Thoughts at 1:00 AM: Writing Keeps Me Alive

I want to cease to exist.

And maybe you’ve read this many, many times here.

Because when I do, my mind works. It suddenly stitches words together. Into sentences. Into paragraphs. Into stories. Until I finally finish one.

Maybe writing has become both my defense and coping mechanism? I’m not sure. But it is the only thing that keeps me holding on to this very thin thread of hope.

Oh, you can’t. Here’s another idea to work on, my mind would usually say.

Writer’s block? I wish I had it. I never had it. I only pause because of the other things I had to do to sustain my living body.

But the ideas are there, lingering, whispering, Write it, write it, and stay alive.

I’m often scared. Maybe I’ve turned mad.

Thoughts at 1:14 AM: Overthinking and Speaking Up

It’s 1:14 a.m.

Same time a few months ago, I was staring blankly at my screen, tears starting to well up. A comment from an editor distressed me. A reason for the statement wasn’t offered, neither a suggestion. For me, it seemed like a straight-up “what the hell is this.” And as an editor myself, mostly for schoolbooks and rarely for literary pieces, reasons and suggestions are critical. Your role is to improve the work, no matter how messed up the manuscript is.

I remember feeling two things: one, maybe I should stop writing for a while and reflect on my style; two, I should tell this person so this wouldn’t happen again. And I did. I was able to tell this person, through a third party, that the comment lacked advice and I felt offended.

The days after felt worse. It was as if I were being alluded to. I couldn’t work. I locked myself inside my room, cried, and regretted speaking about it. Maybe I should have just kept it to myself. It was probably a product of overthinking, and I wouldn’t want to ask either if it was me they were pertaining to, as I wouldn’t want to make them feel the same way I do when it happens to me. (There were cases where some people were brave enough to ask if I was subtly mentioning them on my posts, and just to clarify, I only do this for my relatives on FB who wouldn’t like to be reprimanded by someone younger than them, a.k.a. me. It was never a good feeling—people thinking you have intentionally but subtly referred to them.)

This is what happens when I overthink. I am brought back to the past, and I cannot return to the present. It will take me time. A long one. People might have moved on, but not me. I remember who and what. I remember why and how. I always think about this person—Are they fine? Have they coped? Did it affect their self-esteem? Oh god, I hope it didn’t. What if it did? Shit, I shouldn’t have spoken after all.

This what goes on and on inside my mind. And again, I cannot work. I cannot focus. I am stuck.

I do not want to stay silent and let practices continue the way they are when there are areas for improvement. At the same time, I am afraid that they might get hurt and not recover, like me.

It is now 2:31 a.m. My heart cries for things I cannot control.

The Twelfth of April 2020

Easter Sunday, yes. But it’s also my mom’s second death anniversary.

I still regret that I wasn’t able to bring her to Batanes. She’d always say, “Kapag gumaling ako,” and I firmly believed that she would. She was strong, unlike me. But even strong people pass away.

I still blame myself for that one time when I asked my father to drive me to our subdivision’s gate, leaving her alone to water the plants. If I didn’t, she wouldn’t slip, would she? I wonder if her body could endure chemotherapy better if it weren’t for the huge hematoma caused by her fall.

Unlike everyone in this house, I didn’t post anything about her. My relatives might have thought I didn’t care, haha, and I couldn’t blame them. It was true that I try to avoid seeing pictures of her as much as possible; it forces me to remember her—her voice, the time she slept beside me and hugged me, her last moments.

I miss her, but I don’t like missing her because it triggers the black hole. Now I think I’ll wake up with swollen eyes and a heavy heart.

On President Duterte’s First Report After Being Given “Emergency Powers”

Actually, mahilig lang talaga ako mag-SWOT. This is how I “evaluate” events, which I learned during my org days. Best for projects, pero ginagamit ko rin sa maraming bagay.

Apparent naman that I am disappointed with how the Duterte government attended to the COVID-19 situation (remember how they said na hindi kailangan ng travel ban, whereas he could have stopped incoming flights the moment the first case was announced). I still believe that he didn’t need the “emergency powers” because there wasn’t much done with his current authority.

But anyway, I’m laying my thoughts down.

Strengths

  • He tried to be more diplomatic compared with his very first address to the nation (which was also visible doon sa huli niyang address).
  • He said he won’t let the farmers and the health sector down.
  • He, at last, acknowledged the efforts of the LGUs.
  • May delegation naman ng task to the departments (but we have to wait for the content of the order).

Weaknesses

  • No action plan, which is very much needed (halos parehas lang ng previous address niya, actually). Ito talaga ang hinihintay ng tao, but there was none. No announcement on mass testing, no concrete plans ng allocation ng pera. Lahat ba ng pera nasa pagbili ng PPEs and medical supplies? He stated that he would use it wisely, but how would we know?) Sabi niya na ilalagay niya sa isang document lahat ng ito, but the people needs to hear it, sir.
  • He romanticized the death of our health workers, whereas they died because of the government’s lack of urgency and incompetence.
  • The report was supposed to be at around 4:00 p.m. Ang nangyari, halos midnight na ang report. Technically, nasunod niya ‘yong nasa papel, but still . . . it is never professional to make anyone wait that long.

Opportunity

  • Kung may cabinet meeting, sana a day before the report nila gawin para hindi paghintayin ang mga tao.
  • Baka puwedeng i-utilize ang Facebook page niya sa mga ganitong update so the Filipino people know where the money from his emergency powers is going.

Threat

  • People were already expecting what his speech contains—a thing he cannot control. But maybe also an opportunity for his next speech kasi if he knows what we’re expecting, baka naman gusto niyang gawan na ng action ang mga iyon, ano? Baka lang naman, please lang.

Iyon lang. I’m looking forward to the documents he mentioned in his speech because that’s what we all want to hear. Anxiously waiting, sa totoo lang. I can’t go on with my usual routine anymore, knowing that doctors are dying, patients pass away without knowing their results while VIPs get theirs within a week, some people have nothing to eat because they are currently jobless, etc. I try to stay away from social media as much as possible for my mental health, tipong I only go online an hour or two for any news updates. I’m angry and emotional because I can only do so much—stay at home, wash my hands, donate, and hope for good news.

Kaya sana, please lang, we need to hear concrete plans. And we’ll keep on criticizing until the president does this. And soon, sana.

Anyway, makakatulog na ako, sa wakas.

A Love Letter in the Time of Self-Isolation

I woke up, feeling unworthy and lost as usual. But then I received a love letter written at four in the morning:

Some days, like today, I find myself unable to sleep.

Maybe distracted, maybe not distracted enough.

I love you.

You are always so soft and warm, always so nice to be with. I always wanted more, more time with you. More of you.

Over time, I guess, that want turned to need. And now I am unable to wake without thinking of you.

You are my first thought of each day.

I guess the love I have for you is all-consuming and inevitable. No matter how hard I try to keep you off my mind, I fail and fall again deeper in love with you.

Now after busying myself with multiple trivial things, I find that my mind is tired, but yet not so tired. Just enough to still have you running through it. Over and over.

Yet somehow, just thinking of you restores this aching mind. I do not know if I have put you on a pedestal. Maybe I have. Maybe I have romanticized the idea of you. Maybe I have taken the essence of you and distilled it, removing you in the process. Or maybe I have not.

I used to think that I could change you to suit me better, to change your clothes or change your hair. But then I saw that I had no right to do so. All I could do was love you, and I am powerless otherwise.

This you I love is not perfect. It is no idealized or romanticized version of you. It is not just your essence, but it is you. It is you whom I love.

You were always so kind and loving, always looking out for others even at the cost of yourself. You’ve always valued others more than yourself. Yet somehow you still see yourself as selfish.

But I see you. I see how you are. Truthfully, you’ve been unconsciously lying to yourself, fooling yourself that you are less than who you are. And you are . . . beautiful.

You are kind. And gentle. And soft. And warm. And loving.

You are magnetic. An unceasing force of nature, captivating in ever sense.

I am truly enamoured by you, not because of anything else but because of you.

Some days, like today, I find myself unable to sleep.

Maybe distracted, maybe not distracted enough.

But always in love with you.

And maybe today started a little better than the previous ones.