eleven eleven 🌻

So hey, it’s 11-11, and while you are all busy looking for good buys online, here I am trying to write for my soul that needs reprieve from the penultimate year of struggles that is 2020.

As somebody who has been writing thought dumps at an instant on twitter, posting long rants and musings on WordPress, and uploading raw recordings on Soundcloud, I’m guessing it would be sort of impossible for you to believe me if I tell you how the majority of my life has always been a personal struggle. 😌

I write this for all of those who, people may think, can carry life’s sh*ts well but in reality actually has a tear drenched pillow at night, for the perpetual wandering that is the only refuge to a life that has not yet found a home, and continues to roam the earth to find meaning.

I write this in the chaos in my head. And in the chaos that is my life, that has mimicked a thousand books in seemingly orderly stacks, with most of them (the books) still unread, unused, and collecting cobwebs, and full of brown paper leaves wilting inside.

I write this for all who, like me, has a lot of things to say — filling in one draft, after another, after another, only to be left with mounds of papers with endless scribbles that will never find a final version.

I write this because this year has stirred the hell out of me, and I’m assuming all of us too, in ways I never, in my lifetime, had imagined I’d be stirred like.

It’s crazy. And I know, I’m rambling. 🥺

Did you know that I’ll be graduating from Grad School this November? I’ve finally (finaalllyyyy) survived perhaps the most preposterous of personal wars I’ve waged against time and myself. 🥺🙃

It’s true what they say, the greatest (and most difficult) conflict to resolve in a story is not man vs. man, nor man vs. dystopia, but viola– it’s man vs. himself, or even more aptly—woman vs. herself, a story replete with multiple and complex layers of systemic, cultural, ideological, and conceptual relegation to the margins, the peripheries, the runner up podium and to wherever it is that a macho world decides we belong.

And it is constant, entrenched in our human collective unconscious. And gawd, it’s impossible to entangle and deconstruct even after generations and generations of thought revolutions. And it is here and in the now, and it’s always in her story; it’s always in my story.

In 2014, I mustered everything I could gather from myself and applied for the MPM course at UPOU. As we all know, distance learning (at that time) has always been dismissed as, “Ay online lang school mo?” like everything was as simple as doing stuff on Facebook. Not to mention it was a weird sounding masters course, not even an MBA, it was an MPM. Haha. But of course, I did not have the ample time and energy to tell people around me about the grossly hefty efforts, and the insane self-management skills it took to go about a graduate school program in UP, much more a distance learning course.

I did not tell them how I actually took and passed an entrance exam (the UP GAT). How I had endless modules to read the whole time, so I had to spend the rest of my evenings after work reading, and also crying and calling out to God and Mama Mary, and all the saints I knew. That I had papers to make, and that I had needed to constantly adjust and adapt to the 3rd world internet connection I could afford for myself. And that was still beside the fact that I also had a full time job, and I lived ALONE in the BIG city (as what the older millennials my age have preferred to spend the first many years of our post-college lives).

Now though, with the shift to the new normal, I kinda feel vindicated for all the MPM struggles that I preferred not to talk about. I kept my pains to myself because I knew that that was my struggle, and mine alone.

And now, too, that it has unexpectedly become a shared struggle, and I’m graduating (yaaay 🎉) I’d like to take this opportunity to also (and finally) honor my many years of silent struggles. I guess, I can do that right now, eh? And this is along with the many nights I’ve spent without sleep, exhausted, spent, crying, and alone. And also for the many days that I showed up with my usual cheery self to the office, to lunch or dinner or coffee on weekends, to org meetings & org activities, to the whole world needing me too, carrying everything (although barely), but carrying everything nonetheless. 🥺

What I’m just trying to say is that there is no shame in honoring our lived experiences and talking about it, and that it is also okay to take your time and talk about it when you feel like it’s the right time to do so. Which makes it somehow problematic, on the other hand, to invalidate real and lived circumstances of people just because it is not true for all of us.

We have our own stories to tell. And it’s true, what I’d read somewhere— it does not mean that if people seem to be carrying things well, the load isn’t heavy.

Did you also know that in the middle of grad school, I also had a quarter life crisis of sorts? So I filed a LOA from grad school for a year, and decided to take the Psychometrician Boards. There was still no boards when I graduated in 2010 so I decided to take another leap– some things that the young and the foolish (like I was that time) can only afford to do so, haha. 😅

I was 25 that time, graduated valedictorian in HS, cum laude from UP, and although I had a good job, I still felt lacking — greatly and deeply lacking. People would have thought that I’d have gone to medical school, or law school, and I know I would have faired well if I did. But I did not have opportunities for that, so I had to work right out of college, because I did not have a trustfund and I had other siblings my parents had to send to school. You know how that feels, when you cannot afford opportunities? When you always have to work harder than everybody else for everything because, in your life story, things will not be served in a silver platter? I don’t know if you would, but that’s me learning early in life that we have to live with your own truths, and not other people’s truths.

So I reviewed for a good six months, took the boards, passed, and went back to graduate school. That’s, again, along with endless nights of crying myself to sleep, questioning the universe about so many things, and dealing with my cruel and ruthless demons all on my own. I also actually took my comprehensive exam twice for the MPM major subject because I was juggling so many things before I finally received THAT coveted congratulatory email.

And guess what the most bittersweet part of it all is—well, after everything, I’m graduating online. HAHA. I’m sure you’d know how it feels too. It’s like a really bad joke that we all have to live with for the rest of our lives. Twenty-twenty might as well be damned for being so full of the heavens’ dark jokes. I’m even thinking that Lemony Snicket played a part in the writing, haha.

So here I am, baring my soul as I write this piece, for all of us who may not have the same story but are struggling just the same, or worse.

And I am well aware that my pains, however deep and long and complex they are, still come from a position of privilege, and I will constantly be anchored on that.

And on the 21st this November, as I transfer my sablay to the other shoulder, and sing the UP Naming Mahal with full left-handed fist pumps, I’ll remember the many nights I slept wondering when & how do sufferings usually end. 

I guess it’s safe to say that sufferings don’t have ends, they only have windows of solace where you see yourself as another person in the mirror– different, unrecognizable, new. And then you toil again, to see another version of yourself in another mirror somewhere, someday.

So I find myself bathing in a warm flood of tears now. Hahahuhu. 🥺😭 This pandemic has taught me so much, it’s an understatement to even say SO MUCH, haha. And I look forward to the next year when we’ll be phoenixes rising from our wretched 2020 ashes, reborn, ready for another life.

Cheers.🍻

#Padayon and stay faithful, my friends.

And oh, you know those sunflowers, they do bloom in time.
Yes, they do. 🌻

So this was me, at midday today, waiting for my turn for the individual shots. Hehe.

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