The time was eight o’clock in the evening. I took a break from work, left the operations area, and headed to the office lounge where I rested my body on a couch positioned in front of a large window painting before me the city lights 12 floors down below. When I was working the first time here, that seemingly subtle but loud illuminance gave me joy. Hope, even. “Candles lighting my far-reaching vision”, I told myself.
How times have changed four years later. Now, the lights left me tearing up a bit. Not out of delight, unfortunately.
I found myself looking back at the days when I was six years old in the province. The soil where our military duplex house stood was dark and fertile, the mothers in the neighborhood including my Mama did their routinely sweeping of the fallen leaves from huge trees spread across the village in the afternoon, and my first-grade self watched his favorite cartoon with friends while my brother cooked rice that will be served for dinner.
Funny how things change.
Places obscure rise from the dead, living places run out of breath.
The December break has given me a lot of motivation to change things up this year. Every aspect of my life was put into a wringer in 2016, and the general consensus seems to echo the same sentiment. Social media friends and semi-funny memes think this year is a huge shitty asshole. That is not nice to look at.
I know how easy it is for anyone to sound dumb when they say shit like “things are gonna be better next year” and “excited for the new me in January.” While the shallow representation of reinvention and change is easily distinguished among people, I realized that it should not be at all easily dismissed.
Having gone through partly self-inflicted difficult situations more than ever this year, it is always a one step forward when one is attempting to be better. I see no reason to channel hate and assholeness. You don’t kick someone down when they attempt to stand up after an embarrassing fall.
I was sharing the dining table with my parents and siblings a few days ago when I got a hold of a thought that triggered a decision to reestablish my ideologies, behavior, and goals that I project onto the world. Last year, because of an awful breakup, and personality clashes among the people I work with, my life has become more complicated. I barely had any reason to get off my bed and smell the coffee because I was filled with so much negativity.
Now back to dinner with the fam, the conversations about ironing out the messy atittudes among us and the unspoken “we will always have each other’s backs” as we feel everyone’s spirits (in silence found between eating, talking, and laughing) fueled my passion that I have to admit was nearing its death.
I can’t let the fuckups of the world lure me into missing out my true purpose in this life.
I can’t let these wonderful people down because they make me more than my struggles and heartaches.
I have to be better because making my loved ones, especially my dear parents, proud of seeing me do good is a payback for their love, understanding, and sacrifices even if they are not asking for anything in return.
I was reminded that it always feels good when you are not just living for yourself. So, yeah. Let’s do some changes, shall we.
I have come to feel comfortable in a place where I always rest my head on top of a rock that is rough around the edges and has a constantly switching temperature of cold and warm. A sanctuary where no matter how high or low the volumes of my inner battles are, it’s always quiet and dim. It’s where I force myself to think about the worst scenarios that could happen to me, and where I manipulate my thoughts into making my loved ones act in great sorrow for how the world has smacked the face of my half-baked perceptions about life.
It’s a home for a small candle that I sometimes light whenever I feel deserted by the beams of happiness that I inadvertently collect from people. It’s a friendly place that knows me, but will never tell the things that are right for me.
It’s a box of misery that will probably stay forever at a corner, but will not be thrown away because of its sentimental value. It feels like an excess in most occasions, and has a reputation of contaminating thoughts, but its companionship trumps the duration of every single identifiable emotion. It’s confusing, really, to determine whether it’s a décor hung for self-indulgence or an essential design functioning for balance. Its nature sounds overwrought, but it’s also probably just me pondering the entirety of something as simple as chipping your toe nails when they become long and disgusting, and thoroughly washing your hands with soap to remove the awful smelI off your already filthy hands.
It’s raining. The older siblings are at school and the boy is four years old. The dampness of everywhere translates to everything nice. The cushion is semi-comfortable. It’s cold and the blue blanket keeps his body warm. What he’s feeling is similar to the sensation you get when taking a piss. Electrifying. Sweet and almost like having mini-orgasms. He curls up with a pillow too big for him and dreams with his eyes as awake as his mother’s call for breakfast. Here’s what he’s seeing: an older man in a lab suit breathing in the smoke from apparatuses that are each filled with green and yellow liquid. There’s lots of boiling going on. He likes to watch grown-up scifi movies with his father and it’s probably where this alluvion came from. You know, from the scenes where men and women in white are busy solving the movies’ conundrums and mysteries. His father seems to enjoy it, and so he does too. It’s actually not determined what the man was up to, but the premise is the man and the room represent his idea of adult happiness. The man looks happy. That is him. Beguiled, he realizes it’s his first conscious attempt to form a dream.
Years pass, he wonders what happened to the boy whose mind walked through un-desentisised roads of big things and orgasmic possibilities. He is lost without any valid excuse, he is running with his feet swollen.
August 26, 2013
The day is fast-moving while my body is glued to bed. I would sleep the afternoon off if I could, but as usual, my consciousness is running in several places at once. So many things stealing my focus and too little energy to give a flying rat’s ass. I have what you would call a day of severe unproductiveness.
My brother’s footsteps disturbed my doozing at 3 AM. I am a light sleeper so the littlest noise could wake me no matter how tired I was before going to bed. I smelled alcohol and sweat stink. I didn’t bother to find out what was he up to. Instead, I closed my eyes and waited for the yawnings to come back.
“Were you able to sleep?” My father stood at the doorstep of the room.
It was around 7 in the morning. I wanted to smack him, but instead, I gave him no response. To be fair, he didn’t know that my precious sleep was just interrupted 4 hours ago.
I woke up feeling tired, exhausted and a little sad. Little by little, I feel like my body’s failing me. Or maybe that’s just me trying to amuse myself by giving color and drama to a day of mind-numbing blandness. Or maybe that’s really just the way it is. I am not sure anymore. When I went to the bathroom to take a piss, the mirror hanging on the wall gave me a sight of a person looking so lost and so unworthy of any positive adjectives. My eyes and its bags looked dead and my skin looked like it belonged to a 40-year-old traffic enforcer. I stared at the reflection for a couple of minutes, berating my exterior and imaginingly rubbing my eyes for clarity. Then I realized it’s an image that I’ve been seeing but afraid to acknowledge for quite some time now.
What am I doing to myself? When did I become so determined to take a rough but ultimately route-less road? Is it the day that’s messed up or is it me? These questions, though seemed out of place, started hitting me on the face and they suddenly felt crucially important.
I might be beginning to understand the reason for all these uneasy feelings in me. I hope I do. Thank you and fuck you, bathroom mirror. What that was is necessary. Now, I’m torn between going back to dry-humping my bed and going to church.
This happened a month ago. I punctured a toothpick into the head of a white Marlboro cigarette. When I lit it up, the cigarette blazed like a volcano about to vomit lava. It felt wondrous, seeing a petty accomplishment thrive for a couple of minutes. It felt good thinking the toothpick made the taste better. When the cigarette breathed its last life, the excitement I had vanished with the air that sucked the life out of the stick that was my amusement for that short time in a cold and loud place with friends exhibiting emotions that I can’t tell if legitimate or not. The feeling was stupifying. Then I realized… It was probably time that I should stop duplicating the crazy times of my adolescence. Maybe it was time that I should stop misconstruing the concept of moving forward as a cliche for sentimental fuck-ups. Because, apparently, it’s not. Projecting an image of coolness with the inevitable admixture of immaturity isn’t gonna bring light to my already shady persona.
I should start acting my age.
For a couple of times in my post-teenage years, I’ve thought of talking to someone with a license who can help me with my growing mental problem. When I say ‘mental problem’, I am pertaining to my disposition which is mostly gloomy recently and for a span of time not too long ago. You see, I think I might be depressed. I have qualms about forming a definite conclusion because I ought to ask for a second opinion first from someone who actually had a hard time studying about conditions like this before admitting to myself and to whoever reads this that I am suffering from a possible mental breakdown.
Lately, when I look at the things and think about the thoughts that used to make me enthusiastic about life, I feel nothing. Nothing’s exciting me. There were a few that still give me little chuckles and cheerfulness now and then, but it just vanishes quickly like it didn’t transpire at all. It’s like I lost my ability to appreciate the good in anything. I can’t see myself doing anything in the future. I can’t create plans, my visions look dry and unimportant, and my dreams mean shit to me now. I wasn’t like this before.
I have problems ( which I won’t say here). Problems that can be detrimental to my own development, personality-wise and career-wise. Those problems are fixable. They can be resolved if I can will myself to do it. That’s the solution right there. But the thing is I don’t think I can command my inner self to act on it. I think I felt sad for a long time that my heart became comfortable with how things are going. I am miserable on purpose. I wanted to say I am making this up, but I’m not. This is as real as Angelina Jolie having a double mastectomy.
There’s a billboard on the train station that advertises a hotline for clinically depressed people. I have thought of writing down the number, but I am ashamed that other people might see me. Pathetic, I know. I am incapable of doing favors for myself. Anyway, I may not only be depressed, but also stupid. Not a good combo.
I want all of this to go away. I mean, even my mind gets bored with all this sad stuff. That’s why I am appealing to myself and to possible mental specialists who would probably read my blog to help me. ‘Coz there might even be a chance that I can make people happy. Even for a troubled whiner like me, that sounds good.
I was up until 3 am on October 9, 2010, trying to keep my sanity still from the booze that I’ve been drinking with my friends. In sessions like these, there is that usual sharing of anecdotes, problems and random stories from everyone. Thoughts that are rather delicate won’t usually come up in our discussion – not until that night anyway.
10:00pm. I came home from the movies with my other friends from school and found my gang occupying the floor and the sofa of the dorm. It’s Friday, which means this will be a night of care-free fun. Final exams were done, subject requirements were passed and lectures from the gun-loaded voices of the professors will be shut since semester break was coming.
“Hey, he’s here!” my friends shouted, teasing me. They have been tormenting me for a night out since I wasn’t always around to bond with them the past few days . I didn’t have time to change my sweaty shirt so I just pulled it off me and joined them on the sofa. They were watching a crappy sci-fi movie about exploding suns and I argued to change it. I put on a Thai horror movie, “Shutter.”
11:30pm. I quenched my third glass of gin as I listened to my friend talk about how he was dumped by his girlfriend. He said that whenever alcohol crawl under his throat, he always remembers her face. My other friend, who is a pretty big douche, intruded and bragged about his women exploits and boasted on how he always gets the gals that he fancied. He turned to me and said “you my friend, you are as slow as an old turtle that’s why you have been single for a long time.” I told him I’m in no rush and I don’t think it’s time to commit right now. I added that he’s the least of all people I’m getting an advice from. He just winked and made a mocking sigh. The discussion about girls and relationships still went on for about an hour. The first bottle was finished. We waited for someone to get up and buy another one outside. I stayed glued on my seat.
1:30 am. We’re halfway on the second bottle when my friend, the douche, told us that we should just enjoy everything while we’re young ‘coz we don’t get to do that in the coming years.
“Is it wrong to be happy and just enjoy what life has dealt in my hands?”
“You know what, as long as someone is being badly affected by the happiness that you’re talking about then yes, it’s wrong.” I told him with a serious look.
“Oh come on, you’re still young. Don’t be an old man.”
I told him that age is never an excuse to go around and do what it is that you want to do without any caution. I added that we are always in the right age to do what is right. He just laughed at me and told all the guys that we are living in a world where sin is in every corner of the world and there is no such thing as perfectly good.
“I didn’t say that you should be perfect, all I’m saying is you should at least try to do well in this life. Wouldn’t you want to get a chance to go to heaven?”
I sounded like an over-the-top religious fanatic, but I didn’t really care if they laughed at me. There are only two kinds of things in the world; the good and the bad. All elements on earth fall under these two categories. It doesn’t matter whether you are pretty or ugly, rich or poor, dumb or intelligent. The real goodness comes from the character of the heart, but that alone isn’t enough. For me, what’s the use of being a “deep-down good” if you will not put it into application? It’s not enough that you don’t engage into conscience-challenging situations, you have to make a stand to prevent those kinds of things, bad things from happening. Yes, it sounds hyprocritical and but it would do you more good than harm if you actually try to be a better person. I remember a line from a movie written by that hilarious woman from “Saturday Night Live.” “There are two kinds of evil people. People who do evil stuff, and people who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.” I believe I would become a failure if I’m going to let this night pass and not share these thoughts to my dear friends.
It was almost 3:00 am and I was questioned of my credibility to speak that way. They are like “look who’s talking, you sure blab like a saint, oh please you are not.” They were right. I’m neither the best person to voice out his opinions about God nor the person with the cleanest track record. I wasn’t trying to be a good role model to them since I know that I will be making a lot of mistakes in the future, but my intention in that very moment when I was talking was good. Not to give a biblical lecture, but to ask them to at least try to be a one-less sinner in the face of the earth. I might not be a religious person to send that kind of message, but does the type of person that I am make those words any less true? It doesn’t.
It was 3:00 o’clock in the morning and we decided to end the discussion since we’ve been talking about it for hours. I felt like thoughts have been shared enough already and little did we know that we’ve been making a lot of noise. My roommate went downstairs and asked us to keep it down. It has been a wonderful night, unusual, but I believe it’s one of those nights that will at least give some of us second thoughts to making a step closer to the right direction. I was supposed to be faced down lying in my bed 4 hours ago, but I guess those hours of consciousness made my sleep even more sound.
The vehicle clan of jeepneys should be phased out in the Metro because it’s one of the main causes of pollution and disorientation in every road of the city.
With its poor window attachment and backdoor-less design, it gives passengers health inconvenience because smoke in the air would likely invade their lungs. According to the 2007 joint report of the World Bank and the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources, poor air quality kills about 5,000 people in Metro Manila every year . The too-open design of a jeepney also causes unwanted danger to people riding to its services. We are all aware that there have been countless incidents wherein the passengers are harassed and held-up which only proves that this public vehicle’s safety is in a very poor taste. It’s also one of the vehicles that releases the dirtiest smoke that damages not only the city’s environment but the ozone layer.
A large number of jeepneys are rolling along the highways of Metro Manila which affects the city’s flow of traffic than any other vehicle. Jeepneys intervene with the developing efficient mass transit in the Philippines and have become ghastly images of the city’s metaphorical poverty whenever they turn vacant roads and even street corners into alternative terminals.
People are better off taking other public vehicles because jeepneys are very uncomfortable to anyone’s back. Trains and buses are more convenient for passengers. They are air-conditioned, the seats are nicer and you don’t have to worry about the ravaging pollution outside.
On the other hand, some people would prefer riding jeepneys for the practical reason that it offers the cheapest fare despite its dismal level of service. If ever jeepneys would be phased out, it would likely affect the marginalized group of people in the Metro, not to mention the jeepney drivers who would lose their jobs.
It’s true that jeepney fare is cheaper than any other vehicle, but you can’t trade good health and safety for few peso amounts. The government should have a plan for people who’d be affected by the outcome of banning jeepneys in Metro Manila.
Jeepneys have been more of a menace than transporting vehicles on the high ways of Metro Manila. If they would all be phased out, we will be spared from pollution, felons and nerve-wrecking Third-World traffic that has been eating the whole city for a lot of years. E-jeepneys have been said to replace the old jeepneys, but it’ll still take time before it’ll roll on the roads of Metro Manila. The government should hurry the process of powering the E-Jeepney plan because the city needs to breathe with the right wheels. The government just has to make sure that if this will be done, the commuters should not be troubled with fare costs and the people who would lose jobs would get an alternative living.