bad teeth

(i have a major exam tomorrow so obviously i’m writing about my fear of dentists, my mother, childhood, nostalgia, and other things that have no connection whatsoever with my exam)

i never liked dentists. my mother is a dentist. as a child i would often go to her clinic for my monthly cleaning. her clinic was in the middle of the busy town market, across the butcher shop and vegetable stalls, on the second floor of the rundown apartment complex we owned. there she’d sit me up on her chair and probe and poke around my mouth with her foreign metal tools. every time i am there she would scold me for my bleedy gums and cavities, and how i always have cavities even though she reminds me to brush my teeth every night. up, down, side to side, the backs of the teeth, the corners, the in-betweens, the tongue, never forget the tongue! yet i still had bad teeth, worse than my brothers who never ate fruits and vegetables. from this she surmised that i was just that: a child who never cared about my teeth. but she was wrong. i was very much obsessed with my teeth. or, perhaps, very much obsessed with ruining them. i’ve lost five permanent tooths since then, mainly because of all the sweets i secretly devoured. i couldve given her the brightest smile, but instead i gave her rotten teeth. perhaps unconsciously i was ruining my teeth on purpose so i’d get her attention, because even though she’d scold me, i know she was still focusing on me. only me. and that was what i wanted. it was only during my cleanings with her that i found tenderness and closeness. she made me nervous and afraid when she’d sit on her stool in her white, characterless coat, wearing soury rubber gloves and a mask that hid the planes and features of her face. i would feel nauseous. i hated the clinical feeling of it all, but in my head she was still my mother. i was being probed and examined and i felt naked and guilty, but this was still my mother.

and perhaps why i never liked dentists was because i always thought the insides of my mouth were only for my mother’s eyes. and i cannot let others touch my teeth and see the worsts of my mouth because only my mother can know of my secrets. because it’s for her. i still don’t see other dentists. i don’t think i ever can, because when my mother examines my mouth and prods it with her tools and fills my cavities with filling, she is gentle and soft. and if it was some other dentist it wont feel the same way because they wont have tenderness for me and they wont have the softness of my mother’s hands, they wont have the familiarity of it all. because if i look up at them from my seat, i wont have longingness for them. because when my mother fills the hollowness of my cavities, it was her filling the empty spaces inside of me that have always been crying for her. because even though she’s angry at me for not brushing my teeth, i know that if i scream or exaggerate my pain, she would caress my cheek and soothe me with her voice, and here i’d feel her love.  because the only time i saw tenderness from her was when she’d wipe my drool away and tell me to gargle well and not spill, when she’d touch my cheek and my chin and ask me if it hurt. when, deep inside, i wanted her to ask me instead if her distance hurt more, if it hurt me more to be right there next to her and still feel her detachment, as if we were never umbilically connected once, because she doesn’t know that when i open my mouth for her, i am letting her love me, that this is me reaching out to her. and that when she works on me, she is so close to me that i wonder if i may just be able to hug her and touch her hair if i reached up.

and i always dreaded the time when she’d finish with me, when she’d take off my bib and push me up from the chair and make me gargle one last time, because i know it would all be over. and as a child i wished our cleanings would last all afternoon, but they almost always took only an hour, and then i’d have to wait another month again to feel her. it felt too fast and ended too soon, and being a child i figured that if i had more cavities, she’d spend more time working on me, being with me. because when it was over, i knew she would go back to her awkward person, unsure and uncertain of how to love me.

perhaps because i push her away, perhaps because i am something she cannot figure out, because she isn’t like me. or i am not like her, or what she wishes me to be. because when she asked for a daughter, she wanted a daughter the way she wanted a daughter exactly, and not what ever i was going to turn out to be. because when she prayed for a perfect and unique model, what she got was an ugly pastiche. because i am not a box she can put things in with whatever she wants and adorn with frills and ribbons. because i am a stubborn box that refuses to open to her. because i do not want to be like her, do not want her failures to be my insecurity and failures. but it happens the other way, and i find myself becoming more and more like her—the worst of her. and i hate it. i hate it so much. because i am more pigheaded than i believe, because i said i will be my own person, because i said i will break the cycle. because if theres anything i don’t want to be, it’s to be like her. but here i am, and i am just that: an awkward person, uncertain of how to love and show my softness and tenderness to other people, and so i stand here, helplessly wringing my hands.

i’m 20 now. i think i am a young woman now. i don’t remember the last time i had a cleaning with her. i have a cavity or two that needs checking and filling, but i am afraid to go to the school dentist because they will only scoop my eyes out and judge me for all eternity. and i am deathly afraid of reaching out to my mother, because i am not a child anymore. i cannot pretend to be in pain and demand for her caress, because i know she will smell my phoniness., most of all, i am afraid—really, really afraid— that if i sit on her dentist’s chair again, i wont find love and tenderness there anymore.

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.

Of dysfunctional homes

I had a proverbial morning. The fruit platter across me held limes and lemons—soft and bruised and on the cusp of rotting. The problem is I don’t think anyone in this house plans to make lemonade any time soon because the sorry things are left to wither away. When life gives me lemons I don’t make lemonade either because I hate lemonade, so instead of being optimistic in the face of difficulty, I numb and repress myself, and turn a blind eye to my “lemons” until they rot. It gets tiring.

I had a long talk with my brother over midnight snacks two nights ago. We talked for two hours. It’s always the same thing: Trying to wrestle with our depression while making sure our parents’ depression and frustrations in life don’t drown us. My only stability is my brother; he is the only family I recognize. It hurts me to hear him say how he contemplates about suicide often, and if not suicide, of running away and disappearing forever. It’s hypocritical, though, because I am the same way, but am more affected when it comes from him. I cannot imagine what goes through his head every single day, but knowing myself and the chaos in my heart and head, it pains me to think that my brother is going through the same thing, if not worse.

When I twist and turn in bed every night I cry because I know my brother is doing the same thing in his room. And when we wake up, we wake up with storms inside our heads and hearts, with the world on our shoulders, and sometimes he masks his pain with loud music, and I with silence or silent crying or writing, but most days we try to stay out of the house as much as we can. It only hit me recently that the root of our anxiety and depression is our own family and religion.

We’re a dysfunctional family. Emotions are repressed, our parents are depressed and pretty much giving up on life, there’s no affection and intimacy, no encouragement, no support, just silence, but the wrong kind of silence. It breaks the spirit and makes you believe you don’t deserve any goodness in life. I’m so tired. My mom is unstable and shallow and paranoid. My dad’s just as emotionally impaired; he disappears in the shadows at the sight of conflict and is always in denial. My parents are both depressed and frustrated with life; perhaps they are not happy with the lives they’ve built. They’re always fighting. They’re always smoking. Until today, I flinch at the sound of raised voices. Until today, I recoil and cry over the stench of cigarettes.

We weren’t raised to be strong and courageous; we were raised to be ass-kissers and people-pleasers. As losers. That we should always follow someone and fear someone and eat from the hands of someone. To be raised this way and grow up in a household of such backwards thinking and toxicity takes a toll on you—no matter what my brother and I do to better ourselves, it’s always going to be our anchor pulling us down. To have this much insecurity and distrust of our own selves—it turns you into glass, and when held up into the light, you just shatter. I’m tired of the emotional manipulation, of the repression, and emotional neglect. I feel no security here.

Seeing your parents give up on life at such a young age…it just breaks the spirit. It’s this kind of upbringing  that made me so afraid of life and people. I hate confrontation. I never show my true emotions, I never let people get close. I get embarrassed and guilty over everything. I can’t explain to people why I go to the bathroom to cry in between classes because little things in class trigger my emotions. I can’t explain to people why I flinch when someone says my name or why i freeze when someone hugs me or touches me or why I’ve always fantasized about death since kindergarten or why I never call anyone “friend” because it feels undeserving for me or why I’m always conscious of being “too much” of anything or why every minute movement of mine is calculated or why i refuse all acts of kindness or why i put everyone at arms length and just cant seem to connect to anyone or why every little thing is overthought or why i’d rather cut ties than develop relationships or why im an impostor because i’m always putting an act or why i can’t commit to anyone or show warmth to anyone because I’ve never known it or why my brain’s wired to believe that everyone is either gonna hurt me or yell at me or why i can’t just fucking stop being afraid of anything because fear is the only constant thing in my life.

it’s so hard being invisible in my own suffering and it’s even harder to try to explain it to someone who will never listen and never understand. I know the way i was brought up isn’t my destiny, but it’s such a fucking heavy baggage to carry because it’ll always haunt me no matter what. it’s never gonna go away. to simply say, “Take the reigns and live the life you want to live” is so much easier said than done when choosing freedom means losing everything i have and starting from nothing and suffering even more.

Sometimes I get jealous of other families because I’ve never known such warmth. What I really want in this life is to just be held at night and sleep at ease, in peace. What I really want in this life is for someone to say my name full of warmth and love. What I really want is someone to hold my hand in silence. But life is futile and existence is random. I try to see life in a different light, perhaps if I look at life this way or that way, it will take my breath away, perhaps if I looked for those moments of always within never, with unclouded eyes, I will see the beauty of life. But I don’t. And it’s like grasping at straws everyday and I am just so so tired. I’m tired of the noise outside and within, I’m tired of people and faces, I’m so tired of the fake life I have to put up with, how I am never really myself anywhere, which makes me wonder if I really do know myself or I’m just taking up different identities depending on where I go or where I am or who I talk to and it makes me wonder, when I’m alone at night, who am I really? What identity am I taking up this time? Or do I have none—that even when alone, I still cannot stare myself down in the mirror?

Sometimes I have to give my brother the credit for even having the courage to go out and face the world, even with so much apprehension and fear, that he can still be so trusting and so kind, to not let the evil of the world embitter him because unlike me, i’ve given up so long ago, that i no longer see the goodness in anyone or anything, that my heart is hardened and I’ve become unforgiving and cold and untrusting and ruthless—to others and to myself—that i never show any love to anyone or anything. and so, when i am shown some kind of kindness, i feel defeated because i cannot be angry at it, and my response is always, “Stop helping me, do I look like I’m incapable? I don’t need your help fuck off stay away”

But my brother and I love talking about life. We look forward to hours of talking about life—maybe because we’ve never lived life the way we’ve always wanted, and so when we talk about life, we talk about how we want to live it and what we’d do differently. But it’s all talk. I think at the back of our heads, we’ve somewhat convinced ourselves that life will never get better, so we just talk about our dreams and what we want to do because we don’t see anything else going for us. We talk of life’s brevity, of death, we talk about our dreams and how they might just stay as dreams forever, of broken spirits and broken hearts, of not having the will to continue on because nothing makes sense, because life is so futile. It’s tiring.

The start of tumult

Lately I’ve been avoiding doing anything productive. Lately I’ve been avoiding doing anything at all, even the things I enjoy. I don’t know what’s up with myself, but my depression took off around New Year’s Eve and I’ve been feeling horrible since then. Second term of Uni started this week and I didn’t go, I just hid in my room and holed myself up because I’m just not ready to face people and go back to work. It’s so difficult for me to get back into the swing of things after the holiday coma; I thought I would’ve hd enough time for headspace by now, but turns out I didn’t really get any headspace because I’ve been troubled even during my supposed holiday break. My deadline’s on Sunday and I have a bunch of my staff writers’ articles to edit as well as two stories I have yet to start on, but I feel no desire or energy to do anything productive. At all. I just want to lie in bed, cry, and wither away. I hate being so confusing and weak. The past few days I’ve done nothing but stare at my computer screen and get nothing done. I tried to force myself to do anything but found myself procrastinating and lost in my daydreams. I even tried to write down my feelings on my journal, but even that I’ve avoided to do. Until tonight. And I’m not feeling this either, but I don’t want to feel like a useless piece of shit. At least when I wake up tomorrow I can make myself feel better by saying, “Well I wrote last night, so I got something done.” Even though, in truth, this doesn’t really mean anything.

Writing will never be easy. I declare war with myself every time I write. It’s 80% self loathing, 10% staring at walls and ceilings, and 10% wringing my hands. I really don’t know what to do anymore. My to-do list is extensive and I don’t know if I’m just being anal about my list and writing everything that I think I must do to make myself believe I’m doing something with my life, or I really have to do these things and can’t afford to neglect anything. I know it’s a bad way to start the first week of the new year, but I am so full of self loathing right now.

Moreover, I find myself getting more and more annoyed of everybody. It doesn’t matter who or what they’re doing, everybody just irritates the shit out of me. I feel so horrible, because every time my dad would try to talk to me I would snap at him for no reason at all and I can’t help it, it’s as if it has became my defense mechanism, that every time someone tries to talk to me, I would snap. Every time my mother would talk to me, I would ignore her and not say a word and for some odd reason, I would feel a huge wave of annoyance or primal animosity deep within. I cannot explain it, and I fear that it may be a serious problem or just me being a hormonal moody ungrateful daughter. But I am not okay and I realize that I am not and feel deeply sorry and horrible and I admit that I am being unfair and that something is wrong, I just can’t fucking name it, I just can’t put a finger on what is actually wrong. It makes me even more depressed and guilty. Yesterday I spent the day crying. A few hours ago I was crying again and I don’t know why. I’ll probably cry myself to sleep again tonight. I just feel so overwhelmed and stressed over something I don’t know and I wish I knew what it was so I can have a lead on how to make myself feel better, but nothing seems to be working.

I am so frustrated and agitated by everything and everyone, and I cannot run or speak to anyone either because I’ve made myself believe that I cannot trust anybody. And, to be honest, I’m better off wrestling with my mind than worrying whether people will understand and listen to me or not. I don’t know why I am this way. Though to be fair, I really cannot explain what I feel ninety-nine percent of the time, sometimes I cannot even express my own emotions. I know I need to be more expressive with my emotions, but I just clam up and avoid dealing with it by cutting everything and everyone off. I feel so disgusting and useless. I have nothing to look forward to; my days are bleak and I am honestly losing hope for the future. Everyday I ask myself about the futility of life and every single day my belief that life really is meaningless just gets stronger and stronger. I don’t want to say I’ve given up, but I am not looking forward to the coming days. I just want to disappear from the face of earth with no trace. No one will know where I went to or what happened to me, I’ll just suddenly be gone and no one will hear from me ever again. I would give anything to vanish from here. I don’t really want to be here.

If you’re reading this, may your life be happier and far less complicated than mine.

patience

i popped three vitamin e pills open this morning. i squeezed the oil from its soft gels, slathered it all over my face, and left it to work its whatever while i hunched over my laptop. finals week is finally over and all i have to do is wait for my grades to be released before i can fully wallow in my short holiday break from university. i hate waiting so much; i am the most impatient person i know and, believe me, i’ve encountered countless rude and irate people, but my impatience is too great to be surpassed. this is a bad thing, by the way, i am not bragging about my impatience. if anything, it’s one of my major flaws i want to get rid of. i’ve been trying so hard to be patient with people—strangers and loved ones alike—but when people make me wait, a huge wave of primal anger just possesses me.

the anger is so great that i find it difficult to control and i end up running away to a comfort room or an empty hall to release my tears. i always convert my anger to tears—only because i’d rather cry than be violent. if i don’t cry, i try to calm myself down with breathing exercises and distract my thoughts; this seems to work, but only for a while. it just keeps the anger at bay, but some times the anger still bubbles and spills over. i pretty much surmised that if i deal with intense emotions, i always have to find some type of medium for release. i cannot just “be calm” or “control my thoughts”. it has never worked for me. so far i only have crying as my medium, which royally sucks, by the way, because i hate crying too. i know this whole loss of control over my emotions is just me being immature and unmindful of my self and being; if i were really mindful and conscious of my thoughts and feelings, i wouldn’t have lose my shit in the first place. which means *anticlimactic drum roll* i need to be more mindful. mindfulness. i’m starting to think that maybe i will never have full control of my thoughts and emotions. i try and try and try but at some point or another, i end up failing and crying or getting angry over something. i can read all these books on buddhism and meditation and mindfulness and i’ll still be nowhere near of being mindful!

whatever. i’m digressing. it’s a Saturday and i’m waiting for the release of my grades. it’s supposed to come out today or tomorrow, but i cannot sit still. this has been a difficult difficult term. i had a hard time balancing my time with majors, thesis, part-time work, internship, and my job as editor. throughout the term, i’ve only been to the library TWICE and only ate breakfast ONCE (last week before my test, actually). this term definitely put my health on the line and tested my patience for humanity.

i pretty much summed up that i will never like humans. ever. and what i mean by that is humans in groups. i love individuals and intimate groups of 3, but geez, put me in a group or a crowd and i will snap. as much as groups of people are capable of doing good, deny it or not, groups of people are also capable of collective stupidity and if there’s anything i hate more than an ignorant person it’s an entire group of ignorant assholes.

this is just me complaining but wow, i feel as if i need to spend the entire break indoors away from everybody because my soul is damaged. my heart feels so heavy, my mind is in its usual chaos but i feel as if i have no soul at all. i need to get back into reading and writing and biking just to feel alive again. i am all peopled out.

which is why i went to the bookstore a few days ago and got a few for cheap. i managed to find a battered copy of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. it was buried under a pile of old cookbooks and ACT review books. it’s crumpled and torn, and the spine is hopeless but the pages are still perfect, i think. the name of the previous owner is written on the front page and i am tempted to search for them and reach out to them; every time i get a book from the thrift store and find its old owner’s name, i am compelled to find them just to tell them, “hey, i’m the new owner of this book. thanks for passing this on.” books are so beautiful; i love how it gets passed around, transcending one person to another, touching every soul it comes upon. i hope after i’ve exhausted this book in a few years, i get to pass it down to the next reader. this is how literature lives on.

it is now 11:48 am. my stomach is empty and it’s angry at me. i cannot go down, though, because my mother is in the kitchen. i haven’t spoken to her and my dad in a while. i’ve lost count of the days, actually. usually when we fight i count each day that has passed of me not talking to them, but this time i just stopped counting. i don’t think it matters, anyway, because it hurts the same. if they think i get satisfaction and happiness from ignoring them they are dead wrong, but i think this is how things will always be. i snuck down yesterday to try and make myself a sandwich, but due to my bad timing, i was caught in a crossfire. my mother was going up from the garage to the kitchen while my dad was going down from the deck. i was trapped. then my mom started yelling at my brother because he had to leave for a friend’s birthday (and according to her he’s not allowed to leave because there’s church tomorrow and we need a day to spiritually prepare ourselves fucking wow) and i just went back to my room because i didn’t want to get caught in all the shit. my stomach was still empty.

after my brother left, i immediately messaged him and asked him what happened. of course, it was the same damn thing that we harp on about. he’s tired of this house, he’s tired of the religion and the church, he’s tired of the dogmatic backwards beliefs they keep forcing down our throats. i tell him i feel the exact same way. and then he tells me how he wishes we can just be out of here and i told him to be patient because i’m working our way out.

it sucks that every time my brother and i talk it’s always about us being unhappy and depressed here, and of us dreaming of a great wide world out there, out of this house and out of this church, where we can be truly happy. our days are full of disquiet and rage, our nights sad and lonely, but fortunately for my brother, he has a hand to hold whenever things get tough—a special someone in his life who i have yet to meet. i think it doesn’t matter what other shit i go through as long as i see my brother happy and free. i told him, we can pool our money together and rent a cheap apartment by the time i finish college next year. by then i can get a job, sell my soul for a while to earn money for the rent, and then we can live together.

i know my dreams have to take a backseat. i know i will suffer even more, but if there’s anything i’m willing to be patient for, it’s our freedom. i’m willing to wait and bust my ass everyday as long as i get myself and my brother out of here. then we can start dreaming and living for real.

mess and noise (or lack, thereof)

today was a good day. i’d go as far as saying it’s one of the better ones i’ve had lately. i’ve been practicing pottery this weekend and have finally gotten back my mojo (in centering, at least). i haven’t properly focused on pottery the past few months due to all the chaos going on in my life and have, unfortunately, lost my muscle memory when it came to throwing on the wheel. i made sure to go back to the basics and spent hours this weekend looking for that familiar feeling. today i was able to center and lift with ease. the familiarity is back and i hope to never lose it again. of course i wouldn’t say it’s perfect, but i was able to make two bowls and one plate without repeating. i hope to start lifting higher walls in the next few weeks and actually throw a tall vase, but i need to clock in more hours of practice. i made a giant mess out of my balcony, but it felt great. the thing i love about pottery is i am encouraged to create a mess out of everything; i love it most especially because i’ve spent my whole life being told not to make any mess and finding a medium where my mess is celebrated is so liberating for me. i haven’t really established my own style and technique in pottery; i am still mastering the basics, but i hope i can branch out in the near future and be able to do sculpting as well. i wish to know clay so intimately to the point that i will be able to throw pots and sculpt even with my eyes closed.  a big hairy ambitious goal indeed, but i long to be in that state. i sometimes still feel frustrated and aggravated whenever i do pottery. this isn’t just limited to pottery though;  i am frustrated and in pain when i write as well. i am aiming for some kind of perfection. not perfection in denotation because that is impossible, but perfection in my own terms. what that is and how i will be able to achieve it is hazy to me, but i believe its entirety can be achieved with persistence and practice…and more practice. either way, i found myself at peace with the world today. no anxiety or paranoia or any turbulent thoughts; no feeling as if i am being rushed or forced to do something. i was happy doing my craft and basking in solitude, in silence, once again.sometimes i find myself afraid of the silence because it is the crucial time wherein i hear my own noise. i am faced with noise every day; from honking cars to loud conversations and barking mongrels, but it is the noise from within that frightens me the most. my anger, hatred, frustrations, insecurities, and little annoyances—all these noises that contribute to the degradation of my mental health. i face these everyday with no escape, but today was different. there was no voice in my head telling me i wasn’t good enough, no surge of depression, no anxiety over a petty thing. i am so grateful for today; days like this make me see the beauty of Life, that, perhaps, Life isn’t so futile after all and it actually has meaning. sometimes i wish it was like this everyday, sometimes i wish i didn’t have to cry myself to sleep and cry again the moment i wake up out of fear of life itself, sometimes i wish i never had to wake up feeling as if i’m carrying the whole world on my shoulders, but most days i still do and i’m trying to live with that reality, but it’s such a good feeling having none of that today. i’m cherishing it and writing it down because i don’t know when i’ll have days like this again.

Hatred

I saw my dad eating lunch alone on the dining table today so I sat with him because I hate seeing anyone eating alone, but we didn’t talk. I think it will always be awkward between my dad and I; we’re just not close, I suppose. I hate his aloofness and denial, his habit of brushing things off and pretending everything is alright, his black and white thinking when it comes to religion, and his tendency to make smalltalk just to fill the awkward silence.

I hate my mother and her coke and cigarettes, the disgusting smell of smoke every time I step in the door, how it lingers in all the crevices of the household and permanently stays there, always stinging my nose and dizzying me. It doesn’t matter where she hides herself, the pungent smell always finds me and it’s depressing.

I hate my younger brother and how he bars the whole world from him with just one slam of a door, always going home late from his friends’ house, his moodiness that always annoys the shit out of me, his warring emotions and wavering trust, how he can open his heart to me today and ignore me the next.

I hate my older brother for dropping out of college to pursue ministry, how he left home when i was just in high school, how the role of the eldest child was passed on and drilled to me by my parents, how we never talked again after he left, the estrangement thanks to the years we missed out on because he had to follow his dumb calling, and the reality that I don’t really know anything about him and he’s just as good as dead. I hate his self-righteousness and how he thinks he can preach over me, and how he will never understand that his god is only powerful to the next believer. and I’ve stopped believing a long time ago.

I hate my street, because even though it is called Freedom Street, there is really no freedom in it. And I hate my neighbors, how they act indifferent and uninterested but start whispering at the slightest hint of scandal.

I hate the daily commute and how I can never walk out of my house in peace, thanks to the omnipresent slimy stares of men.

I hate people and how no one is ever consistent with anything, that I am really alone in this life and no one can be trusted 100 percent, that i can never count on anybody’s word

I hate myself for my avoidant behavior, purposely evading responsibilities and tasks because i’m a piece of shit.

I hate my maladaptive daydreaming and how i believe whatever my imagination can conjure is better than real life

I hate my unrealistic high standards and expectations for myself, my hypocrisy for appreciating people for who they are, but cannot apply the same thing to myself.

I hate my warring emotions, torn between wanting to find someone who understands me and just wanting to be left alone forever.

I hate that I think too much and do too little, and I seethe about this all day.

I hate my mathematical incompetency, how I panic first when faced with a problem before actually solving it, but most times I just stare down at my paper, dumbfounded, because I am incapable of doing math, even the most basic of it. perhaps that’s why I’ve failed my math classes ever since.

I hate my impatience and inability to wait around for others. And I hate myself for never being able to sit still.

I hate my habit of never being content, of my never-ending desire to be better, and the nagging feeling that I’m never doing enough, that I will never amount to anything. I hate my desire to do everything, only to be disappointed because I know I cannot ever. It overwhelms and frustrates me.