it’s 12 midnight. everyone’s asleep. i’m breaking my back slouching over the darn table. i just drank a mug of black coffee, no sugar or creamer and let me tell you, i hate coffee with all my life. but i promised myself i won’t sleep tonight. that i’d actually work on my novel. the day was long and winding; before going to school, i read and finished Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba’s Daytripper. Easy enough because it was a short read, but it left me in a trance, and i kept replaying Bras’ multiple deaths in my head while sitting in class. i left school immediately and read poems by Anna Akhmatova on my commute home. i bummed around in bed for a bit, then was forced to attend evening church service. before i left for church, I started on Craig Thompson’s Blankets. i got home from church at 9pm, finished editing my staff writer’s articles, and then continued reading Blankets until 11:30pm, finally finishing the graphic novel. This, too, left me in a trance. And in tears. I always tell myself that if I am not writing, I must be reading, or vice versa. It’s not something i try to strive for, it’s a rule I force myself to abide by at all times. if i am not reading, then i should be writing. if i am not writing, then i should be reading, but never neglecting both at the same time. i wasn’t sure if i could write today, and i was wary if i’d be able to find small windows of time to work on my novel because other responsibilities kept me busy. i can say i don’t have the time, but, i will admit, i also don’t have the heart. and i hate myself for it. and so, at 12 midnight, I guzzled black coffee to force myself to write. so far i’ve got the draft of the first two chapters, but i hate that I’m moving too slow, especially when i have a deadline to meet in a month. the more rational side of me tells me i cannot do it, but theres a sliver of hope inside me, wishing, that i will pull through. and so here i am. i’m not sleeping tonight. and although i hate myself for not working on my novel as much as i should, i am also happy that i was able to make time for so much reading today. two graphic novels in one day, a couple of Russian poems, and five of my staffers’ articles are enough to satiate me today. but i cannot stop here. i have to write. i have to write. and my eyes are drooping. secretly i hate myself for drinking coffee because it never seems to work on me, but i know i cannot waste any more time. i think i’ve wasted enough in the past couple of months, and i will surely regret and hate myself for never writing enough. tonight i am going to force myself to write. i am going to force myself to write. i have all these dreams, but i cannot live in my dreams forever. as per Daytripper, what my dreams really show me is what my life can be once i open my eyes. i have to take control of my own narrative. so i’m going to write.

the past month in retrospect & other life things

-did an ethnographic research (for the first time) on a cult two fridays ago and, to my surprise, enjoyed it thoroughly. we presented our findings and analysis to our professor (an awfully brilliant anthropologist in her own right) yesterday and we have to do minimal edits on the paper, but so far so good. i think we did well, considering the fact that someone from the other class cried from her criticism during their presentation :\

-met my thesis mentor last Saturday and we’re finished. i can breathe easy. we’ll be passing our chapter 1 and 2 on Friday to our panelists and just have to wait next week for the results of the deliberations; fuck, i hope we pass and get to go on the next level. our mentor told us we’re good to go, but of course, i’m still wringing my hands. i cannot sit still. this undergrad thesis can either make or break my academia dreams.

-been trying so hard to control my maladaptive daydreaming. i still do it at night when my head hits the pillow and i’m left staring into the darkness because i cannot sleep, but i’ve found a solution to that. sleeping pills!

-of course, i don’t want to be dependent on sleeping pills, but the melatonin sleeping pills have been a huge help to me these past few weeks. i fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of taking it; i just put one pill under my tongue and wait for the citrusy pill to dissolve. it doesn’t make me feel nauseous and dizzy after waking up. i’ve had bad experiences with bad sleeping aids in the past (don’t take ZzzQuil, people!), and it would always give me nasty headaches that would last the entire day. i don’t know, perhaps because the dosage is also quite big so that could be a factor, but still, i didn’t get any of the bad side effects from melatonin which is great! as much as i don’t want to take a sleeping pill every night, it’s the only thing that works for my sleeping problems.

-discovered samosas and mango chutney in school two weeks back. honestly, the only reason why i go to school every day!

-i arranged my desk book tower, dewey decimal style. i enjoyed this thoroughly, too, and honestly considered doing it for a living. if there’s door to door evangelizing, there should also be door to door dewey decimal classifying (i’ll make it into a Thing!). i wish this were a real job, though i wager i’d probably do it for free for people because i’m just too nice hmph. anyway, arranging my desk book tower put me in a contemplative mood; not the entire time, because i found myself arguing with myself whether i should put Alan Moore’s Watchmen under graphic novels or  American Literature…technically it’s a graphic novel, but it is still one of the Greatest Novels ever written and it’s under DC, so i considered it American Literature. don’t argue with me on this. it’s a brilliant fucking piece, plus graphic novels never get enough respect! got that? good haha

-i dropped my Fitbit in an Uber while i was on my way school two weeks ago. thank goodness for kind Uber drivers. the man drove back to my house the next morning to bring it back. phew! now i can go back to counting my steps and counting my sleeping hours and counting the ounces of water i drink daily…… lol

-i’ve been utilizing my Bullet Journal for more than a month now. it hasn’t been that long, but i’m never going back to random to-do lists every again. i need to be more consistent with it, of course, but i am enjoying thus far!

-i think in order to live i need to have this rat-like cunningness and curiosity towards life, so i am always i am on the hunt for good or new stories to pursue. so far i have a couple of ideas in my head, but that’s all. i’m stuck on ideas. i need some fucking follow through, but i have so many roles to play in life and gosh, wouldn’t it be so nice to just drop every responsibility i have and just write???

-i went to a book thrift shop over the weekend. i stopped going to book thrift shops lately because the ones in my city never have any good ones and believe me, i’ve scoured every nook and cranny. but lo and behold! buried beneath heaps of tacky ghetto romance novellas was a The Atlantic magazine! i enjoy reading articles and stories from The Atlantic online so of course i bought the magazine……even though it was more expensive than the usual thrift shop steal……

-i met up with a local herbalist a couple of days ago. no, i don’t mean a drug dealer lol though that was what my brother assumed hahaha. this woman studies herbalism and makes natural skincare products for a cheap price. lately i’ve been more conscious of my purchases and threw away all the face products invading my bathroom sink. now i just have a jar of coconut oil and witch hazel on my sink; i definitely don’t want to be a slave to capitalism, so i’m looking for other options that are more sustainable and also friendly to local businesses. i thought this herbalist was very much apropos because she’s a mother who homeschools her child, and she uses her earnings from her skincare products to her child’s homeschooling so i thought that was a great cause. i got a facial toner and an oil cleanser from her for really cheap; it’s cheap because she concocts and brews it herself and there is no plastic packaging!!! it’s vegan AND zero waste, did i mention that? it’s vegan and zero waste, people!! and so far i’m liking the whole natural approach in skincare. it’s not loaded with horrible chemicals and parabens, and i love how the herbalist uses natural ingredients in her products such as witch hazel, tea, herbs, plant and oil astringents—natural ingredients i actually know and can pronounce lol. i used to think putting a ton of shit on my face would make my skin better, but the more i spend on overpriced skincare products, the more i realize how shortchanged i actually am because i sold my soul to capitalism.

-been wanting to buy a new typewriter. my first ever purchase of a typewriter (using my own money!!!) was during my 18th birthday in 2014. I didn’t throw any party or celebration, but i did make a vow that i would buy myself a typewriter. so i did, and it was my first big purchase as an adult lol. I bought a portable Smith and Corona Model #3 in mint condition which made newly-18-year-old-me keel over because of the price. B-U-T it’s going to be about 3 years since then and i think i’m ready to buy another one! i don’t have any vices or enjoy any other luxurious in life nor do i have a boyfriend or dates to spend onnnnn, ok, i’m a frugal (and broke) college student, but i am willing to drop cash on vintage typewriters….and a couple of bonsai trees. ANYWAY, I’m looking into buying an Olivetti, perhaps a Lettera 33 or an SM9. I’m planning to scour thriftshops too; part of the reason why my first purchase was expensive was because I had to get it shipped from the US and the shipping fee was just too expensive. If I am patient enough in digging through junk shops & thrift shops around the Metro and smart enough with haggling then I shouldn’t have to spend so much……

-havent written much for my novel because of the stressful month. i honestly hate myself for this because i have deadline to work under (a month!) and I don’t know how i’m going to pull this off, if i even can :\

-i have an interview tomorrow with an NGO for my research paper in my social development class. i’m looking forward to it, i just hate that it’s so out of the way and i have to immediately go back to school for my stupid quiz.

-i haven’t been eating clean the past month; i am bloated and i think i gained weight. whatever.

-i went home to a couple of plants today which, i must admit, are the highlight of my day. i have three stevia plants, two tarragon plants, a rosemary plant, and a green tea plant. (thanks mom…) i think my plant hospital/pottery shed is coming to fruition (i just need to get back into pottery ugh). if i can turn back time i’d go back 4 years in the past and pursue agriculture or farming. i’m not even kidding. farming is the only thing that makes sense in life.

-i finished two Murakamis in two days. South of the Border, West of the Sun & After Dark. I’m three chapters in on Hardboiled Wonderland and plan to finish it before finals week. Honestly, I’m still speechless over Murakami. No really! I need a separate post to talk about him……………

-been listening so much to Michael Hedges the past week! Woman of the World just speaks to me (honestly, listen to it people!!!) On the other hand, I am deeply frustrated because I cannot find my Nat King Cole CD. I started looking for it once Murakami began his jazz rhetoric in SotBWotS, but also because Murakami kept mentioning Nat King Cole in it and at that time, I just wanted to listen to Nat while reading about Nat!!! Unfortunately, I cannot find it and I’ve searched everywhere. I would honestly be devastated if I never find my Nat King Cole CD 😦

-Bernie Wrightson passed away. That’s another of my childhood hero, gone. Honestly, Swamp Thing changed my life. Of course, I am biased towards Moore’s run on Swamp Thing, but still, there would be no Swamp Thing without Bernie Wrightson. I loved his illustrations on Frankenstein and Creepshow too; those took my breath away just as much. He’s a legend and the world knew that; the entire world wept for Bernie Wrightson’s passing. Swamp Thing will always be special to me, though. Even now, as a vegan, I take the quotes in Swamp Thing to heart. Fools, if Nature were to shrug or raise an eyebrow, then you should all be gone. It says so much about us humans; we just go on and on and on destroying the very world that we live in. I cannot wait for the day mother nature spites us all. (shouts to Donald Trump: Climate Change is real!!!) Go Green or The Green will be angry! I love you so much, Bernie Wrightson, my hero, you will live on.

-i have a quiz tomorrow that i haven’t studied for…… which is why i’m not sleeping tonight and why i have to brew coffee in a few minutes. i need to study! as much as i want to go to bed and lie in my sheets and pillows that smelly faintly of peppermint (ughhh i want to sleep!!!) and pop a sleeping pill, i cannot. i. have. to. study.

i think i’ve ranted enough to thin air. til then!

unstoppered thoughts and qualms in disarray

I need a release. I’m putting off my review of related literature to put my feelings and thoughts down. Here are some of the things happening to me lately:

~ I woke up this morning to the reminder from my phone that I am, apparently, estimated to ovulate today. I never cared about my periods, and what I mean about that is I never really tried to learn more about it. I know I’ve been irregular for as long as I can remember (though I think this was because of the worsening of my eating disorder in high school), and would only buy packs of napkins on the occasion when “time” of the month arrives—which used to be every two or three months. These days I’ve been having regular periods though thanks to a healthier diet!

Anyway, whenever I’d have my yearly medical check up and my doctor asks me about my menstruation, I would always have nothing to say because I never bothered to educate myself better. I wouldn’t know what to put on the forms when it would ask me when the last time I had my period because, to be honest, I don’t remember and I never cared.  It was only in December of last year that I started tracking my menstrual cycle with the help of this free app, and it definitely made things more interesting, to say the least. I’ve been discovering more and more about womanhood, and being familiar with my body better since then.

Ovulation usually occurs about two weeks before the next expected period and I learned that a woman can only get pregnant during her fertile window: A few days before ovulation and just two days past—though the odds vary.  A woman has greater possibility of getting pregnant when she tries to conceive a day before ovulation and a day after, because a woman’s egg can only live for 12-48 hours, though she can still get pregnant if she tries to conceive a couple of days before because sperm can live inside for up to 5 days.

I must confess, I initially thought a woman could get pregnant any day as long as she has unprotected sex. I never knew all this, and I know I have a lot to learn about my anatomy. I try to take in as much information as I can though, to be honest, I never had anyone explain this to me in my entire life. It definitely feels liberating.

~ I don’t think I’ll ever catch the coffee bug. I mean I don’t have to, but it’s something I’ve been trying to explore, what with all the third wave coffee shops sprouting in the metro like weeds, but I really cannot bring myself into. I find the process and the craft interesting, but every time I drink coffee, I always feel like I’m going to have a heart attack and it’s not like I shock my body with caffeine. I tried easing slowly into coffee, taking it one day at a time, first chock full of sugar then lessened it gradually over the months until I was just drinking plain, brewed, black coffee. I even went as far as buying my own french press and grinder and handpicking premium beans, but like what I said, every time I drink coffee—whether it’s plain black or dumped with non dairy creamer and sugar—I always feel like I’m going to drop dead. My heart races, I start sweating a lot and find it difficult to breathe, then I start getting anxious and fidgety. It happens every time and I don’t exactly know why, but if my body’s sending me signals like these then perhaps coffee isn’t just for me. Nowadays I only force myself to drink coffee when I need to work all night, but the heart palpitations and all the jitters that come with it really screw with me. It’s not worth it.

~ Pressurd with the revision of thesis’ review of related literature. I’d like to say this is normal, but thesis writing is sucking my soul. I honestly hate it, though I think it’s also because I had a rough start with my mentor. I’m not joking when I say it’s affecting me so much to the point that it has become the main trigger of my depression. I haven’t found any medium to keep it at bay, but I’m really trying, but my mental health is not at its best and I can only hope that I last until the end of academic year.

~I started working as a research assistant to the departmnt chair of my college. It’s okay; it’s only a few hours a day and I can work at home. It’s added work and stress (god i dont need any more of this!!!) but it’s paid. Measly, but money is money and I’m not wasting opportunities. Sometimes I hate myself for signing up to so many things, getting overwhelmed, then not being able to commit 100%, but I’m really trying. I just wish I stopped pressuring myself also. Whatever. I took the assistantship also because since I’m not having that great of a relationship with my thesis mentor, I’m hoping my department chair would give me a recommendation letter instead should I pursue grad school in the future. I cannot count on my mentor to write me a good recommendation; we’re not that close with each other anyway, but I’m not risking anything for my future endeavors. I still hope we can start on the same page and get into the swing of things and have a good relationship, but I’m not hopeful. This is going to be a long, painful journey to graduation.

~I haven’t been writing much. By that I mean writing for the paper and the other publications I contribute to, mainly because being editor has taken its toll on me. Though I try to love what I’m doing, I’m upset because it definitely keeps me away from writing on my own, especially when I have a ton of articles to edit every month. I honestly hate it; not the job, but the fact that I cannot have time to write and pursue stories and features and investigative reports. I’m not saying it’s crippled me, but I miss writing articles so much. Not just writing my thoughts down, but pursuing journalistic reports and stories. I am jealous when my staffers do fieldwork and interview interesting people for their articles and I can’t do any of that anymore because my job as editor is different; I get jealous when I read their drafts and know of their expereinces, because I used to do all those when I was a lowly staffwriter. It was always an adventure; now I’m stuck on my desk, editing their work. It’s not as fulfilling as writing, to be honest. Though my purpose is to polish their work and make it better, creating is still the best. Having an assistant is great and all, but it doesn’t give me that much leeway to pursue stories as much as I did. That’s all. I just really, really miss the adventure and discovery, the catch of the breath and the wonder and astonishment. I don’t want to just edit forever when I can do and create so much more.

~ The guy I like likes someone else. Yeah it’s not drastic or anything major, but I’m still gutted about it. He’s a friend; I don’t know where in the spectrum of friendship we stand, but he’s not a close or best friend (though I wish he was), but he’s not a an acquaintance either. I’d consider him a good friend still, but yeah, he likes someone else. I am totally bummed about it, but welp. He doesn’t know my feelings for him—which is great becaues it will stay that way—but it still hurts the same knowing he likes someone else. It’s a sucky feeling and, I won’t deny, ha-ha I am upset and want to cry about it because this person means so much to me and I don’t mean as much to him

~I’m teaching my 18 year old brother how to eat vegetables. In the family, I’ve pretty much surmised that I am the only one who ever really loves vegetables for real lol. I think I got it from my grandma because she loves vegetables and got me hooked on the green stuff since I was a kid, so eating veggies is pretty much second nature to me. My brother, however, is a carnivore and do not touch his fork with anything that has to do with vegetables… until this month, when he started having issues with his skin and found out it could have something to do with his all-meat diet, so he started training himself to like vegetables. It was hilarious watching him cry and gag over a piece of lettuce last night. I kept telling him it was just water, but he would drink a glass of water for every piece of lettuce he’d eat! He’s on the fence with it, but can tolerate the leaf when it has dressing and accompanied by fruit.

Then he started on a cube of raw tomato and a slice of cooked zucchini; so far he hasn’t bad reactions to the tomato (weird because I’m not so fond of the red, pleghmy thing) though he did choke on the zucchini!!! Weird, too, because zucchinis dont have much flavor to them when cooked, which is why it makes a great base. But yeah, so far I’m having a laugh over the catch-all of my brother’s vegetable journey.

~ Taking up too much space. I always feel like I am; I’m not sure if it’s because of my height (I’m 5’9), but I’m usually taller than my peers and it bothers me when it bothers people and they always point it out. I’m not skinny and lithe, and when I sit, I have rolls on my stomach. I have that extra softness everywhere that makes me jiggle—something I never really learned to accept. I feel ashamed and guilty for occupying more space than others when I stand and sit and move, when my legs take up the legroom (or lack, thereof) or more of the couch, always bumping and toppling over things and hitting my head and limbs on edges and corners and other people’s faces It definitely makes me conscious and insecure of my body. It doesn’t help either that I’m taller than most guys, and it seems to intimidate them. I know that’s not my problem; my problem is the fact that I always feel like I’m taking up too much space. I want to sprawl down and spill over on all my sides and outstretch my spine and legs and hands and not care if I’m being too much. I want to be like water, to stream forth and seep in all the crevices and crannies, boundless and penetrating. But most days I’m hunched over my desk, my shoulders drooped, slouching everywhere, my body curved inwards in hopes of making myself smaller and shorter…and eventually invisible and insignificant. Secretly I want to be a snail and carry a shell with me everywhere, to which I can retreat to for my liking.

~Of crippling depression. I had so much planned out for today. I woke up at 8 and started with today’s bullet journal to-do list. I was supposed to return my library books after lunch today because they were due yesterday and I didn’t want the extra fees to build up, but I had nothing done until 12 noon. I was lying in bed, crying, my hair greasy and unwashed. I was only forced to go to school when my dad offered to drive me, so I put on jeans and went off, determined even though my nose was stuffy and I had no ounce of make up on and I haven’t showered. It was so gross and I felt like shit, but I manage to return my books. I also finished reading Bradburys’s The Illustrated Man in the library restroom 5 minutes before surrendering it. I was glad I didn’t have to pay for the overdue fine; I thought that was weird, but the librarian assured me I didn’t have to. I took a picture of the receipt either way just in case they try to charge me in the future. But yeah, that was the first task of the day accomplished at 2pm. When I got home, I treated myself to a long bath, with a sugar scrub and aromatherapy candles and the whole shebang. I then read two articles: A Carmen Machado article in Guernica and Teresita Fernandez’s commencement speech. But then at 4pm I was lying in bed again, this time daydreaming about people and what I wished I could show and tell them. I drifted off to a long nap and woke up at 7pm, feeling energized though still upset because the day was over and I havent done anything.

I think this is what depression does. It keeps you from doing anything, even the most mundane things, even routines that are second nature to you. It’s difficult to keep at bay and I dont think I can ever keep it at bay forever, but it’s difficult and I hate it, I hate that it cripples me so much and I just feel so…powerless. Progress isnt perfect but my progress is so inifinitesimal and short-lived that it cannot even be called progress. I’m going around in circles and I’m sinking deeper in this quicksand turmoil faster than I can imagine.

It’s 1:32 am and I dont know. I’m longing for something and someone I dont know, I’m upset over everything and nothing, and cry over everything that triggers every emotion and I dont understand much of everything. I have yet to do my related literature and I want to sleep but I dont deserve rest because I haven’t done much and I honestly just hate this hopelessness and powerlessness. I cannot sit still and I cannot quiet down the rage and chaos inside me; it’s honestly eating me up inside and I don’t know how long I can last, but this is honestly so, so taxing and I don’t know. I dont know. I dont know. I’ve never known.

life currently

Reading– too many books at once. I started with The Illustrated Man a month ago and am still not halfway done with it because I started on Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore at the same time, read a few pages, put it down, then started on Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, did the same, and am now reading the first few pages of another book by a local writer. Honestly, this habit makes me so angry at myself because I cannot multitask with my reading. I have to focus. I pushed the other books away, and am now back to Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. I can finish this today if I really put my mind into it. No reading other books until I finish what I started with first sigh

Writing– the review of related literature of my thesis. scared and paranoid at the same time, because academic writing is so different from the writing that i usually do. it’s so…cold and unfeeling. it’s a challenge, but i think i can cope with it. it’s the researching of past material that’s killing me.

Listening– to Racing Glaciers’s Moths with tears in my eyes. I love this song so, so much.

Thinking– about my future, what I want to do, whether I will graduate on time in October or not, if happiness will ever be constant for me, my wellbeing, why i’m not trying hard enough and excelling enough and achieving enough and doing enough and being enough

Hoping- always for better days and good moods.

Wanting- to be left alone and at the same time be held so tight. wanting to be more expressive with my emotions, more open to people, exude more warmth. i’m trying, perhaps not my hardest, but i’m trying

Feeling- heavy and invasive, as if i’m taking up too much space with my being. feeling afraid for reasons unknown. feeling upset about my parents and ended up crying after they left. feeling depressed over everything in my life, but also feeling a bit happy that a lot of my staff writers went to storyboard yesterday. it was great. missed their faces.

Eating- a good breakfast. well, maybe brunch, because i heaved myself from bed at 11 am. brewed a cup of coffee and toasted two slices of walnut wheat bread and gave it a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of basil and a pinch of salt. the simplest breakfasts are the best.

Needing- to get my shit together. i cannot wait to get “into the swing of things” and should just force myself to do my responsibilities without complaining and being whiny. most of all, without being affected by my depressive state of mind.

Loving- my gel highlighter pen. it’s so smooth like a crayon!! i’ve used marker highlighters my whole life and absolutely hated the bleeding pages. this is revolutionary! also on my 3rd day of bullet journal-ing. it’s crude and messy and definitely not Pinterest-worthy but i’m loving it so far.

Dreading- my debate later in class. yesterday we had to do public speaking in another class and i was h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e. totally forgot what i was going to say and just stood there like an idiot for many painful seconds. i detest speaking in front of people. give me a pen and paper any fucking day.

Of long talks, Jazz, and Virgina Woolf essays

Last night was a good night mainly, I think, because my little brother and I got to talk again. I love how even though he’s turning 19 soon, he still sits on the couch with me, holds my hand, and tells me about his day. I love how as we grow older, we also become closer and closer, and trusting of each other. We are best friends, and each other’s only family. I am so grateful for him. We’ve been wallowing in our depression the past few days, but he was different last night. He had an air of confidence and determination, and he was sure of himself. He told me about his realizations lately and why we should keep each other up whenever bouts of depression get the best of us. He told me he’s tired of feeling sorry for himself and giving up too fast; he actually made me promise that if ever I find myself in darkness and vice versa, one of us has to encourage the other and not affirm the other’s depression. We actually pinky promised about it. Last night when I was ranting about my woes again, he was scolding me and telling me to stop thinking so lowly of myself. It’s so nice knowing my brother looks out for me, and I to him; I don’t deserve his love, for sure, but here he is still loving me. He is the actual, absolute best, and I am so happy to see him happy last night and take control of his life. I’d rather be depressed than see him depressed; I’m glad he took reign of himself and changed the way he thought of himself. He’s doing great. He’ll be great. And he’ll be okay. He’s far stronger than I am.

As for me, well, I woke up late today, but I actually heaved myself up from bed without crying. I always feel old and lost and weary and aimless, but I think today is a good start. I had a big breakfast and a small cup of coffee, and am about to get ready to attend a forum and see one of my favorite journalists of all time. My brother told me last night to focus on daily goals instead of panicking over things that are still too far away. You know, just take it one day at a time. I think that’s better than worrying about next Sunday and the next two years. So today my goal is to finish this blog post, write a letter to my aunt, attend the forum, go for a run, read an essay by Virginia Woolf, and maybe drop by the museum if I have the time. Perhaps write a bit of my novel, too, if I stay up late.

I was able to write the first draft of the first chapter of my novel two days ago; it still requires ruthless, unforgiving editing, but it felt great to see progress, even if it’s little progress. I think instead of focusing too much and enumerating all my problems, it’s better if I just pat myself on the back for my little triumphs. My brother told me I cannot let depression get the best of me. I cannot condemn myself to the gutter; I have to help myself. It’s going to be a long, long life ahead of me—if I don’t die early—but I have to be steadfast and unwavering. My life is just starting, not on the cusp of ending, is it not?

Last night, when I was wallowing in my woes, I told my brother, “I’ll be suffering for a long, long time.”

He told me, instead, “No, you’ll be working for a long, long time, and it will be worth it.” True, but only if (and this is a big if) I love what I am working on and working with. And he’s right. I shouldn’t look at life as if it owes me a good life; it’s already a given that life’s unfair, but it doesn’t have to be futile. Yes, working hard and working honestly doesn’t guarantee a good life—deserving people still get shortchanged and cheaters and frauds get richer and successful—but that doesn’t mean life is futile. I think at the end of the day we are not measured by our achievements and awards, but whether we tried our best or not in what we did, regardless if we failed or not. It’s putting the best effort we are able to give in life. I give meaning to my life, and if I want life to be worth it, it will be. I really don’t know what I’d do without my brother. He’s my everything.

I also met with my thesis mentor two days ago and I think I judged him too fast, I must admit. We’ve finally reached a tradeoff and I realized he’s actually kinda pleasant, though a terribly, terribly busy man, but I appreciate him giving us fifteen minutes of his time for consultation. I’m excited and scared of thesis writing at the same time.

My editor in chief also told me yesterday he entered my article to the national student quill awards. I’m not expecting to win; I’ve already looked past the “prestige” of awards (I am not my awards), but for him to trust my work to actually submit my entry is more than enough. It definitely made my day.

Editor work is okay; I’m still grasping at straws. I don’t think there is a step-by-step guide on How To Be A Good Editor or How To Be A Good Writer, but I am doing my best to make time to write on my own and encourage my staff writers at the same time, but it’s a two-way thing. I can only help them if they also help themselves; and there are delinquents, of course, and there’s nothing I can do about those, if they refuse to do their best. I find it so heartwarming, though, when I see other staff writers enjoying what they do. Their zeal and commitment to the publication and to writing itself affirms why I love being editor, and writing—even though it’s a demanding and thankless job.

I’ve also started listening to jazz the other day. I’m new to the genre, but it’s something I’ve always found beautiful and interesting, though daunting enough to actually stay away from it all this time, but I finally started on a few greats. I listened to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue album, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, and Thelonius Monk’s Monk’s Dream. They’re good albums to start with; I hope to expand my jazz knowledge in the future, of course. When I was listening to Coltrane’s Psalm, I paid attention to the saxophone solo, and it was as if it was speaking to me, and when I finally put Thelonius Monk on, I found it so good I actually took my shoes off (while in the library, mind you!).  I realized I liked jazz a lot; I love it’s unpredictability, and how it’s exciting and no piece is ever the same. Even the same piece is never the same when played again; it is always new and you find something different that you missed the first time. It reminds me of math rock, a genre that is also close to my heart. Jazz and math rock, for me, are endless unravelings and unwrappings, timeless efflorescences of astonishment and wonder that take the breath away, whether I look at it with unwinking eyes or listen to it continually. It’s inexplicable.

Ok, I have to get ready for the forum. Will write soon.

The Library

I woke up late today around 10:30 in the morning. I slept through my alarms (all 23 of them!) and when I got down to the kitchen my mom was already cooking lunch and my brother was getting ready to leave for class. He was talking to my mom about his friends and how he feels out of place in their conversations. I eavesdropped while I made myself marinara pasta. Apparently he didn’t like how his group of friends always talked about shallow things, of internet memes and the latest sneakers or whatever. He says they talk about it every single day and that’s why he feels drained all the time because he finds them toxic. I tried to tell him there are really going to be people in his life who he can only talk to about meaningless things and that’s fine, but deep inside I understood him because I felt the same way about my best friend. We have nothing in common; I cannot talk to her about philosophy and politics and culture and my favorite science fiction books because she doesn’t find them interesting. She’s not a huge reader; she likes pop music and makeup videos and Twitter memes—all fine, but I it gets toxic. She loves talking about other people’s lives and relationships and their sex lives (which I hate!), but that doesn’t mean she’s not my best friend anymore. But I get my brother though. It gets lonely.

“I just hate meaningless conversations,” he says. But hey, I think sometimes we have to talk about fluff. No one’s a special snowflake; but I understand that if it’s everyday then he definitely needs to displace himself for a while or find new friends. “I just hate that they’re always talking about the latest gadgets and shoes. It’s so materialistic.” And I agreed with him. The vanity and greed that goes hand in hand with our materialist, consumerist culture disgusts me. I patted him on the back and tried to cheer him up. I told him if they were really his friends, he should be honest with them and tell them what he’s feeling and thinking. If they’re real, they’ll listen, understand, and come to a tradeoff. If nothing happens, I told him he should just look for better, more wholesome, and insightful friends. He shrugged, still irritated.

I ate my lunch quickly and told my brother to wait for me. I’m gonna walk with him on the way to his commute route because he passes by the local library everyday and I promised myself I will check it out this week. I took a quick shower and was down in 20 minutes ( a record!!!). We passed by my mom who was sitting in the garage, having her daily cigarettes and coke. The smell is just disgusting. I hate her for that.

We started walking down the street, me clutching my books and notebooks to my chest and him with his big headphones on. We walked in silence until he finally spoke, “What’s with all the pink?”

“What?”

He puckers his lips and points to his cheeks.

“Oh,” I say. I had no answer. Here I am walking to the library five minutes away from my house with a face dabbed with blush and lipstick. I sighed. I wear makeup to school everyday to look decent and I guess I just got used to it.

“I don’t know, I’m vain,” I said, laughing at the thought. Aren’t we all?! Here I am writing about my life and my woes—isn’t writing vanity itself? It’s absurd. Life is absurd. Or maybe because I do look better with rosier cheeks and pinker lips. Ha-ha.

We walked around the vicinity of the library and he sent me off. “Bye,” he said as I stepped inside the entrance. Bye, I said back. And then he was gone.

~

I’ve been here in the library for about two hours. It’s small and it’s only on one floor. There are wooden tables around with peeling violent paint. There were a couple of grade school kids here earlier and a group of old men playing chess and reading newspapers, but they all left already. It’s just me here, other than the old librarian (I think it’s her?) and her two assistants and two—I assume—grandkids. I haven’t spoken to them, and it’s fine because when you’re in the library, you’re not compelled to engage in small talk. It’s the only place I know that treats silence as sacrosanct. The librarian is everything I envisioned her to be. She’s probably around 60 years old or more, wearing light trousers, and a plaid shirt. She has cropped hair and wears pearl earrings. She has a thin gold watch around her wrist, but she wears no wedding ring. I want to talk to her, but I’m daunted because she sounds firm and strict when talking to her grandchildren. I think she’s one of those disciplinarian types…

Right now she’s arranging the books on the shelves with her assistant. The kids behind me are making incomprehensible noises. The library is quaint. It’s hot too; no A/C, just electric fans. The grilled windows overlook the center of the plaza. I think I like it here. At least these people respect my silence and Solitude. I think I’ll go here regularly. I like it here.

The library assistant fixing the shelves was humming Stand By Me, and now he’s breaking into song. He’s so unabashed! I want to laugh out loud. What a comical man. I think I’ll befriend him, his voice is really nice.

A pancakey morning

I was feeling pancakey this morning. I think it’s when you wake up and start singing, Pancakes, pancakes, gunna make some pankykessszzz to yourself, so I immediately went down to make myself some for breakfast. I made three layers of pancake blobs, topped it with cherries and strawberries, and realized half way through eating that I was mistaken and was not—after all—feeling pancakes in any way. I only ate half before feeling queasy; I hated the cloying sweetness and slimy syrup in my mouth, and remembered just how much I hate sweets in the morning. I put the rest away thinking, What a waste.

I’ve managed to calm myself down from yesterday’s proverbial morning. I will be off to school in an hour or two. I met my thesis mentor yesterday and realized in the first three minutes of meeting him that we weren’t going to see eye to eye. I already dislike the man. I don’t want to rule anything out yet and I’m trying to look at this in the most positive way I can, but a part of me feels like crumbling. He is such a closed-minded person (or maybe I’m the closed-minded one), but I hope this is only a challenge that would make me strive to do better and harder. Sad thing is we’re not allowed to change thesis mentors. I honestly don’t want to lose it in the end and break down. To save myself the heartbreak, I will be the one doing the adjusting (yes, this is so unbecoming of me), but he better work with me. If I see that I’m the only one doing all the work, I will call him out for his shit and file for grievance. I know it’s only been the first meeting and it wasn’t the best, but I’m hoping it gets better in the next few weeks. We really need to work together. Moreover, I must be expressive with my thoughts and feelings to my thesis group mates. I know I’ve always done excellently by myself for the longest time, but this time, I really cannot work alone. As much as I hate working with others, we’re a team and must work together. God, this all sounds so new age. Holism has got to go. Bye Baruch! Ha-ha oh my goodness sometimes I gross myself out…

Anyway, my brother came home this morning at 8 am. He told me the guard in his university didn’t let him inside the gates because his pants weren’t appropriate for class (his university has uniforms, gross). Good thing his first class was canceled so he went home to change before his 1pm class. He just left a few minutes ago, his giant headphones swallowing his ears. This is how he blocks the world’s noise and, perhaps, how he stills the chaos in his heart and head. He flashed me a peace sign before walking off; maybe I’ll get a chance to talk to him tonight. We barely do so during school week.

Lately I’ve been wanting to buy zinnias for my pottery shed; I sort of want to get into gardening and urban farming. I want to see flowers every morning. It’s only lately that I started appreciating flowers. I think they just look horrendous in a tight bouquet, but I like seeing them in pots and moist beds of soil. I found out that zinnias are one of the easiest to grow for a beginner, and also in our tropical climate! I haven’t found the time to explore actually, but have found a contact where I can get zinnia seeds. I can see my tiny pottery shed overflowing with random potted plants and herbs. I need to create a safe space for myself and, I think, my pottery shed behind my room can be one. The library in my university feels too cold nowadays for my liking; the newsroom is always too crowded; my room is alright, but my bed distracts me; my pottery shed right now is too bare; and the dining table is too open.

I’m thinking of taking a trip to the local library just five minutes walking distance from my house. It has always been there ever since I was born (and decades before) but I’ve never stepped foot in it. No one ever goes there; it’s a sad state in the plaza, to be honest. It’s surrounded with trash and its signage is unreadable. It just looks like an ordinary two-story old house with peeling paint, actually. Tricycles drivers and street food vendors and homeless people have invaded its vicinity and facade, but I know it’s still an active library because I checked the government site last week and it says it’s open every Monday to Friday—unless the government site isn’t updated. Maybe I should call the librarian before paying a visit. I’ve always wanted to be good friends with a librarian. The librarians I’ve encountered in the past weren’t that great, and the ones in my university don’t really care much for books. I need a librarian I can talk to for hours and hours on end about literature and philosophy and politics and all sorts of things. If this all works out perhaps this local library can be my new safe space. Crossing my fingers! I’ve never felt this excited for a while. I think my heart will break if I find out this library does not function anymore. I should note this down: Visit local library this week! 

At least the rotting lemons are now gone from the fruit platter. They have been replaced with four mangoes. I think this is a better sign than rotting lemons. How nice it would be to stare life’s lemons down, but I am nowhere near that kind of courage. Getting up and going through the day is always difficult for me, but I must know and be adamant about my worth. If I just tried, I can be so much more, so much more.