I’ve visited pain inflicting places I swore I never would. Dove down to hurtful memories and surfaced out of breath. I’ve listened to tear stained songs I thought I couldn’t bear to hear. Laughed like a crazy woman between mundane circuses. I’ve danced tirelessly on the dance floor since after I thought my bed was my only comfort. I’ve opened up to new faces when I swore I will never trust again. I’ve apologized for things I wish I have never done, things I wish I have never said. And I’ve forgiven myself for all of it.
You will heal. I promise. In time, you will heal.
Photo is of my 96 yo grandma’s place, totally devastated by typhoon Odette. First floor of her house was entirely submerged in flood, water stayed for 2.5 days. Road to is not yet cleared, had to park the car on the roadside and walk going in carrying supplies that would last for a month. No electricity, no clean water available, they have to go to the nearest town just to secure. Despite all, still thankful they are safe. Much repair is to be done, but we’ll get there. We’ll get there.
All too often, anger works better than answers, resentment better than reason, bursting the suppressed wounds for even just a little sigh relief, and maybe a little hint of life. The endless whys trigger a migraine. This is how we are alive. This is how I was living.
Sealed trauma; A surfaced past; Trying to forget, will forget, please forget, I don’t want to go there; Tight lips; Soulless eyes; Empty thoughts; Heavy heart;
This year was remarkable. From being diagnosed with MDD cm ADD and put on medication for 13 months; From sleeping next to pitiless insomnia; From countless court hearing resets and dragging court dates; From being sick with Covid, first time riding an ambulance, brought to a facility, my anxiety was spiraling, it was so stressful I lost so much weight in just 2 weeks; From going through the heartbreaking deaths of my dogs; From falling out friendships and toxic relationships; Yes, this year has been remarkable.
I don’t talk much. I don’t. But the doctor said I have to. To process. To release. To unbury feelings. To ungirt the leash that is suffocating. So this is as much that I could do. I’m trying, it’s unusual, it’s uncomfortable, but I’m trying.
Despite everything, I am proud of myself. For hanging in there. For surviving. For still being here. I am no longer angry. I haven’t been in a long while now. I am more calm. I don’t try to feel too much of the insignificant things.
And most of all I am grateful. Especially to the few who understand me, who include me, who check up on me, who bear with my quiet, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Sending out love to each of you, wherever you find yourself this season. 💜
I think—no, I believe I haven’t written in a very loooong time. This pandemic has fvcked up my sleeping cycle, my body clock, my little to less routines, and totally drained out whatever is left of the creative ink circulating in my brain. I started this back last year if I’m not mistaken? And I guess stories of certain events and bent up feelings of excitement coupled with a little anxiety finally finished it. Soooo, yeah, here haha.
* I started writing this post in July but I don’t know how I just can’t get around to finishing this, or anything that I’ve started recently, even just finish a Kdrama or a book or whatever it is. I feel so uninspired (to write) and just plain lazy.
I felt nauseous when I rode the ambulance, it was driving too fast, my stomach churned as I tried to sit still and not topple over. It took less than 20 minutes to get to my destination out of town.
It was a gloomy afternoon, rain threatened to pour, gray clouds loomed over towering trees and the rumble of thunder can be heard from a distance .
I was met by nurses in space suits when I arrived at the mountain resort turned quarantine facility, briefed of the going-ons of the place and was escorted to my room. And that was just the time my situation started to sink in. I did not know if I wanted to cry or be mad or laugh like crazy so I dropped myself on the single bed by the end of the room and slept.
It was just one party, I say, and I let my guard down. 3 days later I was coughing my lungs out, my throat itched and hurt like hell, I was catching my breath, it was so hard to breathe. 5 days later I lost my sense of smell and taste. My swab result turned out positive.
Somewhere, somehow, I knew it was Covid even before testing and it scared the hell out of me. I have asthma and cardiac arrhythmia but that did not really matter, I was mostly scared on how I will affect the people around me, the people I interact with daily at work and at home. I have senior and sickly parents, I have an asthmatic kid, I have a diabetic boss, I have a pregnant colleague and another one in remission from thyroid cancer. It was too overwhelming, I felt like falling into depression.
My mind was blank. I slept away my first week, my roommate started to worry. I did not feel like interacting with other people or seeing the nurses or consulting with the doctor. Insisted even when it wasn’t allowed and went down to the river because I just wanted to be alone and away.
It was the longest 2 weeks of my life.
This pandemic, it’s indescribable. It has changed the way of our lives beyond recognition. It’s widely stigmatized and discriminated, I had to tell the ambulance driver to not turn on the siren when they picked me up so my neighbors won’t look.
But I’ve learned so much in the 2 weeks I was quarantined, that there are still so much that I should be grateful for.
I am grateful that the strain I caught was not deadly and I was able to overcome the disease. I am grateful for the nurses and doctor who looked after me at the facility. I am grateful for the community I was able to get to know and embrace in the 2 weeks I was there, it made my quarantine stay more bearable. I was able to laugh, share stories, binge on zombie movies and indulge in delicious food even when it tasted bland on my end.
I am grateful that the people I left behind at home and at work are well and safe despite being close contacts.
And that I was able to get some rest. Mobile reception was bad I unintentionally did a digital detox, away from social media and just de-stress. I was able to just laze around, not minding the time, and even finished 5 books during my stay. I consider myself lucky that my workplace took care of me, accommodated me in a conducive facility as compared to others in the province, and everything was for free.
I realized that we’ll never go back to how it was. It’s been almost 2 years and the pandemic is still here. A lot of people are still in lockdown, unable to go to work, unable to go to school, unable to meet in public places, struggling in isolation stations from the lack of hospital beds, dying in the ICU, people everywhere are dying because of Covid. And during times of existential uncertainties, we instinctively desperately strive to be with family, but we can’t. I missed my kids so much during the 2 weeks I was away from them.
This Covid thing, we are confronted with the true uncertainty of human existence and the true vulnerability of human life.
That its’s such a terrible waste of time to drown ourselves in an endless unwinnable war for wealth and status and power and not recognize the value of people [our families, our friends, our colleagues, even acquaintances and strangers], instead.
That this forces us to appreciate the value of freedom — the freedom to move, to be with those we love.
That this braves us to stop procrastinating and push ourselves to pursue those things we’ve always dreamt about, because we may run out of time. But this also allows us to pause and bask in the moment, soaking in the mundane and rest.
I had Covid and had so many realizations at that despite the fear and anxiety, and luckily, thankfully I survived.
And just to put this out there, get vaccinated people.
One full year isolated from friends and loved ones.
One full year out of work, out of school.
One full year of faces hidden behind a collection of masks.
One full year of life as we know it, thrown into complete disarray.
Exactly a year ago when the world went into a standstill, locked down and boarded up as we were thrown into a wave of uncertainty, unprepared and caught off guard, spiraling into a state of disequilibrium, a life characterized by fear and anxiety.
One full year since the day everything changed and away from a reality we will never get back.
Can we ever grasp the new normalcy we struggle to live with?
Will we ever become comfortable in the daily uncertain?
Will we ever see through the shadows of a dream draped with looming obscurity?
Will freedom be less defined?
Endless questions with answers held by a future that remains dimly vague,
With tiny slivers of hope only few seem to recognize, rejected by most as distrust blind their discernment.
Out of this chaos, may we realize that everything can end in an instant so focus on what is important and always be grateful for somehow, we are still surviving.
2020 was life-changing, it was exceptionally challenging that I can’t even put in a good word.
It was unremarkably heavy, a burdened weight unnecessarily shouldered for the past 10 months.
Suddenly, everyone had to forego with comfortable, we did not have a choice and that was frustrating. Life had to hide behind the mask.
Loss was a daily constant. The existential need to be seen, to be heard, to be held, was abruptly stolen by uncertainty and time was not on our side.
Anxiety continue to grow and you find yourself writing down turbulent thoughts on a fleeting lucid moment at 2 am.
I had to deal with so much the last year, I couldn’t cope. Gone was the strong facade I so easily wear, replaced by a throng of vulnerability and unrest. I feel like the chemistry in my brain fucked up.
2020 did not turn out how we hoped it would be, it was a cruel surprise. But somewhere in between the pandemonium was a window of realization that human as we are, we will instinctively survive.
If there was anything that I learned from the longest year of my life, it was gratitude, gratitude from the smallest of things: from keeping a job despite the economic collapse, home-cooked meals, discovering a hobby, appreciating my small circle of family and friends, new-age technology filling in the gap from being socially distant, waking up alive, healthy and somewhat sane.
May we leave the dust of the year that was in the past and may we learn that we could choose to drop these heavy loads and walk towards hope, no matter how small a speck, with empty arms making room to carry much better things.
I never imagined getting affected by the flimsiest of things but here I am, a chaotic mess of sad, angry and feeling bad. Yes, I felt bad.
It never crossed my mind that I would develop anxiety but the past 10 months of uncontrollable uncertainty has turned me into a silent wreck.
Isolation and confinement has pushed me to reach out to people, recklessly exposing myself to be emotionally vulnerable and I’ve been led on and left out.
I’ve never done any of these things before and it’s overwhelmingly new and suffocating. And as soon as someone paid attention, I easily forget that expectation is paired with disappointment.
I used to be so good at refocusing my thoughts, blocking out bad memories, or just not giving a care but somehow, it’s been getting really hard to hold it all together and not being able to control what runs through my head is taking its toll on me.
I had my whole year planned before this pandemia broke out.
I was going to South Korea with my girls to set crawl all the Kdrama locations we’ve watched, we had a long list and even rented a traditional Korean House (Hanok) to level up the feels, was also contemplating on extending my stay to catch that BTS concert.
I was looking forward to singing my lungs out at Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill tour in Manila with my best friend.
I was really excited to celebrate my birthday with my boys in Singapore, it would’ve been our first international trip that’s just the four of us.
I was booked to go back to New Zealand, together with my sister and brother-in-law this time, to see our cousins and we had half of a month’s worth of road trips and hiking mapped out.
And along with the rest of the world, my life’s been on pause since March.
The country was put on quarantine and it was a scene out of a dystopian movie. The streets ran empty. A daily dose of deafening silence. There was little to no movement at all and police and military visibility made it a little bit more intense.
Businesses started closing, a chunk of employees were retrenched, a number of companies filed for bankruptcy and every morning, on my way to work, passing by boarded up stores, closed down shops, countless checkpoints and empty roads, I would feel my chest tighten. It was so disheartening and frustrating to sit with a government unwary of what to do, a total shit show run by a couple of clowns with misplaced priorities.
Even when the quarantine was lifted, whenever I see people wearing masks and face shields, I get emotional. It’s just so different from how life was and it gets depressing.
Claustrophobia slowly choking, I’ve somehow developed really bad anxiety and it doesn’t help that we’re surrounded with so much negative noise and slammed with constant uncertainty. We are made to tread on thin ice, waiting for some sort of disaster to surface and it’s suffocating, sometimes a little too overwhelming, other times a too little heavy it might crack.
Never imagined I’d be dating Melatonin on weekend night outs instead.
It has always been “my month.”
I’m supposed to be somewhere unexplored doing something crazy or borderline stupid enough to scream what the fuck did I get myself into, and those have always been the best times.
But I have to settle with home for now. And surprisingly, the slow pace is kind of refreshing when the calm sets in. I have so much time on my hands that I run out of time, if that even makes sense.
And to those who understand my need to get away, thank you for taking me out even if it was just a quick flight up steep stairs to a cold dip in the pool under the rain with a foggy view,
or a short drive up North to grab coffee,
or a brisk 10-minute hike to the Twin Falls…viewing deck.
Those brief moments really meant so much to me in more ways than you know.
The cliche goes like: a drunken mind speaks a sober heart. And there is so much truth in those seven words. More honest, more vulnerable. Those drunk ramblings aren’t just random or ridiculous thoughts, somehow they’re something you’ve held back on, you’ve bottled up, you’ve tried to forget, might be trauma, or just silly nonsense your sober mouth did not have the guts to spew.
These moments might break someone, ruin the mood, destroy a relationship, but will undeniably ease the weight you’ve so long carried on your back. Only if you remember.
What’s funny though, despite being your unfiltered, totally honest, and reckless self, once you are sober, they tell you to stop thinking of whatever it was that has been unconsciously hurting you for years, that it’s all in the past, just try to accept, count your blessings instead, or forget about what fucked you up and move on. And they say it so easily.
You know why I don’t talk? Nobody truly listens. It’s either I’m being irrationally dramatic or unnecessarily bitter.