my younger brother perched on the edge of my tub, smoking the last of his cigarettes. i stood by the bathroom door, hand on my hip. he was showing me how to blow smoke rings. he did it so effortlessly. i don’t even smoke; the smell is vile, but it was entertaining to watch. this was after Sunday lunch with the family, when my parents were back in their room for the noontime, clueless as usual.

he turned 18 just a month ago, this brother-man of mine. he will always be a baby to me and it’s so hard to believe that he’s actually in love (yikes!) but who am i to criticize? whatever makes him happy. as long as it doesn’t pose a risk to his being or harm others then fine with me.

so we sat there, him smoking, me watching, the minutes passing us by. we’ve always been stuck to each other’s hip; i remember the night we ran away, he told me i was his only family. and i believed him, because deep inside, i knew he was my only family too. so we protect each other, searching for comfort within a battered, chaotic life. he has found his: a romantic love with his best friend. i, on the other hand, find comfort in solitude and silence, so here i am… my younger brother’s so much stronger than me (mentally and emotionally) of course, because unlike me, he doesn’t push people away. unlike me, he welcomes every person in his life, knowing the value of people and relationships. i, on the other hand, keep my distance from majority of people. i suppose it’s not a good way to live… i still have yet to learn the value of people and relationships, and at 19-turning-20, i do believe i should know that by now, but how do you even teach yourself the importance of people and relationships when you’ve been doing well being alone your whole life? i mean, what’s the point anyway… i have yet to prove myself wrong. ha-ha.

regardless! i’ve been thinking about the next few months and just realized how stressful and time-consuming they’d be for me. i am definitely facing new challenges and going out of my comfort zone—my paranoia and anxiety is an at all time high, i must admit. i try to be my usual self: put on a facade and act indifferent, but it’s so hard to do when i am aware of the weight of the pressure. i have applied for assistant editor and still have yet to finish my online exam and interview. i haven’t even opened my online exam yet because i’m too scared…and the deadline is tomorrow!!

i also plan to run for the editorial executive board for the coming school year; i still haven’t mustered the courage to send my letter of intent and i can feel the deadline coming closer and closer. should i run or should i not? that is the question. my mind’s telling me to just forget about it, but a part of me wants to try. half of me says, there’s nothing to lose anyway. but then, the other half of me says, yes there is! you lose your dignity and self-respect when you lose. you drown in self pity and self hatred. who wants that?! but i think it’s all about the way you carry yourself. a loss is only a loss if you consider it a loss. or not. sigh. words cannot comfort me right now, they all sound like lies to me.

i have tried to banish The Other and proudly have not let it back inside me just yet, but i can feel its voice echoing at the back of my head. it’s always haunting me. it’s telling me not to go for it, that i won’t be able to handle it, i’m not good enough for it…and goddamn, it’s the self-deprecating part of me again talking. but how do you get rid of insecurities?! i feel as if insecurities are meant to be a part of you, though everybody keeps saying you should let go of them. but my insecurities keep me in check, i guess…. ugh. i don’t even know. my mind’s a mess right now and i don’t even know what i’m talking about. i just hope i finally muster the courage to actually go out of my comfort zone and give myself a chance. i really need to give myself a chance.


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