Serious Scrubbing

I rarely Google myself because 1) that sounds egocentric and 2) it feels pointless. When I woman-ed up and thought about going on a different direction with this blog, I did a Google search on myself and found a dirty trail of sad, shameless, and distasteful me all over the internet.

It was a very unpleasant cringe-fest at 5 in the morning and it  kept getting cruddier as I scroll backwards. The things I posted on secret journals where I remained anonymous weren’t even on that results page. Imagine the horror of reading my old LJ entries – whiny, sad, poor vocabulary, aimless.

So I did some serious scrubbing. I started here and I’ll get to the outrageous ones in the coming days.

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The Do-Over

Itching to write a post at 6 am (I haven’t slept) feels like my brain is running on an extremely high dosage of Ritalin. This is also the most excited I have been in months (maybe a year but who’s counting?). I feel like I started my sophomore year running this blog all wrong; I apologize for the unnecessary darkness and so I am here for the do-over.

The thing is, and to put it simply I’m going to borrow a sentence from the beautiful, harrowing essay by Brittany Julious, my true quarter-life crisis is right now.

The past four years have been extremely difficult for me. I was immensely preoccupied with my then nursing job (and later on my 9 to 6 corporate job) and was badly scarred in battle by the monstrosity that is real life that I unconsciously put my aspirations in life in the back burner and halted a future I envisioned myself to have.

I wanted to be an adult adult fast. The kind that has her shit together. The one with a Plan B. With investments. With stability. And a fraction of why I decided to want this adult version of me is driven by fear. The world has this grand idea that when you’re 25 you’re supposed to have great things and achieve a crapton of somethings. That’s frightening for me because I barely have anything right now.

I eventually stopped dreaming altogether. And that’s usually the sign, the symptom that the person has given up on life. And I realized that it’s so early for me to call it quits. I believe I have a few good fights left in me. I shouldn’t sabotage my future just because I stumbled upon a few dead ends.

I’m still trying to figure things out now. I’m starting from scratch. I always remind myself to dream. To want great things without compromising what I planned for myself when I was starting out as a young adult. At least now I kinda have something to hold on to. I’m trying and that’s good.

TL; DR version
The bad news: I’m in a rut.
The good news: This is not how my story ends.

If I sound like a self-help book then my work here is sort of done (we’ll get to the lists, to the happy place, promise). I want to help myself and I’m starting now.

DEAD HEART PROBLEMS

Remember November of 2011. We met without warning or mercy. It was fall where you were. You told me about how autumn is your favorite season because (1) the change is so palpable you can almost touch it and (2) the colors remind you of the earth.

We don’t have autumns here. We only have snarky summers and floods. I’m sure you’ve heard news about our beloved metro sinking as the tides grew stronger. It gets tiring but we’ve grown accustomed to it and adjusted pretty well.

I don’t like autumns even if I hadn’t seen it or felt it or experienced having it in real life. I’ve seen enough autumns in my head. I’ve pictured a perfect universe consisting of you and me staying in, having a cup of tea, watching the trees dance to the soft wind’s slow rhythm. We stay silent for ten minutes and that’s all it takes to convince me that this – this quiet is my kind of happy. That I don’t need to fill these gaps of dead air with humming or tacky comments or voice-overs like the ones on Glee to make a person stay, to have a meaningful connection with somebody.

I don’t like autumns because they not only remind me of you but also of the endless possibilities that my happy place is not, and will never be, enough. That my lenience towards stasis comes off as an inability to adapt rather than a quirk or a choice or a way to cherish limited days with what my heart desires.

Autumn is a season for change and some of us might not want that. Perhaps some have their feet glued to the rust-colored earth. It could be that some people find comfort in not changing, in chancing upon what they like and sticking to it for a long time.

Maybe I am not ready to leave my happy place. And that is how you lost me.

THE BLUES

Now I sit on a chair uncomfortably. My room is unlit except for my laptop’s glowing monitor and I can’t help but notice the hue of the sky; with every turn of the earth, it changes. I sat in silence hoping this would make me feel something, praying this would be an answer.

Please, please, please.

Without looking up directly at the horizon, I felt that slightly embarrassing moment before you realize something. Of course, it wasn’t the universe’s response to my cry. If anything, it was just the sun bidding goodbye to the people who seem too preoccupied to care.

But it was beautiful, the sun’s goodbye. I’ve seen the sun set countless times yet I never felt this odd, almost panicking, reaction to dusk. “I must not miss the blues and reds,” says the voice inside my head. In that moment, there was an infinitesimal enticement to the gradual absence of color. On how in the beginning the sky looked like a blushing girl experiencing true love’s kiss for the first time, with orange and red and pink painted on her cheeks. And it lasted throughout her way home. She walked reliving five seconds of her life she’ll be keeping forever. Rewinding a second before it ends, that moment when locked lips untangle and you’re left with the taste of his mouth lingering still on yours. Like a part of him will be swallowed when you do and it will make its way to your heart through the tiny vessels keeping you alive. You feel him, this person who changed you, who woke your raging hormones from their deep slumber, rushing through your veins with every pump your heart makes. There is comfort in that moment and that is enough.

It is now dark and I still have no answers.

DANI HITS ROCK BOTTOM

We hear shuffling from the background, plastic bags, bottles, a deep sigh, and a set of keys. Keys that won’t fit the hole until her fourth try. Welcome to the apartment. In goes Dani – short for Daniela – a 25-year old architect turned slacker major in cigarette smoking and gallivanting. She isn’t a heroine, she’s a mess.

Dani places the bags on top of the table which serves – apart from it being a dining table – as a computer work desk, a mini bar, and just recently, a place where everything goes. By everything I mean Dani’s cell, last night’s pizza box, dirty dishes, smelly clothes, and a bunch of other things I am not considering to tell you about. What I’m trying to say is: this place blows.

It wasn’t like this before. A 38-square meter apartment is small, that is true, but she had it under control. It was clean and organized and smelled like a place you would want to retire to after work. Now it feels like a black hole where broken dreams and homeless hipsters belong.

She sits comfortably with her back hunched a little, her dominant hand feeling the back pockets of her jeans for her lighter. Her head slightly moves to the left as she lights her cigarette and catches a glimpse of what she looks like in the full mirror her mother gave her as a house warming present three years ago. She mouths fuck in a very unsexy way, turns to her right, and takes a long drag.

You see, Dani examines her life the way she examines her body. The moment she sees a tiny speck of imperfection, she turns the other way and lets it be. I don’t know what her deal is, to be honest, but I see this as an escape plan gone wrong. Like her drinking problem, or the fact that she AWOL-ed from work and her social circle, or the hideous cave she’s been calling home, or the mosquito bites covering her skin like a sleeve tattoo. She is spiraling down and she knows it.

Three months ago, this was not the case. She wasn’t alcoholic, or unhygienic, or irresponsible. Dani was full of life, positive in a sense that she takes everything one tiny step at a time. She was happy and brings charisma to the table. She was the confidante her friends always run to whenever they have problems; the one who has enough love in her heart for everyone. That was the case until the Nicholas Incident.

She stands, her head throbs as she does, walking towards the stereo. She turns the iPod on and we hear a familiar voice. The National fills the quiet with About Today’s intro. In comes Matt Berninger’s deep, growling baritone:

How close am I to losing you? How close am I to losing…

If heartbreak had a voice, it would sound like this. Dani keeps listening to the band’s discography despite the countless strong feelings it evokes, some of which she isn’t able to cope with. She does this until she’s a little bit buzzed and drunkenly lays her head on a pillow for a good night’s sleep.

Well tonight’s kinda different, I guess. As if contemplating whether to drink herself to sleep, she meticulously surveys the bottles of cheap vodka she bought in the retail store across her apartment building. What’s wrong now, D? Aren’t you going to empty that so we could get over this day and call it the usual? Eventually, she opens one and drinks from the bottle. Looking at her like this hurts me in a way. She isn’t supposed to be basking under the gloomy clouds forever. She needs help. The cuts covered by her sweatshirt confirm that but you wouldn’t know.

Nobody notices so nobody knows.

“One gulp for the wounds that never heal,” she whispers. “And another! For the sutures your memory keeps tearing out!”

Dani has no friends, no family, nobody. She only has me.

And I, I’m just a figment of her deranged imagination.