stop talking about metaphysics at 2 in the morning when they needed to sleep.

So where did that leave me? Well, probably the best summer ever.

Getting ‘back to the ground’, as to that song by Jamie Cullum, apparently is one of those things a person has to go through to be able to appreciate and see things clearly than they’ve ever before. For starters, it leaves you with no choice but to literally date the hottest bod out there – yourself.

I’ve always been told that after breakups, you are bound to rediscover yourself and reclaim parts you may have let go of when you allowed someone to become your better half. For me, that meant one thing that led to a thousand others upon realized. When you’re alone, you have no escape from your thoughts. You begin to think about what you want, who you want to be, the things that matter most to you.

I’ve always been independent and I will be forever proud of that. Even when I was attached, I did not really want to see them everyday – which I am sure they appreciated. I needed time alone, time with friends, with my family, independent of anyone barraging me over text message over where the hell I was and if I was still alive. The difference, then, as I have found it to be, lies in action. When you’re with someone, you have these thoughts swirling around your head yes, but more often than not they stay thoughts.

PRAXIS. A good friend of mine, two years ago, told me this is the most important word in Philosophy. A few weeks ago the same person told me that this is also what’s important in writing Poetry, Both counts, he was right.

As someone who now prides herself in operating out of whim, being able to turn visions into actions is actually fulfilling on its own. For years, I have wanted to be exposed to astrophysics, photography and even more Philosophy, to support the LGBT movement, to try out running as a sport, join a dance class for fun, travel just because the moment calls for it, meet a handful of new folks, write on impulse on any surface, try out exotic dining, and a hella lot more.

PLUS Astronomy Night

Stargazing session of PLUS – The Art Collective. These guys feel like long-lost family!

PLUS Guys + Moi

One of the guys ;)

with Rep. Teddy Casino - author of HB 1483

PATAS supports the Anti-Discrimination Bill

Straight without the Hate!

Pass HB 1483 NOW!

DLSU Contemporary Philo Convention

Today, during the DLSU Convention, I was assured I wanted to become a Philo/Lit prof, even if that means I’ll starve.

Anna, John and Ericson – PUP folks =)

Photo by Rommel Panal

PUP classmates/schoolmate + some of my favorite PLUS mutants

Debating over french fries and McChicken after

Photo by Rommel Panal

Perpetual state of wonder :)

(more pictures/stories-of-what-I-am-up-to in pictures found in my FB account)

..which reminds me, I have to get the rest I need now. I promised myself I’ll finish until revisions of half of my Secularism term paper and run 5k tomorrow.

I’ll end this with a cool Lennon quote —

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

.. and if this is how the next few months – heck, even years! – will look like, so shall it be. I couldn’t ask for anything else, really, but these. Days well spent, each one as remarkable, if not more, than the last. ;)

An Arrow In Flight, An Arrow In Rest

I’ve always been impulsive. I was never really the type who stood on one side, weighing things out. Never did I draw up a list of Pro’s and Con’s and lugged the list wherever I went until I reached a sound, rational decision. More often than not, I’m late.. or ‘lost’ – as I prefer to call not showing where I’m supposed to be – just because something, somewhere, has caught my attention and held it long enough for me to risk everything else.

Nothing is more important to me than the adrenaline rush I get when I do something just because a moment calls for it, never mind the consequences, much more the ever-present threat of messing up things, big time. Be it a heated debate with a professor or a good friend, just because speaking out is something I wouldn’t even think twice about, or a trip out of town, or going out with a complete stranger who, as chance could put it, might as well be a serial killer on the prowl.

But that does not stop at that. Unfortunately, or perhaps, very fortunately, not being able to hold myself down means I am never confined to one thing for so long. A label or a definition expires even before people grow accustomed to it. Figuring out exactly how my mind works is a feat that’s never been accomplished, not even by myself, I must have just gotten used to it. I’ve long given up on attempting to describe myself. What I am certain about, though, is that although I will always leave myself (and people) wondering on what will I get into next, writing is the thread that holds all these adventures together.

 

While I would love to give this new home a beautiful story on why I migrated here from Blogspot (beatricetulagan.blogspot.com), I could not. I did so because I just felt like it. Boredom, mostly. The rest is this gut feeling that I somehow made it an imperative to reinvent myself every chance I get, especially now that I need it more than ever. Then, again, everyone does.

A few weeks ago, after not beating the deadline for the Palanca Awards, I remember making a promise to myself that May will become my reunion with writing, the only thing constant in my life. However I’ve only done so much as doodle unfinished poems and drunken thoughts on my sketch pad, and though I may look the part, I carry high standards for myself. Thus, this new blog. Aha, existence preceding essence.

Maturity and attempts at it aside, I also thought it would be best if I shower this page not only with those angsty rants and dare-I-call-them poems, but also use it as a running journal. I recently got into the roadrunning rage in Manila and somehow, after a few weeks, am not panting like a fat pig wondering why would anyone ever want to hurt themselves so much by running laps like a trained hamster.

Despite my five-year-old attention span, occasional lack of coordination skills and one too many experiments with gravity and mass (a.k.a, tripping, even while wearing slippers), I’ve gotten to a place where my body decided it needs the thirty-minute sessions every other day. Something is euphoric in running, it makes you both lose touch with reality and at the same time, revel in it. As of now, I’ve only been on the track for a month but am assured this one’s not just a hobby I take up and lose interest in eventually. The natural high after is just a bonus.

I’m aiming to finish my first 5k (and run a couple, after) by July, and my first 10k by September. After that, I’ll probably take up Kickboxing, or start hiking. Someone told me running tells so much about me, how I can’t stay idle too long.

So there. I hope this time, I’ll get to put in more writing hours in between bouts of training and school. I have two years left in college and I might as well make the most out of them. ;)